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April 2015

the gardening diaries: planting day!

Finally y'all!  The part I have been waiting on for weeks!  I excitedly and impatiently waited for days for the mud plot that would be my garden to dry out.  I anticipated the day I would get to my house after work and it would be the day to start on the rows!  When I got home from work last Wednesday, I checked the farmer's almanac and was excited to see that the 23rd and 24th of April would be good planting days.  This was good news because I was worried I would have to wait until the beginning of May.

the gardening diaries: planting! - Kevin's LiveOak the gardening diaries: planting! - Massey Fergusen Tractor

Wednesday ~ Kevin and I walked around the yard and field that afternoon looking at the trees and plants that were growing and thriving from all the rain we had!  April 22 was also Earth Day!  In our woods beside our house, there is the great oak tree that Kevin really loves.  He had spent the day cleaning around the tree.  There are vines that are climbing all over the tree.  And by vines, I don't mean little ones that I am constantly pulling out of my front bed.  These vines are huge!  They have got to be at least a decade old and are everywhere.  The goal is to get the area around the tree cleared so it can get more sunlight.  Kevin got a lot of the vines cut at the base so they will die off and we can pull them out of the tree tops.  I'm hoping that all this work will pay off and we can continue to clear out to make a lovely shaded place for us to hang out or eat meals!

While we were walking, we were also talking about the garden.  I had just found out that the next two days were good days to plant according to the farmer's almanac.  We needed to break up the dirt again before we could do the rows.  Kevin said he would do that on Thursday if the rain held off!  When we rounded the corner, Mr. Randy already had the tractor out and was breaking up the former mud pit.  Oh y'all.  I cannot even tell you how excited I was! 

the gardening diaries: planting! - Baby Farmers #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - Massey Ferguson Tractor #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - Massey Ferguson Tractor and Sally #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - Kevin on the Massey Ferguson Tractor #gatesroadgarden

Thursday ~ I got home from work determined to mow our yard.  It had been weeks since it had been mowed thanks to the rain and the lawn mower breaking.  Kevin was off helping his brother but when he got home, he hooked up the plow to the tractor and got started making the rows!  This was a learning experience for both of us and it took a row or two to get the plow adjusted right.  After he got it to where we wanted, he finished the rest of the rows!  As the sun went down, it started to get a little chilly and since I was wearing a tank top, I went inside and grabbed one of my blue jean-ish "work shirts" to wear over it.  I have been reading a book about a woman who went to live on a farm for a year and she discussed how the farmers didn't wear sunscreen lotion, they just had light button up work shirts that they wore. I felt like what I was wearing was similar to what she described and felt very farmer-ish. haha!  By the time Kevin finished the rows, it was beginning to get dark so we quickly planted the tomato plants that I had gotten earlier that day. 

the gardening diaries: planting! - morning sunrise the gardening diaries: planting! - morning garden rows #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of merit corn to plant #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of sugar baby watermelon seeds #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of peanuts for planting #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of gourd seeds #gatesroadgarden

Friday ~  Friday I woke up at, like, 5:00 am and could not fall back asleep.  I was already planning to get started planning early before work so I went ahead and got up.  I fixed some coffee and sat on the back porch steps while I drank a cup and woke up.  The evening before, Kevin and I kind of planned out our rows and I decided where I would start for the morning.  I planted a few rows of corn and two varieties of watermelon before I had to stop so I could go to work.  Luckily I only worked half a day but I was still mentally kicking myself for requesting to work that morning.  Once I got home, I picked back up planting where I left off. After about an hour, it started to rain a steady light rain so Kevin and I picked up my seeds that hadn't gotten planted yet.  We sat on the back porch for about thirty minutes while I alternated between talking with Kevin and pouting about the rain.  I just kept having to remind myself of what I said earlier: God knows what he's doing!    After a while, Kevin pointed out that it was barely sprinkling so I gathered my stuff again and together we went out to finish planting the garden.  He planted the peanuts and I planted the various peppers that I had left.

