Raise your hand if you're a homeowner and still have a mile-long to do list with tasks that have been there since the day you moved in.
The annoying thing about being a homeowner is that you never get everything on your list done, but I guess that can be fun too. When you have a constant stream of projects, you're never bored and your house is continually improved.
There are a lot of things still on that list for us and we're adding more every week, but we did cross off a big one from the list last weekend: refinishing our deck.
I picked the first tomato from our garden last week and oh boy, was it delicious. It was a bright red sun gold from a plant that I grew from a seed. And not only that, but it was from a seed that I saved from a sun gold tomato I grew in last year's garden.
If you told me last year that I would be able to grow tomatoes, keep them alive, save their seeds, plant those seeds and keep the seedlings alive long enough to harvest from those plants the next year, I would have laughed.
But our garden is thriving despite my fear that I'd kill everything. I'm not the best gardener, but I'm learning, and every day when I come home to discover another ripe blueberry, or a group of bees pollinating the zucchini, I am so thankful that nature has a way of thriving despite my presence. I am even thankful for our mint, which is out of control and now trying to escape through the cracks in the raised bed. Mojitos, anyone?
I've spent a lot of time in our garden the last few weeks. Part of the reason is because it has been too hot in our house, but it's also because our garden is changing every day. From a newly ripened blueberry to the appearance of another garden pest, there is always something to tend to. Our garden is a peaceful place for me, and I often find myself sitting on the edge of one of the beds and looking out at everything I've grown with a smile on my face. I'm especially proud of the crops that I grew from seeds - several of my tomato plants, beets, peas and lettuce - that are thriving. And with every beet, sugar snap pea or raspberry I harvest, I'm still amazed that I have managed to keep so many plants alive!
As I was sitting outside the other day, a little bee started buzzing around me, floating from one blueberry blossom to another. As I sat watching it pass from blossom to blossom, no doubt playing an important role in our garden, I was very thankful it was there.
When I shared our backyard renovation last month it was clear that our backyard has come a long way since we bought it in March of last year. And after a lot of planting, pest fighting and sun our garden is thriving! We've even been able to harvest some of our herbs, carrots, rhubarb and raspberries.
It has been fun to check the progress of our garden each day when we get home, but it hasn't been easy. We've been waging the war against aphids, cabbage worms and possibly slugs. Luckily, it seems we are winning the war (without pesticides!), and we hope it stays that way. I'll post more on that subject later.
Last year we had a modest-sized container garden that consisted of herbs,
tomatoes, peppers, peas and hops, but this year, due to all of the real
estate we now have, we've significantly increased our ability to grow
more food, like:
Last month I experienced a part of life that was new to me - I lost my first grandparent, my Grandmother Mae. Her health had been declining for a few years, and took a turn for the worst a few months ago, until her body finally had enough and she died peacefully, surrounded by our family.
It's been comforting to know that she is no longer in pain, but selfishly, I still want her to be here. I miss talking to her, hugging her, and seeing her with my Grandpa Hugh, to whom she was married for 64 years.
I felt this way especially as I visited their home over Memorial Day weekend, to help my family sort through her belongings and start cleaning out their home so my Grandpa can move to an assisted living facility. It was so strange to be in their home for the first time since she died. Even though she wasn't there, I still felt her presence in so many ways, as it's the house that was their home for 13 years.