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Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gardening: Unexpected Treasures

MJ's potato plant
Do you have to go to sleep to dream?
I think not.  
I close my eyes and dream of gardening
vegetables....and green stuff.....That is if I don't go to sleep first. 
It is winter, an unusually mild one at that. The snow was melting yesterday,-- on  January 11th, almost unheard of,  --but it insists on snowing  again today to make up for it.   Go figure.             

 Up in N.W. Ontario, winter is  definitely "Welcome to  Canada".
 That's always  justification for snow,  isn't it?  A necessary and attractive diversion  when it's dull and  overcast.   Kids love it, you can shovel it, slide on it, build a snowman, go skiing, or get stuck in it. 
At times I say, "Who needs it?

 The fact is, here in the environs of Incoming Bytes -- either you get along with snow --or you move to Arizona.   Arizona, is really a desert state, so let us dream...nice and warm,  the sun is shining --and it's the place where M.J.  Joachim might be at any time, lolling in the back yard writing--or gardening. 

 M.J. is my guest blogger today.  These are her photographs too! 
M.J. has been our guest previously, (Gum Pets on the Hill)  --which has been one of our most popular posts, --- so I am proud to have her back  with us once again!
 Please welcome M.J. Joachim --as she  shares some  Unexpected Treasures.

                     Finding Unexpected Treasures       
                                          by  M.J. Joachim
 One of the most amazing things about a compost pile is that you never quite know what new life might sprout from it, as things decay and break down, nourishing the soon-to-be soil.
While doing my dishes one day and looking out my kitchen window,I was intrigued to notice a very full, vibrantly green plant.  Having neglected my compost for quite some time, curiosity couldn’t be kept at bay as I turned off the water and rather hurriedly headed out into the yard . 
 Sure enough, there amidst piles of old leaves,  ancient coffee grounds and a rather large surplus of spoiled fruits and vegetables from the last time I cleaned out my fridge, --was a flourishing emerald bush, the likes of which I had never seen before.
Needless to say, I took care to pay more attention to my compost pile from that day forth, finding all sorts of new things to add to it, hoping to provide extra nutrients for the newest addition to my landscape. 
I also made a point to continue watering the area, once the jet stream moved farther north, leaving us with little or no rain to speak of. As you can see from the pictures, my little plant appears to be holding its own fairly well.

Admittedly, I was wondering what type of plant was actually growing. Wanting to test my garden knowledge, I chose to wait it out for a while, hoping it's growth might give it away at some point, a light bulb would go off, and I’d say to myself, 

“Why of course, it’s a *potato. I should have realized that so much earlier than this. 

It was not to be, and Google became ever more intensely tempting, until finally I ran across a blog  about growing potatoes, complete with pictures of plants in various stages of development.
Truth be told, I wasn’t looking for information on potatoes at the time at all; it was the picture that caught my eye and led me to  Google  for more pictures of potato plants.  
I’m  now convinced the foliage is that of a potato plant, though you cannot hold me to it, --on account I won’t be certain until the full cycle of the plant has taken place. However, I do believe I’m growing potatoes in my compost pile, and am patiently waiting to harvest them when the time is right.

Life is a lot like our compost piles, isn’t it?
We dump all sorts of stuff in our hearts and heads, piling garbage and debris ever higher, avoiding the heap, even while it breaks down --and challenges us to recognize its changes. 
Trash becomes necessary nutrients and even the foundation for new growth.
 How easy it is to dismiss growth by searching in other directions; hoping for something different --and trying to control the natural course of events. 
 Every once in a while, however, life catches us by surprise, and what it shows us is something so beautiful that even though it seems completely out of place, we embrace what we see,  and smile. 
 Before long, the good that has been there all along can be revealed, encouraging and allowing us to discover ourselves a little bit more --perhaps more than we thought we wanted to, offering us an opportunity to reach out to those who might benefit from our experiences and challenging us to be more effectively human toward the rest of all mankind. 

                                                              About our Guest Author
M.J. Joachim is a freelance writer and self-described die-hard 
American who believes in common sense, hard work, and the
American dream.  Freelance writing in a number of genres enables her to share knowledge and opinions on a large variety of subjects --in varying styles and venues.  M.J is a strong believer in freedom of speech and human values.

    In a dedicated effort to emphasize the often neglected value of humanity and self-worth of all human beings,  M.J. recently created  a new website   http://www.effectivelyhuman.com .

