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Adventures in Gardening

I thought I’d bring you along on my newest adventure:

Gardening!

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but this, that, and the other always took a higher priority or had more urgency. (7 babies in 10 years anyone?) Actually I know many women (really, I know them, in real life) who have had babies just as fast and furious as me and huge, healthy, prolific gardens right alongside, but I just couldn’t attain. I comfort myself with knowing that most of them grew up alongside their mom in her garden and that gardening is as simple as the alphabet for them.

I’ve given gardening a halfway try a few times, but never really stuck it out for a whole season. This year, I’m  going to really try. My baby is almost 3, my dog is fully grown and housebroken, and I don’t have any other big projects going on.

I thought it might be fun to blog about it, share what I learn, what mistakes I make…

To be clear: this IS NOT a “How To Garden” blog series, it is a “What I’ve Learned About How To Garden” blog series, or maybe even a “LOL What Was She Thinking?!” blog series 😉

So.

To begin: I ordered seeds from The Seed Guy, because having non-GMO, open-pollinated “heirloom” seeds is important to me, and I really think that’s part of the reason I haven’t taken my previous attempts at gardening too seriously. I always bog down at trying to decide what to plant, and how much of it, so this time I just bought a package. I’ll plant about half of what I bought, and store the rest for next year’s attempt, when I’ve learned a bit more.

Yesterday I borrowed my lovely neighbor’s tiller, and tilled up last year’s garden plot, plus a bit, because there are a LOT of varieties in the package I got and I want to try a new garden layout: irregular beds instead of rows or square foot beds. Thanks to our entire septic tank and drain field being replaced last fall, there was very little grass or weeds for me to contend with (our landlord didn’t think it necessary to plant grass and we straight up couldn’t afford it!)

Then there were the gourds. Last year, we planted a lot of watermelon. A LOT. But, somehow (I blame buying seeds at a dollar store), we grew pumpkins and gourds. By the time I realized what was growing, the rest of the garden was a very lush weed-bed and I just didn’t care. I read a bit about how they dry best right on the vine, so I let them try. We picked up most of them, wondering about bird feeders and ladles and whatnot, but the kids ended up just smashing most of them in their games. (I still haven’t asked WHAT games called for that…) There were several that lay hidden though, and they were just on the safe side of the digging and resulting mudpit of the septic tank debacle. I found them as I was tilling. Just after I burst them and scattered their seeds. So I’m sure quite a bit of my gardening this year will involve plant identification in order to get rid of the gourds before they take over!

Today I sprayed the tilled area with apple cider vinegar. I’m told it will kill any vegetation it is sprayed on, and I want to kill out what little grass and weeds are there before I put my little precious plants and seeds in. I’m not very heavy into the “organic” label, because I know some people who have jumped through the hoops of becoming “certified” and they said it was really just an honor code and it came down to the farmer’s honesty. But I do want things to be as natural and chemical free as possible, which is why I just smile and nod when family and friends give me their recommendations for RoundUp or Se7en or what have you. I realize that they’ll have a better yield than me with my apple cider vinegar, diatomaceous earth and cayenne pepper, but for me gardening would feel pointless if I started using chemicals.

Here is what the grass and weeds that I sprayed with vinegar looked like today. I’ll post pictures of them in a few days to share whether the vinegar really works 🙂

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We’ve got cups and egg cartons full of dirt on a table in our entry, which has one entire side of sliding glass doors facing the south, and that’s where we’re starting our seeds. While they are getting their start, I’ll keep spraying the plot with vinegar every few days and I’ll till it a time or three more to get the dirt nice and soft. I’ll stop with the vinegar about a week before I set out plants, and between now and then I’ll be stringing up a few kinds of fencing: orange webbing discarded from a construction site helped a lot with keeping the deer and rabbits and groundhogs out last year (those 3 completely demolished our attempt at a garden the year before that). I’ll also string some jute twine outside that with pie pans and pinwheels and bars of Irish Spring soap dangling at intervals along it. I saw some of these deer repellent stakes at the feed store last week, and I’m trying to decide if I want to try them. (There are a LOT of deer around here, in case you didn’t know.) I haven’t made up my mind, but if I try them, I’ll let you know what I think of them. Of course, there are so many variables in this little experiment, I may never know what actually worked. But if it keeps the critters from eating my garden, I’ll feel that it was worth it all!

