Seedybeans Blog

Celebrating the Humble Harvests of High Desert Homesteading

Archive for Soapbox Ramblings

Baby Bloom

Well my friends, that flower planting frenzy right before Mother’s Day (it was actually the evening before) had good results.  Our son was born the next day, Mother’s Day, here in our home at 4 in the afternoon after a nice full day of labor.  That planting frenzy was probably attributed to a hormone rush, bless them, as I had felt like such an incapable gardener in the weeks previous, but that last minute burst must have brought the baby here.  We had a lovely birth, most of which was done among my baby plants in a birthing tub in our green house.  Green leaves, sunshine on my skin and a cool breeze were what helped me get this baby here, and of course my amazing husband and blessed midwives.  I consider myself a strong garden mama, I could dig all day, but birthing a 9.6lb baby, now, that took another kind of strength.  But I did it and here he is , Jacob Aengus Glanzberg as precious as a peach.

He has been alive 9 days now and though this week was a serious journey of the soul, it is 8am, babe asleep, bread in the oven, floors swept and mommy is wide awake.  I must admit, this glorious time of day has never been my best.  I usually sleep as late as I can, or am rushing out of the door at this hour.  So interesting how rhythms change.  Evenings are still my best time.  We have been going out when the wind dies down and the stillness settles in.  The iris scent fills the air and the starlings and red wing blackbirds roost for the night.  we watch daddy plant our little seedlings, now pretty darn big, tenderly in the ground.  The world seems so magical right now, like someone washed my eyes with sparkling water.  So many magical gifts come with the miracle of life!!

Dawn light on the Grandma tree

My plants are slowly getting planted, but are eager to get in the ground.  I will shamefully admit my cucumbers, squash and even some tomatoes have started to flower in their little 2 inch pots!!!  If anyone want to come over and plant a little, I am more physically unablenow then with that big fat belly if you can believe that!!  We are making progress though and I must say, not so bad for May 17.

baby plants busting out of their pots

Joel finished the shed and now all the tools, bikes and tons of other things are neatly organized and it looks fabulous!!

A place for everything

So much in bloom, so much to be thankful for.  Happy last frost date and plant plant plant away and may we do the same!!

The shed made from old pallets and cob

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Mother’s Day is for planting (flowers)

It is a tradition in my family that every year on Mother’s Day my mom would get a plant, often a flowering one, and we would plant it in the garden with her.  Mother’s Day was probably put in May just to boost nursery sales, but hey, whatever reason it is I think it is a great tradition and one I intend to keep, as long as my new family plays along.  Along with tradition, this year the moon is in Gemini, an air sign, which for those of you who have flowed my blog know, is good for planting flowers according to the Biodynamic Planting Calender.

Though I not officially a mother yet, my husband did surprise me with a huge Lilac and Red Osier Dogwood for the yard and he even said he would plant them for me!  You see I am still pregnant and struggling with what to do while waiting for baby, now 5 days over due.  Most everything I can think of is done, except of course cooking, cleaning and gardening, which is proving harder and harder.  I struggle getting up and down and tire quickly in the sun. 

I was starting to get pretty grumpy about my handicap but my husband found this video of Ruth Stout, an old garden gramma, whose gardening style is a perfect fit for me right now.  She must be pushing 90 when the video was made and is hilarious as well as super practical.  Her body is about as capable as mine right now, but she doesn’t let that stop her.  She just scratches the soil, throws in some seeds, covers them with rotten hay and walks away.  She does live in New England so she sips watering too, which I simply can’t do on these windy desert days, but luckily me and my belly can water, so no trouble there.  Here is Ruth’s video, in case you would rather watch a video than over do yourself on digging, hoeing, and toiling in the earth, it works for her and her garden is abundant.

Happy Mother’s Day and plant, plant, plant away!

Waiting for baby

As the garden grows, my belly continues to as well.  The 9 month bump definitely slows me down a little in the garden but luckily the greenhouse tables are belly height and watering is easy.  While I dote over my baby seedlings, my husband is very busy creating something of his own.

Pallet shed filled with cob

Spring winds drying the baby clothes on the line.

Greenhouse over flowing with seedlings, lettuce and awaiting the birthing tub.

Sweet blooms abound.

Fall planted bulbs blooming for baby.

Plenty of time hanging around.

Watering garlic, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, cilantro and tulips of course

The door is open baby, come on in.

The garden fool

Most of this blog is about all the garden good I have in my life; all my little secrets and success’s, my joys and triumphs…. so I feel like that is covered.  But the bad and the ugly however, don’t get as much press.  I figured April Fool’s Day would be a perfect day to show my garden fool, my failures and simply the humblness I must have to work with the mysteries of nature and think I know anything.  

