Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gratitude--Today and Every Day

Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, 
is the foundation of all generosity. 
I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, 
I am myself being given what I need. 
Generosity requires that we relinquish something, 
and this is impossible if we are not glad for what we have.

- Sallie Jiko Tisdale 
“As If There is Nothing to Lose”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Woodpecker's New Home

A woodpecker has made her home in the southeast corner of our house. What a great woodpecker home--totally insulated, passive solar. It even has central heating! Very cozy. And it's very close to the grocery store of the bird feeder, and just a short hop to the watering hole. What more could a woodpecker want?

Bill was dismayed to find the woodpecker looking out of the hole in the house at him. Oh-oh.

The carpenter is coming soon to do a repair, thank goodness.

The woodpecker herself is a persistent carpenter. She's been eyeballing this prime location for 2 or 3 years, and finally she has succeeded.

We need persistence too. Persistence to sit down and meditate. Persistence to remember mindfulness. Persistence to change our bad habits. Persistence to rewire our unskillful patterns.

Just look what you can do with persistence.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stop Raking!

This news just in from the New England Wild Flower Society:

Your neighbors might disapprove, but there are myriad reasons not to "clean up" your garden this fall. Many pollinators, and some amphibians, overwinter in leaf litter and dry perennial stems. Cleaning up your leaves destroys their habitat and kills any who have already bedded down. Let your garden work for nature this winter and save the cleanup work for spring!
I, myself, don't rake because leaves are mulch in disguise. In the spring, i rake my leaves onto the flowerbeds as the underlayment for bark mulch. Leaves plus mulch = lasagna gardening.

Love your leaves, just the way they are. On the ground. Even though they look messy.

Love the people in your life, just the way they are. No matter how they are. Even if they are messy.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Planting Tulip Bulbs in Pots

I bought half-price tulip bulbs at the garden store, so today i've been potting them up. Due to critters, i now treat tulips as annuals. I'm willing to feed a chipmunk a 25-cent bulb, but i'm not willing to spend $1 per bulb to feed that cute little rodent.

When i was at the Swap Program at the landfill on Saturday morning, i picked up several biggish plastic flowerpots. I've bought a couple of bags of potting soil and some vermiculite. Mix, mix, mix. Then crowd 7 bulbs into each pot.

For the moment, the tulip-bulbs-in-pots are sitting on my front step, but after it rains, i'll move them into the garage for the winter.

Tulips are another exercise in impermanence. Still, i love to think about what my front step will look like next April.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


I live on a private road, which is 2/3 of a mile long, with 8 other households. We hire our own road maintenance, which keeps our dirt road in tip-top condition. There are times of year, when it looks and feels much better than some town-maintained roads.

The road grader comes twice a year--spring and fall--and a few years ago, he told us to rake the leaves off the edges of the road. We live in the woods, so there are tons of leaves every fall.

Over time, the dead leaves turn to compost, then the dirt road turns to mud in the spring, and then we are all unhappy. So, every fall, we hire my gardener, Elisha, to blow the leaves off the sides of the road. It takes her about 4 hours, walking behind a powerful leaf blower. (She tried the back-pack variety one year, and it took twice as long.)

The Buddha recommended the 8-fold Noble Path to us, and, if we choose to walk that path, it will help us keep our path of clean living clear. We keep that path clear by walking our walk every day, with mindfulness. Which one can you commit to today?

  1. Wise View 
  2. Wise Intention 
  3. Wise Speech 
  4. Wise Action 
  5. Wise Livelihood 
  6. Wise Effort 
  7. Wise Mindfulness 
  8. Wise Concentration

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Vase Collection

I've started forcing hyacinths.

All year, i've been collecting narrow-necked vases at the thrift store and at the swap program at the landfill where everything is free! I love this re-using business. I take my junk to the swap program and walk away with treasures--vases and flowerpots, mostly. I have a large collection of each. I've even posted a sign in my shed, in case i die tomorrow, Take Everything in Here to the Swap Program at the Landfill. The cleaner-uppers might be tempted to throw it all into a dumpster, but i have flower friends who would love to have my collection of forcing vases. Maybe i should post Michelle's name and phone number next to the forcing vases.

Our collections disband. In the case of vases and flowerpots, it's easy to recognize their temporariness. In the case of friends and community, we think they are permanent until we realize that it's just too hard to maintain our home, and it's time to move to a condo or apartment. Good-bye dear neighbors, dear community. It turned out you, too, were a temporary collection of friends.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Withholding Water

My jade plant is blooming its white bright starry flowers. I didn't even know jade plants could bloom until just a few years ago. Withhold water for a couple of months in September and October (or water very, very lightly), and voila! Flowers!

I'm just re-doing my advance directives for the event when i am unable to make my own health care decisions. I am choosing to have food and water withheld. Several years ago, a nurse pointed out that tubes in means tubes out. I don't like the sound of that.

Withholding food and water from my mother when she was dying was one of the hardest things i've ever done, yet she was choking on a tiny spoonful of tapioca and choking on a half-teaspoon of water. It was time to stop.

The night before she died, i dreamed she had a crown of white flowers in her hair, very like the jade's white starry flowers.