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Before I Gardened…

December 16th, 2011

Mr Chiots and I were talking the other day and I said “what did I do with all my time before I gardened?”

Before I gardened I ran, lots of and lots of miles and I spent time lifting weights. I trained and ran races and I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise. Then I started having to decide whether I should spend an hour weeding the garden or spend that hour logging some mileage. More often than not, the garden came first and soon enough I had to retire my running shoes for my wellies. I don’t really miss it though, I feel like I’m actually in better shape from gardening that I ever was from running. Gardening provides such a wide variety of activities to work all your muscles including your heart. I could still run in the winter when my garden in sleeping, but I now choose to do yoga instead because it keeps me in better condition for gardening chores than running does.

Had cable TV and enjoyed watching shows. Then little by little I spent more hours in the garden and had to spend my evening getting my work done (I work from home). Of course I should attribute this one to this blog too, as blogging takes up much of my extra “free” time nowadays. I don’t mind though, I cancelled my cable and save myself a good chunk of change each month.

Before I gardened I sewed and did other fun crafty stuff. Then my winter slowly became engulfed in ordering seeds, reading gardening books, and tending to tiny seedlings in the basement (my seed starting begins in January with celery, leeks and onions). This year at least I’ve been able to do a little more craftiness because of my job at Ethel.

Before I gardened I kept my floors clean enough to eat off of. I started choosing to spend my time cleaning out the flower beds instead of cleaning the floors. Instead of sweeping and mopping twice a week, the floors only get it once a week or sometimes every other week! With a big dog and three cats running around it can get a little “furry” in between those cleaning times.

Before I gardened I kept my home much neater and more organized. I used to hate clutter, it drove me crazy. Then my seed collection started to grow, I had flats of seedlings that wanted to be warm upstairs instead of cold in the basement, and the stack of gardening books on the table started to grow. I acquired miniature indoor citrus, ginger, figs and too many potted herbs. I started blogging about my garden and spending my spare moments snapping photos of everything. Now my house is much more “lived in” that it used to be, but I’m learning to be OK with it. I now am happy that I have some clutter and hope it makes people feel more relaxed when they come visit.

The truth is that I could still have time for all these things if I hadn’t chosen new hobbies. If I didn’t blog I could still run, if I didn’t take as many photos I could still sew, if I didn’t garden I could clean my floors several times a week. My priorities have changed and thus my time is spent differently. My job is also more of a priority than it used to be, I’m focusing on turning what I love into a career. I think that many of us mature into adults between the ages of 25-35 and this is the time I happen to have lived here at Chiot’s Run. As a result I have hone in on those things that make me happy and have learned to make time for them.

Have you given up any hobbies for more time in the garden?

28 Comments to “Before I Gardened…”
  1. Sue on December 16, 2011 at 5:06 am

    It’s funny how our interests change over time. Travel used to be my main interest. Gardening slowly took over, and now I struggle to find a time when I can travel—seems there is always something due to ripen that we’re so looking forward to. I am totally tied to home from April through the first week of October now….. and I love it!

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  2. Andrea Duke on December 16, 2011 at 6:06 am

    I just mentioned on facebook yesterday that I would give up cable if my husband would.

    I am still very particular about the house. To the point that friends have made the comments that it doesn’t look like a kid lives here :)
    Maybe that will change with time as well.

    I often say and think that gardening has helped me more than any therapist, and so many more rewards! I just need my acre of land to be flatter, but that won’t happen while I’m in WV!!

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

    • Susy on December 16, 2011 at 7:20 am

      I hear you on the flatter land, it can be a huge hassle to deal with so all the hills/slopes.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. daisy on December 16, 2011 at 6:58 am

    What a wonderful perspective. I love that you are putting your passion first. Sounds like a lovely life you’re creating there. Continued blessings…

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  4. kristin @ going country on December 16, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Gardening didn’t change my life too much until the advent of my son. Since having a kid, I’ve basically given up any sedentary activity in the summer in favor of working outside or canning the produce. I get to read or watch a movie only in the winter when it gets dark at 5 p.m.

    I kind of love winter now for that reason.

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  5. Erika on December 16, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Your right about changing perspective, I’m 38 and this last year thi

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  6. Erika on December 16, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Sorry I’m using my slider phone to check blogs in bed with 4 cats and a snoring husband at 5 in the morning lol. Anyway this last year has been me refining seeing myself through my own eyes instead of others. Slowing down to smell the roses and realizing that’s its really is ok to be who you are inside on the outside and do what you love instead of what the world prefers.

