Category Archives: reminders from the natural world

Photo-string from Nook & Cranny, Fall seeding, cleaning green garlic, & gratuitous kitty photo.

  
It’s been warm.

& I’ve either been slacking on the photos or more focused on the work – depending how one looks at it.

  
This was from last Sunday’s harvest.

  
I swing between being present with what’s in front of my eyes & swirling around with what’s behind my eyes

Looking up & out at the sky, feeling into my body & breathing helps return my awareness to what’s in front of my eyes.

  
Opening the gaze from focusing on seeding & internal thinkings.

The habit of being in story (behind the eyes) is SO strong. SO ingrained.

  
I keep hoping I’ll “get it”, that is, be present all of the time, no longer in story.

But then I laugh at myself, remembering that it’s a practice.

Thank you, Sky.

  
From earlier in the week…

  
Bob, ever scanning the beds & overseeing the great ship called Nook & Cranny.

  
First eggplant came in!

  
Fall seeding well underway…

Yesterday was similar, minus Broccoli, & with the addition of Sorrel and Watercress.

  
The trays, once seeded & watered-in, are kept in stacks on the cool barn floor & need to have an eye kept on them for the first emerging seedlings

Here’s spinach just popping up

  
Then out it goes into the Big World behind the greenhouse & seedling tunnel

Along with beets, basil, & lettuce.

  
Basically anything that is not a Brassica (like Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, & Cauliflower) which would be landed upon by the lovely cabbage moth, then rapidly munched down to misery by the cute-as-a-button larvae.

  
Garlic is coming in from the fields, too.

(That sounds like it just up & walks its way to the barn…)

  
It’s still “green garlic” at this point – which is before the stem has fully dried down.

People either hang or stack in it such a way that it allows for good air flow for the stalks to fully dry.

Garlic keeps better this way.

  
This is not my ship, & I’m not out in the field harvesting it, but for the record there’s less cleaning later if this soil had been brushed off in the field.

But, it’s unavoidable if it happens to be a rainy, muddy-muck day when the garlic is harvested.

  
Either way, soil gets brushed off with an opened palm or a brush of some sort.

  
Then clipping the roots

  
Peel the outer, dirt-stained layer/s of skin

  
All purty & ready for market.

I was trained to clean garlic this way at Sara’s farm, where I interned in 2006.

Next Sunday is the Garlic Pull at her farm, Earthly Mirth. I’ll be sure to get some photos that day to share.

A half-acre of garlic!

  
Finally, a gratuitous photo of my favorite Shoofins, Sophie & Izzy.

(Photo by Jenny – thank you!)


Knowing, not knowing, & sensing things.

  
 I have no idea of the endless number of things that I don’t know.

  
Like the number of stars in the country sky on a clear moonless night…

Or the number of waves in the ocean…

That sort of uncountable number.

Unfathomable.

Immeasurable.

  
And

There are some things I’m coming to know.

  
For example, It’s impossible to anticipate all outcomes.

  
And, I tend to forget what I learn.

  
And, I need reminders.

  
That the practice of being patient, especially with myself, is a worthy effort.

  
(Thanks for the photo, Jenny-la.)

  
& Knowing my mind-eddies or pitfalls is helpful, so as not to become discouraged & give-up when they arise.

  
That every choice has a consequence. Sometimes it’s feel-good-ish, sometimes it’s ego-scraping. Either way is an opportunity for benefit.

  
& That a flower, with the help from a honeybee, warmth from the sun, & rain to nourish the soil, can eventually become a pea is a Miraculous Thing.

  
Of course, there are other things

But these are the things on my mind…

As I sense a shift in my life

  
Maybe a shift/choice, that’s been brewing for a long while.

  
It’s time for an effort to be made to head back to school.

  
A big step for me, as it will require much effort as I challenge a lot of old beliefs I’ve had about my level of intelligence, & scholastic abilities.

  
But I sense it to be the best next step in my life, & find energy coming into me when I focus there.

 I don’t know how it will go

  
As I move towards getting a degree in mental health counseling, with a focus on grief & end-of-life issues.

 There are many steps yet to take in the application process.

