Friday, March 30, 2012

"Spring Forward into Gardening"

Tomorrow (Saturday, March 31), the University of Missouri Extension Service is offering an all day workshop on "Spring Forward into Gardening".  Melanie is presenting on raising chickens, and I am on a panel of folks with 100 years of experience in growing vegetables.  I kind of chuckle at that one.  I used it as a opportunity to put together a piece called: "Gardening Reflections after Five Years on Butterfly Hill Farm".   

Melanie has had a cold these last few days.  She doesn't feel bad but she has lost her voice.  Richard is going as back up. 

This computer has been pretty busy the last few days getting ready for the doin's tomorrow.  Right now, I am printing.  And the big question is:  "Am I going to run out of ink?"  Isn't life fun?

It is always neat to see who turns up at gardening gatherings.  It just makes me smile to think about it. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Need I Say More?

An inverse relationship
between the amount
of writing on this Blog
and the activity
on this Little Farm.
Need I say more?
Glinda Crawford, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kitchen and Utility Room

Tomorrow, we start work on our utility room and then it is on to the kitchen. Yikes. Big Yikes. Pretty exciting. It will be disruptive for a few weeks and then we shall have a pretty new kitchen at the heart of our little home.

Welcome Home

Our new pond is 1/2 full. It doesn't have any vegetation, at least to our knowledge. We see bugs. We have Chorus and Leopard Frogs taking up residence. Gee, can they make a racket. The Chorus Frogs sound like a finger running over the teeth of a comb.  The Leopard Frogs sound like they are laughing. Sometimes one of us will say something and then they laugh. They make us smile.  Today, we saw a big Turtle swimming about. We couldn't believe it. Welcome home...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Anything else you're interested in
is not going to happen
if you can't breathe the air
and drink the water.
Don't sit this one out.
Do something.
You are by accident of fate
alive at an absolutely critical moment
in the history of our planet.
Carl Sagan

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Dark times give rise to extraordinary creativity. And it's happenin' inside of us and all around. Enjoy the ride, friends! ~~~~Glinda Crawford

Monday, March 19, 2012

Woodland Findings

I find these life forms amazing.They break down dead wood, which will once again become soil. I regret, I know none of their names. 

On Saturday, Richard and I headed over into his brothers' woods which are not too far away, geographically or spiritually.  These are familiar and treasured spaces from his childhood, our courtship and early marriage, and his recent fall hunting trips since we have returned to these parts.   It was the 1st time I had been there for probably 4 decades.  I felt like I was putting my feet into well worn and loved slippers.

So what did the Woods offer up on this day?  I always find lessons on Creation, life, love, and meaning on these little explorations.  It surely is a trip into the outer and the inner landscapes.

With the recent warm weather, things were popping.  A deep meaning kept rolling around in my conscious mind:  "Out of Death, new Life emerges."  It is easy to see Winter's grip of Death:  the dead leaves and spent trees decaying.  And then, with warm air (and soon to come nourishing rains), new life arises.  On this day, we found a myriad of wildflowers beginning tentative explorations from the dark, rich, loamy soil below where they had snuggled safely during their winter's rest.

These are lessons that the Great Mother Earth has known and provided for some time.  I suppose that is inspiration for the Human on Faith and Hope.  It surely is for me.
Hello, Bluebells!
I don't remember what this is.  I need to get out the Wildflower ID book...again.
I love this bark in deep relief.
Again, this one is unknown.  My apologies, dear friend!

Bluebells snuggle in the protection of the great tree.
I find gnarly old dead and decaying trees fascinating.  They are ending this stage of their journeys and returning to the Earth. That happens to Humans too.
Richard and I think this is Dutchman's Breeches.  We shall soon see.
I thought this tree looked like a leg and hoof of a giant Creature.  We never did find the other 3 legs, assuming there were 3.
We found a log to sit on and relish what we saw.  Those boots  protect us from Ticks.  I did come home with one.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Glimpses of Spring

These days we are carefully watching all of the developments of Spring.  The Pond is about half full by depth, but not by volume.  Richard and I sometimes sit out around the Pond.  We love being serenaded by the Frogs who have just begun to make themselves at home.  And we love to watch the water rise. 

Yesterday, we took 2 bucketfuls of Echinacea to plant on the downside of the Pond Dam. Upon completion of our little task, we used the buckets for chairs.  That meant that Richard started looking for the Aldo Leopold Bench design that we have used before.  This evening, we sat on one of the hay bales.  Yes, Benches are definitely in our future. 

