Behold, the power of cropping.

Behold. The power of cropping. [Clean.]

I am almost embarrassed to admit to you just how many peaches I brought home from that roadside stand on Friday.

Because if you are thinking a bushel or two would be a lot you would be right.

And then if I suggested three bushels or God forbid four, well that would teeter on the edge of bonkers.

Four bushels. Humph.

But then if I told you there were already two bushels in the freezer for winter smoothies and treats and four more came home, well, I suspect that my peach issue would cease to be charmingly eccentric and become full on crazy pants.

Because how on earth could we even eat this many peaches and peach-based things in a year?

I have no idea.

Can we talk about something else?

And while yes, I did spend the weekend making: peach leather, dried peach slices, peach ketchup, cardamon-brandied peach halves, canned peaches, spiced canned peaches, peach soda syrup, peach butter, peach jam, and ginger-cardamon peach jam (*gasp*), I really emerged with a singular thought to bring to you, my dear friends.

That thought is this: cropping.

Life is one big, juicy, sticky mess. And anyone who's life appears dialed in in every way is cropping.

Cropping out the dog hair or the back talk, the bounced checks or the broken heart.

Cropping out whatever isn't working.

Because something isn't working in all of our lives.

It's the nature of life. If you aren't screwing something up you aren't really living.

So the next time you leave your favorite blog or social media with a sigh and a heavy heart, convinced you are inadequate because your life just doesn't measure up, know that it's all bullshit.

You totally measure up.

It's just that everyone else is cropping.

Here. Let me demonstrate using pretty peaches in my kitchen. Because Lord knows I have plenty of peaches.

Behold. The power of cropping. [Clean.]

When you see these peaches in my sink, all glistening and succulent in that vintage colander, you know that my life is perfect. Right? Right.

Behold. The power of cropping. [Clean.]

But when I allow you to see what's happening in the other sink and across the back splash, well, let's just say we no longer have peachy perfection. Oh, no. Now we have a health hazard.

Behold. The power of cropping. [Clean.]

Let's do another one because it's so much fun. Quaint, rustic jars of peaches on my old-school table. I know. It's like stepping back in time to your grandma's kitchen.

Behold. The power of cropping. [Clean.]

Or maybe not. Because your grandma probably didn't have a broken window screen, a battery charger, a knitting basket, and an inexplicable pair of latex gloves (!) on her table. Ahem.

Among other things.

So seriously, sister. Stop beating yourself up.

And the next time you feel inadequate, crop that shit out of the frame and forget about it.

And then marvel at how damn beautiful what you've kept truly is.

Behold. The power of cropping. [Clean.]

P.S. I love you.


Edited to add: if you love this post but were put off a bit by the colorful language, here is a swear-free version, for your sharing pleasure.

118 thoughts on “Behold, the power of cropping.

  1. Jennifer says:

    I have been following your blog for a while and recently bought soap ends and lavendar lotion bar at the renewable energy fair. I have to say this blog post speaks to me. I took a walk to our stream with our kids today and got a surprise that the crab apples are ready. Nothing is better than your 5 year old being over the moon excited when we talk about spiced crab apples in January in front of the fire. Let’s just crop away that a few hours earlier there was extended time out time!

    Crop away!

  2. vada wetzel says:

    Depression nibbles away at my self confidence and I can’t keep the kitchen table cleared off this week for anything….God bless you and your beautiful family! Thank you for putting a little of my reality in your blog today.

  3. Kelly says:

    This post is a big smile. We all know it’s true, but to see it for real….well, makes you real. Crop, crop, crop.

    And oh…my boys and I made a tiny batch of your cherry preserves from the tiny crop of tart cherries from our nanking cherry tree, and yes, it is more precious than gold. Thanks!

  4. Elie says:

    I love this (as I’m washing, drying, and freezing 12 pounds of blueberries)! Last year, we bought a gigantic bag of apples from an orchard that were discounted because either they were a bit bruised or too small. I had to get very creative with all those apples lol

  5. nicole spring says:

    Oh my goodness I sooo needed this post at this exact moment. Thank you!! I do have a tendency of feeling worse and inadequate after leaving beautiful blogs knowing what a mess my home and life are.

  6. Jenni says:

    What a wonderful post, I have only just found your blog and it is brilliant, especially this post, love the cropping concept!

  7. Miriam says:

    You make my heart smile!
    I love you. For your realness, your sincerity, and compassion.
    Thank you for ALWAYS inspiring..

  8. stephanie says:

    Lovely! I was pondering this the other day when I finally got homeschool books into magazine holders and thought, well, that section looks all organized like everyone’s blog but what about the other 99.9% of my stuff? I also pity those ladies who must be tossing whatever the little one’s favorite obsession is because they never seem to have a cardboard box, covered in bubble wrap, stickers, and clothes pins in the middle of their living rooms 😀

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    We had a craft table for a while in a library space off the kitchen at our old house. I’m so glad to have it gone, since it was just one more place to collect the detritus of our life. I can’t keep one table cleared, much less two! Peace, mama.

