The Perils of Gardening

Is it just me or are the mosquitoes particularly rampant this year?  I was outside today, weeding the garden from 4:30 to 5:00, and was well awash in Off, but it was no deterrent to the little demons. I came out of the garden with a bucketful of weeds and half my body covered in bites.  According to my partner, they have “mosquitocation,” and tell each other when and where to find fresh blood. They have also, it seems, drifted down lower on the anatomy. Despite the fact I was leaning down, with my arms well within their reach, I don’t have a spot on my upper body.  Maybe they are getting smarter and sense that arms are attached to hands, which with the power of the third sister Fate can swat the life out of you.

The only thing cut short was my gardening today.  I fled to the front yard to gather up some plantain to treat myself as quick as I could.  As I was plucking the plantain leaves, I saw my next-door neighbor who mentioned his mosquitoes are so bad, he won’t even go out back.  They must be aware of this, for they’ve migrated to my side.

QUESTION: how’s the mosquito population in your ecosystem this year? Have you had any luck with products or approaches to keep them at bay? I’m not crazy about using products that smell like they don’t belong on human skin.  Can anyone recommend some good natural products or, better yet, something that might be already available in the garden?  Also share any effective treatments once you’ve already been affected. I’ve found plantain leaves to work well but if you have a bunch of bites like I do today, it’s hard to get them covered quickly, especially since the treatment is most effective within the first few minutes of getting a bite.  (I typically just crinkle them up, and rub the juice on the bites).

So, any suggestions to combat this year’s most pesky pest? Go ahead, gimme the dirt!

What I wanted to get:

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What I did get:

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What the Daffodil?

Before I left for work this morning, I turned away when I caught a surprising splash of bright orange-yellow in the corners of my yard. I knew what it meant, but didn’t want to look. Last year, I watched them day after day. I willed them to spread their graceful long stems into arabesque, and don the season’s latest.

It’s been a hellish week, only two days in. The work day was long but not as unbearable as I thought it might be, after staying up way past my bedtime to get all my other work done. I logged about 1.2 hours on my sleep machine. As irony is iron clad, right around quitting time today, I had a fourth or fifth or sixth wind, and kept plugging along. The last colleague on my floor bid me good-night after transforming from stuffy Wall Street attire to a tight white t-shirt and jeans that crinkled in all the right places (“dinner date” was the quick explanation for the superhero-style switch). Seeing as this colleague is not my persuasion, not my partner, and notably older, the admiration was an innocent one … a fleeting thought, really, that I could stand to exercise more than I do, and there’s hope it would pay off. I kept at the grind till my phone rang moments later. It was my coworker, calling to tell me the elevators weren’t working and the ground floor was flooded with firefighters. I’m sure the words weren’t quite that, but that’s what I heard as I grabbed the items off my desk, mentally kicking myself for not wearing sensible (or even all that fashionable) shoes, and saw my rare burst of dedication go up in imagined flames. I got the to ground floor on the one elevator that was working, and there were about two firefighters for every several people. The lobby was mostly empty. Smart people had left to enjoy the rare weather.

After work, I went to the wine store to buy a celebratory bottle of something with a touch of fizz to celebrate finishing a brief in what has been a long painful litigation, and to (maybe?) celebrate this uncharacteristically balmy weather. The clerk in my favorite bottle store in Park Slope joked that he has no problem with global warming. “I’m thinking about spraying some aerosol cans in the air,” he said with a cajoled glee. I (road weary and fully obliterated by the abhorent hours I’ve been keeping), chimed in “in honor of the weather.” He corrected me, “to keep it coming.”

“Bring it on, global warming.”

