Tag Archives: health

In the Garden – February

When I last posted about my garden conversion, the sun was shining and temperatures were above 100 degrees for days on end. It’s seems so long ago now, especially when I look at a forecast of rainy days and cold temperatures for as long as my phone forecast shows. But February marks an interesting month for many mild climate gardeners, it is the starting point of the garden season. Today I’m going to take you through my February checklist and show you how my “winter plants” are doing.

Pruning the Roses – One of my dear friends is part of the local Rose Society and she’s always giving me advice about my roses, I tell you they’ve never looked so good even through the last few drought years, (grey water kept them alive). She told me a few years back you should prune back your roses over Super Bowl weekend, and when you’re doing it pay attention to where you want the plant to bloom over the year, do you want it growing toward your walkway? Out over other plants? Really give it a hard look and decide almost like a bonsai how you want the plant to look overall. Next make sure the center of your plant has space, if you were to look down from the top it should look like a funnel wider and open at the top, down toward the center of the plant. Make sure you trim back any branches that are crossing each other, and lastly be really careful not to trim back too much. Most books and sites will tell you no more than 25% of the plant – I usually do a little bit more, but, not much. A few years back I over pruned one of my rose bushes – below the graft. Which I didn’t know about at the time, it’s taken me the last few years to nurse it back to a happy plant, and it blooms a different type of rose now. Needless to say a few weekends back I went to town on my remaining roses (more on that later). I have to stop here and suggest a few tools that I should have had when starting this product but have since picked up from Amazon for the future. 1. Invest in a good set of Rose Gloves – these are heavier duty than your normal gardening gloves and will protect your hands and arms up to your elbows from thorns, I’ve had a pair in the past and they are a true lifesaver anytime I’m working around my roses and thorns, I have to say, it took me a week to heal from all the scratches and pokes! These are the ones I picked up. 2. Good pruners, some that are easy to handle, light weight, make sure to keep them sharp and – here’s the kicker for me – just like with a good knife I feel a set of pruners need to have some heft to them. I’m not saying buy the “Cleaver” version for light rose pruning but make sure it can do the job! Here’s the pair I use on my roses – Pruners I mentioned above pruning my remaining roses, I had some trouble with a gopher this summer, he or she tore though my yard like a kid in a candy store, they ate my poppies, my lilies and finally 3 of my favorite rose bushes. Including the limited edition heirloom rose, my aforementioned dear friend gave me for my birthday a few years back. I was devastated at the time and tried to think about horrible ways for this nasty little creature to kick the bucket. But cooler heads prevailed and we picked up one of those vibrating post things – it seems to be working, either that or the little sucker ate everything he wanted to and moved on to greener pastures.

 

 

Generally mucking about: Next I moved into general weeding of the planter boxes, that wasn’t too bad but I have a few types of mushrooms growing in them from all the rain, and I was concerned between the random people that tend to walk through my yard now, and my pups, I didn’t want someone to get sick from them. I really wanted to put straw and mulch over the boxes I didn’t intend to use this winter – hopefully I’ll get to it next year – but the rain started early, life happened or something else and the next thing I knew it was February. So I did the next easiest thing and got a whole bunch of cardboard boxes that always seem to be stacking up around our house and cut them down to fit the planters to help keep the weeds down. I have to say there are a few downsides to this, one – when the cardboard dries and the wind kicks up, you do have to go looking for it down the street. And secondly while it might keep the weeds down, it obviously – although not to me, until I really thought about it – does not keep the mushrooms at bay.

cardboard planters

I have to say that I really regret pulling out the fabric barrier on the side of our yard. I planted a few bulbs, and plan on planting wildflowers this spring, along with the native poppies that crop up everywhere, but while the relentless rain has been awesome for our drought ridden state, it has wreaked havoc on my yard and sprouted an over abundance of weeks anywhere the fabric isn’t secured down. I did pick up this little gardening set to help me – I specifically got it for the gloves, and the two weed pullers. Don’t get me wrong a little rake and shovel always come in handy as well and I’m sure I’ll find use for the other stuff. Needless to say I’ve had a heck of a time getting around all the weeding outside the boxes, but I figure 20 minutes here and there while it’s still light when I come home from work and I should be done in a few years -lol.

 

On the upside the weeding keeps my “front yard” composter going, we decided not to put any food scraps in this bin since it is out front and I don’t want the neighbors yelling at me for the lovely smell of rotting food, since I’m not the best with turning it quickly. It also houses all of my shredding as my “brown” waste, so it’s recycling, composting and generally awesomeness in one small package.

 

when I have a little extra money I want to replace my older composter with this baby! It’ll be awesome to turn it without getting down in it with a shovel or rake!
Lastly this weekend I plan on trimming back the maple in front of my house – this is not something most people have to do, but! the person that owned the house before us, planted a young maple close to the house and I don’t know if they didn’t expect it to grow as much as it did, or if they didn’t think about the fact that you really shouldn’t plant a tree that is going to overhang on your roof and gutters. So every year, I cut back all of the new growth down to a little more than a foot below our roofline and sigh as it grows through the summer. I do think about spending the money to transplant it somewhere else in my yard, although I’m not sure where we would put it. Even with the inconvenience of trimming, it is a beautiful tree, it’s the shady spot the pups sit under in the summer when I’m outside puttering about; and it makes for a great outdoor ornament tree at Christmas.