  10. Christy Austin says:

    YES!! AGREED!! This is the best blog post ever. I often try to remind myself that I’m comparing the “inside view” of my life to the “outside view” of others. It is so easy to think everyone else has their act together in all areas of their life, but of course, none of us do. My experience is that if I really put my whole self into something, like canning peaches for a whole weekend (which I intend to do soon!) then the rest of it falls apart…the laundry, the clutter, dinner (plus breakfast and lunch for that matter!). Focus on what is going right, cropping out what isn’t. I SAY YOU ARE BRILLIANT!

  11. Jai says:

    I love you too! Thanks for this wonderful poat. It is my favorite!!! I think because you used more than one swear words! I really do like it when you keep it real. Because far too often I think, wow, Rachel has it all together…I wonder how she does X,Y, or Z. I wish she was my mom! =)

  12. knitting mole & atomic vault says:

    I love you too and I really LOVE this post! Awesome. Must remember its all about cropping (which I should because I do it all the time in my own photos of stuff we sell on our etsy store (in fact, I was very frustrated late last night when we had got to the point where there was so much stuff we had to list on our dining room table, I could no longer crop it all out!!!))(we’re Atomic Vault, btw, should you wanna check out my cropping skills 🙂 )

  13. Samantha says:

    Actually, I found all your pictures quite beautiful. I didn’t see “mess” but just the beauty of living life. Honestly. You can’t have clean and tidy while living in the moment doing something! It’s all good. Indeed, your message is a good reminder though! It’s easy to get lost in perfection. I am amazed you managed to “do” all those things with your peaches in one weekend. Heavens, I wish I was better at making things happen in the kitchen with a bushel of anything. <3

  14. laidback learners says:

    brilliant post – laughed so much I almost sprayed my cuppa tea everywhere… cropping makes life look a little lovelier (surely no-one else needs to see the mountains of laundry strewn all over the floor, the piles of crap everywhere)… it is nigh on impossible to have a clean(ish) house for more than a few hours when you are a home educating mother of three. guess this is why I am (more than slightly) addicted to Instagram. my cropped life rocks!

  15. melissa m says:

    Your post made me laugh out loud and I sure needed that today. Rock on, peach goddess. I can’t wait to see what you do with pears and apples!

  16. Sheila Pai of A Living Family says:

    Oh, and 4 bushels of peaches + 2 isn’t crazy. That’s delicious foresight for the winter when not a fruit is in sight. You will be writing us posts about jams and cobblers and we will be thinking “wow, I should get on that next year.” Well, mama, I’m on it this year because I thought that last year. Wednesday is A Living Family peach picking day over at the local organic orchard we love. I am so looking forward to getting some peaches together, and you are giving me lots of ideas…. 🙂

  17. Camilla says:

    Haha., this post made me laugh out loud! Thank you for being utterly inspiring and still somehow being able to remind me that I am enough! I’m cropping away mad!

  18. Kelsey Rothe says:

    I needed this post today- thank you for showing us the “REAL” shots and reminding us all that not only do blog land photos have real messes around them but that our real messy lives also have a blog beautiful moment hidden inside. Absolutely frigg’n awesome- I swear more when I’m passionate as well 🙂

  19. Amanda says:

    I visited your blog for the first time from Sew, Mama, Sew and like it did for many it seems, it hit home, especially today when I’ve been knee-deep in sorting and organizing and wondering how on earth we acquired all this stuff and why are keeping it. Thanks for the smile!

  20. Sarah J. says:

    Love this post! Sometimes I think we’re all waiting for that moment when the stars will suddenly align and our lives will be perfect, like those we read about. It’s so easy to forget, isn’t it? Nobody’s life is perfect, but you CAN shine a light on a perfect moment. All you need to do is crop, crop, crop!

  21. Danielle G says:

    This is so refreshing. I have stopped visiting some of my former favorite blogs because I am frankly bored of all the “perfection.” I love to be inspired, I do, but I don’t like to be constansly marketed to and sometimes I get the feeling that so much of what is out there is for the sake of gaining sponsors, or a book or other publishing deal. That is all fine and good. Everyone needs to earn a living, I just wish there was more transparency and that more bloggers, especially those of the mama-blogger variety, would “get real” more often…or maybe I just have more respect for women who curse and drink from time-to-time! In any event, thank you.

  22. Xan says:

    not just in the U.S. either… there’s a global fist action going on 🙂 Certainly one in my lil’old Australian lounge room anyway :)xx

  23. Jackie says:

    Haha! I love it. Totally laughed out loud when I got to the Grandma/broken window screen/battery charger comment. Bravo you for revealing the truth! You should see the mess of stuff that surrounds the subjects of my photo shoots sometimes!

  24. Deb says:

    Hi! Funny thing…I just discovered your blog through another blog, Happy Hooligans that I follow. I think she is in Canada. But you, you are right around the corner! I am a resident of the driftless area too! I have lived close to the Mississippi River for many years and adore her beauty, misty mornings, and fantastic bluffs. I will be exploring your blog regularly.

