Feeling Guilty

After sharing the posts, “Roses Take a Back Seat, and Fresh Growth,” I feel it only fair to show my starkest flowerbed. Taking this picture made me realize even calling it a flowerbed is an exaggeration.

Out of nine planted beds, this one in our back yard is a struggle, a work in progress, an embarrassment. This is a current picture (not this spring), and I have fertilized twice this season.

Over-the years I’ve planted many different things here and just can’t find anything that will thrive or often survive the winter. It use to be mainly in the shade because of a large tree outside our yard, but that was taken down last fall. Now, the bed gets morning and early afternoon sun. Maybe, I will have to switch varieties. I prefer flowers that come back ever year (perennials), but I have also tried annuals here.

The bush seems to have thousands of surface roots, so the ground hasn’t been worked up good for years, which I’m beginning to think is the main issue.

It could also be the resident bunny who usually hides out under the bush, but didn’t show up on picture day. Many of the flowers I’ve tried seem to end up as bunny snacks.

Do you have a planted area that grows better or worse than another?

What is your favourite hardy flowering plant?

Fresh Growth

Look who decided to grow fresh sprouts. This Rose bush is now towering over these lilies, which it has never done before.

Maybe, I gave it a complex in the past post when I stated how it takes a back seat to the Tiger Lilies when they are in bloom.

The only thing different I’ve done is more than usual dead-heading and pruning. Whatever the reason, I’m pleased. I can’t wait for all the new buds to open.

The colour of, The Sons, car seemed a perfect contrasting background to show off the new growth.

Are your flowers doing better or worse than usual this season?

Roses Take a Back Seat

It’s not often the popular “Rose” gets out shone, and there’s not always so much red in this flowerbed.

Our Tiger-Lilies bloomed later this year than most. Usually, they are in full colour while the rose bush is still budding. A spell of wetter conditions and less sunshine has them competing this year.

These Tigers are way ahead in getting attention and comments. People even stop to take pictures.

I don’t consider myself having a green thumb, but I can grow things and rarely kill a plant. These Tigers must just love their location, because they get big and bushy like this every year. I have a couple of the exact ones in a back flowerbed which are not near the size of these two.

There is one thing about the pictured bed that keeps me scratching my head though. In the little over ten years the Rose has been planted there I can’t seem to convince it it’s a bush, and that it could be taller then a foot. This year it’s even creeping sideways.

If anyone has ideas, please let me know. I’ve tried spring pruning or not, neither made a difference. Maybe, I should search it out, maybe it’s not suppose to be a bush.

Which flower caught your attention at first glance?

Where am I? What day is it?

Early this morning as I waited for the red neon clock numbers to come into focus, strange thoughts popped to mind. Not like the nightmare ones that had me flee to the couch earlier this week for a fit of restless naps.

Today my brain jolted awake, for a moment thoughts came in short spurts and jumped from one thing to another. It made it difficult for me to answer my usual two morning questions. “Where am I?”, and “What day is it?”

For those who have noticed that I only published two blog posts in over a month, plus I’ve often only left a “like” on sites I follow, instead of commenting, here’s a brief explanation.

The last 41 days have passed with us busier than I can remember in a long time. I’m not sure if its scientifically possible but in plain and simple terms, my brain got far more tired than my body.

Creative juices left me. Lately, instead of writing and reading while we’re on the road, my iPad sat unopened in my purse while I zoned out with my “things-to-do list”.

I’ve experienced the complete opposite in my normal sleep pattern. Now, I have trouble falling asleep, and I sleep past sunrise.

The daughter swears that essential oil potions can remedy certain problems, and she suggested I try lavender on my temples before bed to help me relax. All I will say regarding this is, “I’ve become a believer!”

If you want to try a natural stress reliever, lavender might work for you.

As many others, my heart aches and my prayers go out to those living and contending with Wild Fires, Raging Storms, and Devastating Floods.

I feel guilty expressing my woes with what those people are going through, but everyday life for us has had its own chaos.

Mister’s been suffering with a neck and shoulder injury, and similar to the popular saying, “A happy wife is a happy life.” To that I’ll add, “A husband in pain is a wife in pain.”

We’ve also had a family milestone birthday, family illness, kids having medical tests and the waiting for results. Mister taking treatments 3 days a week for weeks. Hauling vehicles to-and-fro and hauling hay for winter. I’m on our Condo board and, silly me, I took on the chore of rewriting By-Laws for an amendment voting package. That involved extra meetings and computer time, followed by days of knocking on doors to explain, campaign and remind owners how important it is that they vote. On top of all this, we’ve been trying to downsize our assets, making life changing decisions, and are planning a house expansion renovation.

