My daughter recently sprung on me a question that was difficult to answer. In part because I’m a very suspicious person and was wondering where the question came from and how my answer would be used against me but also because I haven’t really thought about it. She asked, “What is your definition of love? What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the word?”

Like I said, my first thought was not how to answer the question but why was she asking it. Does she think she’s in love? What recent conversations would have her questioning my ability to love? Is she not feeling loved? Am I a horrible mother? Then came: If I answer this wrong will she forever base her definition of love off of mine and have messed up relationships from this point forward? How can my answer be used against me later during some very messed up teenage/parent argument? If you haven’t noticed yet I tend to overthink things a bit.

After a very long pause on my end she says, “Mom you’re making this harder than it is. Just tell me the first thing that you think of.”

Here is the answer that she got.

I think of you and your brother and you dad. With your dad, I’ve always liked your dad, but the love I feel for him has grown and changed a bit over time. It started exciting and new and has evolved into comfort. He’s like a worn pair of jeans that I go to when I need to feel good. He’s my constant and my contentment. With you kids it was an instant ache in my chest from the first time I heard your hearts beat. Love for you guys is so powerful that it hurts and is always there every time I look at you. It is also something that you won’t experience until you have children yourself. The love I feel for you and your brother is something that can never go away. No action on your parts will ever make me love you less. This is hard because when you do things that I don’t like my reaction may make it seem like I don’t love you. Know from now on that even when it doesn’t seem like it, my every action is done with love for you.

The look on her face after hearing my explanation of my love for her confirmed my fear that she doubted my love for her. We say the words every day, multiple times a day, but do we really show it? I’ll have to make a point to show it more often.

Some of the things that I would like to add to our conversation; Love is different than like. Love doesn’t go away even after you are hurt. When you like a person you can love moments with them but the love doesn’t penetrate through the whole relationship. People you like can leave your life, and you still have feelings that hang on certain moments with them, but you don’t really love the person. When someone you love leaves your life that love stays with you forever, and with that love that person is always there.

When you love someone let them know, not just in words but also with your actions, never just assume that they can feel the pressure squeezing your heart every time you look at them.



November 17th Update

So, lots of emotional stuff out there that I could be posting about but I’m going to avoid those subjects for the time being. Most of my writing lately has centered on things that I’d rather not share so you are stuck with a boring update for now.

On the garden front there is not much to report other than the fact that weeds are growing in November. Hopefully the next few days of cooler weather will take care of that problem. I’ve been doing some research on weed management and companion crops for the coming year and have most of the garden plotted out in my handy notebook. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to better manage the space that I’ve got and with the additional space be able to provide for approximately 20 full share CSA members as well as the farmers market and of course my own freezer and canning room. Those of you that mentioned coming to help pull weeds next summer may want to change your phone numbers soon. I may be taking you up on it.

At home things have finally fallen into as close to a routine as we will ever manage. Our time revolving around school, work, and trips to the farm to do chores, and even though I try to avoid it, I’ve found time to clean up the house.

After finally getting the kids rooms cleaned out I’m dreading Christmas. Every time I go to the store I find myself wandering around looking for gift inspiration that never comes. My inner Grinch has taken over and I envision a Christmas with no tree, no presents, and no laughter. Me sitting in a corner with an evil grin enjoying the lack of busyness that tends to rule this time of year. Then I think of the lack of nummy food that accompanies the craziness and change my mind. Gift inspiration will eventually strike and I’ll be complaining about messy rooms again by January.

My to do list for this time includes; getting into the holiday spirit, finalizing my CSA contract for next year, putting together some recipes and tips for CSA drop offs, doing some writing that I feel comfortable posting, and beating the kids at Rummikub which is the game of choice lately.

Hope everyone has a great day!

November 17th Update


Driving away from the farm today I came to the realization that the place I’m referring to when I say, “I’m going home.” is not the place that is home in my heart. My house, while still the place I mean when I say “home,” is really just a structure in which my home resides part-time. Home has become my husband and children. Looking into their eyes and holding them in my arms is home. Home is the feeling of safety, security, love, and comfort. It’s also something inside of me that takes over whenever I feel grounded.

Growing up I never really analyzed the feeling of home. It was where I slept at night, received meals, and played. Looking back I had a multitude of places that I would now consider home. The town, my relatives and friends, school, and work were all things that gave me incredible comfort. They are also things that if they were taken away would have left a great void in my life. That’s home, something that when taken away leaves an empty space. I’ve lost some of these homes and have come to rely on memory to take me down hallways and through doors that are no longer physically available to me.