I ha-ha’d, grabbed my bottles (I don’t go often, so I stocked up on two), and left. Walking down the block to my house, I felt like a bit part in the first twenty minutes of a seventies sci-fi made-for-tv movie. I couldn’t help but stare near slack jawed at the flowers in full bloom in the little plots of plants they put in a few years ago in front of the apartment complex at 40. By the time I hit 60, I had to stop and ask the Chinese man who was crouched on his feet and working furiously with his hands what it was he was planting. I’ve been beyond impressed with how various plants pop up in that well (but not fussily) manicured front yard, and are whisked away to some unknown outpost, while a vast variety of new ones quickly replace them throughout the growing season. He didn’t understand my question, or was too busy to engage. He worked with such intention, though I couldn’t determine its method. I wondered if there were some secret he had that I did not know but should want (e.g., get the plants in the ground quickly early in the season, lull and lollygag for warmer weather plantings). He did not pay serious attention to me until I asked him “too cold?,” and pointed to the plants in his hands, wondering whether there’s still the risk of a cold spell wiping them out. He pointed to the plants that were already in the ground, and have been there all year long, just waiting for new neighbors to join them. He pointed to a hosta-like plant with sturdier leaves and said, “No.” “These strong.” “Ooooh, okay,” I said as if I’d just learned something but wondered to myself what all he knew and was not saying. I carried on my breezy but slightly paranoid way.

Around 80, I almost stopped dead in my tracks. The tree that usually does not show its bloom till mid April (at an earliest) had magically transformed in the hours I sat behind my cold and sturdy desk, face to face with the eight hour glow of my screen, from a naked branched lady in a dressing room, to a gently clad bride, waiting for the first dance. So young. These things can destroy them, you know (the whispers of the sturdy old gals down at 60 floated our way).

Then I really caught myself in the midst of this bad movie, shook it off, skipped on down to my own yard, knowing what I had to face. There they were, just as I’d left them this morning, but a touch taller, more definite, more mature, more determined that Mother Nature had their dance card. The little lady daffodils, so eager to make their long awaited entrance, could wait no more.

Kids these days. They don’t know that it pays to be fashionably late.

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Recommended Podcast

Here’s a podcast on gardening in hard times and why it matters to garden. Please take a listen. Thanks to Jason, the self-sufficient gardener for putting it into perspective: http://theselfsufficientgardener.com/. Episode 121. Not sure if we’re on the same page politically (I think he doesn’t give enough credit to the pull corporations have on affecting current state of affairs), but he has some good points from the gardener’s perspective. Have a listen and let me know what you think. Doing this post from my iPhone so I may have to plug in the link later. For now,please copy/paste. And, despite living in hard times, revel on!

I Got Globally Warmed

And I am not alone.

Victims (not quite casualties but close): hostas and carrots and maybe the cukes too but the latter did produce. They just slowed down during and after the wicked heatwave we had.

So I made it to The Big Easy. But my troubles are not all at an end, my friend. I don’t like what I’m hearing. I met a gardener from Oklahoma who said they’ve been without rain for about two months. Said she went away for two days and came back to find her petunias and other flowers all wilted or dead. Another friend outside Chicago put as her Facebook status that someone had murdered her cilantro (I think that same killer was on the loose in my herb garden). When I was talking to a fellow reveler in Carmel, IN a couple weeks ago, she had to stop mid-sentence because it started to rain, something they hadn’t seen in many weeks (may also have been a couple months). She and her father commented that a lot of people would be stating out their windows at that moment. All other folks, too, across the country have been telling me their global warming woes. Hope about you?

QUESTION: what’s your take on this wacky weather? Are we getting globally warmed? What does your garden have to say about it? Are you changing your approach in response? Will this change what you do next year? How so?

Go ahead … Gimme the dirt!

I Had Trouble in Getting to Big Easy

The day started out rotten.  Up at 4 a.m. (okay, well 4:30), only to miss my flight to New Orleans, despite my best efforts.  Made it all the way to JFK, raced inside like a lunatic, wheeled luggage flying behind me, only to find out I’d have to pay an additional $80 for the next flight this afternoon, couldn’t check my bags until at least after 1:00, and would have to trek it back home in the meantime to wait (which meant another $100 in cab fare to get home and back again later).  Sooooooo, while still in a spectacularly foul mood, I headed out back to check on the garden.

