happy half

Spring is in the air.  Quite literally in the air.  I spent an entire hour at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens yesterday, enraptured by the buds and new shoots and flowers at my feet, so much so that I never noticed this Japanese apricot bursting into glorious bloom overhead.  Only as I was leaving did I perceive a rosy mist among a thousand bare limbs, a hint of a blush hovering in the air above the distant pond.

I rushed over to stand beneath it, the first flowering tree I’ve seen this season, and managed to snap this one shot before my camera battery died on me.  I’m so glad I was able to capture that one; it’s nice to immortalize the moment when spring became utterly real for me, even though winter still holds us fast in its grip.

After all, the ground had a frozen crust that crunched beneath my feet when I went to check on the peas’ progress this morning.  Yet as I stood beneath these flowering branches, my heart swelled with the joy and the certainty of spring.  If I’d been the demonstrative type, I might have started singing.  (Visitors to the gardens are no doubt relieved that my relatively timid public persona forbade it — or would be if they knew what a narrow escape they’d had.)

I’m reminded of the opposite moment, immortalized in another post written at the other pole of the year, when autumn made itself felt to me, even in the midst of a blazing August when it seemed as if summer could never end.

When I wrote about the major seasonal shift from summer to autumn, my blog was just a few days old.  I feel a bit like a four-year-old announcing this (only very small children count in fractions), but…

It’s my half blog-birthday!

Six months ago at around 9:00 at night, I pressed the publish button on this blog for the first time.  And not a single person read that post for 14 days.  But I wasn’t really anticipating an audience, or even aware of how one would go about getting one, and it was better for me not to have one at first.

I was treating the blog as a semi-public diary of my kitchen garden, mostly for my use and to get me past my irrational and near lifelong fear of having others read what I write.  Those first entries were basically a transfer of a couple of paragraphs that normally would have been preserved in one of my gazillions of notebooks, never to be seen by other eyes.

Now, this whole approach to blogging may sound strange to other bloggers, but you have to remember I knew almost nothing about the world of blogs.  And unlike F. and other academically-minded people, I didn’t bother to research before I launched mine.  My style is more jump-in-with-both-feet.

So I did.

My personal goal, enumerated on my other blog (which has its half-birthday in two days), was to publish some bit of writing and a photograph here every single day.  And I have done so, by and large, only missing seven days’ postings in six months, by my count, and some of those were due to our DSL going on the fritz.

I also used a “cheat,” posting a quote from someone else and a photograph of my own on occasion, especially useful during those times when I was sick, on deadline for work, or away on my honeymoon.  Although I learned over time to prepare posts in advance for emergencies, it was particularly difficult to write them too far in advance due to the seasonal nature of this blog.

Since that first post, I have pressed “publish” a total of 299 times (if you count both blogs), and my words have been read — or scanned, or at the very least glanced at — over 12,000 times.  And I didn’t die, after all.  Pressing the publish button is no longer nerve-wracking, and it seems that by practicing a little writing every day, I’ve somehow cured my writer’s block and am writing more freely than I’d managed in a decade.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the thing you cannot do.”  It seems that in my case, it’s true.

It turns out that letting people read my words is not something to inspire terror; it’s more like a thrill.  In fact, my audience turned out to be not scary at all, but rather intelligent and passionate, friendly and knowledgeable, lively and humorous and fun, as can be seen in the more than 1800 comments we’ve exchanged here and at my art blog, and in all of those lovely e-mails, too.

There is no way to adequately express my thanks for all of that interaction, whether it be just reading along or subscribing or commenting or sending me a note.  Y’all have been such an integral part of my journey in blogging.

As this anniversary was approaching, I thought a lot about what it has meant to me to have that audience there, and I determined to have some sort of show of my thankfulness.  And in keeping with the theme of Victory Garden Redux (how funny is it that I didn’t realize I had a theme when I began?), I’d like to give away some of that most potent symbol of Nature’s mystery and the wonder we all experience when we allow ourselves to truly interact with that mystery; that is, I’ll be giving away some seeds.  And because it’s the Victory Garden, they’ll be seeds for food plants.

