Thoughts on Seeds and Other Stuff

Earlier this year, I tried planting seeds in those little peat pots to give them a head start, because we can’t be sure that frost is over until at least May 1. That experiment was mostly a dismal failure. The sunflower seeds were the most disappointing. I’m pretty sure they would have done better had I planted them directly in the ground. Out of 8 pots, only three weak seedlings survived to be planted in the ground, and of those three, only one remains. The hollyhock seeds (that were a couple of years old,) fared better. I got six seedlings, and planted them in two locations. Three are doing well–I’m guessing they are getting more sun than the others. Penstemons were a bust, as well as the cilantro. The ones that are doing the best are the “money plants.” I bought them because the picture on the seed packet was charming, and it said they were a staple of cottage gardens. Eight out of eight lived, and I planted them in various locations, and ALL of them are doing well. So yesterday I looked them up on the internet to read more about them. “Many people consider money plants a weed.” Oh…. that’s why they are doing so well, and in so many different locations. In reading further, they just self sow their seeds freely. So they will be like the fairy impatiens. I like them, I just don’t want a garden full of them. And I feel a little guilty “weeding” them out, since they are really nice plants. But I have learned to be ruthless with them 🙂 Conclusion: I will probably try seeds in the future. I will just plant them directly in the ground at the proper time.

Speaking of self-seeding–my little free petunia garden continues to do well!

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The hydrangeas are really doing well this year. I think its a combination of being well established and having a cooler, wetter spring.

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The bloom of the newest abutilon. There seems to be a lot of hybrids of this plant in the nursery these days. Not all are frost hardy. This is a short variety–supposed to get only 3 feet tall.

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This little vine is such a pretty plant–also not frost hardy. I’ve bought one every year for the past few years. I think I’ve got it in the right spot this year.

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Even though they want more sun, the daisies are starting to bloom. I really like the way these double ones look.

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Changing the subject rapidly….and I know, sounding like a broken record…but this is one of my favorite recipes. Its so simple, especially if you have the meat pre-cooked, and buy vegetables that are already pre-chopped for you. Recipe for My Fried Rice is here. This batch has chicken, bean sprouts, broccoli slaw, mushrooms, onions, peas, a little bacon, and a scrambled egg. Only 250 calories for that big soup bowl. Dinner!

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Another favorite–protein pancakes. This is the very best way to have them–put some walnuts in the batter, and I use about 1/3 very ripe mashed banana mixed with a little SF syrup for topping. I use Lori’s recipe. Only I noticed that I have substituted 1/3 cup of egg beaters for the whole egg. Either which way, YUMM. 300 calories with my additions.

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Cleaning: When I’m not in the mood to clean, I’ve found that if I set the timer for 10 minutes, that is actually all the time it takes for most chores. I can unload and re-load the dishwasher in 10 minutes. I got a new vacuum cleaner recently. Just your basic Hoover. But it sucks really good compared to my old vacuum. So today, when I had vacuumed the bedroom and the mudroom rug, I didn’t want to vacuum the studio rugs. 10 minutes, I told myself. At the very end, I smelled something burning. I was so irritated. That’s what I get for buying a cheaper machine. So I go to see if there’s too much hair wound around the roller. There was what appeared to be a WHOLE SPOOLFUL of thread wound around it! So it took 10 minutes to vacuum, and 15 minutes to figure out what was wrong and fix it. In my defense, the spool that the thread came from was in the drawer where it belongs. Its not even thread that I’ve used in the past year! I guess the new vacuum really does have super suction!

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I am off to the gym, for a longish swim session. I am happy to report that all the leg pain I’ve been dealing with is MUCH better, I’m pretty sure because I kept on exercising every day. Have a great weekend! Enjoy the (literal) fruits of summer, and have some fun exercising.

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There’s No Path Back

Have I ever told you about my obsession with This American Life? Its a podcast on NPR, and somehow I discovered it. It is the perfect program to listen to while I am working in the studio. The stories are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes informative, sometimes poignant, and always detailed. I listen to the archived podcasts in reverse chronological order, and I have worked my way back to 1999!! That’s a lot of podcasts, and I will be very sad when I get to the end of them.

One day I was listening to a story about aging. And they were interviewing a brilliant man, a man with a graduate degree in physics. He had spent a good part of his life studying space, time, and numbers. And now he had Alzheimer’s.

They told about his appointments with his Alzheimer’s doctor. At the start of each appointment they had the patients do various tests to check their cognitive level, and to see if the Alzheimer’s had progressed. One of the tests that many patients dreaded was the “draw a clock” test. And then the day came when he could no longer draw the clock.

It bothered him so much. He went home and spent hours and hours trying to figure out why he couldn’t draw a clock. The answer he came up with was something I couldn’t even understand–something about it involving three planes of thought at the same time.

And the interviewer asked, “why was this so important to you, to figure out why you couldn’t draw the clock?” And this brilliant man replied, “Because there’s no path back. I have to figure out the best way to move forward.”

