I grew up with a family garden that was grown to provide food for us not only fresh but preserved as well. My mom gardened as her mother did.
|My Grandma Haynes in her garden in Wesley, Iowa,|
on July 26, 1967. The pole behind her held a very large martin house.
Her birthday was February 17, 1883 and she passed January 02, 1968.
|When I began stamping in the '90's,|
this is one of the first I purchased.
I still use it on cards I make and
the reminder is still poingnant.
The garden evolved as did my healing, both becoming alive and vibrant. Many of the original plants brought to MuRefuge did not survive. The plants taught me what wanted to grow here and others demonstrated a desire to live here but in a different spot, microclimate if you will. So I became aware of the microclimates of this very small piece of land through a cellular process aka body based. I learned the effects of wind, water and soil composition. I learned of the naturalizing process food plants go through: if you bring seeds from a distance land those plants through their seeds will acclimate.Pimento peppers which originate from a much hotter climate than here where the marine influence provides a cooler one was my first teacher in this realm of learning. Year after year I harvested the earliest ripening pimento pepper and saved the seeds to plant the following year. This remains my practice so we now have lush delicious thick walled sweet pepper to enjoy cooked and uncooked in a variety of dishes as well as preserved for enjoyable Winter eating. When my mom visited one time in the past when these luscious fruits were ripe, she ate so many she actually became ill developing a severe case of diarrhea.
Native plants abound here at MuRefuge. Most of the species were chosen to provide food for all the other BEings who also call this place home. The many different varieties of manzanita flower continuously over the cooler months, providing nectar for the Anna hummingbirds who are year round residents.
The "hedgerow" along the South property line is planted in the wettest part of MuRefuge's land.The various bushes provide berries for the berry eating birds. My favorite is the Twinberry bush which is a native honeysuckle. The tubular double flower provides nectar for hummingbirds and the berries provides food, too.
| The Blue birds love the black ripe berries. |
We have watched a mother Blue bird pluck a ripe berry
and feed it to her open mouthed offspring.
Gardening is a personal activity informed as I alluded to earlier in regards to my gardening roots. Reading two awesome gardening books has offered me an opportunity to see into the lives of two exordinary women each living in not only different centuries but different parts of this country as well. Here is a bit about each of these two books.
From the introduction by Jeffery R. Hanson: "Following an annual round, Buffalo Bird woman describes field care and preparation, planting, harvesting processing, and storing of vegetables. In addition, she provides recipes for cooking traditional Hidatsa dishes and recounts songs and ceremonies that were essential to a good harvest. Here first person narrative provides today's gardener with a guide to an agricultural method free from fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides." There are illustrative drawings and photographs.
For me this book was powerful and instructive about living simply and how hard those Hidatsa, a Siouana linguistic tribe located in now North Dakota along the upper Missouri RIver, women worked growing food in a place near Minot, where we all know it can get very cold in the Winter (and hot, I might add, in the Summer). This area is now a huge reservoir. Buffalo Bird Woman shares her tribe's origin stories (Hidatsa means "willows") including those of the corn, squash and beans seeds. And from a different perspective, these seeds from lands way South in Mexico, and perhaps further in South American, were brought North and naturalized by a process similar to what I have done with the pimento peppers here at MuRefuge.
I must first say I loved this book, especially since she raises ducks for egg production and for pest control as do I. And I was struck by the similarity of how her book is organized in much the same way as Buffalo Bird Woman's. Of course, much of the updated information and knowledge is informed by science: what we now know about plants' habits, for example, and about cross pollination, and about plants needs of healthy soil and crop rotation. Her gardening stories are precious and her sharing of resources immensely useful.
As we go about our gardening, in whatever manner we do so, may we