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Daily archives for March 7th, 2018

A Horticulturist

Imbolc                                                                           New Life Moon

As my melancholy continues to lift, new and old values push themselves forward, wanting to be included or excluded. I didn’t, for example, attend the Democratic caucus last night. Though I did want to be home for Kate, who uncharacteristically has anxiety about her upcoming surgery, Sjogren’s adds an unknown, I also didn’t want to go. Kate pushed back on this, saying the activist has been an important part of me, well, almost forever. True. And maybe, probably, I’ll alter course on this one, but right now I want to focus on other things.

third-plate-dan-barberIn addition to cooking, the sumi-e (ink brush painting), and working out, I mentioned the possibility of a greenhouse. Expensive, so we’ll see about that. But. I began reading a book I’ve had for a while, The Third Plate. It puts me back in the mental and very physical world of Andover. In fact, the feeling, while I was reading it, was so comfortable, a sort of ah, here I am at home feeling, that I recognized it as an old value pushing itself forward.

It’s more than just getting my hands in the soil, nurturing seeds. It’s about being part of the farm-to-table movement, about acting on eating better food, about staying connected, directly, with mother earth. While reading this, I realized horticulture was a deep part of me, one Kate and I spent a lot of time, energy and money on, not because we had to, but because it was significant and nourishing.

carey_reamsBuddy Bill Schmidt will recognize the quote that begins the chapter on Soil: “See what you’re looking at.” Carey Reams, an unlikely looking radical, used to say this. He was the founder of the outfit from which I purchase soil additives, the High Brix Gardening folks in Farmington, Minnesota. He contended, as do many now in the farm-to-table world, that agriculture went astray long ago, moving toward products that fit mechanized food production rather than human nutrition.

There are too many examples that prove this, unfortunately. One is that the bulk of corn grown in the U.S. either goes for corn syrup or feeding cattle. Another is the development of tomatoes with skins hard enough to stand a mechanical picker.

wheatThe vast wheat fields of the Great Plains grow an annual wheat, two varieties that work well in steel rolling mills. Not only have these annual crops destroyed the ten feet or more of top soil that buffalo and deeply rooted grasses developed there, but the steel mills which make this crop profitable separate the germ and bran from the kernel, leaving only fluffy white flour. What’s bad about that? Well, turns out the nutrition in wheat lies in the germ and the bran.

IMAG0619I guess this is the native Midwesterner in me. I grew up driving past corn fields, pastures filled with Holsteins and Guernseys, pigs and beef cattle. The Andover gardens, the orchard and the bees, along with our small woods satisfied this part of my soul. I’m going to investigate local CSA’s, see if that’s a route back into this world. We have to buy groceries anyway, so why not from folks who share a philosophical position close to my own.

This is different, you see, than being attentive to the lodgepole pines and the aspen, the mule deer and the elk, the fox and the mountain lion. These are part of wild nature and beautiful, also important to my soul. But the world of horticulture, of growing and consuming food and flowers, fruits and honey is, too. A reemerging part of me. And I’m happy to see it, to feel it come.


Friend and Family

Imbolc                                                                New Life Moon


Remember that deep muscle ache I got during my session for a new workout? Well, it’s not gone. If I didn’t have a collection of good pain meds, it would be interfering with my sleep. On my second visit to On the Move Fitness, their usual pattern to ensure I have the new exercises down, Debbie told me to go easier on my leg work for a couple of weeks. I have, and it’s getting better. But slowly.

Nothing like the pain Kate has in her right shoulder. We’re coming up on her shoulder replacement surgery on the 22nd. What I’ve learned, relearned really, from my leg pain is that pain doesn’t have to be searing, 8 or 9 pain, to screw up sleep. And that lost sleep can exacerbate both physical and psychic pain. Kate’s dealt with this for months, years in the case of her bursa. Yet she persists. I admire that in her. Tough lady.

joy friends (2)

Saw Scott Simpson yesterday at Brook’s Tavern. He spent a week in Carbondale visiting Corey and Todd and was on his way to Pagosa Springs in the southern part of the state to see Heather. Hwy 285 goes almost the whole way, so his route took him through Conifer.

Scott’s a Woolly and a friend of many years. He’s also recently retired, a year in May. We got caught up on family, discussed the unbelievable DJT. Scott’s tinkering with songs, creating them. He’s a first class drummer, but wants to add writing music. He’s in that retirement stage called figuring out what the hell I’m gonna do now. A long process and often with changing results. Fun, though. At least for the most part.




March 2018
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