Merry Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow

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I’ll tell you how my garden grows: it thrives! Really, I have no other news going on to talk about. Maybe a little. I got a late start blogging today because I was setting up payroll for my baby corporation. Did you know I incorporated? Yes, I am now Secret Agent Josephine Inc. It sounds very official and feels very grown-up though I am floundering like a typical newbie who can’t do accounting to save her life. It’s funny that I’m still saying I feel like a grown-up and I’m only two years away from 50. Isn’t 50 when people start becoming grandparents? What can I say, I’ve always been a young foolish soul, a little late to everything.

So the garden! Today in pandemic news we have some developments:

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My watermelon seedlings have taken over the back patio chair. I didn’t want to put them on the ground thinking the dogs would eat them but you can see that’s not really a problem. I feel like I should name this guy. He’s made himself quite at home. I don’t even like watermelon but I am quite excited to grow one in a box and have my own square watermelon. I’m also thinking it will be fun to give them away and make watermelon drinks.

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On the squirrel/mouse/rat vs Brenda front I can say that my ingenious plastic strawberry containers are superior to the nylon mesh bags I bought off amazon. Good to know, right? Recycling for the win! The rat has managed to gnaw at the tomato through the mesh bag and bruise it pretty badly. It kind of reminds me of how Bug used to eat fruit through these things. No way, I say. I am not feeding the local rat population tomato pops. It’s not a problem though. I have four big fat tomatoes ripening safely in my plastic strawberry containers. I can spare one measly one.

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Further down in the garden we have a pumpkin sighting! I am soooo excited to grow pumpkins. The poor plant might be a little lacking in the fertilizing game though because I only have one pumpkin plant so far. I’ve got some seeds in pots to grow more but they haven’t come up yet. I do think I have one baby pumpkin though (or is it a squash? I did mix up my seeds so it could be something else) so maybe it cross-pollenated with the watermelon plant. Who knows, who cares! I think a watermelon pumpkin Frankenstein would be perfect for Halloween! I shall keep you posted.

Do you like my blue shutter plant table? It’s called Make-It-Work. I just use what I have. My handyman is currently out on broken-neck-leave so I am pottering together whatever I have. I bought that shutter ages ago to do a blog post for toriavey.com. I was going to make it into a book rack (kind of like those magazine racks at barber shops where you open the magazine and flop them over a rod) but it never panned out so shelf it is! It actually works really well because it drains well with all those slots. And I kind of like the color. I know it’s a bit shanty-town but I’m not afraid of my roots.

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And speaking of shanty-town, I am very excited to make that melted Coleman ice chest into a plater! Kinda of cool, right? I’m thinking the new pumpkin seedlings will go there when they finally pop their heads up.  Thankfully, not very many people come into my garden now that we have a pandemic going on so nobody really judges me on my landscaping skills. I mean, besides you guys of course but you come here for the whacky-ness anyway.

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In other news ,Whiskey’s super strong dog urine is slowly degrading our pergola. It’s taken about two years but this thing is slowly crumbling from the bottom up. Good job, Whiskey. When I first moved in, the pergola had a sun-weathered canvas tent over it. I took that down and used the skeleton to hang lights. We don’t use it to eat out there, as it smells pretty bad of dog pee, but it is kind of a cool little focal point for the rest of the yard. I dream of entertaining back here but the dogs, man. They ruin it for everyone. Its not always that bad and a good hosing can get things cleaned up but it’s not always that good either.

Moving along to my other problem area: the powder mildew fight. It’s a daily battle. The baking soda spray does work but I have to spray it every day and I’ve knocked down my “bombastic” squash plant by two thirds just hacking off all the moldy leaves. I’m surprised it’s still producing squash. But I won’t throw it out until it really kicks the dust so I keep spraying every morning. It’s good therapy. I love gardening so it’s a nice little zen routine. Squirt, squirt, squirt..

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I also have a little grape vine. Bug and I bought his at a discount grocery market. Why not, I figured. It was only seven bucks and it has really pretty leaves. I’m not in a hurry to grow grapes since we are all watching our sugar in this house but I do love the plant. And I love the GROW rock that we made from that alphamom kindness rock craft.

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I’m also on my second round of growing cat grass for Kady. It’s a little spindly because she ate the last batch down to nubs and I don’t have any more seeds. But this is poking along and in a bit I’ll take it back in the house to let her eat down to nubs again.

Also here are some watermelon flowers. Aren’t they pretty? I had no idea they were yellow. I thought they’d be pink or red like the watermelon fruit but nope. Yellow, it is.

