Category Archives: Favorite Things
HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL!!!!! It’s raining here today (Ahhhh!) and cooler – at least for now, and I am one happy camper. :0)
We had 5 hummingbirds at the feeders while we at the dining table this morning. A truly beautiful sight to start our day.
It’s DAY 21 for my daily yoga practice. Yesterday, after I had spent time weed whacking and then blowing the debris off the concrete areas, I was really tired and sore. As soon as I had finished a bottle of water and cooled off a bit, I did my yoga session, and it HELPED! Since I’m old and out of shape, my back stiffened up before bed, but I’m encouraged that I could FEEL it helping yesterday.
It’s DAY 6 on my getting-serious-about-keto efforts. To be honest, I’m not really sure where I am. The scales aren’t showing anything. I’ve been staying way under the 20 grams of carbs I’m allowed daily, figuring that even if I screw up on portion size or forget to add something, I should be coming out well. I’m really happy with the CarbManager.com carb tracking website. It’s easy to use and I can quickly add food, water, or exercise from my computer or my phone.
Fingers crossed I will see some tangible results on either my scale, with my measuring tape, or both in the near future.
Our doggies seem calm after their fight yesterday morning. I will never know what started the fight. I’m just grateful that both doggies are doing fine today.
I didn’t make it up to my art room yesterday. I will try to get up there and play today.
Our son, who lives and works in Thailand, came home after my husband’s stroke to help us through all the testing and the aftermath of the stroke. He will probably go back to his life soon. I’m am SO grateful that he wanted to be with us during this time. He has been a rock. SUCH a generous, caring man!
I hope you enjoy the first day of fall today – doing good things for yourself, feeling good, and finding great reasons to smile.
It’s as black as night outside right now, ready to storm. Before it got dark, I got out and took some pictures in the yard I wanted to share with you. This is one of our Rio Samba rose bushes with Impatiens around the base. We have two other Rio Sambas, but for some reason, their leaves are turning yellow. I’ve sprayed them with fungicide plus all purpose rose bug killer, hoping that will help them.
I love the red roses on this bush. It seems quite happy at the moment.
This is one group of phlox. I love these. They come in a lot of colors. We have a lighter pink shade and this one. I’m afraid if it rains hard, these will be beaten down.
I have to tell you about my stupidity of the day –
I checked my veggie garden and noticed the plants weren’t getting enough water. My husband came out to help me trace the water from the outside rural faucet we have out to the garden. It turned out that I had forgotten about a “Y” connection of hoses we have and it was turned the wrong way. The water wasn’t going anywhere, much less to the garden! We fixed it and tested it. On the way back to the house, Mother Nature rained on us….
All spring it has either been heavily raining or SUPER hot with strong sun. Nothing in-between. Today I was only out for about half an hour, and came in huffing and puffing, wiping my head and face, and wanting to glug water.
I found these yellow leaves on my tomato plants yesterday. My friend, Laufrain, and I looked up the problem last night. It suggested bone meal and fertilizer. I just added both of those to the planter and watered. Fingers crossed they like it. I have nice green tomatoes and am hoping for a good crop.
This is our other tomato planter. As you can see, the plants are good and healthy. I have no clue what’s going on with the longer planter.
This is my first trial at growing zucchini. I have several that SEEM to be doing well.
Sweet red onions.
Radishes I just started a few days ago.
And THIS is the excitement for the day! It is a cantaloupe! Ta DA! If it doesn’t croak and continues to grow, I have a plastic bowl thingie with lots of holes for drainage and legs to keep the cantaloupe up off the ground. I’ve never grown one of these before. This was my husband’s choice of what to grow (other than head lettuce), so I’m really hoping we grow at least one and that it’s good.
On my way back in, I stopped to take a couple of pictures of the flowers on the deck. They make my heart soar every time I see them.
Now I’m very thankful that we have air-conditioning!
One view of our deck. We usually plant mandevilla in the 4 large pots, but we think the wave petunias this year are wonderful.
We’ve enjoyed spending time out here, mostly watching it rain so far.
The roses I pruned are starting another bloom. (Plus, you can see the second planter we’re going to rebuild and the pile of potting soil waiting.)
Roses and phlox.