 M.J.  also recently  published several E-books including  'The Merciful Victory of the Cross' ,  'Beyond our Words Prayers and Reflections' ,  and  a FlashTyme series of stories that may be found at:    http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mjjoachim

We  at Incoming Bytes believe M.J.  has discovered  the fine hobby of growing potato plants.  Isn't she lucky?   Will the treasures be red or white?   
Meantime....zzzzzz....it's still snowing here....

* Note: potatoes are not commonly grown  in hot desert climates.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it


  1. Thank you, Raymond:) Really like the way you fixed this piece up for your blog, my friend.

    1. The compost pile is one of the best places to find a treasure growing. Nice that you have that in mid-winter, MJ! I have to wait until well into spring to see what mystery plants emerge there. Can't wait!

  2. Nice post, well done Raymond and M.J.! What a treasure found in the unlikeliest of places. Pssst Raymond there is snow forecast for Sunday where I live...

  3. Jan 11, 2012 07:06 PM

    No, M.J. I must thank you for your post article,it conveys a great message -and is also very interesting to see this time of year. The green inspires--it's all white outside! ":)

    @ Glory, in the past, I've had all kinds of interesting stuff sprouting in compost, sunflowers, potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes, horseradish, tomatoes, carrots --and Swiss Chard! It's amazing how much of that stuff actually survives too. Thanks for your comments!

  4. @ Christy, thanks! I really do have to give M.J. the credit for sending me that great idea and photos too. Very timely considering it's cold, blustery and WINTER.
    How creative Mother Nature can be, surprising us at times, --I believe that's one of the truly wonderful things about gardening.
    She is even blessing you with some snow out on the island? Amazing isn't she!
    We cannot argue with Mother Nature! Thanks for commenting! ":)

  5. Very interesting post. I like the topic and the presentation of the topic by both, you and MJ. :)

  6. Thanks, Mandy! MJ came up with the idea and the article, I just placed it, turned out great eh? I say "Thanks, M.J. ! "

  7. * I have entered this wonderful comment from Julie, since it was not accepted

    Julie Sawyer Helms :
    My reply was not accepted so here it is: Just beautiful! Lovely in the literal sense that increases the longing for my own garden which is utterly dormant at the moment, and lovely in the sense of what *fruit* grows forth from the *fertile* mind!
    Thanks to both for sharing that!

  8. Very nice post, Raymond and M.J.

    Raymond, we're having that same sort of winter here in Minnesota. Last year the snow just never stopped falling. This winter you can't scrape enough together for a decent snowman.

    M.J., I love the metaphor that life is like a compost pile. That is just brilliant. And so true. There are seeds growing everywhere; you just can't always be sure of what they are in the seedling stage.

    But back to real compost... some of my relatives have chickens. The chickens love to eat tomatoes, and they produce excellent compost. Last spring my relatives spread the compost all over the garden. The result was a bodacious bumper crop of tomato plants that swallowed up everything else they planted. It was like a scene from The Little Shop of Horrors!

  9. beautiful ideas composted for springtime, tonight snow, better late than 'never' so i enjoyed the visit again, before spring erupts in my compost areas..i mean ideas...ns

  10. @ Jayna, thank you! M.J. really did all of the hard work, the idea, which was her article. Life really is like a compost pile in some ways, one might seek the treasures unseen--that turn out to be even more valuable as they grow. That is a great metaphor isn't it?
    In Northern Minnesota, like here in North Western Ontario, a bumper crop of natural tomato plants is a blessing, --once they're relocated and organized... ":) Thanks, Jayna!

  11. @ Nadine, isn't it amazing how an article like this one can sprinkle ideas in a fertile mind? The love of gardening comes naturally--especially in the snow and cold. I am looking forward to seeing what spouts emerge... Thanks yet again, Nadine!

  12. Oh, now just stop it, Raymond! You know as well as I do that your improvements (and spectacular editing skills, I might add), combined with a little creative expression on my part (yes, I will take credit for taking a break from doing the dishes on this one), were the result of this post. It was a team effort between friends, and that's all there is to it!

    As for all these comments...
    These are the things writers live for, I suppose. To know that their work touches the heart, encourages hope, inspires dreams of new life...you've all given me a great gift by sharing your thoughts and feelings, one that I appreciate more than you know. Talk about growing unexpected treasures in the compost pile...this one seems to give well beyond the soil...thank you!

    1. M.J, point taken, I guess most successes in life are cooperative efforts in some area or other, aren't they? Your comments are too kind ":)
      All comments received do help us grow and encourage us to strive to get better--and sometimes the most unexpected things sprout in the most unexpected places! Thanks again, M.J.!


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