Summer Slow Down

Hope you are all relaxing and enjoying your summer. A time to stop, reflect and relax!

I have created a big slow down for myself by falling and braking my left wrist (I am left handed).

So there is:

no gardening

no lifting

no to doing anything that vibrates – mowing, vacuuming

no getting the cast wet

Oh I could go on but what fun is that?!

So I Can:

type one handed

read books

talk to friends and family

go for short slow walks

watch as my basement gets torn apart and redone

As I say a quiet slow summer!!!!

(shhhh – don’t tell anyone but I am still gardening carefully with one hand. Those weeds need pulling and veggies need picking and my soul needs to feel the earth through my fingers!)

Enjoy your summer whatever you are doing!

Side note: I will mostly likely not be posting until mid to late August when I am two handed again! So see you as fall creeps in!

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History lessons, summer heat and family love!

It is not yet mid June. In Minnesota June is usually a month of mixed weather – warm days and cool nights. I remember when I was young I always brought a sweater along because the nights turned chilly. Now in 2021 June has lost its cool nights and the warm days have moved to hot.

We are currently, like much of the nation, in a heat wave. The early morning is mid to high 70’s and we climb to the upper 80’s by 10 am and the upper 90’s to 100 but mid afternoon. As a gardener I am struggling. The spring was cool and my plants stayed small. I have a group of them there are still in little cups waiting to be planted.

Last week I was ready and then the weather turned. There is no planting small veggie plants in 100 degree sun. They will fry! So they sit on my deck being moved in and out of sun, being watered twice a day in hopes of keeping them alive. I have pots of perennials waiting to go in the ground that are hidden under bushes to keep them away from the burning sun.

I am up early like my neighbors watering garden and veggie beds and knowing I now need to begin watering the back gardens as well. This heat and need for so much water takes me back to the book I just finished called The Four Winds. (Kristen Hannah, 2021) It tells the story of the dust bowl and the lives of a family fighting to survive in the depression. It is history our history!

A story of sadness, greed and love. A story that reminds us that we need to look to the forces of nature. We need to find ways to understand the delicate balance that nature keeps between animals, plants and the environment in general. We need to listen to the change that is happening in our world. The lesson’s of greed, over production, destruction are clear in our history if we are willing to stop and look.

So as I a struggle with the heat and environmental change I still feel blessed in that I have water to keep the gardens going for now. I have a cool house to retreat to or a Grandson that drags me into the splashing water of a kiddy pool. I have family that are here for a short time to tell stories, play and enjoy the care of each other after a long and struggling year of the pandemic.

The summer stretches before us – hot and sunny but with love, care and joyful times with family. Even in the heat there is joy!

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Flexibility is the Key

Wild Geranium

It is the last few days of May and the spring gardens are still just getting planted here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I thought years ago as I retired “oh this will be great, I will have well weeded flower beds, my veggies will get planted early or at least on time. I will write and draw daily.” It all sounded so idealistic.

Now there is the reality. Between to cold weather this spring, late May rains and one young grandson my gardens are not well weeded. The veggies are getting in late so who knows if I will get any food from the garden this year. The drawing and writing – hmm what does a pencil look like, paper isn’t that the thing you crumble and tear and throw around the living room??

I can tell you about everyone else’s garden in the neighborhood since daily wagon rides take us past many well weeded and planted yards.

I think I am learning (once again) that long range plans always need to be thought about with a goal of being flexible and a willingness to let go. Maybe even day to day plans need that flexible thinking as well. I know that in my life people, and health come first so when a grandchild appears or my own grown children call I am willing to let go of pristine gardens to be of help and to be with them. The weather just means being flexible at all times. Who can control things with climate change and the usual weather silliness of spring.

Balloon flower plant
Clematis bud

So that said – the flower gardens are looking green and lush after a few days of rain. They are moving from spring tulips and lilacs to the summer flowers. The peonies are ready to bloom, and everything else is just green green until the summer heat hits. There are poppies starting to grow, the ballon flowers are about ankle high, the coneflowers are just an inch or two behind them. The clematis is setting buds now so we will have blooms in another week or so.