I don't know how other people do their gardens and how they keep up with what is planted on each row.  I really didn't know how I was going to do it myself, either.  Honestly, I hadn't actually thought of that part until it was Friday morning and I was standing in the dirt with a handful of corn kernels.  Then I remembered that the day before I had bought some plant markers seemingly on a whim.  So I put down one of my ponytail holders to mark my place and I got the plant markers and a sharpie.  I hadn't asked any veteran gardeners if they mark their plants or if they just remember what row is what.  Maybe it doesn't matter to them because obviously when the vegetables are produced anyone can definitely tell what is what!  Right now I'm working out the way that works for me.  And hopefully I will find good ways and even after that, discover even better ways!

Fitness Friday / 02.

Sally Jane rides in the car - Fitness Friday / 02. Contigo water bottle - Fitness Friday / 02.

To keep up my motivation for living a healthier life by incorporating fitness training/exercise and healthy eating I will be posting every Friday about my progress and habits and ideas.  When I exercise and eat healthy, I feel better and I sleep better.  My goal is to check in weekly what I've been up to!

This week has been pretty laid back for me.  I have gone walking/running every day either before work or after work.  I have a route that I've been consistently using that includes taking a trail through the woods!  This adds a little bit of change of scenery because I get to see the trees and I know the dogs really enjoy going on this trail.  An upside is it is completely shaded and although I am sweating, it is a lot cooler than when I'm out there in the field/road!  Last year I ran every morning before work before the sun even got over the trees across the field but this year I haven't been able to run like that.  Partly due to my laziness, but also my schedule has been crazy mixed up.  I did take Sally to the park one day and we had a blast!  She loves riding in the car, too.

On Monday I cooked a couple of meals to take to work.  Meal prep is hard work y'all!  I made chicken fried rice for the first time.  It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, too!  I started cooking at 5:30 in the evening and was planning to just cook chicken and saute' some vegetables to eat a few meals that week but when I got to cooking, I remembered that I also wanted to make chicken fried rice.  I didn't finish cooking and cleaning up until 8:00 and then after I exercised it was past 8:30 and I was worn out!  But really, it was so worth it.  I have had plenty to eat all week and it tastes so good!  

I've also been gardening for the past two days and y'all, if you don't think that is hard work then you're not really working very hard at it :)

Until next week!  

the gardening diaries: never ending rain


I'm beginning to think I will never get my garden planted.  It rained daily the past week.  And by rain, I mean heavy rain.  The sun came out Wednesday and Friday afternoon for a little while and to see the sunset.  Unfortunately that wasn't enough sun to dry out my plot so we weren't able to disc it up and never got the chance to make any rows.  In fact, the night before Kevin left, he was going to test the dirt and see if he could do something, but when the front tires got into the mud, they didn't even spin, they just slid forward propelled by the back tires!  And that was just from the rain last Sunday and Monday. 


Jessica and I went on a plant shopping trip about a month ago and bought seeds to plant in our gardens.  When she planted her seeds on Good Friday, she actually ran out of seeds!  I don't know about her, but I really thought I had enough.  So after that I decided I probably should look into getting some more seeds.  Two years ago I had this beautiful coleus plant with these vibrant colors and I have been looking for another one like it.  Since I haven't been able to find one, I googled the plant and found a website that I can buy the seeds.  I ended up buying some other seeds too!  Like some heirloom varieties of tomatoes and some jalapeno seeds.  I couldn't find any peanut seeds (is that how to say it?) so I found another website that I was able to order from.  With this being my first time to garden, I ordered three different kinds of peanuts.  The ones that I knew to get were the Virginia Reds.  Kevin's grandmother told me that those are the best ones to grow so I made sure to order those.  I also ordered the Talbert Small Reds because Kevin likes the flavor of small peanuts.  I don't know how all of the different kinds are going to turn out but I am excited to see what happens! 

The sun finally came out for a full day on Sunday and Monday so if it will just stay out, then it will dry up enough to get some rows made!  I have certainly been enjoying this little bout of sunshine and really cannot wait to be able to watch my garden grow in the sunshine!!  As I write this it occurs to me that I need to plan out my garden.  I want to have a garden year round so I want to plan for that, too.  I have read in a garden book that gardeners "orchestrate" the garden to where it blooms and produces in such an order that it's just so beautiful and wonderful to watch. 

So yeah, we are slowly but surely getting there!  My first year for a garden is definitely getting a rough start but hopefully that will just make it all worth it!

