Archive for the ‘Favorite Things’ Category

~ by Eileen Rosensteel

I plucked out my wing feathers-they said I belonged on the ground.
I stopped dancing and singing-they said I had no rhythm.
I silenced myself-no one was listening.
I stitched my eyes shut-So I didn’t have to see what was happening.
I dug my own grave and lay in it-So I didn’t have to feel the pain.
So I could be at peace
In the emptiness.
There in the pit
I found my bones
In the marrow of my bones
There was strength
In the pulsing of my blood
There was rage
In my flesh-Desire
I clawed my way out of that grave
Using my strength, rage and desire.
Carefully I cut away the stitches
To see the truth
I whispered my words to myself
I started to sway and hum
To my own music
Now I am gathering feathers

~ taken from We’Moon Calendar 2011

a gathering of feathers

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I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

–Richard Le Gallienne (1866–1947)

Miss Peanut answers the call of a Mint leaf

Well, the last week has simply been heaven. Every spare moment was spent planting the seedlings started during Spring Break. Several huge cans full of grass and weeds were pulled as well. There is still a lot to be done, but the garden looks tended again. It’s impossible to express just how good for me this process has been. My intellectual pursuits of the last 20 months were very intense and I had not been grounded in the way I need, which is that special brand of grounded I only get from, well, the ground. All head and no body makes one a bit insane after a time. The garden is medicine. My muscles are delightfully sore and I have a touch of color back in my cheeks. The weather was even on my side with cool cloud cover and a bit of rain midweek. The photos all came out with a bit of fog in the center, so I apologize for the quality – not worth retaking them though. Let’s just pretend that I was going for that vintage nostalgic hazy days of summer sepia toned wonder and call it a day. Later I’ll clean the lens, since I know I probably thumbed it with sunscreen. We get messy when we’re gardening 🙂

Somewhere around 42 Tomato seedlings went into the ground in various spots around the property. They had priority, of course. Those are the leftover winter peas drying on the tops of the stakes so I can plant them later.

the Brandywines are in the ground and all is right with the world

The Artichoke seedlings, 4 of them, came from last year’s fruit.

Artichoke seedling

I found a bird’s nest, probably doves, in a burrow on the ground in the meditation circle. This makes four nests that I save in a special place in the potting shed. They are among my favorite things.

I have quite a growing collection of bird's nests in the potting shed

The Hollyhock seedlings are from Andrea’s seeds, so of course I’m hoping for dark colored flowers!

Andrea's Hollyhock seeds are finally in the ground

Tom bought me an upside down hanging Strawberry planter so I would have more than just a few ripe ones at a time. He loves me.

Tom's Topsy Turvy

There were at least three of these cans full of grass and weeds pulled out to make room for seedlings.

out with the old - in with the new!

At a certain point, I had pulled out so many plants needing new homes, I had to spread out over the lawn. I find I have to make a mess before I can bring about any kind of order.

finding joy amid the chaos

There is still a lot of transplanting to do; finding new homes for what I dug up, re-potting things that have grown out of their pots, moving all succulents and cacti to pots leaving more ground for herbaceous plants, etc…

looking for new homes

When I get it all cleaned up, probably by the Full Moon this coming Wednesday, I’ll be able to sit in my rocking chair and celebrate with a juicy glass of wine. In the meantime, the bees are busy gathering pollen…

greedy little bee in an Agapanthus

…the flowers are blooming…

Roses and Grapes and Andrea's birdhouse

…completely oblivious to the fact that I’m literally turning the entire garden upside down. The only ones to really notice have been the spiders, but we get along famously as long as we respect each others space.

the ever-faithful Feverfew

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The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” ~ Claude Debussy

Critters that generally creep most people out are among my favorite things in the whole wide world. Spiders of all kind have a special place in my heart and at my house there is a strict catch and release program. Snakes are completely awesome, although I don’t think I want one as a pet. And bats. I love love love bats!

When we moved into this house in ‘o4, I was shopping online for a house # plaque since our house was unnumbered, and I ran across this awesome resin bat urn and just had to buy it for the front porch. There was a moment’s fear that it would be too big or out of place in the suburbs, but that was quickly dismissed because it was a BAT URN and who could say no to that!?!?

After a few years the gray started to peel off and it really started to look gross, so in January I decided to give it a makeover:

It just looks terrible with the white resin showing through – yuck!

