For 10 years, Frankenoid (“Frankie” to her friends) shepherded the Saturday Morning Garden Blog (SMGB). Under her care it became, as Merry Light put it, “my lifeline sometimes, and I think it is for lots of us. I first stumbled across Frankie’s Saturday Morning Garden Blog one winter morning. I recall it was during the Obama/Clinton upheaval, and I was looking for something to read that wasn’t a pie fight. Just in time, there was a picture of a flower and the word ‘garden’. I was hooked!”
Estreya credits Frankie with “quite literally sowing the seeds of Community,” and nurturing the Group to become one of Daily Kos’ most enduring regular features. It has always been, as advertised, “a convocation of those with grimy fingernails.”
Back during the Dark Ages of the Internet (2005, to be exact), when Daily Kos was still a young upstart political blog, one bright and balmy Saturday morning in February, Frankenoid wrote:
The first daffodils are in bloom. Sprinkles of johnny jump-ups all over. It’s a beautiful morning, still a little too cool to work outside, but I’m [psyched]—go out and clean up, plug some more bulbs in the ground, scatter poppy seeds, iPod blaring Grateful Dead in my ear. My 4th try at a daphne cneorum has survived the first year — yeah! Gonna try taking air-grafted cuttings from my huge Carol Mackey daphne this year. Moonflowers are already started, tomatoes come next.
In the tradition of Friday Night Cat Blogging, how about some Saturday Morning Garden Blogging? I’ll show you mine, you show me yours.
Frankie stepped back in 2015, handing the group over to a team of administrators and writers who have carried it forward. Missys Brother says “SMGB is like neighbors talking over their backyard fences. We all learn from each other and there is no such thing as a stupid question, only the ones that are not asked. Someone new shows up about every week with a gardening question or requesting a plant identification, and if we do not know the answer, we all work together to try and get one.”
“Our personal gardens and yards are usually the starting topic for our diaries here, but we cover a lot of ground in the comments! We are a picture heavy bunch; flowers, vegetables, trees, wine making, hot sauce, travel, pets, weather …” says DownHeah Mississippi. “I’m the resident tomato and pepper freak here at SMGB. As I’m fond of saying, “Besides old and cranky, that’s all I grow …” I’m also The Official (Self-) Appointed Greeter and Keeper of The Official SMGB Visitors’ Log … We have members, regular visitors, and occasional commenters from almost every state in the Union, plus Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, the UK and Sri Lanka. It’s just a remarkable group of beautiful people!!”
Sixteen years and over 500 weekly stories later, and the Saturday Morning Garden Blog continues to welcome regulars, newcomers, and lurkers for garden-centric conversation that can spool out into any direction. This welcoming street corner in Daily Kos remains at the three-way intersection of growing things, eating them, and enjoying the flowers along the way. “We have a wide rotation of contributors,” writes mahdalgal, “with subjects revolving around gardening (patio/balcony/small yard/wide tracts of land), climate change, xeriscaping starting from scratch (new), weather (always), new planting finds, general information on native plants and diseases, butterfly gardens, building raised beds and greenhouses or cold frames, building a stumpery, grafting methods, winemaking from dandelions and berries grown in the garden, and plain old general info—essentially a gardener’s very broad guide written by other old gardeners.”
Beginners are welcome.
SIX RESCUED STORIES FROM 1 PM PDT JUNE 25, TO 1 PM PDT JULY 2, 2021
Community Spotlight collects well-written, interesting, and overlooked stories to give the Community another chance to read them. Rescue Rangers look for work that offers an original point of view and isn’t getting the attention it deserves. At least one Ranger reads every story published by Community writers. When we find work that deserves more recognition, we rescue it to our group blog and publish a weekly collection—like this one—each Saturday at 7:30 p.m Pacific time. Rescue priorities and actions were explained in a previous edition: Community Spotlight: Rescuing your excellent stories for over 14 years. And remember, this is an open thread.
Now, on to the rescued stories!
“People have plied these waters in canoes for centuries or longer. Until this past century, the river ran through woods and swamps. Now there’s only a narrow green strip on either side of it, trees and shrubs growing thickly up the steep banks. Beyond that, in most places, small grassy areas lie between the river and the streets, houses, and shops of our town.” That’s how AliceT4 relates the positive changes that a pandemic slowdown has wrought on a metropolitan river that now hosts diverse species of fauna and humans in Life on the river. The river is idyllic but threatened and, like life itself, needs constant attention. AliceT4, an activist in social, economic, and environmental issues for 50 years, has written 18 stories, this being her fourth rescue.
