Thankful for My Garden Spot

This year for the month of November, I am selecting one thing to be thankful for each day. Today, I am thankful for my small garden spot, my happy spot. This year there were some surprises.

One surprise was the “red cabbage” that was actually red brussel sprouts. The few tiny brussel sprouts I did harvest were put into a stew for us to enjoy. Although I did not get much of a harvest from the red brussel sprout plants, I did enjoy their beautiful grey green foliage with purple veins, and tall upright growth. I received joy from the beauty of the plant itself.

There was an abundance of sweet basil, planted from seeds produced from last year’s plant. The seeds, unknown to me they were there, sprouted and grew throughout my garden area, adding a sweet aroma when I worked in my garden.

For the first time I planted butternut squash. I only planted one hill of three seeds, of which one plant emerged from the soil. This wandering plant produced over two dozen squash. I explored various recipes for preparing and cooking butternut squash. My husband and I have enjoyed this new addition to our menu plans. I have plenty preserved in the freezer to last until next year.

This year I experimented with a different style of planting corn. The corn grew well, adding height to my garden vegetation. There were multiple cobs on the stalks during the time of pollination. Unfortunately a gate was left open allowing a horse to enter my yard and garden spot. The horse enjoyed the tops of the corn stalks, eating the sweet source of pollination. I harvested several corn cobs, without any corn kernels. Overall this experimental planting style would work in my garden spot, just have to keep the horse out during pollination time. I did cut the stalks to give my sheep a sweet treat.

The summer squash and yellow squash I plant every year did well. I received plenty of squash for our summer meals and to preserve for winter meals. Like the butternut squash, I only planted one hill of each type of squash due to not have more room for planting.

The radishes and bell pepper continued to produce all summer adding bits of flavor to the dishes I prepared. The tomatoes did not do very well. Since I raised the tomatoes in containers, I think the soil was tired. I will be emptying all my containers this winter, and refilling them with new soil next year.

This fall I have planted onions in the small garden and will be experimenting with my first planting of sweet potatoes. This will be my first year having a fall garden, not just a plant or two.

Overall, my small garden provided well for us. I enjoy the birds and butterflies I who come to visit. The multiple colors of blooms and foliage that pleases my eyes. I am thankful for my small happy spot of a garden.

amtolle

Helping Hands

This weekend while home for a few days to perform some tasks at home that had to be done by me, I was thinking about “helping hands”. There are times in our lives we need a “helping hand”. Help moving a heavy object or a large object. I am helping my daughter’s family by driving my granddaughter to and from school, cleaning the house, caring for the dogs and watering the lawn. These tasks my daughter and son-in-law could do, but with the recent arrival of triplet boys, it is nice to have a person able to do those tasks for them so they can concentrate on the babies, more importantly for them to be able to get some sleep. I will be there to provide helping hands as long as needed.

My daughter and son-in-law are a very independent couple. When their first baby was born, they did not want any help at all. They needed to learn how to perform the daily tasks and take care of their daughter. They were excited about being parents, they leaned on each other to learn and adjust to having a child in their family. They did very well in adjusting and learning.

With the addition of triplets, my daughter and son-in-law realized, these new babies would require a lot more time and care. They are glad to receive some help.

Help comes in many forms. One of the greatest gifts they have received is money to assist with the cost of having triplets. Diapers and formula are expensive.

In their town, baby formula is still limited in how many a person can purchase. Months back, there was a shortage of baby formula, and family members came to the rescue. Family members requested the information on what type of formula they would use and purchased formula when found in their area stores, then shipped it to them. I my trip home for the weekend, we visited the store and purchased baby formula that I will take down with me.

While I am helping my daughter’s family, my husband is alone at the farm. He feeds the sheep and dogs, then goes to his job. One evening he was mowing with a push mower our driveway. Since I have not been there to mow once a week, the grass grew to be very tall. A neighbor saw my husband mowing, then returned with a riding mower to finish the job. A simple task, completed with much appreciated helping hand.

The helping hands really shows up in our marriage. I had not given much thought to how much we assist and take care of each other until recently. I take care of the farm, yard, house and meals. When I am gone, those tasks fall to my husband. It is a blessing to have a life partner who is willing and able to give a helping hand so I can help my daughter.

I have always viewed marriage like a team of horses working together in harness. In today’s technology age, seeing a team of horses work or even driving a team of horses is very rare. There is a special dynamic with a good team of horses. A person does not just put any two horses together to work and pull a wagon. Those two horses have to get along and not fight. But they also have to be willing to work together, pulling the same amount at all times in order for the task to be completed. They have to be patient when one accidently bumps or steps on the other. When they are working, being bumped by each other happens a lot. There are times the horses will lean and push against each other to gain leverage to get a heavy load moving or to stop the heavy load.

