Posts Tagged Gardening
Writer’s block descended upon me early this morning. It is not so much writer’s block as having too many ideas for too many topics all at once and not being able to decide between them. Then there were several interruptions. It is one of those days when people assume that I can do as I please since I am self-employed. They are right. I can do as I please, and what pleases me is to be doing my work, right here, at this keyboard, to research topics and concoct articles, to read, to learn.
The interruptions today brought me to a pause, much like when we have placed all our skill and energy into preparing a special meal and reach a moment when all that remains is to wait for guests to arrive. We lose ourselves in the process until a change of pace makes us keenly aware of every detail again.
Perhaps everything we do is like that. Yes. Now that I think about it, every single action or process leads to a pause, many in fact, when we look at what we have accomplished so far and cannot help but give in to a few philosophical musings. This mind shift is what turns our daily activities into living poetry. It connects us to everything in a fresh new way. Some call this epiphany. It is at the source of our greatest moments of gratitude. It comes upon us through the senses, triggered by an object, a color, a smell. The poetry goes like this…
After installing a weed mat, kneeling by this year’s new garden plot - There is a place and time for weeds and a place and time for sustenance, just as there is a time for rambunctious humor and a time for serious, down to business living.
Looking back at the garden, after seeding the first rows – Now the wait. We do not want to wait, yet it is in the waiting, as much as in harvesting, that nourishment is found. Waiting grows our sense of awe. It makes it impossible for us to take anything for granted.
While cleaning the pressure canner and putting away the canning accessories and recipe book - There is much reassurance in knowing that a fresh store of wholesome food awaits. There is much reassurance in realizing that, in spite of our technological advancements, we persist in digging our own hands in the ground to give birth to our own nourishment. This, perhaps, is one of the surest signs of our immutable humanity.
As we disassemble the juicer or blender and take great, carefree gulps of the refreshing, living liquid - If only we could drink in each moment with such a sense of renewal. Each moment is renewal; it is only the observer who refuses, or fails, to know this. Maybe we should drink a fresh gulp of juice, or at least water, every time we lose faith in the possibility of renewal. Maybe that is all it takes to shift our thoughts and find hope again.
My writer’s block is gone at the moment. So I’ll pause while I’m ahead!
Of Mud - “I rose from marsh mud algae, equisetum, willows, sweet green, noisy birds and frogs.” – Lorine Niedecker
Of Abundance - “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” - Anthony Robbins
Of Sweetness - “The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.” – Matthew Arnold
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Mud season in Vermont. Each season brings its own challenge. Those who garden and tend various animals or a farm must keep a schedule and adapt, all at once, on the spur of the moment. There is no other alternative. There is always something to do: keeping a routine so the animals feel secure, fixing, starting over even. Perhaps we start over a little bit every day, even under the sun; sometimes a lot.
On a spring day, years ago, I walked out near a pond we had in the backyard and my foot sank deeply in the mud. The rain was pouring on a downright depressing day. And now this. The only way to retrieve my foot was to abandon my boot. But wait, there is more! When I returned home, in an attempt to remove mud from the base of my pants before changing them, I stepped in the shower to use the tap from the tub… but it was set to shower, so I drenched myself completely… and laughed and laughed!
As a Vermonter, I tend to forget that this season spreads far beyond the Green Mountains.
It’s always good to tour the “farmy,” with Miss C. This is what Cecilia, at The Kitchen’s Garden, calls her homestead. It is mud season where she lives.
“I squelched my way through fields with my arms out like wings trying to keep my balance,” she explains in a recent post she titled, The Mucky Murk or is it The Murky Muck. “That kind of mud sucks in your gumboot and keeps it while you lurch forward unaware…”
Sometimes, it is as we brave the elements yet one more time that we experience sudden moments of levity. Like the look on the sheep’s face in Cecilia’s picture.I think it is saying, “What?! Don’t laugh Miss C. This is not funny.” And miss C smirks on the other side of the camera, because she loves this muddy, wooly beast.
When levity sets in, even for only a few minutes, your entire perspective changes and even drenched fields that change the usual routine of the week seem like just a passing moment that is very much bearable and a part of life. [Go to The Kitchen's Garden]
Well, while we have our feet in the mud, we might as well discuss digging our hands in the soil.
