the best laid plans of mice and mamas…


We have all heard the phrase. ‘The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.’

Here is a short list of goals I made within the last month. It is much abbreviated, I can assure you.

  • Give up sugar.
  • Eat vegetables.
  • Take care of the animals–when they need something, make sure they get it.
  • Read to Dear Son.
  • Stop yelling at Dear Son.
  • Make sure Darling Husband gets what he needs to succeed–clean socks, lunches, support.
  • Work on long-term goals (house, car, school for Dear Son. Sun screen solutions. You know.)
  • Work on mid-term goals (second major tree planting, home orchard, do the ground work to get more animals, reskill.)
  • Work on short-term goals (figure out how to stop whatever it is from getting in and killing chickens, learn how to make pickles, harvest the mountains of squash and zucchini in the garden.)
  • Remember to do laundry, dishes, basic cleaning, eating, bathing, and sleeping.

Here is a short list of things I actually accomplished in the last month:

  • Gave up sugar for one day.
  • Ate vegetables for three days.
  • Took care of the animals almost every day.
  • Read to Dear Son, one book every three days.
  • Yelled less at Dear Son for two days.
  • Made sure Darling Husband got what he absolutely needed to succeed–socks, lunch, support.
  • Thought about long-term goals once. (House might equal a tipi [downgraded from ‘we’re building a wigwam’, which was downgraded from ‘we’re building a yurt.’] Dear Mother-in-Law sent me math materials for Dear Son, which I opened and looked at, briefly.)
  • Thought about mid-term goal briefly once per week.
  • Harvested mountains of squash and even cooked some of it. Made pickles, which molded. Still working on the chicken thing.
  • Did moderate amounts of daily chores, less good on the personal care. I bridged the gap with ice cream, which resulted in a mild arthritis feeling in my joints and increased boom-bust cycles of energy and lethargy. (Frankly, there is an appropriate time and place for that, though.)

I will keep doing my best. (A more comprehensive ‘got it done’ list would include getting this year’s CHICKS, getting our first GOATS, making SALSA and PESTO for the first time from ingredients we mostly grew, ordering SEEDS etc for the fall garden, picking wild blackberries with Dear Son, and making a non-sugared JAM Dear Son can have–two parts grapes, one part chokeberries, squish it up and cook it down. And, journalling almost every day. Woo hoo!)

Darling Husband is very excited about the GOATS. They give him strength. After we got them he went to his boss’s boss and asked for a promotion.

Or maybe the timing on that was coincidental.

Now… he has 4 days to make up a position for him to get promoted to, a major project for school due in 3 days, while going to work and doing the research on a lot of the projects we pursue. And going to all the stores, because I can’t drive. As well, in three weeks he has to turn in a design for the Geoff Lawton PDC (= ‘permaculture design certification’. We both have one, but we wanted it from Geoff, so we started the course, and then–life ran us over. We are 20% of the way through, at best.) Whew! Good thing the homeowners aren’t coming in town this week.

Oh, wait. The homeowners ARE coming in town this week. Oops. Bit of a planning fiasco here.

I provide a lot of legwork, which is just fine. Dear Son, the chickens, the chicks, the goats, the garden, the household.

I try to make to do lists, which get overturned by the ‘Urgent’ sometimes, or by the ‘I Don’t Feel Like It’ at others. (Both are important forces and must be taken into balance.)

Whatever happens, it happens for the good of all. When we agreed to dog-sit for our friend’s very whiny dog, we did not realize that the attacks on our chickens would cease the whole time he was here–Mr Fox didn’t like the smell of ole Rex.

Sometimes failing a project (or never starting it) is fortuitous. Sometimes these things are easier to see. (Some things, e.g. mice in the house, are harder to grasp the larger purpose of.)

‘Whatever you do, do it with your might!’


Christiana, the GardenerMama





Deep into the unknown, the blogger leaps.

When we decided to move here, all of the friends we were leaving in Texas told me they’d miss me. I felt like I was finally starting my life, in a way.

I’ll start a blog, I told them. You can catch up with me there. (Uh-huh.)

One year later… the time finally seems right.

There was plenty going on, plenty of trial and error, in the first year. But I wasn’t ready to commit it to the public page. Besides, there seemed to be plenty of top notch blogs covering what I was trying to do. Every time I Googled ‘How to… (catch a chicken, skin a moose, shoot a tomato gun, etc.)’, the proliferation of blogs explaining how and why was overwhelming. I was just a young mom trying to make sure the library books got back in time and the dishes were not breeding new types of organisms in the bottom of the sink by the end of the week. Blogs felt out of my league.

Now that I am starting to forget what I learned last year, however, a blog seems like a good info-organizational tool for me: How cold can the chicks get without getting hypothermia? When do the wild blackberries start ripening? What have I learned from the garden this year? I finally feel I have something to offer ex-suburbanite back-to-the-landers in Middle Tennessee. (Hi, guys!)

The value of this blog will increase the longer I am posting on topics I learn about. (Or so the theory goes.)

I will try to post on my experience, and if I tell you something I’ll try to cite where I got it from so you can decide if you trust that source.

What is this blog about? Just me, trying to make good choices.

This is the quote that shocked me out of my college track of grinding toward a degree… then another… then, another… teaching… tenure… the rest. It’s from ‘A Grammarian’s Funeral’, by Robert Browning. I couldn’t have told you that a minute ago; I had to look it up. (I read it in ‘Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations’ first.)

‘That low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it:
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it.’

Here’s the other. You all know this one.

‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’

That’s Gandhi.

So I thought, that’s a good idea, to try to align one’s actions with one’s beliefs! Easier said than done, in some ways.

Struggling constantly with lowish level anxiety, doubt, fears? Attempting to live well may yet prove the way to alleviate these. We shall see.