Tag Archives: garden

February Highs & Lows

It’s just past Imbolc, candlemas, Groundhog Day. The time we witches dwell on the quiet of winter, halfway to spring equinox, when the fields lie quiet beneath the frozen ground.

swirlingearthweatherMost of my life, in New York and Michigan, winter arrived and laid down it’s coating of snow and ice, transforming the world. This year in southern Maryland, Winter and Spring are doing a see-saw dance, from frosty to balmy as the temperature swings from the teens to the 70s.

My body can’t help but respond with joy to the warming temps. Physical happiness arises as I relax outside the bookstore, comfortable on a bench without my coat, absorbing the sunlight. The animals can’t either; I hear the hawks chittering their nesting talk to each other in a nearby tree.

But my mind knows it’s not right. There should be a thick blanket of white insulating the ground. The fallow season may feel harsh, but it’s been the rhythm of life for millennia. That wintry state has its own pleasures, after you’ve hauled the wood and stoked the fire.

vincent-van-gogh-kylva%cc%88ja%cc%88

So my unease isn’t just north or south, past or present, but Rural or Urban.

The rhythm of ancient life is recorded deep within me. I feel out-of-sorts when I can’t heat my home with fire, nor draw my water from nearby. Without a garden, fruit trees and wildlife I feel incomplete.

There’s a lovely song for this moment, when the seeds that feed us unfurl quietly below the ground, that I love. It’s a round:

Small brown seed
Deep dark earth 
Hungry for the light of fire
Driven by a deep desire
Grow, grow. (Repeat)

Reblog: What a Buck in the Marsh Taught me About Respect on the Morning After the Election

Dear readers: last night Stephen Colbert reminded me that all the beauty OF the world is still right here IN the world. In that spirit I’m re-blogging my neighbor’s beautiful post from today’s morning walk:

Earthy Blessings: What a Buck in the Marsh Taught Me about RESPECT on the Morning After the Election

I am fortunate that I have the flexibility to walk the woodlands and visit the marsh this morning. Where else would I go on such a troubling day? I went into this election, determined that no matter the outcome, I would continue to do my best to live as salt and light in a world that always needs both. As an unashamed follower of Christ, I have and continue to attempt to live in accordance with what matters to Him…treating people with love, treating the Creation with care, and recognizing my dependence on the Spirit to help me to know and name my blindness and shortcomings.
But this morning, I have to admit that that determination comes hard. I am chagrined to realize who made up the voting block that has elevated our president-elect. I am sickened with grief and foreboding for what this outcome will mean for the earth, for the Creation, its creatures and all the humans who depend upon it for life, as the party elected will not hesitate to exploit it full measure and never look back.

bringlightI was thinking these thoughts, and wondering whether I had anything at all to say in this space this morning, anything gleaned from the natural world around me, as I walked along the boardwalk, when I heard the crashing and say the dried cattails waving wildly. I had seen possible traces before of deer in the marsh, but was never quite sure. “How would they maneuver through the muck?”

But there he was….. Read the rest at Earthy Blessings

Monarch update

My neighbor, naturalist Patrice Gribble-Fetter, was on TV this week, sharing about the Monarch research and support going on at Old Maryland Farm.

The farm grows milkweed  expressly for the Monarchs. See how they tag the butterflies, and also film clips of the huge migrations to Mexico.

 

I also learned about the Baltimore Checkerspot, a threatened Maryland butterfly with similarly gorgeous coloration.

baltimorecheckerspots

baltimorecheckerspotchrysalisThey like stream fed wet meadows and are found in the western uplands of Maryland. They like to eat milkweed but their key plant is the white turtlehead, I flower I see in the wetlands of Southern Maryland. Alas these beauties aren’t thriving around here anymore. They have a really striking chrysalis.

The Monarch’s Incredible Journey

The iconic Monarch butterfly certainly made an impression on my young self. Late in August we’d be out floating on the pristine marsh rivers of Ontario, picnicking after a swim, and in the balmy afternoon breeze a flutter of orange would catch my eye, brilliant against the teal green water.

In those days I didn’t realize the Monarchs traveled from Canada to Mexico on their monumental migration. I was impressed enough it would head out across the 30-mile span of Lake St. Clair.

Visit the Forest Service page to get all the details about their incredible journey:

Eastern North American monarchs fly south using several flyways then merge into a single flyway in Central Texas. It is truly amazing that these monarchs know the way to the overwintering sites even though this migrating generation has never before been to Mexico!

Monarchs are Threatened

These beautiful and inspiring creatures are facing multiple survival challenges from commercial agriculture, deforestation and climate change.

What you can do:

•Create a habitat in your own garden and in your community. Plant milkweed (Asclepias L), the only species that Monarch caterpillars will cocoon upon. Invite and protect the flashy caterpillars and their homesand you can enjoy the Monarchs rebirth in late summer.

•Support the work of National Wildlife Federation and other organizations that have habitat projects, protecting and replacing lost habitat along highway corridors and agricultural lands.

Support World Wildlife’s efforts to preserve Mexican forests by supporting alternatives to clear cut lumbering.

DO NOT USE PESTICIDES

Please do not use pesticides or herbicides in your garden or lawn. These chemicals have a devastating effect on not only monarchs but all pollinators, the creatures that make our food grow. For assistance with organic gardening practises click HERE.

And, tell me your Monarch stories. I’m sure you’ve got some!

Who Lives Among the Flowers?

Photo-blogging the summer of 2014

Last weekend I took photos of the magnolia seed pods and sent them to a friend, who exclaimed: “what an awesome praying mantis!”

I hadn’t even noticed the creature when I clicked the shutter. So, I thought, how many photos do I have with accidental critters in them? A few. But if I expand the concept, I have a great many images of life among the flowers.

