Tag: Garden

Transition Land–Healing a Heart

Ugh! I thought I was doing pretty well with this transition thing. I was keeping busy, being productive, and was even starting to think about the future and my thoughts for it. Then we hit the weekend of my big 4-H event, and every time I turned around I was leaking tears. What? I thought I was over this. After some contemplation I realized that maybe my brain had refused to deal with the finality of things until this past week, or maybe my brain knew my heart just wasn’t yet ready to start dealing with it.

Gosh I hate it when I get all emotional…that is just not me, but I found myself in tears while walking the dog, at the Ladies Retreat last weekend, even on Monday when a volunteer called me for advice about his daughter’s competitive goals, and when I wrote my original co-workers to explain …GEEZ! The retreat, by the way was focused on the this passage and did speak to my heart! It was very encouraging.😊

The reality is that I’m enjoying being home, and I am not missing having to go to work. I hear things about my boss and can only shake my head and think what a relief to not have to deal with him. I am not bored, and now that we have good weather, I have plenty of things to work on outdoors, which I have never been able to, so I guess I am just impatient! How long does it take for one’s heart to catch up with one’s head? Or maybe it was the final blast of winter and all those cloudy wet days last week? 

This weekend was filled with hard labor (as in 3 tons worth!) and lots of sun, which seems to have chased whatever away. I have plenty of chores to keep me busy this week, with more compost needing to be moved and other smaller jobs so that DH can spend his time setting the fence posts.  Physical labor is therapeutic, or maybe exhaustion keeps one from having a pity party! So after a not great week, I’m back to my regular self for now.

So Heart, please take note, your owner has too much life to live to waste time moping! 

I’ll leave you with some before and after shots of the garden makeover, confident  that my heart will see a similar improvement in the not too distant future!

Spring at Last?

Spring at Last?

A benefit of living in the upper Midwest USA is that on the west side of the Missouri River we have fairly temperate summers, usually lower humidity and temperatures do not often reach 100 F (38 C). We make up for it with a wide variability in the fall and spring. The average last killing frost is May 4, and the early average killing frost is September 12.  Many years we experience spring time in March only to have a killing frost, or a 30 inch snow in the latter part of April. Likewise in the fall, we may have a killing frost in early September, followed by two months of gorgeous weather. Gardeners in South Dakota learn early to invest in tarps to cover their squash and tomatoes!

This spring has been more regular. The temperatures have very slowly risen, with a day or two of lovely spring like weather thrown in here and there, but nothing constant enough to cause us to do anything but clear out what we didn’t get to last fall, and to wait for a sunny day to apply some necessary weed control. DH and I are not proponents of herbicides, but we got a batch of manure that was full of noxious weed seeds; with thistles sporting three foot long roots in spite of me pulling them last year. They choke out grass and vegetables alike, so war must be declared! Therefore, we are applying a small amount of RoundUp, which is a contact only herbicide, followed by a layer of cardboard, and finally compost. I will use a paintbrush to deal with those that migrated into the iris patch, painting the individual plants I want to kill. 

Because the temperatures have prevented applying weed control AND planting, we have been working around the edges, so to speak. That has included taking down the fence on the old squash patch and the east border fence on our original garden. We will set some larger posts in the corners and then redo the fence. The old squash patch will become tomatoes, and instead of cages we will run some cattle panels in a few rows. They provide a grid for the plants to climb on, but are much easier to store during the winter. 

I am itching to get something planted, so time has moved slowly. We had snow last Tuesday, then cold and cloudy weather early this week, but only rain. We are now headed for a week or more of highs in the  60’s and 70’s , so I believe that spring has finally sprung!  

Today has been lovely, so Max and even the citrus spent the day outside! Our lemon trees have survived the widnter, along with three grapefruit seedlings. Yesterday we started a pineapple, and today two avocados. Unfortunately, we haven’t hit upon any orange seeds yet, but we have two limes sitting out, and a mango in the fridge, waiting patiently. The success of the citrus has spurred DH on to attempt all the above. 😊

This afternoon I discovered that our sunflowers have started sprouting, so we have, at long last, the beginning this year’s garden! Tomorrow they will go outside permanently and we’ll transplant them into their permanent home in a week or two.