The veggie garden looks more like late April – the lettuce and spinach are growing but have tiny leaves way to early for picking for a summer salad. The radishes are up and the young tomato plants are now in. The pepper plants are still in small pots on my deck waiting for their time to plant.The basil (reseeded twice) is now finally looking like a real plant. It might actually get planted this next week. I did cheat and bought a full size basil plant at Trader Joes just so we could have a bit of basil before late June. My spring peas are not even tall enough to reach the string set up for vining.

Basil growing

The word of the day is flexible! Flexible in planning when you can garden. flexible in setting goals and expectations. Life seems to find its own way. We may be able to push it in one direction or another but I have decided we are really not totally in charge. The sooner I can except that the more relaxed I can be about my weedy spring garden!

Here is to summer and letting things grow! Plus lots of wagon rides!

On our way from from the park – hoping to beat the rain! Note the rock and pinecone held tightly in his hand. He is a nature boy!

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Tuesday writing – Where is “me”?

It is now 8:30 am and Little Man will be tumbling through the front door and the day will be gone. There will be giggles, lots of walking, rock collecting and hopefully a nap. Those are the things I do with joy for my grandson. I spend each weekday fulling engaged with him. When evening comes I am tired so a bit of reading happens, no real writing, no drawing or painting, no real gardening.

It has got me thinking about what do I do for me. Even saying those words makes me cringe. Doing for me sounds selfish! Wanting to take time for me sounds like I don’t care about others.

I was raised to think about others first. “How can you help??” is what rings in my ears. So I jump right in – even get excited when I see there is a small way to help someone. Later I realize I have once again given away the small time I have to do something I personally want to do. It is hard for me to book an hour and a half yoga session each week because then I won’t be open for others that might need something. Even though I really need the yoga.

It has even gotten to the point that when I put a call out for names of local companies or individuals who could help with some heavy work in my garden (arthritis is making this work harder as I age). I had a young friend volunteer to come help so she could learn more about gardening. I was so excited to have her join me but the first thing I did was turn into teacher mode. What does she need or want to learn? What plants can I divide to help her start her new garden? I my mind this became all about her and I lost track of that fact that I was doing this for me. I was doing this to help get my garden in shape not to teach someone else. Once again I lost track of me and my needs.

It does not have to be one or the other – in the gardening case I think both can happen. It is just I am the one who lets things move or actually pushes things into a helping others mode.

I did this earlier in the gardening season as well when friend who moved out of town wanted some of the plants in my the garden that she was now missing in her new garden. We were going to work together to dig up things I thought needed dividing or moving. She would get the extras and I would get some things cleaned up and moved with a bit of help. The help was the part I needed. But as things got rolling this spring between cold and wet weather my friend did not make it in. I ended up digging up things for her and bringing them out to her when we visited. I also ended up helping her plant them. Here is the thing – I really enjoyed sharing the plants. I enjoyed helping find new places for them and planting and chatting with a friend. She was not insisting I do this. All was good but when I stepped back a few days later – there it was again. I was ready to help and did so with grace and fun but – my garden did not get thinned as I had thought. I did not get the help I thought I was going to have in digging up plants. So my garden sits as it was – a few plants lightly thinned but no real change.

In both of these garden situations it was not the fault of the other person – it was I who jumped forward to help. A nice trait to have, I know, but each time I lose track of what I originally thought was going to be helpful to others and to myself. Funny how that works!

While these thoughts have been bubbling up in my head I have seen more and more books or blog posts about doing for your self. They are about thinking about your personal needs. I follow Isolation Journals by Suleika Jaouad and on Mother’s Day she reposted a piece on Motherhood by Rebecca Solnit.

The writing prompt was – What mothered and mothers you? How do you mother yourself? How do you celebrate and recognize what cares for you and takes care of you, and what you care for in return?

I had copied this into my personal journal. I had cut and pasted it into my notes app to be sure to respond to it. Today I went back to both of those to find I have not written about it. I find it hard to know what I really do to support myself. What does self care look like for me? I can name things I want to do but they always get pushed aside. I let them get pushed aside. I am uncomfortable with people serving me or helping me. Example: Mothers Day they had to push me out of the kitchen because I was doing the dishes. Geez – I couldn’t even let go of that!

