Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dear Badu, I shall miss you

We've spent so many wonderful years together. You were my first grand-daughter and very special. You brought comfort to my Dad, and to so many of our relatives you meant so much, Jean and John will be so sad when they hear how ill you got. Gary says he knows we shall meet you again, it needs to be soon.

In the meantime, enjoy chasing the waves, and racing in the sun and shadows. I shall think of you often and miss your woof, we shall be looking for you. I hope it's soon. Luv, e

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fighting off tomato worms and eating figs

What can I say, every day I wander rather aimlessly in the afternoon when it's too hot to rake up all the oak leaves that are raining down like they think this is October or weeding. (Now that was a runalong sentance. A bit like my wandering).

I do munch my way through the garden, but have also been much better this year at picking crops right before ripening, therefore, haven't shared too much with the birds. The late rain and unusual snow seriously made the garden bounty much less this year. But perhaps the fruit trees need a good rest from producing, in fact I notice that they are much taller and have loads of new growth. I will practice better thinning next year to help them get even stronger.

About those huge tomato worms, well they don't stay on the tomatoes, they also like peppers and eggplant, I've been picking them off and offering them to the birds but they are so well camouflaged they are difficult to spot, and my glasses are constantly slipping down my nose because I am peering so hard though leaves and stalks.

Never mind, several baskets of garden goodies have been shared and loads of stuff has been quick blanched and frozen for later in the year when I am without the benefit of immediate fresh things in the garden. I am in process of persuading Mr. G to build about 4 more raised beds, I do want more, but will ease him into the project. The shade clothe I bought, well I probably didn't need this year (it just doesn't pay to outfox Mother Nature), we haven't been blazing hot in fact only turned the AC on twice so far this year. Quite unusual.

Almost all the major work has been done, now we are waiting for the gutters and downspouts to be installed next week, then we can refurbish the decks install railings and DONE!!

Will get some big tubs to catch rain during the coming rainy season. And then there is the chickens I want, shhhh it's a secret at the moment from Mr. G. But I have picked out the perfect spot for them, huge smile on my face and I found a chicken site that I can purchase the fluffy little things.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Soon it will be mid July 2011

Weather burst into a heatwave, one moment it was in the 60's and now for the last few weeks mid 90's. Good for the heirloom tomatoes, not as comfortable for the folk working on our upgrades to the compound.

The studio inside is almost completed and the painter has been toiling away to make the building match the main house and garage. The breezeway is done, and it's painted, one week we got rain the next 100 degrees, it works we don't get wet nor sunburnt from whatever Mother Nature throws at us. I do have to replant/transplant some things, but I've got until October to figure that all out.

The new Gazebo is going up in the spot that used to have an ancient carport, that was seriously on it's last legs I don't know how it stayed standing. Painter will be here tomorrow to prime the wood, but the start of the roof line is on as of today, soon more shade to putter near the raised beds, now that will be even more of a pleasure.

Friday, June 3, 2011


The knowledge that Scotland, Wales, England and the whole of Ireland are considerably warmer than California and have been for weeks is not comforting. The only bright thing is that Northern California is no longer suffering from years of drought and now that the drought is over and no one, I mean no one has used their irrigation systems in their gardens since last October is a small miracle. Amazing that the water companies have now raised their rates because we are not using water, how nonsensical is that?

But back to the weather, yet again we are looking forward to another three days of chilly, cloudy dreary weather. I'm surprised my tomatoes have survived with all the hail, snow (yes snow) and stuff. Our temperatures are 30 degrees lower than normal. On the bright side the weather folk are promising the middle of next week that we should see something in the 70's. I have hope. I can dream!

The other part of the ughhhhhh, is that I sold a few paintings, that's good. However, I asked my husband to help with mailing on one of those awful tornado days, and he did, he went to the Post Office and mailed the painting in a bubble wrap envelope. I know I should have done it myself. Needless to say, the envelope which was not one of those packages with the cardboard etc. to prevent bending, was shoved in through the letterbox, causing major creases in the painting. Ruined. The customer has requested I create another painting the same as she purchased. How does one recreate a watercolour painting? I offered to refund but no. I'm not sure I can. The paper is masked off and I am procrastinating by blogging. Tick tock, tick tock .....