I also have a new-ish “weapon” in my critter-deterrent arsenal:

This fellow!

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He’s been hanging around the garden with me, and, um, “marking” it as his territory. Hopefully all the other animals with respect that? (and just because I’m so proud of his size: that’s my daughter’s soccer ball that he was playing with, and yes, he’s available as a stud!)

That’s about all I’ve got as far as a garden so far, besides a head full of dreams and visons and hopes, and ideas about where to get mason jars if I actually grow enough to can! Stay tuned, and either learn alongside me or laugh as I muddle through 🙂 Either way, it’s all fun and good healthy play in the dirt and sunshine!

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Not So Pretty

One (more) not so pretty thing about depression is trying to figure out how to face all the things you’ve neglected because of it, without letting overwhelm drag you right back in. :/

I have all these emails and projects (that involve OTHER PEOPLE) that I’m working my way through, and I so much feel like giving each person an explanation of WHY I am so behind and just now getting around to things, and that it’s not that I don’t value them, or see my commitments as important, but that I’ve just simply failed, and that I’ve been hiding from that, and that now I’m “back” so to speak, and trying to tackle things and get back a bit of control…

And THAT is overwhelming, and a bit too “bare” emotionally for me. I really don’t want to discuss it at all, and I know that offering explanations like that will open the way for conversation.

So, I think I’ll just jump back in, do what I can, and hope people will forgive me and allow me another chance.

🙂

What I’m Reading (later!)

I feel torn between wondering if I’m terribly conceited and arrogant for thinking anyone cares what I”m reading (isn’t that always the question with blogging?) and wanting to share fun interesting things to read.

I suppose though, that the internet is a free space and that only people who care are reading this, so I’ll toss the worries about arrogance and trust that those who don’t give a rip won’t end up here anyway 🙂

I have about 40 tabs open among several browsers, and I won’t bore anyone (myself included!) with listing them all, but here’s what I’ve got open on this browser tonight. I doubt I’ll get around to reading a bit of it tonight though, as my eyes are crossing while I type this!

Let me know what you think if you read these! 🙂

http://gizmodo.com/the-gorgeous-typeface-that-drove-men-mad-and-sparked-a-1686081182?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

http://aeon.co/magazine/science/is-the-many-worlds-hypothesis-just-a-fantasy/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

http://thenextweb.com/dd/2015/02/18/300-awesome-free-things-massive-list-free-resources-know/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

http://priceonomics.com/the-time-everyone-corrected-the-worlds-smartest/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

How I Know Summer Has Arrived

My hot-glue sticks stuck together in my hand.
and to my hand.
Yep.
It’s warm.
Today, we’re getting the sprinkler out. Mostly for me.
Because while the children ask (a lot) for the sprinkler, once I get it going, they’re all reluctant to actually get wet. I’m not sure if it’s a sensory thing, or a this-is-too-weird thing, or if they’re just not as hot as they thought they were before the hose-cold water hits them, but no one has ever really played in the sprinkler.
But these days, I’m already feeling the heat.
I’m glad for it, don’t misunderstand me, because even though I love the North, and call it home, and can’t wait to go back, I’d still rather be hot than cold. Nonetheless, today, around 3 or so, you’ll find me in a lawn chair, with a cold drink, enjoying the intermittent soakings from the sprinkler.
Not for long though, as I have some project supplies to pick up, the kitchen and dining room to give their weekly cleaning, school to teach, and a soccer practice and a soccer game to chauffeur/attend. (besides the laundry-dishes-cooking-diapers-training norm of every day (0: )
I have lots of helpers though, and we’ve already gotten 3 fans cleaned and ready to place, 3 loads of bedding washed and hung, and a section of the meadow mowed for my daughter’s new dog. We’re definitely earning our sprinkler time today.

