In The Garden

It seems like there is a lull in the garden. Nothing looks quite as bright and shiny as it did in the first flush of spring. And then I read on a garden blog that June is often like this for gardeners–a down time between the beautiful spring flowers and the bright show of summer flowers. I hope so. Because I’m doing a lot of watering just to keep the plants happy.

So here are the happenings worth reporting in the past week or so.

MLG was here working on yet another building project. I am pretty excited about this one. I saw a picture of a “patchwork path” in a garden magazine and wanted to make that. This was one of the few flat areas in the garden. But in order to make it work, we needed to make a raised bed to the left of the path, so that is Phase One. There were a few of the stones left over, so MLG put them on the other side of the path. I am always so pleased when he comes up with these little extras.

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The pots won’t stay there. We just put them there so it wouldn’t look so bare. And to try to keep me from buying more plants to water :)DSCN3026

I went to Home Depot to get some of the stones for the patchwork path. They mucked up my online order, so I ended up loading about 100 stones weighing over 400 pounds onto a cart, and then lugging that to the checkout counter. Where I asked that they call someone to help me load them into the car. No one ever showed up, so I loaded all of these into the car by myself. I took this picture and texted it to MLG, with the caption “I now officially hate Home Depot!”

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Of course, once I got home, I had to unload all those stones one more time. Since I was already too hot and too sweaty, I decided to finally add the coat of stain to the wood surrounding the Japanese maples. I really was glad to get that done.

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This purple-blue flower is a type of wild geranium. I have had it for years, but have never had it in the right location. Looks like I finally got it right this time. I was so happy to see it blooming.

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Here’s a better look at the yellow flowers behind them. It is a gaillardia. They are perennials, and quite cheerful.

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And yet another plant that I do not know the name of. It is a very interesting plant. I thought the spikes were supposed to be red, and I thought that it bloomed in late summer…

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Another “morphing” plant. Last year this daylily had a white bloom on it. I moved it, and it is doing better in this location, but the flower has changed color!

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The hydrangea is getting into full bloom. It wilts every afternoon, but it looks pretty in the morning and evening.

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An early morning photo–the Teddy Bear sunflowers look like they’re in a parade! All facing the same direction–towards the east, where the sun rises. Do all sunflowers do this?

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The double daisies have started blooming. You can see where I keep trying to get a blue and white thing going here. I had some delphiniums here, but they did not make it. So I planted some little lobelia this spring. And then I just got another salvia to put in here, since they have done very well for me in the sun garden. I thought I’d try them over here.

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Sophie caught in the act of flower munching.

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She likes to walk along the top of the stones. Cracks me up–it reminds me of how kids like to walk on ledges or curbs.
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We have hit a real hot streak out here. I spend a bit of time most mornings and evenings, just trying to make sure each plant gets enough water. Stay cool, wherever you are, and enjoy your weekend!

 

A Recipe Recommendation and a New Food!

I save hundreds of recipes from the internet. I rarely try any of them. The other day I was scrolling through all my old bookmarks and came across this recipe for Banana Split Bars. And it wasn’t even in my recipes folder! I checked it out, and the stats sounded good to me. I liked the list of ingredients–no wheat or sugar–and even better was that I had all the ingredients in the house. I can’t remember if I ever made these before. But they are most certainly worthy! I followed the recipe exactly, and baked them for 30 minutes. They were soft-set, which I like.  I cut them into 12 bars (because, you know, I am a volume eater.) This made them about 190 calories each. They are delicious as a breakfast treat, or for a nice dessert.

The new (to me) food is Edamame spaghetti. I saw the box on my way out of Costco, checked the stats, and was astounded. Ingredients list: organic edamame and water.  Same calories as a regular serving of pasta (200 cal) but 24 GRAMS OF PROTEIN and 11 grams of fiber per serving!! I really like edamame, so I decided to try this. So far I’ve only tried them with a bit of garlic and olive oil, but they were very good. I liked the texture (much better than whole wheat pasta.) As far as taste…they were pretty neutral, just like I think normal pasta is. There was definitely no “weird” taste. I have all the ingredients for my Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce, and I am going to make that for dinner tomorrow. 

