A Little Garden Report

The last big garden project–a stone path through the hydrangea bed. Here it is from one end:

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And from the other end:

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The hydrangeas are big and lush this year. I can hardly wait for them to bloom. And that reminded me of how far we’ve come. Here’s a before–they are one of the first things I had MLG put into the ground–April 2013. They were small and spindly from too many years in a pot.

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And here they are now!

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Here is the sad Japanese maple, growing out of its planter box–the tree that started this whole garden project.

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And when the first bed was complete, the tree had a new home.

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Here is the same tree today!

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I’ve been scoping out the nurseries, and got a few new plants. This is a moss rose. I love the delicate coloring, and the bit of lime green in the center.

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I got these lemon drop something-or-others. They do well in the shade. And the deep red petunia is a different color for me. And some blue lobelia, because they are just so darned pretty.

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The first (and only) bloom from the J&P rose I got last fall. It is still a tiny bush. But I like the color of the bloom, and it does have a very nice smell, as promised.

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This is the snapdragon I got from Annie’s last year. It is a nice delicate apricot color, which I love. I hope it will re-seed itself, or at least stick around for another year.

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And that’s all the news that’s fit to print this Sunday morning. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Fun With Strawberries!

I am so lucky! Usually, strawberries are grown in the valley, and little strawberry stands pop up along the highways this time of year.Trouble is, the valley is about an hour away from where I live. But last year, Mr. Lee, who regularly sold at our local farmer’s markets, bought a plot of land up here in the foothills, and put in his strawberry patch. So now I can get the best strawberries any day of the week, only about five miles from my house. And it just happens to be on the way to the gym, so strawberries are the fruit for me this time of year!

Here’s a couple of fun ways I’ve eaten them the past few days.

My own “fruit on the bottom” yogurt. When I have too many strawberries, I just mash them with my potato masher, and put them in the freezer, kind of like freezer jam. I thaw some out when I need it, spoon a little bit in my bowl, and plop half a cup of homemade yogurt on top, and then finish off with Shelley’s hippie granola. Yumm.

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Yesterday for my afternoon snack, I made “stuffed strawberries.” Just hollowed out the big ones, and cut a wedge of Laughing Cow Lite in 4 chunks, stuffed them in the middle, and finished off with a sprinkle of Splenda. Yumm yumm:)

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Working in the Garden

Yesterday I set as a DAY TO WORK IN THE GARDEN. Between the extra rain we’ve had this year, and my travel schedule, things had gotten a little out of hand. I worked most of the morning in the garden, took a lunch break, and then went back out for a couple more hours. The changes seem so minimal, and yet, it makes a big difference to me, to see some of the weeds disappear, and also to get some pruning done on the trees.

I did some pruning on this lace leaf maple, but I need to work up my courage and do a bit more.

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The stone paths were the main place I weeded. Good grief, I have a hard time getting anything to grow between the stones, but weeds! They are happy to fill in the gaps. However, when I started weeding, I was really pleased to see that some of my favorite ground covers (irish moss and corsican mint) had self-seeded between the stones. Seems our lack of rain has probably been the main detriment in getting the ground cover to grow!

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Then I moved on to the carnation bed, which I guess gets the most sun, and therefore, the most weeds?

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The patchwork path is doing well. I changed out some of the ground covers, and planted some blue star creeper in there.

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The campanula bloomed for the first time this year!

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And lastly, I put a few plants into the ground. It actually takes me a very long time to decide where to plant the new plants I get. This is a calla lily. I have admired these at the nurseries for years, but never bought one. We’ll see how this does in the shade garden. It will get a fair amount of sun where I planted it, so hopefully it will take off.

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I went back out this morning to take a few more pictures of the flowers. Here are the carnations.

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This rose is much prettier than last year! I almost dug it up before it bloomed! Glad I gave it a chance.

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Lori, what is this plant? It is rather rangy and messy, but the little flowers are pretty, and I believe I bought it because butterflies like it.

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And the new little honeysuckle plant has taken off and reached the top of the fence already! So happy. Just a little sniff is all I need:)

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This is a dwarf abutilon (flowering maple) that I found. Bright red blooms, and it only gets about 3 feet high. Yes, it has its own little fence to discourage little doggies who like pink (and I guess red is a form of pink?) blooms.

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And that’s the garden report for today. There’s a lot more work to be done, but that will have to wait for later in the week. I have one more short trip to make!

 

In The Garden

One by one, blooms are starting to appear in the garden. It has been a slower start to the blooms because of our cooler temps (yay) but more lush because of more rain (yay.) I’ve forgotten what this perennial is called. Its a really nice blue with purple tinges.

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Right next to it these little campanulas bloomed for the first time.

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Yesterday I went out to the yard to see what Noah was barking at, and I was completely surprised to see that these roses had started blooming! This is the $5 rose from the grocery store!

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This columbine is also doing much better than last year.

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And the patch of carnations has started blooming. I love carnations. Such a lovely aroma.

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Today we had another rain storm. I got these nice pictures of the roses. I couldn’t decide which I liked best, so you get to see all of them.

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Then I went out front to get a shot of the honeysuckle vine. It is going great guns. This is the pink one, that doesn’t have any odor.

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This is the only grass in the garden. It just showed up here one day, and MLG and I are so pleased that it centered itself. It must taste terrible, because the deer never touch it.

