7QT: Vegetables, F-Bombs, and the In-Crowd

Hanging out with everyone else over at Conversion Diary.

— 1 —

Does anyone else ever get the, “I’m sad because I’m not part of the In-Crowd,” blues?

Well, I had them yesterday.  An itty-bitty trigger released the squirrel in my head from his cage, and round and round he ran!

I’ve come to realize how dangerous little Squirrel Nutkin can be when I let him rummage for too long.  In situations like this I need an outside opinion.  A reality check.  Preferably from someone who understands rodents.

So I called Colleen.

After an hour-plus of hashing it out, with plenty of laughs and don’t-you-knows,  Colleen said:

“God loves you.  God doesn’t reject you.”

It’s easy to dismiss “God loves you” when heard out of context.   My generation heard the message of Self-Esteem and You Can Do Anything If You Put Your Mind To It so often, we’ve become almost inoculated against the message of God’s love. God—if there’s a God, and not just some psychological self-soothing pacifier—of course God loves me!  DUH!  Boring!  Moving on!

Heard in context, however—heard in the midst of heartache, big or small—the same message busts through the Berlin Wall of conflict and confusion within us.

In case anyone reading is in the same spot as I was yesterday, I’ll repeat the message:

God loves you.

— 2 —

Three weeks ago I mentioned that I was jumping on the Urban Homesteading movement.  I was only half-joking.

“I’m an urban homesteader” is a trendy way of saying, “I have a vegetable garden, a few chickens, and I like to make homemade cheese.”  Put like that, the idea of homesteading isn’t so intimidating.  Given that our backyard is not and never will be a magical botanical oasis, à la Better Homes and Gardens, I’m happy to dig it up and plant some unaesthetic veggies.

Our problem?  Our soil is sandy.  Being but a few miles from Lake Michigan will do that.  I’ve been told that I shouldn’t bother with a vegetable garden and to patron our awesome farmer’s market instead, but, if I can enrich the soil somehow…

I don’t want to break the bank trying to save money by growing our own vegetables.  I know the first year is a major investment, but if it pans out over time…


— 3 —

It’s not just about money.  I like to garden.  Dirt and plants make me happy.

While I can’t get into the front yard as often as I like, I spend a lot of time puttering around the backyard in the summer.  It’s entirely fenced in and I can let Ben roam free while I work.  Win-win.

If I had a vegetable garden, I’d have even more incentive to take my children outdoors to play while the sun shines and the breeze blows and… and…

— 4 —

Sigh.  There are seven foot piles of snow at the end of our driveway and all I can think about is getting my seedlings started.

— 5 —

This is so funny, I just have to share it.

My college friend Jenny and her husband Allen are contemplating a swim across the Tiber.  A few weeks ago we—Jenny, Allen, Jared, and me—had a Skype date to hash out Catholic/Protestant conundrums.

Jenny told me beforehand that Allen is a native Oregonian and a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy.  I’ll clue in the non-Oregonian readers and inform you that this is code for, “Not Portlandia, not Eugene hippie, not Corvallis Prius-owner, but that OTHER type of Oregonian.”  The no-nonsense, hard-working, easygoing, earnest, doesn’t-have-time-for-stupidity kind of Oregonian.  This describes 100% of my extended family.

Anyway.  We met via glowing screen, the men had their brewskis, kids ran around, the questions poured forth, everyone was being polite because, hey, we’re all half-strangers except for Jenny and me…

…and then, someone (not naming names) had occasion to drop the old F-bomb.

All of a sudden, it was NO HOLDS BARRED.

Heh, heh.

Jenny sent an email the next day to tell me that, according to Allen, “Jared explained things the right way,” and she attached the following meme:


And that, my friends, is what is meant by The New Evangelization.

— 6 —

Before I forget, I want to make another plug for my friend Freya’s Etsy shop:


All proceeds go to Save the Storks!

— 7 —

Coming back to #1 above… I could make this psalm my anthem:

Psalm 86

Turn your ear, O Lord, and give answer
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am faithful:
save the servant who trusts in you.

You are my God, have mercy on me, Lord,
for I cry to you all the day long.
Give joy to your servant, O Lord,
for to you I lift up my soul.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of love to all who call.
Give heed, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend the sound of my voice.

In the day of distress I will call
and surely you will reply.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
nor work to compare with yours.

All the nations shall come to adore you
and glorify your name, O Lord:
for you are great and do marvelous deeds,
you who alone are God.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Kristi says

    Re #2:
    First, compost!
    Second, consider building raised beds.
    Third, do it because you want to, not to save money. Same for chickens. You can’t really save money with chickens that are mainly just egg layers.

    • says

      Kristi, is there a way to do compost in a city overrun by squirrels (not the one in my head; actual squirrels) without purchasing one of those $150 compost barrels?

      I like #3. There’s nothing better than going out to the yard and picking fresh vegetables for supper. I also think it’s a better use of land and my time. I still need to read Wendell Berry, per your rec.

  2. says

    Hehe, glad we’re classin’ up the joint again per usual.
    Have you considered raised beds, which you can then fill with your own soil/vermiculite/whatever? Also, never forget the power of the Craigslist free section. People are giving away dirt all the time; not even joking. Get yourself on the CL, baby.
    I’m theoretically jealous of your gardening plan. I say theoretically because I myself am the world’s worst gardener but I WISH I weren’t.
    Diggin’ the Psalm. Yesterday I had to put Psalm 56:3-4 on repeat; made up a little song and sang it to myself over and over.

  3. says

    And see this is why Catholicism is the super best ever – you can be a real person. I have been feeling #1 in a big way this past week. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like no matter how hard you try you just aren’t “good enough”. But like you said, God loves you. Rinse, wash, repeat!

  4. says

    I’m stopping by from 7 Quick Takes, and I really enjoyed your “New Evangelization” story. Thanks for sharing that psalm- it’s just the reflection I need today.

    Good luck with the gardening– raised beds are really a good thing, and can be easier than you think they would be. Also, composting does not have to be so very complicated, as I mentioned above.

    • says

      Welcome! Thanks for hopping over to my little place, Elizabeth!

      You’re right. The consensus here is for raised beds. I’ll have to chat it up with the hubs, see what he thinks. They aren’t hard to make, of course… unless you don’t have power tools, but I’m sure I could figure out a solution. We have kind neighbors.

      • says

        Oh! Good idea. I could do that without having power tools. Plus, they’d last longer than boards (and composite boards are expensive). Maybe I should take up Jenny’s idea of checking Craigslist and check for free blocks.

  5. says

    I see you’ve gotten a lot of gardening tips already, but the compost is huge so I’ll repeat it. So easy, too! It did incredible things to our soil. Also, look up the “double dig” method of garden bed preparation to get everything all mixed up and fancy-like. We have a book…..it’s called….How to grow more vegetables on less land blah blah blah something. Aren’t I helpful? Anyway, you should get it. It’s good.

    • says

      I will look that up! Thanks for the tip. I also remember you posting about the Lasagna method, which I’ll try to remember to do next year. We don’t have chickens, though, so no chicken poo.

      Dwija, when do you start your seeds? I ought to head down to the library and look at Michigan gardening books. I mean, I’ve heard of snow in JUNE.

  6. franciscanmom says

    I have an herb garden in an antique red wagon. I kill everything else but this works for me!

    • says

      Oh, how cute! We had a red wagon growing up, but the bottom rusted out (something to do with using it as a water pail for used 4th of July fireworks or something…). Now they’re made of plastic—thumbs down, I say.