Currently, I am able to lean on my husband, trust that he is going to take care of my sheep. It is not an easy time for us with the sheep farm. The cost of hay has made things a challenge, but he has been there to feed, find hay to purchase, and help with the decisions on selling sheep. I have come home for the weekend to identify the lambs to be sold and the ones we are keeping.

It is good to be able to do things independently. When the time arrives, it is also good to put our pride aside, and take the helping hand we are being blessed with to get us through those challenging times.

I am thankful for those helping hands that have assisted my family and myself during this time.

amtolle

Fall is Upon Us

September is here and fall is not far behind. Fall the time of year this change preparing for winter. The trees change their color to golds and reds, as their leaves begin to die and fall, getting ready for winter. The birds fly south, some leave and others move in for the winter. Fall is a time of reflection as celebrations of All Souls Eve when we remember those who are gone, Thanksgiving with those who are around us recalling the blessings received. Fall is the time for preparing for winter if you are a sheep farmer, making sure there is enough hay and feed the animals will need.

This summer has flown through with exciting adventures with family and blessings to share and remember. It seems as I gain in years, the years get shorter. I have been preparing for a special event in September, the delivery of my youngest daughter’s triplets. I will leave my husband the responsibility of the sheep and animals, as well as himself when I go to my daughter’s on September 11. It is hard to leave my husband alone with the house and sheep. I like to make sure his laundry is done, food on the table at a set time, and food for his lunches ready for him to take in the morning. I know he is a grown man and able to take care of himself, but there is a part of me that will miss doing it for him. I do those things for him because I love him, not out of society prescribed duty or it is expected of me. I want to make sure he has his comforts and the things he needs because of love and care.

My staying at my daughter’s to care for my granddaughter is a gift of love and care. My daughter and her husband will be busy when the triplets are born. I will be there as a servant to assist in whatever needs to be done. While my daughter and the babies are in the hospital, I will be responsible for my granddaughter getting to school, checking on homework, and other household duties. I am looking forward to spending the one on one time with my granddaughter, a time to make special memories together. It will also be the first time she has been away from her parents. Although she knows this is going to happen, being able to maintain her regular schedule and routines will help her deal with the stress of her parents not being there.

Fall marks the time to get all the Christmas gifts completed for my grandchildren. This year I will be completing several of them while I am at my daughters. I will not have the duties of being a sheep farmer to keep me busy during the day, when my granddaughter is at school. I will have the gifts there to keep my hands and mind busy. I know my daughter loves me, but if I were to spring clean her house without her present would not put a smile on her face. I know my weakness, I have prepared things for my stay to keep my hands and mind occupied.

It is easy to do things for those we love. Helping others and bringing a smile, is my reward for the work I am doing. I know my daughter and her family appreciate this help being provided. I know my husband appreciates what I do for him. All things I do, I do because I love.

This fall marks the arrival of a long awaited blessing for the whole family, aunts, grandparents, cousins, nephews, nieces and others. We have been watching, praying for my daughter and three babies. Fall the babies will arrive.

amtolle

Photo by ZEG Photo on Pexels.com

“Hump Day”

When I worked a Monday thru Friday, 8-5 job, everyone was happy for “hump day”. “Hump Day” was Wednesday, the work week is half over, it is downhill to the weekend and fun.

Today, I barely keep track of which day of the week it is. But I still recognize when a project is reaches the halfway mark of completion. I get excited that soon I will be able to use, display or give what I have been working on.

Recently it was refinishing and repairing an old dresser for my daughter to use in her nursery. The dresser was gaining new life and looking good. I was impatient in wanting to share my work with my daughter and her family.

This week is also week 30 of gestation for the triplets my daughter is pregnant with. We are almost there to delivery. I will not say I have not been nervous with my daughter having triplets as there are medical complications that can occur.

My son and his wife had twins, and due to twin to twin transfusion, they lost one of the twins a few hours after birth. This loss occurred 18 months before my daughter became pregnant. And there is still grieving of the loss of a child and grandchild.

When I learned my daughter was pregnant with triplets, this granny hit her knees with prayers. I was not too proud to ask for prayers. For with any pregnancy there needs to be prayer for mother and child. For a woman carrying triplets I figured there needs to be three times the amount of prayer.

One of the major risks of with triplets is premature labor. I am thankful to say, my daughter has had no contractions to date. Her and the babies are doing well, they are very active and growing. We are know that it is with God’s help that my daughter and the babies are doing well.

We are counting down the days to their delivery: 27 days until September 14.

The nursery is prepared. The things they need to bring home and take care of three little boys is in place. We are thankful for those who have helped this to happen.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, positive thoughts and energy. We have truly been blessed. Please continue.

amtolle