Wishing and Planning
~ Maureen Brucker
Two milestones passed this January.

I have now been in this house for eleven

years. It has been a never-ending joy living

with all the trees and space for all to enjoy.

I continue to be so grateful for such a fine

location – near town but not crushed by it.
The other anniversary is much more recent. It is the first anniversary of moving my niece and her family into the house. At the time I needed help physically after a series of health crises, and they needed space for their growing family. It has been a winning combination all the way round. Slowly but surely, I have regained my strength and our newly blended family has thrived. Children's grades have sky rocketed. Everyone has benefited from the move. The garden has been a resounding success under both Christina and Ruben's gentle care.
It is with joy that we face the new year together, now seven strong.
As we look forward, we have improvements aplenty to consider. First, there are replacements. The first snow of the season, coming on the 10th of October, brought the demise of three of the four aspen trees in the front yard. While lovely trees indigenous to the mountains, their shallow root system and relatively short life makes them a difficult choice for lower elevation permanent landscaping. Thus, it is with sadness, that I listened to the hum of the chain saw as Ruben removed the dead trunks. In a year or so, however, we will enjoy their warmth in the glow of the winter fireplace. Perhaps we will include a piece or two in the Solstice first fire next year along with the heavy pruning that the apple trees needed this past fall.
For the moment, the aspens have been replaced with a peach tree. This will be longer lived. It will also stand in mute remembrance of three peach trees that were cut down for no reason by an over enthusiastic city forester. The cash compensation was never equivalent to the damage done. Perhaps, if space permits, two more peach trees will find their way to my front yard as well.
As to the vegetables, that will depend on the plants available. The tomatoes were fabulous and bountiful this year. Excellent continuing crops lasting all season.
The big winner had to be the eggplants. From a mere handful of plants, we supplied not only our own abundant needs but the neighborhood's as well. Many dozens of eggs were exchanged for what became a very valuable crop. The dark purple fruit were at least the size of store bought and much more flavorful. Definitely a repeat for the coming year.
Beyond these, it will depend on plant availability. At this point we are still dreaming.
At this point in the season, one thing is not a dream, but a reality – winter cold and snows. Our sisters, brothers and elders are feeling the cold. Propane deliveries are 'iffy' in many areas even if the money to schedule such deliveries are there. Always a tricky business this time of year.
While there is always the option of individual giving is present, getting others involved can increase the results.
Some suggestions would be:

Corporate matching funds. Whisper 'n Thunder is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit making it eligible to participate in such programs. Check with your human services department for further information.

Taking up a collection at house sponsored football playoff games. Even just a collection can on the food table can be a helpful reminder of those less fortunate.
A cash bar at holiday events with the proceeds going to the EREZ fund would be another way to earn money and get the word out.
Whatever you are comfortable with would be helpful. Just remember that winter is upon us and people of all ages on reservations across Turtle Island are cold. Please help however you can.

For more information:  https://www.whispernthunder.org/erez-emergency-assistance-application.html