Tuesday, April 22, 2008
With the new garage screen hanging up, we worked and played in our Creativity Room. The cats and Maria can't wander to the busy street, but the fresh breeze can blow in. With most everything as organized and comfortable as it ever will be, we found ourselves enjoying the new space. And in the spirit of Earth Day, I sit a little taller knowing that we re-thought, re-used and recycled to make the best of our world.
I am beginning work on a very special quilt. Max and Alex helped me think about how I want to use the fabric we are repurposing. There was some design debate about whether to use the bright side or the backside of aloha prints and it was decided that both sides would be appropriate and pretty. Maria sat at the cutting table and made bits of the scraps I let her cut. Benjamin sat with his nose to the screen and watched birds and cars.
So, today is Earth Day. I think that it is unfortunate that when I can do very little I sometimes do nothing at all. I am conscientious about the environment. I have been conscientious since about the first grade, when I was also a devoted seatbelt advocate. I recycle and I turn out lights, we cut back, we eat less of that and more of those... the usual stuff. Looking around here I can see where we need improvement, and I know what I would love to do to make a difference, like gardening. I don't have time to explain why we should bother, so I offer you: This. Please read it, if you need reason to bother.
This barrel is my garden. There are a lot of tropical plants and quite a bit of lawn in the front and even more concrete all around the house, and unfortunately none of these fall under my jurisdiction and even my attempts to enhance and modify these have been met with a landlord's weed-whacker. Sigh.
Last year when my sweetpeas were pulled up and my violas were raked over, I cried and I felt helpless and degraded, and I did not want to ever bother again. Not here. Not at Garage Mahal. By summer I regained some of my composure and the call of the garden beckoned me to try again. Geoff brought me wine barrels, and I planted tomatoes. Unfortunately, the walled garden and area trees don't let a lot of sunlight into the yard and the tomatoes failed to heat up. They grew green and leggy, but the fruit never came.
I think gardeners cannot help themselves. I cannot keep from slowly turning the pages of seed catalogs and making wishful gardens in my mind. I cannot help bringing home green bean seeds. I want fresh cut flowers and summer salsa from hot, plump sweet garden tomatoes. Gardeners have a calling, a need that cannot be denied and so when the season changes and the signs of spring awaken our senses, we try again.
Alex and I strapped the barrel to a handtruck and moved it to the backyard, where I am hoping we will have more sun, better luck. And so, maybe this little blossom will become a tomato.
Or, maybe not. There is a lot of shade in this irrigated suburban paradise.
Is it the shade that these blackberry canes need? Between palm trees, bird of paradise and concrete walls, these spiny berry plants force their way and seem to manage quite nicely. It was June of last year when we were sampling backyard berries... only 1 or 2 at a time, but much appreciated. I am noticing more flowers this year and hopefully our dedicated picking has prompted the plant to produce more to meet demand.
I often wonder how much or how little it would take to be self-sufficient, to sustain our family. For many years I have followed the progress of the the Dervaes family in Pasadena. They are amazing. Seriously, what can any of us do with 1/5 of an acre? They have taken a "Path to Freedom" that is extraordinary and an example to us all. I cannot say that I will ever achieve that level of self-reliance, but I deeply appreciate that they are showing me what is possible. They raise my thoughts.
Our tadpoles are marvelous. We are so pleased to see them thriving and growing. We brought in a fresh supply of creek water and an additional plant. The wild celery smells so good... potent, the way wild things do. Everyone enjoys sitting beside the aquarium and meditating. Gazing at the pebbles and sand, watching the tadpoles dart and feed, observing tiny air bubbles rise and roots spread. We look forward to returning healthy frogs to the creek.
Every day is Earth Day. Every day I care about the environment and our role in improving life on this planet. I should care more and do more or in some instance less. So, I keep trying. I keep thinking and feeling and learning. These are some bloggers that care a great deal, and make a point of keeping Earth Day a daily issue:
Mom, What's For Dinner?
Slowly She Turned
I Heart Farms