The Perfection of Paradox

It is a wonder, the philosophical ponderings that arise, whilst bent over in a patch of garden; the things one contemplates and turns over in mind, while spade is turning earth, while hands are picking petals.

(Calendula petals for salves and teas).

I sometimes think that my best ideas are born in the garden, as the earth gives birth to all things, she also gives birth to me, and yet such poetry is also a paradox. For just as the garden stimulates my mind, she also dissolves it. The ideas come, and then they go, arising and dissolving almost simultaneously. No sooner has a thought arisen, than it is dissolved by the smell of sweet peas.

Or the feel of damp earth between toes, or the cool long shape of a cucumber under hand, or the hum of a honeybee coaxing the nectar from a calendula flower.




Sometimes, when they go, I call out for them, ” Oh do come back,” I beg them, “pleeeeaase,” and I reach for those ideas with a kind of fervent desperation. I want to put my earth caked hands around them and hold on tight. Sometimes, I search for a pen, a scrap of  bark, anything to write on, to capture the vision before it flys away. But alas, even before I reach, I know that it is already too late; the idea plucked out of the sky of mind, like a fat and perfect cherry on a faraway branch, swallowed by a robin on his way by. And then, I am left there, ravaged by a passing inspiration, holding onto spade with earth-stained-hands… and it is back to turning soil, just through the garden gate.

But sometimes (at random and unpredictable intervals) something else happens, and in these moments, I simply watch the marvelous pattern of ideas coming and going, arising and dissolving all at once, and this in itself is an exquisite experience. When this happens, I just keep digging, or picking peas, or sowing seeds. All the while, I am nothing more than a witness to myself, to my wild mind and my blessed garden, just noticing the present moment, from a comfortable seat in the chair of paradox.

Of course, beyond this, there is also my human urge to categorize my experience, to say “this experience is better than that one, and it means this about who I am…”  T’is a good thing, that a few nights ago, I read a glorious sentence that got right inside me and soothed this human urge. I found it in Wendy Johnson’s marvelous book, Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, and it went like this: “Open your mind so wide it includes your thoughts, your wish not to be thinking so much.”  And well, I have to tell you, that was like a poultice for me, it was a cool gentle salve for my hot inspired mind, and for a moment at least, everything was perfect. For, how can it not be perfect when there are bowls of cherries to be eaten (the robins did leave some for us).

Or should I say buckets.

Which Mark has been canning, almost as fast as I can pick them.

And while he is in the kitchen sweetening cherries with honey, I find my way up into the arms of our bountiful cherry tree and I hold onto it’s smooth branches with my long bird toes (half the garden under my toenails! )

And, from here, I reach for those ripe red orbs, one for the bucket, one for me and on it goes…

Precariously perched above the duck pond, peering down through green leaves, to see Emmet our handsome white drake cheering me on from down below.

Yes, the Honey Grove Harvest has officially begun, and we are as busy as our bees these days gathering the sweetness of this season.

There is a feast to be hand in every direction. The veg plot is over-flowing with goodness and we are enjoying every leaf and root, with the greatest of gratitude.

Each vegetable deserving it’s own private celebration. I could write an ode to every carrot I pull and crunch.


Garlic too is being harvested and braided.

And while the garlic is drying, Mark is still brewing…


Because, on these sunny summer days, you have to have cold brews to offer dear friends when they come to play their music round your campfire. And you must also enjoy the fruits of your own labour. (These are the laws of brewing, or so I am told.)

Yes, there is such a lot of goodness here on Honey Grove, there is nothing to do but give thanks, to get down on our knees and feel the gratitude that comes for this bounty. But you cannot linger there too long, for there is work to be done. Eh eh. And so, until next time, I bid you farewell, from in between the blooms, under a wide-brimmed- straw-hat, adrift in the poetry of paradox.

Summery Blessings to All,

Nao, Mark and Gus and All at Honey Grove.





