Archive for the ‘Musings & Contemplations’ Category

Glena Dawn Logan

My stepmother died in Jan 2013 just short of her 96th birthday.  In the late eighties she moved to Australia to live with her biological daughter, my step sister, Marsha.  Being so far away, I saw her but a few times in the intervening years and the last time we spoke on the phone it was a contentious conversation about the dividing of my father estate.  Years later with my sister as intermediary (my mother was in care facility at that point) I did my best to reconcile the estrangement of that conversation.  But I’ll never know if Marsha ever told her what I said or conveyed my true wish of love and appreciation.

Perhaps the remarks I have made to friends and family and the long separation has undermined how they believe her death affects me.  I called my brother after I got the email.  I cried and said I felt sad.  I wanted to reminisce about our life with her.  I know he loves me a lot and wants always to console me the best he can.  He remarked how she had not been that kind to me and how much it bothered him.  These are the words he uses from his wish to ease my pain but I would rather not hear them.  I don’t want to think I was marginally loved child.

She wasn’t the mother I would have liked her to be.  I think I would have wanted a ‘Mrs Pots’ type – warm, effusive, cuddly.  She was reserved in her feelings.  I think this is in part generational and also a result of her life story.  She had losses in her life that I’m sure gave her deep sorrow.

My father remarried when I was four.  I believe right from the beginning I called her mommy, mom or referred to as my mother for that is who she was to me.  In my experience we were a family and how my feelings changed as I grew doesn’t erase the relationship of parent and child.

We don’t always get the picture of parent we want, but in remembering her, I would like to recall the moments of happiness, the kindnesses, and the gifts I received from her presence in my life.  I like to believe that in her own way she taught me how to be the best parent I can be.  I’m happy she was in my life.

Postscript:  I wrote this the week after her death.  I think I thought I should say more and so I never published it.  In reading it now, I think it is enough.

Glena Dawn Lannon Miller Logan 02 March 1917 – 28 January 2013

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Moments That Change Our Life

When I say this phrase ‘moments that change our life’ I imagine we all think of an event of magnitude.  Something that anyone witnessing would immediately identify as a life-altering event.  But what if it isn’t?  What if the experience is so small, or ordinary that it virtually goes unnoticed by anyone other than oneself?  In my mind these are the big moments because the meaning is not inherent in the event but comes in the form of a personal message.

I had one of these moments when I was twenty.  I was at the home of my soon-to-be husband, Bill.  Bill’s family consisted of his parents, Betty and Howard, and his four brothers: Jimmy, Bobby, Johnny, Tommy.  Bill was the eldest.  As the new addition, I was the girl.  Bill and I had our own apartment but we were often at his parents house with the other brothers.  In this instance, we were around the dinning table when Jimmy asked John to get him something from the kitchen.  John, without hesitation, got up and retrieve whatever it was.  That’s it!  The whole story is in that moment.

What struck me was John’s action.  It wasn’t easier for him to get it, more convenient, or requiring knowledge only he had.  He just did it!  In my family we kept an emotional distance to one another.  I don’t recall us doing for one another unless it was perceived to be one’s duty, or a chore, or a response to a demand.  We did not just act because asked or, at least,  I never recall such an event.  In the world in which I grew up, acting from self interest seemed quite ordinary.

When Jim asked John I remember thinking “get it yourself”.  Perhaps that is why John’s response stuck with me.  He didn’t do what I thought everyone would do, he did the opposite – he acted without any self-interest.  He didn’t make a smart retort or an exaggerated act of compliance, he wasn’t doing it because Jim was older/bigger or he would get some future payback.  He just did it.   It was a simple act of generosity.

We live in a culture that laughs at snarky remarks, the glib put-down, the humor of aggression.  A world where the clever remark demands to be noticed; wants to know that the arrow has hit the mark.  We also live in a culture of quiet generosity, where the act of open-heartedness often goes by unseen.  Where there isn’t any intention to teach or insist on acknowledgement of virtue.

