Laundry Dreams

Five or six summers ago we had a malfunction of our stove that fried both the oven and all the burners. Some of you may recall my blog posts during that memorable summer in which I cooked for a cast of thousands with an electric fry pan and a toaster oven. The Sears man returned time and time again to find the wrong part had been sent for the repair. Two months into our summer of toaster oven fun, we considered buying a new stove to solve the problem. By the time the stove was finally fixed, I could cook anything with those appliances and I mean anything! Braised side of Buffalo? No problem! Celebratory cake for twenty five hungry folk? Literally a piece of cake!

Well, the Sears man is back in our lives in a big way. This times it’s our dryer. It is on the fritz and of course this meltdown happened in the summer when the farm census is seriously inflated. This means a small army’s laundry moves through our washer and dryer each week- not to mention the laundry from the business. And now, every one of these loads pays a trip to our clothesline instead of the dryer.

Does everyone have our kind of magic touch with appliances? Or perhaps a more important question is, “If a Green Hope Farm appliance is alone in the forest when it breaks in a freak accident, does it make a sound?”

With the dryer, it initially seemed like a simple problem. But then it always does, doesn’t it? How hard could it be to fix a broken start button, I wondered. Well so far this broken button has involved three visits from Sears with no repair on the horizon. And predictably each of these visits has been a week apart as we “wait for a technician to be in our area”.

During the first visit, repairs were made with an almost immediate breakdown of some new aspect of the start button. The new breakdown occurred as the Sears man departed the farm in a cloud of dust.

A week later there was a second visit to diagnose the new problem which proved to be a still broken start button.

Another week passed before the third visit. This visit was supposed to be about replacing the broken start button with a new one. However the box sent by Sears directly to us did not contain the new part. The Sears man was not pleased when he opened the box and discovered this.

Today the missing part arrived……….broken.

Jim just called Sears to reorder the part and reschedule the appointment. He was told he needed to wait until the replacement part arrives again before scheduling the appointment.

Perhaps on the Fourth of July our laundry, in patriotic and not so patriotic colors, will STILL be waving in the wind on our clothes line versus whirling away in our dryer. Frankly with our track record, this is practically a sure thing.

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Fortunately my relationship with clotheslines is good. I learned my clothesline skills from the best. My first serious summer job was as a chambermaid/waitress at an Inn on an Adirondack Lake. The Inn was six miles from the nearest road or electric socket. Needless to say, the wind not an electric dryer was used to dry each day’s sheets. My boss, whose name literally was Mrs. Boss, taught me how to properly hang every item of clothing known to man. Sheets were our main preoccupation but I must say, I am glad I learned how to hang everything else as well. I loved my time hanging laundry. It was much better than cleaning fish scales off the bathroom walls which was another common activity I was expected to master.

Goodness knows why but a lot of people visiting this Inn seemed to think the bathtub was the place to clean their fish whereas I had been raised to clean any dead fish ON THE DOCK. Go figure.

After my stint mastering the hanging of the dread fitted sheet to crisp perfection, I had a number of years where clotheslines did not figure much in my life. Yes, I hung laundry during family camping adventures and also during trips to Ireland but never quite to the volume of the bustling Inn. Nonetheless, I was always pestering Jim to build me a clothesline here at the farm so I could relive my fond memories of time at the clothesline. Among other things, I dreamed of hanging our sheets so they would have that marvelous fresh air fragrance.

Sometimes dreams really do come true…..in spades.

But before this magic summer of laundry AND MORE LAUNDRY on the line, I had to convince Jim to build me the clothesline I would need to fulfill my laundry dreams.

I whined for a good ten years about Jim building me a clothesline and he resisted. St Jim had built me so many buildings, I didn’t get his resistance to this relatively small project. I began to feel there were deep psychological reasons why he avoided this task. It became a bit of a bone of contention between us. I practically had to impale myself with a broken clothespin to get him to make my clothesline dream come true.

Of course, I could have tried to build a clothesline for myself. Instead I wasted years rigging moldy, sagging rope from one tree to another in a desperate bid to show him exactly how badly I needed a NICE clothesline. Finally Jim built me a splendid one- a deluxe model cemented into the earth with many, many rows of lovely line. I was grateful. Months later he pointed out I never used the darn thing for anything but wet bathing suits. He was right.

But now, this clothesline has come into its own, and I have fulfilled my laundry dreams.

