Posted at 10:22 AM in 2020 growing season, alchemical rituals, ceremony, cohesion amidst chaos, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, gardening with purpose, making something new, medicine making from scratch, quantum healing, shift resiliency, sit and think with me, speaking of stones | Permalink | Comments (1)
pics taken at four different times over the course of two days.
Yesterday I weeded, re-topsoiled, and thoroughly amended a whiskey barrel in which I'll grow beets. I got a mixed variety packet because mixing varieties has led to family favorite side dishes. Today I did the same with two whiskey barrels in which I'll grow carrots and finocchio. J's been in the field a lot doing a second round of rototilling. Tomorrow I'll seed two of the whiskey barrels and plant shallots in a bed he amended with the lobster casting soil conditioner and two bags of top soil. It's late to put them in but I've been as late as the first week in June and still managed to reap a full year's harvest. I find they do pretty well provided the soil's still cold enough to hold the night temperature for at least half the day.
Today I had a responsibly quick visit with a favorite local friend. Haven't seen her in person for upwards of a two and a half months. The garden-oriented place where she works has set up online shopping and I timed my pick-up around when she was there and free to take five minutes. We spoke of what was good and whole for both of us but also spoke of exhaustion and its many derivations. We laughed. Behind our masks we were both smiling. I brought home thyme, rosemary and the last sage plant in stock. And If I'm honest - this is the first time I've been out in the larger world that I wasn't incredibly saddened by all the many things there are to be saddened about/over in these ever-shifting days. It's pretty much the only time in a bit over two months that I've done something containing a social component as opposed to staying rigorously task-oriented and steeped in the nobody must linger vibe. Lingering for laughter and traded confidences is the part of my former experience I've missed the most and the thing about my personal i-me-mine aspects that leaves me feeling most out of whack.
And so I didn't think/contextualize about anything much - I was just in that moment socializing. The masks didn't matter or in any way infringe on a single one of our combined Liberties & Freedoms. It was sunny and warm enough if we stuck to the sun and the wind wasn't blowing. Also had a chance to suss out the shape of this year's garden there in a different yet utterly familiar garden world. The person who fulfilled my order was worried I didn't know much about plants or I never would have ordered three thymes. My friend was asked to make sure I understood it spread farther and wider the happiest it was. Nobody else could conceive it was true I knew quite a lot about plants and yet ordered 3 Thymes. We laughed and laughed about that (I told you THREE THYMES now she isn't kidding when she says she was raised in a garden) and then pivoted back to our evolving days.
J also socially distance socialized today and arrived home with four generous bags of well rotted horse manure. His friend has a connection. They had it in the works for a week or so but J didn't want to raise my excitement level before the transaction was complete. This is an invaluable development given all the newly tilled space we have to amend.
Some of the pictures above were taken yesterday evening. The sun came out just in time to cast that magical glow that steps everything out of time and space itself. The last two pictures were taken yesterday morning about half an hour after it stopped raining. Other pictures are from today in both morning and afternoon.
Tomorrow I'm turning off the heat mats under the plants in the basement. Some, that have had two weeks without under-heating, will be moved upstairs to begin their hardening off process on the top deck. This transition involves getting them situated in their transplant pots tonight and/or tomorrow morning. There's a very beautiful co-creative wind at my back and I'm eternally grateful for that in these unsettled and unsettling times.
Posted at 07:58 PM in 2020 growing season, abundance of care, alchemical rituals, always choose joy, cohesion amidst chaos, direct retrospect, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, free association, gardening with purpose, making something new, medicine making from scratch, place/keeping, plant geek eyes, providence willing, quantum healing, seasonal shifts, self-sustainability, shift resiliency, visual autobiography, walk with me, water Ways | Permalink | Comments (4)
Day before yesterday was downright hot and the air quality throughout the county was afloat with many kinds of pollen. I chose not to participate beyond a few cursory inspection tours of the garden beds closest to the house. I'm thus declaring yesterday to be our first true day of Spring's greener beckoning magical phase. Was in and out any number of times - listening to the landscape and allowing myself to be mesmerized by various specific plants and trees. Last night there was a powerful micro-burst of rain and LOUDLY howling wind laced with a great deal thunder and lightning. Many windows were open at the time and I had to rush to shut them. J had fallen asleep upstairs and woke to hear the howling wind and rain that sounded like birdshot being fired through every portion of the sky. He can sleep through a lot but not a wind like that. He closed up our bedroom and met me in the doorway of the third bedroom/family lounge. It was a northern wind and the rain had pelted into the room sideways for the ten minutes or so I was rushing around shutting up the downstairs. I thought he'd be virgo-dismayed by the wet woodwork, rug, and chair but he only grinned and said isn't it wild?
Although I chose the evolving sanctuary garden for the lede image - it's not the way my Outside day began. I went out the front door "just for a couple of minutes" and beelined down the sloping lawn to the yellow toad lily. Cleaned her off and took a better picture for jude to find when she ventures by. I was lavishly admiring as I worked,. Seemed to receive confirmation of my hunch the plant would like to be divided in the fall.
