May 27, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

As I write this, it is raining cats and dogs.  In fact, it's been raining like this for the past 10 hours and there's no sign of it letting up. We've been watching all days as little rivers and lakes have grown larger in our yard and in the freshly planted fields surrounding our place.

I managed to sneak out this morning in the drizzle and get a few more annuals in their homes and transplant only a few of the amazing hostas my mother-in-law brought by yesterday.  The kids played in the garage to stay dry while I got very muddy and very wet.

Yesterday we were able to be a bit more productive in the veggie garden. The kids helped me work the ground and add sand to the area where they also helped me plant 2 rows of carrots. Then they took turns helping me get a few tomatoes in the ground. Jack-Hammer wanted to plant a packet of California Poppy seed, so we also got those in the flower bed as well. The Little Girl dug holes and planted the last pack of Allysum from Lou's with my help.  I wish we had gotten more done, but we were taking things slow in order to just enjoy the time planting in the sun.

And that's it.

No pretty pictures.

No grandiose gardening stories (other than oooo-ing and ahh-ing over the radishes and onions that are up since being planted last week).

Just a few more rows planted....

....and lots and lots of rain.

Nothing new under the sun.

And linking up over HERE where we are thinking about being purposeful and deliberate about gettin' our kids in the garden. And this year it's gonna take a lot of determination and siezing the moments to get in the garden at all.

"A Boy is Noise with Dirt on It"

It doesn't matter how warm or cold outside it is, how dry or wet; in his mind the only footware out there is his mud boots.....put on the wrong feet.  As he would say, "I want 'em on da wrong feet."  

He loves his motorcycle and playing "in the fence,"

and he can get dirty, down-to-the-skin, in-between-the-toes dirty, just standing still.

He loves his adult size Matco Tools hat sinched down to the smallest size.

He loves our new puppy, Belle, or "Be-o-oo" (replace the "ll" sound with the "w" sound) as he calls her. After asking "Where is Daddy?" when he wakes up in the morning, the next thing out of his mouth is "Where is Belle?"  Then it's "Can Belle come inside?" and when he's not happy with that answer, it's "I wanna go outside."

They have a love to cuddle... to fight relationship.

Between the two of them, it's a miracle that we have anything left intact around here.

This boy is covered in scratches and bruises, and inspecting "owies" is a daily occurence.

It's just simple boyhood; getting dirty, tearing things apart, and driving mom nuts keeping mom humble.

When I can stifle my exasperation long enough to really see him as he is and not just the whirlwind of destruction behind him, I see a loving little boy with a warrior spirit who's got what it takes to blaze his own trail. He doesn't need the path I can make for him, he just needs me to mark his path with the right boundaries.

May 26, 2011


We get home from church, and she changes out of church clothes into her favorite play clothes: a hand-me-down dress and some leggings.  She picks out the clothes and puts them on by herself, complete with the tag in front.

She heads out back to pick dandelions....

singing to herself the whole way.

Occasionally she spins just to make her dress twirl, because most of her hand-me-down play dresses twirl better than her church dresses. Or, as she would say, "Mommy! This dress spins!"

It's just little-girlhood at it's best; finding beauty in the weeds, care-freely singing the day away, and finding magic in hand-me-downs (that within a few hours were covered in blood, mud, and grape juice popsicle stains).

I soak it in with her, cherishing this innocence, tearfully remembering when the harsh realities of this world came crashing down on my girlhood dreams, and vowing not to tell her that life is rarely what we dream it will be.......

only because sometimes...every now and's better.

May 23, 2011

Sort Of

We finally got in the vegetable garden......sort of.

We knew the rain was coming, and after five days of sun and wind we thought it certainly must be dry. And it was...sort of...only not so much.

We couldn't get started 'til later in the evening because we had to wait 'til the husband got home to till the garden. And he got home early....sort of.

Then we hit it hard....sort of....because it's so difficult to move quickly when you're trying to include two 3 year olds and keep the dog out of your way.

We managed to mud-in the potatoes, half of the Indian Corn, most of the popcorn, a row of radishes, and most of the onions before it got too dark and before I lost most of my patience.  It was more stressful than I would have liked. I prefer planting the garden on a weekend afternoon in the sun with everybody helping. But we have SO MUCH left to plant, and after getting SO MUCH rain over the past 3 days, it will be awhile before get back in there to finish it.

But even with wet-garden-woes, we've still had the joy of harvesting now that our asparagus is ready. The kids, who ate the stuff last year, are a bit uncertain about eating it this year, but still love helping to pick it.

