Last fall when my husband planted the five daylilies in the front of the little house up north, he put the dirt and grass he removed into a plant pot in the garage. Today I was doing the final weeding of the year, and needed a plant pot to throw the weeds in. I dumped the dirt and dry grass into an even larger pot, and went about weeding. When I was done weeding I realized there was a fair amount of mulch I had pulled with the weeds.

Before I had even started weeding I had moved two earthworms from the driveway to the grass. They would have died. They were drying out. I like earthworms. They are great for the soil.

So I had saved a couple earthworms and they were now on their way back to do what they do, I had half a plant pot of weeds and mulch, and some dirt and dry grass in another plant pot. Where did my mind go? Compost.

I put everything together, minus the two worms of course :), put it in an area where I am going to finish a lasagna style garden next year, and walked away knowing I didn’t end up putting all that into the garbage. It’s not official compost, but the weeds and the mulch and the dry grass will mix together with the dirt and the rain that is coming and it will decompose. Go forth and make a good foundation for next year’s completion!

(That tree you see by the base of the shed is coming out. It was there when we bought the house, I didn’t get on that, and my husband knew I was wavering. But that’s no place for a tree, so … )

Rain, Rain, please don’t go away

Up at the little house it has been nice and rainy. Even some thunderstorms. The kind that arrive in the middle of the night and provide that cozy, “just listen and enjoy” treat.

There are a lot of “next year” projects remaining, but for now, the gardens are settling in until spring, the seedlings, rootings, and divisions are doing well, and the deer are leaving them alone. I need to weed (see below) but for now, let it rain.

Fall Decoration – Part 3 – The Amur Maples

At the little house up north we have an Amur Maple. I’d know them anywhere. The blooms in spring are delightful. I wish I could bottle that scent! The color is magnificent in fall. And they throw seeds like crazy. Which is why I have a mixed relationship with the Amur Maple in our front yard at the townhouse

I had plans to cut down the Amur Maple in our back yard. It looks like it has seen better days. It is lopsided, and looks more like a bush than a tree.

I don’t know. How much trouble can a lopsided bush sized sweet spring flowering tree cause? Maybe I can trim it. Maybe the seedlings will not be an issue in the spring because our lawn is old and sports lots of different volunteers. Maybe seedlings will not be an issue because there is no garden back there. Wait! Will there not be a garden back there?

It appears the Amur Maple shrub tree will survive one more year. I need to do more research & analysis.

The last of the 2021 daylily seeds

The last of the 2021 daylily seeds came from one of the Marque Moon daylilies. These, like our other seeds, were not intentionally crossed. They were purely the work of our local pollinators. 1 pod, 4 seeds.

I have never had Marque Moon seeds germinate. These also look a bit iffy, but I will try. If the seeds are viable, and the seedlings survive, in 3-4 years we will see what they accomplished 😉

These will go into our “rookery” at the little house up north. See

The Big Lake (Lake Superior)

There is no lake for me like the Big Lake (Lake Superior). She is so majestic, and her personalities are awe inspiring. Some days her water looks like diamonds. Some days she is deep blue. Some days she has striations. Some day days she is angry, and crashes up on the shore with awe inspiring power. She carries huge ships with unbelievable weight in cargo. The ship’s honks can be heard at various ports – long, strong sounds of greeting.

I grew up knowing Lake Michigan. I have been to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and lakes all over the U.S. and Europe and nothing quite awes me like Lake Superior. I can’t get her out of my system. I feel so much joy when we reach our first view of her, and I crane my neck until I can’t see her anymore when we leave.

On this day she was exceptionally beautiful and the clouds were agreeing. There is an island on the shore of Lake Superior at Grand Marais. I cannot tell you how many times we have been on the shore at Grand Marais – 40? 50? Every once in a while we traverse the island. Entering is like going into an ancient forest. It is dense. And then you come out at the lake again, with a view back to Grand Marais. It is so stunning, and awe inspiring. The rocks ARE ancient – some of the oldest in the world.

Here’s a few pics I caught of her that day.

Afterward we stopped for a couple donuts (again, incredible!) and then stopped at the co-op to get our favorite – dark chocolate covered almonds. 1 pound. Being reasonable – hahaha!

Then up the Gunflint Trail we went. But that share is for another day.

