Pinnacle careers are often multi dimensional careers that integrate the process of health, wealth and service. Read more about having a better retirement at “Multi Dimensional Cool“.
Over the holiday weekend, Merri and I worked. Holidays for Merri and me are usually times when we can enjoy our work with less interruption and this weekend we prepared our gardens. We are putting in collards, lettuce, amaranth, several types of squash, pumpkin, tomatoes and lots of sunflowers plus flowers, flowers, flowers!
One of our gardens.
Pinnacle careers often employ “writing to sell” and “good food”.
What’s the connections between good food and a career? They are both foundations for a better retirement.
We are social animals and more than ever before our skills at communication are a key to better retirement.
Good food is a foundation for good health and a better retirement as well.
This is why Merri and I try to eat as much home grown and wild food as we can.
We had veggies grown in a green house this year so we could plant later. This was good. Temperatures dropped to 33 degrees over the weekend.
Unexpected cold weather with Merri gathering up the plantings.
This is one wonderful part of a pinnacle career in writing. We get to choose the time when to work.
There is another benefit when writing to sell. When our writing is focused on like minded souls, doing what we love becomes research!
Eating on the farm is wild! Really.
These dandelions provide an excellent meal from our front yard.
In the vegetable category we get branch lettuce growing in the creek, dandelions, burdock and other wild bitters. The wild onion called ramps come later in the year. Plus we plant our organic garden (our horses and chickens provide more than enough soil nutrient) with tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, squash and this year we have added amaranth.
Through the season we’ll thrive on the explosion of wild blackberries our land gives us without work. This year should be a bumper crop. They are beginning to flower just now and smell of sweet jasmine. Plus we have gobs of tiny wild strawberries that carpet meadows. All natural blackcaps (called black raspberries up here) hide in the bushes on steep banks. The added strawberries and raspberries we grow start in June and last until October. We also have heritage apple trees throughout the property most likely planted by pioneers long ago.
Part of last year’s harvest wild and from our garden.
We wash this all down with teas of Bergamot (Bee Balm) and mint that grow along the shaded creek banks of Little Horse Creek.
Harvesting Bee Balm on Little Horse Creek.
The bright red Bergamot grows along our creek with mint and Queen Anne’s Lace….this will be a few months away! This was the inspiration used in Earl Grey tea but also makes a great infusion on its own.
The process of harvesting one’s own food is really fulfilling. Plus there are great health benefits as well.
Jo Robinson recently wrote a book “Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health”. Here’s from an article in the New York Times entitled “Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food”.
Here is an excerpt (bolds are mine): We like the idea that food can be the answer to our ills, that if we eat nutritious foods we won’t need medicine or supplements. We have valued this notion for a long, long time. The Greek physician Hippocrates proclaimed nearly 2,500 years ago: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Today, medical experts concur. If we heap our plates with fresh fruits and vegetables, they tell us, we will come closer to optimum health.
This health directive needs to be revised. If we want to get maximum health benefits from fruits and vegetables, we must choose the right varieties. Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.
These insights have been made possible by new technology that has allowed researchers to compare the phytonutrient content of wild plants with the produce in our supermarkets. The results are startling.
Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a “superfood.” A purple potato native to Peru has 28 times more cancer-fighting anthocyanins than common russet potatoes. One species of apple has a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious displayed in our supermarkets.
Each fruit and vegetable in our stores has a unique history of nutrient loss, I’ve discovered, but there are two common themes. Throughout the ages, our farming ancestors have chosen the least bitter plants to grow in their gardens. It is now known that many of the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste. Second, early farmers favored plants that were relatively low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil. These energy-dense plants were pleasurable to eat and provided the calories needed to fuel a strenuous lifestyle. The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health.
We’ve reduced the nutrients and increased the sugar and starch content of hundreds of other fruits and vegetables.
How can we begin to recoup the losses?
In the lettuce section, look for arugula. Arugula, also called salad rocket, is very similar to its wild ancestor. Some varieties were domesticated as recently as the 1970s, thousands of years after most fruits and vegetables had come under our sway. The greens are rich in cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates and higher in antioxidant activity than many green lettuces.
Scallions, or green onions, are jewels of nutrition hiding in plain sight. They resemble wild onions and are just as good for you. Remarkably, they have more than five times more phytonutrients than many common onions do. The green portions of scallions are more nutritious than the white bulbs, so use the entire plant. Herbs are wild plants incognito. We’ve long valued them for their intense flavors and aroma, which is why they’ve not been given a flavor makeover. Because we’ve left them well enough alone, their phytonutrient content has remained intact.
Experiment with using large quantities of mild-tasting fresh herbs. Add one cup of mixed chopped Italian parsley and basil to a pound of ground grass-fed beef or poultry to make “herb-burgers.” Herbs bring back missing phytonutrients and a touch of wild flavor as well.
The United States Department of Agriculture exerts far more effort developing disease-resistant fruits and vegetables than creating new varieties to enhance the disease resistance of consumers. In fact, I’ve interviewed U.S.D.A. plant breeders who have spent a decade or more developing a new variety of pear or carrot without once measuring its nutritional content.
No man is an island, especially in this day when we are all so dependent on infrastructure and technology. Yet we can develop a huge amount of independence that brings us peace, confidence and better health.
Plus if we write to sell for like minded souls, we can develop added earnings by reporting on our activity through words.
All these factors can add up to a better retirement.
Join us Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 14, 15, 16 or Saturday, Sunday and Monday August 31- Sept 1-2, 2013 for our Writer’s Camp.
We have five spaces left for our June camp.
Visit our farm for an afternoon tea after the camp.
Meet our chickens who lay wonderful eggs. They reward us with rich, orange yolks.
There is always venison in the fridge for the rare occasion when we desire red meat.
Deer in our front yard last week.
No one puts a trout hook in the creek until Merri has started to heat the grill.
Our daughter, Eleanor, getting lunch.
Plus there are plenty of turkey.
Wild gobbler in the front yard.
Can’t make June or August? Enroll in our online Write to Sell course. Your enrollment can be used as a credit for a later Writer’s Camp when you can join us.