Blog, Family

“Part 2: Young Wife.”

You Read it Right:

If you read anything on the About page or even on my Introduction post, you probably thought, “did she really say she got married after 5 months?” or you did the math really quick and calculated that I was just 18 years old when I got married. If that’s what you did, then yes it was only 5 months, and yes, I was 18. 

Actually, both of our parents got married young, (and are still married 20+ years later) and my parents got engaged within a month or so of knowing each other. I guess you could say because of that, we never found it odd to do something along those lines. I was never really encouraged to go find a husband at 18 years old and leave as soon as I could, but I was encouraged to find a man of God to marry, who I could commit to live a life with. My husband was also, always encouraged similarly.

Ironically, we moved just 10 minutes away from him in April 2015. I crossed over the same friend groups and places plenty of times, but never heard of him until May 2019, when a friend of ours said she knew a good guy named Bergen, who I might like. By the way, I was definitely not looking for a guy at this time, but for some reason I decided it couldn’t harm anything to meet him, and just see what happened. Pretty simple story really, got set up by our friend, met at her bonfire, went on a date, and now we’re here! and all because of the Lord!

Becoming a Wife:

To me, being a wife is staying home to take care of the household and to “nurture the home.” While that is not always seen as a good thing, and is often looked down upon to do (and to think). An already difficult path to take in this society becomes harder when doing it at say, 18 years old. This society, makes it look like a rougher path. It discourages being a wife, and starting a family young because we are supposed to go date around, go be free from the chains of a husband and child(ren). Surprisingly, even in the Christian community, you don’t hear about how we should use our singleness to prepare for marriage and a family while being young that often anymore. We [as women] are supposed to be dependent on only ourselves, not a man, and should not have children, at least not until we are completely fulfilled with our careers first. Says, the world.

This one is next on my list of “books to read.”

Although, not everyone is like this, and not every Christian either. There are wives who are mothers and have careers, who are mothers who work from home, and mothers who are also just full time stay-at-home too! Every family is different. Biblically, it’s a woman’s strong-suit to nurture, be the caretaker and obviously, have the children. Where as a man’s strong suit, is providing, protecting, and working hard for his family. It’s beautiful, to think each one is sacrificing for the other, while following the Lord together. 

As a woman, never settle for a man who isn’t Godly. A woman needs a man who will lead her towards the Lord, not away from Him. A good sign that he is, would be if he is comfortable and willing to openly talk about the Lord in your free-time. Use this season of singleness as an opportunity to search for a willing and open guy that you can have those conversations with! If you’re ignoring a red flag, getting married won’t change someone’s mind on any said topic, (for example, like the number of kids to have). Luckily, red flags don’t always mean a done deal! I just encourage you to talk through those red flags, and make any compromises before marriage, so it doesn’t cause a rocky foundation to start with. One of the for sure signs that my husband was the one was, he immediately asked about my views, and wanted to talk about the Lord, and face to face, not over a text or anything. The important part is, he initiated those conversations at first, and he put in that work for our relationship to grow! I will note, that is not an excuse for the woman to be lazy, we absolutely need to work for it too!

Going forward down this path and becoming a young wife, I was confident about my decision, but not everyone around me was. Even in friend groups of other Christians, it was hard because it’s still not the normal thing to do. When you become a wife, to stay home when you don’t have kids yet is “weird.” We knew having a baby was in the very near future, so there was no point for me to get a job, when I would leave it to stay home with our baby anyways. We knew we stood firm in our decision, so we didn’t care too much what people said about it.

A Big Decision:

It is a commitment, a big decision, it is something that takes communication, prayer, and much thought, but is worth it all the same. I hear a lot that it’s [marriage] a “ball and chain, so you’ll regret it” which may be so when it isn’t done for the right reasons, but when you do it the right way, for the right reasons, its really the opposite. You should feel confident about your decision, you both should! Which is why I think it’s great to start preparing for that future now, while young. Why wait to get married and start your family? If you have found a great “potential husband” (or potential wife, if you’re a man that’s reading) for you, is there a reason?

