Category Archives: Gardening

Just Try!

Here I am on the last day of my 366 Somedays and what have I learned?

I have learned not all “Somedays” are meant to be.  Once attention was finally given to some, they just didn’t fulfill the expectations.  The activity was not as fun as anticipated or the amount of work to accomplish the “Someday” was beyond what I was willing to expend.  Speaking Italian fell into this category.  I’ll still dream of living in Italy and conversing fluently with my neighbors, but the reality is I’ll never live in Italy and I’ll never speak Italian – fluently or otherwise.

I have learned goals can be achieved with steady and persistent effort.  My “Someday” to complete the physical challenge of walking or running 1200 miles in a year required me to focus on getting in miles almost daily.  There were times I would have preferred to sit out a workout due to rain, snow, heat, or just plain laziness, but I didn’t – I kept at it for twelve months and I achieved my goal.

I have learned that tackling some “Somedays” leads to the accomplishment of other “mini-Somedays”.  This month, as I’ve been working on restoring my carousel horse (no pictures yet – it isn’t done), I’ve also been painting (with the same paint) a decorative mirror which I’d planned on putting in a specific spot in our home, but which has been sitting in a garage closet for the last two years waiting to be painted and antiqued.

I have learned most “Somedays” cannot be completed within a month.  My very first “Someday” of writing a book in a month was way too ambitious!  The book still isn’t done and the reality is, that may not be the book I end up finishing.  I’ll still write and, eventually, a book will be completed, but it would be disheartening to chastise myself for not finishing in one month.  This has been the hardest lesson to accept.  So many of my “Somedays” aren’t finished and, at first, that bothered me, but all of the “Somedays” I tackled are started and that, in my opinion, is a win.

I have learned some “Somedays” resonate more than others and that is joyous.  Yoga, a “Someday” not chosen, but which I probably would not have attempted if I weren’t going through this journey, has quickly become part of my daily routine and I wonder why I didn’t open myself to it years ago.  Knitting also brings me joy and, while I don’t sit for hours and knit, when I do pick up my needles, I feel a calm wash over me.

So, with successes (1200 mile challenge), failures (speaking Italian), postponements (gardening – the space is finally ready and I’ll try planting this spring), and continuations (writing a book, restoring my carousel horse), perhaps the biggest lesson of this year has been that it’s okay to fail, to not enjoy, to set aside, but it isn’t okay to not even try.

Gold Stars & To Do Lists

In an attempt to accomplish all of my accumulating “Somedays” as well as the regular imagesday-to-day stuff that needs to be done (cleaning, bookkeeping, errands, cooking, etc.) I’ve been searching for little ways to improve my productivity and keep myself on track.  I’ve come up with two that seem to be working:  gold stars and a To-Do list.

Remember gold stars from grade school?  When you’d accomplished a task or exhibited a good behavior you got to put a gold star on the chart.  I specifically remember the reading chart.  Students names were listed down the left-hand side of a large paper and numbers were written across the top.  Each time a student finished a book and filled out a little form about the book, she got to place a gold star next to her name.  Some people didn’t read at all and had few gold stars.  I read voraciously and had stars across the page.  I loved the gold star system.  So, I made up my own little chart with a few of the daily activities I want to be doing:  writing, drumming, stretching, meditating, etc.  Every time I accomplish one of these activities, I get a gold star.  It sounds juvenile, but that’s okay.  I don’t mind acting like a kid now and then.

In addition to these daily activities, there’s also all the other stuff that must be done – bring in the To-Do list.  The list I found has two columns:  To Do Now and To Do Later.  I’m using the To Do Now list for the little things needing to be done around the house, like pay the bills, hang the mirror, finish the laundry, clean the whole frigging house (okay, some of the items aren’t “little”).  The To Do Later list has items that I want to remember to do at some point in time:  call a window cleaner, file papers, organize garage.

I’m getting gold stars on several lines, but not so many on some others.  I’m also checking off To-Do list items right and left (literally right and left, from both the “now” and “later” sides of the paper).  The problem is, I’m not really prioritizing what I’m doing.  There are some things that are not negotiable.  For instance, my daily walk/run has to happen or my four dogs become unruly, bills must be paid or my credit will suffer, grocery shopping must occur or we don’t eat.  However, other activities too easily get left to drift out of my awareness, if not off the list.

So, there you have it:  I love my gold stars, I’m crashing through my To-Do list, but I still need to prioritize!

Back on One Horse — Being Dragged by Another

Gardening Gnome
Not just a garden gnome, but a gardening gnome, on my greenhouse windowsill.

A couple days ago I wrote about my Skip Day.  I’m happy to report I’m back up on that horse – I’ve already made up the mileage lost on my Skip Day and my reserve mileage is as high as it has been since I began the 1200-mile challenge as my January “Someday”.

However, as my January “Someday” gallops along, my March “Someday”, gardening, is being dragged through the dirt (pun intended).  I started my composter going back in February, had soil delivered to my greenhouse by the first of March, and I’ve ordered seeds.  However, there are some things about gardening I just didn’t know.  I didn’t realize I needed a propagator (a place to grow the seeds until they’re little plants).  I thought the seeds would arrive and I’d just plop them into the soil and, voila, my garden would grow.  I also thought the sun beating down into the greenhouse would be a good thing.  Plants need sun, right?  Well, apparently they need some sun, but not too much.  Now, while I wait for my seeds and my propagator, I’m trying to figure out how I can shade the windows of my greenhouse knowing it will be beastly hot in there come summer.  I also didn’t realize different seeds should be planted at different times.  I picked March for my gardening “Someday” because I thought that’s when people started gardens.  A greenhouse gardening book I just bought gives a year-round schedule for pursuing a garden in a greenhouse.  I’m reading it and figuring out how to make this first garden successful while already planning what I’ll do differently next year.

I’m disappointed the little green plants I thought would be sprouting by now are only seeds somewhere on their way to me, but I’m learning so much.  I haven’t fallen off the gardening horse, I’m just doing a little acrobatic jumping around in the saddle as I try to figure out how this all works.

Infant Interruptus

Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men…

My Little Guy on his birth day

March is my gardening “someday”, but my plans have been usurped by a tiny little creature weighing less than seven pounds.  March 1st was the day to plan my garden and order seeds.  Instead, my second grandson was born early that morning so my day was spent packing, prepping the house, and driving four hours to meet him.  I brought my planning stuff with me, but so far nothing has happened.  Holding this sweet little guy seems a lot more urgent than planning a garden.  In fact, writing that last sentence took more than an hour.  I was humming along writing my thoughts when my daughter texted to ask if I would come get the baby.  I’ve been spending a couple hours with him every morning so the new mommy and daddy can sleep.  Writing and planning a garden versus holding my new grandson… not much of a competition.

My greenhouse garden area with new soil ready to go

I haven’t tossed out the gardening plan.  Some of the prep work is done.  The composter is going strong and the soil has been brought in and placed in the garden (thank you to son David for his work on that).  I’ll get my garden plan sketch done and the seeds ordered, but some things are just more important.  I’m looking forward to watching my garden grow, but that doesn’t compare to watching my grandson grow.

Welcome to my life Little Guy!