Home is also any place that I can dump my emotional baggage on the front step and walk in unencumbered or if I chose can bring the chaos with me and get help unpacking. At one time it was an uncle who was always there to listen, the shop where I could go and dream of being anything I wanted, my parents who supported me no matter what. Added to these now are my husband who definitely gets the brunt of emotional mess, a great friend who has become my personal counselor, and my sisters both blood and in-law. My house could burn to the ground with all my physical possessions inside but I’d still feel at home with those I love.

My garden has also become my home. It’s stress relief, gym membership, confidant, dreams and goals all rolled into one. Here I have a feeling of security, a sense of ownership and accomplishment. Digging my hands into the rich black soil I feel connected in a way that leaves me missing it when my hands are washed clean. Every time that we drive away from the piece of rented dirt that my heart calls home, I fight to remind myself that we were lucky to have this day here and even if there is never another, we made memories in this “home” that will last forever.






Year End 2016

The only things left in the garden are a few green tomatoes and some almost orange pumpkins. At this point I’m happy to be done but also sad that it’s over. The summer wasn’t too awfully warm and we got a decent amount of moisture. I had one heck of a time getting plants to come up, but once they were started they produced well and I can’t complain about the year overall. Now I just have to collect a few seeds and till one last time and it will be ready for next year.

My first year of CSA was a success, meaning I haven’t heard any complaints, I got a few compliments, and I learned a lot. There are many changes to come on the CSA front next year and I’m excited to get started on all the planning that’s involved. Farmers Market was more of a challenge for me this year partly because of the CSA.  I will need to up the quantity of plants by quite a bit next year to keep up with both and, you guessed it, that means it’s time to expand the garden again. I’d like to be able to offer a greater variety to both the CSA and market next year and an expansion is necessary.

I’m sure that my family is looking forward to me clearing the canning paraphernalia out of the kitchen, living-room, and hallway. For some reason my initial small pile on the counter starts to take over the house. This will have to wait for a few weeks yet, as I finish up some apples and tomatoes but the end is near. They are also probably waiting for the day that the clean laundry makes it out of baskets and into drawers and closets. I pick my battles during the summer and folding laundry rarely makes the cut.

This winter I plan to get a lot of my paperwork out of the way for next season, including trying out some recipes to share and getting them printed out. I’m also hoping to do a bit more writing and make some changes to my labels and cards. Maybe laundry won’t get done?

I’d like to say a very big THANK YOU, to all of those who made it down to the farmers market this year and especially to those that participated in the CSA. Neither would survive without great customers and members.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the winter.

Year End 2016

Messy Rooms

At what point did my children begin to run my house? This is a question that I ask myself of a regular basis and, with lots of thought, have yet to come up with an answer. They are on their way to becoming the crazy cat lady hoarder and the junk yard owner.

Example one: My son has been working on cleaning his room for over a month.

Who lets this happen? It started out that we, meaning my husband and I, helped him clean up and organize everything. Within two days the room was destroyed. I know that the amount of mess is a bit overwhelming but it’s his mess! So we told him we wouldn’t be helping with it this time. After week two of no results, and him taking lots of naps instead of cleaning, I went in with a couple of bins and took some of the mess out thinking that this would help to ease the stress. Still nothing. Then week three I told him that the bins would be getting tossed if the room wasn’t cleaned. Nope, didn’t work. Week four threw away the toys from both bins. Very few tears were shed and he just shrugged his shoulders and helped me carry them outside to the trash. WTF! Okay the original plan was to just put the bins in the garage until the room was cleaned, but after that they went into the trash. Still no change in the mess of his room. Now I’m pissed and go into the room and start to holler. This gets me the response, “You’re being so mean. You make my heart feel like it’s raining.” Great, worst mother award goes to the mother of the boy with the raining heart. I wasn’t sure whether to give him a hug and cry with him or throw him and his stuff out the window. I opted to do neither, walked away, and went to pour myself a drink. This is when I realized that it’s only 11am. At this point, week five or maybe six, I will go in with another trash bag and haul out the rest. Pretty sure that he will still be able to make a mess with nothing in his room.

Example two: I have no hangers in my closet.

