Rosa's Reading List::Blogs & A Book


Esther In the Garden
It all started here with the story of Esther Montgomery, who married a Martian. She is trying hard to cope with an extraterrestrial family; and this comes out as she writes about her garden. The twists and turns are delightful, and pacing is brilliant. It has been 'mothballed' but you can read the blog in its entirety.
This blog spawned several offshoots, so to speak. Esther's neighbor,
Lucy picks up blog-writing and has two blogs:

Loose and Leafy
Pictures Just Pictures

Esther's Boring Garden Blog. This is Esther as her most brilliant, in my opinion, and her use of parenthesis is unparalleled.Click here to read a recent post about the correct pronunciation of the word 'hosta.' ("Hos-TA!")

Hugh and Camelia- this is a book on its own, written in blog form, chapter by chapter.
All of these reads go down better with a cup of something hot. For me it was usually Irish Breakfast tea, or Red Rose (can't get enough of all those ceramic figurines).
......And a book
I just finished  Michael Chabon's 'Summerland'. It was entertaining, if a bit bewildering. A sort of Field of Dreams meets Native American/Norse mythology Chronicles of Narnia? It got a bit crowded in there, but it was well-written. And extra points for a  plot contrivance based on pleaching, a woefully under-used horticultural practice. More on pleaching later, we just got back from a visit with a few of my fave examples.


More About Trade As One

I've just been reading  Trade As One's blog and enjoying immensely Nathan George's 3 part series on consumerism. One of the things I love about Trade As One is that it recognizes the crisis of consumerism and its harmful affects on the soul of the consumer; I'm talking about the sort of spiritual malaise that enslaves us when we are loaded down by debt and trapped in the cycle of work/spend/work/spend ad infinitum. Nathan says that the way to get out of this cycle is to cultivate gratitude and generosity in our lives.
'Through gratitude and generosity we step outside of our little world where we are the center of attention. In doing so, we step out of the firing line for all the messaging, advertising, fear-inducing hype-speak aimed at us. As the din from all that noise diminishes we start to hear all sorts of other things we have been missing all this time – like our names, our purpose, and the incomparable joys of living in that purpose.' -Nathan George, Founder, Trade As One
Crunchier than Thou
I realize that I have been too quick to take Fair Trade for granted. Living in Santa Cruz, I see it used so often as one more PC label, one more way to judge whether or not you are of the elect-"Is it organic? Free range? Biodynamic? Sustainably grown? Fair Trade?" One more phylactery on the PC Pharisee's proud forehead. ("I thank you, Lord, that I am not like that tax collector. He is so not green-and did you see that French roast he just bought? Totally not Fair Trade!") 
27 Million
It wasn't until I started reading a book at a friend's house, Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and  How We Can Fight It,  by David Batstone, that I began to sit up and take notice. The issue of human trafficking has never left us, and the fact that there are an estimated 27 million people who, right now, are slaves, is hair-raising, and left me wanting desperately to do something.  This friend of mine told me she gets together with a few women every month or so to pray for these 27 million, each known and loved by God. When she told me this, it was like a light went on inside my heart and I realized that this was something that I could do, something that was within my grasp. 
Viewing the Trade As One boutique last Sunday through the lens of the trafficking issue filled me with gratitude and generosity. Looking at the jewelry, thinking-"these bracelets were made by a woman that was rescued from the sex trade in Cambodia! Awesome!" I just kept walking around with the same silly grin on my face, self-consciously rubbing my arms-I think I had chicken skin all day. I wanted to buy it all. I didn't! But the few things we did buy we will treasure. It's not the first time I've been around this sort of thing, and the idea of supporting micro-businesses from the Third World is not new. But somehow it is hitting me differently.
"Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.-Micah 6:8"

 I'm still ruminating on all this, and trying to assimilate it into my life. Most days, I'm either sitting in a nursing stupor, or dashing about, generally tired & absent-minded; forgetting important things like meetings, people's names and the odd noun, but inwardly my ear is cocked to the heavens, listening.
 Subvert The Dominant Paradigm:
 Have An Opinion, And Don't Put It On Your Car!
If you want a bit of a laugh, read the Santa Cruz Sentinel's two articles on the Trade As One boutique at our church, Vintage Faith, last Sunday. The articles themselves aren't especially chuckle-worthy, but the myriad of comments afterwords certainly are. We Santa Cruzans just can't help ourselves when it comes to opinions! It's something in the water. But I won't say what, or I'll get alot of mistaken angry comments about the controversial flouride in the water supply debate.

But please, have a poke around the Trade As One website, and hear a few of the stories from the producers of their products. They are marvelous-like the story of Divine Chocolate from Ghana, the world's first chocolate company owned by farmers, and the way they honor and support the equality of women in their company. Good stuff. I can't wait to open our Advent Calendar with their chocolate! If you missed the boutique, they will be at the Rio Theatre (here in Santa Cruz) December 12 & 13.


Rosa's Poetry Snippet Archives::B

He has not left you orphaned
or alone
since He knit you together 
soul and bone
through space and time
He winds His silver thread
for you to feel along
with heart and head

Allow no clamor to undo you
or hasty hoary hand to misconstrue you
Remember the first kisses of your
wakening day
and rush to meet your Maker
along the way.  

This sweet little snippet was found floating around on our office desk, written several years ago on the back of an index card; I preserve it here with love. It is possibly written with our little G in mind, I'll have to confirm it with the poet.

The picture, by the incomparable illustrator Jessie Wilcox Smith, is from the 1920 edition of 'Princess and the Goblin' by George MacDonald. Note the thin sliver of thread that the princess Irene is holding; one of the finest metaphors of faith that I have found. The thread stretches from her ring to her great great grandmother, who sits at the top of Irene's rambling castle home; Irene has to follow the thread where ever it leads her, no matter how roundabout, in order to find her way out of the goblin's cave, and then-but wait, you really should read it yourself. And then you can read 'The Princess and Curdie', and come over for tea and a wee blether. If you need a refresher course on George MacDonald, here is a post from yesteryear to get you started.
Did You Mean Obtuse?

 As I did a Google search for this image, I misspelled 'goblin' and was asked, "Did you mean princess and the globulin?"


Trade As One

 Vintage Faith Church of Santa Cruz, CA will be partnering with Trade As One to host a Fair Trade boutique November 15, 2009. It'll be in the Fireside Room- click on the church link for directions. I for one will enjoy this detour from the normal frenzy of purchasing that Christmas can become. I'm excited to buy gifts that will bring justice to those who need it. So come on out! Tell them rosa sent you.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.