The garden is my therapy…

Butterflies page

I’ve made this statement before as some of you might remember.  This week has been quite hectic and stressful for me.  As the caretaker for my grandparents and an emotionally ill adult son I find myself overwhelmed a bit at times.  The garden is my escape when I have free moments to spare.  Unfortunately that leaves very little time for anything else such as blogging.  Of course I could of made time but truly I’ve been emotionally as well as physically spent for the most part.  Of course life goes on in the garden regardless of my distractions from life.   The wildlife has kept me entertained this week and I came very close to getting a good shot of the first Monarch visitor yesterday.  Instead I captured this Black Swallowtail (?) flitting around on anything that was in bloom. 

from the garden page

Another activity I’ve also enjoyed is harvesting veggies from the garden.  I’ve used this fresh produce in several dishes from fried squash, homemade salsa  and refrigerator pickles to salads and side dishes.  This year I used cornmeal mixed with some seasoning salt for the batter on my fried squash.  It has to be my favorite summertime snack to date.  I’m trying to get back into the swing of things again which is easier said than done I think.  So bear with me as I ease my way back into the blogasphere again… 🙂


21 responses to this post.

  1. Take care of yourself Racquel. Your butterfly pictures are great. I am looking for the bread and butter pickle recipe….should have looked for it before I offered! Your tomatoes look great.

    Thanks Janet, I’m trying to. I’m glad you liked my Swallowtail photos. Take your time finding the recipe. I got all my cukes picked at the moment, lol. 🙂


  2. You have to come first Racquel. Hang in there and enjoy the butterflies and the beauty in the garden.

    Thanks Tina, that is something I’m not good at. But I’ll work on it. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!


  3. My heart and prayers go out to you Racquel. I know telling you to find time for yourself is easier said than done; but take the time when you can. Breathe. Know that your are making a major contribution to comfort and quality of the lives of others. H.

    You are so kind Helen, thank you for that. I will try to remember to remind myself of these things when times get tough. 🙂


  4. I love the way working in the garden helps me just forget my troubles for a while. Take care of yourself. Sending you a virtual hug.

    It’s truly a blessing to have a hobby that relieves my stress. Thanks Deb for your kind words & the hug! 🙂


  5. I’ve had very little time for anything but caretaking myself lately. My m-i-l with late stage Alzheimer’s had to have shoulder surgery and I’m the full-time sitter right now. I find solace in the garden too but it is usually behind the camera when I can spare a few minutes of me time. It is quite exhausting but I’m so glad that I am available to do it. I hope your time in the garden continues to bring you peace and rest.

    Thank you Robin, it sounds like the garden and taking photos is something we both find solace in during times of great demand. I’m so sorry to hear about your MIL, I can imagine how difficult this is on all of you. My grandmother is showing signs of Alzheimer’s too and it has been hard. I’m glad that I am able to be here for the ones I love too. It’s challenging at times, but I couldn’t imagine my life anyother way.


  6. Life’s stresses and tribulations to fly away in the garden……….I understand.

    I am watching for my first blackswallow tail for the past three years they have laid eggs in my herb on the dill and fennel. I LOVE watching this scenario play out. I have spotted a few monarchs.

    That’s a lovely way to put it IGW. 🙂 I really need to plant the dill seed next year for these beautiful creatures.


  7. Racquel, I am glad your garden provides an escape for you. Caregivers are so reluctant to take time for themselves, but need that time to recharge. If not, they are no good to anyone. So please take care of yourself and give yourself those much needed breaks. We will be here when you get back into the ‘swing’ of blogging/

    The butterfly is a black swallow tail and you got great photos.We love summer squash too and usually I just steam it with a little butter. Now the cornmeal sounds like it might make a great batter for fried green tomatoes!

    Thanks for understanding Beckie. I do forget to take care of myself sometimes. This week for a time for recharging I guess. You are such a wonderful blogging buddy. 🙂 Thanks for confirming my suspicions I was thinking it was a Black Swallowtail. It does make a great batter for fried green tomatoes too, I’ve done that as well. 🙂


  8. Racquel, you must truly be an angel to have some many depending upon you. I hope your garden will soon be filled with beautiful butterflies for you.

    Take care,

    Thank you Cameron for your generous comments. I wouldn’t say I’m an angel, but I do love my family. 🙂


  9. Posted by greenwalks on July 27, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Hi Racquel – I knew something must be up to keep you from your regular posting and commenting. I am so sorry that you are contending with so much right now, you have my deepest sympathies and hopes that things will get easier sooner rather than later. I didn’t know about your son, my heart really goes out to you both on that one – we love our kids so much and want them to be happy, but sometimes life or brain wiring does not cooperate. All of these folks are so lucky to have you in their lives, but I echo the other comments in hoping that you get some respite yourself. I agree, gardening is great therapy, and much cheaper than the couch kind! Hang in there, and don’t worry about the blogosphere, it will be here when you have time again!

    Hi Karen. Thanks for all your kind words of encouragement & understanding. I haven’t mentioned my eldest son’s disability much online. It’s not something that is easy to explain most of the time. As a mother you can empathize with how I feel. 🙂


  10. I hope things get easier for you soon. Constant pressure is very wearing so I am glad you find relief and comfort in your garden.
    I am envious of your squash – I can never get the batter to stick to anything and end up with very messy slices 🙂

    Thanks for being so sweet EG. It is quite wearing at times. Just need to catch my breath again. The secret to getting the batter to stick is to dip them in egg first. 😉


  11. Deep breaths, a few moments of quiet and Give Thanks in All Things!! Take your time Raquel. Your photos are great……and I get the whole garden therapy…

    Thanks Darla, that’s good advice. I appreciate you stopping by today. 🙂


  12. Great pictures Racquel–and I agree with you on garden therapy! But family always comes first, so you take care of yours and know that your blogging friends will be here for you! Blogging has seems to have become a little more difficult for me this summer too. Take care–you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers!

