Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Garden Update

Boy, do I need to weed!  On my list of things to do, is major weeding.

At the community garden, it is definitely a case of 'garden envy'.  

This is the plot of the 84 year old...


This is mine...


See the need for weeding?  One of these days.  But at least I didn't have to pay for this plot this year because of the condition of the area.  But my potatoes are going great guns, I have 3 Roma Tomatoes and a couple of tomatoes doing ok - already with blooms and only about a foot tall.  Not sure how that is going to work out.  Some peas are up and my dwarf tomatoes and slowly taking hold.


On the home front, things look a bit better.


My potatoes are looking great and hopefully will start flowering and setting potatoes soon.  One thing I have noticed is the lack of bugs!  No potato beetles to squish (so far).  And since I haven't seen the issue with tomato diseases, this could be the upside to gardening in Zone 4 - none of the buggy and disease issues of Zone 7.

I have picked on zucchini already and more are setting.



And my Pepitos Pumpkins are setting.  Now if they will just hold on and get bigger.


My dwarf tomato bed is starting to come on.  Need to get in there and do some weeding, but the tomatoes seem to be doing well, along with some melons coming along on the other side.  I have pole beans coming up on the fence behind them.


What is really doing well are the sunflowers from the seed I threw out to entice the birds to the feeder.  If nothing else, I will get a good crop of sunflowers!  I know I should probably pull them up, but I can't bring myself to do so.


Another bed of sunflowers with some hollyhocks mixed in. 


And the first of the roses has started blooming.  I have cut one and made a little tussy-mussy to bring inside.  It's a lovely dark red and smells great.  I have hopes for it in the future.


In the long flower bed, hollyhocks and sunflowers vie for attention.



But I have a few surprises tucked in, here and there.


George and Grace seem to like their larger accommodations outside.  George has lost a few leaves because I haven't brought him in when the temperatures dip at night, but he's adjusting.  Grace is blooming, literally.  She sometimes drops fruit which set, but overall, I think the majority are holding on.  This week, the weather is suppose to turn warmer, which I am sure they will like.


My peas are starting to come along.  And where I planted cucumbers in the other row as 'skips', they are coming up and will soon replace the peas in that bed (hopefully).


My little Red Robin tomatoes in the planter are starting to put out buds.


Kale is doing well, as are my onions.  I did slip in a few bush beans here and there in the bed.  Cilantro, which I am growing for Savvy, is now available for use in two or three spots around the garden.


Where my broccoli was (and did do anything except leaf) I have planted bush beans.  I also planted beans at the community garden on Sunday too.  I have picked about 6 gallon bags of lettuce so far and will get several more before it's all over with.


But the yard/garden is more than just what is planted.  Where else can an old dog go lie in the sun?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

All You Need are Peonies...and Friends

The lilac season is over here in Montana and we are now into the peony time of year.  I love peonies! Unfortunately, my good friend CS is at home this year while her peonies are in bloom, unlike last year.  Fortunately, she is a good friend and understand my NEED for peonies and generously shares.  Of course, she is wise enough to cut some for herself before she turns me loose on them.  She's not dumb.


Once again, the vase, which I thought I would never use, is getting a workout, filled with big, pink, fluffy peonies.


The peonies arrived at a good time.  I have been a bit 'down in the dumps' lately, possibly due in part to the fact I am not taking my vitamins like I should (long story there, trust me).  Which means I need to get off my duff and package up my daily dosages and have them ready to grab and go. 

Then there is another reason(s) for my mood of the moment - work.  A situation at work which may or may not work it's way out to my satisfaction.  And you know the old saying "when Momma ain't happy, nobody is happy!"


I have also started a new-to-me technique in my journal which is to reach into my bin of magazine clippings and pull out 3-4 images and do a collage.  Monday's was a bit too close to home.

The gilded image on the left reminds me of the feeling of carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders - which I have felt like I have been doing recently (another sign I need to be making my 'meds').  On the right, I feel 'dog-tired' (another sign to take my pills!)

But overlaying all of that is the fact I have friends who are behind me, presenting bouquets of flowers, both literally and figuratively.  And how can you not feel better by that?  

It's taken me a long time to be able to express to others how I am feeling and what's bugging me.  In the past, the situation at work would have me seething inside (and I still am - somewhat), but I wouldn't have shared it with anyone.  I would have kept it to myself.  Now I have 'my peeps' I can talk to, who understand where I am coming from, and can validate what I am feeling or tell me where I am definitely off my rocker.  