In The Garden

I returned from my trip to the seaside (high’s of 70 degrees,) to a heat wave here in the foothills (100 degrees when I arrived home.) The garden looks a little sad about the heat, but it mostly fared well, thanks to my “babysitter” being willing to water the plants while I was gone.

First, here is where I was (I went to Cambria Pines for rug hooking camp again.) I managed to get away to visit the sea three times. I even took a few walks along the boardwalk that they have there.

Day 1:

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Day 2:

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Day 3:

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This is a houseplant that I bought at the nursery in Cambria. It is so beautiful. Does anybody know what it is? (they told me, but I can’t remember.)

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I found a few new blooms to share. The fairy impatiens have taken over!

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Another of the grocery store roses has bloomed!

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The volunteer Teddy Bear sunflowers have started to bloom!

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The hydrangea is full of buds. This is the first to bloom. It is a lace cap hydrangea. Unfortunately, I think hydrangeas like it a bit cooler. I wish they had bloomed earlier.

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This is very weird. This was a plain old hydrangea. It has been weaker than the other hydrangea ever since we planted them in the ground two years ago. Last year it didn’t even bloom. And this year, there are two blooms like this on it. Its like it has morphed into a completely different plant! I think it is very pretty.

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And just a view of the sunny bed.

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We are having a drought here in Sunny California. Some of you might have heard about that :) I am on a well, so my watering is not really restricted. But I do try to be responsible in my water usage, and of course, I worry occasionally about my well going dry. My main concession is that I am not adding any new plants right now. The best way for me to do that is to just not visit the nursery :(

Not Perfect

I just returned from a week long trip to the Bay Area and Cambria. And as usual, when I travel, my food and exercise regime is severely interrupted. I eat different food than I eat at home. I eat more food. I eat sugar and wheat freely (two things I minimize in my normal daily diet.) I drink less water and more coffee. I give a half-hearted nod to exercise. And since many times my travel involves quilt or rug hooking workshops, I spend way more time sitting for extended periods of time.

All that to say that when I was driving home, I said to my friend “I gained ten pounds this week!” And I truly felt like that.

Long time readers will know that I don’t believe in weighing yourself after any travel time. I do believe that just the actual physical traveling can make you retain water and/or pounds and can affect your weight. So I usually won’t weigh myself for a full week after I return from a trip. But this time, I wanted to see if my estimate was right. Sure enough, my weight was up 9 pounds from when I weighed myself the day before I left on this trip. Four pounds are already gone in 2 days. Interesting.

Sometimes this travel bit is distressing to me. Why do I think its free season on food consumption when I travel? Why can’t I get it under control? Why do I gain so much weight when I travel, when I’m really not eating any more than the “regular people?”

Well, coming home, and comfortably slipping back into my regular routine, with no longings for wheat or sugar, and extra doses of fruits and veggies, is always reassuring to me.

And yesterday, when I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that I am not yet perfect. It just made me laugh at myself. I really only share this stuff in case it is helpful to someone working on (imperfectly) maintaining weight loss. I hope it might be encouraging.

Too Much of a Good Thing

debby:

I don’t have much new to say, so thought I’d share what’s happening on my quilty blog!

Originally posted on debby quilts:

I am a multi-project person. I always have been, and once I accepted that reality about myself, it was much easier to move ahead with my work. But once in a while, it gets to be too much. I can’t keep track of all my projects. My chair, where I do hand-work in the evening, looks like a rat’s nest. And something conspires to make me stop starting new ideas (they never stop!) and to work on finishing what is in front of me.

I signed up at the last minute to go to rug hooking camp! I’m so excited about this. And it served as the impetus to get my projects in line. So I put away the latest embroidery project (I only had the quilt sandwich made, and then got “stuck.”)

I got busy working on the “sea” part of my rug. I wanted to have that finished…

View original 348 more words

In The Garden

First rose of the year!

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This wildflower was literally growing out of the side of a rock on my road!
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The star jasmine (saved from the trash heap!) is finally blooming.