Walked back to the house but then suddenly turned right and headed around it to discover the solomon seal buds have begun to open. Made note of where I want to continue consolidating the forsythia with more incisive pruning.
Also checked on the Japanese Spikenard we put in last year. It was one of those plants that just pulled on me like a tractor beam when we first got out of the car at our favorite nursery out in Amherst. Once I'd made my wandering way to the source of strong beckoning energy I picked up the pot and hugged it close. J kept asking if I wanted him to carry it but I just kept hugging and saying I was fine. When we got home I set the pot right where it seemed destined to live.
The location is a little too sunny for it to keep its leaf color. I thought about moving it - mentioned the possibility to the plant and then about a week later I approached with the intention of reading the signs of its response. The roots were FIRM and unyielding. I'm staying. I live here now. And so I promised it improved conditions. Consulted J. a few days back and in response he cut some leftover lattice to the size of the porch length behind the plant. Today he's giving the swiftly actualized shade-aid a few coats of paint to match similar lattice at the bottom of the porch. The shade-aid can be added or subtracted at any time of day. Some experimenting will be involved but I'm grateful he had a much simpler solution than something I haphazardly described based on the construction of a telescoping shelf in the refrigerator.
This jack-in-the-pulpit is growing out of the enormous rock I introduced here. Jude said the sense of Spring holds and even depends on the memory of winter. I thought that was both an eloquent and elegant way of expressing my own sense of time, life, and this particular day's feeling tone. Note off to the left a stray glimpse of carrion vine growing there on the rock. It's been eradicated. Took this picture on my second walk outside and removed the vine on my fourth. It's been that sort of day - in and out and in and then back out again. J's commencing to cut the grass so I thought I'd sit still and create this virtual walk.
Canadian anemone abound at the edges of woods and on the 'far' stream bank. The colonies sprinkled at the edges of paths and here and there in the woods spark joy for me - this is another friend since childhood. The little cluster is nestled between roots of the maple that gave flowers to an essence bowl earlier this year.
This is the first garden you'd meet on the other side of the hemlock-lined path at the western edge of the field. It used to be two distinct beds but over time they've become joined by colonies of milkweed and goldenrod. Am introducing it because I've decided to document my reclamation of the bed. It officially began today but for now I most want to share this:
A self-seeded tableau of green magic making under the gooseberry bush. a Sweet Rocket plant seeded directly in its center and she is attended by several self-sown yellow foxgloves. They are stalwart and certain of their Place here. They haven't exactly rebuked my relocation plans but have made clear their intention to stay as they are. And so I looked for ways to make their habitat more welcoming and attractive. Today I began weeding in this spot for the first time in four or five years. It's a space I love and always mean to [at]tend to but there are always only so many hours in a day. The somewhat smaller originally square bed was planted with a single-stemmed plantlet from the gooseberry bush I'd been obliged to leave behind. It was otherwise planted with A. archangelica and Angelica purpurea as well as a modest colony of yellow foxgloves - all from the old place. Spearmint and orange mint hitched a ride of their own accord. At this point the two mints are one of the bed's main acts from high summer onward Somehow the space itself has co-created sequential ways to share nourishment and space.
This is a close view of the area I hope to have re-cultivated by late October. Will save tales of what's there and what kind of approach the various green ones have suggested to me during this morning's time there. Got a bit lost squatting close for long moments of communion and consideration. At one point this space was packed with plants from the old place. During the latter half of our third summer here Graves Disease re-upped itself and the garden spaces throughout the property began to self-regulate. I dreamed of it often and really never doubted it was happening but that truth lives side by side with my ongoing frustration to remain largely uninvolved due to how sick I was for the better part of three years.
Throughout this time there was a simple picnic table bench at the edge of these two garden spaces. I sat there frequently with Celeste sitting under or directly beside the bench. A modest colony of milkweed stalks had appeared just before i got sick. I encouraged them to stay and establish themselves. fast-forwarding to now - the former path was eventually obliterated by drifting milkweed and an ef-ton of golden rod. Today I began weeding-out the goldenrod runners as gently as possible. My extra care was rewarded.
The season's first milkweed scout was carefully re-covered with a loosely packed blanket of dried plant matter. Am going to be fairly merciless with the golden rod in this area because I want to recolonize with more yellow foxgloves at the edges of the milkweed colony. Will be saving seedheads - saving some for starting on the deck next year with intent to introduce them within the side-pocket spaces. If there's plenty I'll also plant seed in the evolving sanctuary. The bench is long gone but I'm going to start bringing my camp chair so I can once again sit in this spot. It's a good place for day dreaming. Here's a quick peek at the main bed. J and I have a two week timeline for getting the garden fence installed.
In the background is a glimpse of J's completed roto-tilling endeavor. He's juggling a lot right now but seems to be having an experience similar to my own in that stuff's getting done somehow. Our ongoing byword seems to be: essential. What does that mean to us? To me, or him, or our son? What is essential for this new phase of life and any given day within it? How do we show up for ourselves and each other so that our essential priorities are both nurtured and met?
