Energy- everyone wants it but few have it. Let me tell you a little story about my energy level changing over the past few years. There was a time when I went to bed late, got up late and couldn’t make it past 2 pm without taking a nap. I struggled through the day, everyday. Always hoping that one day it would change. I became a coffee drinker. Loaded with lots of Carnation creamer, I had hoped my coffee would give me that extra boost I needed. It gave me a boost but only for a short time and the creamer made me gain weight. I resolved that gaining weight and decline in energy was just a part of getting older.
I can’t say for certain when the change took place but I began to look around and seeing my 30, 40 & 50 yr old friends developing heart conditions, disease and other serious health problems. It really scared me. Was this my fate? Should I just resolve that my health was going to decline and I was going to get fat?
The idea of not finishing my life well scared me so much that I decided to make some changes. I began researching and found that my diet was worse than I had previously thought. After all , I didn’t eat junk food ALL the time! The transformation took a couple of years but now I go to bed early, wake up early, drink a cup of tea (occasionally I’ll have a cup of coffee because I want it but not because I have to) and I have energy that usually carries me through the day. And if I need a nap, I take one. I changed my diet, get adequate amount of rest and sleep and get my exercise through my farm chores and horseback riding. It’s naturally induced sustainable energy. Its energy that doesn’t require caffeine to keep me going. I have more energy than I’ve had since I was a kid.
If it is your desire to find naturally induced energy then start now by beginning the process of resolve. Resolve in your mind that you don’t have to follow the American norm. You don’t have to develop health problems and gain weight. And if you already have, most health conditions can be reversed or at least improved by changing the way you care for yourself. And the weight can always be lost. The great thing about energy is, if you loose it somewhere along the way, you can always find it again. Most importantly don’t be hard on yourself. I have found it takes more energy to allow my thought patterns to tear me down than it does to remind myself of truth. So start by meditating on this truth: You are a loved creation of God. He has great plans for your life and wants what’s best for you.
It may take you years to wrap your mind around changing (like it did me). But the change is worth it, trust me
It’s confession time. I am horribly undisciplined. At least, I used to be. I guess now I would say I am a work in progress, but I used to resist certain disciplines like the plague. It’s not that I didn’t see the value in being self-disciplined. I understood that. It’s that I felt being too organized and structured would take away from creativity and my natural free-spirit personality. Well, I was wrong. From my own personal experience I have found practicing self-disciplined in all areas of my life is FREEING.
When I was a girl I was much like my youngest daughter. This blog is filled with photos of her adventurous spirit. She has the most vivid imagination and can entertain herself for hours with it. When I watch her, I’m watching from an adults perspective the child I used to be. I shared a little bit about my imagination in my journaling post. Imagination and creativity were my friends growing up. I remember that butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling when I knew I was going to get a long stretch of “imagination time”. I realize now, taking time for imagination was a welcomed discipline I was developing on my own.
I don’t see self-discipline as a plague anymore. I welcome it. Finally, after 21 years of marriage, 20 years of motherhood, 15 years of homeschooling and 3 years of homesteading I’m learning being disciplined is key to living a productive life. I know, it took my a long time to come to this realization but I’m hear now and I’m loving it.
I love the freedom I have to do things I never thought I would have time or energy to do. I love seeing goals accomplished faster and dreams seem more obtainable. Creativity and imagination are still my friends but discipline is my new best friend. Discipline has taught me that I can have the quiet time with my Heavenly Father, alone time with my husband (still working on this one ) and special mother and child talks and moments. Discipline has taught me how to improve my health through diet and exercise, which in turn gives me more energy. Keeping house is more consistent and homeschooling is more relaxing. This new friend has even shown me that creativity and imagination are welcome. In fact, there is more time for them in my life now.
I am learning that if I discipline myself to take time for imagination and creativity, they flow easier. It’s like my mind knows it’s coming and puts those creative and imaginative thoughts in the waiting room until discipline says it’s time for them to play. Oh, and do they play. Sometimes too much and discipline must step in and corral those thoughts until the next play date.
I am still in the work in progress stage. I still get a tight and nauseous stomach when I think about meal planning and budgeting. But, discipline keeps whispering to me, ” You will find freedom, if you trust me”. Then I read God’s word and find that I should indeed trust self- discipline because He gave it to me .