On Mondays at 10:00 am there is a one hour draw with Lara Gastinger on Instagram. I would love to listen and draw with every Monday. My husband has said he will take Little Man during that time but each Monday I seem to give that time away so no drawing or listening for me.

What is it about woman or me that makes it hard to accept help or allow others to do for us so we can step back and enjoy or nurture ourselves? It is not about the others – they have said they would help, or they have stepped back to help themselves and I fill the gap by helping them as well. They have realized their own needs and have gone about seeking out their own help. So how do I/ we find a balance. How do we get to where you can help others but also supporting our own needs and desires?

In all the years of teaching and doing I feel like a lost “me”? It is not a crisis and I am not depressed about it. I just have realized I need to learn to wait a while before I say yes to things. I need to think through how does an activity help them and me. Is this request something I really want to do? I am learning that it is ok to say no and it is ok to say I need or want help.

I also am learning that help can also just to be given a bit of time. Open time to do whatever you wish -a time that is not mid to late evening when you are already tired and ready to sleep.

So here is my writing prompt once again – What do I (you) do to support my(your) self? How do I mother myself?

Goal today is to find time to actually write in my personal journal an answer to this prompt. Then list a few steps to see how I can make this really happen.

Are you in need of personal care from and for yourself? What do you do to support yourself in these wild and busy days?

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Time Heals – slowly

Two years ago I wrote a post in early May. It was just before Mother’s Day and I was struggling with the worries and fears for my daughter and her partner. We were excited and fearful all in one breath. Each breath needed to be pushed forward to keep us going – to keep us from going under.

Here is how that post started:

“There have been so many disappointments for this young family – no breastfeeding, no working (she is a power house teacher who is missing her classroom at the end of a school year), no gardening (no hands in the soil due to chemo and no resistance to germs and bacteria), no hair, loss of salary, loss of energy, no working with the natural birth folks (everything now has medical in front of it with a big C).  We have not even gone to the discussion of surgery and long term medication to be sure this does not return. The no’s and negatives could take over if you let them.”

That Mother’s Day we shared with “happy” voices and honoring the soon to be Mother. We pushed the worries and fears and anger and confusion out of you heads for a few hours. We did what families do we gathered, we ate and we looked forward.

Now two years later – this family has weathered cancer, chemo, a pandemic, the racial riots in our city last summer, as well as emotional concerns from heath issue of other family members. It has been a rocking and rolling two years. There have been a few scares along the way but each time they/we have surfaced to find we have weathered each one.

So on Sunday we gathered – five of us sitting at our dinning room table in the late afternoon sun. Two faces joining us from New York on FaceTime. We eat, laughed and followed the joyous movements and chatting of a 23 month old. Through all the trauma and worry both Mom and Baby have come out on top.

There is a young boy running around letting us know what he wants, what he likes and how much he loves everyone. There is nothing like a little one saying “love you Gramma Grampa”.

The human body and soul are resilient. It is not to say that we do not struggle or that all the trauma is gone. We all still jump when a phone call comes that is not expected. We all still worry deep inside wondering will that cancer return. (It will be years before we really know if she is cancer free – this is how cancer goes but for this moment in time she is.) There is counseling to help deal with the worst of things. There is the talking honestly about what has happened. There is the just being there when anyone needs something.

The “just being there” is what keeps us as humans sane both mentally and physically health. The pandemic has helped teach all of us that lesson over and over again. It is not the big things but the little day to day things. The extra bar of chocolate, knowing that orange flowers over pink will bring a smile, giving the right books or making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or just making space for people to sit and talk about anything.

When people ask did you have a good Mother’s Day – the answer is an overwhelming YES. “Oh – what did you do?” “Nothing and everything”, I say. I putts in the garden, I read and napped and then share a Happy Hour/ easy dinner with my kids and their families. We were just together. No big meal, no big discussions or talks. We laughed, following Little Man around with the computer so the New York crew could see him. We had wine or beer, cheese, veggies and dip, chocolate and rhubarb pie with “ice ceam”, as Little Man says. We gave each other hugs. We were family! Just family together!

My kids (that includes their partners for I now consider them my kids) are my Heroes! I learn so much from them, I admire all they have done and have overcome. I love that they will just come and be with us.

I know there will be bumps in the road – we all know life gives us ups and downs but for now we are on a up and I will enjoy every last minute of it.

