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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

1.  So, I’m a month into the semester and loving it. I have students from Indonesia, China, Puerto Rico, rural Alaska, and the Dominican Republic. They are my teachers as much or more as I am theirs.

2.  I won’t be running the Equinox Marathon next weekend because of a slow-to-heal calf injury, but I did run three marathons in the past twelve months so I’m not too disappointed. Still, on race day I’m sure I’ll be missing it. It’s my all time favorite race and I’ve run it eight times.

3.  Fall is in full swing up here. The birches and aspens are a blaze of yellow, and strings of Sandhill Cranes are heading south interspersed with V’s of Canada Geese. And with the increased security on the borders I’m not sure what will happen. I mean, the geese will have no problem getting into Canada, but when they try to cross back into the states…could be trouble.

Goose in Police Car

"I've never needed a passport before on this flyway."

The garden is halfway harvested but there are still lots of potatoes to dig and carrots to pull.

And the cherry tomatoes in the greenhouse—we just eat them right off the vine.

And my writing….I’m hoping to dig into my WIP soon.

That’s what’s going on with me. What’s happening in your life, friends?

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So, our garden planting got delayed by about thirty minutes today because this young bull moose parked himself in the yard and proceeded to snack on willow and birch leaves. I was standing in the bed of my pickup truck while I took photos. Mostly, I just watched him strip entire branches of their leaves.

The day before the moose came, our garden planting was delayed because of a forest fire. The fire didn’t threaten our house but we could see flames through the trees while standing on our deck. I abandoned the garden and drove up the road where I could get a better view.  This is what I saw:

700 acres burned in a few hours. Flames were shooting 100 to 200 feet into the air.

Watching a fire rage and looking at a large animal that could stomp you in an instant are both humbling experiences.

I felt sad as I watched the fire (sometimes I just had to look away) because I know people who live up in the area that burned, and I felt sure that houses were being destroyed. Miraculously, no houses were lost–I’m still amazed that the fire fighters were able to keep things under control.

And the moose, well, at one point he turned and looked at me and my heart did a little leap, like okay, get ready to jump down and scoot into the cab because it feels like that moose is going to come my way in a big way. But then he just kept tearing leaves from the trees.

So, those were my weekend highlights. What were yours?

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I was walking out the door to cut a few sprigs of brocoli and a couple of kale leaves from the garden when I was stopped in my tracks by this guy. 

I was planning on having steamed veggies for lunch. Yeah, I do that about three times a week during gardening season. I already had carrots, cabbage and califlower in the steamer. I figure the earlier in the day I eat healthy food the more likely it is that I’ll actually eat it. (I planted some M-n-M seeds this year, but unfortunately they didn’t take. I guess they don’t do well in a northern climate.)

But the moose—he was pretty persistent. I stood on the deck for about thirty minutes watching him strip willow leaves from trees, and look longingly at the vegetables behind the our seven foot tall fence.

Then he did something really funny and strange, and kept doing it for five or six minutes. My camera has a video function that allows you to take 15 seconds of video at  a time. The resolution isn’t that great but what he does is.

Yeah, he really had a thing for those bamboo windchimes. After he got tired of playing with the chimes, he approached the deck to get a closer look at me.

I’m sure glad I didn’t choose the PB&J for lunch, then I would’ve missed the whole show.

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Our garden, which we carved out of the birch forest, is still partially covered with snow but we’ve got tomato and cucumber seedlings started in our house.

The growing season up here is compacted with fewer frost free days than most places, but the days are long, about twenty-two hours of daylight on Summer Solstice.

Here’s our garden mid-summer last year. For perspective, the fenced in area is about 50 feet long and 30 feet wide.

And here are a few yummy remnants from last year’s harvest.

Green Beans and Pickles

It took several years to build this garden. All the raised beds—which help keep the soil warm—I built from previously used wood.

The seven-foot tall fence is to keep all the moose out.

Bull Moose next to our garden.

Some of our tomatoes ripen in the green house.

But some don’t. These we hang by the vine on a wall in our house and they ripen over the weeks as fall changes to winter.

I made a lot of mistakes building our garden and with gardening. Too many to list, but I learned, and continue to learn, a lot from gardening and have revised many of my old ways. But I still try new things too.

Like the corn I started too late that didn’t mature.

Or the beans that everyone said wouldn’t transplant well—mine did fine.

Like writing, you find some things that work and perfect them, but hopefully you keep bringing in the new, and that adds to the richness of whatever it is you are working on, and to your writing life in general. You get your hands dirty.

Any other gardeners out there turning the soil? Or writers getting their hands dirty? How’s it going?

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