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Monday, April 28, 2014

From Lawn to Garden Post 10

I am so excited that our yard no longer resembles the above picture. We have dug out 99% of the grass that is in front of the shed and behind the shed beds are in place, a trellis for cucumbers is being constructed, and a dual composting bin is being built. Lots of changes! I was just about to head outside while my kids were napping or reading and plant some marigold seeds but have been faithfully taking pictures and not sharing them so I felt a blog update was long overdue. We did have a lovely easter celebration with extended family. What a joy to celebrate that Jesus is alive! ""Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?""- 1 Cor. 15:55
In the garden so much is going on and being done. Today we were outside planting swiss chard, marigolds, and sunflowers and my husband set up a soaker hose in the future home of the tomatoes. I didn't have my camera with me since I was busy planting, but I wanted to give you an idea of all that can change from a day to day basis.
First, heres my gardening girl putting her boots on before we begin. This boots have been a HUGE mess saver! Worth every penny and then some. However, they can get hot so I'm sure if the weather ever decides to stay warm we may switch to good ol' crocs at that time.
Our peas are growing and growing! I've been pinning snow pea recipes in anticipation of their bounty! Just since we took this picture they've grown about two inches and this was just last week!
Our chives are in containers and growing nicely!
We also have bush beans in an old plastic tub container that had cracked but is holding the plants nicely. Again, since this was taken, the plants have several leaves and inches of growth (just since last week!!)
Our lettuce is coming up. I'm going to say that I much prefer starting plants outside than indoors. The seedlings seem so much hardier and tolerant of the weather and soil. The lettuce plants are all doing well and a week and a half ago we planted another row of each. We paused last week and didn't add any more but I think this week we will plant a few more. Once the cucumbers get going we hope to plant some more in their shade and extend the growing season for them.
We have red, white, and scallion/green onions all growing with the green onions being the only ones started from seed. The tops of the onions are soaking up sunlight and doing very well.
And here you can see the garden on a whole. We are maximizing every square inch!
We do need to finish our pole bean trellises this week but last week I played around and made this little trellis (maybe for some grape tomatoes?) but def. not for the big tall pole bean plants.
These are the tools that we have used to cut the grass and weeds up. A regular shovel, a yellow twisty thing, and a clawed rake. I'm sure they have some technical terms, but this is our lingo for them and it makes a tons more sense!
Now, moving on to some unwelcomed garden guests. The birds were pulling the onions out and then just leaving them nicely on the ground. I guess they are beggars who'd like to be choosers as they stole and then returned them. Um, thank you?! We also had a rabbit issue. We put the have a heart trap out a few weeks ago with some carrots. The carrots were eaten and then the bunny disappeared. I thought perhaps it took the carrots as a parting gift to remember us by and left. Days went by. Weeks passed. I thought clearly the rabbit was humane and took the hint and left. I was sorely mistaken. An idiot. She hadn't left! She had babies!!!! So, now, thanks to pinterest, we will be trying a tobacco sauce voodoo mix to spray around the yard (completely natural and not harmful in the long run to the rabbit). Sheesh! Anyway, we did tie some good ol' fashioned tin plates to poles around the onions and the birds have called a truce and have stopped pulling up the onions. Score one for us pests, I mean God's creatures.
As we have worked to clear out the pond and behind the shed, our kids have found this rather interesting moss. We call it magic moss for the reason it looks so teeny and magical and it magically keeps the kids busy digging it up and they magically unbeknownst to them have cleared some land in search for more of it.
Our little guy loves to play out back. In the car or better yet, the dirt. I jokingly told my husband we've let be grass fed... or dirt fed. We do take it out of his mouth and most of the time it's from him putting his dirty hands near his drooly mouth... but not all the time.
And lastly, we began work on a quick stone path from the edge of the grape trellises to the back gate so we can wheel our little wheelbarrow thing with more ease and also to establish beds in the back. It's been busy. And a lot of work. But man, its so rewarding! " Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty." Proverbs 28:19 Want to see our other posts, click here. Have a solution for rabbits, please share-- we can use all the help and ideas we can get!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Journeying Back and Rejoicing in Today

