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Filtering by Tag: garden

CULTIVATION

Cindy Maddera

Years ago I wrote up a life list and one of the things on that list was to grow a vegetable garden. The first year I did this, I grew Christmas beans, tomatoes, spinach, basil, squash and cantaloupe. The spinach failed in the hot Oklahoma sun. The squash succumbed to squash beetles. We harvested enough Christmas beans for us to each have half a cup of cooked beans. Basil did well. Tomatoes did okay. The cantaloupe seeds that we planted came from the inside of a store bought cantaloupe Chris’s mom was eating. She spit out a seed and said “Can we plant these?” I shrugged and replied “I don’t see why not.” Those seeds produced two softball sized cantaloupe that were the sweetest cantaloupes I have ever tasted. It was like they were made of straight up sugar. That summer we cultivated more than a vegetable garden. We grew joy and surprises and sweetness. We grew wonder and amazement. Every thing that sprouted from the dirt was met with astonishment. “Oh my God! Look what we have grown!?!?!” We couldn’t believe it. We could not believe what we had done.

I gave up on the vegetable garden last year. Michael pulled up all of the boxes and a friend from work took them. He set them up in his backyard for his little girls to plant seeds in and I could not be more pleased with this. Our gardening days had run it’s course and no longer cultivated the wonderment and joy as it had in previous years. It is not actually environmentally friendly to grow a garden if you are not all that good at growing things. The money you spend on a not so fruitful vegetable garden in your backyard could be better spent supporting local farmers and so we turned our focus to other projects, other adventures. Occasionally I think about scattering lettuce and kale seeds all around the outside of the house so I don’t have to use the weed eater, but I am considering creating a couple of small potted gardens and building an outdoor space to gather with friends. I once read some great advice for creating an outdoor space on a budget. The designer said to just put down an outside area rug and arrange outdoor furniture on it. That’s simple enough.

Those are ideas for another time, when the weather is a bit more cooperative.

Right now, I am thinking of cultivating a new garden. This garden will not grow kale or squash or beans. Neither will it be an ornamental garden filled with hydrangeas and peonies. This new garden will not be delegated to six boxes out in the backyard either. It will be bigger than that. I want to cultivate a space that grows creativity and peace and contentment. I want to cultivate the joy, surprises and sweetness that first garden brought us but I want to do it without actually planting a seed into dirt. I think this is possible. I believe it is possible to recapture all of those things above but in a different way. There will be a section for photography, a section for words. There will be a corner devoted to my yoga practice and a corner within a corner devoted to meditation. I think I will add in a cooking section and a spot for just laying still with a puppy on my lap.

Wait. I think already have this garden. It just needs some weeding and a little bit of care.

STUFF I'M THINKING ABOUT

Cindy Maddera

My new seed catalog from Baker Creek came in the mail yesterday and when I went out to feed the chickens, I looked around our dismal backyard. It's kind of a mess. Okay, it's not just kind of a mess. It's big mess. There's trash littered here and there from Josephine pulling garbage out of the recycle bin and stealing used Kleenex out of Michael's bedroom trash bin. Leaves are scattered every where and I never cleaned out the garden beds in the Fall. Dead growth from vines hang on everything. The backyard reminds me of a scene from the Simpsons when Maggie had to choose between a family flooded in light and surrounded by lush green beauty and her actually family standing under a thundercloud in the muck. The backyard is the thundercloud muck yard. I'd like to set the whole backyard on fire and start over. I heard they had flame throwers on sale at Harbor Freight. If I could just convince Michael that we really really needed one and that setting the backyard on fire is a good idea. 

Side note: The other day, there was something unidentifiable and gross in the sink where we set dishes to dry. Michael advised me not to worry about it at the moment. Except I didn't listen and I reached my fingers down into the drain to pull out the whatever. It turned to mush in my fingers and I immediately started gagging. Meanwhile, Michael's standing there shaking his head at me and saying "That was an ill advised move and please don't throw up in the kitchen." So I really seriously doubt I will have any support in buying a flame thrower. 

