July 09, 2019

Summer Simplicity

Summer is not my favorite. I've probably mentioned this numerous times. And yet there are so many things I can find to truly love about this season anyway. Things you won't find on this list: blistering heat, sun, humidity, the way my hair misbehaves, watering, closed windows, BUGS, air conditioning bills.

But why get bogged down in those things when there are so many positives. Like putting your linens on the line to dry, the perfect sign found at a garage sale, flowers everywhere ready to be cut and brought inside, fresh from the garden heirloom tomatoes just waiting to become tonights BLT''s or as we call them CBLAT's (cheese, bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato), bouquets of basil that turn into homemade marinara with a healthy splash of the red wine left from the big back yard July 4th celebration. There are farmers markets, a more relaxed routine, porch time, reading books, going to Michigan, studio time and favorite summer movies -The Sand Lot, Doc Hollywood, Fried Green Tomatoes, Kit Kittridge, Because of Winn Dixie.

And lately napping. I think the last year is catching up with me and I am just plum worn out. And don't worry. I just had a complete physical and everything came back fine. I'm doing my best to slow down but there are a lot of things on our schedule and to do list through the end of August. I try to balance all of it with giving myself permission to let the weeds go another day, to have leftovers for dinner, to give myself the greatest of all things...days that I don't have to leave the house. I know in the blink of an eye my baby will be away at college, the nest will be empty and there will be plenty of quiet and space in my schedule and time to get all the things done that I can't seem to get to now. I will find myself in the midst of a completely new season that will be complete with things I don't especially like, but also with things I absolutely love.

P.S. I'm having difficulty leaving comments on some blogs lately. I was even unable to reply to your comments on my own until I saved the way the comments are formatted. Does anybody know what I can do to fix it? Please let me know if you're having trouble too. Unless you also can't comment on mine! ;)

June 24, 2019

A Slower Pace

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.