My Garden Sage or How My Garden Does Not Grow!

I heard a rumor that spring is coming…and with spring comes the beginnings of those dreams of an amazing garden in my backyard that will supply us with fresh vegetables all summer and fall.
But first let me share some my garden sage or How My Garden Does Not Grow!

Year 1 – Our new home in the South, lovely large fenced yard, perfect place for a garden and we can begin sooner than we ever could in Ohio. So we prepared the chosen location for our wonderful garden, and planted our seeds and plants, and awaited our bountiful crop.
All was going well, we actually had produce appearing, it was exciting. Then it happened…one afternoon I was inspecting my garden, as I did just about every day, and counted about 20 nice sized green tomatoes. I was so excited because I knew that in a few days they would be ripe and ready to pick.
Imagine my surprise the next day when I went out to inspect my garden and every single tomato was gone. Gone, not a trace, nothing!! I looked twice, three times and then started to doubt my sanity. But no, I know they were there…where had they gone? My first thought was Big Foot…yes I actually thought that. We have a 6 foot solid wood fence around our entire yard so I knew it wasn’t deer, and squirrels are notoriously messy eaters so I knew it couldn’t be them. Big Foot was my only answer! Of course the reality was, it was most likely raccoons who ventured over our fence saw the lovely vegetables and decided it was party time…fried green tomatoes and a movie! However, I am still sticking with Big Foot.
The rest of the yield from our garden was okay, but not as great as we had hoped. Lesson learned: animals will eat your garden unless you take precautions against that and don’t forget Big Foot.

Our ingenious solution to critters!

Our ingenious solution to critters and proof I had tomatoes!

Year 2 – Time for a new strategy…we need something to keep the critters (and Big Foot) out of our garden. Solution (thought up by my creative husband)…a garden cage created from a car port frame, wire fencing, zip ties and a lot of hard work. It took us about 6 weekends (and assistance from family and friends) to get this creation up and fashioned in a way that we could work with it. We even put wire fencing on the ground to keep critters from coming in that way.  This garden cage is staked into the ground at regular intervals, it has been grounded from lighting strikes, and will withstand a hurricane, tornado and Big Foot attack.   To further assure our success we decided to plant in containers. So we gathered our containers, drilled holes in them to allow for drainage, filled them with very good soil, installed a watering system on a timer, planted our crops and awaited our harvest. But alas, it was not to be. No animals got our plants but between a very wet summer, not enough sun getting to the plants and perhaps a bit of over and under watering on a few occasions our yield was dismal to say the least. Lesson learned: once plants are safe from critters (and Big Foot) they need the correct amount of water and sun to provide a yield.

Raised Beds Year 3Year 3 (this year) – New strategy. We will use the garden cage, but we will do raised beds. We had heard that container gardening does not yield as well as planting in the ground so we decided to try this approach. We spent two weekends building our raised beds, getting them square, pegging them into the ground, and the dirt put into them. They are now ready for me to put the plants in when the time comes.

Starter plants - Year 3I have even started seeds in the garage, where they are doing nicely and in a few days I will transplant them into the raised beds in the garden cage. We are adjusting our watering time-table, and are hoping for a dryer warmer summer so the plants get what they need. With any luck and some tender care this year we will have fresh vegetables and perhaps plenty to share with others.

 

Stay tuned to my blog to see how My Garden Grows or Not, this year.

Happy Gardening to everyone!
Paula

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Perspective

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Perspective….the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship.

Perspective, it’s all about how we see things. Everyone processes information differently so everyone can have a different perspective when viewing the same situations, photos, scenes, tasks and people.

For instance what do you see when you look at the picture posted above? Do you dead trees, and a brown colorless, lifeless piece of land? Does the photo show you a land that is sad, worthless and depressing? Or do you like me, see the potential of this piece of land? The lush green undergrowth that will soon fill this property, how it will be teeming with life and beauty. The beautiful majestic trees in full leaf shading the land and becoming home to birds, squirrels and even raccoons. The wonder of new birth that happens every spring just when you are sure that this year spring was not happening.

Perspective isn’t just about things, it’s also about tasks, chores and home improvements. I recently spent some time with my daughter in Ohio. I told her I would love to work on a couple projects around the house with her. She took me at my word and had a laundry list of things she wanted to accomplish while her husband was out of town to surprise him. Since her husband may read this I won’t go into detail, but when I saw what she had in mind my perspective on the list was a very positive “ain’t no way”, but as we worked through the list it suddenly became clear we can do this. My perspective changed when I made the choice to see the end results and not focus on the amount of work it was going to take to get there. And that change in my perspective made the experience fun and rewarding, dispute the bruised knee, sore arms, banged finger and stiff back. Home improvements need a safety warning for people of a certain level of gracefulness!

