How Does Your Garden Grow?

I swear I did not choose to do a garden update in favor of ignoring the clean up from our gaming party on Saturday…

Will someone please put it on their calendar to remind me to go in to next years gardening with something resembling a plan?

Just today I pulled up some “green onions” and sowed some carrots there, and in a row between some other onions, and were I had pulled up some spinach, along side where I sowed some new spinach seed (for a hopeful fall crop).  I also thru out some peas along the trellis because why not?

I’m still just hoping that the deer will hold off eating broccoli long enough to let us get a few heads or that the potatoes make up for all of it.

I grabbed a few pots of mixed lettuces to put down just because I craving some instant gardening satisfaction.

Luckily, that black raspberry bush at my parents has been really producing and I think Henry has eaten enough to fill his Vitamin C requirement for the year and our little patch of regular raspberries are just starting to turn.  We’ll probably get a small bowl full, which is up from last years small handful.  If the first year stalks are any sign next year should be a good year – in fact I’m thinking of extending that garden bed along the side fence to make more room.

Taking Cari’s advice I doused everything with Garden Dust and Liquid fence this week so we’ll see how it goes and all put down a little organic soil enhancer around the plants to see if I can encourage them to thrive a bit more.

But hey, if nothing else – we’re now proud owners of a plastic flamingo.  So that must mean we’ve arrived?

Now I’m just planning a few more outdoor escapades before the weather gets unbearable and then I’ll – yes, I can’t believe I’m saying thing – start thinking about the holiday crafting during July and August when you need something to do indoors.  I’d like to get that all planned a squared away, and ideally started before the end of August.

Let’s Have a Party

This weekend we had some friends over – my husband, the nerd that he is, set up a RPG adventure, we grilled, the non-RPG folk sat outside and talked while the kids played “Rescuebots vs. Elsa”.  It was a good day and I couldn’t help, but reflect on the timing of our little get together with everything that’s going on in the world.

Here in my little backyard were people of all beliefs and opinions just having a good time together.  They were enjoying themselves in my home that shameless showcases a crucifix in almost every room, prayer cards, rosaries and religious art and we all survived.

Sure we didn’t actually talk about those “big issues” floating around, but I couldn’t help but feel that we were doing something good.  That the little group of friends at my house knows there’s a friendly Catholic around whom they can ask questions of in non-emotionally charged (Facebook) conversations.  That they got to see a sliver of how we live our lives and that’s what we need right now.  We need good witness.  We need people to make friendships and live out good examples, because that’s where good, honest discussion and understanding comes from.

So I encourage you to have a party, and not just include your immediate church friends.  Reach out to your community and be a bridge.

Have you ever been driving and have someone cut you off in traffic and really get your blood boiling?  Perhaps you swear or call names, and then you pull up next to them and realize it’s a neighbor or coworker.  All of the sudden you’re a little calmer, you understand, you sympathize.  When we put a face and a name to things that get us riled up we’re a bit more understanding and we need that connection now.  We need to be that face someone puts to a faith or a set of beliefs and instead of saying hateful words about a nameless foe, we can be that neighbor in the car that makes someone stop and say “Well, this is how my friend explained her beliefs to me and maybe I don’t agree, but I see how it makes sense in her faith and her family.”

So I’m issuing a challenge – whether you skew more liberal or more conservative on these issues, whether your driven by your faith or your secular personal conscience – we need to get out there, in our homes and be the face to other people.  Go have a party, even avoid politics and religion in your chit-chat, and see what kind of change and understanding we can bring to each others lives.

*I’m going to leave things vague here as to my personal stance because I don’t feel comfortable tackling big issues on my blog, it’s not what it’s for for me.  If you’re desperately curious feel free to shoot me an email at mollymakesdo at gmail dot com. *

The New Girls in Town

I swore there’d be no more new flowers for the rest of the summer.

I lied.

Oh, and remember a few days ago I spoke about gardening giving me lessons in things I can control… take that first picture which should be young sunflowers, which were all decapitated by wildlife which shall remain nameless.  I don’t even know if they’re do anything now with so much of the tops loped off.

At least the small forest in the digging bucket adds a little whimsy in this bleak season.

