Saturday, August 17, 2019

Texas in August

I know it’s been a long time since my last post. It’s been a weird time for me. After smoking for 50+ years, it’s a new normal I’ve been working on finding since Easter Sunday!
So far. So good!
Anyway, I’m here now!

It’s hot.
Okay. I’ve stated the obvious.
It’s Texas. It’s mid August.
There. The “weather talk” is now out of the way.
Two tips I have:
Stay hydrated.
Stay cool.

My first ever garden is still green! The grass around it, not so green. The plants aren’t producing much, but they are hanging in there!

My focus has been to do my best to carry it through this heat - four more weeks.

The other day while watering, if I could carry a tune I would have sung this song in my garden:

Another tip I have... get up early! Before dawn! Get your body woke by sunrise. Then spend a few hours in the garden, or on nature walks. Simply get outside!

I begin watering soon after the sun brings enough light so I can watch where I’m putting my feet.
I also check for tomato horn worms.
I work on outside projects - in the shade - until late morning.
I plan the fall garden in the afternoons under the air conditioning.

That’s how I’m getting through August! What tips will you share that helps you get through these triple digits?

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Healthy Living

It is the last day of March. A library e-book is due back tomorrow. But I’m not FINISHED! I cannot check it back in until I write this partial review! There is so much information to absorb.

It took over two and a half months with it on hold before I could get it checked out to me. Life (i.e. sleep) got in the way to read it diligently! But, I decided a couple of days ago, it’s a keeper so it’s on its way to me via Amazon!

I’ve read more books this year already than the last 5 years combined! And, I’m not stopping! I’m loving the library e-books and my Kindle! This latest book is by Martha Stewart, Living the Good Long Life. I highly recommend this book, especially for those of us beyond 60 years young!

I’ve always admired Martha Stewart. She gives credit where credit is due. She alone did not write and compile information for this book. The acknowledgment section clearly details all the people involved making it happen. I appreciate the list of Resources that are general then chapter specific. Of course, the Notes for each citation within the chapters are as they should be and is, in itself, a great resource for further reference. Speaking of further reference, she/they also provide a list of Suggested Reading that I will have at my fingertips once the actual book arrives.

The mantra throughout the book!
The book is divided into two parts:

Part I   Healthy Living Today
    Healthy Eating
    Healthy Fitness
    Healthy Brain
    Healthy Outlook
    Healthy Living Every Day
    Healthy Looks
    Healthy Home

Part II  Healthy Living into Tomorrow
    Healthy Living into the Future
    Healthy Caring

Honestly, I rarely try Martha’s recipes. Out of her 77 (counting this one) books she’s written, between Momma & I, we have at least 30. Most of the recipes call for ingredients that either I’ve never heard of, cannot find locally, or are impracticable for this household - meaning Bud would not want to try! So I sort of skipped over the recipes. The information elsewhere was spot on!

HOWEVER, her fitness chapter gave me much inspiration! I know I need to as she suggests:

STAY active every day
INCREASE your endurance
MAINTAIN your flexibility
BUILD your balance
FOCUS on core strength
STRENGTHEN for stability
The balance and flexibility and strength... why am I wasting time listing the things I need to master... I need to work on them all!!

Oh, and the Healthy Brain chapter! I’m already practicing the tips she offers. For example, before if we needed more than two items from the grocery store I would have to make a written list. Nope. Not anymore. This is a prime example of “memory boosters” rather than giving in and writing it down I am now doing the “Rehearse and Resize” technique. But, oh so many other tips and techniques are listed for brain health.

Goodness. I could go on and on. I’m thrilled I made the decision to order this book. It will come in handy as a daily guide/reminder for healthy living thereby living the good long life!

P.S. I went on Amazon to get the link to share and read a great review of this book... the reviewer said it much better than I did - "Unlike any other book Martha Stewart has written"!

Let me know what you think of this book!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Take the Time!

In another lifetime I worked at a Texas Public Charter School. During that time, many amazing people came through the door to teach, guide, and help the wonderful yet disadvantaged kids. It was such a fabulous learning experience for me, and I’m still learning from that experience.

One especially hit home yesterday.

I learned yesterday, I missed out getting know an amazing person.

During lunch with some long time friends (two out-of-towners I haven’t seen in over 13 years - Wendy and her daughter Megan -  and one local - Dee that I haven’t made the time to simply visit with), a common denominator brought us together. The passing of Ann.

While working at the school, I didn’t know Ann, except to say hello. I only saw her occasionally as she worked on the other side of campus.

But after hearing Wendy speak of her, their long time friendship, even across the hundreds of miles and a time zone change, I so wish I had taken the time to know Ann myself. I so wish I had known first hand the gentle soul and generous spirit Ann brought to this worldly life. I am so grateful I had Wendy share a bit about Ann, and for that I am blessed.

