Category Archives: adventures

Love to Ferment? Sorta Techy? Great!

ferment kefir water

Fizz, foam, bubble, froth. It seems like there is always a new adventure brewing in my life — but this time it’s literal.

I’ve been wanting to work with fermented foods for a long time. Because of travel (living in 3 U.S. states in 3 years), I was never settled or spacious enough to begin the exploration. Now that I’ve finally established a home in Northern California (in the Napa Valley), I’m finally getting around to it.

This month I started two batches of water kefir (not milky yogurt, just bubbly water) and two batches of kombucha (simple black tea, with a piece of a 28 year old mother scoby.) Next I would like to explore kimchi and sauerkraut. And after that, I’m sure there’ll be much more!

If you are a fermenter or know someone who is, or know of great books/blogs/websites I should check out — please let me know. I would love to connect! You can leave a message below, or you can email me directly. We can build a little fermenter buddy community!

In general, I’ll update everyone as the process and adventure unfolds. Ideally I’d like to post weekday updates on Instagram. This way, for those that have absolutely no interest in making any of these foods, but would love to see updates of the process, or simply see what I am up to — they can still be part of it. I’ll be working on an Instagram account in the coming weeks.

And while were on the topic, I’d love to connect with Instagram hobbyists (or pros) as well. I’m still trying to figure out how to get the pics from my digital Canon camera on to Instagram (because I rarely take photos with my iPhone.) I’ve tried numerous ways, and so far, no luck. So if anyone is really good at this sort of thing (Instagram hacking, etc.), or is super-techy in general — please reach out. Maybe we can work out a trade? I can send you some handmade gifts, in exchange for your help. Another option would be online meditation. I could teach you to meditate, or if you already have a meditation practice, we could schedule some fun meditation sessions. The possibilities are endless! I’m open to whatever would be a good trade for your Instagram help and encouragement.

Wishing everyone a happy summer. May it be your best one yet!

Feel free to message or email me with what you have brewing this summer. Maybe it’s not a drink with something floating in it, or a high-tech Instagram account — maybe it’s something totally different. If so, that would be great! Just keep the adventures rolling & unfolding. And reach out if you’d like. I’m always happy to hear from you. :)

kombucha-instagram

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What happened in North Carolina?

western north carolina

Before I get into the details of this blog post — I just want to say, thanks. Thanks for the comments and for the interest. I’m writing about North Carolina today, only because several blog readers asked about it. I appreciate that you took the time to wonder, and to ask. Thank you — it means a lot to me.

Sharing My Life (minus the people in it)

For the most part, I try to make this blog only about my thought process and insights, or things I think are worthy of news/attention. I rarely talk about partners, friends, family or my community. (My mom is the only person, or relationship, I have shared in detail. And I brought both of those blog posts to her attention, and I asked if she approved. Fortunately, she did. If she didn’t, I would have edited them or deleted them immediately.)

I have a general rule to not include the people in my life in blog posts. I do this out of respect for their privacy, and also to earn their trust. It’s challenging to share all that transpired in North Carolina, without bringing other people into the picture. I will do my best to briefly share all I can — from only the perspective of my thought process and insights. All details regarding partners, friends, family or my community will be left out intentionally.

Living Off-Grid

The original plan was to own a piece of land and create a life off-grid. I was very naive in that regard. I was a city girl, that spent her entire life on foot. I’ve always been able to walk freely, live without a car, interact with people easily, find creative outlets, and be completely independent. This was not possible on the land I was planning on starting a life on.

The roads were rough and dangerous, full of ditches and switchbacks. The Airstream was going to be a little mobile home on the land, to get things started. A place to live, while things were being set-up — and it wasn’t even possible to get it there (without it being a major undertaking, because of the roads and the location of the land). The idea of building a creative studio and a tiny home, seemed doable at first, then quickly became overwhelming and too expensive of a project, especially since the Airstream mobile home didn’t work out.

When I was in New York, I imagined myself living on the remote piece of forest land, in a tiny home, walking down the mountain into town. Taking long relaxing journeys in nature, for exercise and transportation, meeting and greeting people along the way. Nope. Not possible. Once I got to the land, I quickly realized what a bad idea it was. Well, not bad. Just not suitable for me. No one walked there. Neighbors didn’t interact, and there were no sidewalks or foot paths. People stayed within their property lines, or within their vehicles — all the time. This wasn’t a life for me.

Places Over People

I decided to put the land, tiny house, and mobile home idea on hold, and to get settled in town. Downtown Black Mountain was great. I could walk easily and interact with neighbors. I found the people there really lovely. Living in downtown Black mountain was great. It was quiet, and convenient, and full of nature’s beauty. I preferred this over the idea of living off-grid (quiet, full of nature’s beauty — but terribly inconvenient).

In the beginning, I felt like living off-grid, in the forest, sounded natural and liberating. But later I realized that my definition of living naturally and free, meant walking as I pleased, and feeling close to my community. I also realized how much I missed dancing. My dance community in New York was a big part of my life. I wasn’t craving New York City after I left, but I was craving the opportunity to dance, and connect with like-minds.

It became clear to me that if I stayed in North Carolina, in a small town like Black Mountain, I would be choosing a place (that filled my need for quiet), at the expense of people (that filled my need for camaraderie and self-expression). And if I returned to a big city, I’d be doing the reverse — instead of choosing a place over people, I’d be choosing people over a place.

I needed to find a middle ground. I wanted to find a place, were I could have it all. I want to dance with friends, to walk and bicycle freely, to feel close to my community — but at the same time, breathe fresh air, enjoy the peace/quiet, and live in a natural environment, in a small town. Ashland, Oregon seemed to have the balance I was looking for. So I packed up my things and moved out west.

