To successfully embrace simplicity I've practiced what I like to call a four-prong approach consisting of Natural Abundance, Elective Frugality, Easy Elegance, and Simple Grace. I'll start with Natural Abundance.
For me Natural Abundance was always fresh, free-range eggs from my own backyard chickens.
Fresh eggs from my Chicken Girls!
Natural Abundance was also homegrown, organic fruit and veggies.
The Cottage's gardens produce apples, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, elderberries, plums, Nanking cherries, gooseberries, rhubarb, and currants. Peach and pear trees were planted that will someday yield their own succulent fruits.
Cold-stored apples last nearly all Winter for fresh eating. I also canned applesauce, apple juice, and sliced apples for pies.
I experimented with homemade cider and apple wine. Dehydrated apple sliced seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon made for healthy, tasty snacks.
Blackberry-Apple Cake became an anticipated Autumn dessert made from homegrown fruit.
Fresh herbs for culinary and medicinal use are grown in the Cottage's gardens.
Some of my favorites to flavor foods are sage, French sorrel, chives, thyme, tarragon, parsley, oregano, mints, lovage, lavender, and dill.
For medicinal purposes the gardens produced motherwort, horehound, St. John's wort, hyssop, nettle, comfrey, and yarrow.
A simple, but welcome hostess gift is a pint or quart canning jar filled with clear, fresh water containing an arrangement of herbs just plucked from the garden.
Chives and French sorrel are favored herbs for cooking.
A tisane, or tea, made from the herb garden refreshes. When dried, herbal blends make nice gifts.
Flowers for food, fragrance and to delight the senses filled the Summer gardens at the Cottage.
Much that the Cottage gardens produced in the way of food, herbs, and flowers make great gifts either fresh or dried.
The beginnings of a bouquet!
Flowers! The Cottage's gardens produced all types of lovely annual and perennial flowers. Flowers for beauty, scent, bouquets, and yes, even edible flowers, too.
This bouquet is made from garden and native plants growing at the Cottage.
A few of the edible flowers and blossoms from the Cottage's gardens are flax, nasturtiums, thyme, chives, sage, violas, and bachelor's buttons.
While one's own chickens, homegrown fruits and veggies, herbs, and flowers aren't necessities for living a life of Natural Abundance, they comprised things that I enjoyed while living at the Cottage.
A naturally abundant life is comprised of simple pleasures that nourish the five senses. Rarely, do these things need to be complex or expensive.
Wherever I find myself I plan to enjoy those things that feed my senses.
A picnic or backyard barbecue with friends; an afternoon's cup of herbal tea on the front porch; a good book enjoyed under a tree, a cat on one's lap; taking the dog for a walk; watching the sun set or rise; sliding into crisp, clean sheets after a bubble bath; a stroll through the garden or farmer's market; an evenings walk after dinner...these are natural, sense-nourishing things that make for a naturally abundant life and can be enjoyed whether one lives in the country, town, or city.
One's own gardens aren't necessary either. Public parks and gardens, arboretums, enjoying the yards and gardens, pots and window boxes of neighbors feed the yearning for natural beauty, too.
Now that the Cottage is up for sale, I'm finding new ways to practice Natural Abundance in my new home...sitting on the deck and listening to the chatter of squirrels, a walk along the lake, foraging for morels and potpourri materials, listening to the wind sough through the trees around the house, watching Spring's new growth emerge from the soil of the place in which I now find myself.
I'm experimenting with the simple pleasures and Natural Abundance in this new locale that is now my home.
Wherever one find's oneself, there are ways and means to enjoy simple, natural pleasures, to live a life of Natural Abundance and joy.
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Something as simple as late afternoon sunlight shimmering through leaves can nourish the senses in a joyful and satisfying manner.