Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gardening = no time to blog

Okay, so keeping up with the garden and house this time of year doesn't leave me a whole lot of time for blogging. This is definitely one of the first things I cut from my "to do" list.

Three months does A LOT for the garden! We have watched the season of spring vegetables come and go. We've gone through most of the early summer season, and I'm so happy to say that we have bit into our first ripe heirloom tomatoes!! The corn will be ready soon, too. And believe it or not, we have some pumpkins that are turning orange already as well.

One of the most exciting things this year is that we were able to invest in an Asian pear tree. That little sucker came from the nursery drenched in tiny growing pears! We will have a delicious pear party in a few weeks. The local raspberries and blueberries have also been wonderful. We don't have too many raspberry bushes on our own property (yet), but the woods in the back of our neighborhood are lined with wild ones. I took the children on a walk the other day and we ate our way home--stopping every few feet to pick another handful of berries warm and ripe from the sun.

I love watching our grocery budget dramatically drop this time of year. It also means our compost bucket fills up more quickly as we peel, chop, and otherwise prepare our way through baskets full of produce. I've already put up strawberry jam for the next year, as well as green beans, pickles, blueberries, raspberries, and shredded zucchini. It will be nice to have a taste of summer in a few months.

That being said, I really do love the fall vegetables as well. I never really get sick of the winter squashes, potatoes, carrots, onions, hearty greens and such that make up the majority of our winter eating. I actually just got a great cookbook from the library called Recipes from the Root Cellar  from the same author of Serving up the Harvest (a great book for cook/gardeners). I figured it is never too early to start finding new recipes to get us through the stretch of about October/November to April/May. I'm hoping that with the addition of a green house or two in the future we will be able to extend our harvest a month or so each direction. It would sure make winter local eating a little more colorful.

Have I rambled enough? Perhaps. Until next time--hopefully NOT three months from now:)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Spring has sprung, my friends. We ate asparagus soup and rhubarb crisp last night in celebration of the start of gardening season!

In fact, as I type this my husband is outside putting up rabbit fence and seedlings into our freshly tilled beds. So far we have planted peas, broccoli, strawberries, various lettuces, cabbage, and kale. No wonder we have to put up fences to keep the rabbits out; we eat like rabbits this time of year, and I love it! Nothing to shake off the heavy dishes of winter like the abundance of greens.
I love spring for all the new life it brings--and lucky us, we got to experience new life first-hand when we visited our brother up in Maine this past weekend. A whole bunch of these sweet kid faces were there to greet us, and we actually got to see one mama give birth! We just so happened to be walking through the barn when we heard her struggling through contractions and a tiny little face starting to appear. Truly, it was amazing. My little ones were enchanted with these little ones. Here is my Goose holding a baby goat less than 24 hours old.

Welcome, spring!
We're glad you came!

Monday, March 19, 2012


I will freely admit that the first few weeks home from the hospital were rough. At first everything made me sad--especially the fact that my little girls were not acting like my little girls: Dorothy was extra combative and Lucy was extra needy. It was painfully difficult to get anything done without tears from someone.

After the first week or two, after all our company had gone back home, I felt myself moving from being sad to being frustrated. I just wanted our happy routine and put-together life back, darn it! I found myself praying more and more about how I could be better for my children, how I could not get angry when everything seemed to fall apart day after day, and how I could find joy in the simple things again. I prayed frequently and as fervently as I could, and I hoped that an answer would come sooner than later.

Well, this past weekend we had stake conference. My plan was to leave Marty to the Saturday sessions and we would all go together for the Sunday session. However, at the last minute on Saturday morning, my wonderful mother-in-law (no doubt heeding some prompting of the spirit) called to say her plans had changed and she would gladly watch the girls if I wanted to go up with my husband for the evening. I quickly accepted, got the girls down for naps and cleaned myself up, and we were off to our meetings.

Because they were calling a new stake president this weekend, one of the members of the first quorum of the seventy was here to visit. When he got up to address us, the spirit was strong. But then he got into his message and I was overwhelmed. It was the answer to my prayers--very specifically the answer to my prayers. I have never felt so strongly before that words in a talk were meant for me. I could not keep myself from crying and had to croak out the words to the closing song I was still so choked up. I went home that night resolved to get our little family back where we needed to be.

Here we are at the end of Monday, and we found our joy. I have my little girls back. I can truly enjoy my son. Our family feels cohesive and strong. I have spent the whole day smiling as I watched my girls eat leftover birthday cake for breakfast, Lucy running around the barn looking for chicken eggs, Dorothy moving around piles of dirt while I weeded the garden with my baby boy slung to my chest, and Dorothy wearing her new princess gown, ruby slippers, and crown as she held my hand on our walk to the library.

Will there still be hard days? Yes. However, I have felt such an overwhelming love from my Heavenly Father and reassurance that He will help me through all of this that those hard days will not seem nearly as hard. We are ready for JOY.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just for today...

I was re-reading a January 2012 Ensign article this morning and came across this quotation by President N. Eldon Tanner:

"As we reflect on the value of resolving to do better, let us determine to discipline ourselves to carefully select the resolutions we make, to consider the purpose for making them, and finally to make commitments for keeping them and not letting obstacles stop us. Let us remind ourselves at the beginning of each day that we can keep a resolution just for that day."

Especially after bringing home our new baby a few weeks ago, I am having to remind myself of this on a day-to-day basis. I CAN meet goals and resolutions on a daily basis--especially when I let myself rely on the Lord. Truly it is ONLY when I let myself rely on the Lord.

Let it begin!!

An inspection of the garden at playtime brought the exciting discovery of the rhubarb pushing its way through the soil. Time to get our beds in order and start the gardening season! Hopefully the asparagus won't be too far behind. And then we venture into lettuces, radishes, and other cool weather spring crops! Here we go!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Quiet Time.

The farm side of things is pretty quiet these days. We said goodbye to the goats back in January and have been missing all that fresh milk. Marty's brother actually offered to let us keep the goats, and whatever babies were to come this spring, but the idea of starting a herd is just more than we can take on right now. I think that in a few years we actually will start a small herd for milk and cheese, and we will teach our little ones to help with the farm chores.

With the unusually warm winter weather this year I feel like we should be getting ready to plant; however, we still have a good 2 months before that will happen. I did notice that our daffodil bulbs tried to start shooting up in our last batch of warm days. Everything is just a little bit confused. I am hoping that the asparagus and rhubarb plants don't try to come too early. I would rather miss out on a few flowers than some fresh vegetables.

With all this quiet time, I am doing a lot of planning for the spring and summer. The girls will be old enough to spend more time in the garden with me this year, and the baby will be small enough to pack around for longer periods of time. So long as the weather cooperates, we should have a fairly successful year. As I'm watching all our canned and frozen foods from last year move off the pantry shelves and out of the freezer drawer, I am eager to get growing new foods to replace them. I'm really falling in love with the cyclical movement of gardening and preserving. And, hopefully, I'll get a little bit better with each go around.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Rainy Day

The Rainy Day
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

My husband recently did this poem with this students at school, and he brought it home and shared it with me. I was so grateful for the message of hope and assurance that all is for our learning and good. Yes, "some days must be dark and dreary" so that we may more fully appreciate those bright days that grace our lives. It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures:

"And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet" (D&C 29:39).

How grateful I am for the chance to overcome and grow through adversity. How grateful I am that not ALL of life is adversity and there is JOY to be had! And how grateful I am to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches me such truths.