Thursday, April 2, 2020

The sad is so big I can't get it all out


This is a magnificent poem  


Oh Wonder     by Traci Brimhall




It’s the garden spider who eats her mistakes
at the end of day so she can billow in the lung
of night, dangling from an insecure branch
or caught on the coral spur of a dove’s foot
and sleep, her spinnerets trailing radials like
ungathered hair. It’s a million-pound cumulus.
It’s the stratosphere, holding it, miraculous. It’s
a mammatus rolling her weight through dusk
waiting to unhook and shake free the hail.
Sometimes it’s so ordinary it escapes your notice—
pothos reaching for windows, ease of an avocado
slipping its skin. A porcelain boy with lamp-black
eyes told me most mammals have the same average
number of heartbeats in a lifetime. It is the mouse
engine that hums too hot to last. It is the blue whale’s
slow electricity—six pumps per minute is the way
to live centuries. I think it’s also the hummingbird
I saw in a video, lifted off a cement floor by firefighters
and fed sugar water until she was again a tempest.
It wasn’t when my mother lay on the garage floor
and my brother lifted her while I tried to shout louder
than her sobs. But it was her heart, a washable ink.
It was her dark’s genius, how it moaned slow enough
to outlive her. It is the orca who pushes her dead calf
a thousand miles before she drops it or it falls apart.
And it is also when she plays with her pod the day
after. It is the night my son tugs at his pajama
collar and cries: The sad is so big I can’t get it all out,
and I behold him, astonished, his sadness as clean
and abundant as spring. His thunder-heart, a marvel
I refuse to invade with empathy. And outside, clouds
groan like gods, a garden spider consumes her home.
It’s knowing she can weave it tomorrow between
citrus leaves and earth. It’s her chamberless heart
cleaving the length of her body. It is lifting my son
into my lap to witness the birth of his grieving.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Because I live where I live

I'm standing, far right.

I live in this large complex:


in one room on one floor of one wing

Our retired sisters live in this building, in another area.  Of all the sisters in this building , I am about the fourth youngest, and the three younger than me are about the same age.

So, death visits our house several times a year.   But last evening , we had two in a row.  One sailed off on the Sea of Faith at 10PM, and the other, about 4AM.  Neither of them from Covid19.
Blessedly, that has not reached our house yet.

But these deaths do give me pause, even as Spring arrives.

here's a poem from Wang Wei:


"O Day after day we can't help growing older.
Year after year spring can't help seeming younger.
Come let's enjoy our winecup today,
Nor pity the flowers fallen."


-  Wang Wei, On Parting with Spring  



Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Quarantine continues

It certainly is



I've been counting my 15 day quarantine in 3 ways:

  1. from the last day of in-person classes ( March 11) and a shopping trip to Wegmans in Frederick ( March 12).   That one ended March 26.
  2. I broke that one with an all-day training session on using Canvas ( our computer program) at the Mount, plus grocery shopping at Weis, on March 14. That one ended on March 29.
  3. I broke that one with a trip to the Motor Vehicle Administration offices in Westminster, and grocery shopping, on March 19.  That one will end on April 3.
So far, so good.  If I'm carrying the virus, there have been no signs. I haven't been sick. Yet.  I'm trying to be careful because I live in a big house where about 50 elderly sisters live.  So far, none of them has been sick.  I am certainly not the only one coming and going; we have all the nursing aides and housekeeping and kitchen staff, not to mention the twelve or so other sisters like me.  So we will see.

I have an appointment with the eye doctor in Frederick on April 1, and I hope it is not cancelled.  I need that doctor to sign the paper that says I can drive a car without a problem. My current license expires on April 27.  

These are miniscule concerns compared to the catastrophes happening all over the country and the world.

But Spring is a consolation.


and now I find out that the Governor of Maryland has given an extension for applications for all things motor vehicle related:  30 days after the end of the shutdown period, whenever that it.


