Category: Healing Tree Farm

He’s my comedic hero.  Erick told me it was rumored he attempted suicide yesterday.  We talked about it while piling manure over wet newspaper in one of the guilds.  It made me realize just how important people like Owen Wilson have been for my health and well-being.  Laughter is incredibly healing; at the very least allowing time to slip by unnoticed which, during chemo, was the best medicine.

So, today we appreciate the comic genius behind the handsome, darling fellow: Owen Wilson.  May he find the medicinal value in his own laughter.

I attended Steve’s funeral last night.  There were so many people, they allowed people into the second floor of the house and then a huge crowd gathered on the lawn.  It was touching to see how many people Steve had impacted.  He’s another hero.

In other news, Erick helped me finish one of the guilds tonight.  I love it when he volunteers.  🙂  I finished three today and two yesterday.  Two more for this load and another two or three (I’ve lost count) left before we’ve completed all 15!   This has been an enormous project, but already we’re seeing vast improvements in soil fertility not only in the guilds, but all around the property.

And with that, I’ll close reminding those few faithful readers to take time out tonight for a good laugh, remember to love up those around you and maybe help your spouse with a project voluntarily – I also recommend good eighties music.

I suppose I will write the occassional cross-over post.  Work on Healing Tree is going steadily.  We’re picking up the composted manure donated by T/N Farm tomorrow morning at 6am.  Once that has been unloaded, we can finish the berry beds.  Another load of fresh manure and we should see most of the guilds near-finished.  The hay has been distrubted all around property, waiting for the next layer of manure and we’ve begun some planting of nectary/edible plants.

Please visit Healing Tree Farm for a more in depth explanation of our backyard permaculture project.

It was one year ago today that I discovered a lump in my right armpit.  I remember the worry and the apprehension.  I remember the doctor telling me to wait six months.  Six months could have killed me.  I remember listening to my instinct and pushing for another appointment.  The surgery, the tests, the diganosis in September.  I can still feel the terrible pinch of my bone marrow being pulled free from my bone.  And the ultrasounds of my heart, the monitors and blood work.  The needles.  Becoming infertile, losing my hair.  The push-pull of blood and poison in and out of my veins.  I saw my veins grow smaller.  My hand became the most reliable port.  They poked through my bicep.  The they became like family.  I saw them daily.  The experience was full of misery and joy.  Joy in the discovery of my own strength, of the love and support that surrounded us hour by hour.  I remember the radiation, the million dollar machines and the fatigue and I remember the first time I broke a real sweat a full four months following my last radiation treatment.

I watched the scar shirnk down to nothing but a thin red line and witnessed the slow growth of new hair on my body.  I wrote a book, established a farm, and I spend more time with my children doing things that matter.  We are closer as a family.  We are stronger, happier, more fulfilled in all we do and in being with one another.  I’m closer to my mother and my father, to friends and family and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

In this year, I survived cancer.  In this year my cells were destroyed and rebuilt.  It was a year of rebirth. I’ve regained my body and gained a new perspective.  I turned 29 four days ago and for the first time I celebrate growing old.  I celebrate each day.  And am grateful to all who were there with me, with our family, each step, no matter how small.

With love and gratitude, The Tengelitsch Familypict0024.jpgdsc_0015.jpgdsc_0003.jpg

There’s something fragile about a Petoskey stone:
The delicate web of fossilized cells.
And yet it appears all at once unbreakable.

We collected stones along the beach and each time someone came across the beloved Pestoskey, excited chatter filled the spaces between us. It was an unintended treasure hunt. I sometimes feel sad so many stones are being lifted from the water, to be tumbled and polished and laid to rest on some dusty mantle somewhere. But I am reminded this is part of the ancient cycle: The current of time.

I feel honored to have made the acquaintance of a young man with terminal brain cancer. He reminds me of that delicate stone; enduring the rough tides, held together by the thin thread of life and the web of support all around. He seems unbreakable at his most vulnerable and has himself become a treasure to those who have the opportunity to get to know him. He is also a part of the unbreakable cycle.

Erick’s family, the girls, Erick and I stayed up all night and talked about the universe and our places within it. We attended a funeral at noon for a cousin out on Old Mission and later I worked with Liz and Bucka (Hoartie). I watched her movements around the round pen and touched the soft mane made up of gold, grey, white and red. I saw something of eternity in those uniform swoops and swirls.

While the minister preached about God, a hawk called out twice. For some, God is present in the words of the ordained. For others, God is present in the voice of a winged-being, a horse or a small stone sifted out of many, to be held and honored forevermore.


