Tag Archives: gardening

Snippets of an Inner Childhood Soundscape

Lately I’ve been remembering quiet times as a kid, with a sharp ear for what actually occupied my time. I’m realizing that my prayers, thoughts and stories were all relayed via inner music.  I sang declarations of love to my God, hummed certain discordant intervals when I was scared, and then snappy tunes when happy.

1959 olive green vw bug

1959 olive green vw bug, just like our own family car (we kept it till ~1977. After that, it spent its last days transporting hazardous materials within a local landfill!)

During family trips in the car, I arranged the sounds and rhythms filling my head into satisfying story soundtracks. Sharing the back seat of a VW bug with my baby bro was not the most exciting of adventures.  No, I take that back, we managed to stage plays between fights for space.

He was most talented at wrinkling up his face to accompany the different voices we made up for various characters.  In fact, he’d do my favorite character, Blob, upon personal request.  Yeah, I guess baby brothers came in handy that way.

I had a rich inner life.

my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli

And an enriching kid-life. A life filled with colors, aunts, uncles, cannoli, swimming, exploring and dissecting the stinky frogs packed in purchased science kits.

Stars, bonfires and leaves.

Museums, ice skating, tobogganing, and walks with cousins. Day camp, girl scouts.

Ma’s art lessons she gave to all the cousins, the smell of linseed oil mingled with freshly ironed cotton shirts.  Growing gardens – Ma’s flowers, Dad’s tomatoes, and always a peach tree.

Baby bunnies hidden in our front yard, forts built with scraps of plywood, and music.

Always music.

Ma’s opera and dorky Barn Dance albums, the old 78’s and wonderful new LP’s of musical theatre.

Dad’s jazz. Practicing alongside Coltrane, Charlie, cool blues. Crazy kid-dancing to his sax, clarinet, guitar, and cowbell.

Grandpa’s banjo and zampogna*.  You Are My Sunshine sing-alongs.

Laying on my bed at night or looking up at the clouds on a warm spring day, in my quiet times, I didn’t read.  I didn’t color.  Well, yes, I did those.  But mostly, I ‘did my music.’

Even then, ever with me, from the inside out.

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
~ Psalm 108:1

*more on this instrument in another post…suffice it to say, my love of goats has a family history as well!

Respite with a Snapdragon

Contrary to popular belief, I am a snapdragon…

Thus began a post I wrote in September announcing the beginning of my soon to be launched ‘serious series’ now known as Giving Voice.

Several posts and weeks into the series, I just now realized I forgot about my flower promise.  Please accept my humble apologies, and notice I have rectified the situation.  The snapdragon badge displayed in the sidebar links to a little flower quiz.  It’s meant to be a ‘respite’ during the premier presentation of Giving Voice. I think it can also serve as a fun deviation from the severe winter weather most readers have been experiencing this year.

So go on ahead and click on the badge to take the quiz.  If you feel so inclined, let me know how you turn out as a flower in the comments.  I came out a snapdragon after 8 takes in a row.  I’m more partial to giant purple irises, deep red orange poppies, daisies and milkweed blossoms, but hey, a flower by any other name is still a flower!  And they do perk up the gloominess of a grey South Carolina day.snapdragons

Everything’s Coming Up…Daisies?

Contrary to popular belief, I am a snapdragon.

Come join me in a Daisy Dance

Let the Daisy Dance begin…

I never thought of myself in flower terms before, but even if I had, I’m not sure I would have associated a snapdragon with my personality before taking this little quiz.  Interestingly, I took it 8 times in a row and came up as a snapdragon each time.

But hey, I love giant purple irises, deep red orange poppies, daisies and…

Milkweed

Fractal Milkweed & beetle

Fractal Milkweed & beetle

Milkweed is one of my favorite plants. Such beauty in several stages of its life cycle: The fragrance of emerging flowers is intoxicating, the flowers themselves a gorgeous purple, and the resultant seed pods other-worldly. My family knows that I want milkweed to be planted on my grave when the time comes.  :-)

These past few months I have been preparing blog entries for a serious series I hope to launch before the end of the year; perhaps even before the November craziness that is NaNoWriMo!  Coming across this little flower quiz, I realized it could be used as a sort of relief for you (my readers) once I begin the process of posting those entries.  As a point of reference and contact with the little flower quiz as a  ‘respite’ (just a click away), a snapdragon badge will be displayed in the sidebar through out the duration of that series of posts.