Talk is not DO

As a student, I was definitely not drawn to history. Seemed like an awful lot of talk that may or may not be factual. Math, now there you have something! My love of math turned into a love of data. I am an analyst at heart, and by trade, with a whole lot of love for data driven project planning and implementation (“DO”) in the mix. Analysis is for a purpose – to inform on a course for future “DO”. And, yes, at the root, we analyze data based on history.

I fell in love with a history and political science guy, oh so many years ago. What a pair we have made all these years. Me wanting to dig deeper, find patterns, analyze trends, and him exposing me to things in history and politics which, to me, often make absolutely no logical sense.

Along the way I got interested in gardening and was particularly interested in the gardens at historic forts we visited. Those made sense – food, beauty, for the family, for the community. I used my love of data to study what would work in different areas of our yard. I started building out gardens. I found I liked plants with history, plants with a story to tell.

Alas! The kids grew up, we made the bumpy transition to townhome living, and my sprawling, sometimes out of control gardens came to an end. Townhome bylaws. But my analytical mind said why not petition the board to put in our own landscaping? What’s the worst they can say? No? They said yes – three times – initial plantings to augment the shrubs, and two expansions.

I have pretty decent gardens now at the townhouse – ones that kept my gardening mind busy for 18 years, gave me 9 months per year of exercise, and one that neighbors and friends say they enjoy. Remember we garden as much for others as ourselves. Wherever we may be.

We have also spent a couple decades now of time in northern Minnesota, and it is me who digs into the history there. It gives me perspective, appreciation of a much more rugged, challenging time, and really makes me appreciate all the incredibly hard work, personal sacrifice, and an attitude of resourcefulness that was exemplified in that time. It is a thing of beauty that explorers can come to areas that are maintained for them, purely enjoy, spend little to no money, experience time away from the stress of the city, and then drive away with no committment to better, or even maintain it. The “right” to enjoy all that now is because of all the “DO” respecting nature, yet making that beauty accessible, that was forged by those before us, and is done on a continual basis on our behalf . I am grateful.

And now we come to my latest thoughts. On my micro scale, I always wonder what positive, lasting, move forward “DO” I can contribute to continue what others before us have accomplished. I like to do that through gardening. I love to leave tiny trails of garden love and share abundance. I am reasonable with what can be used, and cognizant of what I can physically accomplish, but I still love to share and “DO”.

So I have a friend who quietly goes about this. She researches history, she shares her findings, and she and her husband have maintained the grounds of a historic cemetary when others walked away, when there is little money for “DO”. There is money for supplies, but “DO”, like cut the grass, trim the trees – that is volunteer. They fight for preservation of that history in a beautiful way that honors those interred there. Those that gave their lives to country, those that gave generously and served community selflessly, those whose place of interment would be left unmaintained because there is no money attached. And those whose contributions and life lessons would be lost as part of history informing further “DO”.

My friend and her husband challenge me. I have things to give. I have more plants to divide. Plants I won’t use at the little house gardens up north. They might look nice at the cemetary. A little trail of positive contributions. We garden just as much for others as ourselves.

The hosta pictured below can go to the cemetary in the spring, if they want it. It is an “Elegans” hosta. It could be divided into 3 pieces and form a lovely start to a woodland edge garden, away from the beaten path and not adding to any mowing complexity. Some cardboard, three hostas, some mulch. A little “DO”. We’ll see what spring brings as far as additional ideas and “DO”.

Quiet spaces

A few years ago I read an online article about quiet spaces.  It was talking about indoor spaces – you know, with comfy seating, and cozy throws, and a stack of books, a candle, a good view.  Yep, yep, and yep.  For me, that type of quiet space at the time was outdoors in the townhouse gardens, and on our livingroom couch planning more things for the townhouse gardens.  It was a different time.  It was around the time when my work life was very stressful, yet I could feel changes coming.  I fiercely guarded my Saturday mornings in the garden, sometimes starting at 3:30 am with a cup of coffee and a sit in the lawn chair right before the birds began to wake up.

Sometimes outward appearances of activity are not the “whole story”, and I “knew” I was entering one of those times.  I knew there was a tide coming in and it wasn’t feeling like it was going to be a gentle one.  We had been there a few times before.  It felt “familiar”.  I was “pondering” things in my heart.  Praying.  Seeking advice.  It was about the time right before we turned the corner into the era we are in now.

The tide did roll in, changes did begin.

Sometimes years of waiting and watching and listening are needed before the next “do” time starts.  When the “do” starts and the wind blows and props get kicked out, deep roots are essential.  Those quiet times in those quiet spaces pay maximum dividends.   Continue reading “Quiet spaces”