Every year, I think I'm going to create some backyard oasis for myself. I have so little space of my own in the house and I have no way of carving out any more space with out expanding walls. It is a very small house and Michael alone requires whole rooms and more than half the couch. And he'd really be happy with the whole couch to himself. He already complains that I have the end of the couch that has the chase section. Now throw in a third human, a dog and a cat. More space is not going to happen for me inside this house. But there's a huge backyard out there! I have a hammock! I have chickens to watch instead of a TV! I take allergy medicine! I could be happy in the backyard, if only the backyard looked less wild. Ideally, I would love to put some sort of tiny building back there with a porch to hang my hammock on and cushy lounging spots inside. It could be a place to meditate and do yoga. I don't know what it would be like to have actual yoga space at home. I would have a view of the chickens and the fire pit. I would look out onto a lush beautiful garden. 

This is my dream. Right now, I'd be happy with just coming up with a plan for the vegetable garden. We are notoriously good at growing food we do not eat. I mean, I eat the kale and the greens. If tomatoes happen, we eat those (last year's tomatoes were a bust). Everything else that comes up either provides us with a handful of food or goes bad before we can pick it. I am at the point of pulling the whole garden up and forgetting that space even existed. In fact, you know what I could put there? A patio. Half the grass is already dead and long gone. All I need is some sand and pavers and a little blood, sweat and tears. In fact, after writing that down for all to see, this is exactly what I want to do. I can grow kale in the herb garden and buy tomatoes from the farmer's market. I can sneak vegetables into our landscaping that we have to do around the house to prevent water from leaking into the basement. 

Spring is so close. The chickens are laying eggs again and I noticed the first sprout of tulips coming up. We are in that in between stage of seasons where we are easily lulled into believing in Spring even though it's going to snow at least two more times before the end of March. I feel extra complainy and twitchy. I'm starting to get that fever for cleaning out and making joyful changes. The garden just doesn't bring me as much joy as it does work. Of course, the minute I open up that seed catalog, I might change my mind. 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

I know that I have not talked much at all about our garden this year. I created the kind of garden that could get neglected and I have seriously neglected it all summer. We went through the lettuce and arugula early in the season. I've been eating on the kale that's starting to peter out. We've just now started to get tomatoes from our tomato plants and most of those are still green. The other boxes were devoted to purple hulled peas. We've already had one harvest of peas, enough to have a whole meal with stewed tomatoes. For weeks I've looked at the vegetable garden and noticed that there was another harvest of peas coming but I've been to lazy to fight with the mosquitoes and ants for the peas. 

Tuesday evening, I came home to an evening on my own. After eating a doctored Trader Joe's frozen pizza and sharing my crust with the dog, I pulled on my garden gloves and got out the weed eater. I managed to cut down one and half weeds when the line ran out. I swore and then got out the extra weed eater line and some scissors. The line was replaced in a short few minutes and I was back at it, fighting the weeds around the outside of the house and then inside the garden. I pulled up the over grown arugula, found three red Roma tomatoes (from plants that sprouted up from last year) and two bell peppers. I harvested the last of the kale and then started collecting purple hulled peas. By the time I was done, my arms itched with bug bites and my nose was running from allergies. After a quick shower, I spent the next half hour or so shelling purple hulled peas. 

I can remember sitting on the tailgate of my Dad's blue pickup and shelling purple hulled peas until the tips of my fingers were purple and tender to the touch. In fact, for some reason or another, that tailgate was the spot for all of the garden harvesting chores from snapping green beans to shucking the corn. My Dad's blue pickup takes up a lot of space in my folder of childhood memories. I can still feel the bare skin of my sister's leg pressed against mine as the four of us (Dad, Mom, me and Janelle) sat in the cab traveling to our next camping adventure. I remember the time that truck broke down while we were visiting the Puye Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico. Janell and I ran around the ruins at the top of the bluff while Dad tried to figure out a way to fix the truck. The truck looked so tiny from our vantage point of standing on the ruins. As the day wore on, I remember sitting inside the home of the guide/caretaker while we waited on Dad to get back with a part to repair the truck. The guide was a Native American and his home was filled with traditional Native American pieces. He had a row of carved animals sitting on a table. His hair was long and he wore a park ranger uniform. I remember being little in that truck. 

It's funny how some things trigger a memory and the more you think about it, the more vivid the details. When I finished shelling this latest harvest of peas, my fingers were purple and tender just as they were those many many summers ago. I am thankful for that tender feeling in the tips of my fingers and I am thankful for that purple stain of my skin. I am thankful for the memories that those things triggered. I am thankful for the harvest from our little neglected garden. We have probably two more rounds of purple hulled peas coming. The tomatoes that are now so green will eventually ripen even if we have to line the windowsills with them to get them to do so. These are good things to be thankful for this week. 

