Spring in Colorado Pic Post

Finally made myself resize/optimize all those pics I took last week, and, after some enlightening comments from Terri, have added my own little flair to each pic before posting it –

For your viewing pleasure, Spring in Colorado –

Picture of Lilac Buds
Lilac Buds – Let us hope no severe cold fronts come through –
Picture of Wild Poppies
Over 20 wild poppies this year – once I carefully clip all the grass away, I may just discover more!
Some Rhubarb ready to harvest.
Some Rhubarb ready to harvest.
Picture of tulips
White and Purple ones spared from Thumper and Peter Rabbit’s grazing…
Picture of wrong soil mix
2 of the soil mixes I experimented with in the tires are a No-Go –
Picture of Jerasulem Artichokes
Bed weeded and ready for filling of Oakley dug holes, compost and new mulch layer – Can’t bear to thin ’em out – will see If I regret that decision…

There Ya Have It – Stay Tuned for the call I got from NCIS – –

ID 10 TS

I would like to give you pictures of the landscaping projects that are in process – – or have been accomplished….

Or show you how high the Jerusalem Artichokes and Sunflowers are, or how beautiful the fantabulously drought-tolerant Golden and Burgundy Amaranths are –

Alas – despite my best intentions, I had little website work in June and now, 3 sites to get up and out for approval by end of next week – –

An existing customer called a few days ago and asked for some documentation for their funding resource – seems what I previously provided was impressive in it’s low cost, but they’d like to have another meeting and have new pages that are clearly marked as to which phase we are doing when – –

They are dragging their feet – says I – They’ve had this information since April – – You continue to pay out of pocket each month, as they ask for more stats, watermarked estimates, etc…..

This is why any business I launch is paid for by me – – -too much time/trouble convincing investors and the time spent jumping through their hoops could be put to good use actually BUILDING something –

Alas, I always gravitate towards business ideas that rely on my own brain, skill, know-how and existing tool set – – Not everyone is so lucky – there are those grand ideas that need funding for buildings, equipment, R&D, prototypes, etc….

Now that you know the history, my customer advised, part way through the conversation, as I added the required text to each phase estimate and cut/pasted the documents into one long historical document, for their printing convenience, he said,

“Well, you just have to deal with ID 10 TS’s”

And, swear to gawd! I did not get it until I wrote it down – – Sheesh!  I need a vacation – – –

🙂

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I realized I had once more slipped into Dereliction of Duty status here at WordPress when Sue left a comment to check and make sure she wasn’t missing my new posts in her email inbox and to make sure I hadn’t died – – Thank You, Sue!   You make me feel so loved and cared for!

(Want to see amazing art and gardens?  Check out Sue’s slice of cyberspace!)

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And so, dear friends, neighbors and family here at WordPress – I’m once again working my tail off – trying to keep ahead of the curve ball and failing to take pictures of anything as I race from one project to another – –

But I’m doing my meditation and heat lamp treatments religiously – –

I’m only working a max of 14 hour at a time and making sure to get a good night’s sleep – –

And I’m slowly, but surely, implementing lessons learned from the past…

Except for how durn long it takes me to get caught up when I don’t log in and read every day!

🙂

Hope this finds you well and I’ll catch up with your world here soon – feel free to leave a comment, begging me not to leave 23 likes and 8 comments on your blog all at one time, at the end of July, when I can luxuriate in reading all day long once more …..

You ask and I swear, I’ll space them out to one a day – – 🙂

Garden Plans – Stardate 052714

Yesterday while pulling out nearly a years worth of hardy grass new growth and dead strands, it occurred to me I really ought to keep a diary of my projects as I strive to transform my 3 lot, 100 year old home place into my own Garden of Eden.

I rarely think to snap pics until I’m all done – “My, ain’t that pretty?  Let’s take a snapshot!”

So here are some snaps – some have before and after –  some, I didn’t think about the camera until too late –

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Remember the southside of the house when this project first commenced?  The nice rolling ditch to funnel water right back to the foundation?

