Life and Gardening

Life and Gardening. Can the two be separated?

Morning Glory Invasion2

Garden Burnout, Letting Go, and Grasping the Now

What happens if at the height of harvest, you just leave the garden to fend for itself? Garden burnout – and overwhelm with life, politics, and everything else – is a real thing. Put down the to-do lists. Let it go. Escape to wild places. Live in the Now. Return renewed. It is possible.

Barefoot in the garden

30 Things that Make Me Happy

30 Things that Make Me Happy – Because we need happy things right now more than ever… so – coming to all of us in the northern hemisphere – here are some sure signs of spring!

Barkley on hill in sunshine - Sense of Place

Sense of Place

My dog, Barkley, taught me about having a sense of place. This happens, he said, when we develop a sense of belonging; it becomes an extension of ourselves. When we connect, we care; when we care, we protect; when we protect, we try to heal, nourish, and help grow. It becomes our personal truth.

Backyard-handstand

Garden Overwhelm, Equinox, & Finding Balance

If you are like me and some 19 million other people out there (or more), you might be experiencing Garden Overwhelm. This time of year when night equals day (more or less) is a good time to think about our own equilibrium. This post explores how to get back on track, and when all else fails, your dog just might have the answers. Happy Autumn Equinox!

Daffodils

Spring Blossoms Return! Yay!

Such a busy time of year! Sometimes, though, we need to set aside our To-Do lists and take a moment to breathe in the air of spring. Miracles all around us! I just wanted to share a few photos of some of the spectacular flowers blooming right now. SO gorgeous! So very much appreciated after the deep snows of this last winter! Take a quick look, and then go out in your own backyard and take a moment to wander and linger.

Green frog on a grape leaf

Garden Chaos – The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story… the late summer garden has turned out nothing like what I envisioned in the spring, but in some respects, is so much more. It’s hard not to get discouraged when once again, I’ve truly lost the battle against grass, thistle, and bindweed. Garden chaos rules, but neatness and control are so overrated, are they not? Here were my “Ah ha!” moments.

Indian Plum

On the Wings of March

A garden walk in early March
We find on paths once dry and parched,
Now soaked; the skies have opened up
And pooled in leaves like a tiny cup,
Soft sponges ‘neath the rain of trees
That drip long after a passing breeze
Has chased the clouds on over.
Drip, drip, drip....Read More »On the Wings of March

a cup of herbal tea

The Power of Tea: Herbs for Coping with Grief and Hard Times

  • by

There are times in your life when you are blindsided by events that turn everything upside down and inside out. The path forward is not at all clear; the only thing you know is that things will never be the same. This post is about how a cup of herbal tea can help us cope with grief, get some rest when we need it most, boost our immune systems when we are most vulnerable, and get ourselves recentered. We dedicate this post to the memory of our good friend, Andy, who was hit by a drunk driver. Please don’t drink and drive.

Travels in Ecuador

We did something drastic this February to escape those drizzly grey days so typical in the Pacific Northwest: we ran away to Ecuador. Some might say that was a bit extreme…and indeed it was, in every way imaginable.

Why Ecuador? For the ecological diversity, the culture, the climate, the coffee, the chocolate… to name a few good reasons.Read More »Travels in Ecuador

Victory Gardens for Change

The fact is, the greatest changes come from people, not from government. Now is the time to bring back the Victory Gardens of yesteryear. We can change the world, one garden at a time — together.

Garden Journal – Do You Have One? How to Make One – and Why?

One of my main goals for the garden this year is to do a better job of tracking things. This post is about ideas for a garden journal, and I would be very interested in hearing from my readers as to what works for them.

It seems that garden journals fall into two categories: those that are more like Planners and serve as guidelines, schedules, and a means of recording results for production gardens and small farms – and those that are more like Art Journals that document not only observations but also a spiritual journey, sometimes with a bit of flair and whimsy thrown in for good measure.

In the past, I have been on the practical, production side of things – make that, borderline fanatic about recording stats on the garlic crops, but I have always fallen short on keeping track of other things. This year, I’d like to try something different and make something that will be fun to look back on.

Permaculture Resolutions (and Where Do We Go from Here?)

