Garden Update July 24, 2017

Another weeks gone by and it was incredibly busy for us, full of baby showers, play dates and medical appointments.  I found it hard to keep up with the housework so gardening was not happening.  The most I got done was making sure everything was watered and the greenhouse tomato plants fertilized.  Thankfully the gardens are at the point where a week of neglect isn’t too bad and barely noticeable.  I will say that I’ve basically given up on pruning the tomatoes.  I do some here and there but keeping up with 91 plants is just too much! 

Anyways the garden seems to be doing well! I ate my first tomato – Amish paste variety, it was tasty! The tomatoes are all growing like crazy, I’m especially happy with how the greenhouse plants are doing, the shade cloth has proved to be a great purchase.  The greenhouse peppers are also doing amazing, the peppers in the garden however are still not doing awesome.  I’m going to try a bit of fertilizer but I actually think it’s too much sun.  There are a couple plants being shaded by the zucchini and they are green and amazing, so maybe I need to get another shade cloth and rig it up somehow.  Also a lot of the peppers are splitting, I thought maybe the hail we got before had damaged some but now there are more.  From what I read online it’s probably due to inconsistent watering – which makes sense, so I guess I’ll try to be more consistent with the peppers. The greens, carrots, and onions are status quo.  We ate our first half zucchini last night from Ezekiel’s little garden and he’s getting a couple pea pods to munch on per day which makes him happy.  I  cut our first dill harvest today, made some dill potatoes and froze the rest.  

So here’s the garden in pictures! 


Tomatoes like crazy! 


The pictures make the peppers look happier than they are.


Despite them not looking happy there are still some peppers growing.


I can’t wait to dig up those heads of lettuce! 


Zucchinis are taking off!


Ezekiel’s garden goods.


Loving having an herb garden! 


The greenhouse is just so much fun this year! 

That’s it for this week! I’m predicting that I’m going to be incredibly busy with tomatoes in the next three weeks.  I’m mentally gearing up the busyness of canning in the fall.  I think I’ll be doing a lot of baby wearing ūüôā

Garden Update July 8,2017

I’d really love to make these updates more regulated – like say – make an update every Sunday.  Yet this time in my life and motherhood journey I’m learning to be ok with “good enough” for most things.  So I take pictures regularly (confession: currently I have more garden pictures on my phone than kiddo pictures) and when I have some time to sit on my phone (and not scroll Instagram) I’ll write out a post.  Right now my baby needs some momma snuggles while sleeping so I have Jessica Jones on Netflix (my husband and I have recently become obsessed with all the Netflix original Marvel shows) and a post to write.

Since I last wrote I’ve actually gotten quite a lot accomplished in the garden.  I have all the tomatoes potted up, the tomatoes in the garden are pruned, supported and fertilized.  I harvested A LOT of greens and we’ve been enjoying salads daily.  The garden is growing amazingly, the wildflowers are blooming more and more each day, the herbs are coming along well, the tomatoes are mostly all flowering and many have tomatoes, and the peppers are finally starting to perk up and we already have a few growing. 

This next week there’s a couple “have to” items on my list: hang up a shade cloth in the greenhouse and pot up the rest of the peppers.  Along with those two things I’m going to try and work through the rest of the potted tomatoes – prune them, stake them and fertilize them.  Lots and lots to do around here! 

So here’s the last while in pictures:

Now, here’s the garden today:

Hobbies are Important

dsc_0016

As I sat and knit while in the hospital on Sunday evening and listened to various podcast episodes I couldn’t help but think how relaxing it was. ¬†I mean I was in the hospital after a preterm labour scare but I was at complete peace as I put my hands to work and distracted my mind.

Then last night I attended a craft night with one of my good friends where we learned how to make watercolour pillow covers.  It was a night of socializing, eating and crafting and after we left we both stated how relaxing it was.  As we sat and painted using our hands and distracting our minds we were relaxed.

Then again today as I sat in my bed counting contractions, knitting and listening to podcasts I felt a joy in what I was doing. ¬†I’ve done very tiny amounts of knit work in the past but have rarely finished anything and certainly have never finished a big project like the blanket I am working on. ¬†I grew up watching my mom do every type of craft imaginable – sewing, needle work, yarn work – seriously you name it she can probably make it. ¬†I always wished I could do those things and I tried several times but just never got into it and then lamented that I wasn’t crafty. ¬†I do a bit of crafting and DIY here and there but I don’t have a dedicated craft “hobby.” ¬†I think the biggest reason that I’ve never been able to really pick up a craft hobby is because I’m a doer and goer – I need to be always doing something productive usually in the form of household tasks and organization. ¬†It’s gotten a lot worse in the last few years since becoming a momma if I’m not doing a productive household task then I feel like I’m wasting my time. ¬†Even reading – a hobby that I used to enjoy immensely – fell to the wayside. ¬†In the evenings I’d be so exhausted that I wouldn’t have any energy to get more tasks completed and so my solution was to just go to bed. ¬†Sometimes I’d watch an episode of a show I enjoy but usually I’d just go to sleep – I’m talking EARLY like 7 or 8 pm.

