Tag Archives: plants

buds and bolts

Spring has been unusually hot this year. This week we’re looking forward to our first heat wave with temps up into the 90s and lots of humidity. Thunderstorms are in the forecast too. I know I shouldn’t complain about the weird weather because, well, after all, our congresscritters just held a vote declaring that climate change is real but it’s not our fault. Humans had nothing to do with it. So there.

In the meantime, random climate change has caused some of my plants to flower and bolt early. Here are a few in my yard that are well into summer even though it’s only May. Even though it’s not our fault.

First to bolt was my lovely sorrel, which I planted in a deck pot last spring. She rose up with gorgeous, lemony leaves, of which I managed to eat two or three before she bolted practically overnight. She puts forth such delicate little buds on long, gangly stems that it’s a pleasure to look at her instead of eating her.

sorrel buds

sorrel buds

The arugula saw the sorrel bolt and decided it was done and sent up these pretty little flowers.

arugula flower

arugula flower

Of course, the tomatoes should be sending out flowers — I just hope fruits follow quickly.

tomato flower

tomato flower

I swear there were no flowers on the nettles yesterday but today there are plenty.  I guess this year’s crop will be harvested for seed instead of leaves.

nettle flowers

nettle flowers

I’ve never had so much yellow dock spring up and immediately bolt than this year. There’s gonna be a lot of root digging later on.

yellow dock

yellow dock

And this little pennycress is included because she’s just the cutest little thing. I love that she has pods and buds all at the same time.

pennycress

pennycress


some notes on recovery and a ramble about the wisdom of plants

My husband does everything for me. He feeds me, feeds the animals, goes shopping, cleans the house, cleans me! and has generally taken over all the big and small things of daily living. And, he doesn’t complain or show a whiff of irritation. I have failed to catch even a small sigh of regret. I thank him and my gratitude is laden with guilt and angst with a tinge of embarrassment coloring the edges.

Yesterday, I told him he should be proud of himself. He said, “There’s nothing to be proud about. I’m just doing what should be done. I’m just doing what is right.” I said, “I know others who would not be so patient and giving,” and my amazing husband said, “Then they should be ashamed.”

I do not know what I did to deserve such a person in my life, but I humbly thank the universe for my good fortune.

~~~

Bodies are amazing things. I’m so glad I have one that works so well. Granted, I feed it real food, but I’m not obsessive about it. I’ve done terrible things to it over the decades, especially back in the 60s and 70s…ok, I was pretty terrible to it in the 80s too, but not as wantonly as in the two decades previous. I got serious about yoga and started feeding it better in the 90s and with the turn of the century, I gained some wisdom and found my way back to a more earth-centered style of living. My studies of how to live with more kindness in my heart and a lighter foot on the earth has strengthened me in ways that I’m just now beginning to understand.

~~~

Two or three years ago I began studying herbalism in earnest. I chose to study in a tradition that spoke to me of the ancients, of old earth magic and lore, the Wise Woman Tradition. This gives me a real and deep connection with nature; a connection that is intimate and personal. I look at what is growing in my yard, in the woods close by, and choose the plants that have come to me of their own volition. I encourage these weeds of opportunity: dandelion, plantain, feverfew, St. John’s Wort, yellow dock, chicory and other “lawn weeds.” I plant perennial and annual herbs and flowers and vegetables that support me, my family and the birds and other critters who live here. I make my medicines from these humble but powerful allies.

If interested, read about my experiences with Poke


plant dreams

sometimes i dream about plants. last night i dreamt about plantain….you know, that lowly lawn weed that most people dowse with poison in hopes to rid their lawn of all life except the acceptable sort of grass featured on the sides of those trucks with green thumbs.

i have been trying to encourage plantain to grow in my yard. i would be thrilled if it would consider being my ground cover along the paths and beds in both front and back yards. i’ve even saved some seeds from the ones that do grow around to scatter in other parts of the yard. and that’s sorta what was happening in my dream…plantain was growing everywhere, deeply lush and green. i could almost taste it while i questioned how much to pick to make a healing salve for my sister.

so, not a dream full of meaning…just an easy dream about a common weed.


hurry up and wait

Ever since I can remember, I’ve identified with animals. Animals were a constant. I watched them, drew them and when I grew a bit, I read about them, but always I dreamed about them. My first lesson in death was of an animal, by my own hand, before I was old enough to go to school.

When I “grew up” I lost my connection with animals. I traded my nature-heart for the worldly reality of reason, logic, sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. I traded magic for the aloof of cool.

