Growing Up, Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Growing

Posted by on 02 Jul 2017 | Tagged as: fun, garden, Giving, good things

I have always been a gardener, I think — I love to be IN gardens, I love to TALK “gardens,” and I love to CREATE gardens.

There is a strange shift, however, when one moves away from “gardens” with annuals and shorter-lived perennials to plants that could conceivably be enjoyed by people two or three HUNDRED years away. There is a sense of hopefulness and eternity when one plants a tree, or a rose bush. There is a sense of purpose when one cultivates fruit trees alongside carrots or strawberries.

When I was a child, we ALWAYS had a vegetable garden (at least after I turned 7, we didn’t have a garden in Puerto Rico, or when we lived on base anywhere that I know). My grandfathers (2 out of 3) always had a vegetable garden, and my Grandad made sure that there were gorgeous flowers as well.

As a young adult, I grew things in pots, and at a couple apartment complexes, had permission to take a small bit of land at the margins, too.

One of the first things we did when we moved to this land, was to plant trees… apple, pear, plum, cherry, peach, dogwood, fig, medlar, chestnut. Many of the trees were planted to provide shade for the land that had previously been forested, knowing that as they grew they would create an oasis of cool green during our typically dry summers. We didn’t restore the “natural” landscape, but carved out a small space for favorite specimens from around the world. We left the back yard “mostly” natural…

My sons grew up knowing plants. I taught them the healing properties and health benefits of the plants in our yard including the native plants and weeds! They still know how to prune, when to harvest, proper preparation for cooking, and a lot about planting and maintaining gardens from one-season crops to tender perennials/hardy annuals to permanent plantings.

I had planned to have the yard to a point by now when I could safely get about even with a wheelchair, but as we know that didn’t happen! Instead, I am rethinking many things about the less-permanent plants, and attempting to re-establish both irrigation and garden beds. Growing older has meant that I cannot garden as intensely as once-upon-a-time, but I hope I am starting to show the children of the next generation that with planning and a lot of hard work at the beginning that gardening yields huge rewards.

I have learned much from the plants (and the animals) in my small world: take your time, don’t cut corners if they yield an inferior or less-durable result, rest as you need (still working on this), sometimes “things happen” and like it or not plans must change, gardens are best enjoyed with other people, and one needs to be patient – you don’t rush genius! I am still working on that last bit as well!

As a teacher, I have a lot less time and energy to garden. But I bring my gardener’s mind and experience into the classroom. Remembering that children are growing, but so are adults. We are not “finished” products yet! The garden continues to grow, to evolve, to become “more” — and so will we.

Bright blessings from our garden on this cool, overcast Salish Sea morning!

Last Day of June

Posted by on 30 Jun 2017 | Tagged as: garden, Gardens and Life

Fully in bloom,
a fluffy cloud of fragrance
surrounded in bees.
Summer has arrived at the chestnut tree.

Received a new cellphone with a VERY good camera. Will be playing around with it tomorrow, July 1. So many beautiful things to see in the garden this time of year!

Wally pics

Posted by on 23 Jun 2017 | Tagged as: critters, Gardens and Life, good things

No need for words, but this is Wally, now settled in and enjoying life with us after four months.
He is now four months away from being two!

Not-quite-summer vacation

Posted by on 17 Jun 2017 | Tagged as: 3rd Grade, caring, education, Education Professional, Vacations

It’s not-quite summer in our part of the world.

My students finished their last day of the year this past Wednesday. Like all endings, it was a bittersweet day for me. I handed out their report cards, we talked about how they can keep up with all the progress they made — and how if they spend their vacation NOT reading and NOT thinking about math the entrance to fourth grade won’t be as easy as it could be; and how if they just read for an hour a day and keep practicing their math facts they will find fourth grade a lot more manageable. I sent them home with worksheets, and a little toy, a rainbow crayon and fancy pencil and a little journal for writing and drawing in. We played some games…

Then they were dismissed, and I walked the few who weren’t being picked up by doting families to the buses, and waited with the other teachers for the signal for the buses to leave. One fifth grader (from my first crop of third graders) was in tears as her bus left the lot and we waved them on.