I had major renovations done on my house in the last six months.  I find that when I’m in a good mood I look at the changes and am pleased as punch I laid out the money for it.  When I’m grumpy, I see the tiniest nicks and chips in the new paint or corner spots where the moulding isn’t perfectly straight, or that infuriating little dribble of paint that hardened under the counter ledge in the opening between the dining room and kitchen, and think about the dollars wasted.  This morning I found the same phenomenon occurs in the garden.  I went out there and all I saw were the problems.  Although the first heirloom tomato ripened, this morning all I could see was the split at the top.  While the peach tree is producing lots of fruit despite some early season troubles, all I saw this morning were problems that I don’t remember being there a few days ago.  (In May, I sprayed it with copper fungicide but not in the amount Shannon’s recommended — I try to go easy with that stuff even thought it’s organic.  It’s still copper being sprayed on a tree that produces fruit I fully intend to eat.)

So, although I didn’t skip through the garden this morning, peppering self-congratulations, I did identify some problems that need fixing.  Of course, my mood is a little improved after getting up close and personal with the plants; that never fails.  Eternal happiness and sprightliness, however, can be a dangerous thing.  I don’t know that I would have spotted those issues if I weren’t such a grumpy gardener this morning.

I do feel like the guy in Dr. Seuss’ I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew.  He left all the pesky troubles he was having at home to get to the beautiful city of Solla Sollew (on the banks oft he beautiful River Wah-hoo, where they never have troubles, at least very few), but found that the journey wasn’t quite as easy as he had expected.  After an exhausting bout of difficulties getting to SS, he arrives to find that the city is suffering from a key-slapping slippard who moved into the door, and now no one can get in and no one can get out.  The town’s gone to pot and even the ever loyal doorman has decided to leave, off to the City of Boola Boo Ball, where they never have troubles, no troubles at all.  So, while I’d really like to kick off this vacation with a bloody mary, fixins courtesy of the garden, and chill till my flight at 3, I’ve decided to follow dude’s suggestions.

Declining the doorman’s invitation to follow him off to paradise, he tells us what he has decided to do:

…I started back home, to the Valey of Vung.  I know I’ll have troubles.  I’ll, maybe, get stung.  I’ll always have troubles.  I’ll, maybe, get bit by that green-headed Quail on the place where I sit.  But I’ve bought a big bat.  I’m all ready, you see.  Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!

Watch out ants.  I’m going to Shannon’s to buy my big bat.

Gardening Podcast Round Up – Starting with my Favorite

Yes, the only time I will write “Round Up” in this blog with any positive connotation at all. Well, to be honest, with you, not all of it positive…my apologies in advance for any harsh criticism…but I gotta give you all the dirt on this topic, and I’d be shortchanging you if I were anything but flat out, brutally honest. As always, this is all imho, and I do mean for it to be humble.

So, thanks especially to my fellow reveler Ralph, in the last couple weeks I’ve been listening avidly to various gardening podcasts. The jury’s still out on some of the others but I do think I’ve listened enough to find the one I like the most, so far at least.

My favorite, hands down, is the self-sufficient gardener, Jason Akers. He’s a guy in Kentucky (whose hardiness zone, for the most part, is the same as ours here in Brooklyn – find your own here). His podcasts vary in length but generally run about 30 minutes. He always starts with news and updates which, appropriately I think, tend to be particular to his own locality. The topics he covers range from the practical (see, e.g., peppers, strawberries, bluebirds, and composting) to the philosophical (e.g., Sun Tzu‘s The Art of War applied to gardening). Personally I think the practical ones are his strong suit but I appreciate the diversity in topics. In the ones I’ve listened to, he never comes across as arrogant or condescending, and, most importantly, really seems to get the revelry of gardening. Since I’ve been listening to so many of these, they’ve all started to run together so I have to apologize if I’m attributing something to him he didn’t say but he may have (seriously it seemed) referred to “the womenfolk” when discussing hunting and his wife preparing the food. It was weird and offensive and I’m hoping I’m wrong and he didn’t say it. He’s a young guy, at only 33 years old, but seems like he’s been gardening a long time and, again importantly, doesn’t take himself overly seriously. His website could be a little easier to navigate. The search function needs some improvement, but his podcasts make it worth the effort (and patience you need to find what you’re looking for).

