Sunday, January 2, 2011

Full Circle

Summer sunrise 2010 at Cedar Springs Farm, Kansas
The seasons move 'round in a circle. Season flows into season, spring into summer, summer into autumn...
February 2010 at Cedar Springs Farm.
Yet everytime we come back around to the same point in a circle it is not the same... the same and yet not. We are at the same point on the circle, but it is as if the circle has moved. We are in the same spot, but not quite.
Even though nature moves in a circle (the earth around the sun, etc.) with no defined end or beginning, we human beings insist on assigning "beginning" and "end" to certain points on the earth's revolution around the sun.
And so here we are (again) at the arbitraty "beginning" of a new year. It is time, as tradition dictates, to look back at where we've been and look forward to where we're going. It is a beautiful day outside -- 73 degrees F., under the plastic covering my lettuce, anyway; 43 degrees elsewhere outdoors, but the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Living well means spending far more time in the Here and Now and not so much in the Past and Future.
Elderberries, summer 2010.
However, looking back helps us learn and looking forward is necessary for planning. So, with photos from the past year between the lines I will lay out some of my new year's "resolutions" (for lack of a better word) for the garden.
A horny tomato. How else do you
think we get baby tomatoes?
1) Improve my record-keeping. Every season I realize how helpful it would be to have certain information to look back upon for planning purposes and assessment. I will begin weighing, counting or otherwise measuring the harvest of each vegetable or fruit -- how much is harvested and how much is frozen/canned/dried or otherwise preserved.
All of this will be written down, along with the length of row or number of transplants put in the garden. This will help me determine the optimum amount of space to devote to each type of food crop to satisfy our needs each year.
Front flower bed, celosia, coleus, sage, lavender, thyme.
And it will help us determine what would be the most efficient crops to produce for sale, if we ever reach that point.
 To improve my record-keeping capacity, I recently purchased several comoposition notebooks and a packet of pencils. Even though these notebooks are for recording numbers and dates (when planted, when harvested, for example) I still felt thrilled at the purchase. I am a writer by nature and by profession and nothing thrills this writer more than new writing tools.
Full moon, Apirl 2010
One of the books will become the new garden journal, where I not only will write what I planted when in detail, but any other information and impression, even poetry, about the garden and orchard. The small spiral notebook that has been my journal is now full.
2) When the herbs (culinary, tea and medicinal) are ready for harvest and drying, freezing or tincturing that will be established as a priority. The weeding can wait a day until I have taken care of the peppermint. On top of this, I will use my tea herbs more often, instead of relying so much on purchased teas. I have vowed to do this every year, but this year I really will.
3) I will not be so reluctant to seek out information and advice, even when --expecially when that information or advice will come from someone who's experience in the garden is far less than mine. Everyone, no matter how little time they've spent in the garden, sees the experience from a different perspective and discovers different things. Novice gardeners often look up information that I think I know, or try out things that I haven't thought of. If I swallow my pride, my wealth of knowledge will only become richer.
4) Become a better beekeeper. This is like the herb harvest resolution, setting it as a priority, not one of those things to do when everything else gets done. These creatures deserve more of my attention. This resolution also includes finding ways to encourage native bees (such as mason bees) to establish homes in our orchard areas.

Well... that's all folks. While I plan to try new things -- new vegetable/flower/herbs species and varieties; new planting/growing methods, etc. -- this is it for "resolutions." You sabotage your success by making too many resolutions, or making resolutions that you cannot possibly keep. I am not going to resolve to do anything crazy like giving up chocolate for an entire week.

I will continue to work in the garden barefoot, to pause in my work frequently to look around and really see what's around me, to share my experiences, my thoughts, my lessons with you through this blog. Most important, I will strive to remain humble in the face of Mother Nature. My success in the garden depends on my ability to work with her. Without humility the garden becomes a battle field. That is not how I want to live.

Let peace, abundance, health and joy follow throughout this year.

Enjoy the rest of my 2010 album that follows here.

A frog in our pond.

Homemade sauerkraut!

Winter aconite, spring 2010.



The last roses of 2010.

Long beans and Moonglow tomatoes.

OK. So this sunset is from the end of November 2009. It's close. I
don't have any sunset shots from 2010. How can I start with a sun rise
and not end with a sunset? Happy New Year.

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