Here is to family – to gatherings, to just being there for each other!

Here is wishing you also had a good weekend sharing time with family or friends. Life is too too short to not have people to just be with.

Little Man (almost 2)
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It is the little things – look, listen and really see

Crab Apple Tree

I am finding that the big things in nature are great but if you are forced to slow down and look at the little things the world becomes amazing. We are all wandering around looking at the trees flowering – the whole big tree. We see the large tulip bed full of colorful flowers and are wowed but if you stop and look at just one tulip – look inside to see what is going on in that plant the world changes. If you move in close to the tree and check out just one flower on the branch it is a different story all together.

Crab Apple Blossom

This spring has been a cold one with lots of wind which has slowing the spring blooming season. The plants have been slowly opening and holding their color and blooms for a week or two.

The wind has added to my stopping to look and see. There is a quick whiff of a flower the wind sends my way and makes me turn and look. The colors pull me in and make me stop. Then there is Little Man. At 23 months he forces me to walk slowly and to explore every crack in the sidewalk, every flower, rock, stick and pinecone.

Little Man has gained a great deal of energy over the last few months and this Grandma is always looking for ways to use up some of that energy so I can keep up with him. Instead of the wagon rides we walk the block to explore. Spring is a perfect time to do this.

Found Stones

Energy he has but when walking outside he uses his to focus on what is in front of him and he slows down naturally to explore. Also, when you are only about hip high you see the world from a different view point. The sticks and rocks, the underside of bushes and the insides of flowers are at eye level. They become the focus of your world.

His wind chime made with found pine cones and sticks

We spend a great deal of time listening as well. He is fascinated with sound right now. I know it is part of this developmental stage. (He is heavy into language and new words – big words like Hibiscus). As we walk we listen for wind chimes (wind chimeees as he calls them). He stops when a bird calls or a plane flies over head. He listens for the wind in the trees or bushes. I often find him pointing to his ear and standing quietly. He is telling me to listen – Do you hear?

This spring is about the little things. The sights, sounds, colors and smells of the world around us. We spend most of our time just here in the neighborhood. I keep thinking we need to go to the woods, to a new park, some big and fancy place. Then we head out the door and he is completely engaged in the few houses and gardens up and down our block. The park at the end of our street with large “pineconie” trees (otherwise known as evergreen trees/ pine trees) is always a place to explore. Each day something new catches his eye. Today we explored Dandelions at the park, and Violets in the back gardens of our yard.

I am grateful for these days of looking and really seeing the world around me. It is a joy to hear, see and feel the world through the eyes of children. If you don’t have a little one near that you can borrow and take a walk with then try just sitting close to a flower bed or a blooming tree for a few minutes each day (rain or shine.)

It will change your world!

Little Man with another wind chime

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Garden Season ?????

We are a month into garden season here in Minnesota. Maybe?!! March is really to cold and often snowy so garden clean up and planting are a no go. There is the starting of some plants inside under grow lights or for some there is the art of winter sowing (using gallon plastic milk containers cut in half, planted, and nestled into the snow waiting for the warmth of late winter sun to create a mini greenhouse for them. Great fun, but I have never gotten it to work and we don’t drink milk at my house so I am always chasing after friends for containers.) But really it is best to find good gardening magazines or books to keep reading and planning. The garden season is not open yet.

April is when we think the garden season really opens! Yes, now we are ready. The trees are showing signs of waking up, the snow is gone and grass is finding ways to turn green. All well and good but …

That should be a BIG BUT because this year winter has choose to hang on. Oh, we have had days that we see the sun and the temperature has reached 70 but they have been few and far between. This has been a month of showers. I know April showers bring May flowers but these showers are mixed with snow. The days are cloudy, windy, damp and chilly.

The flowers we placed in pots by the front door for spring color are being dragged into the garage at night for fear of freezing – out again in the late morning and in again each night. The daffodils, bless their hearts, are blooming and hanging in there. They like the cool weather. The tulips are up with buds but are refusing to open up to full color due to the dark cold days. Trees are very slowly trying to leaf out as well as bushes. Some of the blooming trees are in mid bloom and just hanging in there.