One of the great things about a winter garden is the lack of work, I know that sounds a little ironic at the end of this post but from a planting and tending perspective I haven’t done anything to the plants, including watering them. (Insert pics). I don’t have a lot of variety, but it won’t be long before I have fresh beets, with roasted cauliflower, garlic and onions. And that my dear friends for the amount of work I’ve put in, is priceless.

garlic

 


Do you have a winter garden?

 

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The Year of Sarah

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet but I have a big Birthday coming up this year.  Like Huge!  One that makes you take stock of your life, and maybe think about adjusting your course a bit to start the 2nd half of your life on a better track. Yes dear friends, I am turning 40, and as we creep closer to the day – July to be exact, I am getting more and more excited to start this 2nd chapter of my life.  To celebrate this awesome event, I have decided that I need more than just a day, really more than a few days.  I really feel that I need to celebrate through the entire year, and perhaps beyond.

Why you might ask?  Well let me tell you…… I have spent the last 5 or 6 years in a real funk, I’ve struggled with the loss of my father, my body image, my girls growing up and not needing me in the same way, a dead end job that doesn’t stimulate me, but pays better than I’ll find elsewhere (for now), aging.  I’ve worried about how I’m perceived, how I’m treated, how others make me feel.  Basically I’ve spent all of this time worrying about outside forces that have no real bearing on my life or what should be making me happy and me.

A few months back an interesting thing happened, I was running into the office, late, I’m dragging my purse, my lunch box, my “work related bag”, an umbrella and a heavy coat.  I can barely stand upright and now I have to figure out how to get the first of 3 doors open to get to my cube.  I struggle to swing the first one open as far as I can and rush through before it closes in on me like a vice.  As I’m pulling my badge out to open the second door, I hear a voice right behind me say to another nebulous figure “I hate it when people can’t hold the door open for you, how rude is that?” And I quickly realized she was talking about me.  I was stunned, I was weighed down by everything I was carrying, I could barely get the door open in the first place and she was concerned that I hadn’t been courteous to her?  Me? The person that you see getting stuck holding the door for the one old lady somewhere, only to keep having to hold the door for the sudden line of people that decide to leave at the same time.  Me, the one that will rush to help someone regularly and smile all the time, brushing off any thank yous and not worying when I don’t get one.  Me! Really?  And for the first time in a very long time, I decided I was done.  I turned to her, looked her dead in the eye, and asked her if she thought I had my hands free enough to keep the door open for her, and for that matter if she was so close behind me why didn’t she offer to help? Her friend snickered – I don’t think either expected me to say anything, the woman just stared at me for a brief moment, muttered Bitch under her breath and badged past me into the building.  Stunned as I was at the experience, the first thing I thought about when I got to my desk, was why didn’t you just open the door a little wider?

And isn’t that the way we’re all programmed to be?  I felt bad because I didn’t do more.  Weighted down with my own crap, literal and metaphorical I was adding guilt onto myself because it still wasn’t enough.  So I stewed on it for a few days, and then said screw it!  I need to start thinking about me, but how?

I stared by digging into my self help library (I have a thing for books and ever more so if they’re of the self help, cooking, or of the craft variety).  I began pulling inspiration from the people I follow on Instagram and Snapchat, and lastly I started thinking if I could try a few new things, or do something I loved again, small things, and just a few a month for the next year, what would they be? Digging a little deeper, if I could do anything I wanted what would that be? Slowly but surely I developed a plan, on how to get back on track with my life, and then took it even further and added in a few things each month I wanted to do, just for me.   So what does that look like in my life?

I stared a morning routine again, I had done one previously, but gotten out of the habit  probably about the time I hit critical mass with my undiagnosed Sleep Apnea. Now that I have that relatively under control, I feel I can do more with a little less (as long as its quality) sleep. I read the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – its a little campy for me, and every few pages does try to push you out to his website to buy, join, or subscribe, but the basics are solid and very similar to things I had done at different times of my life.  Things that when I do them regularly make me feel better and get me really revved up for my day.

I took some of the smaller things from my list, things that were easy or short in duration, and worked on making them happen.  Like making sure I’m spending time with those I love and that make me feel good to be around – I scheduled dinner dates with our two favorite couple friends.  I found fun things that happen over the month and made them into a dinner party.  January was a 12th night and Epiphany dinner.  Next month aside from the obvious (Valentines Day) I have plans for National Drink Wine Day (2/18) – Groundhog Day (2/2) Pizza day (2/9) and a few others. I have some big ideas too, like Take a Cruise, visit Disney Paris, write a book, run a Disney 10k, things that I might not accomplish in 2017, but I’m really going to work toward making them happen, and just maybe I’ll surprise myself.

Lastly, as I was reminding everyone about my big 40th birthday this year, my grandpa reminded me he would be 85, and my mother will be 65, and my Auntie will be 55 (on Monday – happy Birthday Auntie Paula – I love you).  Steve’s best Friend Bob will be 35, my Cousin Kevin will be 30, My oldest will be 21 and the youngest is turning 18.  ALL THIS YEAR!  So I thought let’s try to celebrate all of those events as well – make them big and awesome and really live in those moments when they’re happening.

I want to look back on this 40th year of my life and feel like I really did some things, big, small, easy or hard, matters not. Just so long as I when I end this year and I’m reflecting on the things that I’ve done, I’m not disappointed in all the things I didn’t do.

Welcome to the year of Sarah.

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