Monday, August 31, 2009

The Stongest Survived, So Will We

I plunged in. I put on the his gloves, put on my brown shoes, asked him to sleep in living room (to be near the kids just in case) and I walked to the backyard. The gate my neighbor made for us was nice. I had a little trouble going in, but after pushing the post a little inward the chain loosened up and I was able to open it up. I walked in and I looked at the weeds, tall (up to to the top of my thighs and I'm 5'3) and thick as a forest. I took a deep breath, told myself I could do it and I went in grabbing and and pulling weeds.

I expected a fight, but there wasn't as much as I expected. The weeds looked tougher than they were. They came out easily. Well not that easy. I did have to play tug-of-war with some of them and those weeds that proved too tough I just clipped at the lowest part of the stem with my Felco gardening scissors. The best part about the whole experience was that during the whole process I found several fruit/vegetable plants growing and growing strong. The weeds must have provide shade from the hot hot hot summer and the weeds must have also locked in enough moisture for these plants to flourish.

I was so happy to find the plants that I went inside (exhausted, back aching, and a bit dizzy but happy) and woke my husband up. Poor guy he has to work late nights all week. I told him to follow me. He said he was tired, but I wanted to show him so I asked him again. He was skeptical. He shook his head and said they were very likely weeds. I insisted he follow me. So, he finally did.

He was amazed at the progress I made. Honestly so was I. I wish I had taken a picture of the weeds before I pulled them all out. Then he looked at the plants. We disputed over 4 of them. He said they were weeds. I disagreed. Finally I did pull one up when I realized it was a weed. The other 3 we are leaving in the ground to see how they develop, then we will decide. As for the rest of them we are sure they are fruiting plants. If we can manage to keep them alive this time we may have some cantelop and watermelons after all. It's a nice thought any way.

As he stood across from me and looked at the garden he then looked up at me and he asked me why I was being so nice to him. We have a lot of history. Maybe he thinks he doesn't deserve it. I should have told him that I just wanted to bring him a little hope. I should have said I feel bad that you hate your job and your working it to put food and a roof over our head, so I wanted to do something nice for you.  Instead I acted like I didn't understand what he meant. I've never been really good with the mushy stuff. I'm working on it. Sometimes it comes out. Sometimes it doesn't. Today I made a joke, " I was hoping to get more massages". He smiled. Then he said something like, "Maybe we can work something out".  I'm not holding my breath though.

Of course, there is still progress to be made in the garden, more weeds to pull out and more watering, but this time it wont be all or none. I hope it wont be. We  wont have many days like today to get out there, but I did tell him this, "Gardening needs to be fun right now. Let's just plants stuff and if it grow it grows and if it doesn't, it doesn't. " We'll have time to garden the way we want when we are older. Right now we have kids and work and school....

It's hard for my husband to understand time sometimes. He is the type of person that really likes to get deep into a project, so deep that sometimes he becomes obsessed with it and it become overwhelming so it becomes an all or none sort of thing.  He has to find out on his own that between work and family he doesn't have the extra time he would like for his projects.

So today he finally understood what I meant when I said what I said. He smiled and he agreed. Then he said something about liking my positive thinking.

After I cleaned out all the pulled weeds and put them in a another compost pile he walked over to the main compost bin and turned the pile in there. He hadn't done that in a while. When he saw the black soil turn up from the bottom a smile grew on his face and I was happy. I smiled too.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sometimes When You Give Up Something Inspires You Again

A few days ago I went out in the backyard to dump my kitchen scraps in the compost bin. I gave a glance at our abandoned garden with the overgrown weeds and I thought, I should take a look if any other cucumbers were growing. To my surprise I noticed one hanging down in the middle. I was so excited. Then suddenly I noticed another one growing on the ground. I looked through some more leaves and found a third.

These were not little cucumbers either. They were huge, as you can see in the picture above. I ran back inside for my camera and called to my husband who was home and not at work this time and I said to him "follow me". I had to say it once or twice for him to do it, but he finally did. When I arrived at the garden pile-up door (we still don't have a gate, but instead a chair, some wire, a wooden board and a broom stick all in a mangle to keep our dog out) I moved the wooden board to the side and told him to come look.

I showed him what I found and he was shocked. Then we were shocked to find a fourth one. He told me right away to harvest them and I did. He grabbed one and said we would give it to our neighbor. I took pictures of course. He went back inside, then I went back inside and I waited for him to come back.

He said he told the neighbor about it being a tradition to share a 1/4 of the harvest with the neighborhood. He said our neighbor was surprised that we had 3 others as huge as the one handed to him. I smiled. It felt good to know that we got something out of our partial hard work and time.