In the meantime, WeatherUnderground told us yesterday that our areas is projected to have heavy rains these next 2-3 days with possible accumulations of 3-5 inches (and flooding in low lying areas).  The Pond smiled with such prospects and so did we.  That also meant that planting was in high gear.
Friday was a "Fruit Day", so Richard planted Peas.  Today is "Root Day", so he headed straight for the Onion Plants (Walla Wallas, Candy's, Red Flat, and Texas Super Sweet).  Total amount is projected at 700 plants, at least. 

He headed to town today for Seed Potatoes.  In total he planted about 25 pounds (putting another 10 in the refrigerator for fall planting). The varieties were:  Kennebec, Red Norland, Red Lasoda. 

We got the Kennebec's at the Amish Store.  The burlap bag said they were raised in the Red River Valley, which is where we lived for 32 years.  When we first arrived in the Valley in the mid 70's, we actually went out picking potatoes that were left in the field.  We asked if it was OK and the Farmer said "Yes."  So we headed out with our 100 pound burlap bag.  We were simply enchanted with all the potatoes and found ourselves getting further and further away from the car.  Some time later, we found ourselves with a 100 pound bag full of potatoes at some distance from the car.  I like to think that we have learned some things over the years.

Those seed potatoes that Richard bought still had that rich black Valley soil on them on this day and gee, did they make me smile.  It was like a blessing for the planting.
Some of the transplants are beginning to make their 1st excursions outside.  The weather has been perfect so far.  I am careful to put them in protected areas (with filtered sun and minimal wind).  The Coleuses and Geraniums were as pleased as they could be to be outside.  You could almost see them smile.  The Coleuses above are an old variety, which I started from Seed several years ago.  I overwintered some starts in water.  As the winter progressed toward spring, I put the plants in soil.  Assuming all goes well, I am going to have several of these to share.

Flowering fruit trees are beginning to bloom.  The picture below is of the little Superior Plum.   I note from last year's records that the little Plum blossomed on April 15.  Yikes, that is a full month early.  Those of us who grow our own food (and food for others who don't grow their own food) know that early blooming means some fairly tense times, because we could have frost and freeze ahead.  Such things mean that we would have no fruit crop.  That's what happened in 2007.  We went 18 months without fruit.  We are keeping our fingers crossed on this one. 

Once again, we are acutely aware how very dependent we are on the cycles of our Great Mother Earth.  We surely don't want to mess with any of that and do our best to not.


Everything that slows us down 
and forces patience, 
everything that sets us back 
into the slow circles of nature, 
is a help. 
Gardening is 
an instrument of grace.
May Sarton 

Saturday, March 17, 2012


So many things have happened these last few days.  The weather has been lovely.  Overall, these past few days have been just beautiful, and decidedly extraordinary.  If I take time to detail it all, I shall be sitting at this little screen and clattering away at these keys for a very long time.  That surely is not my plan.  I shall do what I can.

We have had company.  Lots of company.  People have been arriving via bicycle, cars, buggies, and on foot.  Some were expected and others were not.  And it has all been just beautiful.

Yesterday, Richard and I took time for Tea on the back deck.  I had Melanie's Holy Basil blend, which she had gathered, dried, and blended last year.  A little bit of Honey just made it fabulous.  I do hope that the 3 of us, even when we are the busiest, can take time for tea and walks over the coming months.  It is so easy to just keep on working.  All work and no play makes for Jack (and Jill) becoming pretty dull boy (and girl).  Grumpy underneath too.  I don't even want to go there.

On this day, Richard explained that he had just planted 300 linear feet of Peas.  He also had made some sticks to serve as row markers.  He hoped that Joni and I might complete them in more of an artsy form. We were up to the occasion.  I gathered paints, brushes and the marker.  I painted them green.  And Joni designed the lettering.

On these past past few days, we have picked up speed in cleaning up the garden beds.  Help has woven in and out of our lives too:  Calvin, Dave, Joni.  Things are beginning to look tidier, more open to growing.  That feels good.  I love doing this.  One of my favorite things to do is to focus on those tender shoots emerging from the soil.

Bumblebees are busy too.  Melanie took this picture of our first Bumblebee out front.  Things are hummin' over here at the Farm. It's Spring and it is indeed beautiful.

Where Are the Monarchs?

These days we are ever aware of the glorious movements of Spring.  Everything seems in motion.  When I note the Stars in the inky night sky, I note that Orion (who is our winter  companion) has shifted toward the southwestern sky.  That simple change in the heavens tells me we are well on our way into Spring. 

Yes, the temperatures are considerably higher than averages for this date but they are also in the upper historical range.  Forecasts for today are a high of 81 degrees (average is 59).  The low is expected at 59 degrees (average is 38).