Casting Crowns Concert

Saturday night we went to see Casting Crowns in concert.  It was truly a blessing and I did have a post written about it, but now I can't find it.  So short and sweet I'll just post a song.  It is hard to pick a favorite song because so many of their songs have such a good message.  Their songs begin as bible studies and I believe this is a reason their songs are so powerful.  A few years ago we saw them at Praise in the Park and as they began this song, it began to lightly rain and for me the tears just came.  The rain coming down at that instant couldn't be anything else but God, don't you think? 


Fitness Friday / 01.

Sooo I feel like I'm constantly start and stopping my fitness journey.  And then I get on these kicks where all I think about and want to do is exercise!  I am currently on one of these kicks.  Starting last Monday, I picked up my (heavy) weights back up.  Y'all, they felt a lot lighter before I quit lifting them for like two months than they did last week.  But this time, I will keep going!  I realized last time that it was a lot easier to keep to my work out routine if I wrote on a calendar what all I planned to do each day.  It was a great feeling to cross off the exercises as I did them, too!  I need to pick that habit back up.

My personal goal is to lift weights with a focus on arms or legs (or both) 6 days a week.  As far as cardio goes, I want to run at least 45 minutes to an hour daily.  I really love running. However I have very weak self-discipline and usually end up walking the majority of the way!  This past week I began running again but ended up walking most of the time.  The way I look at this is I just have to work up to it again :).  At the same time, I feel like this could be an excuse.  Butif I'm sticking with it then that's awesome anyways!  This morning I walked/ran for a total of 47:35 minutes!  yay!  

I used my Fitbit to track it and I always like to look at my route I take.  Since I pretty much run in my backyard, the lines constantly overlap and look kinda crazy!  Especially with the new road coming through, my circuit got totally messed up.  But I'm working my way through this emotional and physical loss. haha.  When they first began construction, I pretty much gave up running.  I loved running back there and I couldn't anymore because one: there was a big hole in the ground at first, and two: the road crew was always out there and I was not about to run in front of them!  The construction has slacked off a little, mostly due to the rain I think.  So this week I have found time to be outside and it has been awesome!

I got my Fitbit for Christmas from Adam and Katherine and I totally love it!  I love seeing how many steps I take and using it to track my runs.  But that's about all I did with it.  A few weeks after I started working at my new job, Mandy invited me to be her Fitbit friend.  It's so fun!  Both Jenn and she have them so I have two friends and that gives me a lot more use with it.  We are always talking about getting our steps in and it has encouraged me to actually try to get mine in.  The default setting is 10,000 steps and that's what I have kept as my goal.  On my walk/run this morning I got 4,418 steps in.  I wonder how the number of steps I take will differ once I start running more.  I guess I will find out in a few weeks!  The other day I got 10,000 steps for the first and my Fitbit did this little buzzing thing and I totally skipped around the yard I was so excited!  I did not get many steps in yesterday, it rained a lot and I did not really go anywhere.  I guess I could have just walked around my house, but that seems a little silly to me. 

Anyways, that's all I have for today!  I'm ready to get my fit on this upcoming week!  Until next week y'all :)

the gardening diaries: breaking up the dirt

This past week I have been busy with getting the plot ready and the dirt broken up for the rows.  Mr. Randy has been doing all the "tractoring" and I've been doing all the "supervising" haha!  Last Saturday I mowed the spot where I wanted to put the garden.  It was out in the field where the horses lived for years and the grass is wonderful and gorgeous and wait, why are we digging some of it up?  Oh yeah, for a garden!  I got the grass mowed and on Monday Mr. Randy and I set about to getting rid of as much grass as we could before he used the tractor to break ground.  Since we got a late start on burning, we just raked as much of the grass clippings as we could and burned those little piles.  For future reference: don't do this again.

After the smoked cleared he used the tractor to make the first pass over the ground.  The discs barely went into the ground it was so hard and covered with grass.  Then the fuel line came loose and he stopped so it could be fixed.  After about twenty minutes or so, Kendall got the fuel line to go back on while Mr. Randy and I drank some much needed water!  He started the tractor back up and we worked out there until dark.  

