Have you tired yet? Will the burden of disconnection ever be so great that it simply must be dropped?
Are you ready for compassion and love to overcome the stifling power of the ego and fear?
Note: This article was published in the Farmers Independent last week. My second byline! Front page… below the fold. 😀
Second Glance Farms hosted an open house on Saturday, July 22nd. Visitors walked the many gardens, enjoyed the greenhouse that is the heart of the operation, and then gathered for a talk given by Nancy Kuhta. The presentation space, full of beautiful art, depicted Second Glance’s theme of Diversity: art, science, geometry, color, math, and even spirituality. Everything is connected in this space where each task is done with contemplation and mindfulness to listen to the earth, the seeds, the sun.
Inspiration: An interactive contemplation area celebrating the intersection of Intention and Imagination.
Donnette Rizzo, a librarian from Chicago, spent the last few days at the farm and shared her experience of helping to create an interactive space from willow stems depicting the integration of Intention and Imagination as Inspiration. This Venn diagram honors both the individual ideas and the confluence of the two, just as Second Glance Farms honors diversity as its key to success. Nancy once gave diversity presentations to Walmart employees but now she and her daughter Jannel are working on a diversity of tasks.
Jannel and Nancy Kuhta display an ear of Blue Eagle Corn and a jar of Rainbow Corn.
You may know the Kuhta’s from past adventures with Nature’s Gardens, which produced bedding plants. Or perhaps you’ve seen some of their landscaping work. If you have the new telephone book, the cover shows a flower garden they installed at Bemidji State University. Or maybe you ran into them at Carlson Greenhouse. More recently, they have begun to grow their farm, inviting others to share the beauty of their abundant flowers and vegetables. After first linking to the farm-to-school program with Bagley Public Schools and working with Fireside and U of M at Itasca Park, they are now reaching out to the community at-large.
Nancy has been gardening for forty years, starting with digging in her mother’s garden in Chicago as a child. Her focus is on protecting heirloom varieties that are nearly extinct. Her goal is to lead by example and encourage others to replicate her efforts. Nancy reflects, “We visited a seed bank and realized the importance of the North with the 12-hour day and we said, ‘We’ll help’.” With 1000 tomato plants in 25 varieties, they are going to offer U-pick so that people can experience a variety of heirloom vegetables at reasonable prices. I tasted several of the lettuces and each was delicious in its own way; the crunchy, the buttery, and my favorite, the peppery arugula.
Jannel and Nancy Kuhta are passionate about seed-saving for endangered varieties like their Blue Eagle Corn.
Lincoln Lettuce, like that harvested at the Lincoln plantation, is available. Or you can secure some Beauty Way Bean seeds to help bring these beautiful beans back to abundance. But Nancy’s true passion is Corn. She will share with you in detail about Blue Eagle Corn, often called Peace Corn. It disappeared about the time of the Trail of Tears and in 2010, a group of Pawnee gave a Kansas farmer the last 25 seeds in known existence to plant, as his land was their old homeland. For the first time in memorable history, that year the Pawnee ate the corn of their heritage. It is said that when Blue Eagle Corn returns, it will bring peace.
The garden and nature speak to all ages and are wonderful places for the generations to connect. Kathy Mitchell of Minneapolis expressed her appreciation of how nature has brought her and her father together. A dedicated Catholic who once saw salvation only through the church, he’s begun to spend more time with trees and has found a connection that brings him closer not only to God, but also to his daughter. Jannel shared about her experience with a child who explained to her that “the plants like you to sing to them”. This youngster took Jannel to the Back Forty field so she could sing a song to the watermelons. Later she let Jannel know she’d introduced the watermelons to the pumpkins.
There is beauty throughout the garden. Flowers and hand-painted signs designate long rows of tomatoes.
When asked about the name Second Glance, Nancy notes that the beauty of the farm will cause you to give it a Second Glance. They are offering local produce, grown naturally, with a variety of tomatoes, squash, herbs and corn. You can contact Nancy and Jannel at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit.
If you pay a visit to the farm at 19008 Highway 200, you’ll also get a chance to meet Corn Dog, about the most serene animal I’ve ever met. Found nearly dead among the corn in an Oklahoma garden and nursed back to life by Jannel, Corn Dog would not leave the garden area for months after being discovered. He would greet Jannel every day at the garden gate. If you see him here at Second Glance, take a moment to say hello and give him a scratch. He will calmly look you in the eyes, and if you’re smart, you’ll follow his lead and spend some time in the garden.
So sometimes things happen that upset our expectations. And sometimes I’m not so great about accepting these things. But recently I was accepting and it was a good life lesson for me.