Declans birth story for me begins almost two years ago. This is our family the summer of 2014 and right around this time I had suffered a miscarriage and was also going through early premenopause due to having cancer as an infant. For me my emotions were crazier than normal. The thought that while my sisters will be having babies, I'll be joining my aunts for the change of life. Sigh. Even though you try to think rationally and look at all the positives, the truth is my heart was hurting. I wanted another baby so badly but all I could see ahead of us was heartache and more miscarriages. “The Lord is near the broken-hearted.” – Psalm 34:18
During all of this emotional unrest, we went to Florida with my parents. As I prepared to go down a water slide lying on my stomach I did think, "I'd feel awful if I were actually pregnant right now... but that's silly..." and down I went. We came home from the trip and entered back into our normal busy life. I was late but thought it was yet another miscarriage and so just kept it between my husband and I. At about 7 or 8 weeks late I let my hopes rise once again, took a test, and it was positive. After a trip to the doctors to confirm what we suspected might actually be a viable pregnancy, we were excited to share right away this announcement:
We shared immediately because we were pretty certain we'd need all the prayers we could get to help sustain this little fighter.
The pregnancy was what we expected and then some. We knew it would be rough but it surpassed our expectations. But last year on April 24th, it was finally decided my body had reached its limit and it was time to deliver our little baby boy. We felt joy. And fear. I was so scared going into this delivery-- my blood pressure was out of control. My platelets were dangerously low and so they moved our C-section up so I could be awake and my husband could be present for the delivery. My IV got loaded with a cocktail and my brain got fuzzy. I remember thinking that the room was too bright. I had been in a windowless hospital room for more than 24 hours and I was overwhelmed. I was shaking from the meds. and the fear that they wouldn't move fast enough.
And then we heard a cry. It was beautiful. We heard his weight-- 5 pounds 14 oz-- and they brought him over for a quick intro. We didn't hear the time of birth. His height. It was so fast. --
My husband got to co-hold him and then he was taken to the nursery. I was brokenhearted to see him go, but I knew the doctors and nurses needed to get him stable and could take much better care of him in that moment than I could. I was taken to the OR and after a few hours they couldn't stabilize my blood pressure and sent me back down to labor and delivery. At this time hours after delivering, I still couldn't wiggle more than my toes. I was swollen with water retention and my alarms were persistent. As I came back to labor and delivery one of my favorite parts of Declan's birth day happened: I had become the wards most frequent visitor and knew the wonderful nurses there really well. One of my favorites was there to greet me and she leaned down and whispered, "I'm going to sneak you into the nursery so you can see your baby." I just started to cry happy little tears. I have no idea how she maneuvered my bed in to see him, but as I entered there was my calm husband sitting by Declan's little bassinet. They unattached all of his wires and brought him over and laid him on my chest.
He was so pink! I was so thankful that the nurses knew exactly what I needed and helped me "hold" my baby. They gave me 15 minutes which were some of the most blessed moments of my life. Then I had to go back to my room and he had to finish his mandatory 12 hours of nursery time. I don't really remember the rest of the afternoon into the evening. My husband announced the babys birth on facebook and reported his height as 28 inches instead of 18-- poor guy was trying to manage the baby and I and was going back and forth. I kept sinking into drug induced sleeps and haziness-- why anyone would willing be a drug addict boggles my mind. Once the babys 12 hours were up pretty much on the dot, they brought my little bundle into me. My nurse helped me to a half sit.
My hands and arms trembled as I held this little five pound bundle. I kissed his little pink face. Then kissed him again. After a few minutes my strength was gone and my husband took him. He really was super daddy this entire day. Just amazing. He changed the baby. Fed him. Brought him over so I could kiss him. Oversaw his care and blessed us both. Then he sang us both to sleep. And that was my baby's birth day. Others might be able to relate. Maybe you walked a similar path or had other hardships surround the entrance of your little one into the world. For me, I needed to go back and remember what I have spent an entire year moving away from. God was with me in some of my hardest moments. And He provided the love for my baby when my arms couldn't. He sustained my husband. And now today...
Today he is small and mighty. He is my cuddler. My little love bug. Has a strong will-- don't take his toy or try to change his course. So curious-- explores everything and then comes crawling back to momma to make sure I'm still watching and available for a hug. I feel like God has restored the time lost those first few days tenfold. He is a mommy's boy and I love it. He loves it. He also adores his daddy and older siblings. He has been a gift from heaven to all five of us. We are so thankful to God for the work He has done in this little boy's life.
Happy Birthday sweet baby boy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

