Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Finding Joy in this Extraordinary Spring

Life roars around us right now; always the spring eruption enchants us with the sounds, the sights, the feel of the warm breeze, the air vibrating with purpose and with celebration. Do you know what we mean? Do you feel it? We can't stand to be indoors because everything is happening OUTDOORS. 

Redwing Blackbirds sing in concert with American Robins and Northern Cardinals and the Carolina Wren that's taken to sleeping on our porch every night.

And what about the frogs? Oh the frogs - they are the star of the show right now. The watery warm nights elicit such zeal, such hunger, such determination.

Ceremonially we tour this little patch of ground we call home and find that our tours take not 30 minutes, but an hour and 30 minutes.

How will we accomplish anything else? Maybe we won't and maybe that's ok. Maybe really, we are here to love and celebrate and to offer kindness, respect and our land restoration powers and not let one more day pass us by without acknowledging the pure miraculousness of it all.

American Hazelnut blooms in males and females; a surprise and delight to find in mid-March.

The Silver Maple says, "Look at me; I flower so early; I am hardy; I offer food resources to bees early in the spring; I, too, help pollinators. I, too, offer beauty to you flower-starved souls. Look up."

Harbinger-of-spring and Trout Lily say, "Yes, what Silver Maple said. Also, look down. Look all around. Listen to us."

Moths, in their tight shelters, stay dormant until the right blend of warmth, sunshine and considerations other than those we humans know are met.

Unknown species:

Polyphemus or Luna Moth:

Promethea Moth:

Others don't make it to this season of renewal, at least in the way we think of life. In their death though, begins new life. The radical recycling of nature fuels all future life and that makes us think differently about death.

Old life births new life. A mighty Chinquapin Oak fosters a young Hackberry. Thinking of what we cannot see: the twining of roots, the sharing of nutrients, the communication of life events, creates a pause in our walk. We sit, we stop thinking and we mostly feel the richness of it all.

A beech nut stowed last fall waits for discovery by the hider or another hungry belly or to tumble to the Earth and create new.

The Scribbler moth emerged from winter slumber and writes chapters on our hearts on such topics as endurance, resiliency, purpose, rest, idleness, beauty....

Green-headed Coneflower rises strong from the soil, amongst last year's Cup Plant stalks. They invite us to also be strong; to never give up; to bring light to the world.

The sunshine offers the golden warmth only created by that one celestial being in the sky. The feel on our skins, on our Minnie Pearl's furred body, on the greening plants is a balm, a tonic so needed at this particular moment in time.

Peaty soil ringed by Burr Oak leaves didn't ask, but begged to be smelled: to be picked up, rubbed between our fingers and inhaled. The Earth scent confirmed what we always knew to be true. "I am alive," the soil says. "I give you life. I deserve respect. Tiger Salamanders burrow in me here. I hold life. I give life. I am life."

The Red Velvet Mite climbs the mighty tree tower. "I am here, too. I offer you enchantment." 

And we, your friends, celebrate the Father Red Oak, the Red Velvet Mite, the wisdom of the Earth and all her inhabitants. Our days are filled with joy because we slowed down the achievement quest and now recognize, the biggest and best achievement of all is to truly live our lives like it's our one and only. 

jennifer and steve

P.S. Curious about the plant nursery? Find details here

Monday, February 24, 2020

Winter Happenings...

Hello dearest friends,

We've been traveling! We took our little Winnebago Itasca Spirit, Toyota out for a journey south to warmer lands...

and found tremendous beauty in northern Georgia...

and incredible concentrations of life in southern GA.

Our three cats traveled with us and found refuge in the sunshine...

our laps...

and the stillness of the camper. (Moving, not so much.)

The cold found us in southern GA and we had to make our way home anyway so we headed into deeper cold in northern Alabama to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes, one Whooping Crane, thousands of waterfowl and overwintering songbirds made our quick stop not enough. We cannot wait to go back!

Now, we delight in the frost and ice of February in Ohio...

and more than cherish any sunshine that illumines our little patch called home.

The winter treasures we behold are more subtle than the spring and summer abundance we share, but with an observational eye, the beauty of warm days finds us in the healthy and strong cocoon of a polyphemus or luna moth overwintering on the native American Hazelnut we planted many moons ago. The winds have long since dropped this cocoon into the leaf litter below the plants reminding us daily why we don't clean up leaves. The diverse and abundant world of life in the leaf litter zone is more beautiful than we ever dreamed; truly the fodder for wonder.

We celebrated the joy of a 53 year old birthday boy swinging in the snow and smiling all the while.

And of course, we stratified the phenomenal native American Persimmon seeds we collected with grand hopes of great germination and strong root growth, which we will offer for sale next fall during their dormant period.

Two books we are currently devouring that we highly recommend if you want to help save the world or just add great enjoyment to your life:

Native Plant Agriculture Vol.1 by Indigenous Landscapes
Nature's Best Hope by Doug Tallamy

And finally, we are loving our dearest, oldest coon cat - Bounder. She is aging and life is shifting for her and we remember to hold our loves as tight as we can. Life isn't going any slower and for that incredible gift of clarity, we discern what is important and what isn't really, at all. Our mantra regarding much of life now is Good Enough and then we spend that "extra" time living and loving and embracing, gratefully and with reciprocity and joy.