Earth Day – April 22, 2020 (entry written in paper journal @ 7:00 am)
“Victory Gardens showcase patriotism in its truest sense, with each of us taking personal responsibility for doing our individual part to create a healthy, fair and affordable food system.”
Morning coffee in a quiet house. Just the occasional snore or grumble of a sleeping dog and the gentle rushhhhh of the aquarium.
I fight the temptation of going back to sleep after my husband leaves for work. It’s easy to fall into lazy patterns and waste the day. I am sure those who are “sheltering in place” share my struggle. Life is really thrown off balance without the regular routine of physically going to work. However, this is a reality that teachers face every year summer break arrives.
While I have gotten out of the habit, I used to always start my mornings with journal writing. The benefit of writing in the morning is it clears one’s mind, helps set the tone for the day, and charts progress from day-to-day. It feels great to begin the journaling journey again.
I’ve been spotting posts about Victory Gardens more frequently. Victory Gardens were encouraged during WWII as a way to help Americans supplement food rations and give families more fruit and vegetables in their diet. The practice of planting a Victory Garden was also used to increase morale.
I can understand the importance of wanting to feel “in control” when so many aspects of life feel just the opposite right now. Planting a garden gives one a tangible goal to focus on and gives hope for the future.
My family tries to grow as much of our own food as possible. That is one of the cornerstones of the lifestyle that my husband and I are trying to embrace. We can and freeze the majority of the vegetables that we eat throughout the year and we raise our own pigs and meat birds (chickens). We also have hens that keep us entertained and provide us with eggs all year long. These sweet girls and our two Roosters, Romeo and Odysseus, are friends not food. We lost Shakespeare, our alpha male rooster last week to old age. He lived a great life on our homestead and we will miss his soulful strut immensely.
While my husband and I share a connection on wanting be as sustainable as possible when it comes to our food production, the yearning to garden goes back to my early years. My grandfather, the late Thomas Puskala, had an epic garden in Iron River, Michigan and many of my childhood memories stem from his hours of labor. From his careful sifting of soil to remove rocks and his long standing feud with dandelions. Not to mention the non-traditional breakfast feasts he would prepare for my Aunt Christina which consisted of cucumbers and vinegar (Yes, for breakfast! 🙂 )
To this day, the first crunchy cucumber out of the garden is heralded in my heart as a celebration of Grandpa.
I planted seeds in our house on 3/27 (tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage, squash, and kitchen herbs – basil, dill and cilantro (My step-son’s bearded dragon Harper LOVES cilantro). I also planted flowers: zinnia, marigolds, and cosmos).
We planted peas, beans, and greens (lettuce, kale, spinach) in our hoop house on 3/29.
In April my husband and step-son collected sweet water and boiled down maple syrup from the trees on our property.
The weather is still cold and lousy – in fact, we received over two feet of snow on April 12-13. Though it’s receding again and our duck pond is nearly open. The robins are dining with our ducks and chickens on fallen apples in our orchard and I get goosebumps when I hear the cranes in the distance – all sure signs that spring is finally here.
Today my goals are simple. I will check in on my students and encourage them to write with me. Many are sharing their Pandemic Journals already. Their entries make me sad and smile at the same time. Most prominent in their posts is the face that they miss their friends – but they all sound hopeful.
So today, on Earth Day, I am going to embrace positivity. I am going to head outside and will finish one inside goal (I am cleaning off our upstairs landing to clear out “Office Space” for myself.
I still need to find a book to read and I will create a path for joy and growth in my life.
Yet, for the next half hour – another cup of coffee steeped in silence. Before the roosters wake up.
Here are a couple videos of our snow storm and one of my husband’s projects. We are almost ready for the roof trusses on our home addition. How exciting!
Please don’t be offended by the irony of him cutting down a tree (this video wasn’t recorded on earth day 😂). I promise we will replace this tree with several new ones!