Any Other Wednesday

[Caution, rambling post ahead dealing with topics such as trying to conceive, baby loss and what not.]

We took a break from trying for a baby this month. Not on purpose; because the husband was across the country for work during the go-zone. It honestly feels like this is the longest two week wait in the history of ever, ever, because there’s literally 0% chance this month. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good knowing but also feels like such a waste of time. Our son is four, just about to be four and a half. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be starting over from scratch when my kid was essentially in Kindergarten. If we ever beat infertility and get to that point, that is.

Also did not dream up the divorce, or the time it took to get remarried or the losses or anything else that happened in between. If I wasn’t so sure about homeschooling the kid, I would probably get him enrolled in public school and pursue a new career. Be a “one and done” family, because after loss it pretty clearly feels like a closed door. Regardless, I would love love to study psychology in more depth than my animal health science degree allowed. But… there’s really no point if I can’t put it to use, is there? How would it look to get a degree now and not be able to use it for a decade, or more or who knows when because life as a whole is excellent at orchestrating plot twists?

Plus there’s the whole really can’t afford it thing. Is financial assistance for second degrees even a thing? Sounds a bit selfish but I would totally be all over that. Too scared to Google it. I suppose I am much more comfortable in the unknown. I do still think it royally unfair that we are supposed to know at eighteen what we want to do with our whole lives. Especially since despite having a passion for veterinary medicine and being very naturally skilled at blood draws, catheters and the like, it doesn’t fit who I am or what I want out of life anymore. I have a bachelors degree and licensure with my state and still cannot afford to put my kid in daycare to work. It’s madness. Props to all the technicians out there working their butts off for beans. It is definitely a calling and I have been called to something else.

So why do I feel so dissatisfied?

There’s certainly a bitterness that comes with pregnancy loss because none of this should even be an issue right now. I should have a five month old baby and be in the trenches of new-again motherhood but that’s not how it worked out for us. And I find myself drumming the keyboard at that thought because it just is. I wouldn’t wish losing a baby on my worst enemy, especially not three and especially not when the culture of our society is such that their lives were barely valid because they were never born. And I don’t know my point in writing this. Sometimes things just need to be written down and I suppose I am back to writing again, if only for now, because I have accumulated too many things to say.

I do know I am not exactly where I want to be in life and it’s hard. Because there’s nothing I can actually do about it. I feel like God has me in a holding pattern and I want to break free but I know that’s not the right answer either so I’m just waiting and waiting and that has never been a strength of mine. I have prayed for direction more times than I can count and last I heard over six months ago now was “REST.”

And I really did the best I could at doing just that.. maybe it wasn’t enough.

What if I’m just waiting forever?

What am I even waiting for?

Love,

Michelle

Gardening 101

Garden 2017
From left to right we’ve got..  Watermelon and spaghetti squash. Tomatoes.  Cucumbers hiding behind tomatoes. Carrots and broccoli and tomato babies. Lettuce. Carrots and lettuce. Worlds smallest strawberry patch and the kid’s sunflowers.

I have always had a green thumb. I kept an ivy plant alive for four years while away at college, reminding my mom to water it for me while I was away for extended periods of time. It only died when I moved across the country, leaving it solely in my mom’s hands. No great loss. I had won it at a carnival.

So when the husband decided to start a garden, I was psyched. I’ve grown basil and mint in pots before, but nothing on a larger scale. Please enjoy my wordy and honest memoir of  starting our first home garden.

Step one. Putting up the fence. The littlest sister just so happened to be visiting for the weekend and we got to work installing a rickety wood fence, which has since come in handy with keeping the puppy and preschooler out.

Step two. Pulling all the visible weeds; and the ground was essentially a tiny forest of them. Tons and tons of mallow and stinging nettle. Tea anyone? (Here comes mistake number one, are you ready?) So once all the weeds were pulled we had what we assumed was a blank canvas. We were wrong. The weeds we didn’t see much of – nutgrass – took full advantage of being broken up by the tilling and the fact that they are tubers and came back in the hundreds. I could literally go out and pull 100 tiny nutgrass plants, easy. And that doesn’t solve the problem because they leave shoots underground much like bermuda grass. Let my first suggestion be, if you’re totally new, like me, and dedicating a new space to be a garden, let the weeds grow at least one full year and get them identified via an online plant ID group before doing any tilling. So not worth it. Especially since I’m not using any unnatural herbicides/insecticides because that defeats the whole purpose of a home garden.

