Been Busy

mom-visits

Where have I been? Well, I’ve been a little busy lately and I got out of my newly found habit of blogging in the morning. I’ll blame it on my mom. But it’s a good thing. My mom came to visit me for a week (while my dad drove a friend’s van from Portland Oregon to Austin Texas) and she actually gets up earlier than my kids so it was kind of nice to have some morning company for a change. But that also kept me away from my computer. So if you were wondering where I was, I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking coffee and chatting with my mom. It was super nice to have her around.

In my old age I have come to love cooking. I know those who are older than me are laughing and shaking their heads. Shake away, I’m right behind you. This is really great except it has been a source of frustration for me when my kids turn their noses up at my newfound love of cooking. I mistakenly think to myself that if I put love into my cooking, they should reciprocate that love with compliments and requests for more of my loving cooking. Harumph! It’s not going that way at all. Not that it won’t someday, but presently they are not interested. In fact, they would much rather not eat my cooking at all in favor of a bag of chips with a side of YouTube. They ask me what’s for dinner and then decide if they are hungry or not. You probably know how that goes.

You can imagine how wonderful it felt to hear compliment after compliment from my loving mom when I made her special dishes that stayed within the boundaries of her new healthy living die-t (that we have corroborated on together). I am super thankful for my relationship with my parents right now. I think this is the natural way of things. When your kids start to pull away from you to become their own strong individuals, you find comfort in your parents. At least that is how it is working out for me. My relationship with my parents is better than it has ever been.

I know I’m lucky. My parents had me when they were barely twenty so we don’t have that many years between us in age. Bug will not be so lucky. When she is my age, I will be (hang on, let me grab a calculator) eighty-three. EIGHTY THREE! I only plan to live until 82 so that’s kind of grim. Of course I could live until I’m 120 so who knows.  Anyway, I’m super thankful for my parents right now.

my-nature-trail

My mom left Saturday and now I am back to my usual routine. She did leave behind a photo album from that trip we took when I was sixteen across country in the broken-down RV so I am looking forward to blogging about that. It will be challenging though. I might have to fill in some gaps in my memory with a little fiction, and maybe embellish a little to protect the identity of my loved ones.

This morning I walked the nature trail with the dogs and I made you a little video. I had a rough anxiety-filled night (it was so stupid, I was stressing about the strangest things. I’ll elaborate later.) and I’ve been trying to start my mornings with positive thoughts instead of long lists of things I need to do. Most days I am not successful at this new morning mantra, including this morning. There I was thinking about all the things that are bothering me and all of a sudden my nostrils were hit with the super strong scent of honeysuckle! I didn’t take a picture. I should have but I was busy with dogs and dog poop bags and just not ready. But my point is from that moment on I took myself out of my anxiety filled brain and I started to notice how pretty it was outside!

It was really pretty this morning. Summer is definitely in full swing. The brush in the nature trail is dry and brittle. All the creeks (except that one really swampy one) are dried up. The mustard and queen Anne’s lace are dead. Their white branches look like tiny birch forests for squirrels and quail and speaking of quail, they are everywhere! I saw dozens and dozens of quail. If you have a keen eye, you might even see some in my movie but they are tiny specs.

My to-do list is still flapping away like a rolodex connected to a fan but I’m ignoring it in favor of checking in with you and sharing all the beauty around me. I love where we live. I love California. I know we have a bad reputation for traffic and politics but in the nooks and crannies are the prettiest things and of course everyone knows we have the best weather. So I’m trying to dwell on these things instead of worry.

prickly-pear

So pretty, right? I’ve been watercoloring a lot more lately too. The hardest part is getting myself to sit down *and slow down* in order to paint but once I do I am very happy.

A friend sent me some pink lemons and avocados and of course those lemons were screaming at me to paint them.

painting-pink-lemons

To the untrained eye, the painting looks pretty good. Don’t look too close, it’s very messy. But just like everything in life we can’t obsess over little mistakes. Just blur your eyes and soak in the pretty parts. That’s my mantra these days.

Merry Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow

merry-mary-how-does-your-garden-grow-1

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:

watermelon-overfloweth

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.

tomato-plastic-strawberry-boxes-for-the-win

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.

baby-pumpkin

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.

coleman-planter

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.

decaying-pergola-and-powder-mold-battles

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..

grow-grape-plant-grow

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.

kady-grass-and-watermelon-flowers

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.

meanwhile-the-atrium-thrives

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?

only-thing-not-thriving-is-bob-ross

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.