It’s not too late to plant a garden on the High Plains

Today it was nice to wake up to the sounds of thunder and big drops of rain hitting the house.

It’s about time!

We are in such a state of drought here that the rain is absorbing into the ground pretty quickly. I’m so grateful, because we needed the moisture so badly.

Yesterday, I finally got around to planting the flowers I bought last weekend, and have been trying to find time to deal with. It’s been hard on them because it’s been so terribly hot and dry, but I managed to keep them alive.

These flowers look like they are on their last leg, but I promise you they will perk up nicely now that they are in some good dirt and will get watered consistently.

Now it’s time to talk about the next item on the list for my 2021 Summer Projectpalooza. Project #3 is to plant some vegetables. Specifically tomatoes and peppers.

Now that the shed is in, I can start putting a garden together. My yard is so small that it didn’t make any sense for me to try to put a garden in until the shed was in place.

As it is already June 6th, you might be asking yourself, why would I bother? It seems awful late in the year to plant a garden that will be productive before snowfall in North Dakota.

Not so. Most tomatoes and peppers will bear plenty of fruit if you plant by the middle of June. That is, so long as you keep the deer from eating them. Therein lies the real challenge! More to come on how that progresses.

Here’s wishing you a lovely Sunday, whether you are busy with work, family, or slurping coffee contemplating all of the gardening possibilities. Blessings all!

When the dam bursts unexpectedly

Happy Sunday!

Today found us mowing, picking weeds and doing general clean up. It was only 10 am and already 66 degrees out. By the time we came in at 11, the sun had been beating down and, according to my weather app, the “real feel” was 78 degrees.

Uff da… I can’t take the heat like I used to. I’m so grateful for the people who invented air conditioning!

Yesterday I had a much harder time feeling grateful.

The day started out really well. I got up, had coffee, got laundry started, and put laundry into the wash. So far so good!

At a little before 10 am, I stopped what I was doing to tune into Older Nephew’s graduation from my alma mater, the University of North Dakota.

As has been happening all over the world, people are tuning into graduations, weddings, funerals, and everything else a family would want to gather for. My expectation was that it would be a live broadcast of the graduation, but no. What we got a link for wasn’t a live broadcast of the graduates, but a live broadcast of the speeches made by the officials. The graduates getting their diplomas had been prerecorded.

When I heard that I wasn’t getting to see Older Nephew getting his hard earned diploma as it happened, it felt like the last straw floated down and landed in the camel’s back.

I’m not even sure why it made me angry, and sad, and all kinds of other feelings I can’t even identify yet. Honestly, I shouldn’t complain at all. COVID messed up so much for every single person in the world, but my family has not been harmed the way other families have. Nobody I know has died from it, though I know a few who have been severely ill. I know one person who lost their job because of it, but that led to getting a better job. I did get furloughed briefly last summer, but I would be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy having the downtime to do projects at home.

In short, my life hasn’t been that severely impacted compared to everyone else. Why the heck did I end up ugly crying (not even joking) in the middle of a beautiful graduation Saturday, when I should have been elated for Older Nephew?

Part of the truth is I am so proud of him, and so happy for him that he is getting to move on with the next chapter of his life. The fact that he graduated from the same university I did makes it that much more awesome.

The rest of the truth is that I tend to stuff stressful things down deep, and just keep trucking. At some point, there’s no more room to stuff every unpleasant or stressful thing away, and the dam breaks. It doesn’t help that my ex is giving me problems again, and I’ve been struggling with a lot of depression and anxiety with that along with the declining health of my parents.

I haven’t had the steam blow off my kettle like that in a long time. It was a long time coming, and I’m glad The Flirt had other things to do, so I could spend the day alone getting my head right.

Today is much better. I was able to have some quiet time with my coffee before The Flirt got up, and we had a good breakfast, and we got the yard cleaned up.

My yard is starting to come back to life. My trees are blooming, flowers are coming up, the rhubarb is peeking out, and my horseradish came back after having been moved again last year. All those things help.

Plum blossoms!
I’m not sure what these are. Can’t wait for them to bloom!

I have a lot to feel positive and grateful about, but some days it’s just a little harder to see than others. I know that hard work, good diet, and regular exercise is a huge part of keeping the clouds at bay, and I need to get back on that wagon. More to come on that, along with other projects we have going on this summer.

Blessings all!

Thank goodness Spring has arrived!

Happy Spring, Faithful Readers!

I’m so happy we made it to this point in the year. Here in North Dakota it will be just a few short months until flowers and trees start blooming, and I am always excited for that. I can’t wait for the lilacs and the dandelions!

This year we will have a whole lot going on in the back yard before I can even think of planting flowers. We are getting a new shed!

The current shed is a 10×12 cheap flimsy put-together model my ex-husband put together when we first moved in almost 21 years ago. It got the job done on a super small budget.

All these years later, it’s showing it’s wear, and falling apart. Not only that, but the door is so low we keep banging our heads on the top of the door jam even though we are bending over trying to miss it. The Flirt and I are not winning any height contests, so you can imagine how squat of a building this is.