Those high temps with unseasonably warm nights has meant that Spring is starting to "pop".  Daffodils  are in full bloom.  Tender buds are beginning to emerge from the soil. Every day brings a recording of a new bird on the landscape, a new voice offering itself to be heard.  

This evening, I began to wonder:  "Where are the Monarchs?".  I checked a map and discovered that some have been sited in central Arkansas. Oh, how I love those Monarchs.

 For all of these wonderful things, I feel like we have front row seats of a grand parade.  Admittedly, I do feel a little uneasy.  And I post a little prayer:  "May the seasons flow as they should to support Life. May I rest easy in the glorious spiral of these amazing things. May I find my place in the awe and magic of Creation which abounds."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sacred Trust

As a society, we have trusted major corporations (and our government) to provide good safe food. However, corporations (at least those "trending" up until now) feed themselves 1st on generous portions of their own greed. With their primary focus on greed, their actions are based on a blatant disregard for fundamental laws of Nature which support life.

I do believe that everything happens for a purpose.  Perhaps their actions are pointing us back to community solutions: growing our own food, getting to know our local farmers (especially those who provide meat), hanging out at Farmer's Markets, eating only what we need. 

Infusion of resources (including money) into corporations is a vote toward death of communities.  And we wonder why they struggle.  Channeling those resources into local communities is about revitalizing the place that we call home.  This is at a very basic and fundamental level.  While on the surface, one might see "money only", it is rather about the beautiful relationships and gratitude that develop when one sees eye to eye with that individual, family and the land providing our food, nourishing our lives. 

I have come to know that the provision of food (which is a simple act that sustains life) is a sacred trust.  The Creator never intended for it to be broken.


What we are doing to the forests of the world 
is but a mirror reflection
of what we are doing 
to ourselves and to one another. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I love Trees.  I always have.  It is a fascination I cannot completely know or describe.

Spring Smiles

Today was just a beautiful day.  It surely was almost like a summer day, except the evening is cool.  The Pussy Willow's Catkins really fluffed up.  It's almost like they exploded in their delight.  The Austrees (which are a kind of Willow) have a soft green color visible in their "outer reaches". That means that their Catkins will be making an appearance soon, which means the sound of the Bees will make the Humans smile.

I noticed that one of the Rhubarb plants is just beginning to poke up above the soil line.  It's a plant which was my Dad's.  We tried really hard to transplant them, but haven't had much luck.  I am thrilled and so are Richard and Melanie.

Frogs are singing.  So far, we have Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs, Leopard Frogs in the evening choir.  And tonight we were treated to the sounds of the Northern Gopher Frog, which we just love.  When Richard was growing up, he discovered this frog in a time when the frog had all but disappeared.  It was quite a big deal, especially in his life and in our lives as a family over the years.  Whenever we hear this frog "snoring" (which is its call), we also smile.

Spring is filled with Smiles.  We just can't help it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blessing Way

On this very special day, about a dozen women plus a 4 year old (soon to be "big sister") and a 10 month old (with another Mom) gathered for a "Blessing Way" for our neighbor down south who is expecting a baby in 3 weeks.  The intention is to surround her with love and support from her sisters, mothers, friends during the coming weeks of birthing and transition.

I am deeply blessed to see and experience shifts in ways of thinking and being for women at sacred times.  This surely was not so in my experience 40 years ago.  Nor was it in the experience of my Mother.   Change is happening and we shall be all the better for it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Issues of Food Security

"...the top 10 seed companies control 67 percent of the branded seed market.  At the same time, by some calculations, humans have gone from relying on 7,000 plant types to consuming a mere 150." 
Source:  Audubon, March-April 2012, page 17.  Please note this is shared as vital current information and also as a big and humble thank you to all those "watch dog" organizations out there who are providing essential information to consumers so that we may make decisions which are in the best interest of us all.  These are critical issues of food security which should be known to us all.


Mačka is at the Veterinary Clinic today.  She had surgery to eliminate the potential of having baby Kitties.  Melanie and I visited her this afternoon.  She was pretty woozy.  We will pick her up tomorrow.

If you are following this little Blog, you may remember that Mačka is a little cat who just appeared here a few weeks back.  In the beginning there was no doubt that she was an outdoor kitty and was skittish around humans.  She has a really sweet spirit, so we decided to add her to the fold.  Over time we have been gently connecting, on her terms and our own too.  A bond definitely has been formed.

The 2 City Cats (ages 14 and 16) who live here were not at all sure about this situation.  However, they do seem more accepting, especially since their food dishes are not even close to each other. Mačka (which is Croatian for "Cat") has made her home in the shed.  She seems eager to accept an important responsibility of being an outdoor Farm Mouser.  

