Keeping Spirits High With Nature

Millie longing for freedom.

In the history books, March 2020 will be characterized as the lost month – perhaps so will April and May. With school closures, shut down of commerce, recommendations as well as mandates in some places to shelter in place, to distance ourselves socially, covid-19, a coronovirus, has been teaching us patience, community and respect for nature.

At the ranch, covid-19, and has not altered life much. Rural people are used to challenges to the modern, softer way of life. As a child, I remember a large storm knocking out the power. We were snowed in with no electricity. My parents stoked the fire in the fireplace and took out the camping gear – the lanterns, the coolers, the propane stove – and, along with our well-stocked freezer and pantry, we continued with life as usual – albeit more challenging for cleaning and bathing. For fun, we played games by lantern or firelight. We told stories. We shared our thoughts, goals and feelings. We were a family, slowed in time, in it together.

Fast forward to the last few years of wildfires and floods. Power was out each time. Danger was around each corner – literally. People came together to help one another. Life goes on. Work has to get done.

The only change covid has brought is the cancellation of my 50th birthday planting party. Not so much a birthday party, it was going to be a celebration of the Earth and what we as humans can do to regenerate and make positive change. My goal is to get 400 plants planted – 200 milkweeds and 2o0 nectar plants. That would have been much easier with another 70 sets of hands, but public safety comes first. The plants will get planted. I am determined. It will just take a little longer.

Some friends have asked if there was a place they could make a donation, in lieu of working directly to plant milkweed on the ranch. Yes, and thank you! Xerces Society has been a phenomenal resource assisting me in planning and executing this project. They are in the lead helping preserve monarch habitat. You can donate from their website or through this link.

Salvia Sprouts

Several weeks ago, as you know if you read this blog, I started seeds. Well, about one week ago I got some sprouts. Not as many as I wanted – but I am grateful for what I have. I will definitely need to purchase more mature nectar plants, and will continue to sow seeds in a staggered way to make a continuous supply of nectar plants.

Fortunately, with the rain we have a natural supply and abundance of wildflowers. Some will serve monarchs, like the salvia and marigolds I planted last year, and others will be an attractant for different butterfly varieties and pollinators.

Arugula blowing in the wind
Popcorn flower
A poppy and other flowers
Wildflowers on a rainy day

I will be seeding more nectar plants over the next few weeks. I have a lot of work to do. Covid-19 has slowed my life down a bit, and given me back some weekends I had planned to travel. For those concerned, anxious and stressed, find peace in nature. Do something that can improve our world even as it appears it is falling to pieces around us. When you shelter at home, you can still go out on your balcony, patio, back or front yard and plant some seeds, weed a patch. You can learn something new on YouTube that you’ve been wanting to know. As I mentioned to friends, the sun will set and rise again. Life, though challenging for many, will go on. You have the power to keep yourself well, to thrive even. Raise your spirits through nature. In honoring her, you honor yourself. Be safe. Be well.

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