My tangled garden (II)

Early morning in the garden, indeed, visiting the garden at any time time during the day is almost always a calming, salutary experience; it’s a natural remedy for many ailments both real and imaginary.  

Inside the perimeter of the deer fence, there is no risk of contracting Covid-19, and though it might be prudent to wear an N95 mask when I’m shaking dry soil off of the weeds I’m pulling or running the tiller, both of which tend to throw a lot of dust into the air.

There are no vaccine passports required for admission to the garden. There is no cover-charge or need for a reservation nor any need for any kind of mask-on, mask-off ritual of any kind, such as those required for simple admission to all kinds of venues, public and private.

I once attended a lecture devoted to the garden as an intermediary space: not inside the home; outdoors, yet not fully within the public sphere.  I liked the idea; that’s probably why it stayed with me. It’s probably why I like to practice gardening now.    

What remains of the teacher in me reminds me that ‘garden’ is both a noun and a verb: a noun when I’m outside the fence, looking in; a verb once I’ve passed through the gate.

It occurs to me that many would benefit from having some kind of garden, especially during these increasingly maddening times.

On this Labour Day, I hope to find myself in the garden once again, not labouring, hopefully, but moving continually, where time is not measured by any clock but where I apply myself steadily, then realize how much has been accomplished once I’m done.


The United States, Covid, and gardening in the SPC

Today’s Crowsnest update is not about one topic specifically; it’s about the enormous list of possible subjects there are and the impossibility of writing about them all.

Last week, with civil insurrection surging up the steps and into the corridors of the United States Capitol, I counted my good fortune in not being part of any of that.

Again this week, with the United States Congress taking the unprecedented step of impeaching the current president for a second time, an unrepentant President Trump (despite the words he reads off of teleprompters), continues to encourage his disaffected supporters to turn out en masse, armed, in front of state capitols, in just a few days.

Again, fortunate we are to be here, not there; lucky so far not to have been infected with the Sars 2 Corona Virus, felled by Covid 19, nor to know anyone who has been. Not yet: hopefully not ever.

As observed by Paul Samyn, editor of the Winnipeg Free Press in one of his daily Covid 19 updates a few days ago, all of that can change in an instant,  . . . it can be when you take your chances with this virus, when you let down your guard, when you fool yourself into thinking that meeting down at the pub for a few pints of Guinness is a good way to celebrate Christmas. [emphasis mine]

Mr. Samyn was talking about Ireland, which had the lowest coronavirus infection rate in the European Union in early December, but has the world’s highest rate now.  His point: It could just as easily happen, right in his city, Winnipeg, but just as easily your country, town, village or family, no matter where you reside: it could even happen to you!  

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Last week’s blogpost caught the attention of two people, both gardeners, one of whom became a subscriber.  Thank you for your responses!

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Fortunately, gardening is on my seemingly endless list of topics to write about in this space, so while I wait for the 2019-2020 garden report to be written, a continuing theme will be our #sustainability garden, where it was, is now, and where we hope to see it going in 2021.  Has there ever been a better time than now to ‘get growing’?

A question for the ‘armchair’ or ‘active’ gardeners reading this:  “What books/seed catalogues/other printed gardening resources are you making the most use of right now?  Feel free to reply in the comments section; there’s lots of room for as long or short a comment you’d like to make!

For a nominal US$5.00 fee, I downloaded and printed a copy of the 2021 garden planner distributed by the U.S. National Gardening Association website.

The Planner/organizer offers templates and pages for each of the 12 months and 52 weeks the gardening year.  I don’t think this was a mistake, but here near the end of “Week 2” I realize I’m already behind schedule. 

Among my many other gardening mistakes so far, since committing to the resurgence of the sustainability garden in 2018, was my failure yesterday to take advantage of the unseasonably warm, +7 degree (celsius) outdoor temperatures.  I should have headed over to the Super Paul Compound (SPC) to dig more Winter Carrots and Rutabaga, but I did not.  Last night the mercury dropped back to -7 degrees, making digging today more difficult, maybe impossible.

Something else.  One garden-related task I will  commit to this do this week and one that is worthy of week 2 of the gardening year, especially when the ground is still covered with snow,  is to to a walk-around, both inside and outside the compound, to make note of the current situation, the lay of the land.  I could easily do it from my desk, but I know that the best motivation for the would-be gardeners comes from their feet. 

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Besides U.S. politics, the pandemic, and the garden, there’s always the easy default subjects of weather and traffic to write about, but since urban market morning TV seems to have a lock on those, I’ll probably weigh-in on those topics as a last resort.  

