Monday, July 28, 2008

The garden continues to thrive. I just went out a little while ago when I first got up and picked lettuce, cucumber, and zucchini. The butternut squash are several inches long and there are a ton of them. It looks like there’ll be a ton of cantaloupe too, although right now they’re just little nubs. I’ve seen at least one watermelon, too.

We’ve got a couple of mystery melons growing on one of the cucumber vines. The only thing I can figure is that quality control standards were a little lax with that batch of seeds and it was able to cross-pollinate with a watermelon, because that’s what it looks like. The big one is about 4 inches in diameter already. I’m sure it won’t amount to anything taste-wise (a cucu-melon!) but right now it looks for all the world like a watermelon.

Even the small lima and green bean bushes have blossomed so we might yet get something out of them.

I planted the fall peas and a batch of fall beets, radishes and spinach, all of which are poking their little heads up.

So far this intensive method seems to be working amazingly well. My latest thought is to quadruple the size of the garden next year--up to about 400 square feet. I think I’d be able to raise most of the veggies we need with a garden of that size. I still need to get a pressure canner so I can preserve everything. At least for now I can water bath can pickles and jams and tomato-based things. And freeze and root cellar things.

I also want to build some cold frames at some point and maybe some solar pods, so I can start growing earlier and keep growing later each year.

I’d like to establish an herb garden along the side of the house too. I made an initial attempt with a few herbs this year, but some little critters kept eating everything as soon as the plants had a few little leaves. The catnip I even encircled with a bit of fencing to keep the cats out, but it was obviously something quite a bit smaller than a cat that got it. I don’t know what I’ll have to do to critter-proof the area until things get well established. I’m perfectly willing to share with other creatures, I just wish they’d not take the whole plants!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My thinking has been kind of cloudy for weeks. Last night I had an anxiety dream about seeing a doctor about eye and ear problems. I don’t remember the dream very well but I know I was a kid and I was waiting for Mom to show up because I wouldn’t be able to pay otherwise. I think the doctor was also a shrink; at any rate she kept insinuating that my problems were psychological.

In truth, I desperately need to get to the eye doctor because my ancient eyeglasses are worse than useless. The scratch-resistant coating flaked off long ago and now the lenses are so scratched I see everything through a haze. It’s a toss-up whether I prefer to go without glasses entirely, in which case everything is terribly blurry and out of focus, but clear in its own way--or wear them and be able to focus, but only through a thick haze.

Not being able to see well, physically, has always seemed to affect my mental clarity. I don’t know why, but that’s the way this.

Also, my ears have been bothering me lately. I just finally got them all healed from several years of mysterious oozing and now, especially at night, they hurt like I’m about to get another infection. I don’t want a repeat of two summers ago. I can’t figure what causes these problems. I had thought it was allergy-related--and it may be--but this is one of the mildest allergy seasons I’ve had in years. For the past couple of days I’ve had sinus issues too. It just may be the air is so dry lately. It’s been up near 100 degrees for the past several days. Anyway, all of these issues leave my head feeling thick and mucky.

Yesterday, Collin and I ate the first zucchini from our garden, and soon the beets ought to be ready. So far it’s been all leafy things-- lettuce, spinach, and chard--plus a few radishes. The cukes and the cantaloupe are blossoming, so there’s promise there, the corn is getting taller, and the butternut squash is about to blossom. The only things not doing well are the beans (limas and green beans); those plants are just straggling along. I don’t know if they’ll produce anything. I gave them some organic plant food yesterday—we’ll see if that helps.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Snyder seems to be going downhill fast. More and more people of dubious quality keep moving in, especially into the rental houses. I left my driver’s license in the glove box of my unlocked car the other week, and it vanished. The new kid up the street stole one of Collin’s fireworks. I’ve been awakened in the middle of the night by raucous partying. And two nights ago it was a verbal spat at such a pitch I’m sure it could’ve been heard over most of town. That was from John’s old house--some really high quality people living there! His yard has become a tangled weed-infested lot with junk piled everywhere and dogs on short chains.

Anyway I heard the woman screaming at the top of her lungs, hysterically, but the only thing I can make out was something like, “You never spend any time with me. He’s more important to you than me.” The level of this woman’s rage and hysteria was truly remarkable.

And as I lay there tossing and turning and drifting in and out of sleep I kept having thoughts about how largely egoless I’ve become and how that really changes everything. The extreme level of upset that woman was gripped by is a result of ego. It’s an identification with “me” as an isolated dot, a “me” that tries futilely to manipulate other isolated dots to meet its own egotistical needs. A “me” that will always be sorely disappointed. So much of the suffering in this world is due to ego.

When you largely transcend ego, you also largely transcend suffering.

A little while ago I had the treat of seeing a beautiful vivid orange oriole in the side yard. Earlier in the week I had seen him and his mate in the tree right outside the front door, so they may have a nest nearby or they may just be in the neighborhood because one of Joe’s trees is flowering magnificently right now. And then about five minutes later, the oriole was followed by a blue jay (they don’t show up in my yard too often). I’ve always loved jays even though they were a nuisance when I had bird feeders.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on the Internet about permaculture. It seems to be a way we're reconnecting with the earth and the particular ecosystem to which we belong. Still, there’s something missing I sense. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but I’ll let it incubate.

I think it may have something to do with there still being too much human willfulness involved, too much ego imposed on the landscape. Granted, there is a highly developed level of mindfulness in creating these balanced and self-supporting systems. And yet they are being imposed on the land. I think to be truly integrated into an ecosystem, we have to tune into the spirit of the land and resonate with it, asking ourselves, What wants to manifest here?” Rather than merely mimicking a healthy ecosystem, we need to let the ecosystem birth our human endeavors.

I’m sure there are some who are practicing this deeper kind of permaculture but I haven’t come across anyone trying to articulate it yet.

I need to get better at articulating my ideas about the land. It all seems like such a vital piece of the puzzle and no one else is addressing it. I need to be able to share what I’m learning.