Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not Forwarded but Shared

...because I refuse to forward such things but the prayer speaks to me deeply right now. It's not so much a prayer as a benediction, I'm thinking...

Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Over to the Dark Side

Confession time. Oh all you homeschooling hard working real living friends of mine, please forgive me. I have applied to go back to school (again) and study (still more) to be a high school science teacher.

I figure it this way: I dabbled in growing my own food and making my home less dependent on gas and electricity and so on, but I didn't go far enough, and I didn't succeed in bringing my family along with me. Our kids seem to want fairly conventional careers - although Ruth is fascinated with "tiny homes" and may study architectural technology - so it doesn't matter how many vegetables I can grow in the back yard, when they will be needing money for tuition and accommodations. The marriage breakdown adds another layer of formal obligation, too, since the legal people will be looking at whatever agreements we come up with to see whether the children are provided for adequately (and I am sure they will be looking at dollar signs, not bushels of food). This teaching program is the fastest way I can see to get back onto a fairly lucrative career track while still making use of my science background, being able to work in my home area, and being able to cultivate a little more ecological awareness. I know, walk the walk. Well, at least I will have late afternoons and July and August for gardening.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bring It On

Nobody ever told me that divorce is hell
until I made up my mind
and then I heard it twice in a week.

Well thanks for the advice but
how the hell do you know?

I have a saying for you too.

A change is as good as a rest.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Path Leads On

I'm trying another little step here, to see if this blogging path is still right for me.  I have been keeping my head down for a while, wanting to sort things out for myself away from the din of other voices, other labels.  That and being very busy with a bunch of business that is nobody else's business, thank you.  Sure, I've still been up to lots of interesting remodeling and such, but that's not the stuff that rattles around my mind and demands to be written.

One thing that did get written was a song (surprise!), and in a circumspect way, it says something about where I've been.

The Path Leads On
© 2009 Laura Herman

Here's a hand
to help you back onto your feet.
Take my arm for awhile;
take my shoulder if you need it;
but once you're steady,
once you're ready,
the next step is yours...

The path leads on
from wherever you have fallen.
The path leads on;
it's a winding, narrow way.
There is no place
too far, too wrong:
starting just where you are,
the path leads on.

Here you are.
I know you think you should be there,
high above all of this,
and you're sinking in despair, oh,
but while you're hurting,
while you're searching,
you are on the way...

The path leads on
from wherever you have fallen.
The path leads on;
it's a winding, narrow way.
There is no place
too far, too wrong:
starting just where you are,
the path leads on.

Being "on the straight and narrow" -
what a sad, mistaken notion!
He said "strait is the gate" -
like Gibraltar to the ocean:
a narrow way that leads
to life
where your heart
and your horizons
open wide... open wide...

The path leads on
from wherever you have fallen.
The path leads on;
it's a winding, narrow way.
There is no place
too far, too wrong, too gone:
starting just where you are,
the path leads on.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cultivating Our Roots

My Mom has published a beautiful book:

She wrote it from the perspective of a retiring seed grower, which means it can give the impression of a technical manual for a very narrow audience, but don't be fooled. I say, if you live in my ecoregion, you need to see this book.

Even if you will never grow anything, you might want to get acquainted with these plants. Consider this: they're your neighbours. They were here before you were, and likely will be long after. They might all look like "just grass" to you, but once you take a closer look, you may be astounded at the diversity in a tiny patch of unbroken prairie.

But here's the tricky part. Have you ever looked at a grassland in early June or late August and tried to find pictures in a field guide to match what you are seeing on the ground? Good luck. If you or anyone you know wants to learn to recognize some of the most common grasses and wildflowers of the mixed-grass prairies in the northern plains of North America, I say: start with this book. There are excellent photographs of multiple life stages of each plant, so you stand a good chance of recognizing your leafy new friend throughout the growing season - even when it's not so leafy. You won't have to wade through pages of obscure plants that you will never see, because there are only 62 wildflowers and 22 grasses included - only the most common species plus a few uniquely interesting species like buffalograss (rare in our region but common farther south in the short-grass prairie). As you learn the plants, you can also learn to recognize similarities among species in the same plant family, since the book is organized by families and includes identifying characteristics for each. That way, when you meet a plant that isn't introduced in the book, you may well be able to say, "You look familiar - aren't you related to..." and all of a sudden you will have a nodding acquaintance with hundreds of species.

And of course, if you want to actually grow these plants, whether as a seed business or just as a minimal-input alternative to a thirsty hungry lawn, you could benefit from the tips on planning and preparing a site, the illustrations to show you how your plants will look (even as seedlings so you can tell what not to weed out of your plot), the germination information, and tips and pictures to help you collect your own seed to get started.

I used to do inventories of the plant life on proposed oil and gas well sites. I worked with numerous floras and field guides, and through struggle and persistence, reached a point where I can look at most common prairie plants and just know them, no matter how small or shrivelled. But when I first started, and even in recent years when I was working very early in the growing season, I wish I had had this book.

Oh and did I mention that it's beautiful? People here were buying copies as Mother's Day gifts, just for the pictures of the their mothers' favourite flowers.

Yes, I'm proud of my Mom.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Solar Thaw

I have been watching the south-facing snow banks along the street, wondering when the snow would begin to melt back wherever dust and dirt catches the sun. Today was the first sign of it this year. I think it takes a certain combination of sun angle, sunny days, and air temperature, so the date varies.  I have a picture of an advanced stage of the thaw from March 15th, three years ago,  here.