Stanley spends a day at the Log house

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Stan got to visit a Log house in the Woods!

Stan got to visit a Log house in the Woods!

Stanley, being the wonderful guest he is, offered to spend the day at my Log House and get to know everyone and help out. Boy was he in for an adventure! He got to meet the cats (Shadow and Indy) and the dog (Niki). He got to help carry wood from the woodpile. He tried to play with our dog Niki. He helped with dinner and shared a coffee break with me! Whew–he really got a workout!

First, he met our pets….

Some new friends are just a little nosy!

Some new friends are just a little nosy!

Indy and Stan hanging out on the deck.

Indy and Stan hanging out on the deck.

Not that close!

Hey, that’s too close!

Sometimes making new friends can be a little bit scary! But that can be part of your adventure and you can make new adventures with them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to go work outside and do some yard work and stack some firewood. Stan really tried his best to help but some of the pieces were pretty big. We found some that he could handle….he was a big help gathering the kindling for us!

Those are some big pieces of wood!

Those are some big pieces of wood!

That is more like it!

That is more like it!

 

Yard work

 

 

 

After all the hard work we decided to play with Niki a little in the yard. Stan wanted to help but…I think we need to find a smaller toy for him to throw!

 

 

Guess he needs to find another toy for Niki!

Guess he needs to find another toy for Niki!

We decided to have a coffee break  while checking on our friends on the computer.

Coffee time!

 

Since my daughter was home from college we treated her to some homemade mac and cheese–Yummm!!

 

Stan decided he likes mac and cheese!

Stan decided he likes mac and cheese!

Since Stan worked really hard today we decided he should go on another hike really soon….but that is another adventure!

 

Please note all images are my own except the yard work image (found on Google images). This Stan was made by Brady. Please do not share without permission–thanks!

Excuse me, your roots are showing….the Return of the Vegetable Garden

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Well it seems I have come full circle; I’ve got a garden going again this year. I am turning into my mom even more, its not that bad a thing, really.

I grew up in New York, not the city but a little upstate ” in the country”. When we moved from our house and small yard in NJ it was a little shocking to find we had 4 acres to spread out and make use of.  My parents did a lot of land clearing and made a large pond area with an island, a horse barn and fenced area, a tool shed….and a huge garden!!  I really do mean it was big!  They grew all kinds of vegetables I had never heard of and some I did: zucchini, summer (yellow) squash, broccoli, kohlrabi  tomatoes, peppers, beans, cukes and more.  They either froze, canned, pickled or made jelly with everything they grew.  They were organic before it really was a thing to try to achieve–they fertilized with “chicken manure tea”, the manure being obtained from a local egg farm.  We “composted” the weeds and the stuff we discarded…even though I had no idea what I was doing; we had a pile in the corner and added to it then added it back when they gardened then next year.

I can’t say I ever thought about the garden, it was like church–something we just did. And I can’t say I enjoyed both all the time either. I don’t know where my parents got their recipes for some of the meals but….sometimes I thought we were eating ‘garbage’ by the way it looked (shredded zucchini, peppers, onions and sausage-yuck!). They liked it though and it was either eat it or starve, most times I ate it.  I always wondered why they had the garden, as far as I could see it was just more work to do.

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My tower of beans!

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Roma tomatoes

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Basil….love the smell!

Fast forward a few years. Last year I got a couple of raised bed kits and had some soil delivered and put in a basic garden on what I thought we might eat; tomatoes, peppers, beans, basil, potatoes, pumpkins and strawberries. I can say I enjoyed it and we did eat most of the produce and I froze what I could for the winter.  My daughters even helped out with harvesting now and then.

I wanted to expand this year and have some raised and some traditional planted areas (ie in the ground). Well it did not quite work out that way–I waited too long to get started and had to stop due to the roots I found while roto-tiling and the rain. I still kept the two beds going but with different plants and planting methods (see the next blog for details) and I have plans in place to get the new raised beds built and the other area set up for tilling.

So the point to this rambling tale? I get why they had a garden; its comforting to be working with Nature to produce a harvest. I enjoy puttering around pulling weeds and ‘mothering’ my plants. Its actually rewarding to see things growing and knowing you made it happen. Plus I get to control how my veges are grown; organic seeds and fertilizer, natural pest deterrents.  Plus I get to share them with friends.

 

Experiencing the rain….is very cool

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Most people don’t understand the Bob Marley quote

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

and for a long time I was one of them. Until recently I hated being out in the rain and would do almost anything to avoid it.

I went for a hike with a friend and we knew there was a chance of showers but we opted to go anyway. About halfway through our trek it started to mist then drizzle. It actually enhanced the feeling of being out in Nature as you could hear the rain on the trees and see the ground changing color with the dampness. It actually felt like I had been transported to Cape Cod–all that was missing was the sound of the waves hitting a beach.

Even a rainy day has its own beauty

Even a rainy day has its own beauty

I’ve been working on moving plants away from the house and had started tidying things up by framing out the adjusted area with landscaping blocks….but had run short. This morning I was determined to finish this project before working on anything else. So, off to Lowes I went despite the threat of a storm. Yes, of course it started to drizzle the closer I go to the store but it was nice to be in the garden area with the light rain–the colors of the plants seemed more vibrant. The smells of the roses and blooming shrubs was very potent. And there was hardly anyone there so I could just meander and look to my hearts content.  Well I made my purchases and worked my way back home “accidentally” stopping at a local plant place to pick up some garden plants (3 kinds of tomatoes!!) and a snack of fresh snap peas.

