tea time

Coree wonders… about the moon.  These beautiful Springs nights with whip-poor-wills loud and clear and the moon so big – so inspiring.  I’ve noticed over the years, just through observation, that the garden seems to stand on tip toe when the moon is full, and seeds germinate fast.  The dry spell before this one we were busy planting planting planting, but it was a new moon, and almost everything has been slow to germinate.

We’ve all done a fair amount of studying about gardening, Biodynamic and organic.  I wonder what you use now – practically – of these extra-planetary influences.

Stella Natura calendar? Local hardware store almanac calendar?  Dry days as available?  How does it work at your place?

with love and curiosity, Coree

Robin replies…

we actually love using the stella natura calendar. it has always been presented to me as a guide to use with care, always taking into account local conditions. so, we read it, acknowledge it, and adhere to it as best we can. it offers guidance. when the days are full and the lists long, the planting calendar is yet another tool we can use to help us prioritize. when planetary alignment is such that a day is best spent with root vegetables or leafy delights, so be it! we have noticed again and again, that noting solar, lunar and planetary alignments aids us in our farming (and so many other aspects of life). these are powerful forces at work, we know that on so many levels, so recognizing them as such and working with them helps us day in and day out.

Cher replies…

Practicality rules here. While we do consult the Stella Natura calendar, it is not the end all for us. Practical, common sense observations of current and forecasted weather conditions guide us more than anything else. In this region of southern Kentucky, sometimes a planting window can literally be just a few hours of time. If we were to choose not to plant because of certain astrological forces, we might altogether miss a window and therefore miss out on particular crops for the entire season. We have to take chances, even when certain forces may be suggesting otherwise. It is a lot like gambling… you win some, you lose some. But you can’t say something didn’t work unless you have tried it for yourself. When we do get planting done in accordance with the biodynamic planting recommendations, we give ourselves a big pat on the back, for sure! Seeding in the greenhouse is a little more flexible, because you are not at the mercy of soil conditions in the open garden. So with greenhouse work, we are able to follow the planting calendars a bit more closely. I have always felt, though, that the gardener’s intentions can have a lot of merit in the success or failure of crops… so let us enjoy our work in the garden, project positive thoughts and be rewarded for our work in more ways than just a big harvest!

balancing

Years ago, in my mid-twenties, I traveled by the seat of my pants.  One job led naturally to another.  One adventure transpired from the last without much forethought or planning.  There was always just a leap.  Many incredible experiences happened that way.

A college friend had connections in West Papua, the farthest eastern piece of Indonesia, squarely the middle of nowhere.  I went, with a mind to create some kind of indigenous agricultural project.  Of course, I couldn’t speak a lick of Indonesian, knew little of the cultural or political situation, and had been no further from the US of A than a short jaunt over the Canadian border one summer.

Print

map found on google. thanks.

So I learned a lot.  Fast.  I came home when my visa was up, tired from a bout of malaria.  I looked for grants to perpetuate some kind of work over there but it was not meant to be.  Instead, a friend of a friend was impressed that I liked to travel to really far out places and connected me to a small organization doing incredible work in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (long stories unto themselves there).

So that’s how things work out.  I had to go to Papua in order to go to Tibet.

THEN – coming back to States after that extended work adventure, I hurt my back and had to re-think my plans.  I booked a yoga retreat in Italy using what was left of my last paycheck.  At that retreat I learned the yoga that really worked for my body, and felt the strong desire to share it.  I also learned that I was less likely to keep up the good practice if I kept making wacky decisions, like taking the night train to Amsterdam.  So, I came home.

This chain of activity, action, and re-action eventually led me to my Husband, this Fellow Man who has steadfastly shared life with me these past ten years.  Whew!  It was a whirlwind.  I couldn’t always see where I was going beyond the next step, but it landed me right.  Right where I belong.

Besides yoga practice, marriage and motherhood have rooted me.  I am challenged in that rooting process sometimes.  I needed to be pruned on top so that the roots could grow deep enough.  But now my roots are deep and my branches are stretching again.  It feels good.

big balance

one day maybe i’ll be a big tree

I haven’t even mentioned the life of the farm here because it has been part of my paradigm for so long.  No matter where I went, I was carrying or collecting some seeds to plant somewhere.  When times felt uncertain, I imagined gardens and farms where I had worked, or hadn’t worked yet.  I assumed that I would land on some land, one day.

I assumed correctly.  The discipline of being with the farm, the garden, is a great and fulfilling challenge, but I knew what that looked like, having seen it in many diverse forms as I traveled and interned here and there.  The proportions and heft of maintaining fun-ctional marriage partnership and being a loving and strong mother were much more mysterious to me.  These ten years have worked me over from deep down, and it looks like a lifetime of learning to come, too.

garlic roots

sweet little lulah and i with some roots showing

However, I do feel my roots more solid now.  I’m no longer a leaf blowing in the wind.

Now, the challenges are different.  We decided to cut back our CSA efforts to only local, very local, customers.  We’re putting our efforts back into bodywork and yoga, again, locally.  We have leapt from where we were into unseen territory.  When I was 25, on my own, it was just a great adventure.  Now, it carries more weight.

The trick with weight is to balance it.  Our heads are heavy, but as long as we use our given structure appropriately, we balance them on our neck and shoulders.  Having this beautiful family responsibility, and creating a living within our local community is kind of like a strong one-leg balance.  Check out this variation of Virabhadrasana (commonly referred to as Virabhadrasana III) – the Warrior Pose, taken into a strong balance.

virabhadra 3

drawing found on google – thanks.

This strengthens the legs, hips, and back and really challenges balance.  (Please don’t try it without instruction unless you already know how.)  It is not without risk.

That’s how I feel about most of life right now – gardening, parenting, teaching – as we dive into new ways of doing just about everything this season.  It’s a supreme balance, but I’m more prepared than I ever before.  The rooting process has made me more stable.  Now I am able to extend my limbs, balanced from this strong base without being whisked away by the passing breeze.

Successful balance is extremely satisfying.  It does a lot to focus and stabilize the mind.  From that place of greater equilibrium, I feel my eyes resting more clearly on the task at hand.  As one task leads to another, these fast paced spring days, that deep balance brings a welcome peace.

I felt the same sort of peace years ago, flowing through time and space, so un-rooted.  That sense of ‘flow’ changes as the roots grow deeper, but it still comes.  While setting up a new location to teach an open yoga class, in conjunction with our local hospital, I ran into a woman we go to church with who wants veggies.  There it was – the deep current that will lead us where we need to go.  I am grateful to have the presence, the peace in the midst of Springs wild currents, to see what comes toward us, and appreciate it.

thankful

for rain.  after a long enough dry spell to get some garden work done.  a real gully washer.

rain steps

for little toads in the turtle bowl.  a great science lesson for spring.

tadpoles

for high cover crops.  high hopes for a good season.

cover crops

for virabhadrasana.  the warrior pose.  counter posing the effects of hoeing, seeding, weeding, crawling through the garden with transplants.  taking space in busy days, busy times.

virabhadrasana 1

both feet firm, hip width apart. eyes forward.

virabhadrasana 4

inhale – reaching up, stretching the front, keep the base firm

exhale - pulling elbows down and back until shoulders get out of the way.  inhale, lift arms and exhale, straighten return to the beginning.  repeat - 4 to 6 times each side.

exhale – pulling elbows down and back until shoulders get out of the way. inhale, lift arms and exhale, straighten return to the beginning. repeat – 4 to 6 times each side.

for Sweet Honey In The Rock.  “I’m gonna stay on the battlefield.”