About Me

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I'm a bit silly & I like to make people laugh. People tell me I'm rather loud but I am usually quiet until I get to know you. I love life, I live life to the fullest & treat others as I would like to be treated.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From the porch

Sunshiny days call me to my front porch to read or just look at the garden. The Hostas we brought back from Nana's garden in Massachusetts after she passed away are blooming with their pale purple flowers.
I sit on the bench my brother Aaron made for us or on one of the rocking chairs that used to be Nana & Grandpas. Great memories and conversations, bird watching afternoons along with numerous Red Sox games were watched in those chairs with Nana and Grandpa when we'd visit them in Massachusetts. Sitting in them reminds me of those amazing memories we shared.

The Tiger Lilies are bursting their colorful orange in the front garden.

Thanks for enjoying an afternoon on my porch with me.

Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

Community garden plots

Our community garden plots are bursting with life. It's where I spend several hours a week weeding, watering, weeding some more, harvesting, eating, reading and smiling. Yup, smiling. How can you not smile when you witness the seed you planted become food.

We've been snacking on sugar snap peas for a few weeks now.
The Roma tomato plants are loaded with fruit. The Big Boy and the Yellow tomato plants are bursting with fruit on their branches as well. I'd say they should be ripe in a week or two. I'm sooo ready! Bring on the salsa, tomato soup, stewed tomatoes, pizza sauce, diced tomatoes, all that is tomato making, canning business ON! I am sooo ready to don my green rooster apron!

The pumpkin plants are flowering now. We have 5 different pumpkin varieties planted. Some are for eating and others will be used to host our first ever Jackolantern carving party this Fall.

This pickling cucumber plant is going to burst any day now. We'll be making dill pickles, sweet pickles. relishes and all sorts of cucumber salads.

Green peppers are almost ready to eat. I know we can't rush mother nature but please, ripen my tomatoes somewhat soon so I can use these peppers along with the jalapeno peppers to make some salsa and stewed tomatoes. Yesterday I used our last homemade jar of stewed tomatoes. I'll need to add about 10 jars or so to our stewed tomato needs for the year.
Tomatoes and squashes are loving this warm weather.
Below is our one and only eggplant plant that survived all this rain we've been having. There are a few flowers so maybe we'll get a couple eggplants from this. We've never grown eggplant so we shall see. I love the suspense of the surprise.
My lil, 6ft tall brother and his girlfriend standing by a stalk of our sweet corn. This is the 1st year we have ever grown corn. Our soil definitely needs more nutrients and after this season we will be able to add manure and compost to our plots. This was our 1st year at the community garden and we have no way of knowing what was planted where last season. Next year we're going to be closer to having "black gold."

We've harvested oodles upon oodles of green beans. We have 4 more rows than these two that are providing us an abundance of beans and on Sunday I planted 4 more rows where the potatoes were. Ohhh yeah, last week I harvested the rest of our potatoes. Our tater tower at home is still intact and will be harvested in the next couple weeks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The storm

A big storm went through our area last week. We had tornado warnings all through the day that were to end at 8pm. At around 9:30 that night Ken called me as he was passing through town and told me to look out the window. I went to the front porch, stood in the middle of the road, in the rain and watched the sky, then ran upstairs to my bedroom with my camera and stood on the back roof and took pictures. The sky was deep orange, red and yellow. Pretty but eerie at the same time. It was calm as can be and muggy as all hecklets.
It eventually got dark and there was no thunder or rain and the warnings were over with so I headed up to bed. I slept like a champ...which is entirely odd for me. When I awoke I let the pups outside and looked in the backyard. There were a scattering of leaves and twigs...nothing major. When I looked out the front door I saw that our big Adirondack bench was on the opposite side of the porch upside down and on top of my flower bed. Then there was a huge honkan limb in my neighbors front yard where their car is usually parked. Hmmm, it appears we had quite the storm that night. I never heard a thing. Either I am that deaf or my house is that soundproof. Whatever the case may be, I got dressed and went to our community garden to see how our veggies weathered the storm. Our corn was laying on the ground but still rooted in the ground. We have 22 or 24 rows of sweet corn and I spent the next few hours lifting the corn stalks from the ground and moving soil around the base so that they would stand back up. Yup, I did that to each and every stinkan stalk of corn. The peas had fallen down so those had to be put back up and re stringed. Only two tomato plants out of our 72 plants fell. We got very lucky!!
We have green beans and sugar snap peas coming out of our ears from the garden. I've harvested a few zucchini so far, the corn is beginning to tassel and ears of corn and lil tuffs of silk are forming. Let's hope we don't get another doozy of a storm. Having this garden has been amazing. It keeps me busy, feeds us, and there's nothing like muddy toes and some dirt under the nails.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thinking of Joy...

