Rhino does Munchen

What was I thinking, taking Rhino to Montreal. Our twenty four hour, late summer whirlwind tour gave him a taste for the high life, for foreign climes, for exotic foods served in dishes that were not his job to clean. It gave him a passion for life beyond his responsibilities at the sink. It introduced him to a world beyond stainless steel and dish soap.

Really, its nobody’s fault but my own that when Rhino went AWOL last week, he went to Europe.

Can I really blame him? Truthfully, his job had become so hit or miss. There was so much less dish activity to monitor. Somedays it was a dish desert. And standards had dipped. Rhinos like state of the art equipment and with a disabled dishwasher, standards were on the skids.

I didn’t notice his depression in time to remind Rhino that hope and dirty dishes were just around the corner. How many weeks is it to Thanksgiving anyways? That’s got to be the messiest, most dish dirtying meal on the planet. For Rhino’s sake, I could have offered to do Canadian Thanksgiving this year because its celebrated in October. But I failed to keep Rhino motivated and by the time I noticed his ennui, Rhino no longer thought of himself as a dish supervisor. He was a Rhino in search of a new purpose.

And he went to Munich to find it.

So, what happened in Munich? Is it like Vegas? Is he willing to tell us something or is it that same old story. What happens in Munich, stays in Munich.

Well, under duress, Rhino emailed me six lone photos. I will offer up my rendition of Rhino’s inner dialog because Rhino is the strong silent type.


Here I am on the open road speeding across Germany. The dishes on this train are all plastic. Nobody has asked me to lift a finger. I am free.

I knew you’d want me to do something cultural so here I am at Munich’s New Town Hall admiring the Glockenspiel.


In fact, I climbed up to a dangerous place to get a better view. My tour guide held me out over the precipice and considered what would happen if I was accidently dropped. My tour guide realized he might have to emigrate to Germany if he returned to New Hampshire without me. This is why I look bunchy and out of focus in this shot. I am experiencing a death grip.

But really, death grips are no big deal. I am like James Bond. I would have made a good replacement for Pierce Brosnan. Look at me in these next two shots and see how close I came to kissing my life of dishes away once and for all.


First I challenge a Boar. Very Black Forest. Very macho. I lived to tell. Then I sit in the jaws of a killer catfish. I know. I know. I am a brave Rhino.

But after a week’s frollick at Oktoberfest, I realized I was really a country Rhino, and dishes or no dishes. I needed to go home.


Here’s my pensive moment of truth when I realize I am not a city Rhino but a country one.

Editorial comment: This is all very well and good Rhino BUT you have actually been back in the country for FIVE days as in fifteen meals at Casa Sheehan and you have NOT returned home from your tour guide’s bachelor pad. I am beginning to wonder if there is a cover up going on. Maybe there was a drop at New Town Hall. Maybe you got a more exciting job in Munich as a boar baiter. Maybe you like bachelor life at Ben’s better than life at the farm. Maybe you really aren’t taking the loss of the dishwasher and all the dirty dishes with such eerie calm after all. I am calling you out. Come home Rhino!

I promise to make a mess in the kitchen this very afternoon for you!

Red Shiso, Spinach, and Spam


No, this is not a shot from “The Crypt Keepers.” This is the Red Shiso cut, bundled, and hanging to dry. Looking nice and PURPLE too! The remaining empty loops of twine will get used as I bring in the rest of the harvest.

I still have probably about a quarter to a third of the crop to cut and hang. The building will be completely packed with Red Shiso by the time I finish. Sophie Cardew helped me last Thursday to cut and hang bundles. I hope to snag her for a couple of hours today. She is here on Thursdays, restocking the shipping stations and cheerfully doing a myriad number of weekly jobs.

Here is one of the sections of Red Shiso still standing. The white stuff around the feet of this Shiso is the protective cloth that can be draped on the Red Shiso if we get another frost before I get the rest cut.

Last week Sophie and I cut the southern part of the three Red Shiso rings. Over the weekend I kept cutting. Two nights ago we had another frost. That afternoon, I knew I wasn’t going to get everything cut before this frost hit, so I cut the rings of Red Shiso at the north of the garden and left Shiso in the east and west, hoping that the frost would roll down through this north south corridor and not bother the Red Shiso on either side. This worked!

Frost is a funny thing. In this neighborhood, I will get a frost when others don’t. Cold air is heavier than warm air so frosts roll downhill. We are up at about a thousand feet and we generally have warmer temperatures and an earlier spring than other places in the neighborhood, so you’d expect us to be more protected from frosts than we are. Instead, we get hit by these early frosts ahead of everyone else, even those down below us.