It’s the same when we look at people. We need to see the possibilities in that person dispute the outward appearances. We need to look beyond the current laundry list of things that may be wrong or need changed and instead look at what the possibilities could be for that person. We need to change our perspective on their future and if we can perhaps help them change their own perspective too.

Perspective…it’s all about what we do with the information we receive whether it’s visual or verbal, familiar or foreign, positive or negative. What will you do today with the information you receive? What will your perspective be?

The Scale is not My friend.

ScaleThe scale is not my friend.

I have an enemy lurking in my home. It doesn’t bother to hide, but instead taunts me every day, daring me to come closer, attempting to suck me into its dark, dark world.  Yes, the enemy I speak of is my bathroom scale.  It’s an unassuming little scale, nothing fancy, just a regular bathroom scale.  It doesn’t talk to me, (although I have spoken to it a number of times, words which will not be repeated in this blog),  it doesn’t tell me my body fat content, it doesn’t keep track of previous weigh ins, it just gives me the daily number should I dare to step on it.

Why do I consider this object my enemy?  Well, because it never seems to be on my side.  It never seems to give me the positive, encouraging information I seek.  Even on days when I am sure I am doing well, I feel thin, I think I look thin my enemy gives me discouraging information.

Now I know that they, whoever they are, say that it’s not about the number, it’s about how your clothes fit, how you feel, how you look.  And ‘they’ also say, not to weigh yourself every day, but once a week or perhaps once a month.  But let’s be honest, we all have a magic number in our heads that we want to see.  And we will try as often as we are feeling brave enough to see how we are doing in achieving that magic number.  We know that magic number can change by as much as 2-5lbs in a few days depending on a lot of factors, but we still hope to see that magic number.  Those magic numbers that will make us feel better, happier, thinner and proud of what we have accomplished.  That magic number that if we don’t see it, causes us anxiety, disappointment and sometimes confusion.  Not seeing that magic number can drive us to extremes, such as an unrealistic increase in our exercise, or in some cases consuming that dessert because it just doesn’t seem like you are ever going to get to that magic number.

The problem is that magic number is many times an unrealistic number for us.  It’s a number we may have seen in our youth or teen years, it’s a number off some chart we saw or from some article we read somewhere, but it is not a number we should expect to see in our more mature years.  If we were honest with ourselves we would realize that and we would stop seeking that magic number and instead focus on being truly healthy at whatever number we currently seeing.

Will I stop fighting this enemy of mine?  No, probably not.  It’s a competition between myself and that scale.  No matter how much my head knows that it’s not about that magic number,  my heart says “you can do this”.  So unless my bathroom scale grows legs and walks out of my bathroom, or I pick it up and toss it out  (which isn’t going to happen), that scale will be there in my bathroom, luring me into its grip, taunting me to step on board and get my number for the day.  The difference is I am not going to let the number of the day dictate how the rest of my day will go and I am going to adjust that magic number to be more realistic for me and where I am right now in life.

Good luck magic number seekers, I hope you see whatever number will put a smile on your face today.  But more importantly I hope you will see yourself for the wonderful, beautiful creation that you are and will hold your head high knowing that you were ‘fearfully and wonderfully made”  Psalms 139:14.

Your fellow magic number seeker,

Paula

The Good Olde Days

Good olde days

Sometimes I long for the good old days, the days of simplicity.  The days when life seemed slower, choices seemed easier, we had three to five television channels, letter writing was how we communicated with far away friends, note writing was how we communicated in class (and hoped we didn’t get caught), we passed those notes in the hallways of school, cards were fun to get in the mail and children playing outside was something you saw all the time.

What got me into this nostalgic mood you wonder? Well, I am sitting here watching a television station called MeTv.  It shows all those old television shows that were on when I was growing up.  Okay there could be some debate on whether I have grown up or not but that’s a topic for another blog.  The shows that we watched way back then had a message, good clean comedy, little violence, and little, if any, profanity.  I am talking about shows like Leave it to Beaver, Family Affair, Mash, Rifleman, Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason, Ironside, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, The Carol Burnett Show, Emergency, Adam 12 and remember Sunday nights Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom?  What about The Wonderful World of Disney?  And those old westerns my dad loved, Gunsmoke and Bonanza.

Television shows your parents had no problem watching with you, and depending on when you had children, you had no problem allowing them to view these shows.  The shows taught good values and respect for others.  The shows that left you feeling good once they ended for the night.