Lesson learned: Take the time.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Boring - Not Any More!

Can you imagine looking out the kitchen window at this? This is boring! 

June 2016
(Before Mr. Mesquite had a major overhaul!)
After becoming inspired by reading the various books I’ve mentioned the past few months, and watching videos created by the Bealtaine Cottage (Ireland), Justin Rhodes (USA), Morag Gamble (Australia), and many others too many to mention, with their “permaculture” design concept... it finally hit me! Why walk all the way to the far end of the West Yard to tend to a vegetable garden?!!! That’s absolutely silly!

So, this is where I’m at now... a work in progress...

The white PVC pipe is my no dig zone, it's where the telephone wire is buried! Potatoes are planted to the right of cardboard, but the cats have messed the mounds up - they thought their easy no-dig toilet! Doubt any potatoes will come of it. Oh Well. Maybe next year.

Right now, the blue barrels and cardboard are to kill the grass!
The pots on top of cardboard keeps the cardboard in place! Once Bud's up to it, I plan on having him cut the barrels in half (lengthwise) and making planters. Someday we'll get "real" rain barrels rather than try to modify these sealed barrels.
I planted asparagus in the black pot in front of the hanging garden hose. We'll see if the cats leave it alone! I've put hardware cloth on top to discourage the cats. The terracotta pots will be for tomatoes and peppers. The last black pot to the left... blueberries!!!
FYI: Red Pepper Flakes do not bother the cats at all! I've got to figure out how to keep the cats out of the garden!!!

White pots & swan have onions growing inside. Momma's roses are coming back nicely after the severe Valentine's Day pruning. Will add Lavender to the newly prepared area.

It is a work in progress... I am bringing up dirt from the corral, one wheelbarrow at a time.


Give me a year...

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Books on the Shelf

I may have already mentioned (I’m having a senior moment), but I wanted to share a bit about the books I’ve added to my physical bookshelf! Yes! For me, they are worth having to reference when needed, for inspiration, and “just because” I’m addicted to having actual books on hand!

The latest is The Wellness Garden, by Shawna Coronado. After attending her workshop at the Mother Earth News Fair, she offers great inspiration and gardening tips and methods, even while suffering with chronic pain. As found on her website, the back of the book reads:

If you love to garden but also worry about chronic pain and physical strain, or if you are in search of ways to promote a healthier lifestyle that features stronger nutrition with anti-inflammatory eating, then noted garden author and wellness expert, Shawna Coronado, has good news for you. In The Wellness Garden, her new book from Cool Springs Press, Shawna details exactly how she has learned to use her garden as a key tool in her battle with osteoarthritis and other chronic pain issues. This guide to better health can help you combat specific, chronic, health issues and inspire you to feel better every day. In this inspiring but highly practical book you will learn from Shawna’s life changing garden experience and see how you can grow, eat, and walk your way to better health by creating your own Wellness Garden–gaining the healthier lifestyle you desire and need.

The “West Yard Project” is on temporary hold. I still have a bit more of the irises to transplant along the spiritual pathway, it’s a Living Process. It’s time (past time really) to get beds prepared and veggies and herbs and flowers ready to plant after the last (hopefully) freeze.

It’s because between some of the library books I have read, Shawna’s book, and Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison (that is now on my desk), I decided to turn our front yard into an edible garden! It, too, is a Living Process!

And, the 3rd book I now have on hand is Mel Bartholomew’s 2nd Edition All New Square Foot Gardening. It is absolutely packed with fabulous information! The subtitle reads: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space. I truly believe it! The book is certainly a well rounded reference to have on hand!

I’ll take pictures of the work in progress and share next time!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Mother Earth News Fair (with Update!)

I attended the Mother Earth News Fair yesterday in Belton, Texas. Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing! The Expo center was packed full of vendors, exhibits, workshops (some with hands-on demonstrations), and people! Not just inside, but outside as well! Because it was a brisk coldness with steady winds kind of day, I didn’t explore the outside vendors. Going between two buildings was enough “fun” out in the cold!

I did make it to one presentation I had preplanned on attending. At least part of it before getting the text: we’re hungry.

I didn’t get a chance to see even half of the fair. Only a passing glance down the aisles as I searched for one specific booth in order to pick up literature, information missed in the presentation.

It was time to go.

After only 2 hours.

I started to stay on - by myself - since two vehicles were available. I made the choice to leave, to spend time with family. But then I literally cried and kicked myself the almost 85 miles back home. Since I had a “weekend” pass to get back inside I should have turned around and gone back. But the special time to spend with Momma exploring the fair, something we had talked about and looked forward to for weeks, was gone. It really never was there.

UPDATE: I decided to go back today! By myself! 
I had a FABULOUS time!

