On Settling In and Greening Up My Black Thumb | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

June 21, 2015

On Settling In and Greening Up My Black Thumb

Things have been quiet here on the blogfront, but I chalk that up to the fact that it was about a month ago that we did The Big Move into our new house. Which is a weird concept, as the house is far from new to us, since I grew up here. But we're new to owning the house. So, let's just go with new for simplicity's sake.

Moves are funny things.

It happens in this blitz of a day or two, the moving of boxes and furniture from one location to another. But the actual transition takes a while. I felt it took over a year to feel transitioned in our old house in Kennett Square. Even this second time around, a move we fully anticipated, leaves us with loose ends. The unpacking of boxes takes a while, because there are inevitably always those few boxes of random stuff that you aren't sure what to do with and purposely "forget" about for a few months. 

It takes a while to get a feel for the house, where things should go or be hung. For the first few months (years?), there is constant rearranging of rooms, of furniture, of wall hangings (darn you, nail holes! Bring on the spackle!). You really have to live in a house for a while to figure out how you use the space.

My kitchen is a place I know needs to be addressed. I find myself intuitively reaching for the wrong drawer when looking for measuring cups or oven mitts. Which means they are actually in the right drawer and I need to move things around.

But, laziness, right?

Lots of people have been asking how the transition is going. And I'd say we're pretty well-transitioned. Not quite settled, as there are still many wall hangings to be hung and a few remaining packed boxes that we are expertly avoiding. Since we knew this house, we automatically felt comfortable here. Which I knew would be the case, but I wondered how quickly it would feel like our home.

I'd say after a month, we're pretty at home here, too.

When we moved into our first home, we knew it would definitely not be our Forever Home. We had the intention of living there for 2-3 years then moving back. 3 years ended up being 4 (which was fine, because I came to actually really love the town). The temporariness (is that a word?!) of it never gave us the motivation to really take on home projects or improvements. Because, why? Sure, we did our share of fixing things and yard work. But never in a permanent, enjoyable kind of way.

Since moving here, I've felt more like a homeowner than I ever have before. I suddenly understand Pinnocchio's joy of finally becoming a Real Boy, as now I feel like a Real Homeowner. From Day 1, we've been tinkering around the yard and toying with things in the house. Hubby's last day of school (he's a teacher, remember?) was this past Wednesday. 

On Thursday we had 3 cubic yards of mulch dumped on our driveway at 7:00am. By 9am, we were hauling and shoveling that mulch into the various flower beds around our house. 4 hours later we called it a day, with backs aching and hands raw from shoveling. But it was that good hurt, where you know you were super productive.

While we have a dream list of the many things we are excited to do over the years, my most immediate obsession is our vegetable garden.

Now, let me tell you now: I was not made to be a gardener. Plants come to me to die. Even the most hardy of flowers wilt at my first glance. What can I say? It's a gift. I have many friends that I admire, who man (or woman) their thriving vegetable gardens like a boss. Every winter, I get that itch to have an bountiful garden just like them that provides me with a farmer's markets-worth of produce each summer.

It just never happens.

We've gone the container gardening route, and while once or twice we did have some luck actually getting a few tomatoes to grow, we inevitably killed our plant midway through the season. Another year we built the proper 8x4 raised bed, but never filled it with anything but old soil and yard scraps. Out of curiosity, we planted a few veggie starts in there. You know, just to see what would happen.

As you might imagine, it didn't end well.

There was also the year I got overly-ambitious and tried starting seeds indoors. I got a few green buds, but nothing that actually yielded a real plant after being repurposed outside.

Suffice it to say, we've been unsuccessful.

This year, I did no planning. We just moved and didn't want to commit to anything. But my mom dragged me out to this nursery in the middle of nowhere southern Chester County a few weeks ago. And their vegetable starts were so beautiful and hardy that I couldn't turn down buying a few. And by a few I mean 3 tomato starts, 1 bell pepper, 1 chili pepper start, 1 jalapeño start, 1 poblano pepper start, a yellow zucchini, a butternut squash and, yes, a watermelon start.

Hubby was....amused.

But he humored me and we made the decision to treat the starts right. So we built a small 4x4 raised bed and filled it with good soil (if you are local, I highly recommend Organic Mechanics .  It's amazeballs). Somehow, despite myself, these suckers are not only staying alive - but they're growing!

Check out how we're doing so far:

This is our little bed. Which we may have underestimated. As I didn't realize until arriving home with our plants that the watermelon alone needs, like, 10 feet of space. Whoops.

Here are some of the beautiful veggie buds that I am impatiently waiting to grow:

And, this Italian girl loves her basil. I'll be whipping up some of my homemade tomato sauce with these fresh herbs!

 Lastly, the view from the garden. AKA the back of our house.

I wake up excited every morning to go out and check on our garden status. I'm amazed at how much measurable growth there is each day, with new tomato flowers or baby peppers budding. I can't wait until we can actually harvest some of our bounty and make a delicious homemade, homegrown salsa!

I'll keep you updated. Until then, say green prayers for our plants. And soon I'll do a little home tour to show you our new digs!

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