Magical Colors in the Garden

This tree always surprises me. The color that it turns seems unreal to me.

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Here is a close-up of the leaves:

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And here is one more Japanese maple turning orange (seen through the dogwood tree.)

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We’ve had so much rain that most of the leaves are now falling off the trees (yay, rain!) My tree guy came and topped both the flowering cherry and the apple tree. I bet I get a lot of apples next year 🙂 Oh, and he also chopped down that poison oak and the little tree that it was climbing. And then I drowned it with some super concentrated weed killer.

Next I will be pruning some of my trees, and planting all the bulbs that I got from John Scheepers! As soon as it stops raining 🙂

Took a couple more pictures today. Two days ago this big maple was still green. Its funny to me how the color can change so quickly with just some rain and cold weather.

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And then I took a picture of my cherry tree, so you can see how much it got topped.

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Noah’s Birthday

Baby pictures of Noah:

2 Months old:

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4 months old:

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This past Saturday Noah turned 10 years old! Since it was Saturday and his trainer has a class on that day, I drove over at the end of the class and took some Apple Hill donuts over. I am very appreciative of all the work she’s done with Noah, and also a couple of her helpers that worked with Noah. Of course, I forgot to take pictures over there. So I took a picture when I got home. Noah had just had a bath, but the picture doesn’t look so much like that.

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When I took Noah to a special vet to be neutered, I asked how long these dogs lived. She told me that many times they escaped and were hit by cars or other terrible things happened to them. Noah has surprisingly never tried to escape from my yard. He has occasionally run off when I leave the gate open, but he always came back. Noah is slowing down. He still takes walks with me, but he usually walks behind me. Of course he never picks up sticks on our walks. But he does still enjoy barking. And he does enjoy sleeping most of the day!

A little rant: this bit with PGE turning the power on and off is getting VERY old. I am very glad that I got a generator this year, and that my neighbor Tom has been very helpful in giving me advice on how to keep it going. I wish it would rain a BIG rainstorm.

And here’s a few pictures of my garden. Its also very hard to water the garden when they turn the electricity off (I have a well, so I run out of water frequently.) Today at the gym, one lady told me they filled their bathtub up so they could flush their toilet–brilliant!!

Carnation:

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Rose:

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Petunias:

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And one more new thing. I am going to have my contractor put the fence all the way around my whole yard. Please don’t ask me how much it is going to cost! I have a large yard, and I was even shocked at the cost!

Oh, one more new thing. A friend gave me her mom’s Keurig. I never thought I’d want one, but I do love it. The only thing is that I think it might be old and it gets clogged up frequently. So Keurig sent me a 25% off coupon, and I bought a smaller Keurig. Then I researched what kind of water to put in it, and they said Distilled water. Walmart has a lot of water on sale, so I bought 10 gallons of distilled water!

Just a Few Little Things to Show

This is the biggest news. Every since I’ve lived here, I had CATTLE gates. Yuck. So one day I asked my contractor if he would be able to build gates and a partial fence. I just loved this round gate that I found on the internet, and he also built a trellis in front of it so I can get some climbing roses and put them there. I want to get Queen Elizabeth roses, but the climbing ones are hard to find. Anyway, I love the fence so much that I am going to put the fence all the way around my yard eventually. Also, there is welded wire on the outside of the fence so Sophie can’t get out and skunks can’t get in! You can also see the little patio that I had built. Sadly, I haven’t used it much yet.

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I hardly ever remember to take a picture of Noah right after he has his bath. Isn’t he a handsome dog. He’s going to be 10 years old in a couple of weeks!

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This is just Chloe and Sophie trying to get me to feed them. They were barking at me, but I didn’t get that shot.

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And my new baby chickens are just about grown up. I have four blue laced red wyandottes, 2 Black Astralorps, and 2 Barnvelders.

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The babies are still afraid of most of the chickens, so I was surprised when I saw this picture of one of my Dominique chickens up there with the babies.

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And that’s about all the news that’s fit to print.

Applying for Medicare

I Know! Its hard to believe I’m this old. But I will be 65 in December, and so I had to start making preparations. It made me very nervous. But there is a guy at the UC Center that has helped me with health care over the years, and he told me last year to call him in September.

In fact, I had already received my Medicare card, and I didn’t even know it because I was a little afraid to look at that piece of mail.

