Challenges are Blessings...

Each year, as we attempt to grow as much of our food as possible, we find ourselves challenged by a different weather pattern than the last growing season. Last year, even though I started the tomatoes and peppers in the first week of March, they really struggled to emerge and grow in our green house. It was a very dark (not much sun) and cold spring. I had to actually compost the pepper starts, as they were just too small for our short growing season to produce anything. That was a hard decision to make.

Last year also found us at the end of May, in a drought. We had very few days of rain and many days of sun. Very unusual weather for us. I enjoyed it tremendously. It was the best growing season we have experienced. No mold or rotted fruits or vegetables.

This year is turning out to be the total opposite. We have had many, many days of rain, dark clouds, low spring and early summer temperatures. I was determined not to be defeated by what seems to becoming the normal spring weather (cloudy days and cool temperatures), and started the tomatoes and peppers inside the house. For three months, our kitchen table was an indoor garden spot. We have since transplanted the tomatoes and peppers outside and into the green house.

The month of May brought a new challenge to us in our attempts to grow our food this year. I first noticed it in the green house, and then in the growing plots. The dreaded Flea Beetle. It is a pesky insect, eating leaves of any plant I've observed, except the herbs. They are very hard on the seedlings, but as of late, I have noticed the potatoes are being hit hard. They have many holes in the leaves. This is our first experience with the Flea Beetle, so we are just waiting to see the ending results. The plants are still strong and healthy, just a bit on the holy side.

We have also been challenged by fire ants. They tried early in the spring to invade our green house, but I was unwilling to let them. It was pure war for about three days, before and after work, battling them. We are not into doing alot of killing of nature here, but this was one insect that had to be persuaded to live elsewhere. I tried various natural items to discourage the ants. Cayenne, vinegar, garlic, salt in a hot soapy water solution. These ants are aggressive and persistent, but I can be too. ~grin~ I won the battle, but have now found them marching back and forth to another area in my flower garden carrying the dead. Sheesh!

And our last 'on going' battle has been with someones 'un-neutered' cat, which has discovered that cats live inside this house. This male cat has continued to spray urine on every corner of our house, on our front wood door , side lights (windows on either side of the front door), both sliding glass doors, and now the garage window and screen! Yikes! For one week straight, (every day for five days) I spent one and a half hours after work cleaning the glass and screen with bleach water. It was maddening and felt like a waste of time, when there was so much more important things to tend to.

However, as much as I view a few of these things, specifically ants and the cat as 'time wasters', I decide to change my outlook and find the blessing.

I think of these nuisance now as just a prep course in dealing with much larger challenges when we move. The Flea Beetle could be exchanged for a swarm of grass hoppers, or the cat spraying in exchange for bear and cougar issues, and the fire ants are just a primer course for more annoying fire ants.

In each one of these annoyances, I have learned something. Educating oneself is a blessing.

I'd like to say a warm welcome to any new friends, and...

to everyone...

Have a wonderful day!


~And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 niv~


Mr. H. said...

It sounds like you must live next door to us as our spring has been very much the same. We have also been battling ants and cold weather...but it has finally warmed up.:)

I was tempted to dump my peppers as well but potted a bunch of them up and planted the rest...they don't look like much but we shall see. I hope they turn out as we planted twice as many this year in hope of getting at least a few peppers per plant and still coming out ahead.

Growing ones own food is indeed a challenge but deep down I kind of enjoy that part of it.

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Howdy Mr. H!

Yes, I find it interesting how much us 'Northerner's' have similar weather, and yet we live in different climates.

I think it's good idea to continue to give those peppers a try. After last years drought I think the peppers I composted would have produced. But I just felt I did not have the time to 'try', I also did not have the space to plant them.

Someday, I hope and pray all that we are doing here, leads to a full time way of life.

Have a wonderful day.

Please pass on a 'Hello' to Mrs. H, as well! ~grin~