Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Drug of Choice...... Organizing!!!!

I know the way I worded the title sounds really bad... But seriously... It is my drug of choice!

As if I even had a choice in the matter... From the time I was very young I would rifle through my bedroom and organize all my pencils and stuffed animals and basically anything that sat still.  I am sure it bothered my sister when we shared a room for those few years. 

But hey.. My side of the room was clean!  Well organized and....

Ok, it wasn't clean when I was very little... And I know.. there is proof out there!  So let me just throw myself under that bus! 

In my defense... that is my sister standing over me... that threw all those toys out of my toybox!!!  I am sure if I could have formed actually plea's in an understandable fashion you would have heard me begging for all the toys to go back inside in an orderly fashion!  (yes, I organized my toy box!!!)

But back to organizing... actually more along the lines of list making and productivity.... It will come as a shock to you that I am totally not organized.  

Nope, I am not! 

I used to be! 

And I used to look at everyone that asked me how I did it and shrug my shoulders and oddly exclaim, "How do you not?" 

I often wondered, how they got anything done without having a daily list, set with a monthly list, and a quarterly list, and a yearly list, and short term goal list with a long term goal list.  

Yep, I was one of THOSE people!!!!!

I was once called Martha Stewart by a dear friend.  She said it before Martha went to jail.. I took it as a compliment, just like it was intended. 

So I basically lived my whole life, well organized and list oriented. 

So what happened? 

I got married to my now awesome Hubby and one day he told me (years in to the relationship) that he didn't like the fact that I lived off of lists all the time. 

So, when we moved up here and I retired... I thought I would honor him and not keep lists.  In fact, I woke up and made his lunch and breakfast... and then when he left for work I sat down and figured out what I should do for the day. 

I was always busy.  Working on real jobs and projects and keeping myself full of things to do. 

But ....  Was I working at my full potential? 

Not one bit! 

Did I notice it was because I wasn't keeping detailed lists? 

Not one bit!

Did I notice I was falling farther behind in life?

Not one bit!

Do you want me to stop...????

Hahahaha...  I was sinking and I didn't even know it.  I couldn't see it.  It was a slow and gradual sink.  I would do chores as they came up.  Laundry when the basket was full.  Make yogurt when the other stuff was used up.  Vacuum when the floor was dirty.  Shake the mats when they looked like they needed it. 

In short.... I was letting the chores dictate my time.  And not me dictate when I was going to do them.  They were totally controlling me!!!!!

I would walk through the living room and see the carpet and think... Great!  I need to vacuum again.  Didn't I just do that?  When was the last time I vacuumed?  And I would walk right through the living room and out the door to tend to the present chore I was doing.  Missing the fact that I just had that same vacuum conversation with myself for 5 days... and I needed to actually vacuum!!!

Each time ended with ... I'll do it tomorrow! 

Chores were getting hard to keep up with.  A simple wipe of the counter was now a scrub and clean hour long event. 

So I sat down and with determination decided that I was the boss of the vacuum cleaner and sponges and it was time I took the reigns! 

I grabbed paper and pens and for an entire day I stared at the paper with the pen in my hand... asking myself... What do I need to do and when do I actually need to do it? 

How often do I need to vacuum????  Do the laundry????  Wash the sheets?? 

I must admit.. I was totally and utterly lost.. and it brought back the moments of people looking at me and asking.. How I could be so organized? 

It was just something I did.. I never actually 'knew' how I did it! 

Hubby walks in and see's me frustrated... I admitted my errors of not keeping the lists going and after 3 years I was sinking.  I wasn't the wonder woman that he truly thought I was.  I exclaimed I was common ... so low I didn't even know how to start the list... I held up the empty sheets of paper and thrust my head to the table.....

"I have failed you... I am sinking!!! The bathtub needs to be cleaned and I don't even remember the last time I cleaned it!!!!!!"

Hubby is used to me being overly dramatic.  He also calls me 'his constant entertainment!"  still after 8 years not sure if that is a good thing... or a bad thing?  I'll take it as a good thing.

