Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

I Swear, I Don’t Have a Crush on All of You

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.17.20 PM

I blush. A lot. It can strike at any time, anywhere. I blush when i have to speak in front of more than four people. I blush when someone asks me a question and I have to answer them in front of someone else who happens to be eaves-dropping. Even if its freezing out, and I forgot my coat, and I have no hat, I still will feel that familiar flush of heat rise up through my cheeks, feel my arm-pits begin to sweat. It happens when I run into a cute boy, who I had a crush on briefly five years ago, and we’re talking about the weather. It doesn’t matter that i’m not interested in him, and it doesn’t matter that i don’t want him to have the impression that I’m interested. I blush anyways. I blush even at times when I’m on the phone, being interviewed by someone who CAN NOT EVEN SEE ME. I even blush, apparently, at the dentists, reclined on that chair, under that un-godly light, with Dr. Whosywhats forcefully flossing my teeth, as he tells me I have sensitive gums.

It happens when I feel embarrassed, about anything. It also happens when I don’t feel even the slightest bit embarrassed. Which then, undoubtedly, makes me feel embarrassed. I blushed today in fact, in the grocery store, when I ran into a guy who once helped me work on my plumbing in my trailer (I’m talking about my actual plumbing in my literal trailer – relax). We talked as we waited to check-out our groceries. I then realized, when I stepped outside into the brisk afternoon air, I was blushing. And so that we are perfectly clear, I do not, and never have, had a crush on my ex-plumber.

This last summer I was at a dinner with some neighbors and friends. The topic of blushing came up, as one of my friends it turns out, also has a lifetime of blushing experience. She described the years of anguish she experienced through her teens and early twenties. How she used to avoid large groups, speaking in front of people, talking to attractive men. It was only when she became older, and when traveling abroad she came across a series of lovers who considered her blushing not just acceptable, but downright cute, did she begin to accept this part of herself and relax around her body’s untimely demonstrations.

Listening to her struggles made me realize that at some point, long ago, I stopped realizing that I shared her affliction. Even a few minutes of her speaking passed by without me even making the connection between our almost identical symptoms. Because while there was a time that my blushing limited just how many times I was willing to raise my hand in class, that era has long ago passed. Its not that nowadays I’m completely unaware of what’s happening – that a blush is forming – its just that I’m able to hold that awareness more lightly, more of the time. It like in meditation – I don’t ignore the thought, but merely recognize it is there, like a bubble floating above my head, and then i blow it gently away. It works most of the time, and I’m able to proceed forward in whatever it is I am trying to do, instead of crawling into a cold, dark hole (which is what I would prefer to do, were one available).

I was thinking about this whole phenomenon recently while reading the book, “Big Magic,” by Elizabeth Gilbert (For the record, I do actually have a crush on Elizabeth Gilbert).  She tells a short story towards the end of the book, a true story recounted to her by a guy at a party, about his little brother’s trip to France to live as an artist for a year. Long story short, this American kid in France meets some cool bohemians one day who take a shining to him and invite him to the party of the year, letting him know that its most definitely a costume party, and also that all the biggest muckety-mucks in Europe were going to be there. So he works the rest of the week on this elaborate and amazing costume, rents a car and drives three hours to this beautiful castle outside Paris, changes in the car, walks up to the door, gets let in by the butler, and enters the great hall. That’s when he freezes. Everyone is indeed in costume, except he quickly realizes that there was a theme which was lost in translation. The theme was “a medieval court,” and so all these famous people are waltzing around wearing period-gowns and heavy brocade vests and glittering jewels and all the finest that renaissance royalty would have worn.

And this American kid is dressed as a lobster.

A full-on, head-to-toe lobster, complete with red spandex and red foam claws. So he has two choices: run or go with it. He chooses the later, because he spent so much energy and creativity on his costume, and he drove this far, and he’s learned from being an artist and continually putting himself out there, that he has little to lose. And he’s right. He sets off across the dance floor. The music stops and everyone stops their conversations and stares, until someone asks him what he is. He bows and says, “I am the court lobster.” Everyone laughs, everyone loves him, and he spends the evening dancing with royalty.

