With all the social media surrounding the election, transgender bathrooms, deaths and so much more it has me thinking about my own beliefs. This really has nothing to do with gardening but so much to do with what is infecting my mind while I garden. Before social media became a part of my daily life my thoughts were mostly about what was directly affecting me on a daily basis. Now it seems that I spend my days in a state of agitation over things that really don’t change my life.  Whether you agree with me or not is up to you, but here are a few of my opinions and thoughts from the garden in the past weeks.

As far as the election is concerned. I don’t have anyone that I’d like to see win, other than my dad, Tim Helbling,  as mayor of Mandan : ). I will vote because it’s my right and duty as a citizen but I’m beginning to think that my individual vote doesn’t hold any power. This is a sad thought and probably the reason that so many people do not exercise their right. The mockery that is politics today makes me sad. Seeing the decline of decorum on all sides is a major blow to the United States as a whole.

I had a long talk with my onion sets about transgender bathrooms. Transgendered people have been using the restrooms that they identify with since the beginning and not many people realize it. The problem comes with making a law. I’m against it as a mother for the fact that I don’t want to have this talk with my children and I do fear for the safety of my daughter. My fear stems more from young straight males than it does from someone who identifies as transgender. It’s not even so much the fear of sexual predators, although that fear is there, it’s more the young and often times stupid normal male population. Do you remember high school? I do and most of what I remember of males in my class is that they could be perverts.  So maybe with bathrooms the risks are more imagined than real but does that make the feelings they invoke any less valid. Now lets take a look at dressing rooms and locker rooms. I have a very strong opinion here. Take a look at the movies Porkies and Police Academy. Both of these movies show a group of heterosexual males that take great enjoyment in female locker rooms. I will admit that this is what I assume the male mind thinks of when they think of a female locker room. Now lets give the fox a key to the henhouse. Another issue that I have with this is that most of the people who are pushing on social media to get rid of genetically modified food have no problem with genetically modified people.

As far as death and social media are concerned, I wonder if those that post about deaths in order to make a statement realize that when something is made into a competition on social media it starts to detract from the statement. It also diminishes the life of the person that died. The same thing goes with all the hoax diseases. Every time I come across a fear mongering post about a horrible disease that is really a piece of baloney over a kids face, I chuckle. Then I gasp in horror at all the people who fall for it. Next comes the anger. These posts are taking away from the very real diseases that are out there.

My lettuce seed got to hear about my daughters need for a social media presence. I refuse to let her have one. At this point I plan to hold onto this until she moves out of the house. This is very unrealistic and I’ll have to reevaluate it soon but for the time being I’m standing firm. Most adults don’t realize the impact of what they post, like, share, tweet. How is a teenager supposed to know the difference between something that is humorous and something that could harm their future. Kids have strong and swiftly changing emotions that they have little control over. What they are feeling one minute will be completely different in the next. Social media is instantaneous and that can be devastating. Another reason is that being a teenager is hard enough without feeling left out or teased just because a post is misinterpreted. I’d like to give her a little more time to develop a sense of self and some self control before setting her free on social media. She’ll have to be satisfied with Pinterest for now.

My last major thought was on entitlement. This I shared with my unplanted seeds as I sorted them and tried to find them a place. It’s really hard to turn down something that seems to be free. But as we take that supposedly free item or service, what are we really giving up? These things cost us more than we realize because we are blinded by the ideas handed to us. Everything has a price. Every law takes away a previous freedom. Going back to moral law instead of written legislation would be ideal but for the most part morals have been lost. Working for something that is being handed out may appear to be a dumb idea but what are you losing by taking the hand out. Work ethic, perseverance, pride, sense of worth, accountability, ingenuity these things are going the way of the dinosaur. Are you thinking of the other side? Someone has to pay for these things or not receive pay in order for you to have them free. If you do a job for $100 should you be able to keep that money? If you work harder or use more thought and make $1,000,000 should that money not be yours to do as you please? Why should one persons dollar be more theirs than the next persons?

So by now you are probably really glad that you’re not a plant in my garden. Most days my thoughts are not very heavy and the most my plants hear is about the weather and how much I hate weeds. Others, they get an earful. Thankfully my rows are long and there are lots of plants to share my thoughts with. I tend to believe it is not up to me to judge people no matter how our thoughts differ, and that because of my belief in God judgement will come to all of us by His hand when He sees fit. On the other hand as a human being I have opinions and thoughts on just about everything. Now that I’ve put this in writing I realize that I have way to much time to think and probably need to start reading good books instead of so many social media posts. Bookstore anyone?



