Tag Archives: vegetables

Not a Sweet Failure After All

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasyThis weekend, I was inspecting that garden bed, where the sweet potatoes died and the volunteer celery is thriving. What did I see?

Go to my new website to find out:

Not a Sweet Failure After All

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What carrots taught me about patience and goals

There is one thing that a home garden doesn’t provide: instant gratification.

The instant I harvest something is only one moment of gratification. Eating it is another.¬† Two moments of gratification–cool, huh? Three, if you count the successful feeling of sowing the seeds in a well-ordered garden.

Give carrots room to grow and reap the rewards

Give carrots room to grow and reap the rewards

Carrots are the ultimate vegetable for teaching patience.  They take the longest to sprout. In fact, they take so long, I sow a few radish seeds with the carrot seeds so I can keep track of the row. By the time the radishes are taking shape, the carrots are pushing up through the ground. By the time I harvest the radishes, the carrots are tiny, little bitty hints of roots.

So why not run to the grocery store or farmers’ market to buy a bunch of carrots and have instant gratification?

Because home-grown carrots are the best tasting carrots I’ve ever eaten.¬† We start thinking about our orange root vegetables the second we plant them.¬† Yes, they are that delicious.

While the little tiny roots are taking shape, we have to take care of them. They need the usual water and sun but not too much heat. They also need space and soil that allows them to grow down, or they will grow around each other and at odd angles.

If we want the biggest, best carrots, then we have to thin the row and wait. Even pulling¬†the smaller carrots to make room for bigger ones later is a reward. These “baby” carrots are tasty, too.¬† They also remind us that better veggies are still to come and that we shouldn’t give up on the goal.

Sounds a bit like patience and working toward a goal, doesn’t it? We have goals that we want to achieve, but we can’t expect to complete them overnight. We must take baby steps or have smaller goals that lead us to the ultimate goal.

I have friends who climbed Mt. Ranier last summer. They planned for it and worked up to it. They didn’t show up at the base of the mountain and start climbing the minute they decided to do it.¬† They were patient, organized, and safe. They trained and climbed smaller mountains until the time was right to conquer the big one.

If we have too many goals (too many carrots crowded together), then we have a hard time focusing (have nowhere to grow) on the ultimate prize.

In our digital, fast-paced culture of instantaneous chatting and information gathering, we can’t rush quality work.¬† We can do things that help us be more efficient, but a carrot takes about 3 months to grow. Some take longer if they didn’t have room from the beginning.

If you look closely at the picture of my first harvest, you’ll see a tiny pale root next to the largest carrot.¬† It got pulled when I thinned them. If I’d seen it, I would have put it back into the row so that it could keep growing. I can’t be devasted that I missed it–the space will be taken up by another, bigger¬†carrot.

We have to reevaluate our goals from time to time, which means throwing out ones that don’t fit our needs anymore. Then we have to wait some more.¬† Even mountain climbers have to change plans if the weather turns unsafe.

Maybe this post should have been called, “How carrots and mountains teach patience.” ūüôā

While some¬†of my goals take longer and require more patience,¬†I’m going to be happy with my small steps of achievements that are getting me there. And eat a few carrots along the way.

What goals are you working on right now? What things do you do to help yourself be more patient?

Weekend Updates…

I promised earlier to report about Armadillo’s comic book cover selection. Are you sitting down? Because my frilly, girlie, pink-loving Armadillo picked this one:

Diana Beebe's BlogYou didn see that one coming, did you? The shocking thing was that she didn’t even hesitate in the store. LOL. There is an evil genius in there somewhere. And I mean that in the nicest, most loving way possible! ūüėÄ

The poll results were split. A few of you (30%) guessed that she picked the dark and sinister cover because it was cool. No one guessed that it was her only option. The other two options about the other cover (cute ponies in snow: 40% and pink: 30%) combined for a whopping 70%. *shakes head* She surprised even me.

In other news…

We don’t watch¬†Saturday Night Live very often, but we recently discovered “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Coversation with at a Party” on the “Weekend Update” skit. She is not on often enough, in my opinion.

Click this link to check it out on the official website¬†(or you can search for her on youtube). What I love about this one is that her speech patterns butcher English pronunciation, but she throws in a grammar zinger every once in awile. I think this one is our favorite.¬† Mockingbird has a knack for immidating the girl.¬† It’s also clean enough (so far) for Armadillo to listen to it.