I am fortunate.

My tithe this week has gone to the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Houston and the American Red Cross.  Please give if you feel so inclined. You can also buy something from the Hurricane Relief Amazon Wish list. When you start the checkout process, you'll see a listing for Merritt Law Firm LLC Gift Registry address. That's the address you'll select for shipping. I just sent a large package of baby soap. 

 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

Last Saturday, while Michael took the Cabbage to a birthday party, I planted all of our seeds. Potatoes, carrots, radishes, kale, spinach, cabbage, baby bok choy, Brussel sprouts, salad greens, arugula, cucumbers, cantaloup, purple hulled peas, okra, sunflower and asparagus all went into the ground. I left space for tomatoes, basil and rosemary. Chard I planted in the Fall is now huge. I may have to pull this up to make room for peppers. The sunflowers were an after thought. I dug a trench around my make shift compost bin and dropped in some seeds. They will either grow and thrive, grow and be mowed down or not grow at all. This could be true about all of the seeds actually, well except about the mowed down part. 

I did none of the things I said I was going to do regarding the garden. I did not plan and in fact, if I hadn't written out a list of things planted here, I would probably have no idea what was sprouting. I had every intention of putting together a garden of foods that I know we will eat, but time ran away with the spoon. Then we decided not to buy much for the garden. Just before we decided not to buy anything more for the garden, I bought seed potatoes and asparagus starters, kale because I was out and cantaloupe because Josephine ate the cantaloupe seed packet from last year.  All the rest of the things where leftover seeds from years past. I did, however sort through all of the seed packets and only chose to plant the things that I knew we'd eat. Cabbage (the vegetable, not the kid) isn't really one of those things we have on the menu often, but I want to make my own sauerkraut. This week, I am thankful to have seeds finally in the ground, even if they were not well planned and even if some of them should have been in the ground weeks ago.

Now begins the big wait where we just stare at the boxes of dirt, looking for things to pop up out of the ground. I can spot the kale and salad green sprouts from the kitchen window already. I think this part is just as exciting as harvesting things out of the garden. Like I said before, some of these seeds are going to grow and thrive and some of these seeds are going to grow just a little and croak. Some of those seeds may not grow at all. Because gardening is a giant life lesson. It is a life lesson that constantly brings me gratitude. Gratitude and respect. It's not just about eating the food we grow. It's about being able to grow the food we eat. It is a reminder to be thankful for the dirt, thankful for the sun, thankful for the rain and thankful for this planet. I did not set out in the beginning of writing this Thankful Friday post to make it an Earth Day post, but there you have it. Let us all be grateful for this Earth today.

Happy Earth Day! And a very Thankful Friday. 

 

GARDEN DIARIES

Cindy Maddera

Our drive to Alabama, took us through Mansfield MO. I had forgotten about Mansfield and how it's one of the homesteads for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. As we passed a sign for Baker Creek, I sat up straight in my seat and gasped. "Oh! Can we go there please?!?!?!" Michael said "Of course!", but when we pulled off the highway there was a sign pointing south to the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and north to Baker Creek and I had to make a choice. I picked Baker Creek. It had started to rain on us, so I knew we wouldn't be able to fully enjoy Laura's home. I promised myself that we'd go back. We'd go back and make a weekend of it and maybe by then I'll have had a chance to read a few of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to the Cabbage. I got real giddy when we pulled into Baker Creek's little village. I saw people walking around dressed in their pioneer clothes, the same people that I see every year in my seed catalogue. I gushed all over one of the ladies working in the seed shop about ordering seeds from them every year and she told me that my story was not uncommon. Of course we bought more seeds while we there. 

We came home to a garden that had over grown and taken on a life of it's own. Salad greens and spinach had grown tall and gone to seed. The squash and cantaloupe had spread out and taken up the whole corner of the garden. I pulled six yellow squash that first evening and have been plucking one or two here and there since. The sunflowers, even though there are no blooms yet, are taller than me. And the tomato plants. We have so many green tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes. Roma Tomatoes. Big heirloom tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes seem to like to turn red one at a time.  All of the limbs are hanging heavy with green fruit. Soon we will have tomato and basil salads every day for dinner. 

