This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form without prior authorization. Flovent for cats Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as lung function tests, eye exams, bone density tests, cortisol levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reaction(including very rare anaphylactic reaction). Advair instructions This website is funded and developed by GSK.

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; many internal textual and hyper-textual references to that site remain as written.

GP Box 4/22/06
Cilantro & Arugula in planters
Cilantro & Arugula in planters
Sun Room 03/17/06
Sun Room 03/17/06

April 30, 2006 Sunny to Gloomy

Today I returned home to a gloomy rainy Milwaukee from a sunny bright Boston area. Here are two gifts I bring back. One is pictures from the from the sunny Framingham “Garden of the Woods” and the other is song words for a rainy Milwaukee that my wife has been singing the last few days. The are mixed together as in life.

The African Village Song

When the rain comes down,
Comes down on everyone.
When the rain comes down,
Comes down on everyone.
Rich or poor, great or small,
It really doesn’t matter at all.
When the rain comes down on everyone.

back to top

April 29, 2006 A Time for Everything

I called home today to find out from Peter that it had rained this morning in Milwaukee. That is good in preparation for my work outside next week in the garden. Here it is another quiet and sunny day.

I guess there is a time for everything under the sun, a time for a sunny day and a time for a rainy and cloudy day, a time for quiet and a time for noise, a time for dying and a time for living. Juilia Esquivel, a wise elderly lady in Guatemala, told us to be faithful to our message but to pick the right time for our words and actions. Nature seems to know the right time most of the time, but we human beings, speaking for myself, find it very difficult to know the right time for our words and actions. However, I do believe it is better to speak and act out at the wrong time than to not speak or act out at all on something we deeply believe in.

God lets all be what it can be, in nature, and by free will with humans. However, just as with the human-made elements of hurricane Katrina last year in New Orleans, warm gulf water, human-made levees and redirection of waters and wetlands, we humans can manipulate nature and cause things to happen outside the time-line of nature.

This use of nature can be good or bad, for life or death. By carefully noting the interaction of nature and humans in a garden or in a Growing Power system, we can learn in small ways, how to live in big ways, in harmony with each other and nature. We can learn the time-line of nature and our being.

back to top

April 28, 2006 Pictures to Come or Not!

Today I had the opportunity walk in some outdoor botanical gardens of wildflowers. From afar there was not much bloom and color, but up close with my macro lens on my camera, there was a world of intricate beauty. Pictures to come in a few days.

Read from a distance today about the civil rights trial of the estate of a young black man killed by a now former police officer almost four years ago in Milwaukee. Although all the witnesses to the death say the young man was no threat to the police officer when he was killed, city and state authorities refused to prosecute the officer. So now we have a mother fighting to clear her only son’s name and win a civil rights victory for him. On the night of the incident the then police officer was allowed to talk with the police union’s attorney and union chief for a long time before he gave his formal testimony of events. Today I heard that not only the lawyer’s conversation with the officer that night is protected (which was expected), but also the police union chief’s conversation. This one decision speaks volumes about the trial.

From afar this trial must not look like much, but inside Milwaukee, knowing the history of racism and discrimination that lives on, this trial is huge and monumental, at least for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. I wish I could give everyone in Milwaukee macro lens eyes and ears to see this historic event. A verdict but no pictures to come.

Peter and Loren are both at home watching the Growing Power box grow, although seeing it on a daily basis is like seeing the botanical garden from afar: not much happening. Upon returning in day or so, not having seen it for a few days, I will probably see new growth and life in the plants. Pictures to come.

