Archive for April, 2014

April 26, 2014

Relationships Don’t Matter…

by Cynthia

Beautiful photos of a man and a cutting horse.

April 26, 2014

When I Grow Up I’ll Be A Farmer

by Cynthia



I’d been pulling weeds around the raised beds in the garden for a couple of hours this morning before I remembered to stop and stretch my back, sit down and rest a minute. Realizing how weary I was already, at only ten o’clock in the morning, a voice inside my head sneered, “Why are you doing this? This is nuts. You could hop on down to the farmer’s market and buy all the vegetables you want. Why do you spend so many hours out in this garden?. (The voice was on a roll and getting louder). You could be doing other things, more important things. You could be reading that new novel all your friends are reading. You could be doing volunteer work. You could be improving your mind, going to the gym, writing that book you always talk about wanting to write someday instead of breaking your back pulling weeds. Jeez.”

I had to admit, the voice had some good points. I don’t have to be gardening, so why do I? How do you explain something, even to yourself (and the voice inside your head) that feels like a compulsion, like something you just have to do?

My daughter gave me a little book for Christmas, one of those “Words from my Mom” books where your write down things from your childhood so your great- grandchildren have a records of your existence. It was sweet of her, but it made me a little depressed. The book is a reminder that someday I won’t be around to speak for myself. One of the questions the book asks is “What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

When I was in high school I wanted to be a professional weaver, and in college, a dietician. A few years after college I realized what I really wanted to be was a psychologist. I never became any of those things, although I came closest to psychologist when I became a marriage and family therapist. But when I was small, I wanted to be a farmer. I spent some time each summer on my cousin Diane’s farm, playing in the hay loft, riding horses, dusting tobacco plants, collecting wild berries and fishing in her pond. I thought it would be the greatest thing in the world to grow crops, and ride around on a tractor and take care of animals on my own land.

I suppose I pull weeds, and plant seeds, and grow my own food so the little girl inside me can play at being a farmer.

After the weeding, I transplanted tomato plants, all heirloom varieties from seeds saved from last year’s crop: San Marzano, my favorite paste tomato, Amy’s Sugar Gem, a very sweet heirloom that produces vines heavy with golf ball sized yummy fruit, Garden Peach, which is a  cultivar of a native South American fruit mainly from Peru where they are known as Coconas,  Costaluto Genevese, an ugly little knobby tomato with an intense tomato taste due to its high acid content and Mac’s Round Green, a little green tomato that I got from another Master Gardener in my county and have never eaten

I think I’ll put the “Words from my Mom” book inside a box, along with some heirloom tomato seeds. If my great-grandchildren really want to know who I was, they can plant a few of these old tomato varieties and taste for themselves a bit of history. One bite of a Garden Peach tomato on a hot summer afternoon and they’ll understand why I was a gardener!



April 2, 2014

by Cynthia
Spring Lambs on Walnut Ridge

Spring Lambs on Walnut Ridge

We had two new lambs born last week on Walnut Ridge. When I bought my first pair of sheep I named them Charlie and Maude, after my grandparents.  My grandparents had nine children, affording me plenty of names for future lambs. Our first set of lambs was a male and female. We named the female Grace, after my mother’s oldest sister. We could have named the male Hugh, after the oldest son in the family, but that might have been a bit maudlin since we ate that lamb for Easter dinner the following year.  Since Maude’s latest lambs are both girls, no one gets eaten, and they will hopefully have a long life here on the farm producing more lambs. We named them Ruth and Ina, after my mother and her next youngest sister. Hopefully Grace will give us some lambs later this year, setting us off on another branch of the family tree.

After this interminably cold winter, things are finally coming back to life. The pastures are greening up, making the goats very happy as they were tiring of the winter’s fare of cane fronds and cedar bark. The fruit trees have swollen buds that thankfully survived the latest sub-freezing nighttime temps. The Bradford pears are in full bloom all over town; their white smelly blossoms beautify the city streets and make it hard for the allergy afflicted to breathe.  The Vandy co-eds, like pear blossoms, flood the streets in the Village near my office, dressed in sheer, flowy things, sashaying about in high wedges, chirping away on cell phones, buzzing with energy. Everything wants to move, to burst out, active and alive.

This winter was so long and frigid, despair hung around in the corners like spider webs. The usual tragedies seemed more potent and relentless; deaths, illness and lost causes seemed to suffocate hopefulness and faith. The darkness and cold felt interminable. And then a few days of sunshine and green and it is as if a light turns on and the darkness melts. Just as I am despairing of seeing new life, just as I am about to concede defeat to the cutworms or the root rot or the inherent folly of humanity, I walk out to the garden and there they are, little green shoots, or fuzzy yellowish fronds, or fat celadon leaves. The seeds I planted weeks ago will have pushed their way to the surface, drinking up the sun and turning themselves into little chlorophyll factories. I’d love to be as resilient as Nature, as dogged and determined. Maybe someday I will remember that recovery and emotional healing are like the emergence of spring plants: Just when we  think that nothing we are doing is creating change, we get a glimpse of new life. Things just get easier, things fall into place and symptoms finally recede.  We have a new sense of ourselves and are ready to grow in ways we could never have dreamed were possible. We just have to hang on.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.   Albert Camus