Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Garden Plans on a Budget

February is the month for garden planning, at least in my neck of the woods, even if it looks like a winter wonderland outside your windows.




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A week ago this is what it looked like here.  Snow, snow and more snow.  Today it is freezing rain.

But, inside it’s nice and cozy and so I’ve been doing some planning and dreaming.


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I’ve been flipping through my favorite seed catalogs, with my pink highlighter at the ready.  And I updated the cover of my Gardening and Preserving journal.


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I have so many seed catalogs!  I look through all of them, but I always go back to my favorites. My top three are Seed Savers Exchange, Jung Seed and Plants, and Park Seed.   I love Seed Savers Exchange for the amazing variety of heirloom plants and reasonable pricing.  Jung Seed and Plants is great for a combination of hybrid and heirloom plants with great pricing.  And I love Park Seed for their huge variety of flower and herb seeds and again reasonable pricing.


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If you are on a budget like me making a list of ALL the seeds you want to order will soon put you way over the top of what you can spend.  Every year I make a list.  What seeds make it on the list depends on several factors…

  • Price-  If the seeds are overly expensive I cross them off the list or search for them elsewhere. I have a strict dollar amount in mind and it is important to me not to go over my budgeted amount.
  • What can I grow in my garden-  I keep track of what I have planted in the past.  I know what doesn’t grow well, what grows sort of well, and what does great with the soil I have.  For example, beans and corn grow great in my garden. So, they are an old standby and a must.  Lettuce is another plant that I know does great in my garden, so I always plant it abundantly.  Anything in the pumpkin family does not grow well in my garden, I have planted them continually for the past 10 years and babied them along, but this year I am not planting them.  I’m going to give my garden a year to rest and see if I can’t rid it of the beetle that is taking out my plants.  Tomatoes in my garden have always been attacked by a fungus called Septoria Leaf Spot, so I know they do not grow well in my main garden. Last year Joel built two raised beds for me for my tomatoes, they did much better.  I still have some kinks to work out there, but I know that I will get a much higher yield if I put my tomatoes in a raised bed.
  • What can I reasonably fit in the space I have-  I try to keep in mind the space I have.  I’ve had the same garden spot of 11 years, so I know what will work and what won’t (for the most part) and if I’m not sure Joel doesn’t have any spacial difficulties and he will let me know if I’m thinking all wrong or not.
  • What new garden seed do I want to try- Every year I try something new.  Sometimes it is a hit, sometimes it’s a flop, but that’s the fun of trying something new.  In past years it has been eggplant ( a hit), red potatoes (a hit), a new type of watermelon (a flop).  This year I’m going to try Vermont Cranberry beans (a dried bean) and Brussels Sprouts.
  • What can I do without- I look through my seed from the previous year, which I keep in a container in our basement.  I know that keeping seed from year to year can lessen its viability, but I haven’t noticed too much of a problem with this if I only keep it for a year.  This year I have leftover, tomato, eggplant, Romaine lettuce, and radish seed.  So, I will not purchase these this year.


When I begin my list it is ALWAYS bigger and MORE expensive than what I know is right for us.  But, I write it down anyway! I enjoy dreaming.  The dream ends when I begin to add up my list and shock settles in.  It’s amazing how fast $2.45 packets of seed can add up to sticker shock.


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After the shock wears off, I begin the process of elimination using the steps I listed above. Eventually I come up with something a lot more manageable.  It still seems like a lot of money in my mind, but I know it will be well worth it when my shelves are brimming with preserved goodness.


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The final and last step of my spring seed order is choosing one thing to add to my mini orchard. It is what I ask for my birthday every year.  Last year it was Pink Reliance grapes.  This year I think I will add a Captivator Gooseberry to the list!


What about you?  Have you begun your seed order?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Little Birdy


About all we’re good for around here, now that the influenza virus has struck us all down, is watching the birdies.  


Red breasted Nuthatch-w-logo-SycamoreLane Photography


House Finch-web-logo-SycamoreLane Photography


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It’s slow going.  There’s lots of lounging, reading, T.V. watching, and a whole lot more big, big sighs than are usually heard around here,  but I am thankful for the bright bits of color outside our windows!



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Sunday Snapshot

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Screeching to a Halt

We were cruising right along with our days. 








Accomplishing quite a bit, thank you very much!










Then I decided to throw a wrench in the monkey works by taking a trip to the ER.  It wasn’t my choice, honestly!  All I did was make a call to my Cardiologist because my tachycardia (a fast heart rate that makes you feel like you are running in a perpetual track meet… very tiring indeed) had been rather severe for about two weeks.  On that particular day I was experiencing some tightness in my chest and even having difficulty catching my breath while I was sitting, reading the boys their science.  So, when I told the receptionist why I was calling (just to make an appointment, that’s all I wanted) she told me she was going to have me talk to a nurse.  To sum it up, the nurse told me to go to the ER.  HUMPH!  I called Joel, he agreed and came home from work.  I wasn’t all up for a trip to the ER, but I was very much overruled.

The trip to the ER confirmed what I already knew.  I was not having a heart attack. 

However, I am in the process of going through some testing to rule out any other problems with my heart.  I have had tachycardia for 16 years and the last time I had any testing done was about 8 years ago, so my cardiologist wants to update all of that and throw in a few more tests because of the added symptoms I was having.  I know the doctors solution will probably be medication, but I have low blood pressure and the medication they would place me on would lower my already low blood pressure and  slow my heart rate (that part of it would be good!).  I’ve tried it before and I know what it does.  I’m already tired, but the meds make me crash and I can’t live like that.


