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Author: woodymw Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 31113  
Subject: On seasons Date: 5/15/2011 10:43 PM
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Confession: spring has never been my favorite season.

In the Ozark foothills I grew up in, winters are short and mild … and summers are long, hot, and humid. Spring is that short period of time when the dogwoods bloom. But the season is really so short, and the weather goes from comfortable to not so comfortable very very quickly. Spring means ticks and snakes and poison ivy, which meant to the younger woodymw that playing in the woods was over for awhile.

So I relished the fall – I like the cool weather, and I like the Arkansas winters. I went on a backpacking trip one year on the week before Christmas and had several days with highs in the 60s.

On a different – but, as we shall see, related – note, from the time I moved out of my parents house for college until this year, I lived in apartments. The reality is that apartment living is by far the most economical and, to a degree, even possible, for a 20 something kid trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. Of course, you give up things to live in an apartment. Yards, for example. Really nice outdoor cooking setups. Gardens.

Tomatoes you grow yourself.

During that time I lived in apartments, something changed in me. I didn’t feel it happening. I didn’t know it was happening. But it was happening. I was losing touch with the earth. Seasons came and went, and every year I noticed the passing less and less. Seasons matter; they are part of what makes life on this planet possible, or at least tolerable. But I reached a point where the season only mattered to the extent that I needed to know what kind of clothes to wear when I left the house.

My family is a gardening family. My father’s parents grew two big vegetable gardens – we called them Memaw’s garden and Pawpaw’s garden, though that was just a child’s construct. My mom’s parents are hardcore gardeners – vegetables, ornamentals, flowers … everything. My grandfather can barely move, but he puts in a huge garden every year. My mom and dad put fifty (50!) tomato plants in the ground last year. Those old people understand seasons. They don’t have to look up when the last frost will come – they pretty much know. They don’t have to think about what plant will grow where – they pretty much know. They never did lose touch with the land.

And they get to eat tomatoes that they grow themselves. Every year. To excess.

My journey back to awareness of the rhythm of the earth began when I moved from those Ozark foothills to the New York metro area. Seasons here behave differently. Summers are milder, with only a short window of basically intolerable humidity and heat. Winters are more severe, though that’s not what surprised me – it was the length. Yikes, it is hard to run old man winter out of the northeast.

And spring … spring is glorious. I do believe it lasts longer, but after that never-ending winter even a two-week respite would be fantastic. And though it takes forever to get here, spring sticks around a bit longer … leading to a summer that, to be blunt, doesn’t suck.

Then, last summer, I bought a house. My wife and I bought a house with a big yard, and I immediately started dreaming about a tomato that I grew myself.

Of course, all seasons aren’t spring. I’d never shoveled snow in my life until this winter – and then this area had a record January for snowfall. I had to deal with an old house and everything that goes with it … no air conditioning in the summer, and drafty windows in the winter. But I kept dreaming of those tomatoes. And I started my seeds about 8 weeks ago. And I put the plants in the ground last weekend.

Turns out? All of those things you give up by living in apartments are things that are important to me. And when I lost them, I lost something of me. I lost that connection to my roots – the closer generations like my grandparents, yes … but also my distant ancestors. Those that cooked over fire and ate what they planted. And knew when spring was going to come.

I’ve got 12 tomato plants in the ground, along with some peppers and some squash and a pumpkin plant. If all of that “makes” I’ll wind up giving tomatoes away.

I hope I have to give tomatoes away.

Not to get all awkward and corny, but getting my hands in that dirt … smelling that distinctive tomato plant smell … watching those first sprouts come up … those things all together were almost spiritual. I’m in touch with what the weather is doing like I haven’t been in years. I’m thinking in terms of growing cycles and seasonal rhythms. I’m getting back in touch with the earth, and it’s a pretty great thing. I missed it.

And now I know why people like spring so much.

Happy gardening.

Matthew
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Author: Donna405 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29413 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/15/2011 11:44 PM
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Matthew, like you, I grew up with a "Victory Garden", although it was in the late '40's and 50's. Our house sat on 4 lots, one lot being the veggie garden, one lot being the berry vines, 1/2 lot being the apple and plum trees, and 1-1/2 lots being where the house and the ornamental garden was.

When my former husband and I moved into our own home, the first thing we did was divide the back yard into 1/3rds. 1/3 was the veggie garden, 1/3 the dog area and 1/3 the back yard for entertaining. What a great pleasure he and my late father in law had tilling and planting that garden, which included peanuts, okra, tomatoes, pole beans and squash.

Now, I have a condo with a 15' x 23' back yard. I have ornamentals as well as my beloved tomato plants. Yes, I love the smell of the leaves of the plants, which bring back wonderful memories. Alas, due to my traveling so much this summer, I only planted 4 tomato plants, but hopefully, they will produce many, many tomatoes. Oh, I do plan on "plucking" some of the suckers off the tomato plants and planting them also. As a note, the suckers produce faster than the mother plant.

Good luck on your garden. My heart is with you.

Donna

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Author: Trini209 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29414 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 5:48 AM
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Donna, would you please tell us how you propagate tomato plants using the suckers? I never heard of doing this!

Trini

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Author: Jeanwa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29416 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 9:33 AM
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Here's a link.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/trebor57.html

Jean

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Author: tdbowz One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29421 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 3:44 PM
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Here's a link.

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/trebor57.html

Jean


I'm wondering if this will work on hybrids as well as heirlooms.
Anyone know?

Tom

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Author: Jeanwa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29422 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 4:28 PM
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Since it's vegatative propagation it works for both.


Jean

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Author: TMFOrangeblood Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29423 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 4:53 PM
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If I can add something only slightly off-topic to Matthew's outstanding post: You can take all the joy and re-awakening he expressed, the deep satisfaction of getting back in touch with your recent and long-distant ancestors, the great sense of knowing what's right and important in this world -- and double it by adding hunting and fishing to your life.

It's incredible how much you'll be in touch with the seasons when gathering the non-vegetable types of food. Stalking fish and game forces you to learn what they eat and when their food is in season, etc.

I'll add you can just about triple all this appreciation of the seasons and understanding how our ancestors lived by becoming an amateur astronomer, but now I'm veering completely astray. :)

Rex

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Author: woodymw Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29424 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 5:30 PM
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I'll add you can just about triple all this appreciation of the seasons and understanding how our ancestors lived by becoming an amateur astronomer, but now I'm veering completely astray. :)


This concept has been part of my re-introduction, as it were, to the world. As part of my commute, I occasionally will get a series of lectures to listen to in the car ... and I did a basic astronomy lecture once that really opened my eyes. I've been blown away by how many of our ancient holiday traditions are dictated by seasons and stars ... some of these are obvious, but some are what I always considered "throwaway" holidays:

Christmas - Winter Solstice
Groundhog Day - Quarter Quarter point (roughly 45 days between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox)
Easter - Spring Equinox
May Day - Quarter Quarter point (between Spring Equinox & Summer Solstice)
Halloween - Quarter Quarter point (between Autumnal Equinox & Winter Solstice)

I know I'm missing a ton - there are, of course, the standard harvest festivals and summer celebrations - but it is amazing how much of our modern yearly structure is driven by ancient celebrations of seasonal and astronomical events. In particular, I've got a ton more respect for Groundhog Day, May Day, and Halloween now.

Oh, and, my gardening family was also a hunting and fishing family - so I completely agree with you there, as well. Knowing when to expect the annual crappie spawn is an art...

Matthew

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Author: Donna405 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29426 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 7:57 PM
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Trini, I just cut off the suckers and place them in water. They root!!!

Donna (good luck)

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Author: Donna405 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29427 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 7:59 PM
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The most beautiful time in the morning is 4:30 - 5:30 AM, sitting in a fishing boat in a swampy area, listening to the birds and watching the egrets in our southern swampy lakes, as you fish for bass or brim.

Donna (that's the only reason I will get up at such an ungodly hour.)

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Author: warbac Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29429 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/16/2011 8:44 PM
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Welcome back!

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Author: AlsoChorizo Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 29434 of 31113
Subject: Re: On seasons Date: 5/17/2011 9:34 AM
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Christmas - Winter Solstice
Groundhog Day - Quarter Quarter point (roughly 45 days between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox)
Easter - Spring Equinox
May Day - Quarter Quarter point (between Spring Equinox & Summer Solstice)
Halloween - Quarter Quarter point (between Autumnal Equinox & Winter Solstice)


Actually, you didn't miss too many. These are the Wiccan/Pagan Holidays (or Sabbats)...

Samhian (Halloween)
Yule (Christmas)
Imbolic (Groundhog Day)
Ostara (Easter)
Beltane (May Day)
Litha (Summer Solstice)
Lughnasadh (First Harvest)
Mabon (Second Harvest or Autumn)

The Wheel of the Year has been around a long time.

AC *makes sense when you think about it*

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