From Lawn to Garden Post 9 - Outside Growth Begins!

I can't believe its been over three weeks since my last update. All I can say is that between getting the garden ready and a very mobile 11 month old, I feel like we've been busy-- a good busy, but phew, it's been crazy. I do recall asking my mother in law what my husband was like as a baby and she said, "He was so busy and into everything that I took him to the doctors and asked him when it would stop. The doctor said sometime around when he turns 3! It was exhausting!" All I can say is that our tan children must take after their daddy more because those are my two busy bees! But, it makes for some funny stories for when they're grown and chasing their own kids!
There are two very exciting things going on: 1. Our snow peas have sprouted! I have to confess I was getting very nervous since right after I planted these we got a light dusting of snow, but now they are doing beautifully! I did plant two more sections two weeks later and so it might spread harvesting and eating them out or they'll all start growing really fast and even out. You just never know.
2. We have finally begun to get rid of the main portion of our grass weeds. Let's just call it what it is-- a bunch of crab grass and dandelions and clover. I can't say that I'm sad to go because in truth I am overjoyed! We had originally planned to rent a sod cutter but the only place that rented them was a bit of a drive and there were some other complications, so we took the money we would have spent on the sod cutter and bought some other gardening tools and have been doing it by the sweat of our brow. Well, not quite the sweat of our brow, but our arms are getting quite the workout! A lot of people were worried our kids wouldn't enjoy this and they love working with the hoes and rakes and especially finding the worms!! Can I say that again, they love finding the worms! Thankfully our yard is quite populated with them which is awesome for the soil.
After a two days of digging, we are about half way through the yard! At the end of yesterday I began breaking the dirt up into sections and dug out a small walking trench for us to easily access everything. Then we planted a row of two types of lettuce (we will plant a two rows for the next few weeks so we get our lettuce spaced out) and some carrots as well.
Earlier in the week we planted chives in containers and onions and garlic along patches of the fence. Speaking of the fence, our neighbor who lives on the other side of the fence finally noticed something was going on. I was prepared for her to think we're nuts (which she does) but she actually thought it was a pretty cool idea. Phew, I was nervous she was going to turn us into the township and even though we've read through the zoning laws and made sure we're in the clear, you just never know.
Out behind the shed our strawberry beds are almost both done and truthfully we haven't done too much here since we have some time before the zucchini, corn, and cucumbers go in.
The kids have loved watering things outside-- they will faithfully ask me about watering the onions and now lettuce and carrots. Its a fun activity for them to do while watering with a water can is still realistic.
I'm not going to sugar coat this experience and say there haven't been cranky moments, but on the whole it has been a wonderful family activity. We've been spending so much time together rout back and working on projects with one another. Our kids have such an ownership of what's being planted and growing! When our peas began to sprout we all celebrated! We've also been enjoying finding verses on gardening. "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." 1 Cor. 3:7
And real quick-- here is how things are progressing indoors-- everything is doing well except our spinach:
What are you planting? Any tips on growing carrots?