Others that deserve a mention, and will get more coverage in the days ahead include the Growing Your Own Grub podcast. I’m not sure I’m getting the name right on this one (which is one of the things that keeps this from the #1 spot — I can’t tell by a quick look what the name of the blog is, who the host is, etc.) . This sounds like an older guy in Texas who tips his hat every so often to Akers, with who he agrees to disagree on several topics (e.g., raised bed vs. in ground gardening). We, the listeners, benefit when they disagree and get well-rounded coverage on the topic. Message to Akers & the GYOG guy: disagree more often — we learn from it. Another one that I’ve listened to but need more time with are Melinda Myers from my home state of Wisconsin, and Margaret Roach’s A Way to Garden. To the former, I need to listen more and get back to you. As for Margaret Roach, I’ve found a couple tidbits useful but it is presented more like a casual radio talk show, where you have to really listen to gather pointers than with some of the others that just give them to you straight-out and don’t so much bog you down with how they spend their days. I also am not getting some of the joy that I hear from other gardening blogs with Roach’s podcasts although, admittedly, I haven’t given them enough of a listen. When I do, I will definitely be updating this post.

In the meantime, let me pose this

QUESTION: do you have a favorite gardening podcast? What topics would you like to listen to covered on a podcast? Any least favorites? Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

Listening to My Garden

Wow.  Just went to my revel music garden and had a listen to my front yard.  I played the links, one right after the other and listened, just to my front yard.  That is what it sounds like.  They all have their own little, and sometimes big, voice.  Summer breeze rounding it all out at the end.  Perfect.

Listening to — I mean been reading The Secret Teachings of Plants.  I’m not influenced by that.  No, not at all.  Ha.

Call of the Wild

Hello fellow revelers,  please check out my post below on my impressions of Wildman Steve Brill’s wild edibles tour that I took in Prospect Park last month (some of the pickings remain for edification and identification purposes in my living room — my oh-so-patient partner would be rightfully impatient right about now but, luckily for me, is not).  I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from someone in another part of the country as to whether there are such tours going on elsewhere, and what you all are learning from them.  One of the things that surprised me was the sheer number of people who showed up for the tour.  What was even more surprising was that there was enough such sizable audience to support several more of the tours this summer.  Happily for all of us here in Brooklyn, there are monthly tours in Prospect Park through the end of the year (though I’m sure each is unique and worth checking out, given the movement of seasons).

So, revel friends, I am definitely looking for feedback on all things wildly edible outside the great Northeast (or even outside nyc for that matter).  Perhaps what got me thinking about this is an announcement on a podcast late last week: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/episode-702-chef-maribel-the-food-diva.  It occurs early in the podcast (fair warning – the whole podcast is rather lengthy but an entertaining listen if you’re inclined), and announces that a town in Michigan is trying to ban a resident’s vegetable garden in her front yard.  From what I can tell, she’s not growing lewd zucchinis — it’s just that there’s some ancient regulation about only permitting “suitable” gardens visible to the rest of the world.  I didn’t hear any quick follow up on today’s podcast but the link above gives a rally cry for anyone wishing to give Michigan a piece of their gardeners mind.  I’ll let you know if I place a call tomorrow.

