May 012017
 

child running into fountain

Did you know, if I do not post for 4 days, the number of readers on this blog goes down?  Surprising, right?!

Okay, not so much.

With an award winning post title like the one above, I am sure the numbers will go up today … okay, probably not. ūüėČ

Seems I am 0 for 2 today on the blog!

Speaking of the blog, I have either been very much here or very much not as of late.  To say this past month has not gone as I planned it would be an understatement. I apologize for the inconvenience of not knowing.  It really is an area I am trying to work on.

rose bush thorns

After taking our lllloooooooonnnnngggg trip last week to the home school conference, my body decided the experience was too much stress.  It then reacted accordingly for this whole past week.  When I had finally thought I was past being stressed from all the changes and the surgery, I reverted back to being exhausted and nauseous for several hours each day.

It was not as bad as it was previously, but enough to be annoying and greatly slow down my days. I had to be mindful of what I chose to do each day Рone big thing and two smaller things.  Everything else on the list happened if I had the energy.

If I tried to do more, I paid for it the next day – best to stick with what worked and move at a turtle’s pace. ¬†Hence, no posts toward the end of the week; they did not make the list. ūüėČ

I think I have mentioned before what I do to help lower my stress levels when my body reacts this way. ¬†In case you did not see it, and ever face something similar, here are a few of the steps I take to combat the feelings before they lead to larger issues (been there, done that; it isn’t fun):

  1. Eat breakfast twice – first one is smaller, focusing on getting something in me, preferably a protein, and immediately upon waking.
  2. Get outside. Nature calms you, even if intermixed with car sounds.  If no birds are around, download and play nature sounds, though the real thing is better.
  3. Drink green tea.
  4. Go for a walk. Even if it is only in circles around your deck. (Useless fact – 115 laps around my deck equals a mile…Make sure to switch direction every so often.)
  5. Get sunshine on you. Vitamin D can help you feel better.
  6. Don’t worry about the smaller stuff. Your kid wants to take his lunch box and cold pack to school so his water bottle at snack time is cold? Say, Yes, and move on.
  7. Listen to the Bible audio version style, since you are up at 4:30 a.m. anyway. (Amazon has mp3 versions you can play on an app or your computer. Some are free if you have a Prime account.)
  8. Read a book, unless it makes you dizzy, then go back to #7.
  9. Go to bed early. ¬†My body has been waking up at 4:30 a.m., no matter the time I go to bed. ¬†However, being tired makes me feel even worse the next day …. so, 8:30 p.m. bedtime it is.
  10. If you do happen to wake up at say 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. or any other o-dark-thirty time and your stomach won’t stop turning so you can sleep … drink a cup of water. ¬†Maybe even take an antacid chew-able. ¬†Water can do a lot to help our bodies heal themselves.
  11. Distract yourself. ¬†After a few days of whining internally, I found that getting out of the house and talking about something completely different really helped. ¬†Don’t push it too much, but start focusing on other completely unrelated items for a time.

My husband thinks I am too complicated, having these ‘rules’ in place. ¬†He prefers to spend several hours at the gym. ¬†Normally I would agree. ¬†However, that is not always possible and I needed to find things to help while still being at home, schooling,¬†parenting, and¬†trying to¬†keep the house running.

What he did do to help was take a kid or two out for activities, even when I did not feel like going. ¬†“Walking around in 88¬†degree weather while looking at art? You go right ahead; I will stay home and play a board game.”

He also gave me grace when I did not have the energy to do the dishes at the end of the day. ¬†Our dishwasher is broken and I had been doing them by hand. ¬†Not a big deal, but when you feel like you might fall asleep in the middle of washing a cup … the dishes can wait till the next day.

spring flower collage

Today, I am feeling better.  I woke up at 4:30 a.m. (again), drank some water, went back to sleep till 6.  Woke up feeling not-nauseous, ate breakfast, got everyone ready for their day, then went to an IEP meeting.  I seem to have gone to one each month since the beginning of the year.  The joys of moving states and school districts.

I plan to grab lunch out, once this post is finished, before going to carpet stores to get some samples.

The goal is to be in the new house in June.  New carpet is really the only thing we wanted to have done before we move in.  With no furniture currently in the house, this is the perfect time to do so.

While it needed to be done, there were other Big Items on my to-do list (spring break, surgery, updating insurances, grocery shopping…getting better) which needed to be done first. ¬†Now that those are over, and I was able to get a person out to measure, we are now moving on to actually choosing something.

I have slowly been taking items over and unpacking them, though nothing large at this point.