I like knowing that in any moment someone is acting from pure generosity, no strings attached.  I like that generosity is quiet and the moment often goes unnoticed.  Unless, there is someone there who is ready to benefit from being the witness, then that moment changes their life.

What moments have changed your life?

CC – Solstice 2012

A few of us were talking about the Solstice and someone said that in the future we would look back on this time and see that there was a shift in our experience of time and we would refer to this change with a new demarcation.  Meaning that at other times in history shifts in perception brought forth a new time signature as BC and AD, so in turn, this time beginning with the Solstice will be viewed as a turning point and will receive a new identifier.  Not wanting to be behind the curve I decided to come up with my own , CC for Clear Consciousness.  Now, I don’t know if this will catch on but I’m going with it.

Why you ask?  I’m doing this because it helps me remember that I want to use this moment to embrace new ways of being.  Here’s the list of intentions I made for the Solstice.

  1. I want to support and participate in intentional communities.
  2. I want to open my heart and see what is good and positive.
  3. I want to release all negativity and see that we are all on the path to greater wholeness.
  4. I want to expand my ability to listen and hear what others are really wanting to communicate.
  5. I want ever-expanding generosity and compassion for myself and others.
  6. I want to find and cultivate relationships that nurture me and keep me in touch with my deepest wisdom.
  7. I want to grow my talents in art, music, gardening, and writing.
  8. I want my yoga to be my life.
  9. I want to use my difficulties as steps on my path to increasing clarity.
  10. I want to learn how to better cooperate and support others in their fulfillment.
  11. I want good health and long life.
  12. I want to experience how I make a contribution to others and how they contribute to me.

The challenge when I write these intentions and ‘ways of being in the world‘ down is they immediately start to show me where my work is.  I’m reminded of Pandora’s Box and when she opened the box how all the challenges came first before hope shined through.  I can tell already that this is not going to be easy and I will have to remember at every moment that I asked for this change.  My old habits of thought and emotion are all to present to ignore, and the energy to persist in them is so strong I can only do mantra to break the groove of my history.  Today, in a moment of despair, I heard myself asking for a healing to stop a cycle of negativity.

One of my biggest pitfalls is when I tell myself a story of rejection and abandonment.  My hurt rises up as a force to push away that which I identify as the hurting source.  I feel angry and tell myself stories to justify my position and then create strategies that only serve to keep me locked into these patterns I want to break.  I don’t even know if the story is true and am reluctant to check in because I’m basically embarrassed by my own behavior.  Generally I’ll come up for air just long enough to notice how I am judging those whom I have identified as judging me.  It is all so seductive out of long familiarity, like an old blanket I wrap myself in.

Now that I have written down my intentions it seems the flood gates have opened and at times I wonder why I ask for ‘my difficulties to be steps for healing’, or ‘to release all negativity’?  Am I really strong enough to face my emotional habits?  I’m glad I, at least, included ‘compassion for myself’.  This is hard to face and the way through is murky.  One thing is clear, I am not saying the phrase ‘new energy’.  I fear it will be code for categorizing and rejecting anything and anyone who I’m at odds with, as in ‘that’s not the new energy’ or ‘they’re the old energy’.  I want to remember that all of us are on our own path to greater wholeness.

So I welcome my list of intentions and have added another list to help myself along the way.

  • I will honor how hard this is for me.
  • I will remember I’m doing my best.
  • I will hold myself with compassion.
  • I’m going for CC, Clear Consciousness.

Happy to say, writing this has brought a healing.  In the language of NVC, sharing myself openly has created a space to get connected and from that touch my need for authenticity, honest communication, and community.  As Garrison Keillor says, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch”.  So I hope you will keep in touch with me and at some point we can compare notes on how we’re doing in this time of CC – Clear Consciousness.

