The World According to Tim: What We Can Learn About Life & Cancer While Picking Daisies at the CF&G!

The World According to Tim: What We Can Learn About Life & Cancer While Picking Daisies at the CF&G!

By Tim E. Renzelmann

I have always enjoyed the outdoors… especially while running, biking, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, backpacking, disc golfing, flying kites, etc. Admittedly, however, during much of my life the focus has been more on the physical activity I am engaged in than the natural environment in which I am doing it. Age has forced me to slow down a bit and, more and more, I have been “stopping to smell the roses” as they say. And, without a doubt, time and attention spent at the Christopher Farm & Gardens has contributed to a greater appreciation of the natural aspects of life that, previously, I didn’t pay much attention to.

I could go on for hours talking about our past visits to the Gardens (81 organized group visits since May of 2017)! But I won’t. If you’ve been there with us, you know of what I speak. If you haven’t been there with us, I encourage you to make a point to do so. Our next visit is a “Work & Fun Day at the CF&G” scheduled for Monday, July 1st (scroll down for details)!

As enjoyable, relaxing, and healing as many of our casual visits have been, I have found the opportunities to get my hands a little dirty during one of our collaborative work projects with CF&G to be especially meaningful. For example, over the past four years we have participated in an Earth Day Restoration Project each spring and we are in the midst our first official year of Project Tweety B.I.R.D. Bluebird Trail!

Another work project over the past three years has been “Daisy Days.”

Description: Oxeye daisy may look pretty but they are highly invasive. The CF&G has been working on invasive removal and native habitat restoration along Lake Michigan.The best, non-toxic, way to control the daisy spread is to hand pull. The more hands pulling the further we can get, as the saying goes, “many hands make for light work” or “the more the merrier”!

I arrived for our third “Daisy Days” daisy pull of the year and, admittedly, I felt overwhelmed as it was evident that more daisies had popped up since our previous visit and there were so many daisies left to pull! “Really?” I had to ask myself. “Are we really making a difference?”

When we find ourselves facing a daunting challenge we may feel an urge to either give up entirely or, in this case, just light the field on fire and burn it down completely!

I had those thoughts… then my mind drifted to the “Starfish Story”.


I turned my attention to a small patch of land and took this photo... and got to work!

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It didn’t take long before I could see... I was, in fact, making a difference!

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I noticed something else! When I first looked at this patch of land all I could see were the many daisies! But by carefully and attentively removing these invasive daisies I noticed an abundance of “daisly-like” Daisy Flee Bane that I hadn’t noticed at first. The Daisy Flee Bane is a native Wisconsin wildflower (differentiated from oxeye daisy by their thin thread-like pedals as well as their smooth leaves compared to the oxeye’s jagged leaves).

Interesting: Superstition led to the common name fleabane. It was believed that dried clusters of this plant could rid your home of fleas.

I almost unknowingly pulled these desirable wildflowers out along with the less-desirable invasive daisies!

That too can be indicative of life (and the cancer experience). Initially, we often see only the negative, the bad. But by being more attentive and looking a little closer we may find at least a little bit of goodness and beauty hidden amongst whatever challenge we maybe facing!

After a couple of hours of pulling daisies I took a break and looked at my progress. When I saw this butterfly perched on a nearby Purple Coneflower my mind once again went back to that Starfish Story. “Little girl, why are you doing this?”

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Removing the oxeye daisies will allow the native wildflowers to flourish which will allow the bees, butterflies, and other elements of nature to flourish! As a believer in the notion of “interconnectedness,” our “Daisy Days” efforts will help all of us (plant life, animal life, people life) to “Survive,Thrive & Be Fit”... and that is reason enough for me!

Please consider connecting with us at the CF&G... and experiencing the interconnectedness of our Local Cancer Community and the interconnectedness of life!

For additional photos and comments about 2024 "Daisy Days", CLICK HERE!

Join us on Monday, July 1 for a “Work & Fun Day at the Christopher Farm & Gardens”!

A special “Thank You” to Rob & Robyn of CF&G! In an attempt to make it sound like I know what I was talking about, I reached out to them and they graciously provided their plant identification expertise! Honestly, I can’t tell a wildflower from a weed… but I am learning and gaining a greater appreciation to the many aspects of nature I once took for granted!

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