After almost twenty years here, I accept this anomaly with slightly more grace. The main garden where the Red Shiso grew this year is one of those places where the frost settles first. The cold air seems to roll down from Morgan Hill to the north of us and bounce through the gardens to this place and that on its way south towards the bottom of the hayfield. I am not sure I outsmarted the frost this time so much as went with the Flow of it!

Speaking of going with the Flow, Emily’s school has gone paper free. Her first set of senior year mid terms are posted on line. I have just receive a many page email explaining how to access her grades and teacher comments. I now need to go with this paper free flow.

I wonder if I will ever be done with my ambivalence about the technologies of our world. Dragged kicking and screaming to email and the internet a decade ago, I now passionately love my email friends and my blog world. I turn to Google with all my questions. Why even this morning I looked for a recipe I wanted on some recipe site and found it in a nano-second. And then there’s my Amazon.com habit too.

But I don’t want to have to login with a password to read Emily’s teacher’s comments. I don’t want to! Her’s is a small, friendly school and this feels so impersonal. I want a note from the teacher not a login experience!

Maybe my response isn’t just a lingering love for the envelope and paper. Maybe it’s resistance to being washed through an impersonal mechanism of logins and passwords to get to the information I seek. I think it might feel different if I got an email directly from each teacher. It’s funny how there are things that are personal about online life and there are things that just aren’t. Do others feel as strongly about these nuisances of connection?

On the subject of connection, I am always trying to think of ways to get more people connected to our local farmer’s market. As Deb wraps up another season running this market, I suggested an advertising campaign for next year along the lines of “Meet the Farmer who Grew your Spinach.” With the recent spinach problem, there wasn’t a farmer, but a corporation growing the spinach. But the problem was also about the SIZE of the farm.

The farmer’s market is a wonderful thing, not just because we meet the farmers, but because the smaller scale of each farm operations means that the farmers can care deeply about everything they grow. There literally is more love in their produce because of this small scale. And in my experience, more love actually translates into healthier spinach.

As I look at media photos of the spinach fields of California, it feels so off to me. When a corporation grows such vast quantities of one crop in one place, this can so easily create a cycle of every spinach loving pest in creation gathering in those fields, to be met by every pesticide in creation, to be met with every pesticide resistant bug, to be met with a new round of toxic chemicals. And the poor people working in those fields! How they must suffer from this poisonous atmosphere. And how difficult it must be to bring any love to such toxic and monotonous work. We all need a life more permaculture than monoculture, more familiar faces, less faceless bureaucracy.

Small is better. This is how I feel about Green Hope Farm. I don’t want to be the Proctor & Gamble of Flower Essences. I happily make decisions to keep us a place where we have personal relationships with you and with every Flower. Besides my own predilection to stay small, the nature of Flower Essences is that they don’t lend themselves to being Proctor and Gamble-ized. There has to be much love in the process of making and sharing the Essences or they won’t have the high vibrations needed to make them useful, informative Flower Essences.

As part of my continuing efforts to stay small and personal, I promise not to create a login system for talking with me on email or the blog. I also promise to get more help from Ben to deal with my technical difficulties with processing blog comments. They remain unposted in an enormous pool of thousands of spam entries. I keep asking Ben how to wade through this variation of spam. I have some good systems for sorting our email now. I CAN do this with the blog. But I keep forgetting what he says. It’s like logging on for Emily’s grades, I don’t want to process more viagra ads in order to manage this blog. I don’t want to do it! But I do want to support Emily’s senior year process, so I am going to login. And I do want to harvest the lovely comments that I know are there. I get so many helpful, loving, and wise ones on email. I know they await me under the blog spam.

I WILL forge ahead in this new world of technology we all inhabit and I thank you for your patience with me and the blog spam. Wish me luck! And Luck to you too as you face the spam in your twenty first century lives!

Thoughts on Bullying

Last week, there were many common strands in the stories you told us about the people and animals in your lives. Animals were unusually restless and showed some out of character aggressive behaviors. People were having lots of difficulty with bullies and their controlling behaviors. It seemed some energy change was afoot on the planet and we were all scrambling a bit to figure out how to accommodate the change.

The Angels offered Flower Essence ideas. They suggested more Anxiety, Grounding, and Golden Armor Flower Essences than usual. They also suggested various Venus Garden mixes since these are so helpful with adapting to change. Of course, I continued to suggest my friend Flow Free and the Angels suggested that one as well. I usually had my quart jar of Flow Free water at my side to toast this suggestion whenever it was made. In fact, I can pause right now to take a sip!

