Brand New

Isn’t life strange and beautiful? My brother and his wife had a baby tonight. I wasn’t able to be there because they live in Arizona and I live in New England, but he sent me a video of her peacefully sleeping. And I couldn’t help but be struck by the fact that the birth of this tiny human will change the world forever. Every human who comes into the world changes the world irreversibly. Isn’t that amazing?  The world will never be the same again.

I keep watching the video of this little bundle of happiness, how sweet she looks, how new her life. The whole of her life is stretched before her.

My brother sent me a photo of her being held by my mother. One brand new, the other having been on this road for a long time.

There is beauty in this journey we are on, beauty at all it’s stages. Our world doesn’t always see that beauty. It runs from aging like it’s unnatural or avoidable. Denies it, tries to change it, hates it. But in that image of my mother and my niece, I see the miraculous gift we call life, beautiful at each step. Especially when it’s brand new.


Yesterday I told you about the humdinger of a storm we had. We awoke this morning to a waist high wall of snow at the end of the driveway. This was placed there by the plow as it went by pushing the snow as best they can.  I accept that there is only so much you can do with a plow and snow removal. If you don’t have any experience with plowed snow, it is heavy and difficult to cut through because it has been compacted by the blade of the plow.  We don’t own a snowblower, mostly relying on ourselves and our four oldest kids to help with the removal.  I firmly believe physical labor is good for a soul, and I did plenty of it as a kid, so not having a snowblower to me, isn’t a big deal.  But they sure are nice to have when there is a huge wall of compacted snow out there!

We were getting ready to trudge out there and deal with the inevitable, when I got a text from the woman across the street, offering us the use of her snowblower. Yippee, right?!  With a new spring in our step, we continued the donning of winter garb, when what to our wondering ears should we hear? Why, a snowblower in our driveway!  And not the one from the lovely lady across the street. No, this one was driven by another neighbor who had had his driveway cleared by the guy across from him, so he came down to our place to pay it forward.  He helped my husband clear our driveway, then my husband cleared the end of the driveway for the couple next door, aided by another neighbor across the street.

Why am I telling you all the mundane details of our snow removal?  To demonstrate the power of community.  I have been so disheartened by all the political discord bombarding us these days.  Us against them, rage, rage rage, pillage, vilify, etc.  But, here I am, in my not so little city, surrounded by a  diverse group of people in my neighborhood, and our differences don’t matter.  We have found our common areas and develped a respect and understanding for each other.  And I bet our little neighborhood isn’t the only one.  Happy communities don’t sell the news and they don’t fuel talk shows.  Some would claim that I live in a bubble, that we all get along because of our socio-economic status.  I’d have to argue no.  We  have upper class, middle and lower class nieghbors.  We have divorcees, singles, newly married, old timers, retirees, immigrants and families off the Mayflower, democrats, tree huggers and die-hard conservatives, straight and not.

Our opinions may be as diverse as the flavors of jelly beans, but we all have a deep respect for each others’ humanity.  We recognize that we all share this space and we all want the same thing, to live in peace with our families and neighbors.

I encourage you to look around you.  I bet the reality of the world around you is a lot different than the media is trying to sell you.

When it snows, plan your garden

So here in the Northeast, we are in the midst of a Nor’easter. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it means a humdinger of a storm. As the snow whips about outside, we are safely ensconced in the house, each of us finding ways to entertain ourselves. I’ve got my fleece blanket, my rice bags and my gardening notebook.

My hopes and dreams for the garden are to grow about 50% of our food. Some of my kids are quite picky, so we will be growing a lot of the basics, like peas and carrots. We really love potatoes too, so that is on the list as well.

I have been composting straight into the garden in hopes of increasing the fertility of the soil. The soil in our yard is terrible. Before our neighborhood was developed, the land had been a horse farm. But, they hauled out the good stuff and brought in cheap fill. I know, right? Total bummer. I try not to think about it.

My composting efforts are rudimentary at best, mostly dumping our bunnies’ poop onto my raised beds. I have several compost bins going, but they are decomposing soooo slooooowwwwly. I’ll probably be decomposed before my bins are. I’ve tried adding worms, turning it, adding water, not adding water, leaving it open, keeping it closed. You get my drift. Composting, which justs happens naturally does not happen for me.  But I digress.

I have four raised beds, 4 x 6 each. It isn’t a tremendous amount of space I know. I’m hoping to expand it if time, and more importantly, money allow. I am also contemplating using empty feed bags for growing potatoes and tomatoes. Internet searches have convinced me I’ve got a 50/50 shot of it working. And since I have bags and soil, it’s worth a shot. People seem to have harvested at least some potatoes from this type of endeavor.

This past summer, the deer found my garden for the first time in the  16 years we’ve lived here. This summer I will have to find a way to keep them out.  I’ve always liked the  rustic type of fence, also known as thrifted fencing (wink, wink). I’ve pinned several pallet fences. Not sure my dear husband will be on board. I’ll have to convince him that it won’t look like the unibomber lives here.

If anyone has found  any blogs of people who are trying to garden on about 200 square feet, let me know!