The Drive


Everyone and everything is getting on my nerves. The house, kids, and husband are demanding all my time and energy. My skin is crawling with irritation, my shoulders tense. I quickly throw together a cooler of sandwiches and water bottles and head out the door. Calling over my shoulder, “I’ll be back when it gets dark!” I climb into my car, the interior hot from sitting in the sun, adding to my irritation. Backing out the driveway I roll down my window and head towards the garden.

I pass the neighbors houses and the cars of people heading home from work. My brain running through a list of chores, appointments, bills, and groceries. I pass the bridge and start to think about my family. How annoyed I am by the kids and the constant calls for “Mom!” How much my husband has been working and avoiding helping around the house. There always seems to be so much to do and so little time to do it.

Heading out on the highway I can feel my shoulders loosen up. I lean back and listen to the hum of the engine. As the houses fade so does much of my irritation. Looking out at the green fields blowing in the breeze, the cows lazily munching, I think how lucky I am that my kids like me enough to want my attention. I’m able to appreciate my husbands ability to provide for us. The warm air coming in the window blows the frustration away from me and I find myself almost missing my kids arguing in the back seat.

I turn off the highway and won’t pass another car until my return trip. Lists, housework, and bills all become more manageable with the gravel now crunching under my tires. The dry dusty smell is welcome and so is the layer that starts to cover my dash, some weird calming blanket of dust.

Turning down the long farm road, that is little more than two tire tracks on the prairie, I become at ease. There is a striped gopher crossing the road in front of me and I slow down and take in the sights. Hills dipping and rising against a blue sky. Cow trails cutting through the long pale prairie grass heading towards the dam. Bugs buzzing and grouse getting up as my car rolls by. No matter what I get done today, or don’t get done, this drive has accomplished something that nothing else can. It has put perspective back into my life.


The Drive


With the first few seeds in the ground I’ve been compiling a mental list of worries. They’ve begun to take up enough room that I’m going to give them a written space to occupy, in the hope that I can forget where I’ve put them. Here goes!


  • Will it stay warm enough for the seeds planted to germinate?
  • Will we get enough moisture, but not too much? I don’t want the garden to wash out or the seeds to rot before they are established.
  • Hopefully it doesn’t get to warm to fast and burn off any seedlings planted.
  • Wind.
  • Hail.
  • Early Frost.
  • If we do get enough moisture, will we get a break long enough to finish planting?
  • Sunburn, freckles, skin cancer


  • Will the calves eat my peas again this year?
  • How much damage will our resident mole do?
  • Will I notice the spiders? I know they are there but would like them to stay hidden.
  • So far we haven’t been affected by harmful bugs but…….
  • Will there be enough bees?
  • Will I get stung?
  • Maybe a fluffle of rabbits will join our mole.
  • Rabid coyote attack.
  • Snakes? I might forget the difference between good and bad, panic, pass out and be swallowed whole.
  • Will my husband get garden loving goats again?


  • Breaking a bone would be devastating. I’m trying to plan this activity for winter.
  • Oversleeping on a market day.
  • Forgetting to buy coffee or cola, resulting in above.
  • Developing severe plant allergies.
  • Planting to much to take care of.
  • Not planting enough.
  • Forgetting to use the restroom before going to farmers market.
  • Forgetting my produce scale.
  • Forgetting my phone.
  • Forgetting my boots and having muddy sneakers.
  • Dementia
  • Family or friend injury, illness, or death

Worries I don’t have

  • Telemarketers – lack of cell service is a great thing sometimes
  • Finding manual laborers – I don’t believe in child labor laws
  • Good soil – an abundance of manure can be a good thing
  • Loneliness – My family/friends are the best. My husband is helpful and supportive. I couldn’t ask for better kids. I have an amazing extended family and friends who are great for support, advice, and a cold beer or hot coffee when necessary.

Unfortunately each of these worries have crossed my mind. But while my list of worries is longer, the positives in my life outweigh them by a ton. Even when these worries become reality I have no doubt that with faith, family, and hard work things will turn out how they are meant to be. Not that that stops the worrying.