May 17th, 2013
Turns out I’m not good at pacing myself. Go figure. I finished painting the top 2/3 of the walls in my kitchen in two days. Do I get bonus points for stopping to ice my shoulders? And picking up an extra physical therapy day this week?
The kitchen before was bright, now it is practically glowing. The color I picked is pretty much the color of a tennis ball. Set that with nearly white cabinets and wow! It’s really great. Some finishing touches to do and I’ll post some pictures. Can’t wait to get the rest of the updates done.
I am super happy to report that all the peonies that I moved around last summer are not only coming up but also budding! Not only that but the peonies I brought up from Ohio a couple of weeks ago are also budding! I wasn’t expecting that.
Today I spend finishing up some painting and weeding what WILL BE our kitchen garden. I’ll plant some seeds next week, fingers crossed…
I still need to do the bottom of the kitchen walls, but that is a quick job. Once that is done, it is on to garden stuff and furniture projects… and bottle caps of course…
May 15th, 2013
I was freezing my butt off over the weekend and we had freeze warnings for plants; today my thermometer is hitting close to 80F.
The sudden onset of sun and heat and the fact that my house has a west facing in the back, where my kitchen is, has me thinking about curtains and shades. I love all the light but not so fond of the accompanying heat.
All of that to say I have a re-prioritized to-do list which now starts with making some curtains for my work room and use the existing mini-blinds in the kitchen to make my own roman shades.
The pinched nerve(s) in my neck continue to be an issue but as I told my physical therapist today, I can’t just not move my arms all day. So she agreed to work with me as I go about my business so long as I find ways to pace myself and accept that my progress might be slower overall. I can live with that because I’ve done the do-nothing convalescence before and it’s depressing.
I haven’t yet gotten the seeds in my kitchen garden yet because first I need to move a pile of brick pavers, but I did get one wall of my kitchen painted. Finally! And though garage sale season is upon us and there are beginning to be more estate sales, I’m being very discriminating about which ones I attend and what I purchase because if I’m honest with myself, I probably have enough projects to keep me busy through the coming winter. I like to be busy but at heart I’m a finisher and I hate having all these projects sitting around. If the weather stays nice then I can probably get some of of the furniture projects knocked out sooner than later.
Keeping busy? Not a problem. Pacing myself? More of a challenge.
May 13th, 2013
I wish I could report on all the pampering and and treats I enjoyed this weekend as the mother of two but I’d be lying if I did. Both my children play competitive travel soccer and the local club hosts a big tournament each and every mother’s day weekend. Thoughtful of them, no?
I actually don’t really mind the tournament – there are few things I like to do more than watch my children play sports. I am, however, a fair weather fan. I enjoy being a spectator so much more when the weather is nice. If I could have seen the games from my car, I would have taken that option this weekend in a heartbeat.
Friday’s games started out with cold wind and rain showers. Both my kids’ teams won. Saturday morning it was cold and windy again but we did get a bit of sun and finish up before the rain / sleet / hail came down late in the afternoon. My daughter’s team won but my son’s lost.
Sunday was the most miserable day of them all. The soccer field is located at the highest point in town so it is always colder and windier there than anywhere else in town. Because it is about 10 acres of flat land with nothing to break the wind, if there even a little breeze, it just whips across the fields. Saturday morning there were 20-30mph winds and though it was actually supposedly near 40F, the wind chill was 26F. Add in intermittent snow showers and you can imagine how fun it was to stand out there and watch what ended up being a very intense soccer match. I was so cold by the time they finished, I wasn’t that bothered that they lost in a penalty shoot out because it meant that we didn’t need to play another game later in the day!
Except of course we had to go back in the afternoon for my daughter’s team. They won their game and ended up winning their bracket as well. I waited in the car while she collected her trophy.
I didn’t get breakfast in bed, but I did get a periwinkle in a cup from my son along with a lovely laminated picture describing me as “awesome, fun, cool, and the best mom ever” (I plan to keep that as evidence for when he’s a teenager and has perhaps changed his mind) My husband got me a double knockout rose bush and took care of dinner on Sunday night (pizza!). My daughter said she won her tournament for me – wonder what her plan would have been if they’d have lost?
I am glad that I was feeling too lazy to do start any seeds in my kitchen garden last week because we had a freeze warning last night. The rest of the week is supposed to be rainy and cool. Maybe I’ll get the seeds in sometime before June…
May 10th, 2013
Sorry I didn’t post on Wednesday. I intended to and then… one thing led to another and I came in late in the day covered in dirt. I didn’t have anything astonishingly interesting to share and it was a beautiful day out so… well, you get the picture. I spend the day out in the yard instead.
I did get a good bit done. I weeded the raspberry patch (again) and added compost. I also added grass seed to the dead spots in the grass. I intended to move the remaining pavers out of what will be my kitchen garden and add them as a border to the raspberries as well as work some compost into the kitchen garden bed but I ran out of time and steam.
