Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Although we got a whole inch of rainfall one day last week, our ground is so dry that no appreciable amount ever made it into our pond.

As I've mentioned, the pond's water comes from the hills behind our place. Water flows into a ditch, through a culvert and into the pond. One would think that an inch would be enough to saturate the ground and provide run-off to the pond but apparently not so.

Some of the plants in the garden have perked up with the recent much needed moisture. The beet greens pictured above are no long lying almost flat on the soil.

But the garden in general is still showing signs of being on its last legs. I planted the seeds for this Osaka Purple Mustard in between my rows of dill because aphids love dill, and the purple mustard tends to keep the aphids at bay. Now the mustard plants are saying, "I'm done. I'm spent. I've had it. Yank me out by my roots and take me to my final resting place in the compost heap."

I went out first thing this morning to do some harvesting in the garden. I came back in an hour later pooped and wondering why I've been feeling so exhausted lately. Okay, we all know gardening is physically taxing, but lately I don't seem to have the oompf I usually do. Hubby and I talked about it and he confessed he's been experiencing the same symptoms.

I'm pretty sure we've come to the root of the problem. Emotional stress can take the starch right out of ya in a way physical stress doesn't. I'm not complaining because I know so many folks these days are struggling through situations much, much, much more challenging than ours. I just think I need to be aware of my emotional well-being and take steps to handle it better. (Ho-ho-ho. Ya-sure-you-betcha. Just being aware of stress and saying you're going to handle it better takes care of the situation, right?)

I exhibit stress by clenching my jaw and cultivating a tight lower back. Yesterday I got up from the kitchen table and went a few steps before being able to straighten up. Hubby said, "Your back is bothering you that much?" "No," I cheerfully retorted. "I just think it's attractive to walk like Quasimodo."

Probably structuring my life so I get more sleep would be a good start. The body needs time to repair and rejuvenate from the emotional kind of stress as much as the physical.

For the last couple of hours before getting up this morning, I was dreaming my mother (who passed away 13 years ago and with whom I haven't lived for 47 years!) was repeatedly coming into the bedroom and trying to get me to wake up and get out of bed. I was BEGGING her to let me sleep saying I just couldn't get up yet.

Throw into the whole mix the fact that I've been making all kinds of dumb mistakes lately. Kind of as if I'm just not operating on all four cyclinders and most certainly not thinking clearly. (I can hear those of you who have been around me recently saying, "Hmmm, I just assumed she was hitting the spiked lemonade a bit much.") I'm thinking a better explanation is that I've just been pushing myself and not coming up with any way of slowing down or taking time off.

The technological advances we have available today are supposed to make our lives easier. But at the same time, we live with such an abundance of choices that life is no longer simple by any stretch of the imagination. How to structure one's life so one isn't flailing off in six directions at once with an unsettled mind. How I wish I could follow old H. D. Thoreau's command of "Simplify, simplify."

Hrumpf. Ain't so easy with all the complexities we are forced to deal with in this day and age.


Susan said...

Sounds like a case of burn-out, my friend. I will give you some of your own advice - back atcha! You have GOT to get down time and more sleep. For some reason, this has been a most stressful summer - for a lot of people I know - both physically and emotionally. Recently, I have been refusing to answer the phone and have curtailed my computer time (at home). I actually read 5 pages of a book I started two months ago. Slow down, smell the roses.

Erin said...

I'm with you, I clench my jaw while sleeping and wake up with the worst headaches, I asked my dentist to look and see if I had TMJ or something and he said it was stress and to take up yoga LOL. Make sure you and hubby take good care of yourselves - the dirt in the garden will always be there but emotional stress can really take a toll on you physically. At age 38 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and the Dr. wanted to put me on meds but I was convinced it was due to stress and I wanted to bring it down without medication. I started reading every night, having one glass of wine, and walking every morning and it came right down, it was just a matter of finding a productive outlet for all that stress and worry. I hope everything works out for you, hate to see you not being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor! I am just taking a break from ripping out the garden, can you believe it's only 77 degrees here today? Heavenly! Hey is your pond skateable in the winter? :)

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Good, sound advice. Do you have a strong bat with which to implement same?? No doubt about it. Something strange has been going on. Lots of folks are having a stressful period. What's up with that?

Erin - I don't even know I've been clenching my jaw until I try to open it and experience the pain. (Dum-da-dum dumb!)

Hooray for your cooler weather!

Our pond is definitely skateable IF conditions are right. If we get cold 'nuf temps to freeze it BEFORE snowfall, it's great. What usually happens is that we end up with slushy snow on thin ice which then freezes hard and makes for not such a nice surface.

Thanks for the good advice.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Sorry Mama that you haven't been feeling like yourself. Maybe a nice weekend away from the garden and putting all the harvest up is overdue for you. You certainly deserve it! We all sorta walk around like zombies this time of year, huh?

When is the last time you sat down at your sewing machine? Is that therapy for you? A nice night of piecing something together? Along with that glass of wine of course.

Take care!

Sue said...

I've been getting up at 1 a.m. lately. Exhausted. Yet cannot sleep. And then dear wonderful hubby says, "You need to just not think so much". Yea. I'll be sure and try THAT. And crazy crazy dreams when I do sleep. Is there something in the water?
I hope you can figure out a solution (and pass it on!). Maybe we just need to kill the gardens for the year, kick back and just enjoy the sunshine from a chair!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

This is definitely your body telling you to drink more wine, LOL!

It has been a very stressful summer on some levels - I've had my share of emotional stress going on too. I think the planets need to realign themselves, pronto!

Teri said...

" How to structure one's life so one isn't flailing off in six directions at once with an unsettled mind."

Boy do I understand that one. I know it seems like the work is never ending - there is always something that needs to be done. But you are precious commodity to your family! I pray that you find the quiet, reflective, recharging that you need. :)

Mama Pea said...

Apple Pie Gal - Spent time with my sewing machine? HA! Yup, quilting/sewing is a balm for my soul but the last time I worked in my quilt room was just before 4th of July. I hadn't done any handwork all summer and I HAD to do some. I started two 4th of July themed potholders . . . but haven't finished them. :o( More wine, more sewing, please.

Sue - Your idea(s) sound enticing. But about as easy as your hubby saying, "You need to just not think so much." ;o) Is this an unhealthy work ethic we have? A disasterous side effect of being Type A? Have we caught OCD from Erin??

Jen - I thought I could see the emotional stress under the surface when you were here. Yup, gotta get those damn planets aligned.

Teri - Thank you. You done made me get all teary.

Erin said...

Hey! It' not contagious LOL don't blame me!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Truly, I've been hoping you were maybe just a little bit contagious. Then I would actually get more done rather than just worrying about not getting more done. (Got that?)

Melissa said...

Sleep is so under-rated these days, yet is it so important for our emotional health. Also, a good diet with plenty of quality protein helps. Hope you're back to your zippy self soon! Hugs,

Mama Pea said...

Melissa - Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm working on making some changes which should help a lot if I can actually make the changes. ;o)