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
I’m a firm believer in journaling. Writing down your thoughts and reading them later is an essential part of growth. Journaling is an important part of my life. I enjoy keeping track of accomplishments and recording failures because it enables me to see growth in my life. I don’t even have to record things very often for it to be helpful. I think journaling should be something everyone should AT LEAST TRY.
I have several different journals that are updated on various occasions. I don’t actually write in these journals very often but, I am of the mindset that doing something is better than nothing. As long as you have something to look back and reflect on, you will likely benefit from journaling.
I started journaling when I was a child. Most of my journal entries resembled lists and notes back then. But, I also daydreamed a lot and would often write them in a diary. Dreaming is huge part of journaling , if you ask me. Like most children, I really enjoyed daydreaming. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I remember getting excited about going on long car rides. This gave me plenty of time to dream about horses. Especially, car rides along a countryside. The countryside is the absolute best place to be riding a beautiful grey stallion. So naturally, the horse lover that I am, I was eager to imagine myself riding a horse across the countryside. My imaginary horse was an excellent jumper too. Any obstacles in the way were no match for my trusty steed. But, I’m also a bit of a realist so if there were too many obstacles I would cease my riding daydream and start a new daydream that made more sense.
So, what does my walk down memory lane have to do with journaling anyway? Well, without imagination, dreams and a childlike spirit, journaling would be boring. I think people who feel recording their thoughts and dreams a waste of time have lost a part of themselves. Maybe it’s the part that grew up and has to pay bills and buy groceries. Or perhaps the dreams stopped because life got to busy. All the more reason time should be made for journaling, if you ask me.
Journaling comes in all shapes and sizes. We can record our thoughts in drawings, scrapbooking or in stories. And we don’t have to spend a lot of time with it either. I started a diary for my oldest daughter when she was a newborn. I tried to write in that thing often but it didn’t happen. At first the entries were days apart, then months and then years. It would have been really cool if I had kept up with the monthly entries but when you add two more kids and a whole host of other responsibilities, journaling gets put on the back burner. But guess what? I have eighteen years worth of journal entries all in one book. Though some entries are years apart, I still have them. I love reading those entries. I love looking back and seeing how I’ve grown from the child I once was and remembering the first’s of parenting. So, something really is better than nothing when there are years behind you. There are enough pressures in the world, lets not make the pressure of journaling often take value away from journaling sometimes.
I have a journal for just about every area of my life. The garden journal keeps track of what I am learning about gardening in my area. I keep track of what variety of vegetables and fruits that are worth growing. My garden journal has been extremely helpful to me. I think I have avoided repeat failures because I took the time to write down things that did and didn’t work. I also have a general homesteading journal. Lots of drawings of future barns and animal enclosures in the homesteading journal. I have several personal journals as well. There is really nothing like looking back and recognizing how God has worked in my life. God can truly do amazing things in a life that is open to growth.
My challenge is to those of you who have given up on or never tried journaling , to give it a try(again). The year 2013 could be the beginning of the wonders of self discovery. And, don’t forget to include dreams in your journal entries. Draw pictures and paste objects in them too. Just like you probably did when you were a child .
If you haven’t already, read part 1 here. Let’s jump right into part 2 of our garden update.
I have mixed feeling about growing cabbage. It feels like it takes forever for them to grow and they take up so much room. I think next year we will plant them closer together and see what happens. I am trying to decide if they are worth it for us to grow. I’m still not giving up on them but I don’t want to give them an entire row next year.
I really loved the Chinese Green Noodle bean last year so much so I decided to grow many more plants this year. They’re great for stir fry meals and they don’t have strings. This year, I also added the Chinese Red Noodle bean. Unfortunately the flavor of the red is not as good as the green. I’m not sure I will grow them again next year. I will have to research red bean recipes before I decide either way.
I was so confused about another bean plant in my garden. I thought I only planted red and green noodle beans in one particular row but this other bean plant came up. I thought for weeks that my the seed packet had been mismarked. I harvested the beans but didn’t know what to do with them since they were an unusual bean. They are red and have a kind of waxy texture. I’m sorry to say I never ate any. I worried they might be some kind of poisons bean plant that was accidentally switched with my red noodle bean packet. Well, when I finally figure out what they were it was a little late to start harvesting. They are called the Moonshadow Hyacinth Bean and apparently can be poisonous. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to buy these. I’m not fond of things that have the word POISONOUS in the description. One thing is for sure about these plants is they have beautiful eye catching flowers. Everyone who toured my garden commented on them. Sadly, I will probably never plant them again. By the way, these beans can be eaten but it must be when the pods are small and tender.
