What have I been up to this summer?

You may have noticed that I’ve been quiet lately.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, just the opposite.  So I thought I would take a moment and review where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing over the past months. Continue reading

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Spring harvest time

In between knocking on doors and meeting people in my township, I have been busy in the garden.  Building on lessons learned from last year, I have already had some early successes.  These include lettuce, spinach, radishes, and peas.   I recently started putting in my summer veggies:  tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and green beans.  The longer than usual cool spring weather helped extend the lettuce.  I had so much lettuce I have been giving it away by the armfuls.  The spinach is about done and going to seed, which is good because I need the space for zucchini and cucumbers.  I found a local source for high quality compost, and learned about the value of covering plants, organize means to battling pests, and growing in bags. Continue reading

Ringing in the New Year: looking ahead in 2017

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We rang in the new year quietly with a mildly alcoholic drink and a movie.  No late night parties for us or big celebrations in a bar or hotel ballroom.  Maybe it’s because we’re not in our twenties anymore or just that we enjoy being at home with our canine friends.  Whatever the reason, we were satisfied with our quiet evening at home.  We are at the point where we didn’t even have to explain to each other why we spent our evening at home.  Our priorities had changed.   Continue reading

My one year blog-anniversary

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One year ago I wrote my first blog post.  At that time I was embarking on a new life in a new town.  We had packed up the car with our two dogs, and left DC for Pennsylvania.  How have I spent my first year outside the office?  Well, let me tell you, it hasn’t been boring or mundane.   The journey has begun.

Let me count the ways.

I gained a new appreciation for sitting quietly by my peaceful pond and do nothing.

I put in a backyard garden and understood how hard it was to successfully grow food to feed yourself and your family.

I realized that not only did I not miss getting up every day to dress for the office and embark on the morning commute, but I didn’t miss spending the day in the office and keeping the boss happy.

I cultivated an eye for wildlife all around me:  Mallard ducks and woodpeckers, rabbits and deer and chipmunks and butterflies.  I learned to be patient and wait for them to come out and show themselves.

I got back into the practice of cooking not because I had to but because I wanted to.

I lingered in local shops to get to know strangers who became friends.  I let down my guard and learned that trust is easier than it seems.

I left the house without locking my door and didn’t think twice about it.

My blood pressure went down, way down and stayed low.

I stopped worrying about things that didn’t matter.

What about year two?

Now that I’ve taken a look back, what’s in store for me in the coming year?  One of the things I started with at the beginning of the year was genealogy research.  I started a project of finding out more about my family history just over a year ago.   Then life got in the way, most importantly, both of my parents, who are elderly, began to decline and became more frail.  We had to clear out their house to get it ready to sell.  I found a few of my relatives and connected with my second cousin who live in New Jersey.  My year two plan is to start the work of adding more leaves on the family tree and get it in a form that I can share with my relatives and for those who come behind me.

I want to write more, beyond the format of this blog.

My backyard garden project continues, with failures and successes.  Before the season ends I need to map my garden on paper and catalogue what worked and what didn’t.  Over the winter I will begin the task of planning the garden in a more scientific way, putting planting dates on the calendar, starting seeds indoors, and investigating ways to prevent pests from destroying my zucchini and eggplants.

We have travel plans in the next twelve months and beyond.  I will be blogging about that.

I want to try at least three new things.  Stay tuned!  No, I will not be jumping out of an airplane or bungee jumping.  I will be planting fruit trees, spending more time outdoors, and getting creative.

Want to join me?  What new things do you want to try?

. . . and beetles, oh my!

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In my delight at my vegetable garden success I forgot that when you have a garden you also have some uninvited guests.  These are known as pests.  I put up a fence around the garden to keep the four legged ones out, but it’s impossible to keep out the insects.   Recently I noticed that I have Japanese beetles feasting on the green bean foliage.  At first this didn’t bother me, but lately they have been gobbling up a lot of leaves.  So, I went into action. Continue reading

Bees and butterflies

DSCN1260Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I moved to southeastern Pennsylvania from the Washington, D.C. area about a year ago.  I had a much smaller house and a much much smaller yard.  It was pretty typical for the D.C. suburbs, but here in western Montgomery County my yard is a lot larger.  One of the other things I have here is nature, and lots of it.  In addition to the large variety of birds,  we have rabbits, deer, foxes, moles, ground hogs, and, I’m told, an occasional  bear is seen in town.  A recent post was about my vegetable garden.  One of the reasons for its success is the bee and butterfly population.  When they’re not in my garden, I enjoy watching them from my deck.  This post is about my butterfly bush. Continue reading

How does your garden grow?

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Cauliflower in front surrounded by tomatoes plants.

I haven’t written anything about my garden project in a while.  This is part of my push for self-sufficiency and reducing my carbon footprint.  Why drive to the store and buy food that has traveled in a truck or train when you can grow it in the back yard?   Now, if I could only give up chocolate.  Unfortunately you can’t grow that anywhere in my neighborhood.

After weeks of rain, we now have the opposite — long, hot days.  I have to water every evening, carrying my two water cans back and forth to the standpipe to fill them, and then repeat.   I finally got a hose to attach to my existing one to reach the garden, and a spray attachment.  I promised to keep you informed about what was working and what was not.  Mostly, it has been successful, but there have been some challenges and some failures. Continue reading

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

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There is an old adage that says absence makes the heart grow fonder.    I was thinking about this recently because my husband is away for a while.   When he travels he says that I don’t miss him, while he misses me.  That isn’t exactly true.  What happens is that I adjust to him being away, which in my book means that if I think too much about missing him I have a harder time during the separation. Continue reading

Spring means it’s time to plant

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Since the weather started to warm up my thoughts have turned to my garden.  I have to admit I’m not much for flowers.    With the deer that come up on my front yard after dark, there’s no point planting anything in the front yard that the deer like.   There are some plants they don’t like:  bleeding hearts, daffodils, lavender, and others.   I found a list of them on a website. Continue reading