The Madness–It Begins Again

How could I forget in three short weeks what it was like living in a construction zone?

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The dining room. Not really a before picture, because J. the contractor has removed the carpet, put drywall on the ceiling, washed down the bare walls and floor, and put primer paint on the walls. The paneling boards there on one side are to see if I want to narrow the opening, which would give me more wall space. Its such a huge opening, but on the other hand, its a small house… (feel free to opine on this topic!) You can see the tiny kitchen through there–we are discussing various options for expanding the kitchen…

Anyway, living in a construction zone. It just changes your day. I have left the house twice IN MY GYM CLOTHES and never made it to the gym. I was too tired, or had too many other chores to run (Lowes, I’m looking at you.) I’m trying to be content with all the “functional exercise” I’m getting. And nary a stitch has been taken on the sewing machine. I am hopeful to sit down and sew today. I picked up the studio yesterday and cut out some strips from a set of colors I had put together. Just to make some funky little log cabin blocks.

I’m doing bits and pieces of work in the garden. Yesterday I stopped at the nursery and bought a Fuji apple tree! Its hard to resist a good tree. This tree had a beautiful shape, and for $26, well, that just seems like a good deal. Sallye (the nursery owner) said I will get fruit in five years. Guess I’ll be staying here a while longer!

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While I was outside, I looked up. The English Lilac has gone crazy this year! Usually there are not that many blooms on it, because its always had too much shade. Maybe it got so tall that I couldn’t reach to prune it, or it is getting more sun, but I’ve never had this many blooms on it.

 

In this picture you can see the whole lilac, and also the construction staging area outside.

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And some close-ups of the lilacs. What a lovely scent they have!

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DSCN1142(Same lilac, one picture shot in the evening, and one in the morning!) Its a little early, but I will wish you all a good weekend!

 

 

Weekend Doings!

Just a bit of this and that. I’ll get around to writing about the trip eventually. I had some different meals lately, and enjoyed them very much. I finally remembered to pick up a package of spinach and have been enjoying it in various forms, both in my smoothies, and also cooked. Here it is in a breakfast scramble with some red potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Oh, and an egg and some egg beaters mixed in. Quite yummy. Adding potatoes definitely ups the allure of eggs for me (I’m not a big egg lover.)

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In the same day, I decided to make a big batch of marinara sauce because I wanted to try out the homemade noodles that the 86 year old lady whose farmhouse I stayed in in Ohio had gifted me with. You know I don’t eat pasta that often, but I had to try these. They really were very tasty noodles! And the marinara sauce was yummy. I roughly followed my directions for Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce (but started with a can of crushed tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of tomato sauce) and omitted the meat so I could use it in a variety of ways. Now I have lots of marinara sauce in the freezer!

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I added some turkey burger to some of the sauce for this meal.

On Thursday, MLG (master landscaping guy) came over to start on the new raised bed. He worked for 2 1/2 hours IN THE RAIN before giving up. He came over again on Saturday morning to finish the job, and then went to the nursery to get a truckload of dirt to fill it up! I helped out by moving the dirt around as he dumped in wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of the stuff. It doesn’t look like much, but that is actually very hard work. I love the way he did it in tiers.

This picture is taken from my front door, so you can see the first bed and where it is in perspective to that. Of course, MLG pointed out that it would look super cool if we were to continue the flagstone pavers up between the two beds. And he’s right, it would. I am going to price them at Home Depot this week.

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I woke up with a very sore back on Saturday morning. Later in the afternoon, I went to the gym for a nice long swim. I don’t know if that helped it or not, but for the time I was in the pool, nothing hurt. It sure was nice.

On Sunday morning I wanted to try a new recipe. I had bookmarked this original recipe for “giant breakfast cookies.” Of course, I had to try to lighten it up a bit. Plus, I didn’t have applesauce, so I sub’d pumpkin. Did you know that applesauce and pumpkin have the same amount of calories??

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These were quite tasty (and quite gigantic!) I put it on the plate that I usually plate my scones on for comparison. I think they are the same size as my scones. And I was very pleased with how long it kept me full. To make sure they were worthy, I had another one for breakfast this morning. I’ll post my recipe later today.

Before church, I hit the gym for a fairly long session on the bikes. I don’t really know what other people do on the bikes, but my mileage/time is pretty consistent. In 45 minutes I “rode” 9 1/2 miles.

And then Sunday afternoon I went to a potluck. Oh brother. I guess in hindsight I didn’t do too badly. A few too many dessert samples were consumed. (I took my go-to potluck dish of a ton of fresh fruit and a bowl of the Creamy Fruit Dip.) It was a potluck to benefit Second Chance Dogs. This is Noah’s trainer’s project. She takes dogs from the local humane societies that often times are unadoptable and keeps them on her ranch and works with them until they are perfect canine citizens and then finds homes for them. The transformations are amazing. She has re-homed over 250 dogs in the past 10 years.

