Wednesday writer: Marilynn Carter

Marilyn Carter
Marilynn Carter

NAME: Marilynn Carter.

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Massachusetts.

CURRENT BASE: New Hampshire.

FIELDS: Cooking, wholistic health, teaching, energy practitioner.

NEWEST BOOK: No Fret Cooking, self-published at Maat Publishing available at www.nofretcooking.com and www.maatpublishing.net . The second edition is available through us, although the first edition can still be purchased on Amazon but will go away when the second edition is available on Amazon. Also, copies can be found at Bestsellers Cafe, Medford, Mass.; Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, N.H.; Laurel Mae’s Cottage, Rochester, N.H.; Emergy Farm, Dover/Durham, N.H.; White Birch Books, Conway, N.H.; Big Blue Marble, Philadelphia.

THE TELLING DETAILS

My purpose for writing is to bring awareness through sharing what I’ve learned and continue to learn to help others on their health and wellness journey. Often there is conflicting information, which can be overwhelming and confusing, so my goal is to share from personal experiences. As each person is unique, I stress the importance that each person knows who they are and their own body. It is important to take into account all information as opposed to following the latest fads to best decide what is best for them.

Early bird or night owl?

I am not a person who fits into only one end of the spectrum, although my preference is not for the early hours but when needed can be.

Self-identity?

I would classify myself as a compassionate hippie. Most people are attracted to me for their ease in being able to talk easily about themselves.

City or country?

Although I have an appreciation for the country and love living so near the ocean which calls to me, I do consider myself a city person. I love the diversity of people, architecture, arts, variety of foods, and being able to easily get places.

Influences?

My work has been primarily people-oriented in variety of settings: from medical, both traditional as well as alternative, to working and cooking at a B&B; and from human resources to hosting students from foreign countries for 5 years. — all environments where people feel comfortable and safe talking with me. My experiences as well as others influence my wanting to share and help others. I collect life’s lessons.

How do you set about writing?

Guess working through things in bed in the middle of the night. Yes, my office space has a window but I don’t often look out. I have lots of projects, so I tend to collect paper and at times it can be distracting but once I set my mind to write, it flows as it’s mostly experiential.

Travel preferences?

I have been fortunate to travel lots. I love variety. A favorite spot is the ocean for short day/evening getaways and inspiration to reflect and write. Mountains, for spiritual places known as energy centers like Redwood forests and Mount Shasta. For fun, Disney works once or twice. No interest in Vegas. Alaskan cruise for long summer days, glaciers, Northern lights, and its quite pristine beauty. Europe for its rich history. Costa Rica for rain forests, food and the people.

What would you change if you could?

The use of chemicals and pesticides without thought of hazards to people, animals, and environment. A chemical free world, no war, and love for all.

A favorite bliss?

Self-care, energy work, meditate, cook, listen to music, play. Life is magical as well as mystical. Look for signs and ask for guidance. Life is full of bliss. I am very socially conscious about the environment and what’s happening to it, our food, air, water, and our health.

I enjoy cooking using organic, local, fresh, healthy ingredients without preservatives, chemicals, artificial colors, GMO’s. Style basic, using what I have, color, and intuition. Something warm with herbs, spices, and colorful vegetables. I enjoy a wide variety of foods. Preference is vegetarian, anything spicy, and, of course, dark chocolate. Do not like pork, tongue, okra, or coffee. Tea or plain water with lemon or lime. As I am chemically sensitive I am not a big alcohol drinker but have preferences on occasion.

Favorite color?

Like them all but not so much brown or pink.

Describe your significant other in one word or phrase.

Intelligent, talented, awesome!!!

What is something you like about your appearance? 

Like the color of my eyes.

Favorite age?

Lots of wonderful years.

Writing perspectives? 

Don’t create characters, write about real people.

I read for enjoyment, relaxation, inspiration, learning. I may not read all genres but believe everyone has a right to tell their story as there will always be an audience for that person’s writing.

Lots of great writers. For my current work I like Dan Millman for his focus on numerology focus and spiritual journey and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, given to me by one of my students from Brazil.

I like to hear people’s stories, so am always curious about what brought them to the place they are now. Gratitude for all of the spiritual guidance and gifts I have received on my journey through life.

How many cookbooks can you name that encourage you to hum along?

How many cookbooks can you name that encourage you to hum along? The two CDs of jazz guitar fit the mood perfectly.