We get into a long calming conversation about how this appears to be something that God want's me to go through.  And probably something that I am supposed to share with others along the way.  Since so many people always asked me how I did it... and frankly... I have no clue!!!

This is evident by the blank paper that sat in front of me for 2 days now!!! 

I knew I had a dayplanner... So I grabbed it from the studio and started to go through it. 

Quickly realized that 4 years ago, my eyes were in much better shape then they are now!  (40's bite when it comes to the eyes...) I also realized that my world now.. could never fit inside those tiny squares....
Oh my I still understand this code!!!!

And it dawned on me.. I kept my actual to-do lists on line. 
I have no clue why I wrote this.. and under this date even.... Hmmmmm

And that is when the techie in me came out.... I took my phone and each night after my chores curled up with hubby and while he read.. I searched and downloaded app after app of todo lists..  I would input a few items and check them out...

Ease of use...
Visually pleasing
Reminders not too annoying.
Motivating to use...
and the final one... Free!!!!

I finally found one... that seemed to work wonders.. and after much research  it appears to be the winner with most others as well.  In fact, it won #1 in several polls that were conducted. 

I must admit, I downloaded it and tried to use it and then deleted it saying that it was to complicated.  Then I watched a video.. and after seeing that.. and the other apps... I realized it was the winner.  With others.. and with me. 

Wunderlist it was! 

You can watch the video here...

Now for now.. I am getting myself organized.  I'll write more down when I have it all figured out.. but right now..... I am just trying to figure out when and how often I need to do certain things... before they scream they need to be done!  This way... I am ahead of the game and never have to waste a thought that I need to do them! 

That makes sense right????

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This I Know For Sure!!!

Back in November I wrote a post on my addiction to social media and trying to figure out where I am supposed to be in the world. I wanted to be closer to God and have more free time.

Sidenote:  Now some of you know why that coffee creamer that International Delights has out.. that isn't available anywhere around me.. was such a distraction for me... Seriously... Frosted Sugar Cookie Creamer????   I can go on in this world without ever having tried it.  :-(  For those that have... I am told it freezes wonderfully!  But the search took away from my time with God.

It was just 2 weeks after my post about social media that it was clear to me exactly where I was supposed to be. 

Exactly where I AM!!!  Only for a specific reason. 

You know I talk a lot.  And if you have never been around me you don't know it is usually fast and I thump from topic to topic and back around to prior topics...  (hence the name of the blog ThumperLane!!!! Now you get it don't you!!!!)

You can say talking to me when I am excited about a topic is probably like working on a huge giant talking word puzzle.  Eventually you get all the clues and get the complete stories of everything. 

But it takes time and attention! 

I also love to write.  Which I have written about here before.

And I am pretty sure the crazy things that happen to me are not 'just becuase' type of things. 

I mean, seriously, how many times have you had to chase after run away tires into the forest near your land???? 
Now, all you tires play nice.. .you hear!!!!

(head held low and whispering) 'more then once I must admit over here'

So, with stuff like this happening to me all the time....

Don't miss the fact I just said ALL THE TIME.  I really am not exaggerating!!! 

No, not at all!!!  Just ask my neighbors! 

My poor poor neighbors! 

It has left me asking and praying to God... How do You want me to use this life that You have given me??? 

I was listening to Tony Evans, his detour series he did in November 2014.   He has a wonderful sermon that he puts up as a podcast each day you can listen to it on the OnePlace site.    I was in the kitchen doing something and I heard him talking about how when we want something we should encourage others to get it also.   That when we are ready, God will lead us to it.. but He can also take us on detours till we are ready.  And in the mean time, we should encourage and pray for others to get what we are wanting.

Like a real house????  Or larger land?? Or... I could go on.... friends this knocked my socks off!!!!!

That led me to pause the podcast and ask, how do I encourage others God?  It's not like I am working in a large office with a lot of people!  I am out here in the middle of nowhere!

And then it all started happening......

You talk to people on the internet all the time..... 
You just read about so and so going into surgery in 2 days......
Your friends with local people....
You really should talk on the phone more... 

Then I flat out prayed....

If this is what you want me to do.. then please make it plain as day obvious that I am supposed to follow this path. 

