Blog, gardening, Home

Sunday Simplicity

Day 280

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit puny as my sister would say. Nothing major or drastic, just not feeling up to par. Hubby and I had plans to go see a local bluegrass band play at a small venue near us. I decided I had best not try to go since my stomach was a bit queasy. I encouraged hubby to go on as he had been working all day making his wonderful all from scratch vegetable soup.

I lounged around watching tv and nursed my stomach by eating a few small portions of soup throughout the night. I had a difficult time finding sleep, but eventually I drifted off.

I slept in and, surprisingly, I was the first one to rise. Morning tasks are not my forte, but I was feeling good and decided to go put the bird feeders out and water the plants. It is so dry here. It was a nice cool morning but I could tell the humidity was inching up so I enjoyed my time outside while the weather was nice.

Three of the sunflowers I planted survived the squirrels, possums, and the crazy wet and dry periods we have experienced. They are each in a different stage of blooming and they are such a joyful flower to see.

When I came inside I thought how my sister would laugh if she could see me. She had a house far out in the country and went outside in her pajamas or robe all the time. She had very few neighbors, but I remember telling her she really should get dressed before venturing outdoors. She would just laugh at me. Here I was kicking off my slippers and wondering what she would say knowing I had gone outside in my nightgown. It is not revealing so there is very little concern. There is literally no house within sight especially now that all the trees have filled in.

I do think age makes us feel differently about things. The things society would have you worry about are far less concerning than they once were. There is something freeing and joyful stepping outside to just breathe in the air without concern. It is moments like these that remind me why we chose this house.

Today I am feeling better and I am thankful. The birds are content and I have a few tomatoes almost ready to pluck from the vine. We have a family of hawks that have moved in nearby. We hear them constantly and see them frequently. They are magnificent although I fear for my little feeder birds. We also discovered a yellow jacket nest to be wary of. A small patch of wildflowers has a few blooms and right in the middle a sprig of poison ivy seems to have taken up residence.

Such is life in the country. Full of life and abundance and a few hidden dangers. It’s all about balance.

And besides, I like having the ability to walk about outside in my night clothes without worry. I get it, Sis. I finally get it.

Blog, gardening

Friday Observations

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Day 271

Had a nice walk this morning. We encountered this guy just hanging out by a little slice of sunlight. We have not seen much of the bunnies at our place of late. Nice to see them out and about. He did not hang out after we crept a little closer.

When we came in from the walk, hubby noticed a bunch of sticks in the grill of his truck. Upon further inspection he discovered a pair of Carolina Wrens spent the day yesterday building a nest. These little birds are tireless and relentless in searching for nesting sites. Thankfully there were no eggs, so the nest was removed. I am glad he noticed it or the end result could have been much worse.

I enjoyed a bowl of oatmeal with fresh peaches for breakfast. I love fresh peaches, but not so much canned peaches. I heard a speaker years ago relate a story from his tour of a peach cannery near Atlanta. I will spare you the details, but I refrain from eating canned peaches. Tonight I will make a fresh peach cobbler before the peaches get too ripe.

Some of my tiny new cucumbers suddenly turned yellow on the vine. I suspected too much rain or possibly nutrients, but upon further research, it looks like it could be pollination failure. I was shocked to read that a number of people hand-pollinate their vegetables when there is a lack of pollinators. Does that frighten anyone but me? The majority of our flowers have long ceased blooming. Now I am wondering if I need to bring in some baskets of flowers just to attract bees again. Today I will go out and remove the little guys off the vine. Luckily, we still have a few that look good.

 

The green colors are so dominant that the cucumber does not show yellow in my phone pic, but they clearly are. Now, looking at the photo, it looks like there might be some insects involved, too.

We try so hard to have pollinator-friendly plants. We don’t seem to have any pollen bearing flowering plants that bloom in this summer heat. If you have any ideas, I am ready to listen!

This evening we went back out so hubby could test drive some trucks. Boy, oh, boy, have trucks changed!

I hope all is well in your corner of the world.

blessings, Blog, friends, gardening

Reflecting on Life, Death and the Gift of Blogging

Day 240

I stayed up too late last night and found myself sleeping in this morning. Days like this make me so thankful to be retired. I walked outside to look at the progress in the garden before it gets too hot. We have so many small tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers that I hope will survive the insects and the summer heat.

I plucked a single ripe strawberry off the vine and bit into it. It was warm and so flavorful. Luscious! Normally birds would be darting in and out of the feeders, but while our family was here last week, a black bear decided to dine at the bird feeders. The result was a completely destroyed pole and three smashed feeders – our very favorite feeders of course.

Such is life here. We normally put the feeders out around 8:00 a.m. and bring them in around 7:00 p.m. before it gets dark. When bears look for food, they do not worry much about time of day so we are constantly on the watch. We still have a few feeders in the back but it will be a while before we sink money into replacing the expensive feeders.

We have seen a few king snakes and rat snakes around. We leave them alone because they eat the mice and some of the venomous snakes. They can be quite startling if you are not fond of snakes.

Last night my dear friend had to have her golden retriever put to sleep. I am heartbroken for her. Her dogs have been her beloved and close companions, loved and cared for as all animals deserve to be.