Friends, this is pathetic!

In the warm months it doesn’t feel so bad because I have my garden as a hobby during the day and so that brings me so much contentment but the evenings are still void of anything. ¬†The thing is that evenings is a time where I could be spending with my husband while our little one is in bed. ¬†We don’t have a TV but he usually will watch Netflix on his computer and I rarely am interested in anything he’s watching so I just go to bed. ¬†Since being on modified rest I’ve realized the importance of having a hobby and I’ve realized that it is NOT wasted time. ¬†There’s something about taking the time to craft something with your hands that is going to be an item for someone you love. ¬†As I knit this baby blanket I dream of the little one that will soon be wrapped up in it and it brings my heart so much joy. ¬†It makes the time spent so worth it, and I know that every time I look at it I’ll remember this time spent resting and willing my body to cooperate. ¬†The memories will be knitted into every stitch and it will be beautiful.

Today I went to a store that sells all things yarn related and as I browsed and gently touched all the yarn I dreamt of the projects I could complete. ¬†I’m so excited to have this hobby and can’t wait to continue.

What about you? Do you have a hobby that you enjoy doing? How do you occupy your evenings when the littles are in bed?

Taking Back Control

IMG_6304

I’ve been thinking a lot today about living with a chronic illness and/or chronic pain. ¬†I bet there’s thousands upon thousands of blog posts on this subject but I process best through writing and so I will add my few words to the millions already written. ¬†Grab a coffee with me and keep reading if you’re interested :).

Why this post today? ¬†Well I guess it’s because the last couple days I’ve been struggling more with my energy and so I’ve been wondering why. ¬†I’ve gone through the mental list of possible reasons and in the end I think it’s just what comes with the territory of chronic illness – and you know, that’s OK. ¬†I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be ups and downs but I really think living well through all of it requires consistency, persistence, and a whole lot of grace.

I’m not quiet about my medical conditions/history, in fact I’m probably annoyingly verbal about it. ¬†Yet if you were to meet me and spend a week with me and if I were not to verbalize anything you would never know that I have any sort of condition (granted you could probably pick up on the twisted back if you were really paying attention). ¬†In fact I would have never ever given myself a label of “chronic” anything up until a couple years ago. ¬†I suppose I never labelled anything until I was trying to conceive and was advised to stop taking my NSAID’s to boost my chances. ¬†In that moment I began to understand that I did in fact suffer from chronic pain and had done so for so many years that I can’t remember a time without pain. ¬†Despite the chronic aspect of my pain I continued to live well and it really didn’t impact much of anything in my life.

Fast forward to the last 7 months.

I was just coming out of my full time working momma fog and began to realize that I had been feeling significantly unwell. ¬†I’ve already wrote about my health struggles but it’s only recently that I have accepted that this too could very well be a chronic thing. ¬†The thing is, it’s only the last 4-6 weeks that I’ve began feeling well again despite my health issues. ¬†I feel as though I’m finally rising above the fog and now that every serious scenario has been ruled out I can finally begin to gain control again. ¬†See, in the midst of all of this I had allowed myself to spiral downwards in a number of ways. ¬†I felt out of control of my health as a whole and because of that I began to feel out of control of other areas of my life – spiritually, mentally, and financially. ¬†I am so thankful for amazing physicians who allowed me to find solutions – even if they are just helping symptoms at this point – so that I could be lifted out of the dizzy fog and back onto solid ground.

A couple weeks ago I made the conscious decision that I was now going to gain back some control. ¬†Obviously I know I’m never fully in control but there are always steps we can take to live well and live responsibly in a way that benefits our own lives and therefore the lives around us. ¬†The hard part is realizing that it is our responsibility to live well, and living well always takes a certain amount of effort and consistency. ¬†I know from past experience that it is very possible to live well despite chronic illness and pain and I am determined to get back to that point. ¬†Here’s what I’m doing to get to that point:

Physical

  • Daily walking – this means getting up as early as 0445 in the morning and walking for a minimum of 30 minutes as well as getting out for walks during the day. ¬†There’s not a lot I can do safely in terms of exercise but walking is easy, cheap and safe.
  • 3x/week body weight exercise – a lot of the time this is a very short amount of time and crammed into the daily routines of life. ¬†It looks like dance parties with my son incorporating squats, planks, push-ups etc, or cooking supper while doing squats, or planking during Ezekiel’s bath time.
  • Eating fresh and eating green – having the garden has helped a lot with this part and I’m not being strict yet because I know it will be a natural evolution of life but I am trying to be far more conscious of what goes into my mouth.

