Monday, March 4, 2013

The week, sort of.

I couldn't decide if it should be "last week" or "this week". Whatever. A time frame spanning the last five or so and next five or so days.

Last week I went to a gardening seminary showcasing the "Mittleider" method of gardening. It seems like a pretty good and manageable way of doing things and has some different options, and after much waffling I have decided, partially, which options I think would work best for my values, abilities, climate, geography, available space and so forth.

I have been daydreaming quite a bit about the backyard paradise my backyard could become. Honestly it sounds like a lot of back-breaking and sweaty work. But what about this? What if I did a little bit at a time, experimenting and seeing what works for me in my own yard, and what I can truthfully manage, and let the backyard evolve over time (years?) into something useful, beautiful, productive, and awesome?

What if I don't dig up all the grass this week, get totally exhausted and sore and mad and overwhelmed, and then give up on it?

That sounds very much not like me at all. I'm all about jumping right in with both feet and trying to achieve what is impossible for me and then completely giving up because I can't do everything.

But I think I will try. I gave up on gardening a long time ago, but have recently felt an indescribable urge to get back into it. Maybe I'll just dig up a little bit of grass and see what happens this year. Up there in the picture is my oxalis which is a volunteer plant (it just showed up in our yard one spring) and has survived drought, winter freezes, summer scorching, and neglect for years now. I love it. There are two clumps nearby to each other. That other green stuff in the pic is some wild blackberry vines which are covered in thorns that make an angry red rash when you try to pull them out. The roots are deep and long and extremely strong. I worry that it will never be totally gone from our yard. Every spring more of it comes up.

This week's dinner menu includes beef stew leftover from last week, boiled eggs, cheese sandwiches, oatmeal (with homemade/home-bottled preserved apples), and maybe a pancake/bacon dinner one night. Because my good Mr. Dub is out of town learning all about a new way of fracking there is no need for me to actually make any "real" dinner.

Frugal living pays off. I added it up - even with one son in university and one son on a two-year mission for our church - (which are both on a "pay as you go" plan; no new debt is being acquired for either) we've paid off more than $35,500.00 of debt in the last 12 months. This includes:
  • one of my Pretty Girl's student loans, 
  • two cars,
  • and a home equity loan.
These debts have been paid off in all cases years earlier than originally expected. All that is remaining on our debt is:
  • our mortgage (we have quite a bit of equity),
  • one car loan,
  • and one more of Pretty Girl's student loans (even though these two loans are technically her loans, we are co-signed on them which makes them in reality our loans. Lesson learned - never cosign a loan).
That makes me pretty psyched. Whenever I get sick of scrimping and saving - which has happened a few times over the past year - I look back at the progress we have made in the last year, I re-read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason, and I get myself back on board with the program. If I can manage to continue on this path we will be out of debt except for our mortgage before the end of this year, and will have enough saved to pay cash for our trip to Argentina next spring. Which thing we really want to do.

I am still feeling a little bit overwhelmed by my life. But I am also still feeling more optimistic and upbeat than I was even a few weeks ago. I am trying to take it easy on myself and not expect that I will be perfect, even when I expect myself to be.

Which makes sense to me, anyhow.

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