And we've added to my mental list of gardening goals for this year:  Keep the tent worms from destroying the apple tree again.

She survived and came back this year, however tentatively. As we admired all the apple blossoms, the kids asked me where "all the bugs are" because they actually thought those disgusting fuzzy worm things were fun to watch. I informed them that we are going to kill them as soon as we see them this year. With what, I'm not sure. I think I have a recipe for some homemade tent worm concoction around here. If you've got any tips, I'll gladly take them.

Then, if the leaves survive the worms and we actually get apples this year, we will have to try to keep the deer away from the apples.

When we are successful with that, I will then attempt to convince my husband that we need some more apple trees, which he would have no objection to except that we hate creating mowing obstacles.

We really do need as many apples as we can possible get because we've got an applesauce making tradition in the works here. It was just so much fun last year.

And now that I finally have the timing of KinderGARDENS figured out - sort of - I will actually link up this week with this serious over at The Inadvertent Farmer.

My first post in the series that didn't quite meet the Mr. Linky deadline is HERE.

May 18, 2011

The Cycle Continues

I'm so eager to get in the garden.

Sun on my back. Dirt under my fingernails. The smell of green around me. The winter was long and desolate, and the freezer and canning shelves are getting empty.

But we're waiting, waiting, waiting for things to dry out around here.

And I'm not the only anxious one.  My tots, who did so great with last years' garden, are eager to dig in the dirt with me, too. I was pleasantly surprised by how they thoroughly enjoyed helping me clear out the asparagus patch this spring and rock pick the garden.

I have a lot of goals for this years' garden. It's bigger than last year, and we're slowly working on the berry patch addition. As of right now, it appears that only half of the new blueberry plants survived the winter, but two of them are these plants and that's very exciting. One of my goals this year is to keep the acidic-soil-loving blueberry plants alive in my alkaline soil....and maybe even plant some more if we seem to have success.

Other gardening goals this year include establishing strawberry plants - which we just planted the other day,

keeping the dog...

 ...from digging where she shouldn't and killing what she shouldn't (she's already killed 3 1/2 of my 5 brand new variegated weigelas.....*sigh*), and keeping the critters, whatever and whoever they are, out of my beets! I will have beets grow successfully in my garden this year. It's just been too long since I had garden fresh beets.

This years' garden will include everything from last year with favorites like green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, squash, and Indian Corn, plus more.

New to our planting line up this year is:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrotts (we have heavy soil; I have no idea how they will turn out)
  • Snow Peas
  • Shell Peas
  • Popcorn
  • Cherry Tomatoes
One of my favorite things about gardening is the cycle - the planting, growing, tending, harvesting, dying - how we're always in some part of that cycle - how my heart, as a child of God, goes through the same cycle - how the death can lead way to new life....

....which is probably why I also enjoy composting, which we've kicked off for the season now that we don't need waders to get out to the compost piles.

Last years' compost filled the new strawberry beds, and as we we loosened the chunks and leveled off the mounds, we found a salamander. I was able to stifle a scream and hide my disgust in order to show the kids, who admired it before we returned it to the compost piles out back. toes curl just thinking about that thing.

As the husband surveyed the asparagus patch, which is finally showing signs of life, and repeatedly disciplined the dog for digging in the new strawberry bed (she's left it alone since!), we also admired all the big juicy worms as we planted the strawberries. The kids kept informing me that "the worms are so happy," which I think is their way of remembering that I told them last year worms are good for our garden.

But it's not just all spring work, preparation, and dreaming around here. We were able to harvest the first of the season just a few days ago. The rhubarb is ready! The kids proudly cut the pink stalks themselves after a brief, in-one-ear-and-out-the-other, lesson on safe scissor handling. The first pickin' ended up in a dessert, but the rest will likely go into making rhubarb slush for all the summer festivities we are looking forward to.

We're so excited about what this gardening season has to offer, and even though the kids won't have their own garden this year, we're gonna link up over at The Inadvertant Farmer to participate in the KinderGARDENS series! 

(I missed the opening to link up this week.....*sigh*....but if I had been on the ball, I would have linked up to THIS POST.)

May 16, 2011

So Many Things

There's always so much I'd like to say here. There are so many things I'm mulling over in my mind, things I want to remember, things I want to learn from....

But I simply do not have the time....

And now here I sit before going to bed, inspirationless, slightly sunburned, and wishing sleep didn't consume such a large portion of my day.

