Wednesday, July 25, 2007

what's up in the garden, planning for fall

the veggie garden check in:
  1. picked the last of the cukes which lead to five quarts and a pint of yummy dills to enjoy in the future.
  2. picked an entire bucket full of okra: froze that for future use
  3. plucked a 1/2 bucket of christmas limas for drying and storage
  4. picked two softball sized mini-watermelon (fabulous tasting)
  5. mulched all veggies a second time as the first mulch has pretty much broken down and blended itself into the soil (i use grass clippings)
  6. staked fall tomatoes (can you believe it 4'+ tall already)
  7. trimmed all basil and made up 3 quarts + of pesto (yummy!)
  8. trimmed back herb garden to promote fall flourish
  9. mowed and detail trimmed the lawn
  10. re-staked olive trees, peach trees and fig tree
  11. pulled gourd vines (too much rain rotting them out)
  12. bought my trusty house-sitters a camp ice cream maker w/all ingredients for vanilla ice cream and special sprinkles of course
    • the soccer ball type
    • burn a few calories to enjoy special calories
today will be a day of lawn trimming and general clean up. several of the flowering vines have gone crazy. all this wet weather is really making them vigorously happy. life is good.

plans for the winter garden:
  • fall tomatoes (already in)
  • potatoes (already in 6" deep)
    • allows them to root well
    • emerge when temps are cooler
  • onion (red, yellow)
  • herb
  • chard
  • garlic
  • beet
  • carrot
  • greens
  • artichoke
  • broccoli
  • kohlrabi
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower

trail to a more fruitful life

woohoo! it's been a bit of a whirlwind the past few weeks. design gigs back to back in and out of town. working in theatres and staying at locations sans wireless internet has really put things back a bit here. and off i go again tomorrow so today is about cleaning up the house, the garden, the lawn and washing a bit of clothing so that the return is that much sweeter. i truly enjoy coming home to a tidy house. i'm not one for messes.

regardless of my checking in online or not, i've been doing a lot of thinking. waits at airports and airline flights offer one time enough to get some good thought going and as habit i try to write things down once the ideas begin to shape themselves into something coherent. i came up with a few lists that i'll share. one is my guideline for living a happy life. one is a wish list. and one is a to do list. along with the three lists i have been evaluating the current landscaping layout of the yard and thinking how to better arrange vegetables, fruits, small trees and flowers to benefit all. i've got it all drawn out in the notebook which i'll either scan and upload here or draw in a digital format to share. i'll wait until later in the year when the temperatures are more mild before moving any plants so as to lessen the amount of stress they experience. lastly i planned out the winter garden.

so here we go: the lists
shelly's guidelines for a happy life
  • give unnecessary items to charity
  • share with neighbors
  • let my family and friends know that i love them
  • keep it local
    • garden
    • goods
    • gifts
  • be supportive of
    • family
    • friends
    • community efforts
    • colleagues
  • lighten up
    • see funny movies
    • read funny stories
    • listen to comedic commentaries
  • get a message
    • rub out the kinks
  • say "no thank you" without guilt
  • tell the truth
  • finish what you start
  • limit projects
    • be selective
  • schedule time for self
  • eat for health
  • love my own skin
  • run/walk/bike for happiness
  • challenge my body
  • simplify
    • love simply
    • seek simple shelter
    • eat simple food
  • give yourself a break
  • get up early
  • sleep more when possible
  • forgive more
  • judge less
  • release fear
  • save more
  • spend less

to do list
  • when shopping, leave the car at home
  • fix the fence/repaint the fence
  • reconfigure garage use
  • build seed starting shelf
  • redo north brick walkway
  • rethink studio work space
  • caulk home exterior/interior
    • especially around windows and doors
  • add locking screen door to front and side of house
  • border all landscaping with stone or brick
  • trim down prairie grass garden
    • a bit out of control currently
  • reconfigure vegetable garden and small orchard bushes and brambles
wish list: long term and short term dreaming
  • raise chickens
  • obtain all food and most goods from local sources
  • install grey water system
  • install fire pit
  • interact more with community
  • knit, sew and build for own personal needs
  • continue food storage education
    • build a solar food dryer
  • continue evolution of home garden and orchard
  • learn various uses for herbs
  • run own business in my small little town
    • eco friendly
    • organic
    • healing
    • comfort base
      • be it food, goods, etc.
    • include a community garden in it's being as a point gathering technique
    • teach hand skills and/or self sustaining skills
      • knitting
      • cooking
      • building
      • food storage
      • gardening
        • invite guests to teach their special skills
          • cheese making
          • wine making
          • tree grafting
          • bread making
          • home maintenance
          • storytelling
          • geneology
          • dancing - folk, cultural or heritage based
          • creative writing - short story, poetry, journaling
          • environmental awareness
          • natural wildlife and fauna hikes
      • sell locally made goods
      • offer the community "work for goods option"
      • promote community service
      • host community improvement days
      • involve local elders
        • talk about their days in town
        • ask them to share specials skills they may have
        • create outreach to those in need
        • collect and record their histories and stories from life
      • promote art and music
        • offer kids arts days
          • decorate walkway with chalk drawings
          • community published kid art calender
          • music days
          • storytelling days
          • make your own musical instrument days
          • create a children's garden planted by kids
      • offer iced tea and clean water to any who visit
      • host 5k and 10k run/walk events (adult and kiddos)
      • host a pet walk/run
      • write a weekly or monthly newsletter
      • keep a board with green and happiness based tips and quotes
although this is currently a dream, i do hope to start whatever i can prior to officially opening the good citizen (that will be the name of the gathering place or maybe it should just be the gathering place). why wait? life is now. the more i try today the more i learn along the way. anyone interested in helping me make this happen please write. thanks.

