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.


NanaDiana said...

What a wonderful post-relaxing into summer rather than fighting all those leftover things that need to be done.I really have to look up that fly lady site-I have heard several people say how much they learned there.
Have a wonderful, blessed week...hmmm..last week of the month--must be 'catch up/finish up', right? xo Diana

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I love that you are enjoying gardening! I love to garden. Enjoy your summer Jen!

Melanie said...

I feel the same way that you do about being outside...it totally relaxes me. Earlier this evening when it was getting dark, I sat outside on the patio just taking in the fading light and the sounds of the birds chirping goodnight. I saw my first fireflies of the season. It was glorious. Now it's pouring rain again - for the 3rd time today! We've had the cooler temps too, but starting tomorrow the heat hits here. We're supposed to be in the high 80's - 90 and muggy all through the weekend. I'm dreading it.

I'm glad you guys are ambitious - neither me nor my husband are. I think we both get overwhelmed, plus there's the procrastination thing.

Oh, indeed...we've had some real curveballs this year, too. More than enough already, really. Somehow we just keep putting one foot in front of each other, right?


Bekah said...

It sounds as if your summer is off to a great start. I like your idea of zone cleaning in your house and adopting the idea of zones into tending your garden! I might give that a shot this season. I find it difficult to keep up with the inside and outside tasks during the summer months when our teens are home from school.
I hope you have a wonderful summer and that the challenging things you mention in your post are resolved. You are right, it is during those times that we grow ourselves.
Enjoy these summer weeks,
PS Is that the Weekender sweater by Drea Renee Knits? I have been working on that pattern for a few months now. I am hoping to have it done by fall. We'll see!

Sharon Hermens said...

It's so wonderful to hear from you. I've been missing your blog. I love your stories and all your insights of your life. You're on the right track. I know what you mean about "finishing what you have begun". I've been beating myself about that. I have so many "unfinished" projects but I won't start anything till I finish those. That makes me anxious because I'm looking at some things I want to start so badly!! Oh! What a tangled web we weave! Weaving, I haven't tried that yet....I digress!! I will not weave, I will not weave!!! Right now I'm repairing an old quilt for a friend. Yeah, I know. She said "don't hurry. Yikes!! Well, it's spread out on my dining room table. Every time I look in there I go in and make a few hand stitches. It will get finished, I promise!
Have a productive, restful, joyful Summer.

Teresa said...

Wild abandon gardening is the very best kind of gardening! It all looks so very, very beautiful.

Vikki said...

The thought that we can control things in our life is just a lie we tell ourselves. You have found ways to make your life better and I'm so happy for you. After all, what more do you need than gardening and a loving dog. Well, maybe chocolate. Stay happy and stay well.

Blondie's Journal said...

Knowing you are finding relaxation inspires me to make time for that. Gardening always does that for me because we only have a limited amount of time to do that and be outdoors here in the Midwest.

I'm looking at your jade plant...I have one which over 25 years old! I know, crazy. They are succulents and retain water in their "leaves". You can truly let them go without water for a good month. Overwatering or too much heat can cause the leaves to fall off. I clip stems off when they get too leggy and re-root them in water until I have some feathery looking roots. Then I plant them in moist potting soil and keep it moist for a good three weeks. Not trying to sound like an expert but I read up on these beauties and have made several pots for friends.

Keep up that chilled vibe, Jen!



Kim said...

Your summer sounds just lovely. I definitely identify with gardening anxiety -- I've had quite a few "misses" with plants that I'm hesitant to put in too many new things for fear that they won't work out. Maybe I'll work up my courage, as your garden is so inspirational.

Coco Rose Diaries said...

Gosh do you know Jen.......there is not a SINGLE post from you where I don't come away completely inspired. You are pure magic do you know that? You are also so right in that easy times don't give us our character.

I have felt that this year I have been drifting a bit. I haven't felt like I could really get properly into anything. Guilt, time, space all play their parts. I always leave your posts feeling calmer and with a plan. You inspire me!

Okay, so I need to find out what zone cleaning is. Maybe I might lose the title of Worst Domestic Goddess Ever if I do!!!!!!!!!

Big big hugs to you and yours my lovely xxxxxxxxxx

Jboo said...

Love this post -- you're such a sweet inspiration, you really are, you know. Am attempting to declutter and get rid of lots of stuff - but sometimes overwhelmed with it and just want to shove everything back into cabinets -- ever feel like that? Your garden projects sound fabulous and I love that your favorite hobby is being cozy! One of my favorite hobbies is catching a nap. Used to hate naps -- and now I love it when I can nab one. What is this zone cleaning you speak of? Off to google it. Must figure that out. Enjoy the lovely days. Heat and humidity are hitting Nebraska hard this weekend!

Kit said...

I love your plans! Your place is looking lovely. I went out today in a soft rain and did some pruning. The Robins were giving me quite the concert and the air smelled like pine. :) Kit

mrsrobinson said...

I love the idea of gardening, and when I am on top of our garden, I do love doing the everyday more gentle work. But oh my, look away from our garden for a minute and it will revert back to wild field. Love the idea of finish off week!

Mereknits said...

I am really trying to bring more gratitude into my daily life. It is hard to remember to do, especially when challenges come up but I am making an honest effort to do it. Your garden is beautiful, enjoy it.

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

Your summer sounds heavenly....I truly wish I had time to nurture myself as you do. I get completely overwhelmed with the many chores I need to do around the house and garden, and the extremely limited amount of time I have to do them. Once I get on top of them again, I relax....but then the grass grows again, the weeds get out of control, the dog hair builds up on the floors, the dust on the furniture, etc, etc.....and I'm right back to being overwhelmed again. Sigh, it's quite the cycle!

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