Today I am thinking about rhubarb. I have three large rhubarb plants going bonkers in the rear of my raspberry patch. I have never been a huge fan of rhubarb but it’s there, taunting me. I ignored it last year because I had so many other things to think about, but this year I feel like I ought to do something with it.
My mother used to buy rhubard in Louisiana at great expense and make rhubarb strawberry pie. I was just a kid and turned my nose up at it, but I’m thinking perhaps I’ll go ahead and make one this weekend. I have both, plus a couple of pie crusts in the freezer (pie crust is a skill I have never mastered) so why not. I also found recipes for strawberry rhubarb cobbler, strawberry rhubarb muffins, and strawberry rhubarb sauce. Can you sense a theme here?
If there is a way I can prepare and present the rhubarb in a palatable way, I will. It is a good source of Vit K, manganese, and potassium and it’s growing without encouragement in my yard. I dug up a large plant year and it’s coming back! The stalks are also rich in several B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 , thiamin, and pantothenic acid. How can I just ignore this stuff?
I’m hoping the compost I added to the raspberry patch will encourage some extra production this year. I had intended to get the kitchen garden prepared and seeded this week as well but now it’s set to get rainy and cold for about a week so I guess I’ll hold off a bit. I won’t want things to mature before the end of July or August anyway. I may even add some epsom salts to everything for an extra boost. My friends think I have a problem and need a gardening intervention. I think this is just how it is in the warm months.
Any great rhubarb suggestions??
May 6th, 2013
It’s amazing how fast the garden wakes up once it decides that it really is time to get a move on. The hydrangea and all of the peonies I transplanted are growing, though it remains to be seen if the peonies will bloom this year.
And look at the tulips I put in the ground last November
The asparagus my friend gave me also suddenly woke up. One day it was just a lump in the ground and the next time I looked it was awake!
I’m told it is best to leave the asparagus alone for the first year but it is so tempting!
I wasn’t in this house at this time last year so I have more than a few surprises in the yard as well. Look at this cheerful group
These were in one of the front beds last year and I left them because I didn’t know what they were. Still don’t but now they are flowering
As I was digging and rearranging last year, I kept running into little bulbs. I had no idea what they were but transplanted them here and there as I found them. Now I finally get to see they are grape hyacinth. And when I say I have them all over, I’m not kidding – there are some growing in the grass!
Last but not least are the volunteers. Some people think violets in the yard are no better than dandelions but I love them. These white ones have such sweet little pansy faces.
I spent a long time yesterday clearing weeds out of the raspberry beds because the canes are waking up and are rapidly filling in. I hope to have some seeds planted by the end of the week in our kitchen garden and I’ll have to mow the grass sometime too. Never any shortage of things to be done outside – and it’s hardly a sacrifice to be outside when the weather is so gorgeous.
And now off to the post office to send my first etsy sale – two pairs of bottle cap earrings. A nice way to start the week.
May 3rd, 2013
I did the sensible thing and went to the doctor about my shoulder and arm issues. Turns out it isn’t a disk issue – I have arthritis and bone spurs in my neck. Between the narrowing of the vertebrae and muscle tension in my shoulders there are also pinched nerves. I’ve been to physical therapy for my shoulder twice this week and it’s already feeling better. It is a beautiful day so I did what anybody would have done – I went out and got ten bags of mulch for the new flower bed.
I’m doing my best to cooperate with the instructions my physical therapist gave me with regard to stretches but the rest of her instructions are going to be harder to comply with – limit my time reading, sewing, quilting, computer time, no wall painting, and no heavy duty gardening. Apparently reading and quilting are a problem because you end up looking down a lot. If I actually followed all of those limitation what would be left? My shoulder might be better but I’d be miserable. Going to have to find some middle ground and learn to pace myself better.
I did buy some seed packs this week – for carrots, lettuce, bush beans, and cilantro. Now I am just trying to figure out how to time things so that they mature at the right time so that things aren’t ready for harvest while we are away on vacation this summer.
I’ll paint my kitchen next week – one wall at a time…
April 29th, 2013
It was a beautiful weekend followed by an equally beautiful Monday and I just couldn’t stand it anymore – I had to go out and get busy in the yard.
I was behaved from the middle of last week and over the weekend – and I made a lot of progress on the primarily purple quilt as well. But watching HGTV all day just makes me want to get busy and I get depressed if I sit around too much so out I went.
I did my best to take it easy. I even got out the rolling gardening seat / cart that I picked up at an estate sale last year. Why have I never used that before?? Unfortunately not all of my strawberries overwintered. I lost quite a few plants. After I was done weeding, I moved some of the ones that did survive to be closer to the rest so that it is easier to fence them in.
My children were off school today and I actually got them to help me out on another area of the yard that has been bugging me. There was a large mound near the fence that seemed to be some sort of pile of grass clippings, etc. Only once it started to die back I found brick pavers arranged in a fire ring in the midst of the weeds – because putting that next to a wood fence is a brilliant location?? In addition to the weeds, bulbs started to come up. I talked to the neighbor and it seems that the owner before last had had a bird bath and butterfly garden in that spot. The people we bought it from just dumped stuff there. I wanted to level it out.