All the above goes to prove that you find in life what you are looking for and sometimes the day-to-day minor events we take for granted make for the great big picture if we have eyes to see. Pictures or not, each moment of life, like a plant growing in the box or in the woods, is an intricate happening if we can see deeply enough and see the bigger picture in the moment or plant. Pictures to come or not, that is your choice in life.

back to top

April 27, 2006 Back to Nature

Today taking a slow walk on a road into a state park, I was reminded of what attracted me to Growing Power and to try to do a home model. It was the quiet and slowness of nature, as experienced with worms, trees and plants, that inspired me. Walking surrounded by trees and plants, with a gentle breeze blowing on my face, the bright sun overhead made me be aware of the noisy thoughts in my head and to seek to let them go. I sought to be one with the quiet and slowness of nature.

This paradox of silence yet full engagement, active yet receptive, dying yet rising, death yet life, suffering yet joy, is the power of Growing Power, urban sustainable agriculture, the power of life lived to its fullest.

On the walk in the woods I noticed a pair of dogs, medium-sized and similar meet, coming the other way on the road, a pair of dogs, similar also but small of size. After allowing them to stop, bark and sniff each other, the masters of each pair called them to move on. Loyal dogs as they were, they did.

As we journey in life, often in pairs, we encounter others different but like us. It is important that we stop, communicate and sense each other first before we move on.

I encourage others to solidify the nature in all of us, to develop if they can, a home Growing Power box in their homes and in their yards, decks, patios, to plant to harvest food and flowers. This is something we can do in the midst of an urban environment, in the suburbs or in a rural area.

In the weeks to come I hope to use this daily diary to record mistakes, as I have made and will make, and what successes I may have in developing a Home Growing Power Model.

Today I signed up to go to Growing Power Workshop on May 6–7 at the headquarters on 55th and Silver Spring in Milwaukee. If you are interested contact Growing Power since there are only a few spots left.

back to top

April 26, 2006 Back to Basics

Someone reminded me today that this diary started out as one detailing my home model Growing Power box but has wandered. That is right. So I will try to go back to basics, describing the experience with the Growing Power Box and my work developing a home model of using Growing Power. As you saw in a picture last week, the Growing Box is finally flourishing with corn mache, salad green mix and cilantro and the planters below the box are doing fine. I plan to let the salad stuff in the box grow till the end of May, picking from it for dinner salads once and awhile, and then put the castings in the box in the garden and perhaps turning it into a box of flowers or summer vegetables like tomato and peppers. The box was started late and I made some mistakes, like in types of seeds, but all is well now.

The herbs growing below the box, I plan in a week or so to put in large planters out on the deck. The rest growing in the planters are seedlings for outside plants like tomatoes. Hopefully I will make the Growing Power Workshops on May 6th-7th and get answers to my many questions about developing this model, building my own worm condo, etc. Also I plan a trip up to Green Bay next week to be with my grandchildren on their land. They may be ready for worms in their compost pile.

This back to the basics will, however, have to wait till Monday, since I have some other plans the next few days, but will continue to write this daily diary. Maybe I can interview another worm and see how all is going in the underground.

Loren barbecued chicken outside tonight and we had our first meal, the four of us, on our new table and chairs in the sunroom right next to Growing Power Box. Eating a meal surrounded by plants felt good for all four of us. We need to do more of this, using the food from the box and garden, in the future.

The civil rights trial of my friend against the ex-officer who killed her only son continues. Today the judge scolded her and us spectators, mostly African Americans, for allegations that we were intimidating witnesses. The truth is, as her lawyer pointed out, that the other side has consistently been making these false accusations. It was a clear case, as is the trial, of the word of a white man vs. the word of minority persons. Truth should not have anything to do with discrimination and color of skin. There are four witnesses to the killing of Larry Jenkins - three African Americans and the one former police officer who killed him - why are one person’s words more valuable than the words of three others? However, since the evidence seems to be on the side of the friends and family of this young man, the jury should, based on the evidence, come to understand what really happened.

Gardening is so much simpler than civil rights trials. If everyone were a gardener there would be a lot less violence in this world.

back to top

April 25, 2006 Excuses

I ran out of excuses for delaying my photo diary on my trip to Guatemala, so I started it this evening, “Buried in Guatemala?.” Just doing the rough copy of Day One took a lot out of me, and brought up many memories from the distant and recent past. I will probably add some more pictures to Day One since my photo enhancing skills are new.

