The content of this blog is the author's personal view. I am not a theologian, writer, or photographer. The views in this blog are based on personal experiences and not a judgement of what others are doing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Reality of a Beautiful Day

I am writing this with the rain pouring down.  I just announced 2 1/2 inches on the rain gauge to the facebook world.  I have been waiting for rain because I see the stressed look in nature, in my yard and all around me in my walks.  I am enjoying the rain.  I know that not everyone shares my view!

Don't get me wrong, I love a sunny day.  It can lift your spirits to see the sun shining down, making everything including your future seem just that much brighter.  In fact, I love beautiful Fall days with the colored leaves.  Adding sunshine to the mix is what makes you 'ooh & ahh'.  Sun reflecting off of leaves in the early light of the day makes the trees look like they are on fire.

I was driving through town last month, mid September when I looked up at the sky and was taken by how blue the sky was and how beautiful it was all around.  A week before this beautiful sky moment we were remembering 9-11 and many different media sources would ask "Where were you when 9-11 happened?"  Looking up at the sky last month brought me back to 9-11 like it was yesterday. As I looked up at the sky, I had an instant flash back of September 11, 2001.   I remember what a gorgeous day it was, I was finishing some morning dishes and had just taken the kids to school.  I was watching the news while I did the dishes, and it came over the news that the first plane hit.  Everyone was puzzled and I remember the weather forecast was just before and they were showing a picture of the twin towers.  And I remember how blue the sky was.

We all know what a horrible day this was.  I sat alone all morning watching the news, calling the school to see if the kids were OK and that they were reassuring them.  My husband had left just before to go hunting and it was before we all had cell phones at our sides.  I saw footage that morning that I have not seen since as things unfolded.  In fact just thinking about this brings tears to my eyes.

So the reality of this beautiful fall day back in 2001 was that it really was not a beautiful day, even though it looked like what we all loved on the outside.  It made me think about what we (I) think of as a good day, or a bad day.  How we can have our moods change at the drop of a hat.

On Friday, I had a day off.  I had planned yard work on Saturday all month.  The weather news was that we were going to get hit with a lot of rain.  So having no flexibility in what weekend I would do my work, I did have the flexibility of switching my yard work to Friday.  I decided I would work like a horse and then go to my scheduled massage appointment.  Yep, I had a plan.

I got most of my yard work done and then drove to the next town.  I hit every red light that there was (minus the last two blocks).  I didn't realize there were so many.  This day it didn't seem to bother me, but remember how happy I am when I have hit almost all green lights!  I got to the appointment and went to the front desk and they looked confused to see me.  I do have an appointment, right?  No, I wasn't scheduled.  Without making this a really, really long story, they had no other times available.  We still don't know what happened.  I have never missed a massage I scheduled and I don't know why I would write it on the calendar without making an appointment.  So we went through a couple options and I made an appointment for Saturday morning.  Turns out we talked long enough that the person they were expecting hadn't showed up and I got in!  I remember saying: this is the best day ever!  But really just moments before, I had hit every red light and found out I didn't have an appointment that I thought I did and really wanted.

So all this just makes me think about things and what the reality of a beautiful day is and I think it comes down to this.  A beautiful day is having faith that even though it may not seem like it at the time, it's all going to work out.  A beautiful day is having hope for the future.  A beautiful day is being loved and loving.  9-11 brought this out in people on a horrible but beautiful day.  Horrible in what happened, beautiful in the weather but more important beauty of what it all comes down to.

Faith, hope and love.  That is a beautiful day.  Today is a beautiful day!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Changing Seasons

I really love Zinnias. I forgot I did.
My pepper plants had a little too much room in the beginning of the season,
so I put in a row of Zinnias.
They grew 3-4 feet high!


A baby cantaloupe.  It never made it because I missed a couple days watering.

Celery, rooted from the base of some store-bought.  It loved the garden outdoors.  I have never grown celery before!

Peppers!  This is the first year I ever had more than one or two peppers.
Sad Zinnias.  I was sad to see their bright faces go.  It was a view I enjoyed while teaching piano... note to self.  Plant them again next year.

Collecting some for next year.  Now to put the seeds in a spot I will remember next spring!

Yesterday, getting ready to clear the garden...Tazer found a stick to play with.  She doesn't really play with sticks anymore, but she was happy to be doing yard work and the day was worthy of stick chewing. This is her stick carrying prance.

 Turk watching my every move to try to get one step ahead of me.  When I asked my son how he picked Turk's name he said it was from a movie and the detective's name was Turk.  My son said: he's always taking notes, always taking notes.

