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When you create a garden you learn about living on borrowed time….

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive….

  Jason Grey


I got away this weekend to Northern Illinois to visit family + this tree was at a neighbor’s house of my parents. I want to live just like this tree every day of my life!

I am making changes in my life this next year. It is good to be alive! I feel like this tree, right now, a little more orange than green! Next year, I will be growing more organic plants for people,saving seed + getting the message out about organic growing locally. Fall is a time of change….I have had a lot of change in my life that continues to remind me…. we ALL live on borrowed time…..

Cosmos Bipinantus knows it lives on borrowed time for it goes to seed when fall approaches...

Cosmos bipinnatus knows it lives on borrowed time for it goes to seed when fall approaches…

I was thinking about what to write on my blog this week and as I passed through the kitchen, I noticed a stack of unwashed dishes, seeds to sort, food to preserve, flowers to press from the garden, purple sweet potatoes curing, Swiss Chard to cook, Kale for dinner…on and on….


cucumber beetles this time of year love to be on mums + calendula, so I practice pest patrol this time of year to keep their numbers down!

……as I stepped outside, I noticed a  cucumber beetle on a yellow chrysanthemum which meant I needed to make my rounds for  fall pest control… AND food to harvest,cole crops needed  to be  fertilized( I grow 3 seasons), garlic to plant, seeds to collect, leaves, branches + other garden debris to grind  for garden bed mulch….( long sigh)…AND


WAIT!!! I am alive!!!

Work is not a problem. My work is my passion, so I have to live like there  is no tomorrow

bees + others basking in the sun on this golden mum

bees + others basking in the sun on this golden mum as she shades a passion pink Swiss Chard


bask in the sun like all the critters in my urban potager …they are living as if there is no tomorrow!

french marigolds ( sparky)  enjoying a fall day...

french marigolds ( sparky) basking  in the sun….

Type- bask into your search engine..look what comes up…..

 “lie exposed to warmth and light, typically from the sun, for relaxation and pleasure.“sprawled figures basking in the afternoon sun”revel in and make the most of (something pleasing).
  1. chocolate mint is doing great while rudbeckia is fading away...

    chocolate mint is doing great while rudbeckia is fading away…

    My fall garden is stacked to the brim with chores to do, but it is on a beautiful day like today, I am reminded by my garden to live each day as if it is your last. What got me involved with growing an urban potager back in 2000 was an illness. It was the first time in my life that I was faced with the fact, I may not see another fall. I was living on borrowed time.

    Butternuts growing vertically are getting sweeter and will be stored soon….

    I have learned
    Fall Lettuce will read for cool season salad days....

    Fall Lettuce will be ready for cool season salad days….

    If you start growing plants or creating  a garden it will TEACH you about life…it will give you the wisdom you need to feel ALIVE!
    When you bask and work in your garden you will learn to
    live on borrowed time as if there is no tomorrow!

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be alive
Jason Grey song-Good To Be Alive


Trust me, I live on borrowed time—14 years and counting!!!

what about you? Do you feel good to be alive?

47 replies »

  1. Ah… all things golden and they do look very pretty 🙂 Love how the butternuts look hanging there too!

    I am a great basker Robbie and every day that’s warm will find me at some stage lying on the lawn (or yesterday the sand at a local beach where no-one else goes) The effect of the sun on my skin and the earth under me just balances me in a way nothing else can. The garden soothes and restores and much as I enjoyed my winter indoors I did not realise how energetically frazzled I felt not being able to do either.

    I think few people realise how precious life is unless they have faced losing it. For so many it is something to be endured, just one long struggle, I have been both ways. My first husband died suddenly of a heart attack the year before I met Roger. I kept thinking how unfair that was for him, too young at 57. Walking around the cemetry and seeing gravestones for infants, children, teenagers, young adults to oldies I realised we are all on borrowed time from the day we are born, we are fortunate to be blessed with each new day we wake, but I forget that so this is a good reminder to start each day anew 🙂

    • awww-Wendy you would understand + I have no doubt you are “living your life” as if it were your last day, for you are doing what you love:-) I am so happy for you that you found Roger:-) I have never experienced the loss of a family member that close. I can’t even imagine the fear you must of had or how hard it was for you and your children…we all are faced with things that remind us how precious life is…it is different for each one of us but usually we do go through something that makes us aware how precious life is:-) but sometimes you see those folks that never have and they can be miserable for they take everything and everyone for granted—-glad to not have one in my life-lol

      I am heading out to do some more work and I may just bask in the fall sun before I do my chores:-)just like the bees in my garden…I take time to bask and be grateful…that sun is AMAZING + you are so right after you have been without it for too long it is what I miss the most! I am a bit sad to think I will have to go through this( no sun for months!!!) but I get to live through your posts of all you are creating and basking in:-) Bask on!!!