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The Atrium is thriving as well. When we went camping I asked my friend Maria to watch over it and she watered diligently everyday so all the plants are very happy and the maidenhair fern is STILL ALIVE! It’s huge actually. I kind of want to grow a whole wall of them. Wouldn’t that be something?

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Bug bought some lettuce the last time we visited a nursery and I think she should be able to harvest quite a salad one of these days. Everything is doing pretty well here. Except Joon’s Bob Ross chia pet. I think I might have to re-do that for her because Bob’s fro is looking pretty gross.

That’s all folks! Pretty exciting, no?

See you tomorrow for chapters from my fridge! Just kidding.

Dinky Creek Camping Trip: Part 3

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This is my last installment of blogging about our Dinky Creek camping trip. After this it’s back to garden news and dog walks. I know, gripping. But we do what we can, right? Pandemic life surely has its challenges.

Starting up where I left off, back we went to the creek. We pretty much lived at the creek that day.

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The water was sooooo nice. I realized that Payam is the most happy when he’s floating around in the water. One of his favorite outings when we are back home is visiting Raging Waters at Knott’s Berry Farm and just floating down the Lazy River all day. I’m not as fond of Raging Waters, as it is usually quite crowded and germy (in my mind at least. I know there is a ton of chlorine but still…) so finding our own lazy river in the wild is a dream come true for all of us.

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We found a nice big swimming hole and the kids and Payam played around in it with Cody for hours. Whisky and I enjoyed the shade nearby.

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Poor Cody, he swam so hard he really tired himself out.

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Summer + dogs + water = happiness.

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I wish we lived here permanently.

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And yes, I swam too. But I much preferred to sit along the sidelines and take pictures.

This is probably one of very few times I will ever post a photo of myself in a bathing suit. Look at those thighs. Red beans and rice didn’t miss her. But I actually like this photo of me. I feel happy in my own skin and my bangs that are growing out. Payam took it and you can see that he makes me feel great about my body. I wish I could go back to my twenty-year-old self and give her a hug and tell her that somebody is going to love every part of me someday. I probably wouldn’t have believed me. I’m glad to be here instead of there.

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Finally we got our fill of swimming and headed back to camp to cook dinner and chill.

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Everyone relaxed and Cody probably slept for an hour or two. He was wiped.

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Here I am in my sexy camp outfit.

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You know what’s great about getting older? You stop caring so much what other people think about how you look. I love not having mirrors and just wearing what feels good. Sure, this isn’t my proudest moment in fashion but I was comfortable and happy. Camping is dirty and full of weird things like bugs (ew!) but once you get over that  and desensitize yourself, it is really wonderful to just embrace nature and and enjoy the beauty.

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The best part is watching my kids detach from their virtual worlds and connect back with us in the present. They are really quite pleasant to be around when they don’t have their noses stuck to their phones. They have lively conversations and they don’t hate our company. Go figure!

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As the sun began to set Payam made a roaring fire and we settled into our camp chairs around it.

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Each crackle of the fire seemed to erase another wrinkle of stress from our foreheads. We almost forgot there was a pandemic going on. Well, until we had to go back into the main campground for water or to use the restrooms. But we stayed away as much as we could and were never happier to find a tree to pee behind than this trip. I never thought I’d say that but my recently acquired pandemic-related germ phobia has made me re-think everything.

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You know you are winning at camping when your daughter is bored enough to braid your dogs hair.

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We sat around and relaxed. I finally broke down and had a glass of wine. It was nice but nothing I want to continue. At least not until I’m really comfortable my drinking habits. I am feeling much better about it though. I haven’t had anything else to drink since that campfire and it feels good. I love my new non-drinking self. I feel much better in my own skin.

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Then we tucked in for the night. The girls had battery-operated lights on their tent which is a cozy addition to our camping list. The first night Joon had a really hard time sleeping with all the new noises but the second night she was out like a light because she was so tired from sun exposure and swimming all day.

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The next morning we woke up early and started breaking camp. We all had mixed emotions about leaving. While we couldn’t wait to get home and shower off the gritty layers of sweat and dirt, we were also sad to leave our lovely campsite. It felt like home.

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The girls took the dogs on one last walk and then we were off.

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“Make a face like you hate camping.” I said as I took our last selfie.

I think you can tell by their faces that nobody hates camping. Until next year, Dinky Creek! Hopefully by then we’ll be pandemic free.

Le sigh.