    I love my 30’s and have grownup in them and learned who I really am.


    Reply to Erika's comment

    • Susy on December 16, 2011 at 7:25 am

      I do believe the 30’s are much better than the 20’s, at least in terms of being comfortable with who you are, finally honing in on what you love and learning to make time for that, becoming who you were meant to be. Sadly, I think a lot of people get stuck in the race and don’t slow down enough to find that.

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  7. Kathi Cook on December 16, 2011 at 7:56 am

    I think it’s very interesting to see how people evolve as they go through adulthood. Hobbies and interests are a good barometer. In my twenties, I was raising my daughters while my husband worked 80 plus hours per week starting his own business.I had no time to myself. My only hobbies were cooking, and sewing. As they grew older my hobbies multiplied. I had to fill my free time without my husband, and as a result have many new hobbies and friends with like interests.Now I bike, run, hike, kayak, garden, and read. We too dumped cable. If we want to watch TV we stream it through the computer. Now that the children are almost out of the house it is time for my husband and I to try to find hobbies in common. (He golfs-need I say more?)

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  8. anotherkindofdrew on December 16, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Ahhhh….truth be told, huh?

    Before I moved to Tiny r(E)volution and became a micro-farmer I lived in both Paris and Brooklyn. I was a freelance photojournalist and eventually a runway photographer. My time was typically spent either on a place, in a taxi, or in front of two very large Mac monitors doing post work on model shots.

    One day I was out walking to get some air (is this possible in B’lynn?) and I ran into a neighbor. We started talking. He was growing tomatoes in a bucket. A couple weeks later he gave me one based on my curiosity. That bucket grew 19 tomatoes. I was hooked.

    One thing led to another. Life started getting too fast and I realized I was getting too old. I traded up my apartment for my parents farm and my cameras for spades, shovels, and hoes.

    Reply to anotherkindofdrew's comment

  9. Fred on December 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Before I gardened I read much more fiction, did standup comedy as a hobby, and ate a lot worse!
    As I made various lifestyle changes, I got my plot at the community garden. That was 2 years ago. With no gardening knowledge or experience my then g/f (now fiance) set out to see if we could grow some of our own produce, and try and support farmers markets for much of the rest.
    2 years later we’re successful (albiet amateur) veggie gardeners, we cook more at home, eat more locally and seasonally, and seem to be in a much better place.
    We just need a space of our own so we can stop commuting to and from our Garden.
    In due time i suppose…

    Reply to Fred's comment

  10. B ryan N. on December 16, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Hunting used to be my passion.If it walked or crawled I hunted it if I didn’t hunt it I trapped it.I had a few friends who gardened a little and my interests started turning heavily toward gardening and living self sufficiently.Now that has become my only “hobby” other than hunting for deer and fishing.And these wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for providing healthy food for us.I also used to do alot of woodworking for other people but that too has kind of been forgotten as that takes up a tremendous amount of time.I agree 100% about your comment about being in your 30s and finally being comfortable with who you are and what you want to do and making time for it.I was probably well into my 30s and now at 42 I wish I had honed in alot faster than I did.But now I like to think I am really making up for alot of lost time.

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  11. Jennifer Fisk on December 16, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Before gardening in a big way, I used to hike daily. I probably should say before gardening, egg chickens, meat chickens, turkeys, and rabbits I used to hike daily. If gave up blogs, FB, and news, I’d have time to hike. That sounds like the makings of a New Years Resolution.

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  12. goatpod2 on December 16, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I don’t spend a whole lot of time in the garden but before living on the farm, I used to read a lot of books and knit.


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  13. Daedre Craig on December 16, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Sounds like you have your priorities straight to me!

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  14. Miranda on December 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Living in this apartment away from both physical activity (can’t afford the gym now) and a garden is driving me crazy. I’ve taken up knitting and spinning to ease my mind and hands and i’m loving my new hobbies. They’re perfect for the dreaer and dark/wet pac nw winters. I hope that once we get our land all my time will be spending gardening, planning to garden, raising livestock and planning for more livestock… but i will also keep time for knitting and spinning, and maybe a movie or two as we’re suckers for ‘couch time’ no matter how much work we have to do. ;)

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  15. sarahkincheloe on December 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I also used to run marathons and do triathlons. Since I started gardening I just do a half hour a few times per week. I feel pretty fit and muscular from all the weeding, carrying, shoveling, not to mention kneading bread by hand!

