I see the beginning of fall not so much as a specific date, the autumn solstice, but rather a time when the days shorten, there is less humidity in the air, the yellow jackets hover over the grass like intense sentinels and the leaves (even if they don’t change color) begin to fall from the trees.
The past year has been one of both joy and turmoil. We’ve welcomed two new members into our family. Abby a lab puppy and Gabe a shepherd/lab mix we rescued from a kill shelter. Abby is inquisitive; everything is new and exciting. She has let it be known that she loves to dig. The landscaping within the chain link fence will definitely need work this spring. She’s made a habit of digging in the perennial bed and at the base of shrubbery. She picks up potted plants, tosses the plants aside and uses the pot as a chew toy. Now Gabe is no innocent. He takes great pleasure in running through the bushes and up the garden path kicking mulch into the air as he rounds the corner and sails off the retaining wall. He’s also decided the raised bed near the garden shed we use for greens makes a wonderful perch from which to survey his domain.
I have come to realize that with 2 large young dogs we need to make a few changes in the landscape. To start we need more grass, more mulch, and a secure cover over the worm bin. Abby loves to play in the worm bin. She will push the boards aside so she can root and pull out kitchen scraps which she uses as play toys. There is nothing quite like seeing a pup run happily across the yard with a broccoli stalk held firmly between her teeth like a dumbbell.
The turmoil comes not from the dogs. They are young, learning what is and isn’t acceptable, and very trainable. The turmoil comes from our current president and the people he has put in place to run various federal agencies. The administration has shown their intent to destroy many of our agencies (EPA, Education, HUD, Interior) by having them lead by individuals who do not believe in their mission. Each day something which in my mind is horrible, a threat to the citizens of this nation, will be revealed and when I think it can’t get any worse, it does. I won’t go into specifics, what’s the point. I’m preaching to the choir. And those who support his policies, those who have drunk the Kool-Aid, won’t hear a word I say no matter how well sourced or reasoned.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my going slowly crazy and shouting at the moon changes nothing. The older I get the faster time seems to go by and the more precious it becomes. What I can do is live what I believe. To make sure that what I do, be it training the dogs, working in the garden, or how I talk and interact with my fellow humans, is in tune with my beliefs.
- Do not poison the soil, the water, or the air for these are needed to sustain life.
- There is no away, so reuse or re-purpose what you can.
- The spider in the corner of your window means you no harm. He’s only trying to survive. Let him.
- Don’t be quick to judge others for you do not know where they have been or the struggles they have endured.
- People throughout the world want to provide a safe home for their family. We are more alike than we are different
- Be gentle with all living things. Minimize violence.
- Focus on the behavior you want to see.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller
As areas of the property that had been in full shade and under thick layers of pine straw are exposed to the warmth of the sun interesting plants are sprouting up everywhere. When I first encountered this flower I had no idea what it was. Then I learned it was called a May Apple. It grows wild on the property and while easy to control spreads quickly. The flowers are beautiful and it’s fun to pop open the fruit and suck the gelatinous material from the seeds on a hot summers day.
On the other hand wild blackberries, while welcome, have proved to be quit invasive. I’m trying to keep them on the outside of the chain link fence and on the hill. So far I haven’t been successful despite pulling out the young canes by the wheel barrow load.
Two weeks ago we got a new addition to the family. A young dog we found at the Animal Shelter. I don’t know who adopted who but he’s proven to be a good fit for our family and we love him dearly. He respects the garden and while he doesn’t chase the rabbits his presence seems to act as a deterrent. We call him Gabe. Short for Gabriel.
A few days ago I heard knocking on the living room window and when I turned saw a finch. It would go from one side of the window to the other and peck on the glass. After thinking to myself how really strange this is I learned that he’s pecking at his reflection in the glass. They are very territorial and it was nesting season. He saw his reflection as a rival and was protecting his territory.
The 4 inch pot of lemon balm planted in the bed off the patio about 3 years ago has spread nicely. I cut it back to about 6 inches harvesting the tops for tea. A tub filled with water made it easy to wash the leaves. After shaking off most of the water I brought them inside to dry on the rack in my office. I’m still thinking about that first cup of tea and how I’m going to store the dried leaves.
It’s been a rainy spring and everything is lush and green. The perennial bed is taking off and flower buds are beginning to open.
Plants in the garden are flourishing
And I’m a happy girl.
“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” Abram L. Urban
March is a time when my dreams for the garden start to take shape. There are so many new varieties of plants I wanted to try; new varieties of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, herbs and greens. In March my office is transformed into a nursery that slowly fills with my dreams for the garden. They start small and with time grow to fill every inch of space under the grow lights.
Dreams like seedlings need to be nurtured. With any luck if we nourish our dreams they will begin to grow and and with time become more than just dreams.
7 years ago the gardens of my dreams were a combination of tree stumps, mud, and 40 years of pine needles. Under thick layers of pine duff was NC red clay. We could have mined the clay for bricks or pottery. Digging when the soil was dry required a mattock. When wet it was a sticky, slippery mess.
But today, the last day of April 2017, you can see that what began with a dream, a vision of what could be, has become our reality and begun to blossom.
Dreams are important and with a lot of hard work and persistence they can come true.
Dreams need to be nourished, cultivated…
There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and are filled with doubt…but don’t let it stop you. If we continue to cultivate our dreams and aren’t afraid of hard work they can come true.
The yard you see in the image above has transformed into the one you see below.
And the seedlings that started with a dream in March can also find a home in the garden.
Now this rabbit and I have had many conversations. She lives under the spirea bushes in the backyard. We have a truce but then she also has her dreams.
“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”
Pope John XXIII
I hear stories about an ever expanding population
and the fear that there will not be enough food to feed them.
I hear stories of the wonder, the saving grace of GMO crops
and how we will not be able to feed the masses without them.
I live in an area surrounded by dairy and chicken farms; fields of GMO corn, canola, and soybeans.
yet I see hunger in my community.
In a land of plenty. In a land that lays claim to feeding the world
people go hungry every day.
You see the problem isn’t that there isn’t enough food,
but rather that it’s not accessible to those in need.
And the stories I hear… the stories being passed along are not about feeding the world
but rather stories of corporate greed, market share, and how to profit from the hunger… the desperation of others.
Corporations are making record profits
yet I see farmers who are struggling and afraid of losing their farms.
In a land of plenty I see people without enough to eat.
And I hear stories of hunger.