Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Weedy














When I asked for rain to help my garden grow and make it possible to take a break from toting hoses around, I didn't have this in mind, not exactly. I know I said, 'Never ever be afraid to work in the rain', but I have to draw some lines when it comes to thunder and lightning. There's been an intermittent rumbling of thunder for two days now, and all I've been able to do is rescue the last of my peonies from drowning. Part of a birch tree, that I thought was healthy, is now lying on the edge of the cabin roof. It's messed with the tin just a bit, but I really need to think it over, how I'm going to accomplish its removal. I know it will require another person just to keep an eye on me, to keep me from doing something stupid. You don't take your eyes off the tree and you better know where's its going. My grandfather learned that the hard way, at a lumber camp in Wisconsin way back around the turn of the last century.

In the meantime, my flower gardens, which have already been less attended to than is the accepted norm, are sprouting new... let's just call them plants. Once known as weeds, I have taken to seeing them in a new light. The gardens are now officially known as, "The Place of a Thousand Butterflies." I have never before (before the rain, anyway) seen so many butterflies. They're everywhere, of all colors and sizes. I'd rather have butterflies than a "weed-free" garden. Much rather. So, why is it that weeds, which almost without fail produce some type of flower, are seen as producing inferior flowers? How can there possibly be an inferior flower?  Is there something I'm missing?  Anyway, I'm learning to live with myself. If the occasional visitor looks askance at them, well, they can just get over it.

Out at the vegetable garden, not entirely weed-free either, but very presentable and healthy, the potential produce is coming on strong. Besides the potatoes, parsnips, and sugar-snap peas, which I mentioned in a post earlier this spring, I will have onions, radishes, carrots, beets, and kohlrabi. Also, cucumbers, zucchini, winter squash and cantaloupe. Can't wait for the cantaloupe. It's looking good, proverbial fingers are crossed.

I'm also happy to report that the neighbors, who have two really nice root cellars, have declared my basement will work just fine, not too moist and yet cool enough to keep things well into the fall and possibly the early winter. The root cellar out by the shed was used in the past when the basement was Otis's workshop in the winter, Otis being the man who created this place out of the woods, but no point in having things so far away now, especially when the snow flies. It is nice to know it's there, though. Anyway, I won't have enough this year requiring longer storage, but there's always next year. I would like to reach the point where I'm growing most of my own food.

I've decided not to raise chickens, not yet, anyway, as I get all the fresh eggs I want from the farm across the bridge. The difference between store bought and farm fresh is like night and day. I like mine sunny-side up. Which reminds me of my father, who liked to use diner lingo whenever we went to a cafe, especially at breakfast. He would order his "over easy and stepped on." When I was a very young girl, I never knew whether to be embarrassed or pleased. Now, that's an easy one.

It might be fun, though, to raise animals again, in a conscientious and loving way. A lot of work, but fun. Which reminds me: if you'd like some daily news about what's right in this world, I recommend you read this: practicingresurrection.wordpress.com. Bill and Cherie (she has also done wonderful work in Haiti), have White Flint Farm. They are two people who are truly making a difference.

BTW: I love the name Bill chose for his blog, which comes from a really great poem by Wendell Berry, "Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front." If you're not already familiar with it, you can read it here: teresaevangeline.blogspot.com/2011/03/songs-that-are-to-come.html




Paintings by Herman Herzog (1832 - 1932): "Country Cabin, Summer" and  "Making Hay While the Sun Shines."

49 comments:

  1. "Weeds are simply plants whose virtues have yet to be discovered" is the jist of a quote by Emerson. So embrace those puppies! I bet some are totally edible, too!

    Congrats on having a built-in root cellar as your basement. Have already been bemoaning the fact that our basement would require too much retrofitting to function as one.

