Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Garden Thoughts While on the Road

I traveled last weekend to Portland OR to call for a dance festival there, The Portland Raindance Weekend. It was fun, a really fabulous time, but kept me from the garden at a time of year that I hate to miss a minute. When I am away, I carry my garden journal along, a sort of portable garden, and I write of growing things. It helps pass the time... and chronicle thoughts and ideas that crop up as I wait for airplanes!
Yesterday, I left Portland on time homeward bound, but got waylaid at my next stop.. Dallas/Ft Worth. Here is something I wrote while waiting 9 hours to get on a plane to complete my trip...
Stuck in Texas and longing to be in my little piece of North Carolina, longing to see my garden, to touch the earth of home, to drink in the changes that are surely waiting for me. To revel in the magic of growth and the accomplishment of my plot while my back is turned..
I know... it has only been since Friday that I was there among the spirits of my ground and today is just Monday.. only a few days, but away I have been, though never far, for in my mind I am ever diggin' in the dirt. Away but ever connected.
I have imagined my homecoming, rushing into the kitchen-first stop, hugging my family, my loves, then a trip out to the front garden to see what those plants have been up to while I have been gone.. I'll be in by 6:30 tonight, still plenty of light, the perfect prelude to dinner, a walk in the waiting garden.....

But the weather had other plans for me, hours now sitting, walking, waiting in the airport, plastic, impersonal, I am alone in a sea of humanity stopped by the weather and eating food that smells more like a chemical copy of food than the real thing. I am so grateful for the care package of food that my hosts sent me off with this morning as I am not forced to eat airport food to survive.
Now I will not get in until well past midnight.... We have just celebrated the new moon, there will not be much light.. so I imagine myself, flashlight in hand creeping out to the dew-damp, midnight garden to check in with nature, to touch the ground after this long, long day of waiting... will I dare, right now, waiting until morning seems an impossible task.......

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day

Thinking about Earth Day and knowing that EVERY DAY is Earth Day... according to my very wise nearly 8 year old!, I thought that it would be good to make a list of what we do everyday to Celebrate and care for our earth... it's the only one we really have!

So here is my list in no particular order of importance:
~Growing a large percentage of our own food.
~Planting primarily heirloom and open pollinated seeds.
~Choosing Local Food first.
~Choosing organically grown products.
~Eating meat that is humanely raised, grass-fed, free-range, etc.
~Avoiding Bovine Growth Hormone, Antibiotics and Genetically Modified Foods.
~Choosing not to eat foods that contain high fructose corn syrup.
~Shopping at the Farmers Market.
~Focusing on Local products and services whenever possible.
~Using the Better World Shopper Guide to choose products and stores.
~Turning our yard into a sanctuary for birds and bees and other wildlife who appreciate our organic ways.
~Composting our kitchen, office and yard waste.
~Teaching our daughter fabulous ways to take care of the planet.
~Sending our daughter to an amazing public charter school, that focuses on Environmental Education and Green Living.
~Harvesting rainwater for use in the garden.
~Using mulch to minimize water usage.
~Reclaiming found objects and giving them new functions.
~Reducing the amount of things that we NEED to buy.
~Making as many meals as possible at home and from scratch.
~Repairing things that break instead of replacing.
~Finding new uses for throwaways.
~Recycling things that we can not compost, reuse, repair or reassign.
~Freecycling. Both to get stuff and get rid of stuff.
~Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
~Filter our own tap water and do not buy bottled water.
~Minimize the use of credit cards.
~Sharing rides and minimizing car trips.
~Always looking for ways to lessen our Carbon Footprint.

I am sure there are more things.. but for now.. this is what comes to mind.

All of this is not only good for the planet but really good for the pocketbook and serves to bring our family and our neighbors and community closer together. Working for the greater good!

Make everyday EARTH DAY!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Busy times in the garden

What a bountifully busy time of the year. There don't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. I feel like I am choreographing a complicated ballet....getting seeds started ahead of planting time, prepping the garden beds, direct sowing, weeding, rearranging plants from previous plantings, re-designing certain areas of the established garden, creating new beds and doing away with more lawn! There is SO much happening... and even with my best of intentions to keep up with blogging about all of this, it seems to be the blogging that falls by the wayside. Can't eat the blog... spend time on the food.

This is the first garden year.. (year number 4) that I have been working without a bunch of help from friends and co-conspirators.. As much as I liked having the help and company, I am certainly enjoying the solitude that I find out there by myself. My daughter, Rebecca, now nearly 8, helps out when she gets a mind to and my fiancée, David, helps when I need him... but mostly it is me out there keeping up with the ballet which is Spring planting time. I am a busy farmer!

This year I have added a new batch of Asparagus, so I now have 3 plantings of Asparagus. We have been getting a few spears here and there.. generally not enough to have a big asparagus feed.. but rather tastes of asparagus in other things.. YUM! Last night, however, we had asparagus sautéed with garlic and mushrooms as a side dish.. the closest we've come to getting to really eat asparagus.. wow... what a treat! I am looking forward to MORE!

I have also added Jerusalem Artichokes this year.. this is a first for my garden but my parents grew them when I was growing up and I remember really enjoying them. They have a new bed outside the garden fence.

I rearranged the herb bed on Saturday. It was time to give the sage plants more space and to break up the chives. Everything got a little cultivation and mulch. Then Sunday was a day of light rain. What perfect timing. Everything looks fabulous!

There is lots of salad greens for fresh salads and kale that wintered over and is now producing well. Spinach that made it through the winter and snow peas are up and coming soon. Arugula is doing well.. but now that it is warming up.. it is bolting.. but I keep cutting it back to prolong the going to seed process.

Life is good, Full and bountiful and BUSY!