Category Archives: animals known & unknown

Recalibrating.

How do you make a decision?


Or is it that decisions make us?


Is there a subtle compass point within us pointing in a particular direction? Guiding our steps? 


In that same way that roots know to go “down”…?


Every decision has consequences. Some more impactful than others.

“Risk itself is a process of constant unfolding. And taking risks is the process of peeling back the layers of what you are and who you want to be.” – Phoebe Eng


What if you were offered an opportunity, that would support a long-time dream/hope for your life, which would call for a great leap of faith (and a lot of hard work), but would require you to leave all that has been familiar?

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.” – Thomas Merton


I have lived through enough changes in my life to know that not all decisions I’ve walked towards have felt like “good” ones. That some have felt like flat out “mistakes”.

Enough to know that sometimes, things working out the way you hoped isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

“When God wants to punish you, as Isak Dinesen declared, He answers your prayers.” – Barbara Kingsolver (from Animal Dreams)


Or, reframed euphemistically:

I’ve had quite the many learning experiences.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” – Pena Chodron (from When Things Fall Apart)


I could stretch this further, and even say that reflecting on the past number of years, I can see how it all seems to be a set up for this very moment. 

“The real voyage of discover consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust


It’s tricky, this weighing of pros and cons…

this heart gets so attached to certain beings.


It’s an unfamiliar practice to simply rest in an uncertainty, and not try to force an answer. To step by step, keep responding as things unfold. Neither avoiding, nor pushing.


I’ve never been much of a planner. And I suppose I’m still not. But I’m noticing it’s like there are two forks in a road, and I’m treading tentatively down both. It’s like having two “plan b’s”.


I’ll follow up when the next step becomes clear.

Till then, wishing you all a many-moments-of-joy-filled-and-long-steady-Spring.


PS – I’ve never chosen a word for the year, though I’ve read a number of blog posts which speak to such a thing. The word “recalibrating” will be one for me this year to roll around in my mouth-mind like an apricot pit.


Autumn at the farm.

Panorama view from the greenhouse, which is now occupied by heaps of winter squash.


This isn’t an up-to-date photo… It’s from last week before I cleaned & sorted onions. Now the wire racks are covered in Butternut  & Acorn squash, while the floor has twice as many crates of Delicata, Buttercup, Honeynut and Kabocha varieties.


Greens are dunked, or properly termed “hydro-cooled” in the greenhouse.

Here’s John, one of the on-farm interns washing endive for this past week’s CSA share pickup.


Head lettuce in a wheelbarrow awaits it’s turn at the sink.


Jared, another on-farm intern, bags mesclun for the shares, which are given out in re-purposed banana boxes.


“Captain” Bob talking with the interns about what will be going to market this coming week near the list of vegetables in Week 17.

These are some of the most dedicated & hardest working people I know.


Yellow tray full of Basil and boxes of Hot peppers for the heat-lovers.


Equinox brings changing. This is from just this past Sunday.


And the previous Sunday.


Sebastian (the Elder) cozy in the “cold frame” where tender seedlings are a step closer to being set outside in order to “harden off” and adjust to being out in the swing of temperature & elements.


These are all from the last seeding of the season in early September. They’ll be heading to the high tunnels for the Winter CSA share.


Tio. The neurotic farm dog. 

In a recent/former life, he was used as a “bait-dog” and consequently has some unresolved issues. He loves laying in the sunshine and being the center of attention.


Dandelion greens (photo from last week’s share) at the greenhouse.

Also from last week, I got to housesit with a sweet pup & kitty:


Tiara.


Who loves a good sock.


Genuine.


A polydactyl kitty. 26 claws and toes in all.


At night, T slept on my legs and Genuine slept on my chest.

Best. Thing. Ever.


Wishing you all a happy Autumn.


Cats & lessons & moving & hiding.


This is Luna.

She’s one of the animals I look after sometimes. An ancient kitty, she loves to sit on my lap & be brushed, and is quite fond of taking over the pillow by the middle of the night.


This is Sophie. It was quite warm the week I stayed with her & her sister, Izzy. 


Warm & humid.

Before this stretch with Sophie & Izzy, I had the good fortune to be with Nemo for a while in July.

This was taken before the recent rains…


On very hot days, she’d hop into a ceramic dish for a nap.

Before this, I was at another house, with two kitties. (No photos that time…)

Basically I was not living in my apartment for the entire month of July.

But I was there a lot, packing. Everything. I just moved.

Thanks to my friends, who helped out in so many ways, to support this past move.