Being a Wife:

I feel so much joy in the fact that I am caring for my husband and our household. It’s an important job that no one should take lightly. If you are thinking the same, I just want to let you know, society will get over it, the group of friends will let it go eventually, and if you both know you are following the Lord, then what’s it matter if it flusters a few people? If it’s also family you’re flustering, I know how hard it can be, but if it’s the Lord’s plan, then they too will be okay, in time. If you are on the opposite side of things and think we and others are crazy, thats okay too! I understand not everyone thinks this way. Like I was saying previously, even among an all Christian group, it wasn’t fully accepted. Everyone is different, this is just the perspective of one, young wife.

Blog, Family

“Part 1: Young Marriage.”

Why Wait?

Fast forward to the engagement, which was only 6-7 weeks after meeting My (future) husband Bergen. Obviously, I said yes. We had talked about everything important, we knew what our beliefs were, and what we wanted from the other. We were on the same page with everything. I mean, truly, what was the point in waiting to get married?  We didn’t see any point to it, so we got engaged and set the wedding date for 3 months later! (I wanted an outdoor wedding, but it still most likely wouldn’t have been that much longer, had I wanted different). We had a small wedding in late summer/early fall, and it was the best time. We had tons of support, we both have big families, with lots of siblings, and so we were definitely encouraged throughout that whole time, which was a huge blessing. However, because we were so young and so quick to our decision we had also been discouraged as well.

From a christian’s perspective, biblically, I think it’s perfectly fine to encourage getting married young, so long as you both have the Lord as your foundation and understand the commitment. I think because of all the bad experiences, and bad advice out there, there is a lot of fear about getting married young. Marriage and family is encouraged all throughout the Bible, it’s something the Lord loves! If you are one of the people who got married when you were older, or haven’t found a good guy (or girl) yet, thats okay too. It’s not the same timing for everyone. Unfortunately, we ended up with a handful of friends and a few of our relatives who were negative towards us and our decision. A lot of the relationships we had changed, or just ended up drifting away.

What People Said to Us, and Say to Others:

“You really should get in a few big fights, before you get married.”

“You should really go date around more first, and have some fun!” 

“You should go experience life more, and be young. I’d hate to see you give that up for a life of marriage and making a family.”

“Are you old enough for that?”

“That quick?”

There were also silent commenters, who just made faces of disagreement and shock. Some of these were said to us by our close relatives, and some from friends. Some of them really did try to talk us out of it. We also had a bad marriage counselor at first too, who seemed to have had a negative view on marriage, entirely. At the end of the day, we knew we loved each other, we trusted the Lord and were fully committed. We didn’t let it affect us too much, but it was a discouragement all the same. 

If you are in this same place in life, just know unfortunately, not everyone understands, and just try to stick with the people who do, and are encouraging you. If you know someone who is trying to get married young and you are unsure of their decision, I would say just encourage them to stay close to the Lord, pray about it more, and to talk things over with their future spouse. Let them know what you feel that is off. I would have loved that from the relatives and friends who didn’t agree with us, instead of discouraging the entire thing altogether, even with good intentions!

a fun devotional to do with your significant other!

As For Friends :

We are only 2 years into our marriage, but I still am very confident about my decision, as is my husband. Over these last couple years since meeting him, we’ve both drifted from friends and found that our big groups, have become fairly small since, and not all of it was because it ended badly! More often than not, we change seasons in our lives at different times, so people we meet come and go and thats okay. 

Getting married, Is a big life change, and doing so while young right now in this day and age, is not really seen as the normal thing to do. I think its because it is hard to find people who actually commit to things fully. Going out with a group of friends who are single and/or dating or starting their career jobs, while you’re married is hard to do at times, because it gets trickier to relate to them now— I say this because I believe the wife should stay at home and take care of the home (although, every family is different!).

