Introduction to the Hydrologic Cycle

I’ve always joked about my tendency to bury plants and my subsequent inertia in regard to watering them. But I got a lesson yesterday. I’d just finished pursuing the most recent Mother Earth News magazine and had read an article by Joel Salatin in which he writes that we are responsible for what we know. “As long as you think someone else is responsible for your training, your development, or your success, you’ll be stuck where you are. The day you realize you are responsible is the first day of liberated learning and progress.”⁠1  That struck home. I stood up and went over to my office window to look out at our evolving annual garden area. I surveyed its challenges. I thought about Tier One and the garden I imagine it becoming some day. After months and, yes, years, I had to admit that no one (other than Carl) would do it, if I didn’t. 

This lesson has been a long time coming. Since 2012, when we moved up here, I’ve been hedging my bets, thinking I could carry on my city life while living in the country. I want to write. To play the flute. Dabble in things politics. But the only way for my fantasy Eden to burgeon forth will be if I focus my attention on gardening. I sighed and looked down at my still swollen, broken pinky toe, and told it, “get ready. We’re in for a bumpy ride.”

Focus is a challenge for me. My distraction-ability seems to get worse (or better?) every day. There’s the constant and underlying simmering stress of the changing weather, the animals in harm’s way, people in concentration camps within our own borders; we seem to be repeating the lessons of World War II. On top of that, are the myriad To Dos in my life. With so much to do, how focus? 

Mother Nature does it, why can’t I? She juggles the hydrologic cycle, the carbon cycle, the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, and the oxygen cycle all at once and with us assaulting her, and still she proceeds. Getting hotter and hotter to be rid of the pestilence that is killing her. 

But I digress. You see how I am? I was thinking about yesterday’s lesson from Joel Salatin. If I’m going to create a garden, I better have at it. Out I limped. Weeks behind schedule, (and because the ones I buried weeks ago didn’t sprout) I took the herbs that Carl and I bought two days ago and planted them in the ground. While Carl set up a water catchment system to create a hydrologic cycle Ma Nature would be proud of, I weeded the raised beds that have been entirely ignored since I planted my home-birthed seedling beets and leeks and onions and kale and lettuces back in late May. The only plants that are alive: a few of the onions (or are they leeks?) and the lettuces we bought, full grown, from Rosalys three weeks ago. And then? I watered the garden with the rain water that was captured by one of our two 2500 gallon water tanks.

That is satisfactory: to water a garden with rain water caught by a cistern. Talk about no waste!

The water sprayed from the hose, creating rainbows and puddles and very happy plants and the dawning of this thought: I might plant seeds into soil and be awed by the resulting sprouts. And those sprouts might diligently grow to be an inch or two tall. I might plant those seedlings in the ground with as much positive energy and love as I am capable of giving a plant . . . but if I don’t water them, they won’t grow.

I had assumed we were getting enough rain through the moods and tantrums of the natural hydrologic cycle. I was wrong. The soil that’s not mulched is dry as sand. 

When in overwhelm, it’s easy to ossify. Like neck muscles when they are so tensed up that when you roll your neck, it sounds like popcorn crackling. Action requires action. If we sit and imagine what might come, that will only get us so far. l no longer sit and worry. That’s putting energy exactly in the direction I don’t want it to go. Time to accentuate the positive, express outrage and change. ACT. Attitude Change Time. 

The day you realize you are responsible is the first day of liberated learning and progress.”⁠2

I intend to tend to my garden. To read and learn more about and implement as best I can (with Carl) regenerative farming. To focus on what I can do today to support Mother Nature in her efforts to regain balance and rebuild the web we call life. And that includes writing a post on Friday that transitions this blog from things past to things future. 

Please note the photo of Carl’s and my experimentation in the wiring possibilities of potato roots.


1 “Practice Makers Progress” by Joel Salatin. Mother Earth News August/September 2019, page 69

2 “Practice Makers Progress” by Joel Salatin. Mother Earth News August/September 2019, page 69