Though I am a garden teacher, I by no means I know everything about gardening and just teach about it.  It simply means I love gardening enough to want to spend most of my time doing it and talking to people about it.  I learn right along with my students, who often end up being my teachers.  Though I have a blog about high desert gardening, I am and will always be learning how to do it.  So, here I humblyshare some of the not so bright moments of my gardening year. In the spirit of being able to laugh at myself,  it is only fair to include, learn from a move on from, the little garden fool in me.  

Aphid infestation in my greenhouse– What to do?

Aphids control– soap and water spray- I use Dr. Bronner peppermint- freshy fresh, but only helps for about a day 

Green Gunk!! Gross green mossy algae that grows on top of soil surface in pots in greenhouse that stops the water from penetrating the surface to reach the roots.- bad bad, Just scratch it off and plan to scratch again tomorrow]

Cooked cilantro– Opps– The cold frame lid blew shut on a sunny and windy may day– Creating a solar oven, cooking my cold loving cilantro, sorry guys

These are all bad things that happen to good gardeners, and OH, there have been more, though in those tragic garden moments I rarely think to grab my camera.  So as the optimisim of spring seeps into you and your garden, I say, let it take over.  There will be bumps and challenges along the way, but learning from them, not letting them stop your heart felt efforts is the only way.   Nature’s ways of fooling us is only to remind us we are not in control of our gardens, but being grown by them.  Gardening isn’t about being perfect it is about being natural.

Winter has come, the growing goes inward

Wow– It has been over a month since I have written.  Where does the time go?  Well in all honesty, I know exactly where my mind has been. All my attention and creative energy has been turned inward, literally.  I have a baby bean growing in my internal garden, due to bloom and join us on this good green earth this May!  It should be a glorious spring!!  And in planning for it, I have kind of just let the frost take the garden under, let the blog go untended and let the greenhouse go unsown for the winter.  I did manage to gather up the last tomatoes that are now ripening in the greenhouse, get garlic in the ground, and plant a few cold frames with lettuce and spinach.  But really, I was glad to let the garden curl inward as I do the same.  We will dream into the winter and start planning for spring. 

The circle garden

When I first moved here to Bouquet lane, my husband had already lived here for 9 years.  Though the place suited me perfectly, I needed to carve out a bit or earth of my own.  So I took the spot in the backyard where the greenhouse once stood, and away I went.  I started by creating two, semi keyhole, semi-circle shaped beds layered with compost and sheep poo and lined with rocks, so that instead of digging down, I could just build up the soil.  It is a blessed little space that my dad and I actually built together.  Poor old dad, I made him shlep around heavy rocks all weekend.  If I remember correctly, I was actually HIS birthday, oh how he loves me!!  The garden is my little sanctuary.  It is basically designed to hold people, there are four spots, one in each direction for someone to sit in, though it is often just me in my private ceremony or napping or gazing up at the trees and sky.  This is what it looked like first made it.  The view facing West is magnificent, especially now!! I call her the grandma tree, as she watched over us and dwarfs our house by many times.

The first season I planted flowers for our wedding, yes they all frosted the night before harvest, but it was the process, the prayer and preparation that really brought the beauty.  The second season, it was the three sisters; corn, beans and squash.  The corn did great but the skunks got to it all before me, and well, we shared.  I got 10 lbs of winter squash out of it and a tone of green beans as well as an enchanted feel from all the vines and stalks growing over 8 feet high.  I was so glad some children found there way to it, as it was the perfect hiding place for little ones.

  This season the circle garden will be sprouting early in the spring.  I have been planting bulbs, who will sit out the winter with me, and then come the first warm days and Robins visits, will swell and sprout, just as I will.  Garlic rings the outside and tulips the inside.  Originally I didn’t want any perrenials in there, but then realized I can easily dig them up and put them somewhere else whenever I like.  I think the rest will be spring greens, that is if I can bend over and get them planted by then!!  I know all you women who have givein birth will laugh I my naive and romantic idea of birth, but I have always thought I would like to birth my children in a garden.  I know, I know dirt is dirty, right…But this is a space where I can sit, and grow my baby and on some day in May, lie full bellied surrounding by blooms and beckon the little being here to earth.  Who wouldn’t want to enter this world surrounded by flowers!!  Even if the baby doesn’t arrive in the actual garden, I know it will be a good place to be during the process of labor and when that baby does arrive, I will lay it right in the middle on a cozy blanket while I weed around.  Oh what fun to dream of growing life in all forms!!  Happy winter dreaming.

The good luck/ bad luck garden

 

Rotten food or fertile ground?

