Word for 2020:  Overcomer

Things haven’t been off to a great start.  2019 ended promising with the early discovery and treatment of the Tomato Potato Psyllid.  Last year, due to the holidays I found it too late and I fought a brave and brutal battle, but one by one my tomato plants succumbed to its enemy and I was left without a tomato harvest as they had barely found their fruiting feet, let alone ripen an abundant harvest.  Fortunately, the zucchini was in abundance and I found that replacing them for tomatoes in my favourite tomato relish recipe worked brilliantly and I had that delish taste of summer all winter.   Sometimes plan B can be more than ok.   This year my hopes are high for my tomatoes.

Tomato potato psyllid eggs
Hopefully I have done enough to save my tomatoes from the Tomato Potato Psyllid.

It was with a grateful heart that I relaxed into new year celebrations and even set myself a few resolutions.   The last quarter of 2019 was hard in so many ways.  Not only did we have terrible weather, and my Dad died and the Dr with no bedside manner told me I had skin cancer, which turned out not to be a thing at all and has been treated and is gone!  Yay.  I need to remember to slip (long sleeved flowy shirt – must go to the op shop), slop (sunscreen – plenty and often – even on cloudy days) slap (know where my wide brimmed hat is at all times and use it!) to avoid a repeat of that scare!

Sun Hat
My much loved sunhat should be on the hook or on my head!

But I also discovered – thanks to my MS and its regular MRI monitoring that my MS was stable but there was a lump in my brain.   I was told it wasn’t serious and not to worry…  but with no real info and Dr Google between being told and actually seeing a brain surgeon 3 months later….  I worried up a storm!  I just wanted it gone.  Apparently, it is so not a thing and so we will live with it for at least a decade, which is when they reckon it will be big enough to get rid of with risky surgery.  I am now trying to undo the worry and forget I ever knew that it was there.

In spite of the windy torment, the chilies are still producing something.

It makes sense then that my new years resolutions would be a focus of health and wellbeing with a bit of mindfulness thrown in for good measure.  I spent so long worrying about my health, that I feel like I have been given a fresh start to be intentional about what and when I eat and establish good routines so I am approaching my work and my life from a proactive rather than reactive direction.  I envisaged a sense of calm and slow gentleness where life falls into place perfectly and the garden will flourish under this new approach.

I really need to be like this bean and face adversity and grow anyway!

So here we are on day 5.  We are only 5 days in, and I am as far from healthy, calm and mindful!  On the 1st we went on a lovely long walk along the beach and I thought “I’m doing it – I’m taking care of me.”  But when we got back, I felt unwell and headed off to bed and I have been plagued with a summer cold that has robbed me of my voice and left me weak and headachy.  So much for health and wellness.

windswept corn
I am as heart broken as my corn is broken. I doubt it is worth saving.

Just to twist the knife into my plans for a better future, storm number 7 rolled through.  I saw it was coming but felt too sick to prepare the garden for its arrival with my intended proactive new self.   And so, it roared through the garden and took out the corn.  I’m gutted.  It was just beginning to drop the pollen from the tassels.  I think I may have pollinated the neighbour’s corn!  The stalks are broken and shredded.  But there is still time to grow more and so I will drag myself to the garden centre to pick up as many seedlings as they have.  I have also acquired some wind break fabric and have finally admitted to myself that it needs to be a permanent feature not a temporary one I can put up when the wind comes – as sometimes the wind comes when you aren’t ready for it.  Ok – I may not be able to see the ocean from the garden, but nine times out of ten I don’t look at it anyway, I’m too busy tending my plants.  It was a delusional idea I had to preserve the view and in hindsight I should have fought harder for my plants.

Garden fence
I am so pleased I incorporated the up right posts on the fence design. It will make it easy to attach the wind break

So, before the first week is even out, I understand what needs to happen this year.  I have two choices – I can look at the adversity life throws at me from all direction and I can choose to become defeated, give up and complain bitterly, or I can choose to pick myself up by the boot straps, look for a solution – and a back up solution and possibly even a spare one, just in case, and get on with it, all the while looking for blessings.

Australian smoke in NZ
However, my problems seem insignificant compared to those of our friends across the ditch. The smoke from the Australian bush fires have filled our skies with a sepia tone. It is an absolutely horrific event I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for them. (no filter)

I am determined to be an overcomer this year.  Life will not grind me down – no matter how hard it tries.   I think last season with its more than ideal weather lulled me into a false sense of security, but the reality is more likely to be like this season.  So, I doubt very strongly it will be a year of posts of lovely luscious plants and bountiful harvests from a perfect garden, but full of trial and error, failures and successes and a whole lot in between.   I will not give up; I have come too far for that.

Come again soon – windbreak is going up…  TODAY!  Sore throat or not.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

23 thoughts on “Word for 2020:  Overcomer

  1. I like your phrase ‘overcomer’. Accepting what happens is the true reality and going with the flow enables us to overcome. Wishing overcomingness to you in abundance. Your posts always enervate me.

  2. It sux sometimes.. Great plans thwarted, unexpected illness, rogue weather, feel for you as you put your big ‘overcoming boots’ on and tackle just one thing at a time. All pales into insignificance when your carrots pop up, beans arrive, one of your kids gives you an unexpected hug. Small steps. I’m currently knitting baby joey pouches for all the orphaned babies from the Bush fires in Australia. People are doing it really tough right now. But – If you want a laugh, I had a laden gooseberry Bush, just waiting for a bit more red. Went out to gather, all gone!!! Birds grrr A whole year to wait for them sigh. The joys of gardening. Kia kaha Sarah. ❤️

    1. That is so sweet you are knitting pouches for Joeys. What is going on over there really puts things into perspective doesn’t it?! It makes it feel all the more important to keep going.
      Oh no… cheeky birds. That is the one fruit bush that is doing well in my garden, although still too young to fruit. Maybe next season. I had some boysenberries almost ready and I did the same thing – but the next day they were gone! : o)

  3. Love your honesty, life really can be fickly, but as you’ve said, each day is a blessing, and you’re impacting lots of people through sharing your stories both from your garden and from life! Looking forward to journeying 2020 alongside your blog!

