Living in Sync with Nature

What does it mean to be living in sync with nature?  Is it something only the wise-woman knows? Is there a way to begin to ascertain the feeling of nature? The busy rush, rush of modern life has had a profound impact on our  ability as individuals to feel connected with the earth, our food, our selves. Here are some descriptions of what each season may feel like:

Spring can be soft and gentle. Filled with hope, the person who is in sync with spring is open and flowing will manifest spring energy through tapping into creativity. This person is bursting forth with enthusiasm for what is coming next. On the other hand, a person stuck in spring is blowing irritation around and repeatedly starting over, without getting traction to move forward.

Baby purple cabbage

Baby purple cabbage




Oxalis in spring

Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars








Bee Love

Bee Love


Being in sync with summer means moving in and out of the varied aspects of summer’s moods. Sinking willingly into the quiet, drowsy parts of the day and then, jumping up into activity as the heat wanes and energy bubbles up again.  An out of control summer person is constantly going and going, sending out hot rays of forced sunshine.



Sweet, silent fall.


The person in sync with fall is able to feel deeply the wounds of humanity and still have an open heart, filled with compassion for all of life. When the quality of fall is in balance, there is a sense of awe about life. A person stuck in fall is filled with eternal grief, needing to let go and unable to gain fruition or completion.




Blue moonscape

Blue moonscape

Being in sync with winter is expressed by intentionally going inside to feel and observe the deepest elements of oneself. A profound peacefulness is found in the darkest recesses of the soul. It is a peace that can be pulled forward during times of lack, bringing warmth to the inner fire to keep it burning strong until spring. The person stuck in winter is cold, removed, feeling blue, internal and lethargic.

Come to the Sugi Garden to experience the qualities of spring that are bursting forth. Through this experience of spring, you will learn how to get in touch with the natural rhythms of life.

We will explore some simple processes of self-inquiry that will bring your inherent joy to the surface and transform the way you live. As a result, you will become more in sync with nature, deepening your awareness of body, mind and soul.

Join me for a two hour workshop offered by Sustainable Contra Costa. Register at Look for the Sustainable Living Workshop Series.

Sunday, March 13

2:00 – 4:00 p.m.


Beauty Marvels in the Garden Every Season

The garden is such a charming place. As I walk around watering or just taking a look at what is growing I am continually amazed at the endless beauty of the garden. It is so different each season and yet, they are all fantastic! I couldn’t begin to say “This is my favorite season in the garden.” As the season unfolds, I find that I marvel anew at the beauty I find no matter which season it is!

The winter squashes are harvested and waiting to be enjoyed. We like to cut them off the vine and set them in the sun for a day or two to harden. Then into storage they go to await a delectable soup or roast veggie dish!

Winter Squash curing on a bench

A great recipe for Kabocha or Acorn Squash is to wash the outside of a large squash. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds (save these for planting next year!). Place the squash skin side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drop a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of maple syrup into the opening. Bake at 375degrees for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork. A perfect addition to Thanksgiving dinner!

Kabocha Squash

The broccoli we planted last spring is continuing to grow at an amazing rate. One of them is over 6 feet tall! The leaves are more than 12″ long. Strangely enough, we still don’t have heads on these plants. We can’t figure out why they aren’t producing flowers. I’ve watered them, fertilized them with manure tea, the weather is cooler now…..If you have any suggestions let me know. They are beautiful plants so we will just leave them be and see what happens next.

Foot long leaf

Our fall garden is popping with color. The light at this time of year is magnificent. The sunshine isn’t quite as bright and the colors stand out more readily from the background. From the pineapple sage blossoms to the lovely crape myrtle leaves,

Crape Myrtle carpet

the pyracantha berries and the hyssop flowers; the red chard is a deep, rich color after the cool evenings and the newly planted brassicas show a delightful variety of greens. Even the leaves on the geraniums are an interesting shade of purple and green from the cold!



One of the most beautiful plants we have at this time of year is the Persimmon tree. It’s at the back of the property so I have to go back there to admire it. It’s leaves display multi-colored contrasts showing off its beauty. You can see here how many shades of orange,  green and red are present in this glorious tree!