So, I have vented and ranted, and now must wait for the outcome of the situation to be resolved and take the next step as necessary (or not).  

In the meantime, I will stop and smell the peonies...



Monday, June 20, 2016

Mandala Monday


All buttoned up!

My current bullet journal has three ribbons, which is great.  I can put one on the monthly page, another on my tracker page and the third on my current weekly page.  However, they seem 'hard to hold'.  So yesterday I added buttons to the bottom of the ribbons.  If nothing else, they are different.  The fourth ribbon is on my actual journal and I decided it needed some button love too.

I really like the look of the buttons and I may plan on adding buttons or charms to future journals.  Maybe some stones for protection and enlightenment to help in my daily life.

But it is a fun and quick way to personalize my journal and a chance to look through my button jar.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Week In Review - July 12 - 19


This is how I'm feeling this morning.  I just want to stretch out somewhere warm and comfy.  Sherlock has discovered my desk in the afternoons now that I have put Grace (lemon tree) and George (banana tree) outside in larger pots for the summer.  Or maybe it's summer.  It still gets chilly in the evenings and I am sitting at my desk with the small heater under it, blowing nice warm air on my legs.

The most noteworthy thing all week was our road trip on a big loop around a bit of Montana.  The local quilt shops were doing a quilt shop hop and since Savvy was off on my day off, we piled in the car with a picnic lunch and headed out.  It was about a 200 mile circle and half of it was done in the rain.  But it wasn't the rain which stopped our picnic lunch.  It was the discovery of a Kentucky Fried Chicken/A&W Rootbeer in Whitehall, Montana.  We quickly pulled over for a lunch of crispy fried chicken and moaned and groaned over it like we hadn't eaten in ages.  I 'discovered' three new quilt stores, all of which I plan to revisit.  I purchased 3 fat quarters in 1930's reproduction fabrics to complete my Bee Hive blocks this month.  I also picked up a yard of fabric for a lap quilt I am making for a friend.  Texter picked up a panel of a road map town for Lady K to play with and a yard of cute dinosaur fabric to make something for her.  So more 'projects' on my to-do list.


Not a great picture (because I was too lazy to get up and take a better one).  Now I just need to sew the blocks together.  I always make two and send out the better one.  In this case it really works as one of the blocks got 'spots' from the iron on it.

What else this week...

  • Wrote 4 posts
  • Walked 55,190 steps or 79% of goal  (I have to step it up because two co-workers are busting my chops)
  • Finished two books
  • Cleaned off the sewing table so I could get back to sewing again
  • Took in three large bags of lettuce to work for friends
  • Sent off a letter to my French penpal
  • Put in for an expanded hours position at work (keeping fingers crossed and trying to manifest the extra hours in my life)
  • Mowed the yard and cleaned up under the carport a bit
  • A bit more walking with Texter and Lady K, geocaching as we go


This is our new friend we found on one walk around the neighborhood.  The wings are lovely, but moth bodies are large and 'hairy' and a bit scary.  But she was getting ready to lay eggs.  In fact, when we put her up in the tree, she immediately laid an egg.

For the coming week...

  • Ask a neighbor for clippings off their yellow rose bush to see if I can root them for our yard
  • Garden update and a lot of weeding at the community garden
  • Plant beans in both gardens
  • Finish up and mail the Bee Hive block
  • Work on Harley Quinn costume
  • Staff Meeting on Tuesday
  • Get to moving more on my Couch to 5K goal

But for right now, it's more coffee in the system.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Finn and Randy

A couple of weeks ago I spent 3 days sitting at the feet of gods, listening to panel after panel of words uttered by people I had adored from afar.  Now I was on the front row, trying to absorb the wisdom of the likes of Jim Butcher, Robin Hobb, Carol Berg, Kevin J. Anderson, Todd Lockwood.  Among these god-like writers was a young gentleman (at 58 I can say that) who I felt I was stalking.  He was on EVERY panel it seemed.  And he gave handouts!

Yep, handouts!  I have paper given to me by an author!  And the Virgo in me is happy too!  (The handout on goal setting I really loved.)

