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Diary of a Worm’s Life in a Home “Growing Power” Box and Garden
PLEASE NOTE: The articles archived here were originally posted to the online community resource MilwaukeeRenaissance.com; many internal textual and hyper-textual references to that site remain as written.
On this page… (hide)
- Feb. 28, 2006 Dear Jobilina
- Feb. 27, 2006 We Got Stuff
- Feb. 26, 2006 Waiting for Seeds
- Feb. 25, 2006 Food Takes Time
- Feb. 24, 2006 All Deaths are Not Equal
- Feb. 23, 2006 The Young and Old
- Feb. 22, 2006 Flowers Grow, Worms Stay the Same
- Feb. 21, 2006 Sad Spinach and Slowing Down.
- Feb. 20, 2006 More Life Below the Box
- Feb. 19, 2006 A Worm Speaks Out
- Feb. 18. 2006 Unity in Diversity
- Feb. 17, 2006 Airing the Box
- Feb. 16, 2006 Trouble in the Growing Box
- Feb. 15, 2006 Eternal Spring and Water
- Feb. 14, 2006 Valentine Freezer
- Feb. 13, 2006 The Underground View
- Feb. 12, 2006 Thanks, Appalachia, and Patch Quilts
- Feb. 11, 2006 Motherhouse of Growing Power
- Feb. 10, 2006 Threats or Encouragement
- Feb. 9, 2006 Eternal Spring
- Feb. 8, 2006 Worms on the Mind
- Feb. 7, 2006 Native American
- Feb. 6, 2006 To Water or Not to Water
- Feb. 5, 2006 Sunny Day
- Feb. 4, 2006 Day of Reflection
- Feb. 3, 2006 Day of Surprises
- Feb. 2, 2006 Groundhog Day!
- Feb. 1, 2006 Where are the Worms?
Sun Room Growing Power Box
Spinach Sprouts 2006 Feb 12
Cilantro & Arugula in planters
Feb. 28, 2006 Dear Jobilina
My wife says I need to lighten up. I agree. Does anyone know any really good worm jokes (not offensive to worms or humans)? Please
email them to me
, if you do.
One source of good humor I daily experience is a few good friends who have a ‘joke ministry’ and daily send me jokes. One of them, today, besides sending me some jokes, sent me an email describing how overwhelmed she felt with all the bad stuff, illnesses and crises, happening in her life. She described herself like Job in the Bible, sitting on a pile of dung, wondering how the blessed life he had enjoyed had suddenly turned into one of being cursed and of great suffering. She calls herself Jobelina in the email. Here is my response.
I waited all day before responding to this email. Like friends of Job, I can give you all kinds of advice, but it will not make you feel like you are not sitting on a pile of dung, when you really are. I can say you are being “tested” by God as Job was in the Bible, but that image of God, bringing us suffering to test us out, just does not fit my image of God or yours.
You have brought so much joy to my life with your helping hand, your good spirits in difficult times, your daily emails of funny jokes, that it is very hard for me to see you suffer so much with family and personal illnesses.
Maybe I can start my response with the pile of dung or compost you feel you are sitting on. You express a wish to be like one of the worms in the Growing Power Box just being happy “eating their own poop” or castings. Actually they do not do that. They eat the compost or dung of life, but not their own castings. To keep them alive and happy in a worm box, compost pile, or in the Growing Power Box, we need to feed them fresh waste or compost. They will not eat their own. Maybe there is a lesson there for all us, when we are low and sitting on the dung-pile of life. Like worms, let us not eat our own poop, but keep eating the compost and turning it into rich and valuable castings for new life.
Please keep the jokes coming. Your joke ministry brings great joy to many like me and those I share them with. Your great sense of humor has seen you through many tough times. Keep it going? Have you heard any good worm jokes recently?
Job questions God why all this bad stuff is happening to him, being that he was such a holy and righteous person. In the Bible and in the song “Job”, by our friend Bob Dufford, God answers Job’s questions with a long list of questions to Job starting with “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth” and than goes on and on with similar questions. Job finally gets the point that God can do all things, and that out of all this suffering and hardship God will deliver new life. How, we may never know, but we do know and believe it will happen.
These words may not bring you great comfort or joy. But somehow, like the worm, we need to persist believing that “all is well” even though the stuff of life presses hard on us.
Last Sunday, after Church, I was talking worms with a person who used to grow them for fishing. He told me how he kept them between layers of paper in a styrofoam container. However, they would just stay there and not couple and multiply unless he put some pressure on top of the layers of paper and worms in the box. With the pressure they would eat, grow and multiply. By that standard the worms in the Growing Power box must be really multiplying, since they have lots of weight of compost and castings on them.
The lesson I learn from this and your experiences is that maybe that is how life is. Sometimes some pressure is placed on us and instead of keeping still we are forced to multiply and expand life in order to survive.
Are our curses and sufferings also our blessings and gifts in life? It does not make sense, but I know from experience that it is certainly true. Keep the faith,
Peace and Love,
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Feb. 27, 2006 We Got Stuff
Today, the waiting birds got their stuff, seeds. Also today my grandson Carson said me an email with the subject “We got stuff.”
A few days ago I told you how my two grandsons send me an email asking why I did not respond to their earlier email after their visit to Milwaukee, saying what a good time they had in Milwaukee and how they enjoyed Growing Power and the Worms. Well I did respond after their second email. When they did not respond to my email, I sent them a second one asking why. Today I got the response:
“DEAR, GRANDPA, We got your message. We have lots of stuff. LOVE, CARSON”
Pretending I did not know what he meant, I wrote back saying I hoped he was not too stuffed and included a picture of a stuffed hamster with the email.
Unfortunately I do know what he means: school, homework, swimming lessons, rides on the school bus, wrestling lessons and all the ‘stuff’ that goes with being a eight year old in today’s world. I know, because I too got stuff: “Faith in Recovery” Board meetings, the retreat in daily life, emails to respond to, letters to write, shopping to do, making dinner and on and on. I am so stuffed at times that I do not even take quiet time, just to focus and center myself. Not doing that only leads to feeling more overstuffed and anxious.
Jesus looking at the birds of the air and the lilies in the field has a cure for this anxiety or over stuffness:
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?” (Matthew 5: 25–30)
So maybe the birds waiting for the seeds, and the plants in the Growing Power box, can teach us a lesson of how to avoid too much stuff and the anxiety that goes with it.