I am down at the clothesline night and day hanging load after load or taking down load after load. Grace has new conversational gambits like, “Is this towel dry yet?” There is so much stiff and fragrant well dried laundry in this house that we could rename the place Green Hope Laundry Services! All my laundry hanging tricks have come back to me. And I have learned some new ones.

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After this month, I am SOOOOO obsessed with my life of laundry that I bore people with impassioned commentary about the demise of the well built clothespin. I ignore yawns of disbelieving boredom, “Is this woman really talking about clothespins?”

YES SHE IS!

Today was a good day. I stumbled on someone who listened to my clothespin lament and gave me great clothespin wisdom.

Former goddess Thembi Muhlauri came by today for a visit. When I started into my clothespin complaints, she listened. SHE CARED. She believes in the magic of sheets hung on the line too and not just when a dryer is broken. She told me I needed to boil my new clothespins in salt water to keep them from falling apart so easily. Leave it to a sassy woman from Harare, Zimbabwe to solve my clothespin woes! Salted water was on the boil before she even left for her new life as a student taking frightening courses like Statistics.

Bless you Thembi. Your clothespin insight MADE MY DAY.

As Grace and I play hide and seek in the clothes each day, I dream that I will keep on hanging laundry even when the Sears man fixes my dryer on the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh trip here. I am sure Jim’s certain that dryer will be busy the moment it can be.

But a woman’s gotta dream, and I still hope my life ahead will see me drying my laundry in the clean air of our beautiful farm world. As far as the rest of the laundry I am hanging right now? The verdict is out on whether I will pony up to the clothesline to dry everyone else’s stuff on the line……What I am really looking for is some RESPECT about laundry and maybe some bribes. A well boiled clothespin might do it.

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A Message to May

Oh May! You are gone!

You are the most exciting houseguest ever- so glamorous, so full of tales of wonder, so dramatic and yes, so exhausting.

I bid you adieu with a bit of sadness but also a sore back.

You always need things to be just so in the gardens while you are here. So much planting to be done and weeding and pruning and mulching, because of course, you look your best when everything is tidy.

This year you made things extra “special” because you brought no rain. Every spare moment night and day, I watered the plants that could not survive this sort of treatment. I watered for you May, and sometimes I wondered if you noticed. Many other beloveds didn’t look their best for you because of the scorching dry heat and who can blame them? They are spring Flowers in northern New England. They don’t expect the Mojave Desert. Next year, don’t be so stingy with the precipitation. Remember your geography and your manners.

And perhaps you can talk to the winter months of December, January, February, March even April and tell them to lighten up a bit. Your stay would have been easier if I hadn’t had to clear out so many beloved dead Roses killed by those long, long, long, bitter cold, winter months.

Yes, I do need to thank you for departing with a deluge. We needed every drop of that rain. It saved your month from total disaster and also saved you from being tossed out on your heels in your party dress.

Maybe the many enormous sections of completely burnt brown lawn will come back in time for your next visit. Maybe not.

Try to do better next year. You know you need a nice green lawn to look your best so time you visit, bring more showers and spread them out.

Okay, is everything clear to you?

Just to recap.

We thank you for dressing up the gardens with gems like this

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and moments like these.

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They were sublime even if I saw them while running from one place to another with hoses and pruning shears.

I haven’t discussed the winds yet, but I need to. It is my fault that I picked a horrible ecological, non-petrochemical organic black mulch for the Red Shiso field that blew away in your constant, drying winds. I will pick a different mulch next year, but could you lighten up on the Sahara like dust storms?

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I just took this shot of the post deluge Red Shiso garden for you May. I know it is not pretty but at least it is alive. Hopefully it is the last time I will be showing you shots of this horrible stuff. But again, look May, at how parched the soil was most of the month.

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Lets not do this again. Next time, remember, more R-A-I-N! Thanks.

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I don’t know if you care, May, but your final days of rain helped to germinate the Red Shiso seeds upon which our Flower Essences depend. Thanks for that final helping hand before you flounced away with your gorgeous gorgeous petticoats.

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This May Morning in the Garden!

We have been busy as honeybees inside and outside now that spring has arrived. Weekends are when I do most of the gardening so today will see me out there until dusk!

Before I trot off with my trowel and wheelbarrow, I want to give a shout out to our hoop house which has transformed my gardening life. As I have often noted here before, there is a farm down the road where if they need to move four rocks they purchase a backhoe, front loader and dump truck whereas up here on the hill we have tools from the ice age. Move that 20′ diameter pile of compost? Lets do it with our hands!