Southside - Ditch to be dug for blocks
Southside – Ditch to be dug for blocks

Here with a nice sanded slope I had been advised to put in place, by no less than 5 local ‘experts’, only to discover this traps wet in the stucco, which necessarily breathes from the bottom air holes?

Growing Green Things
Growing Green Things

Then the hours of digging down, sloping and installation of a secondary raised bed?

Ready to build kitchen herb garden
Behind the scenes – 2 layers of block protecting steep sloped, plastic covered, pebble graveled run-off away from foundation

Well, here’s the south side nearly finished – tire perimeter in place and two of the perennials from last year made it – beds need their mineral/rock dust amendments and then will be planted with summer vegetables.   The back portion of bed already planted with mammoth sunflowers to shade the wall – sunflower seed fits my budget better this year than the lattice work I had hoped to install between the upright poles – ah well, there’s always next year!

Fronts of the beds planted yesterday with marigold and nasturtium seeds – hopefully, my marigolds aggressively self-seed!

SouthSide2_3rds
2/3rds Done! Middle beds and walkways left to do

Me and the boy cleaned out a mess of leaves, tumbleweeds, hardy grass and dead leavings to clean out the west side of the yard fence – the below featured tree has quite a few buds on it, so not ready to give up on it just quite yet – this area will be prepared for an amaranth and cabbage bed – if the amaranth gets as tall as it says it will, should provide some nice shading late in the day.  In the background, you can see Oakley, the wonder dog, lying carefully in between the rows of Jerusalem artichokes – alas, she has stunted the growth of 2 of them, but more are poking their heads out and we have 6 that are 4″+ high already!

Future Home of Amaranth - Burgundy and Golden Giant
Future Home of Amaranth – Burgundy and Golden Giant

The east side is coming along nicely – Here’s a pic from my front door during last years heavy rainstorm – and the tires I originally thought to use for the eastern perimeter.

August 3rd - Rain, Rain and some more Rain
August 3rd – Rain, Rain and some more Rain

Next, a picture of the east side in progress –  beds next to the house that capture roof run-off and the establishment of what is sidewalk/what will be lawn area.

Transplanted to these beds last fall, the new irises, white and purple,  have put on a lovely show and will be inter-planted with lovage and purple volcano sage.   All but one of the roses transplanted from my mom’s garden last year failed to make it – one has 2 green leaves down near the base, so left it in to see what happens –

The front walk-way blocks were planted with perennial chives and annual cumin – I may regret planting chives so close to where I’m going to attempt having a pretty, run in your bare feet lawn space – time will tell.  The side of the lawn planted with a low growing, drought tolerant seed mix last fall (right) received no supplemental water from September through now – which means I have to reseed and try again this year to get well established before testing it’s drought tolerant capabilities.

Walkway to be lined by chives and cumin - lawn re-seeding awaiting me getting the micro-irrigation back out of the shed
Walkway to be lined by chives and cumin – lawn re-seeding awaiting me getting the micro-irrigation back out of the shed

The hurriedly built and transplanted strawberry beds are showing the seedlings of 7 different kinds of lettuce and the spinach is nearly 3 inches tall.   I inter-planted some salsify in one bed between the strawberries (lettuce at the outer edges) and also planted perennial Welsh onions in the second bed in between the strawberry plants – both the salsify and the Welsh onions are new to me, so will keep you posted on how that whole experiment turns out.

Right under the pine tree, with good morning sun - so much for having to rake pine needles here - !
Strawberries and Salsify in middle, Mesculan mix around one outer edge, spinach planted on the other outer edge.
Tried the low-cost black edging from Lowes - easy to do, will let you know how long it lasts
Strawberries and Welsh onions planted in middle – green leaf and flame red lettuces planted at edges.

Interested  in any of the plants?  Here’s the links to the seeds I purchased:

Amaranth, Golden Giant

Amaranth, Burgundy Grain Organic

Welsh Onion, Bunching Scallions

Salisfy

Mammoth Sunflower

French Sparky Marigold

Dwarf Nasturtium

Lovage

I suppose the area for amaranth is not going to prep itself, so I’ll sign off – Happy Gardening!

