The season is afoot. Forsythia, Pieris and Rhododendron attest! I am aging and have sooo much less energy, but once I’m out in the gardens, I am in heaven. I want to grow old gracefully. Prayer Week has been all about rest the last two cycles. The season got off to a busy start with a new class “Introduction to Herbalism for Emotional Health & Stress Relief” with Rise Up Kingston on April 2. Sally Garden of Eden and Misha Cottage Garden ended up in the same week and then Seed Song was last week. Not to mention A Farm for All weekly as well. Here in week three, I get a weekend off and Marc decides to travel to Brooklyn to visit his siblings! It is good because I have tried to get him to visit them regularly for at least a decade when I became part-time caregiver for Mum. Blood is thicker than water and it’s up to each generation to sort this mess out!
The work here in Prayer Week has become visioning infinity. We are infinite beings. There is no end. Our souls travel in and out of human form, but the energy is infinite. I watched the DVD Awake: The Life of Yogananda (Paramahansa Yogananda January 5, 1893 – March 7, 1952). What an incredible spirit. What a beautiful soul. His book Autobiography of a Yogi is a classic in yoga literature. I have begun a deeper journey in yoga with Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda (January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902). Yogananda brought yoga to the West. Vivekananda brought Hinduism. I wanted to read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (approximately 2nd century BCE – 4th century CE). Vivekananda is the translation I found by a Swami. I have practiced yoga for thirty-two years. It has carried me through every aspect of my life. It is time I dive deeper and learn my place within yoga. It is a life of course as anyone who has practiced for any length of time can witness. Prana, the breath, is life force energy. Healing, calming, opening us up to the power of the universe, which Vivekenanda shares with us in Raja Yoga. We have direct contact with the divine. We have been taught that direct contact is only granted to a chosen few and not available to us individually. Vivekananda says we always have and always will have direct contact with the divine. Not unlike Abraham (www.abraham-hicks.com) teaching us alignment with source. Vivekananda asks us to connect the mind and the body. The mind can control the body. My meditations are on infinity and developing the power of the mind. A friend of mine was speaking at a rally in Kingston for the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death (March13), the host ended the event advising us to vision the change that we want. All of our activist ancestors had a vision for the change they wanted and achieved. I believe it is where Raja Yoga comes in. Meditating on change, visualizing change first, even before action. We can have the conversations about what we want, visualize them and create them. While doing research for my class, I found an app (13:20 Sync) for a 28 day calendar, based on the Mayan calendar. There are thirteen Moons every year. It is suggested that we have been thrown off by the Gregorian Calendar which was created by Pope Gregory XIII of the Vatican. It is irregular and was created to pay taxes. The word calendar comes from the Latin kalendarium, which means money lenders account book. The year can be broken down into thirteen perfect “moonths” of twenty-eight days. What if we were in sync?
I wanted to engage with art again during Prayer Week, so I broke out coloring books. While looking for my coloring books, I stumbled upon The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz. It opens with sports and Palm Reading, but I was attracted by “The History of Writing, and Writing in Cursive Italics.” Tradition was oral and writing began with drawing on cave walls until the Roman alphabet spread across the world. My oldest brother, Nigel, had the most beautiful printed handwriting and I set out to mimic it when I learned how to write. I have been a writer all my life starting diaries at thirteen hoping one day to write the Great American Novel. I do have a novel completed and filed away with all my other artistic endeavors. What a joy to have the time to revisit them all these days.
I have an Herbs Coloring Book by Stefen Bernath and Sudie Rakusin’s two Coloring Books for Big Girls. I decided to use colored pencils to color the Goddess Freya – “the Spirit of Earth’s fertility.” Fitting for Spring and heading back out into the field.