Thistle emissaries are always welcome in my gardens. I need to pitchfork and re-claim another strip across that's roughly the same width as the mulched portion. It needs to be done very carefully as per dreams over the last month. Along similar lines I can see that seed sowing of various kinds will be an ongoing effort for the next few weeks. Day before yesterday I found balance and returned focus by fully organizing my seed packets in a small gathering basket. I keep shuffling through them like tarot cards. Have in the past often slept with bundled seeds tucked into my pillow case but I'm not sure I could handle the depth and specificity that might arise. Have explained this while wandering and weeding in the main bed.
I did a bit of weeding here in an expanding Queen of the Meadow colony. As it's been expanding drifts of red clover have self-sown in a marvelous inter-planting. Today The Queen's emerging stalks buzzed at me repeatedly. You are asserting yourself. We welcome you as one.
Soon now the entire garlic bed will be bristling with green shoots.
Posted at 08:31 PM in 2020 growing season, abundance of care, cohesion amidst chaos, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, fresh food, gardening with purpose, life's special blessing of restrospect, making something new, place/keeping, plant geek eyes, providence willing, quantum healing, seasonal shifts, self-sustainability, shift resiliency, storyforms, telling the tale, viriditas, walk with me | Permalink | Comments (10)
Today J's burning what he didn't turn to ash on Sunday. Mama and I went into the field early so we could have a smoke free inspection tour. For me hardly any everyday activity is more inspiring, joy inducing, and grounding than taking a slow and thorough garden tour of what's growing and/or looking ever so slightly different from the day before. One of the few things that's 'better' in my view is doing the same thing with an accompanying cat.
Mama cat is a girl of tree leaves, rocks, and sunlight - an outdoors-loving creature who had never been exposed to the feline delights and mysteries of a cultivated garden space. This is her third growing season here and she's learned the ropes as well as finding her own meanings and purposes within the framework of my cherished routines. Sometimes I feel like my departed darling Celeste is prowling right along with us. And of course she is since she lives on in my heart
While the fire dwindled J started dragging logs to create a dedicated pathway. It curves with the windrow and then snakes through the woods. Saw him dragging the woods log and took great heart in how happy he looked. Of the moment which can be tricky during times of life-transition that wasn't planned or actively sought. For the moment we aren't just okay - we're good.
I mean really. What are the alternatives?
The Speaker tree has expanded a great deal since J eradicated the encroaching Sumacs. Some are remaining at my insistence. For one thing they're really beautiful full grown trees despite my husband's low opinion of them in their Child form. And if we lose any of the hemlocks at the property line* the sumacs can create some measure of privacy.
*The vigorous clan of very healthy hemlocks is on 'our' side of the line, luckily enough. We have new neighbors to the east and long uncomprehending experience has taught me that oftentimes what new people in a place seem to want/need to do first and foremost is exert their authority and control by going on a tree-cutting spree. Long before we moved here the garden ornament above lost his eyes. Have been trying ever since to think of a kicky reinvention of the "even a blind pig..." catch phrase that relates to a blind fox. Nothing's bloomed yet. But I do enjoy the fact that the fox is guarding what used to be a hen house before the outbuilding became rabbit centric and then later on we arrived to turn it into a potting shed.
(if anyone can think of a clever 'even a blind fox' ... re-write of the common blind pig expression by all means share in comments)
This time of year a lot of my inspection touring focus centers on taking note of where indigenous herbs are growing most plentifully. Today I discovered the whiskey barrel above has seeded itself liberally with red clover. This is a favorite healing herb of mine so I decided on the spot to dedicate the space to the clover rather than using it for shallots as planned. There are also a number of self-seeded anise hyssop plants which I intend to move to transplant pots. Once they've filled out nicely in the pots I'll plant them in the garden.
Yesterday afternoon I planted garlic. Although it's a bit late for that I'm not worried. The heads will be a little smaller but they'll still taste great. Especially since they got the lion's share of our home-brewed compost and a generous helping of wood ash.
After planting I sang to the bed since I didn't have my rattle with me. This was my first fully-present and well-grounded act since a deeply disturbing non-Covid death over the weekend. I took my time getting re-calibrated extra gently one step at a time. If you're waiting for an email from me this is why you haven't received it yet. When I'm in certain frames of mind connected to my former Job it always seems wisest and kindest (to myself as well as everybody else I know who is a "civilian" in such matters) if I confine my communications to those who have also had that Job or, for whatever reason, have a special gift for unpacking the particular traumas associated with both suicide and those it leaves behind.
Chickweed has been a favorite plant since I was a little girl and had no language for (or conscious awareness of) why I loved it so much. On the first day J burned I wandered all over the property searching out the places it was growing most abundantly. It's everywhere! Absolutely everywhere - just like gorgeous extra large red clover flowers were everywhere in the months prior to 9-11.
