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Tending Seeds Transcript - Episode 8

The Most Important Part of Your Homestead

Sara Schuster  0:08  
This is Tending Seeds, a podcast about my adventures and homesteading and herbalists on. I'm Sara Schuster, and I'll be your host. Thanks for being here today.

Sara Schuster  0:17  
Hi, friends, I hope you've been doing well. This is episode eight of tending seeds. things here are going pretty fantastically actually, the weather is super lovely things are getting planted. And I am really happy to be spending so much time outdoors right now. It's doing amazing things for my overall just mental health and sense of well being. I just can't get enough of it, which is probably good, since this is supposed to be my job, right. So lots of great things are coming off the land already tons of honeysuckle, which is a pretty invasive plant. So it's all over here, just you know, at the wood edges and everything else. But hey, it's here, and we might as well make use of it. So harvesting plenty of that 40 also making texture and things like that. Also, we have tons of roses violets, so much Chiquita and plantain, which is great for salads and things like that. My hands are just super busy, busy, busy lately. And that makes me incredibly happy. We are officially in that time of year where there's so much seasonal goodness happening, that I started to worry that I'm not going to catch it all. And I have to remind myself that that's okay. Because we don't have to do everything on our own right. And I'm confident that if I do miss some plant that I was hoping to harvest or get around to one of my friends out there probably did get to it. And the cool thing about that is that it opens up a chance for me to maybe trade or barter with one of my friends. And that's pretty great to even as the farm is picking up speed. We are also pushing forward with loads of projects around the house. This past week, we got the stonework laid for the woodstove. And so now I have a schedule for getting the estimate for getting that actually done it installed properly for insurance purposes. Once that's done, we'll also jump into doing the finish work on the walls and stuff with the sunroom. Like I said, we already picked up flooring, we got that purchased, we got a really great deal on that that didn't bust our budget. So that was awesome. I'm also looking at putting a second water hookup on the outside of our house to be able to run a hose. The current one we have is really an inconvenient spot, it's on the backside of our house, as well as being inside of the fenced in area for our dogs to be able to go outside. So just really not anywhere near or close to our gardens or anywhere that I would need a was at all. So yeah, we're looking at getting a second spigot installed out there, that'll help a lot. And then I'm already looking at a few garden projects to build. So the first project I want to do is to get a produce washing station built just using like some scrap lumber and a screen to be able to lay vegetables across and like spray them off. And then also maybe just like an old sink that we pick up from, you know one of the habit hot resellers here. best news right now is my mom is here visiting for a week, which is super exciting. I miss her a lot she lives in Florida. So that is great. I'm always happy to see her. And we're very similar that we're super motivated lyst to making people and so whenever she's here visiting, we get lots of projects done. And that's just sort of our preferred way to spend time with each other and get to hang out is to keep our hands busy. While we're going with everything else and get to talk and do stuff and accomplish things at the same time. Our main topic for today that I want to talk about is what is the most important part of your homestead. And the answer to that is me and you. So our most important tool if you want to refer to ourselves that way, but our most important asset on the homestead, it's us. And we need to care for ourselves so that we can keep living our best lives for the long haul rather than hitting that burnout. That's so easy to do. Every really struggled with this throughout my life. I used to do this to myself all the time. And then I would collapse and get so sick at the end of like a semester of school, or after any other like major life event was done. A few weeks ago, I went for a walk with my friend Teresa, who's also on the leadership board for the Tennessee herbalists Guild. And that's something we do together as a volunteer position. So we went for a hike at one of the local parks here, and it was fine just getting to you know, get outside beautiful weather we we brought, you know, plant identification books, and just were kind of going around, you know, checking things out trying to use our bookstore, Id different things while we were out hiking, and we ended up just talking about like some health issues that we've experienced. And she just sort of put things in perspective for me, because I was talking about how I've been starting to work with clients and do consultations with other folks, while also dealing with, you know, some health things for myself. And I know the steps that I need to take to remedy these things. And like, you know, it's always so easy to be like, Yeah, I know what I need to do. But why am I not doing it? And she really put that in perspective for me. And she said, treat yourself like you're your own client. And that was such a light bulb moment for me of you know, does that seems so obvious. But obviously, I'm not doing it either, or I wouldn't have been having this conversation with her. And yeah, I mean, I do have to be my own most important client, I'm the most important part of keeping the homestead running, keeping the gardens going, being able to take care of my own health so that I'm in a position to do consultations and help others, it seems so obvious. But I think it's also really easy for us to drop the ball on taking care of ourselves. The other thing that she mentioned to me that I really liked was she said, Hey, if you're not able to do this for yourself, do it for your own future potential client, because you might have someone come to you eventually that's having the same exact health concern. And you can say to them, hey, I've dealt with this, I figured out a protocol. And I've actually been able to try this out. And then you have, you know, an idea already that you've actually like tested the concept on to see how it works. And so if you can't do it for yourself, do it for that hypothetical potential future client. And I was like, all right, message received. So I started thinking about some of the things that I've done, especially since we moved out to this property a little less than a year ago, that have actually been helpful for my overall like physical and mental health. And so I want to talk about a few of those today and share them with you. And the hopes that maybe some of these might be useful for you as well, the big one has been cleaning up my sleep hygiene, which is sort of become this buzzword II thing that lots of people have been talking about for the past couple years. But I think that's what good reason, you know, most of us just aren't getting enough sleep. And the sleep that we are getting maybe isn't the level of quality that we need to be really restorative for us. So the number one thing I did, I did this back in August, I got my cell phone out of the bedroom, it no longer stays in there at night with me while I'm sleeping, just you know, waiting next to my head or

