I’ve got my M back!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmany, Mmmmmmmmmmany Mmmmmmmercis to mmmmmmmy mmmmmarvelous Tech Fairy who mmmmmeandered mmmmmost mmmmmmmedmorably through mmmmmmmy blog and mmmmmost mmmmomentously mmmmmmade mmmmmmincemeat of mmmmmmmmy mmmmmmmmmmechanical mmmmmmmmalfuctions.


A Keyboard’s Last Hurrah

In the office the computers are all newly upgraded with improved networking and the newest Filemaker programs to keep our files purring along.  A man came for two days to sit and watch the swirly buttons swirl while things were upgrading.

I never imagined a life where I would use any of these words including the really imprecise ones like swirly buttons.

Meanwhile in my little office area, tucked a bit out of the fray in a corner of the original office building, there was trouble in Denmark.

Way back in the beginning of the growing season, the keyboard on my computer stopped making “m”s.  In a bemused sort of grandmotherly way, I wondered what Grace or me, had spilled on the keyboard.  Snacks are the price to pay for having her fix computer things for me.  She is five and already has an advanced degree in computer science.

Being a bit of a disorganized thrifty person, I thought it would be manageable fun  to see how much auto-correct would correct when I typed without an “m”.  Not that much, as it turned out.

I also tried to play a game of sending emails and doing FB posts that didn’t have the letter “m” in them:  Tweaks like changing, “Happy May morning” to ” Happy Spring”. That sort of ridiculous management of a problem that from the start required a new keyboard.

When I was growing up, I was frequently told this story about a family group who were wringing their hands trying to solve the problem of what to do with a cup of coffee that someone had inadvertently put a teaspoon of salt into.   When everyone  failed to solve the problem of the salt in the cup of coffee, “the lady from Philadelphia” suggests throwing out the cup of coffee and getting a fresh cup. This was the full story, I kid you not.

I never really got why this story was told so often. And who the heck was the lady from Philadelphia?  But maybe had I cracked the secret wisdom of this story, I would have grasped sooner that there was only one solution to my dying keyboard. And a simple one.

I needed a new keyboard.

Sadly “simple” did not end up being the right adjective for what came next.

Now committed to a new keyboard, I started to bug all of the other members of the household to buy this new keyboard.  I could have gone to the computer store myself, but I never seem to have the necessary details or know what I am talking about.  I am happy to pay, but someone else needs to translate my confused requests.

No one was biting.  They had their own lives, after all.

I was growing a bit testy desperate as more keyboard letters were fritzing out, and it was harder to work around the gaps. The letter “u” was gone and so was “7” then mainstays “s” and “r” flew the coop. Each day fewer letters worked.  What WAS it that Grace or I had spilled?

At long last, St. Jim went to the computer place to get a new keyboard for me, but HE WAS TURNED AWAY.  My computer was too old for a new keyboard to work on without some system upgrades. Perhaps I had been ignoring those upgrade notices in the right hand corner of the screen a bit too long.

Five year old computer = dinoasaur.

Weeks passed.  There were always other things calling besides FB or blog posts.  Weeds for example.

And let’s face it.  People dodge and run when they see me coming at them with a computer problem. Our webmaster, Ben, for example.  He probably wakes up every Monday with that Monday morning feeling because he knows that Monday mornings = list from his mother of computer glitches to fix ASAP- Happy Monday Ben!

Anyways, when I did pin down a tech diva or two (you know who you are), they told me things like, “It may be too old for these upgrades to make a difference.” My response, “Well let’s find out.  Won’t one of you sit down and push the necessary buttons.”

I know I should learn how to upgrade things myself.  It’s sort of like changing a flat tire.  I kind of can do it.  I have actually done it once, maybe twice, but really, isn’t that enough? Do I really need to know what to do with those messages that keep flashing on computers, phones and every gizmo I encounter with upgrade options.  How long can I click “Remind me later” and have things keep functioning?

Can’t you get it dear gizmo? I’m needed down by the compost heap.

Then we began to receive messages on the office email: Was everything alright at Green Hope Farm? Where were the FB posts? Someone even wanted to know if I was dead.

No, just technologically impaired by volition really

The only thing that needs recycling/burial right now is the keyboard.