Christmas with the Chickens

I love my animals.  Each morning I get up at 7:00 am and go outside to tend to their needs.  Currently I have 11 chickens, 4 rabbits, 10 tilapia, about 60 goldfish, 2 bee hives, and 2 canaries.  The morning goes like this…

The Big Picture    Light on in the greenhouse, aquarium light on, feed the tilapia in the small aquarium, feed the tilapia and goldfish in the 300 gallon tank.   Fire-up the pellet stove if it has died down or start a new fire.  Grab the chicken feeder and take it outside to fill, get a container of chicken food for the chickens that live in the tractor coop (my chickens are separated 7 and 4, they have harmony issues), top up the scratch container and walk into the main run.  Seven handfuls of scratch for the big group, attach their feeder, let them out.  Feed the chickens in the small run and let them out.  Go on to feed the bunnies.  Scoop of food, timothy hay and a few scratches or cuddles.  Back into the house to waken the birds.

Details of Chicken Routine  I open the big flock coop, also known as the outhouse coop (it looks like one).  I help one of my chickens get off the roost as she has a bad leg and jumping down is hard.  I clean out the nests because they don’t care if there is poop in their nest but I do,  and generally tidy up.  If I leave the main door open the hens will try to get out and go into the tractor coop area.  The big flock bullies the small flock so I only do this on occasion hoping they will eventually get along.  So far this hasn’t happened.

This Morning    A red hen was headed for the open door so I pulled it almost closed.  Thinking she would sneak by me I pulled it a little harder.  That’s when it happened.  The latch fell over and locked!  I was locked in.  I’ve wondered what chicken life is like from time to time.  Is it satisfying to peck around, hang out with your girlfriends and give birth everyday.  I don’t think I had ever contemplated the experience of being locked in.  Now I was getting the picture and I can’t say I was ready to accept my fate.

I laughed at my situation.  I tried to get out.  Laughed some more as I realized this was going to take some thinking.  I didn’t have my phone in my pocket, no easy rescue.  A little digression…  Neil, my husband, has been in Hawaii for 2 weeks enjoying sun, beach, and freedom from work.  I’ve been home care-taking our small urban farm.  I’ve enjoyed my time alone as I know he has been blissed-out being in warmth, snorkeling, hiking, and swimming in the ocean.  He’ll be home today but I considered this happening on one of the previous mornings when no one would be looking for me.  Could I acclimate to life as chicken?  This all came to mind as I contemplated the thought that I might really be stuck short of breaking out by tearing the chicken wire off the window.  What if I couldn’t get out?  I imagined his return, wondering where I was (a little irritated that I wasn’t there to greet him) and finally coming outside to find me, hearing my calls – and freeing me.  Would he think this funny?

I thought I could crawl through their chicken door into the main run but then remembered I would be locked in there as well.  What if I got stuck in the doorway?  This might be cute on Winnie the Poo but I doubted I would have the same appeal.  I searched my pockets for a sturdy object that I could use to flip the lock.  Pieces of paper.  There is a loose piece of wood in one of the boxes, I tore it off but it was too short.  I search the coop floor, nothing but sawdust.  I tried tearing the chicken wire screen loose so I could stick my hand through but realized it was possible but would be a drag to have to fix.  One choice…

I got down on the floor and began maneuver through the coop door into the run.  I couldn’t just muscle my way through.  It wasn’t build for human bodies.  I managed to get my upper body out and realized I might find a stick in the surrounding dirt.  It has been interested to see what a flock of chickens will unearth.  Found one, squeezed back through.  Wonder if I’m getting covered in chicken shit?  Yes I am.  Stick was too fat and several attempts at really trying to make it work convinced me I had to keep looking.  Back on my knees, through the door and fishing around eventually produced another stick, thinner than the last.  Back to the door and voila it opened – I was out.

Still laughing I noticed how relieved I felt to be free!  What a story this will be to tell I thought, that is, after a good shower and all my clothes in the wash.

This being Christmas and the spirit of goodwill towards men (does that include chickens?) should I now, knowing the experience of confinement, let the chickens run free from time to time?  This might happen, but more likely I’ll make a permanent holder for a long thin object inside the coop (I left the stick there for now), I will carry my phone without fail, and close the door to the run before I start any coop maintenance.