Sara Schuster  6:50  
buzzing away and

Sara Schuster  6:52  
knowing you know, oh, if I wake up in the middle of the night, and I feel like I can't fall back asleep. You know, what's a really sure way to make sure I don't fall back asleep was to pick up my phone and do a lap through all my social media apps, which really 3am there's not a whole lot going on that can definitely wait until the next day, I got the phone out of my room, it now stays in the kitchen. That's where it charges I don't even have a phone charger in the bedroom anymore. The other thing that's been really great for my sleep is just that by virtue of the kind of life I'm leading right now, I'm no longer having to wake up really at a specific set time. For most days. Occasionally I do my previous job to this work and Restaurant Management, I had to wake up at 330 in the morning all the time. And that was such a struggle, my body did not like this, I can't even say that my body ever really adapted to it, it was literally just something I was forcing myself to do over and over again, my body did not appreciate this at all, it was not natural for maybe waking up in the dead of night basically, it's not even dawn at that point, you know, so not having to do that anymore. Being able to kind of wake up slowly has been so great. My phone used to be my alarm clock. So moving it out of my bedroom met that I needed a replacement for that. And I found this alarm clock that wakes you up with like the natural light instead that gradually gets brighter and brighter. And that's been so amazing, because I tend to wake up around like six or 630 kind of on my own. But if for some reason, you know, I need to make sure that definitely wake up, I can set that alarm and it doesn't feel like I'm being woken up with an alarm because you're not just being jolted and jarred asleep with this like really loud obnoxious noise. It's just this gradual light. And so you feel like you just woke up and decided to wake up on your own. It's really relaxing. And so I've super enjoyed that. So you might want to check that out. If that is an option for you. But I can't recommend highly enough getting your phone out of your bedroom. It really improved my quality of sleep, and a super noticeable way. My partner had a job for a few months this past winter, that involved him being out of town. And there were a few nights where I brought my phone into the bedroom with me at night, just because I wanted to be able to like to text him if I needed to hear anything like that. And it had a really noticeable impact on my sleep. I was like wow, this actually made a huge difference. And so it went back out into the kitchen again. And I haven't looked back. Another thing I've done that's been really helpful for me for about the last year and a half is I've had a daily morning Taro practice. This is usually just playing about two tarot cards and an Oracle card for the day. It just gives me a few minutes of contemplation before I go rushing out the door to either go outside and garden or go work at my side hustle off the off the farm. I just find this is a really good way to kind of center myself to kind of take a few minutes to think about, you know, what might the theme for today be? How am I feeling about things, what potential stressors might be coming up? Where am I opportunities for growth or self work. And also in my planner, on one of my calendar pages, I will jot down like what my cards were for the day. And it's interesting to be able to kind of look back at like patterns. Or just notice things over time and see like major versus Minor Arcana and things like that. I won't nerd out too much about Taro here. We can save that for another day if that's of interest to people. But I've found that to be a really good tool for self reflection, above all else. And so yeah, if that's something you've thought about doing again, I can't encourage that enough. Reach out to me if you're interested in like talking specifically about like, what kind of decks you might like and things like that. Okay, another thing, and here we'll get a little bit back into the urban plant world. Herbal infusions have been such an important part of my self care. And I'm terrible at keeping up with them. I'm just going to be really honest here. I am the herbalist that constantly forgets to make use of herbs in my life. It's so silly all and I'm trying really hard to get back to it. So one of my favorite things, though to do is just doing nourishing herbal infusions. And so this is literally just taking like a quart sized mason jar, throwing a handful of herbs, you can either do just one herb or a few in combination, I like to mix up flavors throughout the week, steeping that with hot water, and then I'll let it sit overnight. And then when I wake up the next morning, I can strain that out. And that's good to go. That's my drink or my tea for pretty much the rest of the day. Often on alternating between that and just regular water. I always use lots of nettle, oat straw, red raspberry leaf, Tulsi, there are so many herbs. But I think pretty much every combination you'll ever hear me talking about doing usually has nettle as a base, because I just love it. It's so nutritive and full of minerals. It's just a really great herb. So that has helped me so much. And I can again see such a noticeable difference in myself my overall sense of well being, if I'm taking the time to prep that for myself or not. And again, it's not hard, it