Archives for posts with tag: gardening

As simple as a cup of coffee in the morning

something in me opens up

I am curious

a map unfolds

a world opens

atoms in my body

dance and sing

as two energies

move through each other

in a dance that I know has been eternal.

The room begins to throb

quietly

I feel the electrons spinning in my body

inducing a field around me.

It has been years now

and so much I have gone through

and it still feels the same.

Its earthy

but cosmic

it builds dimension

and leads to great longing

and desire.

I feel a field moving

rippling around me.

I know that this is what moves mountains

and awakens minds.

It all sounds so high and mighty.

I step over and slip open a book

and there is a description

of Buddha who had thousands

who awakened whilst he was here

on Gaia…

and I know

we all serve as this

in our way

a steady torsion field

of influence

of the serpent people

the dream makers

the tapestry weavers

the love makers

the magical brethren and sisteren

that waits with heaving breath

in hope and wish

of ushering in the new way….

Whilst coffee and tea are made…

I look into your eyes

which are the eyes of legion

everyone

for goddess dwells in everything

everywhere

-split the stone and she is there

she is everywhere….

a calm breeze

a rush of realization

of the sacred androgyne

that this makes of us

and explodes all notions

opening us up to the new

as skin after skin is shed….

as I feel you there

in the kitchen

as the water hasn’t even begun to boil

but the universe opens up

so simply and wildly.

I am reaching the goddess

reaching the goddess within

so as to heal the god

and make my world

a garden with no competing weeds

You react in the air around me

as I ride this wave

moment to moment

day to day

a great big silly silence

with nothing present

no one there

with a room full of something

entirely quiet

but screaming too…

the universe yearns this way

and bids us to

so we might create as it does

moment by micromoment

in scales measured in

millennia curled up within nanoseconds

as all time expands perfectly within its one great moment

alive in all other moments

and my inners seek the flow from one polarity to the other

to unlock my own secrets

that I am here to find

in the eternal garden of the soul….

This time of year brings with it a gradual descent into a new season; autumn.  Now for me, this has always been a sad time of year; everything is dying and going silent…asleep.  It was also when school started back up and for me, for many years of my younger life, I hated school and grew to associate the falling of leaves with having to go to that dreaded place called school.  But since being liberated from such places (even after getting advanced degrees—what was I thinking???), I have slowly warmed back to the season that is this time of year.  Finally.

As the flowers and fruits and veggies planted in spring die away, they leave their old bodies to be discarded into the compost heap, which is where they go.  But many also give up a great gift; seeds.  I hear a lot of complaining about Monstanto and the whole seed issue.  I say that the more we each value and save our own seeds, the less any Monsantos will be able to thrive.  I know that for Monsanto they are focused more on the commercial farmer, but this is something that I think is a cultural phenom; change it in one place and it tends to grow into other localities (like the heads on the farmers bodies!)  We will simply value the natural biological diversity of what Mother Nature has supplied us over millions of years of her own tinkering that anything so quickly whipped up in the labs of Monsanto would be considered the horrendous gamble with the planet that they really are.  So lesson learned?  Save your seeds!

Last year I bought six raspberry plants from my local nursery.  I got a variety known as Caroline.  I prepared the bed carefully and amply.  I added compost and made sure it was well tilled.  The plants have had an interesting first year.  They have not doubled, but quadrupled in size in number of plants from just last year.   I am thrilled!  However, I am also impatient….and counting my pennies, so instead of buying new root stock in the Spring, I will be doing something that no one seems to be talking much about; starting raspberry plants from SEED!

I don’t know anyone who has done this.  But I am going to do it.  I mean, things COME from seeds, right?  It makes sense that I could grow an incredible crop of raspberries.  If I manage to get 50% germination out of the seeds I have saved from my plants, it would mean that I would have enough plants to create a patch of raspberries that in two years would be producing enough raspberries that I would be able to can preserves for the winter.  There are VERY few things that I actually like canned.  Veggies I don’t care for being canned, but fruit I like.  Perhaps its the sugar content, right?  But think of it; hundreds of new raspberry plants, growing from little sprigs in what used to be the room where I did all my writing and that also gets all of the sun during the day.  It is like a greenhouse in there.  THAT will be where the new plants will go and it is also where I start all my new plants ahead of the planting season, usually in February.

