Saturday, July 21, 2012


I ruminated for some time about writing this blog entry.  Part of me said not to do it because people will think I am crazier than even originally thought, but the other part of me said to go ahead because anything I write cannot be crazier than current events portrayed in news venues.  So, I am going to tell you about my two latest really weird, "true" dreams. You know, the kind of dreams that are "different" from "normal" dreams. The "real" dreams.

Now those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that my family has always been "big" on dream messaging.  Unlike the abhorrent transhumanists that are everywhere you look in today's media, I prefer to uphold the spiritual side of humanity -- The Way of the Heart.  I do believe in the power of dreams to educate, warn, and otherwise help people. 

In the first dream, I dreamed I was standing in the woods.  Of all things, a tree spirit was talking to me!  I was so excited to actually be in the presence of such a being that I had difficulty attending to what it was trying to tell me.  I never really believed such spirits existed.  I always thought the Ents in Tolkien's trilogy were mere fancy.  But not now.  Of course, this creature did not look at all like the Ent in the movies.  This tall spirit was surrounded by a luminescent, bright green light.    Within the light I could perceive a thin figure moving, but I could not quite discern it.  It was very friendly toward me and actually seemed eager to teach me.  I was almost beside myself with excitement.  The incredible antiquity imparted to me was mind boggling.  It possessed awesome but restrained power.  It was the owner of ancient, ancient knowledge.  I was truly overwhelmed.  I couldn't believe such a creature wanted to talk to a nobody like me. But it did.  And it liked me.  It told me that it would not be long now before the earth changes would reach us here in the Northwoods.  It told me that I needed to know that the big trees that survived the tornado from two years ago had decided to gladly give up their lives to shelter the young trees that have taken root since the forest was opened up by the tornado from terrible hail storms that will be coming.  I am not to worry and I will be guided in helping the forest to regenerate. I am not to delay -- but I can't recall in what.

And that was all I can remember.  I have noticed though that since I had the dream, I have an urge to re-read many of my books about trees, herbs and wildflowers, native grasses, and weeds.  I keep getting the idea to not look to planting traditional food crops, but to look instead at cultivating weeds and other wild plants for food.  Doing this seems perfectly normal to me though I have a hard time seeing me eating things like yellow dock and burdock. 

The next dream was very short.  Tom, Ed and I were working out in the field.  Suddenly I noticed that everything was dead silent.  I stopped what I was doing and looked around.  Nothing was moving.  Then I looked up at the sky, and coming from the north, I saw a thin rainbow arc moving rapidly over us across the sky.  For a moment I thought it might be a weather front moving in but there was no accompanying temperature change. Then I screamed, "Run!" because I realized that it was the edge of some kind of shock wave.  I grabbed Eddy's hand and ran to the creek.  We slid down the bank and crouched just above the water.  It wasn't much protection, but it was below ground level.  Tom didn't come with us; he stood where he was and didn't understand what was happening.  My thoughts were with Lara because I knew there wasn't enough time to get back to the house where she was.  Then the wave hit us, and that's all I remember.

Strange dreams for strange times, I reckon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Heat and Winter Omens

If the old maxims are true that "as high as the weeds grow, so deep will the snow be" and " many berries in the woods foretell a severe winter", then we are in for it this winter.  The weeds are nearly as tall as I am, or even taller, and I have never seen so many berries.  Get your wood piled high and fill your pantry!
The horrible heat has devastated the garden.  Despite my watering and the couple of heavy rains we had, hardly anything sprouted.  No carrots, beets, parsnips, celeriac, beans or rutabegas.  I thought the Mandan Bride corn would grow well with the heat, but it grew misshapen:  the stems are pencil thin and about an inch above ground solitary ears grew; the height of the plants to where they flowered was no more than 4' tall and they looked stunted.  Very strange looking.  I pulled out most of the stalks and in their stead planted a short season hybrid variety of sweet corn that I found in my seed bin.  The weather is strange enough this year that the new planting may be harvestable. The potatoes have been devoured by potato beetles and insect predation is horrible altogether.  I have to say though that the Jerusalem Artichokes are massive and beautiful; the leeks and onions looks good; the mustard greens are bug chewed but growing; most of the sunflowers have had their heads chewed off by the deer but they are still growing; the Blue Hubbard squash actually look pretty good even though I had to break down and spray them because of the squash bugs; the New England pie pumpkins are not happy but hanging on; and the melons despite needing to be bug sprayed look fairly happy.