Glowing persimmon leaves

Golden persimmon leaves

Contrasting colors






Pyracantha berries



The pyracantha makes for a stunningly beautiful Thanksgiving arrangement for your table. Collect a few branches and arrange them artfully around a candle centerpiece or a collection of colorful pumpkins. Sprinkle colorful leaves randomly around and it will “Wow” your guests.

As you’re thinking about what to place on your Thanksgiving table, consider some of our freshly baked goods that are being offered through the Come and Get It feature of Sugi Garden. Here’s what’s available for ordering:

Midnight Moons

Midnight Moons (Gluten-free cookies)…………………$9/dozen

(Sweetened with molasses and honey)

Tahini Moons

Tahini Moons (Gluten-free cookies)……………………….$8/dozen

(Sweetened with brown rice and maple syrups)

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies (1/2 lb.)………….$5 each






Silky Chocolate Pie


Silky Chocolate Pie…………………………………………………….$14 each Regular or Gluten-Free Vegan

(Sweetened with brown rice and barley malt syrups)


Chocolate Fudge…………………………………………….$4 / ½lb. ……$8/1 lb.

Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts…………………..$5 / ½lb…….$10/1 lb.

Contact me to order 5 – 7 days before pickup. Only local people. No shipping.

To be notified of produce and food products for sale through Sugi Garden, join the weekly bulletin!



Why Bother?

I was out in the garden yesterday morning (what a gorgeous fall day!) and as I was digging a hole to plant the fennel,


I found myself thinking, “Why do I bother to do all of this out here?” As I paused to give my back a break, I looked around at all we’ve accomplished this fall. I took in the sweet little plants that are starting to peek out of the soil and heard the cluck, cluck, cluck of the chickens next to me. A deep breath filled me…. Such a blessing to be part of the rhythm of life. My eyes move across the garden, taking in the incredible abundance and growth surrounding me.

baby romanesco broccoli

Turnip seedlings

So, why do I bother? I realize, yet again, that this sanctuary is not only a place of physical labor. It is also a place of inspiration and comfort.The food that I grow sustains me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined without experiencing it.

onions and squash

In the busyness of our lives, it is easy to become disconnected from the cycles of the seasons. The excessive amount of food in the grocery stores woos us into the feeling that we can have anything at anytime. The cost of this excess is hidden by colorful displays, bright lights and happy music.

When I get caught up in this frantic energy of modern life, I have the garden sanctuary to embrace me. Simply walking out

into the garden, smelling the humus of the soil, watching the chickens or the cats at play all bring me back to myself and what is important in my life. The cats are wonderful examples for me. They move around busily for short bursts of time and the stop and watch to see what is the next step. Putting my hands into the soil, so hard to resist, brings me deeper into myself and my inherent connection to what surrounds me – the bigger aspects of life.

Following the natural cycles of the seasons teaches us the true order of life. As people our lives mimic the garden’s rhythms even when busyness keeps us from seeing it happening. If you look back across the years of your life, you can see periods of growth just like a young plant, times of flourishing that bring a feeling of having bloomed in spring. In the fullness of our lives, there is a feeling of productivity and accomplishment – of bearing succulent summer fruit – juicy and ripe. We reap a harvest every time a goal comes to fruition or we reach the end of a chapter. In the autumn of life, there can be feelings of melancholy and letting go, just as a tree lets go of its leaves each year.

Perhaps you can remember a moment in life when everything was at a standstill, waiting for seeds to sprout – a new direction in life, growth. This is a dark time, a time of quiet and reflection, like winter. This winter-like experience has a purpose in our lives, just as it does in nature. Without these times of quiet dormancy, there would be no integration and rejuvenation. The spurts of growth that come following times of dormancy set the stage for the harvest that is reaped further on. And on and on it goes…

Here’s a recipe from my cookbook for you to enjoy the fall harvest.

Delicious Delicata Squash Barley Soup

2-3 cups delicata squash, peeled and cut in squares                            6 small-medium carrots, shredded

½ head green cabbage, chopped                                                                 ½ daikon radish, shredded

1 cup barley                                                                                                      2 stalks celery, chopped

handful of wakame seaweed                                                                        1 tsp. Dried orange peel

6-7 cups water

Place water in large soup pot and bring to a boil.  Add barley, turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Add vegetables after barley cooking time is done. Simmer another 20 minutes. Add orange peel. Turn off heat. Serve after five minutes.