In gardening news…

I’m sad to say that my sweet potato experiment is looking like a complete fail. Sigh. The three slips that I planted are brown and dry. One has one tiny live leaf left–so there is hope.¬†There is good news though. I pulled up some volunteer celery from the garden stones and planted them where the sweet potatoes are dying in the ground.¬†(“Volunteer” plants are ones that grow from the scattered seeds of plants.¬†I let nature do the planting, and I am sure as heck¬†gonna use them.)

Diana Beebe's Blog

So what’s going on for your weekend? Share your news!

Who Needs Flowers Anyway?

Most people create beautiful landscaping in their front yards. Curving flower beds, lined with stones or rocks or edging. We did that, too.

But we live in North Texas. Have you experienced a typical summer in North Texas? It’s HOT.
Year after year, we would buy several flats of flowers and make the flowerbeds all pretty in the spring. Then by the end of June, the flowers start to look haggard. By August, the several days of intense 100+ degree heat will have fried the plants to a crisp.

What did we have to show for all the hard planting work?
Not much. Mostly a bunches of dried up, scraggly plants in the flower beds that have to be cleaned up. Bleh.

What could we do to have pretty flower beds, but not toss a lot of money out in the compost trash when it all died?

Plant a garden!

One of the side gardens with four different kinds of lettuce in front of the broc.

One of the side gardens with four different kinds of lettuce in front of the broc.

Winter vegetables are very pretty and love the cold. If you’re in a climate that doesn’t have frozen ground in the winter and you want to garden, why not plant a garden in the front flower beds?¬† One of the garden experts at our local feed store told me once that he doesn’t plant anything in his front yard unless it’s edible. He doesn’t have much of a backyard, so he takes advantage of what he does have.

This is the second year that we’ve planted broccoli–more than 40 plants across the entire length of the beds. They have lettuce and carrots and spinach to keep them company–although those aren’t growing as I expected. *pouts*

Would you plant your vegetable garden in your front flower beds?¬† What would you plant? I’d love to hear your gardening plans or experiences!

Winter Gardening and Slips

A friend asked me if she could be gardening right now. She’s from a different state that has a climate that allows one growing season. She was surprised to know that we garden year round in North Texas.

I gave her the list. In January, we planted red and white potatoes, spinach, kale, and lettuce. And carrots, too. I planted radishes in the same row with the carrots because the carrots take so dadgum long to sprout. The radishes grow long before the carrots. If I don’t plant the radishes, then I tend to lose the carrots. You don’t want to plant something else and ruin the carrot planting.

We get to pick radishes not long after the carrots sprout. Yum. The great thing about gardening since we started this is that our kids love it. Mockingbird said this week that we need more radishes–and I’d planted them just to be able to see where the carrots would be, which means I didn’t plant enough. They love the broccoli and kale, too. They’re still turning up their noses at the carrots though.

Three tiny sweet potato slips sprouting in party cups.

Three tiny sweet potato slips sprouting in party cups.

I’m trying something new this year. Sweet potatoes! I must be crazy, because no one I talk to in our local gardening stores knows how to grow sweet potatoes. So I googled it.

It’s not like planting regular potatoes where you dig a deep hole and plant the cut up pieces in the ground. Nope. Sweet potatoes want to be coddled and helped along in something called a slip (leaves on the top, roots on the bottom). After buying a few organic sweet potatoes from the grocery store, I waited until there some signs of growth. Turns out, if you try to use a regular sweet potato, the chances are high that the farmer did something to the crop to keep them from sprouting so they keep longer in the store.

I cut up four sweet potatoes and put the ends in water. And waited. After two months, I ended up with three sprouting sweet potato slips. Three.  One of those has hardly any root system at all.

They went into the ground on Sunday.  Now we wait some more.

Do you garden in the winter? Do you wish you could garden in the winter? What do you or would you plant?

O, Christmas Tree

All the left-overs are long gone, and I’m emerging from my status of missing in action for the last week or so.¬† I won’t bore you with the details–everyone has that list from time to time that keeps them busy with life.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is when our Christmas decorations explode across the house.

Maybe not, explode.  Two rooms and the front yard, tops.

The girls have finally gotten to the ages when they can take over putting all the decorations on the tree.  Together.  Just the two of them.  Without supervision.  Without mediation.