As to clean up in the yard – about half of it is done. The larger beds in the back gardens are wet full of leaves and last years plants. Every day I think yes, now – then it rains or snows or my grandson is here ready to eat rocks and leaves or he is also great at pulling up anything green, which means the plants I am hoping will grow. I am working on teaching him to pull Cheeping Charlie but he has no interest in that plant. Geez, he is 1 and 1/2 can’t he follow a few simple directions – “pull that vining plant with the small purple flowers and be sure to pull the whole vine” I know he knows the color purple due to a black eye his mother had in March due to a fall on ice. Oh, well maybe next year at 2 and 1/2 he will be of more help with the Creeping Charlie.

Then there is the indoor seedlings that I start each year. The tomatoes, peppers, basil and a few herbs. I was excited that at least if I am not gardening outside in April I have my indoor plants to make me happy. Well, not! I planted African Flack Daisy’s early and Leeks. They are doing well – except I can’t image the tiny thin thin leeks will every be big enough to be called a leek and be cut up for soup. Currently after a month of growing they are thinner that beginning chives.

Then we have the tomatoes and pepper and basil. The main stay of my summer veggie garden. The tomatoes are growing oh so slowly – and a few varieties have chosen to not come up at all. I have replanted twice. The peppers – nope – I planted 18 small cells with multiple seeds in each cell I should have way over 36 pepper plants starting. I have two! TWO – just two! And then there is the basil, of which there are four different varieties. A few of each variety have chose to pop their heads up but I have five people thinking they are all getting some of the 36 or more of those plants as well. I have also re planted those.

Today I took stock of the situation. Here is what I am guessing is going on –

1. My grow lights decided to burn out mid way into the tomato planting so they were all functioning under poor light. (that has been taken care of)

2. Then I used a new seed starting mix this year. It looked great but now I am wondering if that is part of the issue. So – I changed out the soil mixture and re potted the pepper seeds again. I will check on tomatoes that have not sprouts tomorrow and may try repotting those with the new mix soil as well. I am not sure what to do about the basil so I will wait it out this week and hope more of those guys decide to sprout. The tomatoes even through small I moved them into new potting soil and into larger pots. I thought a bit of encouragement might help them think big or at least bigger.

3. Then there is the issue that it is just cold and damp – I have the new starts on heat mats to help them along but a basement is a basement and it is holding the chill of this extended winter/ early spring. Don’t know what to do about that! No, I am not running an extra heater in the basement but I did think about it.

Now we are at April 27th. I have not started anything in the outside beds – no spinach, lettuce, radishes, or peas. The inside seedling look like last years March plants. They are all at least 4 weeks behind where I wanted them to be. In a normal year I could be placing these little darling out in the garden by May 15th. It is clear that is just not going to happen. The soil is still cold – not icy but cold. The plants are too small to even think about going in the ground.

The name of the game this year is frustration and patience – the joy of the garden is being over ridden with struggles and bad weather. I need to hang in there!

Through it all I have still managed to drag dirt into the house on my work boots for my husband to clean up. I have managed to keep my fingernails full of dirt and the knees of my jeans dirty. I am not sure how since no gardening is really getting done but indeed it is the end of April and I know because I am always dirty. So it must be the garden season – snow and all!

Hellebore and a wild tulip that I don’t remember planting but I have learned it is The Red Crocus Tulip. Circa 1860, a purplish-rose heirloom (T humilis violacea) and a fence to keep the rabbits from eating everything.

Happy Garden Season or at least Happy Spring

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Trust and Time

This little word has been rolling in my head for about a week now. It has popped up due to my health, due to the health of our community and in simple things like the weather. I realized that life is based on trust. Our need to trust in others, ourselves and the world around us. When that trust falters everything becomes shaky and tense. We can find ourselves lost and unsure which way to turn.

Each day people experience events that shatter their sense of trust. As those people walk shaken and lost the rest of the world keeps spinning. The sun rises and falls. The birds sing and the traffic on the freeway keeps moving.

Life is full of these moments and all of us experience them – some of us more than others. Some of us hit these moments and they take our breath away leaving us lost for days, months and in the extreme it might be years. The loss of a friend, family member, a child we trusted to be there, the change in our body – heart attack, cancer – we find it hard to trust that our body is functioning well and keeping us healthy. There are simple things that throw us off as well – the car you trusted to get you to work suddenly stops working, the washing machine that overflows flooding your basement or maybe you just but your trust on a warm and sunny day to get work done outside that needed to be done and now you can not. It is raining turning to snow!

