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The Progress of the First-Year Garden

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Today, I put up two quarts of squash and two quarts of beans.

The corn has little bitty ears on it.

There are tiny cucumbers and teeny watermelons and itty bitty cantaloupes. Even a couple of decent sized pumpkins that we didn’t plant. (The pumpkins we did plant aren’t doing as well.)

But next year, we’ll mark things better. ‘Cause this year, we didn’t mark them and we keep saying to each other, “Do you think this is kohlrabi? Is this kale? Did the beets not come up at all?” And we’ll need to be diligent about weeding next year, too. It’s sometimes hard to find the beans growing in the midst of all the grass.

Still, considering it’s a first-year garden, four quarts of vegetables (plus all those we’ve already eaten) isn’t too bad for the first of August. (Not to mention the seven quarts of black raspberries I put up earlier this summer.)

But next year, I hope it will be better.

Garden Harvest, July 20

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We dug a lot of potatoes, but not as many as Husband had expected.  We think maybe it was too wet this year.  And when we dug them up, we found that quite a few of them had already rotted.  I accused Husband of planting mashed potatoes in the hopes of harvesting mashed potatoes.  Instead, they were just mushy, stinky potatoes.  Still, we got a lot of good ones.

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We’ve had a few tomatoes over the last month or so, but not a ton.  The little yellow sunsugars have been coming at the rate of a couple a week for a while.  This is the first red one we’ve gotten, but it was small.  Still, it was enough to add to our lunch today which was…

rabbit tacosRABBIT TACOS!

That is a new one.  We’ve never had rabbit tacos before.  They were darn good.

Anyhoo, back to the garden.

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We got a couple of squash, too.  There are a lot more yellow squash growing out there.  The zucchini are not growing as fast, it seems (this one being an exception.)  And we had a volunteer squash plant come up and it’s been terribly exciting to try to figure out what kind it is.  We think maybe acorn.  I was hoping for butternut, but I’m okay with acorn.  Or whatever it is.

Oh, and we got a handful of green beans today, too, after I took the photos.

One of the cherry trees is not looking good; its leaves turned yellow.  So that’s sad.  And I accidentally mowed down a blueberry bush, and that’s sad, too.  And the pumpkins don’t seem to be doing much.

But the corn looks okay.  Maybe we’ll have ears in August.

And it is, after all, just a first year garden, planted in newly tilled sod.  Even Pa Ingalls said a first year garden in tough sod can’t be expected to do much.  At least we’ll have enough food to get us through the winter and it’s very unlikely we’ll have to live on potatoes and brown bread and convince Almanzo Wilder to give us a milk pail full of his seed wheat so we can live until the train comes through in the spring!  (Can you tell I’m reading The Long Winter right now?)

And this fall, Husband will till up the ground again, plus maybe a bit more for next year.  And next summer’s garden will be even better.

An Ongoing Process

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At first, we were planning to build the new house exactly where the current house is.  But we’d have to build something else to live in while we built the new house.

Then we thought we’d build it on top of the pool.  Then Husband started thinking that the process of filling in the pool (putting in dirt, tamping it down, putting in dirt, tamping it down) would be tedious.  And I realized that our view to the south would be this:

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And while we are thankful for our pole barn as it houses Husband’s business, I’m not sure that’s what I want to see straight out my windows every day.

Husband suggested we situate the new house in front of the current house, but closer to the northern property line.

Then my view to the south would be this:

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And my view from our private deck (just outside the master bedroom) would be this:

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And this is what I would see to the north, out the bedroom windows:

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And right outside the mudroom / laundry room / utility room would be the chicken coop:

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(I don’t know why the chickens aren’t outside in this picture.  Perhaps they wanted shade, which I cannot understand since this is the first sunny day we’ve had in a DECADE.)  (I exaggerate the truth, but not my feelings.)

Husband went out and measured and put in stakes where the house would be.

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That’s our front porch.  Isn’t it pretty?  *wink*

I think we’re pretty sure about this decision.

But then, I was pretty sure about the other decisions, too.  It’s a process.

Husband has spent the last two weeks drawing plans.  Then tweaking and redrawing.  He impresses me.  I cannot see that stuff in my head, but he can.

It’s getting exciting.  It’s still probably three years away, but it’s exciting nonetheless.

Measuring Up

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My sister and her whole family came to visit me today. I was all in aflutter trying to get ready. I wanted to make sure the lawn got cut, but four days of rain and a broken mower belt seemed to conspire against me. I bought food for lunch for when they were here, but was worried whether it would be enough and whether they would like it. Then I noticed my rosacea was acting up, and that always makes me feel self-conscious.

Things were fine while they were here. Husband fixed the mower and I got all the grass cut just in time (and even managed to get a shower before the family arrived!) No one complained of being hungry after lunch (though perhaps they were being nice). I was worried about whether they would be entertained, but we had volleyball and badminton and a tour of the property and my nieces especially enjoyed the baby rabbits. And we played Apples to Apples and one nephew entertained me with card tricks.

I met another nephew’s girlfriend and wished that I could be more like my mother-in-law who can talk to anyone and can draw people out and who learns about and connects with people in a way I cannot figure out how to do. In the end, I did not get to know the young lady as well as I’d have liked.

All in all, I realized that I’m always trying to measure up to someone. I want to do everything well. This is an impossible task. I know that. But the impossibility of it does not stop me from desiring it. I want to garden as well as my brother-in-law despite the fact that I hate weeding. I want to connect with people like my mother-in-law even though in reality, I don’t really like people. I want to be as detail-oriented as my mother and sister, but the fact is that I would rather look at the big picture.

I ask myself: If all my dishes were plates, how would I eat soup? If all my appliances were refrigerators, how would I cook? If all my tools were hammers, how would I tighten a screw? I know that God made each of us different because things just wouldn’t work if everyone were the same.

I just don’t always know what He wants with a misanthropic, unathletic hater of details like me.

But here is what I do know.

I teach middle schoolers and I love it. And that is an age a lot of people don’t love.

Today, I talked relatively intelligently to my niece about knitting and to my nephew about the ukulele.

Over the past decade or so, Husband and I have had guests in our home countless times.

If you need help with your grammar, I’m the gal to ask.

I don’t excel at mathematics or art or using power tools. But God made me a unique person, and I need to be as happy with His creation as He is.

Chicken Yard

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The chickens needed a little more space to move around, so we built a little chicken yard for them.

chickenfencecoverWe covered it to protect the chickens from hawks, racoons, cats, and other predators.

chickenfenceIt took them a while to figure it out, but Husband made a trail of food for them, and they finally came out.

Happy chickens!

Crazy Eights: 26

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Things I have learned from this very rainy summer include the following:

1. Our little barn may be on the lowest spot of our property.

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2. When we’ve had vast amounts of rain (4 inches or so), it takes our low spots about four or five days to drain.  If it keeps raining, that number may increase.

3. Chickens do not mind being out in the rain.

4. I am less likely to pick raspberries in the rain, especially after the raspberries pass their peak.

5. Way more people complain about a week of rain than about a week of sunshine.

6. With the rain coming down and the windows open, I can smell the mold under the house.  Ew.

7. When chicken scratch gets wet, it sprouts.

8. My left rain boot is not entirely waterproof.

Sorry, neighbors

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Inside the pool fence there are thistles.  Lots of thistles.  One might think the thistles are trying to take over the world.  And we talked about going in and killing them all with Round-Up, but we just didn’t get around to it.  And now, the thistles have bloomed and are spewing forth their seeds.

Onto our yard and onto the neighbors’ yards.

Oops.  Sorry.

At least the finches like it.

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