Joy

~ Scatter Joy. ~

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think these words by Emerson are simple and profound.  Joy is meant to be scattered like seeds springing forth with the new growth of kindness and happiness.  Case in point, Random Acts of Kindness.  Just being nice to people every day.  I like to smile at people even complete strangers.  When someone passes me on the street or in the store or anywhere, I try to make it a point to smile.  It is not fake or forced; it is genuine.  I am happy and by smiling I make myself and them happy.  It is rare someone doesn’t smile back or say something, but it happens.  I still keep smilin’.

Recently I had to make a trip to the Social Security (SS) Office at the Federal Building in town.  If you have never had that particular joy, don’t if you can help it.  It is one of the busiest places you will ever encounter.  There were 75 chairs (yes I counted) in this small room and every one was filled and stayed filled.  The first joyful thing in going to the SS Office is you have to go downtown and pay to park.  Then you have to go through security and give up your cell phone if it has a camera (most do).  Next you have to tell another security guard your business so they can put you in the right queue.  And if you are lucky to find a seat, you sit and wait and wait and wait.  No one looks at anyone or talks unless it is the person they came with.  And it is a sad place.  All the hard luck stories; very sad circumstances and poverty or immigrants trying to figure out the language and the system. I was there to get another Social Security card.  When I was married and changed my name, I went to the SS Office to get a new card.  I discovered recently that I never received the new card.

I am not good at waiting, but for some reason I decided to not let all of this get to me.  If I did have the chance to make eye contact with someone I smiled.  And after an hour when I finally reached the window, I found a nice smiling face greeting me as I smiled back; huh.  And she was so helpful and efficient.  This seemingly bad experience turned out to be a relatively happy time I’m convinced because I decided to be happy.  Great lesson for me; if you expect it to turn out bad it will so instead expect the best!!

As the winter has seemingly dragged on, I finally received my grow light.  And so it was seed planting time.  YES!!  What joy in being able to plant in the dead of winter and maybe even harvest.  So I set up a tray of soil using an aluminum lasagna tray that I poked holes in and placed it in another plastic tray.  I brewed up some Manure Tea courtesy of Annie Haven.  This incredible soil conditioner tea is sold online at Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew.  Watered the soil with the tea, scattered the baby leaf lettuce seeds and planted a row of slow bolt cilantro.  The seeds were from Renee’s  Garden Seeds.

Then I set the tray on the heat mat, secured a dome on top and set everything under the grow light.  I didn’t use the grow light until the seeds had germinated.  The lettuce was up in 2 days while the cilantro took 7 days.  Pretty impressive.  I removed the dome after 2 days and set the grow light about 6 inches from the tray.  It is on all the time as long as we are home.  If we are gone during the day, the light is off and then back on at night.  See the results so far for yourself below.  I think the biggest joy here has been in the learning and discovery.

Lettuce after 2 days

Lettuce after 5 days.

Lettuce after 7 days with true leaves emerging quickly and getting their color.

Cilantro germinated and poking through after 7 days and then 5 days later as it gets its true leaves.

Lettuce now 12 days old.  Time to harvest soon and thin the plants.

With the success of the first planting, I planted more lettuce and it also germinated after 2 days.  I am also planting basil and Italian parsley to see how they do.  This experiment will let me know how and when to start sowing herbs and greens indoors next fall so I can grow from late fall into winter.

One great tip I learned recently to avoid Damping Off Disease, where the seedlings wilt and die, is to add weak chamomile tea to the water.  I will let you know if it helps.

As you begin to contemplate your vegetable garden consider a great online site to help plan, draw, organize and plant your vegetable garden, GrowVeg.com.  It is really an online garden journal.  Sign up for the free trial and the great newsletter with lots of helpful hints.  These folks are always adding features to the site.  Helped me a lot last year when I started my first vegetable garden.  If you sign up for a free trial, make sure you look at all the tutorials to see all the great features.  This site is set up for anywhere in the world and can be customized further for your growing needs.

