Taking Cues from Country Folk & Removing My Shoes

Start by removing all pretense, then your shoes.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I went, I saw, I ate, I reveled. I went home.

Freshly back from a visit to the country, my senses are still reeling from the sights and sounds of water, birds, soft grass, good clean food, laughter and plenty of pure unadulterated stillness.

A typical weekend visit to the family home means (weather permitting) farmer’s market visits, long runs in the quiet breezy air, and plenty of ocean-side time to the sounds of lapping water and the odd speed boat off in the far salty distance.

There, my phone doesn’t work, and neither do I.

This time of year, there is bounty in the gardens. Meals come from the yard and ingredients are picked not days, and not hours, but just minutes before preparing (and eating of course!).

Back home during the growing season, planning meals is as much about what is ready as it is about what your appetite tells you (actually quite a bit more).

Peas come and go for three weeks only, the strawberries show their bright faces only long enough to remember their soft red cheeks, and (thankfully) the kale grows for many prosperous and green months on end.

It’s a different (and refreshing) way to look at food.

I hope you’ll humor me as we walk through the garden and take (just a few) extra moments of island time.

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.

~ Chinese Proverb

I always start by removing my shoes. The grass feels better that way, and somehow, everything seems just that much more beautiful. And real. Something about dirt in my toes.

Sometimes there isn’t an entire pints worth of strawberries left to pick and you have to enjoy what there is (these were the last ones saved for my daughter to pick).

This simple example (to me) embodies the ‘less is more’ lifestyle with crystal clarity – enjoying what there is when it is and making it last.

I won’t try to deny these strawberries were most thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, all 5 of them.

Whenever you are sincerely pleased, you are nourished.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A quick (slightly disappointing) visit to the local grocery store offers a stark contrast to the bounty that is seen on display at the Farmer’s Market.

There at the market you can meet the guys who make your white chocolate scones and work through the night to make your loaf of daily bread.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

~ Michael Pollan

It brings a new appreciation for where your food comes from – to see the hands that create the food for your nourishment and to lay eyes on the mouths that smile from a life of honest work.

For those of us who are blessed to live where produce grows in abundance, it seems an easy choice to buy (and eat) local.

Here in the city if I miss the Farmer’s Market, I’ve got a great grocery store in just about every neighborhood I can hit up as I need.

In many smaller communities this often isn’t the case. So more and more communities are relying on themselves, and on each other.

There are many communities across the globe who don’t have this…..yet.

After a visit like this, I return feeling more resolved than ever to work towards ways to bring food security to everyday people. Like me, (maybe) you, and (maybe) our neighbors.

There is just too much capability for abundance not to.

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

~ Aristotle

It seems so easy.

1. Grow food.

You need soil. You need seeds. Add a little sunshine and diligent watering and watch it grow.

I didn’t get my veggie garden in this year, as I mentioned there is just so much abundance all around me, there is no urgent reason not to support those who are working hard to produce amazing food for the region right now. It’s on the list, but for now I am happy to support those who are already in the game.

2. Cook it.

Prepare your meals with love. Plan around what there is. Use what you have, and what you can reasonably afford.

Maybe even tuck (just a little) away for someone else. Who knows? It’s all up to you, and to us as a whole, if we decide.

3. Eat it.

Eat with mindfulness if you can. Chew with gratitude. Swallow with awareness, and look your meal-mates in the eye. Talk with one another. Fully be. Wherever it is you may be.

4. Be nourished.

Being nourished is about so much more than just good food. Start with a helping of healthy, homemade vegetables & proteins, add a generous sprinkle of gratitude & and a moderate side of humility, and enjoy the fruits of your (or someone else’s) labor. After all, it is surely delicious. Isn’t it?

These are the simple things we can do.

From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.

~ Arthur Ashe

I want to take a moment to thank all of the supporters of this blog. Having such a supportive group of readers has made this whole project take on a completely new life. This isn’t just my project anymore – I really feel that it’s ours.

I have been touched to receive notes from a few of you looking to connect about health topics ranging from the importance of fitness to a holistic lifestyle (so true – link to Susan’s site here) – to the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle for those living with terminal illnesses such as cancer (link to Jillian’s blog here).

All of you have such amazing stories to tell and I am happy to do what I can to bring awareness to wellness initiatives everywhere.

But for now, let’s eat, and take off our shoes.

We all have things we do to escape and break what can seem like difficult patterns or routines we are stuck in – or simply just to get away. I’d love to hear what you do to step away.

  • Are you a garden lover?
  • Where do you take your shoes off and really relax?

