Leaf Mold Mulch

Big leaf maples, lindens, cedars, and ossia plums surround our backyard, and we never rake. We use the mowing machine to chop and bag our leaves, then store them in old trash cans for two years. (What fills four cans the first year can normally be combined into one or two the next.)

Today I took a two-year-old can from storage in the backyard and spread it over my four raised beds. I intended to do a fall/winter garden, but my dirt in a few beds needs serious rest and amending. My spring kale planting is still going strong, and will last happily through the winter for us.




Have her put these words in alphabetical order, says the lesson manual. I say make her alphabetize (and put away) all the movies! Love when learning and housework are best buds.

Becoming What you Need to Be

I love Fall.  Scratch that.  I hate Fall.  Can I do both?

I love starting over- the school year starts fresh, the summer garden is composted, the sweaters and baked goods come back to our home.  It’s the time to re-stock the pantry and garage with enough storage produce to get us through the winter.  We check our drawers and closets for what’s worn out and outgrown and just plain missing.  We fluff and clean our nest, to get ready for a long cozy winter.

But, it’s a hard time of year too, isn’t it guys?  Time for a whole new round of “Guess how you’re screwing up your kid this school year!”  If you haven’t played that game, just pay attention to the news for a bit- they’re always cheerfully compiling the next “Ten Ways To Be Perfect” list, and you can check yourself against that. (This game is ESPECIALLY fun for homeschooling families like us- you wouldn’t believe how many people are willing to drop everything and tell us how much we’re screwing up every.single.day!  Am I right?)

As we compost the garden, we get to take one last painful look at everything that just didn’t work.  Barren tomato plants, mildew-y pumpkin leaves, bolted heads of cabbage.

And don’t get me started on the pantry.  Am I going to can my own peaches this year?  The ones my husband will eat by the quart with gusto?  Or will we make do with a few boxes of apples in the garage?  Am I going to scramble to harvest our plums for jam before the squirrels strip the tree?

(Ernie, looking up and realizing she’s standing underneath the Seattle Space Needle.)

There are an infinite number of ways to be inadequate in this life…if you insist on trying to be someone else.  As we get ready for this new season, don’t forget to be what you are.  Do it with a smile.  Do it with your head held high.  Do it for you, and your family.

Ask yourself what you want to be.  What do you want to BE?  How will you get there?  What does God want you to be?  What does your family need you to be?  Take a deep breath, make your choices.  Make sure to take time to clean out your spaces inside of you to make room for a new season.  Clean out what’s not working, make it into something new for today.