Saturday, February 28, 2009


On February 7, Melanie and I planted the early seeds that need a little extra germination and growing time before our spring plantings in the big garden. Our calendar "in the sign" suggested that such plantings at this time would give the seeds the boost they would need.

I have to say that most of these were the tiniest seeds ever. I never would have concluded that tiny seeds would produce tiny sprouts. That shows how much I have to learn about such things. They were tiny sprouts indeed.

Melanie and I mist them with water several times each day. They are in the preferred warm spot in the Sun at the south dining room window. I think talking and singing to them helps. We ooh and aah over the new developments each day.

Melanie planted Celery (Tendercrisp, Celebration, Giant Pascal), Celeriac (Caesar), Eggplant (Ping Tung, Applegreen, Pandora), Leeks (Giant Musselburgh), Lemon Grass. Hers are on the top shelf of the new plant stand that Richard built. Mine are on the bottom.

Seeds that I planted included: Herbs: Catnip, Lavender varieties (True, Munstead, Hidcote and Lady), Parsley (Flat and Curly), Oregano; Veggies: Walking Stick Kale; Flowers: Snapdragon (Scarlet Giant and Maximum Mixed), Pansies (Can Can Mix and Historic), Giant Exhibition Coleus.

Two notes are in order. One of the Parsleys and the Oregano were lovely gifts of seeds and story for our little Farm from Jerry Bulisco at our parting from North Dakota in 2007. With the busy-ness of the last 2 years, I wanted to wait to plant them when I could enjoy them. This is the year. When the Catnip reaches a certain stage, I shall have to tuck it away from the Cats. That should be fun.

What you see above are Old Fashioned Vining Petunias which need about 8-10 weeks before their excursion into the big outside world. The seed source was Seed Savers. They are obviously quite happy with their new digs.

With all the hoopla around my recovering hip, I must say that tending a tiny garden with new seedlings emerging every day is an essential part of my therapy. Plus, such plantings are a wonderful way to emerge slowly from Winter's slumber into Spring.

A Sweet Treat

Rachel and Maria should be arriving here soon. Their intention is to fix us dinner right here in our own kitchen on the Farm. These very busy medical students are taking time to nurture us. Rachel said it was Maria's idea. Ever since Rachel called to set this up, we have been smiling. This is a very sweet treat of loving kindness indeed.

Nature Notes

Yesterday, Richard noted that the American Woodcocks had returned and were "peenting". That's a sure sign that spring is on its way. He says "peent" is the sound they make at dusk and early evening. This amazing sound is an aerial courtship call. We were excited in March 2007 when we discovered that we have a "peenting ground" right here on the Farm. "Peenting grounds" are areas where the males collect to attract the females.

Richard also noted that the Purple Finches are now exhibiting courtship behavior. "He" is feeding "she".

Friday, February 27, 2009

All Things Growing

I believe everything happens for a purpose.
I am on a path to becoming all I am intended to be.
Should I not get that lesson of the day,
that lesson will come around again.
The next time, it will likely be
more direct in getting my attention.
For years, I paid little mind.
Things have changed.
I have changed.
I am paying attention.
Just as I celebrate and
am deeply grateful
for the wonder of all things growing,
I celebrate
and am deeply grateful
for all that is growing in me.
Glinda Crawford, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tug of War

We are now in the shoulder season between Winter and Spring. Those 2 Great Giants seem engaged in a tug of war over who should dominate.

The last 2 days have been warm, giving us a sneak peak of what might soon be spring. We are eager, we are expectant of this shift. Today, we had a "real toad drowned-er", or so some say in these parts. That included thunderstorms and heavy rain for a time. At this writing, we have high winds roaring. Over the next 2 days, the temperature is supposed to drop. By noon on Saturday, we should have 2 inches of snow.

All of Creation seems on the verge of a great shift in seasons. These days, the Sun is stronger, when it shines. At sunrise and sunset, that amazing Sun creeps further and further north along the eastern and western horizons.

We are seeing the beginning of the great bird migrations as more and more are passing through. Snow Geese are still passing through although not in the great numbers we saw earlier. Blackbirds are back in good numbers. Some of the Ducks are getting back. Richard even saw 4 Swans a couple of days ago over in the Millard area. We are watching for the Hawk Migration which should be very soon.

The early morning sounds feature birds tuning up for their spring calls, as if just before the beginning of a grand symphony. Humans are out more and some days they are shedding their heavier winter wear.

All of Creation seems to feel the coming of the Spring. But Winter is not yet willing to give up His Hold. Somehow, in the middle of this grand drama, we must surely need to be content just sitting in our front row seats in the stands. We Humans are small in the scheme of things.


