EDIT (5/26/2020): I forgot to add another skill I learned. I’m probably most proud of this one! 😎. While trimming a huge shrub I accidentally cut the cord!😩 I was 99% done with trimming. The cord was a nice, big, 100 ft cord … not the basic orange kind. Plus, I cut it right near the end so most of the cord was good… it was a clean cut through. Well, I tend to be ….frugal… borderline …*throat clearing*… cheap. 🤷🏽♀️ So, I learned about these little things called heat shrink butt connectors. They are amazing! After a couple of YT lessons I had a fully working cord again.
Skills I learned during The Lockdown
How to use a drill.🤷🏽♀️. Don’t laugh. My dad passed one down to me when he clearly was not going to be using it anymore. I had to figure it out because I have a towel rack or two to hang, and holes to drill in the bottom of plant pots. Thanks to YouTube I am a pro now (sort of), well, not quite but I can get what I need done.
How to dehydrate vegetables. Yes, people. Ran across a video on dehydrating and haven’t looked back. A great way to store food that I can catch a deal on but don’t need to eat right away.
How to hand pollinate squash. Now, this is something that never crossed my mind prior to starting a garden. You know what? … it works very much the same way as it does for people 🤪. The female flower parts look one way and the male part looks another way. Bees usually do this work but now I know how to help out the bees. 🐝
How to start/maintain a container garden.This was out of the blue but the thing that has kept me sane during the lockdown. You can see more about it on my blog, http://www.vesselsandvittles.com.
How to change a Condensate Pump on my HVAC system. I had NO desire to know how to do this but like most HVAC systems mine broke on a holiday. It was rather frustrating actually. Talked with a friend, watched a few videos, and did my ‘thang’. Bottom line, It’s working now … no pride here, just a necessity thing when you haven’t a choice. And, I decided to get a service contract.
Lockdown certainly hasn’t been boring.
Have you picked up any new skills during this time?
It seems I’ve heard that phrase a lot over the past three months or so. That’s because Corona has changed everything! Any plans made in January for early 2020 were knocked off the map immediately.
Well, with everything on hold, or stopped, I found myself needing to regroup. I’m not good at sitting around doing nothing in the evenings. I always have projects set up. I worked from home anyway so my days weren’t different but after work I’d usually head out to do stuff. Not anymore.
So, I did a patio project. 😊 …. on the cheap, because that’s how I roll. My patio was the typical 12×12 slab of cement right outside the back door.
Pretty boring. Here is what I did: 1. First, I measured out a 3 foot perimeter around the patio into the grass area. My lawn is pathetic bit I don’t care about that.
2. I filled in the perimeter with brown mulch from Home Depot. Only took about 8-10 bags.
3. Then I went around my yard and collected large rocks. I have more rocks in my yard than a quarry… really ridiculous….but they came in handy because I used them as a border on the mulch. Feeling pretty already.
4. My mom was parting with a nice patio chaise lounge so I grabbed it and stuffed it in my little car and brought it to its new home. 😎
5. Part of my reason for wanting to modify my patio was because I wanted to start a veggie container garden. So, next I needed to find ways to have my containers off the ground because I have The Wild Kingdom in my back yard… rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, possums, every bird species known to mankind, cats, and a hawk or two. I mainly needed to make sure the rabbits didn’t think I was opening up a buffet for them.
I went through a series of ideas …. using stuff I had because I don’t know how to build anything. So, using some extra landscape blocks and some shelves off FB for $5…and the seller was gracious enough to even deliver it. (Some awesome folks in the world)😊
6. The next treasure I picked up was from FB as well. A subdivision near me that had a pool area decided To replace all their umbrellas and sold them for $25 each!😳💪🏽 These were not small residential ones, they were commercial size heavy duty ones. I beat to the pickup place at 6am the next morn before work and grabbed one that, besides being A little faded looked great! Score!! I’d picked up a brand new heavy stand the season before for $15. 🥰
7. Again on FB I picked up two huge beautiful resin planters, which means I could lift them by myself. Got both for $10. The seller later told me that his wife was mad that he sold them so cheap but he told her, “l’m happy they sold and are out of the way and Jan is happy.” Lol lol. Yes, I am kind sir.