Amaranth really is a beautiful easy to grow eye catching flower. We grew three different kinds of amaranth this year -Love Lies Bleeding, Hopi Red Dye and Golden amaranth. All very unique and pleasing to the eye. Loves Lies Bleeding is the variety I planted last year. The flower heads clusters are droopy and the leaves are green. In most catalogs that I have seen these seeds sold, it appears that the flowers are red but they are actually a dark pink. We added the Golden and Hopi Red Dye amaranths this year. Each amaranth has a unique desirable quality. The Golden amaranth is all gold, both leaves and flowers. The Hopi Red Dye leaves, steam and flowers are a deep burgundy color. As the name suggests, the Hopi Red Dye amaranth was used by the Hopi Indian tribe to make dye. I believe they also used the seeds to color foods.
Amaranth is a winner in my garden. The three varieties I planted all made great cut flowers for bouquets. Since most people have never seen amaranth flowers, they always offer the awe factor. Amaranth seeds can also be harvested and used for cooking.
I finally got smart and only planted one variety of corn this year. In years past I tried to grow different varieties close together not realizing they will cross pollinate and create strange versions of corn. Last year I did a popcorn varieties next to an eating variety. The two created some crazy corn babies :).
You can plant two varieties of corn close together but you need to be sure they have different pollinating times. I plan to plant two different varieties of corn next year but with different days to harvest lengths.
Pumpkins and Winter Squash
My favorite pumpkin, Fairytale Pumpkin, cross-pollinated with another variety and created some crazy but cool looking pumpkins. I was a bit disappointed because now I can’t create another pumpkin man for Christmas. Oh well.
We did get a decent amount of my favorite squash this year, Hokkaido Stella Blue. Last year I didn’t plant very many because I didn’t know they were going to be so good. This year I decided to plant a lot but only ended up with a lot of little ones and I am not sure why they were not as big as last year. Perhaps it was the way I watered or maybe because I didn’t use the Mittleider fertilizer mix. I will be doing things differently next year. I am hoping to get more T-frames built so that the winter squash and melons can grow up instead of on the ground. By the way, Hokkaido Stella Blue makes the best squash soup EVER!
Berries and Grapes
Our raspberries did much better this year. I was happy with the amount we got but the size of the berries were small. I think I may need to fertilize them more next year.
Strawberries were yummy when we had them. We didn’t get very many even with having a lot of strawberry plants. I think the plants need to be replaced. A local farm let me take up some of their old plants. What I didn’t realize when I took these plants was that as strawberry plants get older their fruit production goes down. I get now why the farm was happy to have me dig up the old plants. Apparently the variety of strawberry plants I have only produce well for a few years. We will buy new plants for next year. Probably an ever-bearing variety.
Grapes didn’t do all that well but that’s because we didn’t water them properly. We did get one decent cluster of grapes from one of the three vines we have. My hope is to get more grape vines to boarder the garden with next year.
A garden is not complete without flowers, if you ask me. I love the colors and pleasant smells they bring to the garden. We planted a lot of varieties this year. We had Chamomile, Asters, Zinnias, Four O’Clocks, Hollyhocks, Amaranth, Sunflowers, Calendula and Dahlias. Sunflowers are a must for our summer garden. The plan for next year is to plant them every two weeks so that I they come up all summer. The saddest part about planting large sunflowers is that eventually they die and since they are large it’s very noticeable when they are dead. Hopefully planting them in succession will solve this problem.
Not only are flowers lovely to look and smell, many of them also are good for medicinal purposes. The plan is to plant more flowers that can be dried and added to my medicinal herb chest.
I’m so glad I finally finished this update! I’m not sure if you enjoy reading my updates as much as I enjoy writing them but I hope so. The great part about journaling your garden experiences is that you have a record of things to do and not to do for future gardening years. Besides this blog, I also have garden notebooks I record my experiences in. My notebooks are more for taking notes, writing out plans and drawing plans of my dream garden. If you aren’t already, I would encourage you to start journaling as well. You will not regret it .
How did your summer garden grow? Are you growing a winter garden?