Stella d’Oro lilies.
I may have indicated before – or you probably have picked it up by yourself – that I’m a very spoiled woman. :0)
My husband and I are retired, meaning that we can now decide what we want to do most days. We are so busy now that we honestly can’t figure out how we got everything done when we both worked full-time, many times with my husband in another part of the country on a work contract.
I honestly can’t imagine being bored. See what I mean? I’m SPOILED.
I have SO many things I want to do each day that I don’t have the time or the energy. I also have the wonderful freedom to decide to do NOTHING.
I honestly love my life, moving between online things – friends to chat with, my ArtFire site, my new Etsy site, this blog, plus watching webinars and YouTube to learn new things until my poor head explodes, playing in my art room, working outside in my greenhouse, my flower planters, my veggie garden… reading all kinds of wonderful books, watching TV and movies with my husband, planning and implementing new projects with him, such as, mailbox decorations, stained glass projects, mosaics, and more.
This coming school year, starting in August, we’ll be the host parents of Alessandro, a 16-year-old boy from Italy who loves soccer. This will open up a whole new world of attending sports matches, events, shows, and such at the school, meeting the friends he makes and hopefully will invite to our home, going places we don’t take time to visit when we’re by ourselves, taking him to his friends’ homes, cooking a LOT more – and differently… A teenager-centered home after some 25 years.
Happily, we’re pretty healthy for our ages, and getting healthier, since we’re trying to lose the lard and exercise. We want to feel good enough to enjoy our lives, not be crawling back and forth from doc to doc, feeling lousy and our world becoming smaller due to that.
Today I’m bouncing between some very much needed housework – to errands – to cutting up strawberries – to my art room – to my veggie garden – to weed whacking – to re-reading a loved book – to catching up with friends via email – to talking to our son, who is across the world from us.
Did I tell you I love my life?
We’ve gone from torrential rain, to “pea soup” humidity here. Last night a cool front came through, taking the humidity with it. Right now it’s 80 degrees F. outside, bright sunshine, and absolutely wonderful. AHHHHH!
I took a walk around the garden and yard to celebrate and wanted to share –
You can see the HEIGHT of the zucchini plants here – well over my head as I stand at the planters.
Lots of vines, greenery, and blossoms. No cantaloupe as yet.
The zucchini is producing nicely.
The tops of my sweet red onions were trashed during the last few storms we had. I cut off the broken tops and trimmed the bent ones. The actual onion bulbs are looking okay, though.
Roses and Impatiens
Roses and Phlox
I’ll show you the deck and our view in another post.
Our weeds aren’t QUITE as bad as these, but I’m having to really work to try to catch up. Our monsoon-like rains here have resulted not only in a pretty stellar veggie crop this year, but also ‘weeds as high as an elephant’s eye’ (“Oklahoma” musical paraphrase).
I just came in from pruning our rose bushes to encourage more blooms and weeding and cutting back in our trio of brick planters between the front yard and the driveway. There is always more, but they look as if someone cares now. :0)
Yesterday I spent about an hour weeding in our veggie garden. The sheer volume of weeds won. I’ll go out in a few minutes (wearing a sweat band and having sprayed with OFF!) – I DO learn from mistakes! – and I’ll see if I can finish weeding the boxes today.
This year it seems as though we’re always trying to get something done ‘before the day’s rain.’ Today we have a 50% chance of heavy rain. 80% tomorrow. 50% Friday…. you get the idea.
I told you yesterday that I would try to get pics of our tomato plants. I forgot, so I’ll go out and get some now.
It’s been a couple of days since I checked on the tomato plants. We have some green tomatoes!
We have 4 tomato plants in this planter.
And two more plants here. (These were so large I had to string wire to hold them up!)
This is one green tomato from these two plants.
Did I tell you I’m having trouble keeping up with things with all the rain we’ve been having?!?!
Heading out to the veggie garden to see if I can finish weeding there.
This is why we were working so feverishly trying to figure out why our irrigation system wasn’t working the way it should. All of these flowers were really thirsty and wilting from the heat. I’m grateful that my husband figured out the problem and FIXED it! :0)
We’ll go out tonight at 7pm when the front part of the irrigation system is supposed to start and make sure all the plants are getting watered, and then we’ll move to the back and check things out.