More reflections.  I appreciate the suffering of my chickens plight in life.  It isn’t a life I would readily choose and maybe they didn’t either.  So on that note, I think I’ll examine the ways I lock myself in coops of the metaphorical sort, and be more diligent to have a toolkit ready at hand to free myself.  I’ll remind myself of my good fortune and do my best to always choose compassion for the circumstances we find ourselves in.

AND, I just might let the chickens run free in the winter when it’s dark in the run and they can’t do too much damage to the garden beds.  Merry Christmas friends, animals and people everywhere.

Squirrel Mode, 2012, Intentional Community

Do you ever wonder if you have lived other lives?  I do.  I am fairly certain that reincarnation exists.  Observing my children when they were first born and through their early years confirmed this.  From their first days they showed traits that persist to the present.

Kris, my eldest, was a child who would try something and then retreat before doing it again.  He took his first steps around 13 months, wouldn’t take another for 3 weeks and then just started walking.  When he decided to move out of the house with friends, he made the initial plans, disappeared for a few weeks and then showed up like nothing was unusual and move in with them.  I see the threads of this in his actions still.

Jenny talked at an early age.  She had phone skills at three which rivaled most adults.  Jenni would dominate any family dinner, including standing on the table and singing for almost an hour.  I felt pretty strange when I finally started asking her to stop talking so someone else could.  Jenni is still the great communicator, between her wonderful writing to her sage advice she fills the sound waves.

For myself, I’ve had a number of experiences which substantiate this belief.  A knowing of a certain area before I’ve ever been there is one.  When on family trips I used to describe where we were going to my parents before we arrived.  Then as a young adult I had several days where I knew what was coming before it happened.  The last time a dramatic experience of pre-cognition occurred I was stuck at dusk in a remote place with a friend.  Our motorcycle had stopped running and the only way we would get home was if a van would stop and help.  I described the white van with the blue stripe minutes before it turned the corner.  The man stopped, helped us and eventually gave us dinner and a ride home.

A few years ago, Neil and I traveled to Amsterdam.  When we came home I was determined to return and live there.  I felt compelled.  I looked online to see how I might get an ‘au pair’ job as a way of funding myself.  I told Jenni she had to go and we worked on getting her into a study program.  My hope was she would stay and bring me over.  A month after we returned I took a workshop on past life regression.   This was a real fluke for me as I normally wouldn’t do something like this, but there I was.  The leader would talk us into a hypnotic trance state and then guide us to have an experience.  I never felt hypnotised, but I was in a relaxed space where I was open to whatever would come.  In one of our sessions this is what happened.

I was in Amsterdam during WWII.  I was a young man and I was standing on the sidelines in a crowd of people.  We were behind barriers and there were people walking along the street in front of us.  They had on winter coats with yellow stars.  I felt so guilty, and responsible and helpless.  My grief was overwhelming. 

The vision went on but it began to feel like I was trying to create an ending, only the street scene felt genuine.  In the days that followed my obsession with Amsterdam faded.  I still love the city, my memories of our time there, but I don’t feel compelled to live there anymore.  Perhaps the ties that were stirred by our travels found a resolution.

These are some of the reasons I have a strong belief in reincarnation.  Lately, I’ve had the feeling that I’ve lived another life.  I’ve been a squirrel!  Not the life I would have imagined for myself, but quite close all the same.  The squirrels this fall have been burying their stash in my vegetable beds and other places.  I, too, have been storing my stash and when talking with friends I describe my behavior as squirrel mode.

