Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a little help from my friends

the raingarden- going crazy with all the moisture

I was planning to rant this week- venting my continuing frustration over all of the things wrong in the world right now- economically, ecologically, politically- and of all the little problems in my own life that I'm not able to solve- in particular the community garden's problems with MnDOT.

But at least that problem seems to be solved at the moment. 

Pat, a long-time acquaintance, writer of books, and editor of several small local newspapers is (to my surprise) also a regular reader of this blog. She took it upon herself to write Jon Tevlin, columnist for the Star Tribune and explain what was going on with the community garden and ask if he could help.

He then took it upon himself to look into the matter and make a few calls to people at MnDOT and ask what what was going on.  Somehow (funny how that works) the call from a columnist from the city's largest newspaper was more effective than our pleas, or even those of the city public works department.

The article he wrote can be seen here.  Like all newspapers, they have to make money, so if you've already read 20 of their articles this month, you're out of luck until June.  I'd summarize the article by calling it a very very positive, pro-garden article, with a happy ending and even a bit funny.  I deny ever asking anyone 'why they hate vegetables' by the way.  Those were his words.

It seems to have done the job.  As of yesterday afternoon, the word from the former deniers of permits was that the department of transportation was now going to allow the garden, with some unspecified "conditions".  I suppose conditions are better than not having a community garden at all.  But I still wonder what sort of conditions they'll be.

Also in good news, I plan to get together with fellow gardening and peak-resource blogger Andy over at Autonomy Acres soon to pick up some fig cuttings he just got in, and hopefully give him some cuttings from my yard in return.

My black currant cuttings I had been rooting at the edge of the rain garden for the last year went to Hunter Duncan of Off the Grid in Minneapolis (who has also recently released a couple of books by the way) to add to his phenomenal, and still growing, backyard permaculture experiment (though he'll never call it that).

It feels good to make contact with others working on and writing about the same issues in this area.  I feel hopeful today, and hope that it can carry me through  the week.   We will be taking our first real family vacation of the year over the long weekend and I'm looking forward to it-- our first post-cancer family getaway.  I need, Gita needs, the kids need to de-stress after this long, dark winter.  Resolving the community garden issue means that I won't be thinking about it over the weekend, which means that I really will be able to relax.

siberian iris in the raingarden
I've been sipping on a glass of carrot wine while writing tonight.  It's from the batch that I started in late fall/early winter with the surplus carrots from our garden and grapes from my dad's garden.  It's ready now, and I'm working on a cloudy glass that I poured off from the lees, or the yeasty stuff at the bottom of the barrel (literally- the bottom of the barrel, or carboy, as it is).

It fermented to almost dry and has a nice clean, slightly nutty taste to it.  I'll bottle it soon, and post photos.  I have five gallons of crystal clear, orangeish carrot wine, which makes kind of a nice visual. 

I'm not sure what I should follow it up with.  I'm going to have a bumper crop of currants this year if all of the green currants come ripe, so that might be what it'll be.  Of course, the kids are as excited for the currants as I am this year, so I'll have competition.

So much to do, so little time.  I have to remind myself that I'm fortunate to be able to do so many things at the same time that I lament my lack of any free time.  I find time to write this blog, but just barely. 

But I wouldn't give up any of it.  Thanks for taking the time to read. 



  1. Good news for all of us who are working for urban gardening. Good to know that we have Journalist who can write about small things but can impact big ways in people's life. Power to people who worked hard and journalism who spread the truth.

  2. Gorgeous garden pics (as usual) - and congrats on the apparent community garden progress!

  3. Wow, the rain garden looks terrific! I hope your weekend was as relaxing as you wished for. I'm also quite happy about the community garden outcome.

  4. Love your blog.

    Have you look into vitamin B17, fasting & other natural treatments for your wife's cancer??

  5. Amy J- Thanks for the encouragement! I hope to have some really good photos soon, now that the gardening season is really underway.

    Jodi- The rain garden thanks you! The weekend was a great getaway. This was our first time at a big waterpark and the kids loved it.

    Anonomi- Thanks for the encouragement to keep gardening in the city. It seems to be a growing movement- and that's reflected in the media coverage that this issue got. I hope it continues. I haven't looked into B17, but my wife is looking into many vitamin and minerals, as well as reducing her sugar intake, as well as eating or taking bitter gourd every day. So far, so good.