Then this came in my brain.....

Have you not checked your inbox recently in some of those media accounts you have?

Ummm.. No, I was fasting from most of them while I waited to figure out what I was supposed to be doing!!! 

And that afternoon I plopped down to check on my accounts.  Thinking if there was nothing there I could just close them down and move on to something else.  Like volunteering at a soup kitchen??  :-( 

But this floored me.......

"Thank you for your posts!!! Because of you and that tire staircase you built I was able to use tires and build up an area in my backyard and now I can plant a garden.  I never thought I would be able to use that space before."

"You made this single mom realize she could follow her dreams and make it happen.  Even when my family didn't believe I could!  Thank you!"

"I look forward to reading your posts each morning."......

There were not hundreds of them... But there were enough to bring the tears and a clear direction of where I am supposed to be going...... It felt like I was opening a really pretty present each time I read one....

But to be honest.... I read the mean one.. and filed it in the appropriate file bin.

God made His point loud and clear in my mind.  But, not wanting to rush in to anything I stewed on it for a few more weeks....

I like the idea that if God wants you to do something He will show it to you in many different ways.... Unlike Satan who will cause you to fixate on something till you give in, or just plain go crazy..... (Insert Coffee Creamer story here!!!!)

I have always believed we can DO ANYTHING!!!! If we just put our minds to it!!! I pretty much have lived my life like that. 

In the week that was ahead of me... the following happened:

I was able to encourage several family members that were going through horrible times! 
I got fabric donated to me from a dear friend and was able to make a few chemo hats and drop them off at the chemo center to a huge welcome. 
A long lost loved relative came back into our life... God is awesome!
I got to encourage a lady that is terminal with photos sent to me from the long lost relative! That was a praise God moment right there!

The more I prayed for opporunities to encourage others....

The more He kept pumping them my way!!!

Now, I need to figure out how to combine and streamline and automate as much as I can.... Because I can't be chasing tires if I am sitting at a desk doing tech work all day!  And I know I am supposed to be out in the world more....  God made that clear also this last week. 

I will find a way to level this side of the land.... Someday!!!!

So, for the last few weeks, I have been watching my Facebook usage, and writing a little more, and searching for apps and doohickeys that could help me get things flowing a little smoother. 

If you all have ideas..... comment on them below.. please!!!!

I really have the feeling that through video, writing and lots and lots of pictures.... together we can have some fun. 

And maybe even make a few pennies at it along the way?  Hmmm.. I will leave that up to Him.  For now, I am planting the seeds... Literally!!! Hahahaha


Monday, December 8, 2014

Where to Start in Gardening

So I am sitting here... Looking through my gardening book and realized... 

Where would someone even remotely start if they were starting from the beginning?

The Beginning..... this looks daunting to me!!
 And to be honest, it seems like a daunting task!  One where I would literally close the book and throw it in the trash and go buy my fruits and veg at the corner market!!!

Ok, not THAT drastic.  But indeed drastically confusing!

2 years later..... 
But I am looking at the whole thing with a totally different mindset.  I am seeing it now.  With the knowledge that I currently have.  Not with the knowledge I had when we first started this endeavor.
Plans... I need plans!!!!!

And those are two totally different mindsets!  

For if I jumped head in with the knowledge now, I would sink with where to plant these two varieties of tomatoes.  They can't go in the same bed as they did the last 2 years!  They can't go next to each other or within 30 feet of each other if I plan on saving the seeds from them.  They need to be protected from wind and cold nights and ........

I could literally go on..... To the point where I would freeze.  And not move.   (Which I did today when I tried to go outside and hang the christmas lights on the chicken coop... man is it cold out there)  Psst... Picture of the christmas lights is on our Facebook page...

So what did I do in the beginning?  

I planted!  And I kept doing it each year.  And I didn't think about 'rules' because to me..... 

There is no failure in Gardening!  

And you need to just repeat that to yourself over and over again.  Because once you get that simple sentence down..... You will soar with all the rest.  

Ok, your entire garden that you spent hours planting in the spring.... didn't produce anything in the fall... and it's now dead.



A slight disaster maybe yes.  But not a failure.  