I started with drying apples from our tree.  That lead me to buying peaches and making peach leather and dried peaches.  The other day I froze about 18 pounds of peach slices and dried the other 2 pounds of the box I bought.  Then there is my yearly tomato process.  I usually roast most of my tomatoes, put up a few bags of whole tomatoes, and dry all the cherry tomatoes to use like paste.  I don’t can anymore as 40 minutes of processing seems to me to boil out any nutritional value.  Freezing is easier.  This year I made tomato leather:  puree tomatoes, spread on a special surface, and dry in the food drier till done.  Then I powdered them and will use them like tomato paste.  I made tomato pasta with some of the powder – yum.  I also roasted about 20 ripe bell peppers, and made kale chips (dried kale coated in tamari) from the kale in the garden.  Earlier this summer, I made apricot jam, strawberry rhubarb jam, and rhubarb sauce.  I found a recipe for tomato jam and made that too.  So far I’ve tried it as a barbecue sauce and a condiment.  I like it.

This last weekend I attended a Permaculture Conference.  The conference stirred my long held wishes for community and mutual support.  A lifestyle that empowers each of us to gather together and support each other in living the life we have all known before.  I’m inspired to raise organic bees, grow mushrooms for food and medicinal purposes, and build an aquaponics set up in the greenhouse to grow fish and food.

Maybe squirrel mode is more than getting ready for winter: it’s getting ready for the futureSquirrel mode is taking a proactive stance to create the world I want to live in.  My vision of the future is to consciously gather together in mutual support, share our visions, talents and resources and use this to support a connected, healthy life.  I want to be a part of an intentional community of individuals and households who want to cooperate together.  Living an isolated existence in denial that we need each other just doesn’t cut it for me anymore.  There is room for so much creativity and growth.  I think 2012 can be a renaissance of wonder, at least, that’s where I’m headed.  If interested let me know.

Bit Part In The Garden Of Eden

In January I began researching my family tree.  I started a three month subscription to Ancestry.com and began putting in names.  For some people this would be a simple process of calling up relatives and gathering information.  In my family everyone who might know something is dead.  The opportunity to ask questions of who their parents were, what they did in the war, where they grew up is long gone.  I have a step sister and step mother in Tasmania and a half brother in Texas.  That’s it!  I know a few details and so this is where I started.

Soon I was burning the midnight oil looking at census records, reading newspaper articles, recently visiting the local resources that specialize in genealogy with Christine Gray.  Christine has helped me so much.  Her long experience in genealogy research and her own skills in research have solved many a mystery for me.

One night I finally found the marriage record for my grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side.  It listed both of their parents and noted where they were born and that they were deceased.  I was so excited, a piece of information I would never have known.  Then the hard work began.  How to find these distant relatives.  I knew on my grandmothers side she was from Denmark and that my grandfather had been in Indiana because both my dad and his brother were born there.  Lot’s of looking, deciphering the names on documents, making guesses, and looking again.  Census records are great and frustrating.  The records were hand-written recordings by individuals who went house to house.  They didn’t always spell things right or talk to someone who really knew all the correct information.   Many individuals didn’t really know when they were born or even where (especially if they moved across a state line which might have moved itself as the county was forming).  My great great great grandmother is said to be born in Indiana, Ohio and Scotland depending on which document I look at.  I haven’t found a birth record for her in any of them – yet.

I was tracking my great grandfather Eugene Milton Logan for days, finding snip-its here and there which seemed right but couldn’t be verified without some doubt.  One night Christine called and asked if I was sitting down.  I was, on the hard chair I seem to live on in my dinning room.  She said, “I found him!  I found Eugene.”  She sent me the newspaper article which told the sad tale of how he had shot himself in the reading room of a saloon in Waco Texas.  He left notes about leaving his money to my grandfather and another son I had never known about; how he died of a broken heart; and to wire his brother in Dallas.

When I read the stories of my ancestors either in script or just through the census rolls I feel their lives.  The history of this nation and the people who settled the towns and left their homelands to try their luck here is so moving.  Reading the Dallas Morning News tells of horse rustlers, unknowns found by the railroad tracks, dear ones now passed on, and the social movements of the towns big wigs.  My great, great uncle (Eugene’s younger brother) had a bio written about him because he started the first steam laundry in Dallas.  Twelve years later he is out of business because the steam laundry business is now run by the immigrant Chinese population.  When I did a goggle map of his home and business address there isn’t a house or a business – it is downtown Dallas.  Did he know his real estate was his biggest asset?