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Feb. 26, 2006 Waiting for Seeds
On a tree, hanging over the fence to my garden, sits a group of sparrows, hardly visible, daily waiting for me to put seed in the bird feeder in my garden. Today I did, but they still waited to make sure I was gone, the cat and squirrel that hang in the yard were nowhere in sight, and no one was moving around in the sun-room in the house, which they can see from their perch. They wait, even when the feeder is empty, for the seeds to eat.
This image of waiting for the seeds reminded me of a poem that Dr Barry Blackwell included in a “toolkit’ we are putting together for our “Faith in Recovery” ministry, www.faithinrecovery.com. It is about our natural want of prayer and is called “Late Harvest”.
Prayer is a want
God plants at birth,
But unmet needs,
A drought of love
Force weeds to grow.
Our haste to speak,
Our must control,
Our self perfection,
Our lack of trust:
These faults that nip
The buds of faith
Yield no crops: just
God and us.
Despite these doubts,
We will keep vigil.
Divine seeds sprout
What God has sown
God means to reap.
I have much more to say about waiting but you will have to wait for it.
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Feb. 25, 2006 Food Takes Time
On the side is a view of the inside the box today. The area in the middle, in focus, is the corn mache (gourmet salad mix) that is doing okay but does not like to grow on warm days in the room, like today in the 70’s. In the forefront is the spinach, which seems to be done dying away and maybe will now starting growing again. In between are some of the cilantro transplants. In the back of box, out of focus is the arugula transplants (more today) with the little of endive and other salad mix from the original planting.
How much of our day is spend around food? For me, a lot today. This morning I went to the SHARE cooperative food program, at the church I used to work at, to pick up our food and than to another SHARE site at another church to pick up food for some persons that had moved and do not have transportation. Besides having some breakfast and lunch, I cooked supper for our household since Pat, my wife, had to work today. Also today I spent a little time working on the Growing Power box, transplanting some plants into the box. Counting the time I snacked while watching a movie and Olympics tonight, a good part of my day revolved around food. This all is another reason why urban sustainable agriculture is the way to go. It can unite our work, exercise, play and eating.
Time is one of those things it is difficult to think about. It just keeps on happening and leaving things behind, just like the worms. “Live the moment” everyone says. That is not easy, for just like a worm, time slowly keeps moving. Slowing time, like a worm, is probably the best way to enter the moment.
Tonight at dinner I asked everyone to eat slowly. As most families, we four in this household eat and go. I guess, experiencing the time it takes me to prepare a meal, has instilled in me a new interest to eat slowly and enjoy each bite.
Fasting from food works like that. The more and longer we fast from food, the more and longer we savor food when we eat it. Lent is coming up, and for some of us; it is a good time to use fasting to increase our enjoyment of food.
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Feb. 24, 2006 All Deaths are Not Equal
Today, I transplanted some of the cilantro and Arugula seedlings growing below the box in the blank areas in the Growing Power Box, where plants have died. If this small experiment works, I will replant some more.
The dying of some plants today reminds me of the dying I experienced today. I attended three vigils for young men, 17, 21, and 24, who suffered violent deaths on the streets of Milwaukee in the last few days. A small group of us attempt to visit the site of every homicide to pray for the victim and perpetrator and their families and to reclaim the site as holy ground. Often, like today, family members who deeply grieve this senseless violence join us. At one of the vigils both the aunt and the grandmother of the young man broke down in sobs and tears as they were trying to describe to us who this young man was. I noticed Sister Rose, our facilitator, had a few lines in the newspaper for each person. When I came home I looked up the small article inside the Metro section of the newspaper announcing one of these deaths, basically saying the name of person and where they were killed. However, on the front page of the metro section was a large article about the sentencing of two young men to 63 years in prison for the senseless killing of a Justice Department special agent in 2004. I am sure there have been many major articles about this death since the agent was killed.
That is good. We should make the community aware of the senseless violence that goes on in our community on almost a daily basis. But why are three deaths limited to a few lines while one death is a major news story for over two years? I could not help but think that if every homicide in Milwaukee got as much coverage as the agent’s did, Milwaukeeans would be so upset about all the killings and the fact that they took up so much space in the newspaper and TV they would, perhaps, be moved to stop talking and do something about it. Do we not believe that each human life is as valuable and equal as another one?
In growing plants there is constant death and new life as now goes on in the Growing Power Box. However, in growing we can always replace a dead plant with a new one. Not so with humans. Each person is unique and irreplaceable. Why not mourn the death of any human life, be it a Federal agent or a young African American teen, in the same way and with the same intensity?
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Feb. 23, 2006 The Young and Old
My grandsons sent me an email a few days ago about how much they liked their adventure in Milwaukee at Growing Power and with the worms. Being so busy with ‘adult’ stuff, I did not respond ‘til tonight, when I got another email from them asking me if I got the first one, and about stuff they can do with worms on their land in the country. Children are always fascinated by the simplest of things, even worms. With their childlike imagination, a garden or a Growing Power is a fascinating world of possibilities in their eyes.
Another group that can find great joy in small events are the elderly. This afternoon I was at a little social with some elderly Jesuit priests present. I met a Jesuit there my age (not that old) that I had known many years ago. While we updated each other on our lives, some of the elderly Jesuits just sat around enjoying our animated conversation. The elderly, like children, can find joy in the simplest of things, even just being present to a conversation. If they can, like children, they often enjoy simple things like gardening or fishing — both worm related activities.
I find myself really at ease with youth and the elderly. It is all the persons in between that sometimes make me nervous and uneasy. This comfort with the young and old may be a reason why I enjoy gardening and Growing Power so much. Organic gardening, especially using “worm power,” is really very simple, and with the eyes of wonder of a child, and the awareness and presence of the old, can produce a bountiful harvest.
The trick for me, and maybe you, is to slow down, so we are not too busy to respond to a child’s inquiry or the presence of the elderly.
Katie from Growing Power responded to my inquiry about the spinach plants dying today. She is looking into it. Another person from Growing Power told me that the extremes of hot and cold last week, she thought, might have been the source of my problems. With the sun out, one day it was 88 degrees in the sun-room during the day and in the 40’s at night when the Sun went down. When I ordered the seeds for the Growing Power box I picked only plants that were “cold hardy”. That seems to have been a mistake. In the winter I should grow plants in the box, I think, that do good in cold weather but are not ‘cold hearty’, plants like the Arugula that it is doing so well in the planter below the box. In the summer I need to grow only heat-loving plants in the box. Live and Learn. Stop! Now I am starting to talk like an adult again. Good night!