Raspberries are great because they are so easy to cultivate.  It seems they are not picky about the soil at all and they like to spread.  I try to use only my compost that I make each year for my plants but I did start the bed with a dash of 10-10-10 for good measure.  I think based on how they have grown and spread, its been something that has paid dividends.

The process of growing raspberries from seed is tricky.  With a hard outer shell, the seed is designed, it would seem, to do best in the gut of a bird prior to being shat out.  It is the acidic treatment in the gut of the bird, it has been suggested, that helps speed the germination of the seed.  That might be an old wives tale, but it sure sounds like it could be right.  This is to say that such seeds take a while to germinate.  I am told they can take several months to do so.  During that time I must keep the beds moist but not TOO moist….otherwise the seeds will ROT.  Not a good thing, it seems, for such a tender little life. So be sure to use a starting medium which often is made up of sphagnum and some other potting soil ingredients to keep the seed properly wet but supported nutritionally for when it counts.

For those who are curious, raspberries are allowed to fall apart in a dish for a few days.  If you let them sit the juice will dry up and you will have a fairly dessicated seed remaining that can be washed some to strip it of the pithy fruit around it.  This seed is then placed in growing medium and kept damp for about three months in a dark room which is the time and conditions under which raspberry seeds are said to germinate.  Fingers crossed!  If this works, I will be up to my neck in raspberries and folks will have to come help me pick them.

The compost heap is now over grown with a fall planting of mustard greens, something that I fancy for a fall garden.  It is also one of the FEW things that can handle the winter weather.  They get covered so they will overwinter some!  As those tender shoots keep coming on during the warm then cold days that are ahead of us in the yo-yo that is Fall,   I will be planting hundreds of new little raspberries in small pots indoors and hoping for the best.  Thus far the two fig twigs are on their way to becoming honest to goodness fig tree bushes (our variety that grows best is a brown turkey), and I am dreaming of what other things I can add to the panoply.  The flower bed is now being razed, dead branches go everywhere as I fill up my wheelbarrow and head for the compost heap.  I have more seeds from those flowers than I think I have room for!  Anyone want some really great seeds for spring?

Fall is shaping up nicely.  Just in time to cut some firewood for the stove.  I might have not liked autumn in my youth, but I will forgive it that for the wood fires it brings into my life.  That alone is well worth the trip around the wheel once again.

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In the depth of Fall, a flower begins to bud and bloom. What could it be?

It is my sense that it is just as possible to know inner truth through reflecting upon nature than going to church or attending an ashram or spiritual meeting place. But to do it requires wonder.  And joy.  If you can approach it with this sense of newness as though the day has just dawned for you the first time even though you KNOW it has dawned countless times before, you have the opportunity to glimpse this incredible thing.  Through it, you can glimpse the masterwork of the Maker. In seeing this masterwork, you can get an idea as to the level of dedication and truly incredible detail that has gone into just such a production.  I awoke extra early today, at four in the morning for some mysterious reason, but it served to give me a nice jump on the day which also meant I was out and doing some garden work extra early, planting some seeds for a fall garden and preparing a bed that is perfect now for some new things to over-winter…..

I am finishing up some notes on this book I have been working on for the last four years now and I was reading through this one section early in my awakening experience where I wrote this piece that came out so fast….and it got me thinking about all of these issues, these ideas, thoughts, feelings all tied to ourselves, to our landscape, how we are connected to it and how we can live in harmony with it.  And when I say that, I mean an evolving real sense of harmony based on things that are real and tangible.  Its a great thought to WANT to be in harmony, but you aren’t in harmony unless you ARE.  You know?  Hunger in Mogidishu continues even though I wish there wasn’t hunger there.  For it to end something substantive has to be done about it that doesn’t make it worse and makes it possible for it not to happen again.  So what I am getting around to saying is, I think it would be great if we could develop technology more along the lines of green things…..chemistry that is entirely in harmony with its environment that doesn’t make things worse.  Is that possible?  Do things plants put off wind up degrading and turning into harmful substances in larger numbers when they wind up being carried down, say, a watershed into bays and lakes?

