Green Healing ~ In Town with Birds

Green Healing in the Rain

Two Red-breasted stand near rocks and planter during rain storm
We Love Rain!

“You ready for the wind storm?”  my neighbor asked. 

He was carrying a bag of groceries.  I was fiddling around with my containers, thinking about what I might plant in them this year. 

I wondered if I wanted anything, not so much to be prepared, but to go along with a wind storm.

I decided to go out and grab a Coca-cola.  I also decided to take Ruthie with me.

By the time we returned, which was less than ten minutes, the wind and rain were powerful.  Ruthie was afraid to get out of the car.  I felt badly that I had taken her out. 

Ruthie  is terribly sweet and the most sensitive dog in the world.  That’s part of what makes her who she is and incredibly lovable.

We sat inside the car for a few minutes, listening to the howling wind and sound of heavy rain fall on the car.  Things slowed for a moment, but as soon as I opened the door, a gust of rain came down and Ruthie jumped back in the car.  Pretty soon the wind stopped and all was quiet. 

The storm had gone as quickly as it had arrived.

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My yard was a series of shallow ponds, that obviously, the Robins love!

They surprised me with a vigor and ability to stand still, while rain fell in buckets on their red-breasted bodies. 

Most of the Robins took cover when the rain fell harder, but one stood its ground through the length of the storm. 

Standing in the rain, the red-breasted Robin

The persistent and patient Robin kept looking at me and once, when I was taking a photo of a very wet Cardinal, the wet Robin hopped in front of the camera just in time to get in the photograph.

The Robin likes to get attention!

Do You See Me? I AM ROBIN!

I loved the storm.  I also loved that Ruthie and I were home to see the birds that came afterwards! 

All the birds were here!

Most unusual, was a visit from a Bluebird.  Normally, the Mockingbird aka “King of the Yard,” simply will not allow bluebirds to cross the little rain-made creek where the lawn meets the trees.

I couldn’t get a photo because the Bluebird came to the suet hanging by my front door near where I was standing.  I did however have a wonderful macro view!

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The Red-Breasted Winter Flock

My son was first to see the flock of Robins, alerting me with an excitement I hadn’t heard in a great long time.  That was a blessing in itself.

“Mom! You gotta come see!” he exclaimed.  “Just for a minute,” he added.

I knew I had to go see what he saw.  I made it to the door in time to see the flock of American Robins gracefully landing on the moist and cold grassy lawn.  The slight sound of their wings in flight, I can still recall.  I like that.

I am grateful to be alive in these moments. Life is not easy, at least not for me, so when nature shows her awe, I do take notice.  I catch a trillionth second wind moving me to carry on.

The red-breasted beauties hopped, stopped, and hopped again.  My neighbor said they they hear worms, so they stop briefly to listen for them.  I don’t doubt this, because bird brains are pretty darn smart!   I do however wonder if wintertime lawns have worms to offer.

A fully grown man, my son, stood with me watching the birds, both of us glad to be there, together, without words and absolutely taken by the moment.

(Originally posted on Flickr.  Edited on January 28th, 2014).

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Of Sprigs and Twigs

Of  Sprigs and Twigs

Weaving Love into Christmas

Heart Strings and Sisterly Love

Making a swag for the holiday

Grandmother and Grandson

Family participates in Horticulture Therapy wreath-making party

Weaving Love into a Wreath

greenery and red berries for the Christmas wreath

Wishing You Peace and Love

In gratitude and special thanks to the volunteers in Horticulture Therapy who donated the awesome twigs and sprigs, prepared delicious food and homemade cider, and brought special people together, including a warm visit from my mother and sister, who joined us in making wreaths and swags. 

My son and I are staying home for Christmas this year, mostly caring for our sweet dog, Tiny, who has stomach cancer.  Our days with Tiny are limited.  I can feel the approaching time.  Some days, like today, I feel it in enormous waves of sadness.  I cry, which helps a little.  Crying is good for you when you feel sad. 

Christmas isn’t always happy.  I pray for the grieving families in Connecticut.  I pray for people who are hurting, hungry or without a door to hang a wreath. 

I’m grateful for the time I have with my son and our dogs, healthy food, and the special time we had with family.  I love the wreath my son and mother made and simply adore the little swag of sprigs and twigs hanging over my kitchen sink window.

The Spirit of Christmas is in my heart, even though there is sadness too.  The Horticulture Therapy group is such a gift to me, and a special part of our lives.  Who would have thought that Santa would show up in a Green Healing Day, but ‘he’ did.

Moments in Thyme

hands dirt Thyme

Planting Thyme

Things didn’t work out at the farm for my son.  I was disappointed and I guess he was too.  I think we’re both feeling better as I write.

He has a job interview tomorrow.  He’s excited and I’m hopeful.  Sometimes you gotta go with the flow. 

I’m sure we’ll both miss getting to know the animals.  The goats were so sweet! 

Click on images for a more intimate view.

Goats on the Farm

The cows were beautiful.  I like cows.

Cows hanging around the farm

We decided to do a little horticultural healing at home.  My son planted a few Marigolds in two planter boxes.  He also fixed them so they fit perfectly on the deck’s side-rail.  I think men like fixing things.

We both planted Thyme.  I love this plant for several reasons.  It’s hardy, grows fast, smells nice and makes pretty blooms.  It has medicinal value and of course, we can use it for cooking. 

We tended to our containers of Chamomile, Chives, Lavender and a wonderful ground cover called Carpet Mint.  I really like that Mint.  It feels like soft carpet and is spreading quickly.