What did you learn from it?  What would you need to do differently?  What doesn't work?  What life issues do you have in your world that you need to address?  How do you need to work the garden to work around you and your lifestyle?

I have a neighbor that, bless her heart wants a garden desperately!  If she is reading this... Hello neighbor!  

I like the way she rolls her eyes when she is talking about the lack of time she has.  Because to be honest, I don't know how she does what she does in the first place.  So I took her food a few months ago.  Not a lot.. but I handed her the Garlic.  And explained... You can plant it now or eat it... If you plant it now, you will harvest it in the early summer and probably have enough to feed yourself for part of the year... 

She needed only to plant it and wait... use a portion of it.. and replant some of the new crop for next year.  

There are crops that are that easy.  Garlic, potatoes, onions, shallots..... to name a few.  

You can plant at certain times... and forget them till you need to harvest them.  

Sidenote.. I need to remember to harvest those darn potatoes I planted last spring... Oooops!!!!!  

See... you can actually forget about them.. and they will still be there when you remember.  

So there really isn't a failure in gardening.  If something doesn't work out then you adjust the next time and move on.  

So where does one start?  

With some dirt and plants.  Or seeds if you're adventurous!  

It's really that simple.  

In the beginning you don't worry about spacing or collecting seeds... or how far apart to plant stuff or anything for that matter.  

Just plant!

And you will literally learn as you go. 

Hubby likes to know everything that he is getting in to when he starts something new.  While that is well and good.... You can't know hardly anything about gardening without just getting elbow deep in the dirt.  

What else would I do?  If I was just starting out...???  The exact same thing I did this year. ... I had been gardening for 3 years in this area... and knowing that there were other gardeners like me out there, I sought them out and asked them if I could have an hour of their time, and a tour of their garden.  

I never told any of  you about it because I didn't want them to think I was using them or publishing what they told me.  I wanted it to be them and me.  A one on one time.  And I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it!  

I learned so much.  I talked to 4 different gardeners and restrained myself to as close to the hour as I could.  All though the second half of the people I called and asked for 90 minutes.  And the last lady I literally could have spent all day on her land, talking to her. 

The information that was shared with me was priceless.  While I learned so much it's only priceless to me.  And for my area.  And I highly recommend even if you are big time gardeners that you seek out others and ask to interview them as well.  

There was not one gardener that I didn't learn from.  Each time coming home and changing some aspect of what I was doing.  

My Brassica's are thanking me for listening and implementing!  

It was actually a bright spot to my busy summer.

Gardeners love to share information.  With that said, for someone that isn't used to information being shared.... it can feel as if they are telling you what to do.  Don't assume that is the case.  Gardeners love passing stories and info back and forth and learning from each other.  So when someone comes to you and asks why you planted the tomatoes so close together, it's not to point out that you did something wrong.  It's more likely that they are asking to see if you have a secret tip that they can gleam from you.  

In all actuality when I started out..... it was because I didn't know any better.  

So, adjust your knowledge as you go.  And you will be passing along tidbits of information sooner then you know.  

This year I wanted to try black beans.. I planted 2 crops and then proceeded to totally forget about them.  We had very little rain and well... I pretty much knew they were a gonner... except for one thing... They did give me a few seeds... actually it was a success when I look at it that way.  They gave me 10 times the amount of seeds that I planted.... Roughly.  So if you look at it by that aspect.. I made money... Right?

And then there were these beauties.... Which I wasn't able to tend to in the beginning of the season as I should have.. and they got out of control.. and then I learned.. I didn't like their production... or their taste.... So I gave the rest of the packet of seeds away for another local gardener to try... Because they might like them.  And I know.... not to grow them again. 

In short, gardening is more of a verb... a just do it... action kind of thing.  And when you start to do it.. and you learn more and more about it while doing it...  you start doing things differently and learning as you go... well actually eating while you go... is the best way to learn/eat!

 Yummy yummy trial and errors!!!!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mother Daughter Travels Day 1

I have been wanting to do this for SOOOO long... typing up all the travel journals our eldest and I wrote along our journeys.