Most, but not all, of these images have animals among the blossoms. Human animals included. In a few, like the first, the wildlife is invisible. It’s been a colorful year!

IMG_2485

Fairy house on Capitol Hill

LilyLaikaAzaleaPoodles Lily & Laika in Congressional Cemetery

IMG_3597Compulsive Gardener Glee

IMG_2757 Jose visits from the Left Coast

IMG_2773 Lynn and her lovely daughters, plus Hunter

IMG_2948Laurels blooming on NoName Road

IMG_2708Freya

IMG_3602Pollinators at work

IMG_3274Blogger in Bliss

IMG_3387 Silver-bordered Fritellary on Echinacia

IMG_3348  Boats & Day Lilies

IMG_3217 Zebra Swallowtail on Buttonbush

IMG_3207Carol sunning

IMG_3447Lotus in the Mattawoman, flood tide. Who swims below?

IMG_3416Forest spinner

IMG_3614Southern Magnolia pods and mantis

A Post for Peace – please spread it around

Yesterday morning a Facebook friend posted this, and I thought this sentiment should spread far and wide, so I am attempting to make it a meme.
Please help me sent these thoughts across the multiverse. Reblog, rewrite, use the Fairy Gardens or add your own image of peace and healing, and please, please invite others to share.
I’m tempted to say something about Gaza, the children at the Mexican border, Ukraine/Russia, Ebola. No matter my opinion or point of view, it would only add to the rancor, bitterness and outrage that’s swirling, swirling. What a tangle. I will not contribute to the toxic energy.No. Instead of a rant, here are some lovely fairy gardens made with broken pots. That’s the best I can do.
May the situations at hand unwind without spinning out of control. Please. Thank you.
Please reblog and share everywhere. Have a peaceful day. love, Patrise

Don’t Blame Eve, or the Snake

From the movie Noah comes this retelling of the Genesis creation story, which warms my earth-loving feminist heart, as it doesn’t demonize either the Serpent or the Woman. What is forbidden is the Knowledge of Evil, there’s no telling the gender of the fruit-picker. But those who carry out the murder of their brothers appear to be not-women.

I doubt neither Darren Aronofsky or I really seek to blame men for violence, but for me, it’s important lift the burden of sin off of our foremother Eve.

In the narrative of the film, the snake’s skin becomes a sacred symbol of inherited wisdom.  One critical Christian web site called it ‘the skin of satan.’ Noah uses the skin in his son’s initiation, when he tells him the creation story. He wraps the skin around his arm and it merges with him, turning to a spiral energy pattern that looks an awful lot like DNA.

In the Wiccan philosophy, the Serpent is a wise and simple creature, one that sheds her skin when it is outgrown, and begins again. The snake biting its tail, the Ouroborus, is an ancient symbol of infinity and the cycle of life.

So I for one was thrilled to see a version of the story that didn’t blame the woman or the snake.

Goddess Rising

Northern Hemi dwellers, our Summer Solstice approaches and the land is bursting forth in abundant green. I borrowed today’s title from a lovely blog I follow called Bealtaine Cottage, a permaculture garden and writer’s haven in Ireland, not too far from Sligo in N. Roscommon.

I enjoy this blog for the deep reverence for living systems author Colette O’Neill infuses her writing and images with. The photo at right lures you into summer’s cauldron, the luminous pathway.

I’m been busy falling in love with my own garden again. After taking a few years off I was wooed back to the Community Garden and I’ve partnered with my creative friend Glee (yes, her real name!) Together we are enjoying the fits and starts of our tiny farmette.

Right now that means we eat a lot of leaves. Radishes, and leaves, leaves leaves! Spinach, kale, lettuces, chard, tat soi, arugula, garlic chives, basil, oregano, parsley, mint, cabbage and beet greens.

Salad greens, stir fry greens garlicky greens & rice, and Green Goddess salad dressing in a hundred variations. Check out the recipe, below.

Our little plot has recently gone through a green explosion. Early last week the beets I thinned were lush greens with slender deep red roots. By weeks end they had fat juicy red marbles when I pulled them.

Two pics below show you the garden in mid may and mid June, such a difference!

gardenJune
Farmer Glee in May, left. Farmer Patrise in June, left. Those are soon to be Stargazer Lilies in the foreground.

 Green Goddess Salad Dressing

also good on seafood, tacos, just about anything but ice cream!

BASIC RECIPE:

  1. fill a 1 cup mason jar with fresh green herbs. parsley + scallion is a good basic combo, but any herbs will work
  2. add 1/8 c olive oil
  3. 1/8 c rice vinegar (seasoned)
  4. salt, pepper
  5. attach blender blade and ring to jar, invert and blend until smooth.

VARIATION: LEMON SESAME

  1. fill a 1 cup mason jar with fresh parsley, chives or scallions, mint
  2. use tahini instead of olive oil
  3. use lemon juice instead of vinegar
  4. add sesame seeds for an accent (optional)
  5. salt, pepper
  6. blend

VARIATION: DIJON VINAIGRETTE

  1. fill a 1 cup mason jar with fresh green herbs. parsley, thyme, chervil, chives, basil, oregano, sage,
  2. add 1/8 c olive oil
  3. use balsamic vinegar
  4. add 1 T heaping Dijon mustard
  5. add 2 cloves fresh garlic
  6. salt, pepper, 1 tsp sugar or honey
  7. attach blender blade and ring to jar, invert and blend until smooth.

VARIATION: YOGURT DILL

  1. fill a 1 cup mason jar with parsley, dill, scallion or chives, mint
  2. add 1/8 c olive oil
  3. lemon juice
  4. 2 heaping T yogurt
  5. salt, pepper, 1 tsp sugar or honey
  6. attach blender blade and ring to jar, invert and blend until smooth.