A season in every thing……..

According to my former flower shop/green house owner cousin, any plant is a weed if it is not growing where you want. I have pulled up and replanted my fair share of plants and bulbs. I admit to having a hard time actually throwing away a flower or plant. If I dig them up and leave them around long enough before finding an appropriate place to relocate, Mike has no such compunction. 

Last summer we lost our beautiful Bradbury pear tree during a summer storm. I say tornado, in Illinois they refer to the circular motion as a microburst. We were pulling into our driveway after an early evening round of storm chasing. There were sirens going off and based on the wind whipping the tops of trees we decided to come home and go to the basement. We watched the neighbors 100+ year old birch tree twist, turn and crack down the middle, falling onto our house and splitting our tree.

We went from beautiful shade gardens to lots of direct sun. Our hostas were banged up and looked pretty ragged the rest of the summer. The impatiens we always plant flattened and did not do well with the sun and heat. We were not sure which plants would make a comeback this spring. I am happy to report the gardens look good for the time being. We are having a cool, wet spring. I am not sure how the July and August sun will affect the previous more shade-than-not plantings. We will be keeping an eye on them this summer.

The parallels of planting, nurturing and growing gardens and living a balanced life have always been obvious to me. The need to weed out unwanted plants and unwanted behaviors and attitudes in our lives are the same need. The cycle of life is the same as the cycle of seasons. Just as there are seasons of planting seeds, growth, maintaining and dying off in a garden, our lives are about birth, growth, maturity and death.

The annual cycle is a microcosm of our entire life journey. I see it as a smaller spiraling circle moving up, or down, within the larger upward spiraling circle of an individual’s life passage. Occasionally the smaller circle loses ground and may spiral down before continuing the upward journey.  Sometimes the downward spiral is a blip and sometimes it is a massive derail.

There are all kinds of psychological diagnoses and names for blips, derails, perversions, neuroses, psychoses……when I think of them in the context of my spiraling circle analogy I think we are sometimes stuck in a particular place in the spiral. Some of us more than others and none of us for the same reason or reasons. We are all unique in our own way, just as we all fall down and get up, or not, in our own way.

What happened in our shade garden last summer was a cycle interrupted. Things are looking pretty good at the moment, I am thinking they may not look so good later on this summer; we are moving upward and hoping for the best. The past year of my seasonal cycle has been filled with ups and downs. This year the downs have never gone below the previous spiral up.

I am feeling thankful and grateful and blessed……..

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved

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Farmville Update…….

Last week Mike found a horse drawn sleigh on Craig’s List. He talked me into going three towns over to check it out. The owner told us the sleigh came from Wisconsin sixteen years ago. She had it on the front lawn surrounded by rocks and flowers. While appreciating the appeal and charm of this piece of Americana, I was not convinced we needed to find a way to bring the rather dilapidated weathered sled home.  My spirit could see the potential; my flesh was weak. Mike did not have my qualms. He struck a bargain and paid his “mad” money.

During the rest of the week there were hints regarding the pick-up and delivery of the purchase to our home. I did not pay much attention because we had discussed part of the cost would include the hiring of  ‘two men and a truck’ for this task. Saturday rolled around and it became clear we were the pick-up and delivery service.  We would be borrowing our Farmville connection trailer and attaching it to a borrowed Tahoe.  My protest regarding the cost of gas and our time equalling the cost of other options went unheeded.

Three hours and $25 worth of gas later we had a dismantled weathered horse drawn Wisconsin early 1900’s sleigh in our driveway. The final after restoration resting place of said sled is still to be determined. We will keep you informed.

The best part of this suburban and rural trek was the chance to check out the Farmville animals. The baby rabbits still look and feel liked baby bunnies to me. The kittens and ducklings are adorable. The chicks have not hatched yet. They have another couple of weeks. The calves stared at us with interest, ambling over for a little pet and pat. The house remodel is coming along. Trees and bushes are planted and the garden plot will be plowed and tilled this weekend. Farmville is shaping up.

As we drove back and forth to hitch and unhitch I understood the appeal to my friend. As municipal buildings and subdivisions turned into fields and farms I could feel myself de-stressing. Peacefulness flooded through my body.

A little tiny voice whispered some reality into my ear… I am not sure about the seven mile drive for a gallon of milk…. The pizza guy would probably think this was outside his delivery zone….. Then there is the similarity to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Oklahoma movie theme song, because “the wind comes sweeping down the plains” of Illinois, as well as, Oklahoma and Kansas. Oh, well.

I wonder if Farmville needs a horse-drawn sleigh for their horse..…………..

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved

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As Seasons Turn…….

Herb Garden Kansas Corner

Greetings from northern Illinois where it is a sunny 3 degrees. Jem is curled up in his warm spot. I have to shoo and push Princess and Eugene  out the pet door. Every day Mike is emailing me really good home deals in Florida. It is hard to make myself leave the house; the decision to swim yesterday was inspired, today is much colder. Wrapping myself in a snuggie at the back of my cave and waiting for more spring like weather is tempting.

My sister is booking a flight to work in Florida next week. Jealous thoughts are flickering through my mind. Why don’t I have clients in Fort Lauderdale?  Do I need to refocus my marketing efforts?  Are four seasons really necessary? What were we thinking?

Take a deep breath. If everyone rushed off to the Gulf States or the southwest part of the country or southern California the country would tilt and Wisconsin would slide into Illinois and Green Bay would smack into Chicago and Packer and Bear fans would have to find other outlets for their aggressions.

Winter wheat needs cold and snow for the germination to grow a crop in the spring.  Even spring wheat does not tolerate heat very well. Winter dormancy* is necessary to most woody perennial plants. It seems these plants cannot continue their life cycle if they do not have this endodormancy period.  “The endodormant plant tracks the amount of time above 0 C and below 10 C and does not respond or grow in warm spells until their necessary counted cold time is met. Species adapt to latitude by having different number of ‘chill hours’ that must pass before they can break dormancy.”**

Interesting new information for my brain files. Apparently, some plants need to “chill” before they can complete their life cycle. I am thinking some humans might take a leaf off of the branches of those trees and shrubs. Okay. Okay.  There are reasons for some dormancy. After all, I like trees and shrubs. And I am not sure palm trees provide a lot of shade in sunny warm weather. Maybe the cold is necessary for us to appreciate the warmth of spring, summer and fall.

And maybe the memory of the cold is all a snowbird needs to appreciate the warm………….

*Dormancy: A period in which a plant does not grow, awaiting necessary environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture, nutrient availability. Dormancy is a state of quiet inaction, quiet and inactive restfulness. When organisms are in unfavorable conditions and slow down their metabolic processes to a minimum to retain resources until conditions are more favorable.

**http://howplantswork.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/how-do-plants-chill-out/

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved

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