The Storm that Approacheth has Arrivedeth –

Picture of Storm Rolling in
The blessed wind brings the storm our way – the light white is the wall of clouds approaching

Late yesterday afternoon, after managing to untwist and untangle the dry, clean laundry from the sagging clothes line, I took a stroll around my place to see what changed during the two lovely weather spring days I spent holed up and hobbling around the house –

*Note to self – remember to tighten the clotheslines before next laundry day – –

Even with Oakley’s digging, rooting and completely successful transfer of nearly all the mulch I placed over the Jerusalem Artichoke bed last fall, into the house (over the course of the entire winter, one or two pieces clung to shaggy coat at a time) I see signs of new Artichokes rising amidst the decay of last years stalks (which I didn’t get trimmed close enough to the ground…)

Jerusalem Artichokes - 2015
Jerusalem Artichokes – 2015

I admit I’ve rather forgotten what these fellas look like when they first poke their heads through to air, but these 3 are in the right spot and don’t look the same as the weeds I pulled nearby, so keeping my fingers crossed they are what I hope they are – 🙂

To my delight and then dismay, I see that one of the tulip buds unfurled –

Picture of yellow tulip
That is Yellow! Yellow I Say!

Delight because the few dips in temperature had not sabotaged the dream of tulips this spring…

Dismay because the bulbs I purchased last fall were clearly marked “purple” and “white” – this is yellow – maybe yellow is the new purple….

*Note to Mom -Thanks for helping me plant these bulbs last fall –  it’s perfectly okay if you did, in fact, drop a bulb outside the rock border area – we’re pretty laid back in regards to perfection around here – 🙂

Alas, I will wait to see what the others reveal during their unfurling – granted, this area did contain existing tulips before I accidentally weeded too vigorously the first year – then left entirely alone the second year until the wild poppies were done and I knew where to be careful, so as not to disturb wild poppy seeds.

Perhaps, one of the old existing bulbs decided to make an appearance, now it has been assured of a proper backdrop and doesn’t have to fight with foot high weeds –

You don’t always know, for sure, what you’re Sowing

I’ve planted seeds before that ended up not producing what was indicated in the packet picture – –

One year, some round squash, tiger-striped dark and light green, appeared right in the middle of the oblong, yellow, spaghetti squash patch –  we knew not what to do with it and was unable to identify it or a relevant recipe, so it simply became a fall decoration – –

Sh – ahem, correction, Things happen –

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I can picture it now – dedicated heirloom seed saver is in workshop, patiently putting together seed packets for internet orders –

The door flies open, wind whirls across the neat seed piles waiting to be packaged –

Hubby stomps in, manages to close the door before it blows off its’ hinges and gustily exclaims:

“Man!  That wind is a blowin’ gangbusters today….What?! Why are you looking at me in that tone of voice?”

🙂

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And now I’ll share the real storm that arrived –

The storm of my outraged sense of justice, compassion, tolerance

For Pete’s sake, I’m not even sure what part of me has been outraged, but here I sit, dealing with it….which means if you continue to read, now you are part of the process…

These past few days I’ve been told of or witnessed several instances of someone declaring,

“I don’t really think you can be a (fill in the blank with trade or talent) without formal (fill in education, training, expensive equipment) and anyone who says you can, is wrong or lying to you…”

Now, while that may be true for some things (being an astronaut or brain surgeon come to mind) the occupations, activities or trades that graced the ‘fill in blanks’ in these recent statements were not either of the aforementioned, highly specialized, endeavors –

They were, instead,:

  • Author
  • Gardener
  • Builder of Dwarf Cars

Poppycosh!

On Being a Writer (someday to be Paid Author)

Yes, I had some ‘training’ for writing – I went to state mandated school for 12 years and had to take some form of writing, reading or English class each and every year – I also was raised by those who loved to read, in a house full of books –

And no, I’m not (yet) a paid author – and neither do I have a Master’s or Doctoral degree in any such related studies –

Yet here I sit, boldly and brazenly writing and publicly publishing – as most every one here in the WordPress community does.

While I agree that education and practice can enhance a writer’s craft, I do not believe it to be the must-have ingredient in the making of a paid author –

What is necessary?  To my mind?

(Oh, thank you so very much for asking, I’ve been bustin’ a gut, waiting to proclaim the answer, sans a paper certificate that comes attached with a $120,000-$200,000 price tag…I trust you to forgive me my sins…)

Necessary:

  • A mind that observes reality and wants to know what the possible back story leading up to the ‘observed now’, might actually be
  • An imagination that can come up with many varieties and flavors of said back story
  • The curiosity to ask, “What motivations, life experience, problems to be solved, led up to this moment?”
  • Compassionate room in the mind for all the possible answers that present themselves

Add to that a love of the ebb and flow of words – whether said love was gained through years of reading, or a simple born-in ‘hearing’ for such things…

The great writers I love and appreciate know how to craft each line –  first as a small tributary –

One that flows and then joins another, and then another, until the whole, massive, roiling, moving torrent bursts through the delta and joins the calm of the ocean –

Or spills over the edge of the cliff and lands with an impressive display of mist, rainbows and thundering applause at the bottom of said cliff, which, in the end, wasn’t so steep or deadly, after all –

These things are, to my mind,  necessary to graduate from Beginner to Master –

Take the classes – perfect your craft – learn the rules so you can break them at will –

But don’t ever, EVER! EVER! believe the person who tells you your natural way of seeing the world and your love of sharing said vision via a river of words isn’t good enough for you to be dubbed a writer.