We’re naming this the Chicken Farmer’s Official Cookbook. The recipes are tasty, simple, direct, and — an added plus for the cook — each one gets its own page (no need to flip back and forth when your hands are already full). Now, dig in and settle the folks around the table …

~*~

Wednesday Writer is a weekly feature profiling devoted writers of all stripes, most of them laboring outside the celebrity spotlight. To my mind, they are the lifeblood of the literary world, both as active readers and exponents of the empowered word.

My next 30 years…

Even though she’s way too young to have been part of the hippie outbreak, she encompasses a spiritual and lifestyle awareness some of us came to through our experiences and discoveries along the way. This is a side of the trip I feel needs to be celebrated and nurtured.

How Jesus and Yoga changed my life

My bible study this morning, instructed to ask the Holy Spirit to teach me a song he gives me. Well, I woke up this morning with “My next 30 years” playing in my head”. Does the Holy Spirit ever wake you up with a song?. It’s almost daily for me. This is year 43 for me, and as I looked at the lyrics of the song, I realized that I am already doing most of it! lol…I have been on a “who am I, and what am I doing here mission”, for over 7 years now. We aren’t promised tomorrow, I know that. I will see the good in everything, and everybody. If I were to die today, I want to have made a difference in so many people’s lives, that they have to rent out a stadium. Some might think it’s morbid that I think about how my funeral…

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SUPERSEED GRANOLA

One of my readjustments now that I’ve retired involves my diet, and that means a return to homemade granola and yogurt.
While this is not one of my wife’s recipes, not that she follows one closely, it gives a good idea of what’s involved. Just remember you can improvise a great deal, depending on what’s at hand and your tastes.
I find it’s a wonderful thing to have on hand for early morning, afternoon, or even late-night snacking.

THE SNAGGLEST TOOTH

i’ve always had trouble finding honeyless granola (#veganproblems, amirite?), so a long time ago i started making my own. the recipe below is my usual, but there are infinite combinations of fruits, nuts and whatever elses. the chia seeds are a new addition to mine, as i just started messing with them. like any good granola, this one has a million ingredients and there’s about a 1:1 oat to good stuff ratio.

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More than an orchard

For the most part, farmers in New England are counseled to take up much different strategies than their counterparts across much of the rest of the continent. The land here is often rocky and clay or sand, rather than prime loam. In addition, large tracts are rare, and few are able to work expanses focused on two or three crops alone. Instead, Yankee farmers are increasingly turning to niche operations, especially those closest to urban and suburban populations.

DeMeritt Hill Farm in Lee, New Hampshire, is a good example. With more than 170 acres — large by local standards — the operation has expanded from its apple orchard base to become, well, a family outing destination. The pick-your-own apples and peaches remain at the core (pardon the expression) of its appeal, an excuse to step out in the countryside while getting both fresh air and fresh fruit. But the owners have expanded on that base to include Halloween hayrides, hiking and cross country ski trails, an equestrian center, timber harvesting, a miniature zoo, a one-room schoolhouse where class field trips can assemble before and after their tours, and, of course, the country store.

Here’s some of what awaits.

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Picking apples

If there were only four seasons. As simple as the tapestry: winter, spring, summer, apples. Each of an equal length. Not the unbalanced freezin’, followed by black flies and then mosquitoes – the latter two ranking with rattlesnakes, bears, wolves, and rats at the top of the colonial inhabitants’ pestilence list. The little black flies fierce enough to swell my goddaughter’s eyes shut after a day of outdoor play one May. It’s enough to make you wonder how anyone worked the woods, much less farmed. The freezin’ could almost be seen as relief, if only it, too, weren’t so vicious.

To observe – first-hand – the annual sequences in the place you inhabit is to question and rearrange. Winter here can be five months; summer, six weeks at its prime, plus shoulders that feel more like late spring or early autumn. To quarter the year by solstice and equinox, as tradition has done, affords an inadequate equation. More practical is to embrace eight seasons, not four – and even that is slippery. My perception of an eight-cycle year evolved after learning of the ancient concept of solar seasons, where winter begins around Halloween (Samhain); spring, around Groundhog’s Day (Candlemas or Imbolc) (and thus, the “six more weeks of winter” caution); summer, with Mayday (Beltane or May Eve as Walpurgis Night); and autumn, around the beginning of August (Lammas). Though still not precise for the changes where I live, this eight-part system does introduce more nuance. Winter, after all, can feel to begin the day after Halloween, as much as December 21 or 22, especially with our return to Eastern Standard Time from so-called Daylight Savings. More telling is to realize June 20 or 21 is also Midsummer’s Day and Midsummer’s Night, rather than its beginning.