8. Last, I set up my garden. You can read my last post about the garden but once that was in place I just sat back and relaxed.
Along with a few other low-cost or freebie items I changed my whole patio for hardly any money! Part of the joy of it all for me is getting a good deal!!
Today, I sat and enjoyed the fruits of my labor.😍. So pretty to me.
Well, I hope Corona hasn’t derailed you too much and that you‘ve found something to put your heart and soul into while waiting out out lockdown.
It seems things are slowly opening back up so stay safe out there!
2020 has not been kind for the most part so far. In December we were singing Jingle Bells and only 3 months later we were all locked in our houses and avoiding each other. 😟
As of today, I have been sheltered in for about 9 weeks. I mean, I’ve been in my house alone and only went out for necessities. I tried to consolidate my outings; keeping a list of things needed and after a couple weeks I’d go out early in the morning and get what was needed, so I rarely ran into many people.
Recently , I’ve been starting to feel it. I’ve worked from home for a while for my day job so that wasn’t different but I could feel my spirit dropping. This morning I decided I was going out for a while, for no reason. I took a long drive on a sunny, air-chilled day. Then I went to buy art supplies. It was a perfect remedy. So, I think I will make it. ✌🏽
What I wanted to share here though is my new hobby. With all this ‘home’ time I decided to play in my yard.
If you follow my blog at all, you’ve seen my Japanese Maple posts where I started to grow a bunch of trees last year. I had no idea how they’d do over the winter. I tucked them in a corner on the outside of my house and poured a lot of mulch around them. A couple weeks ago I pulled them out, and watered them. They looked a little pitiful, I was sure most were dead.
However, after a few days, I started to see little buds on a few of them. 🙂
I did notice though, after the Japanese Maples started to grow, that there were 5 of them that looked QUITE different, and a couple of the strange ones like this eventually died.
When I emptied the pots with the dead trees I discovered that those were NOT Japanese Maples, they were actually OAK trees. Whaaaaat?? Squirrels had dug up my trees and buried acorns in the pots. Uuuugh!. So, I overwintered 25 or so Japanese Maples and in the Spring I had 20 Maples and 5 Oak trees. I decided to grow the Oaks too. Thanks Squirrel Rats!
Anyway, while sheltered in, I decided to try my hand at growing other things. Being in a place where the ground is basically clay, rocks, and boulders, I decided to grow vegetables in containers. What sparked all this is when I saw a video on YouTube where a girl grew lettuce from the soil bag. Whaaat?? I need to do that, I thought …. especially after having limits place on my ability to freely go purchase all kinds of salad fixings. After I watched that video and a million others, guess what?…..
….a GARDEN WAS BORN! 🥕🥬🌶🍅
This took way more thought than I’d imagined. I had to learn about what kind of containers, the layout, what vegetables to plant, etc. In order not to use all of my tiny patio space, I extended it all around by 3′ which gave me a perfect place to set up containers. Then, after a few changes to table set-ups I finally had something I thought would work for this first Test Veggie Garden.
I decided to grow purple potatoes, carrots, beets, ginger, spinach, summer squash, and of course, a soil bag of salad mix. I ended up using lots Grow Bags, which seemed perfect.
On FB Marketplace I found a wooden 3-tier shelf unit a guy built for his garage made out of pallets and he was moving and sold them to me for $5. He even delivered it to me. Thanks guy! I put water sealant on the shelves and you can see one of the shelves used as a container table on top of a few of my landscape blocks. So perfect. The pallets allow for drainage too. These Japanese Maples are just showing off now. haha! I seriously need this garden to be functional but also be kinda pretty…. I don’t live on a farm … yet. The HOA still rules in my world.
Grow Bags & a Bucket
Here are some pics of the veggies …
I just started seeing a little peek of spinach that showed itself today….