Today was day two of the federal civil rights trial of the estate of Larry Jenkins, represented by his mother and lawyer, vs. Jon Bartlett represented by the city of Milwaukee. I just stayed for the opening arguments, but if just part of what the lawyer for the Jenkins family stated in his opening remarks is true, this trial will expose the deep-seated racism of Milwaukee. The civil trial for excessive force will hang on whether the jury believes the word of the white former police officer, or of the many African Americans who witnessed the killing. We will wait and see. What excuse will the city come up with on this one, for not taking any action on this matter, and waiting for the mother to struggle for four years to clear her only son’s name and bring some sense of closure to this seemingly senseless killing?

Did a little bit of work outside today but need to really get in gear next week if my home Growing Power model is to work in my yard.

Peter and Loren are creating music in the basement this evening, playing hard before Pat gets home from work.

The Guatemalan diary, “Buried in Guatemala?.” exhausted my writing power for this evening. This is my excuse for such a brief entry.

back to top

April 24, 2006 Gathering Food for Body and Soul

Today was a day for gathering food for body and soul. I started today picking up my Share food, a co-op buying program for persons of all income, ( that I forgot to pick up Saturday morning. Than I went to the Federal Court House to feed my soul by being present for Debra Jenkins whose only son was killed by a former police officer four years ago (now fired after the nationally known Jude beating). Unable to get city, state or Federal authorities to prosecute, she persisted in seeking justice from the federal government, and finally has her day (two weeks) in court. In my mind, the trial is historic, since it confronts the deep-seated racism of the community. The plaintiff is Larry Jenkins’s mother and her lawyer representing the estate of Larry Jenkins, the deceased young man. The city attorney of Milwaukee represents the defendant, the now defamed former police officer. City vs. African American Community. Racism goes to trial.

I came home at noon and after sending more pictures of the Faith in Recovery convention last Saturday, showing the faces and soul of this movement to our web person in Florida,, I went grocery shopping for the week. Pictures for the soul and food for the body.

Home again, after cutting the grass for the first time this year, I took some quiet time for the soul. Than it was to gather together and prepare dinner. Although tonight it was only Peter and me at dinner (Pat and Loren were at work), it was a very good meal and we saved some for our other two members.

Having fed the body, I went back to the soul and started to prepare for my Guatemalan Diary pictures essay called “Buried in Guatemala?.” I needed to download some software to work on the pictures. Check the girl with the pineapple picture from a few days ago. Looking good now!

I do not like traveling with camera in hand. I do not take pictures as a tourist but as someone seeking the soul of the experience. Pictures, like icons, can be windows into the soul. Check out the face of my granddaughter yesterday at the ballpark wearing the new hat I gave her from Guatemala. You can almost feel her spirit by seeing her face.

back to top

April 23, 2006 Take me out to Ball Park, trial and garden.

We ran the bases

Today I went to Miller Park to see the Brewers play, with my wife, son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Yesterday was an exciting game as the Brewers won 11–0, hitting five home runs in one inning. Today against the same team, Cincinnati, it was a boring game as the Brewers lost 11–0. What goes up always comes down. My two grandson got a chance to run the bases after the game. That was exciting for the two boys and burned some energy off for their long ride back to Green Bay.

I and maybe the grandchildren would probably have had more fun working on the garden here or on their land in Green Bay. But spending time with my son’s family was well worth it. Just being in the presence of the three children was exciting.