But even with fatigue pulling on me, my heart is so full. Maybe it's the way my skin feels after being in the sun all day. Maybe it's the taste of the first amazingly sweet and tart rhubarb dessert of the season. Maybe it's all these many things......and God giving me the capacity to take it all in, teaching me to relish the little things in life and see them as big things..... to slow down despite the never ending to-do-list, to give that hug, to kiss the owie, to admire the picture colored just for me, to answer the question with my full attention, to sit on the deck for a few minutes with the husband, to pet the dog......

So many these:

#256. planting strawberries with my little girl
#257. Jack Hammer teaching me how to drive the tractor - literally. "Push here Momma!" He points as he sits on my lap while I try to remember how to mow with that thing. "Like this Momma!" circling his hand around trying to tell me to turn around as I come to the end of the perfectly straight diagonal row started by the husband.
#258. a cloudless blue sky
#259. a forecast with 4 straight days of no "possible rain showers"
#260. the husband checking out the asparagus patch
#261. 2 tots playing in the fence so well for so long while Mom and Dad mow, mow, mow
#262. the smiling faces of strangers from a different church and way of life
#263. perfect 4 part harmony found with the single blow of a pitch pipe
#264. the heat of the grill on my face
#265. the husband vacuuming a day's worth of dirt and grit of the kitchen floor for me without me asking....again

Not taking the time to grab the pretty "Multitude on Mondays" button or link up over at Holy Experience, but if you want to see why I count or just simply read a blog that will change the way you think, click on the beautiful black button with the white tree towards the top of my blog.

Note to Self

(Apparently it was "that time of the month" for Blogger last Thursday when I first posted this because this post and all its comments were lost.  This is a re-post.) 

It's probably best to not gather up the kids

and the puppy

and two new kites found in Easter baskets

and head out back all together

to assemble both kites with the help of the dog

and fly both kites at once....with first time pilates.

Because even though there was shockingly little breeze,

it can change at a moments notice out here on the plains.

And when the tug on the string was too much for the novice kite fliers

and the little girl panics and let's go...

Mom just can't run fast enough across the back acre with a camera bouncing around her neck

to prevent this from happening:

Next time, we'll just fly one kite at a time.

May 10, 2011

An Exercise of Belief

Sometimes I'm tempted to think that the little things that make me smile, that make my heart heave a little sigh of happiness, are simply coincidences or natural occurrences or just me groping for something new to fill my list.

The honk of a lone goose overhead as I wrestle wriggly tots in jammies? Well....all geese are on the move this time of year. This is their natural migratory path. Wouldn't it just be silly to see that as a gift from God for me in this moment?

Hitting the brakes while backing out of the garage unknowingly only 12 inches from smashing into my mom's little bitty car with my giant gas-guzzler?  I always brake and turn at a certain spot while backing out of the garage. It was just a coincidence that I didn't smash into her while I was busy at thought.....right?

But if I attempt to avoid "over-spiritualizing" the every day, aren't I engaging in disbelief?

It almost seems that belief is a spectrum ranging from believing in one God (which even the demons do - James 2:19 - and their eternal destiny is certainly not desirable), to believing that the one God loves me, to believing that He sent His son to die for me, to believing that this one God is personally and actively involved in my life right now. He's big enough to create and orchestrate it all, yet He's "small" enough to focus on me. He's not too big to be that small and He's not too small to be that big.....He's just I AM.

So I will not let what the world seems to cloud over what the world really is. I don't want to engage in unbelief at any point of the spectrum, and I sort of understand what the man meant who said "Lord I believe; help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24).

This is not just some Pollyanna Glad Game. This is an exercise of belief, choosing to acknowledge as more than fate or coincidence or "natural" occurrence the expressions of God's love for me in the every day.

#241. signs of life in most of my new shrubs planted last year
#242. the smell of tomato plants
#243. the first rhododendron bloom
#244. raised strawberry bed built and in the garden
#243. the little girl coloring all day
#244. the little girl dancing when she's not coloring
#245. the little boy jumping his plastic motorcycle over all the frost heaves in the driveway
#246. the puppy sleeping on the doorstep
#247. clearing out the asparagus patch
#248. sweeping out the garage
#249. the 2 brunettes
#250. making plans to go to Lu's Greenhouse!
#251. barefoot children
#252. a few days of heat
#253. the whir of ceiling fans stiring up the air
#255. the relentless wind trying to dry us out again

May 5, 2011

It's Hard Being So Beautiful

It's hard being so beautiful.

Everyone wants your attention.

Everyone wants to talk to you.  

But on an empty stomach, all you want is to be left alone 'til the food is ready.

Then, you'll eat 2 platefuls and be happy again.