Making The Best of What You Have

You know that old saying about how life never stays the same? We all know it’s true. We look at other people’s lives and watch them struggle with changes and sometimes think- why can’t they just relax and let go? Make the best of it? Find the positive gems in what looks like a heap of rubble?

Then it comes time to take your own advice. Ha ha.

When we moved to this house I really struggled. I knew it was inevitable. I knew it was coming because my husband inherited the house from his parents. Selling and moving wasn’t negotiable.

I left behind the cottage garden that I painstakingly brought back to life when we moved into the old Japanese cottage in Nogata. How I loved that garden. I had a good variety of vegetables and around the wall that surrounded our home I planted a semi-wild cottage garden of foxgloves, hellebore, daisies, daffodils and snowdrops. There were cosmos and camomile. Deep blue, pink and purple Hydrangeas burst into life during June. There were more, many more wonderful flowers and plants, bushes and trees.

And there were visitors! So many birds! Sometimes I spied a weasel or a Tanuki.

The whole change of moving here upended me for a while which is kind of silly really because this area is much more rural than our old town.

A twilight walk- the barley is growing.

It really stressed me out but the real problem was that I wasn’t taking time out to be still. Stillness helps us listen to what’s going on inside.

I’ve learned to love a different way of gardening- my plants are all in containers now because in the little villages houses are packed tightly together- land is scarce in Japan. I take walks around our little town and while some have a bit more space most have tiny container gardens like I do.

I planted a few things today.
Starting to fill up the flower pots🙂

There’s a lady in the neighborhood whose house is engulfed in potted plants! She’s got everything- vegetables, flowers and small trees. I often see her outside pottering around in her garden apron. Her house is wedged in the middle of a side street with houses just meters away on either side. She’s got less space than we do! Yet… there she is with a flourishing garden all around her! She inspired me a lot.

Some have used part of their rice fields and set up gardens there. I’ve been offered a small space in someone’s rice field but -walking back and forth that’s difficult. There’s no place to store garden tools, no toilet. Too inconvenient especially when I’m focused on simplifying things. I almost said yes but…I stopped myself and said, let me think about it. I took time to ask myself some questions- what do I want right now? How will adding a big garden that I have to walk back and forth to hauling my will that serve me? I realized that it would only add stress. I said no thank you.

A garden in a rice field.

We also decided to spruce up our patio. It’s actually not a patio it is the space where my father in-law had a big dog house, rice farming equipment, a tool shed and junk. When we moved in we cleaned it up keeping only the old shed. We had some plants there and an old table and chairs.

The old shed and space before we remodeled.

We decided to spruce it up. We don’t have a big budget so we repurposed, recycled and rearranged. I went to the local recycling shop and picked up some really nice pottery pieces!

The recycle shop!
I got some bargains!

We decided to paint the shed- hubby picked out the color. I’m going to add some details later and a homemade twig wreath.

I’ll get some shade loving plants because we found a canopy on sale and we grabbed it. It gets super hot on summer afternoon- the space faces south-west. So while the cactus will get sun, whatever is under the canopy will be mostly in the shade.

Tomorrow we are going to pick up a long pole and some bamboo shades. We have an idea to create a privacy screen and sun block so that the afternoon sun doesn’t fry us back there.

In front of that space is the car park and that’s all the extra space we have here except the narrow walkway to the side gate which I can’t clog up with flower pots because the delivery people need access (think propane and kerosene).

So this is using what we have to create our best life. A simple life shaped around the Nordic philosophy. We are keeping it simple, within a budget. We used what we had and bought only what we needed. We bought as much as we could on sale or at the recycling shop.

We are already looking forward to our wonderful little relaxing outdoor space- and there is still enough room for my yoga mat!

Okay- that’s enough for today. I’m in my way to my favorite garden shop now.

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