But Randy Henderson, the young man in question, I later accused of being 'to energetic" as I dragged into an afternoon panel and he was still bouncing around like Tigger on crack. (And he's cute too!)

He was great on every panel.  Humorous, insightful and just a joy to listen to.  And, as we found out, was working on final edits during the convention for his third book.  Unfortunately, my funds and the books I had set out to buy during the convention ran out before I could pick up his book to have him autograph (maybe next year - fingers crossed).

When I got back to Helena, I immediately set about to get the first book, Finn Fancy Necromancy from the library.


It came in last Wednesday, but I saved it for my weekend reading.

Now there are a couple of authors (Laurell K. Hamilton and Jim Butcher to name names) that when I get their latest book, I know I am going to be exhausted after reading.  Not because the books are long, or I stay up late (yeah, those reasons too).  But because so much happens in a 24 to 48 hour period in the book!  Well, Randy (since he's so much younger than me and I stalked him in Missoula, I'll be informal) falls in that same category.

Imagine you are following someone down a gravel road at 80 miles an hour.  All those rocks being thrown up at your are the nuggets of information about the world he has created and the people in it.  You are being bombarded constantly, but you need to keep following, because you just know there is a great party at the end of the drive.


Finn Fancy Necromancy is set in our world, but the Fey, gnomes, trolls, and witches are also there, on the fringes, hidden from the non-magical.  Finn, the main character, has just been released from 25 years in exile for a crime he didn't commit and just wants to get on with his life.  After all, he left his Commodore 54 behind and needs to get busy catching up.  Did I mention the family business is necromancy and siphoning off the magic from deceased magical beings and Finn is a 'talker', someone who can speak to the dead?

Upon leaving the Other Realm where he had been for 25 years, Finn is immediately attacked, barely escapes with his life and none of the memories from the past 25 years which were suppose to be exchanged and has Arcane Enforcers after him.  To send him right back where he has been.  And, once again, for something he didn't do.

So Finn, with the aid of family and friends (sometimes reluctantly) has three days to figure out what is going on before he has his memories probed, yet again.  Thus the wild car ride through 400 pages.

My only problem with the book?  I had to take rest periods to catch my breath.  Not only does Randy have a great voice (all authors are told to find their 'voice'), but he has magically infused the book with his own energy as well.  If you could plug him in, you wouldn't need to pay an electric bill for years.


Now my problem is I HAVE to get book 2, Bigfoot and Finn Fancy Free.  After all, I need to find out how the dating service Finn wants to set up goes and I already know it's going to be another fast ride.  And I need to get my hands on it quickly, because Randy's third book in the series, Smells Like Finn Spirit will be out next year.  Hopefully, I will have all three and he will join the cast of writers at next year's MisCon so I can get him to autograph the books.  And I can gush a bit like some fangirl.


So if you want a great read this summer, pick up Randy Henderson first two books and then wait impatiently for the third one to come out.


Poppy Art

This summer I have been noticing big, orange poppies everywhere....

except my yard.  I need poppies!

So I decided to play with some pictures I took as I walked around the neighborhood of poppies.




Monday, June 13, 2016

Mandala Monday


Mondays start off poorly when the coffee machine doesn't work right.  When you descale your Keurig and apparently running water through one full reservoir worth isn't enough.  Nothing like seeing the milk in your coffee curdle at 5:30 a.m.  And then spend 30 minutes running two more reservoirs full of water through it before you can fix your coffee.

So....

Purple and green and favorite colors and this was based on a clematis flower I took a picture of.  If life is going to hand me curdled milk today, I'll make art!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Week In Review - June 5 - 11

I actually got to sleep in a bit this morning.  Well, some people wouldn't call staying in bed until 6:30 a.m. "sleeping in", but for me it is.  Actually, I let the dogs out about 5 a.m. and crawled back into bed and drifted for a bit.  Was nice.  Lady K had spent the night on her mother's floor.  But before anyone gets upset about the child on the floor, she has her own bed, she just doesn't want to sleep there.  She was "camping", complete with my copy of Walden in the 'sleeping bag' with her.

So once up today and working on this later than I normally do, I was thinking this past week had been pretty quiet.  Nope - it seems we did do a lot of fun things this past week.


  • Worked in the community garden plot and got the last part weeded (3 buckets full of weeds).  Now it's stay caught up weeding, replanting what's not making it...maintenance.
  • Attended Coffee Klatch at work 
  • Went to the CrafTea at work and made patriotic wreaths
  • Attended the Reeder's Alley Block Party and had snow cones!