Mental

  • Podcasts – I’ve been listening to a lot of health and wellness podcasts that have greatly enhanced my mental health. ¬†I love learning but rarely have time to do new learning so this is something that’s easy to do while walking and driving.
  • Sleep – I’ve been getting to bed at a consistent time and waking at a consistent time.
  • Walking and exercise also contributes to mental wellness.

Spiritual

  • Meditation – I’ve committed to a daily meditation using an app. ¬†I don’t outline a specific amount of time or what I want to accomplish – all of that will come with practice.

Financially

  • Keep the credit cards at home – I’ve taken them out of my wallet and put them away in a drawer. ¬†I don’t do much online shopping so that’s not even a temptation for me but I consistently have been using my credit cards when I run out of cash and then paying them off with my pay cheques instead of just keeping myself accountable to the budget. ¬†I’m determined to be credit card debt free in the next few months so that I can focus on paying student loans/debts. ¬†The easiest way to get rid of the temptation is to remove it all together.
  • Strict grocery budget – I spend a ridiculous amount of money on food. ¬†So I’ve instituted a strict grocery budget and I’m following it by using a calculator in the grocery store which helps me to say “no” to those extra items that I don’t really need but think I want. ¬†When I go to the farmers market I take only the amount of cash left over from the grocery store and leave my wallet in the car so I’m not tempted to by anything extra.
  • Drink drip coffee – this is huge for me guys. ¬†This was the hardest one to come to terms with. ¬†If I have some extra money in the budget I’ll buy my special coffee but otherwise I’ll drink the drip coffee that my husband drinks.

There are sacrifices that need to be made but I know that these small sacrifices now will reap amazing rewards when it comes to living well and especially living well with chronic illnesses and pain. ¬†Each part of our lives are intertwined and when one part is suffering the other parts are sure to follow which is why I’m addressing each area of my life in order to gain back wellness.

The end goal is to be in optimal health before getting pregnant with our next child and I’m determined to reach that goal.

 

Garden Update July 17

How did three weeks go by? It’s been a busy time around here. ¬†The first of those 3 weeks was full of work for me, I worked 6/7 days which was nuts. ¬†After that I spent time catching up around the house and garden and then we were off to Saskatchewan for a wedding. ¬†This past week I’ve been doing things here and there around the house, doing a TONNE of walking (a post on that to come soon with an update on my health) and a couple night shifts thrown in there. ¬†So to say we’ve been busy is a bit of an understatement but it’s been good, so so good.

The rain hasn’t stopped in what seems like weeks. ¬†The yard and gardens are water logged and squishy and I’m really hoping for some sun this week to help the veggies grow. ¬†Despite the lack of sun things seem to be doing well although my tomato plants are really begging for sun, a lot of the fruit is split on the bottoms and the leaves are curling on a lot of plants – sure signs of overwatering.

I’ve had quite a bit of harvesting to do, mostly leafy greens, lots of kale and swiss chard. ¬†There have been 4 tomatoes that we have enjoyed and 2 zucchini’s which have been saut√©ed and loved. ¬†The spinach and radishes are completely done, pulled and composted and I’ve replaced them with three different types of lettuce. ¬† I thought we would be drowning in greens but actually we keep running out and having to harvest more! ¬†I’m finding that I’m just becoming more creative in incorporating them into our meals and so far everyone has enjoyed it which is a very good thing :).

Despite me not writing posts with updates I’ve been taking pictures with intentions of blogging so here’s pictures from the week of July 3.

Now from the week of July 10:

Finally, this past week:

Well that’s it for now. ¬†Hopefully this week I’ll have time to do some more blogging that’s not just gardening.

Ciao friends!

Garden Update June 26

I’ve been waiting all day to be able to post this. ¬†I literally had these photos done by 730 this morning and here it is 1030 at night when I should be sleeping. ¬†It’s been a good day but a day that has been full of family and friends being together and the in between has been time to sit and just be. ¬†So I may pay for this in the morning but I really wanted to get this update up.

The garden is thriving and I couldn’t be happier. ¬†We are now enjoying garden goodies daily. ¬†One of my regrets is not planting more lettuce earlier on but I will be planting more this week.