Spring has Sprung

After somehow managing to build and launch 4 websites in 7 weeks, one of which was the biggest site I’ve ever done – I’m happily diving back into my gardening and writing plans.

Since you most likely thought I was dead, given my long silence, I shall not further shock your system by making you read a 10,000 word essay on what I’ve been doing since last we met – – rather, I’ll share my 1,000 words at a time with some pics:

Remember the Rain of the Century we got last August?

August 3rd - Rain, Rain and some more Rain
August 3rd – Rain, Rain and some more Rain

The lovely rain meant the weed that turns into tumbleweeds grew like crazy and our area has been inundated with a gazillion of these sticky, spiny, trashy wayfarers.

I’ve hauled off two truckloads to the town heap, as I’m not certain I’m an advanced enough composter to ensure heat enough to kill the seeds –

The ditch, full of water last August, still holds some tumbleweeds even after gallant efforts by me and the boy – we nearly had them all out two days ago, but alas, a few more blew back in –

I swear, we had them down to about a handful left to clean up just 2 days ago!
I swear, we had them down to about a handful left to clean up just 2 days ago!

Remember the purple water-sucking-hog plant from last spring?

It raised it’s beautiful head again this year and has been positively identified as Wild Purple Tansy Mustard. But this year, I’ve won, at least so far.

Growing Green Things
Growing Green Things – 2013
To Weed or Not To Weed
To Weed or Not To Weed 2013
2014 - Nearly ready to plant - waiting for the snow storm due Sunday night to move through
Nearly ready to plant – waiting for the snow storm due Sunday night to move through
Can't see all of them, but have 6 out of 6 transplanted rhubarb plants coming up - Yay!
Can’t see all of them, but have 6 out of 6 transplanted rhubarb plants coming up – Yay!
Put the tiniest iris division on the east side - see my snazzy new solar filter window coverings?  Hoping for lower cooling bills this summer!
Put the tiniest iris division on the east side – see my snazzy new solar filter window coverings? Hoping for lower cooling bills this summer!

The gifts of Daylillies, Vinca and Bishop’s last August are doing fine as frog’s hair, as are my divided irises and the rhubarb I moved from next to the propane tank into the newly thinned iris bed – alas, the wild roses transplanted from my mom’s garden don’t look so hot, but waiting to see if anything happens in the next few weeks before ripping them out. The late-planted, drought tolerant grass of last fall is somewhat sparse, but already making plans to overseed.

See the jungle around the daylillies?  Waiting to clean that up until the poppies come up, so I don't end up wrecking my wild poppy patch
See the jungle around the daylillies? Waiting to clean that up until the poppies come up, so I don’t end up wrecking my wild poppy patch
Bishop's Weed
Bishop’s Weed
Vinca - I failed to put down thick enough layers of newspaper before planting this area - so some weeding to do - -
Vinca – I failed to put down thick enough layers of newspaper before planting this area – so some weeding to do – –
Roses look bleak - Grass needs some attention- but thanks to my new doctor, I'm a shadow of my former self - 60lbs lost since last summer! Yay!
Roses look bleak – Grass needs some attention- but thanks to my new doctor, I’m a shadow of my former self – 60lbs lost since last summer! Yay!

Remember my ‘shade the west wall with plants’ idea from last summer?  Well, last fall I ordered Jerusalem artichokes and wandered around my place trying to figure out where to plant them – they get tall, are perennial and die back in winter – and finally smacked myself in the forehead and said, “West Side!”   Although I’ve never grown them, I believe they are starting to poke their heads out, because the same looking leaves are poking out in carefully measured spots

I hope these are the Jerusalem Artichokes - if not, a new weed has learned to grow 12 inches apart in tidy rows....
I hope these are the Jerusalem Artichokes – if not, a new weed has learned to grow 12 inches apart in tidy rows….

