Patience with an Attitude

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting – Unknown

I will be the first to admit that patience is not a virture I possess.  Once I make a plan, I want fruition now, thank you very much. My latest test of patience is our new backyard landscaping project.

Image

I posted this picture a while back.

After hours battling a sod cutter and hauling loads of crumbling clay and grass, resulting in sore muscles, liberal applications of ice packs and downing of multiple Ibuprofen, this was the result.

IMG_0427

You get the general idea of the curves.

Anybody want some free dirt ?

Anybody want some free dirt ?

Last weekend, after riding 33 miles in a bicycle fund raiser, my husband helped me haul 65 concrete edgers to the back yard, load after heavy wheelbarrow load.  We hit it again Sunday afternoon and got the last one in place just as it started to rain.

I'm really pleased with the result.

I’m really pleased with the result.

Don’t know if you can see it, but there is a very young redbud tree planted in the corner.

Bloom wannabe.

Bloom wannabe.

We’re living in redbud heaven right now.  The Oklahoma state trees are in their full glory, blooming in colors ranging from light pink to dark fuchsia.   I think the one we planted will be the light pink variety.  I love the lacy airiness of the mature tree.

Our's should look like this in a few years.

Our’s should look like this in a few years.

The blooms stand out against the bright green new leaves and still bare branches of trees around them. They show up everywhere- in landscaped lawns and the natural wooded areas that line local creeks.

Now comes the patience part.  It will be another two weeks before my young native plants can be weaned from the greenhouse at  Wild Things Nursery.

Since we are at a standstill, we decided to take a trip to the Texas hill country. We’ll go visit my Dad’s grave at the little cemetery in Buckholts, stop in at Green’s Sausage House in Zabcikville (don’t you love that name?) to stock up on the best German sausage and kolaches you’ve ever put in your mouth, and then tool up the road to the Walker Honey Farm in Rogers. My parents grew up in this tiny town (population 1000 as long as I can remember) where my sister and I spents weeks every summer, visiting grandparents and cousins and fighting about who got to sleep on the foldout sofa or the rollaway cot. I think the best part of our trip will be a driving tour of the Marble Falls area where the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush are supposed to be at peak.  I need a good dose of the Hill Country.  What few roots I grew, I grew there.

May have to rethink the retirement-in-the-mountains plan.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Another Form of Living Local

I hadn’t thought of this until just now.  Tonight my husband and I experienced a different form of living locally. 

Usually for entertainment, we hop onto Netflix for an instant play movie or go to the theater to see the same movies everyone else in the country is paying way too much for.  But tonight we did something a little different. 

There is a local musical  duo, EricaJames, a father (guitar) and daughter (violin) who are totally awesome.  Their music is very relaxing with a touch of Celtic.  I’ve always loved the guitar violin combination but these guys have that connection that, if they were singers, would blend in perfect harmonies.   

They have one CD out and from the sound of things tonight, have a lot of new material that hopefully will be out soon. 

What made it even more enjoyable is that Erica’s husband and two small kids were there along with siblings and Mom.  It was definitely a family affair.  Take a look at their website and download their music.  They have improved a lot since their original CD was put out a few years ago, but its still good melody.

http://www.ericajameslive.com . 

A local coffee shop, real community, real local living.  Must do it more often.

Thank You OU!!

Thank you University of Oklahoma.  I mean it.  They stepped up and did the right thing and I am very grateful. 

My son and three other students were scheduled to arrive in northern Japan the 1st of April for a semester’s study at Yamagata University.  At first OU closed that site as a destination, but after further deterioration of the situation there, has closed Japan entirely to exchange students.  Thank you!!!

We were struggling with a decision as to whether to send D. to a southern university there.  He has worked so hard to make it happen this year.  But now the decision is out of our hands and my prayer that things would work out in his best interest has been answered.  Thank you Lord! Thank you OU! 

So, in complete opposition to the “live simply” mantra, since airline tickets AND tuition will be fully refunded, we granted permission for a little retail therapy.  He is now the proud owner of a new 37″ flat screen TV.  Oh, well.  He will have lost an entire semester toward graduation credits, but he is here and not being exposed to radiation.  His future health is not at risk from that particular hazard anyway. 

So we will move on to the next step.  He still has a job since his leave of absence had not gone into effect yet.  He still has a place to live since his lease does not end until May.  And he can go to summer school to make up a couple of the classes he lost. 

Looking across the ocean, let’s pray for the people of Japan.  And lets take a lesson from them.  There has been no looting and one news account said they are continuing to recycle at the refugee centers, in spite of their miserable conditions.  And let’s not forget the families of the 1300 Americans who were in northern Japan when the quake/tsunami struck.  Many are still waiting to hear about their loved ones. 

