Tag Archives: discovery

Experimental Gardening

Vacation and preparation for vacation consumed my attention, as did the pre and post work weeks.  Arrival at home was a welcome scene as our cat bounded from lap to lap enjoying the sorely missed human contact.

Then came reality – jungle style.  Our lawn and gardens had thrived beyond our imagination during the eight days that we were absent.

Today, finally, I was able to conquer the gardens, spending time placing boundaries and limits on my crop of weeds and tending carefully to the new starts of volunteer beans, tomatoes and flowers.
coreopsis pair

Established coreopsis has quadrupled with seeds scattered during the fall.horsemint color

Horsemint, a new introduction, has thrived in the multiple locations it has been placed.sweet clover highlight

One sweet clover plant was allowed to flourish and it has attained a height of over 6 ft and a spread of at least 4 ft.
wood ear fungus

Wood ear mushrooms have staked a claim on the rotting log borders in the garden proper.baby grapesThe grape vines have set fruit abundantly, already leaving me guessing at the harvest and sharing season.
narrow leaf plantain flowers

Narrow leaf plantain has established at the garden boundary, allowing it to flower and set seed.
wild mustardWild mustard, overseeded from the fall, has established in the pollinator garden.

Overall, once the allowed weeds were culled back to an acceptable state, and the volunteer flowers were forced into their proper boundaries, the garden looked quite healthy and tidy – as tidy as a mish-mash of weeds, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables might look.

I’m claiming success, although the season is quite early.  There are not large productions of any one thing (except grapes), but just enough of this and that to provide for our household.

Better yet, it seems to be sufficient for the large variety of natural critters that have taken up residence.

Buckets Are Too Limiting

Dust in the wind, worm food – either way, my personal take on death is that I will know no more.  It will be the end of me, the last breath, the circle of life.  Last call…

It’s a heavy thought – to think that nothing follows, that there is just an end – but it suits me, suits my practical nature.

One of my sons once posted a thought, which I’ll paraphrase:  if a person is only good because they’re focused on divine reward, then that person is a piece of shit.  I don’t know if these were his own words, and I don’t know that he won a lot of praise or ‘likes’ for that.  But if you stop and think about it, it makes sense.

If only rules, or rules hedged about with some eternal reward system are keeping you from bouncing out of control and into a psychotic rage, or killing frenzy, then you’re simply a caged rabid animal.  Where is the realness, the human connection, the compassion?

If those pieces are missing, then you really are a piece of shit.  Like it or not, calloused though it may be, it’s the simple truth.

There are moments when I think people see me in similar light.  Cold.  Unreachable.  Distant.  Tightly strung.

The truth is that I feel so deeply, watch ever so intently and capture essences and nuances of meaning and feeling that often escape others.  It’s painful, it’s draining, and it makes me put on the tough skin of protection to keep it from shredding me into millions of little pieces.  Dust.  Pieces of dust that would so easily blow away, carried off to unknown places and spaces, away from me.

Another son stated when announcing a pregnancy that he and his wife were ‘growing a human’.

How aptly said.

A combination of their parts, their pieces, that attach little parts and pieces of the generations preceding them – a tiny piece of me – grew inside the womb.  Destined to be an infant, this little nugget emerged last November, a wonderful wriggling, wrinkled version of itself, a new growth on the family tree.

There are few people who fit ever so perfectly into my comfort zone.  My introverted self, my regulated and logical nature requires that I have plenty of space to call my own, and plenty of time to fill that space.  My sons and their spouses are included in those few (hubby’s a given, a keeper, the magnet holding me in my space) and it’s always such an easy-going and comfortable time when they come to visit.

But during a recent visit, there was this edge to me, this pressure behind my eyes, this feeling of tears that could burst forth at any given moment – a strange thing when I was so relaxed and so enjoying the company.

It took words penned by my dear friend for me to realize that it was pure joy ebbing and bubbling beneath my surface.  I was so powerfully moved by this new event, this new growth that it didn’t have a proper slot to fit into my logic, nothing prior to name this, to capture and label this emotion.

pail and leaves

My bucket flows over.

My list is now such a pittance, such a distraction from the wonder of seeing what comes next, what this fabulous little seed of a human brought with her emergence…

Bucket lists are too limiting.  What I want to see before I die, I cannot even begin to fathom.

But the end has suddenly changed course, because not only will parts of me continue through my son after I die, now there will be parts of me to last another generation.  That, my friends, that’s what’s real.

Sober and Scribbled Pictures

I can’t really describe this funk that settled upon me since leaving the hospital.

Deflated.  Perhaps.

I relayed to My Love that I’d painted this perfect little picture of the moments I’d share with the new family and how those would feel.  But the reality is that reality happens.

Boom.

Pow.

Scribble, scribble.

Other people are living in the picture, and other needs and feelings and goings on are happening.

My picture got scribbled upon.  Oh poor, poor, pitiful me.

Yeah.  It’s like that.  I’m processing it, preparing to put the hurt aside, but I’m allowing the feelings to marinate just a bit first.  I’ll not share them, you see.  So before I tightly contain and seal them up, I need to feel them – that way they won’t fester and become some ugly wound.

We’re the family members who reside farthest, so I had it in my mind that we’d have a good portion of touch time before we parted.  But those who live close angled in for their firsts at the same time and mommy and daddy got a bit overwhelmed.  Time for everyone to go.