I went to hang up my shirts and found a lack of hangers. Since I had just gone through my tops and got rid of anything that didn’t fit or I wasn’t wearing anymore there should have been a few extras. I walked over to my daughters room and asked if she had taken any. “Nope I didn’t mom.” Hmmm, interesting. They are not in my room, your open closet shows that you have taken to hanging everything but your underwear, and you didn’t take them. “No.” I’m going to call bullshit hand over a few hangers. Considering that there are two dressers in her room it’s not really necessary to have that many hangers or maybe a dresser needs to leave the room. When this is suggested I’m told that all the drawers are full. Of what!

I’m raising a couple of hoarders. I am inconsistent with discipline. I don’t follow through on my threats. I have a hard time saying no. I’m going to turn into an alcoholic, snap and throw everything out of the house, or maybe just run away. Can I do all three?

When did this happen? I’m pretty sure that I did not buy ninety percent of the stuff in those rooms and I’ve never caught my children shoplifting so can I blame it all on grandparents and aunts? Probably not. I will take any suggestions for getting kids to get rid of things that they do not need, want, are too old for. My son at this moment is using the dust pan as a shovel to aid in the toy pick up process. It is also after 7pm and I’m going to make a drink and think on this problem some more before my wicked step mother personality starts to show again.

Messy Rooms

Summer’s Sunset

Crickets chirp and cows bellow in the distance. The evening is still, as the sun slowly slides towards the hills, just a faint cool breeze barely a whisper against my cheek. Yellow and gold spot the trees signaling fall although the temperature during the day is still summer warm and the grass is still green from consistent rains.

Tall corn stalks sway, tassels dropping small golden grains on the long green leaves below.  The setting sun shining gold, illuminating the sentinels of the garden and casting long shadows on the plants that they tower over. Pumpkin and squash vines wind through the tall stalks, orange and cream colored globes peeking through the broad leaves.

Tomato plants heavy with slowly changing fruit form a hedge on the opposite side, an array of oranges, reds, and greens. Bush beans create a long row of low plants their slender pods blending in with the stems and almost invisible now in the shadows.

Cucumbers vine lazily over a dull metal panel, yellow flowers closed for the night and lacking the buzzing bees of full daylight. A soft cushion of weeds line the aisles between the plants, growing faster than they can be plucked from the ground.

Once majestic sunflowers hang their heads with the weight of their seed, no longer bright with color. Onion tops lay brown at their feet, soil swelled around the pungent bulbs as they dry white, gold, and maroon.

The sun sinks lower and the sky is washed with pinks and laced with light purple clouds, the colors fading to the dull blue of night as I turn away from the garden. The cool air feels light despite the moisture it contains that is starting to collect on the grass at my feet. A slight wind carries the sweet scent of alfalfa and the heavier muskiness of the slowly decaying foliage.

Before closing the door on the darkening night I inhale deeply the dying summer days turning before my eyes to fall.

Summer’s Sunset


Getting home from farmers market on Saturday I was greeted with the sound of air compressors, nail guns, and cursing. The sound washed over me as I walked up the steep incline of my driveway and zigzagged through the tangle of cords and discarded shingles. The sound that got to me the most was the swearing that was directed at old joints, missed nails, heat, and nothing at all.

This sound was the sound of my childhood. Don’t take this the wrong way I had a great childhood and most of the men on my roof and walking around my house contributed to that, they just did it with some colorful language. I could tell, even after 15 years of not working with them, which swear belonged to which man, and this was oddly calming amongst the chaos. Something I was not able to catch amid the cursing in my youth was the odd intelligence that it tends to cover. Listening with slightly older ears I heard wisdom and confidence that I wasn’t able to pick up before.

My daughter asked why all those “old guys” were up on the roof instead of someone younger. My answer had to be thought out a bit. I’ve noticed that my husband and I are at an age that is lacking in beer drinking buddies that are willing to show up on short notice to roof a house. These guys that would have been able to do this 5-10 years ago are now busy with their own families and houses and we’ve lost touch. This is not a complaint, we have entered a time where the people that surround us are true friends and while I still like to talk to those from the past it’s not quite as important to stay in touch.  Also those “old folks” know what they are doing and without them I’m not sure that the roof would have gotten done. Scratch that, the roof wouldn’t have gotten done.

I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful, knowledgeable, opinionated men in my life. Without them my life would have turned out very different. Being called Beffers and arguing with my dad was great. My fear of heights kept me from being very helpful but I still feel that I took away a lot more from the experience then I did when I was younger and less afraid of heights. Hopefully some day I can return the favor in some way that doesn’t require a ladder or lift, and the knowledge gained will allow my husband to boss around our kids when their roofs need to be reshingled. It was a great weekend and I’m very thankful to all those that were able to help us out. Again, not having a large family to help and be helped by is something that I can’t imagine and hope to never take for granted.





