Ladakh - Preparing for Winter and Playing in Mud, by Kelly Klein

Fall light, Ladakh by Kelly Klein

Just another Fall day…


an unfired clay dish...
Always so many little projects going on at once. This morning, since there was a little water running through the hand-dug irrigation ditch on my land, I decided to play with clay. Without running water, it is too messy and waste too much stored water to wash my hands afterwards. I had some local clay soaking, always difficult to know how much water to add so that it’s not too wet, but enough to break down the clay. So I spent the morning, sun peaking over the mountains to the east, warming me on my bench, a piece of wood sitting across some old mud bricks, squishing clay. I grab a handful, working it and then add to a bag to keep for later later. Luka, my delightful kitten, had accidentally knocked a flower pot off my windowsill, chasing a fly, which then hit and broke the clay dish holding precious seashells from my world wanderings. Funny how I limit myself to 7 kilo max backpack when traveling for months at a time, yet always manage to bring home a few of nature’s treasures, black and white weathered river rocks from New Zealand, shells from Vietnam and Tunisia, weathered wood from Greece. Always treasures.  The shells are presently sitting in a bowl, but since I only have two bowls to my kitchen, I wanted to replace my clay dish. Luka curled up in the shade under my legs as we sat in the beauty and silence, a light wind kissing my skin. Having completed two clay dishes, I set them aside to touch up more when drier. I know nothing about pottery, but have learned through experimentation how to shape and burnish when nearly dry. Without fuel here, I settle for unfired dished. It is the experience of creating and working with what I have that brings me such simple joy. 


tomatoes drying
tomatoes drying

Having washed up, I cleaned and cut tomatoes for drying.

This precious gift of sunshine grows my food, dries it, and keeps me warm in the long winters.  Treasures.


a gourd flower pot..
Returning to a project started yesterday, I separated the stems and leaves of the parsley that has dried and put in a jar to return to my spice rack. The dried garlic slices were now ready and I ground them in my little mortar and pestle.  Several kilos of cauliflower were next, washed, cut and drying. I suspect I have enough now and the season is winding down quickly. All these years I have been cutting off and discarding the tough stems of broccoli and cauliflower. I never knew I could peel off the rough outer parts and eat the tender inner stems, delicious fresh or cooked. The grated carrots, my first attempt, dried quickly and completely so bottled them as well. Always learning something new. If I had a wealth of resources available I would never have the opportunity to learn resourcefulness, to be creative with what is around me, scrap wood to make a rough book shelf, clay for candle holders, the gourds I grow for hanging flower pots, urine for compost, all the ways to adapt, to create.

The days are so gorgeous, leaves beginning to turn, the breeze cooler, the freshness of autumn. It is my favorite time of year here. Feels like nothing else. So alive..
Fall leaves - Ladakh , Kelly Klein


I turned to my greenhouse garden, pulling up the many volunteer flowers. My garden always looks so wild as I have a hard time pulling up anything growing. At first I did not know a sprouting flower from a vegetable, but with time am learning. I planted some chard, spinach, and bok choy seeds to start while the weather is warm enough before putting the plastic back on the greenhouse for winter. This will supplement my dried food, if I have water this winter.

And now it is nap time. I love the rhythm of the days, when I do what feels right. The luxury or resting when tired, feeling the comfort of my mattress below me and the sunlight on my legs. Just feeling this body, feeling the pleasure as it relaxes, feeling the present, no thoughts, pressures, only being. I cannot express the joy of simply being.



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