Thursday, March 31, 2011

gardening: starting simple

I have a confession:

I love to garden, but I'm kind of bad at it.  

Last year, I planted scads of peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, beans, etc, and none of them were harvested or eaten, because I quite simply forgot about them.  My excuse at the time was that I was busy with two kids, busier with work, and the garden was around the back corner of the house, so it was out of sight and out of mind.  

I'd like to do a little better this year, starting with scale.  

Instead of planting a dozen each of a dozen different types of plants, I'm going to stick with just a few plants each of a couple different varieties.  Just a few of our most-enjoyed vegetables, one or two herbs, and possibly a fruit like strawberries.  The idea here is that if there is less garden to mind, I will be able to make the time to care for it properly.  

With that in mind, I'm thinking of growing a cucumber vine, a runner bean or pea bush, the strawberries, and a few types of mint for tea.  That isn't many plants at all, and should be perfectly manageable, even with a preschooler, a toddler and a newborn to watch out for.

Secondly, the garden location needs to change.  

Last summer, the only glimpse I got of our poor, neglected plants was when I chased one of the kids back into the fenced in part of our yard, where 99% of our time is spent.  

This year, I'd like to incorporate our garden plants into our living landscape.  Cucumber vines and bean bushes should grow well against our yard fence, spearmint and peppermint will do well in containers on the porch where there's a bit of shade, and I'm thinking of trying the strawberries as a border plant around the porch and down the side of the house, and possibly in a hanging basket or two.  

If the plants are worked into our landscape, they become much easier to care for.  For instance, I don't have to leave the children inside the fence to go out and water, weed, or tend plants.  Also, the plants will always be in view and I'll be able to tell at a glance while walking from the car to the house if anything needs attention.  The only drawback I expect to see is the death of a few plants by my well meaning but not-so-gentle-at-times little ones.  We'll try to combat their over-loving the plants by giving them their own growing space and their own seeds to plant.  They love to play in the dirt, and hopefully they'll learn a bit about being gentle with fragile plants in the process.

Now it's just a matter of waiting on the darn cold weather to pass so we can get out there and plant, plant, plant!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Power Outage = Blessing in Disguise?

I’m sitting here on my couch, legs stretched out in front of me, enjoying the type of silence that comes along very rarely.  There is an utter stillness in the air, and only the shrill chirping of crickets for background music.  

We’ve had storms for most of the day in our neck of the woods, the kind of pop-up thunderstorms that can be so unpredictable, but still so beautiful, in the spring.  Even though the storms have blown over, the power has just gone out, plunging the entire house into a comforting darkness.  The only light is the light of the computer screen that I’m using to type this blog entry.  Thank goodness for laptop batteries!

I have to confess that I do love a good thunderstorm and subsequent power outage, so long as that outage isn’t long enough to spoil the food in the fridge.  There’s just something otherworldly about sitting in the dark, cut off from most of the trappings of current civilization that makes the day (or night) take on a whole new meaning.  

When all of our little gadgets and gizmos are unavailable to us, what do we do?  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more than a little attached to the Internet.  But, I also believe that it’s healthy to take a break from the fast pace of the electronic world we live in, to slow down and appreciate the simpler, more basic things life has to offer.  And sometimes, like now, when I don’t have enough sense to unplug the TV myself, or the willpower to stay away from Facebook, I’m glad that Mother Nature has the chance to intervene and force my hand.  A night without surfing various blogs or compulsively refreshing Huffington Post will be good for me.  

So now, with no lights to turn on, no TV to stare at, no radio to listen to, I’m going to take advantage of this gift, this sudden stillness that begs me to put away the keyboard, and I’m going to crawl in bed with a sleepy toddler.  He’ll snuggle up to me in that trusting, warm way that he does, and he’ll say “Hi, Mommy, time for ‘seep’.”  

Yeah, buddy, it’s time for sleep.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome to Crafting Sanity, my catch-all blog about living frugally, decluttering, homeschooling, simplicity and more!

Why Crafting Sanity?  As a mom of two kids under five, with another due in late May, my life sometimes gets a little crazy.  Add in working outside the home and trying to run a part-time photography business and it gets downright insane!  I have to find my little pieces of sanity wherever I can, and most of the time, I do it by crafting: sewing, scrapbooking, painting, etc.  Arts and crafts are therapy in this house!  

At the same time, I'm always looking for ways to make our everyday lives simpler.  A simpler life equals less opportunity for the crazy to move in and take over!  In that regard, I'm recently on a mission to declutter our home, declutter our financial life, and make every day about the things that are most important: each other.  

As the blog grows, I look forward to posting about our progress, as well as sharing craft projects and tutorials and information on how everyone can simplify their lifestyle and home.  Pictures and stories about my kids are a given!  

I'm looking forward to sharing our journey with you, and I hope you enjoy following along!