Thursday, October 30, 2008

Transitions, change and growing up

Verbs are action words. They require action and movement or state of being. Sometimes that is so very hard to move or change the state of being. It feels like life is presently filled with verbs. This is a season of being a "Gumby" as my dear husband would say- being flexible. Not always easy.

I love my family and children, maybe too much, as it is often hard to let go and allow less of them to be enough. To let go of the old ways and begin new ways of doing things. Recently I realized that there is a kind of handoff as parents. You start with no children, then you adapt to having children and the first ones adapt to sharing life with the ones who follow them. the later children have known nothing else so on the tail end of their childhood they will be required to adapt to a quieter house and one with less folks around and then the parents again adapt to the return of the quiet house.

Our oldest, at 20 remains at home, as he is putting himself through school and is "too poor" to move out. My next is soon to graduate and is beginning to test her wings. In the past few months she has begun to makeup for the lack of activity in the past few years. She has joined a few clubs, and now is involved in Venture Crew as well as considering a new body to worship in. I am thrilled by her zest for life and am pleased to see her pursuing her interests.

Our middle son claims that he will never live in the country- he wants action and activity to surround him- so he is the one often seeking rides and wanting to go, go , go. Age and lack of funds often keep him homebound but the desire to fly is there. And then there is the youngest- Sam. He has only ever known having everyone around. He likes his siblings, though he will ask his oldest brother when he is moving out so that he can have his room. He gets sad sometimes when all are away from the house, yet he is not a real pursuer of people, rather he enjoys them when they are around but also enjoys being alone. hmmm, maybe he is more like his parents than I realized??!

It is a seaon of change and adjustment. Slowly we step down the path before us. slowly i release my hold and allow a bit of distance so that the children can become adults. little things like acknowledging that the 20 yr old is a young man and with that come some freedoms. Acknowledging that he now may excuse himself from the table, no longer seeking permission as he did as a boy. Some things are nice like the semi adult conversations about life and seeking information and opinion that we would not have enganged in years ago.

They are all doing well, enjoying some of the growth. I am finding that if I take it one step at a time I too am enjoying the transtion. It just has to go slow so I am not disoriented by too fast of a pace. life- a verb to be lived!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The end is near!

For weeks we have had the joy and pleasure of seeing the transformation of the exterior of the house continue. At times I would wonder if the end would ever come. This week it seems to be drawing near. Siding on the second floor is done. Windows wrapping on the first floor is complete. There is a bit of each as well as a few details here and there to take care of. Word is Friday. Today we had a bit of a scare as bad wood was removed and bugs sprawled- fortunately it was not termites but carpenter ants. Tomorrow the bug guy comes and sprays and the work will continue.

As with the roofing guys I have observed hard working men who give attention to detail. The guys call each other Bubba at times, they joke and carry on. they leave cigarette butts in the yard. They are country boys who know their task and a few other and go about life simply and on their own time schedule. When they do a task it is done well, and with courtesy to ask my preference and desire where there are options available.

Yesterday one of the crew drove up on their tire rim- a blow out just down the street. The team was working alone so they were kind of dead in the water for going anywhere. By the days end I realized anew how often folks dont care well for those around them. Knowing that they didnt have transportation I offered them lunch, which they enjoyed. They indicated that it was rare if ever to be treated as such. Hmmm, seems to me that if I care well for the workers on my house they will care more for working.

Today I was reading a passage from Created for Work by Bob Schultz to my son. In the chapter "Art in Your Heart" he speaks to this -

"A society with empty hearts gives only what is required, and that grudgingly. They even cheat one another by giving less than is required. Then the chated person cheats in return. Mistrust grows. Rather than giving out of the abundance of their hearts, they try to fill their empty souls with what they take from others, hoarding what they have gathered. "

As I read that paragraph I thought, that is what happens- empty hearts don't think of others, they live with mistrust and cheating and it becomes the norm. Mr Shultz spends time talking about how God puts art into the world- He could have made it a grey, dull world, rather He spent the time to add color and detail and craftsmanship - just because. The challenge to the reader is to do the same, within their ability. What an affirmation to choose to treat others well as well as to work with a will to do better.

We rejoice in the work that has gone on around us. We look towards the end of this chapter, the tidying of the yard and the fall foliage collection that will be part of our next chapter of the fall and the joy in doing the job well and training our kinder to work well.

Green tomatoes galore!

I woke this morning thinking of fall and the coming of a frost that will end the gardening season as I know it. As such i soon found myself out in the garden with a pail and trimmers. I began to clean out some of the raised beds. First the marigolds- I love the color of them but really do not like the smell at all. Next came a bed of tomatoes that were kind of spindly. After they were gone I found space to do some late fall strawberry plant transplanting of runners. This is my first go at strawberries. I started the summer with 3 plants and since then many runners have shot out and I have transplanted as I think of it. I am hoping that the spring will bring many healthy plants to burst forth with fruit.

I soon found my bucket heavy and full of green and a bit of red. My eye fell next upon the sweet potato plants. The vines were long and lush. The plants were kind of afterthoughts when I hit the feed and seed mid summer and they were marked 1/2 off. I tucked them into empty spaces and forgot about them. The vines took over one box and even started to root into the ground beyond the box. I trimmed back the vines and began to dig in the dirt. I am thankful for loose soil as it was fairly easy to find most of the tubers. One broke off and as I dug deeper I found that the potato had burrowed its way through the lanscaping fabric and into the clay soil beneath- wedged tightly into the earth. I was able to remove it. I now have 3 cardboard trays of sweet potatos drying on the campertop in the sun. Not bad for a first go at a new plant.

the green tomatoes continued to call so I began on another box of plants- the plant had been overwhelmed by squash early in the summer and didnt do much. once the squash left I kind of ignored it and sprawl city took over. Another bucket was filled with the green tomatos that were pulled from all the sprawling stems.

We then composted lots of stems and leaves- a long composting season for them as they are quite fiberous, but winter is coming so time is on my side.

With a bucket and half of green tomatos sorted for green tomato relish and half a bucket laid out in cardboard trays for ripening my morning ended. The afternoon was spent slicing, chopping and crying my way through the veggies as I prepped the relish - it is now 4 quarts, 1 pint of relish in the cooker for sealing. Our neighbors love the stuff so they will be well stocked!

More tomatoes await me for another day. Many stems still left to cut off the web of trellis that they weave through. As I began to clean up the garden today I marveled at all the produce that I have been able to collect from my small garden. I also thought of the joy of knowing that after I add a bit of manure mix to the loose soil I will be ready for the next planting season. It may take a bit to shake and deroot the plants and dirt as I pull some plants but so worth it to preserve the rich soil and look forward to future crops. It also has me again dreaming of what else to add to the garden next year, how many more beds and what layout will serve us best??

Until then I will collect my peppers and tomatoes and continue to put the garden to rest. The leaves are falling, the acorns are seeking out heads to bean as they drop. There is much to enjoy as I spend time in nature this month.