As Lynn Moody – my wonderful massage therapist – and I walked up to her spa location, I asked her if there were any upper age limit on who could get a massage. She laughed when I told her that I felt at least 180 years old this morning and that everything I had hurt. I asked her to either perform a miracle or euthanize me –
My husband and I have had a labor-intensive week or so, with my spreading 16 large bags of cedar blend mulch on the ground under the raised bed planter boxes in my square foot garden after several sessions of weeding; our hauling bricks, laying bricks and then shoveling potting soil into the finished planter, our doing yard work, etc.
Adding insult to injury, one of our cats tried to jump in my lap while I was sitting at the computer yesterday, missed, and grabbed my hand with her claws on the way down. When I FINALLY was able to detach her claws, her back claws stuck into my leg. Both my hand and my leg are slightly swollen. For some mysterious reason, my right ear lobe has also been swollen – though I can’t blame THAT on the cat, AND I had a crick in my neck. I was actually moaning a bit trying to get onto the massage table…
Happily, Lynn not only found the really sore spots I knew about, but also the ones I hadn’t realized hurt! At the end of my hour-long massage, I sighed in relief. She had, indeed, performed a miracle.
I’ve been drinking lots of water since I came home, trying to increase the chances of my relief lasting as long as possible. If I can get a good night’s sleep tonight, I will be a happy camper tomorrow.
Last of the broccoli, though I left the roots just in case they do something more. I’m planning to make broccoli soup on Sunday when it’s raining. The last radish I’ve planted so far.
5 heads of lettuce. Not as large as the first ones – I think because our weather suddenly got warmer. I’ll take these, plus leaf lettuce, to friends next week.
Last of the leaf lettuce. Guess who is going to have a big ‘main meal’ salad tonight for dinner? :0)
Yesterday I went – armed with my umbrella – to see what is happening in my garden. We have really had an unusual spring here in Arkansas. Cooler than usual, and that is very welcome, but also MUCH more rain than usual.
Some of the trees in the driveway are hanging down toward each other with the weight of the water in their leaves, creating almost a canopy through which we drive. It’s no problem for us, but the UPS and FEDEX drivers may say a few ripe words as they make their way up and down again. I’ve also already told you about the amazing results in my garden. For the first time ever I’ve been able to share the veggie wealth with my friends. It’s a delightful thing and I hope to be able to continue. I harvested the very first-ever heads of lettuce I’ve been able to grow, plus all the radishes I planted.
Today I wanted to show you what I found yesterday –
This is the celery end I planted a couple of days ago. It seems to be happy. :0)
This is zucchini squash. I planted several plants because I can process this for zucchini noodles, freeze it, or dehydrate it.
My ‘mystery weed’ turned out to indeed, be spinach! Woo Hooooooo! I have several plants now. :0)
I’ve never had onion tops this tall. They are over my head! I don’t know what this means in terms of the growth of the actual sweet red onions. Only time will tell.
One head lettuce plant. I’ll get leaf lettuce, too, when I harvest the head.
Another head lettuce plant.
More zucchini. You can also see that the broccoli is going to blossom – signaling the end of it.
This is cantaloupe! I have no clue what I’m doing, but the plant seems happy at the moment. I have some plastic ‘bowls’ with legs and lots of drain holes to put under any melon while they grow – assuming I get some. I’m like a kid at Christmas!
The tomato plants on the opposite side of our house are doing fine, too.
It’s raining all day today. The high will only be in the low 60’s. I’m hoping that we can go to the local stores in the coming week to see if there is more we want to try. Otherwise, once I eat my way through a lot of radishes, I’ll plant some more. They can be planted most any time of the year, so I’m hoping I can get at least one more good crop.
I’m planning to get out and weed this week , assuming the weather will cooperate. Looming on the horizon is my husband and I rebuilding our two brick planters which collapsed.
I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, too!
I cut our three Rio Samba rose bushes, plus a red rose bush WAAAAAAAY back, quite ruthlessly before winter. They were all in sad shape, having some kind of fungus and having grown out of shape, having some branches that died, etc. I figured that either my severe pruning would work, or we would have to start over and get new plants.
Happily, my pruning seems to have given them all new life!
