March 8, 2014 After Good Rain Showers
One of my favorite parts of gardening is how even in pots a whole ecosystem builds around the vegetation, from spiders, worms, beetles and centipedes. I’m hoping to start some more flowering plants to usher in the bees and other pollinators to the yard again. Thankfully the Grapefruit and Orange trees are in bloom along side the Iris and Wisterias, so they’re well taken care of for the time being.
Obviously the garden thrived under the three days of rain we had here in Orange County, and I’m not sure I have enough pots to contain the massive growth spurts everything underwent! The Spearmint doubled in size, along side the trimmed Cilantro, Big Chunk Tomatoes and both the Spinach and Lettuce.
The Rosemary seems to be pulling itself through, although the spotted yellow on the leaves worries me as to the overall health of the plant, as well as the super thick woody stems where I would expect soft tissue to be when the new growth sprouts up. In addition, the Basil is really struggling, and remains a tinted yellow, so I’ll be looking into how to better fertilize the roots and hopefully give it the nutrients is lacks.
In positive news the Bell Peppers have actually pulled through! I was shocked when I saw the 2 cm sprouts. When I tried the bottom of their cup with a nail it fell loose and the roots poked out, so into its own pot it went! I’ll have to get a lattice or cage for it to climb and stay upright.
And where last years cherry tomato was out back a volunteer has sprouted up to take its place, leaving off one more sprout for me to have to start, and it just rolls along with whatever the weather gives it. Its parent plant reached a height of about a meter and I had to ground the tallest lattice we owned within the tomato cage to guide it up further so the gardeners didn’t have to dance around it when they mowed the lawn. In short, I am excited to see how well the baby goes!
I particularly enjoy winding my gardening time up with recording in my log, a little leather book, how each plant is doing and what I should keep an eye on, and ideas for the coming future. I only really mess around in the dirt on my weekends, so it makes tracking really easy and growth really obvious.
February 22, 2014, Transplants and Starts
I went out to check on the beautiful greens and- lo- my thumb had some kind of green ink I don’t remember grabbing, and I just knew it was going to be a good garden day (course that was merely a personal vow; probably closer to a sign of needing to work on my short term memory than success with plants if my Bell Peppers had anything to say.).
The cooler weather, but still sunny skies, allowed some of the baby sprouts to really take off in their makeshift greenhouse, and many of the potted starts to reach for the skies in some serious growth. On this day it was clear that the potted sub-irrigation experimentation was going really well, and with SoCal in a drought I am very happy they work. Yes, unlike the rest of the nation California is having one of its hottest winters ever. I only give my plants 1-2 inches of water a week, and they seem perfectly content with that amount.
What I had once thought was Oregano, actually turned out to be more Lettuce, so that was an interesting surprise. Oregano still refuses to grow with me, and now I’m out of seeds. In the mean time the Rosemary, Basil, Tomatoes and the Thyme are just having the time of their lives, and the Cilantro is so happy it started to flower delicate little white blooms. No sign of any sprouts from the Ginger, but almost all the Garlic cloves have shoots peeking to the surface.
With the weather looking like summer has arrived two full seasons early I might just tackle some of the citrus plant sprouts I’ve been itching to do, like grapefruit and lemons. The full grown trees are in my backyard anyway!
January Growing- re-potting and starting
In November I had some starts that were struggling, but with California’s weird ‘all year is growing season’ weather, I merely moved them into direct sun exposure and they’ve held on. After the 80 degree Christmas day, and even warmer January with little to no weather threats for new sprouts, I felt it was appropriate to just go ahead with spring planting. Now, they sprouts are on their way to full maturity, and in the dead of winter, too!
Everything I grow is in containers, and I’m learning as I go, but I have so far enjoyed everything I’ve done. A failed experiment using water-bottles for pots, much like popular hydroponic set ups for apartments, convinced me to go the traditional potting method with sub-irrigation (a really holey water bottle) to help water regulation while I have the sunshine. When the foliage fleshes out the bottle top will be well covered for aesthetics, not that its a huge deal to me.
The Ginger and Garlic are going to be the big experimental crops I hope to succeed in, and I really look forward to my Chives and Rosemary maturing more.
The ‘Reserved’ space is for the still-maturing Basil and Oregano to snuggle in with the Ginger, which is- from my understanding- pretty easy-going as to what it rooms with so long as it is well fed. I have four other little start pots with Bell Peppers, meaty Tomatoes, as well as another Oregano and Basil, but I don’t expect them to be ready for the big pots for another 5-6 weeks. We shall see.
my middle school advanced art teacher would say. When the brown and blue blotted together she would say this: when a constellation of freckles was tilted too far she would say this: when I couldn’t quite recover the color I had yesterday she would say this. And when I wouldn’t listen, she’d snatch my work and click-click-click-stop and make me look and see what she meant.
I have had years to internalize her words, to enjoy them, and digest them properly. It can be hard, with struggles, flaws, tiny imperfections that you still-frame and wallow in. But all of these are the unique tiny details that make you you, and without them you would be someone else, or no one else. Thousands of years of ancestors go into your blood, into (almost) every single cell in your body; the DNA you carry is a precious gift handed delicately to you by your deceased family, thousands of years past.
You are a precious 0.1% difference in the Human Genome Sequence. Every single flipped, shuffled, and combined protein-set are designed for you and only you, based on total random chance during Meiosis, within the first days of your conceivement. (How is that not totally awesome?!)
