Saturday, January 30, 2016

Goal Roll Call: January

JOY OH JOY!!!  Presents arrived in the mail this week!  Yes, I know this is the goals blog and I promise I will get to that very important topic but first I have to tell you about my presents!  I have several friends who live in Iowa and one of them sent me a lovely gift.  She grows a huge garden every year and saves her own seed.  Occasionally I offer my services as a garden consultant to her (meaning she asks a couple of questions and I get to talk her ear off about way more info than she probably wants or needs).  She blessed me with a big box of canna bulbs and a selection of some seed that she has saved.

My presents!

I am so excited about these seeds as she grows organically and only uses heirloom seeds.  In fact I believe she is even more picky about her seed’s status than I am as I am often given or somehow acquire a variety of seed that may or may not be organic / heirloom / or open-pollinated.   While I would prefer that particular list, that is not true of all my seed.  Anyway, back to my wonderful present.  I received two kinds of tomatoes: a beefsteak and a German Stripe early indeterminate tomato which has red and yellow stripes.  I believe she has grown and saved the seed from this one for a couple of years.   My friend was really excited about the Ponento pepper that she has grown for 3 years and had great success with in her hot summers.  Hopefully it will be happy in our cooler ones here.  Green beans and multicolored Zinnias finish out the package.  I am gleeful.

My cannas are red with green leaves and will probably look something like this.
Photo credit: http://www.nutshellnursery.com.au/canna-generalis-canna-lily/  
The canna pictured is called President.

In just a few days January 2016 will be ripped off the big calendar to make way for February.  It went by too quickly, but then when it is winter and cold, I don’t mind the winter months going by fast.  My first post of the New Year talked about my goals for this year in regards to the blog and gave my planned schedule.  I am happy to say that this being my sixth blog of the year means that I have been successful thus far with my blog. Yay me!

A dear friend and I have a phone call every week in which we hold each other accountable and encourage each other to do the good works that are our goals.  She encouraged me this week to celebrate my successes, to take note and acknowledge my progress, regardless of its standing on my self-imposed scale of perfection.  So, because I am attempting to obey her wise council, I will say again, Yay me!  See, I’m collecting goal points where ever I can.

I am enjoying creating chalkboards.  This latest one, which used to be an ugly metal holiday sign, now hangs in my Blessings Room encouraging me to be courageous.

So onto February which is typically a short dreary month in which not a lot happens in the garden and not too much excitement event wise, except of course for presents arriving in the mail.  For some reason I love to get mail and am always excited to get a letter or a gift… even if I ordered my gift.  Probably because as a child my mom would dutifully save all the box tops and UPC codes from cereal boxes and send them in to get small trinkets in the mail.  We got pencils and match box cars and plastic cereal bowls in the mail which she often would have addressed to a particular child.  Boxes in the mail were always fun.

So my goal for February is to get presents in the mail.  Um, no I am not asking you to send me something, (totally will NOT complain if you did though!) I am going to put in a big seed order.  While this world’s power structure is flawed and obviously unstable and has been for all of my life, signs of the times and rumors have led T and I to believe that time is short and trials lie ahead in the near future.  This is not a joyful, hopeful place to dwell and so we are putting our hope and trust in Him, the One who is in charge and is the source of our peace.  However, there are a few things I can do to prepare for… the something… that is coming.  One of them is to buy seeds that do fit my dream list mentioned above.

This is preparation that has the ability to bless many more people than just T and I.  The places we order seed from are mostly small family owned and operated businesses who will be blessed by an order.  Once we have the seed, any food we grow can be eaten by us and anyone who comes to us hungry.  We can teach others how to grow plants and give them seed to start their own gardens.  Finally, we can save the seed that we grow to multiply it for the next year.  One cannot hoard seed as it has an expiration date.  It has to be used, passed on for it to multiply.  What better use for money which may or may not have value in the near future?  Perhaps this concern for a calamitous near future will be yet another false alarm, if so, I will have a great store of seed.  I will then still have a great opportunity to bless others.

So, February’s goal is to do the tedious chore of drooling over multiple catalogs and laboriously deciding which varieties will be added to my list of desired plants.  Can you hear the snark in my tone?  I am going to have a blast.  Smile… no make that a huge SMILE!

Pile of seed catalogs I receive.  One that is missing is Johnny’s.

My list will include staples that are open pollinated, meaning that I can save seed from them and they will breed true as long as they are not crossed with another variety of the same plant.  Hybrids, while a wonderful option when seed is readily available from the grower, take about seven generations to develop a seed that breeds true.  Also I am interested in plants that grow well in my area.  This means that I will be looking at days to maturity, heat or cold tolerances, day length and soil preferences.  Not all my seeds will be annual food plants though.  I also want to get flowers and herbs as well as plants that attract beneficial insects and improve the soil.  I will be investigating different cover crop plants too.

My other goal for February is to paint the walls in the basement.  We are remodeling and rearranging our basement to accommodate guests, a War Room and an indoor garden space.  If you saw the movie War Room, you understand what I am talking about.  The War room will have the library, storage for T’s computer and work stuff, my piano, the prayer board and our household filing cabinet.  The guest room will have a new bed and dresser and a desk from my Blessings Room moved there.  Both the War room and the guest room need to be painted.

Future war room and library, it was once T’s office but we moved him upstairs where it was warmer and he now has a window.

This room was a half hearted attempt at a guest room combined with the library.
We are going to create a welcoming guest room with a real bed.

The indoor garden space will be in the big room where we are tearing up carpet, painting the floor, touching up paint on the walls, building a large potting bench and creating storage space for all my seeds.

Big room is a big mess.
The side with the slider will be revamped into a garden space
while the other side will be made into a sitting and workout area.
Hopefully we will still be able to use the ping pong table too.

Searching for the right blue to paint my potting bench. The true wall color is the yellow in the middle of the strip with the two corners of blue pointing in. It looks a lot brighter in person.

Perhaps February won’t be a boring month… at minimum it will be colorful!

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