Sunday morning I went out with every intention of taming the over grown mess of the garden. I weedeated all around the garden. I pulled up the spinach and salad greens, tossing them in a pile for the chickens. I worked the soil and prepped it for new seeds. I pulled up weeds and picked off another squash. Then I planted the newly purchased seeds. Arugula, water cress and some sort of lettuce. I went a head and planted more purple hulled peas while I was at it. It didn't take long. The garden really isn't that big. Except when I look at it now, it seems huge. There's something legitimate about the garden this year. Official. Maybe it has something to do with boxes we added or the fence we put up around the outside. I look out there now and see a garden like those featured in the likes of Organic Gardening or something.  And I am amazed by all of it. 

GARDEN DIARIES

Cindy Maddera

There really doesn't seem too much to gardening once the seeds are planted. Once the seeds are in the ground, all that's really left to do is to wait and hope and pull some weeds and wait some more. That seems to be where we are now. We had this rush to get the new boxes up and filled with soil. There was a panic to get seeds in the ground and the worry that I didn't get them in the ground early enough. Then we realized that the lure of garden boxes of filled with dirt was too much for Josephine and we'd find her in the middle of a box just a digging away. So, we rushed to put a fence around the garden.

Now, everything has sprouted. There was the few weeks of worrying that none of the seeds would sprout. I'd look out the kitchen window and stare at the dirt. Michael would stand outside and look at the garden while shouting "GROW! GROW!" But then everything sprouted. There's even a couple of bonus tomato plants growing in the side garden where I've planted (probably too much) squash and zucchini. They came from the cherry tomato plant that was in that garden last year, a cherry tomato plant that grew tomatoes faster than we could pick them. 

Now, we wait. This morning before the rain set in, I went out and weedeated all around the garden and pulled the few weeds that had invaded. There really wasn't much to do, which was good since the sky turned dark with thunder and started to drop buckets of rain. Our hopes have changed from hoping seeds will sprout to hoping that those plants will fruit and that we will be able to eat those fruits. I feel I've watched the giant lima beans sprout in slow motion, watching the leaves unfold from bean. With any luck we'll have bowls of giant lima beans and purple hulled peas. Maybe this year I wont need to buy boxes of tomatoes to roast. For the first time ever, there's spinach growing. I've had spinach sprout and then disappear. Something other than me has eaten it or it just didn't like the spot where it had been planted.  We've planned a salad for Thursday night with roasted mushrooms from the salad greens that are thriving next to the spinach. 

The salad days have begun.

GARDEN DIARIES. NOW WITH CHICKENS!

Cindy Maddera

'Tis the season for gardening and it's that time of year when I start taking pictures of dirt with teeny tiny sprouts poking up out of the ground. The first of the sprouts have arrived. A mix of lettuces and spinach and kale have begun to stick their heads up and soon we will have more greens than we can eat. Last weekend Michael took his truck and filled the bed with a cubic yard of garden soil and then we took turns hauling dirt out to the new garden boxes. I planted all of the seeds, leaving space for tomato plants and herb plants that I'll buy next month. Next we'll be constructing a chicken wire fence around it to keep critters out. And by critters, I mean Josephine. She's decided that there's nothing more fun than digging and prancing around in the mud. She came in one day with mud so squished up between her toes that there was no other option but to dunk her in the tub. The threat of a bath does not seem to be a deterrent.

Which brings me to the rain. April showers indeed. Our backyard squishes and there have been more days of rain than days without. This has made it difficult for Michael to finish the chicken coop. He took Friday off so he could get it finished and ready for the girls and to get the yard mowed. When I got home from work he was ready to put the chickens in the coop so they could spend their first night in their new home. Matilda was the first to walk out the door and then fly down to the ground. Foghorn and Dorothy followed soon after, exploring their new home one at a time. Marguerite has gone only as far as the ramp. She's the most timid of the girls. Michael had to go out around eleven that night and coax her from her perch on the ramp to the warmth of the roosting box. 