HaHa! I know they are all still babies but I’m a City Girl! I wasn’t even sure anything would grow so I’m excited!.
Now for the Show Stopper…. my SALAD MIX about six or so different varieties of lettuce!! Isn’t it beautiful? This is after only about 2 weeks after sprinkling seeds. It’ll be time to eat in about…. a month! It’s suppose to be a cut and come again process, so as the leaves mature I will just pick a few leaves from all over the bag and it keeps growing until it exhausts itself. That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway.
Well, I can add learning how to grow a Container Vegetable garden to my list of things learned during the Corona Pandemic.
Be sure to come back to see the progression of this project!
Three months sure does go by quickly. So much is going on in the world and you are likely experiencing some kind of a Stay At Home or Lockdown government order as I am. 🙁.
I am trying to look at this time a time to catch up on things yet slow down, experience the flyby moments of like more intentionally, and just “be”. I’ve painted a small bath, extended my prayer and Bible reading, invented new recipes from random ingredients found in my pantry, etc.
Today’s recipe is not necessarily for eating but it has to be mixed up none the less. What is it? TOOTH POWDER! What? Yes, I added a toothpowder to my collection of tooth cleaners last year. I love it!
Like everything else, there are tons of recipes online for toothpowder. Here are a few:
The recipe I use has evolved from a bit of a few different recipes I’ve tried; tweaking it to my liking. The ingredients include so many benefits; remineralizing, whitening from charcoal believe it or not, detoxifying to name a few.
Yes, I still use ‘store bought’ toothpaste occasionally but just a small pea-size because I find that it burns my gums. I told my dentist this and he said to use just a tiny bit. Sometimes that doesn’t seem to be enough for my big ‘ol teeth. 🤷🏽♀️ 😁
Once mixed, I put it into a low-sided container and dip my brush in as needed.
Anyway, just something to keep in mind for your toothbrushing adventures!
Peace, Love …. and Stay safe! 🙏🏽💛
I’m sitting here thinking about the entire past year. So much happened everywhere it seems. I’ve heard several news broadcasters say things are happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up to date on news stories. I certainly seems like that.
2019 had its ups and downs; a challenging year. I had new territories to conquer. Maybe it wasn’t as hard as it felt, but either way I was reminded of a few things along the way.
Listen carefully when loved ones speak.
You know how the more familiar you are with something, the less you need to focus on it. I mean, the things you do, see, interact with on a regular basis require less attention to maintain. If you can walk, how much attention do you give to where exactly you place your feet and how your toes feel when they touch the ground? You just walk. If you are a typist, how much time do you spend analyzing each letter on the keyboard? You just know where they are, so your fingers just follow the words in your mind and fly across the keys.
I thought about this with my loved ones. It is so easy to become totally emotionally deaf when the people you are closest to attempt to tell you how they feel about something. Why? Because you assume you know them, you already know what they like, who they are, etc. I’ve learned that with the ones closest I must read between their words and emotional expressions. I must listen to not only their words, but also pay attention to the emotions behind the words. Sometimes words alone don’t tell the whole story. I learned this the hard way, early this year. I almost sabotaged a friendship by totally missing some cues. This friend tried to express her feelings in the best way she could…but I was clueless. Good news, we are still friends, but I admit I worked hard to restore it to some degree of normalcy because it was a friendship worth fighting for. I can easily see though how so many friendships end in despondency.
LESSON REMINDED: Not everyone is able to express themselves in a way that is palatable for me. If the relationship is worth keeping, I must step outside my comfort zone, or press a situation to barrel down to the core so the friendship can be salvaged and rebuilt.
Loneliness is part of life, embrace it as much as you can.
Aloneness is a wonderful thing. Everyone should take moments out of life to be alone, sit, reflect, pray, regroup, or whatever. It is vital to understand yourself as much as you can first. That gap between who people perceive you to be and who your really are can trip you up. I’m not talking about that here. I’m talking about loneliness. I would guess, loneliness is a major factor in much of the depression and even despair seen in our culture.
