Garden Failure

Well, I’ve been procrastinating. We have been back from vacation for a few days, and I just haven’t had the emotional strength to share my tragic news. My garden is a failure. Almost. I knew it was not doing the greatest before I left for our three-week trek up and down the east coast, but I was heartbroken when I saw my garden upon our return home. The only thing growing is tomatoes and green beans. Out of all those lovely seeds I planted, most of them did not even sprout. Those that did stopped growing when they got to be about two inches off the ground.

I have all sorts of theories why this could have happened. I should have watered more. I was gone for a few weeks and didn’t tend to it. Our soil is probably horrific (we don’t even have grass growing in our yard (just bought our home w/no grass), so why did I think we would be able to grow food?). I could continue to list other reasons, but it doesn’t help the dreadful feeling of failure that wells up every time I look out my window at my pitiful attempt at growing our own food.

I wonder if farmers felt this way when their crop doesn’t turn out how they planned. I have to admit, I don’t know how my spirits could handle being a full-time farmer as an occupation. I feel emotionally connected to my crop. It sounds ridiculous to type it, but it is true.

So, what now? Well, I am leaving in a few minutes to go pick blueberries from someone else’s harvest. I am so thankful other people have mastered the art of farming. Alright, so here’s a serious answer to the “What now?” question that has been taunting me ever since I came home and saw my disastrous garden. I admit, I’ve thought about throwing in the towel. I am afraid that the same thing might happen again next year. After much thought, I realized that this is not something I am going to give up on. I am going to master the art of gardening- even if I have to read about it and make a plan for it during the winter season. I’ve read article after article about people who grow their food throughout the year- indoors if need be. These people inspire me to press on and to continue even if the results are not what I was hoping for.

We bought this house in December and the prior owners did not rake for several years. My husband did a wonderful job getting the leaves up off the ground and so the earth can finally breath again. I am considering a compost bin (complete with worms) so we can get a good layer of topsoil on our ground for next year.

At least I’ll have some green beans and tomatoes this year. The way I see it, all I need to do is have one additional crop next year, and it will already be better than this year’s crop!

Until then, I’ll continue to buy my fruits and veggies at our farmer’s market. I’m going to stock up for the winter now that we are back in town and now that I’ve realized I’m not going to be getting a huge harvest from our own garden. This is how it goes I suppose- living and learning as we go. I just wish it wasn’t so long till I can try having an outdoor garden again.

Making a Home

Each morning I try to read the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month in addition to my usual scripture reading. Since there were only 30 days in June, I still wanted to finish up the book of Proverbs so I read Proverbs 31 in addition to Proverbs 1. So, this morning I read about the Proverbs 31 woman.

It is interesting to me how this chapter starts. “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). Right from the beginning we learn that the description of the Proverbs 31 woman is from a woman. It is not some dominating male’s expectations for a wife. Instead, it is another woman’s description of what a virtuous woman’s life should embody.

One of the most poignant things I love about this passage is the value this woman is given in the eyes of her husband, her children and in society. Her husband trusts her. Her children bless her. She is known in the community (she sells things that she makes (v. 24) and helps the needy (v. 20).).

Throughout the passage we see a woman who has purpose and who does an excellent job taking care of all aspects of her home (with a good attitude (v. 26)). She manages her home- her home does not manage or overrun/whelm her.

I am quite sure that the Proverbs 31 woman could have simply bought most of what her family needed. She could have just spent her family’s money, but, what stands out to me, is she has chosen to do many (not all, but many) of things herself. This is fascinating to me. I was reading somewhere a while ago that whenever you are thinking about spending money ask yourself, “Is ____ really worth the hard work and sweat your husband (or you) gave to earn the money that you will be spending if you bought it?”. Oh, how this suggestion convicted me! Going back to the Proverbs 31 woman, I love that she does not squander their money and merely buy whatever makes her life easier. What we see is her investing their money into things that will bring increase to the family. Rather than being a mere consumer, she is a producer (see verses 13, 16, 18, and 24).

Finally, I love the verse, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). She is not grouchy or resentful about taking care of her household. Indeed, when I read this chapter, I get the sense that it is a joy for her. She is clearly wise and knowledgeable about numerous topics, and she uses that wisdom on a daily basis.

When I was working full-time, one of the most satisfying feelings came when I was using the knowledge that I had gained from going to school. It came when I knew that what I was doing was right and would be effective because it had been proven. Now that I am home, at times I have felt clueless because I am still learning this art of homemaking and motherhood. I am a firm believer that we can learn anything if we put our minds to it, and so my mind has been and is “to it”, and I am learning. Slowly, but surely some things are moving from my “to learn” list to my “proven” list (sourdough breadmaking being one of those). What a joy there has been to see the fruit of my labour thus far. So, dear friends, I encourage all of us to take heart from this passage. Our homes can be managed. It does not have to overwhelm us. We don’t merely live in our home. We make it.

*This post has been shared on Raising Mighty Arrows.