Feng Shui for Plants and People


It's chickweed season! This year I did not plant a winter garden. I have silverbeet and red chard growing out of the compost and a flourishing crop of chickweed in all the garden beds. I went out and stood in the meagre winter sun this lunch time, and snipped a bunch of fresh chickweed greens with the kitchen scissors. Thank you edible weeds for flourishing when nothing else is planted. I had the chickweed for lunch on sprouted rye sourdough with hummus and curried egg. Remember the trick with chickweed - snip off the leaves and compost the stems, which are stringy and not fun to eat.

Paul had an extra week off chemo last week to let his angry bowel heal, and yesterday he spent the day in the comfy recliner chair having his second treatment. He has been so well and cheerful over the last week that it's quite difficult to see him go back and start the treatment again. We're hoping for a good week, but we will get what we get, of course. So far, so good. He is cheerful and feeling fine.

We have worked out a diet that is as gentle as possible for his digestive system. He can't have whole grains or fruit or vegies with peels or seeds or anything acidic. Or coffee. Or dairy, except for yoghurt. Or any meat except white fish and a bit of chicken. Or most other things. He is eating lots of vegie soup and avocado on toast. And porridge with apple sauce and yoghurt.

This week I am polishing the manuscript of my first novel and writing a synopsis and a chapter breakdown to send it off to a literary competition. Also, I sewed on a button. This is about as complex as I want life to be at the moment. Oh, I also potted up some jade plants. I snapped off some cuttings a few months ago from a very healthy plant that I noticed poking through someone's fence onto the footpath while I walked the dog one day. The cuttings have been growing roots in a jar of water on my windowsill for at least three months, and yesterday was the day I finally had a moment and took them outside to the potting bench to pot them all up. I will tell you the secret to a happy jade plant. A tiny bit of fertiliser and regular watering. I see so many sad and withered old jade plants in pots at front doors, because apparently they are good for feng shui. These are not succulents you can ignore indefinitely, unlike some sturdy, tough-as-boots ones. For jade plants to provide good feng shui they need love and attention. I will tell you the secret to good feng shui. Give anything love and attention and it will flourish. I flourish with love and attention, like the jade plant.

Do you know what flourishes without attention? Chickweed. Give it attention and it will flourish all over the yard, the neighbourhood and will then take over the world. But I am thankful for it. It quietly provides a carpet of edible green from a garden canvas of absolute neglect.

Thank you for your stories in the comments on the last post. I love to read snippets from your lives. I love to picture Mary's summer garden in Georgia while mine is winter bleak. I love to know that some of you do ironing as a kind of zen meditation and that Chris' granddad dug up his tennis court to make a vegie garden. 

Thanks for your thoughts and kind words. They do mean a lot xx


Anonymous said…
Glad Paul is better, and able to have his second treatment!
I so understand wanting uncomplicated and simple: whether it's sewing a button, repotting a plant, or cleaning the "junk" drawer. You do what you can, and give yourself lots of grace.

I continue to think of you and Paul often. I so appreciate your update.
Much love,
simplelife said…
Here's to hoping this round of treatment is much easier on Paul and yourself.
How many rounds of chemo does will he have?
Take care of yourself Jo.
Cheers Kate
Jo said…
Patricia, yes, it's all a bit slow here at the moment, but that also means appreciating the small, slow beautiful things, which are the great joys of my life. I'm so glad about that. When life is difficult I can still enjoy clouds and interesting rocks.

Kate, he has 12 rounds of chemo, two weeks apart, which will take him into mid-November. He's now 1/6 of the way through! And holding up well so far:)
gretchenjoanna said…
You know what your creative gift is when you see how it's one of the few things you can give your attention to when life is overwhelmingly difficult. You are definitely a writer and a gardener! (Sewing is probably on the list of creative specialties but button-sewing might not require the testing-level of concentration.) I am so proud of you for getting to this stage of your novel!! Wow. And the chickweed sandwich is inspiring and mouth-watering.

Treaders said…
I'm glad Paul got a break from his treatment, if only briefly. He is a brave man and I'm sending him huge hugs through the ether. As for flourishing, I was talking to my daughter-in-law today and she was saying how my 3 month old grandson doesn't really cry. But why should he, he is drowning in love and attention and has his every need met - and long may it last. Not every baby is that lucky. I know you can't always take pain away with love but you can give it a damn good try can't you!
Jo said…
Gretchen Joanna, sewing on a button is about my limit, especially right now! But at least my skirt is not falling off, so i call that a win:)

Anna, France is his favourite country, so he will be very chuffed to be receiving virtual hugs from France:) What a lucky grandson you have. A wonderful start in life to be drowning in love and attention. Works for jade plants, babies, and all the rest of us.
Mary said…
Your first novel - Wow! The chick weed looks delicious on your sandwich. We have the sticky kind here so I am not sure if it would be as good raw. Happy to hear that Paul has had some respite from his intestinal situation. Also happy to hear that my summer report gave you a moment's pleasure. As far as buttons and jade plants go, my current motto is "A little bit, often." Can't remember where I heard that, maybe here? Anyway, it surprises me what I can accomplish that way. Take care.
Penelope P. said…
I do so hope all is well. Sending love, Pennyxx
Anonymous said…
Thinking of you, and Paul.
Christie Hawkes said…
Sending you and Paul love and healing. I know it's difficult watching a loved one suffer. I hope this treatment goes easier on you both. Good luck with your novel. That is quite an accomplishment. I found your blog through a comment you left on Caree's Retirement Blog. It's a pleasure "meeting" you.
Jo said…
Mary, I love your 'little bit often' mantra. That is so true. I am often the person who leaves things for a long time then tries to do everything all at once, so I am slowly learning the truth of this adage.

Penelope and Patricia, thanks for your loving concern:) xx

Christie, welcome, it's a pleasure 'meeting' you too. I do love the small but lovely blog community who gathers here:) I am very fortunate.

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