Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Stay the course
I planted 2 peach trees (Ranger and Redskin) and a blackberry bush a couple of days ago. The moment I decided to plant them I was saying to myself, this is a really good idea – why didn’t I have it before! This retirement scene just keeps on unfolding, from thinking more expansively to the realization that in terms of gardening, I’m back.

The garden was one of those things that fell by the wayside as I tired and cut back on all but the essentials so I could keep the essential balls in the air. Photo: back garden early summer

Over the past 1 or 2 months I’ve spent quite a bit of time (1-3 hours/day 3-5 days/week) going after one-by-one the kudzu vines that filled in the gaps of my absence with an amazing network of underground runners and roots. The front (cottage) garden is close to done & the back is in okay shape – recognizing that I’ll have to do it all over again at least once and the thing is, I’m fine with that – as opposed to the past few years when everything seemed like a burden.

Interesting (to me, anyway) change in direction: when I started gardening, inspired by Wendell Berry, it was all vegetables. Then I began to grow more and more flowers (especially perennials) and then roses. Now I’m shifting back to vegetables and for the first time, fruit along with mostly old garden roses – speaking of which, right now, November 19, several roses in the front yard are blooming very nicely. Perle d’ Or, Maggie, and Archduke Charles are blooming heavily and Marie PaviĆ© has a few flowers. My Cottage Garden site

My plan for 2009 is to fill in most of the non-rose/perennial areas of the front and back gardens with tomatoes, peppers, green beans and other vegetables. I’m hoping that my friend & colleague, Aaron will pass on some heirloom plants and seeds for some of those. I already have all the perennial herbs I need (rosemary, oregano, mint, etc.). What a glorious display we’ll have in 2009!!!

Someone posted a 2009 goals question on the backpacker forum I hang out on ( Backpacking goals? No, I’m thinking in terms of plans – I don’t really have that much in the way of goals, other than living well given whatever circumstances I’m given. When I was teaching I was always having to come up with goals and objectives for myself, so I’d just write something up – it wasn’t enough that I was committed to doing the best job possible as a teacher, clinician and scholar. Photo: paan in Rangoon, ready to add the additives - look at the choices - some extra Euro Star for me, please, and not much 45

Leslie just put together a bag of herbs and spices for David. We went through them made a list - and the smells - what a flashback! It's a Burmese market all over again, huge sacks of spices, women selling paan (well, we're not sending any of that to DK!), and on and on. The bag going to DK has crushed chili flakes, cayenne, coriander, cream of tartar, cinnamon, yellow curry powder, nutmeg, rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, ground mustard, lemon pepper, bay leaves, sage, ground cumin, lemon grass & oregano. We had a wonderful time going through them, except that someone was too bossy, going so far as to say, "It's MY game!"

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