We thought she was a kitten, but the Vet says she looks like she is about a year old.  We seemed to get a bit of a heads up on the "cat" rather than the "kitten" when an entourage of 4 Tom Cats showed up in the Shed which was fast becoming Mačka's home.  We were not thrilled about this development.  We would pound on any object in the shed to get them out and I must say we had considerable choices.  Dear Mačka was confused.  Not only were the other Cats an intrusion for her, but she could not understand how the Humans, who had been friendly and respectful before, had now become a bit focused on making noise and being grumpy in her home.  

I pondered how one little decision (letting Mačka call our little Farm home) had "catapulted" into countless other decisions.  The City Cats who lived inside were held in check with the intrusion of the seasoned Country Toms.

The situation "broke" when Richard put Mačka in the garage overnight and the Toms had no possibilities of interaction.  They moved on.

In the meantime, we speeded up plans to get Mačka "fixed".  Tomorrow we pick her up and bring her home.  Our little outdoor Cat is supposed to be a little confined for the next 2 weeks.  We are not sure how this will manifest, but we will surely find out soon.

Melanie has been picking up words and phrases in Croatian to expand our communication with Mačka.  And to expand our own very limited knowledge of the language too.

More adventures are expected to unfold.

Home Sweet Home

The Sacred Gift of Creation:
It's our Home Sweet Home.
Life:  Be in it...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women's Day, which recognizes and applauds women’s achievements as well as observes and highlights gender inequalities and issues. Consider this little post an honoring of all the beautiful and courageous women in my life, including those known and unknown to me, those who have come before and those who will come after. I love you all.
Yes, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, we have come a long way and, yes, we have some more work to do.  That which we came here to do, we will do.  And hopefully, our world will be a better place because of the choices that we make.

Dizzying Array

We are currently in the process of moving toward the renovation of our Kitchen/Laundry Room areas. We do hope this will be complete in April.  April is coming up soon.

This is a big deal.  I have been doing my research and I am just about researched out.  I noted on one site that counter tops present a "dizzying array" of choices.  Well, so do flooring, paints, cabinetry, finishes, washers and dryers, light fixtures, knobs (yes, Gerald and Connie, we are ready for any antique knobs that you can find) and the list goes on.  We have a small house. Thank goodness.

I am deeply grateful that we can make these choices.  I look around me at the world and I see people who can't put food on the table.  Somehow, finishing our Kitchen seems a little extravagant.  We do hope to do it in a good way.  I believe that the Kitchen is the center of the home.  I can only hope and pray that our Kitchen is loaded with beautiful peaceful loving energy that will radiate throughout out little House, our Farm and into our World.

Hopefully, that dizzying array will be transformed into something simple and beautiful.  We shall soon see.

Astrological Forecasts

I have noted 2 astrological forecasts for me that which just resonate "Yes!".  I just had to smile.

(1) One forecast suggested this was the year to be sure to have lists.  Normally, I am not a list maker.  I just remember and it just flows.  But the intensity and volume of things on the "to do" list is picking up speed. Yep, lists are a good idea. 

(2) Another forecast suggested that I surround myself with green plants.  Yes, that is "for real".  You should see the rooms with the South Windows.  Melanie has even called the Dining Room the Oxygen Therapy Chamber.  Even now, if you could look over my shoulder you would see a giant Begonia Leaf gently waving "Hello" at you on the other side of this screen.  And yes, we have begun to plant seeds for transplants.  More pots and trays are vying for attention at the South Windows.  I planted those little round Cabbage Seeds on Monday.  I visit them frequently during the day, and mist them about 3 times.  I noted that one of the Little Ones is swelling and turning Green. And I transplanted the Leeks into 2 bigger containers.  They are happy.  On more even days, they are beginning to take excursions outside.  If you listen quietly, you can hear their voices which are positively gleeful. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Choose to Stay

Nature seems to be increasingly 
showing her power.
Sometimes, I think 
that the nudges of these storms
are reminders to the Human
to ponder how very small we are.
That's a hard lesson.
We need to live in a way 
that is life giving and life affirming
to all of life.
We have some critical learning and practice 
to take on here,
if we choose to stay.
Glinda Crawford, 2012

Frogs Sing

We heard 1st frogs singing today. It's like they sing their songs knowing full well that they have been waiting a whole year to sing them.  The exuberance is amazing.
Our neighbor says she always heard the date of the 1st frogs singing means we have 3 more "ices" ahead. Regardless, frogs singing is a promise of spring.  I just love the sound of spring frogs.It makes me smile. I can't even think about hearing them sing without smiling.