Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Myself as the Reluctant Gardener

And so it has begun again - my ongoing love/hate relationship with gardening.  
When I was a child I was aggravated to no end by the endless pulling of weeds and watering of beans.  Beyond that, the picking, the snapping, the canning and the freezing, the dehydrating - it all seemed endless from May thru October.  Even the winter months were consumed with something harvest related:  dried beans to hull, popcorn to roll off the cob with red, roughened hands, nuts to be coaxed from their shells.  My parents were gardeners extraordinaire - they still are - and along with the heirloom standbys they "adventured" every year in the soil.  Peanuts, mung beans, Jerusalem artichokes, loofah sponges...a few exotic species annually just for the fun of trying something new.  And still, this week, at 86 and 6 months out from a broken hip, my father will pull out his tiller and churn the dirt in an effort to fulfill the perpetual pull of spring on a gardener's heart.  We offered to help, but he will have nothing of it.  It's his garden; ground that has been stewarded by his family since 1914.  I suspect that he will turn it over until he, himself, is called to rest.

Pecans, Walnuts, Hickory nuts to be picked out.  Winter's harvest work.

I don't have an actual "love" for gardening like that; but I do have the genetic pull.  I can't help it.  If there is soil, I am compelled to "grow" things.  I know's how I spent my childhood and although I swore then that I'd never garden once I reached independence, it's how I've spent over 20 years of married life.  It would just seem wrong to know how to grow things and not do it.  Let's just say I'm genetically predisposed.

Ben, eating peas.
 So, right now, the peas and bok choy and romaine and spinach are calling my name.  I don't start seeds indoors, and I don't generally purchase plants already started from the gardening store.  (Although I have, at times.)  I have hundreds of tiny early spring lettuces and crucifers that I grow in a "herd," then I transplant them into small rows in various beds located around my house and fence.  This is my third year of "city-gardening," making use of small spaces by growing things vertically (cukes, pumpkins, squash, beans) and also utilizing successive planting.  It's amazing the amount that can be grown on a small plot by these two methods.

I also don't garden in huge swaths of time.  There are challenges to gardening with many small children.  With a six month old baby, I have to use small snippets of moments to run outside and transplant a few plants as I am able.  Also, every year my young children must be reminded of the perimeters.  "You may dig HERE, but not THERE."  "Please do not drive your dumptrucks in mama's garden."

But all in all, Spring brings a compulsion to all things gardening.  Even with little boys prone to digging and cabbage worms to be plucked from the crucifers, it is worth it.  Gardening brings a satisfaction at the thought of growing healthy food for my family, and a sense of thankfulness for this ability that God has placed within humankind in general and in me, specifically.

By July, when it is 98 degrees with 80 percent humidity, I'm not so fond of it.

 I'm linking today to my friend Connie's Gardening Guide.  Mine is not so much a guide as a....philosophy, I guess.  But take from it what you will.

Connie has been a good friend of mine for years.  She and her family were so helpful to us during our time of medical crisis last year.  Now, I see that her husband has been laid off.  If you have read at Connie's blog and have been blessed by her, I encourage you to stop by and leave her any thoughts or suggestions or prayers on her family's behalf.  Another thing that we can do to help (which I will be doing) is to click through her Amazon link when I need to purchase something online.   If I'm going to buy something anyway - why not help someone out?  I know that a lot of people are struggling with the same issue at this time - this is just one little way we can help others thru a time of crisis.  We can  pray, encourage, and offer  practical support.  It meant so much to me when everyone (you!) helped us.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Baby clothing/Storage solution

It took me nine kids, but I recently came up with a new storage solution:

Where to put those pesky pants when you change a diaper?

Problem solved.  
You're welcome!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


be thankful...
for small things.

Every good gift 
comes from
our Father!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Six months

Six months?

No way.

Six WEEKS, maybe.

Slow down, Gabe.  There's no rush!

*I have always been a shy person, always hated seeing myself in a photograph or having my picture taken.  I have a propensity toward having really poor pictures taken - my eyes are usually squinty and my hair is often messy.  :)   A couple of years ago I realized that I really needed  to change my thinking on being photographed, however, because I saw that I was indanger of inaccurately recording our family history.  I was becoming the "invisible mother" in our photographic memories - and surely that would not be an appropriate representation of our lives. 