I’d gone to the dentist to get an implant crown put into place. I was SO wanting to get this done because I’d been without my upper left molar for almost a year. Since having the tooth extracted March 10, 2016, I’d been chewing mostly on one side of my mouth. This was especially hard on me as I have this semi-OCD condition where I like to chew equally on both sides of my mouth. [Due to this plight, I can tell you that Smarties come in packs of an uneven number of candies. There is always that last one in the cellophane that becomes a conundrum. Do I open a second tube of candies to have the second extra piece that will give equilibrium in my masticating? Or can I equally bite this last one in half and accomplish my goal?]
Why had I been so long without my molar? Well, the process of getting an implant is drawn out for several reasons and my timing resulted in an even longer than normal wait time. So, how do implants work? Well, first you have to have the bad tooth extracted. Then you have to wait a couple months for the area to heal before you can have the implant post embedded into your jawbone. Following this, there is another 3 month wait while your bone heals around this implant. If all goes well ~ the bone heals nicely and the implant post passes the stress tests ~ then you wait an additional couple months for full healing before you can have the crown installed on the post.
Dr. Ryan Morris at Centrasota Oral Surgeons did a FANTASTIC job from extraction to implant and I highly recommend him if you find a need for Endodontics.
Since my post check didn’t happen until late summer, I would have been ready for my implant crown by late fall. However, the implant process is pretty spendy so I’d exhausted my dental benefits for the year. Since this put me SO CLOSE to the coming calendar year and a renewal of my dental benefits, I decided to wait until I had new funds for dental work to move ahead with the crown. This meant I couldn’t go in to my dentist for the crown review until January. Then, I had to wait another month for the crown to be made and for me to make a trip back to Alexandria to get it installed. By then I was also due for my semi-annual cleaning as well. Yippee!
OK, so I arrive at the dentist at 2 PM to have my crown installed and then get my teeth cleaned. Well, we get the crown in place and we’re taking a look at it. I thought it looked pretty yellow, but didn’t speak up because, unlike many people, I understand from years of experience with crowns and dentures, that teeth are not truly white but typically have a lot more gray, blue, and yellow tones than you’d think. The goal for dentists when providing a new tooth or denture, is to make you look natural. If they gave you a really white tooth when the rest of your teeth are more yellow, it would definitely not look right. No matter how much you’d like a bright, white, shiny smile!
Well Dr. Collins and Technician Wendy looked and looked and so I asked what they were thinking. Turns out, the tooth was made a bit darker than the ordered shade. So, if I could wait, they could have the lab guy come over and check it with them to see if they could make it right before cementing it into place. “Sure!” I say, thinking to myself, ” I’m here for my cleaning today anyway.”
Well, Yuen (pronounced “Win”) arrived shortly thereafter to see the tooth. And he agreed, it was a hair darker than ordered. He could take it back to the lab and work to lighten the tooth. Dr. Collins was concerned about my wait but I explain I was there for cleaning anyway so… Great! I waited a few minutes for Joann to free up to do my cleaning and we got that done. Then I waited for my new tooth to return from the lab. Pretty soon, Yuen came back with my tooth and we regrouped. First, Dr. Collins did a review of my cleaning and looked for cavities. Turns out, there was a weepy cavity on the tooth behind where the implant crown was being installed. This cavity was on the face of the tooth adjacent to the crown. SO… yes, LUCKY FOR ME the tooth was the wrong color. We were able to fill that cavity BEFORE installing the crown (along with another small cavity he also found…) and then we put in the crown once the area was intact.
Now, I could have had a fit about the too-dark tooth. I could have complained about having to wait and the lab “screwing it up”. But this day I was calm, patient, ready to just do whatever needed to be done. Fighting it, bitching about it… none of this was going to make the situation better. And, in the end, it all worked out for my best. Plus, Dr. Collins slipped me a Blizzard card for being such a good patient! Now that’s a Yuen-Yuen. 🙂
I know I’ve written before about realizing in hindsight that sometimes things aren’t “Bad” but actually are happening to work out for the best. I am learning these days to, more often than not, go with the flow. Though I don’t know why things might be unfolding as they are, I am learning to trust in the proceedings of the Universe.
As an example, last year, I agreed to commit to a three year project but I recently found out that I was not to be included for the second year of the project. Initially, I was hurt and my ego wanted to make a big stink. It wanted me to think I wasn’t good enough, didn’t make the cut for the team. But I was not alone in being “pink slipped”, and when a second person who was facing this same situation emailed me, it gave me an opportunity to think through my feelings on it. I am so grateful for her inquiry to me because in thinking it through, I realized several things.
First, as a practical point, if I let my ego win with its idea of being left out, it would only make me miserable. Second, in year one, I had an AMAZING experience. I will forever be grateful for the time spent in a lovely place with brilliant women and this encounter will continue to be a part of who I become as the years progress. Third, I realized that, for the new person being invited, perhaps being involved in this project is going to make, for them, as tremendous an impact in their life as it did for me in year one. How could I not support this project reaching more people in this way? In addition, I have a major project with creating a food forest and gardens here at the Harn this year so it’s likely best that I am not included so I can focus on that area of my life. Finally, this doesn’t mean that I might not be invited back for the final year of the project. In fact, perhaps the work I am doing at the Harn will be a requirement for giving my best in that third year, should that occur.