Saturday night Michael and I watched To Make a Farm, a documentary about five young people who have chosen to become small scale farmers. One young man was starting his farm from scratch, living basically out of a tent. He'd built himself a lean-too for his kitchen out of salvaged material. There was one young couple who had worked on an organic farm for a few years before venturing out to buy their own. Then there was a young woman who had thought she was going to be an environmentalist when she left college, but ended up a farmer. She has the help of her husband who also works from home as a computer animator. Each farm was different and none of them came from a family of farmers. Some people may scoff "Oh those silly hipsters.", but watching them work so hard and struggle to succeed, you can't help but respect them for their vision. The young environmentalist raised sheep, pigs, chickens and turkeys as well as produce. One of her sheep delivered twins and there was a moment when the vet believed they may have a bacterial infection and would have to be put down. I cried with her as she stood at the fence watching her flock. Heck, I cried with her on slaughter day when it was time to load her pigs up. 

Each one of these people talked about the romanticism associated with the idea of farming and each one them rolled their eyes at the idea of someone doing this for that very reason. What you see from this documentary is that farming is fucking hard work. It is constantly worrying about getting enough rain or getting too much rain. There is heartbreak when plants come down with blight and a whole crop has to be removed. There is even the strain of isolation. After watching the documentary, Michael and I both agreed that we were happy with the little urban farm we've got going. 

It rained all day on Saturday, the first full day for the chickens to be out in their new home. They didn't poke their heads out the door until later that evening when the rain had finally stopped. We had yet to see them all out in their run doing the things that most chickens do. The sun didn't really come out on Sunday, but the sky lightened up enough for the girls to come out. We looked out the kitchen window and all four of them, even shy Marguerite, were out scratching around and pecking at the ground. We're constantly looking at each other with big stupid grins on our faces and saying "We've got chickens!" Then we just sit and watch them. They've become the best new TV show. 

Even Josephine thinks so. 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

Gratitude. It's come to that time in the week where I sit down and reflect on things that I am grateful for during the week. Really, the first thing that comes to mind is that I'm kind of thankful this week is winding to an end. I'm not the type that likes to do that sort of thing. It sounds too whiny and the week hasn't been terrible. It has just been long and constant and busy. I'm looking forward to a weekend where I have zero plans except for a haircut on Sunday. There has been talk of cleaning up the back yard and maybe even having a fire pit night. I was thinking about that this morning as I washed my breakfast dishes. It is a Cabbage weekend. Visions of roasting hot dogs (tofu dogs) and marshmallows popped into my head. Then I thought "why stop there? Let's get out the tent and sleep in the backyard!" 

So, I guess, it's the weather that I am really grateful for this week. I've ridden the scooter to work every day except for Monday. The starting temps that day where just a little too cold. I  slept with the windows open last night and when I left for work this morning you could smell the ground thawing. Which reminds me. I have got to order seeds this weekend. For real this time. I noticed the mint peeking up through the dirt yesterday. Obviously mint is the plant that can convince any one that they are master gardeners or really bad at keeping their garden weed free. Even the dog is happy. Yesterday Josephine found a stick and stretched her legs out behind her with her belly on the warm grass and chewed and chewed. I am thankful to be able to step outside without wincing in discomfort from feeling the cold sting my bones. I am thankful for a weekend that promises to be nice enough to spend so much time outside. 

Michael starts his spring break this week. He has grand plans for his time off and one of those plans include building a chicken coop. He said to me this morning "this time next week we may very well have our own chickens." I gave him a questionable look and he said "I'm building a coop next week!" He's a city boy. Still, I'm sure he knows that building a coop does not mean building chickens. He's just very excited. I'm coming home to little wooden chickens aren't I? Any way. I'm super thankful that he gets to have this week off to tinker and do whatever. I bet if I play my cards right, I will not have to make dinner at all next week. I am thankful for the simple evenings we've had this week. I am thankful for walks with the dog. I am thankful that we only have four more episodes of House of Cards left because it is such a time suck. And as always, I am thankful for you. 

Hope your weekend is full of sunshine and you have the most thankful of Thankful Fridays.

IS IT SPRING YET?

Cindy Maddera

A couple of weeks ago, my Baker Creek seed catalog showed up in the mail box. As Michael reached to pull the mail out of the mailbox, he looked at me and said "You know, you really shouldn't get your porn in the mail." I squealed, hugged the catalog tight to my chest, shut myself in my room and plopped down on my bed to flip through it. The scene was very much like a tween flipping through her latest Bop magazine, laying on my belly, propped up on my elbows, feet kicking in the air. It didn't last long, because the Cabbage came in and started talking (had she ever stopped talking? I can't remember) and I had to set the catalog aside for some special quiet time. Since then I have made brief flip throughs, but I have plans to circle items and dog-ear some pages before we head to Oklahoma for Christmas. I'll take the catalog with me so Mom, Janell and Katrina can also circle the items they want and we'll just put in one giant seed order. Then we trade seeds. It's great fun. I'm considering Amaranth for next year. 