Keep Learning

“My Soul Looks Back in Wonder” by Juan Williams is one of those books that leaves you mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. It was a great feeling that was felt with every page and I was totally spent by the time I closed the covers for the last time. It’s a collection of stories about the civil rights experience and tells the story from every perspective. Definitely on my must read book list.

I took away from this book that the groundwork for real and powerful change for all American’s has been laid and the torch has been passed to our generation to continue. The struggle for equal opportunity is present for every person from every background, and presents itself in a multitude of ways. We can easily carry on where they left off or destroy  the advantages that they fought hard to give us.

Discrimination comes in many forms and is lead by ignorant intolerance. Something that is learned and taught. Can you take an infant of any color, race, nationality, economic status, or sex and spit on it, telling it that it will be nothing, can be nothing? If that child was laid in your lap, and you didn’t know the background of it’s parents, could you do this?

We set our children up for success or failure in just this way. When they are constantly told that this is their lot in life and nothing can change that. It happens on every economic level and with every race. If a child from an affluent family is told that everything should be done for them it has the same effect as a child from an impoverished family hearing the same thing. These children do not learn to live, think, and dream for themselves. They are left with the idea that their positions will never change. When opportunities for these children come around they are left unable to handle the situation because they are unable to see outside of their current position. They are left in denial or do not even realize that an opportunity is in front of them. Poor or rich, they have no way to make something of themselves by themselves.

Through this book I was introduced to events and people from every walk of life that worked to overcome their challenges peacefully. They worked hard for change and the chance to allow every child to succeed in life. It has me taking a hard look at my views on people with different backgrounds, making me want to learn more about the struggles of people from the past and those living today.

I don’t want my children to carry my successes or failures into their futures. I don’t want them held back or moved forward by the assumption that how their parents did was how they will do. I want them to see that everyone has a unique situation and a persons response to their situation is the important thing. I want them to realize that their positions can change quickly and they are not entitled to anything, that there is a difference between asking for help and taking advantage, and that when help is given they need to pay it back or pay it forward.

List of things that I want my children to learn while under my influence:

  • I love you no matter what. I might hate your attitude or decisions, but I love you.
  • Everyone has struggles to overcome. Yours matter and so do theirs. Learn to deal with it.
  • Work and money have a correlation.
  • Value your education and never stop learning, question everything.
  • “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time” Zig Ziggler Have dreams and go after them.
  • It’s okay to fail. Keep learning.
  • Just listen. Even if you don’t agree keep listening. You might learn something.
  • Never expect anyone to do something that you wouldn’t do for yourself. You’ll never be “to good” to take out the garbage.
  • If you’re in a position to help, help. Remember there is a difference between helping and enabling.

I’m not sure how to go about instilling great value into my children. I don’t have the slightest clue other than to continue to have conversations with them about a wide variety of topics and to genuinely listen to their views. I’ll continue to expand my knowledge and try to pass it on. It’s up to me to use this knowledge as I see fit and up to them to do the same.

If you take away anything from this, I want it to be to keep learning. Read, listen, and have conversations. If you fear something or want change or are just curious, take the time to learn. I still love a good cheesy romance but I didn’t realize how much I was missing by not reading nonfiction until I made it a goal, thanks to Dave Ramsey, to read one nonfiction book a month. Again I have nothing against romance, fantasy, murder mystery, or any other type of book and still read them, but biographies, travel, self help, finance, gardening, and history have opened my mind and eyes to a lot of things. Just keep learning.


Keep Learning


I want to be looked at as a lifelong hypocrite. Not because of beliefs that I currently hold that I’m falsely representing, but because of beliefs that are always changing with new information. I want my life to go from stubbornness to learning to bending to solidifying. My core beliefs I will own and will always have but those just below them are molten and always changing and sometimes hardening into core beliefs.