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Feb. 22, 2006 Flowers Grow, Worms Stay the Same
Check out the picture of the Amaryllis plant on the Feb. 15th diary entry. It is the same plant but in this picture, shot today, instead of just one flower there are two, with another one coming up, 2 ½. Plants in worm castings grow, but the worms in the compost remain the same — slowing digesting their weight each day and leaving behind castings, or as the child in us calls it, “poop.”
Life is like that. Some days we feel like the Amaryllis plant, multiplying by flowering and flourishing, and some days, like worms, we keep on digesting what is in front of us, hopefully leaving behind something worthwhile as worm castings, although some may just call it ‘poop’ (or the adult word for it).
Worms must be on my mind. Today I registered at www.wormsdigest.org - a web site just devoted to everything you might want to know about worms, and maybe something more. I will let you know of any interesting facts.
Also today I attended a Milwaukee City Council committee hearing at which the committee unanimously voted to recommend to the whole city council a new ordinance, allowing group homes that serve persons with disabilities to bypass neighborhood notification, and receive a special zoning permit or variance by Board of Zoning Appeals. Although everyone at the hearing was for the ordinance there were two distinct groups. Most of the aldermen present, and some of the citizens, reluctantly agreed to ordinance, for the old ordinance violated Open housing and American Disabilities laws of USA, and was costing the city tons of money in law-suits and making it unable to act on zoning-out any type of living facilities. The other group, which I was in, was for the ordinance, even though we did not think it went far enough in eliminating housing discrimination for the poor and disabled. But it was a step in the right direction. We were like the Amaryllis and worms, both doing what we had to do, but for different reasons. The first group, reluctantly passing the ordinance, brought up the same old arguments how group homes for the disabled, including those with mental illness, will bring down housing values, over-run their neighborhoods and prevent healthy development of the neighborhoods. Although study after study and situation after situation have proven this fear groundless, they remain in the same old, same old — Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) syndrome. The second group just flowered and accepted this step forward. Now I am not going to tell you which group was like the Amaryllis flowering and growing and which one was like the worms, same old, same old — pooping. But you can figure it out. (My apologies to all worms!)
Fear of persons who are different than us runs deep in our society. A friend pointed out this quote to me today. “According to a publication of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American public has concluded that the two worst things that can happen to a person are leprosy and mental illness. Moreover, even ex-cons stand higher on the ladder of public acceptance than someone with a ‘mental problem.’” (In the Shadow of Our Steeples: Pastoral Presence for Families Coping with Mental Illness by Stewart D. Govig, Ph. D).
And to think some persons even fear worms?
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Feb. 21, 2006 Sad Spinach and Slowing Down.
Some of the spinach in the box is dying and thinning out. It is definitely not from over-watering, since it did worst the last week when I was not watering it. Maybe it was the wrong choice of a plant for a home growing box. Maybe not enough care was given to it. There is some left and we will keep you updated how it does now that we have sun and are watering again.
In the next couple of days I plan to place a new order of seeds from the catalog. We will purchase seeds for the box and the planters below and for the garden outside. For the planters I will purchase more salad mix seeds, like the Arugula that is doing so well growing in the planters below the box. For outside I will purchase my normal mix of flowers, vegetables and herbs that I grow outside. However, this year I will start them, for the most part, inside on the shelf below the box rather than purchase them already started at the garden store.
My life is getting busy, which is okay as long as it does not get hectic. I am finding the Growing Power Box can be used as guide between being good and busy and hectic and busy. If I do not have time to take care of the box and plants in the house then I am too busy in a hectic way. If I take the time to care for the plants, I am busy in a good way. Care for growing new life is like care for praying; it is something naturally built in us. They are both nurturing life in and around us. When we do it, we are busy yet at peace, when we do not do it we are busy and not finding peace.
Martin Luther King, at the height of his care as a civil rights leader and peace activist was asked how he finds time for prayer in his busy schedule. He responded that the busier he was the more time he needed to take for prayer. It is a paradox, that the more we do, the more we must just be. But it is the natural order of life.
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Feb. 20, 2006 More Life Below the Box
A friend the other day, seeing the picture of the Growing Power box on this site, said that I would probably be glad in spring when I could move the box outside and get my sun room back. I explained to her that the box actually added space to my sun room. That is because the box is only 2 feet wide along one wall (8’) but has a shelf below it and floor space below that. On the shelf below I have a series of planters with herbs and greens growing in them. The planters, as will eventually all my houseplants, are filled with coconut shavings (to absorb water), compost to provide energy, and worm casting to provide food for seeds. On the picture to the left are the two star planters - one of cilantro, an herb, and one of Arugula, a salad green. The Arugula was just planted a little over a week ago by my grandson and look how it has grown. I plan to use the rest of the shelf to start my garden plants from seed. The floor space is now just used for storage, but could be useful also for growing starter plants for the garden.
I have found some “good deals” on seeds recently at Walgreen’s and Stein’s Garden but will soon be ordering again from Johnny’s Seed Catalog, the place Growing Power orders from.
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Feb. 19, 2006 A Worm Speaks Out
Today, poking air holes in the Growing Box, I decided to go a little deeper and find a worm. I found one and asked him if I could interview him for this diary. The worm said yes and here follows part of the interview:
Bob: What is your name?
Worm: We are not into individual identity and names; just call me worm.
Bob: How are things going for you in the Growing Power Box?
Worm: All is well; there is plenty of compost down here to last us a year or so.
Bob: Do you think I am watering the box too much, or not enough?
Worm: You need to ask the plants that question. Remember, we worms can survive in water (like when you go fishing). Just keep the ground wet and we will be happy.
Bob: What do you do all day?
Worm: We just slowly crawl around, eat compost and deposit castings. Once in a while we couple and make worm babies. Every day brings new experiences for us as we have new compost to digest.
Bob: How do you like living in our Home Growing Power Box?
Worm: It is okay; to us we really do not think of it as living in a box.
Bob: Well, you are. Does it limit you to be boxed in? Does it limit your freedom?
Worm: Not really, and besides we are not boxed in on the top. We are free to be who we are and really do not think much of the fact that we live in a box. Being in a box or out in the woods, does not really matter much to us.
Bob: Worms are sometimes called slimy, dirty, wiggling and filthy. What do you think of these names?
Worm: Names or even stigmas, like lowly creatures, do not really bother us. After all there is always some truth to every name and every stigma. We can accept the name or stigma because we know that it is partly true but does not represent totally who we really are.
Bob: Do worms fight?
Worm: No, we have nothing to fight over. There is always enough waste and ground for all to share.
Bob: What did you mean when you said you have no individual identity?