The new mystery flower buds up close

IMG_5216Nature has a lot to teach us about cooperation, about technology and how we can have a clean and verdant future by developing ways of living with nature that harmonize with it instead of possibly poisoning it. Imagine a world where solar panels are tree leaves and store energy like trees do….wait….that means that solar panels ARE leaves. Exactly.  Perhaps we need to consider how we can extract energy cheaply from the energy stored by living things without the creation of deadly chemicals in the process.  Or, perhaps we can create technology that merges with nature in some way where there are fewer conflicts, such as what GMO’s are known to do.  If you aren’t up on it, the issue with GMO’s is how the modified genetic material made by humans can wind up in other native species of plants through cross pollination or by other means.  We say for example that we have ways to keep these things out of the population, but there have been instances of genetically modified fish making their way into native populations and wiping out the native populations out because these newcomers take on weight faster and compete more aggresively for food, for example.  So I know I might be going far afield, here, but the thinking here is that nature itself has done an incredible job in getting things figured out.  We should be spending more time studying how nature did it and emulating it based on its millions of years scale rather than a CEO’s ten year tenure, or an engineers career in the GMO industry, for example.  Nature has had time to figure all these things out.  Its an off-the-shelf miracle we could learn a lot from if we knew how to.

I know by looking to nature that our lives could be very different were we to want them to be.  Instead of the old way where we create all kinds of compounds hostile to nature, we could put our inventiveness to ways to NOT harm nature while still growing the food we need to feed the humans on the planet.

What I am saying is that its really worth it to get out into nature.  Even during this time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere, when everything seems to be falling away and going to sleep, there is a great deal of life happening.

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Today, as I walked through my flower garden at the house I noticed that a flower I had planted but had not yet ever flowered, was now starting to flower in the presence of cooler weather!  In fact, this was a plant I had lost track of and could not figure out what it was exactly. It was BIG….and I wondered, why was it not blooming?  I had some plants that did not come up from their seed this year, but this one plant was a mystery.  It grew big and bushy but never put out a single flower all summer long!  But wait!  Not so fast!  Her come the blooms!  So just as I am getting ready for things to go bye-bye, something new comes along just to give me a delightful curve ball! All of this since my last post about my work in the garden preparing seeds for next years’ growing season.  The flower I am speaking of are the buds that are shown at the top of this page.  The other flowers are all flowers that are blooming as of today.

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I also found that my Thai Basil is looking truly incredible with its purple flowers.   I snipped a sprig and tasted it; sometimes I really love herbs when they are flowering.  It seems their flowers add something interesting to the flavor of the herb.  The Rosemary, for example, is suddenly flowering, and this was a new plant that I put in this spring and it has quite suddenly begun a growth spurt.  I put it nearest the steps so that I could smell its fragrance as I go out to snip a piece of it for cooking.  I like that my herbs are in with my flowers.  It makes me feel that much closer, more intimate with them.

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My Thai Basil in flower ~ Isn’t the flower so beautiful? Like an iris or snapdragon or….

 

Not very long ago a hummingbird discovered my flower patch.  It was a brilliant peacock green colored hummer.  I noted that it was making a habit of coming to the flowers and spent a lot of time going around to each one many times each day.  I noticed that it often came around lunch time, so I made a plan to spend a little time out by the flowers in early afternoon.  I was rewarded the first time I tried this.  A hummingbird came to the flowerbed within minutes of my walking outside.  I had been standing stock still for many minutes and the hummingbird came in perfect timing.  I was able to watch as the bird flew from flower to flower just a couple of feet from me.  Realize that the flowerbed I am talking about is right along the walkway in front of my house, so I was standing almost in the flower bed.  The hummingbird did a curious thing, though, and I think it was checking me out; it flew in front of me and looked at me and then it flew up and then flew to my side farthest from the flowers, which resulted in its flying from one side of me to the other by going over my head.  Its path, though, was within about a foot of my head as I could hear and feel it track in a very even path around me as it checked me out. I have gotten close to hummingbirds, but never like this.  It is events like this that make creating a flowerbed so worthwhile.

