Category Archives: Home and Garden

Garden Oasis

Here’s a peek at some of the goings on at our home.

This year will be a partial food harvest, partial seed harvest in the garden. Stocking up seed for next year, experimenting with new planting zones, trying new foods and expanding growth zones – all while my better half works away on the other side of the yard to build a storage and patio area.

Anticipate

It’s Sabbath morning and quiet surrounds me, envelops me. The cat lies curled at my feet, steamy coffee sits nearby, soft light clears the darkness and the background sounds of the house tick and whir around me.

A week long shutdown, the usual for this time of year, for hubby and I. We’ve always remained at home – joining throngs of travelers in questionable weather conditions never made sense to us for this shutdown week – and this year is no different… except.

The guys are still sleeping, stirring a bit, beginning to ease out of their deep sleeps. And I, quietely awake with my thoughts, my anticipation. Planning. Imagining.

We will arrange to pick up sweet granddaughter tomorrow. She will come and stay with us this week, merging into our household patterns and creating new ripples. I’ve puttered and shuffled and fussed this week, to create spaces throughout the house to give her entertainment nooks, and creativity niches and playtime crannies. Some spaces are for time spent in the great grandad area of the house, and some spaces are for time spent in the grandad area of the house, and a little bit of space set aside to relish as her own.

It’s new to us still, this sharing of our lives with my dad – and the temporary addition of sweet granddaughter is another new to add to the experience. He’s not an overly involved elder, and I expect he’ll sit amused for a spell and then be ready to resume his standard schedule.

A lot of new to us happened this calendar year, nearly all of it beginning in this biblical year as well. Pandemic announce and response, fear and anxiety settling into actions and acceptance; my dad’s hospitilization in the throes of the fear and feeling the helplessness of a loved one held captive in the healthcare system as we worried from the other end of the phone signal; awareness of dad’s near-death and bringing him home to care for him – then watching over the months as his physical health stabilized; accepting that he wasn’t going back to his rented house and then packing and storing his lifetime goods; finding ourselves with a rental house and a resident elder and not having prepared for this scenario – and then deciding to finish and sell the rental, as time constraints and wisdom caution us to not overbook ourselves with responsibility; finding out during this phase that my siblings are only ever self-serving and our open door policy has, over time, created their expectation that we are only for serving their needs — an awareness that we countered by setting firm boundaries; the delight in a week spent lakeside in fall, to rest and refresh our overwrought minds and bodies; a surprise opportunity for a quick first time visit with a long-time friend, the Hebrew priest, who has been a long-distance community member for over a decade – to finally meet he and his youngest son, and receive garden advice at our home – a poignant segment of time by which to remember this year.

And now, tomorrow, to host our granddaughter for the week – she’s six now and will perhaps receive and participate in memories during this stay that will last her lifetime – the memories will certainly last my lifetime.

Ah, shabbat. The anticipation is savored and held close to my heart on this day of rest.

Breathe Through the Storm

Spring has sprung and the fireflies have arrived.  It feels early.  It’s only been days since the last freeze. . .

I watched one alight on the garden bed beam, and as I peered closer, it flashed wings at me with agitated antennae.  I took the hint and retreated back – and it was gone in that moment.  Absent.

We are in the midst of this storm of no precedence.  The unknown.  Varied in strength and strike and form.

The storm activity has been one of ‘take shelter’ here.  In tornado country we know how to be prepared for a short and harsh duration that may cause a term of duress… but this. . .

Prepare for taking care of family – too many in the scary category to comprehend.

Prepare to be home for extended periods…  write lists, revise lists, check lists.

The theme has been prepare.

Work was deemed essential.  Many hours were spent by the team to set up and roll out that particular preparation.  I and my office mates are nearly full remote now – a jerky transition wrought with change and chaos and frustration – then sprinkled with joy and anticipation from my perspective.  What I have oft longed for is now short term reality.

And so, after so many means of preparing in and around my own realm – I recognize, once I’ve slowed down, that I’ve gone bouncing and careening along this whole storm prep while moving over and through several stages of grief.

My emotions must also have been setting up buttresses of potential realities and … well … here we are.  I imagine you or someone you know has been staging through grief steps as well.

Fireflies have been spotted.  So have asparagus beetles.  I’m awaiting a particular wasp to cart in luggage and set up home base.

It’s been a while since I’ve been ‘present’ here.  I’m surprised to recognize that.  If you’ve been along for the telling, we moved a few years back, leaving established garden spaces behind.  But we’ve been busy here, building new spaces and options… and I had opportunity to .. inhale it ..  breathe it in.  Absorb it.

It’s good – we’re a good building team.

Greens are growing.  Life is abounding here.  Breathing space exists and just in time.

I hope this finds you well.  Recovering, or surviving, or staging the grief steps – no matter where you are, I hope you find well ..  are well, .. will be well.

Peace out.

What’s Happening?

An overload of work, combined with the sheer overwhelm of ‘letting things go’ during the overload, resulted in a paralysis of sorts.

Then spring temperatures arrived and the daylight lengthened – and a dear friend said “send me some pictures” when I told her I wanted to spend time in the garden.

She knew what she was doing.  I required the prompt to recall that I have cameras for just that purpose – to take photos.

Here’s what’s happening in the garden, sans any human intervention for the past nine months.

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Grape leaf bud

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Blueberry flower buds

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Peony leaves

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Sunflower seedling

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Tarragon regrowth

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Self seeded carrot growth

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Healthy asparagus

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Overgrown Raspberry canes

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Potato amidst the onions and garlic

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Lemon Balm

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Parsley return

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Overwintered broccoli blooms

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Sage

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New water trough planter 

Experimental Gardening

Vacation and preparation for vacation consumed my attention, as did the pre and post work weeks.  Arrival at home was a welcome scene as our cat bounded from lap to lap enjoying the sorely missed human contact.

Then came reality – jungle style.  Our lawn and gardens had thrived beyond our imagination during the eight days that we were absent.

Today, finally, I was able to conquer the gardens, spending time placing boundaries and limits on my crop of weeds and tending carefully to the new starts of volunteer beans, tomatoes and flowers.
coreopsis pair

Established coreopsis has quadrupled with seeds scattered during the fall.horsemint color

Horsemint, a new introduction, has thrived in the multiple locations it has been placed.sweet clover highlight

One sweet clover plant was allowed to flourish and it has attained a height of over 6 ft and a spread of at least 4 ft.
wood ear fungus

Wood ear mushrooms have staked a claim on the rotting log borders in the garden proper.baby grapesThe grape vines have set fruit abundantly, already leaving me guessing at the harvest and sharing season.
narrow leaf plantain flowers

Narrow leaf plantain has established at the garden boundary, allowing it to flower and set seed.
wild mustardWild mustard, overseeded from the fall, has established in the pollinator garden.

Overall, once the allowed weeds were culled back to an acceptable state, and the volunteer flowers were forced into their proper boundaries, the garden looked quite healthy and tidy – as tidy as a mish-mash of weeds, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables might look.

I’m claiming success, although the season is quite early.  There are not large productions of any one thing (except grapes), but just enough of this and that to provide for our household.

Better yet, it seems to be sufficient for the large variety of natural critters that have taken up residence.