The season has started with fence repair at Sargent-Downing. I had taken my electric mower to Lowes to be repaired last September. They said they didn’t know when it would be repaired so as it was the end of the season, I let it be until now. Upon inquiry, I was kept waiting over an hour, whereupon they found out that Lowes could not fix it in January, but never notified me. Then they couldn’t find the machine and had to give me a new one! Lowes no longer carries the Greenway brand and I ended up with this sexy EGO mower, that looks like a sports car. And folds up tidily in the corner of the tool shed. Unfortunately, arriving at SDG week two I discover the key to the shed has been taken. Now I won’t mention any names, but I will describe a certain founder who just moved back to town and has always been a hater since we carried on without him. I can also mention the potheads who took a shit in the gym. Mark Price (my total bud, Recreation Director) says the honeymoon is over and we’re going to have to consider security. “SIGH.” Year eleven, people, whatever we need to manage the next ten years! Horsetail is turning green. I was hoping to see Bloodroot flower, which comes up before the leaf, but I already see tiny leaves. Thank you Juliamarie.farm. I had started cleaning when I couldn’t get in the shed, so it’s next on the To Do list.
I had a tough time with Mint beds at Hiddenbrooke last season. I was focused on maintaining Skullcap bed, which was worth it because I got a quart of tincture, but now since I understand her maintenance I think I can develop a maintenance schedule for all the beds. At the beginning of the season, if needed, weed the Mint beds, then, Wild Bergamot since they come up first and then move on to Skullcap, which comes up later. Our native plants are so sensitive and easily over run by aggressive invasives. Chocolate Mint did the best last season and as I start weeding her I smell her even before I see her, which is a good sign. Spearmint was completely over run and even jumped to her neighbor, Sage bed. She’ll be next after Chocolate Mint. Chocolate Mint and Spearmint are ten foot beds because they were so prolific at Groundwork, but Peppermint is a thirty foot bed because she works well with my digestive issues. I have since learned Chocolate Mint works well too. Spearmint not so much. Peppermint bed was spartan last season. Attention should help this season. I wanted borders of Phlox, Columbine and Bleeding Heart, but I think there is not enough light for Phlox and Columbine. The one Bleeding Heart I planted comes back every year. Time to consider low light border accent plants. Yarrow grows wild and has taken over some of the borders. Perhaps she’ll continue. Sage after having been eaten is making a comeback.
What a joy to be back in Sally Garden of Eden! We transplanted Wild Bergamot, Comfrey, Lemon Balm and Valerian to sunnier spots at the end of last season, so looking forward to seeing them come up. Such a learning curve. I also managed to get in Elecampane in the shadier spot. Took me a minute to realize I had shade herbs. I did not get Skullcap from seed last season. I usually start them in July to plant in Autumn, but I think Summer was too hot last season. Sally had Anise Hyssop in a raised bed when I first started working with her. We have since transplanted Anise Hyssop outside Fig 2 and she is marching off into the woods. Sally is my source for Anise Hyssop plants now. Sally has two sections of raised beds which we call Fig 1 and Fig 2. Here’s to a stellar Spring so far! I have a whole list of herbs to start from seed on my deck May 1. I think it will be a good time to start them instead of July. I have the time and energy to do research now, so I’ll look for growing tips.
Misha Cottage Garden is off to a good start. Our hedge of Burning Bush is coming in and we transplanted three more from the back of the garden to the other border so the garden will be framed in Burning Bush. My final project at Brooklyn Botanic Garden was a garden framed in Burning Bush! Too exciting!
Seed Song (www.seedsongfarm.org) is a delight! I have so much time there. I have known Farmer Creek for fourteen years and I initially got involved when he was in Hurley and Neetopk Keetopk. (www.neetopkkeetopk.org) had our indigenous education programming there. I am now on the Steering Circle for Neetopk Keetopk, on the board of Seed Song and in January took a position as manager of the property. 209 acres. There are three farms on the property, Seed Song, Farmstock and Alewife. I continue to volunteer now on the third Thursday of the month planting herbs. I am opening up a wild stand of Elderberry. I had two wonderful helpers this Thursday – opening day – and we planted more Nettle in Nettles patch and opened up ten feet of wild Elderberry stand. A great day, the rain held out until we were done. The plan is to develop an apothecary onsite. I have always thought every farm should have an herb garden. It is built in healthcare, which farmer’s always need.
Here’s to the season. Let’s go! Our fabulous never-ending dance with Mother. Get out there and breathe.