Friday, September 04, 2009
My garden is progressing nicely. Like everything in life, there are bumps in the road sometimes. And just like anything else you do in life, you get out of your garden EXACTLY as much as you put into it.
I picked caterpillars off of my tomato plants for so long, I started seeing caterpillars that weren't there. My tomato plant rewarded me with a tomato that weighed 12 ounces. Once the days are 100 degrees and lower, the tomatoes will be producing heavily - not just one or two tomatoes near the ground, but tomatoes all over the plant. And the plant is almost 6 feet tall now. But it wouldn't be if I hadn't picked those caterpillars off.
My cucumber plants are dead. Cucumber beetles snuck into my garden and my cucumber plants perished. I have planted again with precautions in place.
I didn't SEE the cucumber beetles for a long time, so now I am beset with beetles - both striped and spotted. And they have targeted my okra and corn. For THREE days now, I have, in addition to my normal work, hunted and crushed beetles. This morning I caught a pair mating in the canteloupe blooms. GRRR. They're dead now, tho. Last night I had a dream about beetles. Won't share it cuz it was kinda gross, but maybe that gives you an idea of how many beetles I've encountered.
My 20 ton pile of dirt looked like this in the beginning.
After hauling a total of 106 loads, it looks like this. I shoveled all but 6 of the loads of dirt into the wheel barrow. I hauled and dumped all 106.
I've planted several more tomato plants - red pear tomatoes, yellow globes, Cherokee Chocolates - all heirlooms, red okra plants (an heirloom variety from Tennessee), Christmas Lima beans, blackeye peas, orange carrots and purple carrots. Mid-September I will plant two kinds of peas, garlic, bulb onions, shallots, garlic and a couple of artichokes. October and November I will plant asparagus - I have a place planned - I'm planting half from seed and planning to buy roots for the other half of the space. January or February will see the planting of potatoes, hopefully. If I had more room, the list would be longer! But I will save my confessions of a seed hoarder/addict for another blog. Here are the first 2 pumpkins we harvested yesterday They're curing in the sun for a few days.
I've converted an old dumpster into a composter. Used an old wire birdcage stand in the bottom to sift the compost. I cut a door into the bottom and seal it with duct tape. For the first time the other day, I opened the bottom and applied compost tea to my baby tomatoes and okra - they all grew more than TWO INCHES overnight!
When I add food trash to the compost bin, I layer eucalyptus leaves on top and then add a layer of manure. I need to get the bin to a place where it can get sun all or most of the day during the winter. A good place will present itself.
A friend of mine saves her garbage for me for composting. She keeps her coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable peelings, melon and squash rinds (all PRIME ingredients for good compost) - she packs them up so nicely and saves them til we're able to get together.
The acorn squash, butternut squash and sunflowers are thriving, too. The sunflowers are 6 and 7 feet tall. The acorn squash are producing much quicker than I expected and one plant has over 6 squash on it.
The butternut squash is putting on a few squash here and there, too. I think the butternut is a slower producer - kind of like a pumpkin.
The corn is over 6 feet tall now. Below the corn, I have planted a white pumpkin, scarlet runner beans (they're good as green beans and as dried beans, too), and green beans.
Here's a pic of a giant cantaloupe (they look funny because they are heirloom too) that grew from the garden.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
During the last few months, I've been taking it real easy. Recovering from the dental disaster and getting used to my new natural thyroid meds.
As my body recovered, I decided it was time to deal with some stuff that I had put away, but never really looked at very hard.
Often the things you don't want to deal with are the very things you NEED to deal with and let go of.
I dug down deep. Pulled these things out, looked at them for whatever there was to learn from them - about myself, about other people in my life, about things that I do without thinking.
I've always tried really hard to protect my children from the things that I found so hurtful when I was a kid. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I found much of my childhood painful.
Whether my children have thicker skins or have less stress in their lives and are less reactive to things, they are just in much better places emotionally and intellectually than I was at their age. They spat from time to time, but they really are very happy, well balanced people.
I am so grateful for their balance, good humor and serenity.
I've delved into this deep emotional stuff, one incident/issue at a time, looked it over, assessed the damage, gave myself permission to vent/cry/hurt for a bit. Dealt with the human frailties of other parties involved and what the dynamic was between us.
I've seen the root causes of some of the odd things I do (like pushing people away before they can hurt me) and some of the downright weird reactions I have to the things other people do.
By understanding the WHY, one can get to work on how to remedy what needs work, cultivating things that need growth and stomping the crap out of things that need that, too. :)
Now, I'm putting it all away. I feel unencumbered and refreshed.
Ready for whatever is next.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
A day or so ago, the Spark People's Healthy Reflection email contained the following quote:
Without forgiveness life is governed by...an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. - Roberto Assagioli
It's true, there is no doubt. It's also something that brought up a painful subject for me.