I’m counting my blessings today.  What are you grateful for?  

Keep it simple ya’ll.

Ugh (its so hard to come up with titles for these stupid things)

I’m so tired.  Maybe its daylight savings time.  I did really well the first few days and then BOOM! this morning I’m really dragging.  I had to work until 7 last night on my feet in bad shoes.  May not sound like a big deal, but for someone who has chronic feet and leg problems, its huge.  I tossed and turned all night with the pain even after taking 800mg of ibuprofen – which always works with other types of pain but for some reason doesn’t phase my foot and leg pain. 

Or maybe its the sugar overload I’ve been on lately.  I was doing great.  Down 3 pounds which is a big deal for post-menapausal life.  Then my neighbor brought me a King Cake from Mardi Gras.  Ate my fill and put the rest in the freezer.  Yea, me.  Then my husband felt sorry for a co-worker and bought 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.  One box of thin mints eaten for dinner all at one sitting.  Dessert overload at my son’s going away party – although he may not be going to Japan now – still in limbo on that decision – another story for another time, but could be contributing to my blahness.  Birthday cake for a coworker. Cupcake from the gourmet bakery after gourging on Mexican food for lunch yesterday.  I usually pass when co-workers go out for Tex-Mex at lunch because it is SO much food, but it was that same birthday and not wanting to be a stick in the mud, went along.  Then a couple of cookies at the exhibit opening last night.  This morning I feel like crap.  Vision even slightly blurred.  Diabetes runs in the family.  I’m in denial.  Never check my blood sugar.  Whine……………….

On the up side, the weather is warming nicely.  Hopefully the frost we had on the windshield Tuesday morning was the last of the season.  Pretty soon I’ll be griping about the heat!  But while I’m griping I’ll be eating home grown okra!  Woohoo! 

Be praying for the people of Japan.

A Simple Step Toward Stewardship

Just like most folks these days, my ever decreasing paycheck – due to increases in health insurance premiums for the year – and the ever increasing prices in gasoline, groceries and clothing means my paycheck doesn’t go as far as it used to.  The money belt is getting tighter.  Maybe its just my expanding midsection, but that’s a whole other issue. 

This can be a serious problem to an avid reader.  I love books.  No way around it.  I pride myself in buying from local bookstores rather than the big chains like Barnes and Noble or Borders.  La vida local!  But I had to take a step back recently when I found several books I wanted to purchase.

There is no way I can justify spending $80 on 4 books.  Just can’t do it.  The answer?  Well, duh, you’re saying about now.  The local library!  I turn to it often for my fiction fix, but tend toward purchasing when I want to add to my “resource material.”  Can’t do it this time.  Fortunately for me, Oklahoma City has a huge system of neighborhood branch libraries.  What may not be on the shelf at my local branch most likely is somewhere else in the city.  All I need to do is go online and put in a reserve for the book.  Presto!  Three days later I get an email telling me to come pick it up at my local branch.  I was happy to find all four books there.  Most times I find what I want, sometimes I don’t.   I realized that this latest book wish list is more biographical  than true resource or reference titles that will be of use later.  Those I purchase, if after borrowing from the library I decide I must own them. Simple Prosperity by David Wann is a good example – definitely one of those books that requires a highlighter.  So inspirational. I returned the library copy immediately and headed for Full Circle Books.  They had it!  Full price, but local.    Buying used is good, too, but that means buying online which means paying shipping.  Not always a savings and does nothing for my local economy.

So for now, being a better steward of our money by getting books from the library means I have more money to purchase organic food from the food co-op.  I get to improve my mental health – no guilt over buying books, improving my sustainability knowledge – and my physical health – better food – maybe a smaller midsection?   A win win, if you ask me.  Something else, too.  By being forced to wait a few days to get my hands on a book, I have actually found that by the time the email arrives in my inbox,  I may not want to read the book anymore.  So I  cancel the request and it goes to someone else or back on the shelf.  I haven’t spent money on an impulse purchase.  Better yet, I haven’t spent money on a book just to delve eagerly into the first chapter and then say, “Dude, who told you you could write!”  No money wasted on a book I’ll never finish.

Take a look around. Bet you can find ways to be a  better steward of what you’ve been blessed with. 

Keep it simple, ya’ll.

A Ridiculously Long Time

Yes, its been a ridiculously LONG time since I’ve posted anything new here.  June 3rd, to be exact. 