Anyway, this guy told me exactly what to do. Turns out my supplemental insurance from the UC system will only cost me $40 instead of the $340 I was paying! And he did advise me to sign up for part D (medicine.) I was pretty sure I wanted to do that, because my mom did not sign up for it, and now she has to pay $50 extra every month…

So I got a little confused about how to do that, but then I saw you could sign up online. Oh, and let me advise you—READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT YOUR PASSWORD. I about gave up on getting a password until I looked over and saw there were MORE instructions about the password. So then I tried signing up for the basic medicine (part D) which said it was $12.90. But then I filled out the whole questionnaire, and at the end it said I had EnvisionRxPlus, and it did not say how much that cost! I tried calling them, but I did not have the number they wanted so that didn’t work. The next morning, I tried live chatting with medicare, but they also couldn’t help me. Then I finally saw that they had a website. Went on there, and sure enough, the cost was $12.90…

Anyway, looks like I am set, and I will have more choices than ever, according to the UC guy. I also found this interesting article talking about if you even need supplemental insurance with Medicare.

Thoughts

The day after Christmas, I started seriously working on a hooked rug. I had started it the previous year at my Anaheim rug retreat, and I was hoping to finish it before I went to Anaheim the first week of February. I worked almost every single day on that rug for hours. I called it the cow rug, and somehow I got scared of hooking the cattle. (My idea was to use cattle from all over the world, and the hills are from a picture I took of the hills in my area.) So one by one, I would make a goal to finish a cow. And the hills took a long time. Its a large rug, 42″ X 51″. Finally the cows and hills were done, and only the sky remained. I googled sky images, and chose one with a pale sunset. I finished the rug on a Friday night at 5pm, just a day before I was leaving for Anaheim!

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Here’s a thought I’ve had for a while. I found this article about “body acceptance begins with grieving.” Now even if you don’t believe in Health at Any Size (which I don’t completely agree with) still the grieving part is something that many people experience. I don’t think they actually realize it is grieving.

I got tired of dieting after doing it for fourteen years. And I started eating a little more. Most days I eat 1300-1500 calories. That’s enough for me to gain weight. I am still proud that I am keeping 55 pounds off. And I do still pay a great deal of attention to eating and exercising for health. But I’m probably never going to be that thin person that I wish I was. That’s where the grieving comes in. (Although both my mom and dad lost weight after they turned 80–haha, there’s still hope for me 🙂 )

Altra shoes. They are my favorite now. Before my knee was repaired, their zero-drop heels made my knee hurt too much. But now they’re perfect. Especially because of their roomy “toe box.” Wonderful. So I started looking online, and found a pair that were brand new on eBay, and in a pretty color. I got them and they fit just as good as the last pair.

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So, during the last week before I left for Anaheim, my neighbor came over and split a bunch of pine for me. So the only exercise I did that week was moving a bunch of oak into the woodshed, and then stacking up all that pine. I’m not that good at stacking wood, but I don’t mind doing it.

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So, my trip to Anaheim was wonderful, except for driving in the rain coming and going. I was so nervous about coming home, because snow was predicted! We’ve had such a mild winter that no thoughts of snow had occurred to me. Anyway, I got up early on Saturday morning, and drove straight home. I got groceries and picked up Noah, and headed home. All was well until it started snowing in the middle of the night and the electricity went out!

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Two days without electricity. Not that much fun. But I tell you, when it comes back on, its like magic! So thrilling to be able to wash dishes and my hair and wash clothes and just do all kinds of fun stuff!

So, I guess there weren’t too many thoughts in there, but that’s what I’ve been doing this past month.

A Chicken and Garden Report

I am so happy. My plan is working. This year, I did not keep the lights on in the evening (so the chickens would keep laying eggs.) Of course, this means I only get 5-7 eggs a day from 22 chickens. BUT, I am happy because all of my chickens are starting to grow their feathers back. Here are some of them:

The white cochins:

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Both of the Black Copper Marans are in full feather:

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And they have finally started laying their dark brown eggs again:

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The Dominique:

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And one of the New Hampshire Reds:

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Both of the Speckled Sussex are coming back into full feather. They were really bald in the last chicken update I did.

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And the self-appointed queen of the yard. I don’t think she’s ever lost too many of her feathers. I’m not so sure she’s the queen. She might just be smart enough to stay away from the other chickens.

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Did I tell you that my apple tree grew ONE apple! I watched it for a long time, sure that the deer or the bear or birds might get it. But one day, it looked ripe enough and I ate it! Yumm!

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A while back, I bought a book on Monet’s garden. It was so interesting to read. And he just was determined to put flowers everywhere. So the next time Kevin came over, I kidded around and said I was going to add some planter beds here. He actually likes building these beds, so he did this for me. I’m very excited. I bought a bunch of spring bulbs from John Scheepers again, plus those specialty seeds that I bought, so I will be able to plant some of them here.

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Of course, all of the dogs have to explore anything new in the garden.

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Kevin came up with a great idea to add some beds to the front of the shade garden. We are going to save that project for next spring.