 

Gardens can truly be fertile ground for metaphors in life.  Little lessons hiding under rocks and behind leaves, just waiting to teach us something we think we already know.  I am sure we can all agree that in the garden we reap what we sow…See what I mean!!  So in the spirit of metaphors, my garden seems to be showing me a lot about life lately, especially the good luck/bad luck side of things.  Just going to show me again & again, don’t be too quick to judge, to react, to panic, because, well, you just never know.  I am sure you have heard the story of the farmer and his son, right….. Well, is actually a story from Zen teachings but appears quiet sweetly in one of my favorite books, Zen Shorts, which I would highly recommend to anyone spending time with kids (it is profound, but in fact a children’s book.)

 As the story goes —There is a farmer whose horse ran away one day.  Learning of his troubles his neighbors replied, ” Such bad luck”.  “Maybe” said the farmer.  The next day the horse returned with two other wild horses. This time the neighbors all rejoiced saying, “Such good luck” and of course the farmer replied, “Maybe”.  The following day the farmer’s son went out to ride one of the wild horses and fell off and broke his leg….the neighbors of course all chimed in, “What bad luck” while the farmer simply replied ” Maybe”.  The day after all that, happened to be when the military swept the town looking for recruits, seeing the farmer’s son with a broken leg, they passed him by.  What do you suppose the neighboors said, “Such good luck!!” of course.  Though seeing his son lay around the house doing no work at all with his broken leg, the farm just scratched his head and replied,”Maybe”.  

In many ways my garden and my life this week has been like that.  My greenhouse being shaded by a huge tree…….in the middle of summer…oh, that is good thing…..Leaving the pump in the tank and having it slowly leak out…..watering the garden deeply..not so bad for what I thought was a forgetful mistake.   For those of you who have read the story of the Flower Farm you know this kind of luck runs around these parts lately.  In fact, the real reason I started this blog comes from what seemed like a stroke of bad luck, losing my job as a garden teacher.   Though I had lost my job, I was volunteering, struggling to keep everything alive and well, as I was trying to do the same for myself.  I was spread thin and honestly not very happy for a spell.  Such bad luck… Tuesday I actually started teaching at summer school, where the entire curriculum is based on Food.  Money was found to hire a part-time garden only gardener (not the Garden Teacher job I wanted) so the gardens are not forgotten or let go to ruin.  And now, I can teach in the beautiful gardens I created, without having to slave over them!! In fact one of my students saw me kind of dancing my way out of my  garden manager duties and trying to pass this role off to the new gardener and she said, “Erin, it is not fair that you have to try to organize and manage all this, you are a plant person and you should just spend time with the plants and with people like me who want to learn from you and the plants”  So True, So true!! And now, it is true, that is how I spent my day and will spend many more of my summer days doing the same.  In fact, instead of working in the hot sun and wind all afternoon, I picked a huge bouquet of flowers, all started by my own hands years ago, and though not the gardener anymore, I still get VIP garden rights …..Such good luck!!

Fresh picked from a school garden to my front door

 

Smiling to myself at how things work out as I arrived home…I was immediately stopped when I spotted a little caterpillar eating my Loveage flowers!!   “Hey, what do you think you are doing!! I asked him–Such bad luck!! 

After brief examination of the damage, who should land right next to him, but a swallow-tail butterfly, who he shall become himself someday.  Such good luck, I thought to myself– Maybe….

The most beautiful place in the world

I have been meaning to write for weeks now and just haven’t.  I have been more distracted with enjoying the beauty around me than writing about it.  Marveling as the little wonders that happen in the garden when our work is done preparing and we sit back and just watch it all grow.

Winter Rye peeking out as it goes to seed

 

Harvesting wild asparagus up our road

 

I have had moments of inspiration, wanting to share our potato health, the wonders of corn, and glory of wild asparagus, the many uses of garlic scaps, the joys of playing in the wild…but alas I haven’t.  

Swirling garlic scaps ( bud of the garlic flower before bloom, which I cut off, so the vital life force doesn't go into the flower, but the bulb which I will harvest in a month))

 

This morning I honestly don’t feel the pressure to either.  I sip a divine cup of coffee, which I gave up for the past 2 months, and let me tell you, nothing like going without to make you appreciate it’s glory.  I watch hummingbirds zip around our garden, try to drink for our prayers flags and my red coffee mug as well as the brilliant orange poppies and bright yellow columbines that join me for breakfast.

Orange oriental poppies in our front yard

 

 I feel the warmth rise in the air as my husband waters the receiving ground, creating a humidity we all so need right now.  What is really on my mind this morning is that I am so totally in love with this beautiful earth, this wild land, this rushing river that is 100 yards from our door, this blooming plot that is our little home.  

Sun setting in the west behind our grandma tree

 

I feel deep gratitude along with a desire to share these simple sentiments with you, my friends and fellow garden lovers.  May the beauty of our enchanted land reach all of you today in it’s own glorious way.  

Sunset on the Sangre de Cristos as seen from Bouquet lane

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