Shelter In and Plant a Garden

How’s everyone doing?

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.

After overwintering

However, after a few days, I started to see little buds on a few of them. 🙂

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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.

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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.

Here are some pics of the veggies …

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Purple potatoes in a 5 gallon bucket … started growing these for a friend.
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Carrots …. Y’all, pray for these carrots.
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Purple Potatoes … in a Grow Bag, they are so pretty.
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Yellow Summer Squash … 3 seeds, one plant lived. Planning to plant more.
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Beets ….. Love me some beets, can’t wait for this harvest.

I just started seeing a little peek of spinach that showed itself today….

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I waited for a while for this Spinach to show me it wasn’t dead.  Today it showed me.

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.

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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!

Love y’all. 🥰🤗❤️  Stay well!

 

55 Candles

Time.

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.

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Photo by KIM DAE JEUNG on Pexels.com

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.

Life.

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.

Kitty on Corner

Desire.

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.

Grateful.

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. 😜

Blue Skies Smiling at Me, Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See

Blue Skies, Smiling at Me, Nothing But Blue Skies, Do I see. Well, not really. Do you know that song?

It’s been three months since my last post. That was unintentional.  Back in April I was moving along with lots of goals, challenges, intentions, motives, duties, requirements, etc.. … then, BAM! I was suddenly overwhelmed. No one noticed.  I didn’t even notice at first.

Life happens. Sometimes smoothly and uneventful, and sometimes like a boulder racing down a mountainside stopping only after it has run over you and slammed onto a street or some other obstacle below.  I woke up one day feeling like a boulder had crushed my soul.  I was doing too much. I am pretty good and managing multiple things; have always done it without much issue, either by choice or necessity. But suddenly, I was overwhelmed by my own life and circumstances.

The first thing to fall apart was my eating habits.  After 2+ years of being healthy, I found food to be a visiting friend again. :(. Yep, gained some poundage. 😦  I woke up in the morning only looking forward to crawling back into bed that night. I did the things I had to do to with little excitement.  Some disappointments rolled into my world.  I thought I was getting depressed, but decided I was overloaded and tired; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

One of the biggest things I took away from this time is that ….. everyone else is overloaded and tired too. Everyone else is managing a boatload of issues as well. OK, not everyone, but I bet you needn’t look far to find someone in your world who is suffering from loss, death of a loved one, illness, children issues, aging parents, financial issues, relationship/friendship issues, etc. Lots going on in the world. Not to mention things that are happening politically, economically, and socially in the world.

I had to slow down for a few weeks. Be alone. I primarily got up in the morning, worked at my job, and slept. Thank God for friends… but there really is some truth to the saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.”

Anyway, in the midst of those low slow days I would go outside at lunch time and sit on my back patio and just look at the blue sky, the beautiful trees, different kinds of birds, and jumbo bumblebees hanging around the Rose of Sharon. I notices that after lunch I must felt better. Being outside in the sunshine, thinking about nothing,  just sitting and breathing refreshed my heart and soul.

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….. I even got a chance to photograph visiting bunnies too.

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During this time, I realized I needed to do something that was out of the ordinary for my world. Fortunately, I discovered a ‘thing’ that has brought a happy distraction to my life. As a younger woman, I used to wonder why some older women I knew spent so much time in their yards and gardens.  Why???

I know now.

I discovered that digging in the dirt a bit each day and planting things was a ‘happy’ thing for me.  So, I planted.  I bought a manual tiller and started tilling areas of my lawn and planted Microclover in the lawn.  I planted 2 Moon Flowers plants a friend gave me.

 

I planted a container flower arrangement for the first time in my life.  I loved how it turned out. Pretty good for a newbie.20190727_154325274_ios.jpg

Right before this time, I planted 25 or so Japanese Maple tree seedlings that I pulled from my yard this Spring. Tending to these babies was, and is, a wonderful daily distraction for a few moments each day. Here is a picture of the babies.  I’ll do another post on this later.  (See April 7, 2019 post)

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Japanese Maple seedlings. The two trees on the bottom are the parents of these little ones.:)

All that to say, I’m feeling much better and  back on track, finally.  I am eating healthily again (…going to do another post on this process later… doing some changes to better maintain hopefully). I’m sleeping more soundly, and I am dealing better with life issues overall.