What I’ve added are some beautiful double-yellow black eye’d susans, white Coneflowers (I wonder if they’re go pink at all), a “Double Scoop Cranberry” Coneflower that’s just starting to bloom and some red/pink Yarrow in the front.

I cut back a lot of the hydrangea bushes and at the moment it looks a bit of a mess, but I’m hoping next year everything should fill out nicely.

Like Moving Furniture

Back when Haley and Christy interviewed me for their podcast we were talking a lot about what my “make do” life entails and how we make it work.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what they were asking me about over the last month or so, because honestly I couldn’t really articulate my process because so much of it is just part of what makes the natural flow of our family.  It’s how we interact and make decisions without much forethought on how we make those decisions.  It’s not that we’re not planners – there’s a lot of discussion and planning about goals and needs and wants, but we don’t talk about how to make decisions… if that makes sense?

For the last few months I’ve felt a changing coming – it happens and isn’t a sign of something wrong, just a sign of life going on.  It’s a lot like moving around furniture.  I move around my living room at least once or twice a year.  The change is needed for deep cleaning and to solve function issues, it will be exactly what we need for a while and then it won’t.  There’s nothing wrong with how we solved the first problem, it worked until it didn’t and then we move the furniture.  It doesn’t involve starting over from scratch – we don’t chuck everything out and start over again, we just work with what’s there; shifting and moving things until it makes sense for what we need.

Seeing as how our son is four, and since it’s been a year since I last became pregnant and only hope for future good news, there are things we can do and focus on that we couldn’t for the last few years.  There is time and resources available that weren’t before and it’s time to take advantage of them.  So we’ve been doing work on the house and the yard, enrolling H in classes and activities, focusing more on our own health and interests.  All in all just trying to be intentional with what we have right now to make life look like what we want.

Right now there are no reasons not to invest some time and money into our home.
Right now there are no reasons to say no to a class or an activity for our only child.
Right now there are things put on the back-burner that can finally come off because we have an older child and aren’t tied to the exhaustion, schedule and needs of a baby or toddler.  We have no excuse not to go and walk, explore, and exercise.  We have no excuse not to invest a little time in hobbies we always wanted to take up.

You all know that I’d give anything for the exhaustion and needs that would come with just one more, living child, but I’ve realized in the last year that in the wise words of Professor Dumbledore it does no good to dwell in dreams and forget to live and that has been healing.  It does not mean I do not still mourn or try or expect certain things, but that I realize the sum of my experience and abilities in this world cannot revolve around my (in)ability to have children.  There are things that will pass me straight by if I only have a singular goal every month and that is no way to live.

This is not to say I’m healed from my experiences or I’ve forgotten what I’ve gone through.  This is to say that I’m learning there is more to my life and more to the expectations of it than an extra line on a pregnancy test.

I’m so glad for everyone who’s come here to read my thoughts through this part of my journey – and this won’t be the last I have to say on the subject, rather this is me saying it is not going to be focal point of my life.  It is not going to consume my every thought or moment – I do my three lovely babies no service when I forget to live the life I have so that is what I’m doing.

I’m taking what I have in this internal living room of my mind and shifting it around, letting those experiences slide around and support, not hinder, what I need out of this beautiful life.

Postcards From the Garden

This year is a good reminder that gardening is skill you acquire and to a certain extent you’re always at the mercy of things outside of your control (sounds a lot like my life these last few years).  I probably needed a year to remind me that I can’t expect great results without more work – so I’ll start reading up on soil amending and compost and things like that for the fall.  I need to figure out what to feed the hydrangea so the blooms are blue next year (pink is fine, but we got it to be blue) and what to feed the lillies so they’re taller.

So right now we’re tromping through – the spinach is about ready to be pulled up and I have some lettuce to replace it.  The potatoes look good for the most part, but the onions just don’t look great yet and the broccoli is a favorite of the critters.  I think we need some good hot weather in July for those onions and I need to figure out a way to deter the critters just for a little bit.

Our raspberries look alright – we have more first year shoots than second or third year so I’m thinking next year will be our boom year, but we’ll get something thing year.  Luckily the black raspberry bush at my parents house is thriving and already filled with black raspberries.