On February 18th, I will select , by random number generator, three readers to receive a gift of a selection of five varieties of either lettuce, radish, or cucumber seed.  These will not be full packets, but a small quantity of seeds of each kind that I have in my seed collection, all suitable for a home kitchen garden.

To enter, just leave a note in the comments and tell me whether you’d prefer lettuce, radishes, or cucumbers in your garden.  For those who garden in containers, don’t forget that lettuce and radishes are both suitable, and lettuce in particular is forgiving of relatively cramped conditions.  Some cukes are fine in containers, but I have found them a pain because of their need for pretty consistent moisture levels to produce well.

I’m sure that it will not be legal for me to send seed to certain countries, so if a comment from an international reader is selected, I’ll research the rules pertaining to that particular locale, and if exchanging vegetable seeds with you would be illegal or questionable, I’ll find something else garden-related to send instead.

The tradition in F.’s country is that the person whose birthday it is should treat all his or her friends to a wonderful dinner, and sometimes gifts, as well.  Of course, in the United States it’s the opposite, with the birthday girl or boy receiving the presents from friends and family.  But I like it his culture’s way, really.  It’s almost like saying, “Look at me, I’ve survived another year with your love and company and support, and I’m thriving, in large part thanks to all of you.  So let’s celebrate together!”

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by planting some seeds (for me, today, ‘Saxa’ radish and ‘Tatsoi’ mustard), and I’m so happy to share this half-blogaversary with all of you.

36 Responses to “happy half”

  1. Dear Meredith, What a really positive posting beginning with your celebrating the arrival of spring and ending with something to mark your half birthday of blogging. Congratulations.

    I very much enjoy your writing and look forward to your postings. Long may they continue!

  2. Meredith, happy half-blog-birthday to you! Here’s to many more! You know…I think I missed ours, it would have been February 1st. We started our blog less than two weeks before you! I love the Japanese flowering apricot…such rich colored and beautiful blossoms. Spring is coming…

  3. Congratulations! Love the photo…what would we all do without flowering trees? If I’m selected for seeds, then I would choose radishes for my husband who loves them so much.

  4. Congratulations… it’s great to be able to share all the gardening/bird and wildlife antics in our own gardens with so many across the globe… love the photos of the blossom – it gives me hope for warmer days whilst it’s still so cold and snowy – Miranda

  5. Oh, that photo is so lovely! There is something about spring blossoms that just makes me catch my breath in anticipation.

    Congrats, Meredith ! I’m glad you were brave and hit the publish button and I’m really glad we’ve had the opportunity to become acquainted. I always look forward to your posts and thank you for sharing your garden and your life through your beautiful photography and beautifully expressed writing.

    • I’m glad you like the photo, Talon. You make me blush with your kind words. You are such a good friend. 🙂 (Just imagine if I hadn’t been brave and hadn’t met my blog buddies… oh, no, I won’t imagine it!)

  6. Happy, happy half-year blogiversary, Meredith! I’m looking forward to the next six months/years! If you happen to select me for your seed giveaway, I’m a lettuce person 😉

  7. Meredith it is a good thing you could take this photo… It is beautiful and I have been there so many times… dead batteries! Happy Half-Year blogging day! I love your writing! So glad you decided to blog!! Looking forward to the second half! ;>))

    • LOL, Carol. I think we all know the dead batteries nightmare. I was so frustrated, too, as I had a backup battery with me… that I’d forgotten to charge! Thanks for the compliment. I hope the second half meets expectations. 🙂

  8. Meredith, you might not have gone as far as singing at the sight of that beautiful apricot, but to me your writing is like a song! I’m so glad you pushed that ‘publish’ button 🙂
    Never mind seeds or anything like that for me, Australian customs are a little ‘touchy’ anyway! I’m just happy to wish you a Happy half-blogiversary!

    • Heidi, you are so sweet. That really made me blush with happiness. 🙂

      My fear would be to send something to Australia that would end up being a monster invasive species — altho that’s doubtful with lettuce, I suppose, especially in a hot climate. Nonetheless, you’ll be entered, and I’m sure I can come up with something fun if you win. 😉

  9. Bless you, Meredith, it’s been quite a accomplishment. Happy 1/2 year birthday. Shame on me, I’ve never kept track of mine! Your header is indeed springy … we are still covered in a blanket of snow. Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

    • No worries, joey. I might have kept a little too close track of mine, because it meant so much to me. (F. was saying, “Okaaay” this morning when I trilled, “It’s my six-month blog birthday!” at breakfast. LOL. Maybe I’m too enthusiastic sometimes — although I secretly suspect it’s part of what he loves about me.)

