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The $50 Tomato…..

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Well, this is about it for the year. I got many herbs (basil, oregano, peppermint, sage), a few cucumbers, and a small bag full of cayenne peppers. The few scraggly strawberries never made it past my son’s mouth to hit the kitchen. So I am guessing that my $50 spent on the garden this year may have been better spent at the grocery store.

My biggest mistake was planting too late, but it may not have mattered because it was the every other day rains that took me down. This year, people’s gardens either flourished or flopped and it all seemed to depend on drainage, slope, and soil composition. Our garden is perfectly flat in a perfectly flat yard with primarily clay loam, and an extremely high level of ground water. Most of the people that were able to eek a decent amount of produce out of their garden had a sloping garden with good drainage, and less clay.

Nonetheless, even with a pitifully producing garden, our son ate all of the small handful of strawberries right off the plant, and spent many afternoons helping me water, pick tomatoes, and wander around among the rows. As I think back on the garden and spend my afternoons preparing the beds for next year, I think on how valuable this garden was, even if it did not really give us anything to eat. It gave me time alone doing one of my favorite things. It gave me time with my son to teach him where his food comes from. It gave me perspective and taught me valuable lessons in patience, endurance, and perseverance. Regardless of how much or how little this garden produces, it still gives me so much that cannot be measured in gallons or quarts or jars in the basement.

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Being Myself in a World of Pinterest Supermoms

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I have been very quiet this summer with my posting, and much of it has to do with our absolute lack of a productive garden. We planted too late, got too much rain, and I just didn’t have the enthusiasm for it this year. Our strawberries were a bust, we got a few tomatoes and peppers, and everything else just died while trying to struggle up through the puddles of rain that fell every two days.

This would have been much more depressing had I not been super engaged in watching this amazing two-year old of ours grow from a baby into a little boy. After surviving the very painful stage of him asking, “Waas that?”, every time he saw ANYTHING, he has now begun talking at an alarming rate and naming everything in sight. This intense time of growth and language development has been absolutely amazing and much more productive than a garden could ever be! I have, however, been thinking about my lack of posts and the reasons behind it and feeling like I need to say something.

We are surrounded with technology of all sorts, and most of this technology (Facebook, Pinterest, etc) is aimed at making our lives simpler, right? Someone posts about some awesome new recipe that you just HAVE to try. You see a post about ten things to do with your toddler and how EASY and FAST they are. You see pictures of a friend with her family and they all look so HAPPY. But let’s face it, this just isn’t reality. The reality is that sometimes we succeed at being organized, successful, and productive, and most of the time, we just succeed at making it through another day! I had a horrible garden this year, and feel like I have nothing to blog about, because my blog is ,after all, about gardening, and sustainable living. But this blog is also about my life, and my life right now sometimes consists of just being thankful that I got out of bed, fed my family, and maybe had some fun! I am not a supermom, but I AM a superwoman! Yes, my toddler spent the first half hour of his day screaming in his room because he refused to have his stinky diaper changed. Yes, we ate cereal and pizza for dinner. Yes, he went to bed with dirty feet and I may do the same. But we made a wonderfully huge mess on the kitchen floor with rice and dump trucks and bulldozers. We cut play dough into a million pieces with a butter knife. He danced around and tried to catch bubbles with his tongue. We went for a walk and talked about life and all the wonderful things out there in the world. Let’s face it, guys, we all suck sometimes- maybe we have a rotten garden, maybe we have a rotten moment, maybe we have a rotten hair day. But at the end of the day, we are ALL supermen/superwomen, because we keep getting up again and again and brushing off the dirt and trying again to be better, to do better, and to sometimes just realize that this is all the better it is going to get for the moment.

So as I try to find the momentum to wrap up this years garden and prepare it for another year, I am reminded that I also need to prepare myself. I need to be ready for the reality that I do not have to do everything, be everything, and have a beautiful garden, family, life for you to see. I can show you the stuff that just IS. So in the coming days, I will take some pictures and try to show what I have done right with the garden that will help me in the future, and things that have blossomed more than I ever expected (the herbs, the elderberries, the privacy screen, and celery!!). I would like to follow-up on our success with lasagna gardening- and how much that has been such a blessing to me, especially having a small child and not enough time for anything else! Most of all, I would like to just share our struggles, our triumphs, and our constant learning on how to get through this crazy life being more self-sufficient, more responsible, and more aware of our impact on the world around us.

Home at Last?

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Well,  after almost ten years of dreaming and scheming, my husband and I have found ourselves in Northern Minnesota looking at land  We have found an amazing piece of property and are waiting to hear if our offer will be accepted.  It is everything we dreamed of and I am trying not to get my hopes up up, but it really is the perfect piece of land!

This could be the start of building our homestead! Over the last five years I have learned so much about establishing a new garden, raising fruits and vegetables, raising ducks for eggs, butchering chickens, and canning/preserving. I am ready to get out on our property and start using all those skills!! Here are some photos of the property- would appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers that it can be ours!!! Megan

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