 At last today the dirt people called, and our 4 tons đŸ˜± of compost will arrive tomorrow, so the weekend will be spent doing a ton of work, literally! We visited the cardboard recycle bin this afternoon and picked up nearly a third of the cardboard we’ll need for this effort.

Summer’s coming!

Summer’s coming!

I have been hard at it the past few weeks, trying to get wedding gifts ready to go, and as I work on those items I look longingly at my Pendleton wool coat, which requires ripping. Meanwhile, it has been a race against time to get the summer programs at work ready to go, but such iimages the world of youth development. It seems that we are always working against the calendar! The first wedding happened this weekend, and happily, I was all finished with the gift… The cashell linen was wonderful to work with, though it obviously got pretty wrinkled by the time I complete the stitching. It finished up very nicely however,image and will be a great reminder of their beautiful ceremony and vows.  The next wedding is coming quickly in June, and involves a smaller throw quilt in the double wedding ring pattern. I sewed the top several years ago, during my learning how to piece era, and have had it sitting in my cedar chest, waiting for one of my daughter’s good friends to get engaged. Quilts still feel pretty overwhelming, because I’m not very creative on what to quilt. I spent several evenings perusing pinterest and googling images until I found an idea I felt I might be able to accomplish. DSCN0425[1]

I learned how to make my own template on the last wedding quilt, so once I found this pattern, it wasn’t difficult to trace it on the plastic, and use my handy melting pen to get the template made. I used a fine tipped fabric pen to transfer the design. No issues with tension and getting things going, and over the course of doing the pattern about 30 times, I think I am finally doing OK on tracing patterns with my free motion foot. I am still disappointed with my inability to keep an even stitch length, but that isn’t so obvious, especially since it is white on white. I keep telling my inner 4-H’er this is NOT for competition!

Now I am working on the rings, and have decided that in the future, I must come up with a better way to build quilt sandwiches. In spite of working hard to keep things smooth, I will have some tucks and very poofy spots. I am hoping that the final wash softens those issues, but I’m going to need to figure out a better way to sandwich before the next bed quilt, which is likely only months away…DSCN0426[1]

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress. I know the quilt is far from perfect, but it was made with love, and I think that it will hold up for many years to come.

Under the banner of Etc., summer is also about family camping adventures and gardening. Growing up on a dairy farm, side trips during the summer were unheard of, so I have really enjoyed learning how to camp with my  husband, who graduated from scout camp outs as a boy to summers as a wilderness ranger in the Colorado Rockies during his college years. Our entire family enjoys longer visits to the Big Horns in Wyoming as well as quick weekend getaways to the more remote Black Hills area campgrounds. I guess we are traditionalists; we use the campfire for cooking and still sleep in our cozy tent, though I think I’m getting ready to move up to a more cushy floor pad! Each outing is an opportunity to try new Dutch oven options, hike and just soak up God’s creation. I really love being unplugged, not counting the book on my ipad!

I always bring a project to work on during our camping trips, usually knitting, but sometimes handwork or some sewing that is ready for hand stitching, so I’ve been considering my options…I have leftover wool that will make a nice pair of socks, I have a lunch time cross stitch project that could be packed, and I’m hoping that I might have some hand sewing to do on my coat…though I may decide not to risk it being too near the smoke from the campfire. I’ve also been following the Splendid Sampler adventure going on with Pat Sloan and friends, and have been considering trying my hand at hand piecing with some of those blocks.

DSCN0418[1]I hope that soon the only thing competing with sewing will be the garden, which we attacked this weekend. While it may seem late to many, we just had our last frost on May 16!  We have a thistle and bindweed problem that is driving us to distraction, but made excellent progress Sunday afternoon. To solve this weed issue, we’re going to put down black plastic and literally bake those nasty bindweed and thistle roots. We are resorting to RoundUp only for the strawberry patch, which has been a dismal failure, due to the deer fertilizing it with thistle and crabgrass seed….GRRR! Our garden has three plots; one is 20 x 40 and the other is 30 x 30, plus the strawberry patch which is 10 x  30. It covers half the back yard, and provides us with all of our potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, green beans, carrots, spinach and tomatoes for the year. Today we’ll put out the tomato plants, all 58 of them. They have become a forest on the dining room table, so it will be good to get them out! Soon to follow: potatoes, carrots and green beans, and finally pumpkin and squash the first of June.

Until next post….Kathy