Tomorrow morning I am going to a civil rights trial for one of the policemen who was cleared in the famous Jude beating in Milwaukee. He is now standing trail for violation of the civil rights of a young man he shot and killed, for no apparent reason, four years ago. There is not as much press or excitement about this trial as there was about the Jude trail. Milwaukee has a hard time admitting it has a racial problem. It was easier to get excited about a criminal charge for beating a person than it is for a civil rights violation that resulted in a young African-American man’s death. (The state, as has been the norm in Milwaukee, would not and did not press criminal charges for the officer’s killing of this innocent person but did destroy the young man’s name. This is why the family has been pursuing the case for four years, to clear the name of their only son.)

Tomorrow in the afternoon, after some grocery shopping, I hope to begin the Guatemalan photo diary “Buried in Guatemala?” attached to the Graf web site. Also sometime soon, I hope to meet with Growing Power and start working on the next phase of my home Growing Power model, the garden. Take me out to ballgame, trial and garden.

back to top

April 22, 2006 Picture Perfect Day


A beautiful day outside that I spent inside at the first annual meeting of Faith In Recovery: It was inspiring to be in a room full of persons who rejoiced in the bond of suffering, persons with a brain disease or a family member or friend of one such. No stigma at this gathering. It was a gathering of persons of faith who, like the people of Guatemala on Good Friday, rejoiced in the cross they were bearing.

GP Box 4/22/06

Here is a picture of the Home Power Growing Box today. Notice it is full of salad greens and cilantro even though we have made our salad for dinner from it a number of times. The plants below the box are growing to be transplanted outside when the time is right.

Girl with pineapple

With the Mayan natives of Guatemala and with the persons in Faith in Recovery, the seeds of suffering have been buried and have grown into new fruit. The child on the right is holding up a pineapple she reaped after the cross-bearing float (Anda) trampled on the artistic carpet of colored sand, flowers and fruit on the street (Alfumera)

back to top

April 21, 2006 First Fish Fry

In Milwaukee every Friday night, all year around, is Fish Fry night. Everyone — churches, bars, restaurants, take out places — has a Fish Fry. Often it is “all you can eat” for a reasonable price and often different kinds of fish, prepared different ways, are offered. On my journey to Guatemala, persons from the USA outside of Wisconsin have heard of the famous Milwaukee Fish Fry, which along with custard, cheese, bratwurst, beer and brandy are Wisconsin traditions.

The Gospel reading today at Church was about the first recorded Fish Fry. In the Gospel of John, after the resurrection and before the ascension, Peter and some of the disciples of Jesus decide to go fishing in the Sea of Galilee (actually a large lake), by the city of Tiberius. They fish all night with no luck, and at dawn Jesus is standing on the shore, although they do not realize it is he. He asks if they caught anything. They say no so he asks them to cast the net on the other side of the boat. They do and the net is so full of fish they cannot pull it in. Than they realize it is Jesus. They are near shore so Peter jumps in the water to get to Jesus and the rest of the fishermen pulled the net in with 153 large fish. Jesus has cooked some fish for them over a fire and has some bread available. So they all sit down and eat the fish and bread. The first ‘fish fry’ was a breakfast.


What has this all to do with Growing Power you ask? Good question. When I was in Tiberius having lunch in an open-air café on the shore of lake Galilee, I ordered a fish called Peter’s fish. One of the members of the group asked if the fish was really tilapia, the fish used in the Growing Power systems. The waiter said yes. So the first fish fry probably was grilled Tilapia.

All life is connected only if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Jesus offers his apostles Tilapia on the shores of Galilee, Milwaukee makes an outdated Catholic tradition, Fish on Fridays, its own tradition, and Growing Power grows Tilapia fish to enrich the water flowing through the plants and to sell to restaurants. There is a relationship.

There is a saying that everyone in Milwaukee is related, and if you talk with another person from Milwaukee long enough you usually can come up with a connection. (A teacher I had at Loyola once said in class that the fact that we, from Milwaukee, are all related explains how we are a little bit ‘odd’) If we could see and feel the connection of all living creatures, poor, rich, nature, animals, peoples of every nation, we would not war against each other or do harmful things to each other. For we would find it difficult to hate or harm our relatives, brothers and sisters, mother and father, aunts, uncle and cousins.