Anyways, that is where the situation sits today. If anyone in my family is reading this post, won’t you please upgrade my computer? Then I can access all the photos living on my computer and decorate blog posts like this one with photos of things other than technology.

I may let FB go, but I like posting photos on the blog. Please dear tech saavy relatives, please upgrade my computer. I will even give you credit. Here.  With a gorgeous photo of the Flower of your choice if the deer have not eaten them. Please? Someone? Hello? Hello?


Molly Swears Off

I am swearing off my complaints.

I am not going to complain about the deer anymore.  There are plenty of Flowers.

This is what I saw when I took a quick walk around the gardens this morning.

Flower bliss.

The Game

So much of my life this summer has felt like a game in which I’m aware I’m playing a game, but I have no idea the rules or what is happening on the board.

It helps me to know it’s a game.  It helps me to remember the game didn’t come with a rule book, so I don’t have to feel badly that I lost it.  It helps me to know that we don’t get cash at the beginning of the game, we get cluelessness.

Being clueless and knowing it has its advantages.  It made me look for wise teachers  and by the grace of Divinity, I found some.  Turns out they were whispering in my heart all along.  They were NOT that guy in the mountains.


Part of me wants fun beach party bingo as game activities or as one of my spiritual helpers calls, “a personality picnic” all the time, but I listen better when the game’s afoot with mayhem challenges versus non-stop fluffy fun. Though I try to say thank you a lot when I have fun in an effort to change the plot of the game so that more fun is included.

Even when I am begging for answers, my spiritual helpers don’t explain the game fully. Maybe that is one of the rules of the game.  I’ll get the rule book when I don’t need it anymore.

So I go back to the things I know for sure: the  game’s afoot and I have allies.  We all do.

I recently heard someone say that the secret of a happy life was to lower the gratitude threshold.  Maybe THAT is the game???

You see how even when I know that no one is going to tell me the precise nature of the game,  I still ask leading questions.

This summer, the damage the deer are doing is so over the top that its impossible to miss that this is the game of this summer.  This damage is the gift to be grateful for.  Exactly why remains to be seen.

I remind myself that this is as productive a learning summer as two summers ago when the gardens were spilling forth lavish amounts of Flowers for Emily Sheehan’s wedding including the Flowers in these photos.

Meanwhile, this summer, take a look at my bean harvest from our 220′ spiral of bush beans and three bean towers of pole beans.

They were good, all nine of them shared among five of us, but really, did the deer need to eat ALL the rest?

Or look at the Venus Garden.

This garden is the garden where we stick in a twig and a towering specimen of 10,000 Flowers springs up almost overnight. This year it IS twigs as each night the deer come through to make sure not a single leaf stays undamaged and not a Flower bud survives.

So in the spirit of what I think is maybe the game….

I am grateful for the nine beans. Yum!

I am grateful that deer don’t like the taste of Red Shiso.

I am grateful for deer medicine, and we have heaps of it.

I am grateful for Wildflowers like this Titan Orchid that I found on a woodswalk this week, shining its light so strong it positively glowed.

I am grateful for the ways the deer deflate my vanities.

I am grateful that the deer can’t eat my sense of humor.

I am grateful that fall will come then winter and spring, and I will get to begin a new chapter in the game and sow new gardens.  Is this the right time to ask for fewer deer?

The Meriden Peace Trust

The deer population has exploded in our neighborhood and consequently most of the Flowers and vegetables in the gardens have fed frolicking families of deer (and no humans).

Every time I get really cross with the deer, say for eating all the day lily buds during an evenings stroll,  I stumbled on a  spotted fawn tucked in the grass of our hayfield.

It is hard to be furious at a fawn.

Yesterday a pair of fawns ran in front of me then tucked themselves in the grass to look at me.  WITH FAWN EYES.  It’s an understatement to describe fawn eyes as irresistible.

Where was mom?  Probably in the main vegetable garden  chewing the last of the cucumber vines or making sure she had eaten every sprig of Sweet Pea.

I haven’t completely thrown in the towel on harvesting SOMETHING from the gardens.  As you know from a previous blog post, I made a fence around the bean garden to stop the deer from eating all the bean plants. This was an enormous flop as the deer sailed over my six foot effort as if it wasn’t there.  Frost cloth was my next effort. I covered the  bean spiral with this frost cloth and anchored it all securely to the ground.  The deer quickly learned how to pull up the frost cloth, anchor pins and all.