      • I am happy I found Roger too. He is my angel, I often tell him that, even if it is through gritted teeth lol.

        Enjoy your time in the sun while you have it.I too will bask, we have a most beautiful day here today, it is 8 in the morning and a nice day ahead 🙂

      • You too, Wendy:-) don’t work too hard + if you can figure out a soap that could contain a ray of sunshine-that would be amazing!!!!lol

  2. What a wonderful post Robbie! I love how you make a blessing from your mortality. I have lived with death from the age of nine. Immediate family members [parent and two siblings] who died at ages 33, 21, and 32. I have lost close relatives and dear friends and even students. None of my immediate family have lived past 66. I have survived several heart attacks and am aware my time is short. While I am not afraid of dying I am afraid of not living. In a garden we see the constant effect of renewal and regrowth – the living and dying journey that we all must take. I know that understanding is a great strength in me. Gardening is so meditative too – even when the list of chores seems long and never-ending. But what else do we have to do but care for ourselves and our families? The incessant dash after riches is the thing that makes us sick as a society.

    This beautiful post and your lovely photos is a reminder to make the most of each day – thank you. xoxo

    • I just wish all you gardeners lived on my block, it would be heaven on earth!! We would have so much fun growing stuff, sharing + laughing—but we do have, over the cyber fence. I remember when you coined the term “cyber village” yep, that is why I post this stuff here because I know my ‘wise garden” friends as you, in the cyber village-get it!:-) It feels good to know there are others out there that feel the same. I am not alone. After I wrote this post, I went to work in the garden and it saddens me to think of winter coming, but I know I can stop by all your blogs and get a ray of sunshine in my day! It usually lasts about 16 weeks( our winters) before we can venture out + in the scheme of life it really is not that long:-)
      I know what you mean, “not afraid of dying, afraid of not living’…so true! I have to force myself to go to bed-lol! I want to suck every last minute out of every day of my life. It is an amazing gift:-)
      You have one more year + you will beat 66! My father always thought he would pass at 54 because he lost his Dad at that age, but in never happened. My father will celebrate 83 this next year. I feel your beautiful spirit will outlive 66!!! Shoot, Pauline I never thought you were a day over 50!!! Keep on Gardening for it is what keeps us forever, young!

  3. I think its the time of year when we humans tip poles. I am feeling a bit strange. I don’t want to talk. For once my words seem inadaquate for what I want to “say” and I feel an increasing need to just get “out there” and be one with the cycles. I think I am changing as well Robbie. I think that my life is flipping a pole. I am tasting that autumn when spring is revving the life out of the local cycles and where my mind is slowly adapting, my skin, and everything else is itching to get out there. Growing a garden is to immerse yourself in cycles. In the fecund and the hope and knowing that from death and decay comes life. The most beautiful thing about being fully immersed and invested in your garden is that the lessons you learn there are more deeply personal and important than anything else you can learn from the outside. Throw pets into the equation and you have a fully functioning life cycle manual all tied up with a bow. Nature gives us everything that we need. We keep trying to elevate ourselves up and out of the trenches to our own detriment. Nature knows. She is wise, she cycles and she touches and she teaches. We just need to learn. I love the verb “To bask”. I think I am going to take up basking in a major way. I am also going to learn to meditate. To put my bare feet on the soil (and not think about the chook poo and the rocks) and feel my place in these cycles. Thank you for sharing this post. I have been feeling a bit up in the air lately. I haven’t had a lot of direction where everything, natures cycles, have been forging ahead with purpose all around me. I think I need to first learn to bask to centre myself and point myself in the right direction and next stride out there and engage fully with nature and all of her lessons. I think you just taught me my most valuable lesson of the year so far Robbie…I am so glad we met 🙂

    • awww…Fran…I feel the same,too…You need “to bask”..check out those bees, butterflies and other pollinators, just lay out on those flowers like them + “meditate” light, “light” + …you will be light..!!! You will not crush those flowers!
      I have no doubt you are going in different directions-lol-you are so engaged with life! I admire that about you:-) I have had to “center” myself the past two years, for I was going into too many directions. I am “becoming” more “grounded” than I have ever been, in my life…hmm..maybe being in your 50’s has something to do with that,too:-)
      You are so right a garden does make one slow down. It connects us with what we were meant to do. Live life in the moment with nature. We are getting so removed from what is best for our bodies. To me a perfect day is one spent working in the garden where my hands are in the soil… I agree, feet in the soil would be great, too!
      “The most beautiful thing about being fully immersed and invested in your garden is that the lessons you learn there are more deeply personal and important than anything else you can learn from the outside. Throw pets into the equation and you have a fully functioning life cycle manual all tied up with a bow”
      And that is why I never want to come out of my is where I feel most at peace, happy and grounded.. It heals me better than any medicine, I could ever take. Since people are becoming more removed from nature they are becoming more depressed in life. Look at the way some people live the only time they see nature is through a window of a car or their home. They are out long enough to walk from the car to another building….I am so grateful, I don’t have to live my life like that anymore + since I created my urban potager it has taught me what is important in life. It is a great teacher! It is my mentor:-)