There’s lot’s more I’ve learned about my direct family and my brother and sister’s families.  Most is quite ordinary but some stuff is fairly sensational or infamous.  There are lots of dead ends that will take much more research and help from others around the country to unravel.  People want to help.  It is interesting to find another genealogy tree with one’s relative.  To contact the owner of that tree and share what each person knows.  I don’t know much now so I’m usually on the receiving end.  Six degrees of separation comes to mind.

So what about the garden of Eden?  I spend most evenings doing some investigation so it is no surprise that this has seeped into my dreams.  The other morning I awoke with a dream still fresh.  I was standing somewhere where steel girders rose and crossed at random angles.  The ones that are about 8 or more inches across with flanged edges.  Along the one near me was a bright turquoise line with chartreuse near the ends in a putty like substance.  I was peeling it off in an upwards direction.  The voice over came in and said,”Life is infinite in all directions.  What did you expect?”  Next scene I’m standing outside with a person who tells me I was an insignificant player in the garden of Eden and therefore not important enough to contact.  But since I’m here he’ll show me where it was.  I’m shown a carved pole with writing that seems to mark the spot.

Upon waking I tell my husband, Neil my dream and say I have a new song title for him: bit player in the garden of Eden.  We laugh and speculate that perhaps I was a leaf or a small pebble.  I love this dream.  I’m not a creationist so I take this as metaphor.  We are all bit players in the drama of life.  Each of us laying our lives along a continuum of life ever unfolding, intersecting, with more or less impact.  I hope I’m doing a good job of playing my part.

Vegetables Come From the Store

Growing up I never questioned where vegetables came from.  I didn’t believed they grew at the grocery store, they just came from the store.  It wasn’t until I was a young teen that this unconscious belief came to light.  My family home in San Diego was large and mostly filled the city lot it was situated on.  There was a very small front yard hidden from the street by bushy plantings (great for finding lizards), a small side yard that we eventually made into a covered patio, and a small back yard.  The back yard was an oval patch of hopeless grass surrounded by a border that grew plants that needed no care.  I know this because no cared for them.  I used the dirt area around the lawn to bury my animals and on a few occasions watered the lawn hoping it would become green.  The lawn never responded.  Mostly the back yard was a place where my sister and I laid out to tan ourselves, and my brother keep a land turtle and later an iguana.

One summer my mother grew a tomato, a pepper and an eggplant.  I only noticed her project when the fruit began to ripen.  I found her one afternoon tending her plants and probably asked what they were.  This was my ‘aha’ moment.  Vegetables came from the earth and someone was growing them.

‘Duh’ you say and so do I now, but not then.  I had never considered this.  It isn’t that I was a book worm with my head buried in pages, or so dreamy I only noticed the clouds.  I picked red hibiscus flowers to feed the iguana, I ran the street barefoot, picked mint and caterpillars from the side yard before it became cement, and went to the egg lady’s house in the country when an Easter duckling was no longer a prized pet and needed a new home desperately.  The origin of vegetables had just slipped my awareness.

This memory stays with me.  I wonder if it is the beginning of my fascination with growing plants.  There were many years from that moment till I grew my first vegetables.  I was married and living in Sonoma County in Northern California.  We lived on a Poled Hereford ranch in the old foreman’s house.  The soil was fabulous.  I didn’t really know this at the time.  It is only in hindsight and lots of experience with not so great soil that I realize what I had that first year.  I planted a six pack of cabbages in late January and by March they were huge.  I didn’t like cabbage and so I gave them away.  I also planted some tomato plants.  One morning I found the tomatoes limp and no amount of watering would make them right.  I went to the vegetable stand where I bought them and asked what had happened.  They told we’d had a frost and that’s why they were dead.  I wanted to know why they would sell them if this could happen.  They gave me new plants for free. I imagine out of compassion for my ignorance.  So I learned about frosts.  San Diego never gets colder than about 50 degrees, frosts were not in my experience