So next time we eat fish or bread, drink wine or water, we can remember they we are all one.

back to top

April 20, 2006 Past in Present

Today my past came to the present. First, a Marquette University history student interviewed me about my activism at Marquette in 1967–68. She needed a “primary source.” This was the fourth time this year I have been interviewed about those years - twice by high school history students who were researching the Milwaukee 14 burning of selective service files in 1968 during the Vietnam War. I am also a primary source for this act of civil disobedience.

Next I went to a class at Marquette on Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, whom I was privileged to know. I was invited to talk about my personal experience with Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement as well as my involvement in Milwaukee 14. Here I was talking at a Catholic Jesuit University about the Catholic Worker. Ignatian (Jesuit) Spirituality and the Catholic Worker movement are the two largest influences in my training for life. After I told my story, the students asked probing questions: one being “what is the difference between MU students of 60’s and present?” My response was to say how today’s students are much more socially involved in the service side of the Catholic Worker movement, feeding the poor, but do not understand the political side, creative nonviolence for system change that was at the Catholic Worker and in the 60’s. It was just the opposite in the 60’s; people in Catholic Worker were called “band aid” persons and irrelevant because they did the works of mercy as well as acts of civil disobedience. Now they are praised for doing works of mercy but criticized for political actions such as trying to eliminate military training, ROTC, at a Catholic University like MU. I guess the pendulum has gone from one side to another, but Catholic Workers have remained consistent.

Someone in class asked my about my present involvement and I mentioned, with other things, my meager attempt at using Growing Power. There was a real interest in what is Growing Power and so I was able to get in my promotion of worms and compost. The word “poop”, another name for worm castings, got a big laugh just as it does with my grandchildren and the teenagers I worked with as a young minister. As I found out in Guatemala there are some things that are a universal language.

In Guatemala it was a smile, playing silly with my hat or hitting my head with my hand that drew a response from children there just as it does with my grandchildren. I remember walking out of the major Cathedral in Chichicartenango, Guatemala and seeing some young boys at play on the steps. I gave them the same sign, hitting my head with my hand, as I give my grandchildren, and just like my grandchildren one of the boys gave it back.

What goes around comes around. Use of worms, compost and tilapia fish is not new, but now offers new hope with Growing Power for sustainable urban agriculture. Serving persons in need, protest, or the power of creative nonviolence also is not new. The real trick of life seems to be to stay consistent and persistent in what you believe and do, no matter whether it is popular or not.

back to top

April 19, 2006 Seeds of Hope

A slow busy day! The main business was with Faith In Recovery, www.faithinrecovery, getting ready for our first annual gathering this Saturday. This holistic approach to spirituality and mental illness is growing in the Milwaukee area. Individuals dealing with mental illness, like all of us, need community support for recovery. The myth of individualism and independence surrounding those with a mental illness is dissolving.

I did some yard work today. It felt good to get out and work the ground, even though it is raking dead grass and leaves. Growing season in Wisconsin is coming and we need to be ready.

I think back to Guatemala with its long growing season and yet many go hungry. Although the growing season is much shorter here, we live in a land of plenty. However, even here with so much growing power, people go hungry. So I am more than ever convinced that sustainable organic agriculture, like with Growing Power, is the way to go, be it in Guatemala, Wisconsin, Appalachia, or Africa.

Tomorrow I am being asked to speak to a class at Marquette studying the life of Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. The first thought that comes to my mind thinking about Dorothy Day is “to feed the hungry.” She considers feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the homeless, visiting the sick a natural part of who we are as human beings. Her work of hospitality lives on in Catholic Worker communities around the country. The other co-founder of Catholic Worker, Peter Maurin, strongly believed in agricultural communities where the scholar and the farmer worked together hand in hand. Dorothy and Peter would like the work of Growing Power, where the lowly worm, compost or garbage and the small seed are at the heart of new life and growth.