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    1. God, I love Emerson. He got so many things right. I'm getting a wild edible food book for field reference. Teresa, the Forager. :)

      You can always dig a hole in the ground, put the veggies in and cover them with straw, then bury, not too deep.:) Digging holes is never fun and finding an old frig may be problematic, but, hey...you never know what will show up as an alternative!

      Thanks for the visit.

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    2. I guess I left out the part about laying the old frig, sans door, in the ground to hold the veggies. I know Otis did so here, but the veggies may not be accessible til spring! :)

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  2. Hello Teresa:
    Perhaps if the plants which could be thought of as weeds are referred to as 'wildflowers', then all will seem suddenly different and beautiful!! Whatever, we are sure that the butterflies and wildlife in general are more than happy with your gardening techniques.

    You must, of course, be very careful not to tackle problems such as tree surgery of any form on your own. It is really dangerous and just not worth the risk.

    There are so many tasks to be done when looking after such a place as yours that there really are not enough hours in the day at this height of the growing season. But, your vegetable growing sounds hugely successful and it is very hard to beat the taste of freshly harvested vegetables and fruits from the garden. Enjoy!!

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    1. Yes, I think, henceforth, all shall be known as wildflowers. After all, that is exactly what they are!

      The tree situation will require a more seasoned "assistant." I make a good foreman, er, woman.

      It appears I may have bit off more than one person can chew but I'm working it out, day by day, and looking forward to the fruits of my labor. Thank You!

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  3. I always enjoy your posts. Your words are so personal and honest that I feel like they are speaking to me through my screen. By the way, I love weeds and have tons of them throughout my yard and into my wildness areas. Weeds so welcome all kinds of butterflys and other critters. -- barbara

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. I'm still struggling with accepting thistles, mostly because I love to walk barefoot on the earth and a few seeds found their way into my yard and gardens. Despite their pretty purple flowers, I find that digging those out in certain areas has become necessary. Otherwise, it's just taking an adjustment in my thinking, and I'm so grateful for people who have already made the adjustment. Thank You!

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  4. Goodness! I just spent a long time visiting on the farm and meeting the pigs that think they're goats and the hens and chicks and viewing all the produce. They let the "weeds" grow in their gardens. I think I'd take their advice. ;)

    A lot of what people call weeds are what I call wildflowers. The prairie is full of them, they're beautiful, and the butterflies love them. I'm glad you are letting them grow!

    Have a super day. :)

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    1. Aren't those goats and pigs a hoot? I love those happy, sweet faces. Bill's post on the weeds left in their garden was a sound idea and Very encouraging to me. :)

      Hope you're seeing some sun, that means there's hope for me. :)

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  5. Bellissimi i dipinti e le tue parole sono riflessioni vere. Buona serata e se vuoi passare da me....sarò ad aspettarti

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    1. I'm glad you appreciate the Herzog paintings and thank you for the kind words about this post!

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  6. Well, I peeked over there at Bill's place and see I will need to spend more time inspecting it. What a wonderful adventure I've got ahead. Thank you, Teresa, and it's always good to visit YOU, too. :-)

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    1. Jan, I've fallen head over heels for their goats, the kids, especially. What adorable faces they have and they look very well-loved. They live among the pigs, all in perfect harmony. It's an inspiring place for me.

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  7. Dear Teresa, I tend to think that weeds are those plants that seem to become invasive somewhere and then people call them weeks. But somewhere else they are considered lovely flowers.

    Your plans for the garden and growing your own food are tempting to someone who grew up on a farm.

    Thanks for the link. I'll go there because I so admire committed people who keep on helping others as life goes on. I find myself so staid and stuck-in-the-mud. I need to do something about that. Something to earn my place here in the Universe of Oneness.

    Peace.

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    1. Well, it's going to be a lot of work, but worth it. I'm just not happy about local food sources. I bit into an apple the other day and I swear I cold taste the pesticides all the way through. Yuck. Not enough organic options this time of year.

      I need to reach out and help, too. No excuses anymore. You've done so much in your life to help others, it would just be a continuation of all your amazing and loving work.



