A Basketful of Eggs

Today’s guest blog comes to us from Jim in Clark’s Grove.

Remember when Donna wished all of us “a resilient New Year”? I’ve already started.

I have been reading The Resilient Gardener, a new book by Carol Deppe . One reviewer suggests that this book is worth reading even for people who are not much into gardening. I agree. She presents many ideas, tips, and techniques for developing a gardening style that can help us get through difficult times, incorporating ideas about health, diet, cooking, and physical fitness. She sees these topics as being an integral part of developing resiliency.

I think Deppe would look on Trail Baboon as an effort that can increase resiliency. She makes it clear that dealing with difficult times is not something one should do in isolation. She says you will not do a good job getting through hard times if you retreat back into your house like a hard core survivalist. In addition, she believes that we shouldn’t wait until hard times are here to enjoy each other’s company and help each other. I think Trail Baboon exemplifies the kind of good interaction between people that Deppe is encouraging.

Deppe believes we should think carefully about what we are doing and not always follow old adages such as “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

According to her you should use just one basket when gathering eggs so that your other hand is free to pick up eggs. If you spill the eggs, you can get more if you have your own flock and you will be less likely to spill the eggs if you have one hand free to support yourself.

Deppe provides her own personal list of things she believes she should do to be a mature person who can deal with difficult times, including:

• Be courteous.
• Do Basic Math.
• Take Care of Old and Ill People.
• Wash Your Hands.
• Be Both a Leader and a Follower.

What would you put on your own resiliency list?

108 thoughts on “A Basketful of Eggs”

  1. Thanks Jim! I am going to have to look for that book. Sounds like a good one for the gardening fever that is starting to nip at me and just a good book in general.

    First thing that comes to my mind is Encourage Children.

    I don’t think kids get the message that they are personally competent very often. I don’t think this is something new either. As we saw yesterday, there is a whole lot of instruction that goes on, and certainly in some circles a lot of concern about self-esteem and rewarding achievement, however small. The feeling of self-reliance that comes from being told “you can do that” in a positive way is hard to come by.

    That said, I do think Baboons do a good job of en-couraging each other.


    1. Encourage children seems like a great goal. The rap on the Self Esteem movement is that it too often rewards kids for efforts that even they recognize were half-hearted. Better to give a kid a challenge and then say–honestly–“I think you can do it.”


  2. A chilly good morning to you all, dear baboons.

    Any list for self-improvement that addressed my shortcomings might quickly run to many pages. I’ll try to be brief.

    First, I must work hard to resist my own habitual weaknesses. And then, however well I do with that, I should try to accept the highly flawed creature that I am. In other words, I need strive to to do better but not expect too much to come of it.

    Second, as a storyteller, resist the urgent drive to talk and entertain too much. Instead, work harder at listening. Focus better on others.

    Third, seek a balanced life. Value stillness as well as excitement. Temperance might be boring, but it is a mule that will carry you (or even me) far.

    Fourth, try to find beauty in unexpected places.

    Have a great day, one and all!


    1. jim, my next book for sure. thanks for starting us off on such a high note. only in minnesota do we celebrate the notion that gardening is a mere 2 or 3 months away with such baited breath. the list reminds me of one of my favorite people i have never met who i learned to appreciate in much the same way you are introducing us to carol deppe. his name is robert fulghum and while i havent seen anything from him lately i hope he still has a story or two left in him. i have enjoyed reading his books and listening to his tapes for hours on end. my idea of a writer guy to curl up next to a fireplace with or drive on down the raod. i became aware of him when i saw a poster on a wall at a trade show. i liked it so much i offered to byuy it on the spot. the guy at the booth said they were so far beyond sold out it was unbelievabel but thay i needn’t worry i would be able to find it anytime in bookstores etc.. i never saw it in bookstores and shoule probubly buy it now because i still love its reflection.

      All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten
      by Robert Fulghum

      Most of what I really need
      To know about how to live
      And what to do and how to be
      I learned in kindergarten.
      Wisdom was not at the top
      Of the graduate school mountain,
      But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

      These are the things I learned:

      Share everything.
      Play fair.
      Don’t hit people.
      Put things back where you found them.
      Clean up your own mess.
      Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
      Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
      Wash your hands before you eat.
      Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
      Live a balanced life –
      Learn some and think some
      And draw and paint and sing and dance
      And play and work everyday some.
      Take a nap every afternoon.
      When you go out into the world,
      Watch out for traffic,
      Hold hands and stick together.
      Be aware of wonder.

      steve, i like your list. i find your self deprecation funny and i appreciate your not taking yourself too seriously. i however think you should be aware that there are those of out there who would be happy to listen to your story telling til the cows come home. you not only need not keep it brief but are implored to go on and on with the endless wordsmithing you do so well. if you have a free day, do a blog posting day and let us all be the richer for it. i suspect that if you told stories until your brain ran out of stuff to write about i may feel like i had gotten enough. lets try it.


  3. It likely comes as no surprise that my addition to our growing list of suggestions is take time to play. Play can be actually playing (with or without a kid) – go to a playground and swing on the swings, color with crayons, build a fort out of pillows or a spaceship out of Legos, play dress-up, go on an explore in your neighborhood for treasure. Or it can be more “grown-up” play – go dancing, sing out loud, play social games (bridge, board games, Bananagrams can get quite silly), dig in the mud (and call it gardening), go for a walk with a dog…or cat…or goat (see above: explore for treasure). Take time to play. Along the way you will learn, laugh and free your brain from the everyday for a bit and find new ways to see your world.


      1. Not at all – TB is a virtual playground.🙂 I have realized over time that I incorporate aspects of play in a lot of my day, without intention. Guess I never got over being 6. And I’m okay with that – it still allows me to find the wonder in the day and the world.


    1. I also very much like your suggestion Anne. One of Deppe’s suggestions I like is that we should make time to look at and enjoy things around us. As an example she tells about taking time to watch the activities of some insects in her garden.


  4. Good morning to all,

    I’m glad some of you have already indicated you like the advice from Carol Deppe that I selected from her book. I want to thank Dale for the very good editing. My first effort as a guest blogger required a lot of editing. Dale didn’t need to do as much editing this time. However, his editing really did a lot to improve my offering.

    Here’s a part of a song that Deppe wrote that she sings to her ducks:

    It’s great to be a ducky in the water
    Quack! Quack!
    In the water I do just what a ducky oughter.
    Quack! Quack!
    I swim and dive and dash, and play
    and bathe and splash.
    It’s great to be a ducky in the water.

    There are also verses about ducks in the rain and sun and hay. It’s sung to “If your happy and you know it, clap your hands”. She says ducks like to hear people sing and being with ducks keeps her spirits up. That reminds me of how goats seem to improve the spirits of babooners.


    1. We’ll have to try that one out on the St Kate’s ducks this weekend.

      I see Carol is also a potato fan, now I’ve gotta get that book!

      JASPER or Mike played Seeds by Steve James a bit ago while my hands were covered in scone dough, but I wondered if it were mere coincidence-very apt for this blog.


      1. Alas, the scones are mostly deployed by now-the batch makes eight and 4 are gone to breakfast right off. We each take one in our lunches leaving 2 for the boy to dispatch Saturday morning.

        See you tomorrow, Verily!


      2. Ah, you are my role model. Maybe if I spend less time at the pc when I first get up, I too can make fresh scones in the morning. I’ll try it tomorrow!


      3. It helps to establish something like that as a weekly tradition-we know things are rough if there are no scones on Friday morning and no pizza dough waiting to slap in the pan at the end of the day.

        Mike, thanks also for The River Where She Sleeps, I am going to try to follow Anna’s advice to play more and have rabbits in my hat!


  5. Be curious! Not only do you learn things that might come in handy later on, mental exploration keeps you flexible (as per BiB), and might even distract you from the awfuls. If there’s nothing for you to do but worry, it’s much healthier to nurture an interest in Renaissance painting, hand-spinning, electronics, Chinese literature, pumpkin-growing or what-have-you. I got an object lesson in that during my year of intermittant unemployment. Actually, I worried a lot more than I exercised my curiosity, but I did try, and when I succeeded in focusing on something else it helped manage the fear.