After that first taste I wanted more.   We moved to a small cabin in the redwoods.  My husband, Bill, built me a small green house in the only cleared level space we had.  I started my tomato plants.  I had been reading about compost.  I knew there was great composted soil right under the big redwoods and used that for my plants.  They grew to 2″ and stopped.  After research I learned that tomatoes can’t grow in the acidic soil around redwoods.  All plants have a PH range in which they can grow and most vegetables want soil in the middle ranges.  Not to be deterred,  I read more and learned that worm castings is the crown jewel of planting soil.  We found a source nearby and took truckloads back to our house.  We build some cold frames from wood and old windows and I moved my tomato plants.  They began to grow.  They grew and grew and became so leggy they couldn’t stand up.  A new lesson, plants need to have seasonal highs and lows to grow well and not the high heat of a cold frame followed by the cold of night.  I put in a veggie garden in the only patch that got almost enough light.  It went ok.  I started a compost pile and tended it with care.  When Bill and I separated I took my compost and weeks later took the bin too.  I was getting attached to growing.

Through the years I planted gardens when I could.  I moved back to San Diego and put in a garden.  My dad helped me turn the soil.  We were both so excited.  He told me how he had always wanted to grow tomatoes (secret life of parents).  My tomato plants grew lush and green but not one tomato.  Why???  It turns out that when you live by the ocean the summer weather is too cool for tomatoes.  My dad and I were so disappointed but my education continued.

When we moved to Oregon the house we bought had a large garden space.  I was itching to get started.  The previous owner helped me draw up a grid and plot my garden – 25′ X 50′.  I bought a 24′ greenhouse on impulse.  I lost lots of sleep worrying that I didn’t know what I was doing.  That year I planted a packet of basil and several packets of tomatoes.  Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Soloman was my bible.  I carried it everywhere.  I found my way to Portland Nursery.  I wanted to know if they would have the tomatoes I was growing in case my starts failed.  Talking with the plant buyer he wasn’t sure; as they bought from local growers and it would depend on what they planted.  I went home and tended my new plants.  As they grew and I potted them into 4″ pots, I realized I was a local grower.  That year I sold Portland Nursery basil, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  I sold cut basil to Marco’s my local restaurant.  I was trilled with my success.

I loved driving across the river with my car filled with flats of green plants.  I was in an ocean of green, just another sprout among many.  One year I decided to really go for it.  I filled and emptied the greenhouse three times.  I drove plants weekly.  In the end I probably grew 1500 tomatoes, 500 peppers and eggplants, and lots of basil.  I grew pansies too, but they were covered in aphids and too leggy to sell.  I planted them in a newly turned bed.  When I did my accounting I realized I had paid for my expenses but not my time.  My career selling plants came to an end.

Plants under grow lights

One year after buying a new indoor growing system I grew about 900 plants to pay for it.  I sold these to friends and Langdown Nursery and then planted all the extras that I had.  My beds were filled with lots of peppers and eggplants.  Now I grow mostly for myself with a few extras to sell.  I still thrill to see the seeds sprout and bear their first true leaves.

Tomato with first flowers

I like to transplant them into their larger homes for planting out later.  Each year I experiment with new varieties but also stay true to old favorites.  If I had the room and the help I would plant hundreds of different varieties.  Neil, my husband and occasional helpmate, has asked me if there is ever enough plants?  I don’t think so.  This year I am trying cowpots, four inch containers formed from sterilized cow manure.  I like the idea of not using plastic and planting plant, pot and all.  I’ve learned that the down side of plantable containers is that when the pots are close together in a growing situation they can form mold.  I’m still learning.

So now I know – vegetables do come from the store, but they come from growers first.  Want to be a local grower?

Sweet pepper in bloom