Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Healing Powers of Chickens and Goats and Memories

Mister Washburn Foo knows there are healing powers in nature. He likes to get down, into nature, roll in it, pick up the dust like a souvenir to bring home. What a smart little polka spotted kitty. Foo is right... outside is good, nature, with trees, fresh air, garden chores, friendly faces, puttering around, or chasing waves, even sitting quietly, watching chickens and goats. It's good. I love Ada's sunshine face, where she's squinting against that late autumn light. It makes her look reflective and serene... and not just like a funny goat blinking. Tasha is smiling, too, and seeing I have no treats with me, she's going to stay put, in the warmth of the sun. Have I mentioned we are in a feather storm? It drifts, like snow does, and we have feather banks, and feather slopes, and pitiful looking birds! Mako was crossing the lawn with a single tail feather standing pertly on her tiny frame. None of them has gone completely featherless, but they are in a sad state. Such a terrible molt! Only the new hens are laying, looking composed and ready for winter.

Coming out to the run, to check on our critters, bring them garden beets, or a piece of licorice, to clean their water bowls, collect eggs... it always calms me, gives me a reason to smile. I like to sit on the overturned pot and watch the chickens eat, or bathe in the dust. I like to brush the goats, and talk to them. As long as I keep brushing, they pretend I have interesting things to say. Gentle companions, without complicated agendas, or laundry lists of grudges, resentments. Their politics are simple: Food for all, safety, scratches, sun and shelter. Easy.

This winter we are going to make an extra special nature visit... to sit in the redwoods, beside a stream, follow paths up deep fern canyons. If we're lucky it won't be raining, much, then we can hike and linger, and gaze skyward where the tops of redwood trees meet streaming light. I can think of other places, like this one, where I know I can breath easier, feel better, and it makes me thankful... to have been in nature, to have been in so many good corners of the world that I can summon their memory, and feel glad, content, inspired. If it were a gift I could give, I would share it with everyone: Time to be somewhere beautiful, fresh, natural, uplifting, inspiring. In a garden, on a farm, staring into an aquarium, hiking a favorite trail, resting beneath a tree, digging a hole, planting a bulb, making mud, following a river, skipping stones... I'd love it if everyone could be in touch with the world, with their own breath, with our common light.

Monday, December 07, 2015

oh, Christmas Foo! oh Christmas Foo!

He won't even look at the fresh tree standing gloriously in the living room. He turns his back on it, scorning its piney fragrance, its majestic height. Obviously he misses his faux wonderland, where he could scale the tiered heights to ascend his lofty lair!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

A Bowl Full of Garden

These are some of the small gardens we made as gifts for friends. Making these was inspired by the terrarium Maria made, and the birthday gardens. {I hope it's not in poor taste to admit that we found these lovely ceramic bowls very affordably priced. It's creative and satisfying to find interesting dishes, bowls, and planters, and I think repurposing gives gifts a thoughtful touch, too.} With paper whites from a local nursery, and more mini-mushrooms from my crafted stash, we made enough gardens for a dozen friends!

Have you ever brought home paper white bulbs? Most nurseries, some stores, even Trader Joes, sell them starting in November. The bulbs grow long green stems, and by late December will burst open into fragrant, white blossoms, much like tiny daffodils! They do not like to get cold, so keep them indoors, if you are in chilly area. In a warm room, with regular water, in a sunny window, paper whites can grow with little or no soil... even a glass container with stones will support the bulb and allow you to have beautiful flowers blooming in winter. If you haven't tried this, or would like to create a small indoor garden for the holidays, I think you will enjoy putting one of these together... they are simple, and generous.