Me…My Land

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Pines, oaks and redwoods

Each time we move our attention to a different part of the land we find a new relationship is forming. Every section carries within a personality, an energetic quality, gifts and challenges. Working with the land is a healing journey for both of us. When we removed the lawns, we noticed new plant life volunteering on the land. Each year a different variety of plant moved in. Natural groundcovers showed up to nourish the soil – I don’t know all their names, though vetch is among them.

vetch

vetch

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Empty chicken yard

Winter Greenery

Winter Greenery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to listen to the land has resulted in ongoing renewal over a period of years. Life is like that, you know. It is a gradual change, sometimes simply opening up space that nature will fill on her own, spreading seeds we’ve gathered through the flip of a hand, other times digging persistently into the dry clay. No matter how the space is emptied or filled it is a natural process that simply repeats.

 

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Stream

Pond and Stream

Ponds with stream

A shallow pool flowing into a stream that gracefully empties itself into a deep pond, then circulating round again for continual replenishment. The mature silver maple stands guard in the center of my land, deeply rooted, holding its arms wide to embrace all who enter.

Groves of trees: junipers, redwoods, oaks and pines feed the quiet wildness of my soul, providing strength and wisdom when I need to distance myself from the busyness of life. I find the quiet under the trees. A feeling of safety and groundedness.

 

 

Along the edges of this land take a moment to look closely; underneath the grass, on the compost pile, or tucked into the wood chips you’ll find the magical world of fungi. Mushrooms peeking their heads out of the earth. The scent of the soil is intoxicating, felt deeply in the most ancient part of my soul. I can feel the fairy world when I’m with the mushrooms. Ethereal and otherworldly. Yet, somehow, also a part of who I am.

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wooly mane, inky cap

mushroom forest

Garden Mushrooms

 

 

 

 

The orchard of fruit trees provides a feeling of stability. Their vulnerability has also been apparent during the past few years of drought. Without care, the stability they hold can crumble, a little at a time. Without our inner stability, our ability to give in abundance is limited by the slow crumbling away of our inner spirit. We must be nurtured on a regular basis to stay stable and prosperous. The trees give of their fruits so we have sustenance that provides throughout the year in the form of dried deliciousness, flavored vinegars, sauces, and syrups, baked sweetness during a winter’s evening.

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Winter Figs

Blooming Pear

Blooming Pear

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Abundant peaches

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Peach Blossoms

Stepping from the orchard into the garden, filled with herbs, flowers, vegetables – potential; pockets of wildflowers scattered around. I feel: Bursting forth! Inspiration! Joie de vivre!

Whoa, the back garden is full of vibrant life, sprouting something new each season. The joy that bubbles up in me as I walk through the garden is palpable. Hope, possibility, movement is apparent in the early garden of spring. Though it’s only January, here in California there is an obvious transition happening. The seasons are shifting. Life is resilient.

 

Miner’s lettuce, mustard, fennel, mallow, cleavers, lemon balm, apple mint, spearmint, peppermint, asparagus, chives and more providing a spring feast, clearing away the cobwebs of winter.

Field of Miner's Lettuce

Field of Miner’s Lettuce

Cleavers

Cleavers

Blooming Mustard

Blooming Mustard

fennel

Fennel

garlic chives

garlic chives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Poppy, sweet peas, feverfew,  love-lies-bleeding, nasturtium, tulips, irises, alyssum, flowering sages galore, zauschneria (I love that word!), mugwort, borage, goldenrod, lovage, milkweed popping up to say hello each spring, some early, some late….

Poppies, Calendula, Penstemon

Poppies, Calendula, Penstemon

Calendula

Calendula

Evening Primrose with Feverfew

Evening Primrose with Feverfew

goldenrod leaves

Goldenrod leaves

 

 

 

 

 

All year long, the birds are singing, cooing and cawing, flitting here and there amongst the flowers and trees; butterflies, dragonflies and an occasional frog make an appearance on a regular basis. Lizards and snakes, mice and voles, though usually hidden and out of sight, are adding their presence to the land.  Raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums are all present on the land.

Bird in water fountain

Bird in water fountain

Dragonfly on Poppy seed head

Dragonfly on Poppy seed head

Frittilary butterfly

Frittilary butterfly

bees on frame

Bees on hive frame

 

Bees, flies, wasps, gnats all buzzing, buzzing, buzzing! The year is just beginning. Where will it lead as we follow the sights and sounds of the garden!