This photo taken through the living room’s side window this morning suggests we live in a lush blooming subtropical environment. Peak spring.
Screenshot of my current digital garden
The blogpost I posted earlier today, on cities as a source of inspiration, is the first one that fully came from stringing some of my notes together. An earlier posting, a meta one about note taking, was based on notes, but this one is basically just putting notes together, and writing a few sentences to make them flow over into each other. With a twist though. Because the notes used as a basis are already in full text form (although mostly in Dutch), there wasn’t much writing involved in bringing the point across I started out with. In the end that freed up time that was then used to write additional things, ending up in a conclusion that wasn’t part of the source notes, but in itself ended up as new content for those notes. It think that is a nice example of writing/blogging as thinking out loud.
The source notes themselves were created last week. And while creating them I noticed for the first time that the notes in the Garden of the Forking Paths, form a thinking tool, not a collection, a garden, not a back yard. I started out with just making one or two notes on cities, and while thinking how it connected to other notions already in there, additional patterns stood out to me. Additionally I couldn’t remember where I got some of the notions (e.g. cities being efficient, cities being crossroads), and that had me searching for the literature I got it from in the first place adding them to my reference library (in Zotero), which in turn teased out additional patterns ending up in notes. Feedback happening, in short. At first it bothered me that what I was doing (‘making just one or two notes on cities’) took much longer than expected, but then I realised it was an effect I intended to create, and that thinking takes time. That it took me beyond those one or two notes, but not in a yak-shaving kind of way, but as an act of creation.
Both those effects, new things rising because of writing about existing ones, and spending time thinking to be able to create, are most welcome ones.
As I write this, I realise I’ve developed a dislike for the word ‘notes’ in the past weeks to describe the plantings in my digital garden, as it invokes primary/raw note taking mostly. Maybe I should call them ‘notions’ instead. My Garden of the Forking Paths now has 234 ‘notions’, and another batch that size of ‘notes’ outside it, but somewhat interlinked with it (think day logs, tickler files, ideas, raw notes, thoughts and snippets for projects). That second batch basically is a folder structure similar to my existing Evernote notebooks.
The wiki I used to take both primary and secondary notes in, in 2006. It was wikkawiki which I ran locally on my laptop, with the css adapted to that of my then employer.
Finally got myself a shredder for the garden. I’ve been pruning the laurel today. A few times per year there’s a lot of pruning to be done, like recently the apple tree. I didn’t want to spent a lot of time again cutting the stems and branches back to a size that fit the waste container. And besides throwing away all that green material seemed a waste in itself.
So when I was done pruning the laurel and saw the heap of branches I cut, I measured the biggest branch and with the 3yr old visited the hardware store to get a shredder that could take it all.
With the shredder I made short work of it, and ended up with a very fragrant bag full of shredded laurel branches and leaves. I added it all back as mulch to the garden, which insects (now temperatures are dropping) and worms will enjoy. Much better than throwing it in the bin. A pleasing act, I found. The tribe of blue tits that uses our apple tree as a meeting place seemed in agreement, chattering above my head.
Our apple tree’s branches are heavy with apples or rather proto-apples. The big question is how many will survive the summer until they are ripe enough to eat.