  4. My husband’s parents both died at an early age. So living for today is very much on my mind. Enjoy your day and your garden! Judy

    • It really does make an impression on us when we lose people when they are young or we are young. I can tell you live for today, for your blog always inspires me to look for
      beauty + you always capture the perfect shot:-) Judy-you enjoy your day + I will enjoy my garden ,too:-)

  5. You are SUCH a special lady Robbie. Every time you post on your blog it is as if you work into it some magic which tugs at my heart. Of course I know what it feels like to have too much to do and to look about in every direction and see jobs, jobs, jobs which I am failing to complete. I seem to have lost control of everything recently as it simply is not possible to preserve all the harvest and be inside and get all the outside jobs done. This year I have made chutney, soups, fruit compotes, fruit vinegars, etc etc. And I can’t wait for each day to start again!
    Your photos always place me right where I want to be in my heart; as close up as I can get to the flowers and produce in your lovely garden. ( Your squash are amazing)
    Your life force is very strong and I want it to remain that way because the joy you spread around you is precious- like gold dust.
    But yes, as I age, I feel an awareness of how little time there could be left. I am trying to learn to do less, but the passion and joy which bubbles up inside me seems to drive me on to sow more seeds, try a new recipe…….I love life and want to savour every second.
    Thanks for expressing something which will touch the hearts of so many.

    • It really is amazing how people can reach over the cyber fence and “get” what you are talking about:-) Thank you, Karen-you made my day:-) I needed to know, I am not the only one:-)
      “But yes, as I age, I feel an awareness of how little time there could be left. I am trying to learn to do less, but the passion and joy which bubbles up inside me seems to drive me on to sow more seeds, try a new recipe…… ”
      That is me!!!!! I find sleep gets in the way-lol! I always told my kids to make their “passion” their work + it would never be work….they would get up every morning, excited to start their day! Living in the moment would be a “given,” how could it not be?
      You have “gifted” hands that must not rest! Taking one look at your blog + it is obvious you have found your passion. If you find the key to HOW to keep that passion/joy + mix a bit of balance into the recipe of life…please share the answer…I am still working on how to balance it all, for one has to sleep-lol!

  6. Oh Robbie, 14 years! I’m SO glad you’re still here. You still have lots to do, selfishly, I want you to be here for all of us who depend on the beauty of your spirit, your garden advice and photos. You know what? This was my best garden ever!! And I believe having you out there boosted me up to new heights. Well, I guess that’s an unintentional play on all this vertical gardening you have me in to, haha! I’m doing my best to make my days count. Thank you for your beautiful post! ❤

    • Vertical is the only way! Yep, if I did not go vertical, I would not have squash:-) I love squash + I know you can buy it at the store but often it is from another country and if you want organic, well it is just too darn expensive. I am making plans for next years garden. I get so excited to be able to grow more things + my eyes are always bigger than my stomach-lol. I always grow more than I need and it is great to share. I am getting better and growing smaller amounts so it leaves more space for some of my flowers for the birds, bees and butterflies. It is great to be alive + growing in a garden.It makes you even more alive:-) Good to hear you had a great garden this year-Go Mandy, you are my hero:-)

  7. It is fabulous to be alive and it would be even better if I could grow lovely butternut squash on my fence! However, basking has gotten me in to trouble again with the doctor. Sigh! Got growled at yesterday during my annual mole/skin cancer check for not taking enough care of my skin. 😦 And I got lots of little bits burned off…ouch. But I am still a life enthusiast. A lovely post, Robbie.

    • awww….you are right, we have to be careful how often + when we bask. It is so darn humid and hot in the summer around here!We have to garden early morning, before 10 or late afternoon.If you try to work out there during the heat of the day, well the sweat is in your eyes and you can’t even see what you are doing. This summer was cooler than normal so it did not get as hot out there but my “habit” is to work early morning or late afternoon. I have not had any to burn off + I don’t look forward to that in the future:-(
      Vertical growing is the only way to grow in the city. I grow an Heirloom Lemon Squash that is a semi-bush type vine. They are the size of lemons. I had to go with butternut for it was the only one the squash vine borer would not destroy. I save seed and those two won’t cross. I would love to grow a variety of different squashes but I can’t with that vine borer. I like growing my own for I am certain they are “truly” organic + they taste so good! I found that bamboo fence works great and it never travels to my neighbors yard:-)

