Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Resolutions Or Something Like That.

For the last 28 days I have read so many great blogs, and Facebook posts about New Year Resolutions that my head is spinning. Don't get me wrong, I love them and plan never to stop reading them.
 No, don't do it, don't write about resolutions, keep writing about gardening, no, don't do it! You can't possibly have anything new to add to the long list of how to lose weight, have the perfectly organized, beautiful home, or have the wholesome,non-processed, homemade meals ready for your family on the table every night! 

I know, I know. But I did do it. See, with it being the dead of winter AND fast becoming a record breaking drought year, sadly there is not that much to do in the garden besides watch everything turn an even darker shade of brown.

Seriously, we folks on private individual wells in Northern California are in for big trouble if we do not get rain soon and a whole bunch of it. We are in the process of buying/installing a 5000 gallon holding tank for our property to hopefully store water from our well and if our worst fears are realized, a way to store purchased water to get us thru this drought.

While I felt obligated to do my annual New Year's resolutions, I set myself up in the usual ways. I signed up for a free 10 day online workshop about how to stop procrastinating. That was over 2 weeks ago and I have not done a single lesson......hah! The irony! But all is not lost. I also signed up for another free 30 day workshop on taking control of your life and I am only 15 days behind schedule on that one. Progress, hah!

Then something happened that never happened before in the predictable guilt ridden January. No resolutions......just a promise to myself to change a few things that make me unhappy with myself. No promises to anyone else, just me.
I promised myself that I would read a book again. I read this one,

It was a short, easy read. It inspired me to try harder. It got me out of myself and it made me feel hopeful.

I promised myself that I would clean out my beautiful bathroom vanity that I did not like anymore. Not because it wasn't beautiful anymore, because it was cluttered, messy, and wasted my time every time I opened the doors to look for something.Which was alot since my toothbrush, hair brush, and every personal item I own was behind those doors.
And as long as we are being honest here..........
I realized that I had almost 30 of these scattered all over the back of the shelves in the vanity.

Why, oh why?
And as long as we are being really honest here........

Calamine lotion circa July 1998. I am embarrassed.

And the "after"

I know! Looks great! 
I love the Dollar Store baskets. So cheap,
Now, you may be saying to yourself, so? What is the big deal here, the baskets don't even match. But what you do not see ( besides the empty spots, which are a first in our house ) is the sense of accomplishment I feel. And the great feeling I get when I get up early, it is still kinda dark out, and I can find my toothbrush and toothpaste on the first try without even really looking inside the cabinet....nice.

Trailblazer I am not, but now I am excited about possibly losing a pound or two, or ten; loving my house again, and trying out a few new, healthy, homemade recipes for my loved ones. And best of all, I cannot wait to promise myself a couple more things to change for the better.
P.S. Pray for rain!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Iris Winter Clean Up

I am way behind on winter clean up around here so I am working overtime to catch up!

In the front of our property, next to the dirt road, is my Iris garden. This little plot of dirt was originally just a temporary place to plant my Irises until I could properly prepare a spot for them. Well, that was 16 years ago. Not only did I not move my original tubers, I have added many more over the years.

Little did I know that they would thrive under the shade of our Maple trees and survive the regular potty visits of my neighbor's dogs. Grrrrrr.....

Now at this time of year they look pretty sad. Last year's growth is long been dead, weeds and random seeds dropped by birds have grown in the bare spots left by the pink Verbena that share the Iris bed.

Here is another "before" picture.

So I got busy the other day cleaning up. I raked up the dried Maple leaves, cut off  last year's growth, trimmed the new leaves that had brown tips from our hard frost we experienced a couple of weeks ago, and picked up dog poop.
Every year while I work on this particular clean up project, I feel guilty about leaving my beloved Irises outside the protected, fenced garden where they could get the respect that they deserved. Then I remember how this neglected plot of dirt looks in May and June.  

And I remember how fun it is to be surprised by the new tubers that I acquired in a trade with a neighbor. I remember how all my neighbors ( even the one with the wandering dogs ) comment about the beauty of this little dirt plot, that they also look forward to seeing these hard working, neglected tubers bloom.
Then I remember that sometimes leaving things alone to flourish without me fussing on them constantly is the perfect way to be.

Friday, January 3, 2014


For the last few weeks we have been experiencing a cold spell. Now, normally it is cold this time of year, even freezing for a night or two. 
But this cold spell has been going on for weeks with the average temperature at night being 25-30 degrees! Now that is cold for us folks in Northern California! I mean really, if I wanted to deal with frozen pipes, hoses, and chicken waterers all the time, I would move to the East coast! Joking........I dare not complain too much since others are really suffering with severe cold weather right now.

I was worried that the hens would stop production so that all their energy could go into staying warm the last couple weeks but I have only experienced a small decrease in production.  Way to go girls!

I never get tired of seeing all the different colors and shapes of the eggs that I gather.

On the down side, this cold spell has killed off all my winter veggies. When it became apparent that it was going to be real cold for a long period, we covered everything to prevent damage. Unfortunately it did not work. I will replant most of my winter veggies when I get back from Southern California. I am so excited to be going south to see my family, but that is another post. Back to our cold spell.
On the left of this picture of my raised bed garden you can see what is left of my Cosmos. I always leave them alone even when they are done blooming because the little Chickadees love them! In this picture they are frozen solid and need to be pulled ASAP.

This is a picture of how the Cosmos looked before the cold spell. Still pretty but almost done. Just waiting for the birds to enjoy.

That is my Bougainvillaea plant that I have been babying all year. I was convinced that if I placed it in my greenhouse I could triumphantly say that my Bougainvillaea is NOT an annual and survived  to bloom another summer. As you can see, it was not to be. Frozen, even in the greenhouse! I guess I will have to leave these beautiful plants to my little brother's green thumb. He grows the most gorgeous Bougainvillaeas you have ever seen!

So enough of my complaining about the cold and the negative effects it has had on my garden. As I crunched around in the our pasture one frosty morning, I found some very pretty sights that I usually don't get to see. 
Sparkling ice on an old barn door.

 Frozen buds and leaves on some of my fruit trees.

 And some pretty frozen water drops on my big metal flower structure that stands in my Sunflower bed.

I am still not a fan of cold weather, especially hauling buckets of warm water to the chickens, but I really enjoyed the new sights and sounds it offered to me once I just took a moment to notice.

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