But those who live close will be able to resume quickly, where we’ll need to parcel out time and funds from our schedules and pocketbooks to make another run.

No blame there.  It just is what it is.  Reality.

Not what I’d had in mind, silly me.

So I’m oozing emotions today.

On the bright side of those funny little emotes, I saw the man who is my son stand tall and proud this past week.  I saw his capable hands change a diaper, saw his jaw set firm with concern for his wife’s well-being, and saw his compassion flesh out as a bright shining thing.  I saw his impatience as well, the niggling little allowance of we intruders.  He’s fully entered his own now, and that – that there – that makes this mom proud.

Painful as it may be.

 

Multi-Purpose Gardening – Experimental Methods

As I had hoped, the garden has attracted a plethora of insect life.  Good, bad and ugly have all made their appearance, and while a balance is not yet established, I hope to see it forming next year.

My focus has been on reproduction and on beneficial plants.  Beneficial used in dual form, both as companion plantings and as beneficial insect drawing plants.

What I’ve discovered by observation is that the pesky over population of flea beetles are ever so happily munching my assertively wild scattered false nettle weeds.

To my delight, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and the Black Swallowtail have taken up residence here and I’ve watched four separate batches of caterpillars munch their way through my dill, parsley and carrots – only to morph into their beautiful adult form and stock nectar from the Mexican Torch Sunflowers and Giant Zinnias before they take flight.

caterpillar drops

The caterpillars are zealous in their feeding habits, but leave enough of the plant for a full and speedy regrowth – a self-generating cycle of plant and food.

DSC_0292

swallowtail

New insects have shown in force:  grasshoppers, followed by soldier beetles (whose larvae feeds on caterpillar larvae); squash bugs, followed by the feather footed fly, which lays parasitic eggs on squash bugs.  Lace wings, lady bugs, katydids, parasitic wasps, syrphid flies, blue winged wasps, robber flies, damsel flies, dragon flies, spiders, beetles of all sorts and bees of all sorts all visit regularly.  It’s a happily buzzing space when the sun is shining!

The health of the garden was evidenced by the sad but stalwart four corn stalks that survived germination.  Three of the four stalks cross pollinated, to produce five ears of corn.  Our pollinators are rock stars, and they are abundant!

My next observation will be next spring – to see what grows of itself.  I am allowing ( and helping) seed for every herb and vegetable to scatter in the garden.  I’ll lightly mulch for the winter, then do a one inch deep raking of the soil in early spring.  I’m interested to see how many items survive the cold, to grow hardy starts next year.

 

Cultural Days: Bittersweet Pages

Today marks the cultural page turn – from 48 to 49… meaning that I’ll begin telling myself that I’m 50 now.

It’s a bittersweet change, a journey-marking and emotion-stirring sort of transition.

I love who I’ve become.  It’s been a long hard journey, but I feel it’s come full circle now – I found the girl I lost a long, long time ago.

A woman now, but with a girlish joy, a girlish energy, a girlish view of life – with a firm foundation of reality and knowledge.

Oh, I don’t know it all – hell no I don’t!

But what I do know gives me courage.

It gives me strength and fortitude.

And I can now look in the mirror and say “I love you, you beautiful bad-ass you!”

That took a long time, and I just realized today that it’s real.

Sadly, I’m now the number my grandmother reached, never to count another.

Did she ever reach a satisfaction point?

Was she ever able to look at the mirror and love those eyes looking back?

I’m only two years from the number my mother last counted.

I don’t know that she had the satisfaction of self-acceptance either.

This anchors me, holds me firmly on my feet.

I think of their end – to feel as young as I feel, yet to have lived as much as I have lived now.  To realize how precious life is – I mean, we finally really get that at this age!  Then to be done?

Finished.

No knowledge, no history to follow.

Missed opportunities, missed grand-kids, missed great grand-kids…

That rocks my world a bit.  It makes their absence seem off-balance, skewed and unreal.

I know that I’m 90% likely to exceed this year by 20 or 40 (yes, I’ll take the positive view) years.  I’m thankful for what I have and what possibilities exist…

And I’m so happy with where I am, where we are, my spouse and I – where our kids are, and what our lives are about.

More importantly, I’m so thankful to Almighty that I’ve been allowed the opportunity to see today.  We really never truly know if we’ll see tomorrow…

Sigh.

There you have it – it’s bittersweet…

But there’s more — I’ll share the “cherry on top” moment for the day:

Moving slowly this morning, just a little worn from four hours of road time yesterday, topped by a 5K mud dash for a fundraiser, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I’d accomplished a physical feat that I had been unsure of, and I had met new people and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

lozilu profile

I took my sweet time, finally taking time to run through the edits and uploads for my niece’s bridal shower pictures.  Much later than my usual time, I was ready to eat breakfast and get outside to monitor the poor, neglected garden.

I was in such a hurry to get outside, I decided to take my yogurt/granola out with me and eat it as I walked through the garden.

There I was, granola bowl in hand, rounding the corner of the garage, noticing that there was a strange chair peeking out from behind the camper.

As I continued my approach, the accompanying bistro style table with colorful flower mosaic tile and second chair came into view!

I have to admit, the smile on my face was the biggest I’ve had, and the tears that streamed down my face were pure joy.

I slowly set my bowl down and admired his choice, feeling the sudden rush of contentment that comes from someone just knowing me so well.

Yes, I feel pretty good, pretty grounded about the number fifty.