Skip to main content

Garden Therapy


“Mans heart away from nature becomes hard”
~ Standing Bear

After supper I like to take the dogs for a short walk. We live right next to a walking trail and if you know what paths to take you can become immersed in a deep canopy of green. You are quickly swallowed up by the leaning branches of the young oaks and gnarled old pine. There are ferns waving in the evening breeze while birds and squirrels sit just out of reach warning their neighbors of your quiet passing. For a moment you almost forget that you are in town.

Eventually we make our way back to the house and I like to walk from flower bed to flower bed and examine the slow growth of each plant while the hounds follow a scent from one blade of grass to the next eager to let instinct take charge. Patiently we make our way towards the section of yard that contains the herb and vegetable garden. I tend to pinch some thyme and enjoy its aroma and wash it off my finger tips by rubbing a leaf of lemon balm into a small ball between my middle finger and thumb.

While I stand there I can feel a sense of calm wash over me. The simple pleasure of nature, I used to get the same sense when I would watch the ocean while living in St. Augustine. Layers of stress just fade away when I am in the garden, it really is my sanctuary. After a few minutes of quiet reflection I am able to go back to the world at large, the crease on my forehead having migrated to become a smile on my face.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Swedish Flower Hen

The rare Swedish Flower Hen has a unique story. Called Skånsk blommehöna(Bloom Hen) in their native country of Sweden this landrace breed was thought to be extinct in the 1970's. (The term landrace refers to the fact that S.F.H.'s were free to develop for nearly five hundreds years without interference from man, so to speak). But in the late 1980's the Swedish Poultry Country Club located isolated flocks in the villages of Esarp, Tofta and Vomb. The gene bank that was eventually created by the S.P.C.C. was successful and there are approximately 1,300 Swedish Flower Hens currently in Sweden.

While enthusiast of rare breeds continue to work hard to increase the numbers it is painfully obvious why they slowly fell out of favor nearly 100 years ago. Though rare and visually stunning they cannot equal the number of eggs some of the top laying hens produce in a peak yearly cycle. Swedish Flower Hens average around 150 eggs over the course of 12 months. Compare that with the nea…

In Winter

I enjoy winter when it arrives at the homestead. Though the gardens are long since dormant there is still plenty to do.The rabbits and the chickens need constant care. A couple of times a day I have to break ice from the animals water and make sure they have enough warm bedding.

I don't mind though. No matter how cold it gets. There is poetry in the garden during summer. Birds sing with triumphant melody. Soft summer rains baptize new growth. But the winter features a more solitary form of art. For the most part there is a resonating silence that is a canvas for the occasional temperamental gust of wind and snow. These same squalls force the breathe from my lungs and scatter the frozen mist before my eyes. Then, once again, there is silence. As any good steward I try not to disturb this peace. If anything, I try to move unnoticed among it.

When it is cold enough the trees will produce an individual moan as they threaten to splinter in the darkness of the woods. They all have their…

The Land of Plenty

The idea that I am about to present to you is certainly nothing new. Wonderful organizations such as Ample HarvestPlant a Row for the Hungry and countless food banks and pantries across the country have been confronting the issue of hunger in our communities head on for some time.

Food insecurity is a cornerstone of the human condition. A little research will lead you to discover a long history of charity in opposition. For example, the seventh century Irish Benedictine monk St. Fiacre who was a master herbalist eventually settled in France and practiced a reverse tithe by keeping 10% of his harvest while giving away 90% to those less fortunate.

Life is complicated, as we all know. There are no easy answers to any of the problems that plague our society but there are some very simple issues that could be addressed that could in turn have a ripple effect on a number of other dilemmas such as poverty, health and even violence.

According to the USDA 40% of the $161 billion dollars’ (yo…