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There are ants on my plants!

What I like is how nature creates so much opportunity for life.  Ants come to check out the cigar plants (I forget the Latin names) as there is something that attracts them, and that the ants probably help with.  The Peonies are attended by many ants that take the nectar that come from the flowers and seem to assist with the bloom of these remarkable flowers. There are several bees found everyday at the flowers, and a number of butterflies and moths as well as spiders. All this life springing up, creating a teeming island of life.  it makes me wonder what will happen when I expand the gardens next Spring and include sweet smelling flowers of many different kinds.

raspberry sizedI go to the raspberry bushes and I note with a great deal of amusement that bumblebees LOVE raspberry blooms and even now my raspberries continue to bloom and bear. As they do, the bumbles seem to camp out, going over them over and over like some star-crossed lover might.  I know it may not be fair to place such human traits on a bee of all things, but to watch them you would think they are drunk with their affection for these berry blooms.  I wonder why raspberries of all things?  A rabbit has taken to liking to hide out in the growing bush of the raspberry patch and often shoots out like a cannon ball from a canon after I have plucked a few ripe berries from the bushes.

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This is a simple form of worship, but it is worship just the same.  I do worship this masterwork because I know to even mention what a sheave of grass represents is nothing short of an entire miracle or twenty miracles all working together in some amazing way.  And it is in such places I put my attention and miraculously I find peace, a strengthening of the flow of energy within me, a sense of health and happiness I often miss when bound up in other work. Being an artist, I love to make things, and perhaps I observe nature for hints on design and on the still deeper nature of….NATURE!   I can see how observing nature levels the self and enlivens the soul.  I smell a flower and it sends me to other worlds now.  I see something new crawling over the fence and I follow it back to its source, amazed at where its seed could have emerged.  I have stroked flowers and felt a jolt of energy that was so clear and so perfect that I have come to realize there is something in nature.  Actually IN nature for me to find that heals.  It means slowing down and observing, rolling around in the grass a little.

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Once, a very long time ago, I used to have dreams my first year in art school about Picasso.  Now, I want you to know I really do not like Picasso’s work.  In fact, there isn’t a single piece of his work that I really feel COMFORTABLE around.  Be that as it may, something in me chose to create him or I had some exchange with someone who came as Picasso. He came about three times and each time he had something to impart  about art.  The first one had him with his bottom up in the air and his head in the grass.  He had planted himself just outside my dorm room building in a small patch of grass.  I walked up to him and he saw me under the crook in his arm and turned to gesture for me to come close.  He said for me to get down to his level and look closely. He said “There are worlds in things….but you must first learn to see them….”  so we sat crouched over ourselves in this patch of grass and as I did so, my vision took in a piece of grass maybe six inches square.  As I did this I saw how I noticed ants and small mites of some sort along with a spider and a whole world of things growing down there.  Pablo watched me with those big eyes of his and said “Look closer….” and as I did I noticed that there were these very small mushrooms growing down beneath the level of the grass.  I watched and saw grains of sand and all kinds of things I had never seen before.  It was a world down there in a small inconsequential patch of grass!  As I watched, the mushrooms began to light up!  My head moved up and out of the grass as I had, no doubt, a stunned look on my face.  Picasso looked at me with eyebrows arched as the dream faded.  I think that nature is like this….a world of things that we often miss, but could learn so much from.

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Kale in my summer garden, ready to become my winter garden….

Gardening is incredibly therapeutic. I encourage you to give it a try since it increases your enjoyment of your space.  I am sure someone has a study that reveals the link between something remarkable and what we do when we garden.

Over the last few days I have been sprouting mustard seed in order to grow mustard in a fall garden.  I am told that cool weather improves greens so I am growing both kale and mustard to try this out. The mustard was taken from a large packet of seeds bought four years ago, seed that ought not to be fertile, and yet is showing a remarkable level of fertility for being so old and not fresh.  These were seed I bought the Spring before I moved from my home during a separation from my-then wife. It was a garden I never got to plant, and yet this seed has returned two years’ worth of growth from this packet of heirlooms.  A squash plant that was lovely that I had planted he year before skipped growing the three years that my ex was in residence at my home but then chose to sprout up in the yard whereupon it grew a nice fat Italian heirloom squash that makes great stuffed squash.  It was like some weird gardening miracle or something.  I sowed the sprouted seed today into my compost area, which is  a large planter I have taken over for the task of “growing” new soil of special projects (like a flower bed, or berry bushes, or my fig trees, etc.).