Step three. Create the rows. The husband swears by this method and since I have zero experience growing plants outside of pots, I let him do whatever he wanted. He briefly mentioned making circle mounds, and I had not idea how this would have worked and I guess he decided against them.

Step four. Start the seeds. I’m just kidding, this should probably be done before you get the space for the garden ready. If you’re using miniature greenhouses like we did to start seeds, you’ll need to get them going about two weeks before you plan to transplant them into the garden, at a minimum. Honestly, I’m not sure when we did this all in relation to getting the garden ready. I think our baby plants were probably older than they needed to be. I also got half of my seeds from the dollar section at Target because I was really only intending to see if I could get things to grow. All of our current tomato plants, most of our cucumbers, and the watermelon plants came from the Target dollar spot. I definitely now recommend buying seeds from the garden center at any major retailer. At least then you know what variety you are working with. My husband is still a bit bothered that I can’t remember for sure if the tomatoes are beefsteaks or not. The package said organic tomatoes! I started them in a windowsill.. I guess that’s mistake number two, technically. Know what you’re planting. Also document in your phone when you start the seeds, so you know when they should be ready for harvesting. If you’re not buying them at Target, the package will tell you how many days away that should be. If you are buying them at Target, good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Step Five. Get ready to transplant and be sure to use markers! I went rogue and planted tomatoes from a cut up cherry tomato because that store-bought package had a really good taste and don’t exactly remember where I put them. Mistake number three.. I mean, I’m pretty sure because I’ve got clusters of little sprouts coming up in four places but theres also a two foot section of row on a different row that I also planted them and there’s nothing there so far. Mystery plants for the win!

Step Six. Buy cages for any vining plants and install them pretty soon after transplanting, if not at the same time. We did not use cages for our cucumbers and now the husband is saying we need to wrangle them into plant bras or else the cucumbers will rot!!! Exclamation point!! So use the cages and avoid mistake number four. We also got the cages that we did use from his mom because I wasn’t keen on spending a dollar more than we needed to. They’re old, and they are completely mismatched and a couple may be too small, but they will work for this year!

Step Seven. Water. You would think this would be obvious but after about two weeks I did forget and the poor plants went about four days without anything to drink. Thankfully still cool enough that nothing died. Keeping count? That’s mistake five and the last one I do believe.

Step Eight. Continue weeding. This never ends apparently. I mean, I knew that but was not prepared to discover a dozen new to me species of invasive weeds, a new one taking over after the last has been pulled every single time. Definitely think about going full nerd and joining that plant ID group on Facebook. They help. We will probably be trying some newspaper to cover the rows and see if that helps.

Step Nine. Prepare to battle pests. We’ve had cutworms kill two cucumbers and three watermelon plants. Just hacked them off at the base of the plant. They also pooped all over the broccoli leaves. Rude. Just rude. There’s insect ID groups on Facebook you can join. They’re pretty great at helping when all your little plants are in jeopardy and every morning you go out to find more basically chopped down. The husband also had me go out and buy thin dowels and bird flash tape to keep birds at bay. They haven’t been a problem so far, but I’m not sure they would have been anyway.

Step Ten. Harvest. This is when writing down dates can be important, but really it’s  obvious when a tomato is ready to pick. The only trouble I ran into was the carrots, because those aren’t so obvious. Husband wants to pick them now but they need another two weeks.

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Baby Tomatoes – Target Dollar Spot win!
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We have about 20 baby cucumbers already! Also Target Dollar Spot Win!
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The only plants the four year old wanted to buy.

So there you have it. Maybe this will help you on your new gardening adventure or maybe you smiled at how many mistakes we made along the way. In any case, it’s really awesome when you need lettuce for a salad or sandwich and you can just walk to the backyard and pick a few leafs off the plant. Still waiting to be able to do that with everything else, but we did get a late start..

As Always Before,

Michelle