Tracing the Threads

Small things can turn out to be momentously important, their role in shaping your life visible only with hindsight. Enormous changes evolve from moment to moment, and are so often built of little things.

‘Tara’s Honour’ (published by www.whiskeycreekpress.com) is the only murder mystery I’ve ever written. It’s also high fantasy, so doesn’t totally conform to mystery norms. I set it in a forest of my creating – also used in ‘The Girl Who Fell’, ‘Illyan Daughter’, and ‘Strange Fruit’ (same publisher) and ‘Servant of the Forest’ (www.loveyoudivine.com). ‘Tara’s Honour’ holds a special place in my heart though. I was given a new artist for that one, I sent in the form and a rough sketch I’d done trying to convey what I wanted. He emailed me, and we talked about the setting.

“What kind of trees are they?” he asked. “Is there anything special about them?”

To most people, trees are just background. I fell in love with Tom just a bit, right then, because he asked that. There were photos taken of me draped off a bunk bed, to try and get the pose right. I had the first sketch, and it was perfect, and so lovely. I’m still not sure what went wrong – but I ended up with someone else, and something else entirely on my cover.

However, from the cover that never was, came a conversation. I invited him to my egroup, and at the time I was serialising an unpublished book of mine there – ‘Breathing in a Stone House’. It caught his imagination. He responded in kind, posting artwork, with which I was rapidly smitten. We fell in love with each other’s creativity first.

Six and a half years ago, I wrote a story that was to change my life. I’d written another important one before it, with no inkling that my first serious attempt at a novel would win my soul mate’s heart for me. There were some surprising coincidences along the way, moments of serendipity and good fortune that kept us in touch when we might have drifted apart. Someone has been watching over us, I think.

You never know which things will turn out to be all important. The people whose one action or comment will change your life. The small choices that turn out to inform everything. Left at this junction, or right? People live, die, fail and succeed often thanks to such small things. A second’s hesitation crossing the road. Ordering the fish rather than the chicken. You never know what is going to make all the difference.

I think the only response is to treat all those little choices and apparently ‘small’ moments as being as important as more apparently significant things. Things done casually and carelessly can come back to haunt you. If everything you do is a conscious expression of who you are, then where you go grows naturally from that. It might not be what you wanted from life, but at least you’ve shaped it, and will be to your advantage. Who we are is made up of all the little moments, the small choices. When amazing things, and people appear to fall into my lap, I can often trace the threads of connection back to things I have done, or said. Most of the good in my life has come as a consequence of things I have done. I’m proud of that, and very proud indeed of the two stories that, between them, won me the attention of Tom Brown.

Using Worm-casts and Juice

Worm-casts are incredibly good soil. I use them as part of the seed and potting compost I make up each year.

My seed-compost mix is …

  • 1 part worm-casts
  • 1part leaf mould
  • 1 part horticultural sand
  • 3-4 parts mole-hill earth: this is the very best topsoil, after it has been through the mole and tipped out in his little, annoying, hillock on the lawn. I go round with a bucket and collect them, store them in the potting shed for the spring seed work.

As well as worm-casts – the solid compost produced by the worms which is superb soil-conditioning as well as good for making seed and potting compost – the worms give you a regular supply of juice. Dilute this 1/10, one part juice to ten parts water, for an excellent feed.

writer artist gardener shaman
Wye’s Woman Rainbow Warrior
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Using Bokashi

Like the wormery, it also produces a juice that can be diluted and watered onto the plants and soil and, again, you dilute this 1/10 for a good feed.

The solid matter is processed differently to worm-casts. The first part, in the bin, of the bokashi process is anaerobic but the second part is aerobic. After two weeks you can either put the solid matter into your compost system or dig it directly into the ground.

It makes an excellent addition to the compost, setting off the activity again and heating things up. The resulting compost benefits greatly from the addition of bokashi.

If you want to use it directly in the garden – we do that a lot each spring here – then you …

  • dig a trench, a spit deep – that’s the depth of your spade, usually about a foot deep
  • put a layer of the bokashi into the trench and backfill with the soil
  • leave for two to three weeks before planting: during this holding time we also water with bokashi juice three times.
  • The resulting veg bed is very well fed and consequently crops very well.

writer artist gardener shaman
Wye’s Woman Rainbow Warrior
__________________________________________

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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Numerology

Using Cow-Pat-Pit in the garden

As i said last time, you can use this preparation in your compost heap, as a starter, and directly on the garden.

As a Compost Starter

To use in the heap, as compost starter, take about an ounce of it and sprinkle it on the top of the heap after each layer of compost material you add. Because it’s been mixed with the cow manure and the basalt it works quickly into the heap, making it brew quickly and well.

As a Garden Booster

NB – It doesn’t work instead of making compost but it does give the garden a big boost. You still need to make compost, the soil needs the physical humus and nourishment compost provides as well as all the goodness from the BD preps. However Cow-Pat-Pit adds extra oomph to what you’re already giving by using the preps on the garden in the ordinary way.