We started in 1999, we never envisioned the travels taking off like they did... so the first part of the journals were, to me, actually quite boring.  Each year we would travel 4-6 states.  Stopping and doing 1 thing in each state.  It ended up being an epic journey we planned and researched all year long for and we would head out each summer for usually a 2 week journey.  Taking pictures and writing and collecting memories along the way.

So for this first trip... we start heading out of California.... through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and well, you will have to subscribe to this blog to get the updates when they are published.... For now..... 

Here is the first day.....

Day one June 17, 1999 Thursday

We left Fresno around 930 a little later then planned.  Because we got lost in the rental car on the new Fresno freeways.  Confusing to say the least!

We happened to be renting the same car make model and color as the three Yosemite girls.  Cristin and I pray harder each night and Morning for our safety!  (here's what we are talking about in case you don't recall)

We stop at the last California Rest area on I80.  Nice place.  Not like our stops off of 99.  Cristin found a chipmunk to feed peanut butter to. Because she has always wanted to do that... since hearing the stories of when I did it as a kid.

Then with the only snow in probably all of California she just had to throw a snow ball at me.

I ducked and she missed of course!  We got back on interstate 80 this would take us all the way through to Utah.  Getting tired and keeping my promise to Cristin (to have shorter drives) I stopped driving in Wells, Nevada.

We found a motel 6 on the side of the road and it had a pool.  We swam for the rest of the night.  Dinner was from a vending machine along with what we had brought.  Not for lack of finding a place to eat. We saw no grocery store and the town looked as if it consisted of the motel and a few old homes.  That was it.  It offered nothing else!  We met some nice people at the pool during our swim.  All the people were going towards California.  They were talking about how beautiful the drive has been so far for them.  Which is rather nice for us to hear.  Cris and I just looked at each other.  We didn't have the heart to tell them their drive tomorrow would be long.... flat... and BORING!!!!

Back in the room we mapped out our trip for tomorrow called the motel 6 in Jackson WY.  Made a reservation, checked our email and hit the hay.  We were both tired!  And after the long ride 0930 am to 700pm we were yearning for bed.  Tomorrow - Utah Idaho and Wyoming.

Cristin's:  I was feeling good after our swim.  I was holding on to my mother because I didn't know how to swim yet.  I didn't eat much I was so tired from the trip.  I was knocked out after that long drive but I don't know why I was so tired.  I slept all the way in the car.  That was a hard day.  I had a great night of watching TV and sleeping a lot.  I sure was tired that night.

Note's while typing this..... How odd she would find watching TV fun... Unless you understood she only watched 2 hours a week at home.  And she was tired... because she slept so much.  Most of our trips consisted of several days traveling well over 600-800 miles in that one day.  Which made for long days... but in the end got us to the area's faster we wanted to be at. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Secret to Gardening!

Let's talk about Gardening!  More precise... I'm going to tell you a secret!!!

Over the next few weeks we are going to talk about many aspects of gardening.  But first, you need to know the secret that will help you... no matter where you live.   

I have, and will continue to say, there is no failure in gardening!  Because there isn't.  I have a large composition notebook sitting next to me that I use to keep all my gardening notes in.  Every time I find something new or old that does or doesn't work I jot it down as soon as I get the chance to.  I draw plans in it and lists and it goes everywhere I go when there is anything remotely gardening going on.

I also have about 40 gardening books and catalogs sitting on the shelves behind me.  All with torn, dog eared pages.  Highlighted sections and post it notes sticking out from the tops and sides of the books.

To say I am slightly addicted to gardening would be a huge understatement.  And with that statement you should know my history into gardening.  Because you want to make sure you know someone knows what they are talking about before you listen to (or read) anything about what they talk about.

Gardening is literally in my bones.  My DNA has traces of gardening on both sides.  I am sure there is dirt on several ladders of my DNA sprinkled with seeds along the way.  All though I have no degree or diploma in any type of gardening...

My great grandmother (mother's side) ran herself a 2 acre homestead in the smack dab middle of Santa Cruz back in the 40-80's.  She grew everything you could imagine.  Raised whatever she could... and made us all help when we came to visit.

