Being Realistic

Isn’t that a lovely little flower?

Too bad it’s on my arugula…meaning its piquantly peppery flavor has become bitter beyond belief. The radishes are bolting, too.

So soon?

So it would seem…

Have you ever been at that spot where your Logical Side knows something, but your Spirit is slow to catch-on? I had one of those painful epiphanies last week regarding this year’s garden…

It’s going to suck. (Sorry, Mom. I know you hate that phrase…)

I knew my time was going to be limited this summer – really I did. Having an almost-three-year-old in the house made that a no-brainer. But somehow, I failed to REALLY get that concept until I saw how truly pathetic my tomato seedlings are. Spindly and sad, from lack of attention while they were under the lights in the basement.

At least they didn’t get sunburned when I moved them outside, like the morning glories. It’s going to be tough for those to recover…

I suppose the reason this came as such a shock is the (relative) ease with which we’ve integrated her into the rest of our lives…Every week, the trash goes out on schedule, and the sheets get changed on the beds. The groceries are bought, and the laundry is done. Every day, the meals appear at regular intervals – twice a day for the dog, three times for the Girl. Dishes are washed and put away. She is bathed, and put to bed. Nice and normal, with very few hiccups along the way.

Outside is a different story, as the weeds choking the garlic bed (and the vegetable garden, and the sidewalk, and the patio stones) would indicate. She’s not big enough to be left to her own devices while I work, and not good enough at listening (“Stay where you can see me, Angel!”) to stay out for long. With no fence for containment, the pond and the road are ever-present dangers should she wander off. In a couple of years, when she can better understand the rules, this yard will be a paradise for an adventurous child. Right now, it’s nerve-wracking..

So, I’m resigned to the realization that my garden will not be as fruitful as in past years. That I’ll be buying tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market for a month before any ripen here at the house. That some things are going to go past their prime before they get harvested.

It”ll be better next year, when she’s older. This year, we’ll pick what we can, eat what we pick, and call it good. We’ll work on laying the foundation for a love of the land, or at the very least, an appreciation of what it takes to get food to the table.

And, all’s not lost this year. The garlic looks good, in spite of the weeds. The peas are finally starting to produce – should be picking in a week or so. Lots of green blueberries and black currants, which will ripen with no attention from me. My regular basil seedlings look as good as the tomatoes look sorry…

Good thing, too…I’m dying for some pesto to go with all the Sand Spaghetti I’m being served these days!

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23 thoughts on “Being Realistic

  1. I think of you sometimes, when my grandchildren descend on me two or three times a day and wonder how you are doing it ALL!!! Maybe if I had them and they worked around the rules of our lives, but I don’t. Now I know that things have to go in order to be with a child so the child (or in our case….if it were to ever happen….children can be whole and lovely and wonderful.

    You are applauded and I send you {{{ HUGS}}}

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

    • Thanks, Linda, for your thoughts…I’m sure they carry across the miles.
      My mother told me, after Angel came to us, that she used to pray every night for my safety, because she knew how hard it would be to take my three kids at her age.
      She’s growing, and learning. Maybe by the time we start picking and eating, she’ll have gained a bit more independance as well.

  2. Oh that sand spaghetti.. surely she has made you the grass sauce though? made with her little stick.. you are such a trooper .. and very wise to just pick a few corners and keep those good, let the rest mind itself this year.. I knew a young mother who was so exhausted from too many children and a garden too big and no family to help out and an absentee husband, that one morning she told the kids to stay in the sand box and do not move a muscle any of you.. and got out the mower and MOWED her garden right off, it was late summer, nothing much was left and she just could not bear it anymore.. she felt enormous satisfaction too.. c

  3. I so admire what you are doing and think that your attitude to the year ahead is the best one you can have. It´s more important for your little Angel to be loved and looked after and to play in the sand (yum, that spaghetti…we used to follow ours up with mud coffee!) and then when the time is right, and she is off at school or nursery, you´ll have more time. But maybe a little rest too!

    • It’s one I’m going to have to keep revisiting…I know myself, and just saying out loud once isn’t going to make me internalize it.
      We’re looking at a Nursery School for the fall next week. Two days a week, mornings only – and just a 10 minute drive from the house!

  4. Oh Marie, sometimes that’s the way life is, and it sounds like you are being pragmatic. I know it must be a disappointment for you as I know how much you love your garden. I’ve realised that this year I’m having to cut back what with starting late, and now some new work committments, so like you I need to focus on what is achievable. and fruit is always a good one!
    I actually thought your basil seedlings looked great 🙂

    • Pragmatic is not a word that’s often used to describe me…but I hope it’s true in this case. Some things are simply going to have to take care of themselves this year. The real ah-ah moment was when I had to pay someone to weed the front flower bed for me…seems like such a waste of money.
      The regular basil DOES look great…but all those “fancy” ones I started fell victim to neglect.

  5. I think you’re wise, Marie, to scale things back a bit and put some of your garden on auto-pilot. There are only are only so many hours in the day and you’ve got an Angel with you for just about all of them. I’m sure it’s disappointing but what you’re doing for that little girl is priceless.
    If I might offer a small suggestion. Avoid eating sand spaghetti until at least July 4th. It really does need June to develop those earthy undertones for which it is so famous.

  6. It’s late here and I’m just now finding your post. Your friends are wise, they offer wonderful suggestions and words of encouragement and wisdom. My suggestion is that you put these posts where you can read them often!!
    Things here are moving along faster than anyone ever thought. The PT came today and was very pleased with her progress. He gave her lots more to do and told her to get in the car (my van, of course) and get out of the house. We have a list of errands for tomorrow. Had a wonderful thunderstorm this afternoon. We were sitting in the garage with the neighbors. The rain was super. Have a good weekend!!

    MOM, on nana’s computer!!

  7. I get it….I have 5 kids….many years I only gardened in my head! Now 3 are out of the house, my only boy is 16 and my baby (or fondly refer to her as the stray!) is 10. The garden now is my work and pleasure. I’m lucky to have been able to finally move to the country and put all those ideas to work. But, those busy years of babies, toddlers, and kids go oh so quickly….enjoy every moment….:)

    • When my three were her age, we had a fenced back yard. I could work nearby, and they could play without too much worry. They’d also been doing it since they were old enough to stick outside in a playpen, and understood what was expected of them (not that they always did it, mind you!)
      Angel hasn’t been with us for long, and her second year of life might as well be a wash (she turns three in August). I’m thrilled with the progress she’s made, but part of being realistic is remembering that she still has a ways to go before she’s completely at-level.
      She’ll get there, I have no doubt. 🙂

  8. Sometimes it’s the year of the Avocado. Sometimes it’s the year of the Tomato or the Plum. It sounds like this year is simply the year of the Angel – and what a great harvest all of that hard work will be in the form of a wonderful human being to be in this world.

    • Looks are deceiving…like the radishes I brought in for salad. You couldn’t see on first glance, that they were putting up a flower stalk. One bite, though, and it was obvious. Like chewing on a piece of wood.

  9. Pingback: The Tale of the Tomatoes | My Little Corner of Rhode Island

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