I did, however, think the spider webs added a very nice Gothic touch and I was sad to disturb the happy little pretties. There were a few very large black widows that had to be evicted.

All the plants were removed and I took a stiff brush to the entire thing to clean it off and help peel away the loose gray paint. Then I resprayed it with a special outdoor/plastics spray paint.

Black was an obvious choice. If I don’t like it, I’m sure it will need another treatment someday and I can change the color. I love playing with spray paint!

Then I edited the plants, which were crowded and need some thinning and cleaning out anyway. There was a huge cluster of Ivy, a couple Lilly plants…

…some true Peppermint, which is supposed to bring good fortune if planted by the front door…

…and I found a Cyclamen that I will try to salvage..

None of the Ivy went back in, instead I opted for color: Primrose and Dusty Miller. Dusty Miller is a great plant with silver foliage that highlights the colors of whatever else is growing. It can be an annual in cooler areas, but in my zone, 9-10, it grows as a perennial.

After a month or so, it has already grown in and fluffed out. Upgrade! There are a couple of places where the old resin paint is peeling up, but for now it looks fine and I can spot-touch the paint with my trusty little spray can.

And now it gets better…the other day a package arrived for me from my daughter, Terri, and her wife, Emily. I dropped everything and grabbed my camera. What beautiful wrapping – I love presents!!!

I’m already hyperventilating at this point!! My Birthday has arrived early!!

It’s a bat skeleton from one of my favorite places to visit while in San Francisco: Paxton Gate!

It has found a good home and will be well cared for and I love it love it love it! It’s going on my dresser next to some other creepy things that I love. Thank you so very much, Terri and Emily – it’s very special and I’m honored to have it! And now I’m off to study all of its little bones…bwahahaha!

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One of my new garden friends, Diana from Porterville, Western Cape, South Africa, has asked me to blog post about my header. I though it would be the perfect post for one of those nights when I’m pooped and headed for bed early or unable to focus on more. Tonight is definitely that night. So:

A couple years ago, I was hanging out with my friend Andrea. Andrea is a kindred garden spirit, so we were probably wandering aimlessly around a nursery and we were talking about all the stuff she had accumulated in her garage. There’s an annual yard sale in her neighborhood and she mentioned something about pulling some old sash windows from the back of her garage to sell. My ears perked up and I laid claim on three of them right then and there. There was no plan for what to do with them, but the juices were flowing and, well, I just had to have them.

I ended up painting them with glass paint and hanging them on the back fence, gallery style. Not a perfect job, but my favorite of the three are the mermaids. Since I’m a Pisces, I figured I would go with whatever lore was there as inspiration. Two fish, swimming in opposite directions, finally at peace in the garden – it became a self portrait of sorts. They also have red hair and are more than mildly top heavy and have big rear ends. I suppose I took creative license with the long tail fins but hey, whatcha gonna do!?

she sells seashells by the seashore

I glued shells and “jewels” on the bottom of the sill and hung them on the fence with a planter underneath.

dill and feverfew seaweed

Eventually the plants filled in and the mermaids appeared to be swimming through seaweed.

Happy Cats

The other two are a kitty with Moon painting on black background so it has a mirror effect and one with an Aristotle quote: “In all of nature there is something of the marvelous”

the backyard gallery

They’re great because they keep the eye from wandering over the back fence into the neighbor’s back yard which is full of some very strange ugliness indeed. An old RV that doesn’t run, a blue water tank wrapped in insulation that blows in the wind, some lean-to’s that are more “lean” than “to”, and they spruce up the huge expanse of plain brown fence too. They’re easily changed when I get bored – just scrape with razor blade and wait for ideas. (I’ve never been happy with the Aristotle one so I’ll re-do it soon) Plus, they make me think of Andrea and all the fun we have combing through nurseries in the spring. Thanks, Andrea – and thank you, Diana from South Africa!

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Poppies - June 2010

Yesterday, I finished up at work and then Tom and I went out to a late lunch. We like to do that on Saturdays whenever possible because it’s the end of our work week officially and sets the tone for unwinding a bit. It was lovely and romantic and delicious and yes, there was wine. When we got home I changed into my ugly clothes and headed out to garden. We’ve had two or three sunny days in a row and I’ve really been itching to get out there.


So what happens when I finally do have some free time on a sunny afternoon and all the universe is supporting my efforts to dig in the dirt? I didn’t feel like it! My body felt heavy and tired and my spirit was not in it, my spirit was twitchy and yelling at me about the laundry or something equally urgent yet utterly unimportant. It would not shut the hell up!