In the don’t be meantime, please pass around my

QUESTION: for residents outside the greater NY area, are there any Wildman equivalents in your neck of the concrete woods?  How about for non-urbanites?  Are wild edibles passe for you country folk?  Or are there tours and meetups and affinity groups for all you all too?  Anyone care to share some stories of their own adventures in foraging?  We would love love love to hear a review of any other wild edibles tours going on across the country.  Go ahead: Austin, Beloit*, Chicago, Detroit, Eden Prairie, Fargo, Grand Forks (anyone tell I’ve got family in ND?), Honolulu, Independence, Janesville, Kansas City, Lexington, Madison, Niagara Falls, Orfordville (anyone tell I’m from WI?), Potters Grove**, Quakertown, Reno, Seattle***, Tupelo, Universal City, Vancouver, Wichita****, Xenia, Yellowstone, Zion … Gimme the dirt!!!

*Boston, you almost made the cut.  This was a hard one because you’re so irresistible for so many reasons, not which of least that you rhyme with Austin.  But you’re not my hometown.  Sorry, you’re just not.

**Phoenix, I thought of you too.  Pasadena, you too (and I do hope to see you someday soon).  But, Potter’s Grove … how could I resist?  It just doesn’t get the attention it deserves anymore.

***I also thought of you, St. Paul, St. Louis and San Francisco.  I just always wanted to go to Seattle so I thought I’d send her a little shout out here.  You do still have my heart, SP, SL, & SF.  And you’re just so saintly.  You’re number 1 in my book.  Just not in this list.  sorry.

****Weehawken, I love you too.  You’ve always been there for me.  And you really are very awesome, even being in New Jersey and all.  We’re just a little close, you know.  And Wichita has just been sitting out there waiting for so long now.  I knew you’d understand.

Wild Edibles – Tour Highlights

I missed a Steve Brill/wild edibles tour in Prospect Park today but will try to catch one again in August.  Like most things gardening related, I imagine it requires more than once to get the hang of it and put what you’ve learned to good use.  Just one tour, like many things the first time around, can be fun and kind of thrilling, and leave you with plenty to mull over, but it gets better the more often you do it.  The Wildman, himself, warns that you shouldn’t be putting things in your mouth you aren’t certain of and that if there’s any question, better to leave it alone.  Sound advice, imho.  (I just realized that what precedes this could be misinterpreted by a certain contingent of my readership — if that’s you, get your head out of the gutter and put your hands in the dirt).

Since I missed the tour today, I thought I might finally get around to ticking off my to-do list a post that I’ve been meaning to bring you for awhile.  It’s highlights from the last tour I went on in June.  To anyone who might be considering it, I would highly recommend the tour.  Set aside about four hours and $20.00 for it — the $20.00 is just a suggested donation anyway (although I certainly suggest donating the full amount — it’s money well spent).  In addition to spending several hours wandering through gorgeous nature, meeting several very cool people, eating some yummy wild food, and beginning to learn how to identify that yummy wild food, Steve Brill is pretty entertaining and keeps the tour interesting.   He’s a funnily curmudgeonly type, eager to make kids laugh and adults chuckle with some well-practiced lines.  (One of his jokes did go amusingly awry when, drawing the listener in with an increasingly hushed voice, he delivered the punchline in a booming voice without realizing that just behind him was a baby who quickly stole his thunder by breaking into a wail that only a seriously stressed baby can deliver).  Who wouldn’t love a man who saves the corniest of jokes to ply you with as you’re eating your way through a forest.  (Yes, pun intended — and a nod to the Wildman, since this is exactly the type of groaner you might hear on one of his tours.)

