Last week, I took a little trip to visit my parents. Their home in the springtime is one of my happy places.
Because the house is on the topmost part of a hill, you feel like you're up in the trees, all the time.
I always take my cuppa outside and often end up too distracted by birds and things. My coffee grows cold.
Twisting, winding mimosa tree out front. In the summer it has the most magnificent green feathers and pink blooms and the butterflies swarm it endlessly.
Kyle and I live in the humble Ozark Mountains and my parents live hours and hours away, where the earth just begins to be rounded and tall. You can see other Baby Ozarks, as I call them, from their back deck, which is where I was for this photo. They're grey-blue off in the distance and keep me from feeling too far away from our home when we're visiting.
Last year I gave my father a blueberry bush. They were the best blueberries we had tasted. I hope he saves me some when these ripen.
My mom has an old Eames chair she found in one of the houses she was selling. It sits on the front porch and I want very badly to redo it into a rocker. It's there in the background of this photo, to the furthest end of the porch railing.
Clematis in bloom.
Always candles lit up in my mother's house. This one smells like aged wood. Intoxicating.
Trunk at the end of my old bed. Stamped with travel stickers, showing its history.
When visiting my mama, there's always a latte in my hand. Morning, noon, and night. I do mostly drink decaf. My acupuncturist doesn't approve of coffee in any form, but caffeine is a double no-no. Unfortunately I will be a coffee drinker till the day I die, which displeases her very much.
Beautiful Turner. He was my kitten once and my parents have taken over and treat him like my sibling. I'm okay with this. He is my most favorite cat that I have ever met. I daydream about stealing him away to live with us in our mini-mountains.
Turner likes being fickle, looking out the window, getting dirt in his regal fur, and jumping at doorknobs.
In all honesty, he probably isn't an easy cat to love but he has my whole heart without trying.
My mom keeps a whole set of these mugs... I choose carefully each day so that my mug reflects my mood and personal needs. This day I was feeling silly about some of my behaviors and so evolve and grow was fitting. Sometimes it's hard to leave behind old habits of comparison and insecurity. I need to work on that. Comparison is the thief of joy, after all.
Trust the process, embrace the moment, and live with passion are frequently in my rotation as well.
Make a difference
is so important that I actually bought the mug myself, too, and often use it at home.
Today Kyle completed his last final of the semester. He is officially one year through engineering school and a semester and a half ahead of schedule. The first thing he did after arriving home was take a nap for two hours and then open up some comics.
I told him that he looks so funny right now. In a sweet way, of course! He's slouched over and he just seems empty. Like he's been running a marathon for 17 weeks and now he's finally stopped and is schlumped over with goo for brains. He said that felt very accurate. He's taking courses this summer, too, but he has nearly a month off before those begin.
I've instructed him to play his guitar, do his woodworking, read many comic books, and sleep an adequate amount every day with no care for school-related reading or math-doing. Oh, how he deserves this break.
He finished the year with a 3.6 GPA. So proud.
Is anyone planting anything this spring? Or autumn, if you're down under?
Our spring/summer garden looks like this, thus far, with multiple plants of each:
Pruden's Purple tomato, a red cherry tomato, Spear's Tennessee Green tomato, Amish Paste tomato, New England sugar pie pumpkin, Black Beauty zucchini, Boston pickling cucumbers, Golden Crookneck summer squash, Japanese nest gourd (an ornamental that looks like little robin's eggs), luffa gourd (for drying and using in the bath), Black Hungarian pepper, Cayenne peppers, Parisienne carrots (short and fat and oh so cute), Stowell's sweet corn, Clay cowpea (this particular pea was a staple in Confederate diet in the Civil War), King of the Garden lima bean, Scarlet runner bean, French Garden beans, Good Mother Stallard bush bean (purple and white bespeckled little things--so pretty), Christmas Pole lima bean, Cherokee Trail of Tears black bean, a few varieties of lettuces, Bloomsdale Long-Standing spinach (particularly suited to warmer climates), French Breakfast radish, Fife Creek Cowhorn okra, many varieties of potatoes including purple and gold.
We've got our herbs growing, too--rosemary, lavender, oregano, dill, lemon bee balm, lemon balm, Genovese basil, lemon basil, German chamomile, and sage. We're also planting a peach tree that has a few dozen little fruits growing and ripening.
It's going to be a busy summer, certainly.
There's so much history in these seeds. Some of them are from the early 1800s. Some have traveled the world over to make it into our garden. I'm awestruck by how each of these seeds is a little piece of history, right in my hand, full of genetic materials from the past.
Our seeds are all heirlooms or open pollinated and come from a nearby seed company, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They make a commitment to the earth and to the traditions of seed saving and respectful farming by growing and selling seeds without any altercation by human hand.
(Read: no GMOs or hybrids)
We want to save our seeds from year to year and we want to feel confident in what we feed ourselves and our friends and family that visit. I can't say enough how important it is to buy seeds from a quality supplier, and to grow plants with real seeds that can be saved year after year. It's vital to our planet's food security.
If you're not a fan of gardening yourself or don't have the space to grow a garden, you can often find fruits and vegetables grown the old-fashioned way at a nearby farmer's market and it will save you a lot of sweat and blisters. :)
If anyone is interested in looking up Baker Creek, their website is here and it has so much useful information and lovely stories about each type of seed they sell, that it's fun just to look:
Our goal with gardening this year is to provide half our diet from our own land. We have been genorously given quite a large bit of space with good, fertile soil and don't want to take an inch of it for granted. This will be my fourth year gardening and while I certainly don't have a black thumb, I haven't ever done the transition from small-scale gardening to small-scale farming. Thus far, my seedlings are all doing so well, and my property plans and layouts have come along very nicely. Inevitably, though, something will go wrong.
Right now everything is being grown in the safety of our home with grow lights over the top. There are no bugs. No vicious potato beetles or hungry deer wanting a nibble off my peach tree. No droughts or crazy Tornado Alley weather. It's going to be very different once all this goes outside (within the next couple weeks) and I'm really, really hoping that I don't get knocked down entirely. I've been reading many books and articles to prepare.
Is this what motherhood feels like? You grow these little babies that you love so much and you keep them in the safety of your home, carefully watching over them and giving them everything they need--and then you have to put them out into the world and hope they survive? All the while you've bitten off all your fingernails.
We're growing lots and lots of extra food, more than what we can eat fresh, with the intention of canning and freezing enough to help us make it through the winter. We'll need to buy our cheeses, milks, and meats from the store (with the exception of chicken eggs, as we're getting a flock at the farm as soon as we can) as well as a few things that we can't grow in this area like bananas, oranges, and avocados. And things that we can grow in this area but don't--like apples and mushrooms.
I can't wait to get the rest of it all into the ground and really start digging around. I dream about it all day, every day.
Be prepared for lots and lots of small-scale farming updates. :)