With all of the year end chaos behind us, I've begun to purposefully adopt a slower pace. Life has thrown us some curveballs lately. Of course, hard days are an inevitable part of living, but our character is not developed during the easy times, but during the times that test us. I have a lot of character. ;) The thing that is always abundantly clear to me is that I have a lot of things to be grateful for in my life and focusing on that and really feeling it, keeps me positive.
Lately, my days are dictated by the weather. The rain falls in sheets, often without warning. The new patch of grass seed we put down is thriving and has required little help from us. Some of my new plants are struggling with so much moisture. Some even required digging up and moving to my "plant hospital" so that I can tend them with extra care, coaxing them back to life.
I've become passionate about gardening in a way that I never was before. I've overcome the paralyzing fear that previously prevented me from making decisions. If something doesn't work I'm happy to just move it somewhere else. Possibly I was too caught up in getting it perfect. Letting go of that is one of the many gifts we get from our gardens. I love the peace of an early, cool morning spent out amongst the flowers pulling weeds, deadheading or just admiring the beauty. Add in the sound of birdsong, wind chimes and trees blowing in the breeze and I'm so relaxed I feel I might just fall over. Summer has never been my favorite season but here I am finding so many things to love about it.
We have done so much work outside this year - replacing our dilapidated picket fence with a new cedar one, taking down 3 ailing pine trees and reshaping our beds. I have planted 8 new trees and untold numbers of flowers, really focusing on bringing an English cottage feel to the front of the house in particular. In back we have focused on getting the shape and structure in place. We have big plans for the backyard next season which include adding lots of flowering shrubs, apple and pear espalier trees, removing our old deck and taking down Emma's treehouse and turning it into a potting shed. We are nothing if not ambitious. We find it best not to overthink these things too much but just jump in and begin until it's too late to change our minds.
We have been lucky so far this summer to have lower than average temperatures which has meant a lot of porch time. Clover is happiest when she is snuggled up next to me on the glider. Well, that's not exactly true. She is happiest when she is in the water but I like to think that cuddling with me al fresco is her second favorite.
I rather enjoy all the rain as it is conducive to most of my hobbies and to in general to being cozy. Cozy, being my favorite hobby of all. I would happily bake, read, write, craft or knit to the sound of a thunderstorm.
Lately I've been making some changes to my days, trying to be more on top of things. I'm introducing zone cleaning (from the flylady), zone gardening and a basic weekly schedule with a heaping amount of grace for myself and minimal guilt. It seems to be working really well and I feel like my house is generally more clean and I'm generally less stressed about it. These are all good things.
One of the things I'm doing to help keep me from getting overwhelmed is designating the last week of each month "finish week". My plan is to focus on things like projects I haven't completed, books and magazines that are half read, partially binged Netflix series, knitting projects that are close to being done, WEAVING IN THE ENDS AND BLOCKING my many finished but stuffed in a basket knitting projects, doing mending or any number of other things that for some reason when piled up cause me stress. My goal will be to refrain from starting anything new during that week so that with the start of the new month I can begin things with wild abandon! Last night on the porch, I got a head start weaving ends into 4 pairs of recently finished socks. I find that job much more palatable on the porch. I'm also hoping to finish up this sweater which, judging from the way it matches clothes I already own, will clearly fit right into my current wardrobe.
I hope you are enjoying a slower pace this summer as well and if not I hope it will be just around the bend for you.