I don’t know if that hits you all the same way it hit me. Because it applies to all of us, doesn’t it? There is no path back from the ravages of aging. Its up to us to figure out the best way to move forward.

I often think about how I started my weight loss journey. I walked a LOT. And now I don’t like walking. I avoid walking. I do not park as far away from the store as possible to get a few extra steps in–I circle the parking lot looking for the closest space, and look enviously at the handicapped spots.

I told you I was extra stiff after this last trip. That has lasted a lot longer than I think it should have. There have been other aches and pains that were not exactly associated with my bad knee. I fear that this is just the way its gonna be–every day one more ache and pain. Do I have really bad arthritis? Is it something worse–maybe a blood clot or bone cancer (gotta laugh at myself 🙂 )

Whatever it is, there is the realization that there is no path back. I will never have the knees I had 10 years ago. Heck, I will not have the body I had 10 years ago. Its up to me to figure out the best path forward. Right now that means being extra conscious of getting in all the helpful exercise I can–my PT exercises, the bike and the pool at the gym, and some short walks with the doggies. It really makes me feel better to do these exercises.

For all of us, this man with Alzheimer’s has given us a brilliant piece of advice–There’s no path back. We shouldn’t waste a minute longing for past times, past health, or especially past beauty. Its up to each of us to figure out the best way to move forward with grace and dignity.

Do You See What I See?

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The other day I was out taking a walk with Noah and Chloe, and I stopped for some reason. And then I heard something flutter by me. Wow, that was close by. I inspected the side of the road, and there was a little bird’s nest, built right into one of the little crevices! The mama bird flutters away to divert any perceived enemies from her eggs.

Yesterday I decided to go back and see if she was still there, and see if I could get a couple of good pictures without freaking her out too much. Here she is, on the nest. I only got one picture before she fluttered away.

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And here are her three little eggs. Don’t worry, I didn’t stay long, and I checked when I drove by the next day to make sure she was back on her nest.

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Such a simple thing, but these are the things that delight me.

I Almost Missed It

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So busy looking down…for things I need to work on, to make sure I don’t trip on uneven ground, for plants that need water and weeds that need picking. So busy looking down I forget to look up, and I almost missed a perfect rose high above my head.

Four Days and Four Hours

I spent four days the past week consistently working in the garden. Weeding weeding weeding. And watering. Moving plants around. And yes, I did go to the nursery and get quite a few plants for all the empty spots. This year I tried to be more organized, and  paid careful attention to the labels–FULL SUN, PART SUN/SHADE, and FULL SHADE. I think I did a pretty good job of getting plants that might thrive in the environment that I have.

Then yesterday MLG came over to help out. I swear, he can do more in four hours than I can do in four days.

I didn’t tell you about this little incident that almost gave me a heart attack. Last week, when I was out of town, I got a text from my baby sitter saying that Zoey had escaped the dog yard, and then escaped the big yard, and a neighbor had found her barking to get back in. She told my next door neighbor, who put her back, and then called my babysitter (who lives on the same road,) and she came over and found the little hole that the bad little girls had dug under the fence. Zoey was the only one small enough to get out! Its not safe outside the big fence, so I was really upset that that happened. My babysitter texted me twice a day to reassure me that all the dogs were still in their yard, which was sweet of her. Anyway, that was the first thing I wanted MLG to work on–fixing that area of the fence so they couldn’t dig out again. He is so clever about just looking around at what materials we have available, and using those for repairs. He suggested putting the pots there for a deterrent, and also just to make it look nice. Good idea. He arranged the pots and put the dirt in them for me, and then after he left, I dug up some of the crazy impatiens and repotted them, and put that bark there, just because I had it. I was pleased to see this morning that it looks like the impatiens have survived their move. (In case you’re wondering, the majority of the dog yard is chain link fencing, but that small area between the storage shed and their dog house is different.)

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I had said that we were done with the stone work a while ago, but actually MLG had requested a few more large stones to finish up this area. I picked out six huge stones at the stone store. Just six stones weighed 300 pounds! It finishes off this area nicely.

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MLG did this the last time he was here. The ground cover in the foreground was in a pot. I told him I was ready to toss it. He doesn’t like killing any plant, so he suggested planting it in the back garden. It has taken off nicely.

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This is a new little area. I just planted a row of lobelia, and a new plant–I think the guy at the nursery called it False Oregano.

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I think its really a pretty, unusual plant.

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The rose bed lost the big clump of snapdragons this year. So I got one of my favorite lantanas, and a new-to-me violet yarrow to fill in. I will plant new snapdragons in the fall.

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Noah inspects MLG’s work.

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I added some begonias to the shade garden, and the double impatien in the pot is starting to bloom.

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I found this cool plant with the huge leaves, that said it needed part shade. I hope it will do well in this  spot. I’ve had a hard time finding a good plant for this little area (adjacent to the shade garden.)