By now the rain had moved back home with me but I decided to work on the landscaping anyway. It was actually refreshing to work in the light rain instead of being all sweaty with the bright sun beating down on me. I’m quite sure the plants being moved also appreciated the kiss of rain until they were replanted elsewhere.

So, what does the quote mean to me? I guess it means that I opened myself up to new experiences and let myself think of things in terms of pleasure instead of an annoyance. Instead of just getting wet, I could actually take joy in the rain drops themselves….and its a good thing.

Spring has sprung…and so has my motivation!

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It seems like forever since I’ve been compelled to “put words to paper”; I’ve had so much going on in my mind with thoughts to think and things to plan that I have not taken the time to slow down and actually think them.

With the more consistent weather here in NY I find myself outside more and more. It is a good thing. Nature provides its own kind of meditation; in Nature everything happens according to its own time table—things cannot be rushed to grow or multi-tasked to get more done.  It happens when it is supposed to. There is life and there is death according to the cycles of Nature.

I find myself working more on a bed that I had started last year, and despite the physical work involved–or maybe because of it- I find my joy and peacefulness increasing.  I am transplanting flowers and plants from other beds around my house in preparations for future projects.  Some of the plants are at the end of their life cycle and I save what I can. Other plants  seemed to spread their roots after removing the competing plants surrounding them.  Such is life; sometimes we need to prune and remove the things holding us back for us to grow into what we are supposed to become.

I find my creative juices flowing again in designing the color schemes and placement of plants for a pleasing balance of color and height.  For whatever reason my desire to create met a road block over the winter; I have not created anything ‘crafty’ since Christmas.  I feel the energy flowing again and it feels like a re-birth.   I look outside at my “yard” and I can imagine other kinds of plant beds and areas to develop for relaxing and I am excited by the prospect (by the way–my yard is 8.5 acres–so the reality keeps me realistic).

Is my energy and enthusiasm related to the changing seasons?  Quite possibly–I thrive on sunlight and being outside.  Whatever the reason, I am grateful for its arrival and the prospect of being creative.

Loving the Life I Have….

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I really do love this Life I have….its not the one I  thought I would have, but its the one I love.

So what makes this life worth loving? So many things, many of them which have nothing to do with the physical.  They are more intrinsic, harder to put into words so someone understands them but I’ll give it my best shot.

I know it sounds odd but I have a wonderfully messy home. Yes, it does drive me crazy some days for it to be so messy but to me it means we are spending time doing the things we love; whether its outside in the garden and yard, exercising, or playing with the dog. Just the fact that it is not perfect tells me we have a very full life.  I think I would have great difficulty having my happiness be based on a perfect house instead a happy Home.

Maybe he is not a “perfect” husband but I appreciate him all the more because he is not.  It allows me to be myself along with all my faults and imperfections. It allows me to be real; I can be happy, sad, silly, serious and even unsure of myself some days.  He is my sounding board when I need to reflect and he gives me (mostly) honest feedback.

I have two wonderfully creative and caring daughters. They are both are smart and intelligent–and doing it for themselves. Thankfully I have been able to instill that one thought in them–whether its getting good grades or learning something new, they need to do it for their own pleasure and satisfaction or it will not be as meaningful in the long run.  They both are very creative, although in different ways–one excels at graphic designing and the other is an extremely talented writer. They make me so proud of the women they are becoming.

I have a career I love.  Its not just a job to me–I love being a nurse! I am so fortunate to be able to do something I love-and do it well, that it fills me with a sense of satisfaction; I know I am touching lives and improving them while they are in my care. It is who I am at the core of my being: a care giver. I am so very grateful to work with a group of people who also feel the same way and who support each other in times of happiness or grief.

So what is missing to make this a perfect Life? Hmmm, guess I’ll have to think about that–because I can’t think of a single thing right now that really matters.

(Oh–and this image can also be found here–my thanks to its creator!)

Yardwork is not just for the big guys…..

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I will be the first to admit it: I would rather be outside doing almost anything than be inside cleaning the house, doing laundry or most anything related to “house keeping”.  Ask my husband, he’ll more often than not find me  with a pair of loppers or pruners, a lawn rake, shovel or wheelbarrow doing something outside.  Short of mowing the lawn (temperamental mower) or the chainsaw/ weed whacker I’ll do any landscape thing you ask of me.

I’m sure there are other Ladies just like me, and I would love to find a few to hang out with and share chores but I just haven’t found any that I know of….yet.  I know many women who will have their flower and vegetable gardens, and believe me there are a lot of work to keep going, but I haven’t found one who likes getting dirty and sweaty.

My husband is a great guy but he does the mowing and stuff because he has to, not because he likes it. He really is a more of a thinker than doer.   I really don’t mind that I am the one scrubbing the deck as long as he doesn’t mind that I am not scrubbing the floor. Our house is generally clean enough to be healthy but not spotless.

I do have to say he is really good about the “hardscape” around the house, but I think that is more related to the planning and doing than the hard work. Last year he put in a walkway for us with paver stones–this was after we put in a drainage system/ window well and dug everything up. I’m more of the laborer than the doer in these situations–he is such a detail oriented kind of guy (and the walkway looks great because of it!) that he gets into that more than I have patience for.

I do have to tell you part of the reason I enjoy the physical labor–it really burns off the calories!!  Aside from building ‘real’ muscles’ (versus gym ones) my clothes fit a whole lot nicer these days! I’ve shrunk several clothes sizes since I am engaging my core muscles with almost everything I do outside.  I may not be as strong as some of the “big guys” but I am a lot stronger than I look….and I have the muscles to prove it.

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