Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sustaining our places

Once again, I'm grateful we live on the well-drained Anoka Sand Plain. Our back yard's "wet spot" hasn't yet dried up this year, but, other than that we're faring better than southwest Minnesota and International Falls. The rain has been good for this year's new plantings and the trees and bushes we planted last year. On the other hand, the folks who have been canoeing

back yard "wet spot"                        © harrington

the St. Croix River this week
could have had better weather. Despite the short term benefits to our property, I'm hoping the weather patterns we've been having this past Spring and last Winter don't become part of our "new normal." Although the clouds and the rain have done wonders for the local poison ivy patches, I don't think we're going back to the idea of keeping a small herd of goats. It would be nice if we could find a small local herd we could rent. I don't like spraying toxics even on poison ivy, neither do I want to suffer from it. A sustainable solution would be nice.

 canoeing, a sustainable use of the St. Croix River
 canoeing, a sustainable use of the St. Croix River        © harrington

We've been writing off and on about sustainable development in the St. Croix River Valley and on the Iron Range. The current issue (2nd quarter 2014) of IQ magazine, put out by the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls, is focused on the Millenials. What caught my eye as I skimmed through this issue was the sidebar on "What Millenials want from where they live." There are three key factors listed: "Diversity; Broadband; and A More Thoughtful Lifestyle." That sounds a lot like what the former and unreconstructed hippies I hang around with are looking for. Sometimes, the generation gap may not be as wide as we fear. Since several of the counties in the St. Croix watershed are also in the service area of the Initiative Foundation,  we'll try to check into what the IF is up to from time to time. Meanwhile, Ann Struthers nicely points out how flowers help create a life and a sense of "place," something else Millenials are reputed to want.

Planting the Sand Cherry

By Ann Struthers 

Today I planted the sand cherry with red leaves—   
and hope that I can go on digging in this yard,   
pruning the grape vine, twisting the silver lace   
on its trellis, the one that bloomed   
just before the frost flowered over all the garden.   
Next spring I will plant more zinnias, marigolds,   
straw flowers, pearly everlasting, and bleeding heart.   
I plant that for you, old love, old friend,   
and lilacs for remembering.   The lily-of-the-valley   
with cream-colored bells, bent over slightly, bowing   
to the inevitable, flowers for a few days, a week.   
Now its broad blade leaves are streaked with brown   
and the stem dried to a pale hair.   
In place of the silent bells, red berries   
like rose hips blaze close to the ground.   
It is important for me to be down on my knees,   
my fingers sifting the black earth,   
making those things grow which will grow.   
Sometimes I save a weed if its leaves   
are spread fern-like, hand-like,   
or if it grows with a certain impertinence.   
I let the goldenrod stay and the wild asters.   
I save the violets in spring.   People who kill violets   
will do anything.

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