Last week Little Miss came down with the dreaded influenza.  She was so sick.  Not only was she burning up with fever, suffering from a nasty headache, and hurting all over, but she was vomiting repeatedly.  Every morning, hour after hour, for 3 days.  This momma was praying her heart out constantly!  She is recovering as are the rest of us who contracted it, but it is a SLOW process.  The only ones to escape it so far are Joel and my youngest son.  I’m praying they remain healthy.

So, our days here of late have been majorly altered.

School was placed on standby until further notice last week. 

Thankfully, some of us accomplished a bit of it yesterday and hopefully more will get done today somewhere between the cleaning, laundry, constant coughing,  and drink fetching!

These have been our days, but it’s okay! God is in these days.  He is in the moments that run smoothly and the ones that screech to a dead stop.  He is here in every moment of my days and He is big enough to handle it all.


“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” Psalm 105:4

Tuesday, February 12, 2013






Another birthday has come and gone.  Fourteen has come.

As I sit here and type my heart to you, I keep coming up with… You make me laugh!   You are my comic relief.  Never have I seen a child with such a sunny disposition.  There isn’t much that brings you down and when on occasion you do get frustrated or sad it doesn’t take long for you to climb out of it.  Soon you are bouncing again with a huge smile on your face  and laughter bubbling out of your mouth.   You aren’t afraid to be silly.  A quality I love in you, because I have never been good at that.  You, sir, are a  natural!




You also are full of compassion and ready with an arm around anyone who needs some lifting up.  You are always one of the first in our family to bring comfort to the hurting and upset.  You are tender with those who are sad and often try your best to cheer them up.

I can’t believe how much you have grown, changed, and matured this past year.   You are my neat freak and have taken over the whole basement as your cleaning domain.  Every other day or so you get busy and clean, pick-up, and organize.  A boy after my own heart!

I love how you can carry a conversation.  How you aren’t afraid to talk to anybody.  You ready smile and cheerful attitude draws people to you and it truly is a gift.

Many times a day I am gifted with a big squeeze from you. What an amazing gift to be loved by such an amazing boy. 

I love your deep brown eyes and you have dimples that make me melt. 





I thank the Lord for you daily and pray that He will continue to work in your life.  I know you have given Jesus your heart and I pray that you will serve Him your whole life, putting Him first in all that you do.  You have the capacity in you to lead and so I pray that God will cultivate in you leadership qualities.  I pray that your relationship with God will always grow and that you will do whatever He calls you to do.   I know He has great plans for you and so I place you in His hands.

You have my heart, my precious son and you always will!

Happy Birthday!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Re-learning to Love

I remember when I was dating my husband, Joel how I couldn’t wait to be able to do his laundry, to cook his meals, to keep his house.   I waited impatiently to care for him exclusively.  I wanted to meet his every need.  I just knew in my heart I would never tire of taking care of him.

Oh how I wish that was the end of the story, but I do not live a fairytale life. ….


I’m guest posting to day at Treasured Up and Pondered.  To read the rest of this post visit HERE.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter Imagination

The color of winter-web


What do you see in the winter?

Do you see dull?


Do you see hidden beauty?


The beauty is there. 

It’s in the sleepy quiet and the chilled noses.

It’s in the small bursts of color and the silence of a falling snowflake.

It’s in hot mugs of cocoa and snuggles under a quilt.

It’s in dutch ovens full of soup and crusty loaves of bread.

It’s in the promise of new growth now in its sleepy state.


Winter beauty do you see it?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Enter In



It’s snowing again.  Gorgeous mega big flakes are dancing on the wind. Swirling and dipping past my windows. 

White upon white.

Delicate, peaceful, enchanting.


milkweed at sunset


There may be fewer colors in a winter landscape, but there is still beauty if we only take the time to look for it.

It’s in the small details. Hidden away.  Just waiting for us to look deeper.


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It’s in the seeking. 

Taking a moment to look past what we see on the outside. It may seem dreary, but by using your heart and soul it can be transformed it into something beautiful.


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And isn’t it the same way with our relationship with Christ?  Sometimes we go through periods of winter.  Times when everything seems so stark.  We can’t see the glory, the grace, the beauty.  We’re stuck.  We see only the drab, the painful, the ugly.  We go through the motions, plodding along, not really seeing and definitely not seeking.

The Psalmist said,

“How lovely is your dwelling place,

O Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,

for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out

for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young-

a place near your altar,

O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;

they are ever praising you.

Psalm 84:1-4

That’s the key to seeing beauty in the winter.


Where is your desire?  What is your heart yearning for?  Are you hungry for the Lord?  So hungry that you can’t wait to spend time with Him?  So desperate to sit at His feet that you talk with Him all day long?  Nothing will break dreariness like falling on your knees before your Lord and Savior. When your heart cries out for the Lord, when you lift your voice in worship to your God, when you come before His altar in absolute adoration, then will your eyes be opened and your heart set ablaze for Him. 

Suddenly you will see such beauty, God’s beauty.  His grace and  His glory will be revealed to you. 

Where once there was heaviness and the inability to see beyond your circumstances, there will now be a knowledge that with God there is beauty even in the winter. 

Press on enter into the inner courts of the Lord.  Seek out the Holy of Holies.


  November2012 sunset-sycamoreLane Photography-w


I am once again turning back to press forward. I let winter settle in my heart.  I became complacent.

God brought to my mind today a picture of the Old Testament temple.  He showed me that I have been circling around in the outer courts of the temple.  I have been praying, praising, and worshipping, but not deeply.  He’s called me continuously to enter into the inner court.  To come.  To spend time in in His powerful presence.  To worship with abandon.  “Come, I am here.  Come, I am calling.”  With Christ’s sacrifice I am free to enter into the holy of holies.  Yet, I hold back.

No more.  I am falling on my knees before Christ.  Lifting my voice and hands in praise.  To God be the Glory forever and ever!

How about you?  Will you join me?

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