Giving Thanks for You

For each new morning with its light,

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For rest and shelter of the night,

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For health and food, for love and friends,

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For everything Thy goodness sends.

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For flowers that bloom about our feet;

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For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;

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For song of bird,

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and hum of bee;

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For all things fair we hear or see,

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Father in heaven, we thank Thee! ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I share this poem each Thanksgiving, as a reminder of all that we have to be grateful for. I include each of you in that gratitude list, for traveling with me on this journey – and for the friendships I have made along the way. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Fall Has Its Own Flowers

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Fall has its own flowers;

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instead of sprouting from the ground, they fall from the sky.

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Fiery and bold,

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delicate and whispy,

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gaudy gum drops hanging perilously

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from trees disrobed,

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while blanketing the ground in gold.

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“Autumn, I love thy parting look to view
In cold November’s day, so bleak and bare,
When, thy life’s dwindled thread worn nearly thro’,
With ling’ring, pott’ring pace, and head bleach’d bare,
Thou, like an old man, bidd’st the world adieu.”
~John Clare,”Written in November”

Hope for the Monarchs

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From threatened to signs of rebounding. Three to four times the number of monarch butterflies are expected to reach their wintering grounds in central Mexico this year.

The population has been in decline, as pesticides have destroyed the milkweed that they feed on, and illegal logging has reduced their pine forest canopy blanket where they over-winter.

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Through education, people are reintroducing milkweed, both by planting and designating pesticide-free areas. In Mexico, illegal logging is being shut down. And the monarchs are returning.

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They are not out of the woods yet. At their height, they covered more than 44 acres in their winter home. Even at their increased rate of return, they will only cover a fraction of that. But there is hope that they will reach nearly 15 acres in the Mexican reserves by 2020 – with our continued help.

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The passion for saving them is far-reaching. People have been asked to help all along their migration path. Nearly every child who visited our garden this summer asked if we had planted food for them. We did!

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Butterflies don’t recognize country boundaries or human differences – they depend on our help and cooperation across a continent to restore what we nearly destroyed altogether.

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It’s amazing what we can accomplish when people come together.

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Imagine what would happen if humankind cared for each other as we care for the monarchs.

Peace and Results in the Garden

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Yes, Gunther. You still have to go to dog school today, even in the rain!

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Yes, rain. California rain. Two weekends in a row! Come on El Niño!

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Just as the garden was about to succumb to winter brown after a summer of scorching drought,

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the rain has brought it back to life.

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As one thing falls away – another comes to life.

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Fall is a gardener’s busiest time of year, I think. Even more than spring. This weekend – before the rain – we enlisted the help of three hard-working youth volunteers to cover our well-worn paths with a fresh layer of bark and shreds. It has been three years since we last did this. And El Niño threatens a season of muddy walks. Take a look back to see how much the garden has changed.

This time, the load was only half the size – as the beds are twice theirs.

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But everyone pitched in to get it done in record time.

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Their reward? Dogs. We lunched with Scrappy.

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got bowled over by Bailey…

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And witnessed just about the sweetest “going home” ever.

Holly is one of our Taiwan rescues. She came all this way to find a forever home – but no one seemed to understand her. That is, until two adorable and smart young girls came in and spoke to Holly in her native Mandarin! They have been studying the language at school and are already quite fluent. When they sang “Happy Birthday” to Holly in Mandarin it was as if someone unlocked her world. The deal was sealed and Holly found her home.

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Awesome youth volunteers. Paths dressed. Holly’s adoption. Rain. And more tiny frogs.

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“There is peace in the garden. Peace and results.” ~ Ruth Stout