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Hard hearted gardening

May 26, 2013

This is the beginnings of the street garden. Major street work and the fear of them ripping up the parkway prevented me from doing anything at all this spring. But the alliums came up anyway, five nice purple spheres. They were fully open for perhaps a day before someone snipped off 3 of them just below the heads, leaving the poor silly stems just standing there dumbfounded. At least the cuts were clean. Then a couple days ago, the 4th one fell to someone trying to pull it but instead just mangling it. Tonight the last one was gone.

So there are a couple ways I can look at this: be angry/sad/dismayed (check!) or be happy I couldn’t do much yet, and now have a better idea of what might survive in this garden (check).

But really anything will be an improvement.


So maybe in fall after they repave the road, I will make a real bed and plant. Over the summer I can practice this:

Full moonrise campfire on the South Side

May 25, 2013

campfire (2)

Originally uploaded by Erielle

A very creative mom in our playgroup got the fabulous idea to have a picnic on the Point and watch the full moon rise over Lake Michigan! Moons usually rise at the same time toddlers get to bed, so we hadn’t done something like this in, oh, two years. Our Moonie has his first toasted marshmallows, and we all had a blast. Thanks to Erielle for making it happen!

Happy Monday in the kitchen with the redbuds

March 25, 2013

20130325-150602.jpgWe received a huge beautiful bouquet recently, spiked with Redbud branches. The toddler has enjoyed picking up the dropped buds and putting them in the trash (I love that about toddlers), but I’m loving the emerging leaves, giving our humble table a touch of early spring. Since actual spring is AWOL.

I wonder if these could root?


Live. Grow. Write.

March 18, 2013

Grow Write Guild Bored with your blog? Afraid your inmost thoughts, jokes, revelations aren’t a great fit for your garden writing? Just want to push your writing along with a friendly cadre of diggers and growers?
Along comes Gayla Trail with the Grow Write Guild. Here’s what she says about it:

It’s funny. So much about gardening is emotional: finding joy, working through pain, digging away at our anger, gently nurturing ourselves as we show our plants the care and tenderness we need to give ourselves. It surprises me how much these topics are avoided.

I haven’t felt my little blog the right place to voice the feelings surrounding all these big changes over the past two years. Perhaps I have been wrong. I have definitely been lonely for writing. Let’s tell some stories together.


January 6, 2013

20130106-123943.jpgSo much time passes so fast in these baby days. Yet this warm almost-winter drags. In stolen moments, when rocking, say, waiting for sleep (his), I mull over gardens yet to be born. The tough one will grow in the hell strip by our street, the soft one in our own little yard, and a generous one our shared community plot, which still feeds us kale in January. How will this possibly happen in amid all the little kid change I barely stay at the heels of now? By small handfuls, if need be. I imagine our sweet curious busy toddler scooping dirt and piling stones nearby. He knows what kale is, but there is so much more.

I get a poem in my mailbox every day. This, along with the remembered smell of mountain mint, Eric Bachman low on the stereo during a late-coming toddler nap, this is the thinking on the South Side today.

by Carl Sandburg

Blossoms of babies
Blinking their stories
Come soft
On the dusk and the babble;
Little red gamblers,
Handfuls that slept in the dust.

Summers of rain,
Winters of drift,
Tell of the years;
And they go back

Who came soft-
Back to the sod,
To silence and dust;
Gray gamblers,
Handfuls again.

Happy Monday with a poem for October

October 1, 2012

20121001-103301.jpgOctober (section I)

by Louise Glück

Is it winter again, is it cold again,
didn’t Frank just slip on the ice,
didn’t he heal, weren’t the spring seeds planted

didn’t the night end,
didn’t the melting ice
flood the narrow gutters

wasn’t my body
rescued, wasn’t it safe

didn’t the scar form, invisible
above the injury

terror and cold,
didn’t they just end, wasn’t the back garden
harrowed and planted–

I remember how the earth felt, red and dense,
in stiff rows, weren’t the seeds planted,
didn’t vines climb the south wall

I can’t hear your voice
for the wind’s cries, whistling over the bare ground

I no longer care
what sound it makes

when was I silenced, when did it first seem
pointless to describe that sound

what it sounds like can’t change what it is–

didn’t the night end, wasn’t the earth
safe when it was planted

didn’t we plant the seeds,
weren’t we necessary to the earth,

the vines, were they harvested?

Section I is reprinted from October by Louise Glück, published by Sarabande Books, Inc. Copyright © 2004 by Louise Glück. All rights reserved.

One week shy of a year

August 26, 2012

20120826-171815.jpgThe sky above our yard is alive with dragonflies and chimney swallows and warm rain falling in a curtain straight down, and I never expected to be eating rain-washed raspberries in the South Side of Chicago.

In a week, one year after our nervous arrival, we move 7 blocks north, out of this 117-yr-old greystone into something spanking new by comparison, and ours to do with what we will.

I will miss the kind, generous, welcoming neighbors we now cherish as friends, the berries in fall, the shops and park around the corner, and one glorious kitchen. But I am digging up the Katherine Hodgkin irises that I didn’t kill after all in the move, and going to prepare a spot for them, and us, to set down new roots.
Stay tuned.

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