The new shed is going to be at least 10×16, and it will have a tall roof with a people-sized door, rather than a hobbit-sized door. There will be plenty of storage in the rafters, and a place to put a workbench in the back.

The Flirt doesn’t know it yet, but I am going to put up a sort of green house lean to on one side so I can have a place to start seeds and putter with whatever garden thing I have going.

I’m so excited! It’s going to be a lot of work, but I know it will be worth it. With any luck we will be able to get the new shed in by May and then get the rest of the yard situated for a garden before June. More to come as things progress!

Here’s hoping you are as excited about the change of seasons as I am. What Spring projects do you have planned? Blessings all!

“…oh yeah, that’s the night we stole the limo…”

So The Flirt and I are sitting in the living room watching 80’s videos (you know, back when music and their videos were good), and there’s no titles or artists listed on the videos as they came on. We made a game out of trying to remember the names of the bands and songs as they appeared.

Along with guessing the artists and song titles came discussion of what bands we’ve seen, and who’s still on the “to see” bucket list. This one song came on the tv just then that we had a hard time identifying. Then out of his mouth pops… “oh… I saw them. Yeah, that was the night we stole the limo…”

The Flirt used to drink quite heavily back in the day, and has a lot of interesting stories to tell. Today he launched into this story about they got into someone else’s limo after a concert, and got the driver to take them home to the after party. That’s not really stealing, but more of a coercive hijacking. Apparently the limo driver liked to party and was easily talked into shenanigans.

Then there was the time that the Flirt and his friend ran into a bunch of guys coming out of a bar and offered them a beer. Turns out that group of guys was the band Skid Row, and their kindness in offering them beer earned them a pass to the hotel the band was staying at in Fargo that night. The Flirt and his friend showed up, and did in fact party with Skid Row. Not much is remembered, other than a good time was had by all.

This storytelling is something The Flirt does all the time, and it feels normal to hear all about his wild, misspent, drunken youth. I’ve heard so many of the stories several times, but this one about Skid Row was new, and only remembered because their video came on randomly today.

Doing stuff that feels normal is a big deal right now. Everything we normally do has been tipped over on its head, and we are having to find our way again through the most mundane tasks. Today I was messing with my unemployment, having to certify for the week past, and it was stressful. I don’t like being on unemployment. The Flirt telling me stories today was a nice touchstone to help keep me grounded.

Something else we do that is so normal for us is ride the motorcycle. When the weather shows the least bit of warmth, the motorcycles come out in droves. We were no exception. It was good to get on the bike and just go. No masks, no extra social distancing, just he and I on the bike, like normal. Our butts were a bit sore after the first ride of the season, but that’s normal too.

This last week I worked very little, but got very much accomplished around the house. One of the things I did was plant flowers. I usually wait until May or June, but the weather has been so warm that I just needed to get my hands in the dirt and plant something. That’s one of the most normal things I do in the Spring.

Doing normal things helps. Here’s hoping you all find those normal touchstones throughout your days, as we make our ways through these strange and precarious times. Grab onto those… they help so much. Blessings all!

When the $&@/ hits the fan…

Faithful Readers, the stuff has hit the fan. At least, partially.

Yesterday, we were notified that my whole team has been partially furloughed. This means I will be working only two days a week going forward. I think the business I work for hoped that would be at least enough to cover our benefits, while we collect unemployment.

I’m not sure I we will qualify for unemployment, but I will apply anyway. I don’t want to, because there’s a weird stigma in my family about that. I was taught that you get up, go to work every day, you pay your bills like every other responsible citizen, and hope you have enough left over for savings. If there’s not enough money at one job, then you get another one.

Thank goodness I have a little put away in savings. It’s not much, but it will help.

I know I am not alone in this, and the weird shame I feel about applying for unemployment is irrational, but that’s the tape playing in my head. I feel pretty certain that I will feel compelled to look for another job, even though I know there are none to be had in my small community, that pay me what I make now.

I hope this crisis won’t last that long. I love my job, and my team, and I don’t want to leave it. Fingers crossed.

Something struck me today when I looked at my little herb garden. I know for a fact that it accidentally got salted this winter. I told The Flirt not to shovel the salted snow on the back step that direction, but I’m fairly sure he did it anyway, forgetting that you can’t put salt on earth you want to grow things in. I’ve been watching it to see if anything comes up, or if the salt did everything in, and I have been pleasantly surprised.

I see my chives are popping up nicely, but nothing else is growing except some grass and a little weed I spied in the back. It gives me hope that we will also spring up after our earth has been salted and a whole bunch of our friends and family have died. We are losing jobs, and will lose a lot more in the coming days.

It won’t last forever, but we are going to feel the hurt, and carry the scars from this, for a very long time. Life will look a lot different after this is done, but we will survive and get through this.

Here’s hoping this note finds you all well, and surviving nicely. Blessings all!

Blessings just hanging around the yard

This last couple of weeks has been full of all kinds of small back yard blessings.

Last post you saw a picture of the plum cake I made, but I didn’t talk too much about the tree and how much I had to baby it along so the plums would grow. Most fell off but I got a good bowlful, which was enough as I don’t have time for canning this year. I wish I’d taken the picture before I started chopping them up!

