Thursday, April 11, 2013

13 Steps to Get a Really Good Night's Sleep

1. Look at the bay window in your kitchen and notice the pitiful state of the onion starts that you bought on a whim at WalMart 2 weeks ago and promptly abandoned, still in the open, plastic WalMart bag.

2. Take onions outside to vegetable garden.

3. See weeds and volunteer strawberries all over garden and remember that the beds need to be weeded. Put onion starts down in their bag in the shade.

 4. Look at the sunny sky and feel the first 70 degree day in months and decide "there's no time like the present". Feel the "Let it Grow" song by Ester Dean from "The Lorax" movie start up in your heart. Think how much you love this song.

5. Pick up kindergartner from the bus stop and enlist her help. When the 4th grader gets home 15 minutes later, talk her into helping too.

6. Spend 15 minutes with the kids ripping the tops off the weeds and leaving the roots and suggest they go play with the water guns you bought on clearance last fall, but have never used yet. The children run off happily to go find buckets for easy water gun refilling. Hear them start laughing as soon as they get the water guns out of the packaging.

7. Weed the entire vegetable bed. Notice while weeding that your salvia made it through the winter. remember how pretty they were last fall and be truly delighted about this. Hope the peonies won't shade them too much when they leaf out.

8. Go get the big shovel from the garage. Start to turn the dirt over in one of your beds. Have kindergartner in swimsuit come up and ask to help. have her jump with all her might on the top lip of the shovel. Be amused that the shovel barely moves. Help by secretly pushing down with your hands. Tell kindergartner now standing completely on shovel to "hold on tight".  Tilt shovel slightly backwards to loosen and turn the soil. Repeat this process several times. Think it's funny that kindergartner squeals every time you tilt the shovel back. Continue until bed is all turned over and kindergartner sees the 4th grader chasing the 13 year old and bounds off to get her own bucket and water gun and sponge.

9. Feel grateful that you thought to buy top soil at Home Depot while it was on sale last week. Haul a bag to the bed you just turned over. Dump bag on turned soil. Haul and open another bag and add it to the first, being sure to spread it evenly across the bed. Kneel down on the grass and start to crush the dirt clods with your hands, so you don't hurt the worms. Hope that the rumor that a worm cut in half can heal and become two worms is true. Be sad because you doubt said rumor is true. Notice how full of life your soil is. See all kinds of insects doing their insect things. Be happy that you took the time to build these beds years ago. Remember how much work it was and and how it took a whole summer. Remember the kids' huge cabbages from last year that were pretty, but also constantly infested with cabbage moth caterpillars. Remember the zucchini vines that ambled across the lawn, much to DK's mowing displeasure. Be amused thinking of him carefully lifting and mowing around them because he knew you loved them. Be grateful that you have a place with full sun to 
grow vegetables. 

10. Start turning over the next bed. Notice that your motions are getting slower. Keep going anyway. Haul over a bunch more dirt and dump it in. Crush the clods with your hands and marvel at how the soil can go from hard and rock-like to light and fluffy in seconds. Think about what a delicious act of optimism planting seeds is. Love how the sun feels on your face and skin and back. Think about the miracle of being able to feed yourself and your family by planting and watering seeds for a while. Feel a sense of wonder that you and your kids have been able to make this little science project work over and over.

11. Notice your hands are getting tired, that it's taking more effort to crush the clods. Notice that it's getting harder to haul over the bags of soil. Move the rest of the bags near where they will be dumped. Keep working despite the growing fatigue. Think of the passage you copied into your book of favorite quotes from Dominique Browning's (former editor of House and Garden Magazine) book Slow Love:

"By the end of the day, I'm sitting on the ground. It has taken me a while to get to achieve such intimacy with the earth. In the morning, I'm bending to reach the plants, by midday, I'm squatting;by mid-afternoon, I'm on my knees, careful not to land on the razor edged holly leaves littering the ground. By late afternoon, I'm tired, my legs are cramping, and I'm happy to release myself to the gravity of the earth."
 Relate completely with this. Keep crushing clods and blending in new soil until you can barely close your hands. Find the energy to finish when you realize that you are almost done with the whole garden.

12. Somehow manage to finish prepping the garden for seeds. Feel crazy proud of yourself. Realize you can't lift your arms or close your hands without discomfort. Step back and admire you fresh new planting beds. Trip on bag of onion starts.

13. Plant onion starts in beautifully prepared bed and feel overwhelmed with gratitude that this was the day God gave you.


  1. Love it Marian! And yes, it made me smile and laugh today. Thanks!

  2. You inspired me to weed my front flower bed - which I did at 10:00 at night becuase there was no other time...