For now, let’s eat well, and enjoy!

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

~ Muhammad Ali

Next up I’ve got a super delicious chickpea salad in the wings – you’ll want to catch this one it is that delicious! Wishing you all a super fabulous week!

Yours in Less,


Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Happiness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Rejuvenation, Salads, Travel, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

68 responses to “Taking Cues from Country Folk & Removing My Shoes

  1. I love these photos so much. I am definitely a garden lover–mine is small but I love whatever I can manage to grow, and farmers markets to make up the difference!

  2. Your gardening shots are fantastic my friend and this was a beautiful read 😀
    Thank you!

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. Such beautiful photos of what must be a spectacular garden. How nice that a few berries were left for your daughter to pick. Every child should have a chance to pick berries in Summer. The memory will bring her many smiles when she’s older.

  4. Shira – are you sitting down. I have a small confession to make. I kill plants. Not on purpose. It just happens. The garden in your images looks so lush and magical… (sigh). Mine doesn’t look like that.

    There is class photograph of mine, taken at about 7 or 8 years old. I am the only child without shoes on. At the time, my German mother was mortified.

    • I want to see that photo! It sounds priceless!! Your poor German mother!
      J – this is not my garden! It’s my mom’s 🙂 I kill veggies too (but not flowers) – this is why I leave it to the experts!

  5. I love the point you made about supporting other growers close to you as an alternative to not having planted a garden. Great way to think about it. Looks like there is abundance all around! Loved your post.

  6. lovely post. So true. Being new to gardening, i experience the delicate enthusiasm of a new love affair. So many secrets to share, so many blessings to unfold

  7. loved this – from the message to the beautiful pictures to the quotes – a real feast for the eyes and the soul – you did (and do) a beautful job

  8. Beautiful post, Shira, photos, words and ideas behind it. Thank you. I had an organic garden at my last job that I started from scratch on a piece of waste ground. I loved it — I probably loved the garden better than most of the rest of my job. I had a few autistic kids who loved the garden. I have never gone back to my job site to see if it is still there (I have my doubts). But it had sun. We don’t have much sun here and my Mom prefers to grow, trees, shrubs and flowers in what there is. Usually, I grow tomatoes in a bucket and herbs in pots, but this year I didn’t buy any tomato plants and only my mint is doing well.

  9. We love eating local, visiting farmers’ markets in our travels. Your photos are beautiful. I just made fava beans last night purchased from the local farmers. Yummy!

  10. Gratitude for abundance and the effort of others casts the world in an irresistible glow, doesn’t it?

  11. Somer

    Beautiful in every way and full of fabulous bits of wisdom as usual! I love your purple toenails 😉

    • Thanks girl! Freshly painted that morning 😉
      Hey – who won the cute running skirt?

      • Somer

        I wish it was you, but it was an American teacher living in Korea! She really needed it too, which is excellent! Wanna do a guest post someday? I have another lulu skirt we could give away with it?!?

      • Haha! That’s cool! I don’t really need it so I am glad it went to someone who did! Yes and yes!

      • Somer

        Radical, you choose the date! I’ll supply the skirt. I have one in a 6 which may get more entries 😉

      • Hehe! Okay – email me with an idea, what you might like to see etc. – unless you want to just unleash me! It will have to be before the 3rd…I leave on the 5th!!

      • Somer

        Um, Shira unleashed is my favorite! Seriously love everything you do. 🙂 And before the 3rd works great for me since I’m trying to contain most of the giveaways to July! Where are you going on the 5th?

  12. love all the fresh produce photos – makes me yearn for a giant garden! My housing estate has a small community garden club that I am part of; there are about 6 of us, all with various levels of gardening knowledge. Last weekend we all worked on the garden together; it’s great to be able to have a garden in a big urban city, and also feel like part of a community & get to know my neighbors. I also love having fresh herbs to cook with every day! Hopefully we’ll get some tomatoes if the sun every comes out again 🙂

  13. Shira – I have just feasted. Every bit of me feels nourished for having spent this morning time here, traipsing barefoot through the garden, shade and sun, air that smells so real, hearing words resoundingly simple and pure. You have managed, once again dear friend, to say much worthy of saying. (sigh…I have been so well fed, and I humbly thank you.) xoxo

  14. Frances antoinette

    All the green … Love it!

  15. Going through all the blogs that I love after a very long time – summer travelling and home coming had taken its toll on the emotions…

    What a beautiful welcome back to blog reading! I feel so energised and revived. I love the picture of the tiny rock pool with your purple toe nails… sharing – let everyone feel the positive energy as well!