      1. Oh, thanks, but I’ve been reading TB every workday morning, just either couldn’t think of anything useful to add or didn’t have time to put my thoughts together. Car scraping and warming takes a chunk out of your morning, yanno.


    1. thanks for popping in when you can. i really enjoy your contributions and am very glad you have become a regular. feisty folks with creative souls seem to a theme amongst this group and you are an excellent member of the troop.


  6. Whew. All those things to try to do!! I would go back to being a HCS, except then I could not go back to the Mexican market my son took us to last night for the best Mexican food we have ever had by far.


  7. Great lead-in, Jim, will find that book!

    Listen, which sort of includes stopping and getting quiet. It’s the hardest part of communication for many. Will read more later.


      1. oh clyde he fell down in the streets of new mexico
        his glasses they broke on the ground when he fell
        the glasses he need to drive the car safely
        now have duck tape on them and he looks like hell


      2. So I went to Lenscrafter so I can get the glasses right away. They will be done after we have left for home.
        So I went to Target to get a new camera for my wife, who dropped hers in Sedona. Brought it to my son’s house to find out it did not have the memory card. Went back to get it and was told they never come with the cards any more. Was also told they do not have the cards for the camera. They argued with me that I should get my money back, which they finally gave me. Was ignored and treated rudely through the whole process from purchase to refund. Four people who dealt with me, not one looked me in the eye.
        Welcome to CA.


  8. Hey Babooners, I don’t know if Dale would want me to publicize this or not, but I’m going to anyway. His mother, Barbara Connelly, passed away Wednesday in Decatur, Il. She was 81.


    1. My sympathies, Dale, and thank you, Mike. I’ve lost my parents (well, the entire elder generation of the family is now gone), so I completely empathize with the situation. Don’t hesitate to accept support when people of good will offer it, and set limits on what you’re willing to deal with; it’s important to take care of yourself in these times.


    2. It is also my experience, as mentioned by Crow Girl, that the lose a parent is
      a very sad situation. Best wishes to you, Dale, in dealing with this lose.


    3. Many thanks for the support, Babooners.
      It’s a comfort to know I have your sympathy. My mom would have enjoyed this group, though she was not very interested in computers. House cats and teddy bears (which she made by hand), yes. The internet, no.
      Nancy are spending some time with my father right now. Gus will take a brief leave from his tour with the St. Olaf Choir to join us for a visitation on Sunday.
      Thanks to the guest bloggers who will carry on the conversation.
      I’ll re-join you on Thursday.


      1. So sorry to hear about your mother, Dale. Losing a parent is hard. There is, no doubt, a Mom-sized hole in your world that will take some time to learn how to navigate around and through. Find the things, activities and memories that bring comfort. Take the time you need for you.


    4. you already had the time x’ed off on your calander. get back to gus’ tour next time huh? so sorry for your loss. nice that you are there for your dad. nothing tougher than losing loved ones. peace.


    5. I’m very sorry for yet another loss in your life, Dale, now of your mother, not so long after your brother and MPR. It’s still not clear to me what the best thing is to say, but I’ve found a simple ‘I’m sorry’ is much appreciated.


  9. Another nice choice by Jasper a little while back – Forever Young – “Always do for others, and let others do for you.” Valuable advice, especially during times of loss.


  10. Morning everyone–

    Remember that song from about 10/15 years ago about wearing Sunscreen?

    The story if full of good advice to be resilient… but the one line that always stuck out for me was this one:
    -“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
    never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
    on some idle Tuesday.”

    I have always like Robert Fulgham’s books too… and so much of it comes down to pretty simple rules and advice doesn’t it?
    …crazy in it’s own way…

    Enjoy the weekend if you can–


  11. Play music and sing every day.
    Do yoga to stay flexible. Try it with your dog for laughter.
    Eat your vegetables.
    Learn to view relationships from the unique perspective of dogs (love, loyalty and forgiveness.)


  12. Dale, so sory to hear about your mom. Perhaps another thing to add to the resiliency list is to make sure even with death of a loved one we rejoice in the life they led, and honor that.


    1. Very true. When my dad died, one of the greatest gifts I realized I had gotten from him was a life without regrets. Appreciate what is good, enjoy the life you have. Made saying goodbye a little easier.