At the right is a forestry restoration project manager in San Locus Toliman, Guatemala holding up a jar of thousands of tiny seeds that, if allowed to grow and flourish, will become giant cedar trees. What if thousands of Americans in every city would “feed the hungry and give shelter to the homeless”? What need would we have of government programs to care for persons in need? Individuals practicing the Catholic Worker philosophy would eliminate hunger and poverty in America. Nations following the same example could eliminate poverty in the world.

back to top

April 18, 2006 Fishing for Justice

This afternoon I went fishing with Loren, who finished his painting work early today. We had some luck at the small pond at Estabrook Park, but only with small rainbow trout. After a few hours we went fishing for a little while on the Milwaukee River at the same park. That is were the big fish are. Loren caught a big sucker but threw it back before we knew that a man and his son fishing with a stick would have liked it. We ran out of time before we had a chance to catch the ‘big one.’ But there is always more fish and more time to fish.

Loren is an expert fisherman. I learned a lot from him. One thing I learned today was about the hospitality code of fisherman, as he gave some hooks and corn to some young boys who were fishing in the pond with a stick and string. He also gave some hooks and weights to the man fishing with a stick in the river.

Also in Milwaukee many have been fishing recently for justice, after the three police officers accused of vigorously beating a biracial man last year were acquitted. One of the former police officers has been accused of other acts of violence against innocent civilians. Like all police officers in Milwaukee he has gotten away with it. However, one of the mothers of a young African American man he shot and killed on a routine traffic stop has pursued justice for her only son for four long years. Today I heard that this man, first police officer ever, would stand trial next Monday for this killing in Federal Court. Persistence, as in fishing and growing, for justice eventually pays off.

This mother, whose only son was killed by this police officer, for four long years has sought justice and finally landed a court date for the trial. Starting with her own son’s death she became part of a small group that holds non-denominational prayer vigils at the sites of violent deaths in Milwaukee. Will justice be done in this case - who knows?

Need to consult with the Growing Power people about the box, garden and farm. Need to work on the Guatemalan pictorial diary “Buried in Guatemala?.” Need to do a lot of things. But if I cannot take time off for prayer, vigils, and slowing down, all my doings are in vain.

Fishing for fish takes patience. Fishing for Justice takes patience, persistence and hope.

back to top

April 17, 2006 Grape Leaves

I did not go fishing today as planned but had rainbow trout for dinner. Loren had caught them yesterday. Tomorrow, if he gets out of work early, we plan to go together fishing at the pond in Estabrook Park. There is something healthy and natural about growing or catching one’s food. Today I did some cleaning, watering the Growing Power Box and other plants, and am preparing to plan out the garden. Between fishing and growing this summer I should have plenty of food.

Grape Leaves

Last night for Easter Dinner, my wife Pat made the last of the grape leaves we had picked last summer. It is a Middle Eastern dish with meat, rice and spices wrapped in leaves from a grape vine that does not produce grapes. Grape Leaves grow everywhere, in the parks, trails, farm and backyard, all over the world. I even found some growing between hot houses at Growing Power and even Will Allen, the founder of Growing Power, did not know what to do with them. The Oak Leaf bike trail in Milwaukee would be better named the Grape Leaf trail since there are thousands more grape leaves than oak leaves on them. I have found them everywhere I have gone, Europe, Appalachia, Guatemala, and of course the middle east. My wife, a full-blooded Italian, learned how to prepare and cook them from my mother, a Lebanese American. When friends wanted to make them and there was no set recipe, my wife wrote down one. If you care for a copy of it, email me. They are delicious, especially with Lebon (yogurt) with mint and cucumbers.

The ones in the picture to right are from the fence in the gateway of the hotel where I was staying in Antiqua, Guatemala. My neighbor here had some growing over the fence in his backyard. When I moved in here I pointed them out to him and he gladly agreed that I could place them in a way they would grow along the inside of the fence in my backyard. It worked and now I have a ready supply in my backyard.