People need people. You know now dogs are pack creatures, well, I think people are like that as well. You may not need to have someone else in your face day in and day out but at some point, you need the physical and emotional touch of others. Sadly, this is becoming more difficult to achieve in our society it seems. In our ‘selfie’ world, reaching out beyond oneself usually entails a backward facing camera on the end of a stick.
I spend a lot of time alone. It doesn’t bother me most of the time but there are times when I need to find my friends, I need the comfort of hugs from people who love me, and I need to know that they are accessible.
This year I thought about loneliness a lot. I was thinking about the people I know and was taken back by the number of them who are single people living alone. It made me sad. Not that these people are sad about their situations, it just made me sad that in our culture, this is becoming more of a norm. We promote an independent nature in our culture, but it looks like it has consequences.
LESSON REMINDED: It only takes a couple seconds to send a text or email to someone to let them know you are thinking of them, and that you don’t want anything from them. You just wanted them to know they were on your mind. It is amazing how much this small act can redirect and brighten a person’s day. I have a very special sister friend, who calls me regularly. Most times its only to say, …”I didn’t want anything, just wanted to hear your voice.”. I hope you have people in your life like that. If not, message me.
You see your parents aging but their Golden Years still sneaks up on you.
If you are a middle-aged person and are blessed to still have parents who are alive, then they are probably in their 70s, 80s or even 90s. As a kid, you enjoy your parents as young people; vibrant, working, living life. Then one day, you look up at you see two people
who step more gingerly, move more slowly, and think less clearly; they’ve become ‘old’. But wait! This can’t be MY parents, they are …. Yes, they have reached that season in life.
I saw it coming to. I was still not prepared. But a string of physical ailments, calendars filled with doctor’s appointment, Medicare literature filling their mailbox, knee pains, technology battles, and hospital stays reality set in and I realized they were elderly. I was literally slowly taking over things and becoming the person in charge. I never had children, so I was not used to being in charge of any one but myself. WAKE UP CALL!
LESSON REMINDED: As overwhelming and tiring as it can be sometimes, I don’t mind it at all. I told my parents I will do all I can for them as they age. They did all they knew to do for me as their child. It’s an honor for me, plus I know it pleases God and they are his children too.
Old age is scary.
I have always had an affinity for senior citizens. I like to listen to their stories about the times in which they grew up, their perspective and wisdom in situation, their knowledge from experience, all of it. There is so much to be learned. Unfortunately, we all know that older folks are not revered as they should be in our society.
I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with some terrific older people. Some were young when I met them and over the years, I’ve watched them age and others I met after they were well into their senior-hood.
In conversations with them I learned of some of their fears. One told me he doesn’t like to go out much anymore because he cannot defend himself anymore. Another told me he worries about being alone after years of living with a spouse. And, another said she fears losing her mind – dementia.
When you are young, you don’t think of these things much at all. You just go about your day doing your thing with no fear of not being about to fight, or run away, or not being able to remember common things. As I listened, yeah, old age seems scary.
I’ve had several opportunities to visit senior homes this year. I like to think that some of these older folks feel much better in a community of people in which they can interact. I don’t know; maybe it’s less scary to be scared with someone else.
LESSON REMINDED: Go visit a senior citizen as often as you can. If the senior citizen is a family or friend go twice as often as you can. Your presence is worth worth more than anything else you could bring.
The moment of death is easy, but the process will certainly kill you.
Somehow, growing up, I escaped having to attend many funerals. I only remember going to one when I was about 10 for a Great-Aunt, then another Great-Aunt when I was in my 20’s. Then over the next few years I would hear of deaths of more distant family and people who were not that close to me in my life but didn’t attend most of the funerals.
But then, starting around early 2016,well into my adulthood, it seemed every few weeks, I’d hear of people who were nearer to my heart getting sick and passing away. I mean, numbers nearing 20! It sort of knocked me for a loop. I have attended more funerals in the past 2 years the I have in all my life. The last being just a couple weeks ago.