The truth is, its the life force that is in all of these things that fascinate me so much.  I wish I could give everyone the awareness that has settled in and made nests in my heart and soul….for this sense has liberated love in a way hard to explain so that it can be rightly understood.  It is wonder taken beyond what I used to feel until it becomes something like love struck fascination, amazement, wonder and awe…..and all of this because of something like GRASS or a flower petal!  These, oldest of all life on the planet, rooted still, seem to bear such hidden wonder to our too quickened ways….it is time for us to slow down a little and garden….

In The Garden1   My name means “keeper of the Park.”  As I grow older, I develop a deeper appreciation for nature with each passing year.  Awakening had a lot to do with it.  There were times in awakening that the living things helped me to have clearer energy.  It is hard to explain, but its as though you become this live wire with everything around you.  Suddenly you see or feel into another world of experience.  It can make you feel a little unsettled at first, but for me now, its an important and sacred part of the experience.  Touching nature from the inside out.  In The Garden2

 

 

Bud closup sized

Some months before my awakening I was feeling this flush of energy and wrote something called “The Yearning.” This thing spilled out of me so fast that when I looked at the clock on the computer, I could hardly believe my eyes.  Whatever this was, it really came out of me like a lightening bolt!  The piece was actually about awakening, even though I didn’t know it at the time.  It also wound up being so similar to passages within The Gospel of Thomas that it left me scratching my head in wonder…

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But in that piece, I was writing about how nature surely feels the flush of passion and desire, else, why go on?  Surely all of life here is enlivened by the pleasure principle, the passion that fills root and vein and all else here, keeping us bound to this great circle of life and re-creation. In the piece it was October and I was looking back on the change of the seasons.  Now, seven or eight years later, I am now doing the same.

 

I have been slowly but surely developing my properties with flowers and plants of all kinds.  At my Frilled Pink Closeupsizedstudio I have butterfly bushes and lillies as well as Mums and some herbs like oregano and sage.  At home I have grown a caucophany of flowers from succulents to lilies, wildflowers, tall flowers, shortflowers, bright and dark ones as well.  With the flowers coming to their end, I have taken to saving their seeds.  This is itself a meditative practice that gives me time to honor the beauty these plants gave and the island of life they created with hummingbirds, moths, butterflies, bees of all kinds, and other flying insects (along with a spider or two). There is something very fulfilling about seeing so much activity spring up out in the yard.

Seed Saving1

So it is this time of year that I have been collecting seeds.  I take them apart and take out their seeds, slowly winnowing the chaff to get down to the seed.  I have a broad range of saved seeds now on my table.  It looks like some kind of natural history exhibit!  IN the last few weeks my daughter has helped me gather seeds and I am very proud to say that I have enough seed to increase my plantings a hundred times over what they were this past season!  Its fabulous, really.  I can now plant seed in other places and create whole islands of new flower beds, which leads me into spring with a light step and a flutter in my heart.  I can hardly wait!  And when that time does come, what other flowers will I go and pick out at the nursery to add to the wild array of flowers now silent and still, existing for now as seeds?  Given what has been happening to genetic diversity and seed viability, I take it upon myself to save seed that are genetically safe, non GMO, and viable as organisms.

The raspberries have quadrupled and I am getting ready to replant them in an ever extending bed, and my two fig cuttings have begun to bush out.  Next year it might be plums, cherries, and…..what else….(suggestions are welcome!)….

 

Seed Saving 2

 

Over the last few weeks we took photos of the garden, my daughter and I.  Its nice to think about what took place there and how three red flower plants will not turn into a hundred as a single flower bud offers up as many seeds.
Every day upon Gaia is a wonderful gift.  Being able to watch things grow and to enjoy the swell of life that it creates is simply great.  Some of life’s greatest pleasures are the simplest.

Bumblebee zinnia sized

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