Nanny (Great-Grandmothers homestead)

My Grandfather on my fathers side loved gardening so much that he literally picked up rocks that he found on his walks and build himself a rock garden on the side of a hill.  I remember helping him often in the garden... on the hill in Oroville, CA.  I often wonder if it was still there.  Before that, he was gardening in Watsonville, CA.  Gardening and farming was in his blood.
My Grandfathers masterpiece!

Side view...

Where there is a will... there is always a way.....

My mother's fathers side worked the fields, growing up, to get by in Watsonville, CA.  It was an honest living.

And when I was 6 years old my mother handed me a tomato plant to plant where ever I wanted in the back yard in our tiny home in Fremont, CA.  I planted it under the orange tree.  I remember her telling me that it wouldn't grow there, under so much shade.

It should have never survived under that tree in the far back left corner!!!

I am pretty sure that is why I planted it there.  So adamant and not wanting to tell her I hated tomatoes!!!!!!!  Secretly willing it to wither and die!  But I wanted to play in the dirt.  I loved playing in the dirt!!!

I was totally upset and embarrassed as I watched my mother taking arm fulls of tomatoes (from my tomato plant) to all the neighbors on the street.  Because we just couldn't eat or can up this many!!!!

That was the year all the kids on the block HATED ME!!!!  And I really wished we had a dog!!!

That darn thing was supposed to wither and die!!!!

We had a vegetable garden of some sort every year until I was well in my teens.  That was just about the first thing planted after we moved somewhere.   And we were all given chores to do.  I remember the year I was in charge of planting and growing the lettuce.  I spent hours planting each seed in straight rows!  Only to go inside and watch my cat Geronimo proceed to dig it all up and scatter them in crooked rows.

The lettuce grew wonderfully and we ate well.

Everything grew in this backyard in San Luis Obispo!  Everything!!!

It wasn't until we moved to Visalia and our backyard garden turned into a pool.  Both parents worked and there was no time to garden.  that was some time in the early 80's.

Thank goodness my hair was wet... The 80's were not good to woman and their hair!
 And then in the late 90's well on my own and owning a house of my own I started gardening again.  Teaching our eldest daughter the same thing.  She actually won 1st place in the gardening contest at her school.  And she did all the work herself!

Our Eldest's garden!
 Such a proud moment here! 

Living in zone 9 and growing everything from Orange tree's and tomatoes and peppers and anything else that tickles our fancy.... I always stuck with the basics.  Cucumbers and zucchini and radishes.  I never studied much other then the basic books... and I had good success!

Anyone remember this ladies name?? 
 I started in March and pulled it all up in November.  Took a rest and celebrated the holidays and ordered more seeds and started all over.

It wasn't until we moved up here in zone 8b to 9a (we are right on the line between them)(which means nothing by the way) and I started to grow and learned there was more to it then the books let on.

There was a secret to it.... and no one would tell me the secret!!!!!

My crops did ok.  But not great!  The old tried and true that I grew were still going.. but not with the gusto that they used to.   I bought more books and studied up even more... and got even more frustrated then ever before!!!

The second year garden!  Such a cute little thang!

So I did what any person that wanted knowledge would do... I looked on Google and YouTube!  I spent the next few winters researching all about the growing in the new area I was in.  I only moved 1 zone... how could that be such a difference?

I mean gardening in Fremont and Santa Cruz and Visalia and Fresno were all the same!  Stick the plant in in March and pull it out in November.  That's what the books told us to do.  All the YouTube channels were telling me the same thing.  And Google pretty much was telling me.  I suddenly went from gardener know how, to Gardener doesn't know a thing!!! 

Why isn't it working???

And I figured it out.  After the second winter and one awesome book later.... I learned the secret.  One that literally made me go back through and re-read all the books I had read and in some cases stick my tongue out at them and scream 'Liar!'

So, here is the one thing I can tell you... that we all can do... This part of gardening is simple and the same everywhere........

At some point and time you will take a seed and put it in the ground.. and a plant will grow and produce fruit... at some point and time it will die.  And you will pull it up.    If you are lucky and the winds and rains are on your side. 