As he watched me clear the garden, he stood outside the raised bed and sniffed.  I could tell he really wanted to jump in the fresh dirt.  He remembered how he got yelled at a few weeks ago for laying in my newly planted bed of garlic.  So I asked him if he would like to go in the garden - just for today.  He wasn't sure I meant it so I gave him the hand signal to usher him up to the raised bed.  Oh, don't mind if I do! (he seemed to say that).  He walked the whole bed, sniffing and then found a spot to lay.  Tazer must've been watching and came up to him.
She seems to be saying: Don't you remember how we got yelled at the last time we did this?  Turk seems to be giving her a stuck up "I have special permission" look.

I gave Tazer permission and she jumped up so she could have a sniff....

Haa - this looks really bad.  I tried catching his yawn and this is what he looks like at the end of a yawn.  But he is keeping an eye on Tazer because he got permission in the garden first.

Still watching.
By the way, if you have a drummer in your family, old drumsticks make great garden markers! 

More peppers found hiding under the leaves that didn't get hit by frost!

 Glad to have found some hiding tomatoes too. 
I have been hungry for some and didn't want to buy them.

Don't know what I was thinking when I planted 2 elephant ear pots into one. 
Did I even wonder where I would put it over the winter.
I could let it go dormant, but then I have the other plants in it that need some water.
I kept them alive a full year already, so I will see how they do this winter. 
Cut them way back so they don't shed all over.

I let the geraniums go dormant every year.
Every year I do the same thing when I bring them in: I can't bear to snip off the flowers yet and then I have a mess inside.  Today I cut them back.  I don't water these until around March.

Some gardening facts I learned or want to remember:
  • celery grown in your garden is dark green, so much different than the light green version we get from the store.  I rooted a store bought celery and will do this again!  Maybe in a pot so I can keep it going all year. I dug mine out and brought it in, but it is in shock right now.
  • Peppers from your garden are crisp!  Every time I cut one, I am surprised to not be cutting into a rubbery pepper full of wax (or whatever they use on them)
  • Squash and melons need to go in the ground, unless you are standing there watching them grow with a water hose in your hand.  I actually got 3 cantaloupe from a potted plant, but I missed one day of watering and they all fell off the vine.  Hmmm... next year find more vining spots.
  • I think I bought a pumpkin 'plant' and this year I got 2 orange pumpkins.  When I have planted them from seed, they are usually green when frost hits
  • Parsley is boring to grow (it always does good), but I have to remember that I never want to have to 'buy' parsley for that very reason
  • Basil is a must.  Expensive to buy and even dried tastes close to fresh when you dry your own.  Obviously the stuff you buy in the store is years old
  • Garlic is a staple that I have enjoyed growing because it's not hard
  • Pineapples are fun to pot and grow.  With all my experiments this summer though, I have doubled my houseplants which I said I would never do!
Today let it rain - we need it!  I had plenty to do indoors getting plants in their winter spots. Now to start making plans for next year while I sit by the fire!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How things multiply and other fun stuff of the day


Today was a beautiful Fall day.  I suppose it was good for a lot of things.  Today I enjoyed having some down time while digging in the dirt and checking to see what my garden produced while not looking.  I doubled my garden size this year in raised beds and although for some reason my tomatoes didn't do as well as hoped, the peppers are very abundant and colorful!  We will wait a little for those. 
My main goal was to plant garlic for next July's harvest.  I had to check back in my blog to see how many I planted last year. Eleven.  I planted twelve plus this year.  Just as I used the last clove up, it was harvest time this past summer.  Whew!
Before the garlic though, I couldn't resist seeing what my potato tubs produced as this was the first time in my 50 years that I have ever planted a potato.    I was amused to find the littlest potato ever!
I planted some organic potato 'peelings' low in the tubs that I had originally bought for another use.  I changed my mind as the seasons changed and had these tubs sitting around with holes drilled in the bottom.  Arg.  I would say it worked fairly well, since I already had them but wouldn't really recommend them since the look like they are getting brittle after one season and started cracking as I dug the dirt out.  I had a metal tub that I emptied the first one into and then transferred the dirt as I dug each tub.  Oh, and as I said I started low in the tub and added a little dirt every week until it was full.  It was fun and I will probably continue looking into growing potatoes 'vertically'.


Turk enjoying the porch while I dig

I worked respectfully around Mr. Spider

Garlic ready for planting.
I saved out the ones that lost their hair
and couldn't be braided for planting

Newly planted garlic
(the corner plant is some hen-and-chicks
among my 'evil cactus'.  I didn't want to deal with
him today.)

