rainy days got you down? ideas for gardeners on a rainy day

seed startsGod made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.  ~Author Unknown

It’s a cool, rainy  day here–the kind of weather that makes me want to lie on the couch and doze on and off, dreaming of warm, sunny days and veggies growing on the vine.  Sadly, however, the inside of my house beckons me.  She’s a bit jealous that I’ve been spending so much time outside recently.  It’s hard to justify indoor chores when I could be doing a number of outside tasks that fill my spirit.

So , what does a farmer or gardener do on a rainy day?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Get outside anyway:  Wet ground = Let’s transplant!!  All those great plants that are ready to split (lillies, hostas, iris, ajuga) will survive much better if moved to damp soil in weather that won’t dry them out.  You’ll spend less time having to care for them if you transplant sooner rather than later.
  • Plan your gardens.  Look out the window and think about where seeds might go or where you’ll put the new yard art your going to make from a Pinterest post.  Get out some paper and markers or colored pencils.  Enjoy it, be creative!
  • Speaking of Pinterest, get on there and see if you can find some great new ideas–vertical trellises, pallet gardens, yard sculptures.  Who knows what you can find to do with all those things you’ve been upcycling.
  • Plant some seeds.  It was a great day here to plant sugar snap seeds–wet ground will help them soften up so they can sprout more easily.
  • Start some seeds indoors.  Get going on those more tender plants that require indoor growth.  If you’ve already started seeds, check for dampness and size.  Make sure your seedlings aren’t overcrowding each other.
  • Try a little homesteading project.  I’m ran outside this morning and pulled up the mint taking over my kale.  Voila!  Time to start drying the herb for winter mint tea.
  • Pull out the cookbooks.  Get excited about harvesting all those great fruits and veggies by looking up some new
    recipes and putting sticky tabs on the ones you want to try.  They might even encourage you to grow something you’ve never attempted before.cookbooks
  • Pick out a new gardening/farming/homesteading skill and research it.  It is never too late, and you are never to old to learn something new.

So, next time you feel like the preteen who walks around saying “I’m bored!  There’s nothing to do,”  consider this list or challenge yourself to add a few other ideas.  And if you’re still bored?  There’s laundry to wash, floors to mop, and dishes to dry. . . . .  uh, huh, that’s what I thought.

lessons learned: simple living

Living simply was something I experienced as a child but lost somewhere on the journey to adulthood.  It included playing in the backyard, gardening with my dad, cooking with mom, and loving on my grandparents.  We climbed trees, visited with the neighbors, picnicked on Saturdays and went to church on Sundays.simple living

As a young girl, I remember the large garden in our backyard.  Dad used post hole diggers to make room for the long poles, then he used natural twine to make his own trellis between the poles.  Beans would climb the up the strands, and in the summer, you could smell the twine baking in the hot sun.

We planted corn on the left side.  The silk tassels tickled my chin as I’d carry arms full up to the back deck.  We’d sit out there and shuck it then Mom would boil it for dinner.

In the summers, we’d pick berries, and with purple fingers, prepare them for freezing or canning.  Canning wasn’t limited to jam but also included spaghetti sauce and pickles, lots and lots of pickles.

Fall brought with it leaf raking and jumping in piles in the front yard.  We talked with neighbors as we played outside on the weekends–that was easy to do because you didn’t have to yell over leaf blowers.

In the winter, we sat in our kitchen window and watched the birds feed on pine cones covered in peanut butter and bird seed.  Before upcycling was fashionable, Mom propped our Christmas tree against the the dogwood outside our kitchen so birds could perch and eat and keep warm.

Simplicity seemed to go her merry way as I entered college to prepare for my professional career.  Upon moving into the real world and learning real life lessons, Simplicity definitely moved beyond my reach.

At 40, I was determined to reconnect with Simplicity–having cancer and midlife occur in the same year will do that to you.  Thankfully, I have found her again, and here is what I’ve learned:

  • Simple living is available to anyone who is willing to make it a priority.
  • Living simply doesn’t mean you give up important things, it means you find out what is truly important to you.
  • Simplicity involves slowing down, appreciating the baby steps, and being patient.
  • “Simple” can be synonymous with “mindful” or “intentional.”
  • Simple living includes reconnecting with traditions and practices that bring you peace.
  • Living simply includes an appreciation for nature/creation and our role in it.

“Simple living” is more than a catch phrase on a magazine cover.  For most adults, it can mean to “just do” a little less and “just be” a little more, to get back to the basics or go “old school.”  Turn off the technology, use tools or equipment that doesn’t require electricity or gas, and clean out the clutter, then be ready–you won’t believe the amazing gifts that will be waiting for you.

lessons learned: putting the gardens to bed

Yesterday, my daughter and I updated our kitchen calendar with events for the next couple of months.  In the corner, I noted some projects I have planned for us to complete over Labor Day weekend–paint the bathrooms, steam clean the upstairs, and put the gardens to bed.

“‘Put the gardens to bed,’” my daughter exclaimed, “isn’t there a more technical term for that?”  (For someone who’d rather pick up a cell phone than a hoe, who was she to be so persnickety?!)

“Well, many gardeners use that term,” I noted nonchalantly, and with that I snapped the top on the marker and walked away.

As I spent time homesteading in the kitchen that afternoon, I meditated on why I like the phrase “put the gardens to bed.”  Perhaps, it connects me to the earth in a way that feels good–like a parent who gently tucks in her child each night before sleep comes.  Maybe, it symbolizes the way I nurture my gardens as I carefully tend to them in preparation for winter.

Either way, I believe the phrase reminds me of what Autumn brings with her–a time for slowing down, a season of preparation.

Putting the gardens to bed in September removes any parts of the summer that may pull energy out of the soil.  It also includes nourishing the dirt with organic amendments or mulch that will enrich the earth over the winter.

But most importantly, it creates the opportunity for Nature to “just be” with the Creator.

Sometimes, we forget the importance of preparing for rest–transitioning from an active life to a quiet one.  If you have ever cared for little children, you know they cannot come right in from playing outside and head straight for a nap.  They need to slow down first, prepare their little bodies for sleep, then head to bed.

It is the same for us as adults.  Putting the gardens to bed reminds us to be intentional about resting in God on our journey.

As I walked into the kitchen this morning, I noticed the list again.  I began making a mental checklist of all that I wanted to accomplish prior to Winter’s rest.

I smiled when I realized that I wasn’t focusing on Growing Grace Farm but about my own spirit.