Waking Up

Waking up this morning, I smile.

Twenty-four brand-new hours are before me.

I vow to live fully each moment

and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.

by Thick Nhat Hanh

Horses see the world with compassion


Lovely “Loving Yourself” Workshop

Monday evening was a good time to be outside – the temperature was warm but not humid. We gathered in the shade of the gazebo, the freshly cut lawn underfoot, sitting by the cherry and the apple trees, overlooking the horses’ pasture and the perennial gardens. The bees drowsed in the asters and Shanti my calico cat dropped by as well.

We started our workshop with a brief meditation on our breath, feeling the earth beneath our feet and realizing that our breath is always with us.

We then discussed the facets of ourselves that we need to pay attention to – our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects. We talked about how we could care for these aspects of ourselves, how to make the time, save the energy for ourselves and accept ourselves just as we are now.

The harvest moon rose and outdid the sunset, I haven’t been able to command the sunset to perform – and tonight the harvest moon was warm and full and luminous. Thank you.


Birdsong and Haying

I am savouring the morning concert of the birds with a solo performance by the ruby-throated hummingbird at his feeder. The solo is more acrobatic than acoustic; accompanied by the whirr of his wings. The solo stands out nicely from the other birdsong which is melodic and liquid. I try to pick out the different calls of the robin, the crow, the phoebe, and the mourning doves,  This concert is in honour of the morning and I am celebrating our getting in the hay for the year.

This spring was cool and very wet delaying the growth of new grass in our pasture, so we fed hay longer than usual and used up all our reserves of hay. We’ve had so much rain this summer that the farmers could not harvest the hay.

This past weekend was one of the few where there were enough dry days in a row to cut, dry and bale the hay. So Bill and I along with our neighbors put in more than 300 bales; 100 for them, 200 for us. We owe them some labour. I am so thankful for their assistance, without it we would still be working on getting in the hay. I find the work itself so satisfying, since it proves that we are again strong and fit enough  to pick up, carry and stack all this hay. It shows that the body can still stretch and throw and sweat and replenish itself, a wonderful tool.

Waterbreak during haying

 It is a way of marking the season, we can relax now that our horses’ feed for the winter is in. I think I need to start planning a summer BBQ for all our neighbours to keep those ties deep and strong.

Gardening Meditation

It’s been 29 days, and still it hurts.  My days are much lighter now, I see the beauty in many things. My wild roses are budding, and this evening, I finished weeding, pruning,  removing exuberant coneflowers, and  mulching my 4th major perennial bed in my backyard.

I’ve been working on growing and adding to my perennial gardens for the past 15 years. I’ve tried to use plants that are native to this area, as well as plants that are drought-tolerant, because  I don’t want to spend my summer watering and babying plants along. It has worked very well, as long as I enjoy Comfrey, Coneflowers, and Goldenrod.

I do, of course, but sometimes I long for Lupins or Cardinal flowers.  They usually get out competed by the Coneflowers.

Luna, my 14 month old lab mix, got hit by a train on May 5th. 29 days doesn’t seem very long time – one fourteenth of a lifetime.image

The Siren Song of Spring

Overhead the Canadian geese are chatting amongst themselves, as they move in with the warmer weather. Happily, there are a lot of options nearby for them to land and feed in. Their chatting voices are by necessity rather loud since they need to be heard above the sound of the rushing wind, and since their v – shaped flying patterns keep them spaced very widely apart. I wouldn’t think there are very many intimate conversations going on, just stories about how grandpa used to love this place or how that place dried up like a desert last year, and instructions to the young ones to note that particular landmark. I rejoice in their sound since it means that at least one other species thinks that the weather is going to get warmer.

Another sound of spring that cheers me is the pervasive sound of water trickling under the bottom of a plate of ice, of water whooshing through our downspouts, and rising in the ditches. It means that our blanket of 2 or 3 feet of snow is slowly, reluctantly, giving way to the sunshine. It is replenishing the aquifer gradually that flows beneath my farm, because we live in the country, and because this year it is melting slowly enough to be absorbed into the ground.

I realize that the majority of you who live in cities probably miss a lot of these water sounds. So much of the ground is “developed” and paved over that the spring runoff goes directly to storm water collection systems. It is a rather recent development that water in the cities gets hidden away quickly underground in man-made structures.

I remember as a kid walking to school crossing a little bridge that spanned a creek that snaked around our area. I was fascinated by the water, which only flowed quickly in the spring. Sometimes there would be a broken bicycle pushed up against a rock or a rainbow of colours where someone dumped a questionable mix of chemicals into the creek. I guess we thought that the water could flush anything away without being affected. Now when I go back to that neighbourhood, the water is safely hidden away. I hope that this will protect the quality of the water, but I doubt it. Most Canadian municipalities cannot fund upgrades and improvements to their waste water systems. See this article entitled Look Before you Leak in the ezine Water Canada.

Whoops, this is supposed to be an uplifting post about spring. Sorry, did I mention the new sounds of birds?…


Generating our own Solar Power

We have installed Solar Panels on our barn roof that could generate up to 10 kW per year in electricity. We feed this electricity back into the Ontario Power grid and get paid a guaranteed rate per KW/hr for twenty years. This is a great investment for the future, and I am pleased that the Ontario government supports renewable energy.

The panels were installed and running in December, 2012. Unfortunately January and February were very cloudy months, and the panels were often covered in a thick blanket of snow. But now it’s April, we’ve made it into Spring and the sun is now here and the panels are quietly generating lots of energy.

Drink up Ontario – I am glad I can now contribute power to the grid.  Every little thing we do counts to making this world a more sustainable place.