This is one of the songs that reminds me of my niece, Joy. I miss her so much....

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Stepping outside the box

While reading "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert while traveling down country roads in Minnesota, I ran across this quote: "It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody elses life with perfection."

Firstly, I highly recommend this book. It has opened my eyes and heart even more so. Secondly, this quote spoke to me. Rather, it screamed to me. I read it over and over, and over again. Then I'd look out the window and think. Then I'd try to begin reading and my eyes kept going to this particular sentence.

Ken and I as a couple have been going through some pretty deep stuff. We still have some pretty not too swell days since our niece left our home. I struggle on days with what I should be doing, what I want to do and what we are doing. I do not regret our decision to let Joy go and I never have. I just miss her immensely. There has never been any other child who felt "just right" like she did.

Both Ken and I have been reflecting on what we want to do with our lives, and how we can get there. We know that the life we are living right now is not what we inspire to do. But yet we continue and sprinkle a few of our core values and inspirations in our lives when it's possible and live the "American dream."

We live rather comfortably. Meaning, bills are paid and we can go to a movie or play or out to dinner a couple times a month. Can we splurge and go on some exotic vacation on a whim? No. And that is alright with us. I admire Ken because he is on the path in life that he has always dreamed to do. He has always wanted to be a truck driver. He also has strong feelings toward a country lifestyle. Having a hobby farm, a large garden, raising animals...being self sufficient.

I also have many of those dreams...minus the raising of farm animals. Well chickens would be fine. We'd use those for eggs. But to feed an animal only to have to butcher it does not appeal to me one bit. No, I'm not a vegetarian but there is no way I could bulk up an animal day after day and then serve it for dinner. This is a big area where Ken and I differ.

I sometimes find myself letting go or putting my dreams on the back burner so Ken can chase his. That's one area that this quote was calling my name. I need to allow myself to chase some of my dreams. I know Ken would support me 1000000000%

Another area is on what people expect from me and what I allow myself to be. In certain areas I am sacrificing my destiny and living what people would see as a perfect life. I need to do things for myself and allow myself to chase my dreams...whatever they may be. No, I'm not gong through some mid 30's crisis or any other type of change. Ken and I both have these feelings of always doing what feels right or what people may expect from us. We've come to this realization after having Joy in our home for those few days and then making the choice/sacrifice to let her go. We had no other choice but to let our dream of having a family go, even though we had numerous people telling us to stick it out, everything will work out, they wanted another family member...we had to let that dream die...and never revisit that dream again.

With that dream dying we have realized many different things we want to do in life. We want to live in the country, have the big organic garden, be self sufficient, get rid of the nonsense of clutter we own. Be more simple. We want to honor our values and live them to the fullest. With these dreams of ours we know there are some risks and we feel that we can chase them seeing we won't have to drag a child through them. We've always done what's right or what would be perceived as the "norm" It's time to step outside the box.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wild blueberries are bursting in the forest...and we've been out to pick three times. The taste of wild blueberries is astounding. Nothing like the flavorless bluckoid tasting store bought ones. Plus, it's oodles of fun taking a ride to the middle of nowhere and foraging for berries...that got made into jam last night.
Check this out...a Smurf house!! Call me silly but when I saw this mushroom when we were picking I giggled and had fond memories of my childhood. It's the little things like picking berries and stumbling upon a "Smurf's home" that tickles my funny bone and reminds me just how awesome life is.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garden Mania

They say corn up in our neck of the woods should be knee high by the 4th of July. By golly, ours is thigh high. I know, I'm short...but still. We have 15- 15ft rows of sweet corn growing and it's all doing super!! Oh, and yeah, I went to the garden in between thunderstorms and left once it began down pouring on me.