Worm: We all know that we are interconnected. Just think about it. Will Allen at Growing Power started with just eight pounds of worms and now there are thousands of pounds of worms at Growing Power, not counting all the many pounds of worms, he gave away, like in this box or your compost pile out back, that are a product of the original worms. We understand that in numbers we can do what as “individuals” we cannot do.
Bob: Thanks for the interview.
Worm: No problem. Now I need to get back to work. Oh, thanks for the air holes with the straws. Like you we appreciate some breathing room.
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Feb. 18. 2006 Unity in Diversity
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Dr. Seuss
A friend reminded me tonight how often we violate this advice by saying and doing what we think others want us to do, instead of being who we are. A movie I saw last night, Being Julia, was along the same theme. This famous actress in England was play-acting in her real life, ignoring what she wanted to say and be. At the end of the movie she finally wakes up and becomes who she is and stops acting in real life.
This is one of the great joys of gardening and using Growing Power. Everything is what it appears to be —- a worm, a worm, a plant is plant, sun is the sun and on and on. In nature there are few appearance of not being what one is. However, even with that being so, everything being itself, all of nature is wonderfully interconnected. No room for individualism here. Diversity breeds unity.
Thomas Merton, the well known Trappist monk called “individualism” a heresy: “The heresy of individualism: thinking oneself a completely self-sufficient unit and asserting this imaginary unity against all others. The affirmation of the self as simply not the other. But when you seek to affirm your unity by denying that you have anything to do with anyone else, by negating everyone else in the universe until you come down to you: what is there left to affirm? Even if there were something to affirm, you would have no breath left with which to affirm it. The true way is just the opposite: the more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes’ to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.” — Essential Writings, Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books 2000, page 142.
This is the balance of nature that we need in the Growing Power Box: air, water, seed, worms, compost, sun, casting, all doing what they doing, yet in working in community, producing new life.
Coming down to the earth, another day of great sun and a few more straws punching air holes in the soil made for a healthy environment today in the Growing Box. Air, water, sun, plants, compost, worm castings all, doing what they do together, made life warm and wealthy in the box on this very cold day.
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Feb. 17, 2006 Airing the Box
Please find above a drawing of the Growing Power waste recycling digestive system being developed at the main center on 55th and Silver Spring. For an up close and personal view of the various aspect of the system you can tour Growing Power, (FREE), at 4pm this Monday, Feb. 20th.
The cold and snow were okay because we had the Sun today. The sun room was warmer than the house; so I was able to leave the door open to the house and by using the fans in the sunroom and adjacent room, move some new air around. I think lack of air is one of my problems with the Growing Power Box and plants now in it. To keep out the cold and keep in the heat, I needed to keep the room well insulated. Although there is an air filter and overhead fan in the sun room, I think the enclosed soil in the box does not get enough air. So today I found 3 straws in the house and pushed them into the ground in the box and went around the box poking holes in the ground with the pointed end of the pencil-painting bush. After all, aeration works for lawns. I will let you know how it works for Home Growing Boxes. As I mentioned before, our system is unique from the systems at Growing Power center, since our plants are in neither planters with water running below them nor in open mounds of material. Our system is in an 8′ X 2′ X 1′closed box on 5 of the 6 sides.
Worms, like plants, also need air to thrive and survive. I hope the compost in the box has enough material to keep some air in the box and the worms are doing okay. Before the next planting I will need to dig deep in the box to check on the worms.
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Feb. 16, 2006 Trouble in the Growing Box
This morning, Pat, my wife, told me that some of the spinach in the Growing Box is dying. She is right. Also the other two types of plants seem to be on a plateau — not growing or dying. I put in an emergency call to Katie at Growing Power, (I think Will is in Africa), but just got the answering machine. Perhaps they were snowed in. I am not sure of the reason for this down-turn, too much or not enough water, lack of sun, the type of seeds, the nature of this type of growing in a box, the smoking in the room, or a combination of all or some of the above.
I am consoled by the fact that it took Will and the persons at Growing Power many years of experiment to get the right combinations of air, water, castings, compost, seed and more for their inside and outside organic farming. Also the worst thing that could happen is that I will have empty spots in the box where I can plant more seeds and try other methods.
So there is no need to panic yet. Perhaps I should start ordering seeds for the spring and summer crop in the Growing Box and for outside in the garden. The Growing Power box in the house is new and risky, but using worm power outside in the Garden is true and blue. Another ray of hope is that the herbs on the shelf below the boxes in the Growing Power tri-mix are starting to grow, especially the Cilantro, one of our favorite herbs for cooking and yet hard to grow.
I think my two grandsons were hooked on Growing Power and with their mother’s interest in gardening; I am looking forward to working with my son and his family to do some organic gardening on their acres up north.
Last night, Loren was relating to Pat his background, all the ups and downs he has had in his long yet short life, his many mistakes and his real triumphs. That conversation and the new life and death that is going on in the Growing Box reminds of a line from a poem that I read many years ago that really made an impression on me: “Man is made to make mistakes.” (Same can be said of women). Accepting our imperfections is hard, but it is even harder to accept our mistakes and not make them again. As the poet Bob Dylan says: “When will they ever learn?” So a little dying makes for a lot of living and new life, as long as we are aware of the dying and new life and learn from it.
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Feb. 15, 2006 Eternal Spring and Water
Before Christmas, shopping at Aldi’s, I purchased an Amaryllis plant in a box. I intended to give it as a Christmas present to someone or myself. It said on the box that if it were planted at Christmas it would flower at Easter. I forgot about the box and it sat in my office until about 2 weeks ago. Loren asked me about it and I decided to open the box. The large seed, not waiting for me to plant it, had already started to grow. So I planted it in a planter with the Growing Power mix (30% each of coconut shavings, compost and worm castings, with 10% of casting added to top.) It quickly grew and yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, the flower opened up. (See picture on left).
Today I was talking on the phone with Loren’s (my partner in the Growing Power box) mother, who lives outside of Chicago. She mentioned how much she enjoyed this Diary of a Worm in a Home Growing Power Box. She said something to the effect that after she read it, she felt like it was spring.
My thoughts went to the Amaryllis flower. With the richness of the Growing Power mix and the tea (water that drains through the Growing Power Box) it did not wait for Easter but gave us the spring feeling right now, in the middle of the cold and snow.
Like many I long for spring, but realized more today that we have eternal spring with us each day.