Each morning I repair the damage.  I think there are beans under some of the frost cloth.  It could just be crab grass.  I don’t really think any surviving beans are enjoying their summer under cloth even though as a self pollinating crop this should work.  Should being the operative word.

With the gardens under siege, you would think that the netting I have over our blueberry patch would be a bright spot of bird and animal free harvesting.  This net is easily 150 feet by 50 feet, and it is draped over a wooden frame high above our blueberries.  The netting is anchored around the outside of the patch with 2x4s and other long pieces of heavy piping,  You’d think this would be enough. But it’s not.

Nor was the scarecrow Grace and I made a deterrent in any way. I don’t think it has scared off a single bird. You’d think faux fur gloves would do the trick, but no.

Squirrels, chipmunks and ever so many birds are constantly working the perimeter like the raptors in Jurassic Park.  Once one (or five) of them find a way in (and they always do), I have to roll up a corner of the netting and shoo everyone out.  Every time I free a bird or squirrel that has broken in but can’t break out, I talk firmly to them, “Stay out and tell your relatives to stay out too.  I’ll give you your share of the harvest as soon as I have taken our share.”  After about an hour, their nephews or cousins, aunts and uncles disregard the information provided by their newly freed relatives and give it a try.

It doesn’t help that Sheba finds it very entertaining to bark at everything that gets trapped inside the netting.

One thing I have learned during my efforts to free imprisoned blueberry thieves: There is nothing quite like being charged by a squirrel on the run..   It’s completely adrenalizing but somehow very funny too.

So what with the nonstop deer festival, complete failure of my protection measures and a growing season without rain ( until this week) the  gardens are not looking their best.

All during this time, the Angels have continued to have me do the detailed energetic cleaning and clearing I wrote about in a blog post earlier this summer. And, surprisingly,  the Angels tell me the gardens’ vibrations have never been better in spite of what things look like.  Sometimes when I stop chasing deer (they hardly move when I come out to shoo them away), I can feel the wonderful vibration too.  It’s such a good reminder that we can never tell what is happening by appearances.

The Angels also remind me frequently that things often look worse before they look better.  They also note that the appearance of things is not the reality of things.

Beyond the comfort this brings in regards to the events in the world,  these pep talks also reminded me of this small organization that the little village of Meriden began in the 1980’s when nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States felt dangerously close.

When some very sweet buddhist monks walked through town on a peace march, it galvanized a group of us in town to start the Meriden Peace Trust.  It was not a religious organization or a political one.  I am not sure any of us  had a clue what we could do, but the next thing we knew, we were sending various people from our town to the Soviet Union on community exchanges.

The sentiment behind the exchanges was summed up by this postcard which I kept close then and keep close now.

We sent school children and grandmothers. We sent the postmaster’s wife and the town plumber. And soon Soviet citizens were also coming to Meriden for potlucks and homestays.  Cynics said that the Soviet Union was only sending us communist party members. All we knew was that the first place the lady visitors wanted to go was to JC Penney’s for some American underwear.  This seemed pretty normal to us, especially after our visitors told us that bras were almost impossible to find in Soviet shops.

I don’t remember how we funded this.  I think we must have sent out letters to folks to raise the money for airfare for those we sent abroad.  I just remember the gatherings with or visitors where hopelessness was left at the door and we ate together and danced together and heard each other’s stories.

Some would say our efforts couldn’t possibly have made a difference.  But who knows.   It seems to me that these small acts of kindness and connection are the only thing that matters. And these small things are always possible for us to do.

I can continue to talk gently to the deer to encourage them to share the gardens.  We share this world and these gardens together even if imperfectly.  I can continue to laugh with the nutty squirrels and not take myself so seriously about the gardens looking so bedraggled.

The mail today was so full of loving letters from you.  These cards and letters lifted us up.  Not only had the deer eaten every edible in the garden, but we had an enormously busy week with almost everyone on the staff out on vacation.  Your cards perked me up.  They perked up the skeleton crew here..  We had a skip in our step after I read all the notes aloud.  We finished the day in high spirits.  And as far as what’s for supper, there is always the farmstand down the road.  Last time I checked the deer didn’t have the cash for raiding that place.

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!