Reeder's Alley is very interesting and all uphill!  Probably the oldest part of Helena, it has an interesting history and I am glad it has been preserved like it has.  Really interesting to wander around there.  And it was packed for their block party.  Texter, Lady K and I went for (1) the walk and (2) the SNOW CONES!

I had a banana snow cone and was instantly transported back several decades to hot, humid nights in Oak Cliff, Texas, waiting in line at Aunt Stelle's for snow cones.  It is still going strong it seems, tucked away in a residential area of Oak Cliff (suburb of Dallas) and shared the property with a barber shop.  It was literally a hole in the wall operation, but during the summer, lines down the sidewalk and several dozen flavors to choose from.  Love me some neon, fake banana flavor!

Lady K and Texter shared blue raspberry.  Neon blue and stained tongues and teeth, much to someone's delight.  She's not a good snow cone sharer though.  She wanted it all for herself.

  • Gave the Couch to 5K app a try out and walked past the "Iris" house




A few blocks away from my house, is one with a yard filled with iris of all colors.  I slowed down in my walk/jog to take pictures.  So lovely.


  • Texter and I started "Geocaching"






Geocaching is treasure hunting with GPS.  Little 'caches' are hidden and coordinates posted and you go and try and find them.  They usually include a little log book to record you found it.  Some of them have little items you can take and left a little something of your own for the next person.  And Helena is a hotspot for geocachers.  If you find a certain amount around town you can turn in your log sheet and get a 'coin'.  But Texter and I are doing it for other reasons too.  One, you can learn some of the history in the area.  Two, it gets us out of the house and walking.  And three, it's a fun summer 'project'.  Texter is in charge of plotting 'routes' for us.

The first night we did it we found the two caches we were looking for.  Last night, nope.  Out of the four caches we were looking for we found.....

None!

But we did 'discover' the horse sculpture at the Myna Loy Theatre, which is the old county jail.  Enjoyed some of the architectural features of the old governor's mansion.  And got my steps in.

The coming week includes:

  • More geocaching as we start our Couch to 5K with friends
  • Quilt Shop Hop road trip on Tuesday
  • More gardening (and hopefully a garden pictorial update)
  • Hike on Saturday

So now off to refresh my coffee and continue my Sunday.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Night Terrors - J. A. Pitts


I discovered this series at last year's MisCon.  I picked up the first book because John Pitts was really interesting and funny on the panels and very approachable.  And if you see the guy in real life, approachable might not be a good description, but he really is.

I read the first book and immediately ordered two and three and plowed through those books.  Kick-ass blacksmith who is a woman, struggling with her own identity and acceptance of the love in her life - another woman.  Throw in some dragons, trolls, giants and magic and they are fantastic reads.

Night Terrors came out in March, but I held off buying and reading it because I wanted to get it at the convention and have him autograph my copy.  First day there, I had the book in hand (my first purchase) and turned around and there he was and had him sign the book.  However, because I wanted to savor the read, I waited until I got home to start the book.

One, I'm glad I waited to start reading Night Terrors.  Mainly because if I had been reading it at the convention I would have  probably gone up to Mr. Pitts and go "Really! You had to kill HIM off!" and tried to kick him in the leg.  Not a good thing.  Secondly, it is a book you want to savor and think a bit about.  The undercurrents make you think a bit.

This book seems slightly different to me than the first three.  This one is a bit more 'inner demons' than 'outer demons' and has Sarah struggling to find a way to bring the unconscious Katie back to this world.  Gram, the sword, is there.  As is Bub, Jai Li, and the dragon queen.  

For each step forward in discovering where Katie's spirit has gone due to a journal which had been her parents, Sarah has extra duties laid on her shoulders.  But these shoulders are up to it.  And there are going to be some 'fun' times ahead for Sarah and the gang.

Sarah now has her awesome motorcycle to ride on, complete with a sword holder and a crazy next-door-neighbor, which portents some fun adventures ahead.

Now for book 5, which I understand will be coming out soon (sooner the better as far as I am concerned!)

Monday, June 06, 2016

Mandala Monday


Despite the temperatures forecast for the next day or two, it's still not officially summer.  Some things are still budding.