Waiting on Spring

Last year we were complaining … and worried … about drought. In the earliest days of Spring it was so dry that most mornings came without dew on the grass. Crops around here greatly suffered and many farmers reported a loss.

This year it’s rain. And more rain. And … well, there’s no lack of dew.

“Shoulda been a little more clear when I prayed for no drought this year,” a friend sighed.

Many of us don’t even have all of our vegetables planted yet which is a bit worrisome for these parts. It’s well into June but oh … so wet!

Rain though it may … nearly every day … there’s something pretty much everyone … even the curmudgeons in my circles are on the same page about for once …. we’re drained by the rain … but … there is a consolation.

Isn’t there always if we’ll just give it a moment?

Flowers.

The rain keeps falling … pouring …. Bucket loads.

But the flowers won’t be stopped. Thank God.

For me, Spring flowers are on par with a National holiday. After all, we wait all year for their brief appearance My husband and I may be a little goofy, but we anticipate and celebrate each bloom as if it’s having its own little birthday.

And this is just the beginning of what’s starting to bloom in our yard. All a little miraculous to us as when we moved here five summers ago there was nothing colorful in our yard except some tulips and a rogue hollyhock.

Life gives you rain … nature gives you flowers … or some saying like that. 😁

All photos are property of Sausmus Photography.

Waiting on Spring

Spring has been flirtatious this year. Snow in early May. Only a single day that has edged to the 70 degree mark.

Now it’s a wet and cool Memorial Day weekend with my vegetable garden half planted.

About the only thing I’ve found this gloomy weather good for is a walk through the local cemetery… made me more reflective than normal, I think.

Lives willingly given to nail down the freedoms we enjoy.

Other lives gone just too soon … some by uncontrollable circumstances. Some by stupid choices.

Lives well worn … well lived.

Others that made us cringe.

Lives that started a legacy that is now our small town, still hanging on.

Lives that taught us to laugh … or hope … or to be reverent and merciful.

Lives that made us feel loved … tears well up because we miss them beyond words.

I walked away wondering what phrase or memory will someday sum up my days on the planet.

Seconds later I’m thinking about whether we’ll see weather in the 80’s before August. And will we complain when it does?

And … am I brave enough to grill our Memorial Day meal in the drizzle.

Ahhh … my thoughts are as fickle as the forecast.

Below are sweet reminders that nature won’t wait on inclement weather. Maybe I shouldn’t either.

All photos property of Sausmus Photography and cannot be used without permission.

No Small Tomatoes

It’s supposed to snow next week.

There’s nothing overly crazy about snow on the Palouse the last week of November, but our little town is still traumatized from the endless blizzard called February and March … a mere eight-ish months ago.  We made regional headlines because the state highway leading out of town got buried by drifts for several weeks.  Workers couldn’t even find the road but had to walk in front of plows with their shovels poking through the drifts to locate the pavement.

That was wild.

We’d thought we were getting away with a mild winter last year … but no.  BLAHM! After weeks of sunny, frosty days, the wind screeched out of nowhere and snow swirled …

and swirled …

and swirled …

and turned into ginormous drifts.

Most of  us are thinking that if we can just please make it to Christmas this year, we might be okay with endlessly shoveling the walks, wobbling like penguins so as not to fall on our butts on the ice, and piling on fifty layers of clothing before sticking our noses outside.

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This is what last winter looked and felt like.  My lazy person’s snowman re-appeared after the thaw took place in March.  Before that, he disappeared altogether under about two feet more of snow.

But the weather man is messing with us, so what am I doing? (And mind you, I like snow … in the “correct” season anyway).

I’m scrolling through my photos looking at all the summer and fall adventures we had, wishing I had started blogging Small Stuff then.  So I’m going to back up a bit … right into our garden.

As soon as that FebruaryMarch blizzard stopped, one thing was on the mind of every farmer and every gardener around here …. PLANT SOMETHING!

Gardens and crops went in late … evidenced by the latest harvest known to ‘most every farmer around.  Combines were in the field in October trying to snatch a few more garbanzo beans, many having lost some of their wheat crops altogether.  And this with snow on the hills from the first freak snow storm of the fall. And as recent as last week (mid-November) we drove by several farmers still doing their fall plowing.  Completely unheard of in “normal” years.

heirloom tomatoes

After the spring that was really a winter, we were just like everyone else and couldn’t wait to dig our hands deep into the soil. At our house, a rental for the last few years, it meant breaking up long ignored garden beds so that we could bring in bountiful harvests.  Our dreams were a little ahead of our energy and actual garden space, but one thing that caught hold of the spirit was the heirloom tomato seeds I started on my own.

Here’s the results in late September.

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This was about a third of our harvest, all from about 8 plants.  This doesn’t include an equal number destroyed by the freak, early snow I mentioned above.  We were gifting tomatoes to everyone we knew. (People turned and fled when they saw us coming at them with a bag in our hand.)

And we ate tomato sauce-included recipes for weeks.  Here’s one such dinner:

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Crazy as my harvest looks, many of the longtime gardeners around here raked in 3 and 4 times the bounty.  They’re hard core gardeners and canners.  I’m not up so much for canning tomatoes as My Guy isn’t so big on tomatoes in everything, but I did manage to learn a few new techniques for perfecting homemade sauce.