Canvassers are pounding the pavement in Georgia at the end of June in It’s hot! Why we are canvassing in this humidity, part 2 by snowbored. This second installment in a series of four stories explains why it’s important to be out and talking to voters right now. The short answer: to counter Republican-engineered voter obstruction by telling voters how to comply with the new restrictions (and helping them overcome those roadblocks), acquainting voters in re-districted areas with their candidates and, most importantly, listening to the voters to better meet them where they are. Playing catch-up after the pandemic, the author writes, “We are thinking how to mitigate voter suppression efforts, get around them, and make sure we have ‘super compliance,’ helping our voters meet the requirements, and get out and vote.” Early organizing takes effort, but it’s good for voters, and great for volunteers and activists. Snowbored, whose advice is good for every activist in every district in the nation, has written 49 stories for Daily Kos; this is the second rescue on this topic.
In On ‘Leave Me Alone’ politics, Flylooper remembers his working-class grandmother as a woman with limited education who worked in a San Francisco brewery, and who loved Roosevelt for what he did to help working people. “My grandmother’s 21st-century counterparts—uneducated like her, and struggling day to day—believe that if government would just ‘leave me alone’ with their guns, their savior Jesus Christ, their ‘family values,’ and their hatred of the very word ‘socialism.’ have been hoodwinked by the Rupert Murdochs and Koch Brothers of the 5%, who infuse public discourse with lies intended to separate people from the truth; to set them against each other.” He sees in President Joe Biden a chance to break the Republicans’ alternate reality and return working class folks to believing in the social contract we hold with each other. Flylooper, a Kossack since 2006, has authored 93 stories. This is his eighth rescue.
Ferret dad and ninja-cartoonist quarkstomper writes, “I’ve been reading this past week about William. Barr and others in Donald Trump’s Inner Ovoid trying to distance themselves from Glorious Leader, and some of their remarks remind me of a line from Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta, The Mikado.” In Distancing yourself: The Mikado shows how it’s done, the author explains how a main character in the comedy, the pompous and supercilious Pooh-Bah, when caught with the goods, insists in an aside that “I wasn’t there,” an excuse that covers a whole range of “I barely knew him” and “Coffee Boy” Trumpists today. This proves that everything old is new again, from Gilbert & Sullivan through rapper Shaggy—and all the way to the Trump administration. Quarkstomper has written 503 stories, with 86 of them rescued.
Boatsie tackles the biggest question of all in The climate crisis and the meaning of life. Her meditation is inspired by readings for a continuing education course that start with philosophers writing before the 19th-century philosophical “death of God.” Boatsie’s first readings, especially of Tolstoy, inspired further readings in Hindu philosophy, and brought her to the greatest question we face: the purpose of life, and especially our purpose as we confront the unfolding climate disaster and the possible extinction of not only humans, but most living creatures. She writes, “Are our conceptions about what life is ultimately all about different when faced with the real possibility of the extinction of our species? What would Nietzsche, for example, have written were he alive today?” Her meditation is not just for philosopher-types, but every thinking person. Boatsie, a Kossack since 2006, has written a whopping 699 stories for Daily Kos.
AdmiralNaismith’s regular feature for Readers & Book Lovers is usually a wide-ranging tour of current reading, but this month, Monthly BookPost: June 2021 is focused mostly on the 2020 Hugo Award nominees, ranking the six nominees for best novel and singling out N. K. Jemison’s The City We Became for special attention. “I’m a transplanted New Yorker, and Jemisin makes the neighborhoods I used to frequent come alive! No … she LITERALLY makes them come alive! The premise is that six strangers (fated chosen ones, whatever) gain superpowers representing the five boroughs of New York City, plus one more for the unified entity of NYC itself, because into every generation a chosen city is BORN, with the power to fight The Ancient Evil that seeks to destroy cities with the horrible weapons of gentrification, conformity, bigotry, misogyny, and long white tentacles that burst from the ground.” Author of 328 stories, this is AdmiralNaismith’s 36th rescue.
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT is dedicated to finding great writing by community members that isn’t getting the visibility it deserves.
An edition of our rescue roundup publishes every Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) to the Recent Community Stories section and to the front page at 9:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT).