Once upon a time when Heather and I were just starting a newish relationship, I spied her reading a book. We had found that we enjoyed reading books together, but this was a big thick book that looked very different from the kinds of books we liked to read.
"No offence", she said, but I'm getting kind of tired of all the political books. I was taken aback by that. The world was going to hell in a hand basket and obviously we needed to read every goepolitical acology and human rights based book available. But here instead she had a work of anthropological fiction: The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel.
THEN, after she finished this huge book she started reading ANOTHER ONE. Apparently this was a series of books. So finally my curiosity got the best of me and I accepted her offer to read it with her.
So what the Earth's Children series of books by Jean Auel are basically about is a young woman named Ayla. And Ayla is a very beautiful and industrious woman who end up inventing just about everything in human history. Before the tender age of 25 this young woman has invented projectile weapons and sewing needles and pioneered the domestication of horses and hunting dogs and has a pet lion for a while, she discovered fire stones and revolutionized fire making, and she had a whole wealth of knowledge about medicinal plants.
Maybe it's not the most realistic story ever, and the books really tend to drag on in places, but they were a surprisingly fun read. We ended up reading them all. And somewhere along the way we started to think of plants as the fundamentally valuable part of our world that they actually are.
Heather started to want chamomile blossoms and echenacea blossoms for tea and she started eating the wild mint that grows around our house. The anti-capitalist in me was very taken by the idea of free food that just come right out of the ground. And so little by little we began to have a garden.
Heather's first book and a lot of stories she has to tell talk of Sunflowers. I really felt very strongly that she should have some and so last year we went to the MAP gardens and gathered some sunflower seeds that were dropping out of the spent sunflowers. I didn't know how easy they were to grow and didn't do any actual reasearch on how to plant them we just stuck em in the ground and hoped. And now we have an adolescent sunflower growing up before our eyes. It's like magic.
And we managed to put enough sticks and stakes around the dewberry bushes to stop the landlord from mowing them down when he swing that noisy gas powered thing all around, so there will be a huge bounty of berries this year. Free food is the best tasting food that was ever invented.
I transplanted a lot of mint and lambs quarters and clover since the people here at the house will eat it.
Spending time with plants would never have seemed like a worthwile or productive use of time five years ago. But it somehow is. Plants make really good air, they're calming to be around, they're good eatin, and they are FREE.
Anyone know where one can get a mechanical push mower these days? We really need one.