I grew up in a home where it was absolutely forbidden to "show off."  As I planned my wedding, my father insinuated that I was wanting to "show off" or "be seen," so even on that special day, I remember cringing at being in the spotlight.  I've struggled with that (and insecurity among many other things!) since childhood.  So, it is a matter of courage for me to approve of and actually allow photographs to be taken, and even more courageous for me to post them.  But I want our children to remember these times and these days, and I want them to be able to look back at photos of us "in the now," with all eleven of us living at home.  Photographs are, of course, only a representation of a moment in time, but as such they should be as accurate as possible.  (But I draw the line and will never allow pictures to be posted of me in the morning with messy hair and mis-matched pajamas.  :)   ) 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lest I forget....

This is what 16 looks like.

(Our son, Nicholas Joel.  All pictures of the age 12 and up crowd have been pre-approved.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lest I forget...

This is what three years old looks like:

FIRMLY independent,

and deliriously addicted to permanent markers.
Especially BLUE ones.
This, too, shall pass.

*photos taken in our laundry room, which received a new ceiling and paint job this week.  :)
The kids would like us to take note, and never forget, how hard it is to put dry-wall onto 12 foot ceilings.  The remodeling of our 100 plus year old home continues...

Friday, April 1, 2011

An alien in the Easter tree - and other family news...

I try.
I really do.
I have this little Easter tree -
I want to have something lovely and cheery
for my little ones -
something to make them smile.
Now, my tree is kind of cluttered
and has *maybe* a few too many 
glittery eggs...
but the kids like it.
But true to form
and par for the course in our home,
a wise guy has felt the need to
"improve" upon our decorations.
One year, it was Orcs in the nativity set,
another year, it was a Gollum figurine 
hanging with my snowmen ornaments.
I've also had green army men 
hidden in my Christmas tree.
But until now, I've never had...

an Alien in the Easter tree.
Shall I laugh...or cry?

I'll laugh.  :)

In other good family news:

*The trial surround Nick's mugging is finally finished!  (For those of you who are new here, a quick recap:  Our second son, Nicholas, was randomly mugged and beaten up when he was 14 years old (July, 2009.)  He was walking home from mowing a lawn, was stopped by two guys who asked him if he had any money, then was beaten up (hit, kicked, lacerations with stitches to his brow, a tooth that was broken off.)  Nick recognized one of the guys who hurt him at a local store.  The man was arrested, and the trial was last April, with sentencing taking place the very day that Jeff was having surgery in May.)  We thought things were over - the man was sent to prison with a Class B felony charge for assault and robbery.   It was not quite over - the felon appealed his case to the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana, and we waited to see what the Court would say.  Would they accept his appeal?  Would we be dragged through another court case?  Last week, we finally received the official letter in the mail, which stated that the Court rejected the appeal.  The official quote regarding the appeal was, "this is ridiculous."  We agree, and are thankful to shut the door on this chapter, at least for now.  The offender will likely be out of prison in three years.

* Jeff is beginning a new job!  I won't say too much about it here and now, but he starts within a couple of weeks.  He is extremely excited and we are so thankful.  :)  I can say more later!  :)

* A favorite niece of mine is expecting her first baby.  (Don'tcha know they are ALL my favorites?  :)  )  I am so excited.  It is always so wonderful having new babies in the family.   That's one of the reasons I like to blog about everyday "baby things," it's one way of connecting with new "mommies" across the age spectrum.  I hope to encourage other mothers.  Being a mom is an INCREDIBLY important job.  :)  So, congratulations to Kayla and Brandon!  We are so excited for you.

* We are sprucing up the house a bit....a special young lady is coming to visit our family for the first time in several years.  We have met before - but this time she holds a prominent place in our oldest son's heart.  We are all so excited but nervous too....what if we're too crazy for her???  Yes, we're entering a new era of our lives.  Isn't that wonderful?  (We think so!)

Well, it is almost midnight.  Gabriel will be waking up, ready for a late night nursing.  As always, thank you for stopping by.  God bless you, and make His face shine upon you, and give you peace!