I love this story. I love it because this kid puts himself, and his costume creation, out into the world even when he knows that it may not fit-in and it may not be well-received. He could have easily been criticized, ridiculed, or shamed, and he knew this. You could say that he had no choice at that point, but he did. He could have never accepted the invitation, never created such an elaborate costume, and never even driven out there. And this is kind of how I feel every day. I imagine it is how many of us feel. When I publish something that I’ve written, or stand up in front of a group to speak, or even when I just leave the house and go to the grocery store – I often feel like a lobster. And when I blush, which I do in all of those situations, I actually look like one too.

What i realize about us blushers, is that our vulnerability is more visible than it is for most. We don’t have the luxury of putting ourselves or our work out into the world without looking like lobsters. And so we have learned to go with it. We have learned to stand up at our friend’s wedding and give a toast, dressed as a lobster. We have learned to make conversation in line for the bank, dressed as a lobster. We give farm tours, chat with neighbors, approach shops to sell our photographs, magazines to print our words – all while dressed as a lobster.

But as i get older – spending more and more of my days among farmers, flowers, and bees; and where how you handle a digging fork matters more than your chosen costume – its a vulnerability I’ve come to value. I am glad that I was put on this earth as someone who has a much harder time hiding her feelings. What once felt uncomfortable and unfair has morphed into feeling gratitude for the increased connection and intimacy my blushing affords. I have found that being vulnerable, and the practice I’ve had at it from my blushing, gives me a deeper access not only into my own life, but also into the lives of others. Being vulnerable, whether I intend to or not, is permission for others to be vulnerable as well. I feel as if I was forced, and am now choosing, to living more fully and with less caution. I can spend less time doing the complicated and impossible dance of trying to seem cool, calm, and composed in front of others – and spend more time being creative, adventurous, dorky, and brave. I can go for it, like the kid in the lobster costume. Besides a little discomfort, a slight fear of judgement, there really is no down-side to vulnerability. Life is more fun, more connected, more expansive, and definitely more exhilarating.

Maisie Ganz

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.41.24 PM

Are you a blusher too? Please share in a comment below!

the two-headed fire-breathing farmer

ah!

willow and i are, for the most part, rational, calm people. we know how to take responsibility, to communicate clearly and peacefully, and to negotiate well with others. but once in a while someone comes along that really gets under both of our skins. i am sorry to say that this is happening now. not just one someone, but a bunch of someones. it’s a terrible thing, these uninvited guests that show up each spring, not paying a lick of rent, just lolly-gaging about the farm. purslane. amaranth. bindweed. bremuda grass. thistle. sorrel. that one branching thing with spiky balls. we plant our tiny seeds, or transplant our tender seedlings from the greenhouse, and around the base of the plant, these weeds flourish. they grow twice as fast as our cut flowers and lettuce greens. they return within days of hoeing and hand-weeding. and in the case of purslane, they literally COME BACK FROM THE DEAD, more profuse and more vigorous than ever before.

i am not sure what percentage of the time we spend any given season weeding, but its a lot. which leads us to our latest discovery – landscape fabric. i’ve never previously been a fan, assuming that most options are sickeningly short-lived. here at soil sisters we are almost laughably dedicated to not throwing things away. we’ve been using some of the same drip-tape to irrigate for the last 6 years. we duct tape our harvest bins just to get another few deliveries in before we let them go. we can’t even compost extra flower starts, potting even the puniest ones up into 6-packs to save as back-up or to give to friends. so the idea of buying rolls upon rolls of plastic that will disintegrate and go to the dump in one, maybe two, seasons, was not appealing to either of us.

enter erin benzakein of floret farm. she’s a kick-ass flower farmer up in the skagit valley in washington state. she too writes a blog, except hers is a lot more informative then certain other flower farmer blogs that i know. for example, her blog does not champion a certain dog in almost every single post. she describes how to grow great sweet peas, or how she preps her fields in the spring, or how to get tall zinnia blooms. she has this post (which became an article) about landscape fabric that turned both our heads this spring. i’m going to point you to it here: http://www.floretflowers.com/resources/the-low-down-on-landscape-fabic/ and also chronicle a bit of our own experience.IMG_5040

