Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My B.E.D Motto

So maybe, like me, you're dreaming of a place in the country where you can stretch out and have a flower garden, a mini milk cow, and some independence, but for now you must bloom where you're planted and such. Or maybe you're pleased as punch to be right where you find yourself but want to add a bit of the country life where you are. Either way, I think you might be interested in what I have coming up on the blog.

And what's coming up is this: putting a pretty, functional garden on a 1/3 acre lot in a busy city that makes you get a permit before you sneeze. We're going to have to be very creative while building this little urban homestead. We can't keep chickens here (although we've formed a coalition to overturn that ordinance) or keep bees here. Yet. I anticipate this changing soon. So we will prevail, and I will show you how as we go along.

I think I've spent several months being sort of let down and upset over this place, to be honest. (I've always been honest with you guys, I think. To a fault.) After all, I gave up my cute cabin to get married... with the understanding that a place in the country would be an option soon. But friends, as you probably know all too well, life usually doesn't work out as it does in our heads. Josh and I compromised and bought an old house on this double lot in town. I must make the best of it!

Yeah. Josh and I had a difficult time during our 2015 house hunting days. A bit of background: my husband is a brilliant guy-- he's in administration and teaches computer stuff at a college. In fact, he may skin me for telling you this, but he got a call from Google last year and was invited to interview for a position at the Googleplex. I mean, he's that brilliant. I'm proud of how hard he works and how smart he is. ...But then there's me. Fly by the seat of my pants, every day is a new day, don't you dare ask me to sit at a desk, me. We could not be more different if we tried to be.

All this to say, Josh is an indoors, studious, spends-18-hours-a-day-in-front-of-some-type-of-computer-screen person. Outdoors isn't his thing. And while he pitches in when something is too heavy or too hard, I'm kind of on my own with this place. Which is how many of you are, too, I'm sure- whether you're single or widowed or divorced or are otherwise daily managing the homeplace, too. Girls, unite! We can do this, just as our pioneer and frontier and resourceful city grandmas did before us. While we may not be where we dreamed, or have the help we'd prefer, or may be fighting with other health/budget/life circumstances, we can still do this and do it well. We can! Watch us, right?

My first goal on this homeplace was to get a clothesline, stat. Not having to run the dryer all week saves me real dollars every month on my electric bill and, in turn, give me an excuse to slow down. Hanging laundry, for me, is therapeutic. Most days I even fold it straight off the line. For now I have this retractable clothesline running between the house and a nearby tree, and it's getting the job done until we can get a permanent one built. If you're renting or don't have a clothesline yet, I highly recommend going this route. Baby steps, friends. Baby steps.

The goal I'm tackling now is what you saw in the picture above: putting in a combo raised bed/in-ground bed vegetable garden. I'm making progress every day and can't wait to show you once I get it completed. I'm shooting for a completion date of my birthday, April 8. It's a big, big task, but I am determined. Today I'm preparing the second in-ground bed, Back to Eden style. I'm also getting some herbs in those well-used terra cotta pots you see in the picture above. Between the clearing out and the putting in and the garden bed making, I've come up with a motto for these challenging, early days. Better Every Day, is my recent motto. BED= Better.Every.Day. I ask myself each night as I get in bed, Did you do anything to make this place better today? Elementary, I know, but it helps. It really helps.

Do me a favor? Talk back to me: tell me what project you're working on or what you're doing around your homeplace. Help encourage or inspire me/us to keep going. I find it wildly heartening to see other women talk about their challenges, their projects, and their hopes for their homes. It sort of helps us chin-up and tackle our own mountains knowing that someone else out there is climbing hers at the same time, too.

Off to tackle that second garden bed before I ask myself my BED question at bed tonight. Have a good Wednesday! -Brin

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Anonymous said...

<3 Love this, and you, Brin! Thanks for sharing. As a single girl with a few health issues I often find myself feeling a bit stuck and disappointed can't do all I wish I could. This inspired me to do what I can, anyway. :) Thank you xx

Kathleen Grace said...