Back at the house in the garden boxes all the lettuces and Wong Bok chinese cabbage bolted.  I tried growing Red Burgundy okra for the first time and that is grasshopper chewed and looks stunted.  It is a pretty plant and I would like to try planting it again.  That is another variety I thought would do well with the heat.   A different variety of mustard greens and early planted beets and carrots  managed to get enough top growth on them to shade the soil before the heat torched everything and are doing well.  For some reason these are the only veggies that are not bothered by insects.  I don't understand it.  None of the herbs I planted sprouted, but I am hoping that cooler weather and a thin mulch over the seed bed will make them decide to grow.  I pulled the garlic and am tieing bunches together to hang and cure for a couple of weeks in the garage. The heads are on the small side, but ok otherwise.

Sweltering in the Northwoods
Tonight I pulled everything that bolted and tossed it onto the big raised bed I'm building in the forest garden where I transplanted the horseradish, some rhubarb, and garden sorrel a couple of weeks ago.  You know, it's almost impossible to kill horseradish, and sorrel is just a weed anyway, so I don't worry about it either. As it turns out, they don't seem to mind the weather one bit and love their new location.  (I made some horseradish with a few roots and was it ever good -- milder than expected and tasty.)  I planted beans and beets where the bolted items were and hope for some kind of fall harvest.

I found deer poop right in front of one of my Haralson apple trees out in the forest garden, so I have been working on my fence.  Fortunately, all the fruit trees have been spared any nibbling and I hope that tightening up the fence will keep them that way.
Just look at how healthy this Hudar pear tree is without any spraying in this permaculture garden:

Hudar pear tree
There's no doubt.  Nature is the best farmer.

Be safe, Everybody!

Taking Summer Slowly

Our Independence Day holiday was quiet.  We had a simple bar-b-que and Dad came over to eat with us.  The heat has been so oppressive that we only work at a slow pace, and we just stop working if we begin to feel the slightest bit ill. 

The other day while we were out in the field, I saw a BIG snake gliding over the garden area.  I never knew snakes could move so fast; it looked like it could fly.  I think it was a fox snake and it must have been 4' long.  Of course I froze on the spot.  "OMG," I said, "Look at the size of that snake."  Tom grabbed a shovel and ran to chop it up.  I would have let it go because it was obviously in a hurry to get across the garden and down to the creek, and, because it was a BIG snake I was sure it was finding plenty to eat in the field, but that was me.

We had another snake incident, too.  Tom had just left the house to drive to town when I saw him suddenly stop the car in the driveway.  I thought he had forgotten something so went on doing my housework.  It turns out that there was some sort of snake, another large one, that had somehow gotten inside the car and started slithering on the dashboard toward him! Tom grabbed it and threw it out of the car and into the woods.  All I can say is that it's a good thing I wasn't driving!

I finished planting the perennial flower seeds in the forest garden, and while I was doing that I found a little patch of wild strawberries.  I took them in the house and split them between Lara and Ed.  I told Lara that I had found them in a fairy's garden beneath a balsam tree branch. She thinks the fairies like our forest garden because we leave them cornmeal near the foxgloves on Midsummer's Eve and she didn't think the fairy would mind us eating some of its strawberries.  They tasted great, too!

Grandpa Ott's morning glories are starting to climb their trellis. The Scarlet Runner Beans aren't far behind them.

It's refreshing to find some plants thriving despite the hot weather.  I wish I could handle the heat better.  Some days are better than others.  Tom actually bought a little air conditioner that we put in a living room window and turn on when the heat gets to be too much.  Lara's air conditioner is on pretty much all day and she likes staying cool in her "cave".  Ed likes sitting in front of an open window when we have the whole house fan on.  Mostly I try to get everyone to drink lots of water and just take it easy. 

Tomorrow if the heat does not unduly bother me, I'll get out to the field and hill my poor potatoes.  They were drowned by the same rain storm that flooded Duluth, Minnesota, then they were baked by the ungodly heat wave that has seized this country, and now they are devoured by hordes of potato beetles.  I doubt I will get any amount of useful harvest.  Big sigh. 

Take it easy, Everybody!