[Red Clover flower essence has a uniquely important function as a shield that protects our souls and psyches from the fears of others. This allows us to disengage from such fears and find the truth of our own feelings as they are, rather than amplified through the feelings of others. When people email or call me these days wanting something that will "fix" the level of fear they feel in themselves I always suggest they begin with Red Clover in order to isolate what points of focus (and level of fear) actually belong to the person who's asking for help. Back in the months just prior to that other time in our collective history when we were allegedly changed forever I sensed the flowers knew something I didn't. I prepared a 'new' essence even though I had a perfectly good mother stock I'd prepared just the year before. Over time I've come to believe the flowers that bloom within challenging time frames are the best of their species to help us with the specific challenges we're facing.
What's interesting (at least to me) is that back then the same personality types who now want to do away with fear 'like it never existed' - at that time were all about disappearing their anger. I had a very strong feeling - and obviously still believe - that a lot of the situation-specific anger was born largely from the flames of other peoples' fears. These days the largest congregations of people and their emotions are coloring the atmosphere here on the internet. Since we're all crammed together entirely by choice it stands to reason there are all sorts of collective roots and tendrils that need to be put on mute in order to deal with the issues and fissures that are authentically personal in nature.]
So. Chickweed was the topic. It's really everywhere this year and i wonder if anyone else is having the same experience? Email if you'd like a more detailed back-and-forth conversation. Sometimes the email button at the top of the blog sticks. But if you hit it a second time you usually get the screen you're looking for. I keep thinking I've fixed it to no avail so am assuming that's an internal bug of some kind.
While I was looking around I started moving the thin strands of chickweed stems on a particular plant that was rooted precariously on the front curve of the fire pit. In the process I managed to dislodge the roots. I stood apologizing quite sincerely to the green strands in my palm. You can make something helpful with me! The plant was vibrant and very much ready to do something useful together but there wasn't really enough of it to make an infusion on my stove's warming burner. So once I was inside I added dried flowers of prunella, calendula, and red clover from my herbal pantry.
Then I learned a new thing due to the previously unopened olive oil being stored on our garage pantry shelf. It wasn't that cold of a winter but apparently it was plenty cold enough for the olive oil to grow thick and in some places solidified into tiny chunks. Knew they'd melt as the brew warmed but I wondered if the oil had spoiled and was inappropriate to use for skin-healing purposes. Am including this link in case anyone else has questions/concerns of a similar nature. Simply bringing the big tin canister into the house has eliminated the oil's thickened quality.
Once the flower buds start to open I will harvest enough chickweed to make a tincture and also a simple one-ingredient itch-away oil. Providence willing I'll also make a flower essence. Have a mother stock prepared from another species of the same plant years ago. Would love to preserve the healing agency of this medicine spirit as it lives in this specific place as well. Fingers crossed.
T had his first IV treatment yesterday after which he felt woozy and 'adrift in false energy'. So he came home rather than proceeding to work. Since he has his mama's tiny child-like veins it was a bit of an ordeal getting him properly stuck. Consequently they sent him home with the iv and tube still attached to his arm. He found it easier to sleep on the couch than in his bed. When I crept downstairs to check on him I discovered Mama was already on the case. She guarded her Special Person throughout the night with great diligence and care.
Today is a long way from dandelion flowers at least here in the great Northeast. but I did snap a very healthy crown at the eastern edge of the field garden.
I know about the plant's special day via Kitchen Garden seeds. They're stepping up their usual twice a week growing season email blitz to every other day. I read an article Thursday or Friday about the seed market going through the roof in the wake of the pandemic. Kitchen Garden was one of the companies featured with quotes from a representative.
Today's email spotlight featured dandelion seeds from two German varieties that are highly prized for their leaves. Sometime in the next little while I'm planning to write a post about dandelion medicine making. Ditto violet flowers and leaves. But today my mind is on J's accomplishment of the day. He broke out the rototiller and created a lovely equilateral triangle bed for the tomatoes. We figure it will take a week of lunch hours or so to have the soil fluffed up, amended as best we can, and ready for deep mulching until it's time to plant the seedlings and sow some giant leaf basil seeds. If you look at the pink flower pot then just beyond it you'll see the straw covered plot I've begun pitchforking for calendula and borage seeding to be sown around one of the garden's lemon balm patches. Behind that is one of the "walls" of the four foot square Sunflower House IF there's time and ability to pull off this hazy dream I've never actively pursued. There always seemed like there'd be plenty of time to do it later - when I was old enough to sit still and enjoy it from time to time.
Today's overcast sky was perfect for working without getting over-heated or parched. The ground was damp and friable. Earlier in the day we also walked through the woods while I darted around clearing the path behind the utility and potting sheds. There's a path? J. had been astonished. I explained the cat and I used it all the time - that it was actually Mama's path that I was gradually clearing of fallen branches. I showed him how I'd been widening the trail with an additional 'walking lane" so that I could wander more comfortably along with her. He rejoiced in the improvement and together we cleared the latest fallen branches from yesterday's high wind.
Posted at 06:30 PM in 2020 growing season, abundance of care, always choose joy, bee, cohesion amidst chaos, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, gardening with purpose, making something new, medicine making from scratch, providence willing, seasonal shifts, self-sustainability, shift resiliency | Permalink | Comments (7)
eta: a very different Molly's word tincture: Molly Sheehan of Green Hope Farm Essences.