So, I take a step back, a moment to breath slow and deep, to close my eyes and relax my spine, to take for me- even if its just one moment- is sometimes all I need to keep fighting the good fight (and survive at least until I fall into my pillow).
Enjoy the dirt on your knees, and paint on your cheek; the toilet paper stuck to your shoe, and the pen you lost behind your ear; enjoy the little private giggle, or the boisterous belly laugh; the tears, the burn, the warm hands you clasp in your own, and hugs you don’t want to be the first to let go of.
No one walks around with a magnifying glass to scrutinize their gait without running into a pole. You have to look up and out.
In the month of January I am enjoying two texts by Buddhist writers, and I’m pretty sure it’ll take me until the end of February finish them both, but I’m taking all the time I want to really enjoy them, and they may last me longer:
The first being “The Joy of Living" by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (the link is to his web page- Monks with webpages, what a time to be alive~). I am on page 63, and I already have a deep appreciation for his wit and wondrous way of communicating to the mindset of the Western world, which I am apart of. Its effortless to enjoy, and thoroughly drenched in easily understood and readily applicable wisdom. I highly recommend finding a copy for yourself!
The second being a bit heavier, and a text I will revisit again and again; The Four Nobel Truths from the teachings of Ajahn Sumedho. I have only just started this, and have little to say on it, except that I followed Buddhanet’s Buddhist Scriptures link to find it.
Breathing for an asthmatic is sometimes a joke to me. It can be hard when the winds blow and the world is in some crazy bloom or another, or when I meet a friend’s pack of dogs, or the shuddering thought of s p r i n g c l e a n i n g …
Needless to say, its something I regularly relish due to its pleasant side effect of continuing to live. In fact, its the core of my meditations at the moment. I have personally found it to alleviate my asthmatic symptoms if I do deep breathing exercises for about half an hour in the evening within my nightly meditations. A 2008 study found that, “Enforced oral breathing causes a decrease in lung function in mild asthmatic subjects at rest, initiating asthma symptoms in some.” That is in an of itself pretty cool, and makes me feel a bit better about he legitimacy of my personal experiences, even if only by a little sliver that says some others have had the same experience.
And, even if it doesn’t do the same for others, it still feels simply amazing to really feel how the lungs sop up the essential nutrients for my body, and the skillful handing over of the waste built up in my blood stream. Next to my heart beat, its the only bodily function I can feel progressing.
And how is that not the simple most amazing thing you’ve thought all day?
For me I simply:
I’ll admit I’m still learning, and am a LONG way off from be even a recognizably skilled person in meditation, but I’m practicing. And if you want to as well, all the best luck to you, too!
I am an avid environmentalist and gardener, and although my actions are still young and budding, I am looking to commit to sharing the little blips of basic 21st century gardening that I accomplish as I go along.
Being self sustaining can be a challenge, and I hope to share ideas that will help anyone at any time start their path. I myself cannot put plants in the ground, and have a strict container garden all winterized, so when it starts to wake up and expand I can share how it works and how others can do it too, and feel good about their work.
If you’re looking for a new years resolution to stick to and be able to watch literal progress, I suggest a garden, as it can give back far more than you put in.
Although the science behind dreams and nightmares is coming to the mostly solid conclusion that they are indeed rehearsals for everyday life, I always sort of assumed that in a way when my friends and family would arise in similarly feeling locations and interactions. It felt familiar enough to trick myself, but strange enough that it appeared different than reality. My sister has been a blonde, a bird-girl, a boy, a puppy and several other ‘beings’ within my dreams, but she’s always my sister when she appears.
I try not to act out of anger. In my life, anger prolongs suffering and spreading anger increases suffering. Contrarily wise, love only inspires more love. But love and anger are not opposites, and sometimes it can be difficult to not be the former because the latter is the superficial root.
And while it does not reflect Buddhism, in my life anger is a tool, so I let it flow when I feel I need to. It motivates me. It motivates a lot of people. And it should. I know my anger stems from fear- fear that something is out of my control. But I use this fear and I push it, until I am unafraid or until I cannot handle it any longer and retreat. I succeed, or I fail. Neither is inherently good or bad, necessarily.
Honestly, I can safely say I fail most of the time, choosing instead to stay in my box of safety. But I try, more and more, to do in spite of my fear. I am learning that one will always fear, it is biologically hard-wired for survival and therefore is a fantastic tool. Telling most people to be unafraid is like telling them not to move out of the way when someone is trying to punch them in the face.
But to do in spite of fear, that is what I feel is progress.
[Note: This is a personal reflection of every day fear and anger, nothing outstanding that is not coupled with outside help. There are some things no one should handle themselves, and I would encourage those suffering any mental disorders that exacerbate unhealthy activities, or those in severely abusive situations to seek professional help.]
BuddhaNet - Buddhist Information and Education Network: Buddhist Studies, World Buddhist Directory, BuddhaZine - Online Magazine. Insight Meditation Online, eBooks on Buddhism.
My favorite quick-access resource for Buddhism; ran as a non-nonsectarian organization founded and ran by an Australian meditation monk, Ven. Pannyavaro.
After spending several months in meditation, conference and research, I wish to inform these followers that the overall tone of this blog is going to change. There will be no more witchcraft, Wicca or misleading entries about subjects I have not thoroughly studied. If you’re here for the woowoo, get out now. If you choose to stick around, Buddhism is the core, with Hard Polytheism in the wings. Anymore, and this is an Eshrine of sorts. It is a safe place for all humans, no matter their affiliations, so long as they are respectful to one another. Carry on.