If you’re not up for the stream of one-liners that are tucked into some very useful information the Wildman dispenses on the journey, you can keep your own pace (which is another thing I appreciated about the tour, and which sets it apart from most other tours).  It’s recommended you bring a whistle in the event you get separated from the others; lacking a whistle (and being laughably bad at whistling without one), I brought a harmonica but didn’t end up needing it.  There are some helpful pointers on the website and in his book Identifying and Harvesting Edible & Medicinal Plants, that helpyou prepare for a foraging tour, including, for example, spraying your clothes with insect repellent and wearing white, which repels bees – this is why beekeepers wear white – and makes ticks more visible.  The book, and I’m sure pointers from those who have gone on a tour (see QUESTION below), also help you know what to bring and how to get the most from the tour.  I brought several plastic baggies, a few hard plastic containers, and post-it notes, a pen, a notebook, and my phone for snapping pics of the plants.  I found the hard plastic containers to be pretty useless and wish I would have saved the space.  I did end up using the plastic baggies (I should have brought many more, since I ended up having to store several different plants together and if the post it at the base of them came loose, I didn’t know chickory weed from jewel weed).

The tour is popular.  I shared it with about thirty other people, ranging in age from 6 months up, representing what appeared to be a broad cross-section of Brooklyn’s population.  There were couples, a few single individuals, and a family or two.  The group gathered for a sign-in that took about twenty minutes (a long time, I know, but it involved Wildman doing a roll call, having people sign waivers, and offering for sale and/or autograph his own impressive collection of books that he’s authored and which he, equally impressively, has illustrated).  He is a self-taught both as a botanist and artist, which is especially encouraging since it can seem impossible at the outset to ever be able to master the task of distinguishing an edible plant from a deadly one.  Although he is quick to caution the eager tourists, he nonetheless makes it seem a reachable goal to sustain yourself, if need be, on a diet of wild edibles.  He also offers quick advice on how to prepare each plant he covers, some of which I’m sure are in his cookbook (which I don’t have but someday may, once I’m able to tell the difference between a chickory weed and jewel weed without to the book, and the app (“Wild Edibles”), with its “important disclaimer” that I’m pretty sure I can guess what it says, or the pack of Wild Edible cards that I picked up in the shameless promotion start of the tour (disclaimer – Wildman did say that someone else made the cards).

In addition to the specific plants we reviewed, I picked up a few tidbits that are generally good to know.  In this category:

1.  Birds are flying dinosaurs – berries are brightly colored so birds can find them and help themselves.

2.  Just about all plants have some level of toxin in them.  That toxicity is to ward off predators.  To humans, it’s only dangerous if we eat it in massive quantities that no one ever would.

3.  It’s wise to cook all mushrooms – wild, raw, or not.

Some of the plant varieties we plucked, tasted, and took home include (disclaimer – the links that follow are not from Wildman, except for the one on chickweed, but are included to show some additional sources of info on the topic): quickweed, hedgemustard, mugwort, wild cherry tree, wood sorrel, honewort/wild chervil, chickweed, … more to come …

 

QUESTION: have you ever eaten anything in the “wild” and gotten sick?  What was it?  How old were you, and did you learn your lesson?  Or do you still pop random weeds when you think no one is looking?  Go ahead .. gimme the dirt!

Everything’s a Blur

After my brief abduction by alien mushroom plant invaders last week, I’ve had quite a bit of catching up to do on household chores and other mundane duties. Although my weekends are typically waaaaay more exciting, Saturday was dedicated to laundry. On my way to pick up more clothespins from Walgreen’s, I ran into a friend in front of her usual spot on Church Avenue. A couple other regulars were gathered there to smoke and look at the day. This person and I hadn’t been in touch lately, mostly just exchanging messages on her medical condition. In one of those exchanges, she shared a bit of meaningless gossip about a mutual friend. She brought it up again Saturday and, to punctuate her point, said, “You shoulda seen the look on your face when I told you that.” I pointed out that we had been on the phone. The truth is that, were it nearly anyone else, I could have replaced “the phone” with “Facebook,” “texting,” “tweeting,” “online,” “emailing,” “messaging,” or fill in the blank with any other sort of cybermunication. The truth is also that nearly anyone else would not have been hanging on the corner having this inane conversation or patronizing the bar behind us for that matter – it’s become a bit of blight in my otherwise pretty cool hood. My friend, like the other regular clientele (and I mean the truly “regular” customers – not those who go to gawk at them), are largely technilliterate. Although it was a welcoming place when I first moved into the neighborhood, it’s known for mistreating its customers and hosting violence. It’s a blue-collar bar where the running joke, surely inspired by the age of its patrons and the attendant physical conditions of the most regular of regulars, used to do with a stool at the end of the bar that they called the dead man’s seat since anyone who sits there dies. And it’s true: anyone who sits there dies. Don’t ask me how I know this stuff. It’s my neighborhood, and I’ve been here awhile.

