Monday, August 1, 2011


In which I will lament, cry, complain, and generally vent some serious frustration.  Because I am whiny.  Feel free not to proceed.  I just have to do this.

Why do I bother?  Why do I keep trying with things that never seem to succeed or bear fruit?  Oh, I'll just try again, and again, and again.  Nothing is working.

It looks like there's a lot going on in my garden, it's very lush and big and green, and even orderly, but I've come to the conclusion that it's all mostly sunflowers and morning glories and dill and weeds.  I keep thinking optimistically about it, but there sure doesn't seem to be much output for all that I (and Nathan!) have put into it.  And we've put a hurkin' lot of work and time and effort into it.  And yet... fizzle.

The potatoes came up great, but died early due to blight (I assume) so there are only two or maybe three potatoes under each plant.  And you know, it's pretty much the same every year.  This year we even tried spraying them all with raw milk as an antifungal (read lots of good things about that) but no luck.  They're dead.

My tomatoes got a nice early start and look beautiful-- great forage for those nasty tobacco hornworms that are decimating the plants. 

I picked a handful of ripe romas for supper last night-- and every one of them had blossom-end rot.

I can't even grow carrots and beets and kohlrabi and lettuce.  It rained so much all spring, then turned endlessly hot and dry so that nothing can germinate.  I keep planting them and... nothing.  I was laboriously nursing along a few carrots with much watering and shading, and yesterday a chicken scratched up what remained.  So much for carrots.

The winter squash barely came up but to be infested by those blasted vine borers-- immediate death.  There are two little plants that I'm nursing along by covering the stems with wet soil to encourage rooting, but they're so small that there is not time to set and mature fruit before frost now.  Last year I gave in and just bought some squash from a local farmer, but they all molded very quickly because the apparently weren't cured properly.

I should be eating zucchini, but it took three plantings to get them to grow, and now they're small and way behind.

The peas barely and sparsely came up, and now it's too hot for them to do anything.

The cucumbers are stunted from the lack of rain, and are finally blooming, but they always seem to die right after they start producing.  Bacterial wilt, or something.

The cabbage seem to be heading up nicely, but there are an awful lot of cabbage moths fluttering around out there and I found a couple worms on the broccoli, so... here goes.

The onions are all small.  The garlic are small.  The shallots went to seed.  They are out of time.

The sweet potatoes had a slow start, so I'm not getting my hopes up for them.

The three year old raspberry patch is lush, and the new canes come up prolifically, but for some reason they never bear fruit in their second year.  Disease?  I've never picked a single berry.

The strawberry patch is smothered in weeds.

The apple trees are bare.

The peach tree leaves are curled.

I've done no jam and very little fruit because it just hasn't been available to me from anywhere.

The chickens are making a mess of my herb bed.

And I'm doing well if I get three eggs per day.

I was so excited when 12 ducklings finally hatched a week or so ago.  The mama ducks are all on their second nests this year and this is the first time any have hatched so far.  Over the weekend, six of them have died of mysterious causes, and judging by the way they're going, I don't have much hope for the rest.

The other mama ducks are getting a little nuts from the unsuccessful nests.  They want nothing more that to have babies.

 We bought a big load of hay for the goats for the year, then found out that it's so stalky that the goats will hardly eat any of it.

The only thing I seem to have going great is the green beans.  They're happy and starting to produce (but lets not count chickens, shall we?).   And the goats are giving wonderful milk, so we have lots of yogurt and cheese when I'm not too busy wasting time in the garden to make it.

Why do I bother?  Why am I spending enormous amounts of time and energy on these things?  It's not just this year, though it seems to be worse this year.  Every year seems to go like this. 

I am beyond frustrated.

I'm ready to quit.

Is my time not blessed?  Am I not doing what I should be doing?  Is my focus wrong?  Am I prideful or complacent?  Do I just need to be brought down a few notches?

I try to put the work in, and leave the results up to God; praying for a harvest.  I used to garden because I loved to, and then economy became more important, and now my joy is sapped out of the whole thing.  I remind myself, over and over, that God (and certainly not I) provides amply for all our needs-- one way or another.

This just doesn't seem worth it.  So much work, so little result.

It doesn't matter anyway, right?  I'm having a baby, I don't have the energy for this.  It's probably just as well-- it would be hard to handle a big harvest this year, anyway.  So I should just let it go now, while I still have some energy to salvage.

I'm tired.  And discouraged.  And so sick of this struggle.

Is this just something that I want?  It's not what I've been given.  It's a want.  I want to be productive.  I want to contribute to the economy of my family without going out and earning money, but rather working at home in whatever way I can.  I love the work.  But it's just a want.

So maybe I should give up.  Focus on other things, like reading to Jonah and playing with Evan and cleaning my house (ugh) and sewing curtains.

Let the weeds grow and the tomatoes rot.  I'm over it.


  1. Oh sister friend! Here's a big hug for you. And you know what, being a pregnant mama, this just might be a blessing. Now quick, go focus on something that makes you feel successful. Get through that stack of books. Love on those cuties. And don't forget- you are successfully growing a whole new PERSON! That has to count for something, right?

  2. ps- your heading banner is beautiful!

  3. I'm so sorry, Katie. Know what? I would give up too! Go enjoy your free time with the boys while you can 'cause before you know it you will be busy with the new baby! LOVE Gramma

  4. Aw, I have had similar experiences! This year, we didn't get to do a garden, though, because we are moving...but doing ALL of that [and for me, LEARNING it while doing it] is such a hard thing to do. It is sooo much easier if you are in a community and surrounded by those experienced with it you can learn side by side. I got to garden with my Pawpaw the last few years before he suddenly died, and it was such a huge blessing! I did learn a lot! But there is still so much to learn. I say - do it, if you want to...if it will help out your family...but maybe not try to do so much? Start out small and work your way up. If all you can focus on is 3 different types of plants in your garden and a couple of chickens, then go for it. Let the rest go. Then once you've mastered a few, then start adding in more plants and animals slowly, as you can. Also, have you considered joining an online forum with like-minded farming peeps so you can troubleshoot and learn with them? Blessin's to you on your adventures~! :D

  5. Hi, Amber! Thanks for visiting, and for your encouragement! :-)

    The thing is... I've been gardening since I was 2. I learned an awful lot from gardening with my parents and then I've had my own garden for quite a few years now. Not to say I'm an expert --I have lots to learn-- but I'm used to having a large portion of my family's food come from the garden (and barn!). It just how we live. So this struggle is a disappointment... It's just a season, I'm sure, and it's not that we're getting nothing out of it, just not as much as we've put into it. It's tiring... thanks for reading my vent. :-)