  So while that doesn’t mean it does not work (because it still could), it’s just harder to relate to the most popular conversation topics. Especially if you’re focused on starting a family soon and they are not! Priorities change, and thats okay. Overall, if you’re in the same boat or know someone who is, just put trust in the Lord. It’s a new season. Getting married young is not a bad decision, and it shouldn’t be a regretful one. You just have to keep your relationship close to the Lord. And lastly, if you’re having a hard time letting things or people go, remember that new things are coming, and you have to make some room! 

Farm

“Straw Bale Garden. How it Worked and Total Cost.”

If you’ve read my introduction post, you know that this is our first year of a full garden. We were starting with a complete blank space. Originally, when deciding on a type of raised bed we really wanted cost-efficient, raised beds that did the job and also that looked decent enough. After running across a Pinterest board idea of raised beds using straw bales, we gave it some pricing thought, then went out and bought everything we needed!

 Obviously depending on size of yard and layout you want, it can be any shape really. Keep in mind how many straw bales you need for each design as for where you are located, might have different sized bales (we have two-string bales, about 3.5ft x 1.5ft). We went with three rectangle beds for the design, pretty simple. two of them consisted of one bale on the ends, and three bales on the sides. The last bed had only two bales on the sides, so it was a little smaller.

garden design pic
The design we made and took reference from.

After setting up the bales, we finished by laying down the dirt and planting everything. It turned out pretty well and honestly after we finished setting it up, I thought it looked pretty nice! Total cost for us after the bales, dirt, netting, and seeds/plants was around $500 dollars. If you already have netting and don’t need the two planting bins, then that would cut the cost down by around $70 bucks.

small bed picture
Our Small raised bed. The after picture.

The actual sizes; big ones were 6.5ft x 11.5ft, and little one 5ft x 8.5ft. Pretty decent, since after the season is done you can break apart those bales and use them for mulch, compost, etc. They hold up pretty nicely (strings kept on), and for a “beginners” first garden, I think its a great way to go! I do have a couple things to review, but please note it might not be the same in different climates and zones, (our zone is, WA Zone 8a). 

side by side bale beds
First done, and Now.

With our weather here, the constant water/sun exposure the bales grew a type of cup fungus— harmless, and nonpoisonous, but annoying to keep cleaned out due to crowding our plants. It also grew quickly at first, but eventually went away after consistent cleaning and maybe warmer weather, perhaps. I don’t have picture of those unfortunately. They stopped popping up by the time I thought of it. Here is a picture from online that matched ours. click here

 If you live in the PNW, you too probably struggled through the big heat wave we had just before the Fourth of July. Well, with our bales they again, grew another type of fungus— a type of slime mold. This was also harmless, and nonpoisonous. I’m fairly certain it was only due to the extreme heat, and wasn’t that hard to deal with anyways because it grew on the tops of the bales, and not in with our plants. However, its pretty gross to look at and made me think our cats were having some serious stomach problems at first.

fungi pic
Quick, overnight growth of the “yellow slime” and a different patch that dried up, to show its next step.

 

After the season is over, and the bales need to be taken apart, as long as the fungi are removed, the bales are still fine to use in your mulch, compost, or whatever you choose to use them for. Where we live, our backyard for some reason was appealing to some yellow jackets who made a nest in the smaller raised bed, which we dealt with. A tip I read somewhere that prevents that, if you also have an appealing set up to yellow jackets while using the bales, try to keep a gap between each bale of around 3” inches. If the bales aren’t touching, it seems to help people with deterring those mean guys.

heat damage and strawberry
Heat damage on strawberries, and salvaged bale from the small bed Yellow jacket takeover.

When we cleaned the jacket’s nest out of our smaller bed, we noticed that the dirt held up its shape just fine after the bales had been removed, carefully. So, fear not if you have to dismantle a bale, it shouldn’t disrupt your dirt or your plants! We actually had to get rid of that whole smaller bed, because its location wasn’t the best for our lettuce and spinach.

 It all worked out in the end even with that surprise nest. We salvaged what we could and we are going to add some of those bales to cover our flower bushes, and then the rest will be shoveled and raked at the end of summer, to prepare for winter and next season’s raised beds. 