I’ve thought about death a lot lately. Not to be morbid, I’ve had friends die in numerous ways these past 3 years. It’s hard to both watch the process of dying and hard to suffer the sudden loss of a quick unexpected death.
It seems the moment between the last breath in this life and the first breath of the next life is the actual death. Short and easy. But I’ve witnessed how getting to that last breath can be long, painful, sad, stressful, scary, and everything else you can imagine.
LESSON REMINDED: I can only think of this poem when I recall the friends and family who have passed away.
Only One Life By C.T. Studd
Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,”Thy will be done”; And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”; Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
It’s OK to let some friends drift away.
Remember when you were a kid and the most important thing in life was who your friends were … or weren’t. Those gatherings on the playgrounds could make or break your social status in the entire playground (and lunchroom) hierarchy.
I used to tell myself one of the best things about being an adult is that you don’t have to be friends with everyone. I thoroughly enjoy choosing friends. Fortunately, I make friends easily, but unfortunately, I had to learn that many of the people I meet and befriend are not meant to be in my life always; or not even for a long time. I have friends from when I was a teen-ager and I have friends I just met last month. These friendships are all at different stages and have different roles in my life.
Recently, I thought of a friend I had years ago; we had the best times together. I thought of looking her up on Facebook to see if she was still around the area. Then I stopped myself. At the time we hung out we were at the same place in life. Now, some years later, I’m sure our lives are different, and lots has changed. I decided to leave this on to God who is the best orchestrator and path-crosser if it’s meant to be. Letting a friendship go is not always a bad thing, sometimes, it’s a growing thing.
Friendships are worth the investment. You just have to determine which ones are worth your time and effort. I have friendships now that exist only because I keep them going. I’m OK with that because it helps me rank the friendship. Remember, I said, some different friends have different roles. Don’t get your feelings hurt when your ‘friend’ doesn’t invest the same time you put in. Take this as information for use in keeping your own world in perspective. Plus, just face it, you are probably on the fringes of a lot of your friend’s radar, and that’s OK. Life is busy and hard and unless you are a key person, you are probably more likely not a friend, but ‘someone they know’. You’ve got all the Facebook ‘friends’ that you don’t even know! Not to sound cynical but I’ve learned the hard way…friendship is relative.
LESSON REMINDED: Sometimes it’s best to NOT rekindle old, dried-up forgotten friendships. Just remember the purpose they had at the time and enjoyment of the friendship, keep the good memories in your heart, then let it be. I say this because people and times change. When you were friends in the past it was time for that friendship, if it fizzled, then its time was up. If it’s meant to be, they will find you on Facebook. 😉
Find things to look forward to.
I’m one of these people who kind of thrives on change. I get bored easily, so I need things to change in my life on occasion. It doesn’t have to be anything major like moving, or a new job or anything like in the past but now as I get older, I like to just try new things. I’ve discovered some great things about myself in my quest for change. Five years ago, I discovered I have a knack for drawing portraits (www.facebook.com/portraitartbyjan). I always liked art but lacked skill. I guess it needed all my life to percolate. Haha. I still want to learn a new instrument, try ballroom dancing, and taking a cross country road trip.
Change is good. It is needed. You learn the most about yourself when you are put in a position to change, you learn even more about yourself when you are forced to change. Frederick Douglas has a great a quote …
“Inaction is followed by stagnation. Stagnation is followed by pestilence and pestilence is followed by death.”
I’ve decided that I want to purchase a small RV and travel. With a remote job, this is quite possible. I have spent a year studying YouTube videos on van-types, solar panels, types of toilets, camping options, etc. It has been so much fun learning about it all. The other day I thought, … ‘this may never happen, but I am having a blast learning about it.’ More importantly, it gives me something to look forward to in life. We all need something to look forward to in life. That something if often tied to your purpose.
LESSON REMINDED: The opposite of moving forward and changing is not moving backwards, but stagnating. Life is in movement and growth, not always in body, but in mind, heart, and spirit.