A word more about the tea mentioned above. The drain off from a Growing Power Box is rich in nutrients and live biological bacteria. It is better than Miracle Gro for all plants and flowers. We learned on the tour last Saturday that you could make the tea by just placing castings in a painter’s filtering screen (small bag) in water. That is, if you do not have a source like we do from the Growing Box. Also we discovered that since the bacteria is alive, that by aeration, all the good nutrients and bacteria in it will grow. Loren is going to bring back from his visit home this weekend a small fish tank aerator and we will place in the plastic tub that holds our tea from the Growing Power Box. So our tea will grow in life. This tea is so powerful that you need to dilute it with water before using it on plants. You can leave water sit for a day to rid it of chemicals like chlorine, or you can use (like we will outside) water off the rain gutters.
With Growing Power soil and tea, the new life of spring is always with us. Get yours now.
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Feb. 14, 2006 Valentine Freezer
With Growing and Worm Power working with us, Pat and I are expecting a bountiful harvest from our garden this summer. So we have been seeking a chest freezer to store the grape leaves, tomatoes, peppers (green and hot), herbs, eggplants, green beans, zucchini and their byproducts — pasta sauce, pesto, salsa etc. Lo and behold, Pat saw a chest freezer deal offered in a Jewel’s food ad in Sunday’s paper that sounded too good to be true. They were selling a chest freezer for $150 that included $150-worth of coupons for free frozen food. I bought one, it works, and today I put in it some of the frozen food we redeemed. “Seek and you shall find.”
My hope is that the Growing Power box, with some help from the sun, will soon give us some fresh spinach and salad mix. The freezer of frozen food, including lots of vegetables, will carry us over to summer when we can start harvesting our garden, and next summer and fall freeze enough for the winter and early spring months. Another step, with help of worms, in Home Growing Power organic sustainable agriculture of vegetables.
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Feb. 13, 2006 The Underground View
Before I give the worm’s view of the day from the Home Growing Power Box, I would like to give the quote I promised the staff of Growing Power, if they read the diary and my questions from yesterday. (Did you?) It is from Anthony Flaccavento in an article called “Sustainable Agriculture”.
“Sustainable agriculture begins with three central principles of the natural world. Diversity makes the farm healthier, more resilient, and less dependent on synthetic pesticides. Understanding and supporting the interconnections among all different species and elements in the farm ecosystem saves energy and creates opportunities for symbiosis, as for example when corn plants provide shade and support for late spring peas, while the peas provide a small amount of nitrogen for the corn. Respecting and utilizing natural regeneration process by composting, crop covering, and mulching reduces wasted, improves the soil, and decreases the need for off-farm fertilizers.”
Now, using some of the above wisdom, here is a worm viewpoint on a timely issue facing our city. Today I got caught up again in the City Council attempt to change the zoning ordinance to concur with Federal Law but still keep the ability to “zone out” of neighborhoods the “undesirables”, be it persons with mental illness, disabled, persons recovering from addictions or just plain poor people living in a rooming house. One attempt to keep within the law has some aldermen narrowly exempting group homes for the disabled from the list of those who need variances and permits from the Board of Zoning Appeals to be in a neighborhood, but still discriminating against others. The other one asks the Federal Government to define who they can zone out or not from a neighborhood to preserve the value of housing for “home owners.” Both, in my opinion, are not-so-subtle attempts to continue what they have been doing for years, using the city zoning laws to discriminate against the poor, sick and outcast of society.
From a worm’s viewpoint the whole thing is a bunch of compost -— something to eat on and produce waste. Here is hoping the waste put out is like worm castings, something valuable to grow new life in.
Why do worms need to get involved in this? Well, once you know how difficult it is to be lowly and voiceless, when you get a chance to speak out, you have no choice. Even the bible says so: “Speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of the destitute, open your mouths, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor.” (Proverbs 31: 8–9) So you see that worms that have a diary have no choice in the matter.
Speaking from the lowly worm viewpoint, a button on one of my many hats says it all: “The Meek are getting Ready.” Actually I first saw this button on Don Richards, a member of our church and a former alderman. Don was one of the really good aldermen and was instrumental in the development of Growing Power. He kept the location zoned as a farm. Growing Power is now the home to thousand of pounds of hard working, reproducing worms. Thanks Don!
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Feb. 12, 2006 Thanks, Appalachia, and Patch Quilts
Dear Will, Sally, Katie, Abby, Marge and all the good people at Growing Power:
I am sending this diary piece to you by email as well as putting in on the web site. This is because I want to thank you for the education, entertainment and food you shared with Loren, Carson, Dustin and me yesterday. I hope you enjoyed the homemade thank you I gave to Sally for Will and the staff. Also I took plenty of digital pictures yesterday and will be glad to share them with you and your Webmaster.
The other motive for writing you directly is to ask: how we are doing? It has been a little over three weeks and the spinach plants are about 2 /2 inches tall, the Corn Mache is thick by small, and the Endive/Escarole mix thinner. The mite problem is dying away with Safer Soap and I have ceased watering the box but the ground is still quite moist. I am waiting for the top inch to dry out before resuming the water with the diluted tea. The herbs and plants below the box, planted after the sunny days, are germinating and growing slower. Presently at 4:30 pm on Sunday, the air in the room is 60.7, the ground is 55 degrees and the humidity in the room is 61%.
As I noted in my diary entry yesterday, I have been inspired and educated from Growing Power, but your raised beds and hydroponics systems inside are really different from the box I am working on. Besides your assessment of the growth, I need your advice on airing the soil, watering and other areas. Loren and Peter still smoke in the room, and will until spring, but with two-filter systems, a fan, candles and smokeless ashtray, I do not think the smoke affects the plants. So, if you can tell from the attached picture, (above, below the picture of the box) how am I doing?
Will, I know you are going to Africa next week and have been all over the USA. Have you, Will, or any of the staff been to Appalachia? I spend a number of summers going there with youth to work on housing needs with people in Clintwood, VA, which is in one of the poorest counties of the US. The bishops of the region, some years ago, wrote a pastoral message calling for “Sustainable Agriculture.” Here is a little of what they say on the subject: “An important first step, it seems to us, is for a community to grow its own food, or at least as much as possible, and to do so in a way which does not harm the land or the people. Here we need to turn to what is called ‘sustainable agriculture.’ While agriculture should protect nature, it also should protect humans. We believe that agriculture needs to be not only ecologically sustainable, but also socially sustainable.” They also quote Anthonly Flaccavento from a book “Sustainable Agriculture.” I will put that quote on this web site tomorrow for you to read (Incentive to read the page).
Finally, I would like to call the attention to all the viewers of this site of the article “Patches of Love” in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Entrée section. It is an article about Ella Brooks, a friend of mine who has been creating and selling homemade patch quits for the last 15 years. Her patch quits are historical, unique, practical and works of art. For those who do not get the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel you can check out this article at http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=390424.