 The straw bales were cost-efficient, and multi-purposeful. I would definitely still recommend them for a beginners first garden set up, so long as you remember to keep an eye out for those fungi. This next garden season we are doing concrete block raised beds, along with something DIY and fun for our garden area. It will be fun to do something my little one can be participating in, even now while 9 months old. It involves beaches, and searching. Any guesses? Can’t wait to share!

Blog

Introduction!

Welcome! You’ve found my blog, “Among the Evergreens.” My name is Jo, and I wanted to introduce myself a little bit. I’m from the Pacific Northwest, born and raised, and still loving the PNW. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and actually the first fun fact about me is that I got married and started my family young! I met my husband in May 2019, got married in September 2019, and had our sweet baby November 2020. We are just in our early 20s, and we love our life so far! We are a small (but growing) christian family who loves the Lord Jesus, and are blessed to be able to live our lives for Him. I’ve started this blog to share about farming and family— to share our progress, growth, experience, and to encourage others who may be starting out as a young family, trying to become self-sustainable off their land, and guiding children along the way! I know how difficult is to find people to connect with sometimes, so if you are one of the few who is starting a family young, then I’m here to say that’s us too, and we can relate! However, regardless of what season of life you are in— same or not, I’m just glad you are here to read my writing! So with that being said, I will get on with it.

My husband, Bergen and I.

I’ve always liked farm and garden anything, but honestly only since getting married I have found myself truly embracing it. Both of our families have done homesteading in one way or another all throughout our childhood, so we are familiar with it and happy to dive into it ourselves! I love being a wife, a mom, a gardener/farmer, and I do love to write, so here I am! My husband and I both love writing ironically, but have always put off starting our own blogs. However, we both took the leap, I just have finished my site first. His is still in the making, but coming soon!  

Currently, we have a small backyard garden/farm, if you will. In our, about a 1,000 sqft yard, we have our rabbits, and the lovely garden! Although, coming soon is six chickens and another buck (boy rabbit). We also have two cats, Forest and Cricket. Forest (boy) catches the rodents, Cricket (girl) catches the food droppings in the kitchen, when she can. Rabbits will be the meat source, chickens will be the egg source, and the garden is, well, for veggies. Anything is possible, even in small spaces! Gardens and chickens aren’t new to us, but rabbits are! We’ve both never had rabbits and are so excited about this adventure.

our cats
Forest (Gump) and Cricket.

Presently, we have three rabbits (four if you count the one coming in a few weeks), two does and one buck, but all four will be the breeding rabbits for our Rabbitry. The plan is to eventually have their offspring become a future meat source, but majority of the time we will just be using them for the Rabbitry and sending the rabbits to people who either want a 4-H friend,  to use for meat source, or even just to have as a pet who will help fertilize their gardens. Our “Evergreen Rabbitry” will hopefully have a yard full of healthy, cute baby rabbits come this next spring!

Blackie, Mopsy and Cottontail

This is our first year of a full garden and all, so we are very “new” at this— if I was going to start a blog I figured now would be the best time to do so! It will be so wonderful to look back in a few years at our beginning and see the progress we make and to remind us of where we were! or even just to have notes on what to do better next time with farming, and with life. Blog or not, I’m a fan of having a way to look back for learning, and reminiscing. Pictures are another thing I love to have— I’m no photographer at all, but as long as its not blurry or anything, I’m pretty happy!

A Glimpse into our Garden

Eventually, we will have more kids and more animals. A once little farm, will one day be big. The list of animals to get is, some pigs, ducks, more chickens, some cows, a dog or two, and a couple goats as well. We’ve both grown up around all of these, besides cows, and thats what I’m most excited to get— I really love cows. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find more animals to add to that list, but for now this is where we are with that. I can’t wait to share about our experiences, and the growth of our little family’s farm. 

Thank you for reading so far, and I hope you stick around for the many adventures to come!

No comments to show.