This is the red rose bush and you can also see one of the Rio Samba bushes further back in the trio of planters.
We love Rio Samba roses because they start out bright yellow. Then they develop coral edges on each bloom. Finally they turn coral before it’s time to prune them off to encourage new blooms.
This picture gives you a good idea of how our raised bed, square foot garden is set up. You can see the six boxes. Each is 4 foot square. Each has a sprinkler in the center with hose connecting the boxes to one master control that irrigates the garden each morning for 10 minutes. Each box is divided into ‘squares’ by running wire in two directions. You can also see that there is fencing around the garden to keep out large critters. It also has chicken wire running around the bottom for little critters.
The rains lately caused an explosion in the garden. The plants were spilling out of the top over the sides. I couldn’t see the squares anymore. It took me three days to get things harvested, washed, and either put in the fridge or distributed to friends. I finished cleaning up the garden this morning so it’s ready to plant some new things. My husband and I will see what is available in the coming week that looks interesting.
We have about 5 heads of lettuce that might still make. The green part of the onions is over my head. :0)
I think this is zucchini squash. I also have some cantaloupe plants.
The jury is still out on whether sweet little plants like these that are dotted around the garden are weeds or spinach. I’m hoping for spinach. Time will tell.
This sweet little guy is celery, transplanted from sprouting in the kitchen. I cut off the end of some celery I bought at the store and put it in water. It’ll be fun to see what happens.
I keep telling you about Mel’s Mix, the soil alternative I use instead of real dirt in my garden. I buy peat moss, vermiculite, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost from the local co-op and put each ingredient in one of the garbage cans. I then put the ingredients in the correct ratio into our portable concrete mixer.
This is easy to use and mixes things SO much better than I was doing before with a shovel in my wheelbarrow. When mixed, the mixer will move down to dump the ingredients into a bucket, the wheelbarrow, or whatever, and I transfer it to the garden boxes.
I’m hoping we’ll find something fun to plant next week. Fingers crossed!
I tackled the last of our six 4’x4′ wooden raised boxes in our garden today. I got 4 heads of lettuce, leaf lettuce, and radishes. This finishes the harvest of the food that suddenly grew after all the rains we’ve had. I still have some heads of lettuce and other things in the garden. I’ll clean up the last box after the harvest.
I’m really new at this, not having a clue what I’m doing, but I have so much FUN trying to grow some of our food! Today, after harvesting, washing, and bagging up the produce, I called several friends and asked them if they would like some of it. I had some extra one other year, but this is the first time I’ve had such good-looking produce, and the first time EVER for actual heads of lettuce! :0) I spent about an hour driving around and spreading the wealth!
This is the last of the radishes I planted. Radishes are wonderful because they produce quickly and can be grown directly from seed in the garden in any season except for the dead of winter.
I can’t believe how much leaf lettuce I got! Since I harvested the large heads, I also processed the leaves around the heads.
Usually our weather is too ‘something’ (too hot, too cold, too much water, too little water, too much sun, too little sun) for a nice crop. This year we lucked out and I couldn’t be more delighted.
I’ll try to get pics tomorrow after finishing the cleaning up. I’m hoping we’ll find other interesting things we can try to plant at the local stores tomorrow, too!
After the rains I walked around the yard, delighting that so many flowers are happy right now. I wanted to share them with you.
These are Rio Samba roses. They start bright yellow, then slowly turn to coral.
Impatiens like the shade of our front porch.
My husband’s clematis.
Wave petunias on the deck.
A new color of iris blooming that I’ve never seen before!
When we first married – almost 50 years ago now – my husband wasn’t into flowers. He didn’t mind them, just didn’t care about them one way or the other and tried to make me happy by taking me to the local nurseries to find things to plant.
Now he actively works at getting our wisteria to grow up a tree, weeds his clematis, notices and remarks on the roses, LOVES the deep purple iris – now his favorite flower.
Flowers are a quality of life thing – and we’re rich in them!