Yesterday in the later afternoon I got a text from J. who was elsewhere in the house or yard. He said it was going to start raining in about an hour and a half and was predicted to keep going for four days. That's how I wound up in the way-back machine of my searching for the specific lede pic today. Am glad for the rain since we had so little snow. The more rain inches we can soak into the ground the better it will be once micro-droughts define themselves. But perpetual low-light will not make for compelling blog documentation.
Am currently putting together a super concrete - you need these things and then you do these specific steps - type of How to Make a Flower Essence post. Once it's published this will link back to all the posts that are previously filed under that category. The pragmatic how-to post is meant to be amplified by all those other posts in both direct content and more deep-reading between the lines. So far as I can tell, anyone who openly shares something authentic about themselves in relation to this blog has quite an adept feeling for their organic landscape and its specific spirit(s) of place. Not to mention a special affinity for many of the plants and trees that grow there.
All such affinity is, in effect, an integral part of how-to make/co-create an essence. This type of high-crisis moment - at a nuts and bolts level - is an awesome time for anyone who wants to participate in healing themselves, their environments, and their own growing spaces to actively do something that crystallizes the spark in their heart's dreams and healing wishes for All That Is on our beautiful and increasingly broken-apart home here on earth.
Above is a blended-flower bowl that yielded a wonderfully comprehensive remedy called Mellow Yellow. The essence came to life on the hillside where I kept a plot specifically devoted to raising flowers I wished to prepare as flower essence mother stocks. If you follow the link you'll land on one of the first posts I made here. You'll see a picture of me from '05 looking equally content and determined. Same pitchfork but now I wear shoes with hard shells like a sensible person. Or wait to do whatever until I am wearing them.
for the curious and knowledgeable alike - here's a thumbnail synopsis of the bowl's contents.
Broccoli - Scours the psyche in a way that allows us to see how/when/why we interpret the actions of others as personalized victimization. Offers psychic and emotional fortitude to deal with that skew IF we've a mind to.
Marigold - Very supportive of neural circuitry and its vibrancy level. This essence - in whatever form of flower variety and color - has been indispensable in essence combinations that are geared to supporting integration with the larger/higher/faster frequency that so many of us tend to 'catch' even if we keep our awareness of it deliberately small or convince ourselves it's merely wish fulfillment or Nothing At All.
Nasturtium - boosts the circuitry of the electrical body. A boon for those who tend to fade somewhere between the 6th and 8th inning stretch of any given day.
Pumpkin - Helps support our subtle and physical bodies' need to galvanize under duress/situations focused on The Choice of No Choice. Helps you locate whatever you need energetically to do whatever it takes mentally & physically in order to bring a necessary project to a timely conclusion.
Snapdragon - to smooth the bite in your communicative style if you've normally got one. To help you keep from developing such bite under duress - especially when thrown into a situation where you personally have little to no control and it angers you.
Vatican Tomato - Tomato's healing signature addresses situations in which we've actively allowed patterns of self-sabotage to become normalized behavior to you.
Moon and Stars Watermelon - psychic birthing & midwifery to support life's expansive changes and creative hot streaks. Times two thanks to the above contributor.
Yellow Wood Sorrel - hydrates physical and emotional burnout associated with hypersensitivity.
Zucchini - supports kinder & gentler self-care initiation than we generally allow ourselves.
The above packets hold the remainder of the other seeds I've started under lights in the basement - rattling all the way. Lincoln leeks and basket flowers are regular must-grows for me. African foxgloves are fairly well known to me in their purple form. They've grown with a gorgeously prolific branching pattern on various parts of the property but never taller than 3 - 3.5 feet. Am trying the white variety because they reach 5 -6 feet when they're happy. Was thinking I'd inter-plant with Indigo Spires salvia here and there within the Evolving Sanctuary bed. I really love gracefully architectural combos that intermix white and blue flowering plants - arranged in a visual chain that stays embedded in the mind's eye most vividly right before dusk. This I learned from a wonderful garden design book called Color Echoes in the Garden.
One day about a month ago an early morning dream spirit advised I grow Sweet Thai basil rather than my favored cinnamon variety. The latter has been indispensable for decades as our family dinner iced beverage of choice during the summer months. Couldn't find any on offer at any of my preferred seed sources when I finally ordered. So that turned out to be an on-point lucid swerve from the Beyond. Never heard of this bergamot variety before. It's capable of reaching maturity in a single season in this hardiness zone range. If it doesn't then I won't see what the flowers are like in relation to our bee, butterfly, hawkmoth and hummingbird contingents. Not unless I can figure out how to successfully winter it over somewhere in the garage ...
