Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring Beauty and Unexpected Gifts

Comfrey beginning to bloom beneath the peach and apple trees
on MuRefuge's septic mound.
Teach your children
what we have taught our children-
that the earth is our mother.
Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
If men spit upon the ground,
they spit upon themselves.

This we know.
The earth does not belong to us,
we belong to the earth.
This we know.
All things are connected
like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
We did not weave the web of life,
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves . . .

Chief Seattle

Blooming Service Berry or June Berry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

This Tuesday past the BE BEs were 6 weeks old. The natural tendency to flock has replace the earlier imprinting of human. Within their enclosure that protects them from predation, they follow their "big sisters" along the chicken wire AND if the adult ducks forage too widely, they raise a noisy ruckus until the rest of their flock returns. 

The Tootsie Rolls are in the background
and the BE BEs are the foreground
as they move in tandem along opposite
side of the chickenwire.
It has been interesting to watch the strong bond of connection develop. The older ducks now forage closer to the BE BEs and when they are at rest they choose to do so near the youngsters.

In the background near the duckhouse
you can see the BE BEs standing erect
against their  chickenwire enclosure.
 Ms. Blue (far left), Coco, Ms Crone stands in front
of the Tootsie Rolls.
This Spring with the record breaking rain that has fallen the native plants here at MuRefuge have burst forth in Spring beauty as not previously seen. The Serviceberries are just lush with flowers. Perhaps an abundance of berries will indeed be forthcoming.

The native Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) with their gorgeous purple flowers are absolutely stunning against the bright green leaves. As I let the Spring beauty seep into my pores, soothing occurs for the despondency that has surfaced since our neighbors have brought to their 3/4 acre a humungous motorhome which can barely negotiate the curve in our gravel road. While I focus on soil regeneration to decrease the impact of greenhouse gases, I am hit with the realization that this motorhome's negative impact on Mother Earth far outweighs the meager, positive effects of my hard labor and the carbon sequestering happening here at MuRefuge.

An incredibly unexpected gift, however, has been bestowed upon MuRefuge,, in the form of an energetic, bright, hard working, homeschooled older teenager who has agreed to assist with the care of MuRefuge working every Monday afternoon for four hours. He came to work here through an unlikely connection: an employee of the Hessel Church which heretofore has been "a thorn in my side" so to speak with their huge asphalt parking lot, use of Roundup, and general practices of harming Mother Earth. The employee "befriended" me a very kind and heartful way one day when Shasta and I were walking past the church. A hard learned lesson which is so essential for the times: we all need to communicate with one another and listen to one another to heal the contentiousness that is so prevalent right now from the politicians in Washington, D.C. to our neighbors.

As we not only recognize but express gratitude for the Spring beauty and unexpected gifts in our lives, may we


  1. From my soul sister in Tempe, AZ: "HI Cathie-
    Beautiful posting-from the words of wisdom of Chief Seattle, to the photos of the quite spectacular ducks (are they usually this striking in their appearance?), to the wisdom you yourself imparted when you took in the churchgoer-Yes, we all need to open our hearts and minds to the new lessons that are available to us-probably on most days!?

  2. An email from close by in Petaluma, CA: "My Dear Cathie:

    I just wanted to commiserate with you over your earth-unfriendly neighbours with their destructive vehicle. There are two caregivers here today (for my husband – advanced PD)) and we are all kindred spirits in many ways, particularly love of gardens and native plants and all natural things (and also dogs!), and dismay at so many people's blind molestations, so I read your blog out to them while they are working. I just wanted you to know that we feel the same way and SO sympathize with you. These are hard times to be living in for people who feel as we feel and who know what we know (and that is a wonderful piece by Chief Seattle), and it can be SO discouraging. I get angry every time I encounter a piece of litter when I am walking my dog. (And a very strange practice has arisen which I never used to see – that of people having collected their dogs' intestinal offerings in a plastic bag, neatly knotted it, then just left it at the edge of the sidewalk!!! – What DO these people expect will happen to it?!) But we here all admire you and your work and send friendly and encouraging thoughts your way. In my small native-plant garden here (Petaluma) I am trying to attract birds and am infuriated every time I see my neighbour's cat in the garden. There are several free-roaming cats around here, which are also SO destructive to everything they encounter. Most people's views on letting domestic cats roam freely are in the dark ages, and it is difficult to inform someone who does not want to be informed, and does not want their cat confined. I had so many more species of "garden" birds in Westchester (New York) than here, and far fewer roaming cats, for whatever reason. But – I shall keep trying.

    Thank you for your blog, Cathie!

    Kate Weinberger"

  3. An email from rom a dear neighbor: "super nice blog Cathie,


  4. Another email from a neighbor: "great post Cathie. neighbor Diane"

  5. An email from another neighbor: "Love your posts. I have noticed all of the work you have been doing on your property. It's lovely. Jeanne '