I called Fargo, North Dakota, today. Aside from the agenda at hand, I asked "Chris" on the other end of the line about the weather. He said, "We are really having some." First, they had had ice and then snow. At the time of our conversation, roads were beginning to be shut down.

We lived for 32 years 80 miles north of Fargo in Grand Forks. Whenever I talk to someone in that region, I must find out weather happenings. It takes me right back to living there. To survive and thrive in the face of Winter weather challenges, folks in that region are made of some pretty sturdy stock.

After living here almost 2 years, I have watched the same Arctic weather patterns spill down across the Great Plains and sometimes wind up right here in northeastern Missouri. I told Chris that I should express my gratitude to the Place and the Folks there for softening the impact of Winter's fury before it arrives here. By the time it reaches us, Winter is more moderate. For these things, I am deeply grateful.


I am wondering if Nursing Home Insurance would have more customers if policies would insure that the insured would not have to go into a nursing home.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


February 13:

For 2 1/2 hours this morning, flocks of Snow Geese streamed high overhead against heavy gray late winter skies. Thousands upon thousands were intent upon their move from the East to the West right over our little Farm.

Richard says Snow Geese winter mostly in rice fields and refuges along the Gulf Region of Louisiana and Texas. They have surely migrated up the Mississippi River and headed west right over the Farm, perhaps en route for Squaw Creek and Desoto Bend Refuges along the Missouri River.

Richard says their migration seems early. Last year, the massive migration was the 2nd of March. What is going on? Did the last summer's storms damage their food crop? Is it just simply time for migration to begin?

Regardless, we had a parade over the farm this morning. I used the house and the porches for my own personal viewing stand.

Folks inside on this amazing day surely missed out. Work and other human distractions should be suspended to honor such things.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nature Notes

The days are getting longer and the Sunlight stronger. We are beginning to hear Spring Bird sounds, sometimes from unexpected quarters.

This morning, Richard watched and heard some Starlings singing characteristic Bob White Quail spring songs near the edge of the South Woods. The Starlings and their songs were of course high in the trees. Normally Quail songs (at least in the rendition of Quail) would be close to the ground.

Richard tells me that Starlings are mimics and are therefore able to mimic sounds around them. That reminds me of a funny story. For many years, we had 2 dear Neighbors next door when we lived in North Dakota. Myrt and Carlisle were about the age of our parents. Sometimes Carlisle would get a phone call and Myrt would stick her head out the back door and sing out "car-LYLE", "car-LYLE". As she sang it out, the latter syllable almost had a lilt to it. Richard noted that the Starlings began to sing "car-LYLE", "car-LYLE" in much the same pattern as she.

The more I watch and listen to the Natural world around me, the more I smile at the beauty, grandeur, and even the whimsy of what I experience. For years, I passed these things by. Now I do not want to miss a thing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gifts of Food

To me, the Gift of Food is one of the most meaningful one can give. Exploring the meanings of such a Gift is hard. I somehow am pushed to think in dimensions beyond the limit of paltry English words.

Food is essential for Life. Giving a Gift of Food honors that Gift of Life within the Recipient and seeks to uplift and sustain it. Further, the Giver needed to assemble a lovely recipe of Time, Resources, and Talent in the Gift, amidst complicated times for all of us. The simple act may have been spontaneous, provoked by none other than a Gift of Love from the Giver. Or, the Gift may have been given at a time of need of the Recipient, when the simple act of making Food may have been difficult.

Tonight, Richard fixed Burritos, whose aroma greeted us as Melanie and I walked in the door after a long day away from the Farm. Among other embellishments he had fixed, we spooned on top Salsa made by Lizzie. A year ago, Dorreen (Lizzie's sister) assembled for us a special box of food stuffs from the Northern Plains, reminding us of another place on the Planet we will always call Home. That meant so much. Plus, having Salsa brought up thoughts of Lizzie and Dorreen and we smiled. It was almost like they sat down to dinner with us.

Two days ago, we had the last of the homemade Deer Sausage from Sarah, her Uncle Greg, and the Cummins family in northern Minnesota. And we had it nestled alongside Homemade Sauerkraut made by either Heather and her family (southern Minnesota), or Theresa and hers (North Dakota). We couldn't figure out which one sent it. So we celebrated the Gifts of Food from each of these dear families. Sausage and Sauerkraut are soul food for someone of German and Croatian descent.

When Wendy found out that Mother had fallen a few weeks ago, she sent over a Spaghetti Lasagne. When her Mother Shirley found out that I had just returned from surgery, she brought over a wonderful hot dish of Chicken, Rice, and Veggies. Both Wendy and Shirley are neighbors. Joni and Arnie brought over Hugs and Muffins last Sunday after learning of my surgery and the recent dizzying clip of events in our family.