I admit there are some good shows on television today, and I have been caught up in them.  I mean who doesn’t love Downton Abbey or Doctor Who or Bones and NCIS.  But they are so different from the shows of yesteryear.  And there are so many channels to choose from now.  When I was a kid we had three channels, 3, 5, and 8.  Maybe, if lucky, we got 23, 45 and 61.  And imagine the excitement when channel 55 showed up years later.  We also had one television for many years, it’s home was in the living room and there was no remote control.  Dad ruled the choices and we changed the channels, and when needed adjusted those rabbit ears to get a better picture.

I love technology, I love having choices when I turn on my television, but sometimes I think that the world would be a better place if there were less television choices and people got out more, visited, hung out and actually talked about life instead about the latest happening on the most popular television episode they watched or the current level they are at on that game.  Don’t get me started on kids and being glued to their televisions and gaming consoles instead of getting outside and actually playing.  I don’t know about you but sitting down with a remote at a gameing console is not playing to me.  It’s getting outside, running, laughing, getting dirty, riding your bike, hiking, walking, etc.

So maybe I am getting older and in getting older I reminisce about days gone by, and the simpler life we seemed to enjoy.  And like I said, I love technology, and don’t want to give it up, I just don’t’ want to be so glued to it that I forget to see what’s really important in life.

So turn off that television, gaming console and mute that smart phone, get out and take a walk, write a real letter, send a card for no reason and find a way to embrace the simple things from your youth.

Have a simply wonderful day.

Paula

Lessons learned in a Traffic Jam

 

Slow moving

Lessons learned in a Traffic Jam

Recently I had the unique experience of being in a minivan with 6 other adults (family members) after a wonderful visit to Sanibel Island Beach in Florida.  After the beach we went to a fun restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner and unfortunately, our timing led us be in the midst of a two-hour traffic jam to get off the island.

I learned a few insights during my incarceration in the minivan about traffic jams and people.

Go to the bathroom before you get into the minivan or car or whatever mode of transportation you are using.  Within an hour we knew that a few of us, me included, were not going to last much longer and finding a proper place to stop was becoming imperative.  We were lucky enough to find a public park and after pulling out of the traffic jam, using the facilities, stretching our legs and discussing our options, we were able to get back into line only a couple of cars behind the one we were original behind.

Always take your cell phone charger with you, even if you don’t think you will need it. With everyone using their cell phones to see if there were alternative routes off the island, searching random things out of boredom, or attempting to see if we could figure out why the traffic was not moving, we were running out of power…a serious tragedy if they all ran out at once.  This leads into my next lesson.

Do some research if you are going to a new destination or even if you are revisiting someplace you had been before.  Things change and it never hurts to look up your destination on-line or to ask someone who has been there recently to see if there are any tips or suggestions for making your visit more enjoyable.  If we had looked up Sanibel Island we would have seen that leaving the island between 4pm and 6pm was discouraged because of traffic delays.

Plan alternative routes in case of a problem.  Chances are you will not need this information but having it may help with all the suggestions you may receive from the various smart phone users who still have power in their phones.  If you are the driver, good luck choosing the one that works best.  Of course, there is always the option of ‘staying the course’ and just riding out the slow traffic because in our case, there was only one bridge off the island and all roads eventually lead to it.

Forget finding out why traffic isn’t moving (and does it really matter)?  No one walking, jogging or riding by on bikes will have any idea why you are not moving.  I know because we asked a few and were rewarded with the same answer of a shoulder shrug and “I have no idea” each time. We are on an island with one bridge off so knowing would not have made us go any faster.

Have beverages and maybe snacks your car. After about an hour, and after our pit stop, a nice cool drink of water would have been wonderful.  We did have three very yummy desserts from our lunch in to go containers in the small cooler but with no utensils available they were pretty safe there.  Although I am sure had the traffic jam lasted much longer we would have resorted to using our fingers, at least I would have.

If you are the driver, be patient (our driver was extremely patient, not only with traffic but with us).  Switching lanes to get into the faster moving lane was not an option for us, it was a two lane road.  However, if you are stuck in a traffic jam on a multi-lane highway, keep in mind moving into the faster moving lane will immediately result in that lane becoming the slower moving lane.  If you are a passenger, be patient with your driver. Remember all decisions are ultimately theirs and you are along for the ride.  Not happy about that, then you drive next time!

Enjoy the slow pace and company.  Since you are not getting anywhere fast why not just sit back, turn on some music, talk to each other or enjoy the scenery.  Make the most of the rare opportunity to have some ‘down time’ in a world that is way too fast paced and rarely allows us the chance to just relax.

All in all, I would not have traded those two hours in the minivan, it was a bonding experience and actually fun. Besides, it has given me some great stuff to blog about. After all the best blog material comes from real life, so family and friends beware!

Let me know what lessons you have learned being stuck in a traffic jam.

Happy driving,

Paula