Garden Takeover

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We are thick into the season where the garden literally takes over our life.  No matter how much the weeds have taken over, garden produce for the year has gone from the trickle of strawberries, to now a full out invasion of peas, beans, broccoli, cabbages, as the raspberries wind down.  The tomato plants are heavy with green orbs that look as though they may blush any day.  Then life outside the garden and kitchen will virtually shut down.  The cucumbers as well look like they will be ready to be pickled by as early as next week.  I’ve never grown my own pickling cukes, so I don’t know how long that season is.  I know very little about it.  Last year we were given lots of cucumbers by some of Knut’s cousins who had excess in their garden, and the fermented dill pickles I made were to die for.  I could sit and eat a whole jar if I let myself.  I knew right away I could no longer go back to store-bought.  The garden has ruined me for yet another food that I no longer want to buy.

I am so joyously ruined.  Silje jokes that I’m ruining them all for life because they will never be satisfied with normal food and will be forced to garden as adult.  I tell her it’s all a part of my evil plan.

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These Days

These days I’m taking it easy.  I’m breathing deep everyday, and leaving my hands open for whatever God decides to give me that day.  Although I’m not getting everything done that would be on *my* list, I know at the end of the day that I attended to the things that were important.  So in the last week or two that I haven’t been blogging, because unfortunately I haven’t had the time.  Here’s what I have done:

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Gone a little overnight getaway without kids with Knut to the extended family’s lake cabin to celebrate our 13th anniversary.  It’s the first time in a few years we’ve done this, and it was very peaceful.  We actually sat and not talked for several of those hours, not because we were mad at each other, but because we both were in desperate need of silence in general.  It was short, yet glorious.

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We had company stay overnight at our house…twice.  ‘Tis the season for family passing through town.  I’d complain except they are so awesome.  So I just have to put up with their awesomeness.  😉

I testified in a legal case.  I’ve never done that before.  I won’t get into details, except to say I’m not the one in trouble, lest you worry.  I was very afraid the days surrounding the case, because I didn’t want to re-live the event I was testifying about.  I was worried how I would handle it.  Once you have been in a dark place, you fear anything that could throw you back there.  The day before and the day after I spent a lot of time staring at walls, blankly.  I gave myself permission to do that.  My kids missed the doing county fair this year, because of this case, but I think that’s okay.  Actually, it slowed things up a lot removing those multiple deadlines for projects, and coaching the kids for their 4H interviews.

I went through a bout of insomnia.  It was likely related to the above mentioned event, but maybe not.  I really don’t think so.  I couldn’t go to sleep because I had on my mind completely different events, where people I loved were hurting.  So since I couldn’t sleep, I prayed for them.  2 nights in a row I didn’t even get remotely tired until about 3am.  It was like electricity was running through my veins and there was no way I would sleep.  With a 7am wake up, that is loud and abrupt due to my kids’ excitement about the sun rising, it left me dragging a bit.  Maybe it was stress.  Maybe it was biological.  I think that praying was just what I needed to do then and I did it.  Maybe there’s stuff going on we just can’t see.

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I’ve taken David to yet another doctor for his alopecia and surrounding medical issues.  David is shedding worse than our dogs now, and I think that within 2 weeks he won’t have any hair left.  He just has to touch his head for a downpour of hair all over his shoulders.

He was crying before his shower last week because he was worried that if he rubbed his head to wash it, he would come out of the shower bald, which was a real possibility.  This new doctor is taking a different approach, instead of offering a steroid treatment to fight his immune system that is attacking his hair follicles, she is probing why his immune system has gone awry in the first place.  She thinks that he has some markers in the MFTHR gene mutation, which means he cannot absorb Vitamin B properly, as well as a severe case of Celiacs disease.  We have to do a 4 day fast of all his supplements that help him function day to day, and then they are going to get full blood work done to confirm or deny these diagnosis.  Actually, she said Celiacs requires a surgical biopsy to diagnose with certainty, but she feels that the labs do at least point to this or away from this without being quite so invasive.  We could use your prayers as he goes off everything in preparation for the blood tests.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another with this kid.

