Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

Have you ever been so busy that you suddenly stopped mid-stride and wondered what exactly it was you were headed out to do next? That’s how it has been at Shady Hollow this spring and summer. Add to that the fact I have become addicted to the social networking sites, and oh well….

As a result, I find that I have been neglecting my blogs. When I learned about blogging, I felt joy. I could finally indulge in my love of writing. I set a goal of taking time at least once a week to write something, even if I invoked a dose of criticism from my writer friends and children along of the line of…. “Oh come on, you can do better than that.”

I have a full-time job in a factory. I work the dreaded “second shift” (the hours from mid-afternoon till almost midnight). It is hard to get people to work those hours, but with my children long out of the nest and my love of early mornings watching the sunrise, it works perfectly for me.

With job responsibilities, taking care of the house whole chores (neglected most of time), pets, and the gardens I have let my blogging slip. Not that I haven’t been writing. I keep a detailed journal of my gardening activities. What I plant, where and when, how it performs, etc. I write my plans on how and what to do differently next year. It has been an adventure, gardening in the shade and on a steep hillside where before I had full sun and a gentle slope terraced from years of my daddy’s farming.

I mentioned to a dear friend the other day that I’ve lived here 19 years now and love it more each day. When I first arrived the flower beds were full of useless plants, with the exception of the balsam which reseeds itself each year. I assume the elderly lady who built the cottage planted it all those long years ago, and I consider it her legacy.

When I first gardened here, 19 years ago and for several years thereafter, everything I planted failed. I gave up in disgust, only keeping weeds pulled from those trusty balsams. Their cheery blossoms were the only color in a mass of green. I resigned myself to the balsam. Jim took care of the grass in those days and I concerned myself with the house, work, and other pastimes.

Then we had some trees topped and a few cut down. Yes, it used to be even shadier than it is today! I decided to give it another try. I’d been watching gardening shows on HGTV and had gained a bit more knowledge about how to grow in the shade. About that time I found a website that had all kinds of gardening information, With these two sources of information and inspiration, I decided to give it another shot.

I had taken over the yard work by then due to Jim’s many back problems and resulting surgeries. He just couldn’t do it anymore. I decided to make as many flower beds as I could and cut down on the mowing. I’d much rather dig in the dirt and pull weeds than mow. I started the master plan in 2003. I have accomplished much and learned more about plants that I ever thought possible along the way.

During 2007 and 2008 I let a lot go. We had the 2 year drought that began in 2007 and continued until this spring. Last year Jim lost a leg to peripheral artery disease (PAD). Last summer was a constant round of surgeries and hospitalizations as Jim fought to keep as much of his leg as possible and before it was over, his life.

While I was in the sick room the gardening was mostly abandoned. Jim asked me to keep our container gardens on the deck and front patio going. He loves to sit on the patio and enjoy the flowers. I limited my time and efforts to those.

As I have written before, nature took advantage of my neglect and the wildness all around us crept back into my space. Much of my effort this year has been reclaiming that territory. Also, I have planted more veggies this year than I have in a long time. Jim asked me too, and I wanted to, we both love garden grown produce. The veggie patch is in a newly created bed and has performed well past my expectations. To date we have harvested beans, zucchini squash, yellow squash, and potatoes. We have 3 types of tomato, cucumber, and eggplant growing as we watch; I from ground level and Jim from the window and deck.

Thus, I have neglected my blog. If you have read my excuse for this long, I sincerely thank you. I hope you enjoy my ramblings, I promise to not be so long in adding another. But, right now the beans need picked, the beds need made, and Jim would probably appreciate my making him some breakfast.


  1. I keep saying I am going to start a blog.. I would love to get an outlet going for the poems, thoughts and random acts of brain activity i have happen.. but I've yet to do it, between work and work and oh yea.. so i totally understand your situation!! I love ya mama!!!

  2. Anonymous Mandi definately needs to jump into our crazy world of blogging. You, dear friend have a beautiful, wonderful world at shady hollow and we will read your postings as time allows you to bless us with them. I am praying you will be able to grab little bits of time to allow us to see into your world....maybe you could tell us about the plants that grow better in the shade....for those of us who also live in the shade and have become "VERY" frustrated with planting....blessings and ya, andee