Thursday, February 24, 2022

Turning off the news

 It's another beautiful and mild day here in my part of the world. This week has been warm and springlike, so much so that I wore shorts yesterday as I puttered around the house and the outdoors. The very earliest trees and bulbs are blooming already, my favorite being this grand old magnolia that belongs to my next-door neighbor. 

Although I've had the week off work, I've been busy. On Sunday, we planted the crabapple stick tree in our front yard. If it lives, I fully expect it to take several years before it's much to look at. 

The next day, Monday, Gregg helped me put up a bluebird nesting box in the back yard. The box was a Christmas gift many years ago from my late mother-in-law, Edythe. She shared my love of feeding wild birds and had a bluebird box in her back yard in addition to several feeders. Since we were renting at the time, I decided to put it away and save it until we were able to buy a home of our own. We've seen lots of Eastern bluebirds in this neighborhood, so our chances of attracting a pair to nest are pretty good. In fact, the morning after we put it up, I saw a pair of them checking it out! I was pretty excited, but they flew away after a few minutes. I haven't seen them again, at least not yet. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of fingers crossed, today I sowed seed for early spring vegetables in part of my raised bed. Carrots, lettuce, and radishes...

Just for fun, I also planted some potato seedlings in a large plastic container. I don't have much expectation of actually getting potatoes, but it will be a fun experiment. Over the weekend I'll be starting tomatoes and peppers indoors in peat pellets. We have about 6 weeks until our last frost date, which is just about right for having seedlings of a good planting-out size. 

With all these gardening projects and other things going on, I've been mostly avoiding the news these days. The last few years have just been exhausting. I've found it's better for my mental health to not follow national and world events quite so closely as I used to. I'm aware of the Ukraine situation, but I feel helpless to do anything except feel terrible about it. I realize it's the height of privilege to be able to tune out such events and concentrate on my own small life, but I don't know of any alternative that would actually accomplish anything. I don't take for granted how fortunate I am, at least.

We Lived Happily During the War by Ilya Kaminsky //
And when they bombed other people’s houses, we
but not enough, we opposed them but not
enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America
was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.
I took a chair outside and watched the sun.
In the sixth month
of a disastrous reign in the house of money
in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,
our great country of money, we (forgive us)
lived happily during the war.


  1. I'm reading a book right now that's set during the Viet Nam war and I am reminded how useless and horrible and tragic that was.
    As are all wars.
    I'm just grateful that Biden is the president now. Lord knows what would happen if you-know-who was still in office. I mean, Lord knows anyway, but still. You know what I mean. I have a feeling that Don would have wet his pants with excitement when he was rushing to order troops to help his good buddy Putin.
    Meanwhile, let us plant and provide homes for birds. I hope you get a little family in that nesting box. Bluebirds are the prettiest darn things. Like tiny patches of the sky on wings.

  2. The bluebird box sounds wonderful! I would love to have one but I don't think we have bluebirds here. I'm excited just hearing about your garden and all you are planting. You are going to have a super garden this year with that raised bed!

    I have never read that piece by Ilya Kaminsky. It is striking and should be read by many. Thank you for posting it. I am keeping Ukraine in my thoughts.

  3. I can't help thinking about Ukraine and how messed up everything is. It's easy to be depressed and feel helpless. I'm glad you're doing other positive activities. Working with plants and growing things is so therapeutic. That's a gorgeous magnolia!

  4. The tree will grow. And I don't even want to think what would be happening to the Ukraine if the Orange Anus was still in office, hell, we'd be sending troops to help the Russkies.

  5. Bluebird habitat is meadow, and I live in the woods. So, we do have bluebirds, but not here, sadly. Yours is lovely, and I wish you every success!

  6. Oh my, that poem!!! My heart!!
    Must start thinking of blue birds now, nothing else can be done.

  7. gardening.....bird nests...making things grow and live..You have a handle on it.

  8. Dear Jennifer, your last sentences from "I'm aware..." are exactly how I feel about the situation. It scares me (being only 1,500 km from home, really) no end but I can't stop or change the game, and so I stay in my happy bubble of privilege and wellbeing...

    Love the names of your seeds! The radishes do indeed look like an Easter basket :-)

  9. I like to listen to talk radio,( especially in the night when I can't sleep) and the only topic this last few days is the situation in Ukraine so it is difficult to avoid it!

  10. I love the birds’ nest under the stick tree. It’s all so artsy. The magnolia is stunning. And clearly you’ll have success with the blue bird box. Can’t wait to see the vegetables grow. And I just read some news and can’t read more today. I’m powerless here and would be powerless there. Horrific.

  11. That is a disturbing poem . I had not read it before. I guess it is digging away at the idea that ignorance is bliss. Please don't get me wrong, I can see exactly where you are coming from with regard to the connection between mental health and news consumption.

  12. I think we all have to moderate our intake of news. It's important to stay informed so we can make decisions in the important ways that we can (voting) but there's no need to wallow in it. And yes, I suppose that IS privilege, but we have to protect ourselves too.

    That tree really IS a stick. I look forward to seeing what it looks like when it comes out in the spring!

  13. I feel so bad for those that can't ignore the news because they are living the nightmare of war in the Ukraine. It is frustrating and scary, isn't it?

  14. I also feel I have to moderate my news intake. Even so, I'm feeling a little more optimistic as I watch the world stand up to Putin. The sanctions, seizures, blockades, financial's all helping. Last night I heard Russian Vodka was being pulled off the shelves in Canada. I know it's small, but it was satisfying.
    Your garden projects look amazing. I would dearly love to attract bluebirds to my backyard. I'm afraid my backyard is too densely packed with trees and shrubs for them. They seem to prefer meadow-like open spaces. I might put up a blue bird house anyway...just in case!

  15. I miss having a bird stand/feeder.
    I love the carrots.

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