I have been having lots of fun playing in the dirt… some for the Harn Homestead and lots more volunteering to help others.
After such a slow coming spring, I worried that our gardens would not have enough time to finish. But, as Char assures me, even if you don’t plant until July 4th, the garden WILL make it (apparently one year they had a really late planting but still had a good harvest). And it now feels like mid-summer with all the HOT weather. Sometimes I’m amazed it’s just barely June! We just never really got much of a Spring… But things are growing, and fast!
Part of the process is cleaning up the past year’s growth. Connie and I have recently spent time at our 89-year-old neighbor’s place working on cleaning up gardens. And then we spent some time at Farm by the Lake, a local venue for shows, weddings, readings, and overnights. Their garden beds were in need of cleanup and, because they do so much to bring culture to our little rural community, we were glad to help with a bit of gardening. The property, on Lake Lomond in Bagley, was gifted by Bagley native Richard C. Davids, a naturalist, author, editor and teacher who wanted Farm By The Lake to provide a space where “we can find renewal with the land, with another, and with God.” I’ve attended music shows, storytelling events, a writing workshop, and their annual craft fair, which also features lots of musicians. It’s a lovely space currently being cared for by friends Dawn and Marty.
You see, in the last photo, Connie “inspecting” my work, finding it acceptable. 😀
As a member of Shevlin Garden Club, Connie and I also recently did a Sunflower planting event where we helped children plant seeds at the Clearwater County History Center (CCHC). From their website:
The museum is located in the former Shevlin School, a two-story brick structure built in 1911. The school closed in 1991 and the historical society “History Center” opened in 1996. The grounds also include several historic buildings: the first log school built in the county in the late 1880s, a school built in 1936 by the local WPA crew, the Ebro Depot (a small transportable depot- the size of a box car), and The Halvorson cabin (a two story log cabin from 1904). Two additional buildings on site house larger tools, machinery and miscellany. Exhibits are changed on a 12 to 18 month schedule, with different themes and topics covered each year.
We ended up having a wonderful day, even with a cold rainy morning. The CCHC hosted a dairy event in the morning where kids made butter and ice cream and, just as they finished up their sundaes, the rain let up so we could plant the sunflower seeds! Connie Nunemaker and Nancy Ames showed the kids how to turn up the soil and then hoe trenches for the seeds. Then Connie explained spacing and the kids planted all five rows. The outside rows feature Teddy Bear Sunflowers, a shorter variety, while the inside row is Sunburst, a very tall sunflower variety. In between, we planted Ruby Moon and Autumn Beauty sunflowers, some of which present with red coloring.
Why do we do it?
First it’s nice to know we’re helping plants look their best by removing tall grasses and old growth. Maybe it’s something to do with my apparently-increasingly-more-prevalent-each-year-OCD, but I am liking more order than chaos. [Perhaps to combat the ‘chaos’ of not being able to control my aging??] I like seeing the plants without all the grass encroachment. And while I admit I do NOT have much issue pulling out grasses, I still struggle with the cultural idea of the ugliness of dandelions! They are much harder to pull…
Another benefit we can bring is to relocate some of the bird-dropped seeds to more appropriate places and this allow more space and better proliferation in new locations. Connie collected a spruce and a couple little pines to relocate. Would they be fine without us? Well, surely they would all duke out a co-existence. But in a few years, that large oak growing among the flowers might bust through the concrete barrier poured years ago to contain the bed. We have one of these to relocate too – but that will be another day.
We are hopeful to help Dawn as she works to bring the flower beds back to what Richard Davids intended at Farm by the Lake. It will be a multi-year project but will be fun to watch as things transform. It will be extra fun and a bit easier if we can find more community support for the project. So far, Dan has committed himself and I’ll be recruiting soon!
Plus it feels good to be with the plant nation! They are lovely and if you listen close, you might hear them saying hello. And, did you know? Dirt has some kind of Prozac-type effect on people? It apparently has some kind of component that makes us feel happy. It’s just anecdotal for me so far but there might be something to it! [And I much prefer the natural way to the idea of popping pills. Who knows what else those might be doing!?!]
And speaking of anecdotal, it seems that the friends I have that talk with their plants, giving them love and attention, really seem to have better luck with abundance and growth. I believe these plant beings hear us and appreciate us when we help and love them. As such, I’ve been talking to the Sungold and Grapes just outside our front door every day. And I head out to see the Raspberries several times a week to tell them how big they are getting! Hopefully they will soon be joined by the squash, beans, argula, beets, peppers and such that I seeded last week.
And of course there is the satisfaction of seeing the final result. The Sunflower event at the CCHC included a Sunflower growth chart where several kids marked their heights. It will be fun at the end of the summer to see how the sunflowers surpass the kids in annual growth!
Plus, helping to clean up a couple of my neighbor’s flower beds resulted in a delicious lunch! Can’t beat that!
Gardening is the gift that keeps on giving. Seeing the plants thrive, enjoying the beautiful flowers, watching pollinators enjoy the food, and harvesting the veggies throughout the season. I’m looking forward to great rewards for all my garden work.