thriving In My thrifty Week—March 22, 2020–Getting the Garden Going

We have had an absolutely gorgeous week. In fact, my garden became dry enough to till! This is much earlier in the year than I can usually get that job done. I have 2 raised beds near the house, because that enables me to plant early, even on a wet year. One is full of strawberries. Patsy added a bag of compost/manure to top dress that one. The other one was prepared with another layer of compost, and Jake planted some snow peas.

This year, we were not feeling up to the task of having someone dump a load of compost and bringing it to the back yard garden one wheelbarrow load at a time. So, Rob, Patsy and Lovana went and got these bags of steer manure/compost. The girls wheeled the bags back and spread them all over. There were more than this picture shows. I helped empty the bags all over the garden.

Jake’s daddy came over to help us till the garden, and the weeds and compost were tilled in. At one point, Rob and I each had a tiny tiller, and Ron had the big one going. It’s just too big for me to handle and Rob can’t do it right now, with his hip problem. So, that was super nice of Ron to come and do. It is now supposed to rain for several days, so I was delighted to catch this window of opportunity.

I got little broccoli and cabbage plants put in. I also got a few tiny onion plants transplanted.

The snow peas, beets, carrots, chard and boc choi are all growing in the tiny patch I planted a couple of weeks ago.

I feel that the garden will be more important than ever this year. We are going to be feeding 2 families, plus extras. With less frequent grocery store trips expected, we can use the home-preserved foods, and the fresh food once it gets ripe. We are going to have plenty to share with both families and other family and friends who can use produce. I plan to preserve quite a bit this year. We especially need a lot of green beans between the 3 families (myself and both sisters). My older sister has a huge garden, too, so will grow all of her own produce, plus extra green beans to supplement what I can grow here. We are sending cabbage plants to her very soon to grow up there. She and I always swap stuff–both plants, seeds and produce. This year may be a little more challenging, but we will manage. Rob has done an excellent job growing the transplants this year, and was even able to hand a few extra cabbages over the fence to our neighbor who was starting a garden today.

So what else have we been doing during this week that just keeps getting stranger and stranger with all the Covid-19 chaos?

The campgrounds are closed now, so Rob built a fire in our yard and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. It was a beautiful evening.

Patsy made another one of her sidewalk chalk drawings.

We started homeschooling Jake, a joint effort between the 2 families.

I cleaned up a bookcase in my bedroom that was not only cluttered, but actually filthy with dust. I discarded many, many old magazines I did not need anymore.

I cut out a skirt for Patsy.

Rob got the television in our room working–it hasn’t for months, but I wanted to watch the news where the kids couldn’t hear a couple of times. They don’t need the stress.

We are very happy that we can still work with Jake and Michaela. So many are unable to work right now. We did school, but also made it fun!

Patsy was not able to go on her planned missions trip. She is so sad, and cried a lot. I understand that. She worked so hard preparing for this, but we all assured her that she will get another opportunity. This crazy time will pass and life will get back to normal, given time. They are waiting to see how things pan out before trying to make new plans of any kind for the kids. The youth pastor did figure out a way for them to all get on a certain app this morning during Sunday school time, so they could all visit with each other and they have plans to do Sunday school on there next week, I think. We all watched the live stream of our church service before that. It’s so nice they did that, but very odd to not attend.

So, since Patsy has all this extra time on her hands, I ordered her a Biology curriculum. She needs to do it next year, but we will get started with it now. She will be finished with the schoolwork we have in a few short weeks ….I will try hard to not make her feel punished for doing so well, but we can’t do the field trips I had planned, and she is missing countless youth group activities and times with her friends–she will soon be bored if we don’t find things for her to do. I plan to do quite a few home-making activities with her as well. We can’t have 4H meetings right now, but we can do projects here at home.

It’s amazing the changes a week has made.

We are more fortunate than many. We are exceedingly well stocked with food, since we had been working on that project before this crisis began, so were able to get what we needed before it was in short supply, and the garden is already starting to grow more food. We still are able to work, since the kids still need care, and Jake needs schooling. We will go to their house to do that most of the time, as their parents need to be out early at least 3 days per week, but they can also come here at times to give us all a change of pace. We have our small circle of family –and 2 houses we will alternate between–ours and theirs. There are many nice walks to take near both houses, and I’ve been on some of them already. We have a dog that needs walking and the garden to exercise in.