A lot has happened in the last 2-plus months.  The garden has been growing exponentially on a daily basis.  Okra! Okra! Okra!  The tomato plants are big and green but VERY few tomatoes have made it to the table.  What’s up with that?  We’ve gotten 5 very nice cantalopes and have a few more on the vine.  My late season onions did nicely.  I will plant all three beds in the spring and try to sell them.  The squash bloomed magnificently but failed to produce a single fruit – or vege.  Fruit sounds more poetic, don’t you think?  Anyway, we ain’t got no squash.    Some random vine keeps trying to overtake my spirea (sp?) and I have to remove it daily.  The “ever-bearing” strawberries blessed us bountifully in June (just like the “June bearing” variety) and haven’t been seen since.  The heat has just about killed them.  I really need to get out there and thin out the bed, but its so dang hot.  Day after day after day of temps over 100 degrees.  It makes it really hard to water.  I try to wait until the sun goes behind the trees about 8 p.m., but as soon as the water hose comes out, so do the mosquitoes.  I refuse to spray myself with the chemical stuff and instead use a locally produced natural ingredient repellent, but if you miss even one small spot with the stuff, the little biters find it and attack and its repellent properties are only good for about 15 minutes.  Whine whine whine….. My Mom was right about the blackeye peas.  You need to plant A LOT of them to get enough to eat.  Out of the whole bed I planted, only 3 plants came up (soil too cold and the seed rotted), but the vines of those 3 amigos have grown wild. Even so, they haven’t produced enough for a single meal even at this point.  So, note for next year:  no blackeye peas; plant okra in a straight line, not in a bed.  Too itchy and scratchy reaching in to pick.  Plant tomatoes in a different spot.  One bed for cantalope and one for squash.  

We finally got to take a vacation in August.  DH and son had a great time hiking and rafting on the Rio Grande while I suffered mightily at a 3 day quilting retreat in Angel Fire, NM.  The torture consisted of uninterrupted creative sewing time, gourmet meals

Just one of the sumptuous desserts!

and reacquaintance with friends made at a Santa Fe retreat in ’07.  Such suffering!! 

Notice the deck and pine trees outside the windows!

 I got an entire quilt top finished in 2-1/2 days, got in some serious gift shopping for the neighbor caring for the critters, and was awed and amazed at the quantity and beauty of the local hummingbirds.  That’s something you just don’t see in Oklahoma.  The first night we were there it rained and thundered and was so chilly we had to put on sweaters.  Most of the women were from the Texas panhandle, as were our hostesses.  You know you’re around a bunch of true Texas women when the conversation during Meet and Greet turns to the prolificacy of rattlesnakes this year!  Then there were the “Albuquerque 3”.  They kept us laughing the whole weekend.  It was wonderful.

So, now we’re back home.  Laundry is semi caught up – okay, is laundry ever caught up?  And I’m SOOOOOO ready for the garden to stop producing for this year.  My Mom says, “Just pull it up!”, but there is something inside that won’t let me destroy plants that are still producing food for my table.  Especially the okra.  Its almost blasphemy to pull up plants that are still offering up those sweet pods that are so good fried just to the point of being burnt.  Crunch, crunch, yum……

A Slow Food Kind Of Day

My favorite day of the month is the third Thursday.  That’s the day Oklahoma slow food,  locally grown food from all over the state magically and miraculously makes its way from farm to table all in one day.  Of course, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make this one day happen, sterilizing coolers, freezing bottles, buying lots and lots and lots of dry ice, renting trucks – all to make the third Thursday happen.

I’ve sung the praises of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, the brainchild of slow food and permaculture guru Bob Waldrop, lots of times here.  Today was such a beautiful day weather-wise, a real blessing after hail and tornados, that it made this particular delivery/pickup day special.  So, I wanted to share some pics of what goes on at our pickup site.  Enjoy!

This small garden greets the volunteers.

The truck is here! All these coolers and bins hold the locally grown food for two pickup sites in Edmond and we need a third!

 

Tables are set up and numbered to match our members' ID numbers. Bins are full of bags of dry goods that go on the tables.

Coolers, coolers and more coolers! Frozen food on one side of the room, refrigerated produce and cheeses on the other and eggs along the back wall. Can't beat a good farm fresh egg from free range chickens!

Our members start arriving to pick up their food. Each member is given an invoice listing the food they ordered and cooler numbers. Just go around the room and gather your food, pay on the way out and see you next month!

 I’m exhausted by the end of my shift, but its a good tired.  My three hours of volunteer work will earn me $21 off my next month’s order.  I worked enough last month to pay for half of my order this month.  Can’t beat that with a stick!  

To fill in the weeks I run out of something I can always hit my local farmers market on Saturday mornings.  

Local food is so much fun and you’re supporting your local community that will come in handy when the oil stops flowing one of these days – but don’t get me started on that!