Last week I did grab a bag of potting mix to start some seeds/transplants in this upcoming week.  While I may have missed several vegetable planting times, there are others that are still able to be started.  I waited till after the storms went through and cooler weather was forecast for a few days.  Hoping it works out.

I did consult the growing calendars for my state and realized my best bet is a late summer/fall garden.  Not a bad idea at this point as the yard has NO current garden or beds.  If I had nothing else happening,  I could focus on building them, but for now, I do what I can with what we have*.

Something I have been doing is watching YouTube videos concerning gardening. ¬†One that stuck out to me last night was called “Why We Are Not Doing BACK TO EDEN Gardening”. ¬†The premise was the same as I came to for any sort of permanent garden right now – I would rather some¬†something¬†growing than have it exactly how I ideally would like to have it but not grow anything this year. ¬†In other words, something is better than nothing.

*In case that sounds too much like giving up before starting, I wanted to clarify РI have plans, new things to try for our different zone, different yard, and different challenges.  The something I am going to have is the first step in trying to overcome one two of the biggest challenges, very poor soil and lack of time to focus solely on gardening.  This is one method others have used with success, so I am starting there while researching more solutions.

Sep 042012
 

“BACK TO EDEN shares the story of one man‚Äôs lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden. The organic growing system that has resulted from Paul Gautschi‚Äôs incredible experiences has garnered the interest of visitors from around the world. However, never until now have Paul‚Äôs methods been documented and shared like this! “

~The opening paragraph on the Back To Eden webpage

http://backtoedenfilm.com/ Рthis video takes time to load.  If you watch it from the beginning you may not have trouble.  I think it would take a long time on a dial up connection.  You may want to let it load while you make and eat supper.

Here is an interesting video that talks about a way of gardening that seems to be less time intensive, especially after a few years.  It also would have helped in a year like we just had, where rain was scarce.

If you are unable to watch the video, for whatever reason, still give the website some of your time.  Click the tabs at the top of the screen to look at some other good information they have.

The Covering

Paul Gautschi used to garden the way most of us think about it.  Till the soil.  Plant. Weed, weed, weed.  Water, water, water.  Weed more.

Over time he has found an organic way to garden that he feels is being pointed to in the Bible.  Even from the beginning he makes the connections between the plants and interactions in the garden and those in the Bible pertaining to us.

“The Covering”, as it is referred to¬†several time, either refers to wood chips or the spiritual covering one receives from God.¬† It is clear when used in context which he means.

Soil Preparation

The main topic is the benefits of wood chips as a compost and fertilizer.  This is talked about during the first 30 minutes.

I’m not sure if I would have come to the conclusions the same way he did, or taken the verses for the Bible the same way he did.¬† The science behind it is accurate, though.¬† Also, what he says about not working wood chips into the soil because it robs nitrogen is an important thing to remember.¬†The same concert works¬†goes for any¬†mulch or compost that is still green.¬†This is one reason that you compost things like grass clippings before using them around plants.

Watching him feed things from the garden to his chickens, then harvesting the wonderful compost that resulted makes me wish so much that our town ordinance allowed chickens.

Irrigation

I appreciated the fact that they discussed how easy it is to waste water, and how irresponsible some of the watering methods are.¬† Even though I’m aware of this, I too have been known to water irresponsibly.¬† Not only in my own garden, but in one of my former places of employment.¬† Why?¬† Lack of time and proper equipment.

I am trying to be more aware in my own garden how much I actually water and when.¬† I tend to water each plant individually.¬† Then again, I don’t have a large vegetable garden at this point.¬† If that were the case, like it has been in the past, I would look into drip irrigation if at all possible.

Weed Control

They not only talk about the fact that there are fewer weeds, but also that it is easier to pull them out, and all their roots, up after a rain.

As I currently have the majority of my garden in raised beds, this is one issues I have not dealt with in the years gardening at this house.  When I have had to do it, I too have seen how much easier it is to pull weeds out of non-compacted soil.  I can usually get my fingers under the plants and lift them out.

The garden I had immediately before moving here had a major problem.¬† So much so that I had¬†actually though¬†about never gardening again.¬† The garden was a very large plot in a community garden.¬†¬†A plot that¬†been not gardened, and left as bare ground, for a few years.¬† Basically it was left to the weeds.¬† This was a 20′ by 100′ plot of mainly weeds.¬† I tried a few ways to keep them out, but by the end of the season I threw my hands up.¬† (2 Lessons learned via personal experience: Paper, used as mulch, will dry out and blow around if not weighed down.¬† Shredded paper, used as a mulch, will tangle up in your tiller if it has not decomposed.)¬† If I had stayed there a few more years, then this method would have saved me so much time.¬† It also would have addressed the exact problems I was having.