that's all for now folks. remember, ideas are never small.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

on the run - not so simple life

the fuel has been burning hard and fast these past few weeks along with my recent realization that i'm crashing when it comes to my efforts towards slowing down a bit. this summer has been filled with travel with family, travel for outside artistic projects, pre-production prepping of materials for shows along with the tracking down of information in order to get the job done. and now i'm full into my training for an october 1/2 marathon

hmm, I look now at my life and think: Woh! there's no slowing down here, what's up with that? what happened to this idea of slowing down?

truth is, freak that i am, i was worried that i was being a bit slack this summer. then i actually sat down with my calendar, plugged in all my projects and obligations and discovered that i'm living at the very same too fast pace that i vowed to cool down. the calendar is packed now until may of 2008, not good. clearly i'm not doing well in the time for life management department. hmm who's to blame. mmm... that would be me!

does this sound like you? i sure hope not. if this does sound like you then you're up a creek baby, just like me, until you figure out that slow paddling is the way to go. the best thing to do now is to evaluate how this happened. ok so how did i get here?
  • family & friend commitments - keep this love,connectedness and happiness
  • training for 1/2 marathon - keep this strength, health, mental happiness
  • garden - keep this health, happiness, organic nourishment, pleasure
  • travel - gotta kick back out of town every now and then, keep this
  • extra summer design jobs (3 total) - eih, eih, eih,
    • what were you thinking?
      • as many artists do, I was thinking what if i never work again. foolish thought, get over this.
    • get rid of these next summer
      • maybe keep 1 juicy one (wean myself)
the result: i'm crazy busy, freaked out about deadlines and missing out on some really good outside weather as well as feeling a bit rebellious about even doing the jobs i agreed to do. so i know better, but i did not act on the knowing. now i've got to pay. darn it all!

stay tuned to see if i have the courage in future to change my life for my own sustainability. that won't happen until i move myself up the priority list. that's a tough one for me but i think i'll get it real soon. this current state is too much.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

mornin' trimmings & fast food for texas lizards

i woke up early this morning to supercat's stare of hunger. there's nothing that says get off your butt like a cat's two eyes concentrated upon your own. so i did just that, popped some breakfast in his bowl, traveled directly to the fridge and poured myself a fresh cup of iced coffee. you could feel the silent ahhhhhh's between the two of us. we were both happy.

i opened the door to the porch pleasantly pleased with the coolness of the air. now to be clear, the air was not truly cool but it was also not steamy hot. i was pleased for the low humidity so i got dressed in the summer, mosquito deterring, serious digging, going to get dirty gardening gear. this dress comprises of my older hiking pants and a long sleeved poly shirt that's also seen better days. the pants and top along with an old stained pair of socks, my muck boots and rubberized gloves would hopefully save me from being chewed to death by the mosquitoes that have of late been raging. i gave myself a good spray of mosquito repellent for good measure. i know this would work for a little while. once you start sweating, and sweating was inevitable due to the quickly rising temps, all bets are off. so you have to work fast.

and here's what i completed:
  • trimmed the grape vines way back
    • the rain and the leaf curlers have really attacked
    • maybe i'll get some fall grapes
  • turned the compost in both big bins
    • pulled out enough compost for 4 wheel barrows full as this is the time of the year that is hardest on plants and a good time to mulch and recondition garden soil.
      • composted the potatoe bed 4" thick
        • that should help keep the soil cooler
      • composted the baby tomatoe seedlings
      • composted all the okra
      • composted the grape vines
      • composted the lima beens
      • composted the empty spots to condition the soil for future
  • pulled yet another squash plant attacked by vine borers
    • there are still many doing just fine
    • this seems to be a yearly sacrifice expected of texas gardeners
  • pulled a great deal of the spent blanket flowers and turned the soil
  • relocated two rock rose bushes to the veggie garden's flower patch and watered them in
  • swept up and finished general tidying up around the veggie garden
i'd say that's pretty good. supercat supervised all tasks from the screened in porch. it's funny i seem to have upset some of the garden lizards. i must have moved and or trimmed away some of their favored hiding posts. there was one little guy that kept inching closer to me as i worked. so i tried something. i'll often run into a few grubs while digging and maybe this one was smart enough to know. who knows really but i pulled a few out of the dirt and set them about 4' away. he walked right up and started munching. i did this a few times for him. he obliged each and every grub. so i hope the grub offerings might help to bring peace between us while he searches out new favored hiding spots.