Sunday, July 31, 2016

Another Tough Lesson Learned

I took on a commission job to help someone. I jumped in with both feet eager to help and share my expertise. However, it did not go so well. I over stressed and was frustrated. I crashed and burned. It wasn’t totally my fault, but I was devastated to have failed, or think I failed in someone else’s eyes. I didn’t fail. I stuck with my integrity! I put a lot of time into this project.

I don’t like to let anyone down, but I need to be true to myself. It is what it is. I got out my big drum and drummed away the negativity. I meditated, settling into the spaces between the sounds after I stopped drumming. (Sounds weird, but it’s a cool experience.) After awhile I got up and went outside to do Tai Chi feeling the wet earth on my bare feet; ground and center, ground and center, work with heaven and earth energies. 

Back inside I picked up Doreen Virtue’s book “The Courage to Create.” I didn’t get far in the current chapter because the words jumped off the page at me. Talk about fitting the situation! I grabbed a pen and began writing a few affirmations:

  • Distraction is a time-waster -- (I let this other “job” distract me from my real work)

  • My creative passion is so strong I don’t want to do anything else! – (When was the last time I felt this way? When was the last time I did MY art work? I let everything distract me.)

  • My passion for MY work will cause my audience to be passionate about it. 

  • I am emotionally satisfied with my work. – (Again, I haven’t really done anything recently about my personal art work and I’m missing it.)

  • My work must be a natural extension of myself. – (And I realized this other job was not natural for me. Yes, I did have some passion because I wanted to please, and there was a writing aspect, but it wasn’t a comfortable fit.)

  • Perfection is impossible. – (I still try and I’m devastated when something doesn’t go right.)

The distraction, which I allow, is causing too much stress. It’s time to get my act together. I need to decide what’s really important and make sure I do it. Yes, I love Facebook and email and it helps me to not feel lonely, but it’s too distracting. I have to get away from the computer and spend time in front of my easel.

I’ve already made some moves in this direction by spending time in the flower gardens. Now I need to make time to draw. I can do it!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Being Unlovable

I couldn’t work outside in the garden yesterday due to the rain. Sometimes Sundays tend to be my “lonely-feeling” days, especially when I’ve spent time with family or friends the day before.

Mid-afternoon I was taking a Spider Solitaire break and I started thinking about love. My last lover, a guy I dated for 22 years, never once EVER said he loved me. He was more apt to call me stupid than give me approval. Yes, I stayed with him all those years. It was a conscious choice and we did have many good times and it was with him that I got the travel bug.

After he left was when my mother started to decline and I chose to give my attention to her. It was Ma and I for the next 15 years and when we moved to Bradford, my life was also taken up by being an artist, writer, and photographer. I didn’t have time for, nor want, a lover in my life.

I can’t remember the last time anyone said, “I love you.” Oh, family does the “Love you” when saying goodbye on the phone or in emails and such, but when was the last time I felt loved, truly loved? When was the last time I felt someone really cared for me? (Yes, I have family and friends, but that’s a different kind of love.)

Does that mean I am unlovable? I stop to think about it because I never took into consideration that I am unlovable. I just kept the belief that I don’t have room for a lover in my life. But if I do think about it and I’m honest, what man would ever want to spend time with me now? I have nothing to offer and what most men want, I am unwilling to give.

So, does that mean I am unlovable? How has the past shaped who I am today? And can I say, physically and mentally shaped? Yes, this is about choices that I have made in the past 20 years.

Hmmm, this is a subject I’ll have to think more about.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Time to Garden – Part 3

The men-in-orange mowed the lawn yesterday. They had to move my flower boxes which I had kind of set up as an outer perimeter of the walkway-to-be. I’m still debating the curve of the walkway which will determine the curve of the front line of the garden.

I also have a few annuals that need to go in a box. I’m considering removing the perennials I put in boxes on the back deck railing and getting them in the ground. But I have no idea where I could put them. Where would they fit?

I also have two small pots of mint that I brought from Bradford last summer and survived the winter. Those need to go in the ground or in a bigger planter. I’m thinking they might be better in a planter out on the deck where I can access easier from the kitchen -- although I’ve never used mint in anything I cook. I could learn… but that would mean I’d have to cook…

I stopped at Agway on the way home from breakfast and picked up four small trellises and a jug of fish emulsion. Oops, I have five rose bushes. I’ll have to get another trellis. The fish emulsion is food for the roses, hosta, and more. I have to build a new list to show which plants like what food.

I have to get the lilac bushes out of the gardens. They are scrawny, but bigger than I can dig up alone. They are towering over and crowding a couple of the rose bushes and roses like sun. 

While at Agway, I should have looked for another small pair of cutters/snips. I can’t put my old pair back together and the other pair is too big to fit the jaws between small flowers. I suppose I could use scissors, though while those blades are narrow, scissors overall are too big to deadhead pansies, petunias, and violas.

Time to get to it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Time to Garden – Part 2

I chatted with a neighbor yesterday morning and by the time I got to the gardening the sun was creeping over to the front side of the house. I don’t do well in the sun. I’m only good for about an hour of work at a time anyway.

I first put more spray paint on the cement deer and one other lawn piece to give them more color. Later I will take other paint and use a paint brush to add other color to detail some of the lawn ornaments and little pole feeders. 