So it goes.



may we be kept patient by the Keeper of Spring  ( art by Lucia Ferrara)



Sluggish Dazed Spring Approaches

Early Spring    by Julian Underdonk



Here's a powerful and appropriate poem by William Carlos Williams:


Spring and All (I)


By William Carlos Williams


By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen
patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees
All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-
Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-
They enter the new world naked
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-
Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf
But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken






I love this picture  by Sibylle von Offers.   Translation of the verse:


And as spring comes into the country
there pulls a colorful ribbon,
the beetles, flowers,
small grasses,
rejoicing into the world

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pachamama



The greening of the lawns, which I can see from my bedroom window, as well as the Spring Equinox, make me think of all the artistic renderings of Mother Earth.
Today I am especially reflecting on Pachamama.  I didn’t even know of her existence until Jennifer Heath, in her wonderful book The Echoing Green: The Garden in Myth and Memory,  spoke of her.

art by TeklaU


from The Goddess Garden website:
Pachamama is a fertility goddess, originating from the ancient Inca, the indigenous people who inhabited the Andes mountains. In the indigenous Quechua language, Pachamama (also known as Mama Pacha) translates as Mother Earth or Mother Cosmos. In other cultures, she is referred to as Gaia and Mother Earth. She oversees life by nourishing and protecting it’s inhabitants, her children. She is still an important aspect of religion in Peru today. Andean people believe strongly in the importance of living in harmony with nature and not taking too much from her. When she is disrespected, it is believed that problems will arise, such as earthquakes.
To ensure Pachamama looked favorably upon them, the Inca people made regular offerings to her. This is known as pago a la tierra (payment to the earth). These ceremonies are still performed today, and consist of offerings of traditional items such as coca leaves, huayruro seeds, and chicha (a corn beer). Shrines for Pachamama are made from hallowed rocks, or the trunks of significant trees. Artists depict her as an adult female bearing harvests of potatoes and coca leaves.


art by Arianna Ruffinengo


Saturday, March 28, 2020

On a Rainy Spring Saturday








Here's a poem by Pablo Neruda that speaks to me today:





Keeping Quiet — by Pablo Neruda


Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
.
(Translation by Alistair Reed)


 In Bloom      art by Gina Litherland



Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Grand Go the Years






Safe in their Alabaster Chambers
By Emily Dickinson

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untouched by Morning -
And untouched by Noon -
Lie the meek members of the Resurrection -
Rafter of Satin - and Roof of Stone -
Grand go the Years - in the Crescent - above them -
Worlds scoop their Arcs -
And Firmaments - row -
Diadems - drop - and Doges- surrender -
Soundless as dots - on a Disk of Snow -




I can't help but wonder how this is all going to turn out... for me.  And for the rest of the country.  And the rest of the world.  

I wonder what the people thought during the Bubonic Plague.



Saturday, March 21, 2020

Remote for the semester



We had a message from the University President yesterday that classes from now until the end of the semester will be held remotely.  We began doing this March 11, but now it will go through May.

I've been revamping my syllabus accordingly, and my students are responding, how shall I say - responsibly.

It feels like the Twilight Zone.  I do the grocery shopping for our group, and I am trying to avoid going out again to shop until the end of the month.  I don't have any idea if I have been exposed to the virus; no one really does.  But with all of these frail elderly sisters in our large complex here, I'm intensely aware of not endangering them.

My poet friends are posting very evocative poems these days on Facebook. 

Here 's one by Philip Larkin

Coming

By Philip Larkin

On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
Laurel-surrounded
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon --
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.




Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I should not be reading THE STAND at this time



but I am... actually, I am listening to the audiobook, which makes it worse.



That is fiction.  This is reality, about Covid 19, which we have barely begun to experience.


From fellow poet Julie Kane, on her Facebook page:


FYI: What it takes to get COVID-tested in rural Louisiana. I have been sick for 9 days now, since 

returning home from AWP: first a fever, aches and pains, and upset stomach; then a cough, intermittent 

low fever, congestion, headache, laryngitis (3 straight days now of no voice whatsoever). The local 

Access2 urgent care center has been allocated ONE (1) COVID test kit. For its entire patient population. I 
met the initial criteria for testing (fever, cough, at-risk age group, 
 traveled through an international airport 

recently). Then I had to take 2 blood tests and get a chest X ray. The first blood test (for bacterial 

infection) had to be normal or elevated: mine normal. The second blood test (for inflammation) had to be 

elevated: mine elevated. The chest X ray had to show infiltrates for pneumonia: mine showed mild 

COPD but not infiltrates. The nurse faxed all my materials to her supervisor. She wanted to test me. 

