Gardening Failures

If anything in life teaches you to deal with failure, it’s gardening. Garden plants are delicate, tasty, and stressed. I’ve had good luck lately; the rosemary, fennel, sage, mint, garlic and lavender I put in recently are all thriving.

It is kind of cheating to say that those plants bode my gardening success. Herbs are the toughest members of the garden plant family. Since they don’t expend most of their energy producing huge fruit or even flowering much, herbs (I pronounce the “H” in herbs, by the way) thrive in a way vegetables and fruit often don’t.

I want to make a big, deep analogy about how non-creative types are less delicate than those of us who produce so much artwork effort. Maybe today I won’t indulge in my prejudices, since this post is about perserverance and surviving failure…but I am leaving this paragraph in this blog.

I planted beautiful tangerine colored pansies the week of Thanksgiving, in a flowerpot in our woods. I checked on them this weekend; all of them had been dug up and 3 of them tossed out of the pot. Damn squirrels. I put them back in the soil but will probably move them to the garden by the house. Or maybe I’ll tie fencing over the pot. Who knew squirrels got fussy about pansies? Stupid little tree rats.

I planted lettuce seeds in the kitchen garden. The cat used the area as her new toilet. Now I can only plant flowers there. I planted more lettuce seeds around the garlic; the garlic sprouted ahead of season and there’s no sign of lettuce.

I want to put in sweet potatoes this spring, and build a trellis for squash and tomato vines. I’m fairly sure, based on past behavior, that I will half-ass the trellis and it will fall down. And now I will blame my ADHD for the failure of a project that I haven’t even begun, except to imagine it. But oh, you should see how it looks in my mind!

I’d like to say I’m optimistic and cheerfully step up to try, try again. I’d like to smile big at the camera, shrug off these failures and proclaim tomorrow to be another day. Here we go:


That’s it – that’s optimism. Like high heeled shoes and false eyelashes, my optimism looks a lot better than it feels. Oddly, optimism works just fine without genuine enthusiasm.

I am collecting used, biodegradeable coffee cups from the trash bin at work. I plan to use them as planters for the persimmon seeds I collected this year, and put baby persimmon trees all over our woods come spring time. Isn’t that a great idea? You are welcome to start a betting pool on whether or not that happens or if I just barely manage to score the seeds to germinate and fling them by handsful out into the woods while yelling, “GOOD LUCK, GROW BIG FOR ME!”

In a similar vein, I wanted to join NaNoWriMo this year, as I’ve wanted to do for the past 10 years. I managed to write 7 blogs that month, 4 of them in the first week. But hey! That’s more than I managed to write in May, June and July this year. Go me!

I’m going to buy a living tree for Yule this year. I don’t know where I’ll plant it after the season is over, but I’m sure it’ll do fine. Along with the 50 goji berry shrubs I have seeds for, and the album’s worth of songs I’ve been meaning to make a demo recording of for the past 4 years.

2016 is another year. I’m going to try this all again.


Advantage of Being a Religious Wacko

When you believe weird things, you don’t have room to criticize. I could stop there. That’s the point I wanted to make. We’re done. Thanks for stopping by.

News stories arrive in which politicians admit they believe women are less valid creatures than men and don’t deserve things like paychecks or job promotions. That Jesus traveled around the world making sure every tribe got His message so that no one gets out of choosing between Heaven and Hell. That Jesus’ magic blood-drinking ritual saved them from cancer. Or that God is playing hide and seek from behind a comet.

I was raised to think all of these (except the last one) were valid religious beliefs. (I don’t have examples of other religions’ wacko beliefs, but feel free to leave comments if you know some good ones.) I still think they are valid, the same way I believe Narcissus was a beautiful young man who fell in love with his reflection in a pond and was turned into a flower. The same way I believe that Sedna’s fingers became whales and seals. The same way I have conversations with trees and babies and people’s pets and see the future in how a handful of stones fall.

I really stretch the patience of my secular humanist friends. Bless them, they love me even as I make them palm their faces in confused exasperation. Bless them a little extra, because they don’t usually believe in things like blessings.

Write down things you believe in and take a look at them again. Try to explain them to someone. (Trees are good listeners.) Do you believe that your feelings affect the outcome of your most beloved sports team’s scores? That closing your eyes makes prayer work better? That your hairstyle makes you look better? Do you believe that eating fast food every day won’t actually, literally, genuinely hurt anyone?

Yeah, those aren’t very religious examples. Hopefully they’re less aggravating or personal that way. I don’t want to anger anybody. I say claim your wacko beliefs. Everyone has their own.

Maybe we should have International Wacko Day where everyone posts their strangest deeply held belief on the Internet, so we can find fellow wackos and enjoy their company. We can all drink the traditional melted ice cream and strike things that irk us with inflatable toys, as has been done on Wacko Day for centuries. Or for the first time. It’ll be great.