I also seem to be having good luck with my petunias. They are the small variety, but just right for the front porch.

This going to sound dumb maybe, but I like mushrooms, and I was tickled to find some growing in my yard today.

Small things matter, Faithful Readers. All kinds of small blessings are just out there hanging around waiting to be noticed. Here’s hoping you all have an abundance of them wherever you are. Blessings all!

Pretty weeds, and choosing battles wisely

The “Shoulds” are knocking pretty hard on my door this fine Saturday morning, but I saw something that intrigued me so much I’ve been wanting to write about it all week. Today, I’m just going to make time for it.

There’s this bunch of plants in my neighborhood I have been noticing every morning as I drive to work. They always look so pretty in the morning light. The truth is, they are a bunch of weeds covered in dew, with the light shining through them.

Does that make them any less pretty? 

No, it does not. 

I could easily launch into a discussion about how many weeds are edible, and have way more nutritional value than grass, but that isn’t the point. I think the thing I am feeling about these pretty weeds is that one can apprecciate something, even though most people would only argue that they need to be eradicated just because they are a weed.

Faithful readers, you have witnessed my struggles with the Creeping Jenny in my yard and rock beds. I have to admit, as much as I have tried to kill that noxious weed, I found myself admiring how pretty the flowers were, peeking from my freshly mown yard last week. 

Is that giving up, or giving in? Maybe. The question I have to ask myself is what is the struggle worth?

In the case of weeds, not much. I actually hurt myself pulling Virginia Creeper out of my compost bin last week, and and continues to plague me today. In stead of just waiting until I could get the correct tool to chop that insideous vine off at the ground, I yanked on it hard to pull it out because I was in a hurry. Dork…. Thanks to my impatience, I pulled a muscle that now refuses to heal up. That will teach me to do before I think.

Anyway, I guess the moral of this story is to pick your battles, think before you do, and it’s ok to appreciate pretty stuff, even if it’s not convenient for it to be where it’s at. 

Here’s to hoping you all have the patience today to pick those battles wisely. Blessings all!

Lazy Sunday thoughts from the High Plains.

We’ve had rain on and off for the last week, which is a good thing. Today, we had enough sunshine that it was a good time to get out and mow. I’m mostly mowing whatever weeds were strong enough to grow during our earlier drought, but at least the yard looks less like a jungle than it did after a week of rain.

Sometimes I find things I wasn’t expecting, and that’s all the reason to spend more time in my yard.

My Stella D’Oro lilies finally started to bloom. There aren’t a lot of blooms coming yet, but there were two, which I actually found last night. I’m going to be redoing my rock beds this fall, and this one is going to have to get moved. I might even split it up as it’s gotten so big.

In the back yard, I noticed that the rain has really helped my horse radish explode in size. This poor thing accidentally got weed whacked this spring, but really has made a great come back.

I’ve got so many things to do in the yard, but it’s hot now, so it will have to wait until after supper. I just can’t take prolonged direct sun exposure like I used to.

Time now to get the laundry folded, and swap some loads between the washer and dryer.

Hmmm… maybe some more tea before I do. After all, the laundry isn’t going to get up and run away if I don’t do it right this minute. I’m ok with a slow lazy Sunday. Sometimes that’s just what’s needed.

Here’s hoping you all make time to take a deep breath, and just take a few minutes for yourself between chores. Life’s too short not to. Blessings all!

Creeping Jenny gets evicted

As you, my Faithful Readers, will remember, I have rock beds around the foundation of my house. Weeds growing up around the edges of the quickly disappearing plastic under the rocks has become a problem.

The most prolific weed I deal with is what we on the High Plains call Creeping Jenny. She’s quite a nuisance, and is impossible to get rid of. This noxious weed is otherwise known as Field Bindweed, which is an appropriate name, because it winds up all around and inside anything it touches, including the siding of my house, and my air conditioner. I just spent an hour going around my foundation pulling a whole lot of it out by the roots.

Now that I think of it, I may have even blogged about this last year. Well, enough complaining…time to redo the rock beds. This time I’ll put a rubberized pond liner under the rocks, which will help a great deal.

Something lovely I did find tonight, in the old gardens in the back yard, was a strawberry plant. I thought they all died, so it was a nice surprise to find this sweet little plant peeking out between the weeds.

Here’s hoping you all find a sweet little surprise while doing an icky chore. Little things like that can go a long way to lift your spirits. Blessings all!

Last gasps of Spring…

I don’t have much going on in my yard this year yet, but I do have a few things blooming, and it does my heart good.

It’s not lost on me that Spring is almost gone, and Summer is upon us. Yesterday it was 90+ degrees here in central North Dakota, and that is unusual for May. We are looking a drought right in the hairy eyeball, and I am worried that things will be brown for most of the summer season. Time to strategize a passive watering system.

Anyway, today’s nature walk through my yard is certainly something to be grateful for, and I thought I would share a bit of it with you.

Here’s hoping you all have some nature nearby to appreciate. Take a deep breath and stop to smell whatever’s blooming. Blessings all!

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