Sunday, November 10, 2019

Native Foods, Beauty and Generosity of Spirit

Hi friends,

Have we told you how much we appreciate you? Truly, we do. You make our lives so much richer for your existence and the mutual sharing of heartfelt experiences and joy. Thank you for joining us on this journey of meaning, compassion and gratitude.



As I write my eyes continually wander to the door bathed in sunlight. The sun wanes and the black walnut in my view holds the last of the rays. What am I doing inside? Sitting down indoors challenges me more with each passing day. I love the coziness of a wood-warmed house, but I feel constantly that I am missing the most important moment of my life. What is happening outside? Who is heading south? Is the blue wood aster still blooming?



Are the robins gathering and chatting in the top of the maple? Is there another American woodcock probing in the recently moistened Earth beneath the rough-leaved dogwoods?


The gift of persimmons sit on our table waiting: giving us great joy in their presence, in their delicious flesh and in their hope-filled seeds.


Our refrigerator houses baggies of these persimmon seeds from our second annual autumnal pilgrimage to our Indiana homeland, marking an important ritual to gather these delicious native fruits and to revere big trees, limestone-weathered Earth, good people doing good work and the ecology of the land.



George Donaldson: you are one of our heroes; please know you made a difference. You preserved a piece of Indiana that we very much needed to see and that gives us such hope.




Caterpillar lives continue to mingle noticeably with our lives and teach us almost daily that it truly is the greatest miracle that we are all alive and that we get to bear witness to other lives and gift one another with appreciation and love.

American Dagger on a long journey...


Virginia Ctenucha benefiting from the long fall...


Possible Tufted Thyatirin feeding on hazelnut...


Brown-hooded Owlet from aster...


Syncronicity of spirit or intuition? I am not sure which, but this box turtle reminded me to listen to what cannot be heard. A venture off trail to visit some pawpaws in search of any lingering fruit inspired me to tell Steve to make sure to watch for box turtles....a few minutes later look who we found.


The kitties tolerated our traveling and are learning to appreciate new lands and new experiences. It's a joy to not leave part of our family behind and to feel new opportunities opening in front of us.




Meeting Carolina Buckthorn and Seedbox again thrilled us. 



Spending time with old trees strenthened us and heartened us in ways that is as necessary as breath, but is as hard to understand as tides and moon cycles. 


Our travels out into the world always inspire such action on our little patch of Earth. They ignite something deep within and we get lit, I mean LIT, on fire. We come home and we visit the plants we share space with and we plant more and we dream about persimmons and learn about native foods and dream some more and then form plans.


American Chestnuts will rise again and we vow to support their rise. The local economy of native foods is so damn satisfying and we feel like there is giant bright spot before us, if we just open our eyes, look around and support others on their life paths doing meaningful, important and most certainly imperative work.


Winter hardy greens in a junk built lean-to cold house... 


and homegrown saffron...



offer nutrition and satisfaction. That's a key piece of life isn't it? To feel satisfied and proud of your life and at peace with what is and what is not.


We savor autumnal light like it might never return again. "Yes fence, we will continue removing you. First though, we must lay on Mother Earth (Mother Shelter, Mother Shelteress; thank you Anais Mitchell), feel her strength and soak up the rays." Weakening rays, but still our mightiest and most longed for winter friend.


Mother Shelteress, creator of perfect mud homes. There is much to admire here: beauty, builder, earth materials, innate know-how, protection of young...



remnants of what was and what will return once again to yes, Mother Earth, Mother Shelteress. We humans have much to learn.


We wish you joy, more and more "awake" moments and meaning-filled discoveries.

Hugs,

j and s


Find an extension of our travels and some more of our joy here

Monday, September 23, 2019

And the nature magic continues...

The insect chorus hums as I write and I am keenly aware of the shifting of the sun southward. We are celebrating the fall equinox and it hardly seems possible. This summer filled us up with warmth and beauty and dried us up with drought. We are tired of watching plants wither before they normally would, but we remain steadfast in our hope that rain will return.

Some of the beauty we lived and loved on our little patch of Earth must be shared so here is my late summer post written for each of you and as a reminder for me. Thanks as always for sharing in our lives.


Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus) flowers wowed us with their purple color....a subtle prelude to their orange seeds and pink capsules.


Swamp aster or bristly aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum) is magnificent - probably my favorite aster, though how can I pick? The richness of New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) even amidst the drought drops me to my knees in awe. Her purple flowers opened up even as all her leaves fell off and the swamp aster said goodbye much ahead of time. This resiliency supports our spirits and the migrating monarchs in such an important and needed way.



Planting False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa), an excellent bee plant, made me take an up close look at the nitrogen fixing nodules of leguminous plants. This bacterial/plant relationship is pretty freakin' cool. Plants always wow me, I mean really. I've said it before - chlorophyll, making your own food in your body - how do you top that?


This fascination and all the relationships is, of course, why we grow the plants we do...



and create the sacred space we do. Yes sacred. How can it be anything else? See for yourself:


Gray treefrog resting on cup plant...


Monarchs feasting on common milkweed in our lean-to greenhouse...


Saddleback caterpillar feasting on staghorn sumac...


Crocus geometer moth...

Carpenter bee nectaring on swamp milkweed...


Laurel sphinx...


Spined micrathena web and female...


American plum fruit (so delicious and the only one produced this year)...


Tiger swallowtail nectaring on obedient plant...


Large maple spanworm resting on native lettuce...


Spotted apatelodes caterpillar munching...


(For more on this sacredness, read Mary Oliver's Winter Hours page 107 and 108.)

Winter comes every year and is on the way so we prepared this summer by: 

planting hardy greens,


stacking by-product firewood,


and this year, working with our cats to help them like one another and get ready to travel for a little winter journey to a warmer and sunnier land...




The light around us this time of year beams, twirls and swirls and lights us on fire. It's often in my daydreams and nightdreams; Steve says I am a photon. My dream, I say! I come to life in the radiance of that magnificent celestial being so I played with this photo and made it show the magic I felt in the light watching these sawtooth sunflowers (Helianthus grosseserratus).


The summer magic culminated in the green darner migration through Ohio, which was absolutely phenomenal and landed us on our rear ends for hours amidst the plants watching the thousands of winged lives zipping about eating up mosquitoes, gnats and flying ants.


This pileated woodpecker feather we found on a hike reminded me, once again, there is so much life around, not always or often seen, but still there and breathing (or not) and living and going about life just like I am. The connection we all share with this world is deep and wide and to feel it, all we need to do is pay attention.


Don't miss all our weekly You Tube videos highlighting this beauty.

Till next time my friends, we wish you much love, hope and resiliency! 

P.S. Strange Trails by Lord Huron - I find I can't get enough of this music. I love it and for a folk music girl, it's an unusual allegiance. Also, this. "When the ocean drinks the sky and the city winks its eye." "I hear the river say your name." This language is what does it, I suppose. Do you love music too? Please share your favorites.