Posted at 03:16 PM in 2020 growing season, abundance of care, alchemical rituals, cohesion amidst chaos, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, flower medicine, gardening with purpose, Hosannas to the Hillside, how to make a flower essence, making something new, place/keeping, quantum healing, self-sustainability, sit and think with me, speaking of seeds | Permalink | Comments (4)
Today on J.'s lunch hour we came out to the field to consider the garlic and ... something else not quite gelled yet... bed that he created yesterday afternoon - one pitchfork at a time. HA!! I have convinced the usually-has-a-better-idea sorta virgo man in my life that pitchforking rocks everything else if you're truly serious about healthy soil. He said he saw worms everywhere as he was working. We stood and considered his accomplishment in silence for awhile. Silent - or nearly so - brains as well. Studying soil we played an active part in creating.
We looked around without speaking much and eventually mulched the new bed with a generous layer of straw. Yesterday while Jim made that bed I eradicated all the sumac trees that have begun to block light on the garden's eastern edge. Marked places where the sumac runners should be pulled ASAP and also pulled as many as far and wide as I could. Usually I do that for three hours and then do nothing for another two days. But I did that for about two hours and then pulled up/cut down dead remnants of last years garden. I needed to do that in order to mentally divide it into a nine patch grid. That will make it easier to keep track of what needs doing - where and when.
Everything in the natural landscape feels vibrant and fully perked to keep the waking process going. In the image above the garden bench has been moved farther from the bed. There will be a strip of grass path there into the original square growing space. In my head I see the whole thing dug, tilled and dug, mulched and replanted. In my heart it blooms to sustain us.
Later in the afternoon J. wheeled around a corner of our house quite suddenly when/where I didn't expect him but that's how he rolls so I've learned to do the same. He told me to stay away from the news if I was already upset and so of course I asked why and he told me and then I needed another vigorous eradication sort of project in search of calm or at least some clear space.
I have plans for the space beneath the Japanese Dogwood that's part of the original landscaping and her two self-sown daughters. I also have plans to get as much of this small corner of pachysandra outta here before everything's too grown around the plant to get to it effectively. The soil here is SUPER rich and perfect for my intended purpose.
[thought I posted this last night. today it's snowing but very lightly. Was expected...]
Posted at 09:37 AM in abundance of care, cohesion amidst chaos, direct retrospect, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, gardening with purpose, making something new, providence willing, quantum healing, seasonal shifts, self-sustainability, shift resiliency, speaking of seeds, telling the tale, visual autobiography | Permalink | Comments (9)
life's coming at all of us pretty fast and at times furiously these days. Amazed to find myself somehow on projected schedule with the next two posts. The recipes I'll share in each relate to flower essence blends I co-created - in both cases in a flower led/guided manner - last summer.
(An essence blend is a mixed-flower remedy in which a variety of floral components are included in the same essence preparation bowl. Making it the vibrational equivalent of a stew/blended oil or tea infusion.)
The flowers in this particular remedy are common and in most cases indigenous to my particular region. I include each flower's unique contribution to the blend so that you might consider how you could prepare something similar from flowers you have to work with where-ever you are.
I also encourage you to investigate what other online sources have to say about the vibrational healing properties of the specific flowers I've included - as well as those you're drawn to work with where-ever you live. Younger alchemists are organically aligned with a much higher receptive frequency. Those who are willing to share what they know often crystallize the elemental nature of a flower's vibratory/healing signature far more elegantly.
an all purpose healing & illumination remedy comprised of 7 flowers:
These strongly architectural flowers love an opportunity to thrive. I've been lucky to have successful colonies in two locations. In both places the flowers have beckoned for inclusion - first as a single essence in my ever-growing collection of home-made flower essence mother stocks and then, 17 years later, within the blend bowl now being described. Grow this plant in your own garden for a wondrous unfolding of large - at times VERY large - lime green leaves topped with sunny yellow flowers that remind me of the fringed two-circle paper flowers my mother taught me to make as young child.
The Elecampane healing signature speaks of light and lighten-ing. Great for anything that's stuck in your belly - especially in the spiritual or metaphorical sense. Keeps the solar plexus chakra and its associate energy centers well hydrated. This helps prevent getting stuck in ideological despair or over-charged zealotry that can only lead to burn-out.
Calendula is a gem of a healing herb that I believe everyone can and should grow. Long known as Pot Marigold, it's as suited for containers as the ground. Give it good sun and its resinous vibratory sun will give you its healing spirit. If you have time and inclination, I invite you to watch the short (2:32) video linked in part because its human Speaker, Deb Soule fully personifies the joy and gentleness that speaks to Calendula's vibrational/communicative gifts. In the middle she sells just a little bit but in the most understated and joy-full way imaginable. This lady is the real deal and a genuine treasure of an herbalist. Strongly strongly encourage you to bask in the 2.5 minutes of her heart's light.
Calendula's healing and illumination gifts are classically associated with communication. It seems to me the connection goes deeper to matters of ego involvement. The solar plexus-throat chakra bridge is central to both right thought & action. We certainly see in today's world what happens when those in power short-circuit the bridge by running on Ego and proscribed Ignorance.
Each of us has similar yet unique power: the power of voice. Calendula's energy softens and strengthens our voice. It makes our tone-range flexible in both speaking and thinking planes of communication to self and others.
