Monday, 17 September 2018

Fallow Fields

Sorry I sort of disappeared for awhile, there. Life got crazy busy. We have two new boarders living with us now, and the piping season wrapped up, and harvest season is upon us and...well, I won't bore you with all of it. Suffice it to say it's been a bit exhausting. But when I take time to lie around with a book and say no to things, I feel guilty. What is it in me that can't sit on the couch and listen to a neighbour mow his lawn without feeling I need to jump up and mow mine too (even though I just mowed it two days ago)?

I got an email from my sister that I found very comforting, though. She reminded me that fields need to lie fallow now and then to remain productive. They can't keep producing at high intensity without a resting period. She's right, of course. I know this, but it helps to be reminded now and then.

Winter is coming and life will slow down, and I look forward to long dark evenings by the fireplace. I have read a lot about how to extend the growing season in your garden, but I think it's wiser not to. The earth and I both need the sleep.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

The Kindness of Strangers

This week I found myself in a tight spot without a lot of options and my husband away. I won't go into detail because I don't want to embarrass the person who came to my rescue; I'll just say that someone I barely knew donated about an hour of his time to help me out and provided the tools I needed for the fix...He even provided bug spray so I wasn't eaten alive while dealing with things!  He left his tools with me overnight in case I needed them later, and he checked back in with me the next morning to ensure all was well. I felt watched over. And I've made a new friend. Tender mercies all over the place.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

My computer died a while ago, and a 15-year-old whiz kid we know rebuilt it for us. He did a great job except for one weird quirk the computer now has that it didn't before---You have to shut down, not log off, or the next time you try to use it, it won't let you enter your password. That means if we're going to be away from it for a while or if we're switching users, we have to shut down every time.

It got me thinking about shutting down -- 5 a.m., unable to do much because everyone else in the house is sleeping, but unable to go back to bed myself -- and I found myself making leaps from one topic to another and somehow tying them together. (As one's brain is apt to do when it's sleep deprived.) I once took a personality test that said I was a sociable introvert. I enjoy interacting with people and have a fun time when I'm with them, and then I have to go lie down and isolate myself for a couple of days to recover. It certainly explains why I find teaching great but exhausting, why I avoid small chat with people, why I barricade myself behind a book in the staff lunch room. It explains why eight hours at work alone with my computer doesn't drain me as much as three hours of church does.

Does my computer have the same personality? Can it take only so much interaction and then it needs to block us out for a while to recover?

It certainly helped me to take that test and realize I'm normal, categorizable, valid. I'm not the only one who is like this. And I find I can be kinder toward myself because of it. I understand now my need to lie down with a book partway through the day, and I can gently allow it for a while without judgment, before shooing myself off the couch to dive in once more.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Tallying the Garden

I've seen the first sign of changing colours in the trees and there's a wrapping-up sort of feeling to the air. The weather has been so wild and weird this summer that I hardly know what to expect from the garden anymore. The cool-weather things like lettuce and kale hardly did anything this year, compared to the bags and bags we got last year. The asparagus and rhubarb were great as always. The tomatoes seem happy, the peppers and cucumbers have never done so well, and the green onions are two feet tall. The broccoli was disappointing but gave a valiant effort. The green beans have been amazing and abundant. The dry beans are starting to dry in their pods now, rattling and papery and satisfying to pop open. But the cabbages are the size of softballs, the radishes and beets hardly surfaced, the carrots didn't even bother germinating, we got about five pathetic zucchini in total, and the spaghetti squash produced only one tiny squash that the rabbits promptly ate. Now it's suddenly putting out vines fifteen feet long, though, that have leaped from the bed, climbed the asparagus fern, and sprinted for the hedge.

Every year I plan and dream and sometimes I'm satisfied and other times I'm disappointed. But no matter how strange the weather or uncooperative the vegetables, every February still finds me drooling over seed catalogues and planning for the next garden. Gardeners never give up. They just work themselves into the ground.

Gardening is all about looking forward, never being in the now. No wonder zen meditation is so difficult for me! The very definition of planting a seed is to live in the future.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Bottling Tomatoes

It's act-like-a-squirrel time again, and I'm putting up food for the winter. I'm not doing as much this year, because most of the kidlets have flown the nest, but I still get the same satisfied thrill watching the empty jars disappear, replaced by glowing jewel-toned jars on the shelf. There's something deeply fulfilling about knowing you have worked hard and provided for your family for another season.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Kayaking the Saugeen River

A lovely couple of days spent along the Saugeen River. My first kayaking trip was 8.5 kms and just perfect for my first experience. Smooth water other than a few boulders to avoid, beautiful weather, fun cousins to do it with, and just a wonderful time. I'm just sorry it's taken me 51 years to try it! I had no idea what I've been missing.




Saturday, 4 August 2018

And then there were none

The rabbits were growing well and it looked like mama was taking good care of them in their newly-constructed nest. But after about 4 days, we went outside to find the ferny covering raked aside and no sign of the bunnies. No sign of violence, either, though, and no idea where they've gone or what happened. A raccoon? Mama moved them elsewhere? I don't know. It's a bit disturbing, thinking of some mayhem happening in our yard under cover of night while we were sleeping...

I can only do so much, I know, and then nature does her thing and I can't control the outcome. And no doubt there will be another new nest somewhere in the yard eventually. But still feeling sad and disappointed.