Back to the blurring … it’s 3:33 a.m. here, and I’ve woken up after my first online dream ever. I try to take note when I dream of someone for the first time after meeting them. It says to me I’ve incorporated something about that person or the relationship, that it’s become part of my consciousness. I can’t quite explain what I mean that this dream was “online,” or even relay the plot to the extent there was any. The dream, simply, somehow concerned itself with online existence. There was nothing fantastical or otherworldly about the dream. It was everyday ho-hum, regular old doing online stuff, but I was existing inside it .. inside “online.” It was not just passive (which is, why, I think it felt different than the few tv dreams I can remember – one, for example, I had when I was about 15 years old and in it I was in a sitcom that was popular at the time). But my activity in the dream was not particularly active either. It wasn’t like I was racing through a cyberworld as on the kids’ show Cyberchase where they have to get the bad guy before he takes over cyberspace. It wasn’t even particular to this blog. I was online, and I seemed to have no existence apart from what I was doing online.

This is, without question, a transitional time. I may have mentioned (or not) that I’m an unlikely blogger. In college, I was the last of my friends to use a computer. (That was, obviously, in an era where there was even a choice). I check the mailbox that hangs next to my front door every day, and every day there is something there I should look at. I have a checkbook, and I use it. I believe in cash, and I use it. I like the feel of a book in my hands, and most pages I view online overwhelm me. But all of that is slowly beginning to change, against my will or not. I worry about my credit card bill getting stolen from my mail. I find there’s not much use for a checkbook anymore except to pay bills or make donations; I don’t remember the last time I stood in a checkout line and wrote out a check (although I have done that in my life and I believe those of us who can say that are dwindling in number). The convenience of someone else keeping track of how I spend my money and spitting back reports of it (a la mint.com) is a temptress who may seduce me soon. As for the almighty book, my Kindle sits in my inbox (physical inbox – I do still have one of those) waiting to be fired up. And as to my self-imposed segregation from cyberspace, as of two months ago, I write a daily blog, am training my eyes to not swirl from the advertisements on every page I view online, and, for the last three years, my work has required at least nine hours a day nearly without interruption in front of a computer. And now I’m dreaming online. My suspicion is any resistance is a hopeless cause; I should probably just float on in with all the other folks. Modern irony: if there’s some cybertastrophe that destroys all that is the internet, those folks in front of the local bar who now seem to be lagging may come out smelling like roses.

I also suspect that my avid gardening this year may have metastasized from my fear of the other side. If there is an opposite of “online” it’s not offline; it’s under the line, in the ground. Although you can bring all the gadgets and advancements you want to gardening, it is at its core setting hands to earth. It’s a perfect antidote to the nine+ hours my fingers spend clacking at the plastic keyboard. I think I’m not alone in this drive to ward off media overload with my gardening. It seems everyone is doing it these days. Then again, gardening is probably no more a reaction to the fast paced internet-dominated world we live in than is any other “back to the land” trend like slow food, home brewing, the DIY craze, or any other such hippy hobby that’s seen a resurgence in popularity lately. Evidence? Just check out all the blogging on that stuff.

That’s it. I’m going back to bed. As for you?

QUESTION: do you remember your dreams? what’s the last one you had? have you ever had a cyberdream? do you have any garden dreams? is your gardening an effort to get off the keyboard and back to the land? is it to figure out how to live off the earth in the event of a cybertastrophe? Go ahead .. gimme the dirt.