Pictured above at the trailing end of a long-gone summer solstice's golden hour - Saint Johnswort grows wild in my chosen home state. I have loved getting to know the flowers' healing properties - first by way of gathering flowers in the company of two friends living on Cape Cod. I recall our 20-something excitement and the many bees that tracked our every move until we were back in the house filling carefully sterilized recycled jam jars with flowers and apricot oil.
St. Johnswort essence is an ultra-effective auric cleanser and high-vibrational protective shield like no other. There's a lot more that could be said but I think the true seed of its versatility and usefulness is distilled in the single sentence. see also/in conjunction with: red clover at the end of this flower portrait profile list.
Comfrey was considered an unspeakable pest by the gardeners who taught and shaped me as a child. I didn't really understand what a glorious beautiful presence She brings and how fully she deserves some Pride of Place in any garden until I was back there in those pivotal early 20's years. At the northern edge of my wild field garden two comfrey crowns at long last claim that rightful place. One was transplanted from my former garden (pictured above) and another arrived in the same transplant bucket as the elecampane crown that spawned the plant giving flowers to this remedy. Both crowns offered flowers to the bowl in equal measure.
In flower essence terms Comfrey holds a longstanding reputation as a master healer. It's also graced with a very grounding energetic signature that helps to slow or stir the mind to greater balance/full potency as need be. I look on its inclusion in this remedy as another source of psychic and emotional/mental hydration. Like drinking enough water and/or regular alternate nostril breathing/brain oxygenation. With an vibrational taproot that knows what it's about as a full-service healing agent.
Prunella is more commonly called Self-Heal but I'm partial to her formal name. I find this flower indispensable in my therapeutic skin oil infusion blends. The flowers also hold long healing associations with the bladder and kidney. I can attest to its restorative/constitutional property in maintaining strong kidney health following a terrible complicated summer-long experience with kidney stones and ever since. At my last physical my doctor declared me having kidney functionality of a 25 year old. I credit this flower in its dried hot infusion form for such a strong recovery. That and a 95% low oxalate diet.
Prunella flower essence supports self-accountability and diligent self-maintenance in all matters of healing and wellness. Have been gathering anecdotal evidence to suggest the remedy's popularity is cycling to strong interest levels because it supports authentic self care and the mindfulness that gives rise to all forms of functional and vibrant Care moving outward.
Monarda fistulosaBeloved to bumblebees, hawkmoths, and my neighbor's honey bees my garden's thriving multi-crown colony of this regional beauty was started from seed under lights in the basement. Last summer marked the first year I felt permission to gather flower heads for my family's herbal medicine chest. Two full vibrant heads offered themselves to the flower-guided blend bowl. Also prepared a shredded flower head tincture we all use for mouth rinsing and skin application for a stubborn crack or tiny abrasion that's slow to heal completely.
All Monarda/bee balm flowers hold a strong affinity for our brain/general body's electrical circuitry. It's rather similar to the affinity all Rose flowers have for the human central nervous system. Monarda fistulosa, in particular, speaks to our ability to assimilate and more effectively upgrade our nervous system's capacity to identify and filter the human landscape's noise-to-signal ratio as well as cosmic bombardment upticks. Such a filtering system is permeable without being friable. This is an invaluable differentiation to make and foster as the dreaded 2020 dystopian hellscape bingo aspects of larger (alleged ...) reality begin to pick up speed, volume, and fury.
Red Clover flowers became the center of my healing & wellness universe when perimenopause came calling with drenching night sweats and unsettling hot flashes. I also paid note - given the flower essence's primary healing & illumination property - to how abundantly red clover flowers bloomed and prospered in the spring/summer of 2002. Some friends confirmed and further said they'd noticed the uptick in the previous season - before the 9/11 attacks as well.
Red clover's vibrational signature shields our minds and subtle bodies from the ongoing erosive impact of other peoples' fear factor(s).
Posted at 07:11 AM in alchemical rituals, always choose joy, cohesion amidst chaos, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, flower medicine, gardening with purpose, how to make a flower essence, quantum healing, speaking of seeds, stand still with me, walk with me | Permalink | Comments (5)
Tags: co-creative gardening, DIY flower essences, vibrational healing
Early last week I took a two hour wild-cat strike from my life in order to visit the old friend above. This is the Shagbark Hickory tree I've made allusions to in other posts. It was an absolutely smooth & easy re-union of earthly souls and cosmic spirits. Caught my first glimpse from the road driving in - marveling that it's now a smooth aphalt road rather than roughshod mud and rocks. When the hickory's crown first crested into view I exhaled in relief. It was to be a ceremony of celebration rather than a letting-go/restrospective experience. I was the only apparent human in that part of the larger landscape. When I first emerged from the car a young red-tailed hawk fluttered silently from one bare tree to another. I had my phone out with the camera ready but the bird flew further afield. This left me free to call out to the Hickory as soon as I began crossing the road from the ever-so-famiilar spot where I'd parked.
A very big chunk of the Everything - all the different facets that have led me to approach the natural landscape as the inherent microcosmic framework of All That Is was learned, questioned, refined, and tirelessly developed by wandering through the forests and fields of conservation land where this particular tree is located. It's the first Tall One I approached with a consciously co-creative intention: Hello. I would like to be your friend.