Carpet Mint in container

We planted Black Mammoth Sunflower seeds in a large container, a few in our front garden and some in the ground along the walkway from the back door. 

The dirt is dry where I live and the trees are many, so it’s pretty hard to grow anything other than moss.  We also have moles, and they ate all my plants when I first moved here.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Sunflowers.

I’m looking forward to a move in the near future.  I do not know where we’ll go yet, but I sure hope I can find a place with a sunny spot for a garden.  I’d also like to have a small greenhouse and enough space for some critters. 

For now, we live in the moment, taking each day as it comes.  When you don’t have much money and you have health issues, as far as I can tell, the moment is where to live.

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Green Healing on the Farm

Hands, Dirt, SeedsMy son has gone to live on a small farm for a little while, which means he can’t attend the Horticulture Therapy group with me until he returns.  It won’t be the same without him, but it’s temporary, he needed something more in his life, and he’s a grown man.

The farm is a place for healing.  There are about eight or nine other men who also live there.  I hope and pray that he’s enjoying his time.  Last I heard, he had spent the day shoveling mulch, an activity I used to love because the labor was intense and took my mind off my problems.  Pulling weeds is like that too.

Community service is part of the farm’s healing program.  The guys go to the local church each week to serve food in their kitchen where people can get free meals.  The most recent time I called, they said my son was helping unload a very large truck of furniture that someone donated to the farm.  “He’s working hard and looks like he’s having a good time,” the director told me.  There’s no telling what all he’s been up to since I last heard.  I can’t wait to hear all about it!

My grandpa used to laugh when I said I couldn’t wait for something.

“What else can you do but wait?” he would ask in a lighthearted tone.  I knew he was right, especially about Christmas or the summer holiday when my cousins came to visit.

My mother was telling me some family history the other day.  My grandparents’ house, which is where I lived for a substantial part of my childhood, was the first house built in the town and is the oldest one still, “standing.”  My memory isn’t serving me well and I can’t remember if my great-uncle or great-grandfather built the house. 

I do remember that my great-grandfather was a preacher and started the town’s first, First Baptist Church.  My grandma told me this story over and over.  She wanted me to be the first, “woman preacher in the family.”  I’m not sure why, but that isn’t how things worked out.  Sometimes, I wish it had.

Many people in my grandparents’ family were born and raised in that house.  Sadly, my uncle recently sold the place.  The new owners painted the tin roof red.  I can’t imagine.  My grandma probably turned over in her grave when they did that.  I’ve regressed.  I do that.

Back to the farm, which is on land surrounded by low rolling green pastures and tall thickets of trees.  You can sit outside under the great big sky, without city lights, revealing the bright moon and shimmering stars. 

They don’t have noise on the farm.  They have sounds.  Wonderful sounds of nature.  If there’s anywhere to have Green Healing days, this farm is surely one of those places.

They raise vegetables and take care of chickens, cows and goats.  I haven’t seen the animals yet, and the men are going on a mountain camping trip in a few days, but I’ll see them (and my son) soon.  I can’t wait!  Well, maybe I can. 

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Flora, Fauna and Notes in Carolina

A good strong rain finally came.  We needed it and personally, I’m glad because my heart-strings have been pulled around a bit lately and I’m tired.  Rain and mist go well with a melancholic mood or a time for quiet reflection.

Art in the Garden, Very cool Nature-Person

My most recent time in the horticulture therapy gardens was several days ago and already,  I miss them.  I wonder how the lettuce is doing.  I bet the garden where they accidentally planted flowers with leaf vegetables is blooming and making good food too.

Although the gardens are not mine, nor on my property, my heart has a place in it especially for them.

Synchronistically, while traveling to the country over the past week, I’ve continued having ‘Green Healing’ experiences.  Healing has been the subject of conversation with people whom I met and a continuous metaphor in events that occurred.  Each event had to do with land and nature, and many times, for different reasons, I had to talk about why green is important.

Note:  Green Healing isn’t always easy or pleasant.  My week has challenged me, to say the least, but I also saw beautiful places, spent time with my mother, and met some nice folks.

We traveled near my hometown, which is a beautiful part of our state.  I love the land in North Carolina, particularly that which hasn’t been developed.  We have beautiful rolling hills of green and relatively, there are still many trees.  I’ve lived in other places for short periods, and each time I returned, it was the trees I was first glad to see again. 

Green Healing Land

My mother’s backyard (above) always lifts my spirit and without a doubt, offers me delightful views. 

Carolina in Springtime

She doesn’t particularly care for the view and would rather be around people.  I understand that.  I’ve lived in spectacular places full of natural beauty, but without other people, life gets too lonely.  Nature, like dogs, has a lot to offer us, but neither replaces our need for friends and companionship. 

A few weeks ago after my son and I watered the therapy gardens, we took a walk along a habitat trail displaying native plants and trees from the Sandhills, which is where the Piedmont ends and the Coastal region begins.

We stopped at a bog, where I later discovered I had received about four ticks.

Green Healing ~ Wetland

Along the trail, we saw the most awesome Ferns ever,

inner life

and learned that our state tree is the Long-leaf Pine.

Green Healing ~ Visual Learning

Our Stately Tree

North Carolina State Tree

Our Beloved Trees

My son isn’t usually interested in taking pictures, but when he saw a little lizard with an orange throat sliding along the edge of the bog’s viewing deck, he was immediately engaged with Nature.

A cute little guy with an orange throat!

Another Green Healing happening!

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