Schlepping boxes, sanding patches, dropping off stuff at resale stores, bringing blueberries & pop, bringing good cheer, texting, offering emotional support over the phone & in person… I really could feel the net of people… & their support.


These follows are older than me, but when together, are like 9 year olds. Another friend (I didn’t catch a photo of her) held the reigns & called the shots to keep things going.

They were a huge help on a very hot day driving boxes from my apartment of 2 & 1/2 years to the next landing place.


Packing selfie.

Basically if I was there on my own, I’d listen to music or a podcast & pack & pack & pack after work before heading back to whichever place I was housesitting at.


Thank the gods for all these friends & all these cats in my life.

Because the day I got there, the day I would officially “move in”, there was a distinct sinking feeling in my heart & my gut.


It was the very same feeling when I crossed the California state line back in 2002.

Something akin to: o no. What did I do?

A sort of “wrong” feeling. Like I had made a mistake.


I get this feeling when I’m driving somewhere & I know I’m lost, that I’m going the wrong way.

It’s the same feeling. 

Driving, though, I can just turn around, get off at an exit, go a different route.

Moving, and renting, & having signed a lease, a binding agreement, the stakes are higher, the consequence greater, especially since I sunk my savings into making it happen. (Rent is expensive in these parts…)


I’m haunted by my decision.

Reflecting on how I only saw what I was looking for, & overlooking the aspects of the place which were, um, funky.


I really thought it was a place I could settle into for a while.

But it turned out the landlord forgot to mention one piece of information which would have changed my decision to apply for this apartment.

Mice. 


She says she mentioned it. I said, um, no you didn’t.

“You could get a cat. That’s what the former tenant did.”

And yes, sure, I love cats. 

But I’m not in the position where I can be with (my own) cat at this point of my life.


Clearly a misunderstanding occurred, to the point where she offered to let me out of the lease.

Now, aside from not having the money to rent a different place (including a security deposit), to simply to FIND a place in this town that was both affordable AND in less than a month and with no back-up alternate place to go (not to mention all of my belongings) was, well, it just seemed impossible.

And, quite frankly, I didn’t have the energy or the will to even try. Just moving that last week of July following the entire month of packing every day & cleaning both places while working just wore me out.


I haven’t blogged about it, because I’ve been feeling pretty bad about myself & my decision, & my life at the moment.

Yes, it’s a privilege to move with all of my belongings. Yes, I am currently employed. Yes, I am rich in community.

And

It still feels bad. I feel bad. Ashamed. Stupid. And then it globs into all the choices I’ve made in my past from places of fear & I just send myself into a sort of spiral.


So I’ve been kind of hiding out in shame & embarrassment that extends beyond this one decision & situation.

Even though had I been given all the information I would have made a different choice.


Luna’s like: “stop being so hard on yourself”

The landlord isn’t going to do anything about the mice.

I’m in a year lease.

I’m buying a *%#^ton of steel wool to shove into any cracks & holes, and screwing welded wire over the really wide gaps.

And I’m telling myself that I’m living in a cabin. For a year.

(Thank you, Amy-la, for that.)


And at the recommendation of my wise sister, & then a friend, I’m going to look at what I appreciate about this place, AND what really doesn’t work for me, and apply that to my decision regarding any future places.

So.

I appreciate that I can heat with wood. I enjoy stacking wood. 

The woodstove was one of the four things I saw and said ‘yes’ to.

Wood stove, separate structure (that is, no one above or below or attached to the side), quiet, & a place to garden.

All really great things.


But just focusing on those four things is like stepping into a relationship with someone just because they have a mouth & a hand to hold & a, well you get the idea.

I tend to overlook the whole picture.

*sigh*

Living and learning here.


On a brighter note, despite the severe drought we’ve been experiencing, the hickory trees are quite abundant in nuts this year.


Mockernut & Bitternut hickory droppings from a very tall canopy & signs of critter munching.

O the critters.

Wishing you all well on this night.

Wishing you gentleness & ease.


Good morning & explanation of awayness.

  
Hey everybody.

This was from earlier today up at a retreat center in upstate New York where I’ve been for the past ten days.

I know I just stopped posting a couple weeks back

  
(Three-day moon. My favorite.)

I’m involved in a Contempletive Care for the Dying program through the Rigpa Foundation & it’s been asking for more attention than I had anticipated.

And to prepare for the retreat, was working every day & just became overwhelmed with all the reading & writing & work on top of that.

  
(A video short of Sara working Conner & Larry, covering up the garlic we just planted.)

  
Fresh ginger drying off & heading to the freezer.

So, I’m now considering deferring graduate school until the fall of 2016.

