Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bounty in the Garden!

I'm posting this in my organizing blog because it's the first year in eons that we have really been organized about our vegetable garden. Years ago, we actually dug out a patch of grass to put in a garden, but ever since that peak year, it's never been quite what we intended.

This year Mike built raised beds and purchased high-quality soil and compost, and it has made a tremendous difference in our harvest. We also planted a wide variety of organic vegetable starts and seeds. In addition, Kieran has been engaged and helped to put in a number of the plants and scatter seeds. It's been fun to see how well our plants have done this year. Take a look:

We planted TONS of tomatoes, since that's my favorite garden-fresh vegetable. So far, only the cherry tomatoes are riping...but I see a lot of tomatoes in our future!

The corn "hatching," as Kieran put it...
Lovely lettuce! We won't have to buy lettuce for quite some time at the rate it's growing...
Mint and rosemary contained in a pot between the two raised beds
An eggplant with blossoms
Mike and I laugh about the fact that we've NEVER been able to grow zucchini! Well, this year we did it, at last!

And some nice yellow squash coming in as well...
Tabbouleh, anyone?

A little cucumber coming in...

A baby green pepper:

We've never tried to grow corn before, so we'll see how it turns sure looks pretty though!


Kieran's scarecrow keeping away the crows?

While I was finishing up the boys' room today, Mike was outside in the glaring heat fixing the back gate. The gate had been falling apart because of rotting wood, and a winter storm really whipped the bejeesus out of it. There was basically nothing left of it. Mike took the scraps and used some new hardware and wood to reinforce the gate. My handy husband! (He was not taught how to do this kind of thing when growing up, so these are wonderful accomplishments for him!)

Finally Finished with the Kids' Rooms!

I know I have been neglecting this poor blog and my organizing activities...although even though out of sight, it hasn't been out of mind!

Since I do my organizing and cleaning in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed (mostly), I find myself cleaning the kitchen OVER AND OVER AGAIN instead of getting back to the study reorganization project...which is still not done.

But instead of returning to the study, which is truly out of sight out of mind (it's the room I'm least likely to go into each day), this weekend I decided to finish the younger boys' bedroom first. I worked up there for hours yesterday and finished it off today, and I must say, IT FEELS GOOD!!!

I posted the "before" photos on this post--take a look. Pretty bad. And those photos were taken back in May--you can imagine how bad it got before I plowed into the mess. Each night, as I was putting the boys to bed, I got so tired of looking at the mess, I had to finally finish off the job.

The "job" not only involved going through boxes of junk, toys, and clothes, but also tackling our major children's book problem. We have myriads of plastic bins full of children's books--they spilled over into the attic crawl space. No more. (I also organized the attic crawl space a few months ago--I don't think I blogged about that. This was desperately needed!)

After I cleaned and organized Son #1's room, I noticed that in spite of the fact that I organized all of his books neatly into a bookcase, he pulled them out and stacked them on the floor in the order he wanted to read them. He also is not very good about putting them away--he likes to see the piles. So I asked him if he would prefer to just have plastic bins for his books in his room. They don't look very nice, but they would be easier to deal with--he could just toss the books into the bins. He agreed, so I moved the nice bookcase into the little boys' room.

Sorting through the books and dividing them into Paperbackswap, Goodwill, and "keep," I was able to get the remaining ones on the bookcases with some room to spare. It helps that the bunk bed set has some room for books, too.

Another big chore to tackle was the clothes issue. With three growing boys, it's quite a chore to manage the clothes they outgrow--so we can pass them on to the next boy. I spent a lot of time organizing clothing yesterday. I also had Son #2 go through all his shirts and choose which ones he liked, because he is quite picky and I had noticed that he never wore a lot of his shirts.

Then there was the toy and puzzle sorting, charity donation assigning, and garbage collecting. I finished most of the dirty work yesterday and returned today for the finishing touches (hanging up some pictures and vacuuming). We'll see how long they can keep it clean! At bedtime, Nick told me that he didn't like it all picked up! I think my children like chaos and mess. Lucky me.

Here are some photos of the finished product:

Kieran considers the desk "his" even though he shares the room with his younger brother. It's all arranged by him and adorned with his treasures (including the radish and tomatoes from our garden, which he helped plant):
Portland is in the midst of a heatwave, and this room is the only room in the house with an air conditioning unit!

Chris perusing all the chapter books that used to be his...

The closet, which needs a bit more work but is WAY cleaner than before! You can see the remnants of my clothing organization efforts.

So I'm completely out of order with One Year to an Organized Life, but now that I have the kids' room sorted out, it's time to return to the study. One day, I resolve to have it done!!!