When I last visited this piece of land, a few weeks after we closed on our Place here, I walked through many parts of it saying goodbye to 14 years worth of time and time immemorial itself in the scheme of all I had learned. I saved The Shagbark Hickory tree for last - telling it i was going to live in a place with many many hickories. All coming from a Grandfather much older than this tree's Time. I felt the tree in some undefinable way exalting in its reception of this news at a tree level - crown-to-crown. a human who Knew would now in turn be known by Elsewhere trees.
I walked three clockwise spirals around my friend's rootline(s) - talking aloud the entire time. Eventually I drew close enough for an embrace. My communion with the tree's spirit turned inward. I pressed my forehead breasts and belly against the tree's trunk telling it Everything there was to be told. About what it had come to mean to me over time. How often I dream or think about it. I recalled the delicate and swift adjustments this tree made within its own energy flow the nano-second its medicine spirit realized the force of its obviously joyous response to a far more tentative and fully-Unknowing embrace from me had been momentarily frightening enough to shrink back inside myself.
Those years ago, when that happened, the tree re-calibrated the velocity of its energy exchange with fluidity and grace. And although over time whenever I've recalled that moment I've felt a trace of shame that I didn't trust enough to just flow with it rather than shrinking back - as I stood once more with the actual tree I saw there was no shame. What the tree had taught me about its responsive intelligence level was a stunning gift to receive. It allowed me to approach each and every tree I've encountered since with reverence and an authentic sense of honor to know them.
I stood silently in an embrace that felt entirely mutual - making sure to express some pivotal experiences in which I felt myself in the tree's position with another human and did my best to find both grace and timeliness within my internalized and expressed re-adjustments. I said it had been life-changing for me in the way a tree's life-time drops many nuts to seed the life of many more trees. Together we vibrated. It was a similar harmonized frequency. I was there. With my friend. Both of us remembered and in various ways treasured one to the other.
(I thanked the tree, repeatedly, for believing in me enough to let me know its essential Nature.)
This is the strong and sturdy Approach I've used all the times I've hugged this tree. The close-up shows so well how this particular species gets its name. If you follow the trunk to its other side you see its wound. I will admit I was shocked to see how much has changed - how much further decay and erosion - in a single decade.
(if you follow that link you'll see what the top of the wound looked like about a dozen years ago.)
Now it reminds me of larger tree hollows where people hide - or meditate for shamanic effect. It looks like a kind of mantle a person could wear if they were strong enough to shoulder such magnificent weight & meaning. I took these pictures after realizing the tree seemed to be doing the same thing this much smaller survivor has done. The tree is winding into itself. What looks so much like UNwinding in the other tree might instead speak of a much larger tree than what the living trunk suggests. I'll have to look at the base of the other tree and see what that reveals, if anything.
do you see?
scroll down to next post to compare. Sure looks like the same botanical mechanism. In this case it is an internal unwinding that's hard to see because of the shadows on that day's occasion. I was amazed and astonished to make the connection. If there's anyone reading who'd be able to help me/the rest of us add to our knowledge base - such as what is this self-healing mechanism Called and how much of the tree's various layers are involved in getting the re-stabilization goal achieved - please share your learning!
Let's take a little walk together. You might remember all the leaves from a mid-autumn walk in many of the same places. As you can see they're still there settling further into the cellular world of the landscape's history. On warmer February days I'll begin to groom the frog pond's rockscape in line with late winter pruning tasks. But for now it's a symphony of decomposition.
Today was so warm that I expected to see a few oily black frog noses peeking through the slim passages of melted water. Perhaps they sensed how brief the pleasant weather was going to be. Am very thankful there was a break in the high to gale force winds of recent days so I had a chance for a lingering inspection tour before they descended again. Looks like this may be our third consecutive January thaw when there's very limited time to be outside enjoying the smell of rising earth and perhaps managing to knock off a few of the lingering items on the Didn't Get Done list.
The above stream views I habitually share are a familiar touchstone. But when I keep walking into the woods the view quickly shifts to offer a fresh perspective.
not pictured: a daunting amount of fresh tree-fall debris.
additional context: on our first evening of so-called 'ownership' I discovered the landscaped pond was full of frogs. J. discovered an enormous rock that grounds all energy and sight-lines in our backyard.
When we arrived the self-mulched area of the rock was dotted with Jack-in-the-Pulpits in full flower. The following year I learned that in earlier spring Canadian anemones ring the rock's entire border. Nearby is the first Hawthorne I noticed during my first full morning in residence. It took me two magical hide-and-seek years to find its Grandmother. Smaller rocks form stony breadcrumbs leading towards the heart of our little woods (pictured in the previous post with a look upwards at the heart's crown-land.
At some point the rock split. A few spindly maples set their roots just there but all have died and subsequently fallen since our arrival. Last year I used my grandmother's method of seeding woodland plants around our home's foundation to (hopefully) seed an additional colony of Jack in the Pulpits within the split. Time will tell if I was successful.