Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Real Reason For The Garden

We have had some sort of garden since the first year Thad and I were married.  Our first year was just cucumbers and tomatoes and we holy smokes we had tons of them that year.  It was pure joy keeping track of how many of each we would harvest each day.  We had over 200 cucumbers that year but every time we would pick one it was like we were picking our first.  Seven years later, we have moved to our home and have three great children.  Every year we make an effort to have some sort of garden to share that same joy with our children.  They have had lots of fun in the garden since they have been babies from eating dirt to picking their first ripe vegetable but this year was the first year I have noticed so much excitement in them.  Maybe it is because they are all older now and they all could help with every aspect of the garden this year.
The kids have been fascinated with the garden this year right from the beginning and putting the manure in to planting the seed and even picking the occasional ripe pea.  Last night however was the first time I we were actually in the garden all to once harvesting anything that was ripe.  Just listening to the kids excitement was worth all the time and effort we put into the garden.  They were picking everything they could get their hands on, smiling and giggling the whole time.  It was so much joy for me to be listening to them so excited.  The most exciting moment however other then picking the only ripe tomato was that they were just as thrilled to be eating the same things they picked in the garden for dinner.  As a mom it was just as rewarding to know that they were happy eating food that was not only healthy for them but also safe from all chemicals.
Even though it can be a lot of work especially this year with the dry spell we have a garden filled with fun and laughter but most of all love.  I wish the world could share in the same joy we shared last night.

Sunday, July 29, 2012



Overwhelmed With Summer Fun?

As it is not even August and summer is basically just started I already wish summer was over?!?  Is summer fun too much sometimes???  We all remember summer as kids and how fun it was to have summer vacation.  There was no school, we played outside, swam in creeks, played with friends, had the occasional family picnic and played and played till school started again.   However as a children I also remember spending most of our summer home and how my siblings and I enjoyed everyday of summer vacation.  We would be home for weeks in a row and we enjoyed it.  That is the same summer fun I wanted my children to grow up remembering.  Yet the farther we progress into summer the less it seem to be happening and I have yet to come up with a solution for resolving this problem.
This time of year is very hectic for us here and everyone else as well I'm sure.  I come from a very large family that all basically lives in the same area.  The last few years it seems every week something is happening and when its not my family having a gathering Thad's family has something.  Our chaos started back in May with My niece's birthday and our anniversary the same day followed by a holiday/party/gathering every weekend since then and will not end till the kids return to school (I hope).  Some how in between all this celebrating we have had animals to raise, gardens to tend and try to squeeze in some family time.  We have had to enjoy most of our family time in the garden and with the animals which makes me happy we have them but still that time has been limited this year by one thing our another.  Is this the normal???  Is this how my kids should remember summer???  Were we the lucky ones growing up that we were able to enjoy our every day of summer vacation???
Every year we say the that next year we are not going to go to everything but every year its the same chaos.  Are we overwhelming our children with all this chaos?  They are so busy every day I feel they do not get to enjoy their summer vacation.  On the few days that we are home they are bored?  We have plenty for our kids to enjoy here but they are just used to everyday chaos and running around that they don't know how to react to being home.  Makes me wonder what memories they will have of summer when they are grown?
I have tried to think of a way to calm down our summer chaos and miss a party/celebration or two but it never seems to work.  I have had this discussion a lot with my Mom on how they managed to escape the summer chaos when we were little and she simply says to stop doing all the parties.  How can I tell my niece/nephew we can not come to your birthday party or tell our family we can not come to their picnic even though we went to the other family's party the week before?  How do I ask that same family to come to a birthday party for my kids when I didn't go to their party?  How can I tell my kids even though you cousin just had a HUGE party you can not?  If we just stopped doing everything would everyone understand that it is just too much sometimes?
I am typing all this knowing that in less then a week my daughter is having her 5th birthday party.  We have been so busy this year I'm actually dreading having this party.  If I had not already planned and invited family to this party I would change the whole thing.  I feel bad that again we are going to have to ask family to change plans and come celebrate my daughters special day.  But at the same time how can I not make her birthday a special day for her?  We used to have huge parties for our kids and invite the whole family on both sides (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends and all their kids too) but it was getting to the point that we could barely afford to have a party and still get our child a birthday present.  I have scaled down the invite list tremendously since then.  I know my daughter may feel a little sad that she wont have the huge party she is used to but I also know she will be happy just to have the party as well.  Unfortunately this party also means another week with a party and less time to enjoy summer/life.  I will be starting a new tradition for my kids birthdays after this party.  They will do as I did when I was little.  We will celebrate their birthday the actual day of their birth even if its a school day.  They will have a cake and who ever wants to come is welcome to come but we will no longer have big parties that take a week of planning.  This is just my first step in taking back our life and the next will be saying NO we can not make it to your party/celebration.
I really don't quite know how to end this blog so I will end it by saying I hope everyone who reads this knows it is okay to say "sorry we cant make it this time".  It has taken me a few years of chaos to understand this myself but this is going to be my motto not only for summer but forever.  We are letting our years pass us by and cant even remember the fun we had last week because were are already celebrating something else.  We have a great family (on both sides) and I'm hoping that they actually read this.  I also hope they can understand when we all of a sudden stop going to everything.  I will also understand if they read this and decide the same.  I know if its this crazy for me it has to be just as crazy for them.
Here's to enjoying the rest of my summer the simple way---> with my kids and husband!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Well I have been meaning to keep everyone updated with our garden as we were growing it but we have spent so much time with just weeding and watering it, tending to animals and just enjoying our summer that we haven't had time to blog about it.  I will try my best to get everyone up to date as we just ate our first food from it two days ago here are some photos of our progress so far this year.

Above is two months worth of growth in our garden we are finally starting to get to crops other then the leafy greens.  

We have already harvested all our our spinach.  We did the new popular pallet planting for our spinach and it worked out great.  There were no weeds to pull at all.  We had spinach in so many salads that we were actually sick of eating spinach.  I could bare the thought of wasting what we had left growing still so for the first time ever I canned some.  We waited over a week before I let Thad try it.  He said it was delicious so we are planting more to harvest again before fall comes as I only ended up the 3 small jars after we had already eaten so much of it.

Below are some of our firsts of the year.  Our first of many cucumbers we had grow.  Oh and we had this guy for dinner tonight so this pictures is from last week.  The first peas we picked and ate the same night.  Or first time growing zucchini and they are growing like crazy.

Aside from the garden by the house we also have a patch of sweet corn and two potato patches.  The corn was mostly eaten by crows as soon as it started growing but the potatoes are growing nicely.
One of our two potato patches.  Last year we only had this one and had enough potatoes to last through Jan.  We also saved all the small potatoes that started growing and used them as seed potatoes this year. 
A small row of corn we planted along the driveway with the seeds that wouldn't fit in the big patch.  We were lucky we did as most of the corn we planted in the big patch was eaten by crows before it had time to grow.

What is left of the corn we planted in the corn patch.   It is growing nicely but unfortunately there is not a lot of it left.

We planted pumpkins last year where we planted the corn this year and surprise, surprise one pumpkin plant decided to grow this year.  We had planted more pumpkins but the chickens decided they needed to eat them the day after we planted them so this is a welcome freebie this year.