The big and little trusts of our life surround us daily. The thing about trust is that we depend on it. We take it for granted and suddenly an event happens and the trust is gone. It slipped away in an instant. We can gain that trust back but it takes time.

This past week brought many events into my life that once again made that sense of trust vanish leaving me nervous, upset and sleepless. We have all been there and the steps to building trust back up are slow and steep.

I had a health issue with veins in my left leg that literally popped up out of no where. A vein popped internally leaving a cherry tomato size lump full of blood on the side of my knee. Given heart issue and blood thinners I was taken aback. Trust in my body working safely was lost once again. The scurry to find help to understand whether this was dangerous or just a pain. I have learned for now not dangerous but still seeking help to resolve the issue. Step by step I will find an answer and will begin to again trust that I am healthy and well.

There is the the trial of Chauvin that we in Minneapolis, Mn. have sat listening and watching, with tension felt throughout the city. Then suddenly there is another death at the hands of the police. Another young man of color lost. The violence erupts, the anger sitting so close to the surface and the tiny amount of trust that was building since summer is gone in an instant just like the life of this young man.

We sit under curfew again remembering last summer, remember all the lives lost not only those at the hands of police but those who have access to guns. How many have we lost to guns in the hands of those who should not have them? How many have we lost to anger or fear which really all comes down to trust? Trust on both sides! The damage is so great the healing will take a lone time. In this case the hurt is deep from long ago – a distrust that began with slavery, with removal of Native Americans from their home land, with a government that was not holding its side of the trust agreement.

There are plenty more little events and we each have our own but with all this sense of distrust I still know that each day we need to reach out to find a way to rebuild the trust that was broken. The little things are easy – we find out why the washer flooded and we fix it or the car can be fixed. The relationships that are broken are harder, the health issue may or may not be fixed but we learn to slowly over time build trust with ourselves again.

The bigger society issues are huge and will take years to heal but I think (I hope) they can heal if each of us is open to listening, feeling and finding space to help each other. There are those who are going to need time and help to grieve and find ways to release years of anger built up due to unfair practices. The loss of family and friends takes a long time to settle. The police and gun violence, the loss of trust with the pandemic will take time and changes in how we handle each of these events.

I don’t have big answers. I only know from experience after a loss or fear that breaks the trust we were holding it takes time but healing can come. The steps are slow and hard but they do make a difference.

Today I am holding peace in my heart for the loss the Wright family has suffered here in Minneapolis. I also worry for the woman who it appears pulled the wrong trigger sending her, the Wright family and all of us into a tail spin once again.

Trust is such a thin thin line we walk daily! Hold on to it as much as you can. Find ways to take steps to building and rebuilding trust with yourself and others each day.

Here with a shaken sense of trust I send Peace and Love to all this April 13th!

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Empty pots and rich dark soil and an invasion!

It is now late in the afternoon and the clouds are drifting in. The warmth of the day is fading and the rain will be here later this evening. My hands and back ache as the weather shifts but more so they feel the effects of the days work. The morning opened with full sun and 50 degrees. This is early for April in Minnesota. It is a wonder. (we even slept with a window open just a little bit last night)

After my 2 mile walk with the sun and birds I returned home to a garden in need of a great deal of work. Last summer and fall the garden was left to tend to its self. Which it did nicely. There were leaves, wild grass, weeds and the dead remains of last years plants waiting for me. Some of this mess was left on purpose to allow the insects, bugs and critters a place to over winter. The weeds and grass were not. So I worked my way through – finding crocus sprouting, daffodils emerging and Chrysanthemums.

Lovely but the Chrysanthemums it appears are invasive. The word invasive meaning they tend to spread. Who knew!?

I use to get a nice pot of Mums each fall to sit on the front steps. Then just before things turn cold I would plant them in the garden. Clever me, I thought. Now I will have them next year without purchasing them. Great except they don’t stay in nice round mounds like you see in the store. They spread out – stretch their roots all along underground and pop up all over the garden. The first year they did this I thought great more yellow flowers for the fall. Last year when I was out of commission they took over. This spring they are popping up literally all over the garden. The Chrysanthemum roots have moved themselves in between the roots and bulbs of all the other plants.