Thank God for life!🌺

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How do you regroup when you become overwhelmed?

Do you have a garden to ‘play’ in?

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Love you guys! 😘

Peace and Love to you.

 

Why’d I Paint These Babies?

Art is everything.  What I mean is, some form of artistry exists in all things. Look around your world: houses, clothes, vehicles, appliances, tools, etc. … all involve creative skill in their creation. Our entire planet and universe is an artistic, mathematical creation as well. I believe God created us in his image therefore some form of creativity is inherently within us. History verifies this by the immense volumes of artistic expression blanketing our world.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve always loved art, but didn’t discover my artistic ability until later in life. As a portrait artist, I love watching life come to a drawing or painting as I add or remove whatever medium I use; that just gets me right in my soul, which is probably why portraits are what I’m best at.  My efforts at flowers, landscapes, etc., are poor to mediocre at best in my opinion.

It has been about 5 years since I’ve started drawing portraits professionally (See my artwork). I’ve been thinking about how I should use this God-given gift; I say this because I still can’t explain how I do what I do.  I’ve been blessed with getting commissioned work early on and love seeing the reactions of people who see the finished product, but I started to feel I wanted my work to serve an additional, more directed purpose.  What though?

Well, I think I found out.

Women cheering new abortion laws?? Huh? I didn’t physically see or hear this because I don’t have cable and might catch the news a couple of times per week when my antenna behaves, but I recently heard on the radio how women were cheering at the passing of a law in a State in our country  allowing for babies to be aborted after the 24-week mark to protect the mother’s health or in cases where the fetus won’t survive. OK.😶😕.

My goal is not to be political here. However, when I heard this, I was a bit stunned because a light shone brighter on the devaluing of life; obviously the life of the child, but also the life and well-being of the mother who might suffer the emotional scars of seeing/experiencing the death of her very alive child if aborted near the due date. Death, murder, abortion of innocent life can’t possibly be as clean and simple as our laws want to make it appear.

Photo by Teresa Howes on Pexels.com

I say all this as bystander of sorts, a guilty-feeling bystander, honestly.  

What have I done about it?  Not much. I’ve neither counseled a woman figuring out the next steps of an unexpected pregnancy, nor comforted a grieving woman who has walked out of a clinic without her baby. Matter of fact, I’ve never been pregnant, haven’t any nieces or nephews, and am rarely ever around children, so I often feel I don’t have the ‘street-cred’ to say or do much regarding this issue, really. Yes, I can pray for all the above, and I do, but I feel still helpless, and I hate that.

As all these things have been rambling about my head and heart in past weeks I’ve slowly had the evolution of how I can make an impact. It might seem small and insignificant to most but in doing so I hope to make a difference in the heavens at least, and in the hearts of all who see my work as a source of healing and hope.

What can I do? I can honor babies, and support their little lives. I’ve decided to focus my portrait work on “babies and children” for the next little while, in addition to other portraits. True, I’m not a mother but somehow these paintings feel like a representation of all the children I never had. In a world where children seem to be a target both ‘ in the womb’ AND ‘out of the womb’, I want to honor children through my portraiture work. I don’t know how this will evolve; as a matter of fact, children, especially babies are the most difficult to paint for me because although they have no/little hair, no teeth, and no wrinkles, the slightest wrong turn and I’m looking at E.T. on my canvas. 😕… trusting that the same God who has guided my art journey thus far will continue as I move forward with this purpose in mind.

So, in a nutshell, why did I paint these babies? Because I want to support and honor the life of these innocent ones. 👼🏻👼🏼👼🏼👼🏽👼🏾👼🏿 You know what, I can attempt that in my art. 💕

I call these two my “starter” babies. Although not the first babies I’ve drawn, they will always be remembered as my first attempts after this new purpose. The artistry might not be on point yet, but I fully expect to get better and better with each one….expressing all that is alive and well in the life of a baby from conception. So, off I go🙏🏼. Pencils and paints in hand, trying to make a difference in our world.

How are you making a difference? 😊

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”     Psalm 139:13-16

 

Love y’all!❤️