The breezeway is going up finally from the garage to the house so we don't get wet, I bet when we finish so will the rain. The screen clothe I bought for the vegetables is working, the hail is prevented from damaging the crops. Which leads me now my theory if I hadn't bought the shade clothe and hadn't built the breezeway our weather would be normal, and I'd have tan lines on my toes from flip flops.

One upside to being confined indoors is that I get to read and research some things. For example an interesting article about using human urine on vegetables, not sure about this one but like I said an interesting concept. I am also wading (no pun intended seriously) through Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, I have time on my hands as I mentioned.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Refurbished Sisters Studio

Last year we built a new 3 car garage, which left the dilapidated old house and 3 car garage just sitting. Winter this year was more harsh than normal, we lost some shrubs and damaged quite a few of the fruit trees. But the tin roof on the old garage took some serious beating, it was sagging in the middle and the garage doors wouldn't close properly. My husband was of the mind to demolish all the structures but I held fast. Lets see what it would take to repair.

And so began the project. After about 5 weeks we are well on the way to a vast improvement. The old carport is almost completely gone, the siding and trim, along with the french doors and window are installed, and the trusses will last another 30 years. Of course the whole building needs to be painted to match the main house and garage, same colours dark brown, with gray accents and white trim, and of course the purple paint here and there. Can't be too ordinary right?

I am so looking forward to working in my new art studio my head is buzzing with creativity.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lentil Stew

So on facebook I said I would post the stew recipe, it was good and the neighbours really liked it. In fact one called this morning to say they had it for lunch in lettuce cups which sounds rather awesome and nourishing. So the flowers were from the garden, and it was raining (still!) the greens are the carrot tops that were left from the carrots I picked, waste not, want not. They look pretty I think.

Here goes:

1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 stubby carrots, chopped
3 large turkey sausages, remove skin
1 package lentils (16 0z)
4 cups chicken broth, low salt etc.
3 stalks of Thyme
1 head of Sage
1/2 tsp of ground pepper
1 tbsp of sea salt
4 cups of shredded chard (or kale/spinach)
1/4 tsp of cumin

In large pot, heat oil , saute onions, garlic and carrots until slightly soft (10 minutes should do it). Add meat saute a little and then add, lentils, broth, sage thyme, pepper, salt. Bring to a full boil. Turn heat down and simmer, covered, until lentils are almost soft. (about 20 minutes). Stir in chard and add cumin, bring to a boil again and simmer for 20 minutes on low.

Serve over rice or pasta in a soup dish, and of course you could add either yoghurt or a little sour cream on top for a creamier taste. Bon Appetite!

Seconds tonight, manga

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A World in Confusion Cultivating Inner Clarity

If we can locate the stillness at the center of our hearts, we can find composure in almost any situation.

People who maintain their sense of calm when things around them are in a state of flux and confusion are always wonderful to be around. We feel calmer just being near them, as if they have activated our own sense of inner peace. From them we learn that we can be calm, even when everything around us is in turmoil, because we know that no matter what happens, this inner sense of calm will help us to function well. Often, times of confusion are the times that enable us to find that part of ourselves that knows how to cope, and how to be a light to others in the storm.

If we allow ourselves to be thrown off balance by every piece of disturbing news that comes our way, we may be relying too much on our emotions. On the other hand, our thoughts may also be unreliable at times like these, as they chatter on endlessly about what might happen next. If our feelings and thoughts activate one another in a hectic way, then we become caught up in the confusion that surrounds us. However, if we can locate the stillness at the center of our hearts, we can find composure in almost any situation. In addition, we provide a safe place for our friends and family, who are also prone to taking on the confusion of a world in flux.

It helps to remember that we don't need to completely understand what's happening right now, nor do we need to be able to predict the future. Most of us just want to find our way to being at peace with whatever happens, and we can find this peace inside. Cultivating our inner clarity with meditation, journaling, and reading words that inspire us, will lead us to that place inside us that's already there, just waiting.

The Daily OM Today's message, a wonderful free website that helps each day and I highly recommend.