The flowers I’ve planted this year are doing okay so far – the Black-eyed Susans are doing well and the Coreopsis and Bellis are on their second rounds of blooms.  The Hollyhock seed I put down has produced a few shoots so I’m hoping it gets big enough to bloom at seed for next year.  The original flowers on the Bee Balm have died of – but there are small shoots coming up on each which bodes well for a few more flowers.  Almost all of the bulbs I planted have died off for the season and I’m crossing my fingers the critters haven’t dug up all them by the fall.

We did start a big project we’ve been planning for a while – we finally found the right edgers for our back and north beds and put those in while peeling up the pavers that were acting as edgers on the north side.  Two deep – why were they two deep?  I will never know, but I do know that because the pavers were two deep they gave us just about enough to basically lay a (right now very wobbly) bit of walk way in the back, dark corner.  It still need a lot of work and finesse, but it makes me excited to see what we can get done this year and how the whole yard will look next.  I’m hoping all the perinneals I put in this year will decrease the amount of time the garden beds demand in general in terms of slightly less need for mulch, weeding, etc.

After this series of storms passes I hope to get what should be the last round of flowers in the ground for this year, but I’ll hold off until next time to share what all else there will be.

Right now it’s just about time and I definitely don’t feel like there’s enough hours in the day to do everything (says the gal looking over her computer at the mound of laundry she hasn’t even started yet).  Trying to figure out garden work and home care, regular chores, enjoyable activities, etc. is definitely a balancing act I have not perfected yet.

Frock Friday: Dorothy

Let me introduce you to Dorothy.
Named after the patron saint of Gardeners and Florists.
With the pretty little flowers on this fabric I had to find a flower related saint.

The Details:

  • Fabric:  Quilting Cotton from Joann’s, $4 a yard on clearance.  Lined with a light weight polyester picked up from the reminent bin for a couple dollars
  • Total Cost:  Probably around $30
  • Pattern:  Retro Butterick – B5748
  • Notes:  Love, love, love, love.  After doing some research regarding reading pattern envelopes I was able to pick out the perfect size for this dress from the beginning.  Except for taking in the back a little it’s straight from the pattern.  Next time I make this pattern, and there will be a next time – I need to adjust the shoulders just a little, but it wasn’t enough to bother me to start over on this one.  I would have never picked out a dress in this color for myself from a store, but I do love having something bright in my wardrobe now and I’ve gotten so many complements on it in just one day.  The dress was easy to cut and sew – took me about two days starting and stopping and would be a perfect, flattering dress for a beginner!

Still learning how to take blog/fashion pictures.  Figured out the whole “don’t look like a vampire” stand in the shade trick, now to tackle the infamous “how many chins do I have” posture issue. But hey!  I finally got that haircut and a new box of dye!

Oh, it also does this – so twirly!

I may have had a Marilyn moment getting off the bus today – circle skirt do catch the wind easily.


Summer Reading List

Since I shared my summer reading list I thought I’d share some of the books I’m hoping to get thru with Henry this summer.  We’re part of two libraries Summer Reading Programs – one is more literacy activity based and the other has a sold “color in a star for each book you read” option – so we’ve got a lot to do in the next month and a half.

We’re at a tricky stage right now – he’s just showing the earliest interest at learning how to read (and I’m a phonics fan, so we really stress the “how to” part of that; no sight words here), but has pretty good attention span.  So we’ve been coming home with quite the eclectic mix between early readers, easy readers, our usually nonfiction haul, audiobooks and regular picture books.  He’s ready for longer books, but as much as “easy readers” drive me crazy they are proving helpful in learning early phonics, but we can’t survive on easy readers alone.

Plus I have this crazy theory that if we rely only on easy readers at this stage we’re missing out on a key time to engage interest in reading.  I’ve also been discovering there are some books that I want us to experience, but I have not real interest in reading out loud myself – so audiobooks to the rescue!

So for now, this is what we have on our coffee table to read through or listen to over the next couple weeks.

Picture Books:
Easy Readers/Early Readers:
*I’ve tried to read Herriot many times both as an adult and a child – but I would listen to Jim Dale read the phonebook.  Herriot comes alive for me so much more listening to him read it.