Being surrounded by the ever present reminders of life and death, I found myself reflecting on blogging. I had private blogs back when I was active on LiveJournal. This was a sacred place closed to all but a few close friends and one of my sisters. We shared a lot there. Now that my sister has passed, I keep my LiveJournal account so I can go back and revisit the things she wrote.

After that journey, I started a WordPress blog back in 2010 on the heels of a dear friend’s death. My first post was entitled ‘In Search of Signs of Life’. Funny how threads resurface in our lives. It was a place where I could process my feelings and thoughts around life and death. I wrote a good bit there as my sisters fought their battles with cancer. I have not written there in a long time although the blog is still up.

I started this blog 240 days ago as part of a goal of blogging every day. I think I have found myself over this course time. I am able to reflect without being absorbed. I can be empathetic without becoming depressed. I see and acknowledge what is not healthy for me and move on. I am constantly seeking to expand my experiences and knowledge and I have found blogging an excellent way to do so.

This morning I was honored when a fellow blogger (dare I say friend?) Pete recommended my blog to his followers. I was honored to think he found something of substance in what I share here. Thank you again, Pete.

I appreciate all who take the time to come by and read my blog. It means a lot. Blogging has certainly enriched my life and I have learned so much about us as people. We are much more alike than we sometimes realize. And as people, we need each other. Bridging cultural differences and discovering commonality is a gift. One that I will treasure for a lifetime.

birds, Blog, gardening, nature

Taking in Nature’s Gifts

img_9934Day 229

The weekend was odd. I thought I had recovered from my cold and sinus headache only to be a mess all day Saturday. I was in full-blown cold mode. I had Kleenex stuffed in every pocket I had. I was running errands and as the day progressed, I got worse. I finally called it a night early, took some NyQuil and went to bed. Sunday I woke up with no symptoms at all. Maybe it was an allergy attack but whatever it was it just disappeared.

This morning I slept in and am just relaxing a bit. I am so excited to have my children here and Saturday I hope to have my son and his children here as well. It is so important that the kids grow up knowing each other and forging a family bond. I am so glad my children feel the same way.

I thought it was time to go out and check out the garden. We have several tomatoes, a pepper, and some very tiny cucumbers coming on. I just hope they make it. We are expecting some very hot weather through the weekend. I understand it may be record-breaking temperatures.

I was hoping the weather would be cooler so our family from Florida would have a break from the heat they live with every day. At least where we live we have a lot of trees which helps keep things a little cooler. These are the days when my husband laments about our need to move higher into the mountains where it is cooler.

We only have a few flowers blooming now, but what is blooming is beautiful. The heat takes a toll on them very quickly.

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For now, I will water and try to nurse the plants through this heat wave. There is no prediction for rain in the short-term so the plants will need some extra TLC.

As I sip my last bit of coffee, I am watching the Downy Woodpeckers fly to the suet and bring the food back to the camellia bush and feed their young. The Cardinals will do this as well. They look like they are sharing tiny kisses. Such a sweet moment and one that begs you to stay and watch for just a minute longer.

Blog, flowers, gardening, gardens, Spring

Living In The Moment

Day 204

img_9647Yesterday was our warmest day of the year thus far. This morning the temps were a little cooler which made perfect walking weather.

The visual landscape around here is changing fast. Most of the azalea blooms are gone as well as the dogwood flowers and the native azaleas. We seem to have an abundance of rhododendron blooming this year. The irises continue to bloom but the spring flowering season is coming to a close. This morning I was greeted by a splendid white iris that had evidently bloomed. It was spectacular.

I love spring. It has to be my favorite season. I am always a little sad when the warm days and cool nights make way to hot days and equally hot nights. Right now we can still open the doors and windows, but with many more hot days, it will soon be time to close the house up and turn on the air conditioning.

We have a good start on our gardens. We have already had a salad out of our lettuce garden. It is so divine to have our own greens topped with the punch of flavor from fresh dill and cilantro. (Yes, I am one of those that love cilantro. Thankfully, so is hubby.)

I mentioned earlier that hubby raised our container garden. Last year we had so much rain and the ground was so saturated the garden could not drain. Our plants literally drowned.

Raising the garden was cumbersome. I told hubby I thought he over-engineered it which did not go over well. Sorry, but it was so heavy we almost could not turn it over. He basically attached legs of 4×4’s and put planks across the bottom, leaving spaces so the soil could drain. Then he covered it with landscape cloth to keep the dirt from falling through, then comes the soil and the mushroom compost then the planting. I asked him to keep the little ledge rather than even it up. Makes a good place to put pots and the watering can.

Friday we will go to the Asheville WNC Farmers Market for their annual Growing in the Mountains Plant Sale. This is where we usually find a nice array of native plants. We have a bad habit of buying more than we have room to plant, thus a lot of garden plants end up overflowing into individual pots.

Yesterday afternoon we went to help our friend unload his kiln after a 40+- hour soda ash firing. He is an amazing potter and the resulting work was beautiful. The community of artists in this area is inspiring.

Tonight we will go see our grandson at his final track meet of the season and next weekend we will drive to Charleston for our granddaughter’s piano recital.

It seems this retirement life is jam-packed full of things to do.