Permission to test was denied. (It really makes no difference, as the outcome would be the same either 

way: stay home unless shortness of breath develops. And at least I found out that the laryngitis is not 

bacterial and so cannot be treated with antiobiotics. But do not trust the statistics on # of cases in the 

U.S., because it is damned near impossible to get tested.)


and a poem from Weldon Kees


The Coming on the Plague
By Weldon Kees

September was when it began.
Locusts dying in the fields; our dogs
Silent, moving like shadows on a wall;
And strange worms crawling; flies of a kind
We had never seen before; huge vineyard moths;
Badgers and snakes, abandoning
Their holes in the field; the fruit gone rotten;
Queer fungi sprouting; the fields and woods
Covered with spiderwebs; black vapors
Rising from the earth-- all these,
And more began that fall. Ravens flew round
The hospital in pairs. Where there was water,
We could hear the sound of beating clothes
All through the night. We could not count
All the miscarriages, the quarrels, the jealousies.
And one day in a field I saw
A swarm of frogs, swollen and hideous,
Hundreds upon hundreds, sitting on each other,
Huddled together, silent, ominous,
And heard the sound of rushing wind.



Friday, March 13, 2020

putting one's classes online




Our in-person classes have been suspended until at least March 30. We share this situation with most other colleges in the country.

Our university uses a program called Canvas, which is very good.  I use it with my class to some degree, probably at the most basic levels of use.  I'm not sure about how much more sophisticated I am able to get .

Here is an interesting blog entry from Rebecca Barrett-Fox on this topic:

Please do a bad job of putting your courses online


I’m absolutely serious.
For my colleagues who are now being instructed to put some or all of the remainder of their semester online, now is a time to do a poor job of it. You are NOT building an online class. You are NOT teaching students who can be expected to be ready to learn online. And, most importantly, your class is NOT the highest priority of their OR your life right now. Release yourself from high expectations right now, because that’s the best way to help your students learn.
If you are getting sucked into the pedagogy of online learning or just now discovering that there are some pretty awesome tools out there to support student online, stop. Stop now. Ask yourself: Do I really care about this? (Probably not, or else you would have explored it earlier.) Or am I trying to prove that I’m a team player? (You are, and don’t let your university exploit that.) Or I am trying to soothe myself in the face of a pandemic by doing something that makes life feel normal? (If you are, stop and instead put your energy to better use, like by protesting in favor of eviction freezes or packing up sacks of groceries for kids who won’t get meals because public schools are closing.)
Remember the following as you move online:
  1. Your students know less about technology than you think. Many of them know less than you. Yes, even if they are digital natives and younger than you.
  2. They will be accessing the internet on their phones. They have limited data. They need to reserve it for things more important than online lectures.
  3. Students who did not sign up for an online course have no obligation to have a computer, high speed wifi, a printer/scanner, or a camera. Do not even survey them to ask if they have it. Even if they do, they are not required to tell you this. And if they do now, that doesn’t mean that they will when something breaks and they can’t afford to fix it because they just lost their job at the ski resort or off-campus bookstore.
  4. Students will be sharing their technology with other household members. They may have LESS time to do their schoolwork, not more.
  5. Many will be working MORE, not fewer, hours. Nurses, prison guards, firefighters, and police officers have to go to work no matter what. As healthcare demand increases but healthcare workers get sick, there will be more and  more stress on those who remain.
  6. Some of your students will get sick. Others will be caring for people who are ill.
  7. Many will be parenting.
  8. Social isolation contributes to mental health problems.
  9. Social isolation contributes to domestic violence.
  10. Students will be losing their jobs, especially those in tourism and hospitality.
All of these factors mean that your students are facing more important battles today than your class–if they are even able to access it.