    Reply to sarahkincheloe's comment

  16. SixBalloons on December 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing with us. I enjoyed your reminiscing glimpse into the past!

    Reply to SixBalloons's comment

  17. Texan on December 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I just did a post recently on my blog about time and finding time :O)…

    I am re-slotting some things in favor of others as well :O).
    As for age, I have to say the 40s are even better (for me) then my 30s!

    Reply to Texan's comment

    • Susy on December 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      That’s great to hear, I’m looking forward to my 40’s too!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. Eliza J on December 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Susy, I love what you posted today! Gardening certainly does change one’s life and perspective on things. Gardening runs Spring to Fall and beyond into Winter if you so desire. Add into that mix, freezing, canning, dehydrating, etc… What do I have less time to do? A lot. Quilting, knitting, decorative painting, housecleaning, t.v. ~ I hate t.v. To me Winter is craft time, yet I find myself here with basil and geranium seedlings under grow lights to my left, and a seed catalog to my right, making a list of future vegetables for the garden. Every year the list changes, mostly related to what I put-up, and the best fresh items, tried and true. We started the garden and clearing pasture land about 4 years ago. I regret the decision didn’t come earlier in life for us. It’s too bad we don’t know in our 20’s, what we do later in life. We love growing things in the garden…I even find weeding to be therapeutic. We have chosen to grow our own food…priorities change, you have to change with them…that’s life.

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  19. Estelle on December 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I really, really loved this post, Suzy, your “new you” just seems more serene and alive, love it!

    Reply to Estelle's comment

  20. Rick on December 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    It’s funny how our interest change over time. I have an unused telescope and fly tying kit sitting around that I never have time for any more. Gardening (and Blogging about gardening) takes up most of my free time now a days. But it is more rewarding than any of my other hobbies. Most of last nights dinner was a direct result of my gardening and that feels good.

    I still have to make time for running. If it didn’t run 4 or 5 miles 5 times a week I’d turn into a giant blob of fat from all the home grown potatoes and home baked bread we eat. Running is also a great escape from life’s pressures for me.

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  21. amy on December 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    One of my favorite blogs from you yet:)

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  22. Jodiana on December 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I love your post. As I think of where my life was and where it is now I have always been a dabbler, never really setting my mind to one thing or another. I have always been a reader and loved gardening. Then half way thru my 20’s my daughter was born, early, very early. At 1lb 2oz she consumed all my time. Now as she is turning 18yrs in two weeks my life has calmed considerably. Instead of just reading about gardening and garden blogs. I now have time to garden. I learned to can and went hunting for the first time this year! I’m so waiting for the garden catalogs to come this year!! :)

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  23. KimH on December 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I’ve always gardened.. but before having gardens 100% of my own, I raised cain on dirt bikes, horses, water skied, mud-dogged during the day and read books all night long.. Then I got married & had a baby within 11 months.. that’ll put a big kabosh on all that fun stuff that Im paying for physically 30-35 years later. ;)

    It was great though.. I embraced that part of my life & lived in joy.. had beautiful gardens & grew up with my children.

    Thanks for sharing your life here!

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  24. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm on December 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Oh my goodness! You sound just like me! I used to run until I had to make a choice between running and gardening, then the running stopped. I still thought I might run in the winter, but I don’t. I get enough winter exercise shovelling show and cutting/stacking wood with hubby and occasionally walking to work 2k away.

    Winter is hobby time too, although my seeds are no longer classed as a “hobby” since I opened the online seed store. It’s getting busier this year, so that takes up a lot of my time in the winter. I still find time for other hobbies, like painting, which is not really a hobby anymore, either or wine making, a definite necessity! When hobbies have eveoleved in to samll businesses, are they still “hobbies”?

    The floor thing made me laugh! I left off cleaning my house a few years ago. It’s so low on the priority list now that I hardly do it at all anymore. I do what absolutely has to be done, but the floors are always dirty. It is amazing what one can live when one has to sacrifice gardening to do it! lol!

    I planted my first winter seeds for this year just yesterday. In about another month, I’ll be planting a lot more. Must get that indoor decorating finished this winter!

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  25. Colleen on December 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I feel like I wrote this… I can’t let the husband see your blog, he has a little heartburn about the things I did before gardening, especially keeping a clean house. I have reached a plateau, systems in place, more efficient with my canning and so on. So I was able to learn to sew lately.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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