The Angels last general comment went in another direction than Flower Essences. They suggested again and again, that everyone, four footed and two footed, spend more time outside in Nature.

As I heard a lot of stories about bullies and bullying behavior, I saw in this behavior attempts to feel “in control” in the face of change. Much as I could vaguely understand the behavior, I still found myself reactive to the bullying. The primary person in my childhood, my mother, was a terrible bully to me and others. Last week left me looking long and hard at how I coped with this then and how I cope with this now.

As a child, I fell into line when bullied. I was a poster child for good behavior. And I took my inner life far, far away from the bully’s realm. Nature was my solace and my safe retreat, as was the world of my imagination, my dollhouse, and my beloved books.

As an adult, I am still in a learning curve about bullying. As I listened to stories of bullying bosses, bullying in-laws, bullying friends and co-workers, children bullying parents, parents bullying children, doctors bullying patients, I realized my strong reactions were probably not very helpful to the person being bullied, given that they came from remembered childhood feelings of powerlessness and not from an adult perspective of acknowledging the gifts I have harvested from my encounters with bullies. I took comfort in the fact that in addition to my intense personal reactions to your stories, I also called in the Angels to offer their guidance and Essence suggestions, suggestions offered from a much more balanced place. I also tried to be accepting of my own process here and gently acknowledge to myself that there are good reasons why bullying is a particular challenge for me.

By the end of the week, I realized I wanted to really sort out what I had learned from a childhood of being bullied and think more about how I process this dynamic now. So I thought about this a lot over the weekend and arrived at a clearer understanding of what I had learned.

My experiences of being bullied earned me an acute awareness of bullying energy. I recognize it in the nuances of entitlement, snobbism, ideas of intellectual and cultural superiority, as well as outright physical bullying of a weaker, less socially powerful person. I saw it all and heard the justifications. This makes me a good sounding board for people who wonder if they really are being bullied.

Having experienced so much bullying, I try not to be a bully myself. I am glad I have this intention in life, even as I probably fall short in ways I don’t recognize. I made this choice because of my experiences being bullied. That was a gift of my childhood experiences. However, my thinking this weekend made me realize more clearly than before how I internalized the bullying I received into a heavy handedness with myself. Breaking habits of self bullying has been a focus of my adult life, but this work is not done.

Here are some hopes I have after thinking about this issue more. When I hear about other people being bullied, I need to be kinder to myself about my strong reactions. I have unrealistic and unkind expectations about achieving some sort of detached emotional state that might be more empowering to them. Right now I can’t do this when I hear stories that remain so highly charged for me. I need to accept that it is enough that I own my reaction as mine and offer the perspective of the Angels who actually can be detached.

I also need to remind myself during my own confrontations with bullies that I am not in the same powerless place I was in as a child. I need to reassure the little Molly that lives within me that she is now safe from this kind of bullying and that the adult part of me can and will protect her from these kind of situations and people. It seems like I actually need to have this conversation with little Molly. If I don’t tell her that adult Molly is going to protect her, she thinks she has to go into super good behavior mode, like with the Sears man last week. As someone pointed out to me in an email, maybe my treatment of my stovetop warranted some complaint from Sears about my appliance maintenance, however, nothing warranted the Sears man’s bullying behavior.

I also thought about the Angels suggestion to handle this bullying dynamic and general feeling of disequilibrium by spending more time in Nature. It occurred to me that the natural world is a good model of flowing with change. Nature is all about change. And Nature processes change without bullying. Nature is a sanctuary from bullying. This feels like a rather bold statement, but it feels true to me. Yes, animals eat other animals, but this is a natural law not motivated by a bullying energy. When household animals are bullying, perhaps it is an expression of living in a dynamic more like the human community than how they would live in the wilds. The ” I am better than you” ideas behind bullying are ideas of the human community not the natural world. Nature operates from a model of oneness and this eliminates any dynamic of bullying. Balance, whether in the form of weather extremes, or my favorite, slug infestations, is about balance. It is not about bullying. Acknowledging all this helped me to see why Nature was a solace for me as a child and why Nature remains a solace for me as an adult. It always helped me find balance and still does. It has been and continues to be a sanctuary from bullying and also a sanctuary from my confusions about bullying!

So that said, I am off to cut Red Shiso for a couple of hours. I have cut about half the crop since the end of last week. It is hanging in the little building where we dry the Red Shiso and so far, the crop is drying very purple. Such a good moment to have navigated the frost dangers long enough for the crop to get good and purple. A good moment. One I will savor.

News of the week, then a Shower for Vicki!