Sharing a meal is an essential part of family or friends getting together on festive occasions. In our family, it is sharing a Lebanese meal with grape leaves. However, the next generation, my sons, daughter and law and grandchildren, know how to pick grape leaves, like I do, but not how to cook them. Will the tradition live on? Come June, when I start picking grape leaves again, I will share with you a parable about picking grape leaves that is a metaphor of life.

back to top

April 16, 2006 Buried In Guatemala

Children of Guatemala

A Blessed Easter to all. Early this morning I returned home from Guatemala. In Guatemala I discovered a people with a long history who have suffered and been repressed in the last 50 years and yet have maintained a sense of peace, joy and culture. This joy can be seen in the faces of the children. I hope to soon share my many pictures and thoughts in a photo essay called “Buried in Guatemala?.” The title comes from my participation in Good Friday procession in Antiqua walking behind a band and anda (large float) of Jesus carrying the cross, held up by young persons and men in purple, as they trampled on the beautiful colored sand, flower and fruit carpets (alfomera) created on the cobblestone roads. The people of Guatemala, especially the Mayan people have been trampled on, tortured and killed by military (with US support) but continue to rise up with peace, love and joy. Like a good seed planted in fertile ground they are buried but rise again with into beautiful flowers and fruit. After I can allow my thoughts and images to sink it, I will create an attached page to this web site about my Guatemala pilgrimage.

I came home to find my salad mix (corn mache) in the Growing Power Box ready to start eating on a regular basis (better late than never), my tomato seeds germinated and the weather ready to start working outside.

In Guatemala I discovered that worm castings are known and used to place around the coffee trees and that tilapia farms are being built. Together We Are Growing Power truly applies to the culture of Guatemala.

back to top

April 3, 2006 Ready to Discover

Loren Discovering

Because of the early morning rain, Loren did not start on his outdoor painting job today. So he had a chance to check out the Growing Power box. He discovered a few tomato plants in the box, and one large unknown plant. He transplanted all three. In the picture to the left, he is planting the large, unknown (perhaps melon) plant in a container. We also discovered a few unknown vines growing.

Also today, Loren got all our fishing equipment for the four of us ready. When I return it will be fishing season.

My day, aided by the sun this afternoon, was full of getting ready to discover. This meant one more shopping trip for food for the house while I am gone, and purchasing a few things I need to get ready for the pilgrimage to Guatemala.

All discoveries, be they tomato plants in the Growing Power Box, getting ready to fish, or to experience the culture of the people of Guatemala, take some preparation. We need to get ready to discover. This reminds me of the old Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared.” Jesus in a parable said something of the same, “Be ready for you do not know the hour”.

When we are ready to see something we usually see it. When I was in the advertising business some years ago, there was a saying that “It is not the reality that counts but the perception of reality”. I guess we can get ready to discover; by affecting our perception, we somewhat shape what we discover or do not discover.

To ground this whole thought, we must enter into experiences as prepared and open as possible, be it what grows in the box, going fishing or traveling to Guatemala. Persons also say “Live in the Now.” That is good advice, but sometimes we must prepare to experience the now by hard work, even if it means clearing away preconceived notions. Simply said, “Be like a Child.”

Goodbye for Now! Gone fishing! Going to Guatemala - or as they say goodbye in the mountains of Appalachia - “Come Home with Us.”

back to top

April 2, 2006 Let It Rain

Another rainy day. Rain is good for the earth, April showers do bring May flowers. However, three dark days in a row can get one down, if one lets it. Peter, who like all of us has a hard time getting out of bed, reminded me today of something I reminded him of yesterday. That sometimes, when you wake up to go to work or with no real sense of meaning, you just need to push yourself out of bed and just keep going. Once up and going we feel better. A friend in a faith sharing group described in this way: “Some days I just need to put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. Eventually I will get going and feel better.” I guess this Sunday was one of those days.

