Grow, grow, grow…


According to Penn State University, the theory that plants can actually benefit from humans talking to them was first published in a book from 1848, written by a German professor named Gustav Fechner. Since those early days, many more books have been written about the idea of plants responding to sound stimuli.” –

I gave my tomato plants a pep talk before i left for work this morning.

“This is your first day outside on your own! Take care of yourselves, stay in the sunshine when you can, enjoy the rain-even if its cold, it’s good for you. Rest and let your roots get used to your new space, spread out when you are ready…mostly just enjoy the day and grow.”

I provided the introductory quote above, just to show that I am coming from a place of research and science, a place of proven experimentation and success…when I tell you about my garden.

When I was a child, we had a huge (read “football field size”) garden. Millions of tomato, potato and cucumber plants, peas, beans and green peppers. It was hot, never-ending and dirty. I don’t think I appreciated the fresh vegetables, being a kid and all. It just seemed like it was one more thing on my chore list before I could “go to town”. I don’t remember another garden until the Mound City farm. And Dean was a fastidious gardener, still is. If you didn’t do things his way, he would rather do it himself. That was fine with me. I had childhood garden issues.

So here I am now, with this backyard at my awesome little house…I’m a vegetarian, so a garden would be a good pastime, I reasoned. Off I went to Menards to buy seeds! As I wandered the towering aisles in the “garden center”, I was stunned at how serious this seemed to be, there were bags of fertilizer, peat moss, bone meal, sprays, special tools..I mean, really…you put some seeds in the dirt, you put some tomato plants in there and call it good, right? I have never gardened solo, but how hard can it be?

I got my seeds, and picked out a half dozen tomato plants. Then I realized I would need a shovel, since I seem to lack a rototiller. And some gardening gloves…pretty green ones. Maybe some of those solar lawn lights…oh, look at these pretty paving stones…getting out of the garden center was harder than getting in.

I dug up a small plot of lawn in my yard, let it sit for a week for the grassy clumps to die. In the meantime, I watered my 6 tomato plants and set them by the window in the kitchen.

Yesterday, during the short break from the rain, I took my plants outside. I then remembered a lady from my yoga class said that tomatoes grow better if there is a half an egg shell in the hole. So back into the house to break 3 eggs in a bowl and take the shells outside. I planted the plants, one at a time, digging a hole with my hands, dropping in the shell, and the pulling the plant out of the plastic container and setting it in the hole. I carefully piled the dirt in the hole, patting it gently around the base of the plant. I put a bottomless cardboard milk carton around each, for extra protection from wind and hopefully, rabbits. I have one in my yard. I planted a row of marigolds on either side of the tomato plants. I heard they are natural insect fighters for the garden…and they are pretty.

Long after they were safely in the dirt, I kept returning to the window, to look at my plants…just wondering how they were doing. I wondered if they were growing yet. Before bed, I checked to see what the temperature was supposed to be overnight. I worried about them freezing. Wondered if I should go put a plastic bag over each for nighttime… I wondered if when they were at the garden center at night, did they stay outside in their little container or did they bring them in. I mentioned this to them briefly when i checked them before bed. This morning, I checked the temperature again…all was well, only got down to 42 degrees.

As I got in my car to go to work, I was thinking gardening is a bit like being a parent…or a good friend…

“This is your first day outside on your own! Take care of yourselves, stay in the sunshine when you can, enjoy the rain-even if its cold, it’s good for you. Rest and let your roots get used to your new space, spread out when you are ready…mostly just enjoy the day and grow.”

a break from the storm

i walked under an umbrella this week.  It was my first time.  I have owned many umbrellas in my life…decorative ones made of tissue paper that i hung in the corners of my apartment when i was in college, cheap vinyl ones i bought for my girls when they were young, itty bitty colorful ones from my drink that I took home in my pocket, a large lime green beach one that advertises a brand of liquor (i think it was pilfered from a business by an acquaintance)… umbrellas have always fascinated me, how they open so big, how Mary Poppins was able to fly with one, and how they fold up so tiny again… Last year I was given a purple and white one by a testing company as a promotional item which i have faithfully kept in my car …and have forgotten every time it rained.  But on Wednesday when I returned to work after lunch, it was raining.  I got my umbrella out of the car and opened it and walked into the building.

I cannot even describe how peaceful that was… the rain was pouring and I was walking under my umbrella.  I almost wanted to take a lap around the parking lot just to experience it a bit more.  It was like a forcefield around me, a protective bubble…i was safe and dry in the midst of the rain…and unless someone else wanted to step out into the downpour to get to me, i was isolated from interruption.

And really, i am not THAT important, am I?- that someone would come out in the pouring rain to get me………well, unless I was standing out there for an hour or more- like right in front of the school…and they could see me from the windows.  I tend to think they would come get me then…but it would be more because they thought i was a bit unbalanced, not because they needed me 🙂

Which brings me to my point.  The world does not stop without us.  Sometimes i am reluctant to take a break, a breath, a day off, a trip around the parking lot under an umbrella because I think life can’t move at a satisfactory pace without me at the helm…NEWSFLASH… people can cope without me for a bit…and unless I take a break, i won’t get one…and sometimes I really really need one.

So I am getting better.  I think i will get some of those pretty rainboots to match my umbrella…

home again…

i have been out of reach for a few weeks- my laptop’s battery and charger both died in the same 24 hour period and i was without a computer…omg. it was like being without my car, or away from home for an extended length of time.  I was kyping Michaela’s laptop when i could, but it felt awkward, like i was a guest in someone’s home, and I couldn’t relax, couldn’t write… thank god my charger came in the mail today, and I am home again on my Mac.

So i have been taking an online class this month, its called Emerge.  I registered for it months ago, when i realized i was turning 50 this year.  Its about navigating a transition in your creative life.  Every day there are assignments to do that challenge you.  One day there was one about breathing, another day there was one that assigned you the task to take 3 photos – one of something beautiful, one of something wild and one of something changing.  There is discussion with the other members of the class.  Amazing strong women…   Transition takes many forms.  There are those who are going thru a divorce, or an empty nest, a child being born, buying a home, starting a business, ending a business.

Today our assignment is LISTS.  We are to make 3 lists:

Obsessions and preoccupations:

  • books
  • old letters and postage,
  • handwriting,
  • fonts,
  • maps,
  • voyages,
  • beautiful handblown glass- clear with color running thru it,
  • beads,
  • layers and layers of things showing history,
  • time travel,
  • artifacts,
  • untold stories,
  • keys,
  • true love,
  • portholes,
  • old houses,
  • anything with a story

What I know:
i know how to

  • handle a crisis,
  • friend someone,
  • listen,
  • look thru someone,
  • make a master schedule,
  • throw a pot,
  • fire a kiln,
  • clean the fridge,
  • raise a child,
  • be flexible,
  • let go of someone,
  • make bread and chocolate chip cookies,
  • live on a $1 for a month,
  • change a fuel pump,
  • spin yarn from wool,
  • build a webpage

What I don’t know:
I don’t know how to

  • split firewood,
  • make it rain,
  • grow a garden,
  • eat less,
  • build a deck,
  • program a universal remote or hook up stereo speakers,
  • make cotton candy,
  • write a book,
  • put the ‘tab’ key-top back on my keyboard,
  • make you hurt less.

My lists surprised me… well, part of it- i knew my obsessions 🙂  But the ‘what i know’ and ‘what i don’t know’… those were interesting.  I felt that the things i didn’t know were inadequacies in me (even tho that I would say to someone else that these are ‘opportunities to learn’)

What are your lists? I would love to hear about them!



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