Like my husband said today, "If I didn't have to work 50 or more hours a week, I would love to be in the garden". I believe it. I would have to add to that, "also if it wasn't so hot".

In the mean time we will just have to eat our cucumbers. We cut up the first one and ate half in a Cesar salad and the other half in just a regular green salad the next day. The cucumber smell....was so fresh and delicious.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is a CSA Right for You? Well... Is it

I came across this article this week from the Daily Green and felt like sharing it.

These are some of the questions to ask yourself from the article:

Is a CSA is right for you, ask yourself:
  • Will my children and I love trying new produce from "our" farm?
  • Will I like the challenge of cooking with new fruits and vegetables?
  • Do I have to time to pick up or receive produce weekly or bi-weekly?
  • Will produce go to waste in my house? Do I have someone I can share my fruits and vegetables with?
  • Do my family and I enjoy eating a majority of the foods grown locally in our area?
  • Do you love shopping at the farmers' market but don't always have time to get there?
  • Do I have time to cook at least a couple of times a week?
  • Can you afford the risk if something goes wrong with the season's crops?"

Read more:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It is big!

While cutting our back yard grass for us, and while I took the weeds out of the front garden my neighbor looked through our cucumber plant. My girls came shouting, "We have a cucumber! A cucumber!" I said, "No we don't?" They said "uh-huh!" Coming around the corner my neighbor is saying something about a cucumber too.

I thought they were playing another prank so ask my neighbor to watch my baby who is in the playpin. I go take a look for myself but I can't see it. My girls, who made sure to follow me, point out, "There it is!" I ask, "where?" They shout, "There!". Sure enough there it is and it is huge. I tell my oldest to go get my camera then I worry she may break it, so I run in after the camera myself. I take a few pictures and then I take a few step forwards to take it off the vine.

We haven't had a taste of it yet. My husband has been coming home from work late and I want to wait to share it with him. He did get a good look at it. He was shocked by its size. We were all shocked that there was even one available, with the lack of rain and all.

We later found another tiny little one growing near the bottom. Today's long awaited rain should juice it up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I Took Some Pictures

I haven't been blogging much lately. To be honest there hasn't been much for me to write about living an organic life, or not much I had the energy to talk about. However, I have taken pictures of my now-ugly garden, of the dried up topsy turvy, of the rain that finally came once again last week, of the organic Bummies diaper kit I bought for my baby after he outgrew the hemp cloth diapers, and the mother-in-law plant that seems to be fairing very well despite this heat and drought. The white flower from this plant I cannot name is also blooming. The flowers from this plant are not as pretty as they were last year.

The picture of my flower garden hurts the most. I put so much time and effort into it only to driven away by heat. I took pictures of the vegetable garden too, but I lost those when my computer crashed two weeks ago. My computer crashing is another thing that has kept from catching up on many things such as this blog.

September is around the corner and my hope is that the temperature will be cooler, I will have more time on my hand to work on the garden (my certification exam is early September) and I can take the kids out in the yard with me too (cooler temp).  I have the month marked off on my calendar for gardening. I will do it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Just Another Day

I would like to say I learned something new today about living organically, but truth be told I haven't exactly lived very organic lately. For the exception of composting, recycling and conserving here and there I'm also barely living green at all.
Other than the organic cotton diaper bummies kit I bought for my baby a few weeks ago I've fallen off the organic wagon, not on purpose...I mean financially. So, I'm at a loss for words. What Organic Taste can I possible introduce to you today? Maybe a bitter one. Maybe a bitter one because I want to feed my family the healthiest foods possible, but money or lack there of means I must choose between feeding my family healthy foods and not paying bills, or feeding my family foods with pesticides and pollutants so that I can pay the bills. It shouldn’t be this way. Why does it cost more to buy organic? Is it due to increase in labor since toxic chemicals cannot be used to help get rid of harmful crop pests or are the prices just jacked up because of the hype about eating organic.
I really wish we could have pulled off a successful garden. My husband has had to work such long hours that he hasn't tended to the garden in a month. I haven't either. Our once blooming and beautiful gardens have been over taken by weeds and cracking dirt. The rain comes but only after everything is about ready to die only to be revived and then die gain. My poor magnolia is feeling it too.
So my taste is bitter, for lack of time, lack of money and lack of know how. Did we plan too big? Have we given up? Is it just too hot to step outside and tend to the garden? Since June hit this year. I hardly see anyone outside unless early in the morning or late in the evening. No one wants to go outside in this heat.
The plants have no choice but to live in it.