  
But I’m game to journey that proverbial “thousand miles” & begin.

  
More to come.

  


Harvest day at Nook & Cranny Farm.

yesterday was harvest day for the CSA pickup

  
It was hot, but thankfully the sun was sometimes obscured by a thin layer of clouds

Also, there was a gentle breeze

  
The building up of a box

  
I thought I’d be transplanting the last of the Cauliflower & Broccoli, (& documenting the box as vegetables were added to it)

but a few workers are enrolled in the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine

They are away for about a month practicing their herbal first-aid skills & learning more about plants & harvesting (& probably a lot of other things)

So I got to head out to the field & harvest 61 bunches of Basil

  
(I know, these are Snap Peas, not Basil… But I didn’t take any pictures of the Basil)

I tend towards not-doing-great-in-the-heat, so I just focused on harvest & drinking water

  
The bounty of July 12th…

  
There’s some Basil… blocking the view of a banana-box-full of the greens & beans & all of the goodness listed on the chalkboard…

Then I set out to transplant the Brassicas

  
Do you know that (marvelous) children’s book – The Very Hungry Caterpillar…?

That shit is for REAL.

Do you see the munched out parts on the leaves & stems?

Some leaves are completely GONE.

  
“Everybody’s hungry”

– a phrase which me and my friend & farming mentor would say when we’d find plants munched down…

*sigh*

No point in getting grumpy about it.

If the plant still had it’s growing tip, It would be potted-up. If not…, to the compost pile.

  
Finally, I found one of the very hungry caterpillars.

Or, Imported Cabbageworms.

They’re really cute.

The adults are white butterflies that are beautiful, & perhaps tasty bird food?

  
I found 6 others in the tray of Broccoli.

They were fed to the laying hens.

“Everybody’s hungry”


Lumaca.


Reflecting a bit about My Elder/s.

I remember the first day I worked for my Elders

  
– though I didn’t call them that then.

It was November 2009

  
And I remember feeling nervous.

  
Nervous that they wouldn’t like the lunch I had made…

Nervous that we wouldn’t find things to talk about…

  
Nervous that I wouldn’t be smart enough to hold a conversation with them…

I had met them in the Spring of 2008 while working on a landscape gardening crew – and we tended their beautiful perennial garden.

  
It’s funny to reflect on that nervousness now, because over time… week after week after week, their lives became a huge part of my life.

  
There was a kind of braiding together

Nervousness gave way to a sense of ease

They became my anchor.

  
Through changing homes, relationships, and a variety of other part-time jobs… They were my one steadiness.

  
I came to love them & their dog

They came to know me & my quirks

Their home became familiar territory

  
And as I look through the rooms

I’m reminded of them, of conversations, the many meals, hugs, mannerisms & habits I had the honor to witness & be a part of for the past almost 6 years.

   
 “Would you like some black pepper?” I asked, lifting the pepper grinder

& was told early-on “fresh ground black pepper”

And so, at lunch, went the question: would you like some FRESH GROUND black pepper?

Nearly always, the reply was YES

  

Markers of time, reminders are everywhere 

His chair where he sat

Her chair where she sat

The clock with large numbers, easier to read, marks the time after his surgery

  
A stuffed toy left on the floor, a moose chew toy belonging to Bentley, the ancient puppy

Pinching salt in a dish

The ubiquitous box of Kleenex 

  
Wedding invitations from a grandchild

A pile of letters from another grandchild

Well-worn sweatshirts (which I feel compelled to wear, though I stop myself…) 

  
There are numerous photos, the smell of cigars & cinnamon, and long-lived plants (a few which have stories told about them) like this Hoya now after 19 years, in bloom…

  
For this past week, my elder was home, surrounded by family, lovingly tended to, & there was only breathing…

  
And though I have no sense of what it was like for him during that time 

(He stopped speaking at that point)

It was an honor to simply be with him 

  
A sacred time

  A slow unbraiding

Even now, sitting here, pausing now & again to look around & really take in the surroundings, a swirl from past moments floods my mind

& then coming present, that sense of honor… What an honor it is to have gotten to be in these dear people’s lives over time

  
We got to really know each other.