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And the peacock with her beautiful headdress :)

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My grocery store rose. Did I tell you I was too cheap to buy a rose at the nursery for $40? So I saw these rose bushes outside the local grocery store for $5 each. I bought three of them, and two of them actually lived and have blooms this first year.

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Practicing my close-up shots:

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All of the flowers in this shot were volunteers!

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The first blooms on the “fairy impatien.” These are growing all over the yard, and they are all self-seeded from one plant that I bought last year.

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My baby astilbe. Maybe I have finally found the right place to grow these…

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And this is the stonework that MLG did this week for me. I kept buying more of the stones from Lowes and Home Depot, until I had a decent amount to work with, and so we extended the front courtyard(?) that I had done myself years ago. There is a slope to the land in my yard, and so MLG worked at making sure the water drained the right way.

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From this angle, you can see where the travertine path comes in.

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And this is the most astounding thing of all. Did I complain to you about my apple tree not having any blossoms this year? I mean, its a young tree, so I was not expecting apples for 5 years (that’s what they said at the nursery.) But I love apple blossoms, and so I was very disappointed that there were literally 2 clusters of blossoms on the whole tree. And then this morning, I was looking out the window, and what do I see but a real apple growing!! And there is a second apple–so one from each blossom cluster.

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Its heating up around here. I hope you have nice weather wherever you are, and have a wonderful relaxing weekend.

 

Diet Fatigue… and a Maintenance Experiment

Diet Fatigue. Its not something I’ve seen defined anywhere. But I bet all of you who have ever been on a diet know what I am talking about. Sometimes it wears on you, all this thinking and restricting and counting and denying…whatever your particular form of dieting happens to be at this particular time.

I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. That is, I started this last weight loss adventure over 10 years ago. I have been “maintaining,” more or less, for over 8 years. I guess I won’t talk about anybody else’s experience, but for me, maintaining has been an ongoing tension between a diet mindset and trying to “normalize” my relationship with food. One thing that’s been consistent about my maintenance: I have consistently gained and lost between 10 and 20 pounds over the years.

So right now, I’m tired. I’m really really tired. Bah to diets. A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from church, I bought a particular junk food baked item that I love. I’ve probably had 3 of them in the past 10 years. And I ate it on the way home. 430 delicious calories. And then I proceeded to feel “bad” about that choice for the rest of the way home. And it made me mad, that I couldn’t even enjoy a treat without angst. And I remembered for the first time in a long time why I had said “I will never diet again,” and I “maintained” a weight of 257.5 (haha, I have to laugh that the .5 was so consistent when I used to weigh back then) for over 20 years. My mind flashed on all the candy bars I ate every day (that I never eat now) and I wanted to eat all of them, right now! Fortunately, I mostly got over that feeling by the time I got home. And, BTW, its only a 20 minute drive from the grocery store to my house :)

So I decided to try an experiment. You know how some folks say you are sabotaging yourself by restricting your calories? So I decided to try eating more. Mind you, I’ve tried this many times over the years, and sadly, it never works for me. The rules are different for the formerly severely overweight person. ANYWAY, the experiment. I decided to log my food into LoseIt. Bu I would not worry if I went a little over their calorie allotment for me. After all, that calorie allotment was supposed to be for weight loss, and that was not my goal for this experiment. My goal was to not GAIN any weight, which is a constant worry for me. And I would log ALL my exercise, and eat all those “exercise calories” if I wanted to. I would only weigh once a week to make sure this crazy plan was not leading to weight gain.

I know for most of you, this will just be another form of dieting. But for me it was reassuring to have the parameters of logging food and exercise and weighing once a week while I experimented with eating more than normal.

I’m pretty sure I ate more than I usually do, and I did eat without guilt or angst. I’m pretty sure I exercised a little more. I think LoseIt was pretty generous with their exercise calories, but I just went with it. And the result of the experiment? For five weeks I maintained the same weight. One week it would be two pounds up, and another it would be two pounds down. But for five weeks, my weight was very consistent.

Diet fatigue doesn’t last forever. And this experiment will not last forever. According to most experts, change in your diet and exercise is actually a good thing for long term weight loss. So if you’re feeling tired, don’t throw in the towel. Give yourself a little grace, and try something new or different.