The Homestead Weekly

The Homestead Weekly, 21 March 2021

Happy first day of spring on Saturday! After a lovely week of warm temps in the fifties and sixties, we celebrated the first day of spring by getting snow that night and then having the coldest night of the month yet last night :). So it goes!

In the Kitchen

After weeks of being insanely busy with flower farming stuff and neglecting all but the most basic survival stuff around the house, something had to change—I knew the pace wasn’t sustainable, and I didn’t want to feel like I was always making the kids and the house feel like they were taking a backseat. So this coming week, I’m trying something new—rather than just making a massive master to-do list every week of everything to do with the farm, I’ve now split it up into daily to-do’s (and have only included the most pressing things for each day), and I’ve also added household tasks and that night’s dinner to it, as well. That means that I won’t be endlessly feeling like my to-do list won’t ever end (because before, I just kept adding all the tasks to do as I thought about them, which made me feel like I could never relax).

However, all that planning is for this week ahead, which meant that the week behind us was a little iffy when it came to making meals and tidying up. I did make a point to do a (mostly) Green Feast for St. Patrick’s Day this last week, which was fun, and the kids actually would prefer me to procrastinate dinners more often than not because it means I go for the super simple, carb-heavy stuff that they prefer anyway.

I am excited about the week ahead though because I think it will give me the much-needed breathing room I’ve been looking for.

On the Menu Last Week: sausage gravy over rice + peas, “Green Feast” (salmon with a green dill coating, asparagus, cucumbers, broccoli), red and white penne (basically just cooked penne layered in spaghetti and alfredo sauces and baked in the oven), yet more avocado + cheese tortillas with a fried egg on top

Matt built and filled up our second bed on Saturday (only six more to go!)

In the Garden

The warm weather this week was glorious. It meant that when the bare root roses I’d ordered a couple months ago got shipped to us this week, we didn’t have to wait at all to put them in the ground–Matt just came home about a half hour early from work, and we were able to get them in that same day. I didn’t splurge on any specific varieties—I instead decided to just go for a mix from Breck’s that included five roses of different colors for only $50, which is a STEAL. While some of them are a little more plain, a couple of them I’m really, really excited about, and even the plain(er) ones can be used in bouquets, of course!

I also decided that I am not allowed to go into any store that sells plants or seeds of any kind because even though we have far more seeds and plants than we know where to put them all, I still can’t pass new varieties up when they’re a good deal and right in front of me, apparently. That’s why on Monday you would have found me putting a bunch of lily bulbs and more peony tubers into the ground because our local Walmart had a bunch of them out for just $5 a bag. Five bucks! And I *do* need some perennials in, just because they’ll help to fill in some of the gaps between certain bloom times. Verdict is out on whether we shall have any green lawn left at the end of all this, or if it will all be ripped up to plant flowers.

I started hardening off the snap peas and some of the lettuces and brassicas (broccoli, cabbage) this week, but I decided against transplanting them out on Saturday like I’d planned because we had a VERY cold night last night (it almost got down to 20), and I needed all the frost cloth we had to cover the two already-planted beds. Since most of the week was warm, however, the seedlings in the front bed that were planted at the beginning of this month really started to pop—many have their true sets of leaves, and I think I might, might, might just get some by Mother’s Day like I’m hoping. Fingers crossed.

Sowing (inside) this last week: calendula, dara, stock, strawflower, ammi, foxglove, sunflower (experimental), coneflower, baby’s breath, salpiglossis, and four different kinds of peppers for the veg garden

Direct seeding/planting (outside) this last week: the five bare root roses, two more peonies, Asiatic lilies, more larkspur, agrostemma (corn cockle), more nigella, bupleurum, borage

In the Playroom

The biggest news around here is that Hyrum decided to start walking! He’d been taking a step or two here or there when we really, REALLY encouraged him and pulled out all the bells and whistles of enthusiasm for it, but he hadn’t really cared to do much more than that. Then one day late in the week, he just decided that this walking thing might be worth trying—and he proceeded to take four or five steps right in a row, no big deal! He’ll now walk in between things that are relatively close together, and he’s just started doing it randomly in the middle of a room, too. Big milestones like this never get old for me as a mom—it’s like with every kid, it feels like the first time all over again!

We’re getting to a tricky stage with Mathias where he’s starting to phase out of naps some days, but he still could really use them most days. He’s still okay to take them more days than not when Raven is at school, but when she’s home on the weekends, it’s basically guaranteed he won’t take one. I’m nervous that her spring break at the end of this month is going to make him stop taking naps forever (*sob*). I don’t know what I’ll do if that happens because naptime is one of the only interrupted slots of time I have in the day to fully focus on the flower farming stuff. We shall see.

Raven has set up her “work station” on the lowest shelf in the playroom, and she’s already telling me which flowers she wants me to put in mini bouquets to put on her “work area.” She’ll spend hours in there writing and drawing and coloring, and she made us all the cutest little Easter cards. I love hearing her slowly sound out words and write them down phonetically…I love watching people learn, especially my own kids.

In the Home

Matt finally got the newly-painted drawer fronts put back onto the kitchen island, and it makes such a big difference to have those back in, especially since we ended up swapping out the old 80’s white and gold handles with something a little more subtle and modern. That means the to-do list for the kitchen is slowly but surely shrinking, with only the caulking to be done around the cabinets, the flooring to be put in, and some simple open wood shelves put up for decoration left. Getting closer!

In the Soul

As mentioned above, I recognized that I was hurtling towards burnout and fast, so I’m hopeful in this new week that I will have a better system figured out now that I’ve literally only written down the most important things to do on each day and am pushing the rest until later weeks. My tendency when I start something new is to just jump in with both feet and not look back, which means that I often see some quick wins and some successes, but it also means that I tend to let everything else fall by the wayside, to my detriment. Since I want to be flower farming for the long haul, I need to come up with a much more sustainable and balanced way to go about it, so I’m thinking that these detailed daily to-do lists will help to keep me on track AND free up my mind so that I’m not constantly feeling like I’m behind. (I’m also hoping that once I’ve checked everything off the list, I’ll actually be able to relax instead of feeling like I have to use every spare scrap of time I can to work on it!)

Although I still have days (or, more accurately, hours) when I feel like this is all going to turn out to be a colossal failure, for the most part I feel really good about how things are looking so far. I’ve always loved gardening and have found it to be so naturally rewarding, so doing it on a much larger scale has just been really cool to see the changes from week to week. Sure, there are still cringe-worthy moments (like this morning when I accidentally upended half a seed tray and lost half the seedlings), but for the most part, I’m proud of where we stand currently and how things are looking. I really think we’re going to see some success this year, and I can’t wait to actually have some flowers in a couple months to share with everyone.

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