Oh and if it couldn’t get any better, The Cheap Vegetable Gardener is giving away a free one year subscription to GrowVeg.com.  Stop on over and check out the rules to win.

If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. ~Robert Brault

39 comments

  1. Alistair says:

    Donna ,You are so joyful I think I will start smiling at strangers more often even though here in the UK it can be met with a (what you lookin at) reaction. Good luck with the early seedlings.

  2. Carolflowerhillfarm says:

    Scatter Joy! How perfect Donna. Emerson is one of my heros but I would not have known that was his thought. Thank you! Patience and joy are good traits to cultivate along with our gardens. Thanks for sharing the SS visit story. It is amazing what a smile can do for us. Good luck with your seedlings and thank you for all of your kind words and visits to FHF. Have a lovely week.

  3. Donna says:

    I loved Emerson’s quote and how you interpreted it. I re went to the SS office January of last year to settle affairs on my mother’s death, and I too met a smiling, compassionate clerk who helped me quite a bit. Like you said, this place is so busy and I was very amazed at this woman after having had so much trouble from the previous two clients. Joy is infectious and she had kept hers to pass on to others. I was very grateful.

    Your little lettuce will reward you for all your special care.

  4. Carolyn♥ says:

    I love your sentiments and I share your joy in touching others lives. It’s always amazing what a kind word or a simple smile can bring. I will considered myself “Joyed” by you! A very lovely post Donna.

    • Donna says:

      Joy is infectious..this post has brought me such joy today from so many people…thank you for continuing the Joy Carolyn and bringing it back to me !

  5. Gail says:

    Both quotes are perfect~I had a similar experience visiting IRS about my mom’s estate! The clients were sad, dispirited folks, but the staff was kind and helpful. Growing lettuce looks like an exercise in success~ gail

    • Donna says:

      Thx Gail for stopping by and spreading the joy…so far so good with the lettuce..hope to harvest some this weekend…we shall see about the herbs… 🙂

  6. p3chandan says:

    Lovely post about smiling through thick and thin especially at govt offices. Im sure I will remember you every time I have to go there to do my thing next time and will remind myself to have a sweet smile while waiting in line! Yes Donna, I will smile more to my neighbours and strangers walking past my house, hope it will bring little joy to me and them too!

  7. Garden Sense says:

    Very encouraging post and right on target with a personal goal to reflect an attitude of joy – I’m trying, and find that I’m the one that benefits the most!

  8. tina says:

    I think your lesson of determining to be happy is a real treat and so very true. I haven’t been to the SS office in many years but dread the day when I have to go. Imagine giving up your cell phone? Had no idea. Hooray on winter seedlings!

  9. Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens says:

    Donna, You are so right: we get what we expect, we see what we expect to see. It is so important to expect the best, why is it so hard? Your photos of your little lettuce seedlings were so uplifting. I guess I finally have spring fever. Carolyn

  10. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    Hi Donna, and inspirational post. I always smile at people when I am out and about too, it makes me feel better and hopefully them too. In the UK there are strong regional differences in how people react to this, and whether they will chat to you in a queue. North of Birmingham, and particularly in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Teeside, people will talk to you at the drop of a hat. In North Wales it can be tricky if you don’t speak Welsh, it takes a while, but apparently in South Wales people guiding you to the shelf with the sausage rolls will ask whose party you are catering for and recommend other things you should have!

    Your grow-light experiments are very impressive, and make me itch…

    • Donna says:

      Thx Janet..how very interesting about the regions. I suppose we have that too…you are less likely to get people to even look at you in some places and big cities but I still believe in trying…the grow light is how I have scratched my itch for now..

  11. Jean says:

    Donna, Just reading this made me smile. I sometimes catch myself getting annoyed about some wait or hassle and remind myself that it is in my power to make the situation more pleasant for everyone involved. An important life lesson. Starting seeds is a wonderful sign of spring. I have forced forsythia blooming in the house — another sign of spring.

    • Donna says:

      Jean I am glad I was able to spread some joy for you..I was hoping to get to my forsythia and do some forcing but we just got socked again with more snow…I still may be able to reach one..

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