Idealistic Notions vs. Natural Intelligence

When you live off-grid, in the country, so many things need to be accounted for. It’s major work. Paving a road, building a house, starting a garden and growing food, securing a water supply, maintaining heat in winter, staving off harmful bugs and snakes, establishing electricity, enduring rough and unpredictable seasons, relying on mechanical transportation and fuel, being able to send and receive mail, having access to internet connections and mobile phone towers, fencing land and protecting animals, processing recycling materials and properly disposing of trash — all of this is only the beginning!

When building fires and keeping them burning all day is your only source of heat, you quickly realize why electric heaters and radiators were invented. I’m not saying one is better than the other, I just have a better understanding of why our culture is overloaded with convenience items. Elevators, toilets, blenders, hot water heaters, refrigerators and vacuums — all of this is not necessary, but it sure makes things feel a lot easier.

I now understand how things got out of control in our society. We went from being tired of making fires, to being fat & lazy from cooking with microwaves. I don’t feel that things need to be so extreme, I think there is a middle ground.

At one time I thought living in nature sounded ideal. I also thought living on only fruits & greens sounded ideal too. But when I tried it, I realized that just because it sounds ideal, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is ideal. Sometimes a body’s innate intelligence will override what sounds ideal, for what might be most practical.

I still eat vegan/plant based foods, I still eat mostly raw, I still have the desire to live in nature, and to live peacefully and sustainably. At the same time, I choose what works best for me. I listen to what my soul craves and what my innate intelligence says is best for me. It might not be something that sounds ideal, or fits my idealistic notions at the time, and that’s okay. I don’t live for what sounds right, I live for what feels right — for me.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, Western North Carolina is gorgeous, and the people there were very kind. I haven’t given up on the idea of owning land, and living on my own terms, in nature. But I also haven’t given up on community, self-expression, the arts, living freely (on foot), and what it means to be an evolving being.

Inventions and technology has changed the world forever. It’s up to us to make it a good thing or a bad thing, something that serves us or enslaves us.

I don’t think any lasting solution is found in extremes, or from turning a blind eye. It’s up to us to live balanced, healthy lives — in what we’ve unconsciously co-created, while we consciously co-create something new. No man is an island. Everyone and everything is integral. I’d like to live in a way that reflects that. It’s an experimental time for me right now, but I guess that’s all life is.

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6 Impossible Things Before Breakfast

6 impossible things before breakfast

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’

The quote above is from Alice in Wonderland. It really got me thinking. I think believing six impossible things before breakfast is magnificent. But I think doing six impossible things is marvelous — and better yet, being six impossible things is absolutely magical!

In classic Aimee fashion (I’m always one to come up with crazy challenges for myself), I decided to take this on. I don’t necessarily have to believe/do/be a total of six impossible things before breakfast, but I would like to challenge what is currently possible first thing in the morning. The goal is to have an invincible & curious awareness daily, preferably first thing in the morning, for six weeks straight. I’m giving it a go, to see what happens.

This Saturday I was already in the spirit of it. I had an enormous amount of work to do. I sat at my work station unexcited about starting the day with drudging work. My secret preference was to move my body in the fresh air instead. It seemed impossible to put in a lengthy exercise session and accomplish all that needed to be done. Well… I decided to push boundaries and head outside with my trusty companion Penny (my dog) for our longest walk yet. We walked from one edge of town, to the next. (We’ll I did, she only walked part of the way. She’s old, and has tiny legs. So I let her do a quarter of what I do.) The walk was so interesting. I saw things I had never seen before, I waved to people that I thought seemed like wildflowers. Everyone seemed so happy! Maybe it was just me, acting as a mirror, and others were reflecting my enthusiasm? Whatever it was, it felt great!

Along our walk, there was a shop I wanted to enter. On the front of the shop door there was a sign in bold letters “NO PETS ALLOWED, NO EXCEPTIONS”. Since it was a morning of believing/doing/being the impossible, I decided to walk right in, as if we were welcome. I began to shop around, as if there wasn’t a dog in my hands. When I approached the counter to buy something, the store clerk looked at my dog with such delight. With eyes wide open he said, “Well hello!” And reached out to pet Penny’s head. Then he started a conversation with me, about his daughter and her dog, and about falling in love with animals that will only be alive for a few handfuls of years. After he was done, he said “You both come back anytime! We are happy to have you here.”

Now imagine how that Saturday could have turned out. I would have been slumped in front of my work station, begrudgingly working: no sunshine, no fresh air, no exercise, no pushing boundaries, no friendly hellos, no new discoveries. Instead, I challenged what seemed impossible — and the world opened up. Maybe it was just me that opened up? The world was reflecting my openness? Whatever it was, it worked! By believing/doing/being the impossible, everything felt new, exciting… and achievable.

Now imagine taking your life, as it is, for six weeks, and making sure each morning has its magic. Imagine doing what seems impossible as you start each day. How do you think it would make you feel? What difference would it make for you and those around you?

Please note: you don’t have to come up with things that seem impossible. Your random thoughts, other people, and life itself will do that for you! Each day impossibilities will present themselves, and it will be up to you to challenge them. But have fun as you do it. Turn it into a wild adventure. Play a game with yourself. Bring a childlike spirit into the challenge.

If you want to give it a go with me, let me know. I’m always looking for accountability buddies. You can leave a comment below, or contact me via email through the contact page.

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Officially On The Road!

on the road

Hi everyone!

No new blog post today. I am officially on the road. I’ve moved from New York City and I’m making my way down to Western North Carolina. You can get the full scoop about what I am up to here.

Wish me luck! :) It’s going to a journey and an interesting start. But I’m up for it! If you are beginning your own adventure too, I’d love to hear about it. Let’s root each other on.

Lots of love to you!

Aimee

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