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Feb. 11, 2006 Motherhouse of Growing Power
This morning Loren, Carson, Dustin and I visited the motherhouse of Growing Power, the farm at 55th and Silver Spring. It always amazes me how much I learn whenever I go there, even though this was perhaps my fourth or fifth tour. Of course Will and the staff at Growing Power have been experimenting with different ways of organically growing since Will purchased the last remaining farm in Milwaukee 13 years ago. So every time we tour, there is a new twist or a new idea expressed on the tour.
After the tour today, which was in conjunction with the monthly workshops offered, there was a wonderful and plentiful lunch of organically grown meats, vegetables and fruit, with homemade bread and eight birthday cakes thrown in to celebrate Will’s 57th birthday this week. I also got to meet Erika, Will’s daughter who leads the Chicago branch of Growing Power. They are doing some fascinating projects throughout the city of Chicago.
My grandsons Carson and Dustin were bored waiting for the tour to begin, when Will was explaining some of the principles behind the beds, worms boxes and water systems. However, once we he got to the inside depository of worms, and Will challenged them to dig out a handful of worms, they were right there. For the rest of the tour they stood right next to Will and were real excited by the fishing for Tilapia in one of the holding tanks (A K-Mart pool special), climbing the hill of compost, and the animals outback. Of course the lunch spread was overwhelming and delicious to all of us.
One thing that again was made clear to Loren and me today is that what we are doing in our Sun Room is an offspring of Growing Power, but is also unique. None of the systems, the hydroponic structures with water flowing through them, (see left picture above) nor the raised beds on the ground inside (see picture on the right) are quite what we have going on in our Growing Power Box. The raised beds inside the greenhouse come the closest to the box but are different because the four walls of the raised box do not contain them. Even our plant boxes on the bottom shelf are different from the ones in the multi-level structures there because we do not have a water system running below them.
So I come away inspired and renewed in my efforts to make this home version work. If you have not toured Growing Power, the next free tour is Feb. 20th, 4-6pm at 55th and Silver Spring. After the tour you will never look at a worm the same way again.
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Feb. 10, 2006 Threats or Encouragement
Carson and Dustin
Today I took Carson and Dustin (see picture at left) to the Betty Brin Children’s museum. I noticed many of the mothers using threats, “I will call your Dad”, “No party tonight”, “Do you want to go to the quiet corner when we get home?” to control the activities of their young children. I suppose I did the same thing when my two boys were young, but felt that I was older and wiser to know that, like plants, youth grow into maturity with nourishment and encouraging remarks, not by threats or negative action. However, when I got home, I found the two young men living in our house had left the sun-room a mess, with ashes on the floor and so smelling of smoke that Carson held his noise when entering the room. Without thinking I threatened them that they would need to smoke outside if they did not clean up the sun-room immediately. They did, but was I not just being like the mothers in the museum? I probably should have responded with words of concern and encouragement and would have had the same results. Well, another example of not doing what one preaches.
I put one of the temperature gauges deeper into the ground of the Growing Box. The temperatures get warmer the deeper the gauge goes in the box. That’s natural because the compost below the castings keeps its heat better. The deeper you go into a life experience the more heat or fire of life you get. Some worm wisdom!
Tomorrow, Loren, Carson, Dustin and I plan to go to Growing Power for a tour and lunch. If the weather cooperates we may get some fishing in at the lake front in the afternoon.
Today, Carson and Dustin fed the worms in the compost pile out back, filled two planters full of the mix of castings, coconut shavings and compost, and planted parsley and arugula. The arugula should grow good right away but the parsley might wait for some more heat in the room, like some of the herbs seem to be doing. I think tomorrow I will pour some of the overspill of the brown liquid from the box into the bottom of planter trays instead of watering them from the top. This seems to be the way the planters at Growing Power get watered - from the bottom up.
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Feb. 9, 2006 Eternal Spring
“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” Victor Hugo (1802–1885)
This quote I received the other day from a friend, attached to a joke, has been running through my mind all day. One of the highs of today was a response from two prominent Jesuits at Marquette University to my questioning of MU playing host to ROTC on campus. Although they do not agree with me about this military presence on a Catholic Jesuit campus, rather than personally attack me the messenger - as many have done at MU via the Marquette Tribute - they disagreed with my message. How refreshing! As I always say, recognition is so much sweeter than being ignored. Also I found out today from Tegan, the editor of this site, that many of you are reading this worm diary. Other highs were visiting with my son and grandchildren today outside of Green Bay, returning home tonight with my two grandsons and finding out that Loren had finished painting the Native American stencil designs on the growing box. (Pictures tomorrow.) Lows today were hearing that both of the priests at the parish where I last worked were seriously ill, and hearing about my brother-in-law’s continued problems with immigration. I guess the reason why the above quote is with me today and relates to the Growing Power Box is that the lows are like “winter is on my head” and the highs, good feelings, are like “eternal spring in my heart.” This is why having a Growing Power box in your house, bringing new life and growth each day, is a constant reminder of the “eternal spring” that is always there, no matter how bleak and cold it might be in the winter of our head. Right now it is 29 degrees outside, 54.7 in the sun-room and 54.3 in the ground in the Growing Box. Eternal Spring is always there.
The worms in the Growing Power box inside, and the worms in the compost pile outside, are resting warmly deep in the compost. The winter cold does not affect their presence and work.
Tomorrow Loren is determined to take my two grandsons fishing to catch fish, and tomorrow the new band, The Worms, begin. (Peter and Loren 33 years old, and Carson and Dustin 8 and 5 years.)
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Feb. 8, 2006 Worms on the Mind
When you start thinking about worms, and using analogies about worms in your daily conversation, you know the Growing Power Bug has bitten you. Today Loren, Peter and I were talking about putting together a band when my two grandchildren come down for the weekend. Dustin, 5, is a natural on the drums, Carson, 8, can play some piano on the keyboard, and both Loren and Peter play guitar. I would be the manager and Pat could be the audience. Naturally the name of the band we thought of was “The Worms”.
Earlier, during the retreat in daily life that I am facilitating at Casa Romero Renewal Center on Wednesday night, I found myself making analogies to worms, like how worms dig deep in the ground, move slowly and leave behind rich castings, just like we desire to dig in ourselves, slow down our busy lives and leave behind valuable cast offs. The lesson of worm workers can go on and on. Worms eat compost and make it fertile soil. We want to digest life and make it better for our presence.
