When Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Rose Lemongrass Lemonade

Dude, hand me lemons, and I will wave my magic wand over them and make you not just any lemonade, but Rose Lemongrass Lemonade with fresh lemongrass from Yuki’s front yard. I can do equally amazing things with watermelon and holy basil. And that, folks is how I managed to turn a brief stint with homelessness into a three-week vacation of awesomeness.

Rooster crows woke us up for morning giggles in our treehouse at Hostel in the Forest where we enjoyed outdoor showers, nekkid swims in the lake, freaking gourmet community meals at night and four days of walking barefoot through the forest. We stopped into a sweet little place in Savannah called The Sentient Bean which reminded me a lot of Dandelion on our way to Boone, NC.

Matt and Sassy

My dear friends Sandra & Matt hosted me at their mountainside chalet which is tucked neatly between a horse pasture and a cow pasture just a few miles from Todd, NC. Sandra developed the recipes for the original menu at Dandelion with me, so of course we were in the kitchen always, cooking up a storm. She introduced me to smoked tofu, which I fell in love with despite my disdain for soy in general, especially when she stacked it with avocado, tomato, sprouts, veganaise & siriacha on a sprouted wheat english muffin. We had grilled peaches with fresh raspberries over mango ice cream. There was a pizza party where guests brought toppings including balsamic figs and fireworks were launched and watermelon basil drinks were drunk. I spent an entire afternoon picking wildflowers and herbs from the garden and making flower arrangements while the cows grazed ten feet away and the mountain air was inhaled like an alchemical elixir.

THIS is how it is done. With the delightful Kehren on the far right.

Maya and I got to attend our first Liberty Parade on the Fourth of July in nearby Todd, NC and – holy shit – it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. The Elkland Art Center builds these amazing puppets inspired by the Earth out of all recycled material. It was EPIC. I plan on making this an annual visit as the weather is perfect and the company couldn’t be better.

River Time

Maya and I braved Grandfather Mountain by ourselves and spent some rare time with my Aunt Nancy taking in the sites & sharing meals which I cherish so much. On our way to the Mountain Light Sanctuary, I discovered angels in my sidecar when I spotted a farm stand/ thrift store(!!!) which provided not just a pluot sent from the heavens but a sharp-eyed former tire store owner who informed my tire was flat. Luckily his former tire shop was nearby and $5 later (yes, really $5 later) my tire was patched and I took a back road into the Mountain Light Sanctuary where two deer crossed my path, but only one car during the hour drive.

We only stayed one evening at Mtn Light, but it was magical, of course. Maya and I hung our hats at Frodo’s underground stone cottage built beside the river. Stone walls, slate floor, sod roof, large stone fireplace, gothic stained glass window with stately wooden rocker peering out over a fairy-tastic view of the cascading river. Pretty much ridiculous in every way.

Next day found us at Firestorm in Asheville with our new friend of total awesomeness, Kehren, where we planted the seeds for a re-creation of the old tyme circuit, which we named the Sprout Route. The kind worker-owner gifted my lunch when he discovered I was the owner of Dandelion, as one of our formers had brought the recipe for our Curryous Dressing which they use in their Pacific Curry Wrap. I was delighted to discover a bit of Dandelion had spread to this awesome gem of a cafe with a killer bookstore. If only Urban ReThink would carry their progressive line of books. Which they can, because this is a completely transparent organization who shares its information freely, an enviable quality. From there we darted over to Sow True Seeds, grabbed some heirloom varieties and arrived at my old roommate Maggie’s place in Atlanta just in time to catch the Food Truck Bazaar next door. Korean Taco, you were spicy!!!

Maya & Julianna, together at last

Finally, I got to spend the last several days at Cape San Blas with my preggo BF Jen and her entire family at a private beach house in the panhandle. I got to see a Florida bear cross the road in front of me, which was totally cool. Maya went crazy running up and down the beach in the moonlight with her practically-cousin Julianna. Completely surreal to watch your daughter playing with your best friends daughter for the first time. Totally insane to realize Jen and I have been friends for 18 friggin years. Somehow that makes me wonder if I am older than I realize.

All in all, a delightful time spent with amazing people, an unforgettable time “Hittin the Road Jack” with Maya, who was a perfect traveling companion, and a much need immersion in nature. I arrived back in town with a lightness of heart and my strength revitalized. After a three-month stint in a sweet airstream on the east side of town, my economic situation finally stabilized and I recently moved into a new house downtown which seems custom designed for my little family complete with community minded neighbors who have been cultivating a lush edible landscape in our shared property and a welcoming front porch which has already proved to be a delightful place to share breakfast with my nearby sisters and bottles of organic wine with new friends.

Home Sweet Home

I am finally, gratefully, at the beginning of the next chapter in my ideal life (dreamed up here). I had forgotten my magical powers for a hot minute during the tail end of one major life cycle, but actually feel proud that I finally let myself get all snot nosed crying and pathetic about my situation since I have never ever let myself get that vulnerable. Being that vulnerable is good. You get to be held with loving compassion by beautiful people, and the power of that is indescribable. Thanks for letting me share that with you here in this space and for all the wonderful people who make up the fabric of my family and community that have inspired, encouraged and supported me in just the right way at just the right time. I now see the wise way of interdependence and with my magic gathered about me I am, once again, in the flow of creation.

3 thoughts on “When Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Rose Lemongrass Lemonade

  1. Love it!! So inspiring 😉 I read all ur blogs and feel the magic thru them! Ur such an amazing contribution to this world and such a light for us all!


  2. I love you Julie <3. Thank you for that inspiring post. You are so strong and beautiful and I am so grateful to have your presence in my life. May all of us continue to remind each other of our "magic"…


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