How Many Hours ARE There in a Day, Anyway?

In all my planning and re-prioritzing and scheduling/routine-mapping, I’ve learned something quite surprising about myself.
I’ve been reworking a lot of things, for a lot of reasons.
We (I) have been feeling driven,
like a hamster in a wheel,
like I hit the ground running every morning,
only to fall farther behind each day…
only to see, at the end of the day, all the things I didn’t check off my to-do list.
I’ve been running our home on a routine that just doesn’t fit all the changes that we’ve made since I crafted that routine for us. A routine that was made to accomplish goals I either don’t have any more, or never really had to begin with, but felt (self-inflicted) pressure that I ought to have.
True to my own way, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about routines, schedules, priorities, planning, and the like. Not to allow others to dictate my goals, or to try to emulate someone else’s routine or schedule, but to get my mind into that gear, and to get ideas that maybe I haven’t thought of, and to learn from others’ mistakes. In my reading, I found this post:
Time Management Without A Schedule
In it was a profoundly simple concept that really should have been my beginning point in my endeavors to create a routine plan for myself. It is this:
(are you ready?)

Each day should only have 24 hours of accomplishments planned!!!


This is new thinking for me.
I really never thought about looking at the time I have and figuring out what I can do in it. I always looked at what needed to be done, what I wanted to get done, and tried to move at a speed that would accomplish as much of that as possible. I never, never, got to the end of my list.
Every single day was a failure, that ended one of two ways:
with me staying up late until my eyes were crossing and my back and feet were aching, trying to cross off as much as I could from my list, knowing that whatever was left undone would be added to tomorrow’s list.
or
guiltily and ashamedly quitting for the night, things undone, trying not to think about how far behind my tomorrow had just become, and, consequently my week and even my month, since all that is exponential…

So, me-fashion, I sat me down to work out a similar plan, limiting myself to 24 hours. I started out with a plan like the one one the site linked above, filling in the blanks with the way I already spent my days, sure I was going to find a lot of frittered-away, wasted time that could be put to more productive use. Here’s the link if you’d like to use it too, or see what it is I’m talking about :0)
Guess what happened.
I filled in all the little cells on the table, of things that I do (or attempt, rather), and the time I intend to spend on them. Then I added up the hours in each column (day). They were supposed to add up to 24 (hours). Mine all added up to 30 or more. Some as high as 36!
After I re-did my math several times, sure that I’d forgotten how to add double digits after teaching first grade math, I realized that I really am attempting too much!
Oh, how I laughed. It was somehow relieving, to know that the reason I was always behind wasn’t because I just move to slow, or don’t focus enough, or whatever. I just really plan too much!
Now I’m working on the gritty (and honestly, sometimes frustrating and discouraging) part. Paring away those plans/goals/priorities, weaning myself down to only expecting 24 hours in each day.
My husband graciously agreed to babysit for a few hours so that I could work on this uninterrupted (after smiling at my shocking discovery that I try to squeeze 30+ hours into 24, and telling me that he’s been trying to tell me that for a while now).
So I’ve been sitting here at Starbucks with a few documents open on my netbook, with tables and formulas and highlighted cells, and a sketchbook and some markers beside me, figuring out just what is it all that I do, and what to trim here and there, to get it to all fit onto the table.
After 2 hours, I’ve got several days out of my week down to 24 hours. I still have some over 24.
Sigh.

and now… I have more that I want to say, but time is up and I’m going to follow through on my decision to just hit “publish” rather than try to perfect each post..

Of blogging, secrets, porn and truth – A Holy Experience

So often, I have a heart full,

a mind full,

things to say,

things to ask,

things to just dump so I can look at them and maybe in the future, figure out what on earth they are and what I should do with them.

But I hesitate.

I’m just not sure.