Enough of Worm talk. Tomorrow Pat and I travel to the country near Pulaski, WI and will bring back Dustin and Carson. They are “city” boys living in the country in a new home on nine acres, which my son and his wife built across the street from a dairy farm. As they get “educated”, they are leaving behind some of the imagination and wonder they had in younger years. I am struggling to preserve the childhood innocence in them. But in the face of video games, DVDs, basketball, soccer, baseball, wrestling and football teams, swimming lessons, TV and more, it is an uphill fight. Today Loren and I scouted out fishing spots; Will and I talked about taking them on a tour of Growing Power - worms, animals and all. As mentioned, we talked about plans for the Worm band. Also I have seeds for them to plant and some new silly stuffed animals. I am gathering up an array of weapons to fight off the busy world and preserve their imaginations. Experts say that Americans loose their imagination as they grow older. I believe that but am working against it. Their move to the country will aide me. Just think of what Growing Power can do on nine acres. Be “three and free” in spirit is my goal.
Using the Safer soap the many mites are decreasing and with less watering my plants are growing stronger. Mites are down, plants are up. A good day in the Growing Power Box.
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Feb. 7, 2006 Native American
Next to this entry you will find a new picture of half of the Growing Power Box. This is the part where Loren and Peter have stenciled in Native American symbols we acquired from a bookstore in the Southwest. You will also notice that in the box the spinach is really growing. Native American symbols seem to be a natural for the box. Peter, the artist in the group, is thinking of doing some of his intricate black ink line drawing around the stencil. He has a unique style of art, something I have rarely seen. However, I did see a similar style at the School of American protest from a place called the Beehive Collective. Since Bees are also part of Growing Power I will show, in days ahead, on this site some of their work or of Peter’s.
There is a new picture of the mystery plant, now larger, in the Feb. 3 diary entry. Does anyone recognize it yet? Loren has taken a special liking to this plant and has adopted it.
Today a young eight-grade student came to interview me as part of his historical event project at University School. He is doing it on the Milwaukee 14, a nonviolent act of civil disobedience in which 14 of us destroyed thousands of 1A draft records, in 1968 during the Vietnam War. Old timers like me will remember this event in Milwaukee history. Godsil, the creator of this site, has called for a new Milwaukee 14 action, 13 more Growing Power Home boxes in the city. So far I have not heard of anyone taking him up on it. Just like the Milwaukee 14 had a major effect of many lives and a ripple effect still felt in the city, his and my hope and belief is that Growing Power will have even a larger impact on Milwaukee and, in this case, the world. Worm power is revolutionary.
Thursday I am going to Green Bay to bring back to Milwaukee my two grandsons, 5 and 8. I plan to take them to Growing Power to see the worms, fish and plants and interest them, which will not be hard, in this whole system. Their parents, my son and his wife, have just built a house on nine acres of land outside of Green Bay. They live across the street from a dairy farm. All kinds of possibilities for Growing Power.
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Feb. 6, 2006 To Water or Not to Water
To water or not to water, that is the question of the day. I have been using the rich water from the draining system of the box — diluted water that has been sitting for a day — to daily water the Growing Box. Loren has thought that I was over-watering, but last time I check with Will, he had said as long as I diluted the drainage from the box with water that has been sitting for awhile, it was okay. Today Loren showed me some ends of leaves that did not look so good. I had to call Growing Power to talk with Marge about the bug situation, so I asked her about watering. She said that what we noticed with the plants could be the result of over-watering and that I should let the top soil (castings) be dry for about an inch down before we water again. Let’s hope that works.
On the bug situation, it turns out she never got the close-up picture of the bugs I sent or the picture of the potential bite out of leaf. I am re-sending them to her at Growing Power, but in the meanwhile she said I could use Safer soap, like my wife requested. It is organically approved.
Peter and Loren worked on stenciling American Native symbols on the box today. Stenciling turned out to a tougher and messier job that we thought. One-half the front of the box was done, and after some touch up work, it looks good. Pictures are coming.
It has been great having the Sun again. It was over 70 degrees in the unheated sun-room today. It gets cold at night and we need a small radiator heater, but the sun really adds heat and helps keep the ground around 55 degrees, which is a good growing temperature for the cold weather spinach and salad mixes in the box. The herbs down below are doing so-so. More heat will help them.
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Feb. 5, 2006 Sunny Day
Although it was cold today, the sun was out, and as you can see from the picture on the left taken after the sun was down, the plants in the Growing Box were reaching for it. Also I will be posting a new picture soon of the mystery plant from the Feb. 3rd diary. Does anyone recognize it?
From the lack of response to this question and other questions posed in this diary, and with no action on the forum, I am wondering again if anyone is reading this diary. Last time I wondered about this Godsil wrote me that we have over 600 hits the first two weeks. Whatever the answer is to who is or is not reading this, I will continue, for like therapy, recording this diary of the Growing Power box is personally rewarding.
On reading some other emails I wrote on a political issue, a friend pointed out today how poor my grammar and spelling was. I agree. I need an editor. At work I always had someone, and my wife has frequently served that role. In fact, she, a children’s librarian, is an excellent editor. Fortunately I have Tegan and Godsil offering and playing that role on this site. (Reread some of the early entries to see what a good job they are doing.) This discipline and passion I have for the bigger picture but speeding over details like spelling and grammar is maybe why I enjoy gardening. In gardening you learn by trial and error, and major mistakes can be costly. However, minor errors like putting seeds too close together or too deep or not deep enough, are barely noticeable and do not distract, like grammar and spelling errors in writing, from the beauty and life of the garden. Unlike grammar and spelling errors, they are barely noticeable. This is another advantage of a Growing Box; once built, it is simple to maintain and grow vegetables and flowers, just about any time of the year.
Loren Browne, the main builder of the box, has not decided yet if he would build box kits, if we offered them. No one has asked about one yet, but neither have I offered to sell one yet. We will wait and see.
I am sure the worms would like it if there were more Home Growing Boxes. Their own purpose in life is to eat the waste of life and leave rich castings. In a Growing Box, or other compost situations, they produce each day their own weight in castings and they multiply. I wondered how much casting my approximately 1 lb. of worms in the Growing Box had produced and how many worms we now have?
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Feb. 4, 2006 Day of Reflection
Today I attended a day of reflection. Praying the story of the Road to Emmaus in the Gospel of Luke, my thoughts drifted to plants and growing. I prayed that, like a seed planted in fertile soil and castings from worms, I dig deep roots so I could grow into the light of the world, open to all around me and yet firmly grounded. I prayed that like Solomon in the Bible I be given an ‘understanding heart’ and the wisdom to know right from wrong so I could do God’s will. I pray that I would mature, like a fruitful plant, ripe with seeds of wisdom to plant on the road back home.