Who knows? Certainly not me! As much as I’ve often wished for a crystal ball, so far it has not materialized. As such, I am going to trust that the process is exactly as it is because it will bring the most good for the most people.
Oh, Lord! I will NEVER AGAIN ask someone who’s retiring “How on earth are you going to keep busy?” It’s EASY! There are a million things to fill your days. And since people tell me, “Don’t tell people you’re retired! They’ll hate you!” I’m going to share a weekend of info that those of you still working can incorporate should you be looking for some fun. (BTW, I think folks hate me less now that I work part-time!! 😉 ) And for those of you who are retired and looking for ways to fill the time and find fulfillment, here’s a taste of my last weekend.
Saturday morning, I got up relatively early since I had a Citizen’s Climate Lobby Meeting that morning. I had to finish up the apron with the CCL logo that I made for the group leader since it’s the 5-year anniversary of the group and I wanted to recognize her hard work in getting us started and keeping us going these last 5 years. I also scheduled bills to be paid and played a couple games of Candy Crush – a horrible addiction, don’t ever start… it’s like cigarettes, just mildly less harmful to your health. I also checked e-mails and made some breakfast. I read a bit of my latest book. I’m finishing Bettyville, a memoir by George Hodgman ~ a great read with insight on the trauma of growing up gay in the Southern US, dealing with an aging parent with dementia and quieting your personal demons.
After the CCL meeting, I swung past the corn stand and picked up some MN sweet corn. (It’s not nearly as sweet as My Dad’s in Indiana, but it is quite creamy.) Since it’s an unmanned stand and I had only a $10, with corn being $6.50 for a baker’s dozen, I got enough for weeks… so I planned to give some to the local musician I was going to see. Anthony Miltich was playing from 2:30-6:30 PM at Carlos Creek Winery. They have a lovely outdoor stage and it’s a joy to spend an afternoon on the sun dappled patio listening to a talented person entertain you. And lucky me, I ran into the Etniers at the CCL and they were going to hold me a spot at their table. We had a blast chatting away until they had to leave for a birthday party. I had brought my computer along, so I typed up some notes from the meeting while I enjoyed Anthony’s songs. He of course played the David Gray, especially for me. 🙂
I headed out after Anthony’s second set as I had a date with Danny who was sleeping at home after his third shift Friday. We went to Theatre L’Homme Dieu to see Ring of Fire, a show about Johnny Cash. And I was thrilled to see my name in the program!!
The show was great and I ran into a friend there and met someone new. On the way home, we caught sight of the newly waning moon rising over Lake L’Homme Dieu so we stopped to watch her rise. Then we headed home, had a snack and headed to bed.
So here’s the list of things I can recommend… and this is just Saturday!
Sunday, Dan awoke really early and made some eggs. Since I have a morning pill, I couldn’t enjoy them but I now had breakfast for Monday! We headed out for the Unitarian Universalist Church in Underwood where my friends Mikko Cowdery & Sally Avant would be performing for the Welcome, Offertory and Postlude. We were heartily welcomed and introduced to a few people. Mikko’s wife, Tudy, walked me upstairs to the nave as we enjoyed the many pieces of beautiful art throughout the church. We received our programs and found a seat up front. The service was really wonderful; a discussion of Deepak Chopra’s book How to Know God. The music was terrific and I was impressed with the hymns and readings. We’ll definitely be back to visit.
After the service, there was coffee and conversation in the basement and we met some wonderful people, including a brother of a friend in Alec and a local author, whose book we bought and had signed.
Getting hungry, we headed out in search of lunch. But first, we headed back to Battle Lake where we checked out the local art gallery, Art of the Lakes. This place is full of wonderful work so make it a stop if you’re headed anywhere near Battle Lake, MN. http://artofthelakes.org/
We crossed the Hudson Bay/Mississippi Drainage Divide and passed through other small towns. Found a local bar that served a buffet but there was almost nothing on the menu that I could be sure would be safe (gluten-free and soy-free) so we headed to Mi Mexico for a late lunch. Enjoyed lunch (with leftovers for my lunch on Monday, how handy) and headed home for a nap.
I woke up and blogged a while, then took a Skype call with my friends Steph & Steve who have a lovely new baby, Rook. He is SO ADORABLE!!!
I made some popcorn and watched a movie later and just relaxed. No worries tonight, though I do work a full day tomorrow. When your bi-monthly paycheck has only 19 hours, it’s not a burden to fit in the fun around work days.
So here are some more things you can do to find fulfillment:
Over the next few blogs, I’ll talk about some of the other things I’m doing to find fulfillment and some of the bumps I’ve run into along the way too. It’s been an amazing ride so far and each new day is another passport to adventure. Hope your life is equally audacious. And if it’s not, use the ideas above to make an opportunity for a new endeavor!