On Tuesday, Michael and Diane came over to get some of the grass to put in their yard.  We loaded down their truck with so much of the sod and still barely put a dent in it!  Apparently, in the winter I should have taken care of the grass by either burning it or I could have covered it to kill it.  I don't want grass in my garden and really should have done this first but oh well, next time I will start sooner.  While Mr. Randy continued to break up the dirt I spent that time pulling clump after clump of grass out of the plot.  It seemed as if I pulled out one clump of grass and then two more would appear!  I still have a good bit there but I'm not fretting too much!  I think my favorite part is how good the dirt smelled!  Even Sally liked playing in the dirt :)

I am so excited doing all of this, the hard work and the preparation of the ground.  It is my first time to do any gardening like this!  In the past I have just kinda done it halfway.  But this.  This is a big deal to me!  I've got lots of plans and really they just keep multiplying.  One idea leads to five others and those lead to more!  There's so much I want to do and so much I can do it's hard to keep it all straight.  Right now, though, I am focused on getting everything ready to plant!  

the gardening diaries: the beginning

For the past few years, I have slowly learned more and more about growing plants and I have had dreams of having a garden.  This year I have been more determined than the last to get this done.  So far, the only thing that has worked out is that I bought the seeds I wanted.

The discs that would be used to break up the plot were not at our house, they were at Kevin's uncles house so we had to get those from him.  We finally were able to borrow a trailer and were able to go and get them the last day that Kevin was home.  So that means he was unable to work on the tractor before he left for work.  We didn't think about it needing maintenance until Kevin's dad said something about.  Oops.  Fortunately we were able to use Michael's tractor to get the discs on and off the trailer.  Last Friday Mr. Randy started to change the oil but the fuel line needed repairing.  Then on Saturday they discovered water leaking out of the block!  (Kevin told me that this is also referred to as the motor. haha)(correction: engine. not motor...should have known better!)  Mr. Randy fixed it for the time being but it's going to need some more work on it eventually.

The first week of December I planted some garlic cloves and I am soooo excited that they look like they are doing wonderful!  According to my gardening book, the time for harvesting garlic is in the fall.  I wish I didn't have to wait so long!  But I'm still pretty excited about it!  It will be super awesome to have my own cloves and I can't wait to cook them and use them!

Jessica and I went to Lowe's last week and in addition to seeds for the garden, I also bought some herbs and tomato and pepper plants!  I did not start seedlings as early as I should have and I can be kinda impatient so I went ahead and bought plants already started.  And really, I'm just so excited to have some vegetables already!  After my surprising success with the plants last year, I can't wait to see if I can do better this year.  I really believe that gardening is something you can only truly learn with experience.  And although I am getting started late, if I don't just go ahead and dive in and get started, I may never start.

true confessions of quitting my job

As you can tell from the title, I have resigned from my job.  This happened about three weeks ago and it was a little scary but also a relief!  Sometimes it is just time that you know you need to move on.  You may have grown all you can in a position or you are moving in a different direction personally.  Honestly, I could not have chosen a better time!  The following week, it was forecast to rain every day, but the rain never came!  As I'm writing this, I think maybe God was blessing Kevin and me to have a much needed week together that was beautiful for us to have fun!  We spent all week outside doing things around the yard and played in the swamp a couple of times.

Although I was not expecting to leave my job, I had been thinking for a while what I would do if I did not have a job again.  Although I am not completely jobless, I have big plans that I can accomplish even while I am working.  So previously, I have put up goals/plans on the blog in order to keep me accountable to getting them accomplished, (ahem, like just three weeks ago!) but I realize that does not work for me as much as I thought it would have.  In fact, doing so actually made me not want to do what I had originally wanted to do!  I have seen other people do this on their blogs and even though it worked for them, I believe it is just not something that works for me.

I just believe the last time I was unemployed I completely wasted the majority of my time off and I don't want to do that again.  God has blessed Kevin and me and I feel like I failed him last time.  This time I have spent time in prayer and plan to spend more time talking with God to ask him to lead me to his will and show Christ to all that I meet.  I hope I've gotten off to a good start and look forward to this new part of our life!  Maybe I will meet some new people and get to know some people a lot better!  

Until then :)