We also reflected on doing and being and how we in our culture are so busy always doing that we forget the blessing of presence, just being. I compared it to the mites in the Growing Box; always busy moving around and doing nothing, while the worms move slowly in the ground leaving behind them rich castings. The mites are the busy doers and the worms are the slow beings. I’d rather be a worm.
Everyone, except Will of Growing Power, keeps telling me that I need growing lights. Will says I can do without. We have had hardly any sun recently and the plants are growing, but slowly. I hope Will is right. The temperature in the room and the ground in the box remain about 50–55 degrees. Maybe tomorrow the sun will come out once again.
Does anyone know what the mystery plant is? Tomorrow I will put on better picture of it on the site.
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Feb. 3, 2006 Day of Surprises
Today was a day of unexpected surprises. Today Loren discovered growth of a plant we did not plant. Do you recognize it from the picture? We think it may be a sunflower plant, and put it in its own planter. Does anyone recognize it?
Today I dragged myself out of bed to attend mass at a nearby Catholic Church. It turned out to be not only the First Friday (there is a special grace for attending nine first Friday Masses) but also the feast of St. Blaise, the patron saint of healing for throats. Our throats were all blessed after Mass. A double surprise Mass.
A not so nice surprise was the discovery of more little bugs in the growing box and a bite or two out of some of the small spinach plants. My wife says to use some kind of natural soap remedy, but I decided first to take close-up pictures of the little creatures and of the bite and send them to Martha at Growing Power, the bug expert. I will let you know the results. Maybe they are just harmless mites, but maybe not.
Tonight I just checked my power ball lottery tickets from Wednesday night hoping to find a nice surprise of a winning ticket. But I guess my surprises for the day ran out, and there were no surprises there.
Planting seeds in a Growing Power Home box is like life. You always find what you are looking for but sometimes you find things you are not looking for, like unknown flower sprouts or bugs. The worms find what they are looking for, compost, and turn this waste into good rich soil. We do not look for it, but also sometimes find the compost of life and turn it into a blessed experience. However, unlike worms we can sometimes choose just to sit in the waste of life and not turn it around.
Tomorrow I am going to a day of reflection with old friends and than dinner with new friends in Faith in Recovery. Lunch with old friends and dinner with new ones. The cycle of life goes on and we can grow with it, like small seeds growing to healthy food, or we can just crawl around in it, like the little bugs, in a hurry but going nowhere.
We might have discovered a Sunflower growing in the box today but we could sure use some Sunlight in our Growing Box. Cold we can deal with, but sunlight we need.
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Feb. 2, 2006 Groundhog Day!
Today all the various Groundhogs came out of the ground to see or not see their shadows and let us know if there will be six more weeks of winter or not. I am sure there was some disagreement. I remember, when I lived I Madison, a big debate was who was the real original ground hog weather predictor: the one in Sun Prairie or Philadelphia? Of course you know the correct answer. Whether the ground hog says six more weeks of winter (do you call these last six weeks of mild weather winter?) or not, one thing is for sure; the temperature in a growing box changes little. The Sun room temperature the last three weeks has been between 50–75 degrees, but the ground (compost and castings) in the box has varied little, between 50–56 degrees. Right now, 12:04 am Feb. 3rd, it is 54.7 in the room and the ground is 55.2 degrees. These and other fascinating facts about the Growing box can now be found by clicking on the SunRoom Garden Project Facts link on the sidebar. The temperatures are not on there yet, but there are many other facts posted. Worms, unlike ground hogs, just stay in the ground in the box and never need to see their shadow to know the temperature. Like the air in Hawaii, there is little variance and they really do not need weather reports or predictions.
Today we noticed the herbs we planted in the four planters underneath the Growing Power box (see picture to the side) are starting to sprout. That was quick. It is the good soil and drained water from the box that accounts for this. Certainly the sun cannot take credit.
At the end of an email joke today I found some words of wisdom: “It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.”
Today was a good day, I was unfairly attacked by some MU students in the school newsletter for my statements that a Jesuit Catholic University should not be host for ROTC, and by an Alderman on a list-server for taking a strong stand supporting an ordinance eliminating housing discrimination for persons with disabilities. Being attacked for what you believe in is always more rewarding than being ignored, like a worm. Ooops! Sorry my worm friends. This is supposed to be your diary, not mine. I better crawl into my hold, I mean bed, and say Good Night!
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Feb. 1, 2006 Where are the Worms?
My grandsons, 5 and 8 years old, went on this web site yesterday and after looking at the pictures asked me by email, “Where are the Worms?” Well, I got my digital camera back today from the repair shot and the first pictures I took were of some of the worms. I had to go outside to my compost pile to find some, since the ones in the box are deep down in the compost, doing their thing.
One thing we noticed today, was all kind of very small little bugs on top of the soil. A quick call to Dr. Will eased our concern. They are just mites that live in the compost. They will do no harm to plants or us. Now I know why people do not use compost for houseplants.
Speaking of worms, reminds me of the retreat in daily life that I am facilitating, now in two places. A purpose of the retreat is not to learn more about our faith, but to dig deeper into it and experience it deeply. So like worms we retreat into our depths to find our true selves.
Tomorrow I will get Loren and myself to fill out the “facts” section page relating to this diary. Our real goal here is to do something that can duplicated in homes and gardens throughout the city. As Will says, documenting is important. Just thinking of all I can do outside with this Growing Power technology is exciting.
The next tour of Growing Power, 55th and Silver Spring, is Feb. 20th 4pm to about 5:30pm. If you have not been on the tour (or if you have), do not miss it. Seeing is believing. I have been on it three times before and probably will be there again. And if you are ever looking for a charitable contribution to make that will go a long way to eliminating world hunger with sustainable agriculture, look no further than Growing Power. I owe a lot to them and one of the best ways I can pay them back is to document this application of Growing Power to Home Model.
Thanks also go to Godsil for giving me this forum and proof reading this diary and to Tegan, our wikignome, for teaching me how to do this web page.
I made some more mix of coyer, compost and castings today and now just need to get some more plant boxes. A little sun would help. The plants are well watered, however, since I water them each day with rich dark water, tea, as it is called by people at Growing Power. The tea that drains from the box, is mixed with water that has been sitting for a day to get rid of chemicals. I use it to water the box and all my house plants. This mix of water is better than Miracle Grow. You should see how my houseplants are responding to it. That is another picture for another day.
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PR MINISTRY email@example.com 414 379 4162, Publisher of Living Stones email newsletter and facilitator for Retreat in Daily Life.