Lately it seems I have been telling the dogs to 'go run outside' a lot.  They never seem to want to unless we are out with them.  Today they enjoyed the afternoon outside and Opie even came to visit.  This is a 30 second clip of a typical wrestle.  Yes, they always make Opie say 'uncle' and yes I always yell at them to be nice to Opie.


My closely planted carrots in a 4x4 section

This is what happened right after I planted the garlic

...and then this is what I found when I turned around next!
Tazey was checking out Turk's new spot and
getting ready to try it out herself

This may look like the same pic,
but according to Tazey's face she decided she
better not go in the garlic bed after hearing mommy yell

I am so glad I collected my carrots up high....
Opie has to mark everything new

After wrestling, Turk found a more acceptable resting spot

...and Tazey found a spot to watch over me while I dug

She also had to keep Opie in line
...just in case he was thinking of getting out of line

Opie doesn't care about me digging in the garden,
just throw the ball

Carrots, onions and garlic (earlier this summer) harvested

Opie considering marking my carrots
-- they are up on an outdoor table for now

Monday, August 6, 2012

Instead of

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to
bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion --
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of
the oil of gladness
instead of
and a garment of praise
instead of
 a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of
their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
instead of
they will rejoice in their inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.

For I, the Lord, love justice,
I hate robbery and iniquity.
In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.

I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.
-Isaiah 61-

Friday, July 13, 2012

Daisies and Sunsets

I've never seen the sun setting peeking through on my flowers quite like this. 
Thankful today for daisies and sunsets!

A Jail-Break Walk

Today's walk was very pleasant despite my walking too late in the morning (8am) instead of getting up with the sunrise when it is a bit cooler.  Turk has been a little stir-crazy with last weeks 100 degree weather and me with a disabling migraine for almost 2 weeks.  I skipped walking a couple days because I couldn't get off the couch and then the days I could we went so late in the morning, that we walked around the block which is all I could handle.  Turk is now tougher than me on our walks. Ha.

I always say they must feel like they are in jail.  Like when they are stuck in the house on below zero days.  A couple days ago when I couldn't get off the couch until very late in the afternoon, I decided to do a little yoga to get rid of some of the neck tension from the migraine.  I had 3 dogs staring at me the whole time.  They were bored out of their minds.  I felt a little bad, but then realized how good they have it.  Their 'kennel' consists of a pleasantly air-conditioned huge (in doggy terms) loft.  They get 'recess' every hour or two where they can gather up some sun rays before they go in to cool down again.  Then later I will take them outside in the front.  I call this getting out of jail because it's not fenced in and they get to see the world.

Turk especially loves to watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood and announces each neighbor coming home from work.  It happens that I have been on vacation for two weeks (doing nothing but having a migraine) and that means no piano students coming and going every half hour.  He loves the activity and misses it.

So on our walk today, it was getting a little warm.  Although Turk does not like the heat, it seems he is tolerating it better out of sheer boredom at being locked up for so long.   I let them go down to the creek to cool down.  Turk likes to stand in the deeper water, Tazer doesn't like to get her tail wet, but will venture in a little further on hot days.  Opie has discovered the frogs. 

On our way home we took our time, stopping in the shade to watch the cars come and go.  It was pleasant in the shade with a nice breeze blowing.  We got to talk to neighbors along the way.  It's hard to talk to anyone when the humidity is so high you can't even stand in it.  So in a way, it was a jail-break for me too!  I enjoyed getting out to see and talk to people and see nature without having to go for a really long walk.  Although Turk loved getting out of jail, I think after watching way too much daytime TV this week, I enjoyed it as much!

The first thing I came across was what I first thought was a very large dog in a back yard.

Who Me?

Tazer looking for the deer.  I think she finally saw it.

It stared at us for a while and then continued to eat from the tree.
I would think that the owners of this tree realize the deer are eating it.
Notice the whole bottom of the tree?

Our next stop, a swim.
Opie is getting very good at frog hunting.  He knows where they hide and he knows how they move.  He has gone psycho for frogs.  Luckily, I had him on a short leash as he sees the brown frog.  They don't want to hop unless it's absolutely necessary. Obviously frogs are not that smart because he couldn't see how necessary it was that he move fast NOW.   The frog got a head start.

Mr. Green Frog was smart today and was sitting on a rock across the creek
where Opie's leash doesn't reach.

