Last growing season the garden had the opportunity to go its own way while I was traveling--two separate times over a week each. Each time, the unintended plants (read: "weeds") took advantage and carpeted the ground with their lush green presence. It was bright and lively, but the intended plants were screaming "Help!"
Arriving home from the first trip after dark, the first thing I did was grab a flashlight and inspect the garden. Oh my. What a profusion of laughing, taunting weeds, as far as the flashlight beam might flash.
My field biology teacher in high school maintained that there was no such thing as a weed, just a California native. And on the grander scale he is right, since it is only our preferences that determine who belongs in our garden and who doesn't. As for me--let the natives play elsewhere, I'm growing food!
But I paused a moment in the garden yesterday and wondered if I could somehow make friends with the unintendeds. After all, they do appear to be winning the battle, and I need to find a different tack. Perhaps they provide a service as a place holder until I can get the preferred plants in. And they do make the garden look green. Isn't that better than the look of scorched earth or gray pavers squashing the life out of the soil? So I'm going to shake hands with and express gratitude to my unintendeds--before I relocate them--and grant them the opportunity thereafter to add their efforts to my compost pile. Yes. I've decided finally to compost them, overcoming my fear of spreading their seeds, for 1) there are so many of them I don't know where else to put them, and 2) I'm determined to compost well enough to overcome weed seeds.
I don't know if making friends with these unintended plants is more a matter of attitude, or if there is an action to take, but at the least, I don't want to feel like I'm constantly in a green battle.
We will see.
Too early is bad, too.
This has been a wet and therefore muddy winter. The dog chasing a Frisbee on the meadow kicks up divots to make the rankest of golfing novice proud. The whole area needs repair---reseeding, feeding, weeding---whatever -ding will help. But I am a rank novice in lawn care. No. Worse. I have a goodly number of failures under my belt. I fear the next failure is imminent.
I ordered lawn seed from a catalogue. So green and lush was the photo on the web site. Good for all seasons, it says. I ordered a small bag so I could create a test plot before committing. This year I have reviewed all my seed packets ahead of time to determine when and where (inside or outside) they should be sown. Huh. Nothing specific on the grass seed. Ah well. I just knew I wanted to get it in before the ground dries up. What was I thinking?
I don't know where the seeds are now. After staking and raking, seeding and re-raking, I proudly surveyed my work. Then two days later the rains came. I can only assume the seeds drifted to the massive puddle that has been forming beside the walkway, and now I am plagued with indecision as to what to do next. What is the next step, besides avoiding stepping in the enhanced muddy biome that is now the welcoming entryway to our home? I may have to declare a wetland (ephemeral, of course) and claim I can't touch it due to preservation principles. Tempting. Very tempting.
So. Yeah. Happy First Day of Spring!
My calendar says it's time to plant some seeds, inside and out. The Mexican Sunflowers and the Artichoke needed to be sown indoors two days ago. The violas, poppies, and other wild seeds, needed to be sown outdoors a week ago. But the tomatoes, peppers, hyssop and rudbeckia, are peacefully nestled in the fine potting soil that is theoretically designed for seed starting. This was the year I was going to set a schedule and stick to it. This was to be the year I wouldn't feel like I was always behind and running to catch up. But I'm only half on schedule. I am behind again.
Fortunately, plants have a certain graciousness of their own, and a flexibility I'm learning to depend on. Of course, there are limits. And success is based on not exceeding those limits.
I've had several years (a couple of decades?) of procrastinating a consistent time of meeting with God. Understand, I think it is absolutely amazing--incomprehensibly incredible!-- to think that He would want to spend time with me and hear from me for a concentrated, undistracted, time. I've known this in my head, and it called to my heart, but I couldn't get through certain blocks. I see now that so many of the blocks were the voice of doubt--the voice of the enemy-- that would say "you have too much to do, get going," "you don't know how to do this right," "you are not an intercessor", "where are the answered prayers to confirm this is even effectual?" I would say to people I would pray for them, and then feel guilty knowing that I didn't have a particular "list" I could add them to and bring them before the Lord in some consistent manner, so I would pray a short shotgun prayer and assuage my guilt.
But a watershed moment happened when I encountered a fairly innocuous quote from a book a good friend sent my husband. In Letters to the Church, Francis Chan explains about when he heard from the Lord to leave the mega-church he'd founded. The relevant sentence: "I had more peace in obeying what I thought I heard than in ignoring it."
I don't know if I am "doing it right." I have yet to see specific requests answered. But I do have more peace in obeying and even some days powering through, than in ignoring the long-heard call to prayer. I'm still working on not being distracted, and overcoming the flesh that wants the "environment" and all to be just so before I can open my mouth to sing and speak to the One who made me. But this lifestyle is so much sweeter.
And as with sowing the seeds on schedule for this year's garden, I depend on the graciousness of the Lord. I'm late. I know I'm late. But I’m here now and I'm determined.
Tuesday’s child is full of woe. Or so the saying goes. I was born on a Tuesday. Or so I’m told. But I was a happy child and always wondered why I was supposed to be full of woe. I figured I could fulfill the expectation, and be a true child of Tuesday, or I could fight and choose to be woe-less. I can’t say I’ve always been successful choosing woe-less-ness, but it has always been my intent.
Tuesday is the day in the garden that I dump the rain gauge, unclipping it from its bracket, and tossing the water over the fence. The gauge allows me to know if the garden has had enough water for the week. It seems a minimally important priority in such a wet climate, and I count on one hand the times I’ve had to back up the heavens with my hose, but it is nice to keep track of the rainfall. And to have a ritual…a day with a reminder.
Dumping the rain gauge reminds me to post. On Tuesday I clear out the accumulating rainwater, and expect in the following week to watch the gauge refill, to whatever level the heavens decree. And on Tuesday I toss my thoughts over the fence here at Kiss the Garden, and wait for what the heavens decree for the coming week.
This child of Tuesday will Kiss the Garden whether life lessons are green or brown, loam or mud, lush or scraggly.