Of the plants I foolishly purchased on my way to the doctor last fall, only to discover I had pneumonia, not many have made it – or at least don’t look like they have – the Wooly Thyme and Cascading Snow are looking pretty bleak –

WoolyThyme
WoolyThyme
CascadingSnow
CascadingSnow

However, Mystery Plant 1 and 2 are doing awesome – and yes, I will buy a permanent marker and plant ID stakes so I can remember what I’m planting this year:

Some kind of succulent and good for something, else I wouldn't have bought it!
Some kind of succulent and good for something, else I wouldn’t have bought it!
I purchased a couple Appleblossom Yarrow plants - is this one of them?  Heck if I know!
I purchased a couple Appleblossom Yarrow plants – is this one of them? Heck if I know!

While working last weekend, the ladybugs deigned to visit me when I was worn out and wondering, once more, if I’m doing things right and will Mother Nature bless my endeavors?   No pics of them, I was too tired to go get the camera, but while snapping pics this a.m., my friend, the Robin was nice enough to pose:

He always shows up when I need encouragement!
He always shows up when I need encouragement!

And last, but not least, the pretty, native to my place groundcover that blooms with beautiful purple stalks in July – I carefully kept every area of it and it is coming along nicely

Don't know what it is, but it's pretty, likes it here and plays nice with others - a keeper.
Don’t know what it is, but it’s pretty, likes it here and plays nice with others – a keeper.

Stay tuned for the great Strawberry Invasion…

 

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Hello, WordPress community!   You thought I died, right?  Santa arrived early at my house and I’m the proud owner of a new computer with Windows 8 – more about that later (and less on the endless gripes I have regarding it, because, after all, I do love you guys!)

So much has happened since my dear old, 6 year computer crashed, I could keep you reading for 3 days straight – alas, I’ll try to keep it short-n-sweet, and fill you in.

Because of the roller coaster ride of the past few weeks, I thought I’d split out my update into Categories…

The Good

I have a computer – as an early Christmas gift from my ex-hubbie.   Remember when I told you there are many reasons I still love that man?   Remember when I poured out my heartache at my perception of betrayal?  Yeah…. He’s human, but he is still, so often, my knight in shining armor.

Jerusalem Artichokes are in the ground – right on the west side of the house, which was slated for Cottage Herb Garden.   I kept trying to figure out where to put them, and then realized, they are the perfect answer for protection from summer sun and leaving western wall open for radiant heat in winter and so, I have perennial beds outside my kitchen door.

Soon after getting my new computer, I awoke one day to sub-zero temps and pain – spent the morning plotting out my garden beds and have the plans all ready to follow, as infrastructure for the east side is done…. Finally….   West side of my 4 lot place is slated for cultivation in 2015 – –

The fescue grass planted this year is still green and beautiful – without water since September and no mowing.   Excited to plant more in non-garden areas next spring.   This year’s work will result in 2/3rd’s less mowing/weeding come next summer.

Fence has been put up to expand Oakley’s room thanks to the generous help of a dear, dear friend.   Fence post driving is hard work for me and I got 4 posts a day done, with 10-day rest periods in between! LOL  Thanks, Dick!   Never could have done it without you!

I”m no longer “Unemployed”

First, I was invited to a community weekly dinner that is primarily attended by retired senior citizens – then I’m asked if I would be interested in cleaning up after said weekly dinner each week – 1 hour/week @ $10/hr.

Then, the local library advertised for a part-time aide (10 hours a week/ 2 hours a day) – I applied, interviewed and did my skills test.   I got the call offering me the job.   I was ecstatic!   Me, working in a primary source of information and getting to help others in their quest for knowledge – Could anything be more perfect?!?

On a side note, a weight I had been unconsciously carrying fell away when I received the call.   Until I got the job offer, I didn’t even realize that behind my angst over, “Will I ever be well enough to return to work?” lay the even deeper anxiety, “Will anyone ever want to hire me again?”

One week at the library and wouldn’t ya know, a friend who is as passionate about nutrition and locavorism as I am, decided to buy the local cafe and offered me a part-time job.   Actually, she asked me some questions, I asked if I could help, offered to work more hours than God placed in a week when she said, “Yes”, and got the response:

“I would love to have you there everyday, but I do not want to be the cause of you having a set-back in your health.   I’m thinking 3-4 shifts a week, (four hours) and we’ll play it by ear on how you get along.”