I am Native American. My mother doesn't show her heritage, but I do. When I was a kid, I lived out in the sun and my skin was a beautiful shade of very dark brown. My hair is curly and almost black.
My father and his immediate family were a bunch of bigots. His sister's husband liked to ask me ugly questions such as "how do you like your dog cooked, Julee" and "what kind of indian are you, nigahoe?".
Oh yeah and it didn't stop there. He urged his son and my own brother to call me things like 'blacky' and the n word above. Let's not forget the 'nappy' hair comments that riddled my childhood.
Another relative told me that "we lynch people like you". I was FIVE but I understood what lynch meant and I was afraid of these people. Needless to say, I developed anxiety disorders and fear disorders. I kept them well hidden, tho, because those people were like animals - if they smelled fear on you, they went for blood.
My own father stood there and said nothing one time someone asked me that ugly "what kind of indian are you...." question.
While I was in college, the son of the uncle mentioned above already had a terrible drug problem - one time when he was loaded on cocaine, he tried to rape me and told me he'd never had any 'dark meat' and wanted to see what it was like.
OK, fast forward to present day. My brother (who is blue eyed and blond) is now married to a blue eyed blond and they live in the same city as that uncle mentioned above.
A few years ago, at my brother's birthday party, said uncle was there. He was very neutral to my son, though he thought my daughter was cute (take a look at their pics - you'll see why) and when we were all leaving, he told me NOT JUST ONCE, but SIX TIMES "Hey Julee, did you hear that Al Sharpton buried the word N----- today?" I tried to ignore him, but he kept at it. Finally I said "yep, and they should have buried every idiot that USES that word along with it" HE got mad and was ready to go.
Brother and SIL have been urging me to go to family reunions with these people. They've called me unforgiving and hateful because I refuse to subject myself and my children to these people. My sister in law unfriended me on facebook and didn't talk to me for months. That hurt some.
My maternal grandmother (my beloved Nana) always told me "Juleebug, you can't choose your relatives, but you can choose your friends. You can choose who you want to hang out with no matter what."
I have chosen NOT to expose myself or my children to them.
I seriously don't hold a grudge! I am not feeling hatred or anger right now. I have considered the source. Like any wound, if I pick at it enough, I can dig up pain - but I choose not to. Ignorance is ignorance and you cannot teach something to someone who doesn't want to learn. So let them live in their stupidity.
Even though you have forgiven the fire for burning you, are you going to stick your hand back in the flame?
Am I wrong?
Monday, July 06, 2009
In previous blogs there are pics of the 20 Ton pile of dirt and tales of starting the garden - late because of the dental disaster. As you may have read, the dental disaster didn't really end until the June 2 pulling of The TOOTH.
The garden got started late - in early May.
In spite of the late start, things are going pretty well. Everything except the strawberries were planted as seed directly into the ground. I chose mostly heirloom varieties with the exception of the summer squashes and the okra (spineless!). Planted yellow pear (a cherry variety), mortgage lifter(these are supposed to get between 2 and 5lbs EACH), cherokee purple and super sioux tomatoes, zucchini and yellow summer squashes, clemson spineless okra, anaheim peppers, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, cucumbers (to slice and eat), cantaloupes, moon & stars watermelons, sweet orange watermelons, pumpkins, basil, cilantro, lemon balm, cumin, honeydew melon. Planted a thing called Lemon Cucumber last week just to see if it would do it's thing - we'll see if it's actually going to come up or not.
I have to admit that I am AMAZED at the seed performance in most things. Every single tomato seed planted has come up - same for cantaloupes, summer squash, okra, peppers, basil, cilantro, cucumber and green beans(only planted 2 green beans just to see if they'd come up and have already eaten some!). Three quarters of the pumpkin seeds came up, half the watermelons came up. The failures - Honeydew melons, lemon balm & cumin did not come up at all - think it was way too hot for the seeds by the time I got them planted. That's OK. Will be really hungry for them next year.
The strawberries are UNDER the summer squash - the summer squash protect the little plants from the summer heat and sun and the strawberries are spreading like wildfire under there. The variety of strawberry chosen is Fraises des boises - it's an alpine variety that is rated to Zone 10. We're not quite zone 10 here, but there have been some days in the past (& some to come) that got well over 110 with 3 percent humidity, so for things that I'm not certain about, I choose zone 10. Dealing with our extreme heat in the summer is similar to what folks have to take into consideration in places where they have a very hard freeze in winter - it can be very extreme and hard on persons and plants.
Our tomatoes are all indeterminate which means that they are continually growing and producing. Determinate varieties make a bush that needs little support, give you a bunch of tomatoes during a time and then give up the ghost. Already having to get creative with supports and am certain that will continue! Figure that if I get a few warming lights and keep garden quilts handy, we can have fresh tomatoes past Thanksgiving. We'll see.
Already have a few baby pumpkins & asked the kids what they wanted to do with them. PUMPKIN PIE was the response. Figure we'll have enough to make plenty of pumpkin everything and a couple for jack o'lanterns, too.