Who is in charge of this garden anyway? It appears not I. At least until this morning. Several hours later one Chrysanthemum was completely dug out. Two more were trimmed back in to what I hope is a more controlled growth. The leaves and wild grass are gone and some Poppy seeds were planted. The crocus are happily growing if I can keep the squirrels from getting in there to play in the fresh loose soil.

The dry root Dahlias, Begonias and Elephant Ears have been planted in pots to begin an early growth. They will go into the ground in May when the soil and air temperatures are much warmer. A few African Daisy plants and leeks were repotted to give them room to spread their root systems also awaiting the warmth of May.

Then there is the tray that look a bit like a grave yard – tiny white markers popping up in the bare soil. This grave looking tray is really full of spring promise. It is the newly planted seeds for the tomato and pepper crop for about five families. These seeds will sprout in the next week. They will then grow their true leaves and I will transfer them to larger pots. In May they will be passed on to family members to grow in their own gardens.

But for now I sit tired, a bit ache and happy of heart to see the rich dark soil, spring bulbs in flower and dirty fingernails.

Another garden season has begun! Hello April!

The green you see within the Crocus are the Chrysanthemums that think it is there right to take over the garden. We will see who wins this summer!
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Day 31 – #SOL2021: Who has Seen the wind?

Who Has Seen the Wind?
by Christina Rossetti (late 1800’s)

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by

March in Minnesota can’t quite decide if it wants to go out like a lamb or a lion. The sun continues to shine but the wind with dropping temperatures has taken over these last few days. We are sturdy Minnesotans and so out we go each day. “Little Man” and I find our coats, mud boots, hats and mittens if needed and out we go.

On this windy day (Wind recording at 24 mph at times) we tromp north up the street to our neighbors with all the glass sculptures and the cement Scotty Dog at the door. Little Man is hanging on with his little hand for the wind has stopped him in his tracks at times. We enter their curvy brick sidewalk to find a wind sculpture at Little Mans eye level. There are two wheels spinning in different directions and his eyes are wide. The bushes in front of him prevent him from grabbing it so we stand and watch. The ever present teacher and scientist in me begins to talk about the wind. How we only see what it moves. Yeah, right this little guy tracking all this, but I am a good teacher and continue.

He stands and watches as he finds a wind chime high in the tree move. Each of the chimes is really a length of different shaped mirrors with small bells on the end. As the sun hits the mirrors and the wind blows we are surround in flashes of light with tiny bell sounds. He spins and laughs as he follows the light.

Then it happens! There is the high light sound of chimes that pulls him from this light display and he begins to search. The sound is coming from across the street on a small hill among the trees. He has found a wind chime! A Win Chimie as he calls it.

We stand on the sidewalk in the cold blowing wind and watch and listen as it sings to us. The trees over head are dancing and swaying with the sounds we hear. He is transfixed and will not leave. I decide to walk us up the wood chip path that leads to the wind chime pole and allows him to get a first hand look. As he sits in my arms he reaches and helps the wind to keep the sound moving he smiles and laughs with delight. The air is whirling around us in big gusts. My ears and fingers are cold and Little Man’s hands are bright red but he is not going to leave.

I finally distract him with the idea of pasta for lunch and we head back across the street in a whirlwind of leaves blowing in his face and pushing his hair in all directions. “WIN,” he says! He mumbles win chimie all through lunch and falls into a deep afternoon nap listening to rain and wind chimes on the TV.

Oh we are not done! This boy finds another set of chimes in the afternoon. They are hanging high in another neighbors tree and we are in their backyard before I know it. We are standing and staring into the tree. Then a trip to the garden center with his Mother has them surrounded by wind chimes and Little Man will not leave with out buying one for Gramma!

So today – day two of strong winds we walk the neighborhood to check out the sounds – the wind sounds. We watch the trees dance and we return home to listen to baby’s win chimies blow on the screen porch.

So who has seen the wind? WE have!

Listen for the chimies

Watch the trees dance

Hear the giggle of a Little man

Running up and down the street

and you to will see the wind

Happy March Wind!

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