Possibilities: art therapy, chaplaincy, or simply counseling.

  
(Flecks. My kitty from way-back-when I was a child.)

For now I want to focus on the program I’m currently in.

  
The good morning photos may not come every day…

I need to allow for a little more room in my life for now,

& to focus on my project for class, sitting practice, staying on top of the reading (which I’m slow at) & writing assignments.

  
We had our first snow at the farm on the 18th of October.

More to come.

  
Thank you to everyone’s encouragement, especially regarding going back to school.

Wishing you all good things.


Home.

   
   


Harvest & seeding day at Nook & Cranny (take 2).

  
Can you see the hot?

It was warm this past Sunday. 

I tried to post on Monday, but there are many photos & my phone dropped the thread & so none of it was saved…

  
Sooooo, Take 2.

It was the second to last day of seeding for the 2015 season, & Sebastian was holding down the Yin.

During a pause while filling trays, I asked Bob if he could let me know before the cover-plastic was unrolled so I could take a photo of the boxes…  
 He asked if instead I’d take photos of the boxes as they were filled up through the day…

 Seriously, I have the cushy job.

I’ll try to keep the small & large boxes in order (I’ll be more methodical next time)

Above, the top box is the large, their tomato box comes later.

the bottom box (the one with the 1/2 peck box of tomatoes) is the small.

Back to the seeding…  
24 trays in all

10 Spinach, 4 Sylvetta Arugula, 4 Lettuce, 2 Red Pac Choi, 2 Red Mustard, 2 Mizuna.

   
 
“The Nusery”

   
 
The ones outside a little further along.

All these greens will head to the hoop houses & high tunnels in time.

  
Chard drip-draining before being set into boxes.

   
 
Small on top, Large below.

  
Bob sets leeks into the Large boxes.

 “Shining the zucchini” with a cloth, removing any stuck on stuff from the field.

   
 
Small on top, large on bottom.

  
I’ve tried three times to load a short video of Garrett’s hands washing carrots, but WP on my phone keeps crashing.

Suffice it to say that Bob intends to invest in a rotating drum spray method for next season. Garrett is super fast on the sprayer, but I guess the rotating drum is a faster way.

  
Into the box they go.

 Edamame happy dance!

Those were seeded in early June & here they are!!
One of the workers generously gave me a mounded quart full. One of the many benefits of working here.    

 
Here are two “smalls”

Bob knows details about each CSA member regarding any vegetables they may need to avoid…

So every now and again, some of the boxes will have slightly different contents.

   
   
You’d never know there was a lot of vegetable action going on underneath this layer of leafy greens.

    
Large boxes with tomatoes on top, a final sweep of vegetable droppings, plastic comes over, & Bob sets out Brussels Sprout tops at the “extras” area.

   
 Mmmm. Basil.

 
Week 14 ready for pick-up.

Did I mention it was hot?

It was SO hot & all the workers were amazing & lunch was a time of great delight & welcomed rest.  

Blessings on Late Summer.


known & unknown.

(please pardon the blurred photos to follow – they are from 2009, taken on a flip phone, & are slowly being downloaded from my Facebook account which has served as a photo album between 2009 and 2014)  
I know how to see & recognize beauty in this world.

I try to expand this notion of beauty as a practice.

Sometimes I fall into rigidity, sometimes, I stretch this seeing.

  
I try to honor life in all forms.

Sometimes I fail to see my actions, sometimes I can be gentle with this life so-called outside.

  
It’s easier to encourage others, harder with myself.

  
(Don’t worry, Mom & Dad, I didn’t get another tattoo – it’s the forearm of an acquaintance)

🙂

But it’s great for me to see. 

  
I’ve written before that I tend to forget, which is why I write things down.

But what do you do when there’s an unknown to step into?

  
Like beginning graduate school

  
When telling yourself “I can do this” feels like a lie

  
Where does faith come from?

  
I lean on my friends when the voice of “who do you think you are?” presses on like a broken record.

  

They say things like: “have you talked back to that voice question? Tell it who you think you are!”

This has been helpful.

  
Plants, like this late Autum Sedum already sending buds forth before the long Winter, anticipating Spring.

I can learn a lot from plants.

I have learned a lot from plants & this world continues to be one of my greatest teachers.

  
So, I’ll keep on, like the sedum, beginning, again.

& heading in a direction…

  
…like the Red-Winged Blackbirds migrating…

  
With whatever is luck…

  
…and whatever is faith…

  
To challenge the voices, (or even simply turning my attention elsewhere, dropping the habitual thought, as suggested to me) 

Sensing the world 

  
And challenge myself to step into the unknown.