When Christmas Goes Down the Drain

On Christmas Eve in 2004, several hours before my parents were to arrive, we had a surprise! And not a nice one…

Now before I tell you about our surprise, let me just say that Mike and I had been engaged for just 6 weeks, we had the house decorated to the nines and we had more food than could feed an army. We had planned and prepped to make this the most perfect Christmas ever.  Let me also share with you that my sister had passed away suddenly early that year and we all needed a celebration.

As we were making our last rounds through the house, we picked up on a smell in the sunroom where the hot tub was. As we got closer the smell became more offensive and we soon realized we were smelling sewage! We lifted the deck flooring that surrounded the tub and we saw that the drain into the main line was totally backed up and coming up into the room and under our flooring we were covered with raw sewage!  YUCK! YUCK! and YUCK!

So what does one do when it is Christmas Eve (no plumbers available) and you have family on the way? You go and rent yourself a massive electric snack and head to the crawl space.

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Thank goodness the tool rental place was open and could accommodate.  We made multiple trips that day as the 50 foot and 75 foot snakes were not long enough to hit the back up that was way out in the front yard.

Needless to say, I was a mess! On my last trip to the rental joint, I was crying and thought all was ruined.  Mike knew that and while I was gone, he put together a little surprise for me in the crawl space…

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Yep! Mike had hung Christmas lites in the crawl space for me while I was gone. I felt like the Grinch in the scene “it came with out tags, or  ribbons or bows; maybe Christmas is a little bit more.” Yeppers! Christmas was still coming, it was still a happy time and we would have it in our crawl space with our 100 foot electric snake!

debbie and snake

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So we went at it in the midst of our Christmas lites and cleared that clog!

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That night after everyone was in bed, presents were under the tree and all was nice and clean again we paused and took a picture of ourselves by the fireplace.

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Mike and those lites had turned my tears into laughter and smiles. It is a Christmas eve we will not ever forget. What a mess and what a great lesson for us to learn early in our life together. We can count on each other to raise the other up when we need lifting and to see it through to the end — even when it is YUCKY!

Happy Unleashing during this Holiday Season!

FGU

 

My Green Babies are BURSTING with Color!

It is so good to be “back.” I have been away from my personal computer and away from my garden 🙁 for a couple of weeks.  Travels to see the grandbaby were SO fun, but my garden was ignored during that time. When we returned our life was full of hustle and bustle since we are in the midst of a remodel. By 7 a.m. the crew is at the house, banging away and looking for direction from us so that keeps me up at the house rather than back in the gardens. AND rain has stopped me in my tracks when I have been able to carve a bit of time out.

Confession— I had not done anything in my gardens since 8/17.  Confession— I was in a panic over that! I KNEW that everything would be eaten (remember those army worms I discovered on my last outing?). If not eaten then strangled from the crab grass! If not eaten or strangled then slumped over from too much rain or not enough. My mind was a terrible place to visit. I was sad about my neglect, worried about what I would find and pretty much paralyzed to hop in Ms. Tupelo and have a discovery run up there.

BUT as I loaded up Ms. Tupelo yesterday morning I felt my spirit lifting.  AND yes the grass was out of control and super long. But as we made it up our hill to the gardens, a wonderful sight was before me. The gardens were BURSTING!

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There were beets, green beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, peas, chard and basil. I could not believe it! WOW! They did just fine without me (lesson learned).

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The beans had broken the trellis from their weight. The squash had grown over my rope so I had to reset it.

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There were so many tomatoes, that even after I filled a homer bucket with 30 pounds of them it appeared that I had not picked anything!

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After I picked the goodness, I sat in the back of Ms. Tupelo and wrote my thoughts for a bit. One thought is that no matter how long it has been since I have been outside gardening, the joy of being out there and seeing the goodness that is happening, far outweighs the stuff that is negative. And yes, along with all the goodness, I discovered that my cucumbers have mosaic virus. I filled a homer bucket with that also!

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The grass may be long, but that is a sign of good things–we are still getting rain, the ground is fertile and I found myself thinking of all the nitrogen my plants must be getting with all that green between rows. I want to add an under cover crop in my gardens next spring, but nature has just done it for me this year. The beets, soybeans and green beans do not seem to mind at all to share their turf.

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So, what did I harvest yesterday you may ask? (Even if you are not asking, I am DYING to show you!)

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Isn’t that the best ever?????? All this I grew from seed.  Sorry to be busting with pride but this is my first time starting stuff from seed and not buying starter plants.  I am such the proud mama here! Look at the smile and blue skies…

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And my little flower bed gave me some love yesterday also.

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IMG_20140903_113502280When I came in, I made me a great big tomato and basil sandwich! Oh my goodness, can you just taste this? It was so good, I even skipped the cheese!

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Today, I am heading over to visit my mom and dad.  I will be sharing the goodness with them in the form of bags of produce and a crock pot of fresh tomato sauce that cooked overnight in the crock pot.

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 So my garden is bursting and so am I! I hope you simply burst with delight over something today too!

Happy Unleashing (and bursting!)

FGU

Farmgirl Patience

Patience is not always a word that is associated with me. That is why simplifying and living out in the country has been and IS good for me.  Patience has been taught to me over the last year in a number of ways in our new home.  When I run out of something I just have to wait to get it on my next errand trip which is probably several days away rather than 15 minutes, mail takes a little longer from here to there, trips to anywhere are a number of miles rather than blocks, dryting clothes outside is rewarding, but slower than the dryer, etc.  I have totally loved all these changes and I definitely feel calmer on all counts.

BUT, my lovely tomatoes and red peppers have been hanging at green for weeks.  I find myself constantly looking at them, talking to them and PLEADING with them to all turn red.  I started to think something was wrong—too hot, too cold, too sunny, too shady, too many pests, too little compost…. what could it be???  I am gardening organically and have been quite confident in this choice even with the naysayers saying “it can be done around here.”  BUT with hundreds of veggies looking at me and staying green I began to wonder what I did wrong?

So GOOGLE to the rescue.  Believe it or not, when I googled “tomatoes not turning red” I got a TON of hits. Seems that  I am not the only one experiencing this phenomenon; misery loves company you know!  I read and read and read.  All the blogs, forums and articles brought me to my issue…..

LACK OF PATIENCE!

Yep, patience.  I need to be patient.  Some varieties take 60 plus days to turn red after the blossom is fertilized.  It is not unusual at all for tomatoes to turn in September even.  AND I found out our temperatures of low 80’s are perfect for our tomato plants. WHEW!!!!  Ok, so now I feel better; the only err in my gardening my tomatoes seems to be with me—patience!  Yep.  Another lesson and a happy one.  I will patiently await the onset of lots of red tomatoes and peppers.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the few that I am getting now.

Patience… how about you?  What challenges your patience?