There was so much talk of buying a new house and moving that I didn't really give a flip about the garden. I took what remaining seeds I had and tossed them out into the not so well turned beds. I ate a lot of lettuce. We all did. Then there were collard greens. Lots and lots of collard greens. I have yet to figure out that balance of growing the right amounts of things that we actually eat. That's OK because we're adding two more boxes to the garden. You heard me! We're giving a flip about the garden next year. And then some. Michael says he's building us a chicken coop over his Spring break. My job has been to decide what kind of coop I want so he can start planning. There's a lot of planning going on right at this moment. Baker Creek has a Spring Planting Festival in May that we're planning on going to. I've been planning what breeds of chickens to get. Now I'm planning what seeds to buy. 

While Spring and Fall may be planting seasons, winter is the season for planning. It makes sense that the season of hibernation is also the season for dreaming. This is the time of year we all sit down and reflect for the things we want in the new year. I feel like my wants for 2015 are huge. I want a lot. Not a lot of things. Actually I want less things. I want a lot to happen, a lot of expectations for myself. When I start thinking about it now, it all starts to roll away from me like a snowball rolling down the hill, the further down the hill, the bigger and faster the snowball. One want leads into another want. I want 2015 to be full. At the end of next year I want to be exhausted. Not from grief. Not from being worn down from set back after set back. I want to be exhausted from spending a year doing and being. I want to be so worn out from pairing down all of my things. I want my arms to be heavy from too much kayaking. I want a full belly from just things we've grown in the garden and at the end of the day I want to nap with the chickens and maybe a new dog. I want to feel that weighted exhaustion you get after lifting heavy weights except mine will come from doing all of the things. By this time next year I don't want my couch to even recognize my ass. 

I will bide my time for now just planning. I'll take what is left of 2014 to be a list maker, to organize those wants. I don't even care about needs. My whole life I've been conscious of wants versus needs. I'm making 2015 the year of not necessarily want, but of getting what I want. And eating my cake too. 

 

PROCRASTINATION

Cindy Maddera

I've walked by my computer so many times this weekend, knowing that I really should sit down and write. This weekend has been so light and slightly lazy. Sunday I worked in the garden, harvesting green beans, a handful of cherry tomatoes, two parsnips, a head of cabbage, one cucumber and one okra. Michael helped me hang laundry on the clothes line. A few weeks ago, he put up an extra line so now all of our clothes can hang to dry. I made a fresh batch of ghee and organized the bills. In between tasks, I'd pass a look at my laptop and think "I really should work on that thing or write some words or something". I said I'd put together some of my blog entries about Dad to read at his memorial service. I've managed to dump them all into one place, but it's going to take a little more than that to make them congeal into something that would pass for any kind of eulogy. I have all week. 

One of my coworkers came by my cubicle to give their condolences. I waived it off. "It's no big deal. I know my way around death." I said this in a joking way, but honestly...I know my way around death. I'm not so sure that's such a great super power. I know I never planned on or even wanted to be the type of blogger that blogs about grief. Yet her I am. Cindy Maddera of Elephant Soap, Grief Blogger Extraordinaire.  If I felt a little more confident, I'd put on an outfit like Zatanna's and have business cards made. Maybe that's too jazzy for death or maybe it's time we made death a bit more jazzy. Give it some pizzazz. 'Cause that's what death needs, more pizzazz.

The reality is that grief is heavy and hard and sad. It makes you want to do nothing and everything all at once. It's all the things that I don't want for my blog let alone my life. But hey. People die man. That's the truth. One day one of those people you love will just up and go missing from your life. Then you have to learn how do everything all over again with that person missing. Like learning to walk and talk and chew gum all over again. I know it sounds bleak and depressing, but there's a few things that just don't exist: the Loch Ness Monster, perfection, pots of gold under rainbows and permanence. I suppose a glass half empty type of person would see all of this and say "what's the point of even living?". Good thing I've always seen the glass as half full, because there's something beautiful and splendid about knowing that nothing is permanent. It sets the stage for how I should go about living my life. This isn't going to last. Make the most of it.