It is…And You Are…And you’ll only get better as you move forth in your journey…

Next on the list of things reported as ‘you simpletons can’t do’…

…is Gardening

If you have been waylaid/lambasted by such feedback, I simply refer you to two resources that applaud your courageous, gambling heart:

First – Mr. Gardener Extraordinaire’s wise musings, which I will re-cap below, to save you the strain of clicking yet another link:

(If you like the following, you might find the linked story useful; otherwise, know the important points of gifted-to-me wisdom are listed below).

  • A few years back, the Master Gardening certificate was big doing’s around here.  So he bought the book, read it, and found out he’d been gardening wrong for 60 years.  Since he raised a family and kept many of the residents here in fresh veggies for the same amount of time, he threw the book in the dumpster and went back to his ‘wrong ways.’
  • Every year, something will go wrong – something won’t grow, or won’t keep good or will end up dying.   Doesn’t matter how long I garden or how good I get at it, every year, something will let me down.

And, secondly, if you would like to start gardening without taking a college or Master’s course, but are rather scared silly by those who say you can’t just jump in and do – I encourage you to check out Sophie’s Free Super Simple Guide to Growing your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs eBook

Yes, technically, reading about such things does mean you’ve done some ‘learning’ but what comes across most in her guide is

“Don’t Worry – You Can Do It – It’ll be Fine!”

Though I’ve read many a book and blog about gardening over the years, nothing touches the great gush of support and confidence one feels just from reading Sophie’s take on the matter.

Since I’m more than happy to experiment and try…

…whether I actually know anything or not…

…gardening is just a life long exercise in observation and experimentation, to my mind.

I do feel bad…

…when my clumsy attempts or wrongly pursued ‘good intentions’ end up killing something –

I confess – I’ll have many mass murders to answer for when I reach the Pearly Gates…

I trust those Dandelions who find safe haven here will be in massive enough numbers to speak up for me and tip the scales at my eventual trial…

On Building Dwarf Cars

Take a few minutes (4:35 to be exact) to marvel at the talents of one Ernie Adams.

(You will find the statement that raised my hackles around 2:19 if you’re in a hurry and just want to know what dwarf cars have to do with writing or gardening)

Barcroft Cars Presents – Ernie Adams & His Dwarf Cars

In Conclusion –

Yup – it is satisfying to work at your ‘craft’ in order to journey from Apprentice to Master.

A yearning to try, the confidence to laugh at mistakes and a sincere joy in the doing of said craft is all that really counts –

Pepper in the education, degree, public approval or expensive equipment when and how you see fit.

Unless

You’re going to be an astronaut –

(you really do need some pricey protective gear and rocket scientists to aide your quest, otherwise, you could die while trying…)

Or a brain surgeon

(yes, I confess, I’d really prefer you have some formal training, else I might die while you’re taking a stab at your new career…)

If this is the case, for You – Right Now!…

…disregard all the previous ramblings and go find someone who writes knowledgeably about such things, cuz, seriously, you won’t find much helpful advice here – 🙂

A New Look at Education

I usually just post my thoughts and leave you to your own devices  – but today, I’m ardently asking for 15 minutes of your time (reading my post time + watching the clip)

I’ve been dissatisfied with the focus of our educational systems and cultural obsession with higher education for a long time.

Not that I doubt the sincerity, dedication and perseverance of those who work in our educational system.  Nor do I question knowledge being important and  I believe everyone deserves access to knowledge.

I just see how much we are losing in talent and productivity given our current way of doing things.  Many Kids ARE left behind – true creativity and pure brilliance is often disregarded, squandered on the useless and plain pushed aside in our society –  where individuality  is cramped by systems based on conformity and standards for measuring “intelligence” are woefully narrow in scope.

Thankfully, I no longer have to figure out how to explain my gazillion observations to you.

Sir Ken Robinson, via his RSA lecture, Changing Education Paradigms has said it all. ( And in a much more positive way than I probably would have!)

If you are a parent, student, teacher or healthcare provider, I’m Begging You to take 11 minutes and 14 seconds out of your day to watch the above clip.

If you wonder why education is failing, why drop-out rates are increasing, and question why ADHD has become a modern phenomena, here ya go.

School administrator, business owner, stay-at-home mommy – I don’t care who you are, Please Watch.

And I’m asking you to do your part in spreading the word!

Thank You!

Legal Blackmail

Okay, I had logged off of everything, ready to call it a day, but Yahoo conveniently shows me top news stories when I sign out from my inbox….

How Race to the Top is re-writing US Education caught my eye.

Scanned the article.   Seems some kind of legislation allowed schools around the country to compete in a ‘contest-like-arena’ for funds.   Okay…I’m okay with tax dollars supporting free public education (even though just registering my son for school this coming week is going to cost me a minimum of $150 even before he signs up for extracurricular activities….)

But the following quote by Representative George Miller , D- Calif. , chairman of the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee, set my teeth on edge:

“These are my best hopes,” he said in May. “You see people doing things that a year ago they said they would never, ever agree to.”

States starved for funds and unable to have control over their local economies are prime targets for legal blackmail, also known as ‘federal funding requirements’.

If you don’t believe me, revisit the legislation passed in 1984 concerning legal drinking ages and being able to receive highway infrastructure funds.  My memory is that Montana and Wyoming held out…at least for awhile.  Wikipedia informs me South Dakota tried (unsuccessfully) suing under the spirit of the 10th Amendment.

My thoughts at the time were, “Okay, we’re old enough and responsible enough to vote, join the army, drive or fly billion dollar military equipment and die for our country, but not old enough to have a beer?”

My thoughts on the matter have not changed much.

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I, for one, am investigating and supporting activities that inform and educate folks on the topics of local resilience, community exchange systems and individual rights and free markets.

Cuz when we don’t need your greenbacks, we regain our freedom of choice.