The picture above was taken about a week ago, and it looks even worse now.  The back of the head is nearly gone, and the sides and top are thinning with chunks missing there too now.  Apparently this is rare for alopecia cases.  He’s our outside the box kid.

Also, while at the doctors, he was goofing off outside the building, hit a board he didn’t see, running at full speed, and now his balding head has a huge egg sized bump on it.  So we may delay shaving it yet a bit longer…  He’s nervous about shaving it.  He’s keeping a really brave face about it, but he’s acting out in other ways that I know he’s sick and tired of being sick and tired.

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We spent time together as a family over suppertime with a tornado warning and visible rotating clouds from our front door.  (The picture above was taken the next night.)  We played foosball and other games in the basement while we listened to hail pound our windows and garden outside, and prayed it wouldn’t come any closer.  While things were looking limp outside, nothing was damaged beyond repair, though I can’t speak for Knut’s fields.  I know he had some of paperwork to file after the storm.

I have raspberries coming out my ears now, and I’m behind on harvesting peas and green beans as well. So the garden wasn’t hit too bad, though we lost a day or two of garden harvest.  My theme this last week or so was “be gentle with myself and just go with it.”  I’m glad for that.  I made 1 bottle of raspberry syrup for pancakes, but other than that raspberries are aging very slowly in the fridge, and I hope to catch up on those the rest of this week.

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Another small joy that I’ve been blessed with is continuing to write letters to you dear readers.  I look forward to that “chore” more than anything some days.  I have a good handful left, and am giving myself to the end of August to finish them up.  I’ve already received a few letters back, though that was not the point of this project, and they have brought me more encouragement than you can possibly imagine.  I’m so grateful that I did this 50 letter project this summer.  You readers are just so dear to me.  You have no idea.

June Challenge

And the winner of the “Teach Them Diligently” watercolor print is:

Gail Mathes!!!!

Congratulations, Gail!  You should get an email from me later today!

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Oh dear friends.  This parenting thing just doesn’t get any easier.  We had a packed weekend, and some of my kids just struggle with that.  Silje and David had their piano recital, and did fantastic.  We met with our small group.  Knut helped me finish the garden.  It’s just gorgeous right now.  I’ve never seen any of our past gardens look this good.

And yet, my kids still long for screen time.  It’s become the epic battle.  They are only allowed 1 hour a day, but lately if we are too busy for them to each have that hour, because we are too occupied being at parks or the library or at recitals or a friends house or even a birthday party…we have meltdowns.  Coversations of every waking hour is around computer games.  It’s become an obsession with more than one kids, to the point where bike riding and exploring the woods is scorned.  1 hour a day is all they are allowed.  That’s it.

It’s turned into tantrum throwing, insult slinging, kicking doors, chore-time standoffs, all around headaches.  It needs to stop.  Again.  I don’t want to be a stickler about screen time, but I will be a stickler about one thing: active play.  The kids must be able to do some active play, and if they cannot, then screen time goes.  You can argue over the benefits or evils of televisions and computers, but no one argues that getting a kid active and deep in imaginative play is bad.  I insist that it happens.

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Rainy Day

I’ve been working hard to get the garden “in.”  With blistery hands and sunburn on my neck, and aching muscles, I’m almost done.  We are mulching the garden entirely this year, and it’s been a little extra work in the startup, but I’m hoping it will pay off.  Sheet composting is another word for what we are intending.

I’ve also had another project in mind.  Knut and I have been wanting a headboard for our room since we were married.  Somehow a little piece of wood has never taken priority in the budget.  At one point, I fell in love with an insanely expensive Pottery Barn canopy bed, and saved for about 2 years, but when I started to get close to enough money, Knut actually measured our room.  The canopy was about 4 inches too tall, and there was no point in ordering it.  It wouldn’t fit.

This year I happened upon a garage sale, and found this gem near the back:

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It’s a really old four-poster, just in need of a little love.  I bought some Annie Sloan chalk paint, and plan to paint it as soon as possible.  Knut reminded me that the garden is more urgent than some home improvement project.  He’s the responsible, steady one, who evens out my crazy “let’s do this project!!” tendency.  I am fairly certain I drive him crazy.

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