With some mediation and several breaks from each other.

“What were you thinking about?”

Every year, they pick two (or three) ornaments that they love.  These ornaments usually represent something they experienced or loved during the year.  For both of them, the tempation to buy the Lego Darth Vader was strong within them.  But they resisted the dark side.

Daughter 2 picked polar bears, penguins, and kittens.¬† There are¬†two series of ornaments that she’s collecting.¬† Daughter 1 picked the puppy and horse that go with her two series.¬† She also picked something else.¬† It makes a geek mom proud.

If the store had the Hulk, she would have picked him.¬† I was surprised that she passed up Thor and Darth Vader.¬† I wasn’t surprised that she ignored Spider-Man (even though it crushed me on the inside).

She picked the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man from Ghostbusters.¬† He hangs with a Santa looking over him to keep him out of trouble.¬† I hope no one pushes the button on his side too often.¬† I can hear the theme song to the movie only so many times before I go crazy.¬† ūüôā

The girls decorated the tree.  They took breaks when the older one sensed that they might kill each other over pre-lighted bough territory.  After all, the carousel animal ornaments must hang on the same side of the tree.  Together.  In the same place.

*eye twitch*

Ahem.  The tree is beautiful, because my girls decorated it together.  I just put on the little ornaments at the top where neither can reach.

Speaking of the top, I have no tree topper.¬† I just can’t find one that I like.¬† My tree is topperless for the second year in a row.¬† I hate to even admit that my tree is topperless.¬† It is.¬† Do I want to replace the pitiful angel that used to be the topper?¬† Or, do I want a star?¬† There are too many choices out there. (Maybe I’m too picky or frugal or something.)

The rest of the ornaments are a mix from my husband’s childhood and things I’ve collected from trips we’ve taken.¬† There are also some antique, handmade ornaments that my grandmother used to hang on her tree.¬† It’s an ecclectic tree, but we think it’s beautiful.

When do you decorate for the holidays? Do you have any special decorations or traditions? 

For ROW80, I haven’t checked in for at least a¬†week.¬† Sigh.¬† Here’s where I am:

  • I have a list of plot holes in my MG WIP.¬† I’m going to fill them in now.¬† I want to have¬†the first draft finished by the first week of December.
  • The back garden is planted with carrots, spinach, kale, lettuce, and onion seeds.¬†A few radish seeds are mixed with the carrots so I know where those rows are.
  • Get back into my size-smaller jeans. I miss them. I worked too hard to get into them in the first place.
  • I started my sweet potato slips. Only one piece is growing. I had to throw out the other pieces. More to come.
  • Catch up on blogging class!

My Mermaid Gets a Pet

My family has dogs.  Two of them.  They are both very much part of the family, even Demon Dog.  Everyone should experience the joys and responsibility of owning a pet at least once in his or her life.

My mermaid laughed when I told her I thought she should have a pet.¬† She asked, “I don’t do windows, why do I need¬†the responsibility of a¬†pet?”

Well, because pets are loving and huggable and fun.

“And they require care and feeding,” she pointed out.¬† She laughed and pointed at me again. “Besides, I’m a mermaid, hello?”

Pets offer companionship and love.  My dogs are almost always close to one of us in the house.  They hug by leaning into a good ear rub.  They greet us when we come home.

“Have you seen the underwater creatures around here?¬† Not many ears.¬† And I’m always home.”

She was really resisting this idea to have a pet.  I could find her a pet that was self-sufficient and pretty and had ears that could be rubbed.  She rolled her eyes.

Then, I gave her this:

Created with the http://www.dolldivine.com Merpony Maker

My mermaid squealed with delight.¬† “My very own merpony?”

Yep.

“I promise to take care of it and feed it¬†and do all the work.”

Yeah, right. We parents know how that one will end.

If you’re checking, here are my ROW80 goals for the week:

  • Finish the minutes for the PTA meeting and send them for approval.¬† I haven’t even touched this one!
  • The back garden beds are ready, so now I need to plant kale, spinach, and carrot seeds.¬† Finished just before cold snap! ūüôā
  • Write as if I’m not a NaNoWriMo rebel this week.¬† ūüėĬ† Training at work makes for long days and short evenings.¬† Sigh.
  • Make chicken soup and venison stew for the week.¬† Chicken soup–check!
  • Get back to 3 or more blogging posts a week.¬† Check!