Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One word: Simplify

I had big plans for my garden this year.

We were going to rototill all of the yard up, plant grass, add in raised beds for planting, and have a beautiful lawn for Thomas to run through.  (And solve the problem of the little bastard mole that haunts the farm and creates incredible havoc in the grass, but that may be asking for a miracle.)

All while in my third trimester and one of Jonathan's busiest quarters on record.

You can tell by the beautiful yellow flowers next to the deck (aka: weeds) that it may not have gone as planned.  There's a good chance I can lose our 100 lb dog or two-year-old son in the field if I'm not paying attention, they disappear into the four-foot-tall daisies.  It's a little like our own Field of Dreams, except Shoeless Joe isn't walking out of our daisies.  Shoeless Thomas is.

I decided all I could handle this year was my herbs on the deck.  Whatever produce I wanted 'fresh' I could find at the farmers' market or Lattin's

And even with the herbs, I decided to scale way back, and just pick up a few plants.  Herbs I knew I would use this summer: basil, stevia, parsley, chives, oregano, rosemary, dill, cilantro, sage and pineapple mint.  About a third of what I normally plant.

Simplifying as much as I could.

Just one of each, except the basil.  I picked up 3 of those, because I always kill them.  Figured the odds were better if I started with more.

I've been amazed at what's happened.  Even with the crazy, cold weather, everything has grown like mad.  My parsley has grown tenfold since planting, to the point I am looking up recipes that use "a ton of fresh parsley".  The dill has been out of control: which is awesome with the fresh Alaskan salmon from Dad.  I am cutting back like mad so the plants don't go to seed, and saving the herbs in the fridge in damp paper towels.

A significant bounty from humble beginnings.

When I was planting everything into the deck pots, I found two plants from last year that somehow survived NOT BEING WATERED FOR THE ENTIRE WINTER.  Since they were on the covered deck, they only received rain during heavy winds + rain.  That's it.  There was a speck of green in each of my 3 chive plants, and one tiny chocolate mint leaf (tiny = 2 mm).  I decided to see if I could revive them, and with a little TLC, they're all growing back.

It's been a little surreal to see how well things grow -- even thrive -- when you scale back a bit; narrowing your focus and not spreading things so thin (or packed so tightly in the pot).  Or when you devote a bit of attention to things that are nearly dead and they find life again.

In this year of a toddler + a newborn, it's been a great lesson for me.

A very tasty delicious edible lesson.

I'm getting ready to leave for Orlando, Florida to the Relay For Life Nationwide Leadership Summit.  It's my first Summit in 8 years that I've been to that I don't have much responsibility.  I'm not leading any trainings (a first in six years), I don't have an official role with the Division (beyond planning the General Sessions for our Summits this fall) and I simply get to attend.  John Paul is flying with me, and will be attending his first Summit at two months old.  (He'll beat his older brother by four months -- Thomas was six months when he attended his first Leadership Summit in Arizona). 

I realize at this time in my life - when both boys are small - that simplifying makes our family life easier. It makes me a better mom, a better wife, a more faithful child of God, a better entrepreneur, a better volunteer.

It's not always easy, especially when I have to choose between things that I would love to be part of...but in saying no, my 'yes' becomes more valuable.

Refocusing back to my family, keeping our lives as simple as possible, has given me a chance to grow in ways that I needed to grow.  Where my sense of self-worth isn't defined in what I produce, how much gets done on the house or in the yard, or how much I am "needed". It's given me the chance to be reminded that my self-worth is found simply in that I am a child of God.

And when I'm feeling overwhelmed, it's helped me to sit down outside, in the midst of Thomas's toys and bubbles and cars, and smell the fresh herbs + berries on the deck.  Reminding myself that in this season, slowing down + simplifying is just what is needed.


KCina said...


Lemmon said...

Love it! I had one lettuce re-appear this summer. So weird. And since I opted out of planting this year(after my first and only year) because I was too tired growing the baby, it's sitting right in the middle of the flowers my mom and nephew planted. Hehe. :)

Nolan said...

Great share, thanks for posting

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