we bought the fabric she suggests, which is Sunbelt brand, after feeling assured of it’s longevity upon hearing that she has used the same pieces for six seasons, and even some pieces since the early 90’s. we borrowed a propane torch, which didn’t work (needs to be the type that can be inverted), then bought a burlier one, which mostly worked. we made a couple templates out of cardboard, tinfoil, and duct tape (the three jankiest starting materials i can thing of – perfect for soil sisters farm!) and used these to pre-torch the holes into the fabric at the spacing we wanted for our flowers we had ready to transplant (note – we found that making a decent sized hole was crucial, about 3 inches wide, in order to be able to get one’s hand in there to plant). we lay the now-holy fabric over the already-prepped and drip-taped beds, pinned it down using metal staples, and got down to transplanting.IMG_5045 IMG_5048

time will tell if the landscape fabric works for us. what we do know is that it significantly cuts down on weeding, it helps retain moisture which we are hoping will be extra useful in this time of drought, and it makes for evenly-spaced plants that use bed-space efficiently. its a step up for soil sisters farm (just to buy anything new for the farm is a victory around here) and i am hoping that in the long run it gives us more time planting, harvesting, and enjoying our flowers, and less time managing our uninvited weedy guests.

julius, helpful as ever

julius, helpful as ever

in gratitude for this late spring rain,
maisie

Picking Flowers in the Evening


July 7th, 2013

Today my laundry flaps in the breeze outside my window. In the corner of my yard the peach tree droops heavy with fruit. Julius lays under the trailer, paws and nose against the cool earth there, passing the heat of the day. I’ve just eaten lunch – fresh salad mix with roasted beets from the solar oven, lightly toasted walnuts from our friends at farmer’s market, a simple balsamic dressing with our own olive oil. I have a typewriter now, and I look longingly at it from my perch over the lit-up letters of the keyboard. Lately I have been charmed by the click and clack of this classic machine over the conventional hum and slightly eerie glow of the computer. But for all its enchanting qualities, widely disseminated newsletters and blog posts aren’t it’s forte, and so it silently sits, awaiting my next love letter instead.

There is a bouquet on my window-sill that I admire when I look up from my writing, Tassels of red grass bursting like fireworks from a mountain of bright orange calendula, spidery blue nigella, and yellow fading to burnt orange rudbeckia. Tomorrow night Willow and i will begin harvesting for the first flower pick up for our CSA members. Summer is undoubtedly here with the dahlias opening for the first time at misty meadows, the pincushion flowers bursting with light purples and dark maroon blooms, and even the first sunflowers unfurling their yellow petals. Only a few months ago we were unsure of this latest farm plan – to break from the familiar vegetable CSA and just grow flowers and salad mix. But yesterday, when we sent off a very happy father-of-the-bride with twenty over-flowing buckets of mixed flowers for his daughters wedding – we figured that it’s all going to work out just fine. And when i returned yet again from our saturday farmer’s market, having sold all of what we had brought, and then tallied, out of curiosity, how much salad mix we’ve sold thus far, I suddenly felt like maybe Willow and I can put an end, once and for all, to our occasional lapses into questioning if we’re proper farmers.

To date we’ve sold 561 pounds of salad mix. Add to that the estimated 80 pounds we’ve eaten amongst ourselves and friends thus far this season, and that means we’ve harvested upwards of 640 pounds of salad mix since April. That’d be a lot of miles to walk, or a lot of sheep to herd, or a lot of puppies to pet, but it’s certainly a lot of frilly, almost weightless leaves to pick, wash, spin-dry, and eat. I think this season’s going to be a good one.

I realized that the last time I wrote the tomatoes were dying, sweet peas were being planted, hearts were mending, and gratitude abounded. This is an overdue update. Today we’ve got five rows of tomatoes thanks to our friend’s at Hidden Villa Farm, trellised almost up to our heads; hearts that are becoming ever more clear, flexible, and open; sweet peas growing faster then we can pick them, and continued sense of gratitude that deepens with the passing of each day.

To the river, to the flowers, to leisurely sunday mornings, to the laughter of close friends, to santa rosa plums, to early morning harvests with Willow after she’s had coffee, to handsome dogs and to typewriters – I give thanks. And thank you for being a part of this farm in whatever capacity you are.

Love,
Maisie

The Last Flower Share Is Tomorrow!

Thank you for being in out flower share!

Thank you for being in out flower share!

 

091012_02  091012_01  091012_03

See what's happening on our farm: