Meditations with Summer Tomatoes

Since we first started an annual summer vegetable garden in 2016, I’ve experienced the deep healing that can occur from its creation, care and harvest. Last year I discovered that I really enjoy the task of tomato tying. Sometimes, maybe you can relate, my mind will get tangled up with worries. It never fails that when I go outside to tie the growing tomatoes to their stakes that I immediately relax and let go of it all. It’s a very simple task where I can show my appreciation for the plants and God. They leave a relaxing scent on my hands, too. I’m able to temporarily transcend my temporal concerns and feel connected to the real world of earth, sun and sustenance. It’s these “small” tasks that feed us.

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Coastal Maine is in Bloom!

So many Rhododendrons are in bloom, along with lilacs and not-known-to me flowers. Sunday morning we drove down to St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk where chipmunks run freely and the scent of flowers is in the air. After our walk we were approached by a lady who gave us little works of original art!

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Our Two Acre Homestead is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat!

I’m thrilled to report that our land is now registered and certified by the National Wildlife Foundation as a wildlife habitat! Many of you know how hard I’ve worked over the past few years to embrace a natural lawn without the use of herbicides. I’ve fought to protect our vernal pool from abutting disturbances, turned down an offer from a local real estate broker who wanted to buy some of our land, and had our vernal pool documented by the Maine DEP to prevent improper development in the future once I’m no longer here to protect it. We also have a stream, woods, owls, fern garden, and lots of wildlife! Chipmunks, squirrels, peepers, voles, deer, wild turkeys and many other different species of birds live amongst us. We have all of the five essential elements needed to become certified, and one of them is controlling invasive species which includes keeping cats indoors if you have them. You don’t need to have a large backyard or acreage to become certified!

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PSA: Outdoor Cats Are NOT a Natural Part of the “Circle of Life”!

Hello everyone! I have been very busy with good things but needed to post this immediately. I hope you will consider what I’m sharing if you have outdoor cats. I know that I may be vilified for speaking my mind about this, I have been in the past when I shared on social media amongst “friends” who found it amusing that their cats were bringing them dead birds and chipmunks, but catering to the opinions of others when it goes against what I believe to be a moral issue isn’t something I’m good at, thankfully!

An Instagram “influencer” with a large following just shared that she is going to be adopting “barn cats” for “rodent control”. I left the following comment: “Very disappointed to see you promoting cats as ‘rodent control’. Please educate yourself about the impact of outdoor cats on wildlife. Cats are also not part of the natural ‘circle of life’, they are actually invasive and kill literally billions of birds every year!”

Even a shelter where I have adopted from here in Maine is advertising some of their cats as great “working cats” for rodent control. Yes I did call them to share my opinion. What about all the rest of wildlife? And why do rodents minding their own business in their natural habitat need to be “controlled” via killing?

A 2013 study estimated “free-ranging domestic cats kill between 1.3 and 4 billion birds – on top of between 6.2 and 22.3 billion mammals – every year in the United States alone, the majority by feral or unowned cats.” You can read more here. The Humane Society has an article on how to bring outside cats indoors. Another option is to buy or build an enclosed outdoor “catio.”

Update: Said influencer deleted my good faith comment and my account has been blocked by this “good vibes” influencer.

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I Choose Kindness Over Suburban Cosmetics

I want to help save the bees and also save my conscience. As I’ve written in the past we stopped paying for “lawn care” companies to come and spray toxins on our grass. The financial savings is nice but saving the bees from being poisoned is our priority. Wayne comes from a lifetime of striving for golf-course like grass. He didn’t like when a chipmunk left some dirt from digging a burrow. Now he loves them as if they are our own children and he loves the bees. We NEED BEES. So we’ve had to make some personal attitude shifts and changes, and it’s ongoing.

I learned last spring during the pandemic that I actually enjoy weeding dandelions. It’s meditative and excellent exercise. In the past few weeks I believe I may have uprooted over two hundred in our front yard. We love clover and that stays. But there is a new weed that has begun to join the fray and I know that I will have to make my peace with it.

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Enjoying the Best from 2020

I know I said my little series about how I decided to go to college in New England and not New York would be coming up next, but I’ve decided to make it “soon”. I like to intersperse my more essay-oriented posts with snippets of joy and photos.

Tonight we’re having the last batch of the heirloom sauce I made from the tomatoes in our garden. If you’re interested I posted the recipe here. There is (almost) NOTHING better than homegrown tomatoes. I honestly can taste all of the sweet memories of last summer and early fall. When your food is picked fresh it also still has much of the life force within it. If that sounds kooky just try some and I bet you’ll experience what I mean. Plus they’re loaded with love!

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How I Overcame My Fear of Writing Publicly about PTSD

Part three of my previous post, How Being Pissed Off Saved My Life & Career:

How I Overcame My Fear Of Writing About PTSD

When I first went public with my PTSD in 2016 on my old blog it was one of the most freeing things I had ever done! The responses I received exceeded my expectations. More importantly some confided in me that they, too, suffered from PTSD nightmares like I have. What led up to my sharing it was the realization that it wasn’t a shameful secret and that acknowledging I have PTSD isn’t an admission of weakness of character! For some of us it’s a big part of our lives and not because we are weak or wish to define ourselves by our problems.

Yet, over time, despite wanting to write more about it here I haven’t, for the following reasons I told myself:

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