So, between the three, Local Jobs, I will soon be employed 27 hours a week by folks who appreciate what I have to offer and who often take the time to look out for my health better than I do….

Which I consider a success – if I can’t learn to put myself first, at least I’m learning to form relationships with people who know that about me and look out for me, even when I don’t do it for myself.

A quick blessing on all those wonderful folks, in person and online, who are so good to me.  (blessings for those who cause me pain is in the Bad/Ugly sections – sorry, a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots overnight….)

My family decided to buy a washer/dryer combo for me as a Christmas gift.   While I love my Wonder Washer, the joint pain in my hands left me unenthused over wringing out heavyweight clothes once I no longer had my Spin Dryer to do it for me.  I’m over the moon at having a modern day laundering mechanism again.   Will report on my new tool as soon as I have a month’s worth of electric and water bills to report on – cuz you know, some things aren’t a bargain, even if you get them for free….   LOL  My Dad listed horses as one of these items….though he got me one, anyways…

I woke up today, totally pain free.   I’ve been trying different things and have been struggling since the pneumonia in September.   How apropo that I awoke, at last, to pain-free living on Thanksgiving.

The Bad

I had huge set-backs in my health after the pneumonia fiasco – another bout with it, then an abscess that had to be sliced and drained.   This time, I didn’t wait until it spread to hell and gone, so the slice and dice did not include gauze packing in the amount of a trip to the moon and back.

(See?  I’m learning – should have put this one in the Good section….) 

AND, if you are pro-active and go to the doctor early enough, without a designated driver, they can do local numbing shots, instead of saying, “Either you call someone to pick you up and we’ll put you under or you cuss while we slice – – ”   I was very grateful to get this taken care of without having to bite-a-bullet.

Then, the lovely return of neck/back pain that preceded my stroke back in 2011.

(Which sent me into a gale of emotional storms, praying that I could live at least until my son graduates from high school). 

This latest set-back confused and bemused me….   But it also stretched my horizons in my learning and what to do for myself.   Can’t say that I regret the new information I now know, but Lord, someday I would like to learn this stuff an easier way.

Windows 8 – I gave it 10 days before I whispered even one word to the outside world about not liking it.   As much as I embrace change as an offensive player in so many venues of life, I admit to being a defense player when it comes to computers and software – I get tired of learning new stuff all the time to perform the same old functions.

I’ve engaged in learning about Open Source Options for what all I do and am preparing to take the dive on eradicating Bill Gates from my computer – – which means, if I mess it up, you may not hear from me for another long period…..again….

The first week of working at the library coincided with my new-found activities of volunteering at a local food bank.   Which I  found when I asked if I could trade work for food when my wall furnace started lagging on lighting and then turned into a flame-thrower.

Acutally, if I hadn’t been worried about killing us all in the middle of the night, the wall-furnace-turned-flame-thrower was kinda cool to watch – a long hiss, followed by a mini-explosion and blue-gold light bursting from the wall – – alas, I’m a parent and have to be responsible – I got it fixed…using my grocery budget….

The gals who run the food bank are awesome.  And they seem happy to have manual labor show up regularly – They helped me out during a hard month and I get to help with the food bank garden next year!  Yay!

(This, too, should be in good, as should everything in this post, but, it still confounds me that I must learn the Good by experiencing the Bad – – Have you seen “Life of Pi?” yet – No?   Okay, watch it and you’ll ask why I’m still separating things out into Categories, even after having this epiphany….)

By week’s end, I was exhausted and I had momentary doubts about my ability to rejoin the world.   But I took self-care seriously during the weekend and, quite frankly, basked in the glow of working for/with people who know my health history and actually give a damn about it…  A new concept and this last part should be in the Good, but I trust you to understand.

An elderly man, who knows me because I went to school with his sons, attended one of the community dinners.  Here’s his line of interrogation (aka small chit-chat that small communities engage in) that sent me racing for my self-tranquilizers of choice – (nicotine)  I do not hold him personally responsible – I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt – but no kidding, how can anyone hit everyone of my triggers in less than 3 minutes?  Seriously!