And in between, I did some quilting. Lots and lots of quilting. It was a VGW (Very Good Weekend.) Hope yours was a good one too!

Springtime in the Garden

Daffodils are in full bloom now. Forgive the fences. SOMEONE thinks the pots are for him  to play “King of the Hill” on.

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Every day I go out and stand under the new cherry tree to see if it has bloomed. Will it be the cherry tree of my dreams? I do believe it is! At least it is close enough! And I just read a magazine article yesterday where the gardener said that the cherry trees had grown an amazing amount in just 2 or 3 years!

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This is an interesting little shrub. It doesn’t really look like much, and then all these funny little blooms pop out. It almost looks like confetti.

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The camellia that I have to practically stand on my head to get a picture of. This is one of the bushes I hope to get in the ground. I am pretty sure it will be a LOT happier out of its container.

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Pansies and violas are such a cheerful addition. A lot of pleasure for very little investment.

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This Japanese maple is covered in seed buds. It almost looks unreal to me.

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I bought myself a few new plants at the nursery yesterday. This is a flowering almond, one of my most favorite plants. I have one, but it has never done well. The girl at the nursery said it probably has a canker. I thought she was just making that term up, and then I read it in a magazine the very same day!

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Doesn’t it have the most beautiful, delicate blooms?

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All the maples are leafing out now, and each one has a different shade.

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There seems to be a pink theme going on here. I can’t help it. Its my favorite color.

Its been a good week. I got a lot more functional exercise. The second pile of wood is all stacked up. A lot of pots have been re-arranged. I’ve gotten in the pool twice, on the bike three times, kept up with my PT exercises, and I’m starting to do fast-walking sprints like Tabata intervals on my walks with Noah. Those are really a good workout. And that doesn’t even include all the aerobic quilting I’ve done :))

 

Functional Exercise to the Max

Yard guy challenged me yesterday. He brought over the “scoop” of dirt from the nursery and got it all into the bed, even though it was raining. And then he said, as he left, “next time I come over, let’s get this yard cleaned up and finished, and then we can go on to the next project.” Now, I KNOW he did not mean that I was supposed to get it all done before he came over. But there is a LOT to do out there, and a lot of it involved MAKING DECISIONS (not my strong point.) So after a sleepless night where my mind went in an endless loop of “we could move this plant there” and “we could put this one in the ground,” I decided to give up my trip to the gym today in favor of some functional exercise. What I can’t show you is the huge pots that I dragged here and there to see if that’s where I wanted to put them. I emptied some of the pots out, and put the soil in the bed, because we didn’t have quite enough soil to fill in the whole area.

I pruned a lot of bushes and trees (decisions required…) and then I finally had lunch. After lunch I wanted to do something that didn’t require any decisions. So I turned this:

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into this:

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And then I did a phone consult with my landscape adviser (I had emailed her a picture of the big maple that started this whole project,) and she gave me the courage to go out and prune the big maple! (This poor maple was in that small box and really suffered the last two years. After seeing it looking so stark, I was afraid that it was just too misshapen to do anything with.)

So after my afternoon coffee break, I turned this:

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into this:

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That required getting the ladder out and taking multiple trips up and down the ladder to make sure I was pruning the right branch. I don’t know if you can see the difference in the photos. In person, it makes me a lot happier. I think there’s hope for it to get healthy now.

Here’s a look at the preliminary stuff I’ve added to the bed.

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Noah LOVES THE new bed. I imagine he thinks he can do a better job of surveying his kingdom from a higher vantage point. He also cuts the corner and was mashing the poor little primroses that I planted, so I had to put a little fence up for a while.

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All in all, a very good day of functional exercise. I bet I’ll sleep a little better tonight!

Weekend Fun

Functional exercise! That’s what’s been going on around here the last few days.

Did I mention I have a new yard guy? (I love saying that!) Over the last couple of days he’s turned this:

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Into this:

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That means a LOT of functional exercise for me as I stack it all. There are two more gigantic piles of wood on the property for me to stack.

Then, after discussing with yard guy and a consultant from the nursery, I am finally going to make a planter bed around my oldest Japanese maple that has outgrown its pot and has roots in the ground. I am pretty excited about this project. (the rotted bench will be removed!)

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Excited enough that I took three trips to Lowe’s and brought home three loads of those pavers. And unloaded all three loads, 6 pavers at a time, into the wheelbarrow, and then over to stack.

The dawrgums were quite enamored of the stacked stones.

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Here’s the outline of what we hope to do. Yard guy is going to level the ground a little. And I do believe that I will let him move and stack the rest of those blocks. I think I prefer my little gym exercises!

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I did go to the gym yesterday and swam 36 lengths. My real motivation was to get to sit in the spa! Ahhhhhh….