      BTW: I'm so pleased with the Nuns on the Bus. Women with a good cause know how to make a real difference. Like you.

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    2. Dear Teresa, right now I'm following closely what is happening with the Vatican and US nuns. I'm so glad they are standing up for what they believe and for the work they have done for decades--two centuries actually--for others here in our country. The Vatican is going to regret ever issuing their mandate. Peace.

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    3. Right on, "Sister!" :)

      I get tingles of pure happiness at the thought of all they are accomplishing and are going to accomplish. They are the faces of real revolution, peaceful and just.

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  8. Sounds like you're on a wonderful adventure. Your land will not only provide you with food, healthy food, but adds beauty to your life. Your words have always been inspiring, but now there is hmmm..a settled sound to it. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It really is an adventure. I feel very blessed. You've been reading my stuff for quite some time now and I'm glad to hear that you detected a settled tone. I'm in a good place, in every way. Thanks, Lynn.

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  9. I like to use the birch as a border for a flower bed.You know I enjoy seeing any flower bed go back to the wild, but you need to keep adding to it.Getting rained on here tonight.

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    1. A flower bed going back to the wild has a nice ring to it. The rain has stopped, and the sun came out this evening, but possibly more thunderstorms overnight. Duluth sure got hit hard. One of my favorite old bridges at Jay Cooke State Park is gone, lost to the flood waters. Zoo animals drowned.... very sad. You know all about flooding, though. Hope all is well for you, Steve.

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  10. I'm feeling bad about all the animals that drowned at the Duluth Zoo. I'm getting really tired of the endless rains, but at least it's not killing anything! It's nice that you're co-existing with all the weeds that have taken a liking to your gardens!

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    1. Me, too, Janice. It's so sad. What a mess.

      Yes, I'm learning to see these things in a whole new light and I'm grateful. Culture and society put so many rules and regs out there, based on consumerism. It's nice to be free from them.

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  11. Teresa--Thanks for your kind words. Your blog has been inspiring me since long before you probably knew mine existed. I'm so glad you've enjoyed some of my ramblings. But I do often complain, fuss, moan and gripe on the blog from time to time too. I'm trying to get better about that.
    Sounds like you have a great garden underway. May it bless you with lots of healthy delicious meals.
    peace
    Bill

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    1. Bill, I don't see complaints, I always view your posts as valuable wake-up calls and that's a wonderful service to others.

      I'm learning a few things from reading your posts on gardening, not to mention how to really live with the land. Thank you so much.

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  12. My head is still in your second paragraph with "The place of a Thousand Butterflies." and weeds with inferior flowers. You aren't missing anything. No flower is "inferior", only the eye that sees the flower and calls it, with derision, a weed.
    Really think on owning animals. They're a lot of work. They get sick and they die. It's very hard... especially when you love them.

    Start with chickens. They are the easiest,in my opinion, to raise... and Oh, the fresh eggs. I thank my hens everyday.

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    1. I do have concerns about the animals. It might just be a lovely idea I have, because I know I would love them and I'm not wanting to deal with the possible loss of them. I think I'll keep buying my eggs from the neighbors and let that romantic idyll go for now. I had chickens years ago, but that was years ago.... Thanks for commenting, Connie.

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  13. I wish you better luck with your vegetable garden than I'm having with mine. Looks like a good crop of weeds though! The old story says that "vegetarian" is an old Indian word for "bad hunter". If that's true, then this year I will have to be a "Good hunter".

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    1. Well, I'm staying on top of things fairly well in the veggie garden and it's looking good, so far. You certainly have the right hunting grounds! Thanks, Montucky.

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  14. Grazie per la visita al mio blog...complimenti per la foto del tuo profilo...anch'io sono amante dei cani
    Ciao e se deciderai di inserirti tra i miei follower ne sarò lusingata

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    1. You're welcome, Simo, my concern is that I don't read Italian and I'm struggling a bit with translating, but I will consider it. Thank you for the offer.