      I hope you got a nice, vicarious shot of Spring up there under your blanket of snow. I know from experience how hard it can be in February with no letup in sight…

  10. I don’t need any seeds, but did want to say that I thoroughly enjoy both your writing and your art – I did get to visit the other blog a few nights ago. It must be a great thing to live fully sensing everything around you – looking up and snapping the pics, crunching the earth below, and be eloquent enough to write about it, and artistic enough to make a representation of it. Happy half-blogiversary!

    • I’m grateful for those generous words, Wendy. I never thought of myself as “fully sensing everything around” me… but I admit those are the best moments of my life, when I manage to let go and do so. 🙂

  11. Spring! Happy half-blogiversary! Never mind the seeds for me – I just wanted to wish you a happy-versary!

  12. You write so well, I can’t imagine any blockage, but I am happy to have your blog in my life, Meredith. No seeds for me – I just don’t have enough space for that kind of container garden in the area around my condo. I usually just plant basil. 🙂

    I did the same thing with my blog – sort of used it like an online diary and had no comments at all until Jannie found it by hitting “next” blog on blogger.

    Happy sixth month!

    • Lynn, the blockage was acute, I assure you. It got to where writing a postcard to a friend was difficult… which now seems just silly. 😉 Basil is a wonderful choice. Are you sure you wouldn’t like a little lettuce to replace the wild lettuce seedling you had last year?

      Jannie is awesome, and I’m glad you were discovered by her (and blue bunny, I presume ;)). Your blog deserves to be more widely read even now! You were my first regular commenter here, you know, and have stayed loyal all these months, and I really have appreciated the encouragement and lively discussion and companionship. 🙂

  13. Congratulations on your six month anniversary. Your post makes me think about the beginnings of my blog, and echos many of my feelings about it. It is truly amazing how bound up and nervous we can be about other people reading our words, isn’t it? Glad you were able to make it past that blockage. . .

    Your photo is lovely, rather ironic given the state of the eastern seaboard just north of you! I’m sure people in Washington DC and Baltimore are saying “Spring? What is this thing called spring?”

    I would just as soon waive my entry in your seed giveaway, and hope some other gardener that is more needy of seeds be given a better chance of winning. . . you probably would believe the quantity of seeds I have hanging around here. . .

    • Thanks for the congratulations! I understand only too well about having too many seeds. But in this case, I’m glad the bounty could go to others and make them happy. 🙂

  14. congratulations on your first 6 months and here’s to more exciting experiences ahead and beautiful new experiences for us your readers…i did’t know you had an art blog, i’ll just have to check that on out to!

    • Thank you, Noel. I hope I’m able to provide those beautiful new experiences for my readers, and I’m glad you are one of them. 🙂

      (My art blog is currently in stasis, although there are plenty of archives to check out.)

  15. Hi Meredith

    I can’t wait to see blossom like that in about 6 weeks time here too. Happy anniversary and just keep hitting that publish button!

  16. Happy Anniversary!! I have so enjoyed getting to know you over this time and I can’t wait to read and learn more!

  17. What a beautiful image – I love that internal “click” when we know that the season has moved around again.

    Congratulations on your 6 months of blogging – and I am looking forward to more. Please don’t enter me in you give-away – as I don’t think you can send seed to the UK.

  18. Congratulations on six months of blogging! Your posts are so lovely and flow together so nicely. I’ve only been blogging since Nov. and vividly remember the naked feeling of pushing the “publish” button the first time! Suppose no one read it? Suppose people read it but didn’t like it? What if I run out of things to say? It’s been great fun so far, meeting cool people (like you) and learning so much. Hope your next six months (and beyond) prove to be even better!

    • Kathy, it’s still vivid in my memory, too. It is a “naked” feeling. 🙂 I agree that virtually “meeting” wonderful people (you included!) has been one of the best results so far.

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