    Thanks Linda. I knew you would understand the peacefulness the garden gives me. And I appreciate all the kind comments and thoughts from you and the rest of the garden blogging community. 🙂


  13. Racquel,
    The mental part will wear you out quicker than the physical. As a matter of fact, I find the physical stuff always make the mental stuff better. I read on someone’s blog and unfortunately I can’t remember which one, “You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the garden.” That’s the truest statement I’ve ever read. Take care–

    So true Randy, so true. That is one of my favorite quotes of all time. In fact I use to have it on my old blog with Blogger. 🙂 Thanks!


  14. Hi Racquel, I know how emotionally draining these responsibilities can be. It’s good the garden can be an stress reliever. For me it is often the opposite–just another responsibility. Usually I enjoy gardening best when my life is in balance and there are no really stressful things happening.

    It can be another chore you’re right, but fortunately the garden is quite forgiving in times of high stress I’ve found. When things are hectic here I take care of the most vital tasks first and let the others go for another day. Afterall you can only do so much in a day. 🙂


  15. I find a lot of solace in my garden too. My daughter is also an adult (22) and has issues (autistic spectrum, OCD). She seems to be doing OK right now, but she is away doing research over the summer and my husband and I have been chewing our fingernails wondering if she would be OK. She has had problems away from home in the past. It is always hard to know how far to let them go. You want them to succeed in their dreams, but having another breakdown away from home just isn’t going to help. I’ll go fly down and bring her back at the end of the week and see how it all went. Then I have to tell her that her dog died when she was gone AAARRGGG. Life can be very stressful. Luckily when it gets to be too much I can go out and listen to the bees buzz. It is very therapeutic.

    Hi Daphne, I appreciate you stopping by today. I see you can relate to the joys and stresses of having an emotionally disabled adult child. My son will be 20 this weekend. He was diagnosed Bipolar 1 with Adjustment Disorder. Change & the everyday stresses we take for granted are difficult for him at best. I hope your daughter had a good week and I’m sorry to hear her dog recently passed. I can only imagine how difficult it will be to break that to her. Thank goodness we both have found a natural way to relieve some stress through gardening. Just the mundane tasks of weeding, watering & deadheading can be quite therapeutic in my opinion. Take Care & thanks for lending an ear.


  16. Hi Racquel,
    It’s funny how our lives change from year to year. I think that we women feel a committment to our family members like no other. This time in your life is probably very stressful and you may feel like it’s always going to be like this. Things change and these problems can disappear leaving you feeling happy that you were able to devote time and love to your family. When we feel under so much stress…we just have to find a way of relaxing. Gardening is your passion and sharing it with others makes you happy. You’ll just have to work out a way to make time for yourself, so you don’t overdo. Just know that many of us are with you in this and hope for better times for you.
    Balisha ((hugs))

    Thank you Balisha, it does feel like it will always be this way sometimes. In my head I know that’s not true though. I’m so thankful that I’m able to be here for them right now. You’ve described how gardening makes me feel perfectly. It’s hard to find time for myself sometimes so escaping into the yard is my one outlet. Thanks for your understanding and support. It’s very much appreciated. 🙂


  17. As someone who doesn’t blog as often as many, without the commitments most even have, I’m well “qualified” to tell you that real life has precedence. Don’t feel bad about not blogging! 🙂

    Thanks Monica, I just miss all of you when I’m not able to blog. 🙂


  18. Racquel, I’m sorry to hear that life has been more stressful than usual for you this past week. I always worry a little when you haven’t posted for a few days, since you usually post daily. I hope situations improve for you . . . spending some time in the garden, just “being” is wonderful therapy, and I hope you get a chance for a little peace and renewal each day. Don’t worry about blogging–we’ll all be here when you have the time again. Just take care of yourself.

    Thanks Rose for your concern. This week is starting out a bit better than the last one. The garden is calling to me & I missed all of my blogging buddies. It’s nice to have something that’s just for me. 🙂


  19. Posted by Lola on July 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Racquel, Your pics are gorgeous.
    I know how stressful it is to give care to an ill person. A beloved one makes it harder. But do sit down somewhere {preferably in the garden} close your eyes, take a deep breath, let it out slowly & thank the Lord above for all the blessings you have. Each one is a gift, a gift for us to enjoy far beyond the hardship. Just know that you are loved & that your loving care is appreciated greatly.

    Thank you Lola for the wonderful suggestions. I know that I’m doing the right thing by taking care of my loved ones. Sometimes it just gets to be a bit much. Fortunately when one day or week is hard there is always another one that is a bit easier. 🙂


  20. No worries about us Racquel. Do what you need to. Being a caregiver is very emotionally and physically draining but know what a blessing you are to those who need you. I totally agree the garden is therapeutic no matter what a persons situation. There’s nothing like witnessing nature to uplift the spirit. Your black butterfly photos are wonderful and those fried squash slices look absolutely divine.

    Thanks Kathleen, I appreciate that. It can be a bit much at times. Thankfully it’s not always that way. The garden gives me such peace and tranquillity. 🙂


  21. I don’t have your stresses, but gardening is my therapy as well. I feel that contact with nature, be it in the wild or in the garden is essential to good mental and physical health.


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