Some days I'm really good at remembering this. Other days? Not so much. I just have to get through this week. I just have to get through the next few days. I just have to get through this day. Today, I will pull a rabbit out of my hat and make it all disappear. 

GARDEN DIARIES

Cindy Maddera

Today, I went out to the garden with all intent and purpose to pull the Christmas bean plant out of the garden. We had had our little taste of beans early in the season only to have the plant peter out. Then it came back with gusto. For months now it's been this growing green mass producing nothing but a few flowers and I was fed up. The plant was too big for the climbing structure we had provided. It was leaning over the chard. It was just a mess. Bean Monster

So I marched out there ready to pull it up out of the ground and trash it, but then I saw bean pods. Lots of bean pods. Loads of bean pods. I forgave the Christmas bean plant for it's slowness and let it stay because, people?, it looks like I'm going to get a whole pot of beans. A WHOLE POT! I suppose patience really is a virtue. That and laziness. Chris and I have not been good gardeners lately. We haven't been out there in days, forgetting to water and everything. I felt really guilty when I went out there today and saw things trying to come up in the dry soil and droopy bell pepper plants.

Thar be beans!

Lots of beans

But, despite our neglect, the garden keeps chugging along. The bell pepper plants keep producing peppers and I think I even saw a carrot top today. Still a little uncertain about this since we planted carrots and radishes together. There are things out there that could be either. My thumb is now officially a very week shade of green.

Forever Bells

Broccoli

LOVE THURSDAY

Cindy Maddera

Lady Yesterday was the first day of Fall, but I'm still clinging to the last of summer. I'm just not ready to put away my tank tops and sandals. It helps that the garden still thinks it's summer. I love going out there and finding bugs like these.

I also love that I went out there to look for the new things that are sprouting, but instead I found the lady bug. Oh...and some carrot sprouts.

Enjoy! Happy Love Thursday!

Garden Diaries

Cindy Maddera

Well, I thought it would be at least another week before I could tell how the new stuff we planted was doing, but I looked out there today and was once again surprised to see things sprouting out of the ground. We have a few sprigs of spinach coming up already. The broccoli has sprouted and we even have a couple of sprouts coming in where we planted the radishes and carrots. We kind of just mixed these two together. I think it's a radish sprout but I could be completely wrong. Again with the Spinach

Broccoli

Carrot or Radish

Other things in the garden are still chugging along. We have bell peppers which will be a lovely addition to our soft taco night this week. One may even make an appearance in the tonight's pot pie. The Christmas beans are still out of control. It's covered with little delicate flowers so I'm hoping we get another wave of beans. I also still have chard, something I wish I would have planted more of. I guess I could still go sprinkle some more seeds down, but I'm afraid they may not care for the cooler temps in the evenings.

Future bean ?

Bells

Chard

I still can't get over the entertainment value of the garden. Chris and I are always totally amazed to see things growing out there after years of failed growing attempts. I can't wait for the broccoli. Or the carrots. I just can't imagine what it's going to be like to pull a carrot from the ground.

GARDEN DIARIES

Cindy Maddera

Geometry

Over the weekend, Chris and I met my family at Philbrook Museum for the To Live Forever exhibit. The exhibit itself was great. They even had a page from the actual Book of the Dead. Chris and I read it out loud and promptly had to leave since we'd woken all the mummies. I've been to Philbrook many times and didn't feel the need to roam the rest of the museum. So we all headed out to the garden to look for a piece we'd heard might be out there done by the husband of an old high school friend.

Philbrook was originally the home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips, the famous oil tycoons. Waite left his Tuscan inspired villa and the surrounding 23 acres to the city of Tulsa as an art center in 1938. My brother even attended classes here as a child.

The home itself is magnificent, but the gardens are magical. I had never even realized they were there. Every time I've gone to the museum, it's all been for the inside stuff and it's always been on dreary yucky days were all you want to do is inside stuff. But Saturday was beautiful and we wandered all around the gardens. There were cotton plants and butterflies and lilies and even a section of vegetables. In fact, Philbrook grew more then 1,000 pounds of produce for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in 2009.

This was all the inspiration Chris and I needed to go home, pull out the old things and plant some new seeds for the Fall. We are looking forward to Fall crop of spinach, radishes, broccoli and carrots.

Feel free to enjoy the rest of the pictures here. Enjoy!