I'm glad to see your garden beds didn't get washed away in the recent rain! Your "better every day" motto took me back to memories of my dear grandfather. He was no complainer! When he was older and recovering from being in the hospital with hip replacement, whenever anyone asked how he was feeling his response was, "I'm getting better every day." HIs attitude is one that I try to emulate, but with somewhat less success.
We are going through a bout of unemployment right now so no major projects on the horizon. Some day we would love to raise Scotch Highland cows, (have you SEEN them? so adorable!) on our 5 acres. We will be getting new chicks this spring and I just can't wait to start planting the raised beds this year. We are in Michigan so the only thing going in any time soon is peas. You can do this Brin. Take what you have and make it yours, even if it isn't exactly the dream. Making your dreams come true now beats pining for what you want down the road hands down.

Sara Joy said...

As much as I would love to share and encourage, I can't. Where I'm at I'm not "allowed" anything because it's theirs not mine. So I buck the system and have flowers in pots. Which the future MIL doesn't like because God didn't intend for plants to be in pots! This coming from a woman who does not believe in God and they both get mad when you dare say anything.

So I'm waiting and hoping I again get to have a little piece of heaven to do with as I please, sooner than later!

Love all your posts. You are truly a bright spot in a dim world!!! God bless you and your hubby!!!!

Sharon said...

Brin, thank you for sharing! Please don't get discouraged. I know that sometimes it happens too easily at times. We rent property and were hoping (years ago) to own, but it just hasn't happened yet and probably won't in the near future. We decided to 'bloom where we are planted", I know it sounds cliche but that is what we have done and are doing. So we have redirected our focus a little bit and are pouring into other projects. Chin up and pour into what you can do where you are at :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for what you shared today, Brin. I am single (divorced) and I got the house. Well with the house I got all the upkeep too! I am just so overwhelmed sometimes. My yard is a disaster and I hardly know where to start. But you are inspiring me! I would like to make raised garden beds but I need them to be easy. Any ideas where I can gets plans for easy to make raised garden beds?

Anonymous said...

I am so bad at reading your blog and not responding, I guess I think you can just hear my responses in my head and know what I am thinking. I will work harder at responding :) And I have to say I am just super jealous you went to the Mother Earth Fair, I love their magazine.
What are my projects now? Too many!
I found some of my husband's grandmother's old silver up in the ATTIC (I almost died finding it up there all forgotten in a box) and I have been working on polishing it up. We don't know where it came from as I have her other set in the house in it's case all nice and clean. But this silver is very interesting, it's a mix of several old pieces and sadly has some pitting but it's still just gorgeous.
And I need to work outside - the garden beds need to be planted and I have been dropping my favorite summer bulbs all over the place, the kids like to help with this part. We will have tons of flowers in a few months.
We are doing the house hunting search, it's difficult when you both want something different so I hear you there. My husband wants a home with at least an acre and you know how hard that is going to be to find in the DFW area, those go fast and will either be sold within 24 hours or it's going to cost us some sizable change. But the hunt has been fun so far but I know it's going to take us some time to find the best house for us.
I have started learning how to crochet! Hopefully soon I will be able to produce some decent granny squares and start a blanket for my daughters bed. Hopefully!
I love your posts, they speak to me a great deal and help me keep my sense sometimes. I agree that you are a bright spot in the world and I for one am so glad that you are here.

Anonymous said...

I have a clothesline that I use for linens mostly. I love it in the warmer months! Thanks for sharing. Good luck on those beds!!

Kay Thomas said...

First, I am about double your age (maybe a bit less than that). I retired last year and we moved from Atlanta to the country. I have high BP, arthritis and back problems but we went from a one-story house to one with three floors. Ah! This was so that one of my daughters' family could come to visit from AL. I know, am I crazy, right? I hoped I would improve with more movement and climbing the stairs. I have. I refuse to be beaten.

Last summer, we planted tomatoes, bushes and flowers. I love it. We have deer, raccoons, rabbits, turkeys and lots of squirrels and birds so our gardening is limited for now. We need some solutions for having things eaten.

