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Monday, April 29, 2013

News from the Garden

I've been away from the blog too long again. It isn't difficult to write a bit of something once a week, and if I had the discipline to set aside a dedicated time, well then, I'd have a weekly entry. And also, I'd be someone else!

Deciding hour to hour and day to day whether my next action should be grocery shopping, finishing up the kitchen clean-up, taking the dog out to the garden, researching future home maintenance needs or calling to schedule repairs or check-ups, going up to the studio to try and restart my stalled painting, arranging the next play dates or vacations, weeding, pruning, watering, or planting, mulching or fertilizing, running a load of laundry, checking email, doing a blog entry....well, sometimes I have so much trouble prioritizing that I find I choose "none of the above" and end up taking a nap!  Does any of this sound familiar?

Pictured is the rose bush which I've shown in earlier entries.  It's been glorious!  Now it's about done and ready to recharge for another bloom cycle (with some help from the organic fertilizer of course).

Also in the Garden: the frogs filled my pond with eggs which are now tadpoles; this last week a medium-sized ribbon snake and I have mutually startled one another on several occasions; Molly the dog drew my attention to a swarm of newborn praying mantises, fresh from their hidden nest in a rock wall; the lady bugs have decided that the artichoke plant is a fabulous place to make love and babies; the artichoke is showing some buds, and the tomatoes are coming along.  And we need rain!

When it gets too dark to garden, and I'm all chored-out, I've been enjoying a book I received recently.  It's called The Backyard Parables by Margaret Roach.  Margaret gardens in the Northeast, so her particulars are not transferable to central Texas gardening (except for the advice that the only way to really deer-proof is to fence).  But her meditations and the glimpses into her development as a gardener are universal.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Things Done and Left Undone

The phrase I've used for today's title popped into my head this morning, but it comes from the Confession of Sins we say every Sunday in our liturgy at The Episcopal Church of the Good

Spring Break is over for us, and the enormity of the "things left undone" in my life is again pressing in on me.  It seems that it is this side of the equation that weighs heaviest as we mature.  As a youth, I would confess my sins "against God and my neighbor" and I would search my heart for wrongs of commission.  In this middle chapter of my life, it's much more about the sins of omission

Speaking of which... I'm including a photo of my most recent UNfinished painting.  I started this 24"x24" canvas last month and was sure that I would get back to finish it within a day or two.  

Now, weeks have passed while the energy and vision for the work have drifted away.  Experience tells me that if I just get myself in front of the easel and begin again, I will be able to find my way back in.  If you struggle with picking back up once the trail has gone cold, please send in your examples of what helps you to get going again.  Thanks!
                                        Meanwhile, Nature has kept to her schedule.  See the before and now photos of the rose bush I blogged about last time:  The growth is amazing!     
In my next post, I'll report on the progress of the landscape work I've been doing at Lake Travis (One of the things I've been doing besides painting and everything else!)  Enjoying this lovely
Texas spring,



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pruning, Faith, and the Lenten Season

I just finished pruning my three rose bushes the other day, and hats off to you gardeners who have many roses to keep up with!  As I worked, I had the feeling that I had never done this before and that I was going to wind up with ruined plants.  I also kept returning to the idea that there could be no better metaphor for FAITH than that of a gardener pruning her roses. 
It is counter intuitive to take a big, healthy rose bush which gave me lovely flowers last season and whack away half of its mass and most of its folliage!  Why would I do such a  thing?  I do it because rosarians who have been doing this crazy pruning thing testify to the miraculous results it brings to their beloved roses, that's why.

As obvious as this is, I wonder why I have such a hard time following the advice and example of Jesus and the holy people who have written or perhaps even spoken to me? You know the kind of wisdom: the first will be last, and the last, first.  Or: one who seeks to save his/her life will lose it, but if that one loses (willingly gives over that life to God's service)  her life, she will save it.

I think that this spiritual pruning is harder for me to follow than the horticultural kind because it takes longer to see the results of the work.  And also, because I am the one to be pruned and that doesn't feel good!  I want to let myself grow in chaotic, random ways like an uncultivated plant in the garden! 
So I wish you good luck in whatever type of "gardening" you do this lent.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine's Gift

This Valentine's Day I gave my children and my God-children and their sibs the book pictured right.  I stumbled on it while browsing The Paper Place, a fun store which I felt would have some special find for me that day.  I am so excited to have found this book: it's full of great advice of the sort which has taken me years and years to collect on my own!  How did Austin Kleon (working and blogging from Austin, TX)  get so smart about creativity?  Well, I don't have the answer to that question yet, but I bet he was paying attention. He was wide awake AND he was taking notes - as he advises in his little book. 

If you're interested in being encouraged in your creativity, whether you think of yourself as an artist or not, please put this book on your list of valuable resources! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Alive!

This morning I discovered a visitor to the pond when I opened the skimmer filter box.

It's exciting to see my recently created pond (November 2012) coming to life bit by bit. First, the algae, then mysterious swimming bugs, then those water-walking bugs.  The few minnows I put in several weeks ago are surviving, and today... my froggie friend!

Here's a view of the pond as it is now.  When the weather warms a bit more I will complete the rock work on the waterfall and pond ledges.