“Who was your dad?  Oh, I knew him – but I didn’t recognize you – you’ve changed!” (Yeah, bozo, I still have about 30 lbs to lose to get to my pre-stroke/pre-thyroid weight)

“How many kids do you have?   Didn’t you have a boy shortly after you graduated?” (Yes, yes, my oldest son, who you knew, is dead – here’s how he died – yes, what a shock and shame, thank you for bringing it up)

“So, where’s your husband?” (Far away, separate household – yes, yes, he decided on a different path for his life that didn’t include us – but, thankfully, this has not left me hot-to-trot or any other stories you have about divorced females and their rampaging sex drives – you’re safe, cuz if I never have to deal with a man again, I’ll thank God for eternity.)

“My son got a job and they’re paying him $18.50 an hour – I’m happy for him, but you kids are entitled and ask for too much” (Okay, if I strip you of everything you own other than the clothes on your back, I’d like to see you survive on minimum wage and do ya know, I was earning $18/hour as a no-degree, straight out of highschool, unskilled temp in 1988, less than 50 miles from where we are sitting – in the face of high unemployment, employers will pay whatever they damn well please and if you gripe they can find a dozen others who would just love to work for peanuts.)

“Why aren’t you volunteering at the local Thrift Store?” (Because I only have so much energy in a day – because I volunteer for the local booster club, because I offer low cost websites/hosting for small businesses and don’t charge them for extra work I do,  because I chose to volunteer at the food bank – because I’m on a limited income and creating my own garden and home grown food seems a priority for me, because I give something, everyday, for free to someone else, even when I don’t know how I’m going to pay my own water bill….)

Now, the reason I shared this with you is this conversation took place in under 5 minutes – and sent me into such a whirlwind of emotions (anger, mostly) that I excused myself and went home to have a cigarette (which I had been weaning myself back off of, since falling off the non-smoking wagon this fall)

I sat at home, ingesting higher levels of nicotine than I’ve used in over 3 years, and wondered if I’ll ever be fit for polite society again.   We all have our blind spots.   We all live with a perception of the world that may not be true for someone else.

But, DAMN, if it isn’t hard remembering that when someone is pushing your buttons.

This is included in Bad section because I see how intolerant I’ve become by being a semi-hermit and not having to deal with a wide-range of personalities on a day-to-day basis.

The Ugly

Inheritances Update – All my added chapters and the formatting of the entire manuscript managed to get corrupted during my “Save” and “Backup” operations of my writing.  I managed to retrieve my text file, but only the back-up from late July.

(See?!?  See how long I babied my old computer along… sigh… the greatest gift of life is learning to Let Go.)

One beta-reader returned my pre-computer-crash printed manuscript marked with  front page notation, “Compelling and beautiful –  Rework structure as fiction – story engaging, but not a non-fiction How-To.”

Ill health, damaged files and feedback indicating change needed – all combined-  induced me to return the ‘pre-order’ sale funds to those who supported Inheritances, with a promise of a free copy once it was actually done.    I haven’t had responses from you two, so please, let me know if you got the PayPal refund and if you’re mad at me forever or not….

This is in Ugly, because I let customers down – had I not put Inheritances up for sale prior to it’s release, this would be listed under “Bad, but Doable” – Alas, someday, Inheritances will be born – I will not, however, again try to Induce Labor by putting a work up for Advance Copy Sale – too many bad things happen when I try that route.

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So there it is – a nearly 2,500 word treatise to catch up since I’ve been gone – and I didn’t even include it all…

But I’ve missed you – I’ve missed writing – I’ve missed all of it –

And just as soon as the manure is spread on garden beds, home-made Christmas presents are done and I’ve adjusted to working for someone else several hours a day, I shall return with my shorter, more subject restricted posts….

Until then, may you and yours be comfortable, fed and happy!   Whatever holidays you celebrate during this time of year, I wish you the brightest of them.

Until We Meet Again….

xoxoxoxo