So the hoop house is a marvelous and out of character upgrade. Thank you Angels and Elementals for finding us people who wanted to give use their hoop house, and thank you Alix and Martha!

In BHH years (as in before hoop house years) I would move all the tropical plants in the greenhouse into our kitchen so I could use their greenhouse home for seed flats. It was a horrible thing to do to the tropical plants. Just when they were getting the light and warmth they craved, I would move them to circumstances of considerable less light. This year we are still germinating the seed flat in the long hallway that connects the farmhouse to the office building. However, once the baby plants have a few of their true leaves, they are whipped down to the hoop house where I tenderly cover them with frost cloth at night like a mama tucking in a baby. They have been gloriously happy as have the Bermuda babies who haven’t lost their place in the sun.

I just ran down to the hoop house to take this photo.

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Note the Peter Rabbit type watering can. As a stone age old fashioned classic gardener, I encourage you to snap up any old galvanized tin watering cans you find at tag sales. I found this one last year at a friend’s tag sale. It had a leak which was easily fixed with a piece of duct tape. Now it is my garden love object, going everywhere with me. It is better balanced and easier to pour from than all the plastic watering cans I have always used. I hope some intrepid manufacturer brings these cans back!

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The Daffodils are really coming into their own in the Arbor Garden. What would spring be without these friends?

Today I will continue with planting one of the main vegetable gardens. I have lots of baby brassicas hardening off in one of the cold frames, and the Angels tell me that these can go in the ground. This suggests that we have gone from full tilt winter to full on late spring because a hard frost would damage these baby cabbages, brussel sprouts and broccoli. If they tell me to plant, it must mean we are not going to have a hard frost until next fall.

It is wonderful exciting to image we really are done with winter ( for now).

I also have so much weeding to do everywhere. I love weeding! So many lovely things to savor between satisfying battles with crab grass!

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Here the Magnolia is just beginning to open and when the sun reaches them, the Bloodroot beneath will also open in a sort of light filled shadow beneath the tree!

At the Starting Gate

Right now is the warm up before the big race. The soil in the gardens is either frozen or too mushy to dive into, but I am at the start line ready for the precise moment when it is thawed and dry enough to dive into. My trowel, claw, pruners and favorite shovel are with me. I remind myself AND SHEBA that we need to stay out the beds just a little but longer. Perhaps in as soon as a week I will be able to cross the start line into the mad dash which is spring in northern New England.

While I wait at the start line, I scribe my dreams. No trip through the gardens is complete without crumpled notes and Grace and Sheba careening around the paths. Any pause is a chance to search for new life and early Flowers. Due to my exuberant plantings of Snowdrops, almost anywhere we stop there are Snowdrops at our feet. Such bliss after six eight nine months of winter.

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This is our first full spring with a hoop house on the property. It is a delirious experience for me. Every square inch is glorious green already. Because I call the seedlings “baby plants,” Grace thinks she needs to be quiet so these babies can sleep. This morning she lifted up the frost cloth still covering the plants and made a shhhhhh sound to Sheba.

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Of course Sheba ignored Grace. Spring is spring, and a dog’s got to celebrate with wild loops in fields and a fair bit of barking.

Every flat surface in the office, greenhouse and kitchen is covered in seed flats but that still leaves me searching for various perennials online that I can’t grow from seed.

When I placed several orders last week, I noted that I have a greenhouse, a hoop house AND cold frames so please, send the order NOW. Nonetheless, someone from every company called me back to say that they didn’t want to send the plants until the middle of May. I had to beg and plead to get them to release the plants. Fingers crossed they will arrive any day.

During phone calls like this, I clutch my well loved catalog from the long defunct Roseraie at Bayfields in Waldoboro, ME. The man who ran this place, Lloyd Brace, was more than a bit of fresh air. He had so much genuine wisdom about Roses that whenever I am arguing with someone about sending me the Roses I ordered, I think of how Lloyd said to plant them as soon as the ground could be worked. As in the moment the ice is gone and the soil is not too soggy. Like NEXT WEEK not the end of May!!!!

Here is exactly what he said, “Though you can plant a Rose any time your shovel can penetrate the ground, it’s best to plant Roses as early in the spring as you can dig. Even if a few leaf shoots get nipped in a late frost, the roots will be building a foundation that is much more important. We start planting April 15th here in Waldoboro.”

