Where is the Sun?

My poor little babies are trying their best to grow, but it’s too cold yet to put them outside. We have a mini-greenhouse, but I’m concerned that won’t even keep them warm enough. Looks like I need to find a UV bulb to keep them (and me) happy. 

  

They just exploded in the last couple of days, so I need to thin them. The onions are growing like crazy and we finally have a jalapeño plant peeking out of the dirt. 

Life is growing strong on this suburban homestead and I’m thrilled!

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Brave Little Seed

I went to Montalbano Farms last Sunday to start my seeds. They had a free event where you brought your own trays, but they provided the dirt and the seeds. I had already purchased mine from Baker Creek, so all I needed was some dirt. 

Fast forward to yesterday and look at what I found! 

 

One brave little seedling has found its way out of the darkness of the dirt. While all the rest of the seeds are still hiding, this little one broke out of its shell and showed its pretty little stalk. How is that for inspiration?

If this tiny little lettuce plant can be strong enough to break free from its shell and find its way out of the dark, so can I.

Be Still, Anxious Heart

I cannot remember a time I have not battled anxiety. To use an expression I learned as a child, I am constantly “wound up tighter than an eight-day clock”. Over the past several months, things have only gotten worse. There is an ever-present tightness in my chest. My nerves feel as though they are exposed and even the slightest stimulation is too much.

There are small bits of respite, though. When I see an open field, a calm washes over me and I want to stay in that place forever. Sometimes, my husband senses my desperation and suggests a drive west. He knows that the sight of fields and farms are one of the few things that can bring piece to my soul. One particular weekend, we drove all the way to Dixon (an almost two-hour drive one way). We stopped at Blain’s Farm & Fleet, which, to me, is a little slice of heaven. If we don’t have time for a long drive, we head over to the nearest Tractor Supply and, for those brief moments, I am calm. I am smiling. I am peaceful.

This morning has been rough. I am overwhelmed with homework, financial difficulties, and work. Then what to my wondering eyes should come across my email but a message from Mother Earth News on seed starting. I opened that email and I felt the tightness in my chest lessen. I was filled with thoughts of playing in the dirt and planting seeds. For a moment, there was joy in my heart!

It is difficult to explain this calling to the land to others. They don’t get it no matter how hard I try to describe it. They don’t understand that this isn’t just a hobby. This is something my heart is pulling me to and the longer I ignore it and try to push it away, the more my soul aches and anxiety consumes me.

I was talking with a dear friend yesterday after pulling some Tarot cards for myself. I am new to this and wanted her expert analysis on the spread I had drawn. In the end, she told me the message was that I know myself best and know what I need to do. She said, “You already know the answer to this one, you just have to embrace it.” She is right. I do know. I need to stop looking for approval. I may never get it.

Spring Has (Almost) Sprung!

As I sit here typing this post, I have all of my seed packets beside me. It’s March here in northern Illinois which means it is time to start seeds! This year, we purchased seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds because I want to start saving seeds. When using hybrids, you are not guaranteed to get the same plant as the one that produced that fruit or vegetable, so heirloom seeds are the way to go.

This year’s garden will consist of Comstock Slice and Sauce tomatoes (should be great for canning), Parisienne carrots (that they sent as a free gift. Thanks Baker Creek!), the Cantare variety of green beans, California Wonder bell peppers, Craig’s Grande jalapeno peppers, Stuttgarter onions (a long day variety, which is necessary for our neck of the woods), Big Boston lettuce, and Boston pickling cucumbers.

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My husband made the mistake of mentioning going to Tractor Supply to purchase one or two mini-greenhouse we saw that fits the trays I currently use for planting my seeds. He said, “I’m sure we can find money in the budget.” Talk about making my heart skip a beat! I love that man! Money is pretty tight here on this suburban homestead, so “finding money in the budget” is a special treat.

If you are like me and live anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, you probably have Spring Fever. It is still too cold (and there’s too much snow on the ground) to even till the garden, but it’s not too early to start seeds. The only seeds I will sew directly when the soil is warm and dry enough are the Cantare beans.

I have no words to describe how excited I am for the coming seasons. I cannot wait to watch my seeds being to poke through the dirt and become hardy plants that will bear the fruits and vegetables I will use to feed my family. There is something so indescribable about going into the garden each morning to say hello to my babies (yes, I talk to all of the plants). I will lovingly smell the rosemary and tomatoes and think to myself, “this really needs to be bottled as a perfume”. I will greet the unruly raspberry bushes and compliment them on how well they are growing and how wonderful they look. Then, when there is something ready to harvest, I will thank the plant for working so hard to grow and produce this nourishment for me and my family.

But that time is quite a ways off. For now, I stare longingly at my packets and plan what will go where while I stare at the leafless trees that fill my backyard and the snow that blankets my deck. Mother Earth is still sleeping but she is stirring. All that is left is for me to be patient.