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And that’s it for the garden tour this week. I really haven’t done much planting yet–a few marigolds and petunias. They got a little beaten down by the storms that we’ve had, but they look like they will do well, as soon as we get a little sunny weather. I planted the cleome seeds that Lori sent me, and am inspecting daily for signs of seedlings. I also planted some seeds in those little peat pots, and they will be ready to plant in a week or two.

Happy Weekend everyone!

The Biggest Loser

I admit it. I watch that ridiculous, irritating show, “The Biggest Loser.” I am jealous of their fantastic weight loss achievements. I feel bad that I am so weak, and I cannot even maintain the 100 pounds that I lost.

Me at my lowest weight of 155 pounds, about ten years ago.

Me at my lowest weight of 155 pounds, about ten years ago.

But then one day a few months ago, my BF sent me this old picture. I was shocked. Maybe its not so bad after all. Maybe I am a little better off than I was in those pictures.

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About 20 years ago.

Here’s another picture I found (@ Shelley–my first two dachshunds! @Lori–pre-garden re-make!)

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About 15 years ago.

I didn’t maintain all 100 lost pounds, but still I sure was a lot better off than I was back in those days. I started wondering about how many of the Biggest Losers were still maintaining their weight loss. I looked around online and couldn’t really find any definitive articles. And then my BF sent me a link to this article. Ohhhh. Wow. Not too many of them are maintaining their weight loss. And maybe there’s a reason its so very hard to keep the weight off.

So the opposite side of “fighting destiny,” and a part of how I feel every day is “I AM the Biggest Loser!” I am one million times better off now than I was in those old pictures. Even with bad knees, I can roll up my pants, take off my shoes and climb (very carefully:) ) over the rocks at Crystal Cove.

Me at my current weight.

Me at my current weight.

I refuse to feel “less than” because I am not as thin as I used to be. I will be content and happy and grateful that I have worked hard and long to learn to live and enjoy a healthier life.

Fighting Destiny

You know how some scientists and diet “experts” talk about your natural set-point? Yeah, my body’s natural set-point is 257.5 pounds. I actually was always surprised when I visited someone who kept a scale in their house, and my weight was almost always exactly 257.5 pounds. It seemed weird that I could weigh so much and yet my weight was the same to a tenth of a pound.

Eleven years ago, shortly after my 50th birthday, I started a weight loss venture that ended a year and a half later with a total loss of 100 pounds. Well, “ended” is the wrong word to use. It has not ended yet. I currently am keeping off 75 of those pounds. I have lost and regained those other 25 pounds several times in the intervening years.

So, fighting destiny seems a little overly dramatic. But it seemed like the right words for what I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it seems like I am fighting destiny, trying to maintain my weight loss. Whether it is genetic, environmental, or ENTIRELY MY FAULT, some days it just seems like its a losing battle (and here the word losing is not what we are all hoping for.)

Is it genetic? My parents used to love to tell the story of how, when I first came home from the hospital (and I was their first baby,) they would have to have a second bottle warming up. Because when the first bottle was finished, I would start screaming if there was not another one ready to pop into my mouth. Oh, and their second favorite story? It was that my first word was not daddy or mama. No, my first word was “nappo” (apple.) That does seem like there might be a little genetic component there, doesn’t it?

Is it environmental? Both of my parents enjoyed food and loved sweets. A “goodie bag” was a typical Friday night treat (my dad would get five candy bars, and we had to pick one out of the bag without looking.) We had good home-cooked meals most nights, but when we could afford it, we ordered pizza or went out for burgers. Sunday after church we’d stop for a restaurant dinner on the way home. Heck, I grew up in the era when MacDonalds was born!

Is it ENTIRELY MY FAULT? At least three times in my younger life, I lost (and then re-gained) 80-100 pounds. And then there were the innumerable times that I lost and regained 30-50 pounds. In the end, when I was about 30 years old, I said I’d never diet again. I gained from 232 up to said 257.5 pounds, and stayed there for many years. I ate whatever I wanted. I wasn’t a binger. I just ate cookies every day, had an afternoon snack of a candy bar at work, and pretty much stopped for a fast food dinner on my way home every night. I was a really good baker.

So most days now, I feel like I am fighting destiny. I usually weigh and/or measure my food. I make really healthy choices, being careful to get enough fresh veggies, fruits, and protein in. I oftentimes log my food. And I exercise six days a week, usually for 40 minutes. But many days I want A LITTLE MORE. It is not a binge. Sometimes it is even healthy food. But I want more. And therein lies the rub. You can’t keep the weight off, and you sure can’t lose if you want a little more. Ha! One article claimed that to keep from GAINING 2 pounds a year, it was only a difference in 10-20 calories a day! Their example was ONE STARBURST candy. Good grief.

This is the negative side of my daily inner thought life. Come back later in the week to read about the positive side:)

 

Blueberry Yogurt Coffee Cake

One morning I woke up with a lot of yogurt in the fridge, and some frozen blueberries in the freezer. And the taste of the cinnamon/brown sugar filling from my cinnamon buns in my mind. How could I combine all of these into one breakfast treat?

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Morning treats for my sewing ladies!

I can’t really remember if I looked at other recipes as a jumping off place for this recipe, but here is what I came up with. I think its tasty enough to serve to “regular people,” and yet low enough in calories that I can enjoy it any day of the week. Click here to see the recipe. 

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