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The front bed, which has now become a pretty shade spot, thanks to the cherry tree and the honeysuckle. I did the most weeding here. It was a mess. In the fall I will replant the daisies to a sunnier spot. I found these new plants that need shade. They are a bright yellow-green color, and the flowers, which are supposed to flower all summer and fall, are a gorgeous shade of violet blue. Hmmm. As you might have noticed, I am terrible about keeping plant labels and remembering their names. Sorry ’bout that.

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But isn’t it pretty?

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I planted petunias early this year in this area. I got a “rosa Bonica” in a little four inch pot. Its supposed to bloom prolifically, so I think it’ll be a real nice addition to this area  in the future.

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Just a shot of the marigolds, geranium, and a volunteer nasturtium. This was one of the areas where I weeded a LOT.

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Much earlier in the year, I split a six pack of sweet peas with ML, my rug hooking friend. I’ve never had much luck with sweet peas, and I planted these in an “iffy” area–soil wasn’t primo. So I have been very pleased to see them take off and bloom a bit.

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A nice shade of pink, don’t you think?

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I have tried to get a good picture of this area. It is so charming to me. All these petunias, each of them a different color, self-seeded themselves between the stones here. I never thought they could make it, but so far they are doing very well.

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And that is the end of the garden report for the week! If you’ve made it this far, thanks for following along, and have a great weekend.

 

Re-Entry

I had a great time on my trip to Cambria. But I think there was a little too much sitting and driving. I came back so stiff and sore, it scared me a little. I returned to a garden jungle, thanks to our rain and nice warm days. A few days spent working in the garden, along with a trip to the gym and some good wholesome food, and I am almost back to normal.

See? It really is a jungle. I did quite a bit of weeding and a little whacking as well.

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Back to Cambria. One day, after class was done, my friend Mary Lynn and I took a short trip to the ocean to see the elephant seals. We took our friends from Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan! Phyllis, from Michigan, has an indomitable spirit. She drives herself across the country to Cambria every year! She told us we had walked 2000 steps on the boardwalk at the beach.

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There is a wonderful nursery across the street from the lodge where we have our camp. I saw this outstanding flowering plant there, but it was $103.00, so I decided to pass on it!

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Back at home, in the garden jungle, the day lilies had started to bloom!

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The first hydrangea was in full swing.

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The gallardias were nice and cheerful.

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And the Rose of Sharon was putting out a lot of blooms. This is such a rangy plant, though. I am not sure what to do with it!

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This little geranium gives me a lot of pleasure. I love seeing it there in the back of the garden being so cheerful and putting on a show.

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Finally! Success with the Astilbes. This one is apparently in the right spot.

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Ha! When I was scrolling through my most recent pictures in iPhoto, it scrolled back to the first picture on this computer. Wasn’t he a funny, cute little guy?

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And here is what four concentrated days of work at rug camp resulted in. If you want to read more about the process, check the other blog.

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All in all, I am very happy to be home for a while. I am planning on returning to some of my art quilting, and also concentrating on my health, with lots of good fruits and veggies, lots of exercise, and plenty of trips to the gym. Oh, and probably a LOT of work in the garden 🙂

This ‘n’ That

Lots of stuff going on around here, but its mostly fiber art related, so I write about it over on the other blog. If you want to see what I’ve been up to, you can visit over there. One of the things I am doing is going to rug hooking camp, and I decided to attempt a portrait rug of Noah. I have taken one million pictures of the Big White Dog, and still ended up liking one of my older ones best. This is from one of his many photo shoots, and I used it in conjunction with the older photo to draw the outline for the rug.

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This is the first rose I bought. Only one bloom on it so far this year, and the stem was so ridiculously long (over 6 feet high, I’m not kidding) that I decided to cut it off and enjoy it inside.

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Its a very pretty rose, and it has a very nice fragrance as well.

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This is the JP rose I showed you earlier. It looks even prettier when it is fully opened. Its called Belinda’s Dream.

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Last week, I was bemoaning the fact that my dogwood tree has not bloomed since we planted it. It was also leaning precariously to one side, so MLG tied it up to a bigger tree to straighten it up. Then he called me over to look at something. Lo and behold, there were two little blossoms at the top of the tree! Maybe next year, if I treat it just right, I’ll see some real blooms on it!

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Glamour shot of Miss Zoey. Isn’t she the cutest? Its pretty fun for me to have a long haired dog to take care of again.

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Last night, I got an email from Hungry Girl, with a recipe for Cherry Pie Baked Oatmeal. I thought about making it, but then decided I just wanted one serving. This morning, I used my single serve recipe, and added a handful of frozen cherries. Quite yummy!

And that’s all the news around here for now. We have all of a sudden heated up to over 90 degrees, so I am looking forward to my trip to Cambria next week, over by the coast, where the high is supposed to be 70 degrees!

One more thing! After I finished this post, I went out to water the garden (again) and saw this swallowtail landing on the marigolds! I left the water running to distract him, and went inside and got my camera, and he was still there when I got back out! These are the little surprises that I like best about gardening.

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