Have been using certified organic seaweed and fish emulsion for fertilizing and foliar feeding - the squash are 4ft tall with 12+ inch leaves. The tomatoes are covered with fruit and blooms - there are over 30 tomatoes as of today and countless blossoms. There are too many cantaloupes to count, too. The day after a foliar feeding, the plants are noticeably bigger - it's amazing.
I prefer Integrated Pest Management - basically, if you see a bug that's a good guy, leave him alone; if you find a bug that's a bad guy, kill it with your shoe or whatever and keep an eye on things. Don't bring out the big guns til you have a real problem. For real problems, which I am very lucky not to have many of, have used hot pepper wax, Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, and diatomaceous earth for pest control. Have lots of beneficials in the garden - pollinator bees that live in the ground and don't make honey are the main pollinators, but there are other critters in abundance, too. NOTE: Diatomaceous Earth does NOT kill your earthworms! It's non-toxic to yourself and your animals (don't create a dust to breathe in - that's not good) and if you purchase food grade DE, you can feed it to your animals in their food to rid them of any parasites they may have. Since I am a Feral Cat Community Manager, I always get the food grade and feed it to the ferals at least 2 times a year. Since they kill rats and birds (big tapeworm carriers here) a lot, they are more prone to parasite activity.
Found a BIG tarantula in the cantaloupes today. She startled me and I scared her a little, but she didn't run too fast - she is still in there and that's a good thing - . A bumble bee kept buzzing my head this morning too - does my shampoo smell that good? Don't think so. Think it was a territory thing. He got RIGHT up in my face and I stood my ground (which was HUGE cuz most of my life I've been terrified of these) and told bumble bee that it was OK to visit my garden, but that it was MY garden and he wasn't going to run me out of there, that I had things to do. He could keep doing his thing and I would do mine.
Dirt pile looks a lot smaller and it is - but there have been critters going over and around it daily and children playing on it frequently not to mention the rain and wind action. I have hauled 66 loads of dirt in my big wheel barrow - Bill has offered to help, but I really wanted to do it. With all the cactus around here, had to get a solid wheelbarrow tire and put that on. Put one on the old rusty wheelbarrow, too. The old one is the same size as the new one - rated for 300 or 500lbs, but its so old that I'm afraid to put a lot of dirt in it. Keep the new one tipped up so it won't get full of rain.
Think I'm still recovering some from the monster tooth affair, but overall, feeling much better. There have been a couple of days when I had to push myself out the door to tend the garden, but pretty much every day it's a pleasure to go do. Knowing that I'm going to provide for my family and myself produce that hasn't been drenched in poison a minimum of 10 times in it's short life is part of what drives me. The fact that I'm feeding these plants so well and the health benefits of these fruits and vegetables will be real instead of pretty bags of water is another motivator.
Haven't picked up any iron for over a month. I miss it. I know I will do it in time - will have to break in easy & all that. Had to give my body time to heal up - exercise is a stressor, disease is a stressor, sickness and infection (bad tooth) is a stressor. Too many stressors going on at once and guess what? Things get worse - no progress is made. So deadlines and goals must be adjusted or eliminated. Yes, I said eliminated. Not the goals, but the DEADLINES we set for said goals. Sometimes, those deadlines are very stressful and end up being a very negative force in one's life.
The minute I said to myself "It's OK, I am eating HEALTHY and not excessively - doing things right, the weight will go when it goes and until then, I am OK with me." the weight started melting off again. The only exercise I'm getting right now is the gardening. Believe me, it's not just standing around with a hose in my hand! However, I haven't really done anything grueling for quite a while, either.
And yeah, it thrills me to say it - 30 lbs GONE FOREVER!!! WOOHOO!
Monday, July 06, 2009
The way you think about things can affect the way things go. If you think something is "impossible", then it will be. If you go every day to your job thinking "I hate this job", then things will be miserable.
If you have someone at your job who is flat out terrorizing you and you go in there fearful of the terror every day, you give up your power; if you go in there realizing that the person who is terrorizing you is deep down broken and hurt and is taking it out on you - it doesn't magically make the pain go away, HOWEVER, you do have your power, you are not just laying there like a doormat waiting for the next foot. When you retain your power, you are able to see things completely differently - not as a subjective victim, but rather, as an equal human being with rights and feelings.
The way you think about things directly affects the way life goes for you. So, doesn't it make sense to think about things in the most positive way you can muster? If you're only able to muster one positive thought per day, do it. As you build this habit, try for more. Consistency is key. If you find yourself on your way to bed and discover you haven't said or thought one positive thing all day, don't go to bed til you find ONE thing to say something positive about or think something positive about. Go to the mirror and say something nice to yourself AND MEAN IT.
Suddenly one day, you'll find yourself looking at glasses half full instead of glasses half empty. And it will really be the way you think, not just a mental exercise you're doing.
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