My husband’s grandpa, Lewie, had a heart attack and it is difficult to absorb. As much as I’d like to be Zen about death, I always panic and feel regret about whatever it is that I didn’t do to maximize my experience with that person. I don’t know how to not feel this way or if I am supposed to just feel this way. Either way, it’s hard.
Dolly and Lewie are gardeners. Every time we visit their home in central Montana, we leave with bellies full of grilled cheese sandwiches and edible goodies to take home. In the winter we get Special K candies (I promise to post this recipe). In the summer we get carrots pulled right out of the earth and Special K candies. Dolly grows the most amazing zinnias in all of Montana.
Gardeners are tough and adaptable. They work through the challenges of a late frost, aphids and blossom end rot. Gardeners readjust their methods and rotate their crops; they keep on keeping on. One season may yield scrawny radishes, but it can also be the tomato harvest of a lifetime.
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photos: my house August 2006; my house October 2003 (when we bought it)
The largest crop in the United States is the lawn. Seriously. According to Cascadia Food Not Lawns
, US lawns consume 270 billion gallons of water a week–enough to water 81 million acres of organic vegetables all summer long. So, what gives? Why grass?My dad loves his lawn. It is perfectly perfect and green and luxuriant and persuasive. When I ask him, “Why grass, dad?” He says, “Because I like the way it looks.” Hey, that is totally valid. Who wants to play croquet in clumps of blue fescue and rubber rabbitbrush? Here is what I am saying: Be realistic. Read the stats below (really read them) and then make a few small changes. Here are some ideas:
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My front yard, a low-water, anti-grass garden, is bursting. Also bursting is this high-energy, unable to run gal. I cleaned up all of the leaves I scattererd last fall and pruned all the dead back. Since I took the master gardening class with Missoula County extension officer Helen Atthowe
two years ago, I have listened to her brilliance and not made everything squeaky clean in the fall. Leaving all the foliage and blanketing the earth with leaves prevents weed seed germination and increases soil microbial activity. It mimics nature and nature does pretty well on its own.
Helen’s advice is true for all things: tidy, sterile environments aren’t interesting or healthy. A well seasoned, lightly tilled, slightly messy life is what I want.
However, in reading Martha Stewart’s Homemaking Handbook
, a gift from my mama, I am realizing that with my home it is also time to clean up all of the leaves I have scattered last fall and prune the dead back. Especially behind the fridge and under the bed.
I have spring fever. According to my Webster’s New World College Dictionary, spring fever is “the laziness or restlessness that many people feel during the first warm, sunny days of spring.” yup.
today’s insight: Don’t bite off more than you can chew or you’ll choke but always take a bite.photos: day lilies in front yard; my garden gate made out of two old window frames; Alice’s toes
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Tonight I planted seeds by headlamp. The experience was easy enough. I mean, I do have two exterior lights in my back yard (my husband is a recent electrician and I am sure that number will grow soon).
But I felt sort of wild sowing arugula by moonlight.I planted Botanical Interests Arugula Mediterranean Rocket Salad.
I don’t know if it is the whole equinox theory but I feel a bit rough and uncultivated the last few days. I have been staying up late and unable to focus on the things I am supposed to focus on (like work, cleaning my house, blah). I am rabid for movement. It is the bum ankle thing too I’m sure.
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According to scienceworld.wolfram.com and solar.physics.montana.edu: The Vernal Eqinox is when night and day are nearly the same length and sun crosses the celestial equator ( the projection of the Earth’s equator onto the sky) moving northward. On the Vernal Equinox the sun rises exactly in the east travels through the sky for 12 hours and sets exactly in the west. On the Equinox this is the motion of the sun through the sky for everyone on earth. Every place on earth experiences a 12-hour day twice a year on the Spring and Fall Equinox.
I think that is so cool and it happened yesterday. It was officially spring at exactly 6:07pm MST. Soon we will be sleeping with the bedroom window open, eating dinner from the garden at 9pm and swimming in the Clark Fork.
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