“Simplify, simplify, simplify, I say!” ~ Dana


It all started with my husband and I hating our lawn. It seems like no matter what we do to it, there are big brown spots that appear on a regular basis. We’ve increased the water time, fertilized, and yet, there they are. Big brown spots.

So since we are in this record draught here in Southern California, and since our water district offers a cash incentive to those who convert at least 1,000 square feet of turf into draught tolerant landscape, we have decided to eliminate our front lawn completely, and rework our backyard to reduce the amount of turf by about half. I won’t go into how it seems un-American in my head to not have a front lawn, but that is a different issue altogether.

In the back, we decided to put in five huge, raised planter boxes that I will use for a major vegetable garden. My husband half-joked, half-seriously-asked, “You know that if you plant all these vegetables, you’re going to have to actually work outside, right?” Hardee-har-har. But wait, he’s right. It’s not the work that is making me shudder right now, but the time that I will need to find to fit it all in. Like most of us in this modern world, I feel stretched for time as it is. Between raising two daughters under the age of four, keeping our house livable, planning and cooking our meals, I have to make a concerted effort to carve out time to write for this blog, to see friends, to visit family… and to be honest with you, I feel like I fail at the “fun stuff.” Big time. So how on earth am I going to fit in time to maintain and grow a successful garden?

This had led me to evaluate what I do on a day-to-day basis. Although it feels like there is nothing that I could cut out to give me more time, when I really paid attention to my days this past week, I’ve found a very simple answer: I am going to pretend like I don’t have a smartphone. I am amazed at the amount of time that I spend checking emails, which is ridiculous because all of my emails are from other blogs or from shopping websites. There has only been one email from an actual person in my inbox this whole week. I also check Facebook like a fiend. Damn it. I can’t believe I’m admitting that, but I do. And Instagram. Oh my gosh, I need an intervention.

I started carrying my phone constantly a couple of years ago, when my dad got really sick. My excuse was that my parents “might” need to call me, there “might” be an emergency, and I wanted to be readily available. (Mom, I know you’re reading this, and I’m not blaming this on you!!) And then it became just so easy to quickly check my newsfeed, to snap a few pictures of the girls, check-in at whatever fabulous place we were spending the afternoon, and suddenly, I was hooked.

And what I notice now, is that I’m checking it constantly, which only means that it takes me longer to complete the tasks that I do during the day. The constant quick checking, I’ve found, also makes me feel kind of frantic. I am hurrying to get my chores done, but I’m also hurrying to read a funny article that someone has posted. Then I see a quiz entitled “10 Questions that will reveal your inner Disney Princess.” It’s only 10 questions, right? I can easily zip through that. So I do. But all of these little quick reads or quizzes or other wastes of time really make me feel unfocused. My attention is on a bunch of extra things, which add nothing of value to my life. I miss the days of a quiet mind, and let’s be honest. I already know that my inner Disney Princess is Belle.

So I am going to channel my inner Henry David Thoreau and “simplify!” And I’m going to grow good vegetables. Instead of wasting my precious time reading crap on the Internet, maybe I’ll finish the books I’m reading faster. Maybe I’ll get to the literature that I’ve got on using essential oils in the home. I bet you I’ll even have time to make larger quantities of all-natural products to put up on our Etsy store.

But first I’m going to have to do some reading on vegetable gardening.

6 thoughts on ““Simplify, simplify, simplify, I say!” ~ Dana

  1. While I despise being outside in the heat. I have found the garden that we have doesn’t require a ton of work. When making your planters if you grow tomato’s make sure that they are plenty deep for their huge roots. Learned that one the hard way lol! Now we have a garden growing tomatoes, jalepenos, herbs, peppers and watermelon. Going to add some broccoli and cauliflower. And coffee grounds is great for gardens who knew right? Good luck on your garden!

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I’ve started by looking at the Farmer’s Almanac website and have planned my beds according to season. I’ve already started looking, too, into crop rotations for next year. I’m ready to save some money on my grocery bill!!

  2. I’m against grass. It takes far too much time, energy, fuel, fertilizer, etc. If I had my way, I’d plow it all up and plant edibles and flowers and clover. It’s on my list… but we have to get there first.
    I remember a trip to San Diego to visit a friend (years ago) and she was planting her tomatoes in early November. I was so jealous.
    But you in SoCal should especially get rid of lawns. I used to live in NM and I loved the desert front yards.
    I know this is another internet link, but take a look at this post — http://monnamcdiarmid.com/2014/08/07/on-being-here-now

  3. I absolutely love my garden area. It is so much fun to eat what you have planted and cared for. You will enjoy it a lot girl. It took awhile to get things down but now that I do I LOVE it!!!

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