My son attacked the mound with enthusiasm once I let him loose with a shovel. It’s not entirely level just yet but in the process of digging he unearthed many grape hyacinth bulbs which I relocated to the front bed. I’ll probably have to get a couple of bags of topsoil and some grass seed to make that spot truly blend in. And before that I’ll have to fix the tire on my wheelbarrow.
Now that I’ve consolidated the strawberries, I have more space for vegetables. So far all I’ve come up with to plant is tomatoes. Both the spots I have ready to plant are south facing and get sun all day. Any suggestions for other easy to grow vegetables for a know-nothing gardener? I will plant garlic next fall – which is the proper time to plant it so far as I’m aware. Help!
April 26th, 2013
I have basically been given a prescription by my doctor to sit and focus on completing my daughter’s quilt while I watch TV all day and it sucks.
I have a bad back – specifically, bad disks. The first time I was aware of this was when I was 21 and I had a terrible bout of sciatica caused by a bulging disk in my lower back. About the same time my father ruptured a disk and so did my sister. I managed to escape that fate until seven years later I was 28, at which point I ended up lying on the floor for about six months while it healed. I didn’t have the money for an MRI let alone surgery.
I felt lucky to have healed up well without having to have surgery when seven years later I ruptured another disk in my lower back. After the initial agony of sciatica, my right leg went entirely numb. That would have been bad enough but we were also living in a five story walk-up apartment in Cairo at the time. The doctor I saw insisted that I needed immediate surgery or I’d have a permanent limp. I reluctantly agreed, but I had no intention of having back surgery in Egypt. I made arrangements to go to a world-class clinic in Germany. By the time I got everything set up and went to Germany, my back had healed enough that I no longer required surgery – news I got on my birthday. Instead I had a lovely stay with a friend in Frankfurt – and another six month long convalescence.
Again, my back healed up well enough. While my lower back is chronically stiff, I don’t have a limp and as long as I keep moving around I’m mostly fine. But here it is seven years later and I’m having problems again, this time in my upper back. For years my arms have fallen asleep when I sleep on my back. However, since my manic bout of gardening last week my arms are tingling and aching all day long as well as falling asleep at night. Obviously some wonky disk in my back is pressing on a nerve bundle somewhere.
As much as I want to finally get my kitchen painted and my yard mulched, I’m going to take it easy because I don’t want to rupture a disk and end up flat out for the entire summer. I went for xrays today and will be seeing a physical therapist soon. With luck I’ll be able to manage this issue, whatever it is, and still manage to do the things I want to get done by working at a slower pace.
Getting older really sucks sometimes.
April 24th, 2013
I got the rest of the first raspberry patch weeded yesterday just before it started to rain. It was still raining when I went to bed.
When I woke up it was snowing.
My late mother-in-law used to always say “one snow on the daffodils” before winter was really over, but our daffodils have not yet bloomed and this is getting ridiculous! The forecast said we could get up to an inch but it’s already stopped so I doubt we’ll get that much – and it is supposed to get up near 50F so it would all melt anyway. But then it is supposed to start raining again.
Um… I know that the plants and trees need rain to thrive but I’m sort of thinking that having it a bit more spread out would be more helpful to everyone. I’m also really glad that we checked the flood map for our area before we bought our house…
April 22nd, 2013
We’ve had some better weather in the last couple of days so I took advantage and went outside to get a jump on the weeds, which of course have been the first things to come back. It seemed a fitting way to spend Earth Day.
And of course I didn’t stop with a little weeding. It was so nice I went ahead and got the border and brick trim put on the new flower bed and then started to clear out and prep the large bed on the side of the garage that will soon be a kitchen garden for us. All in all I was probably outside for about four hours yesterday, though it didn’t feel like it, and another three today.
I wasn’t the only one out taking advantage of the nice weather and the sun. I ran into my neighbor and we had a nice chat. Another of my neighbors came by to admire the new flower bed and commented that I must really love to garden. That made me stop and think. Do I actually enjoy garden work? Also, am I a gardener?
I had never really thought about whether or not I actually *like* to garden. Honestly, it’s hard work and very often it makes my hands and back hurt and also makes my neck and shoulders stiff. I don’t like any of that. I can see how the neighbors might get the impression that I like to garden given how much I’m out in the yard during the growing season. I probably put in almost twenty hours in the yard on various tasks just this week.
Also, I don’t really think of myself as a gardener per se. I take a very uninformed approach to the whole thing – I just make it up as I go along. And digging up and tearing up overgrowth hardly takes any special knowledge. I see myself as restoring some order and making it prettier. Basically decorating the zone outside my home.
What I do like about being in the yard is the sun, the fresh air, working my body, and the results. It’s very satisfying to work so hard and get to see some tangible results for the work you put in – which isn’t something you always get when you work a “real” job. Hmmm… maybe I am actually a gardener…