Here is what I have learned that is totally wrong from what all the books are saying:

What you plant will not be the same variety that I plant.  While we can all plant tomatoes, we can't all plant the same tomatoes, or cucumbers or watermelon!  You and I will not be able to plan a video plant date party on Google Hangout.  We will plant at different times and harvest at different times.  I will surely be drooling over your plants and all the peppers on them while I am waiting for mine to even think about flowering.  There is nothing wrong with yours or mine.  Trust me. And our gardens will all be put to bed on different dates as well.  

The book that struck the a-ha moment with me doesn't really matter.  But for those that are like me and really must know.. It was Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

Why was it such a moment for me?  Because it taught me the weather.  I was constantly fighting the weather. 

Is that the secret?

No.  Or at least not all of it.

I love the color in this picture! 

The secret to all of gardening became totally obvious to me while reading that book.  It's also one reason I stopped doing a lot of 'how to' video's on gardening and focused more on ... 'Just Try It' type video's.

It angers me when someone gets on a video or a blog and says, 'do it this way'.  Because that is only true for them and their neighbors!!  It is not true for you and I.  And for all of us to be successful we need to share the following before we start talking about how we do it:

I live in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).  Which doesn't tell you much either.
Northern Coast of Oregon
Lows usually in the 20's
Highs for about a week in the 90's.
It rains every month of the year!
We get enough rain at times to be considered a temperate rain forest.
We usually get clouds or rain 300+ days a year.
We rarely get above 60 in the summer nights.

With that knowledge you can go forward and read what I will be talking about... But when I do something, remember the above.  Because it will tell you exactly why I do the things I do.  

I actually find myself living in the PNW a blessing.  And here is why....

Living in Fresno, we would have to shade all of our plants.  When you planted a Tomato plant you would plant it in an area that it would get partial shade because the afternoon sun was so intense that it would burn the leaves.  So you adjusted.  I actually made 'tents' out of shade cloth to shade the plants from the burning sun.

And no matter what.. there is no amount of water that a fried plant can recover from.

Up in this area, I realized I needed to trap the sun and heat to get the ripe tomatoes.  Or the fruit to set at all.  So I built 'cloches' little mini greenhouses!  So much easier then constantly watering.

Tomatoes love these things!

Halfway through the season they get so big we can't close the cloches.  But they have a large enough start that they don't need them anymore.

That's success!!!

The secret is really easy.  Read the books to learn what they did.... But watch your weather and talk to people that live there and figure out what you need to do to mimic the environment to get the results that you want.

Do I need to plant the tomatoes in these cloches?  No.  I can put them out in May with everyone else and watch them grow a little slower.  But by doing this I get tomatoes about a month earlier.  And about a month later.  Not to mention last year I planted eggplant in them.  And peppers and this year I grew sweet potatoes in 2 of them.. that we are still munching on!

I can trap heat, control the water they get and protect them from bugs.... And keep my new dog out of the beds!

Joey get out!!!!  ;-)

Joey is actually asleep in the chair I am sitting in behind me... snoring away!  It's safe for him since I found him in the garbage this morning eating a butter wrapper!  Ugh!!!!

This is Joey... Cute adorable little thing that knows no boundaries!!! 

So, now you know the secret.  When you read a book... don't follow the dates in it.  Here are a few things I keep in mind:

My last frost date
My first frost date
The number of growing days in the year
The weather patterns in my area.
 Where the sun lands on my land and what times of the year it does so.

Now, where I live, the weather can change on a dime.  But it always does certain things every year.  And as long as I keep those in mind... and be on the lookout for them.  I am golden!

Like the east summer winds.  We get at least one storm when the pressures from the east rise.  Then burst forth.  When I sense that happening... I know I need to water more.

And the winter storms from the east... when they come they usually bring snow.  I watch for them and know.  I won't be driving anywhere till the snow melts.

While I can drive in the snow.  I know it's best for me not to.  And besides, I have no problem waiting.  It's better for my nerves to wait.

Knowing these things in advance gives you a one up on what is coming.

Hang on.. I have to go collect the eggs and say the good night prayer for our chickens.

I'm Back! 