The tomatoes are doing much better since we put mulch around them and the cauliflower is growing nicely. I don't know about you, but I can taste the cauliflower with melted cheese already. Yummoids!!

We're going to have oodles of pickling cukes, summer squash and acorn squash from these plants. Well, if the weeds don't take over. It had been very rainy and stormy for several days when I took these pictures. Now that it's been nice, although unbearably HOT and humid I've been pulling those buggers.

Yup, I'm gong to have to add a few more strings for the sugar snap peas to climb on. I may even have to take a step stool to harvest them if they grow much bigger. Remember...I'm only 5'5" which is pretty average but compared to my beastly hubby, I'm pretty darn tootan short.

The other night when I went to the garden to harvest I ate a handful of the sugar snap peas and the green beans. Hey, instant dinner! =)

I spy a sweet green pepper. This will soon be incorporated into some salsa or stewed tomatoes. Deeee-lish!

We should have a nice crop of Roma tomatoes. I can't remember right off the top of my head but there are at least 40 Roma plants. We use these for salsa and stewed tomatoes.

These are a yellow tomato variety. I find eating tomatoes just gross but Ken doesn't. I'm thinking we will add a handful of these along with the Big Boy tomatoes when we make our homemade tomato soup.

Woot woot!! Our first zucchini is growing. These are just a few pictures I took almost two weeks ago from our large 30x60 plot at our community garden. We now have yellow squash growing, pumpkin vines getting bigger, tomatoes filling the bushes, onions have been harvested, a few pounds of green beans and sugar snap peas have been harvested also. The acorn squash and butternut squash is taking off like wildfire. The potatoes are almost ready to be dug. We'll give them till the end of the month and the corn is much much higher. =)
Our raised beds have provided us with many green onions, carrots, a handful of strawberries, wax beans, green beans, chives, lettuce, spinach and the zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and pepper plants are going through a growth spurt. Soon, I will have to use a step stool out there too so I can harvest.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Letting go...

On Monday, June 28th I awoke with sadness in my heart. It was my niece Hailey's birthday and I knew I was not going to be able to see the lil peanut as her Mom (my sister) does not speak to us. There are some things that I cannot change and have to go on with. It is what it is. That does not however, mean the love isn't there in my heart.

Also, on Monday afternoon Ken and I were given custody of my sweet baby niece. We were also given the opportunity to adopt her should rights be terminated. This filled our hearts with hope and we love Joy so very much. This was a dream come true. We purchased a new swing for her along with other items. When I took her home I felt as if she was finally home. My heart was full and my arms were no longer empty. The love I have for her runs deeper than anything I can even describe.

I cried while holding her, marveling at her perfectness. Feeding her is amazing and she always lets a big ole belch out for me. I enjoy the hustle bustle and our pups were always on their best behavior.

Ken got home Monday night and we were just so happy, and hopeful. Monday night we went up to bed and put Joy in her bassinet. Eventually after a few hours Ken decided he would take her downstairs and allow me to get some sleep because I had been running myself ragged with this whole stressful situation.

Tuesday morning I came downstairs to see the most beautiful sight. Ken was holding Joy in the recliner and they were both asleep. I tried to hide the fact that my menieres disease was acting up. Truth is, I rarely talk about it as I don't like to be a negative person. As the day went on it was pretty obvious I was not well at all. I knew deep in my heart that I would not be able to care for Joy as I would like to and I voiced that to ken. Sure, I could do it when Ken was home. But eventually he has to go back to work and he'd be gone sometimes two nights in a row. What if I had a horrible two day attack when I had Joy? I had to admit to myself that I am not well and that Joy deserves better than I can give her. I do not take admitting something is wrong too well. I like to be a strong person. I tend to hide the MM stuff and pass it off like everything is A-OK...but it's not.