May you have a blessed, prosperous, ever growing year of
peace, love, and joy in Jesus!
We are finally getting some Fall-like temps here in my part of the country! Yay! No more mowing lawns, planting flowers, or watching my Japanese Maples grow. They have done so well. I’m quite surprised actually by how much they grew!! Some were tall and lean others were short and wide.
Such a difference from this past April….
I needed to find out what to do with them over the winter months. It typically doesn’t get too cold here but a couple of days or so it might dip into the 30s. I learned that the main goal of getting them through the winter is to make sure the roots do not freeze. Some sites said to just put them into the ground. Given the rocky yard I have, plus the fact that I have 25+ of them, that is not an option.
However, I ran across a site where a guy just left them above ground in pots and packed mulch around them. So I did that.
I tucked them in a corner of the house and put mulch around them. Hopefully, they will be protected from some of the winds, they will get the morning and afternoon sun, and the mulch will keep the roots from freezing. I think I need to add a bit more mulch this weekend.
I’m going to be so ecstatic if they survive the winter and come back. I anticipate the leaves will fall but I’m going to be eagerly awaiting to see if next April I see brand new little leaves.
Anyway… say a little Japanese Maple Tree prayer if you think of it. 🙂
Today was one of those milestone moments. Two words kept coming to mind throughout the day: ‘passages’ and ‘seasons’. Different words but similar in that they both represent change.
I’m old enough now to be more aware of ‘being old’ and what that really means; not that I feel I’m old and creaky but I have friends who I met when they were around my age or older but now they are 70s and 80s; some are doing really well, but others are using walkers, canes, wheelchairs, sporting new knees, in assisted living, having memory issues, etc. I recently moved my own father into an assisted living facility. That whole process has struck a place in my heart that had been untouched until now. Having never married, no children, no nieces and nephews, I realized, in a stark reality kind of way, that my parents are my immediate ‘family’ and to see them move into the next stage of life, likely the final stage, is somewhat alarming and frankly a bit frightening. It has made me look at my own life in a different, more tangible, way I suppose. I remember when they were my age; and it wasn’t that long ago.
I looked out my window the other day and saw the tiny black kitten that has chosen my yard as a respite just sitting on the corner. I stood there watching it wondering what it would do. It did nothing. It sat there for the longest time. I understood. Sometimes, you just have to stop and in the middle of all the madness and wait until clarity comes… then move on and handle the situations.
I didn’t really have 55 candles; I need to conserve my breath😉. I have, however, been seriously thinking about how I want the next season of my life to play out if I have a choice.
At the end of last year, I thought I’d be deeply entrenched in working on a PhD in 2019. It didn’t work out like that, and I glad. This year has turned out to be very difficult; no way could I have been in an academic program, but I’ve been thinking about life, and the future a lot.
Sitting in front of a TV every evening after working all day is NOT on the agenda. Traveling the country, seeing new things, meeting new people, blogging, art, IS on the agenda. Planning for this new adventure, whether is happens or not, simply gives me something to look forward to. Pouring through endless YouTube videos has been like a RV-ing , road-tripping education. I’ve learned so much.
There are so many things I like about my life right now; I have a great job and one of the best boss’ ever, I have a great hobby as an artist, I have terrific friends, a wonderful church I attend. Life is good…and life is also very challenging at times. I have a lot of responsibilities, but I don’t mind it so much. I make the decisions I need to make, as I need to make them, and move on, through sleepless nights, laughter, tears and all. Thankfully, I’m good at decision making.
Not really much else to say here; just pondering on the gift of life, and how quickly it slowly rolls by, and how a lot of it is affected by the decisions we make and also how much of it happens in spite of us. We have to be ready for it all. That’s just life.
My prayer for this time and forward is that God helps me to age gracefully, not hating old age, not complaining about it, not wishing it was other than what is, just living each day as it shows itself; full of gray hair, groaning flesh, and hopefully with His unlimited grace.
Peace and love to you😘 … I’m headed off to find senior discounts. 😜