So with all the above said... Don't be afraid to play around.  Or watch tons of YouTube video's on how people garden... but keep in mind where they live.  I sure wish they would tell you all of that in the beginning of their video's!  Lord knows I try to remember when I do one of mine.

In the future posts I will cover different types of gardening.  And which one's I have tried and which ones I find foolish and why.  And what we do... and why...

Hubby has learned.... I never do anything 'just because' or without having a good reason.  Sometimes that's a hindrance.  I tend to over analyze things a tad.

Just look at my chicken coop!  The thing is covered head to toe in chicken wire and rocks... from the top all the way down and a foot below ground!  And I love that people are still trying to tell me what I need to do to make it 'work'  I have an invisible moat around the entire thing.  We get 77 inches of rain and people are telling me I didn't build it correctly or I need to do 'this' to it.

I have to stop and laugh.  Because they can't see the trench with pit rock around the whole thing.  A good design never shows the working parts.  But sometimes, no matter what you do or try to do... the weather dictates otherwise.  So, I have to learn to live with a soggy coop during times of heavy rain.

That's where the straw comes in handy.

The joys of gardening on a hillside!  In a rain forest!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Posture and my addiction to Downton Abbey.

I have been working hard this week.

Yes I have!!!

I know, you can't tell!  But I have been!  Really!

I must first admit that I have a small (understatement) addiction to Downton Abbey!  If you don't know what that is.. I am sorry.  Amazon Prime has all 4 seasons available to fuel your upcoming addiction... if you are a prime member.. they are free!

I believe Netflix offeres them as well!  Not sure about Hulu plus!

Why do I like it?  I have no clue.  But at the end of (I allowed myself 1 episode a day) season 4 I noticed something peculiar.  Something that I didn't want to lose.

So often in todays world we are watching shows that show violence, vulgar language and a loss of ethics in our world.  It was taking it's tole on my world and thoughts.  But it was different with Downton Abbey.  The violence and loss of ethics was there.. but it wasn't the norm!  It was the abnormal and must be dealt with... And harshly, to restore all is right with the world!!!

It left me refreshed!  Looking at the world in a completely different way.

No longer was everyone bad and rude...

That's putting a lot on one show isn't it?

Well let's add this to it....

I realized, while watching, curled up in our comfy cuddle chair...
Just like this one from the showroom!!!
That my posture was not only bad.. it was downright horrible!!!

How do they get there shoulders back to far?

And that, is most likely the problem with my neck aches and back aches.. and my butt is way out of alignment..... Not to mention my shoulders.... how do people get their shoulders back?  Mine never go that far back!!!!

So a little over a week ago I started to just take notice and stand up taller.  Straighter... I have done this before.  But this time, I wanted to really try it out.

The first 3 days I was in pain!  Every muscle and bone and ligament screamed STOP!!!!!!

And I felt self conscious beyond belief!!!  And then I realized why I started slouching in the first place!!  I blame myself... but the boys in junior high starring at my boobs when I was growing up... and commenting and snickering.. and me feeling ashamed... didn't help matters...

You see.. when you slouch.. they tend to hide just a bit.. Or at least they aren't 'out there' as much for all to see!!!  And comment and snicker and make me feel self conscious!  Of which I am going through all that right now!  Ugh!!!!

I am on my second week of sitting up straight.. and trying really hard.. and while it's getting easier, it's still a struggle.  I have the sitting up going for me... with just a little thought.  I am working on my shoulders back a little more..

I would be all hanging over the table!

She has awesome posture!

I did find a webpage that showed me how to stretch my shoulders back with a yoga strap... which feels awesome by the way... I have found some great videos for yoga, and awesome articles on exercises that I need to do... So I still have a lot of work to do...

But it's getting easier.. a little bit each day!

My hopes?  To look taller and leaner and with the better posture I should actually be able to lose some of this weird body fat/mass that my body keeps in weird places... which is apparently what bad posture does to compensate for the posture that it wasn't born with!

I mean look at these people....

Off to organize the seed collection I managed to save this year!  Yahoo!!!!  Hmmm.. Maybe a tease for the next post?