As you put your class online:
1. Put your energy into the classes that are required for your major or minor or that are required by other majors or minors. Electives and GE classes are an important part of a good education, but we have already decided that what students learn in any one of those courses is not vital. (The exceptions to this are GE courses that are required for a major.) For some of us, this is every class we teach, but for others, we have the ability to choose to focus our attention.
2. Do not require synchronous work. Students should not need to show up at a specific time for anything. REFUSE to do any synchronous work.
3. Do not record lectures unless you need to. (This is fundamentally different from designing an online course, where recorded information is, I think, really important.) They will be a low priority for students, and they take up a lot of resources on your end and on theirs. You have already built a rapport with them, and they don’t need to hear your voice to remember that.
4. Do record lectures if you need to. When information cannot be learned otherwise, include a lecture. Your university already some kind of tech to record lectures. DO NOT simply record in PowerPoint as the audio quality is low. While many people recommend lectures of only 5 minutes, I find that my students really do listen to longer lectures. Still, remember that your students will be frequently interrupted in their listening, so a good rule is 1 concept per lecture. So, rather than a lecture on ALL of, say, gender inequality in your Intro to Soc course, deliver 5 minutes on pay inequity (or 15 minutes or 20 minutes, if that’s what you need) and then a separate lecture on #MeToo and yet another on domestic violence. Closed caption them using the video recording software your university provides. Note that YouTube also generates closed captions [edited to add: they are not ADA compliant, though]. If you don’t have to include images, skip the video recording and do a podcast instead.
5. Don’t fuss too much about the videos. You don’t need to edit out the “umms” or the postal carrier ringing the doorbell. Editing is a waste of your time right now.
6. Make all work due on the same day and time for the rest of the semester. I recommend Sunday night at 11:59 pm. Students who are now stay-at-home parents will need help from others to get everything done, and that help is more likely to arrive on a weekend. While, in general, I dislike 11:59 due dates because work done that late is typically of lower quality, some people will need to work after the kids go to bed, so setting the deadline at 9 or 10 pm just doesn’t give them enough time.
7. If you use a textbook, your publisher probably has tests that you can download directly into your learning management system (LMS). Now is the time to use them. Despite publishers’ best efforts, these tests quickly float around online, so take a few minutes to add some anti-cheating protections. First, organize questions into test banks and have them fed to students at random. For example, if you want to ask two questions about pay inequity, select 5 of them from the test bank, and have your LMS feed two of them to students at random. This makes it MUCH harder for students to work together, because they will never get the same exact test as a peer. Second, change the wording on the questions so they can’t easily paste them into Google. In example questions, changing the name of the person in the example is one fast way to make the questions harder to locate online.
8. Allow every exam or quiz to be taken at least twice, and tell students that this means that if there is a tech problem on the first attempt, the second attempt is their chance to correct it. This will save you from the work of resetting tests or quizzes when the internet fails or some other tech problem happens. And since it can be very hard to discern when such failures are really failures or students trying to win a second attempt at a quiz or test, you avoid having to deal with cheaters.
9. Do NOT require students to use online proctoring or force them to have themselves recorded during exams or quizzes. This is a fundamental violation of their privacy, and they did NOT sign up for that when they enrolled in your course. Plus, they are in the privacy of their homes, sometimes with children who will interrupt them. It may be impossible for them to take a test without interruption. Circumvent the need for proctoring by making every exam open-notes, open-book, and open-internet. The best way to avoid them taking tests together or sharing answers is to use a large test bank.
10. You have already had some kind of in-class work, I’m guessing, so you do not need to further authenticate their identities on exams. If you are suspicious that a student is cheating–for example, someone was previously performing very poorly on in-class assessments and is now scoring very well, which might make you think that they’ve hired someone else to take the class for them–address that situation individually.
11. Remind them of due dates. It might feel like handholding, but be honest: Don’t you appreciate the text reminder from your dentist that you have an appointment tomorrow? Your LMS has an announcement system that allows you to write an announcement now and post it later. As you put your materials online, write an announcement reminding them of the due date to be released 24 hours before it is due. The morning of, send a note to everyone who has not yet turned it in. (In Canvas and Blackboard, you do this by going into your gradebook and right clicking on the header of the assignment. You’ll see an option to email all students who have not yet completed the work. It takes less than 1 minute if you are already logged in.)
12. Alert them to any material that is not appropriate for children to watch, including minute markers for scenes of violence or nudity. Again, you need to assume that they are doing their work with children in the background.
13. Make everything self-grading if you can (yes, multiple choice and T/F on quizzes and tests) or low-stakes (completed/not completed).
14. Don’t do too much. Right now, your students don’t need it. They need time to do the other things they need to do.
15. Listen for them asking for help. They may be anxious. They may be tired. Many students are returning to their parents’ home where they may not be welcome. Others will be at home with partners who are violent. School has been a safe place for them, and now it’s not available to them. Your class may matter to them a lot when they are able to focus on it, but it may not matter much now, in contrast to all the other things they have to deal with. Don’t let that hurt your feelings, and don’t hold it against them in future semesters or when they come back to ask for a letter of recommendation.
****
This advice is very different from that which I would share if you were designing an online course. I hope it’s helpful, and for those of you moving your courses online, I hope it helps you understand the labor that is required in building an online course a bit better.

