Adjusting the Zankapfel Life

Brewing, Cats, and Moving

End of Summer Lessons (and pictures)

The sunflower has set.

In my last post I started to discuss how I learned that I needed to keep up the momentum of post production, but this summer I learned quite a few other things with the garden and bees and such. I’m sure that most of these will strike experianced gardeners as stupid n00b mistakes, but so be it. I’m a stupid n00b.

1) Tie up the tomatoes: Yes, I should know this. But at first we didn’t have cages or stakes, and by the time we got some the tomato plants were so huge I didn’t want to risk damaging them. While I am rather pleased with my tomato harvest this year, I would have had about double the tomatoes had I not lost so many to ground rot.

Look at that waste! YUCK!!!

2) Invest in good plant labels:
Yup, they all washed off, which is making determining which pepper plant should be picked at which color REALLY difficult. There are a few that we’re good on, like the habanero and ghost peppers, thankfully. But which are the wax peppers and which are the banana!?! The tomatoes are in a slightly similar situation.

3) Don’t count your honeycomb before the brood hatches: It looks like we won’t get a honey harvest this year, even though we had such gorgeous combs a month ago. The bees are breeding like rabbits! Or do rabbits breed like bees? Either way, the little grubbies are eating all of the honey and we won’s have a honey harvest this year.

4) Learn how to properly can: I’ve never canned before, and I don’t have all of the gear. I should have learned how to do this during the summer, but I didn’t. So, continuing education, I guess?

5) Get preservation recipes set up beforehand: I can’t tell you how many days I’ve scoured the internet for what to do with some produce aside from fridge pickles. Now that the summer is over, I know what I want to do with my GIGANTIC eggplant harvest. But it’s over. Boo.

This is a *light* harvest.

6) Know the difference between joint pain and muscle pain: I run, but I had to take a break in April because I started working so many hours that I couldn’t heal after I pushed myself to a serious limit on a long and hard trail run. Previously, when I ran my muscles would hurt. My quads or calves would be sore. No big deal, because I’m using those muscles intensely. However, after that point, with all of the work I was doing and the requirement for us to wear “nice shoes,” my joints were taking the stress. After working every shift for the whole week straight, driving home over our not-forgiving mountain ridge scared me because *pushing the gas pedal* made me cry. So for now on, muscle pain is good, joint pain is bad.

7) I’m going to push yourself and get sore. Make it happen over something worthwhile: This is also a reflection on the previous point. I could *not* get jazzed about going in to work. The money helped on some days (tippers are fickle), but I kept feeling seriously frustrated. However, I was more than happy to jump out of bed and get working on my garden. I dreamed about all of the fun and interesting things I wanted to grow in the next year, and about how wonderful it would be to work *outside* in the sun rather than in a hot, stuffy, small restaurant.

8) Make lists: I get easily overwhelmed. I know that I have SO MANY things to do, but I sometimes get very stressed out as to where to start. I used to make lists to help me remember what needs to be done. But now I make them to help break down parts of projects and incorporate household chores. And yes, I do put “brush teeth” on it. At the least, it’s encouraging to have something crossed off.

9) Make time for fun:
I’m not necessarily an extrovert, but I can’t do a secluded hermit thing. I started with some Hashing because beer and running is AWESOME, but they just turned out so… conservative. While working in town, I would often join SpecSO for his weekly Tuesday Night Out with his friends. Then I joined in on his RPG night and that crew is nifty enough that now that our first (short) campaign is over, I’m going to stick around for a second. Also, I was part of a play this summer, my first in TWENTY-PLUS YEARS. I just had a small part, due to my work schedule, but I got to meet new friends. Some of them were so cool that we’re starting a book club! Yes, that is exciting for me. Our first book is Just Kids by Patti Smith.

Photo taken by one of our ‘Stage Moms’ of the entire cast.

10) Accept that I’m not perfect and respect my limits: I knew I wasn’t perfect, but the last two years have certainly taken a toll on me. (note that my ‘About’ page lists me as a Burned Out Academic). I used to be able to pull 15 hour grad school days doing my own research and working with profs on projects and taking care of my household and socializing with colleagues and such. After moving and finally settling, I would get so frustrated that I couldn’t finish everything on my list. It led to me feeling so upset and insecure and worthless. But it shouldn’t. Maybe my list was just TOO DAMNED BIG! It’s not like I’m sitting on my butt being unproductive.

So, this is what I have learned. Some of it might seem naval-gazey, but so be it. This is my blog, if I want to do an introspective post, I will. However, I don’t have the energy to always write about myself, so this will likely be the last of these types in a while.


2 comments on “End of Summer Lessons (and pictures)

  1. Lucy
    September 27, 2012

    Hey Lavender-Pepper…You win my GIVEAWAY of JANE (only if you’re in US or Canada though- cuz that’s where publisher will mail!) You are taking the place of one of my other winners who unfortunately can’t enter cuz she’s in the Uk…So, Write me :

    • Lavender_Pepper
      September 28, 2012

      Yay! Thanks! I’m sorry that the other winner can’t get it though. Emailing you right now!

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This entry was posted on September 27, 2012 by in Adulthood, Beekeeping, Gardening.

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