We have two planters of tomato plants. We converted the planters from being regular planters – filled with regular and potting soil – to square-foot planters, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and compost.) The planter above is 8 feet long by about 2 feet wide. Last year I planted six plants in this planter and they soon grew to be a dense ‘jungle.’ This year I’m planting 4, trying to give them more space. I also read that I should prune them more to encourage fruit production, rather than greenery. I have to admit that this scares me a bit, but I’m going to try it, limiting their vertical growth in particular and trying to prune any large sideways branches. We LOVE sliced fresh tomatoes, and could eat our weight in them daily, so I’m HOPING that this experiment is successful…
This is the second tomato planter. It is in a ‘nook’ formed by the back of the house and our back porch. It is shielded from the elements more than the other planter, and sometimes results in the only plants that do well. These actually have some yellow blossoms!
And THIS – is a really nice weed, or SPINACH!
I am finding several like this, right in the middle of squares of Mel’s Mix in the garden planters – as I harvest and weed around them. I was unable to get the seeds to sprout in the greenhouse for some reason, and I was unable to find ANY spinach plants being sold locally, so in desperation I finally just planted some seeds in the middle of several squares in the garden and kept all of my appendages crossed. As you can see here, I put a popsicle stick in the soil showing ‘spinach.’ Appendages – including my eyes – are still crossed, because I’ve never seen spinach at this early stage, so it looks different from the plants I have purchased.
Since it is not raining right now, I’m planning to get out and tackle the last of the six 4’x4′ wooden box planters in my raised bed, square foot garden today. It’s so full I can’t tell what is there. I’ll report back, and then plan to see what exciting things the locals may have for me to plant to take the place of the things I’ve harvested. I’ll try to get pics of what’s out there now. I’m still stunned that so much needed harvesting already!
I plan to call friends and share the veggie wealth this weekend. :0)
I hope YOUR weekend is fun and productive!
Yesterday I harvested a bunch of radishes, two heads of lettuce, and some broccoli. Today I harvested MORE radishes
And FIVE heads of lettuce!
I’m going to call some good friends to see if I can spread the wealth over the weekend.
My husband fixed our new-to-us riding lawn mower this afternoon and got the lawn mowed while I worked in the garden. I just listened to the weather and it sounds like we may have just finished in time for the heavy rains to start. They’re supposed to last all evening into tomorrow morning, so it was good we could take advantage of a break to get some things done outside.
I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, too.
This is actual head lettuce! I’ve only had one other head form like this is the past several years, being content to enjoy cutting off the outer leaves as long as possible and enjoying them in salads. I think there are several more heads out there NOW! Woo HOOOOO!
My broccoli isn’t impressive to look at, like the nice heads you see at the grocery store, but it’s nice and tender. Since my husband isn’t overly fond of broccoli, I make soup from it for myself. :0)
These are absolutely the best radishes I’ve ever grown. They are large and perfect – no spots or anything, and better than you see at the store! I’m like a kid at Christmas! I enjoy eating lots of raw veggies and some dip for my lunch, so my mouth is watering in anticipation!
I’ll do another session in the garden after we have some lunch. I have a lot more to harvest, and then there is a LOT of weeding to do. (The weeds love Mel’s Mix, too.) Mel’s Mix is the soil alternative we make to go into the planters. It’s a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as you can get (I’m using mushroom, barnyard, and cotton burr, plus compost I make on my own – when it works. :0)
I recently planted some zucchini squash and some cantaloupe. I also tried planting some spinach seeds directly into the garden, since I am still a serial seed killer on the ones I’ve tried in my greenhouse. I’m eager to see what’s what – WHEN I get things thinned out enough to tell!
I certainly don’t save any money trying to grow some of our own veggies, but I LOVE the planning, planting, care, and harvesting – plus I know our food is healthy. Since we eat a lot of raw veggies and salads, this is a truly fun thing to do.
I’ll let you know if any of the spinach seeds have sprouted and will take more pics as I get the garden back in control.
I’ve told you we’ve had non-stop rain the past day-after-day-after-day around here. I haven’t been able to even THINK about getting out to the garden. The rain has stopped for a minute, so I went out there, not knowing whether my sweet little plants would have been washed out of their little squares, totally inundated with water and lying sadly dying, or what.
What I found amazed me. My garden is happy, healthy, and has exploded! :0)
This first post is to show you the raised bed, square foot garden as a whole.