Our daughter, Lovana, works at a coffee/crepe shop. This week, they went to take-out only, as restaurants were ordered to do. Business has been dismal. Today, they let all the baristas go except her and one other. They drastically shortened the hours they will stay open. She will do M-Th and the other one will do F-Sunday. There is still a cook to make the crepes each day, and they will try to keep the business going with a smaller menu. Hopefully, they will be able to. She hopes to be able to stay in her little house she and a room-mate are renting, with just an occasional overnight visit home. We want to keep her with us enough to stay in our “little circle” so she won’t be alone all the time if we are put under a “stay-at-home” order, which I actually expect to happen tomorrow. Some of the things I’ve been reading lately say this may last quite a while, and she doesn’t want to be isolated from the family and all alone for a long period of time. That thought makes her anxious. Thankfully, the college class she was taking was on-line anyway, so that worked out.

Rob’s mom is quite elderly. He is choosing not to visit her at this time. So, he’s calling her daily, and we both were able to talk to her tonight, while relaxing by our campfire pit. His sisters are close to her house, and will see she has what she needs physically, but he can take things and drop them on her doorstep if she needs more.

He’s been able to get groceries for several family members when needed, requiring less of us to be in the stores.

We are being super careful, using lots of Chlorox wipes on everything from our phones to the chairs. I mixed bleach water and disinfected the bathroom after I cleaned it, letting the mixture dry on everything for at least 10 minutes, as instructed. We’ve washed our hands so much, I’m surprised we still have skin:). I’m sure I drove Jake crazy, following him around with a wipe all weekend, cleaning anything he touched! We stayed home. We’ve done what we can do. Now, it’s in God’s hands. Thankfully, they are very big, powerful hands. I know He has this in control, and I take comfort in that.

How are you filling your extra time?

8 thoughts on “thriving In My thrifty Week—March 22, 2020–Getting the Garden Going”

    1. Thank you. Patsy is very artistic. With this gentle rain we’ve gotten the past 2 days, maybe it will wash away and she can make another picture there when it dries out. It is so strange to stay home so much–the more fun activities to do, the better.

  1. Good idea to get a jump on homeschooling. I loved Biology – one class in middle school and two in high school for me. Have you ever seen the coloring books for biology? I know of at least two: 1)The Physiology Coloring book by Kapit, Macey, Meisami; and 2) The Anatomy Coloring Book by Kapit and Elson.

    Both are great tools, imo. for learning.

    About the gardening – looks great. I too went to buying bags of compost instead of getting a truck load. I’ve started weeding and will try and get a neighbor to buy some compost for me this weekend. Cheers

    1. I have used some coloring books like that in the past for certain kids when we did homeschool. It’s been a while, and I think we used the Anatomy one. I should look into it–that girl does love to do adult coloring. She is the most artistic one yet!

      I’m so glad we pushed through with the garden this weekend. It has turned rainy and cooler. The rain is much needed, but I won’t be able to till again for quite some time because of it. Now everything is getting watered with no effort from me!

  2. We have sunshine in NW PA today!!!! So I will be doing a few chores outside. Since we are inside looking out most these days, I want to take advantage of the warmth the sun brings and clean some of the windows we look out the most. We are blessed to live in a home were one can see nature from every window in the house. Something about clean windows brightens the spirits.
    I work in school transportation, so have been home for the last week and a half as our schools are closed. I am about to go stir crazy!!! I miss the children’s laughs and giggles!! I miss saying good morning over and over. And even having to remind them to be kind and stay in their seats!!!
    I am happy to hear your family is well!! Have a blessed day!!

    1. I’m sure you do miss the kids! These are strange times, for sure, but I’m glad they had the foresight to close the schools to keep the kids safe. It has been a challenge to get my nephew into the routine of homeschool, though. Even though this was supposed to be spring break, we needed to keep plugging along because we just got him use to the fact that things were different, and school was happening at home, and we didn’t want to take a week off and start all over establishing our routine. He hates changes.

  3. Hi Becky, I always read your blog. All elective surgery here in Australia has been cancelled well before necessary which means thousands of health professionals have nothing to do. But the government has decided we can still visit the hair dresser !! So I thought of Rob and am just popping in to say I hope you all stay well and Rob’s surgery goes ahead.

    1. Thats so odd–you can still get your hair done? I, on the other hand, am getting shaggy and gray day by day! So, I just chopped a little hair off here and there and am glad to say I can see much better:)

      Robs surgery was officially cancelled for now. They are expecting the hospitals to fill up with coronavirus patients. I hope they are wrong.

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