Let’s start in the big garden,¬†the tomatoes are doing lovely. ¬†I must admit though, they are now getting to the point of growing like crazy and I’m a little overwhelmed with the upkeep. ¬†I thought I’d be able to do weekly up keeping but I’m finding it now has to be done every few days. ¬†I can’t complain though, they have some beautiful looking tomatoes on them!

 

I have thinned everything out to the best of my ability and now it’s just weeding and harvesting to do. ¬†One variety of carrot did really well, the other is pretty sparse. ¬†The seeds were a few years old so that’s likely why. ¬†My terrible planting is really evident by how much (or little) space is between things. ¬†I’ll be pulling all the radishes this week. ¬†We aren’t huge radish eaters so I didn’t plant a lot but what I did plant has done really well. ¬†I’m actually really impressed because I’ve tried to grow them several times with no luck. ¬†The three varieties of lettuce I tried growing did absolutely nothing – there is some romaine growing though. ¬†In the place of the radishes and where the lettuce didn’t grow I’ll be planting a mixed variety of lettuce which I have been growing in a container and we really like. ¬†I’m not sure how the beets are doing, but judging by their tops I think they are ok. ¬†The spinach and kale are¬†doing really great, I did a big harvest today which is almost gone already, we are eating greens like crazy lately.

Now the smaller garden:

IMG_5444

The butternut squash plants are struggling, I’m not sure if I let them grow too long in small pots before planting them. ¬†I’m going to pick up a plant tonic to try out and see if that makes them happier.

IMG_5446

The spaghetti squash, zucchini’s, and cucumbers are doing well though:

The pumpkin seeds I thought were duds finally sprouted. ¬†I doubt anything will produce from them but I’m willing to wait and see.

IMG_5454

The flowers are doing well other than the Violas which I’m pretty sure never germinated, there are some plants growing there that I’m almost positive are just weeds but I can’t pull them just in case!

The greenhouse gardens are doing well.  Everything is coming up, some more slowly than others but I have high hopes.  I ended up deadheading the snapdragons after this photo.

The greenhouse plants seem to be doing well – the peppers especially. ¬†The tomatoes I’m not sure about, one of them seems to just be shooting high with very little branches. ¬†I’m interested to see if it produces much. ¬†I’m really excited about the amount of blooms starting on the habanero’s and there’s a few peppers growing already.

The deck tomatoes are doing so much better than I expected and our container strawberries started to really produce!

Now it’s way past my bedtime and 5am is going to come quickly! I have some posts brewing in the back of my mind so I hope to get some time to jot those down. ¬†For now I’ll just say see you next week! If you have a garden blog please share it with me, I’m obsessed with browsing gardens ūüôā

Ciao friends!

Weekly Garden Update June 19

Ok, I figured I’d start my weekly updates today and then try to do them each Sunday.

Happy Fathers day by the way!

Here’s a big view of the yard as best I could get it.

Now I’ll take you through each of the gardens and then do the tomatoes and peppers separately. ¬†I’ll start with the greenhouse gardens.

IMG_5175In the left hand garden I have morning glories and sweet peas planted to the back of the garden which will climb up the trellis and hopefully make it gorgeous!

IMG_5177I have three teepees with different types of peas planted at the bases of the poles. ¬†Hopefully they climb up the poles. ¬†Between the poles I have Tom Thumb Peas planted which don’t climb.

IMG_5180In the right hand garden I have bachelor buttons planted in the front of them.  I have a number of edible flower varieties planted that I purchased from a local plant store that supplies really great seeds.  The edible flowers came in a kit and so far all the seeds have done really well.  You should check them out here.

IMG_5181These are the snap dragons I grew from seed. ¬†I started them in February at the same time I started my tomatoes and peppers. ¬†I have never noticed snapdragons in previous years of greenhouse wanderings and had no idea what they were supposed to look like or how to grow them – so all of that considered I’m pretty impressed with them!

IMG_5182Behind the snapdragons I have three more teepees that have a couple different of varieties of beans planted at the bases.  One morning I came out to find a lot of the seeds at the surface, I have a feeling some of them were stolen by some kind of animal Рlikely birds.

Now on to the large garden:

And the smaller garden – the back of the garden is tomatoes, the middle is flowers and the front is squash varieties and cucumbers (and failed pumpkins). ¬†I’m pretty sure the viola’s failed as well and are just some weeds.

Now the tomatoes and peppers.

Lastly – the containers!

Overall I’m pretty happy with how things are going. ¬†There are some flops but that’s to be expected!

Until next week!