I’m still divided on whether or not to peel tomatoes first.  The experts around here don’t fiddle with peeling … they just cook the sauce for a very long time, getting the skins to dissolve.  That worked in the sauce I made above, but not all the varieties I grew were so cooperative.

What do you do?

And do you have any secret ingredients you’re willing to share for the perfect homemade sauce?

I threw in a little brown sugar, other garden veggies, lots of garlic and store bought tomato paste to achieve the consistency and taste I like best.

My garden bed is flattened now, but if the weather man is right, I’m going to be longing for garden beds and spring blooms as soon at the holidays are over.  Here’s what’s shaping up for what looks to be a White Thanksgiving. The weather channel shows the cold front and snow continuing for several days into December, past what I’ve captured in the screen shot of my weather app, taken on Nov. 20.

Show weather in my current location

Here we go again!

What’s winter like where you are?  Are you dreading it or excited … and what are your favorite winter past-times?

Cheers!

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My Guy binge-watched past seasons of Master Chef while I pretended to know what I was doing in the kitchen.  Guess I was feeling a little inspired from the shows. You can see that the other thing that grew well in my garden was Spaghetti Squash.  They were the only plants left when I went to buy squash plants … good choice it seems!

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is my second blog.  You can read more about my life experiences and the faithfulness of God towards a simple country gal who took a long hiatus in the city on rashellbud.

Please note that all photos, unless noted, are mine and permission must be sought to use them.

Wishing you a beautiful day full of the small stuff that makes life wonderful and amazing. 

Small Beginnings and Endings

My life is starting to resemble a Big Stuff Oreo Cookie™.

My life is starting to resemble a Big Stuff Oreo Cookie™.

My beginnings were in a small town, and I’m talking small … the population topped out around 100 people before I left home. At 18, I transplanted to a sprawling metropolitan area in order to attend college. From 100 to 3.5 million people (50 thousand on the campus alone!), I lived the urban life. I finished college … worked in the heart of the city … married a fellow college student … did stints in various suburban neighborhoods where we raised our family … enjoyed the luxury of being minutes from shopping malls and numerous restaurants … fought traffic … listened to constant barrages of sirens and gunshots (seriously) … attended theater and concerts and festivals and other big city offerings .

But now I’m back to small town life … just 12 miles from where I started.

And I. LOVE. IT.

For awhile, city life made me feel like Big Stuff … somehow important .. . somehow in a position to change the world … somehow a big deal because I was close to where everything “important” happened. Like that gooey sweet stuff in the middle of the OREO … that stuff for which people yank off the ordinary old outsides and cast them off in order to inhale the sweet cream of the middle.

For me, however, the big stuff has grown stale. I don’t think as much about changing the world … or know that I even want to. All the sweet, enticing stuff in the middle of my life has faded in its glamor.

These days, I just want ordinary, and I’m kinda enamored with it. My big, hairy, audacious life goals have morphed into wanting to leave what’s right in front of me a little better than I found it. AND … I want to do so at an easy, kind-hearted pace.

So here I am (well just not me … My Guy and me) … city folk for nearly four decades, now sporting country duds in a town of about 800 people … this after maneuvering live in a metropolitan area of 3.5 MILLION people.

There are many, many things to appreciate about the last four decades of city and suburban living … but …

But … every day here in small town America feels like a celebration to me.

That’s what this blog is for … to celebrate small town life … small stuff. It’s not meant to rail against or even a be a comparison to city life … well … except maybe when it comes to traffic.

Loved the recent visit with our daughter in the Seattle area, but DID NOT miss this part of city life.

And to be clear … small town life isn’t an escape from human problems … from suffering … or sadness … or disagreeing … or disappointments … or hardships … or anything that comes from living life on  a broken planet.

Small town life is simply a season for me to take on all the hard stuff at a slower pace with a bit more realistic view of who I am and who I am not. 

Today I celebrate simple walks and beautiful drives with My Guy and end with a few shots of a drive just south of us into the Idaho panhandle.

Freeze Church near Potlatch, WA
The Freeze church near Potlatch, ID. This simple little church still has an active congregation and is the perfect example of what I love about small stuff.

These pictures are for real … this is the bathroom situation at the Freeze Church.  Now, I guess we know the reason for its name.  HaHa.  (By the way, it’s pronounced Freez – y … rhymes with Breezy.)

Seriously, though, I know people who have left churches because the music was too loud or the parking lot wasn’t big enough or the children’s department didn’t provide enough entertainment for the kids. 

And then I see something like this church along with the sermon notes and song list inside the building.  Simple … small … and maybe a little outdated (whatever that really means) … but earnest and alluring in a way that only small stuff can be. Give me more of that!

Sunset at end of highway

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is my second blog.  You can read more about my life experiences and the faithfulness of God towards a simple country girl on rashellbud.wordpress.com. 

Please note that all photos, unless noted, are mine and permission must be sought to use them.

Wishing you a beautiful day full of the small stuff that makes life wonderful and a big deal.