Let’s use a silly example. “I’m not an animal person” This was a very stubborn statement that I stuck to with religious vigor. It in fact was more telling of my ignorance of animals. We did not have many pets growing up and because of my allergies I kept my distance and did not form bonds or learn any information about them. Leading to my all-time most ignorant statement. “Cats don’t drink water.” (Pause for laughter) Okay now that you are done laughing, follow my logic on this one. I did not nor did my parents ever own a cat. I am allergic to cats and therefore stayed away from any that were owned by friends. This leaves my experience with cats linked solely to cartoons and movies. What do cartoon cats drink? Milk. When watching horror movies about cats, what do cats dislike being sprayed with? Water. Therefore, cats do not drink water. I’ve learned since making this statement that this is not true and have been gently corrected in many such ways of thinking. My husband has had endless hours of laughter at my expense and most of that comes from my newly forming bond with animals. This ignorance is by no means limited to cats and I’m more than willing to take the laughter aimed in my direction as long as there are people willing to, when they catch their breath, help me learn from my mistakes and misguided logic. My change from not liking animals to being an animal lover is a work in progress.

So while being exposed to animals my beliefs about them are changing and with that I’ve developed a sense of attachment. Going from “I’m not an animal person” to posting pics of our dog, horses, cows, and cat, and making me look like a hypocrite to those that have not seen the process of change.

On a more serious note there is my views of different cultures. When younger, my beliefs were that anyone who did not do things the way that I did, did not look the way I do, dressed differently, or held different beliefs was wrong. Plain and simply wrong. They should have changed to suit my view of the world. With extensive reading and some limited cultural exposure my thoughts have changed from stubbornness to mild acceptance and in most cases to awe, wonder, and gratitude for those that are different from me. With knowledge came change and a more solid understanding of the previously unknown. I still hold fast to some of my core beliefs but I’m able to accept that not everyone holds those beliefs and neither of us are more right or wrong.

I’m working had to not be upset by conflicting views and that is leading to some interesting conversations, that I can now have like an adult, without anger and fear. I like a good debate and even if that debate does not change the mind of my opponent or myself I’d like to think that we are both taking away a better understanding of the others stance. Instead of just throwing ideas at each other with no facts to back them up, debates have become fact seeking missions with both sides working to find common ground or at least some acceptance. I want this to continue on every level; world views, politics, economy, gardening, emotions, parenting.

I want to forever look like a hypocrite.





Yesterday was definitely hot. With little to no natural moisture in the soil and not much in sight, I made the trek out to the farm for a much needed watering session, waiting until just before dark to head out. On the way out I watched as the clouds built to the west, almost certain that they would build and just before dropping the much needed moisture they would blow north. This happens on such a regular bases that no matter how much rain is predicted I will still go out to water, and with temperatures in the 90’s in June I couldn’t take a chance on the rain missing the garden.

Watching the clouds build was quite a sight. Blue skies and late day sun prevailed to the east, white clouds blossoming and slowly turning gray off to the west. The air had cooled just enough that I could leave open the window and let the crisp scent of the building storm blow through the vehicle.

I’m greeted at the gate by an over excited and rapidly growing Great Pyrenees pup. The fading light intensifying the colors around his white mass of fur, causing him to stand out in stark contrast to the waist high green grass and brown dirt road.

Getting out of the vehicle I stand still and embrace the calm, cooling air. With the storm building in the distance, the air temperature has dropped and the slight breeze is a refreshing change from the heat of the day, the suns rays having lost the struggle with the turning earth and growing clouds. Inhaling deeply, I take in the scent of green grass, tangy weeds, and the mellow dry soil, all laced with the fresh smell of the far off rain. The hills surrounding the yard haloed by the retreating light.

Spraying the first few feet of each row, the water arching on to each plant, the rubber hose quickly turning slick with condensation from the cool water rushing through it. My mind and body relax with the rhythm of the work, sweeping the water back and forth over each row, savoring the flawless evening. With each thorough pass of water the ground grows dark, soaking in the moisture that doesn’t have a  chance to puddle on the surface, outlining each small plant and forming small droplets on their leaves.

Tugging on the hose, as I move slowly up the row, the rubber straining along with my arms. The routine job giving my mind a chance to wander, it runs free into the clouds and I imagine drops of rain starting to fall on my shoulder and upturned face. Cool droplets slowly running down my cheeks and neck, spots of water slowly blending together on my shirt. My mind turns to study the course that my life has taken. How I never thought that the weather would have such a profound effect my daily routine. This wonderful soil under my feet has caused me to tune into the world around me on so many levels. For some I am thankful, others not so much. I love the time to think, especially about current events and recently read books. I hate the constant anxiety that weather of any form brings.

With all the plants watered, I slowly walk back down the rows, making sure that everything got enough to drink. I reluctantly push down on the hydrant’s handle and turn off the water, signifying the end of my wondering thoughts. Watching the clouds blow slowly to the north, I’m glad that I’ve come out to water since the rain will yet again not be falling over my little patch of heaven.