Posts Tagged ‘Groundhog’

Garden Update ~ Garden Tower 2 Setup and Spring Planting

I haven’t posted a Garden Update in a long time, so I decided to document the assembly of our upgraded Garden Tower 2. I had this in Goshen as part of a demo garden showcasing different ways of growing crops — permaculture, raised beds, Garden Towers 1 and 2, Square Foot Gardening, tiered/circular raised beds, Big Bag Beds, Smart Pots, wood mulch gardening, food forest, etc. I had not set up the Garden Tower 2 in Kalamazoo, though, because doing so required me figuring out where to put it, building a patio, and also fencing it in from critters.

I’ve detailed three years of groundhog adventureshere — from Kalamazoo Kal to all his very hungry relations. Last year, I switched the front yard beds primarily to rabbit/deer/groundhog resistant herbs and perennials and had all but given up on annual vegetable gardening. It’s just too frustrating to fight all the critters. Our fenced backyard is even worse than the open front yard, as the groundhogs have generations of tunnels and ancestral habits.

A dream on April 4, 2020 told me that my future self would really appreciate if I assembled the Garden Tower 2 that lay unassembled in our shed. I followed the advice, ordered seeds, got everything needed for assembly, only to learn that that weekend was the last time I could have done so prior to Michigan’s Governor declaring gardening “non-essential” and making it illegal to buy what I’d need. Score one, Dream Guys! A “mix-up” led to me ordering some extra parts for the GT2, and we ended up with an extra tier. For me, this changes the entire aesthetic of the GT2, and I love it so much more now. I don’t know why that one extra layer makes its form so much more appealing, but it does.

In any case, David and I spent a long Memorial Day weekend celebrating my birthday, going on wooded walks and drives, building a patio, and setting up and planting the Garden Tower 2. For anyone interested in the process, we documented some of the highlights.

The “Before” space, slightly in process, since I forgot to take a Before photo! This required moving three Smart Pots to the other side of this existing raised bed. Moving those turned out way easier than anticipated. In the photo below, you can see the patio blocks before digging out and leveling the ground. We’ve got the base of the GT2 there for reference, to see where we wanted this rotating tower:

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Garden Update and a Whirlwind PA Trip

On Wednesday, I returned from a whirlwind trip to PA to help my mom, aka “Momma Jane” prepare for another move — this time from a standalone house into a 2BR apartment in an active retirement community where many of her friends live. She’ll hire packers and movers, but my 5-day trip laid the legal, financial, insurance and emotional groundwork for her shift. Big mountains (of paperwork!) moved. The weather in PA was hot, hot, hot to this Michigan gal, but on my last full day there, we remembered to take a sweaty selfie:IMG_3340

I came back to a raucously blooming garden that needed a bit of deadheading but otherwise maintained itself. Here’s some seasonal red, white and blue:

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Red bergamot “fireworks” with a bumble bee up front

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Madonna lily in bloom

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Delphiniums on the Fourth of July

… and pinks: Continue reading

Groundhog Wisdom: Editing for Flow in the Garden, Life and Lyme

I love how life brings themes to our attention on multiple levels at the same time. In my case, I feel the need to edit for flow in several areas of life: the garden, relationships, and my book-in-progress, The Metaphysics of Lyme Disease. Although editing can seem like a left-brained process, I find a gentle balance of observation, patterns and ease provides the best indication of what stays, what goes and what grows.

In the garden, this means acknowledging that groundhogs rule this part of Kalamazoo. Our next door neighbor has already trapped and relocated two “whistle pigs” this year, and we’ve got at least three more who venture into our yards from across the street. Two weekends ago, I spent hours adding compost to the front beds, eyeing gorgeous lettuce, which I planned to harvest that evening. I heard some joyful squeals across the street and thought, “Those groundhogs are excited I added compost, because the produce will taste better. They are gonna love this lettuce!” I dismissed the thought, because who listens to groundhogs, right? Who thinks groundhogs cheer because of garden nutrients?