doesn't take much time to do you know, I can do it at night, you know, as I'm getting ready for bed, you know, I'll throw water in the kettle to boil, go brush my teeth, while it's coming up to a boil, come back out, poured over the herbs put a lid on it, it's ready to go in the morning. Another thing that's been useful for me is kind of setting a boundary in terms of how I spend my time, I do have a planner. But sometimes even though that, you know that planner is supposed to help me see like where I've committed to events and being able to kind of block out my time for the week. But even still, there's always that kind of nagging, that nagging feeling of always wanting to say yes to everything. And realistically, we know that's not possible, it's not healthy, we're going to burn ourselves out and be over committed. So I've had to really set kind of set some boundaries with myself, for how much I'm willing to let go on to my calendar for any given week. And especially in terms of like social events. And I know that if I commit to more than like two or three social things for the week, I'm not getting the rest of my stuff done that I need to do, except that it still needs to happen. And so then I'm left feeling, you know, really frantic and rushed, trying to fit everything in around the other things that I've committed to. And that's not fair to me. And it's also not fair to the people that I've, you know, committed to doing these social things with, because then I'm not really enjoying them as fully as I should be. Because I'm feeling so stressed out. And I'm thinking about like, oh, man, you know, I said yes to this dinner, or I said yes to going out and doing this thing or having people over and it's, you know, part of my brain isn't fully engaged there and enjoying the company of my friends, because I'm thinking about like, this laundry list of other tasks like, Oh, I'm gonna have to stay up late tonight, once everyone leaves, like do these four other things before I go to bed. And that's not good for anyone. I've set the boundary for myself of Hey, you get two or three things a week. And then if someone else reaches out to you for something, I'm gonna have to say no. And I say, Hey, I'm already maxed out for this week, I'm booked. Let's go ahead though and get something on the calendar for next week. That way, I'm giving them priority and making sure I'm getting something scheduled. And here's the thing, I've gotten zero pushback from people, no one's upset about this. It's all in our heads that we think we have to say yes to everyone all the time. Everyone else understands everyone else is busy as well. You know, everyone else has commitments and stuff. If you tell someone, hey, I'm maxed out this week. But let's go ahead and get something on the calendar for next week. I've seriously I've not had anyone get upset about that and be like, Oh, you can't fit me in this week. And honestly, if they did have that response, that means they're probably not a very good friend or someone you should keep in your life. Right. The other thing I'm doing the last thing I want to cover today is going to having a monthly acupuncture session has been so fantastic. I do have an acupuncturist that I love. And he's also a good friend of ours, but I can't always afford it or I can't always, I guess justify the expense, we could probably find a room in our budget for it. But it just doesn't feel good to me right now to be putting that much money into it. And that may be something I need to work on for myself and how I value myself and my own self care. But we're really fortunate that here in Nashville, we do have a month community acupuncture business. And that's a really great space. And so I've committed to doing that once a month. It's a sliding scale starting at like $15. And going up to I think like 45. And so I can find somewhere in that range that works for me and feels good for a visit. And I'm just going once a month. So it's an hour, I can go on one of my weekdays where I'm not working at my my side hustle and go and do that it's really relaxing for me, I load up like meditations and stuff onto my phone, I bring my headphones. And so you know, you get your needles in your in this like reclining chair, you kick back through a meditation or something and zone out, I'll be honest, I usually fall asleep about halfway through wake up about 30 minutes later. So I'm only in the chair for about an hour. And yeah, so that's just been a really good practice for me to know that I'm doing at least one specific day a month, you know, that I'm investing in myself for that. And that's really, really helpful and a really good feeling. So I also want to talk about a few other little things today. My favorite tea blend of the moment that I really want to recommend to y'all to try I posted this about this on Instagram. And that is lemon balm and Rose and I've just been getting those just fresh out of the garden. And just doing a quick infusion of those. And that lemon balm, especially when it's getting a little warmer out. It's just so refreshing such an amazing flavor. Also, I've started adding in some orange peel as well a little bit here and there. If I'm just you know, peeling like a Clementine or something, I'll just like throw that right in the jar. And it's so yummy all like just trust me, a few people posted and tagged me in it after I made my initial posts, and they were trying it as well. And it's so good. So yeah, join in on the fun then.

