Sunday, March 20, 2011

Planted This Week - With No Electricity, Per The Lenten Carbon Challenge

Very Rare Flying Cat Head
Chia Garlic Chives!
Today I planted the garlic chives we'd gotten from our friend Vera at Village Green last week, into the terracotten flying cat head wall hanger I bought at MITS. We're hoping the chives will give a funny effect while providing us with yet one more microgarden, although we are resolutely avoiding the thought that this in any way resembles a chia pet!
I also planted lettuce "Mervielle Des Quatre Saisans" from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, into four square pots. It will be interesting to see if whether it grows differently in a black plastic pot or in terracotta.
I  opened up the packet of Soapwort (Saponaria Ocymoides) from Buchart Gardens and sowed some in with the horserashing. I think they will be compatible because their habits are so different, but let's see.
In all this activity, I used no electricity or electronic devices at all. I suppose I could've been listening to the radio or iPod, and I don't begrudge those who do. But part of the fun of casual gardening is the radical reduction to practical necessities, symbolized perhaps by the acceptance of direct under the fingernails. If you try to garden and keep your hands dirt-free, either you are already crazy or you soon will be. Dirt is as harmless as water and both are fine in moderation - the reality of gardening reminds us of this physically, which may be all the more necessary now that so much of our lives are lived electronically.
Take this blog. It's a converstation with my future self, and with anyone who chances by. Between this blog, facebook, twitter and email, I contact more people in a day than I did in a week of highschool or college, yet there are days when I see maybe five people face-to-face. I don't know what impact this has on the psyche, but it must have some effect. And ... to connect this to gardening ... this change in connections is easily measured with respect to people, but it must be matched by a comparable change in connection to other parts of reality, such as earth, water and nature. It just makes you go, "huh!"

I got thinking about this as a result of Today's Lenten Carbon Fast challenge: (courtesy of my bloggy friend Small Footprints):
"Turn off all of your electronic devices and unplug them. Turn your cell phone off. Sit in silence. Consider your day to day choices which affect the environment and climate change."
Some of my electronic choices can help the environment; in my volunteer work with the WSBA, I am attending more meetings by phone than physically. Even though I am often compensated for the mileage, it's still satisfying not to burn the gas and clog the roads.
Other choices may not be so helpful. We are especially reminded this week, due to the disaster in Japan, than electricity has to come from somewhere, and that has environmental consequences. But even without this disaster, the constant intrusion of electronic devices into everyday life has consequences, such as a perceived need to respond instantly to messages sent to our cellphones.
It may be that we are o.k. with the consequences; cellphones and the like have a mixture of both good and bad consequences, and perhaps the important thing is to make a conscious choice, a deliberate acceptance of the bad with the good, rather than an unconscious choice that is made while reaching for the good without noticing the other.