Ken and I cried all day on Tuesday and his Mom came over a few times and later that night his Dad came over too. I felt obligated to make them, along with everybody else happy by having a family. We wanted this for as long as we have been together...and everybody wanted this for us so badly. I did not want to disappoint anybody or be considered a failure.

Ken sent me to bed Tuesday night after I took my meds and a sleeping pill. At that time Ken still wanted to try to keep her, that I'd wake up and magically feel like a million bucks. Well, Ken came upstairs at 5am and said he understands how hard it would be on me to care for Joy each and everyday. He did it two nights in a row because I was a spinning mess. We were both on the same page...we knew we had to let her go. She deserved better.

I phoned the office that morning in between puking and napping on my bathroom floor. I begged Ken to take me to the ER to make me better. This was by far the worst attacks I have ever had. Ken's Mom spent most of the morning with us. We cried, and cried and cried some more. Heck, I am still crying. I miss her so much and frankly, I am very pissed off at my body for not allowing my dream.

Ken's parents had given us sweaters that his Nana had knit and crocheted for Ken and his sisters when they were little. Ohhh how I longed for the day she would wear them. I could even imagine in my mind the adoption party we'd have when she became a Woodbury. It would have been the best day in my life next to the day we got married. Those dreams would never happen though...

Wednesday late afternoon a woman named Anne came to pick Joy up. It was the hardest thing we have ever done. To have Joy...in our arms...and let her go. The woman was very nice and she told us so much about herself and family. We exchanged phone numbers, hugs, tears, more hugs, more tears...for about a half hour. We walked them to the car and broke down as we said what we thought were our last goodbyes to our precious lil peanut. We went inside, cried, broke down, watched as Anne put our baby girl in the car, buckled her in...and drove off.

Ken and I were so scared that people would be disappointed in us. I am sure there are people who will never understand. But Joy deserves the best...because she is the best. Ken and I decided we'd go camping for the weekend to escape it all and heal our hearts. Where we go camping is the same area where Joy now lives. It's also the same area Ken and I have been looking for some property. If you remember, we did a carving in Paradise for our babies we lost in 95 & 97...Joy is just up the road from our most favorite place. She is home....just not ours.

Her new family has wanted a little girl for such a long time. Their dream is coming true. On Friday I received a call from Anne and she asked if I would like to go visit them. We made plans that we'd go to their home on Saturday after dinner. Their home is beyond gorgeous and Anne is so gracious and I feel like she is a kindred spirit. We enjoy the same things and she loves Joy so much. It brings our hearts peace to know that Joy is in a great home. She will have everything and so much more with this other family. We support them 100%

This certainly wasn't what we ever thought would come out of this situation. In time I am sure the feelings of being lost, the hurt, my arms feeling empty and the feelings of being a failure in a sense will begin to subside. I feel like I had a child and gave her up...but I know she is in very loving arms and has an amazing home. Like I said, in time...

In the meantime Ken and I are spending our days reconnecting and dealing with letting our dream of having a family go. We need to get my health where it needs to be. We know we can be happy without having children. We kept certain items that were Joys. Her purple headband hangs on the rear view mirror in the suburban, her MSU shirt is still on the shelf in the living room and we have an unwashed, mascara stained blanket that was hers. We also have a shoe that was hers. I gave the other shoe to my sister Jamie and said to her "Joy has forever made an imprint on our hearts" In my shoe is a bunch of dried wildflowers Ken picked for me the night that Joy went to her new home. I am sure in time we won't "need" these things near us.

Joy will reside in our hearts forever. We have come out of this stronger, more aware of ourselves and we now have an awesome extended family an hour away.