 I'm pasting this here because I found it so helpful; I can refer back to it myself this way.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Frightening report from one person in Italy



From  Jackie LaRouche-Merifield.
She posted this on Lawrence O'Donnell's "Last Word"  Facebook page today:

I am writing to you from Bergamo, Italy, at the heart of the coronavirus crisis. The news media in the US has not captured the severity of what is happening here. I am writing this post because each of you, today, not the government, not the school district, not the mayor, each individual citizen has the chance, today to take actions that will deter the Italian situation from becoming your own country’s reality. The only way to stop this virus is to limit contagion. And the only way to limit contagion is for millions of people to change their behavior today.

If you are in Europe or the US you are weeks away from where we are today in Italy.

I can hear you now. “It’s just a flu. It only affects old people with preconditions”

There are 2 reasons why Coronavirus has brought Italy to it’s knees. First it is a flu is devastating when people get really sick they need weeks of ICU – and, second, because of how fast and effectively it spreads. There is 2 week incubation period and many who have it never show symptoms.

When Prime Minister Conte announced last night that the entire country, 60 million people, would go on lock down, the line that struck me most was “there is no more time.” Because to be clear, this national lock down, is a hail mary. What he means is that if the numbers of contagion do not start to go down, the system, Italy, will collapse.

Why? Today the ICUs in Lombardy are at capacity – more than capacity. They have begun to put ICU units in the hallways. If the numbers do not go down, the growth rate of contagion tells us that there will be thousands of people who in a matter of a week? two weeks? who will need care. What will happen when there are 100, or a 1000 people who need the hospital and only a few ICU places left?

On Monday a doctor wrote in the paper that they have begun to have to decide who lives and who dies when the patients show up in the emergency room, like what is done in war. This will only get worse.

There are a finite number of drs, nurses, medical staff and they are getting the virus. They have also been working non-stop, non-stop for days and days. What happens when the drs, nurses and medical staff are simply not able to care for the patients, when they are not there?

And finally for those who say that this is just something that happens to old people, starting yesterday the hospitals are reporting that younger and younger patients – 40, 45, 18, are coming in for treatment.

You have a chance to make a difference and stop the spread in your country. Push for the entire office to work at home today, cancel birthday parties, and other gatherings, stay home as much as you can. If you have a fever, any fever, stay home. Push for school closures, now. Anything you can do to stop the spread, because it is spreading in your communities – there is a two week incubation period – and if you do these things now you can buy your medical system time.

And for those who say it is not possible to close the schools, and do all these other things, locking down Italy was beyond anyone’s imagination a week ago.

Soon you will not have a choice, so do what you can now.

Please share.









Sunday, March 8, 2020

On the uncertain future

Time Flies     by Christian Schloe


I am remembering the words of the Carly Simon song "Anticipation"  :

We can never know about the days to come,
but we think about them anyway
....