      • Yes, I do try to be out only during the so-called safe hours but our sun is so strong that even a few minutes at the washing line (day after day) can damage my super fair skin. Butternut squash are usually delicious so it may not matter that you can’t grow any of the others. 😉

      • It is good you are protecting it now + have someone checking you. I do go in, if I see a new “skin tag”. One time it was a wart on my arm( small tiny one) that I thought looked funny. I also put on a lot of sun screen. In fact, I put it on every day now. I know my parents never did that but they do now.It is something gardeners need to do every time they go outside. My father got some on his ears( the top of the ear) from driving in the car to work + working in the yard.

  8. Reminds me of a wonderful quote I came across on Facebook: “Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.” It was/is a good lesson for me, as is this post, although it’s been a little difficult to bask with all the rain we’ve been having. I found myself rushing right along with you: I have to clean up those dishes, get some laundry in, plant my garlic and oh, all those bulbs, bring in the bird baths hookup the heated bird bath, weed, lay down the bricks for the Potager path, put up the new trellis system … I want to bask! Ha ha. Not sure what I love more, those butternuts or that fence they’re growing on!

    • Oh yes, slow down + have more life is a must + our gardens teach us how to do that:-) buttttt, I forgot all the bulbs, I planted for spring bees this year! I put more in for the early bees:-) I started getting restless reading your list, sounds too familiar! We have had the most beautiful weather here this fall.I have not even turned my heat on, yet! It dips in the 40’s at night but during the day it is upper 50’s /60’s. This weekend it will be in the 70’s. I usually can make it “heat-less” until Halloween but by Halloween or after it starts dipping into the upper 30’s + heat must go on:-)

    • I just checked her site out + I have meant to read her book…now I have a “good-read” for winter weather. You will be in warmer places but some of us have to winter the weather with a good book!-Thank you for suggesting a great one to fill my cold days!

  9. Thank you Robbie for you beautiful, thought provoking post. It made me stop, think and appreciate. Life is not a dress rehearsal, live it to the full – just as those beautiful butternut squashes have done.

    • I need reminding every so often myself:-) The garden is a gentle reminder in my life to slow down + be alive:-)I love that thought “life is not a dress rehearsal”… simple, yet profound!
      Those butternut squashes are what I grow for the vine borer can’t touch them-I win:-)

  10. Another lovely post. We none of us know how long we have, we are all on borrowed time. But the only way to garden, is to do it as if you are going to live for ever. That is how a gardener should garden. AS IF HE IS GOING TO LIVE FOREVER. I never want to think that it is not worth planting a tree because I may not see it mature.
    My father grew beautiful orchids and when he was 70 he realised that one greenhouse was no longer enough, he needed another. He decided that at his age it wasn’ t worth it, as he thought that he wouldn’ t live long enough . He died at the age of 96. He could have enjoyed his greenhouse for 26 years. Imagine spending 26 years thinking you are about to die soon so it is not worth doing something you would like to do.

    • Really good point:-) I like that attitude ” To garden as if you are going to live forever”…we may notalways be here, but our plants will if we put them in places they love and enjoy:-) I always plant a tree and think about how old, I will be when it gets to a certain height! I think gardening inspires one to grow and grow and grow. I just was outside collecting seeds and thinking about what will this one look like next year when I plant it—there is always a tomorrow for a gardener! Very good point to add to this post—–So garden as if you will be here forever-love it!

      • have to ask one more question? Did you father pass on his orchids, or do you have some still? I am not an orchid grower( my daughter is and she just moved from UK to Sweden last week), but I was wondering for when my husbands grandmother died, I wish I would of kept her plants, but I didn’t:-( I have her garden books:-)

  11. Beautiful post, Robbie. Your words brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. You are so right, each day is a wonderful gift. ‘Bask + work = living.’ I love that! Now just who is the wise one? 😉

  12. Thank you Robbie for reminding us why we are gardeners!! It is so easy to forget the sheer joy of being out in the garden growing food and flowers when we are bogged down by all the routine chores. I garden because it makes me feel alive and I hope that the promise of next years garden will keep me going for many more years yet.

    • Hi Julie-I was outside yesterday cutting flowers down + taking care of new perennials. We purchased a “chipper shredder ” this year + yesterday we took all our garden waste and broke it down. I put all that back into the garden beds and I felt soooo ALIVE + tired:-) lol:-) It never seems like work when you see your garden as a gift:-) A new year is pure joy-you are so right:-)

  13. Robbie, this is such a beautiful, loving post – living for today and balancing life-giving work and moments of basking in the loveliness you’ve created. Visiting your blog is always a gift.

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