Connecticut gardening plans and reflections

It’s the end of the year and nearly the beginning of the next. Time to reflect on time passed and make future plans.

First the future plans.

I spent some time this morning noting garden-related events in my 2012 calendar. Winter and early spring are wonderful months to expand gardening smarts and unearth gardening inspiration. Much discovery can come from books, here’s some of my recommendations, but sometimes you just need to venture out to see and hear from gardening aficionados. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of garden talks, presentations, symposia, meetings, conferences and shows to get the house-bound gardener’s creative sap flowing.

The Connecticut Gardener website offers a regularly updated list of gardening events planned from early January onward at sites all over Connecticut. Check them out early since many talks and classes have pre-registration deadlines. Current listings cover January through March.

Those interested in organic land care and organic farming and gardening should regularly check the events page of CTNOFA (Connecticut’s chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association). Also check out the educational reading material available via CTNOFA’s resources for gardeners link (on the website’s left sidebar) and the Homeowner’s Corner links (right sidebar) at the Organic Land Care website.

For my reflection, check back on January 1, 2012. The first of each month is GOOPs Day – GOOPs stands for Gardening Oops. I confess some of my gardening mistakes or mis-steps in hopes of preventing others from walking the same path.

GOOPs is an open party, anyone can join. So if you have a gardening blunder you’re willing to bone up to, resolve now to share your faux pas with me and other GOOPs participants on the first of each month.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUntil then, one more look back at my version of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic Christmas poem, originally published last January.

‘Tis Days After Christmas, What To Do With the Tree

By Joene Hendry, in honor of Clement Clarke Moore

‘Tis days after Christmas and still in the house
Stands a tree in the corner that no longer sprouts.
Stockings unhung, now the chimney is bare
And the tree needs undecorating and disposal, but where?

The children are busy outside with their sleds,
Or elsewhere with I-Tunes blaring through their heads,
While parents reach gently, avoiding tree sap,
To store each ornament for its long summer’s nap.

The blizzard has passed, the winds have diminished
And outside there’s still snow shoveling to finish.
Yet the tree must come down, its lights cease to flash,
But what can one do besides throw it in the trash?

With sun reflecting brightly off newly drifted snow
That shines from outside the living room window,
New visions pop into your head and you cheer,
“We don’t have to make our tree disappear.”

We can use it outside near where winter birds feed
And decorate it anew with suet and seed
So chickadees and titmouse and juncos can roost
While other feathered friends seek their seed-eating boost.

Our tree could block the unlikable view
Of the propane tank or trash can or generator that’s new.
We could make it a surrogate, in a landscape hollow,
To illustrate the look of a new shrub to follow.

We could cut off boughs and place in a mound
Over perennials firmly frozen in the ground
To prevent them from sprouting up too fast
When early spring temperatures rise with a blast.

Then the branches, when taken from atop growing shoots,
Can head to the compost to give it a boost.
And the trunk doesn’t have to give up the ghost
If we use it next spring as a birdhouse post.

Our Christmas tree doesn’t need to end its use
In a brush pile or as municipal refuse.
We’ll set an example. We’ll use every part.
Let’s make tree recycling a post-holiday art.

Garden thoughtfully and stay safe.

Holiday greetings from Connecticut

There will be no postcard-style Christmas snow covering Connecticut this holiday season.

This year my snow shot is from the archives … the day after Christmas 2010.

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2011’s photographic holiday cheer is of the indoor sort.

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Now, with holiday hype done, it’s time to take a breath and remember what’s really important.

It’s not presents under the tree.

It’s family. It’s friends. It’s good health, or at least the ability to awaken and greet each day with wonder.

This is the wonder that greeted me this morning …

12-24-11 sunrise-7

Mother Nature’s gift to me. My gift to you in thanks for reading my words … for letting me into your lives.

I hope you take time to relish your wonders, to truly enjoy the gift of a child’s smile, a friend’s hug, a thoughtful glance from a significant other, a happy memory of a loved one no longer with you, and the beauty of the great outdoors.

It’s these wonders that make life worthwhile.

 

 

A Look at Young Farmers

It stands to reason that the growing popularity for organic produce – preferably locally grown – equates to a rising number of organically run farms. A recent piece on National Public Radio (NPR) provides a glimpse at a crop of young farmers gathered for the Young Farmers Conference in Tarrytown, New York. Follow the link and read or listen to the report. Here’s an excerpt.

Ben has been running his own farm in Tivoli, New York, for ten years now. He says that the great thing about farming is that it’s a really practical form of idealism. “It’s all well and good – and important – to have political opinions, and protest, and things like that. But when you’re farming, you get to live your values, and farm the world that you want to see,” he says.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA As a backyard vegetable grower, I’ve always had the utmost respect for people who choose to grow food for others. As an Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (AOLCP) I have even more respect for those who commit to farming organically.

We need to understand where our food comes from and what it takes to grow the fresh food we desire. Farming is difficult work but, thankfully, there are people willing and ready to learn from past farming practices and investigate new innovations in small-scale farming.

These are practical, resourceful, down-to-earth individuals who remind me of the farm-practicality my Grandmother learned as a child and passed on to her grandchildren.

In contrast to all the negative press blasted at us on television, radio, print and the Internet; the rising sense that big business is far more important than the public; and the paralyzing inability of Congress to work together to get anything done, organic farmers provide a positive, public-oriented, tangible service.

They feed people while helping to preserve the land for future generations.  They work hard, with limited capital, to keep farming. They seem to embody all the peace/love/respect-the-planet aspects so many in my generation professed during the 60’s while embracing the positive aspects of current technology.

Watch here to understand their drive, their vision, their desire to work in a truly meaningful profession.

 

They deserve our respect and our appreciation. They give me a powerful gift … they make me hopeful for the future.

Note: Many thanks to Alicia Ghio at  local food rocks for bringing NPR’s Who are the farmers of Generation Organic? to my attention … I must not have been listening the day it aired on All Things Considered.

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