  • by

Happy New Year from Barbolian Fields! We live in “interesting times.” This year, we are incorporating Holmgren’s Permaculture Princples into our New Year’s Resolutions. Our goals, in general, focus on reaching out, buying local, being prepared for uncertainty, optimizing our backyard ecosystems, and keeping things in balance by also taking time to enjoy life. We hope you will join us in making a difference!

Spring Equinox – a Discovery of Miracles!

Dandelions shine like the sun!

Dandelions shine like the sun!

It is, at long last, the Spring Equinox. I love this time of year when each new bud is a discovery.

Cornelian and Nanking cherries, forsythia, daffodils, nettles and purple deadnettles, the first dandelions…

It seems that only yesterday, it was still quite wintery, and on a blustery day, I was picking the sticky cottonwood buds from the nubbly branches that break off in the wind, littering the forest floor, just begging someone to come along and recognize their significance.Read More »Spring Equinox – a Discovery of Miracles!

willow winter

Fruits of December

  • by

Why isn’t the Winter Solstice the beginning of the New Year? Where are the birds & the bees? How many different fruits can we find in the garden in mid-December? Pondering these questions and more…and wishing everyone a season of light and hope!

It’s Your Day

  • by

"It's Your Day" Early December already! I realize I have not posted anything on here since May, and the picture of those creepy-crawly caterpillars greeting me every time I went to the blog site was enough to make me turn away. I was starting to feel guilty. I had let down “my people.” I watched the site visit statistics drop precipitously.Read More »It’s Your Day

Earth Day: Plant Something for the Bees!

  • by
Earth Day Beach Cleanup

Beach cleanup on an earlier Earth Day.

Earth Day! Such an opportunity to do something positive for our planet! Whether you recycle, upcycle, bicycle, reduce your footprint, make a footprint, go for a simple walk, plant a tree – so much we can do to celebrate another day of living on this incredible planet that supports life as we know it.

Sometimes I just have to step back in amazement that any of this exists at all!Read More »Earth Day: Plant Something for the Bees!

Identity Crisis 101: The Niche-Diversity-Resiliency Equation

  • by

I’d like to share a little identity crisis I went through recently that ended up being quite useful.

It started in mid-January when I signed up for a booth of my very own at the Soroptimist Gala Garden Event.  It was the first time I had ever done such a thing, and it was one of those after-the-fact flashes:  “OMG – what have I done?” Nothing like laying out cold hard cash to make you feel committed!Read More »Identity Crisis 101: The Niche-Diversity-Resiliency Equation

Spring Equinox: A Tipping Point

  • by

Honeybee on CrocusAhhh! At last! Whether it looks like it outside or not, we are assured that warmth is on its way! We have reached that tipping point: the day of the Vernal Equinox – when day and night are held in equilibrium. Symbolically, it provides a moment to think about balance in our own lives, too – and what we might do to bring tipping scales back into alignment.

Not to worry – I won’t delve deeply into the woo-woo here. Read More »Spring Equinox: A Tipping Point

Solstice, Suntracks, Supermoons, and a Happy New Year!

  • by

Full Moon Rise
Dear Friends,

I thought I might write you all sooner. At the time of the last full moon of the year, for example, would have been appropriate, but the great white orb managed to boldly rise in the cold night sky and then set in quiet serenity the following morning without any website fanfare on my part (although I admit to a certain amount of cavorting in song and celebration, which is usually what happens when I whip out my harmonicas under a full moon….). (Not to draw correlations, of course.)Read More »Solstice, Suntracks, Supermoons, and a Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving Connections

  • by

sunchokesThe end of November! How did this happen?  It appears that we were so busy during the flurry of harvest activities and making sure things were getting tucked in before the coming chill, we forgot to look up! The days are not as long, you know; they are gone before you know it! We hardly noticed just how swiftly one turned into another while the sun skated low across the sky. What happened to high noon?Read More »Thanksgiving Connections

Garlic for Barter and Trade

  • by

What do 3 dozen eggs, 3 bottles of honey, and a beautiful handcrafted dish have to do with garlic?

In trade for garlic: pottery, honey, eggs

In trade for garlic: pottery, honey, eggs. Yes! We love all these things!

Barter Fare!