Turks favorite spot in the shade by the ball diamonds. 
He knows when we walk that he can count on the shade of the building. 
On really hot days, he can't get there fast enough.
He likes to watch the cars and people go by as he cools down.

If you make eye-contact from a car though,
he thinks you are coming to see him!

Opie, on the other hand faced the other way to watch for critters.

And rolled in the grass just because.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ugly Cactus comes of age

I have had Mr. Ugly Cactus for maybe 15 or 20 years.  It was a snippet from my former neighbor.  It is ugly and doesn't even really have cactus spines, it is more like a succulent.  You can see maybe a few little spines on the younger ones.  Every year, I ignore this beast in the winter barely watering it enough (it must not need much because I haven't killed it all these years).  Somehow grass planted itself in the soil around it and it goes dormant all winter only to come back to life once I start watering it again.  In the past 5-6 years I have put him out on my deck during the summer.   I have found if I put all my houseplants in one congregated area, close to the water supply, they will all get a daily watering. 

This has worked well and made my houseplants very happy.  A couple of years ago I discovered a bottle of plant fertilizer I had laying around and decided after all these years maybe I would try this.  What I noticed is that of all my plants, the cactus (es) cacti(?) have enjoyed this little nutrient boost the most.  My tall cactus (named Prick) that I got how many years ago (I will have to go outside and count the ridges)(5)(I think) grows about 5-6 inches every summer.  He started out as one of those 6 inch babies that comes in the teeny-tiny pots.  I never knew these actually grew.
This is Prick

I also have a cactus that grows outside year-round.  Yes, it can withstand a Wisconsin winter.  I have named her and her offspring Evil Cactus.  I don't know if I want to keep it, it is so evil, but I am waiting to see if it will flower.  Why would I dislike a plant so much?  Well, for one, you cannot weed around or near it.  You can be as careful as possible and it doesn't matter, it will get you.  Maybe you are thinking of little raspberry thorns, or a rose thorn.  No, these are evil!  I am trying to tell you.  The prick of this cactus is very painful - even if you are being very, very careful.  Then it plants some little baby pricks under your skin that you can't see, but you will have pain for a couple weeks and end up thinking that you have some weird disease.  That is how it stays alive - every living thing learns to just stay away.  We had a guest once put her hand down on it in the dark (in a pot on my porch) thinking it was her purse.  She had to go to the doctor eventually to get all those little pricks out.
One of Evil Cactus(es) offspring,
lookin' all healthy because I am watering it.
I haven't given fertilizer to this family-
maybe I'm afraid of what will happen

And so with Mr Ugly Cactus, the first summer of fertilizing I had a surprise of a few beautiful pink flowers.  Every year now, it blooms on my deck from the time the weather warms up and I start my weekly fertilizing until cold weather brings him inside, finishing up his last blossoms indoors.  And now the beginning of a new season and I am counting no less than 50 new blossoms ready to burst!  Just yesterday, I moved my houseplants and blooming geraniums around to give Mr. Cactus a little more 'star space'.  My daughter didn't know this phrase like I suppose I did, but in a band we all want our star space and we joke about it in our church band.  I found though, that the red geranium was messing with the color scheme of the pink cactus and so had to separate them.  I then felt like I was still crowding too many things together as everything is getting very happy with daily watering's and sunshine and heat.  He now has 'room to bloom'.

I have started a new ugly cactus plant.  It is ugly, and growing every year.  I fertilize this one the same as the others and it hasn't blossomed yet.  I am wondering if it has to get to a certain old age before it blooms.?  Or maybe it needs to get root-bound before it blooms as I haven't ever transplanted Mr. Ugly Cactus.

Mr. Ugly Cactus with all it's blooms on it
and before it had more star space
Anyway, my daughter told me about this song from the movie Juno when I told her about my cactus with the pink blossoms.  I like the song if not just for the fact that they wrote a song about this and here I have a cactus with a bunch of pink flowers on it!  I never thought that growing a cactus (see how careful I was with the tense?) would be so interesting.  I always figured they just sat there and poked people.  I am now discovering that my favorite houseplant just might be a cactus.  Flowering ones that I can hug with my eyes! (see song)

In the sea there is a fish, a fish that has a secret wish
a wish to be a big cactus, with a pink flower on it.
and the flower would be it's offering of love, to the desert
and the desert, so dry and lonely that the creatures all appreciate the effort

and the rattlesnake said I wish I had hands so I could hug you like a man
and then the cactus said don't you understand
my skin is covered with sharp spikes, that'll stab you like a thousand knives
a hug would be nice, but hug my flower with your eyes