Pest Control

One interesting point they made was that “everything is nature was made to overcome“.¬† This was in regards to insects and insecticides.¬† They will overcome anything you throw in their way in their struggle to survive.¬† It may take a while, but that is how they were programed.¬† Almost copies what is said in a book I was¬†reading last month.¬†¬†This book¬†which was printed in the 1970’s.¬† Seems like much hasn’t changed in the past few decades.¬† Well, except we are no longer using insecticides¬†along the lines of¬†DDT.

Their point was that instead of fighting the pests, learn to control them naturally or live with them.¬† A few holes in the leaves won’t hurt anything.

Crop Rotations

(Apparently he has no need for rotations.  Has been planting potatoes in the same spot for 16 years.)

pH Issues

He doesn’t seem to have issues with this either.¬† His blueberry bushes (acid lovers) are planted next to things such as swiss chard.

 

The video then changes over to showing other examples of gardening this way.  They present two live, actual examples of others putting in a garden this way.  Each garden is in a different soil and climate setting.

We are taken from Washington state, down to southern California.  The garden in southern California is new.  The steps to establishing it are outlined. They also talk about some of the concerns they face.

The second garden shown¬†is a demonstration¬†garden in Pennsylvania.¬† In this segment they answered the question I had from the beginning.¬† “What if you are establishing a garden on top of grass?¬† How do you initially detour weeds and such from growing through the mulch?”¬† They not only answered that question with words, but with a great video of them doing just that.¬† If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, then I suggest you watch this segment.¬† It is the practical portion of what they have been talking about.

I felt that this could have come sooner in the video, rather than an hour into it.¬† Perhaps that is because I understood the concepts covered in that first hour, and didn’t need as much clarification or convincing.¬† For others, they¬† may need that part.¬† Especially if they have never been exposed to this idea or those similar to it.

Speaking of not knowing things,¬† if you have never been around a wood chip pile that is decomposing you may be unaware of how warm it gets.¬† The clouds you see coming up from the mulch when they shovel it from the pile or rake it out is steam, not dust.¬† Even in winter a wood chip pile may steam from the heat of decomposition.¬† It isn’t hot to the touch, but it is a comfy, warm temperature.¬† I’ve seen it steam on 90 degree days and on 45 degree days.

There was also a bit said, while talking to the couple from the demonstration garden, about the fact that the plants whose roots had gotten into the soil grew better than those that were growing in just the dirt.¬† Makes me wonder if part of my issue in my raised beds is the same.¬† Maybe it isn’t just a watering issue.¬† See, I put down a weed blocking material under the compost to discourage weeds.¬† I’m not sure if it also creates a barrier for the roots of my plants.¬† That is something else for me to ponder as I try to go to sleep at night.¬† I am glad they stressed that point though, as I am sure if I had that pondering, so did many other gardeners.

I appreciated the point and¬†encouragement, they made in regards to those who may not NEED their garden now.¬† However, you don’t know what the future will hold.¬† It is better to have it in place when you need it rather than be scrambling to add another thing to your plate when the time comes.

We are now taken back to the final segment,

The Harvest

This segment wraps up all they have been talking about.  There was not a lot of new info here.  I did enjoy the pictures and seeing the end result of their work, though.

 

I think this video was a bit too long; total length  is 1 hour and 43 minutes.  It took several short segments of watching it to see the whole thing.  It was not hard to follow though, so watching it this way worked out okay.

Everyone gardens for their own reason.  Part of the length was due to Paul Gautschi explaining his philosophy behind the method of gardening he has chosen to use.  Even though I agreed with him on most of it, I honestly got tired of hearing about it.  Perhaps it was because I was more interested in hearing about the gardening aspect.  However, knowing the reason behind why things are done the way they are can help you understand why the process is the way it is.  His philosopy is at the heart of why this method of gardening is the way it is.

On the positive side, I did like how they laid everything out in a clear fashion.  It was easy to follow and understand.  I also greatly appreciated the first hand experiences they shared; even the troubles that were overcome the first year or two in these gardens.  Seeing it put into practice really helped firm up my understanding of what they were trying to get at.

I the end, I was glad to have watched it.  It has made me consider a few changes to my garden for next year.

 

If you get a chance to watch the Back to Eden film, let me know what you thought.  Do you use this method of gardening?  If not, are you curious to try it out?  If you already do, is there any way you differ or any lesson you have learned along the way?