Friday, January 3, 2014

Reflections By The Fire While Snowed In

Today was a snow day from work, lucky me. We got 9 inches of snow. The temperature is in the single digits tonight and below zero in the surrounding counties. This is the first day of single digit temperatures in 20 years. Winters have been mild the last few years. Nine inches of snow seemed monumental although I can remember years of getting 30 inches in one day; talk about snow bound. The snow was fluffy but heavier than I expected. I think my daughter got the easier job. She woke up early and shoveled the pavement and when I woke up she was back asleep snuggled in a warm bed. It was my turn to shovel out the car. No place to move it but the snow will harden and be difficult to move if not done today. A lot of snow. My neighbor Erica came over and help and I was very thankful. The wind was brutal and cutting. I haven't worn gloves in the Winter in years. Today I dug in the trunk of my car and found one glove. It was large, insulated, and warm. One was better than none until I took it off and the wind blew it under my car out of reach. Oh well.

I was reading an old post on Garden Rant, another blog. The blogger wrote about her garden and how due to "life" she has not been able to attend to it as she previously had done. She felt that her house was the worse house on the block. At it's best, it had been in the pages of a magazine. She spoke of how those who walked or drove by observed and admired the garden. This really touched me. Why do we expect so much of ourselves? Who told us that we, life, things, and the garden always has to be perfect?

A comment made by another blogger spoke of how gardening magazines may show perfect gardens with perfect plants. What I fail to remember also is that many can be staged. Flowers can be added just for the photo shoot. I wasn't even aware of photo shopping pictures until recently and how a photo can be really altered from the original. 

For me, I have been think about how to make things as simple as possible for myself and not adding too many things that will require too much care. When temperatures heat up in the Summer I really could care less about watering plants outside. I love to see bloggers with vegetable gardens. I think wouldn't it be wonderful to have the space to have raised bed and be able to can my harvest? Maybe 20 years ago. Not realistic for me at this time in my life. Besides if I had to pick off insects and worm because of course it would be an organic garden; that's hopeful thinking. 

What about homesteading? I viewed a blog today about a woman who turned 50, bought her first home and started homesteading, animals and all with no help. Love the blog but I can dream through viewing her blog. I would love to do something like that, follow my dream. She makes me believe it's never too late. I don't know that I would have the energy. 

I'm reading a novel. I don't have it in arms reach but I believe the title is Gardening Wiser as You Grow Older.Okay, I found the book. It's Gardening for a Lifetime-How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older by Sydney Eddison. It's not exactly what I expected but I find it helpful. Especially the tips and reflections she gives at the end of each chapter. The author and her husband move to a large property and start developing a garden with lots of perennials and maintenance requirements. Over time her husband dies and she realizes that the garden requires more work than she can manage at her age. Two friends who are neighbors and also with large gardens also have husbands who die. After careful consideration they move to homes that are more manageable with less land and smaller gardens to manage. Sydney makes the decision to keep her home and with help makes changes to the garden that will make it more manageable. I am not promoting this book and receive no compensation for talking about it. It seemed so appropriate for me at this time in my life.

If I "Bloom Where I'm Planted" and don't move, this will be my only garden. I will never have to worry about maintaining 2 homes or having to "down size". My mind ponders these things. Sometimes I think too much. I don't know what "life" will bring. Each day is new and anything can happen. I also read a blog by a blogger in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. She has a beautiful garden. She became disabled and is now in a wheelchair and thus how she gardens has changed. Life will happen.

My father became ill 2 years ago and since, my life has never been the same. Life changed over night. Helping take care of him has also impacted my health trying to do "everything". I also turned 50 in those 2 years and "life" is still happening all around me. The first year he became ill I was starting to try to improve how my garden looked and learning about plants, soil, compost, soil amendments and a world of gardening information. Who had time to garden? My focus was not on it. There was no time. I had to learn that "it's okay." I can't do everything. There has to be a balance in life. The most important thing is to take care of yourself, be good to yourself, encourage yourself. Know your limitations. Don't expect perfection. Break things down into smaller pieces. I get more done this way. If I think of how much there is to be done I may not get anything done. Take one day, one thing at a time. Do you think as people grow older that they start to enjoy gardening more? Do you think more older people garden? I wish I had made more time for it starting in my 20's. I always had house plants but I never thought of gardening outdoors. So much time lost.

My sister and daughter encouraged me to start a blog. They ask me how the blog is doing but I would appreciate their viewing and reading it. An occasional comment wouldn't hurt. Blogs do take time and work. I do enjoy looking at what I post and how it helps me to refer back to my garden and how it looked the previous year and what worked, and what didn't. If you stop in from time to time to view the blog, thank you. I hope I'm not ranting. It's okay to rant some. Why journal if you can't?

The shutter on my digital camera froze outside today. This has never happened to me. I wanted to take pretty pictures of the snow out front but couldn't. Peaked my head out the upstairs window and took a few shots. My Winter sown seed containers are covered by snow; just what I wanted. When I can locate my other bags of seed starting mix in my packed to the top shed, I will sow more containers. I think I will also sow some vegetable seeds that I normally buy as plants in the Spring. The vegetables that I normally plant are cucumber, tomato, broccoli, and bell peppers. They're the vegetables that I like and since we eat a green salad daily it's nice to be able to pick some of your own veggies. 

In the fall I planted garlic for the first time. I want to try the root vegetables that I love carrots, beets, and rutabagas. I think I will try lettuce and spinach also. I have grown lettuce before. The amount of space will determine what's planted. I have read that sweet potatoes don't require a lot of attention so I may also try them. I just need a large container. There is a spot in the corner for them where the vines can have space. I saw seeds for a new container watermelon in a seed catalog. Can you imagine a watermelon that does not spread vines every where? It's spread is only 18 inches. That should be interesting. I plan to order a pack of seeds and see what happens.

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