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Come on down…

“Come on down to Honey Grove,

where the bees are buzzin and the flowers are growin.

Come on down to Honey Grove,

don’t you know everybody’s goin.

Come on down to Honey Grove,

and why don’t you stay for a while?

There’s alotta nice things on Honey Grove,

they’re gonna make you smile…”

And now, hear those words sung with just the right amount of lilt and twang by a man in a well-worn-straw-hat, and faded denim trousers held up by suspenders. Add to this a little banjo and an old-time fiddle, throw in a guitar, a washboard and a stand-up base and you’ve got yourself the Honey Grove theme song.  Yes, this is the one I imagine, the song that plays through my mind while I push wheel-barrows of compost around the property and clean chicken coops. So far, there is only one guitar in my band and it belongs to me, I have yet to find the man in the straw hat, the banjo player and the fiddler, but I’ll get there. These things are easy to come by in our neck of the woods. Mark could do nicely as the man in the straw hat, but he would have to lose his British accent, otherwise, I fear it might sound more like an English Ballad, and between you and I, that just would not do. On another note, our musical friends are arriving from various islands this weekend with their banjo’s and guitars in tow, so perhaps my Honey Grove song will come to life yet. That is my hope anyway, that under the stars around the campfire, my song will be born.

But anyway….

Come on down to Honey Grove, where the bees are buzzin.

And the flowers are growin.

Come on down to Honey Grove, don’t you know, everybody’s goin.

Come on down to Honey Grove, and why don’t you stay for a while?

There’s alotta nice things on Honey Grove, they’re gonna make you smile…”

Although, these days, that line should be “there are alotta nice peas on Honey Grove.”

Yes, we are picking peas and shelling peas and eating peas and freezing peas.

I have recently discovered the wonder of listening to pod-casts, on my i-pod, while picking pea-pods. I am having a full education over here, learning all matter of interesting things from ancient Egyptian astrology to Greek mythology to unsolvable (or rather Un-provable) mathematical mysteries. I will have all kinds of interesting new facts so share next time you stay up all night with me, sipping mead around the campfire.  eh eh. But, you’ll have to “Come on down to Honey Grove for that.

Otherwise, I spent this week wheeling wheel-barrows filled to the brim with 10 year old bark mulch (which I acquired from an old riding- ring in the over grown woods on our property) up to the veg plot to create this sparkling new path. It divides our garden into four lovely quadrants for ease of use, and of course, crop rotation.

And looking upon it from another angle.

I am rather pleased with it, which is a relief, because after you wheel barrow 54 loads of bark mulch up the driveway ( yes I counted), you want to be pleased with the result. You really do. And speaking of being pleased, Mark is also feeling very pleased with his brick oven progress, which is proving to be an absolute feat of engineering. I cannot even begin to comprehend how he is doing it. Seeing him doing the calculations alone, is like watching someone do advanced algebra. Tomorrow, he is having a big work party to take things to the next level as he pours the next concrete pad, which the fire bricks will sit on.

And, while we work, everything just keeps growing.

But, all the working never stops us from putting our noses in roses. We have no choice but to succumb to their perfume. They seduce us whenever we attempt to walk past, clutching our agendas. Yes, you will find me bent over roses, breathing deeply, several times a day.  The below rose is called Elle, and she belongs to a romantic novel, or olden fairytale, or the elegant garden of an 18th century stately home… or maybe, maybe she belongs to Honey Grove.  Truth be told, I think we belong to her. Her smell is utterly transporting, nothing else exists when you spend time in her company.

So, “Come on down to Honey Grove, where the bees are buzzin and the flowers are growin, come on down to Honey Grove, don’t you know everybody’s goin, come on down to Honey Grove and why don’t you stay for awhile.  There are alotta nice things on Honey Grove, they’re gonna make you smile..”

In Gratitude,

Nao, Mark, Gus and All at Honey Grove.








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