You need …

  • · 100gm cow-pat-pit
  • For the average town garden use the same bucket ½  full of warm water. Use rain water if you can or, if it has to be tap water, then leave overnight before use to allow the fluoride and other chemicals in the tap water to evaporate
  • · The trusty stirring stick
  • · Sprayer or paintbrush
  • · Clock
  • Stir for 20 minutes first in one direction and then the other, making a vortex, as you do for 500 and 501.
  • Flick the mixture onto your garden with the brush you use for the 500.

Method

NB – You can buy cow-pat-pit already made up from your Biodynamic association, see BD Resources page for a listing.

You can add 500 to it but this means stirring for an hour rather than the 20 minutes – your choice, it’s quite OK to do 500 + Cow-Pat-Pit all in one go.

Cow pat pit is used at any time – although preferably on a root day – to improve soil fertility. Some people spray it on three consecutive days before planting. We do three consecutive spraying on the same afternoon. This mean an hour of stirring, broken into three portions, and a bit longer with the spraying as you go round the same area three times. We find it works well and begin to notice the effects within a couple of days of doing the stirring. We apply it to all beds, flowers and woodland as well as veg and fruit, and to the lawn.

Seed Baths

You can also use cow-pat-pit as a seed bath and for newly transplanted young plants. It activates the soil, encouraging better soil structure and breakdown of organic and inorganic substances.

Basalt & Minerals …

You’ll see you use basalt again in this prep as for the tree paste. Basalt is a volcanic rock with particular properties, it’s worth Googling to find out more about it.

Like so many things, we don’t know why tiny amounts of minerals are so necessary to good plant growth and health. With the “bigger is better” concepts prevalent since WWII the idea of infinitesimal amounts of something making a difference may be harder to understand, but these tiny amounts of minerals do make a big difference. Nature works with them by herself, in the wild. They are equally effective used by us in our gardening, especially in vegetable gardening as we take the plants from the soil or cut them right back in order to eat them. Consequently they don’t die down and give the nourishment back to the soil as they would more often in the wild – even grazing animals don’t pull up the grass, except for starving hippos who certainly do wreck their environment when they and it get out of balance!

But the minerals in basalt seem to have an a very strong and beneficial effect on the soil, and are extremely useful to gardeners. Combined with the cow dung, eggshells and the compost preps they make a potent mix, well worth using … and making if you have the time, space and energy.

It doesn’t work instead of making compost but it does give the garden a big boost. It’s very useful for the times when you’ve not been able to work with the Calendar but we use it here a couple of times a year just to help everything along. We see a difference within a couple of days!

You still need to make compost, the soil needs the physical humus and nourishment it provides as well as all the goodness from the BD preps, however the Cow-Pat-Pit prep adds extra oomph to the oomph you’re already giving by using the preps on the garden in the ordinary way.

writer artist gardener shaman
Wye’s Woman Rainbow Warrior
__________________________________________

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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Numerology

Late Summer in the Garden

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As always, there are never enough hours in the day!

The garden is looking very full of itself and blousy, vegetables falling over the place, flowers reaching for the heavens and sprawling about. In the flower garden, I designed the colour for this time of year to be fiery reds and yellows, splashed with purples and blues and orange as well. We’re sort of getting there.

The runner beans, after having sat in the soil and sulked for weeks – really weeks! – are coming on strong. Haven’t worked out why that was, the weather wasn’t particularly awful and I didn’t over-water them. Some of the same seeds I shared with my neighbour, about 100 yards away, took off and grew like nobody’s business. The French beans in the same bed on the other end of the poles are going great guns, so much so that I’ve got to pick and cook some up in tomato sauce to freeze. I like doing them in tomato sauce as frozen beans straight are a bit tasteless.

The nasturtiums are flowering now – they sulked too! – and the cabbage white butterflies are enjoying them … and not making too much of a mess of my cabbages, broccoli, sprouting, caulis etc.

There is still so much to do. I must get to weeding and sorting the flower garden properly but that’s probably an autumn job. It still looks lovely but I sometimes feel a machete would be useful to get into parts of it.

I sowed some late peas and beetroot last week and both are already coming up strong, should be a nice harvest before the frosts. And I’ll be planting some more lettuce and greens this afternoon – it’s a leaf day, right at the end of our planting time for this month. Shall go for it.

The weather has been very dry … despite heavy rain every so often. When you get your fingers into the soil you find the moisture has only gone down an inch or three. We put loads of muck and compost on the veg garden every year, less on the flower garden as we only have so much, and the difference is noticeable. The more muck has gone in the more the soil holds water. The flowers suffer but the toughest, those that really like growing here, do their stuff.

That’s really the point of “low-maintenance gardening”. You need to find what likes growing in your soil and go for that. If you try difficult things, i.e. things that are to so happy in your soil, you’ll have continuous problems and work. There are things I would like to do but I really can’t because I don’t have time or energy to take care of them properly, so I visit other gardens where they do grow well and am green with envy! If I had unlimited funds and an army of gardeners I would be tempted … perhaps, from the Planet’s point of view, it’s a good job I’m poor and there’s only me-n-him J. Growing stuff where it doesn’t grow naturally messes up so much of the environment – like growing lawns and golf courses in the desert !!!

Must stop … gotta rush off and do things in the garden again …

 

writer artist gardener shaman
Wye’s Woman Rainbow Warrior
__________________________________________

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Celtic shaman – Elen Sentier Numerology