  13. Dale, my sympathies. Hope you are taking good care of yourself, and are surrounded by people who will take care of you.

    (Thanks Mike, via Bob Collins, for the update.)

    Hello ‘Booners! My strategy for resiliency is to Try Something New.


  14. Dale, Although we never knew your mother, all of us babooners know she must have been a wonderful woman to have a fine son like you. Wishing you the comfort of your memories and the healing touch of friends and family.


  15. Caro Deppe wrote another book for gardeners that is well know among seed savers because it tells gardeners how to do plant breeding and develop their own varieties of vegetables. There isn’t a large group of seed savers who do plant breeding, but there are some. There are many others who learned a lot about keeping and prseving rare vegetables from Deppe’s book on plant breeding.

    Ten years passed between the publication of Deppe’s book on plant breeding and the publication of the one on resilient gardening. We learn in her new book that Deppe spent much of those 10 years taking care of her very ill mother. While caring for her mother she some times didn’t have enough time to take care of her garden properly.

    Deppe says that caring for her mother opened up her perspecitve on what is important. She says this caused her to develop a more resilient approach to life and gardening. That is why she put knowing how to care for old and ill people on her personal list of things one should know how to do to be resilient.


  16. Dale – as so many have mentioned above, we are with you. The “my thoughts and prayers are with you” that comes on sympathy cards seems trite, but it’s the truth.
    Another truism I’ve seen on a sympathy card, my favorite, is “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” I may have posted this before.


  17. Just checked, Hennepin County Libraries have 2 copies of “The Resilient Gardener” and there are 16 requests. Anyone know a library contact that can get more copies in there? If enough people want to buy a copy, maybe we could do a bulk order with a small independent like Birchbark Books.

    OT – Thanks Beth Ann for a fun day yesterday… I learned a lot…
    And Jacque posted late: inner tightwad has got to be my favorite new expression; think it should go into the baboon dictionary.


    1. One of those 16 requests is mine… put it in this morning, right after Jim’s post!

      I also love “inner tightwad”…. I think this personality trait was passed to me by my mother, who had a few years of Depression living.


      1. And I won’t have it very long…. my inner gardener is no longer resilient. In fact, my inner gardener has pretty much given up, at least as far as veggies go, so I’ll be reading the book for the life resiliency lessons!


    2. Alas, St Paul has it not at all, but does have the plant breeding book (I am not yet that cool, I just want to grow “enough” tomatoes some year).

      I will be getting a copy , as I suspect I will want to refer to it often.

      I’ll bet you are building your resilience, BiR, and I think you were probably pretty resilient before, I stand in awe.


      1. Deppe has a very good section on diet that I think is well worth reading. If you know any one who is allergic to wheat, I think they would find some valueable information because Deppe has this allergy and has much interesting information about her battles with this problem.


  18. Ah babooners many of whom are also baby boomers…. our parents! Ach! My colleague at school lost his dad yesterday. My husband lost his dad in late November. My mom is in assisted living. Blessings on all of us. May we figure out how to care for our parents and ourselves, too.


  19. I have been asked to participate in a panel discussion on stress and family issues that arise when one’s mother goes into the nursing home. I didn’t get all the particulars but it seems to be for a women’s symposium at our local college and I don’t know why they are mainly concerned about mothers. I guess I better get more information before I sit on the panel. Any insights on this topic from the baboon community?


    1. Some thoughts from me, whose mother is still living independently: my dad went into the hospital about 2 years ago and was in for almost a week. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It was determined that with some in-home physical therapy he could go home. But it was then that my brother and I had a talk about “what happens to Dad if Mom gets sick.” Dad was older, and Mom, not surprisingly, was the caretaker in the duo. While there was some talk of future need for assisted living (Dad also had dementia), it was not an immediate need. And Mom was able to go okay with Dad at home, with him getting some in-home care the first couple of months and then getting signed up for a couple days a week at a day facility/adult day care with facility for memory care. If Mom had gotten more than a sniffle, this would have fallen apart and Dad would likely have had to go into a care facility. Because Mom was able to string together a network of help, including help from her kids, we were able to keep Dad at home until his last stay in the hospital that led directly to hospice care. Putting Dad into some sort of care facility seemed an easier decision, had we needed to make it, because he was Dad. He was older. He was not the one who had made our lunches or washed our scraped knees. He had been there for piano recitals, taught me to waltz on his feet, and was a more involved Dad than many in his generation. But he was not the primary caregiver when my brother and I were growing up. That was Mom.