During the years I got Roses from Lloyd Brace, I would plant the Roses right on Lloyd’s schedule. I will do this again this year if anyone believes me and sends the Roses when I asked for them.

Lloyd’s two pages on how to plant a Rose is one of the documents that I move from one year’s garden folder to the next. Here is a typical Lloyd piece of common sense, “Be patient with your Roses. Like children, they are all different but they all respond to care and constancy.”

I also love his comment on what kinds of manure to use, “Use manure, not shavings and hay slightly stained by a debutante’s pampered mount.”

And here is his general suggestion about Rose care, “Roses are like complex computer software. They enable marvelous happenings that your garden couldn’t stage before. There is an important difference, though; I can’t offer you a “Quick start for those who don’t want to read the whole manual” section at the outset. The Rose you buy from us is probably going to do its thing if you don’t get in the way too much and if you don’t hurry it. It’s not an appliance that you plug in and get instant color. It’s a part of nature that you’ve imported to your back yard. You can’t “make” it do much of anything, but you do a lot to empower it. In a nutshell: good place, good timing, good hole, good soil, good depth, good care.”

I can’t wait to get busy in a few days digging those holes!

Flower Essences from Patagonia

Green Hope Farm staffer Molly Sanders brought these Flower Essences back to us from the Torres del Paines region of Patagonia in the fall of 2014. We welcome these Flower Essences from Patagonia and delight in this opportunity to share them with you!

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THE ANTARCTIC FLORAL KINGDOM
One special thing about these Patagonian Flower Essences is that they come from a very different Floral Kingdom than our own. Flowering plants originate from six distinct geographic regions known as Floral Kingdoms. Each Floral Kingdom contains endemic plants found only in that Floral Kingdom as well as plants transplanted there from other Kingdoms.


These Patagonian Flower Essences come from the Antarctic Floral Kingdom of Antarctica, Patagonia and New Zealand, three landmasses south of 40 degrees south latitude. The Antarctic Floral Kingdom includes these geographically distant places because of their shared origins hundreds of million of years ago as part of the supercontinent landmass of Gondwana.


When Gondwana broke up, Patagonia experienced a further 10 million years as a geographical island drifting in isolation from other landmasses. This isolation resulted in a high number of Flowers endemic only to Patagonia. Not surprisingly, these Flowers hold a unique wisdom to a very high degree.

THE WISDOM OF PATAGONIAN FLOWERS
The Flowers of Patagonia have a wisdom that is very heart centered. Their geological history translates into practical wisdom for us to find a similar heart centered experience of life. They handled their experience of separation from a greater whole by translating loss into detachment. From a place of detachment, they went inward to anchor in the eternal reality of the Divinity within them, recognizing this Divinity within as their essential and only eternal self-identity.

Experiences of loss call all of us to detachment. We have to let go because what we were holding onto is gone. Because the Patagonian Flowers have navigated the evolutionary journey of loss, detachment and a blossoming of divine self-identity in the wake of this detachment, these Flowers help us better grasp the gifts of this detachment. They also help us find our own divine self identity as they did.

From outward focus to detachment to an anchoring in our hearts where we know and experience our inner relationship with Divinity: this is the journey the Patagonian Flower Essences support us to take. They literally flip us on our heads and pour us into the depths of our hearts. For that, I thank them and Molly Sanders too who went a very long way to bring us back these healing gems.

These Patagonian Flowers hold a deep desire to share their Flower Essences with you. Their definitions were dictated to me in one crystal clear session. I typed as fast as I could and still their love bubbled faster! Thank you Patagonian friends!

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FOXGLOVE FROM PATAGONIA Digitalis purpurea
This Flower Essence creates the foundation from which our relationship with the Flowers of the Antarctic Floral Kingdom, the Elementals of these Flowers and their Flower Essences proceeds. This is the Flower Essence to help you fully anchor in your electrical system the wisdom of all Patagonian Flower Essences.

Foxglove Flower Essence acts as an electrical relay for the electrical wisdom of Flower Essences to transfer from the Elementals holding it in form to us. This is a unique collection of Essences requiring the Foxglove relay because the electrical patterns of these Flowers are very different than those of our Floral Kingdom, and they present us with very different vibrational materials than we have experienced.

If you decide to work with any of these Flower Essences from Patagonia, your electrical receptivity to their wisdom will be greatly enhanced by working with this Flower Essence.

I AM the full assimilation of the Flower wisdom of Patagonia.

Please note that in the photo above, an Elemental has shown itself to the right of the Foxglove Flower.

