Rose Etta aka Runner Runner

I run EVERYWHERE. I run, and then I run some more. The humans who know me understand the importance of frolic and fresh air, bucolic and loving care.

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When a truck comes, I run.

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When a plane flies overhead, I chase it. Wherever the wind blows, I go too.

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I run so fast my tail sticks straight out behind me.

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My feet are as coordinated as those of a race horse.

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But I can stop on a dime any ole time.

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‘Cause every now and then I have to go find my mommy and catch my breath (and suckle a little something).

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And then I run some more. Sure-footed me. It’s hard to imagine being held captive like most calves are on larger dairy farms. And having to grow up without the peaceable comfort of my mother to touch and love me.

…. all of it so food can be cheap at the cash register. Economy of scale it’s called.

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Lunar Gardening

Ever pay attention to how the cycles of the mind work in time with the shifting of the seasons and the meanderings of the moon? Want to know more?

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Moonlight by Thomas Cole, 1834, via Wikimedia Commons

In preparing to introduce you to a lovely Australian “moon gardener,” I realized that it was just about this time last year when I romanced you with a post about … Moonlight Gardening!

Lucky for you moon-lovin’ farmgirls out there, Anne Gibson (aka The Micro Gardener) puts a different spin on Mina Edison’s concept of moonlight gardening. Instead of focusing on luminous night-blooming flower gardens, Anne posts practical advice about veggie gardening in accordance with the lunar cycles.

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Photo of Anne Gibson courtesy of themicrogardener.com

“That may sound a little strange if you’ve never heard of it before, but if you are already familiar with your climate zone and are planting in the right season, then you may want to maximize your gardening success by working with nature’s lunar cycles,” writes Anne in her Micro Gardener blog. “And by that, I don’t mean getting outdoors with a shovel in the middle of the night!”

Well, unless, of course, you want to …

Anne explains that the moon has four phases or quarters, each lasting about seven days, and what goes on in your garden is very much influenced by these phases.

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Moon Phases by Orion 8 via Wikimedia Commons

“Just as the moon influences the rise and fall of the tides, it also has a gravitational effect on the moisture in plants, the soil and water table, which is magnified at different times of the month,” she says. “The tides are highest, for example, at the time of the new and full moon when lunar gravity pulls water up. At this same time, the moon also causes moisture to rise in the earth. This is an often unknown fact by many gardeners, yet knowing when this is can help you have greater success with seed germination. If you buy or plant seed, this can save you a lot of money over time.”

While we we’re all familiar with the fact that sunlight is a determining factor of plant growth, Ann explains that moonlight has a marvelously mysterious effect as well. “As the moonlight increases (new moon and second quarter), this stimulates leaf growth. After the full moon, the moonlight decreases, putting energy into the plant roots, and the above-ground leaf growth slows down. So, this becomes a favorable time to plant your root crops because of the active root growth.”

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Photo by ExplicitImplicity via Wikimedia Commons

Fascinating, yes?

You can read more about Anne’s experiences with moon cycle gardening at TheMicroGardener.com, and if you’re tempted to try it for yourself, you might want to pick up a handy Moon Calendar from her site, too.

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Image courtesy of themicrogardener.com

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thinking green … gardens today

This one is for my farm-hearted sisters who are still chilly, cabin-feverish, or (sigh) snowed in. While a gal can’t control the weather, she can dream green.

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Portrait of a Woman by Stevens Alfred Reverie, 1880, via Wikimedia Commons

And who hasn’t already begun dreaming of spring?

So, in the spirit of the season soon-to-come, I’ve wandered about and gathered a garden-green gallery for you.

It’s true!

Come in and stay as long as you like, wandering these fragrantly blooming pathways that are painted in sunlight so brilliant you can almost feel it upon your skin …

Welcome!

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Woman in Garden by Philip Leslie Hale, 1895, via Wikimedia Commons

I hope you brought your parasol.

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Woman in the Garden at Sainte-Adresse, 1867, by Claude Monet via Wikimedia Commons

Can’t you just smell the green grass brushing past your skirts?

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Femme dans un Jardin by Vincent Van Gogh, 1887, via Wikimedia Commons

Do stop and smell the flowers.

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Woman in a Garden by John Leslie Breck, 1890, via Wikimedia Commons

Or maybe, just sit a spell …

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Woman in the Garden by Torsten Wasastjerna, 1893, via Wikimedia Commons

until the evening shadows begin to fall.

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Delicious Solitude by Frank Bramley, 1909, via Wikimedia Commons

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Shinrin-yoku

When is the last time you took a bath in the forest?

I know what you’re thinking

because you know how I think …

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Yup.

Yet, as much as I love them, I wasn’t talking about outdoor tubs.

The sort of “bathing” I have in mind is rooted in the Japanese concept of

Shinrin-yoku,

which means “forest bathing” or, more literally, “taking in the forest atmosphere.”

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Photo by Leafnode via Wikimedia Commons

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that one could practice Shinrin-yoku

while bathing …

in a tub …

outdoors.

In fact, that sounds like a brilliant match, and this Japanese outdoor tub looks divine:

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Photo by R34SkylineGT-R via Wikimedia Commons

But, according to Japanese researchers, a tub isn’t necessary to reap the benefits of “bathing.”

“[Shinrin-yoku] was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine,” explains Shinrin-yoku.org, an organization dedicated to promotion of the practice of Shinrin-yoku and other forms of nature-immersion therapy. “Researchers, primarily in Japan and South Korea, have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish Shinrin-yoku throughout the world.”

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Photo by Malene Thyssen via Wikimedia Commons

It’s simple: Visit a natural area and relax for a while to gain calming, rejuvenating, and restorative benefits for body and spirit.

“We have always known this intuitively,” says Amos Clifford, founder of Shinrin-yoku.org. “But in the past several decades, there have been many scientific studies that are demonstrating the mechanisms behind the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. For example, many trees give off organic compounds that support our ‘NK’ (natural killer) cells that are part of our immune system’s way of fighting cancer.”

Other scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered pulse rate
  • Reduced cortisol levels
  • Increased vigor
  • Reduced anger
  • Reduced depression

The forest is waiting …

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Photo by Oliver Herold via Wikimedia Commons

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