    1. Thanks so much. That is so sweet. I think there are enough people out there on the great big internet pretending everything is perfect, Sometimes life is tough but sometimes that is where the good stuff is birthed, you just have to recognise it and be honest about it all. I suspect this will be a very honest year in my blog! : o)

  4. Oh gosh Sarah I feel for you. So sad to hear your Dad died. It’s odd you mentioned becoming unwell and with a summer cold as after my Dad died I had the most awful flu that went on for ages. Seems we both have health issues but trying to pin point just what they are is not always easy.. Go to the doctor re pains and get told athristis and here’s a prescription for Panadol. No help re diet or what foods to avoid, just more panadol. Once upon a time one could go to a real doctor who took one look at you and said “you are anaemic and off for blood test just to prove I was”. Not now a days, just some more panadol.
    ANYWAY like you I am googling and researching and getting a list together of foods to avoid and working in avoiding them. BUT Gluten free? OMGOSH GF bread is way expensive like twice the price for less slices.
    Out in the garden I am pleased that at last things are coming on well. The Tomatoes are loaded with fruit but they are a food I should now avoid so there goes all my beautiful Tomato soups and pasta sauces. I do have Runner Beans, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Butternut, Silver Beet, Capsicum, Egg Plant and Chillies coming along plus the Plum tree is loaded, there are Apples, Pears, Feijoas, Mandarin and Persimmon also coming along nicely. Trust all these fruits will serve me well.

    Happy New decade Sarah

    1. Hi Carol. Sometimes life can be a bit crap. I met a gardener at the garden bloggers conference in America who has since merged gardening with wellness and anti-inflammatory living and diet as a result of her health, which may be of interest to you – she has even written a book on it. Check her out: https://shawnacoronado.com/ .
      I’m so pleased your garden is doing well. Sometimes I long for a sheltered suburban backyard garden – but only when the wind is howling a gale!!
      Stay well and have a great new year. : o)

  5. Goodness you’ve had a lot to deal with recently, I hope everything settles for you and you have a productive harvest from this point on. Tomato Psyllid sounds terrifying, I’ve never heard of it from here in the UK.
    We are currently drying out from our wettest Autumn ever, and it’s so mild, about 10 degrees above average, all those pests are still breeding!

  6. Wow Sarah I hear you, lots going on and some of it real hard to deal with, but you are a positive thinker and that will help you.
    I just love your fence, and it will indeed be easy enough to attach a wind break. I wish you success with that. Meanwhile take good care of yourself and sending you good thoughts.

    1. I have already stapled a row of wind break to the fence and it looks great and it holding up to the 30km/h gusts we are currently having,
      I guess there is a way around most problems, I just have to figure out what they are. Thank you so much for your kind words. : o)

  7. The hard years, the challenging ones, are the ones when we learn most. Keep jotting down those blessings daily; it really does help keep life in focus. Meanwhile, we have winter here, so any photo with green is welcome! And your hills are lovely!

    1. Thanks Carolee. I think to be honest I would have been bored with a perfect garden, So while the challenges can feel enormous at times, they will end up being their own reward. I hope winter is kind to you. : o)

  8. Sarah, life has been unkind to you of late. I’m so sorry. I admire your attitude and agree that so much of life is how we manage the hand we are dealt with, but at the same time, it’s okay to grieve and to worry. The health problems are the worst. It’s really hard dealing with the unknown. I too have had skin cancer (twice) and both were removed with a MOHS procedure. Boo/hiss to the unkind doctor. There are plenty of them out there, and at 60 I’ve met my share.

    I’m glad you have the tall posts in place to make the windbreak an easier reality, and as you say, the ocean isn’t top of the list when you have your nose in the garden beds.

    You are strong and courageous. Sending love your way, along with a rain dance. Australia needs that more than ever. I hope your Kiwi skies are clear again, soon. xo

    1. Hi Alys. Life hasn’t so much been unkind, just challenging. Hopefully I am through the worst of the drama, although I have had a nasty head cold for the entire year so far, but even those don’t last forever! So much for my new years resolution for health and wellness! Today the wind has stopped, and the sun is shining and it is easy to see the good in the world. But loads of rain in the southern hemisphere would be a blessing right now. Take care and Happy New Year to you and your family. : o)

  9. Eeep! I shall be going out to stare intensely at my tomatoes in case they are secretly psyllidy.

    “Overcomer” is a great word – not expecting “flow’ry beds of ease” but setting a course to sail through the storms regardless.
    My word for this year is “joy” – and I’m hoping to learn how to enjoy being in the garden even if most of the time I’m spending there is in watering and weeding.

    1. I hope your tomatoes are bug free. I don’t actually mind weeding, it makes such a difference going from weedy to weed free and if you work with the mess behind you, then you only feel good about what you have done and not what still needs to be done. I hope you find true joy in your garden this year. : o)

    1. I’m still a bit snuffly, but I’ll be fine, thanks for asking. I was gutted about the corn, but I’ve left it there so you never know…. and I’ve planted more seedlings! I may end up with too much corn! : o)

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