Artful Land Care

Archive for 2018|Yearly archive page

Of Spring and Dandelion

In Seasons on April 15, 2018 at 10:00 am

Wait for the right moment: Length of day.  Temperature.  A drenching spring rain.  Two days. From the ground they spring, abundantly, with fortitude.  Their numbers shout, no-matter-what-you-do we will out populate your work and survive and win.

Prior to rain, one rises, here and there, and tells all who’ll listen of what is soon to transpire.  Rain turns prophesy to reality.  By the hundreds dandelions are everywhere.  The abundance of flower is such that it is impossible not step upon one during a morning walk across a dew watered field.  Their abundance changes the spring greenscape into a landsky of yellow stars.

Dandelions fill the valley, but true abundance comes in the place of disturbance.  Native ground allows seed to settle and have life here and there.  However, pastures and hay fields where soil is opened by hoof and harrow sanctions exceptional seed to soil contact.  The yellow of hundreds of pasture dandelions extinguishes all doubt winter is of yesterday and spring is of now.

Being a wholly edible plant, one would think the dandelion virtuous and desirable.  Perhaps it is our local food store privilege.  Perhaps it is simple laziness.  Perhaps it is desire for an immaculate monoculture green lawn. Whatever the reason, the yellow dandelion flower raises the ire of many.

No ire for the goat though.  Dandelions are a goat’s plant of wonder.  Entering a pasture after dandelion flowers have risen is a goat moment not unlike that of a child spilling their candy upon the floor after a Halloween outing.  Such good life is unbelievable.  Such good fortune!  The low-lying flower is especially theirs.  While sheep will eat dandelion, they have little enthusiasm for its bitter leaf. The low lying character of the dandelion holds little interest for cattle because the distance between nose and teeth is greater than the height of flower and leaf.  But for the goat.  This is the flower of the gods…mmmm.

The spring dandelion is a bold reminder of life after a long winter.  The audaciousness of the lion’s yellow tooth smile beside its gift of total edibleness brings vivacity to sight and belly.  Winter is gone.  Spring has come.  With the pluckiness that comes with others thinking it a lowly weed, the dandelion is nothing if not confident enough to sidle up beside the daffodil and claim William Wordsworth’s poem, I wandered lonely as a cloud, as its own.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils

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Breakfast 19

In Reflections on March 11, 2018 at 10:00 am

 

Breakfast 19    1 single Pancake                       $1.69

Why the small s in single?  All the other words are capitalized.  Too many reasons come to mind.  The reservation adds a few more.  I wonder how many are racist thoughts of a white guy.  How are small s reservation victimization truths and genocidal realities?

Might small s speak of winter sunrise wonder and truth of red orange reflection off valley cloud belly’s?  Or the car I passed an hour ago whose morning driver weaved from lack of sleep or alcohol or meth?  Or rabbits who ran right, left, right, right in front of my pre-sunrise headlight glare?

I’m cheap.  I bought coffee an hour ago.  I’ve moseyed to the counter and asked for a refill three times.  The small s single pancake is the cheapest item on the menu—on the wall above the clerk’s head.  Does the small s receipt speak to too embarrassed to ask for another refill?  Or hunger.  Or the relishing of a sorta hot pancake with a smack in the middle non-melting hard butter square slathered in cold syrup as sun breaks the horizon on the other side of restaurant window?

I sit.  I wait.  On Breakfast 19.

 

No Air No Life

In Art, Landscape, Soil on February 14, 2018 at 9:29 am

There are a number of small clay deposits on the farm.  Most of the year I do not appreciate them. They’re not much good when it comes to grass or alfalfa growth.  Plant a seed and the clay envelopes it so tightly the seed cannot breathe.  No air no life no grass no alfalfa.

Then come days when I want clay.  Adding local clay to store-bought clay gives pottery a uniqueness that is only of the farm’s landscape.  Yet, farm clay has its problems.  Clay might not grow much but it is not without organics.  A small six-inch hollow in a clay area allows drifting soil to fill, which allows grass seed to grow, that in turn allows roots to stretch into the clay—just a little.  The grass grows, withers, dies, and the faded leaf embeds into the clay during the next rainfall.  Alongside, a rabbit figures the clay is as good as anyplace to leave a dropping or two, which marries the clay as well during a rainfall.  When it comes to growing seed, it is all good.  The roots, leaf, droppings all break down to dust.  The dust enhances the small hollow a bit and over years the ground of growth enlarges.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Tyranny of Hateful Language

In Doctrine of Discovery, Theology on January 14, 2018 at 7:41 am

The first three days of this week I lived and conversed with family, friends and neighbors about our human need to become family with the fullness of Creation.  I was at Winter Talk and this was a time of imagining with a hint of visioning of whom we might become if we could set our heart and spirit to hearing the voice of soil and water, plant and animal, and wind.  There is great hope in having a group of people wander the outskirts rationality, look beyond the logical ridges that have bounded us for generations, and wonder a grace which includes that Creation which we could not dream as kin.  Yet a truth still lies at the feet of such inspiration.  We can never know such wonderment until we first get it right with that Creation which most looks like us, smells like us, and feels like us.

I’d hardly returned home when the comment came over the radio.  “Goddamn reservation.”  The phrase was not word for word “goddamn reservation,” but word exactness was not the point of the comment I’ve heard many times.  The incendiary comment has one purpose, to instill anger, fear, and agreement. Read the rest of this entry »