I’m not one to make birthday lists, but this year I have a few requests:

  • a horse (“Bucka” Gug calls her already)
  • a picinic table
  • money for Healing Tree to purchase fall plantings

And not to sound sappy, but I already have all I could really want: my life, a loving family, dogs, and a small farm project.  Still, the little girl in me really wants a pony.

Feel free to share your own birthday wish!  Maybe we could start a wishlist online where those with what you want could give in return for something you may have that they want.  Shape-shifting abilities? a motor-cycle? a boat? a new blender?


My daughter assisted me in planting our Solstice Tree.  We dragged this heavy Spruce across the field and planted it near the natural succession of sumac already growing there.  It looks like it grew right out of the ground.  And the girls and I are happy to see the tree looking so happy.

It’s neat to make holiday memories around a tree in the winter season and then to see it growing the following summer.   Next winter we’ll enjoy it from afar,making memories around a new tree.

Last night, we went over to Grandpa’s and watched “Watcher in the Woods” with Betty Davis.  It’s an older Disney film and creepy, a little goofy, but very enjoyable.  I recommend it for a child-safe Halloween film.

In other news, the Lady Dog “plays dead” like no other dog.  In fact, I think she’s imitating a dead deer after being struck by a car.  Both dogs, during the heat wave, would sprawl out like this with tongues trailing outside their mouths.


I hate for an entry to overlap: Healing Tree Farm

A dear friend’s sister was married this weekend in the same spot Erick and I were married seven years earlier.  It brought back so many memories and at the same time, we made more.  We danced until the DJ packed up and then we had a bonfire, staying up far too late and enjoying every minute of it.  (And each table had a goldfish bowl at its center with 2-3 goldfish in each bowl – neat since the people holding the wedding will make sure each fish is placed in a loving family)

Last night we held ceremony for the peach tree I’ve been fretting about all summer.  It’s amazing already the improvement we’re seeing just increasing the biomass out beyond the drip-line.  She even produced three fruits to show us how strong she is.  And the fungus is completely gone already.  New leaves have appeared and she looks fantastic.

Following the ceremony, some friends came out to the house and we brought out the saxophone, mandolin, banjo and guitar and did a wee bit of picking and playin.’  I’m thrilled to know good folk who are learning to play.

I’m taking the day today to recover from all the fun and festivities.  Taking the downtime to work on the guilds conceptually.  I received the map of our septic system/drain field from the Health Department yesterday and am going to have to map it out and change things around in our planning of the guilds.

Oh!  We took my sister-in-law up to see the farm yesterday.  She had never been on a working farm and had never picked anything fresh from the garden and eaten it, so I showed her the raspberries and watched her take it all in.  That’s my favorite part of working on a biodynamic farm: the pure wonder and discovery made in those first few minutes when people unplug and see in their own world, unlimited possibilities.

I broke down and got a MySpace page.  I admit, there was an underlying motivation and had nothing to do with MySpace, but now that I have the page, I haven’t any idea how to use it.  Suggestions?

We’ll be picking up manure/black dirt this week to begin the guilds.  I’m still looking for donations toward the project (Healing Tree Farm), or recommendations for grant money that may be available for small farms.  I’m excited to get started on the largest part of the project.  The beds have been mapped out and we’re just waiting for rain to pull the tougher weeds that can’t be cut back easily (normally you can just lay paper over the staked areas and layer compost over it).   The girls are excited because they are growing their own guild.  This is to show the world anyone can create an edible forest garden with a little guidance.

Strange things have been happening around our house.  We joke about Jeff, our resident ghost.  I haven’t seen him in a while, but yesterday I think I had a few ghostly encounters.  Jeff is a shadow and we joke with the girls that he’s their brother, but really, I’m not sure who or what he is and my unwillingness to accept anything but a rational explanation complicates things for us.

In other news, Erick asked me about heading down to Nashville to pick up his mom and spend a few days in the musical city.  My favorite thing about Nashville is the people.  I’ve never met such kind people in all my travels.   And the thing I enjoy about the south in general is the sweet tea.  Plus the added bonus, that everyone thinks I have an accent.  It makes me feel sophisticated.

If you haven’t been annoyed by now at my persistence in beginning a backyard experiment in permaculutre, then give me a minute.

I’m in the midst of a fund drive for Healing Tree with the hopes that generous folk will sponsor certain aspects of the project. If you’re interested in supporting the project, please visit Healing Tree online and check us out.

If you’re just interested in hearing about our family, scroll down. Either way, enjoy the heatwave and the possibility of thunderstorms (is there anything cooler than a summer storm?).