The following is a blended blog post with both Gord and Ann writing and merging our words, thoughts and feelings of our multiple pathways.
Autumn olive in full bloom. This berry producing shrub is a nitrogen fixing shrub AND makes delicious small berries for fresh eating or processing with other berries. Anything we plant with this shrub THRIVES.
Perennial Sea Kale putting on it’s spring growth. Soon, we will be eating abundant and tasty broccoli like shoots and then eating fragrant white flowers. Our favourite perennial vegetable that can live decades. One tough plant.
BUT FIRST: Nursery is open again this weekend, Sat and Sun from 10am-2pm. We still have some bare root berries (see last weeks post), and also have a few sweet potato starts. We only have unnamed variety (mix of Georgia Jet and Superior). The SEA KALE seedlings have sold like hotcakes, but we still have more (I started over 200). Perfect time to get your OCA plants in the ground (Andean potatoes that look like a clover ground cover – our favourite tuber.) Still have a four olive trees in stock, but are sold out of lemons. Good stock of fruit and nut trees still, but some varieties sold out. We are getting towards the end of the spring season, so if you want to get your perennial trees and shrubs planted you better “Get-er-done”.
Winter purple sprouting broccoli seedlings in 1 gal pots. For sale in the nursery. $4. Keep in pot in partial shade and water and then plant out in July for late winter purple broccoli shoots. (This is what I do and it seems to work). It’s never too early to start planning your winter garden.
And now, on with the story…It was morning coffee and as usual we were deliberating on our footprints. Not the usual footprints like that of our coffee (which we tried to give up, but failed) or our car, but other footprints that trail off behind us showing multiple pathways back in time. These pathways show points of decisions, forks in the road, stumbles and trips, and pathways with others that cross and join our own.
In the foreground we have abundant perennial kale that lives for years and has beautiful leaves to eat all winter. We have been eating kale shoots for a couple months and now are eating sweet flower blooms. Beautiful plant. We have small plants for sale in the nursery. $4
We are absolutely loving our NEW nursery this year with being open the whole weekend and located in the lower garden. The best part by far is the people that are coming. Every weekend we are treated to a steady stream of people with new faces, old friends, new friends, neighbours, farmers, political colleagues, incredible conversations, fascinating people and personalities, and gratitude and connection in the celebration of life, activism, sharing of climate grief, and resilience planning for food, water, and community. (sorry for the run on sentence!) Then there was the delivery of sheep manure from a grateful customer. Then there was a stinky dog that rolled in it. Wow…just wow. Our life is rich with connection to people, nature, and purpose.
My favourite black current. This is a clove current with clove smelling fragrant flowers and the berries…supper yummy. Also called a Crandal Black Current. Only 1 left in stock…we planted two more ourselves.
Thirteen 13 years ago I crossed paths with Ann and have been fortunate enough to share many footprints, despite tripping on each other at times. (a polite way to say heated arguments). Lately I have been noticing a lot of other pathway with others, criss crossing and traveling along with us, even sometimes when we don’t even know about them.
Many years ago I committed to only trying to work for people who I could hug. It certainly limits employability, and was definitely not taught in my various business classes at university. As a matter of fact relationships were frowned upon as they could interfere with business decisions and only supported if they helped insure self gain. That pathway certainly leads to depletion, scarcity, separation, and ultimately a shallow lonely existence.
I left the business department directly due to superficiality and shallowness of my fellow students and the teachings, only coming to learn many years later about multiple other capitals like human, social, and natural capital. This should have been part of the curriculum. I liken our mainstream business culture to industrial agriculture, which tills and destroys the soil leaving barren furrows all heading in one linear direction, never crossing, and none self sustaining thus requiring ever more outside inputs. A recipe for destruction and failure.
Small starter plants: Oca and Sea Kale. $4 each
Leaving my past business in the auto body industry was a swerve in my pathway, choosing instead to sow seeds in a different direction. This spring in particular, those seeds that sprouted over the years have grown due to being nurtured through social and human interactions of criss crossing pathways.
The first day of our nursery this year one of my early rainwater clients showed up. I don’t recall the financial transaction on that day, but I do recall the hug, smiles, laughter and sharing of personal stories in our conversation.
A few weeks back I finally had Ann out to meet another client/friend, a rare occasion for both of us leaving the Highlands that was for lunch and a visit (and delivery of a few plants). I remember the soup, the cookies, homemade grape juice, Coriander the pig, the hazelnuts along the fence line and which ones were early. I also remember all the shared stories, laughs, and how excited I was that Ann and my “client” finally met.
With the climate and ecological crisis, we have enormous challenges NOW, and it certainly is within scientific possibility that many of our footsteps could end prematurely. Our response is to plant more seeds with each footstep. We need to ensure that when we look back at our paths that our footsteps are green, lush, and full of connection. And when we look back at our pathways, they have merged and connected with so many others that all we see is a diverse forest of life and relationships.
Interesting items from our week:
- Quote from Wendell Berry, from Think Little (1970): “If you are fearful of the destruction of the environment, then learn to quit being an environmental parasite. We all are, in one way or another, and the remedies are not always obvious, though they certainly will always be difficult. They require a new kind of life – harder, more laborious, poorer in luxuries and gadgets, but also, I am certain, richer in meaning and more abundant in real pleasure. To have a healthy environment we will all have to give up things we like; we may even have to give up things we have come to think of as necessities. But to be fearful of the disease and yet unwilling to pay for the cure is not just to be hypocritical; it is to be doomed.”
- Excellent article sharing interesting design details and strategies to achieve residential net zero water including compost toilets, and rain water harvesting for both potable and garden irrigation. Written by Jason McLennan, author of the Living Building Challenge. Essential reading for anyone thinking about Water Resilance. https://trimtab.living-future.org/trim-tab/issue-37-collaboration-abundance/a-proven-radical-water-efficiency-paradigm-how-a-living-building-home-shows-true-water-resilience/?fbclid=IwAR2Qtiid2cAoAUrPyd_7pvQ7qm5gs2AmLrGn00mAZpgVVXh66e2JSOZfspA
- Of note is that Jason McLennan also wrote a testimonial for our book, “Essential Composting Toilets” – “For over a hundred years our society has been treating water and waste as necessary evils rather than resources to be celebrated. A Victorian paradigm that is incredibly wasteful and damaging continues to underlie how we handle our most precious resources in nearly every city and community on the planet. There is a better way. In this important book the Baird’s shed critical insights on the power and rightfulness of composting our waste and closing the loop between nutrient and fertility. Their depth of knowledge, practical experience and collected examples provide a way forward that is responsible and regenerative. — Jason F. McLennan, CEO, McLennan Design,
- Excellent article by Bill McKibben. Hard hitting current reality. The Climate Crisis is here NOW. https://lithub.com/its-not-coming-its-here-bill-mckibben-on-our-new-climate-reality/?fbclid=IwAR29_Bu6oLUmXBjWrweQ7eyRJHXxwES_8PROZM2azxmIwd5HuaAjzxMzvGE
- Interesting documentary with Paul Kingsnorth. How has his world view evolved with regards to the ecological and climate crisis. Have we lost the battle? Some interesting discussions have come out of this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_s8Vo00Xug&fbclid=IwAR0KFZUX6qG6Cd5Ez4smYLCS2HZBsRkIKbbyc5EMWUw2I9X9Twyak4iSfHk
That’s all for now, looking forward to our weekend in the nursery.
Ann and Gord