Some of my fondest memories as a Child were of my Mother on the phone hearing of events in the lives of neighbors, friends and family, and springing into action in the best way she knew how: fixing food. The phone call might have brought news of a birth, an illness, or death. She would have come home after a very busy day at the Shoe Factory to take on the challenges of her growing family. But she would drop everything in that moment to tend to someone in need (and to organize a neighborhood to do so). It wouldn't be long thereafter that the mixer would be whipping up some culinary delicacy, the oven would be wafting loving aromas, or a pie would be on its way to someone we loved and cared about.

Mother always had time for such things, and we certainly had time to set our own agendas on hold for someone we loved. It was almost like the other was "doing some of those sacred works of living" which are intense. The least we could do was to support them in our humble gifts of food.

I have taken on this practice throughout my adult life. Somehow, it just seemed natural. Maybe Mother planted seeds in me. I think fondly of such times of sharing. While we gave food to nurture, I think the simple act of giving nurtured us many more times in return.

I remember sharing food with our elderly neighbor Myrt that first harsh winter after her husband Carlisle had passed. She greeted us at the door with visible gratitude and obvious relief. We trudged over to her house through some pretty heavy snows that winter to carry a hot steaming meal. I was especially drawn to sharing with her some of the old foods which would have been characteristic of her generation.

Our favorite meal to share was a Buffalo Roast surrounded by steaming Green Beans, Celery, Potatoes, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes and whatever wanted to go into the Roaster. Such a meal was reminiscent of the feasts of Roast Beef that Aunt Louise would make when I was a child. We shared Buffalo Roast with Patrick and Lora when they moved into their new home. We shared that with Nancy, Evie and their family when their mother Evelyn passed. And we shared Buffalo Roast with Dillon, Christine and the new grandparents at the birth of Jonas. All these memories make me smile.

After our move here and after my Father had passed, we have often bundled up food for Mother. Many of the foods that we have fixed come right from recipes in our shared past. Some are in the freezer awaiting her as she comes home.

We have evolved some basic rules in all of this: We prepare the food with the intention of love and support for those we love. Only the finest of ingredients are used. In our case, we go "organic" as much as possible. Such initiatives flow seamlessly into our daily lives. They are not separate from the routine of our lives, but rather an essential part.

I think back on the wonderful gifts of Food to my family and me these past few weeks. Yum. In all of these Gifts amid tender times, we relax into a luxurious Lap of Love.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In Praise of Hips

As my right hip heals from the fall February 1 and surgery February 10, my pace is slower. I may have fast-forwarded before even here on this little Farm. That seems a contradiction as to why we came. I shall surely have to ponder that one.

These days, my life is condensed to "moments" which flow one into the other. I wonder why we Humans of Western Culture have to wait for traumatic events to "go slow". Something needs to be done to fix that program for that surely is not the way we were intended.

I am definitely making progress. I am soaking in the outpouring of love, healing wishes, and prayers sent my way. I am watching and feeling my body heal. We are such miracles of healing if we will only let our bodies do the work that they yearn for and know so well.

The walker now sits idly in a corner of the room. I have been walking more and more on my own, although initially mostly in the house. My steps are stronger, albeit slow and thoughtful.

I got a cane today. It just seemed right. The cane will support the healing of my hip and I will likely not tire as quickly. I regret the cane is a standard issue and a "functional but boring gray". I should like one with a bit more fire.

I am having plenty of naps as rest is essential. I have read 2 books (Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie) while soaking in stories in the late 19th century and pondering relations of Settlers and 1st Peoples. I am dipping into Liza Alzo's 3 Slovak Women as a means of illuminating the story of my Croatian Grandmother.

My daily activities are more normal. I had planted seeds for the garden in boxes Richard had made and placed at the south window. I am ever watchful. I keep spraying the warm soil and seeds with water. Those tiny little seeds are now sprouting tiny little plants.

Melanie suggested that I make an Apple Pie yesterday as a part of my intentional therapy. I did. Yum. I am proud to report that I have not lost my touch. I started Sweet Potatoes today, just as Ilene, the Sweet Potato Guru, says she usually begins about February 19.

It is so wonderful to see daily life begin to take on "normal". How did I ever overlook the beauty of the tiniest details of my life?

I have visited Mother twice in the nursing home since the surgery. She says that sometime in the future, we will look back at all of this and wonder how it all happened.

Every walk and motion I take these days is in praise of hips. I cannot imagine that I did not praise those hips earlier. It is about time. They are very special indeed.

Friday, February 13, 2009


The body's true nature is in healing.
I have only to sit here
as a learner with beginner's mind
and to watch this grand miracle
inside me unfold.


