My girls haven’t wanted to play “mud pie kitchen” all summer long.  But, the shift in season has them racing outdoors each day before they’ve even gotten dressed, gathering ingredients for their little back porch kitchen.

I on the other hand, spent the summer neglecting my garden.  At one point I wondered if I even liked gardening anymore.  Looking outside at the mess of weeds only caused me stress, so I mostly ignored it.  But, after two days straight of working to get it under control and ready for winter, I realize that I do still love my garden.  Of course I do!  I’ve been growing things since before I even had a proper place to do so.  My high school aptitude test predicted farming as the best career choice for me.  While farming is not on my agenda right now, growing and tending plants is part of who I am.  But, it’s okay to take a break sometimes, to focus on other things, and to re-evaluate.

Last fall, gardening was impossible for me because I was at the end of a difficult pregnancy, so I am really excited to have put in a fall garden this year, even if I was late to do it.  We have all of the beds cleared and planted with either cover crops or vegetables.  I planted a mixture of buckwheat, crimson clover, and turnips as a cover.  Buckwheat is quick to flower and loved by bees, so I am hoping that it will before first frost.  If not, oh well.  I plant crimson clover every fall and look forward to it blooming the following spring, providing a great nectar source for our bees.  I’ve never planted turnips as part of a cover crop mix, and I was on the late side getting them planted.  They are quick to grow, and hopefully we’ll be able to harvest some late this fall.  Two beds of garlic were planted, along with carrots, beets, cabbage, and collards.  I already had the seeds and figured it wouldn’t hurt to plant them, even if frost ruins my plans.

I should have taken a good before picture of the garden-it was an absolute disaster, with nearly every bed overgrown with weeds.  Now everything looks bare, but as the clover and buckwheat start germinating over the next few days, it will green up.

I’m happy again to look out the window at my garden.

p.s.  I took a photo of my garden once a week all season long in 2012.  Here’s a link to that series of photos, all in one post.

Thank You!

My mom asked me if I feel nervous about blogging after guest posting on Ann’s blog.  Yes, I do!  So, if I do a bunch of nervous rambling over the next week, you know why!  But truly, I want to thank all of you for the incredibly kind feedback you have given me in response to the piece I wrote for Ann’s blog.  I deeply appreciate all your comments and emails.  Thank you all so much!  It’s a wonderful if not overwhelming thing to see beauty being pulled from the sad parts of my past.

I have to share one funny comment that was left on the post I published here the day my post went up at Ann’s:  “Ha!  I love this blog, loved your guest post, and think it is hilarious that my favorite blog on the internet now has a snake warning system!”  (Thanks!)  I was honestly kind of embarrassed that on the same day that Ann ran my super serious post, I was explaining my new “snake warning” system.  (I wrote the post for Ann a couple weeks ago, and had no idea what day it would run.  In fact, I convinced myself that she probably wouldn’t.  Ann emailed me mere minutes before she hit publish on it.)  I’m not a big planner when it comes to blogging.  I rarely write in advance and schedule my posts.  I’m very much “in the moment” here and the snake warning system needed to be addressed!  I guess we’ll just be known as that snake handling family.

I wrote some time ago about trying to shift my focus from everything I’d like to accomplish to focusing on what I actually do get accomplished every day.  Reality demands that I keep to-do lists because otherwise, I’d forget important things such as piano lessons.  But at the end of the day when I’m exhausted, and the day’s activities have kept me from doing all that I planned to, it’s really good to make a mental list of what I did do rather than look around my house at all I didn’t do while feeling defeated.  For instance:  Today we harvested five frames of honey.  Given that this is only the second time we have taken honey from our bees, that feels like a big deal.  The kids and I also cleaned out our van.  It was long overdue.  Have you ever had fruit flies breeding in your vehicle?  Ummm…no, of course not, right?  Yeah, me neither (wink).  That would be really gross.  I also finished giving the last of the end of year tests to the four of my kids that require testing, so that’s done too.  Then there was baseball practice (where Silas has developed a relationship with a search and rescue dog) and getting Keats and Gabe fitted for next season’s uniforms.  I could go on and on.  I find it amazing how much I do in a day, only to end it feeling like there’s more left to do than when the day began.  Hence my effort to focus on actual accomplishments.  That just feels better.  Mulling over all that I got done while I’m knitting is even better!

(With the help of Silas and Beatrix, Larkspur made backyard stew along with pine needle upside down cake and a bunch of other recipes from this adorable mud pie kitchen cookbook this week.  She was very serious about her mud pie makings and I was very curious about why the mud pie kitchen had been moved indoors.  I had to put a stop to that!  Outside!)