This morning was the first in ages that I didn’t have to get up and get ready to go or do something major. Once I figured that out, a flood gate opened. Thoughts for writing projects came faster than I could type, and I’m energized to get at regular daily things.

Oh, I’m typing on a new fold up travel blue tooth keyboard for my iPad, and loving it.

I’ll keep this short, but I hope to get back on track soon with my regular weekly posts.

As for the above picture, I’m enjoying the start of fall colors as life at the lake shifts into getting ready for winter. Summer flew by this year, and the sad part is I didn’t get out kayaking once this season.

Did your summer go fast?

Hang In There

Digger

Digger, one of our barn cats and his favorite tree.

Hang in there readers, here comes a schedule change.

We’ve entered the season of sandals and being outdoors.

A time for summer activities, boating, golfing, building and yard projects.

A time for increased visiting and road trips.

It’s harder for me to squeeze in time to write, especially on weekends, so instead of my weekly Sunday posts which went to email followers on Mondays, I’m switching to midweek. I’m not sure which day will work best yet, but I promise to fall into a routine soon.

Are your weekends getting busy?

What’s your favourite summer activity?

Flowerbeds and Spring

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The Goal

The snow has melted and uncovered pitiful flowerbeds. Filled with last summers dead stalks, dead annuals and fallen leaves which act as cold weather insulation for roots and bulbs. I don’t prune perennial’s in the fall, because my mother believed not doing that keeps frost from going down the steams and damaging roots. She taught me most of what I know so, of course, I honor and garden by her rules.

Here’s another tip of hers that I’m certain has no real merit, yet it makes me smile and I still follow it, “Don’t water your plants at night”. She would add, “Do you like to go to bed with wet feet?”

Last Tuesday the beautiful spring day enticed my cleanup to begin.

A lack of this type of activity during the winter decreases my stamina for being bent over picking up leaves and pruning plants so after 3 hrs my back screamed, enough for one day.

It took three heaping wheelbarrows to get 4 out of 8 flowerbeds cleaned out. One more bed than planed because why walk a half full wheelbarrow to the compost bin.

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2 Back Corner Beds Before Clean-up

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After Clean-up

I miss the days when I could complete all my yard-work in one shot. Maintenance free landscaping sounds more appealing each year. I can picture graveled beds with large placed boulders, unique driftwood and waving sea grasses, but I know I’d miss the colorful blossoms come summer.

Wednesday morning, I struggled out of bed. My back hadn’t forgiven me and using a very technical term, my bend-over-butt and leg muscles also expressed great displeasure with yesterday’s activities.

With coffee in hand I sat in my recliner regretting, again like every year, my gung-ho approach for that first-day of yard-work.

Why can’t I learn to space it out, do one flowerbed to start or at least in the weeks ahead prepare my body by stretching and maybe exercising those dormant muscles? As I blow my nose, probably from all the dust and pollen stuff I disturbed the day before, I know the answers.

  • I enjoy being active but devoting time to actually exercising has never been something I can stick with for more than a few consecutive days.
  • Weeding is a chore I dread doing. I’m not one who says, “Oh, I love to putts in flowerbeds.” For me, it can’t end fast enough. Sometimes, I wonder what I’m missing that makes me not find the so-called pleasure in gardening.

Mister’s pride shows in how he takes care of our lawns. He may grumble once in a while about how quick it grows, but that’s because he keeps fertilizing it. They are still too wet for his work to start.

The flowerbeds are mine to tend. I wouldn’t consider myself having a green thumb but plants grow and blossom. I do the necessary things, I fertilize, water, weed and prune. The problem is I’d rather do just about anything else.

If you’re a returning reader you’ve heard me mention before,

I’m a winter girl.

I have indoor plants that bloom all year and I don’t have to kill my back, sweat, get sun burned, or swat mosquitos while tending them.

Okay, I’ve whined enough.

Attitude changes everything. It’s time for me to practice what I preach. Find the positives.

I’m grateful I woke and could get out of bed, many don’t or can’t.

I’m grateful for sunny days even though the snow is gone.

I’m grateful to have a yard and yes maybe even the demanding flowerbeds.

Most of all, I’m grateful for every extra day with Mister, family and friends.

