Goodness and Beauty, Simple Pleasures

Goodness + Beauty {6}

I started this series to encourage me to 1) put a little more effort into my photography again, and 2) notice and acknowledge some of the many wonderful things that are all around me on a regular basis. For these posts, I’m challenging myself to take at least five pictures of beauty, as well as document five specific experiences or things that have brought me delight, pleasure, or joy. To see past editions of the series, click HERE.

Here’s my list for March:

i. going into the unknown with low expectations and high hopes

I came across this idea on one of my favorite cozy blogs to read, and the idea fascinated me from the start. As someone who trends towards having both high hopes AND high expectations, I’ll admit that I often set myself up for unnecessary frustration when reality doesn’t exactly match up with what’s in my head. I’ve been consciously working for years on trying to go into new situations without such high expectations (or with few expectations whatsoever) in order to try and save myself from unnecessary heartache.

However, the idea of being able to have low expectations AND high hopes?! Now that’s an idea I’ve found worth pursuing.

Not exactly sure yet how to actually put it into practice, but I love the mantra, and it’s something I’ve been constantly repeating to myself over the past several weeks if I start to fall into the “unrealistic high expectations” trap.

ii. homemade strawberry jam

Yesterday we spent such an enjoyable afternoon together as a family making homemade strawberry jam from the sixteen pounds of berries we were able to score over the weekend (for just $16!). Our kids love learning “grown up skills” and working on projects together as a family, and this exercise in jam making provided the perfect amount of genuinely useful tasks they were actually able to accomplish on their own. Our oldest (who’s just shy of turning 8) beamed with pride as we finally let her use a “real cutting knife” and cutting board to slice the tops of the berries, our 4-year-old sorted all the berries and garbage into their corresponding buckets, and our 3-year-old helped dump and wash all the strawberries in the sink.

I’ve been constantly reminded lately that just as much as more traditional “fun” activities, our kids crave responsibility and opportunities to work on building new skills and contributing to our family life. I’m eager to approach the upcoming flower farming season with this in mind.

iii. spring, in all her resilience and tenacity

Utah’s spring this year has been seemingly nonexistent so far. We are a good 20° colder on average than we usually are at this point in the season, and everything has been delayed as a result. While that can be (and has been) frustrating for my flower farming self, it also has made me desperately appreciate ANY sign that spring really is just around the corner.

One thing that amazes me constantly is the resiliency of plants to survive and thrive, especially hardy annuals. Often plants that are borderline for being perennial or hardy to our winters end up surprising me by seemingly coming back from the dead in the spring, like this fennel plant emerging from the dregs of last year’s crop. I sowed my fennel last year in April I believe, so the fact that I already have some plants that are this established will mean earlier and more abundant flowers for the season ahead.

I look around and still see snow banks and freezing temperatures, but all around me are also signs that starting in about three weeks, I might very well see one of the most beautiful and abundant springs I’ve ever witnessed in my life thanks to a benchmark year for snow and precipitation and a gradual (rather than drastic) return to higher temperatures.

Buckle up, friends — tons of spring flower spam sure to be coming your way.

iv. getting looming to-do’s crossed off

I’ve long known I tend towards procrastination, but I once took a procrastination inventory to see if I put things off across the board, or if it was just certain things I tended to ignore for as long as possible. Surprisingly, I actually was pretty good at most of the types of things on the list and got them done in reasonable time frames–it was only a few distinct categories that I was quite adept at putting off for a truly indecent amount of time.

Top of my procrastination problem list?

Household maintenance chores.

We’ve long known that we needed to call in a plumber to look at a few troublesome leaks and worry spots in our house, but when past attempts at actually finding anyone locally didn’t pan out easily, I just kept pushing it back and back and back some more (helped along by the fact that it really wasn’t in our budget).

However, I found out about a local plumber the other week who had more recently started his business within just the last couple of years, and so I decided to give him a call rather than try to go (yet again) with one of the more well-known companies in the valley (who couldn’t be bothered to ever return my inquiries). Sure enough, I was able to get in on his schedule right away, and he did a phenomenal job. Best news of all? His prices were far more reasonable than any of the bigger companies I’d been trying to schedule with, and he was excellent with regular communication as well.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to finally have that long-standing nagging to-do list totally crossed off, not to mention a house totally free of leaks.

v. my hands in the dirt

I’ve started to joke with Matt that I must be part plant now, because I seem to be very affected by lack of sunlight, fresh air, and the feeling of dirt against my skin. This winter has seemed even longer than most (and has actually really been longer than most), so the fact that I’ve been able to escape into our high tunnel the past couple of months and actually start weeding and planting has been totally restorative and necessary for my continued mental well-being.

Any time I’ve needed a little pick-me-up lately, I just pop in there and take deep breaths of the smell of wet dirt and seedlings, and I can’t resist plucking up the mallow (cursed weed) that’s always trying to take over and fussing over all the ranunculus and anemone and larkspur and sweet pea plants growing in there (amongst other things). Even if our high tunnel doesn’t ever produce the kinds of amazing spring crops we’re hoping that it will, there’s definitely something to be said for just having the space to bask in the sunshine and be outside without really actually needing to brave ALL the elements of the outside.

And, in more good news, the forecast for this weekend is FINALLY warm and sunny for the first time basically since October, so we’re alllll going to be out in the dirt (and out of the high tunnel, no less!) prepping beds for new roses, refreshing the raised beds with new compost, and clearing out all the old debris to make room for the new.

I can’t wait.

What are five good things happening in your world lately?

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