I’ve jotted down a fair list of possible subjects, all worthy of treatment here:  Health & Wellness; books; healthful cookery; cooperatives; obesity; acoustic music; consumerism; and Delza are all subjects I know some of the people who have read my stuff seem to be interested in.  And there are many other subjects I haven’t mentioned, enough to keep me busy for a long time.

So, leave a comment, share, subscribe, especially if you have constructive criticism, advice or other support to offer.

As for me, I’m still trying to figure things out as I go, so please forgive me if there are a few glitches along the way


Better here than there

I could’ve written something about the SARS-2 Corona Virus when the global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, but I didn’t until today, 302 days later, after Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for countries to, “. . . take urgent and aggressive action . . . the agency has rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

At the time, my impression was the WHO had taken their time in declaring the pandemic. I had been following news of the Sars 2 Corona Virus since late January, but at the time I didn’t write anything down about it, apart from a letter I sent to some people I care about. I was busy doing other things, among them thinking about what I would be planting in my new sustainability garden. Looking back through the pages of my 2020 garden diary I’ve only found two references to Covid-19: one on March 13th, and the other on the 15th:

2020.March.13.,  “ > 110 000 cases of Covid-19 worldwide.” And this:

“Where is the data that confirms a 5 day incubation period?”

While 110 000 Covid-19 cases worldwide sounded huge then, the number has only taken off from there, There are now well over 87 and a half million cases worldwide and the total number cases is still increasing.

There was nothing else written in my diary to suggest I’d ever found the answer to my question about the 5 day incubation period, but judging from the quarantine restrictions imposed by most, perhaps all government jurisdictions in Canada and internationally, 14 days has apparently been settled on as the number of elapsed days necessary to ensure that anyone arriving in Canada from somewhere else is non-infective with Covid-19. 

Looking back hoping for further references to the pandemic in my garden diary proved futile; this was my 2020 garden diary after all, and I’m a legend in my own mind for wanting to keep the ‘main thing’, the main thing.  At least there’ll be lots of primary-source information to include in my year end garden report — if I ever manage to write it.

But there are so many other things I could write about besides gardening. Covid-19 obviously, politics, books, ideas, journalism, even the weather, my ideas about acoustic music: the problem for me is not so much what to write about but where to begin.

A few weeks ago, on my Facebook page, a platform I’d like to get away from, I invited people who respond to a post by indicating a single word or phrase they associated with when where or how they became associated with me. I was astonished that over 50 people responded and many others who’s opinions I also value, choosing not to.

I started thinking about the larger group, those who had replied to my silly question immediately along with those who had not probably comprised my audience. A few days later, I realized that should I ever jump into the deep-end of the social media pool and commit to generating steady content for a self-published blog, it would probably be this larger group of people that I’d probably be writing for.

After the middle of July, 2020 the number of entries in my garden diary dropped off to zero.  It wasn’t because I had stopped gardening, it was because I had stopped writing about it. I’d become so busy actually working the garden that I didn’t bother to write things down anymore. Looking back, this was disappointing to me because keeping things going and bringing them to completion is also something I value.

Being really new at this, I believe have no choice but to take small steps, but I don’t think I would be wasting my time if I encourage you to leave a comment, letting me know your thoughts, and suggesting what might make this blog one that you might keep returning to. In a genuine sense, I’m working for you; my only payment so far is your interest, as reflected in your comments and other feedback. whether or not this website is something I can think about later.

If the surprises of 2020 have been any indication, I think there’ll be lots up for discussion in the weeks to come; 2021 shows no indication of being any less astonishing than 2020, as the events in Washington, D.C. yesterday would confirm.

So don’t be shy about leaving a comment, giving me honest feedback, suggesting the topics you find most compelling, as well as those that do not.

One more thing. I haven’t determined a regular schedule for posts here, but I’m thinking that once per week might be enough for me to commit to; twice per week would mean the blog would become a job; more than twice per week would end up being an annoyance.

Feel free to subscribe, share, comment and to provide me with any feedback that you’d like.

[N.B.  While writing this blog entry, my TV was off, and when I was finished I went for a two hour hike up along the Big Chungus River Loop.  It wasn’t until later I heard about the bad craziness going down in and around the U.S. Capitol building which resulted in the death of a woman who was fatally shot in the neck while trying to climb into the Chamber of Congress through a broken window.  I’m glad I wasn’t there.]