I got out the wheelbarrow, pail, shovel, and small rake. The wheelbarrow takes six or seven bucketfuls of mulch. I pushed it up the incline onto the front lawn. The side of garden I’m now mulching has more plants with less space. I put down a layer of newspaper starting from where I left off the day before working back to front. Then I dumped a few pails full of mulch and raked it out.

A garden looks much better with mulch, plus it protects the plants and helps hold moisture in the ground. This year as we’ve had such little rain that’s important. Some plants, though, don’t like mulch up against their main stock. I have to keep looking up the plants in the manual I’m putting together because I don’t remember which plants need what.

I’ve moved the hose reel twice and I’m still not happy where it is. I have it in the back of the garden because I don’t want it sticking out, but that means I have to walk through the garden to get to it. Then when I drag the hose, I have to be careful not to mess up the mulch or damage the plants. I don’t know if this is going to work.

Hoses give me a hard time. A friend had given me a pair of channel-lock pliers, but my hand isn’t big enough to hold the pliers at the right width to be able to tighten the fittings. I’m also finding I don’t have the hand strength I once I had. No matter what I do, water squirts all over the place when I turn it on. 

I squeezed between plants taking care not to step on any good ones. Some of the mulch I spread with the little rake, but some I had to reach into smaller spots between plants. I found grass clumps I missed the other day when weeding and the roses kept biting me when I tried getting the grass near their roots. Two full wheel barrows full of mulch later and I was feeling slimy from sweat and my back and knees where saying enough.

It will probably take two more ‘barrows full of mulch to finish this section of garden, but that won’t mean I’m done. I plan on moving some plants. The iris and day lilies need to be divided. Most of the iris didn’t even bloom this year. The lilacs are too big for the front garden. I will move those to the sunny side of the house.

I have so much to learn about gardening.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Time in the Garden

It’s the first week in July. I should have started writing this in April. My gardens are not where they should be by this time of year. This is the first summer in my new home. By the end of next month, I will have been here a year. It’s been a year of renovation and living in clutter. One area gets cleaned up and organized, but then it gets messed up again in fixing somewhere else. It’s getting there and the newly added garage is a huge help in storage space. But I digress. I want to talk gardens.

The house came with a seven foot deep swath of gardens on either side of the front stairs. I recognized rhododendrons, lilacs, roses, and azaleas. I remember from last summer that there were some wild flowers: goldenrod, black-eyed Susans, yarrow, and daisies. Along the slab is a single row of day lilies.

It’s been fun seeing what’s coming up and some of the plants are still not yet identified. I think there are some daisies. I’ve weeded out sheep sorrel, wood sorrel and tiny oak and maple trees. Right now I’m debating whether to pull the wild strawberry. There’s a lot, especially on the front south side (the front of the house faces west and gets a lot of afternoon sun). 

The garden is straight-lined (like the house) and I’m trying to create more of a curve. The guy who rebuilt my kitchen and built the garage also likes to do landscaping. He’s going to build a front walkway and we’ve discussed how to do a slight curve to work the walkway with the new part of the garden. 

I’m at the stage of the game in my life where my body doesn’t allow me to do a lot of physical work. Too much of the past years have been spent sitting. My knees are shot, my feet, hips, and back hurts. I break up my day now by doing a little writing, then going out to the gardens. I get outside before the sun gets on that side of the house.

Yesterday I took white spray paint to the cement deer I’d painted brown the other day. I added the white to the chest and inside the ears. Spray paint isn’t exact, but it’s quick. I’m determined to add brightness to dull-colored items in the yard.

I loaded the wheelbarrow (which I spray painted purple on the outside) twice with mulch and started putting that to the right of the front steps. The left side is mostly done except for the very front of the garden to which I am extending to add that curve. I’m putting a layer of newspaper down first to help keep the weeds down.

I didn’t like where the hose reel was, so I moved that over a bit maneuvering it between iris, day lilies and an azalea. I pulled out quite a bit of wild strawberries, but left some. Two loads were all I could manage before my body screamed for a break.

This side of the house is too sunny and hot to work during the day, so I do my inside work. I’m in the process of making a gardening manual of all the plants in my gardens. I’m gathering info from websites and writing my own version which I print (along with a photo). This way when I want to know something about one of “my” plants, I don’t have to thumb through a book with pages and pages of what I don’t have in my yard. It’s a slow and tedious job, but it’s also teaching me a lot about the plants.

I don’t get back outside until 5:30 p.m. I deadheaded and watered the flowers in the boxes on the back deck first. Out front I debated about more mulching, but decided to deadhead the big hanging planter. 

I got a folding chair from the garage and set the planter on the bench on a bigger pot so the height was easy for me to work. Petunias are sticky things and I got to it. I hadn’t deadheaded this in a couple of days. They are mixed in with calibrachoa (which look like small petunias, but are not). This kept me busy for awhile. The little latch-thing broke on my favorite snippers. Now I can’t put it in my pocket. 

I felt a bite on my leg and looked down. Drat! Ants! There are so many ants in my yard. They are everywhere and they are swarming. (Do they call that swarming?) Anyway, if I stay in one spot any length of time they start crawling on me and they do bite! I’ve put a ton of ant stuff down. I think they like it. (Just like that animal repellent spray seems to attract the squirrels and raccoon.)

I finished the big pot and did a smaller and watered both. I also watered the rest of the flowers in my gardens.

I have a long way to go before I can be considered a gardener. I’m struggling with these plants that say they like full sun, at least 6-8 hours a day, but by late afternoon, they are looking burnt and wilted.