Put the shovel down. Back away slowly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ever have one of those days? One of those days where you wake up wondering what the hell you're doing with your life? Ya, me neither...

OK, today was one of those days. A doubt-filled day. A second guess everything kind of day. A grab the shovel and dig it all up kind of day.

Thoughts like, "what have I done?!" "I can't do this" "grow all of our own food I says, it'll be fun I says" "this will never work" "I'm one person, this is too much" "nothing is working" "what in the world was I thinking" "Idaho? What am I doing in Idaho?" "I've lost my damned mind" "what am I doing with my life?!" "I can't, I can't, I can't"...have been circling through my head.

I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm feeling defeated. I'm doubting.

I keep focusing on the negatives. Things like... Hubby is working a lot. We're not done planting what really should have been planted a week ago. I'm falling behind on basic stuff like keeping the lawn mowed and dishes done. We don't have the budget we really need for things like dog-proofing fence to keep the animals safe and proper irrigation equipment. Not to mention a tractor. Shh, don't mention a tractor.

It's just been a constant stream of doubt and negativity strolling through my head today!

What the what?

I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm turning 40 soon. 40 doesn't bother me really, but I guess I'm not where I thought I'd be.

Also, I'm struggling with my writing a lot lately. Everything seems off. Nothing comes out the way I feel it. 

OK, time to check myself.

Dear Self,

Yes, you can in fact do this. Yes, you are one person, but this is everything you've dreamed of, planned for, and put everything on. You cannot blow it with doubt and negativity. You are where you are meant to be. You are doing what you are meant to be doing. Ditch the negative nonsense. Expect the positive. Have faith. You got this. 


Nice farmer's tan.

Aphids, Rocks, and 90 Degrees. Oh My.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Do you have any idea how long it takes to plant enough food to feed 5 people for a year? No? Neither did I.

I am the queen of underestimation. Done planting by June 1st I thought. Bahahaha! Cute.

I was estimating based on how things would have went in Colorado. But you see, nothing is the same here. It's not so much the amount of planting that needs done, it's the rock situation.

Let's talk about rocks. I like rocks. My kids like rocks. We've been known to come home from hikes with pocketfuls of rocks. We've always had a rock garden. Rocks are cool. 

I really like river rocks. I used to admire landscaping, houses, and fireplaces with river rocks. River rocks are cool. 

I am now the proud owner of more river rocks than I could ever endeavor to count. 

When you dig a hole I swear more rocks come out than you could ever possibly fit back in!
When I said in my last post that we have more rocks than soil I wasn't exaggerating. When you dig a hole you can barely get a shovel in for all the rocks (and sometimes you in fact can't get a shovel in). When you dig a hole the actual dirt comes out like peanut brittle that you picked the peanuts out of. It's just little bits of dirt among tons and tons of rocks. 

So many rocks.

Growing food in that kind of 'soil' is going to take some maneuvering. Which of course equates into taking more time.

Anything we have to dig into the ground, like fruit trees, we are way over-digging and adding soil back in to help give them a fighting chance. 

I dug two holes for cherry bushes and about keeled over. Hubby dug the spot for the blueberry bushes and was ready to go buy a tractor (the tractor 'issue' is a whole other post...). Thankfully the neighbor brought their tractor up to dig the holes for the apple, pear, and plum trees. 

Everything else we are doing various forms of raised beds and hills. Lots and lots of hills.

Melons! Several different heirloom varieties planted in these hills.
We bought 2 dump truck loads of soil, but it's pretty clay-type, easily compacted, soil like what we have between the rocks. So we have to amend it for the plants to thrive. To the soil we are adding barley straw and horse manure. Fortunately we got a giant bale of barley straw and we have horse manure galore because the previous owners had horses.

Originally we wanted to do all raised beds out of reclaimed pallets. Unfortunately that has become too time consuming. We have to build a raised bed. Haul the horse manure in a wheel barrow to the dirt pile. Mix our soil, manure, straw concoction. Haul that in a wheel barrow to the planting spot. Then, fill the raised bed. 

Even though we'd built some raised beds in the spring before we could plant, it wasn't enough. We definitely aren't going to have time to build as many as we'd need.

So, I have resorted to hills. Lots and lots of hills. For a hill I just have to mix the soil, manure, straw and make a pile. Plant, then mulch with more straw. Much faster than building beds, though not as handsome.