Tonight I gave Peter, Pat, and Loren instructions to do what I do around the house - shop, cook and take care of the plants - while I am away. They all have their assignments. One thing I did not have to tell them what to do is to take care of the worms. Someone has to take the kitchen compost out to the compost pile in back and water the box every other day or so. But even without that, the worms would probably survive just fine while I am gone. They are the lowest maintenance, hardest working pet that one could imagine. And they link together and grow. One of the things I plan to do this summer is create an outdoor depository for growing worms which I then can share with other urban folks and with family, especially on my son’s land up North.

I do not know if I will have any access to web in Guatemala. The alternative tourism program I am going there with, GATE, has us living among and learning from the indigenous people of Guatemala. It is a cultural immersion and I doubt if there is much high tech in the daily culture of their lives. However, I can take in the experience, pictures and journal to share with those back here who may be interested.

Giving my three community members their assignments, Pat noticed that the corn mache (European greens) had finally grown to a size they were ready to harvest. In about a week or two we can regularly eat out of the box for a while. Will Allen told me that the Arugula I transplanted from the planters to the box does not transplant. I should have planted it in the box last winter. Oh well, live and learn. However the cilantro I transplanted seems to be growing. Since we are big users of the herb cilantro and it is one herb that does not grow back once you pick it, this is good.

So let it rain. Fortunately the rainy season in Guatemala does not start until around May. The rain here will prepare the soil for my Growing Power garden this summer. So when I return there will be a lot of work to do outside. But now my mind is focused on traveling South to another culture that has a lot of Growing Power, much of it untapped.

back to top

April 1, 2006 Spring Ahead

Today it was still dark, although not rainy, but my blues had been lifted. In part because of a poem sent to me by the Renaissance Poet, Harvey Taylor?, in an ‘earthworm communiqué’. The poem is below, but more than the poem, what inspired me was the fact that in the note with it he said he was planting pea seeds outside on the last day of March. I wrote him with wonderment about this and his response was that there are plants like kale that one can harvest all year around.

So today I went out, raked away the fall leaves and placed them on the compost pile. I too planted seeds, in Growing Power mix - tomatoes and eggplant - but inside, in the planters in the sun room, which stays fairly comfortable now that the weather is warmer. Also today I pushed the smokers outside the sun room, another healthy thing for us plants, worms and humans in the inside.

Today was the monthly plant sale day at Interiorscapes, and although I do not need any more, I managed to pick up a couple of nice indoors plants inexpensively.

So tonight, after planting and having a nice dinner with our Faith In Recovery group at a local restaurant, I am ready to spring ahead, face the lost hour of life by going to daylight savings time. Thanks Harvey, Growing Power, plant sale, Faith in Recovery group, my wife and family for springing me loose from the blues into the now going ahead.

Planting Peas In The Rain — by Harvey Taylor?

It’s the last day of March, a few days into Spring,
though still chilly, and raining:

perfect for planting peas.

I skim hay off the ground in the pea-patch with a pitchfork,
from both sides of the chickenwire trellis, loosen the soil
with my shovel, top it off with a layer of compost, and
commence poking wrinkly-shriveled-up peas into their new home
with a finger, covering them with a pat, drops dripping off my raincoat
adding to the watery benediction, an occasional earthworm
surfacing, as if bestowing the garden’s blessing, as I move along the row,
the first time since late last Fall that I’ve gotten my hands muddy—
it feels good,

as good as it must feel to a pea

to escape the foil envelope, and
be out in the big wild world

back to top

PR MINISTRY 414 379 4162, Publisher of Living Stones email newsletter and facilitator for Retreat in Daily Life.



back to top


Page last modified on September 08, 2011

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Wiki Gnome  | Hosted by Fluid Hosting  | Icons courtesy of famfamfam