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  15. From reading the comments I think I need to correct an misimpression I may have given in one of my posts. Rita says we let the weeds grow in our gardens. While it is true that we expect a garden to been weedy by the time the season ends and we are happy that our soil is healthy and unpoisoned, so that weeds can grow in it, we spend LOTS of time and energy battling weeds during the season to protect the health of the garden plants. I don't think it's possible to garden without weeding. But we don't worry about trying to remove every single weed and as you and others point out, what we call "weeds" are often wildflowers which attract beneficial insects and pollinators. They're often beautiful too. And once a spent garden is overrun with weeds the weeds can be plowed back into the soil as beneficial biomass.
    Just a little caveat in case any of your readers wondered how we could grow food without weeding.
    peace
    Bill

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    1. I should have clarified it myself in my own comments, as I could tell that you only let the weeds grow once the broccoli had bolted, and no longer needed the care that weeding provides. Thank you, though, for coming back and clarifying.

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  16. Teresa, I am so glad to hear that you have a lot of butterflies. A broken leg is keeping me away from gardening, so I have to hope that nice things will just happen naturally.

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    1. Nancy, I'm sorry that your leg turned out to be broken. I do hope it heals quickly and that your garden provides you with wonderful surprises.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Best thoughts to you!

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  17. We have the butterflies, too. Strange, since there really isn't a lot blooming in the garden yet.

    Enjoy the flowers, and the butterflies, and ignore the weeds. It sounds like you have some interesting plans to pursue.

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    1. Well, I have asked myself, Why? I'm hoping the answer is a simple cycle in nature and not an exodus from "elsewhere." They are so fragile, but, I would guess, aware.

      I have a good start on the plan and will follow it through to, hopefully, all my own food, grown right here.

      Thanks so much, Sandy.

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  18. Far too much rain for my taste recently -- and too much wind, hail, and lightning as well!

    I don't know if I've said this before, but I just love the look of your place, and I love knowing that you're out there...

    Pearl

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  19. Ah, Pearl, Thank ye. And you make me laugh every day. It's a good exchange. "Roll Out the Barrel..."

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  20. I read you earlier today, Teresa, was interrupted (I'm sure I had something pithy to say) and just now found some time to comment on this peaceful walk through your land.

    I let a few weeds grow on purpose just to see what they were. Thistle, I find, is rather pretty up close. It has already bloomed on the waysides, which has me worried. It doesn't usually bloom here until late summer, just in time for the birds to store up seeds. Oddly, we haven't any butterflies yet here, so, I envy you your butterflies, Teresa.

    Lovely paintings.

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    1. Thanks, Penny. I just received a poem about thistles in an email which seems to be a nice answer to my concerns, although the timing of them in your area is odd. I wonder about the butterflies....

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  21. Let A Thousand Butterflies Bloom!

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  22. Hi Teresa, oh you make your garden sound like just my kind of place! How totally wonderful to be surrounded with hundred of butterflies! I always think of them as being visitors from the ether, how could they not be when they are such vibrant colours?
    Sounds like another story involving your grandfather and a tree? Thank goodness you weren't damaged in the tree falling or the lightening storm.

    Hugs Jane

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    1. I recently saw an image of a butterfly up very close and was almost astonished at how it looks so very other worldly. What gifts they are.

      My paternal grandfather lost a leg in a logging accident which affected the rest of his life. I have a feeling he's found the peace that eluded him here. :)

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  23. Sounds like the natural invaders into your flower gardens have produced some very cool surprises! In our part of the world we are on a cycle of 10 days of too much rain, 10 days of too dry. We've just replanted some of our vegetable garden that, hopefully, will take advantage of the longer summers we've been getting!

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    1. That sounds about right. It would be nice to get it on a more regular schedule, as needed would be good. :)

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