This picture is of my three most recent trades: a pottery dish made by Linda R. Hughes, three bottles of raw, unheated honey, and 3 dozen fresh eggs. Quite an assortment! And each one special in its own way.Read More »Garlic for Barter and Trade

Willow room in spring

A Quiet Place for Peace

  • by

The Willow Room in spring takes on a life of its own. Individually, the reeds are supple. They bend with the forces that shape them. Together, however, they are strong – forever interlocked. Recent events in Boston remind us how together we are stronger, and, too, how each of us needs an inner garden sanctuary in which to find peace and make sense of this world.

Garden Resolutions, Goals, and To-Dos for 2013

  • by

Personally, I think New Year’s resolutions are over-rated and goal-setting can be counterproductive. A To-Do list, though, Yes! Break it down into action items! Here’s what’s in store for the garden!

A Message for Peace

I had to throw out my words today about crazy holiday gift ideas. The recent news of innocent children slain in Newtown make us all question who we, as a human race, have become. Maybe it’s time to get back to the garden…

The Willow Room Dance

Welcome to my secret garden: the Willow Room. It didn’t start out as much – just a few twigs; but it has transformed into something truly magnificent! A place to dance and celebrate autumn!

Permaculture by Nature

Before we coined the word, “Permaculture,” Nature was already perfecting it on her own. Here, Paul Gautschi describes his methods of mimicking nature by applying mulch in his garden. The results? Absolutely amazing! His approach has recently been featured in a film, “Back to Eden.” Happy International Permaculture Day!

Is Your Garden Boring? (The Food-Forest Solution)

  • by

Has winter exposed your garden as a bunch of boring rectangles and squares? Do you wish it more replicated real life, running in circles? There is help for people like us. Work WITH nature to transform your labor-intensive squares into a self-supporting food forest.

A Case of March Madness

Winter doldrums got you down? Beware of March Madness – when everything goes a little crazy – and not just the weather and the weeds. Indulge your compulsion to “buy more plants.” They are good for you.

First Sprouts of Garlic!

Mid-February and the garlic is UP! Tallest in the patch is the Chinese Pink, a Turban variety, but all varieties are making a showing. These hardy little bulbs can handle the rough weather ahead. Just be careful with the mulch!

Death by Garlic, Revived by Kale

  • by

February is a weird month – we get a little bit of everything in the weather department. We do a lot of fantasizing through seed catalogs and are anxious to get our hands back in the dirt. When the winter blues & blahs get you down, our latest kale recipe, “Death by Garlic, Revived by Kale,” is sure to bring you around.

How to Prune an Old Apple Tree

  • by

Got pruning phobia? Never fear. This 5-step approach to fruit tree pruning will help you get those old apple trees back into shape in no time! (Well, maybe in a few years, anyway.)

Reflections, Resolutions, and to All a Good Night

Do you make garden resolutions? I’m going to keep it simple in 2012 – going to make it a year to slow down, linger awhile, and smell the flowers. A garden teaches us so much if we just stop, look, and listen.

Handmade Christmas Gift Strategy

Ok. We’re in countdown-to-Christmas mode. We love the idea of handmade gifts, but finding time to make them is another matter. Here’s a strategy on how to manage your time and achieve your wildest dreams. Ok, maybe not that exactly.

Thank You, Good Earth

Hope your Thanksgiving was full of giving thanks. A few thoughts on gratitude, abundance, and how fortunate we are. Thank you, readers, for following my posts!

What to Do with a Phat Jack

  • by

Did you grow a giant pumpkin this year and are now wondering what to do with it? We’ve got some ideas…

A Somewhat Unconventional Garlic Garden

I tried a little unconventional approach to this year’s garlic garden. I built the beds in a series of circles around nitrogen-fixing shrubs and a meandering form that looks a lot like my life – er, I mean, a whirligig. Whatever. I was lost.

Self-Imposed Limitations, Sustainability, and Creatively Breaking Rules

I’ve hit a turning point. Actually, several of them. In the process, I’ve been examining my self-imposed limitations, my concept of sustainability, and why now is the best time to break a few rules. Another lengthy psycho-analysis post of how our gardens teach us much about life and visa versa – and what to do about it.