“It seems that every year, more and more people are coming back to the art and joy of gardening. Not just because they love the feel of getting their hands in the soil – but because they ultimately want to feed their families better tasting and healthier food while saving money… you can maximize those gardening efforts into a virtual year-round pantry…” begins a recent article at Old World Garden Farms. It is titled, Growing A Garden For Canning – How To PLAN TO CAN and Save Big!
If this year will be your first foray into the delicious and simple art of canning, this very thorough article from seasoned gardeners will provide the perfect blueprint for success. If you simply think you want to refine your existing process, this is for you as well. We can always learn a new trick or perspective and what better way to learn than from each other?
The article is divided in four segments. The last segment begins with the words “Thinking outside of the box.” Precisely, and very well thought out too. [Explore]
We’ve walked around the farmy with Cecilia (in the mud no less) and talked about the many, many jars we can fill with an abundance of wholesomeness this summer. It is only fitting to pause for a sweet treat at this time. To this end, we stop by Bits & Breadcrumbs‘ kitchen for a Quick Loaf: Cranberry Apple Walnut Bread.
This, I believe, is a perfect way to bridge two seasons, enjoy a wholesome treat at the end of a busy day or create a special moment, which I am sure you have earned many times over.
Our days tend to be marked by routine; some more than others. Our routines include all the stops we make on the way home, the places where we get lunch, and those special sweets that only a particular shop carries. Returning to these flavors our days. It gives us a sense of freedom and it adds silence and sensation to our otherwise busy schedules.
Our favorite foods become part of a rhythm. When something changes, a little something is lost… unless we find another way; a new, delicious rhythm.
“For many, many years I used to run up to the local health food store and get one of their delicious muffins… the health food grocery closed their little deli section…” recalls the author. And this is the beginning of the inspiration for the treat she shares with us today. I’ll let you go make some too. Enjoy. [Go]
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Lately, I’ve been getting sidetracked browsing the internet for images of rooftop and balcony gardens. It must be spring. There is something about the angular architecture and business of the urban landscape and the flamboyant, free-spirited flow of the lush terrace garden that I find reassuring. It says something powerful and poetic about nature’s persistence.
While many leave the city to establish homesteads, farms and gardens in the country, many others enjoy the urban lifestyle and choose to find ways to incorporate nature, even sustainability, within the confines of apartment balconies and condo rooftops; proving, quite naturally, that this is not an all-or-nothing world at all.
Gardening is not just for the countryside or suburban backyard, nor is it limited in any way. We grow flowers in pots all the time, don’t we? All that is required are a few proper ingredients, tender care and dedication. This last condition turns out to be quite effortless, for the moment we begin a relationship with a garden, no matter how large or small, it is natural to feel a sense of devotion.
By proper ingredients I also mean proper equipment. A small space can yield an interesting crop. For those who are completely new to gardening, it makes sense to start with a proven system and well spelled-out instructions.
Take the UrBin Growing Kit, for example. It provides endless organic vegetables by facilitating growth through a mixture of the Square Foot Gardening method, all natural soil amendments, and a unique self-watering reservoir. This is good for the gardener with a hectic schedule who forgets to water the plants once in a while (ho! Gosh!), but it also ensures consistent and optimal moisture for your crop. This clever system includes seed trays, for those who wish to start from scratch, but seedlings from a trusted supplier can be used as well.
One of the great advantages of the container gardening method is that it diminishes the incidence of plant disease. Also, when the plants remain healthy, you can reuse the same soil mix for subsequent crops by top-dressing it with a bit of compost. This contributes to a very healthy environment for the plants since, over time, the soil mixture builds up beneficial microbes that contribute to highly efficient nutrient absorption.
With a well-designed growing kit, it is easy to get the children involved with gardening. You know how they love scientific exploration games they have to put together and that allow them to see results over time. Container gardening offers plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning and quality family time.
I love clever systems that use little space and lots of common sense, and that save money and contribute to a wholesome lifestyle on top of this. Simplicity is always in season, after all. I’ve even heard of people who move their UrBin Grower indoors in winter to grow different varieties of edible plants, such as herbs. I think they’re hooked!