  16. Beautiful photos and sentiments, Shira.

  17. Beautiful photos! Sounds like you had a nice visit to the country. I wish our garden looked so green, but it’s starting to resemble more of a dustbowl at the moment. Send us some rain, please!

  18. Great Post – loving your photos – great to eat foods that are close to the ground:) Happy Wednesday!

  19. Shira, Lovely!! Lovely. I’m now relaxed. Earlier this year, I got to pick blackberries. There was something so satisfying about selecting, sampling and plucking in the hot sun. Oh, yes, I did quite a bit of tasting, er, testing during the outing!! T. (I also loved your sparky purple nail polish. Another great shot!!)

    • Oh thank you T! Picking blackberries is SO much fun – of the eating is the best part too 🙂 I am wondering if I will keep the toes purple for my trip to France? I might go nude…lovely!

  20. This post made me smile 🙂 I loved getting to take a peek into your weekend- I feel like I was there with you, bare feet and all!

    Your posts are always so full of wisdom Shira. I always walk away with a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life. Thank you 🙂

  21. Excellent, truly excellent!

  22. Love love this post! I can’t believe you have such a well tended, produce full garden! Do you go up to your family home regularly to look after the garden? I am really bad with tending to greens :S Great messages in this post Shira! I feel healthier already!

    • Thanks Marina! As much as I would LOVE to take credit for all the lushness I have to give credit where due – this is my parents garden 🙂 They’ve been at it for years – isn’t it spectacular?

  23. Reblogged this on Fancy Nancy says…. and commented:
    Just lovely. Thank you.

  24. I am a garden lover. And when I say “garden lover,” I mean “I love other people’s gardens.” I was not blessed with much of a green thumb, and though I always have the good intentions of starting a patio garden, I never get my act together in time. You totally just made me feel better about not having a garden because I am supporting local farmers and making their hard work justified.

    Lovely photographs throughout (as usual)- I loved taking a little walk through the garden with you. 🙂

    • Thanks for joining me on the walk Kristy! 🙂 I am the same as you as I can grow flowers, but veggies not so much – there are so many wonderful local growers that do an amazing job, I’ll just stick to what I am best at: eating it!

  25. Gorgeous photos!! The greens and flowers are amazing. I LOVE gardens..especially my own baby garden. Nothing is more satisfying than growing my own greens and veggies!

  26. athletescook

    Love your photography and writing style! I am starting a garden right now actually so this was perfect timing!! Thank you 🙂

  27. myweeklywine

    Your photographs are exquisite, and your is message clear!

  28. great post Shira! Wow, what a fantastic garden! I’m glad you had a wonderful weekend. Isn’t it so refreshing to go to a place where your phone doesn’t work and you get to just unplug?! ahh, that’s the best:) Have a great weekend!

  29. You seriously have the most beautiful photography. And seeing those sugar snap peas is making me hungry. I could eat a whole bucket of SS Peas!

    Hope you have a great weekend, darling!

  30. our balcony garden gave us about 9 strawberries, a whole lot of spinach, herbs and 6 potatoes. we finally got our urban patch last week( after 1 year wait), so we will be planting this weekend. those are some gorgeous pictures shira. a quiet garden with colors everywhere relaxes me.. Have a good weekend

  31. It was so relaxing and enjoyable to look at your beautiful pictures. I haven’t had a real garden for some years because we go on vacation each year and it’s impossible to find someone reliable to take care of it! Easier to buy at the local farmer’s market, although not satisfying in the same way. I usually have a few tomato plants and a few tomatoes, whatever I can get once the deer and chipmunks are done. This year I planted basil, parsley, hot peppers of various kinds, banana peppers, two sweet potato plants and a pumpkin plant in various spots. The basil are thriving and the peppers have survived the animal munching. The parsley was roundly eaten for a time and then left alone. Never a dull moment!

    • Sounds wonderful! I love the variety – and keeping the ‘munchers’ at bay is always a fun game, isn’t it? Love fresh basil – lucky you!

  32. I just came back from a place that i stop working and my cellphone does too- it is so recharching and invigorating. loads of reading, frisbee, hiking and swimming. When I am in need of a recharge all I really need is a little time to myself, fresh lake air, flowers, my garden – really anywhere I can get lost in my own thoughts.

    Truly we are so lucky where I am from, we have multiple farmers markets, stands and farms all within a shirt drive or walk – I very rarely step foot in a grocery store this time of year 😉

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