Those particular lines.  The rest of the lyrics don't hold much relevance for me anymore, but here they are:

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasin' after some finer day
Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'
And I tell you how easy it feels to be with you
And how right your arms feel around me
But I, I rehearsed those words just late last night
When I was thinkin' about how right tonight might be
Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'
And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet and I don't know nature's ways
So I'll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here 'cause these are the good old days
And stay right here 'cause these are the good old days
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
Source: LyricFind


The warnings about this Corona virus keep saying that the group in most danger are the elderly with other medical conditions.   
That's me:  almost 72  and cancer survivor/radiation damage,  previous heart attack,  and  prone to  upper respiratory infections.
So,  it may be that I catch this virus and die from it.  

I'll keep washing my hands and all,  but I  have a big party coming up at the end of this month:  my fiftieth anniversary of college graduation,  and the reunion to celebrate it.  My classmates and I have been meeting to plan it for more than a year, and though some of the women might choose not to come out of fear of the virus,  I am not one of them.  
If it kills me, it kills me.
I love life and all, but I don't have much to look forward to.   Only the garden.



Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Magical Herstory of Food

photo from the "About" page of Gather Victoria



I stumbled upon this website/blog and found it so interesting!

 https://gathervictoria.com/who-is-gather/


Here are excerpts from  one entry:

RECLAIMING THE MAGICAL HERSTORY OF FOOD



As is so often the case with history, the “herstory” tends to get left out – and food is no exception. While there are as many books on food history as leaves on a tree, try to find just ONE celebrating “the herstory of food”. I still haven’t. Which is odd considering from our earliest days as hunter-gatherers to the first domestication of plants, it was women who stoked the first hearths, stirred the first pots, brewed the first beer, and baked the first bread. 
 The current “history” of food tells us none of this. Why does this matter? Well, what’s been rendered invisible is the story of our earliest relationship with food and the natural world – the vast swath of “herstory” which kindled our transformation into humans.
...Cooking is a living tradition connecting us back to our grandmothers, great grandmothers and lineage of our female ancestors. And ever since we gathered the first plants and cooked over hot stones, we’ve woven prayers and magic into the food we create. And it’s one reason why, in this time of ecological and food crisis, I believe reclaiming the herstory of food can go a long ways towards healing our fractured relationship with the planet, with food – and maybe even our bodies as well.
...Long, long ago, before food was bought and sold for profit, no act of food production, from harvesting, growing, preparing, preserving, storing, cooking, baking, was left unblessed by women’s prayers, rituals and devotions. And for most of human history, nearly every domestic activity from making pots to planting seeds to baking bread was ritual “hearth craft”. And to put it very simply, women’s food magic had one central purpose, to honour and nourish the great mother of all – who in turn nourished them.
...Womens role in early food economies granted them not just autonomy but authority.  They were at the centre of what is often referred to as “gift-giving” societies meaning no one had to “pay” to eat. Because long before food became a commodity it was a sacred gift of the earth, who as a mother fed all her children equally, no matter their class, status, or gender.  And she gave freely to all of her forests, fields, rivers and oceans. 

I  am a baker of bread and cookies, primarily, but also simply someone who loves to cook.  So you can see why I like this blog.


Friday, March 6, 2020

Planning the plantings

here is a photo of the courtyard garden from July 7, 2019

The areas around the center circle are the ones I have been working on since 2015.  Each year I plant more perennials to attract pollinators.

This year, the "grounds guys" removed half of those "knockout roses", so there is now space for perennials in those areas, too.  I'll have to take a photo on July 7 of 2020.

Over the winter, as I have yearned for flowers,  I ordered the following plants and bulbs:

Anise Hyssop

Germander

Betony

Joe Pye Weed

Blue Hill Meadow Sage

 5 tuberose bulbs

9 Dahlia bulbs

20 Gladiolus bulbs

Everything but the Glads will go in the spaces in that garden around the center circle.  The Dahlias in particular are great for people to pick for bouquets.

The plants will come around the end of April;  I can plant the bulbs earlier.  But all must wait until the danger of frost passes, which around here is about May 10.