As Vicki and I were assembling all the ingredients for Golden Armor on Monday, we noticed a few more Essences we needed to make before winter.

Whenever I take a walk, I visit with the Flowers I find along the way. over time I come to look for specific Flower friends in specific places. So when we noticed our low inventory on a couple of seriously in demand Flower Essences including White Yarrow and Self Heal, I was pretty sure I could find some of these Flowers still in bloom.


May May, Riley and I did find them, here in this meadow. What a glorious day it was!

I took a photo of Pearly Everlasting, still blooming strong in this meadow. It’s one of the new research Essences from this summer. I thought you might be interested to see how this Flower keeps looking absolutely fabulous week after week after week. You can imagine the strengths this brings to the Essence!


As the dogs and I turned for home with all the Flowers we were looking for, I found the surprise gift of Nodding Ladies Tresses blossoming in the bottom of this meadow.

This is a lovely late summer orchid that we had as a Flower Essence awhile ago, kindness of former staffer Catherine Barritt. I am very glad to welcome Nodding Ladies Tresses back to the collection. The Flower is much prettier than this photo. It has lovely fringed blossoms that dip and curve in a very sassy manner. I recall that it was an excellent Essence for de-tangling knotty situations. I will sit with this Flower again before posting a definition on the research list.

I also took two photos of Purple Flowering Raspberry. I thought you might like to see what its fruits look like as they ripen in the fall. On the left you see the Flower and some unripe fruit and on the right, some riper fruits. The berries have a strange dry consistency, but are strikingly lovely in the woods this time of year.

Jane has seen a bear twice on our road in the last month. Perhaps he was snacking on these berries as well as the blackberries that have been so abundant.

Yesterday, we had a baby shower lunch out with Vicki who is due with her first baby in a week or so. Yessenia, who left us to have her second baby in the spring, came to the shower with Svia, who is a charming baby of nearly five months old.

Svia was extremely well mannered throughout the whole long lunch. None of us could remember one of our babies behaving as well in similar circumstances.

In the photo, Vicki is holding up the sweater I knit for baby Ramos-Glew with Svia looking rather bored. Who can blame her. She already got her sweater. With this sweater, I officially swore off #1 knitting needles, but no one believed me. Next baby is getting something made with super chunky yarn on #15 needles. Really!


Here’s the crew out in the restaurant parking lot on a post shower sugar buzz. From left to right, Deb, Jane, Lynn, Yessenia, Vicki, and Patricia, with Svia peeking out from her blanket. What a great crew of fairy godmothers for Vicki’s baby! We can’t wait!


Where Was Rhino When I Needed Him?

Besides uncanny bee sting placements, there was another strange event of note the last few days.

Rhino took off on a much anticipated trip to another hemisphere AT THE VERY SAME TIME that the dishwasher died. Coincidence? I think not.

While Rhino was AWOL, the Sears man was here citing me for “customer abuse” for not rinsing our dishes properly before putting them in our “No Rinse” dishwasher. Without judge or jury, the Sears man made his ruling. Our dishwasher was reported as dead from “customer abuse.”

I have never been cited for “customer abuse” with an appliance. It’s not a nice experience. The Sears man must have already had a bad day of too many dust bunnies under too many refrigerators before he got to us, because he had a multitude of complaints about his visit to our house. He used the words “customer abuse” so frequently both out loud and as typed into his computer that I expected to see myself blacklisted on the internet or subpoenaed to appear in front of a senate subcommittee before the afternoon was over.

He did not like the placement of our 911 emergency numbers on the road. He did not like our water pressure. He did not like our lukewarm mid afternoon water temperature. He did not want to hear about our energy saving technique of turning the water heater off during the daytime hours when there are no teenagers in the building needing their first second eighth shower of the day. He did not like my choice of ecological dishwasher soap or the way I put the soap in the built in soap dishes. According to the Sears man, you should never put additional soap in the secondary soap container next to the one with a lid. Forget the notion that a soap dish is placed there to receive soap, because according to the Sears man, this is not true. Most of all, he did not like the fact that I had not been cleaning my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.

The Sears man claimed that putting dirty dishes into my machine had violated the warranty. The engine did seem to have seized up due to something resembling bubble gum. It would be just our luck that with Rhino AWOL, a rogue child would put his or first dish EVER into the dishwasher and it would have bubble gum on it.

Oh well. No use crying over spilt gum. We hope Rhino will send us a email photo while on his journey abroad. In the meantime, we are enjoying washing dishes the good old fashioned way, with soap and water and without the possibility of further criticism from the Sears man.