Artemesia - March 2010

At a certain point I gave up and just plopped down in the grass on my back and gazed at the clear blue sky above me. It was not a graceful move, more of a trip and fall incident and then I just stayed there, my legs unwilling to do anything for me and me not giving a crap.

During that time our yard filled with birds, a butterfly fluttered over about four inches above me, Peanut came and draped herself over my leg. Nature took me in, almost immediately. The Earth felt solid below me and it was warm from the Sun. It donned on me that I never actually sit on the Earth any more. A chair, a chaise, a hammock, a couch, a bench: all designed to keep you off the ground, off the Earth and away from its energy. It felt right, solid and powerful under my spine. A feeling of inner calm settled in on a level that was much more primal than a couple glasses of wine will do. This laying or sitting right on the Earth was something so simple and so utterly free and renewing, I have promised myself to do it more.

My favorite Mermaid

Sometimes you’ve got to do that I guess. I mean, isn’t that why we tend places? So we can have a welcoming and comforting place to go and sit, to be at peace? How many times do we clean our house and then never sit on the damned sofa and just enjoy it? It’s like getting your car washed and never going on a joy ride. When you do sit down you have something with you to keep your mind occupied, busy, productive. It never – ever – just – stops.

Edgar watches the clouds go by

It’s harder than you think because your mind is telling you ‘ok good for you, now go do the next thing on the list’. I dare you to do it, sit and do nothing for ten minutes – no TV on or book or human with you, no paper to make notes or lists, no inner planning (and absolutely no phone!) – and see if it doesn’t make you mildly itchy. Sit down in a place that you clean or tend or organize or decorate or walk through on your way to the car every day and just do “NOTHING” but sit there. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and nothing more. Let your mind go wherever it wants. I did and it immediately went to “what shall I do next?” and it was a struggle to stay HERE. Look around and see your space with eyes and mind that are fresh – I’m always amazed at how much of my stuff I don’t even see any more, besides that it’s dusty or needs water, and much more amazed at how much my mind actually races about going nowhere and everywhere until I’m exhausted from the inside out. So, sit and do nothing? It’s more than mildly frightening, which is exactly why I’m going to do it again, sometime today!

Apple Blossom - June 2010

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Just arrived in the mail this morning from my daughter, Terri: clay flower grenades! These are awesome!

Clay Flower Grenades

They arrived very well packed in foam to prevent premature explosion.

For your favorite Garden Ninja!

These totally made my day and I feel like a Ninja! ready to go out and attack some ugly dirt with my special grenades!

Flower Bomb!

Now, all I need is an Army tank (a la Lori Petty) to cruise around in while I toss these around! (Tank Girl is one of my all-time favorite movies) Thanks for the smiles today, Terri – I can’t wait to launch my grenades!

Tank Girl

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She is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun ’tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay ~

Seeds planted on 2-17-10

*Giant Musselburg Leeks
*Honey Rock Cantaloupe
*Black Beauty Eggplant
*Bell Pepper (color mix)
*Cardinal Climber
*Morning Glory – Heavenly Blue

Seeds planted on 2-18-10

*Pole Peas
*Regular Ol’ Peas
*Sweet Basil
*White Bush Scallop Squash
*Yellow Crookneck Squash
*What The Hell? (what I call seeds that fell out of packets and ended up in the bottom of the jar…I have no idea what’s what so I put it all in one pot called “what the hell” and watered it)

Also I:

*uncovered the pomegranate and artichokes which were buried under grass

*put garden soil under the apple tree where I previously dumped too much fireplace ash

*emptied the soil out of the unused pots to let them rinse in the rain

*transplanted the guara (aka “whirling butterflies”) there were three so I replanted two and separated one into two more. I’ll separate the other two next year. These are among my favorites and I like to put them on the back garden wall where they fly around in the breeze and force you to smile even when you don’t feel like it.

set stepping stones at the entrance of the meditation circle (aka wedding chapel) which is now full of overturned planters waiting for the seeds I just planted to mature

Also, I went to ACE Hardware and used my son’s employee discount to get a fabulous new broom with a red wooden handle, using the old one for my Pole Peas

All of this got done by Thursday night, which was perfect since it started raining last night. Now I can relax for the weekend and get my homework and laundry done while it’s raining. New broom, new seeds, fresh rain – I have a lot to celebrate!

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