      I think it will be harder if and when the time comes to make any decision that puts my mom into a care facility – because she’s “Mom.” The traditional roles become reversed and now you are caring for your caregiver. It’s a tough role reversal all around. A piece of who you were as the child fades when a parent becomes unable to care for themselves and you have to be the caregiver – whether it’s Mom or Dad. But I think simply because of the societal role of “mom,” there just much more loaded into Mom getting sick, Mom not remembering, Mom not being there. Think back on our conversation a few weeks back about how many of us don’t remember our moms taking to a sick bed, even for a day, when we were kids – and our moms must have been sick…kids are so good about sharing germs. When that Mom Who Never Got Sick needs our help and care it up-ends your world a bit. More than a Dad, no matter how loving and caring Dad was. That may shift generationally as more dads are stay-at-home-dads and are even more involved in child-rearing than when we were growing up – but for the Boomers and most of the Gen X-ers (and probably a lot of Gen Y), it’s still Mom who hugged you when you cried, who brought cupcakes to school on your birthday, who made you eat your brussels sprouts. And that’s why it’s hard.


  20. Spend as much time as you can with people you love and if you can’t do very much of that then talk on the phone and tell them you love them before you hang up.
    I love you guys.

    So sorry, Dale.


  21. Greetings! So much going on the blog today. Dale, my heart goes out to you and your family — a sad loss for sure.

    Renee: I think you know the answer to what I glean from your question. Mothers are the glue that generally hold the family together — the small gifts of daily, unconditional love, care taking, rising above difficulties and the dozens of courtesies that play out in special meals, matched socks and a kiss goodnight. A mother would find it hard to find herself in a place where she has no one to take care of and needs to be taken care of herself. Some women might find that freeing, but many would find it distressing to be in a nursing home in that situation.

    I’m not sure that I’m very resilient — mainly, I’m a master of denial of the bad stuff happening in my life. I know I sounds like a broken record on this, but karate helped me a great deal through this past year and a half. Being able to scream, yell, punch, kick and work myself into exhaustion in a safe environment helped me work out the anxiety, fear and anger I felt. I seem to have the ability to push myself physically past where most people would go. In class, I was praised for screaming louder, working harder and pulling out every ounce of intensity I could muster, to the point of having to sit out of class for a time, I was so exhausted. Then I would cry, because I felt raw and exposed and just had nothing left.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t share with others what we were going through because I felt like a total failure. Now I know we definitely weren’t alone. My resilience was learning to ask for help, applying for assistance from the county, going to food shelves, etc. Resilience is just knowing that things will get better. The sun still comes out, there’s beautiful days, lovely music, fun, laughter, good food and good times. It’s too easy to exaggerate your own problems and give yourself ulcers. From a cosmic perspective, we’ll just be dust in a 100 years, so what’s the big deal. So I would vacillate between angst and worry — or …. nothing happening here, just keep moving, experiencing and learning.

    I wouldn’t recommend my brand of resilience — I internalized my difficulties and worked it out by physically exhausting myself in martial arts. So … there it is.

    And yes, for whoever was asking, Earth Boxes ROCK!


    1. Joanne, thanks for honoring us, your fellow baboons, with the openess and honesty of your response. Your strength and resiliency are admirable!


    2. joanne, if it don’t kill ya it’ll make you stronger… strong enough yet…?
      its hard to listen to the hardships out there but particularly to people who you know and love. losing family members, jobs , houses, all the things we feel helpless about is so hard. keep putting one foot in front of the other and let us know when need a virtual hug, we are good at that.


    3. Thank you all for your love and support. Yes, tim, I’m definitely stronger and I feel your hugs every day. It reminds me of the analogy of rocks/gems going through a tumbler. Only after going through a tumbler with grit do they come out shiny, smooth and pretty with their true beauty revealed.


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