Balancing Act

seed catalogs

Seed catalogs. Look at them with their slick covers, & their vibrant colors (I especially love the all purple cover of the Rare Seeds catalog). Usually the very sight of one of these catalog sends me into a state of total euphoria, fingers trembling as I turn each page to see what’s new. Seed catalogs, have always been a promise of spring and thoughts of cool, soft, freshly turned earth between my toes, as I lay out my gardens on sheets of graph paper. This year, they seem to bring me nothing but anxiety. I’ve not even cracked the cover of one of these beauties! What?

Tomorrow is Feb. 1 and typically I would have already ordered my seeds and I’d be setting up my grow lights and the shelves, but not this year. This year we have a little kitten in the house. Meet Eartha Kitt-E.


We adopted her from the local shelter this fall but don’t let that sweet face fool you, she’s a curious, rambunctious ball of fur and she has an amazing jump! This, in part, is why we will not be setting up to start seeds this year, but only in part. Even if I could start seeds indoors this year, I’m not sure I have the time to garden like I have in the past. More to the point, I don’t know if I would have the time to put up all that we grow, and this saddens me to a degree.

I haven’t given up entirely, but I’m haunted by visions of last year’s garden, the weeds choking everything out. The fruits and veggies that I managed to salvage, rotting before I could get them put away for the winter. Everything I put up last year, I bought from local growers and every time I reach for a jar of tomatoes or green beans, there is a pang of guilt that I did not grow what was inside. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying from local farmers, this I know, but somehow, knowing that this produce was not raised by my hand for my family makes me feel like I’ve let them down. Silly? Perhaps, but it’s real and that feeling of guilt is what is keeping me from stepping forward with garden planning.

Last week I had my first ever performance evaluation at my job. Before the evaluation, I had to fill out a self-evaluation. At the end of this self-evaluation it asked me to set goals for my job and one personal goal for myself. I’d be lying if I said this did not spark some fear in my heart. I mean, in order to set goals, don’t I first have to take a look at where I fall short? Where I fail?

Well, perhaps not. I began to think about my 4-Her’s. I ask them to set goals for each of their projects, goals to help them complete the project and get the most out of it. In this case I ask them the following questions: What do they want to learn? What do they want to accomplish? Where do they want to see this project go? They don’t have to be looking for where they are deficient in these areas. They, instead, can look ahead, they can envision what they want this project to be and how they can build on what they they already know and what they already do well.

Once I started to think about things in those terms, it came easy to me. My goals at work were to continue to come into work on time (“15-minutes early is on time, on time is late), and be organized and focused. To continue to put forth my very best according to MY standards, so that the standards of the job would be met and exceeded, as I set my own bar very high. But that personal goal…that was the tough one.

For me, I want to give my all both at home and at work and I do, to the extent that I am able, but sometimes when I give all to work, or to 4-H planning, then home, while it gets 100% of what’s left, comes up short-changed, and the same is true if I give my all at home, work and/or 4-H will not get the best of me.  So, what is a girl to do? Well, she sets a personal goal of balance.

How do I achieve balance? What steps am I going to take to get there? Well, I’m still trying to figure that out, and it’s likely I will still be trying to figure it out next year this time, but, I think I will start by buying a few plants from the local nursery this year, instead of tending to seedlings that I will not be able to keep the kitten out of while I’m gone during the day. Just the basics, tomatoes, peppers, maybe plant a couple of rows of green beans. I’ve already got established patches of blackberries, strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus. That’s enough, it’s not like our needs will not be met.

That’s enough. Maybe that’s the trick to the balancing act, enough, is enough.


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