Raised beds that Darran and the boys made from reclaimed pallets. Fingers crossed I have time for a diy tutorial on these before the snow flies!
Even that feels like it is taking forever! 

Considering our short-ish growing season, I'm a little concerned with not having some things in the ground already. Ah, well, we can only do what we can do. Darran is working a lot, as he does this time of year, so this should get interesting...

Oh yes, and we have an aphid infestation. First, I discovered the existing raised beds that I planted strawberries in were infested. I bought some lady bugs and lacewings. NO big deal.

Well, then some of the nursey plants I purchased were covered in them a few days after bringing them home. Eek. Now my stevia and herb starts are covered with them too! They even killed off some cilantro my son had planted. They're all over everything that hasn't made it outside yet.

Thankfully, lady bugs do in fact eat aphids. I just went outside and caught a couple and brought them in...

And? It's 90 degrees today. Which is why I'm inside writing this post instead of out in the garden like I should be.

Crazy enough, I'm also stupid happy. And completely still hopeful.

Go figure.

First strawberry!
I know this post may sound like a rant, but it's really just an update. This is what's going on, but I'm also enjoying every minute of it. I'm planting, my hands are in the dirt, my heart is full. This is what I'm meant to do. This is what I love.

I do believe we already have enough spinach for a salad. YUM.
Life is good. Things will be what they will be. I'll do my best. But I have to say, it takes a whole lot longer to plant enough food to feed 5 people for a year than one might suppose.

Not the Perfect First Post...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

OK, enough is enough.

I've been trying since April to launch this blog.

I agonized over the design not being perfect.

I wanted to have 4 weeks of recipe posts loaded and scheduled, ready to post.

I worked and reworked, despised, loved, and gave up on the bio.

I wanted to get new head-shots.

I wanted the 'perfect' first post. A post filled with dazzling photos, back story, and an eloquent summation of what I hope to do with this blog.

Then this morning I was having a little pre-everyone-is-up quiet time and it hit me: I was paralyzed by wanting everything to be perfect. There will never be a perfect first post. Life is crazy right now, but even if things weren't so busy, I could go in circles forever with the goal of perfect. Bios, blog design, blah, blah, blah. 

So, to heck with perfect, I'm posting.

Because I'm so freaking excited to launch this blog and share our story! Maybe I'll write that perfect introduction post later. Or maybe I wont...

Welcome to A Promising Place! I have so much to catch you up on.

Today I'll just focus on our garden progress.

As you may already know, one of our main goals in our new home (and our move to Idaho) is to see just how much of our own food we can grow. And oh my, is it go-time!

We've been working hard in the garden and hope to have most of it planted by this weekend. This is what we had to work with:

It's a 150' x 300' spot that the previous owners used as a horse pen. Pretty much we have more rock than soil, but that's another post.

While that is the main garden spot, we are tucking food plants pretty much everywhere around the house area of our 8 acres. Apple trees, raspberries, mint, strawberries, onions, garlic, and pumpkins have already jumped the garden fence.

I've been researching best varieties for this climate and local sources all winter. Local sourcing as much as possible is very important to me.

So far we have planted:

Carmine cherry bushes.
Honeycrisp, State Fair, Yellow Transparent, and Frostbite apple trees.
Summercrisp and Lucious pear trees.
Mt Royal and Toka plum trees.
Ft Laramie and Ogallala strawberries.
Blue Northern and North Country Blueberries.
Have you ever seen blueberry flowers? They're so cool.
Craigslist raspberry bushes (local varieties found on Craigslist).
Golden raspberries.
Walla walla onions.
Regular and royal blue potatoes.
Purple passion, Vardaman, Beauregard, and Red Japanese sweet potatoes.
White and orange pumpkins.
Chocolate mint, sweet mint, and peppermint.

There are also some crab apple and other fruit trees already existing on the place that I'm excited to see what they bear.

Inside the house I also have 5 billion heirloom tomato plants, various herbs, stevia, and assorted peppers that I started inside to give a head start. They are all ready to go in the ground, like yesterday.

This long weekend we have a list a mile long to plant. I'd best get busy...

Oh yes, and the girls made their first trip outside.
Pretty sure this is their, "What, this post isn't about us?!" face.