I have had it on my heart for several years to knit sweaters for the Guidepost project for children around the world. Last week, I started. I have one sweater done and another about half way. I knitted preemie hats for a while until that particular place became overloaded with hats but would like to find somewhere else. I feel that I have this ability and want to be able to contribute to needy children. I still have a lot of movement issues but I will not give up. I can tell you, just take one day at a time and count your blessings. Be happy each day for what you have and continue to move toward what you hope to accomplish. Blessings......

Durf said...

Love these kinds of posts! I am single, bought my house almost 11 years ago and am still working on it! Right now, I'm trying to finish scraping trim, doors and windows in guest room, plus patching the plaster and sanding the floor. It'll get done eventually, I hope!

But right now the gardens are calling - I have about 20 roses to prune, leaves to shred and beds to clean out. I'm overwhelmed right now. I like your attitude of "did I improve the house at all today?" Just a little each day adds up, doesn't it?

Cecelia said...

Brin, thank you! I've been following along for years and I am terrible at responding. I just bought my first home this month and I am moving in next week. I have been working hard at cleaning and painting. I have such a big to do list for years to come. The back yard has a half done pool with waterfall that I plan to remove this year. The longer term goal is to put in a couple of raised gardens in that area. I am trying to remember that I have years to work on it so the list will get done. I am single so mostly working alone or with the help of siblings and parents. My sweet brother-in-law helped me install a mailbox last weekend. My parents helped with painting today. I will try to remember your BED motto, at night is when I stress the most that the list can't be finished.

Heidi said...

I so enjoy reading your post! Hubby and I are recent empty nesters and are making so many plans in this next stage of our lives. The past 4 years have been very difficult as we have been supporting our youngest son and his sweet family of four. Our son was born with a heart condition that has required two open heart surgeries in the past 3 years. All is beautiful now that they have bought their first home and his heart is on the mend. No more surgeries in the near furture. God is good! So now it's time for hubby and I. Every weekend I have a home project. Hubby and I have full time jobs so weekends are our only times for these improvements. I am a social worker which is very stressful at times. My home is where I recharge. Hubby is the owner of a construction company that seems to be booming this year. But we both take the time and slow it way down on the weekends....well kind of. Recently we have remodeled the master bedroom. This weekend we are working in the yard and those garden beds. I too have raised garden beds that I can hardly wait to sink my fingers into. We will be digging up old stumps and planting new trees. Hopefully planting some grass seed and picking out new house paint colors. I am so excited about all of the plans and goals we have set for ourselves this year. We always set aside time for date night. One of my favorites for sure. I admire your bee keeping. I don't have the time in my life right now to be able to do that. But it looks like so much fun. Keep posting those projects. I so enjoy reading about them.

Sue said...

I put up two new window boxes and have them planted. The beds are weeded- I just have 4 small squares where I usually put herbs and flowers. My husband is in charge of the bigger veggie garden. We are finding a new joy in our yard now that he is retired- he was a computer techie guy like your hubby. There is hope- he loves the garden now! We have created many beds in the 7 years we have been here but every year the weeds discourage me so much! They pop up so early. We have had pine needle mulch every year but are switching to wood mulch this year. Pine needles are so pretty at first but fade so quickly. Our goal is to lessen the mulch expense and add more ground covers.

Always wanted chickens but our HOA won't allow them. I get to chicken sit when my son and his family do a Disney week so I will get my fix. Rather ironic that we have an acre and a half and they have a quarter acre and they are the ones with the chickens!

Happy Gardening and Happy Home!

Betty said...

I have been following along with you and your adventures for a long time Brin. I`ve even got my g`daughter checking in on you:) Throughout the years I`ve picked up little tips here and there from you and inspiration to do some projects with what I have. Crocheting dishcloths, garden tips, and trying your recipes, esp one for strawberry bread that I really name a few. I enjoy reading about the progress on your work in the house, yard and garden. Raised gardens and washlines have been a dream of mine for a long time. I used to have a washline in the country, nothing like drying clothes in the outdoors.
Spring is here and I`m waiting expectantly to see what God has in store!
The best to you Brin, I`ll be back!