“We’re such lucky, lucky people” she would say.

  
There will likely be other posts reflecting on them, & my time working for them…

It’s all kinda fresh, still.


Web of sadness, Anchor’s away, & the unfolding of things.

i try to respect the privacy of people.

Even my own – but it’s a strange line, especially when there’s this mix of shyness coupled with a curious desire to simple say what’s so

Check out the awesome socks!

Hand knit by my Elder’s eldest daughter.  
My Elder, my Anchor is away

He’s been away at times – and his body is wrestling with brain cancer.

A brilliant man, an honored Physicist.

He gave me his blessings to write about it on the blog

But I haven’t, really.

I feel sensitive to how it will land, what I’ll likely forget to say, or what I’ll write & how that will land

  
Here’s his ancient puppy, Bentley

I love them both

My elder & his dog

And this family has been my anchor for the past 6 years of my seemingly-ever-shifting life

He’s still Here, but I miss him when he’s away.

  
My mind knows

The nature of coming & going

Not unlike the inhale & exhale

  
But this knowing doesn’t keep the heart from feeling a deep sadness

  
Connecting to a larger web of sadness as thoughts of Nepal, and boats filled with migrant people comes to (heart)mind…

Connecting that to my own family line who left their countries in an attempt & hope of escaping prejudice & violence not all that long ago.

 
The hummingbirds have returned

Two (well, four, really) Dear Friend’s will soon give birth to life anew

  
And life continues to unfold.

Some

Heading out

Some

Coming in

  
I know I need to find my own anchor within

 
It’s a challenge for me.

Guess it’s time for more walks in the woods.

   


Friday photos from N&C farm, and thinking about ANWR.

It felt good to get back to work at the farm yesterday

The leaves have unfurled & there was a nice rain in the evening 

A new high tunnel is under construction, which will allow the plastic to be removed from the Cathedral – giving the elements of Sun, Rain, & Air the chance to work their gifts in clearing & breathing the soil which has been under cover for 5 years

  
Bean seeding day!

These are Romano beans, and I was to use up the rest of them 

  
12 trays in all

  
Then another variety, purple, called Amethyst

  
Pardon me while I marvel once again at the beauty & diversity of bean seeds…

Swoon

  

In they go!

Chioggia Beets, & a New Zealand Spinach variety were also seeded.

Then onto a few herb & flower transplants

  
Rosemary

  
With the help from Sebastian

  
Bob grows many varieties of Peppers, & does the transplanting of those to be absolutely sure he’s sure that the hot & sweet types are clearly marked

 
These piles of markers were assembled during a conversation with one of the on-farm interns

I didn’t notice their construction, as I was filling trays & my eyes were focused on my hands’ actions

But it was a delightful surprise to find later – simple creations of beauty

  
Across the road, Bob set to applying composted manure to some beds awaiting 3 varieties of Kale

  
The hens were moved there to work up a site for future planting

 
(Feel free to add your favorite Why did the chicken cross the road? joke in the comment section…)

 Yesterday evening, as I drove home with the radio tuned into the local, independent station

I heard about the go-ahead to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

If nothing else, please scroll down & read the Wikipedia section on Opposing Views and the position of the Native Alaskan Tribes.

(The fact that I was driving my car at the time was not lost on me…)

*sigh*

  
The ANWR was what I woke up with in my mind.

The Porcupine Caribou calving grounds are there

People are still thinking they are not of this place

  
Why else would such a go-ahead be made?

 
What would the whales say, if we could ask them…?

  

They see the world in a different way from us humans

We humans think we know what’s best

  

But I’m not so sure of that

What if the Caribou could be asked 

And the Native Treaties honored

I think a lot of things, like most humans do…

  
I donate money to the NRDC, with the hope that they can do something to protect this place, our place, this Us-thing-place we call Earth

But donating money isn’t enough, & I don’t donate a ton of money either.

(After meeting someone who worked in a non-profit that often went to court, she said that even $5 helps pay for transportation…)

  
How does one really stop a tide of greed & shortsightedness & a massive corporation like Shell from doing something…?

What if the guide was truly: what is for the benefit of ALL beings…?