My husband and I made six 4’x4′ wooden planter boxes and then mounted them on metal support ‘tables’. We have irrigation hoses that attach to a sprinkler in each box. We have a timer on the main hose so that the garden is watered daily (except for lately – since Mother Nature has no idea when enough is enough!)
I had one lettuce plant in each marked off square. I also planted one broccoli plant in each of other squares. I planted 12 radish seeds in each of several squares, and then I planted a BUNCH of sweet red onion sets in one whole box, since they won’t be harvested until the end of the summer or the fall.
As you can see, it’s hard to tell where one plant ends and another starts!
Apparently, the plants really love the too-much rain (we made drain holes in each square.) and the intermittent sunshine.
As you can see here, the broccoli is blooming. That’s bad, and it means the probable end of the broccoli crop. I cut off the blooming part because I have read that sometimes, when the main broccoli head is gone, the side shoots will produce heads.
In the next post I’ll show you what I’ve already harvested today. There is MUCH more out there, plus a LOT of work to do, harvesting more, weeding, etc.
It’s 73 degrees F., a bit overcast, a hint of raindrops – the perfect day for a car show. In the past we’ve gotten sunburned, even though we wore hats. We’ve had downpours that basically rained out the show. We’ve had bad winds that caused havoc with the tents. Today was perfect.
The Greenwood Car Show is an annual event. I believe this is year 30, but don’t hold me to it. We love attending this. The main thoroughfare is kept open, but the rest of the square is roped off, filled with incredible cars of all makes, sizes, shapes, years – all ones you almost never see. People come to show their cars from the surrounding states. Prizes are given. Proceeds are given to various charities. Food, fun, music, and wonderful cars! The music was from “our era” which means the songs were older than dirt. Several of the people showing cars were Marines, so my husband had several nice chats with guys.
My favorite car – a 1932 Deuce Coupe –
wasn’t there this year, but we had plenty of wonderful cars and motorcycles to drool over.
Isn’t this amazing?
This was my personal favorite this year.
This is a Maserati. It had a 200 mph sticker in the window.
Impatiens in two saucer planters and in the side brick planter in the shade of the front porch.
Purslane – Yubi – Portulaca in concrete planters at the end of the garage, by the driveway, and beside the shop door.
Periwinkles all over the place – here on the other side of the driveway –
And four of the “Emu” planters beside the driveway –
And on the back deck
Wave Petunias on the deck
More periwinkles on the deck
And more impatiens.
I am really bushed.
After Lunch Bunch today, my husband and I went to a local nursery and bought 1 flat of impatiens, 1 flat of portulaca, 2 flats of periwinkles, and 1 flat of wave petunias.
When I checked the weather website, it said 100% chance of heavy rain all day Saturday, so I got busy, doing three sessions of planting. I just came in a minute ago and I can happily report I’m finished – both planting all the flowers and depleting my energy. :0)
I planted impatiens on our front porch, and to the side of the porch, since this area is on the north side of the house and receives little sunshine.
These went in several places – on the back deck, in the ’emu’ planters to the side of the driveway, and dotted around for color otherwise.
We have four concrete planters that live in places hard to include in our irrigation system, so these flowers will handle getting dry much better than others. We take a sprinkling can around to these. We have two outside our garage, one beside the driveway, and one beside the door to the shop.
I planted these in four large matching planters on the deck, hoping they’ll spill over the edges and grow down the sides of the planters.
When the plants have hopefully survived the ‘heavy rain’ tomorrow and possibly Sunday, I’ll try to get around and take some pictures.
I hope you had a great day, too.
The past couple of days I’ve spent a lot of time outside.
The radishes are finally sprouting. I have several squares of them, in this and other planter boxes.
The broccoli seems to be doing well so far.
I’ll probably start harvesting (and EATING!) some lettuce leaves next week.
The sweet red onions are looking good.
No spinach sprouts yet, but I’m still hopeful…
Today I’m trying to get some flower planters ready to plant. It used to be that I was the one who loved the flowers, but now we both enjoy them. We’re going to start with wave petunias, periwinkles, purslane, and impatiens. If we can get them planted, we’ll see if we need more.
My husband says that deep purple iris have become his favorite flower. They’re blooming in several places in the yard right now.
I really love this time of year!