And then back to the room to pick up the pieces of my heart that the kids left all strewn about.

Yes, their summer vacation has started, but it’s still not-quite summer.

I am moving rooms this vacation — the new teacher in our grade will have my old room, a nice, secure location right in the middle of all the other third grade teachers. I get a room that has some advantages over the other but also some potential pitfalls. We are working to figure out ways to minimize some of the potential disruptions to my class’s learning environment. I spent several hours Thursday and Friday working in the two rooms — emptying out one and filling the other. Thankfully, I have help from unexpected places, but it’s still a gargantuan task.

So, for me, it’s not-quite summer.

I am getting some lovely new tables for the students to sit at, smaller than normal school tables but I am going to provide something called “flexible seating” where the kids get to decide the best locations to work (after some training!). I will have a smaller class, and this is the year to try a change. If it doesn’t work, we can go back to the old desks in nice, neat rows… I don’t think the kids would prefer that! We’ll have some open space to sit on the floor when I am doing whole-group teaching, and there will be space for some tables at the sides and back for group work. I have a couple of very small “teacher desks” that this year will be side-by-side because that’s the best layout for the room. I don’t really believe in carving out a large slice of the room just for my use, so I try to find ways that I can move among the children and teach from several spots.

It’s not-quite summer.

On the first day of summer, I am playing in a concert with the local orchestra. Then it will be summer — a concert with only three actual rehearsals. I would have been panicked at the thought only two years ago, but here I am — able to pretend to know what I am doing at least part of the time…

And so, as it’s not-quite summer I am sitting here with a blanket on my lap and a dog on my feet relaxing in the evening and not-quite planning lessons for the class that I don’t have quite yet…

Just dreaming. Dreaming of summer.

We. Are. Here.

Posted by on 03 May 2017 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, hope, musings

The universe is changing,
but we are here.
The stars break forth, coalesce, dissolve, and reform
and we are here.
Species come and go, diversify and disappear…
while we are here.
The weather changes, and everywhere
we are here.
We. Are. Here.
Despite change, despite struggle, despite fear…

We go on.

NaPoWriMo Thirtieth Post

Posted by on 01 May 2017 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

A day late?
No dollars are short, long, or to be seen
When the sun is shining
it is better to be outside with your hands deep
in the soil
than to be inside
with your head in a book.

Spring has finally arrived.

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NaPoWriMo Twenty-ninth Post

Posted by on 29 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

The penultimate day
promised clear
but delivered gray

and lingering cold
from a week of toil
I wash and fold

the laundry piles shrink
and my pen on paper
applies the ink

rendering thoughts
unworthy of publication

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NaPoWriMo Twenty-eighth Post

Posted by on 28 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, good things, NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month, rain

The rain gently washing the new-bought gravel
ready for the paths and the patios
gray as clouds and varied as the blooms
on springtime trees.

The rain, gently falling
anoints the geriatric maples
the fecund lilacs
and all the ornamental filigree.

The rain, again and again
first rainbow then shadow
and shade with golden edges.

Rain, then rain,
the musical patter
– drumbeat of life.

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NaPoWriMo Twenty-Seventh Post

Posted by on 27 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month, Politics and War

The light
at the end of the tunnel
may be salvation
or an oncoming train
but
at least
it’s not dark any more.

Not all change is welcome
Not all change is kind
Not all change is
but
at least
it’s something different.

I don’t believe that one person’s hell is any better
or worse than another’s
but
at least I know
it’s an illusion to be challenged.

Don’t believe what you hear
or see
unless you can touch it with your own hands
it’s just a passing memory.

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NaPoWriMo Twenty-sixth Post

Posted by on 26 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month, rain, weather

Rain
last month
last week
yesterday and
last night.

Rain as I drove onto the road.
Rain as I passed the town
and turned onto the lane
and into the driveway
to work.

Rain in the afternoon,
under, behind, and after
the rainbow
as I scurried from the shelter of the overhang
to my car and
gratefully drove home.

In the rain.

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