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OURISIA POEPPIGLI Ourisia Poeppigli
With its beautiful clear red tubular bell shaped blossoms, this Flower and its Flower Essence offer a template for a new way to live in the body. The wisdom of this Patagonian Flower helps us reframe our experience of life in a physical body especially if we have had a mental focus in which we have seen our body as a tool, a vehicle, a bother or a mechanism that breaks down. Ourisia supports us to more fully inhabit our physical bodies with an increased vitality, a deepening love for our bodies and an expanded but extremely grounded experience of being spirit incarnate.

I AM the temple of Divinity incarnate.

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CHILEAN FIREBUSH Embrothium coccineum
Chilean Firebush helps us release mental loops and pockets of mind ideas that no longer serve us. It brings a very thorough cleansing while keeping us anchored in the verities of infinite intelligence. This results in an experience of a vibration of self that is both grounded and greatly expanded. In being fully present to the particular we are released into something greater than ourselves.

As a plant, Chilean Firebush exudes a substance that transmutes otherwise inaccessible forms of nutrients into forms that can be utilized. In a similar way, this Essence helps us transmute mental agitation into channels of useful universal mind ideas for a fuller experience of spiritual nourishment and self-identity.

I AM infinite intelligence.

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ADESMIA LOTOIDES Adesmia lotoides
This lovely pale purple Flower in the legume family is endemic to Patagonia. It once bore the name Patagonium before it was assigned a new Latin name. Adesmia’s sprawling and abundant beds of soft purple Flowers invite us to sink down and savor its sweet enveloping beauty and kindness. Its Flower Essence invites a softening of our sharp edges and sharp thoughts. It softens our grudges against self by unlatching us from the thoughts of judgment and division that have long held us captive. It gives us a palpable experience of the grace of our circumstances in which there is infinite opportunity to find our way, nothing real has been lost and all else can and will be dissolved in love and forgiveness.

I AM a wellspring of love and forgiveness.

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ANGEL ORCHID- Codonorchis lessonii
This Orchid Flower Essence awakens us into an experience of Divinity in each now. It ripens us to ask for Divine support then rest in a quieted mind until we absorb the response of love. It helps us create a back and forth exchange that deepens until all lines of demarcation are gone, and we realize we are the love coming out to greet ourselves. In creating a space of quiet receptivity within us, it helps us dissolve the temporary mindset of disconnection that would have us believe ourselves separate from Divinity.

It is time for us to know and live from a place of knowing and accepting our oneness with Divinity, and this Orchid friend wants to help us.

I AM awake to my one true self.

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CALCEOLARIA Calceolaria
This beauty has a puffy yellow pouch marked with speckles of brown inside its lip. Its Flower Essence helps us tap into the great reservoir of inner knowing within all of us. Calceolaria helps us anchor in this reservoir so that when painful events occur, we move forward confident we will transform the painful experiences into wisdom by simply returning to this inner reservoir. It is another Patagonian gem intent on dissolving pain by returning us to the great reservoir within us of pure knowing, pure compassion and love with detachment. Calceolaria tells us, “Your sorrows and difficulties really ARE grist for the mill, helping you find the reality of your inner Divinity. I help you experience this.”

I AM pure knowing.

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PINK WANDS FROM PATAGONIA
This Flower glows in shades of pink with its flowering wands rising to the sky. It describes itself as adept at marshalling our sweet inner reserves in response to difficulties. It bolsters us in our efforts at loving kindness in response to whatever has happened. It helps us find the balance of self-love and engaging in the world with confident loving action. In any circumstance in which others have treated us from a mindset of self interest and selfishness, this Flower Essence affirms our belief that love not self interest is the transformative way forward and helps us ground this in every action, small and large.

I AM steady in my choice of loving kindness.

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ESCALLONIA FROM PATAGONIA Escallonia rubra
Gratefulness for the journey. This precious Flower Essence helps us experience gratitude even when the journey has been arduous beyond measure. It helps us know that nothing real was lost and everything valuable and eternal lies within us.

I AM and all is well.

Each of these beloved new Flower Essence friends are bottled and ready for you. A 1/2 oz. bottle is $7.35 and a 2 oz. bottle is $25. Email us at green.hope.farm@valley.net to order and please share with us your experiences with these new lovelies!

As a community of Flowers, Angels, Nature Spirits, Dogs, Cats and even some People, Green Hope Farm can be a funny place……and I love telling you all about it!