This post at least shows me that someone else wonders the same things.

Of blogging, secrets, porn and truth – A Holy Experience

I don’t know what conclusion I’ll come to:

whether I’ll begin just typing it all out anyway,

or not,

or even just quit blogging altogether.

I know that some say

“no secrets”

and

“no shadows”

and

“walk in the light” (I will be posting more on “walking in the light” soon…)

but there are other things to be considered…

the tightrope between what some say:

“But recently, I’ve realized that it is MY story. MY life.”

 

and what others have to say about that, here:

Discussing the Telling of Secrets in the comments…

not that all the things I’m hesitating over are the “deep, dark, skeletons-in-the-closet” type things mentioned in the comments there, but just wondering about the line between being transparent and airing dirty laundry. Because the things that happen, do happen to and shape me, but they also involve others who may not desire the transparency and openness in that area…

Just what I’m thinking about lately…

I need to change my schedule

Right now, my time slot for blogging is in the morning. I have it placed so that I can only blog if I get up and do my #HelloMornings on time. It comes after all my "need-tos", and before the children wake up. If I sleep in or am sluggish, or left too much undone the day before, I don't get to blog. It's a good reward/consequences system that motivates me, but I'm discovering a downside to it.
My most inspired moments are at bedtime.
I can't count the times I'll be brushing my teeth or doing my nighttime stretches and be hit with something I want to put here. since I know getting to bed on time is a crucial part of my #HelloMornings, I resist the temptation to fire up my netbook and type it out, thinking, "I'll surely remember this and post it in the morning."
Nope.
I can remember things overnight, like what I have planned for breakfast, whether we're going somewhere, a rough draft of the chores that need to be done, what we're going to try to accomplish in school, who has soccer practice… But I apparently can't remember the things that seem "really good to blog about."
Perhaps they're not all that good :0)
Be that as it may, it's unpleasant to wake up and know I wanted to write something, but not be able to remember what the something is.
So I think I'll do a little schedule shuffle, and, in an attempt to keep the reward/consequence/motivational aspect of it, I'll move blogtime to bedtime, with the caveat that I still have to be in bed on time. We'll see if that increases or decreases my opportunities to write here. :0)

Note to Self:

When you are all excited to go and accomplish a lot with the new leaf blower your incredible husband bought you for your birthday, plan your course downwind.

Morning Energy!

If you follow me on Twitter or read my tweets here on this blog, you’ll occasionally see something with #hellomornings in it.
What is that all about?
SO glad you asksed. :0)
I don’t officially “do” HelloMornings, as in sign up and have a team captain and all that, it’s a little too socially organized for me. But I definitely love the inspiration in the Maximize Your Mornings free ebook that gave birth to HelloMornings, and I enjoy occasionally interacting with others who are doing the same thing. Reading the ebook made a huge impact on me, in giving me courage to try. I had the ideals and hopes, alright, but just didn’t feel like I could do it. Kat (the writer at Inspired To Action, who put together all this) is so good at breaking things down into very manageable steps, and being so uplifting and encouraging without being saccharine and without using guilt or a superiority/inferiority ploy. That’s a gift, in my book, and she exercises it well. If you haven’t ever been to her site, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Inspired to Action is well named!
I’ve started Maximizing my Mornings over again several times, either after a new baby, a series of sickness roaring through our tribe of 9, other interruptions, or simply falling off the wagon. Every single time, I wonder why I thought it would be hard to start again! I’m at the victorious wrap-up of another “restart”, and loving it all over again. I have a list of things that comprise my HelloMornings:
Read the rest of this entry

Being the Oddball Isn’t *Always* Fun

I’m finding out that it’s one thing to know theoretically  that something is a controversial topic, when you are surrounded by either like-minded people or those who are respectful of decisions and opinions differing from their own.
It’s another entirely to find out concretely that it is indeed dear to the heart of someone who has made their career choice based on a position opposite yours, and to find yourself asking that person for assistance. Read the rest of this entry