I made the one workshop I wanted to attend with Shawna Coronado and got to stay for her entire presentation! At many booths I collected free samples for the chickens and the garden! I also bought a half pound of WORMS!!! Those red wigglers from Texas Worm Farm to start worm farming!!! Oh, and I had the sweet gentle man Mr. Clyde explain to me how to use his "garden slider" ... which I also bought!

And, DaddyKirbs Farm was there yesterday and today, filming! Bummer, I missed seeing him and his lovely wife both days! For those who would like to see what the Fair looked like...although I've yet to watch it, this is what Blake captured yesterday and shared via YouTube video is here!

Oh, and I bought some Cotton seeds! I can't wait to get them planted!

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Living Process

I’ve wanted a Labyrinth for years, and happened to walk my first one ever this past Tuesday morning while Bud was undergoing Carotid Endartarectomy. Located on the grounds of Seton Williamson, Roundrock, Texas, I’m thankful the hospital provides such a lovely place that brought me a bit of peace and settled my soul while waiting.

I’m taking a break from reading about planning and designing a garden. Rather, I’m doing research on creating a Labyrinth. I would like to include one in the West Yard Project. My sister recently suggested planting various herbs and plants to make the design, incorporate the “garden” within the Labyrinth - two for one!

When I saw this one, I thought, YES! This is what Sister was talking about!!

With the experience fresh on my mind, I know I cannot have one as big as Seton’s, big enough for an individual using a wheelchair. I just don’t have the space within the yard. I can (and will), however, make the paths wide enough for a walker!

I’m wondering, does the Labyrinth have to be symmetrical? I’ve found on Pinterest hundreds of examples and 99.9% are a circle symmetrical. But does it have to be that way? As long as the path takes one to the center circle then back out again the same way, would it work?

From what I’ve read, the attributes of a Labyrinth are:
   to have a one path in and the same path out,
   a center circle,
   and at least one switch back.


I am going to make it work...

After setting the center circle with concrete curved blocks, I used extension cords and a bit of rope to “map” out the path. I have plenty of irises to transplant what will edge most of the path, at least on one side. The rest of the “blank” spaces will be filled with herbs and perennials. As I  plant the irises, I will measure the path’s width along the way. I have a bit of wiggle room.

It’s a work in progress... it will be a living, growing, entity for my spiritual path.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

It's Time

Months before the dinos arrived, I read everything I could about raising chickens. I continue to read and learn. The latest book I have on the subject is Lisa Steele’s fabulous new book: 101 Chicken Keeping Hacks. It’s been a fabulous read!

Anyway, I am doing the same process for gardening. This winter, before getting my fingernails really dirty, I’m learning all I can about the different recommended garden practices. By reading the various library ebooks, I’m learning the language. I’m learning what questions to ask. I’m learning more about...

Permaculture Gardening
Square Foot Gardening
Biointensive Gardening
Sustainable Gardening

Never before have I paid attention.

It’s time.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Finally - Eventually

Yesterday afternoon I checked out more gardening e-books from the library! I’m ready, the Kindle is ready, bring on the next two weeks of “quiet time” while Bud recuperates from surgery!

Knowing She Shed #2 was on its way (finally!), I got this extra book because of the eventual plans I have percolating in my mind! Greenhouses & Garden Sheds

I purposely picked out the plainest shed I could find! I have ideas for the outside bare walls!

Besides, for now - and the future - I needed/wanted all the floor space possible inside. No fancy porch for this shed. Today, I will construct steps out of cinder blocks, but in the spring I hope to create a nice wide wooden steps with a handrail, maybe even a ramp.

I’ve already decided - if/when we get a “Greenhouse” per se, it will be this one from Graceland Portable Buildings of Lampasas (Facebook page).

It’s where we've purchased our She Sheds and have been very pleased with their quality construction and delivery/setup. After checking out Home Depot and Lowe’s prices for materials, I know we could not make one for the same cost, not to mention the time involved. There are just too many other projects on our “to-do” lists anyway!

In the meantime, I plan on extending the outside of #2...

Momma is coming out for a visit today. I hope to describe my vision to her, then she sketch it out for me to see! I’m blessed she’s a fabulous artist!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Library Books Due!!!
Only a few remain:

The DIRT CHEAP GREEN THUMB, 400 Thrifty Tips for Saving Money, Time, and Resources as You Garden, by Rhonda Massingham Hart, 2009, Storey Publishing.

The Edible Front Yard, Creating Curb Appeal with Fruits, Flowers, Vegetables, and Herbs, by Ivette Soler, 2011, Timber Press.


Eco-yards, Simple steps to earth-friendly landscapes, by Laureen Rama, 2011, New Society Publishers.

I don’t have the time to finish and write a proper review before Tuesday. I’ve done sample readings through each and know I want to read them closer - in the future. I’m not sure if the library will let me check them out back-to-back, but I’ll see! Otherwise, I’ll give others a chance to read, then try again.

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