Friday, May 31, 2013

The Fruits of Our Labors

We have the tremendously good fortune of having a wonderful neighbor.  Miss Morell is an older woman who has lived an exceptionally hard life (at least on American terms) and she is one of the "givingest" people I know.  On her single acre of land she grows a phenomenal variety of flowers.  There are fruit trees as well, of many different varieties. The greenness of her thumb is beyond compare.  She also always grows a garden that would put the average prepper to shame  Much of what is in her garden she no longer eats. Between ailments that restrict her diet and time worn habit, she frankly subsists on barely any food at all.  But she keeps on growing it all.  I think most of her produce goes out to family members and friends.  Over the years she has given us a great deal of fresh produce.  Sometimes we are blessed with foods that are not our favorites (okra) and other times there are foods that we relish (last year's cushaw squash dividend, a single cushaw is good for several meals). 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Tribute

My last few days as a National Park Ranger were not all I hoped they would be.  A struggle with forces beyond my control over a small matter reddened my eyes and quieted my laughter.  But this same struggle showed me how many of my fellow rangers cared and supported me.  So now as I breathe in the thick, heady scent of roses and honeysuckle that surrounds Groundwell Farm, I can look back upon my days at the great Mammoth Cave with kindness and respect.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mindful Monday

To everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under Heaven.

The Byrds
Turn, Turn, Turn
 Adapted from Ecclesiastes

Friday, May 24, 2013

Drought Gardening

It feels like England right now.  Outside, it's cool and breezy, not to get above 75 degrees for the day.  It rained a bit yesterday and the day before, and the weatherman tells me that it will rain in the upcoming days as well.  Rain, rain, rain.  I love it.  The more soft gentle rains we get the more the groundwater will be replenished.  We are managing to get the garden planted in spite of all this rain.  The one thing the rain makes difficult is the continuation of our drought gardening practices.

"Why" you might ask "are you bothering with drought gardening when you are getting all this rain?"  Well, I'll tell you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mindful Monday

There is a time in every man's education 
when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; 
that imitation is suicide; 
that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion;
 that though the wide universe is full of good, 
no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him 
but through his toil bestowed on that lot of ground 
which is given him to till.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gimme a Break!

A cane break that is.  Cane breaks received mention throughout Tennessee and Kentucky’s history.   As far back as four to five thousand years ago, Late Archaic and Early Woodland Indians were binding clusters of cane together to light their way through caves in the karst region (I heard that from a Mammoth Cave guide I know).   They also used it to weave baskets, and when burying children, they would wrap the body “in a matting woven from the outer bark of the cane”.[1]  They would choose to live in the river bottoms where cane grew in abundance “thirty feet tall and three inches thick”.[2]

For explorers and settlers it was, simply put, everlastingly present as either a help or a hindrance.  Soldiers could hide in it during battle, and cattle would feed on the young shoots, but where traveling through was concerned . . .

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


What is the one word a farmer/gardener doesn't want to hear the week after getting all of their tomatoes put out?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Mindful Monday

There's no place like home and none more pleasin' than the Southland in the springtime.

Indigo Girls

Friday, May 10, 2013


Once upon a time, in Freedom, Indiana, our family spent most of our time with a nearby Amish community.  In that community the term ‘shifting’ was incredibly common.  It took me a while to gain a full grasp of what they meant by shifting.  In my modern train of thought I went straight to shifting gears, as in a car, and although that idea comes close, that wasn’t quite the connotation they had in mind.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Oh Those Birds!

I love to go birding.  There is nothing better for my soul, than to sit quietly in the woods listening to a stream gently gurgling by.  The light streaming through the leaves lulls me into a reverie as I look for movement within them.  Bird movement, while noticeable, is often elusive even when the air is full of birdsong.  It is helpful when Micah goes along with me, as his eyes are sharper than mine.  He can readily spot birds where I see nothing and can often make a positive identification without binoculars! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mindful Monday

It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Claude "Curly" Putman Jr.

Mindful Monday

Oh it's good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Claude "Curly" Putman Jr.

Mindful Monday

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
James Taylor

Friday, May 3, 2013

Going to Ground . . .

Not so long ago, I wrote a post about a farm where I spent some time a good long time ago. It was a wonderful place, and a place of many firsts for me.

It was my first communal living experience,  the first time I needed to deal with farm animals, my first time living with vegetarians and vegans, my first political activism, my first brush with the Green movement, and and the first place I lived without hot running water.  When I look back I can see how formative my time there really was, even though it was only 6 weeks.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's That Time Again

What time is it?  It's hat time, of course.  Spring is in full swing, the weather is getting warmer, and the sun's rays are definitely strengthening.  When I begin to feel like a vampire, constantly shrinking away from the glory of sunlight, I know it's time to pull out my hat collection. 

Of course I wear hats in winter too.  I almost always have a wool beret on my head during the chilly months.  And when I want to feel a little dressier, I pull out my gangster hat.