Nature heals.


Love heals.


On the flip side of hip surgery, I am deeply grateful and humbled to report all went very well. Surgery was Tuesday. I was released from the hospital not quite 24 hours later.

I am walking slow, with the walker and soon with a cane. Amazingly, I can walk without the walker but I do need to give my hip some loving support as it heals. Those hips are supposed to last a lifetime, which requires my own tender care. I do climb stairs, albeit slowly. My own home and bed have never felt so good. The whole experience has produced a treasure trove of writing material. But enough of that...

I am getting much needed rest. I am happy to report I am reveling in it. Oh, I remember those many years when I could not rest. I was so hyped on the "do, do, do" of our society that I often overlooked taking care of me. 3 days past surgery, I am not yet out of my jammies. My favorite blankies are easily found. And the Laura Ingalls Wilder books are at my side.

Richard and Melanie are ever supportive, including appearing almost instantly when my hospital release was cleared. They are working on their own rest too because such things take a toll on all of us. We are settling into a lovely lap of love and healing, surrounded by the loving arms of Creator, family, friends and this little Farm.

The writing will be a little slower over the coming days, even though the writing material is emerging all around. I'll be back soon.

Thank you, Dear Ones, for your loving thoughts, deeds, and prayers.

Monday, February 9, 2009

An Extended Break

"Where have you been?" dear Cathy in Minnesota said over the phone today. "Kara and I check the blog everyday. You haven't written much lately. We wondered if something had happened." When I told her the story. She said, "You have to tell people, because they check in every day." So here goes.

The last 3 weeks have been a roller coaster. Two days before Inauguration, my 86 year old Mother fell just outside a local grocery store. She fractured her hip, shoulder, wrist. She did well in surgery and has made necessary steps during her stay at the hospital. It has not been easy. She is now in an area nursing home. At her entering interview, she was asked: "Are you here for a longer stay, or are you thinking about going home?" To which, she promptly replied: "I am going home." Courage comes in small packages.

The day before Ground Hog Day, I fell in the garden. You could call it any number of things. The tensions and graces of the last few weeks added to the last 3 years of marathon adjustments had put me on an auto-pilot of occasional numb. Numb is lovely place to hang out once in a while, provided you are not in a position to hurt yourself. While in the garden, a tangle of debris yanked at my right foot with slippery and squishy mud underneath. Down I went.

My hip was sore and painful, but I could walk, albeit it slowly. I thought I was OK, just not made of the rubber I had known and prided myself in as a kid. I practiced some remedies which I knew would help, thinking I definitely will go in if I need to. I got better. But then that stopped. Mostly I was without pain. Things seemed OK. I was just slow. But something was not right. So Sunday, Richard and I headed to the Emergency Room at the local hospital. To make a long story short, I had a crack in my hip.

Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. I am told by my highly skilled Orthopedic Surgeon that it is routine and quick: 15 minutes, 3 screws, and 3 little holes in me should do the trick. I will be in overnight. Most people are without pain afterwards and can return quickly to their regular routine seemingly immediately afterwards.

I suppose you could call this little entry a "An Extended Break", but this is not about fractures. During moments of such challenges of Dear Ones close and Oneself, clarity of vision emerges. All the stuff that has intruded in on our lives which is of little importance just falls away. All of a sudden, one thinks of the little things are that so important, like: each breath that loved one takes, shared time and space doing precious little things, walking the loop on the Farm to detect subtle changes marking a turn toward yet another spring, uplifting prayers and love from that beautiful caring community of family and friends.

Last night was one of little sleep for me. I was not sure what today would bring. After my trips into the land specialists inquiries and solutions, I laid down in preparation for a delicious nap. The sky was cloudy and gray with intermittent raindrops. When I awoke, most of the clouds had been brushed away, yielding blue sky beyond. While I had not known it at the time, that blue sky was something for which I had deeply yearned.

These moments brush away distractions of "modern life". What is left behind is no less than the essence of what life is supposed to be.

As I type away at these keys, I hear the first of the season's Snow Geese migrating from east to west. Richard and I head outside, he with his usual strong footsteps which I love, me stepping slowly and tenderly within the protection of the walker. Out on the deck, Richard says: "That's a lot of Snow Geese, my Dear." He explains the patterns of Geese are called "Wavies". That's just what they look like, waves pulsing against the western sky. The Sun has exited leaving a Rosy Glow. The Full Moon is rising to the East through clouds. That delicious peachy pink radiant yellow emergence among clouds looks almost like a large Saturn with rings.

Life: Don't miss it. Why would we even consider being distracted by anything less?

Thursday, February 5, 2009


For of those to whom much is given,
much is required.
Luke, 12:48