I am still in a quandary as to what to name this forthcoming serious series.  Until that gets figured out, I will wait on presenting it.

In the meantime, take the little quiz and declare your flower identity in the comments section of this post!

I am a snapdragon.  How about you?snapdragons

My Love Affair with Cilantro

CilantrobannerIt’s been said that there are two types of people in this world: those that love cilantro and those that hate it.  This division of stances on the merits of cilantro has in fact been debated for centuries. The 16th century herbalist John Gerard described it as a ‘very stinking herbe.’  While the Chinese continue to refer to it as the ‘fragrant plant.’

I think the title of this blog post shows which side of the debate I stand on…however I will concede that those who ‘hate’ cilantro might have a biological basis for disliking its taste. Continue reading

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part two)

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between homes
(Goat Suite Saga #5b)

February-March-April 2011 (the desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

“Happy Easter, Happy Spring everyone”…thus began the preface to the e-mail I wrote to my ‘little list.’  I hope this longer vignette offers to you some music interest along with a little encouragement in whatever you’re facing today. And, this season instead of thinking ‘bunnies and peeps’ think:  goats!”

After recounting my ‘goats in the garden’ incident; revealing both my strange emotional response to it as well as the overall musical inspiration I’d been receiving from those goofy goats, I pushed the ‘send’ button.

It was quite cathartic. Continue reading

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part one)

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between-homes
(Goat Suite Saga #5a)

February-March-April 2011 (the desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

Mama Goat, Tater & Kids

Final Goat Family Portrait: Larry, Terry Scape, Mama Goat and Tater

With Tater gone, Mama Goat and the kids were introduced to life beyond the pen; opening up numerous opportunities to roam about the range during the daytime.

Terry & Mama foraging in Tate's feed bin

Terry & Mama foraging in Tate’s feed bin

At first, the threesome devoted their new found freedom to eating leftover hay in Tater’s now empty pen rather than go exploring. However, frolicking in the feed bin became passé once its contents dwindled down to nothing.  While the pens held fond memories of family playtime, Mama Goat, Terry Scape and Larry easily entered into a daily routine of romps out on the range.

Romps on the range

Romps on the range

Billy & Terry & Leggy Lady's manure mound

Billy & Terry & Leggy Lady’s manure mound

Human romps out on the range increased as the days grew warmer.  All of us on the compound got quite excited about starting a new garden plot by the goat pens where Leggy Lady left us lots of soil enriching fertilizer.

Billy and Terry on tractor with pitch forks

New Mexican Gothic: Billy and Terry

Everyone on our corner of the compound pitched in: Billy and Terry tractored and raked,

Karen in the director's chair

Karen in the director’s chair

Karen watered and directed, and I…well…I raked, but mostly just kept the goats company.

Laura, sitting in the goat pens

Laura, sitting in the goat pens

By the end of that third weekend in March, we had a fully prepped garden area; ready and waiting to begin planting crops.  In order to gain greater yields during its producing stage, we were now ready to plant our cool weather crop seeds by the dark of the Moon (time from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again) and to plant our above ground bedding plants by the light of the Moon (new to full) in April.  Planting by the Phases of the Moon is a new farmer-thing I learned and has some basis in scientific reasoning. Just as the moon pulls the tides in our oceans, it also pulls upon water beneath the soil’s surface, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages plant growth.

Consequently, this combination of getting my hands in the dirt, planting according to the Phases of the Moon and watching Mama Goat, Terry and Larry cavorting about the land caused my brain to come up with the song title for a musical composition I’d had rolling around in my mind for quite some time:

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon

Several rhythmic motifs came to me from observing those goats playing on any given day with such abandon and crazy clumsiness, providing me with plenty of creative inspiration.

Surefooted?
Yes.
Clumsy?
Yes.
Do they care?
No.

As well, I acquired some melodic material from their bleating. Continue reading