An eight-season year acknowledges the delay between the increasing daylight and the warming of the air, earth, and waters, and then their decline. The established beginning of summer, after all, also marks the soon shrinking daylight, yet few here plunge into the ocean before the Fourth of July and many swimmers are surprised its water can be warmer in late September than it was it July – the difficulty comes in warming yourself once ashore. While July here can be insufferably hot and humid, depending, we really don’t get tomatoes or sweet corn until the already cooler days of August – a glorious time I’ve come to call High Summer, to distinguish it from the previous Full Summer. Indeed, my recognition of High Summer originated in a lament, “How can it be August already? Summer’s almost over,” transformed by a mindfulness that our summer hadn’t begun until the solstice: many of our neighbors still have their furnaces running up to June, and other members of my family find May days too chilly to eat lunch at our shaded outdoor table. Meanwhile, late August evenings are typically too cool for lingering after an evening outdoor meal, and the darkness falls markedly earlier than it had a month earlier.

As a concept, my eight-season year resembles the artist’s color wheel, with its primaries – bright yellow, red, and blue – and its secondaries – orange, purple, and green – where the primaries overlap. Likewise, there are the strong seasons where the traditional and solar seasons coincide: Full Summer, Full Autumn, Full Winter, Full Spring, and the already mentioned High Summer and three others I still need to christen, the ones where they separate. Even here, though, I realize overlap for spring is inaccurate: our Full Spring starts with the leafing of trees at the beginning of May. So my seasons would run Full Summer (late June and July), High Summer/Early Autumn (August to late September), Full Autumn (late September to Halloween), Soft Winter (November to late December), Full Winter (late December and January), Late Winter (February to late March), Tentative Spring (late March and April), Full Spring (May to late June). Perhaps we could even name them after people – Julia, for Full Summer, followed by Augusta or King Leo – the way hurricanes are, for that matter, though that runs the risk of introducing unnecessary associations.

Of central interest to me in all of this is the relationship of the changing light and seasons with emotions. It’s not just a matter of having a favorite season – although spring here is too cold and wet and insect-infested to bring the same joy it has elsewhere – or of noticing the general crankiness that follows the Daylight Savings clock changes twice a year, where everyone’s “internal clock” is thrown off kilter for the remainder of the week. It’s the matter of acknowledging that where I live, November is truly the dreariest month – the general landscape has turned brown, and most people go to work before sunrise and leave after sunset – while February, in its sparkling white purity against the occasional blue sky, has already brightened to the same level of light as October. We even have the quirky situation where our earliest sunsets hit in early December, and arrive perceptibly later by New Year’s. Somehow, though, I always seem to be running weeks behind, wherever.

Where I live, solar autumn – High Summer and Full Autumn – are more than the prime of the year. They are ingrained in the region’s very identity. The air has turned cool and bright, the insects are manageable, the Hawaiian shirts give way to sweaters, I concede, awakening on that first chilly morning in August when fall’s in the air, stirring its bittersweet joy. (Noting, too, my wife will soon have me gathering golden bittersweet berries for her interior decoration.) From around the world, people begin phoning to inquire about how the foliage is shaping up, while the region’s state tourism offices respond by marching out their predictably rosy forecasts. Yet for all of this regularity, something remains tenuous. Drought can dull the color, as can blight, which seems to be increasing. The remnants of an Atlantic hurricane or an early snowfall can strip the leaves from their perch. On top of it all, global climate change is pushing back the first killing frost – the defining element of Indian summer and a catalyst for crisp color – and we seldom lose the last of our gardens in September anymore. North of the notches – that is, in the North Country, where the prime color arrives first, runs on its own pace. In contrast, we are moderated by our proximity to the ocean.

Though our small city is not a tourist destination, we are close enough to the beaches and the mountains to be aware of their traffic and to savor their attractions in the shoulder weeks free of the crowds. Already, before Labor Day, with school districts resuming, the seaside motel bookings are down, and apart from pre-kindergarten children or young couples, the beaches have been claimed by older adults, often bundled up on aluminum chairs and reading in small clusters. At home, agreeing on a walk, my wife and I choose one of the restaurants where we can sit in the afternoon sun and watch the river – either above the dam and waterfalls at the red millworks or downstream, over the tidewater marina – while sipping microbrew ales and sampling appetizers. We both know you could drive halfway across the country for a memory like this. And we both know that living year-‘round in a locale provides a context no fine-weather visitor can comprehend – the countering desolation of office workers scurrying into icy darkness, of madness and death lurking behind the curtained windows, of resort communities closed tight and abandoned.

My wife and I see this because we have moved here, each by a different pathway.