June 2014


 

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Basil can’t know.
Can’t know its own deep spicy fragrance
and how one long sniff of it
can ignite digestive juices
and a breath-long moment of bliss.
Can’t know its own flavor,
the complexities of green that
combined with the oil of olives
and the fresh flesh
of a petal of garlic recently pulled from the earth,
create food for the gods.
Basil just is.
The taking in, the savoring,
the knowing,
is up to us—
our gift to the life
of basil.

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May we
never
take for granted
the wonder of life
that is an organically-grown,
homegrown
tomato!

Thank you, Ann!

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Let’s just take a moment
on the porch
with the coffee.
Look, there, that rose bush,
almost gone from one hard freeze,
late.
Then one shoot
rising fast and high,
into a sort of rose topiary.
Set down the coffee.
Just look deeply
into lush yellow blossoms.

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Conditions in central Oklahoma
are just right
for Lightning Bugs, as Fireflies
are known here.
Maybe it’s the cooler air,
the frequent showers…
doesn’t matter: We are delighted
and enjoying them.
Seems everyday someone
talks about seeing so many
Fireflies.
There’s a friend who glows
when she talks about going out
each night to watch them,
and the two with which she
had a close encounter.
The friend who tells the story
of a friend’s son
who collected them in a jar
and released them in his mom’s
bedroom.
And then there’s our friend Mary,
who paints a watercolor each day,
and yesterday,
showed us this one:
It’s a joy
when something in the natural world, besides us,
gets our attention
and holds it.

 

I wondered if it would be too warm,
too still,
even in the shade of the Mimosa,
at the end of a warmish day.
But there was a breeze,
and the perfume…
So we set the table
in the shade,
beneath the flamboyant pink blossoms,
and gathered round
for our annual potluck,
these dear friends
who weekly, freely, share
around thoughts and feelings
that ring with the resonance
of meaning.
Years of sharing deeply
has formed a beloved community.
Reluctantly, we abandon our weekly gatherings
for the summer,
but only after sharing a meal—
a delicious meal,
lovingly offered,
fully appreciated.
We were lingering at table
when the sky in the north grew dark
and the wind changed
and the temperature dropped 15 degrees
while we scrambled to bring everything inside
(feeling extremely fortunate
at the prospect of rain, two days in a row!)
Settled again
on the front porch,
we watched the storm arrive,
stayed in place
even though we wore summer clothes
and the north wind brought chills—
welcome chills—
then rain. The air grew fuzzy and soft
with rain.
Our conversation rang again
with meaning (we just do that!)
but now was laced with spontaneous outbursts—
“ah, that smell!”—
that otherwise had nothing—
“oh, that sound!”—
to do with the subject—
“oh my, what a lovely rain!”—
at hand.
Or, perhaps, the uncontrolled exclamations
did.
Eventually, as the chill settled,
a cup of hot tea
seemed fitting—
along with (why not!) a chunk of the first—
luscious—watermelon
of the summer.
So glad humans are not
in charge; so glad when we stay
open
to life’s surprises.
We couldn’t have ordered
a lovelier, richer day.

 

Lambs Quarter
grows wild here.
It has powdery-looking leaves
and grows to almost six feet.
It can take over an area,
so when it took over a flower bed
at the pond house,
I scooped up an arm full
of discarded plants
that had actually been laying in the sun
for hours.
I transplanted them into my new wildlife plot
last summer and they grew thick and tall.
Even the grasshoppers
couldn’t keep up with their growth.

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Last summer’s Lambs Quarter crop, after a rain

This spring,
the Lambs Quarter grew up early
and spread out into the yard,
overtaking the Bermuda Grass. Yay! and,
Wow! This stuff is great!
Delicious, too.
I picked early tender leaves
and stirred them into hot pasta,
for a nutritious supper.
Friends told me how to preserve it
for winter,
which I planned to do,
later.

It’s hard to describe
the invasion of grasshoppers
we’ve experienced the last couple of years.
Maybe thanks to cooler temperatures,
they’re still tiny this year,
though growing.
(Growing in diversity too. I’ve seen a new design:
gray, with black and white striped legs.)
But they don’t have to be large
to eat a lot.
The chickens and guineas,
which spend their days feasting
on grasshoppers,
can’t keep ahead of their population growth.
Even though most of the grasshoppers
are still less than an inch long,
there are so many,
the devastation happens
quickly.

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In a week,
most of the Lambs Quarter
became a ghostly patch.
Walk up to the ravished stalks
and grasshoppers fling themselves every which way.
But I’m not sure that’s what killed
the Lambs Quarter. Looks like bug action,
though I don’t see bugs.
(Update: yep, Ann found the bugs—
tiny non-fuzzy caterpillar-looking bugs.)
I didn’t think anything could kill
Lambs Quarter. I thought I’d found
a wild, nutritious, hardy, natural
food source
well adapted to this bioregion.
And maybe
that is true…
Deeper into the wildlife plot,
I discover two four-foot high plants,
next to the ghost-of-Lambs-Quarter,
almost untouched. I’m hoping the tiny bugs
turn into moths and flitter off
before they devour these beautiful plants.
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And some of the plants devoured
already have fresh growth atop.

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And, grasshoppers are also on
the Johnson Grass. Yay!

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Unless…
I hope they’re not just sunning themselves
on those wide, smooth,
probably tough,
leaves!

 

Scooping alpaca manure
this morning,
as usual,
there was this smell—
but not the usual one.
Sweetness
was in the air.
Couldn’t be Honeysuckle;
those blossoms are gone.
Ah…
there, those pink blossoms—
like the fancy heads of African birds—
floating in the ferny leaves
of Mimosa,
perfuming the farm.

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