  25. Barb W says:

    LOL! I enjoyed seeing the real you! We are having flood issues in the basement due to all the rain in Kansas…where it NEVER rains in July and August! My husband woke up during the worst of the storm yesterday and went down to check the situation. I’m usually the only one who goes down there since it’s my craft room! I never see it from the top of the stairs with the light on. I was in shock. No way to crop it out! I just turned off the light!! But if I put it all away, I can’t get anything done!! LOL. I’m living! BTW. Grandma didn’t have a laptop sitting there either!!

  26. Pixie Trish says:

    Yep. This is what keeps me coming back. Honesty, and a sense of humour!
    So nice to know everyone’s messy kitchen = a life being lived.
    xo to you for keeping it real

  27. Bellophelia says:

    Thank you for this. I laughed and cried quite literally.
    I’m a mother of three (mostly) beautiful children, ages three and under. I’m a doula and also make and sell my own herbal blends for women. I’m also organizing a local baby expo. I love knitting (still learning, but love making nice things for my kids) and, especially upon discovering a gluten intolerance in at least two members of my family, but mostly because we desire whole, clean eating, I’m an avid cooker and baker (everything short of candlestick maker). I feel constantly like I’m behind on everything, especially sleep.
    Thank you for this. <3

  28. Debi says:

    As I was reading your post I was thinking “Oh no! She KNOWS!” I laughed because I do the same thing… and then I read all the comments and discovered that we’re all doing it… love your blog!

  29. Katherine says:

    Hi Rachel–would you please please please say how you froze your peaches, so that they don’t become freezer burned? Dealing with one measly bushel over here and I could use some help! Thanks.

  30. Cassi says:

    I’m so glad to see someone writing about this, thank you! It can be seriously depressing seeing the perfection that is so often portrayed online. Even in my heart, when I know that it can’t be true, it still makes me feel like I can’t measure up. You summed it up so well; my new motto is “crop it and forget about it”!

  31. Kim says:

    Rachel, I don’t often get a chance to comment as I would like, wrapped up in the chaos that is my house. I love they way your words capture every day, and you allow for keeping it real moments which is why I always come back to your blog! Thank you, thank you, and I’ve wanted to say that for some time!

  32. Rachel Wolf says:

    Just sliced them and loosely filled zip bags. Ideally wed freeze first on cookie sheets but there wasnt the space for this many. Double bag if you have issues with freezer burn. You can always reuse the bags. Hope that helps!

  33. Colleen says:

    I love this post. Love. It. Partly I love it because of the cropping and partly because, like you, I brought home about 80lbs of cherry culls because they were free. Am so glad to not be alone in that behaviour. So we have dried, canned and wined cherries. Life is good.

  34. Meg Hobaugh says:

    I’ve popped in on your blog time to time. Excited that you guys get to experience the journey in your (“new”) farmhouse! We look to make our leap in a year or so. Just read this post and often times, I’ve felt a bit depleted. I’m not enough of a woman. Enough of a wife. Enough of a homemaker. I work 2nd shift at a nowhere-ville factory job, we have no children, live in a neighborhood where the cops get called every day. But all that “I’m not enough?” ENOUGH! You hit the nail on the head. We ARE enough. Everybody is “cropping” out the “undesirable” in the home. The beauty of social media…we are only as good as the image we show. I’m glad you had the courage to bare it and grin. BTW, your cropped photos are still lovely…despite the mess we aren’t seeing 😉 Great post, Rachel!

  35. tamika says:

    As about everyone else already said-I needed this post today. I was reading up on homeschooling/unschooling and being a self sufficient homemaker and honestly-just feel like I am not good enough since the 3rd baby was born-this post made me feel a lot better. Simple, and stupid that I needed it-but it could not have come at a better time. Your posts are very inspiring, often have me wondering why I am not the perfect mama that everyone else seems to be-thanks for keeping it real.

  36. Nuts about food says:

    Even if I don’t comment that often, I read every post you write (even if sometimes late because catching up after a trip and a busy back to school week). I love this post, it is so true. Thank you for saying it out loud and showing it in your pictures. I think you made a lot of people feel better about themselves!

  37. Heather says:

    I keep coming back to your blog because of your honesty about how messy life is, the beauty in the bits and pieces, and the abundant joy you find in your children. 🙂
    A few years ago I read a comment somewhere- “don’t compare your rough cut to someone else’s highlights reel”, which I keep in mind while browsing pintrest and other picture perfect blogs. 🙂
    Thanks for your honesty!

  38. Sage Claycomb says:

    Oh My Goodness this post is so beautiful! Rachel, I love your blog. You’re such an inspiration. Crop that shit out! And although I know this piece of wisdom, it doesn’t mean I always practice it… I, as everyone else, am not perfect. 🙂

  39. Morgan says:

    Loving this! I just gave birth to twins and spend my days juggling two 11 week old daughters and an increasingly sassy four and a half year old daughter. People always ask, mouth agape and eyes bugging out of their heads how it’s going, and my husband and I have adopted a simple answer that satisfies: “Busy.” Cropping huzzah!

Leave a Reply