It's also been a minute since I shared something that was inspiring me. And so wanted to tell you guys about a podcast. It's called forest 404. And it's from the BBC Radio Network. And it's a fictional podcast, and it's in the future. And the main character basically there the main characters job is that they're going through and sorting data. So sorting like computer files and things like that, and deciding what data is worth saving and what isn't, from like before some like cataclysmic event basically occurred, I don't want to give too much away. And so the premise of the podcast is that this person has never seen a tree like whatever has happened in the landscape and in the world that they live in. After whatever event happened. There, there isn't even a single tree. And so they stumble upon a recording a soundscape recording of what a rain forest sounded like. And that changes everything. This happens in the first episode. So I'm not giving you guys any spoilers. It's a really well produced podcast, I'm super enjoying it, I would say don't listen to it in the car. Just because there's so much amazing background noise and nuance that like you really don't want anything else like filtering into this while you're listening to it, I would recommend listening to it either at home and quiet space or even with headphones maybe the other cool thing about this podcast is that it's a weekly podcast. And each week, you actually get three chunks of audio. There's the actual fiction piece component of it. And then there's also a separate piece of audio that is a short nonfiction talk that ties back into one of the topics discussed in the episode. And then there's a third audio piece that is longer version of a soundscape from something that featured in that week's fiction piece as well. So it's like you're getting these three little cool connected like audio snippets to go with each other each week. The other nice thing is that it's a fairly new podcast, I think it's only about six weeks in at this point. So you're definitely in like a really good position to jump in and get caught up pretty quickly because they're not super long, either. Anyway, just wanted to share that with you all because I'm super enjoying it. And I would love to have people to talk about it with too. So feel free to reach out to me and let me know what you're listening to. And also you can always contact me with any questions, comments, ideas for topics that you would like me to cover, you can reach out to me by email, my email address is Fox and elder all one word at gmail. com. And you can find me on Instagram also as Fox and elder. I'll be on here every first and third Wednesday of the month with new episodes. If you're liking the podcast, please rate and review on Apple podcasts. For me I super appreciate that and it lets other people find the show. And until then, I hope you all are doing well. Hope you're getting lots of time outside, soaking up all these seasonal changes and hopefully maybe starting to get some great food out of your gardens. And until next time, keep your hands dirty and your heart open.

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