I find this sad and I’ve had quite enough of reason and cool. I am sad that I lost my way for 30 odd years. With the death of my mother 17 years ago, my body rebelled. I entered the world of fluctuating hormones too soon. My body could no longer obey the pull of the moon. I shorted out. But still I didn’t see all the cut cables and exposed wires that used to be my connection with the world as I knew it. My breasts grew tender and swollen, as they did when I entered puberty. My libido drove my wild at the most inappropriate times, but still, I didn’t pay attention to the real world. I just carried on carrying on, trying to work within the artificial boundaries of reason.

and then a funny thing happened…

I started looking into the world of plants. I thought I was learning about the medicinal properties of herbs, but I found I was looking for more. I found out that plants are as magical as animals. I found out about energy, faeries, quantum physics and string theory. I found my way back to animals through weeds and trees and roots and the heartbeat of drums. I found out that flowers fondle our feelings and the poisonous poke is my guide back home. I made a drum and started turning furniture into art.

and then my back broke…

My back stopped my walks in the woods. My back took away my ability to stand, sit, study and sleep. I looked to my plants, but they couldn’t help. I looked to my animals — I dreamed for them, but try as they might, they couldn’t help. So I placed a needle in my spine and filled the too narrow space with cortisone. I felt like a failure. I felt like a failure.

But I can walk again…so I must readjust and loosen my grip on perspective.

Magic comes in many forms and magic doesn’t play by anybodies rules. She comes with animals, plants, rocks, stars, a baby’s breath or a dying sigh — even from a hypodermic needle full of steroids.

I don’t know why I’m writing this. I’m sad. I’m restless. I’m tired of waiting for my life to begin again and I’m worried I have no time left and I’m wasting it all.

I just want to get back to the animals. I am Crow, Wolf, Horse and Lizard. Elk leads me and Heron preens while Praying Mantis reminds me to pay attention. Horse gallops the length of my spine and Hyena rips it to shreds. Wolf bites Elk’s ass and gets kicked for his trouble while Crow laughs at all of them without a lick of reverence. Turkey Vulture just sits and waits for dessert.

I really need to get my ass in gear and lighten up. I’m missing all the fun.


Phytolacca americana

so, i went to a shamanic drumming circle tonight. i met up with a womanish being who gave me recipes to address my chronically recurring ear infections. i asked her who she was and she said, “i’m terrible, i’m wonderful, i’m Poke.”

this is not a surprise. poke has surrounded my house on 3 sides. i’d call that a blatant attempt to get my attention.

so tonight i met the spirit of Poke, and she is terrible and wonderful and i’ll do as she tells me. maybe i’ll even get the hearing back in my left ear.


bamboo buzz

brni and i have had two sessions reclaiming a small section of our yard from the berwyn bamboo. some years ago, before we moved here, an artist two yards over decided to put in a small stand of bamboo in his back yard. bamboo is lovely stuff. i love the way the interesting foliage rustles in the breeze. it’s cool that a grass can grow so tall and produce hollow poles good for lots of things. i use them to stake my tomatoes. my son used a bunch of them to create a table top. and it feeds pandas! bamboo is great stuff.
but…
this bamboo is the runner type which means it is determined to continue marching until it has taken over the yards and woods that runs along the creek through town. when we moved here 5 years ago, it was a cute little stand in one corner of our back yard. it is now threatening to take over nearly a quarter of the yard and is actively laying runners down and is halfway to my neighbors yard on the other side. i doubt he’ll be happy to have beautiful bamboo poles poking up through his above-ground pool.
so…
brni has managed to chop down a 3 or 4 square foot section of bamboo. we aren’t deluding ourselves that we will ever rid the yard and save berwyn from eventual domination, but we’re simply hoping to impose a bit of order and reclaim our small section of yard with the hopes of planting a rose bush and maybe some lovely poppies…
anyway…
the reason i started writing this is to tell you what happened while i was cleaning up bamboo remains. i was in the newly cleared space, stripping the bigger bamboo poles and loading the rest into the wheel barrow when i felt a vibration under my foot. it was like electricity…not a static electrical shock, but a sustainted current virbrating under my left foot. i jumped away thinking i’d stepped on a huge hornet, but there was nothing there but the hollow nub of what remained of one of the bamboo culms. it was still connected to the rhizome underground, so it was still linked to the rest of the bamboo population. the current was going through that.

i found i needed to apologize to the bamboo for culling it, but explained that it wasn’t playing nice and was taking over much more space than was fair to the other plants and the critters. yes, i know it makes a nice place for the birds and rabbits, snakes and mice to hide in, but it’s leaving no food or space for deer, trees and humans.

i don’t know if i convinced it or not, but i was not zapped again.


eat that weed

so, i have just found out the identity of this weed that is everywhere in my yard and gully.
garlic mustard. a very invasive alien that is taking over the woodlands of this great nation as we speak.
what to do? what to do?
well, the Patapsco River Valley people have a fine solution! Son, Michael, you may want to check this out since it’s in your neck of the woods.
http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/garlic5/gmus.htm


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