Once the season gets into full swing, every morning like other years, I’ll be checking flowerbeds anxiously watching things grow.

Do you have a least favorite outside chore?

Do you enjoy gardening and have a green-thumb?

West Coast Wonderful

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Spectacular Shorelines

 

Tomorrow will be the first of two, long, tiresome legs of a coming journey. The thought causes a twinge of an expected ache in my lower back and butt. Excitement mounts as the hours tick closer, to the point where the last nights sleep in my bed becomes restless.

Prior to departure is a week if not more of preparation and sleep deprivation. The, I got to run to a store for that. I better start a pile of what not to forget. Oh, I might need that but where the heck is it? Wash clothes and then don’t wear items that might get packed. Arrange who will water plants and cut lawn.

A couple days before we leave it’s time to Google the weather for where we’re headed. Next is decisions and the actual packing. Layers, it always ends up layers. If I take that skirt I’ll need different shoes. If I take extra shoes, I’ll lose valuable clothes space, what a dilemma. I rethink my choices knowing I can be more efficient with mixing and matching. Time to empty the suitcase and start over.

Does this silly routine sound familiar? Who else starts a holiday with a similar process?

I sometimes think, “Is the trip worth it?” then scold myself. Stressing about the extra effort doesn’t last long because I’m grateful for travel opportunities. Whether one or numerous nights away, whether a near or distant destination, a trip is a trip and I cherish them all.

Of course, not every vacation is uneventful, minus challenges or mishaps. Our family has a motto for life though, which came years ago from my mother, “See the best in every situation and simply enjoy. Things happen for a reason. Delay’s put you where you need to be.” Some most remembered and talked about past holiday adventures involve, vehicle breakdowns, travel delays, last minute plan alterations, or unexpected weather.

It’s also normal for me to mourn the end of a trip. A fairly fresh feeling as it’s been mere weeks since returning home from the latest special excursion.

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My Travel Companions

Exploring the Washington, Oregon coast was not new to my husband and I, but we’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying the sights with my oldest brother and his wife. A fun two week, 4334 kilometer road-trip, spent appreciating glorious scenery and each others company.

We strolled beaches, boardwalks, and interesting small-town streets. A unexpected bonus was stopping at roadside pull-outs to whale watch, and yes there are pictures to prove this fish story. (I point that out because of a trip where only I saw a whale and which our kids still believe was a rock formation.) During this recent drive we spotted deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and even a black bear. We photographed sea lions, seals, amazing views, lighthouses, and waterfalls. After a GPS programing issue, we made our sternwheeler reservation with only minutes to spare and relaxed on a river cruise. Who knew Oregon state has two towns with very similar names. Of course, we shopped, we ate our fill of clam chowder soups, and we relentlessly teased each other, but most importantly we laughed and laughed often. What more could one wish for? Thanks again to our travel companions for the wonderful time.

We proved you’re never to old for pipe-dreams. Visiting quaint ocean-side towns and breathtaking areas the four of us discussed where we would relocate after winning a big lottery. When we toured marinas and shipyards, the huge ocean crafts compared to our familiar lake vessels left us in awe. We picked out which yacht for my husband and I and which sailboat for my brother and his wife would fit into our new imagined lifestyles.

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Gang Leader

My brother found this little guy at one of our stops and he became our trip mascot. A squeeze of his paw when we started a drive triggered a rough gravelly rendition of “Born To Be Wild”. I shared a performance video of this with our kids and our daughter replied with a sassy text, “So you guys are born to be wild, travelling in a mini van, going to fabric stores.” She gets her sarcasm from her father. (Here would be a great place for a happy face emoji.) Our son teased us less, probably because only last year he experienced one of these madcap, minivan trips with us four. A post covering that adventure will appear in the future. In our defence, it was only one fabric store, and we had a purpose. It’s difficult to find nautical prints living in the prairies. I needed some such material for a quilting project and my brother needed a curtain for his sailboat. 

Lesson I learned

Road trips with siblings once you’ve become an adult can be less traumatic. Being the youngest child of five, two of those being brothers pretty much explains my sediment. At least I’ve outgrown my fear that mountains are sleeping monsters waiting to eat little girls. A tale and little joke both my brothers found entertaining

Are you a organize ahead type of traveller or the day before throw a few things into a suitcase and that’s that?

Has anyone else travelled with siblings and enjoyed the excursion?

Liking or commenting on a post helps me see what topics are of interest.

Thanks in advance for your support.