Spirituality

Wild Wednesday – The Winter Gardener

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Right now the garden looks like pretty bedraggled.  Sad, right?  How about these strawberries?  They tasted so delicious, but now they look anemic and ready to die.

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Well they are about to die…back.  Their roots will stay safe and warm in the ground, ready to come back in the spring but the green tops are withering and dying.  I think that’s why I love living here, I get to see the cyclical nature of life.  All things die, but all things eventually come back.

This weekend is likely the last one we’re going to get here with any substantial sun in Seattle for a very, very long time.  Hub and I have plans to get our garden put to bed for the winter.  The perennials in containers will overwinter, but if they’re allowed to freeze it can kill the dormant root system.  The larger containers, like these strawberry barrels will be fine free-standing with a good mulching.

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See my little baby strawberry plants in the square pots?  I’ll tuck them in with their big sisters to keep them safe and warm.  A nice thick layer of straw, nighty-night and see you in the spring, you delicious things!

But the rest of my ‘kids’ are in much smaller pots, so I’ll gather them all together on the side of the garage and pile straw over them all.  I’ll huddle them together like emperor penguins, plus put some large yard furniture around them to protect them from getting blown around.  I did all this last year and it worked better than I thought it would, which was pretty cool.

My next experiment, is overwintering some edibles.  I planted more carrots, onions and beets late in the summer.

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Apparently, all I have to do is mulch them good, so this weekend we’ll be covering them with a thick layer of straw.  I’ve read mixed reviews about the beets.  Some say don’t bother, that they’ll be inedible and just bolt (go to seed), while others rave about their harvest the following year.  Same with the onions.  Carrots universally seem to do pretty well overwintering in the ground.

So while I’m busy working on WIP 2 during the rainy season, my garden will be peacefully slumbering and waiting for spring, nestled beneath a cozy bed of straw.  All things in their season.

Do you have any rituals for this time of the year?  Is there anything you bid farewell to this year, that you look forward to seeing again in the future?  Putting the garden to bed is my fall ritual.  It reminds me that there is a time to be active,  a time to rest, a time to be productive and time to die.  It reminds me that death is not the end, but part of a cycle that we all participate in.

 

 

 

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Wild Wednesday – Nature In Action

One of the more enjoyable parts of working at the Zoo was that I had the opportunity to educate people; not just about the individual animals, but about habitats, ecosystems, and how species are interdependent upon each other.  Including us.

One of the most common questions was, “What does it eat?”  Since most of our education animals were predators, the answer was generally some other animal.  I got many, many cringes and sad faces, sometimes in a hushed whisper they’d ask “Bambi?”  From the same people who were about to sit down to a steak dinner prepared by a five star chef.  If I was feeling flippant, I would ask, “where do you think meat comes from?”  The answer I got quite often was, “the store, on those little styrofoam rectangles.”  Some of them were even quite serious.

Sometimes, whether we like it or not, we get a reminder that everything eats something else.  If you watch Tosh.O then you saw the video of the snow leopard and the squirrel.

***** Fair warning, this video shows squirrel death*****

Frankly, that squirrel was destined to be dinner.  Did you see how it stopped and practically waited for the snow leopard to catch it?  The truth is, on this planet, animals eat other animals and we are another link in that chain.  When we forget or ignore that we are forgetting who we really are; a part of the life cycle.

As I listen to that dad’s reaction I can’t decide if he is truly horrified, or trying to cover his laughter and somehow reassure his child by saying “Oh no!”  However, I see that as an opportunity to teach the child that what happened is not wrong, or sad or bad, but part of life.  Kitty was hungry for a snack, are you hungry for a hot dog?  It’s the Circle of Life.

 

 

I once knew a gal who couldn’t stand to look at raw meat.  Loved her steak, just don’t, for the love of pete, show it to her in its bloody, uncooked state.  Well done and on her plate, no problem.  She didn’t cook much.  Another friend was a vegetarian because she’d raised so many baby pigs and cows she couldn’t stand the thought of eating one of them any more.  What I loved about both these women was that they acknowledged their dining habits were dependent on others, and made their choices accordingly.

Where do you fall in the spectrum?  What would you do if that was you and your kid watching the snow leopard?  Have you ever had to hunt for your dinner?  Raised livestock?  Which are You, dear reader?