David and I left for a couple hours to run errands, and when we returned I immediately sensed something amiss. I felt, but couldn’t see a groundhog. Big energy. Big appetite! As I looked for the culprit, I noticed all my flowering purple kale stripped to the stem. And my lettuce, oh, my lettuce! In the center of a round bed sat the tiniest groundhog I’ve ever seen, finishing off the last of it. Five inches long, he was the cutest dastardly thing and ate his weight in lettuce.

Out came the very stinky sprays, which I suspect I hate more than the critters do. Within five minutes, back came the little guy. He nibbled on a couple leaves of chard and echinacea, but they must have tasted awful with all that stinky stuff. He made his way across the street and let out a whistle like a rowdy teenager completing a dare. Very naughty! The next day, out waddled Big Fat Mama, sauntering across our front porch and diving into red clover I’d vaguely “heard” a message to weed every time I passed it for the past week. Big Fat Mama doesn’t care about spray. She just likes her some lettuce, kale and clover — even locating hidden ones I forgot about.

This might seem like a minor mishap, frustration or tragedy, but Groundhog (the spirit animal) provides wise guidance.

Groundhog Wisdom focuses on the importance of clear boundaries and the cycles of life, death/hibernation and rebirth. A shamanic totem, groundhog goes into the Underworld and safely returns. Groundhog’s long winter’s nap connects to Dreamtime, and Groundhog honors Ancestral Wisdom by passing along track ways to generation after generation, even with no direct, physical contact.

Also known as woodchucks, whistle pigs, or marmots, groundhogs are resourceful, intelligent, persistent, and great problem solvers. Groundhog reveals hidden desires and aversions. Although they look alike, groundhogs honor their own personal tastes. They eat what they love and avoid what they don’t. They bring focus to long, complex projects, and they can keep these projects secret until completion. They can burrow and tunnel vast distances, but also climb trees and outwit traps. They know how to disappear when necessary. They look cute, but their sharp teeth, strong claws and metabolic control demand respect.

All of these qualities connect Groundhog very closely to the Faery Realm. Do not underestimate Groundhog!

What Do You Really Want? Continue reading

More Signs of Spring

Here’s another glimpse of our Kalamazoo Spring. Despite a 24-hour cold spell this Sunday into Monday morning, the blooms continue to unfurl. I am so excited to finally have ranunculus! I love these exuberant flowers but have never grown them before:

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Fox and Owl

I promised to share some of the ongoing fox synchronicities related to my Tahoe trip, our workshop, and continuing upon return to Kalamazoo. On the Sunday after our workshop, I took a shopping detour with some friends to get food for my return trip. We also stopped in TJ Maxx in South Lake Tahoe, where I happened upon a white pillow with a huge red fox painted on it. Wherever I walked in the store, I kept “landing” right beside the fox pillow. If I had any space to spare in my suitcase, I would have bought it.

The sync winks became more obvious the next day when Tania and I sat in her magickal office, hanging out with Queen Astrid.

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All of a sudden, Tania noticed a movement in the mirror behind Astrid — a reflection from across the street. We ran outside just in time to see some sort of canine wandering through her neighbors’ fenced in yard. Continue reading

Garden, Groundhog, and Writing Updates

You may have noticed me blogging less this month, and that has a bit to do with increased groundhog patrol and much to do with working to finish my Lyme disease book. The garden took a turn towards Autumn with new mum’s and the tall sedum starting to put on its show:

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Garden Update: New Critters, Compost and Putting the Crazy Back in CPL

We’ve had some new developments since I posted “Garden Update: The Good, the Bad and the Undetermined.” The big news is that Kalamazoo Kal showed up the next day, apparently to apologize for stealing my kale. He popped out of his old hidey hole and stood on his hind legs as soon as I sent him the mental message, “Not acceptable, Kal!”

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He normally only stands on hind legs when the cat teases him, but this time, he seems to have been responding to my lecture about kale thieving. Soon afterwards, he went right to spots of the yard I had tagged earlier in the day as in need of weeding. He even munched dandelions in the mulched area between our magnolia and purple maple. (Sorry for photo quality. It’s tricky to Continue reading