I want to share this poem with you:

I look at the stars and want to touch them,
But I can’t jump that high.
They are not mine to possess.
I look at the toys scattered around my box;
I can touch these. I play with them all the time.
But they are not mine to possess.
I know they are not mine to possess,
Because when I knock one of them under a dresser,
I cannot retrieve it.
I must wait for a Nameless One to move the dresser
And kick it out,
And that may take months.

My purr of contentment – this is mine;
My tail standing straight up when I swagger – this is mine;
The way I curl ’round the legs of people – this is mine;
The joy of running at top speed toward the open door
At dinner time–
All this is mine.

It is mine because I express it,
Not because I possess it.

I am an a priori kitty.
You scratch my back — or I’ll scratch yours.

Verse 10, “The Tao of Meow” by Waldo Japussy

I love cats. Sometimes I feel like a cat as I lounge in a sunny window spot or on atop an electric blanket on my favorite chair. I do not have a cat, but I do possess an admiration and delight for them and that is enough for me. I may not own a little dream cottage with a garden, but what is mine is the love of gardening and enjoying a cozy, safe little space when it’s stormy.


Garden Zone

As part of my Python programming practice, I came up with a module and function that randomly generates 5 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones / Garden Zones.

def randomgardenzone():
    test_list = ['a', 'b']
    for i in range(1, 5+1):
        x = randint(1, 13)
        res = choice(test_list)
        print(x, res)


For context: the US Department of Agriculture has 13 designated “zones” for the country, based on the average annual min temperature. Each zone number is 10 degrees F apart. There is a further subdivision of zones with a letter ‘a’ or ‘b’, where ‘b’ is 5 degrees F warmer than ‘a’.

These zones are useful for gardeners because we can confidently plant specimens that are hardy (cold/frost/freezing temperature tolerant) to their zone. This is why mango and bananas don’t grow in Minnesota, while they may thrive in a Floridian garden. The Minnesotan would have to have a toasty heated greenhouse in order to cultivate mango trees or bananas through their winter. (Did you know the banana plant is actually an herb, not a tree?)

I’m curious how some plants are able to be cold-hardy and resist freezing. When it gets below 32’F, the water in the plant cells wants to freeze and expand. This would rupture the cell walls and make the plant loose its structure, becoming frost damaged, mushy, and sadly, not salvageable. I heard that cold-hardy plants contain a natural antifreeze that prevents this. I’m curious how antifreeze works, and if it’s similar to what’s used in automobiles. Dianthus is an example of a common plant that is cold-hardy (you can grow them in Alaska), and in fact they need a cold season in order to thrive.

Python Things I learned:

  • Use “for i in range(1, 5)”, not just “for i in (1,5)”. A simple doh!-type mistake!
  • range(a, b) works like [a, b) – it is exclusive of the b value. However, randint(a, b) is inclusive of the b value.
  • The “choice( )” function from the random module let’s you pick a random item from a list. This was useful to pick the zone letters ‘a’ or ‘b’, since randint( ) is only used to pick a random integer.

Lettuce Rest

Lately I’ve been working on hard projects and this leaves me exhausted. Mentally exhausted from thinking about career and what aspects of lifestyle I desire. Consuming sustainability and gardening tutorials through books and YouTube videos contributes to the chatter in my mind. It’s all in my head, but it makes me tired.

What I’ve found to be helpful is:

  • Rest – sleep enough hours, or even an hour or two more than usual. Go to bed around the same time, take naps when needed.
  • Eat healthy – an occasional main or side salad harvested from the garden, a colorful vegan meal, homemade baking even if the muffins sink in the middle and look funny.
  • Exercise – go on walks, even just for a few blocks. You won’t get that wet if it’s raining a little.
  • Decompress – talk to someone who is a good listener, or write about the chatter in a journal. Getting it out helps. Being able to pen down a looming worry onto a few lines on paper shows that it’s not too big to be written about, and therefore can be managed bit by bit.

Here’s to working towards big goals and resting along the way!

Tip: This photo is of some “living lettuce” I bought at the grocery store and replanted. These come with the roots intact and last longer in the fridge. Enjoy most of the leaves, save the core of innermost leaves and roots intact, and plant in soil. It’s a similar cost to buying seedlings (about $3 for 3 lettuce plants), plus you get to enjoy more harvest before planting!