good things

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Today’s Garden Tour

Posted by on 12 Jul 2017 | Tagged as: fun, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, Wally!

It’s raw, unedited, and not sure how much will make sense, but decided to try a quick video after I watered the garden this morning. Taking it easy today… will do more garden tasks tomorrow!

Today in the Garden…

Posted by on 09 Jul 2017 | Tagged as: garden, Gardens and Life, good things, Green Living

Tom, Grant, Allison, (and I), and Wally worked to get the area by the fish pond, under the peach and through to the chestnut cleared out a bit and ready for the hammock. Also got a bit of pruning on the apple tree and ceanothus — not usually done this time of year, but they were overgrown and leaning in the wrong direction. And a few other things… the yard is FINALLY looking like someone cares, and to be honest, so is the house. Swept floors, got a start on cleaning the kitchen’s surfaces/sinks/cupboards… and stopped before anyone was too badly hurt.

In no particular order…

Mid-process leveling the slope to a former hole dug before we bought the land…

Gooseberry ready for action!

The prunings under the apple tree – we left a lot!

Grant rejuvenating the lilac by the fishpond.

Six tags from plants that did not survive last year, at least two of each need to be replaced…

The space by the fishpond that was cleared today.

And last but not least… the hammock!

Allison enjoying the best part of yard work!

Growing Up, Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Growing

Posted by on 02 Jul 2017 | Tagged as: fun, garden, Giving, good things

I have always been a gardener, I think — I love to be IN gardens, I love to TALK “gardens,” and I love to CREATE gardens.

There is a strange shift, however, when one moves away from “gardens” with annuals and shorter-lived perennials to plants that could conceivably be enjoyed by people two or three HUNDRED years away. There is a sense of hopefulness and eternity when one plants a tree, or a rose bush. There is a sense of purpose when one cultivates fruit trees alongside carrots or strawberries.

When I was a child, we ALWAYS had a vegetable garden (at least after I turned 7, we didn’t have a garden in Puerto Rico, or when we lived on base anywhere that I know). My grandfathers (2 out of 3) always had a vegetable garden, and my Grandad made sure that there were gorgeous flowers as well.

As a young adult, I grew things in pots, and at a couple apartment complexes, had permission to take a small bit of land at the margins, too.

One of the first things we did when we moved to this land, was to plant trees… apple, pear, plum, cherry, peach, dogwood, fig, medlar, chestnut. Many of the trees were planted to provide shade for the land that had previously been forested, knowing that as they grew they would create an oasis of cool green during our typically dry summers. We didn’t restore the “natural” landscape, but carved out a small space for favorite specimens from around the world. We left the back yard “mostly” natural…

My sons grew up knowing plants. I taught them the healing properties and health benefits of the plants in our yard including the native plants and weeds! They still know how to prune, when to harvest, proper preparation for cooking, and a lot about planting and maintaining gardens from one-season crops to tender perennials/hardy annuals to permanent plantings.

I had planned to have the yard to a point by now when I could safely get about even with a wheelchair, but as we know that didn’t happen! Instead, I am rethinking many things about the less-permanent plants, and attempting to re-establish both irrigation and garden beds. Growing older has meant that I cannot garden as intensely as once-upon-a-time, but I hope I am starting to show the children of the next generation that with planning and a lot of hard work at the beginning that gardening yields huge rewards.

I have learned much from the plants (and the animals) in my small world: take your time, don’t cut corners if they yield an inferior or less-durable result, rest as you need (still working on this), sometimes “things happen” and like it or not plans must change, gardens are best enjoyed with other people, and one needs to be patient – you don’t rush genius! I am still working on that last bit as well!

As a teacher, I have a lot less time and energy to garden. But I bring my gardener’s mind and experience into the classroom. Remembering that children are growing, but so are adults. We are not “finished” products yet! The garden continues to grow, to evolve, to become “more” — and so will we.

Bright blessings from our garden on this cool, overcast Salish Sea morning!

Wally pics

Posted by on 23 Jun 2017 | Tagged as: critters, Gardens and Life, good things

No need for words, but this is Wally, now settled in and enjoying life with us after four months.
He is now four months away from being two!

NaPoWriMo Twenty-eighth Post

Posted by on 28 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, good things, NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month, rain

The rain gently washing the new-bought gravel
ready for the paths and the patios
gray as clouds and varied as the blooms
on springtime trees.

The rain, gently falling
anoints the geriatric maples
the fecund lilacs
and all the ornamental filigree.

The rain, again and again
first rainbow then shadow
and shade with golden edges.

Rain, then rain,
the musical patter
– drumbeat of life.

More NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo Fifth Post

Posted by on 06 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, NaPoWriMo, poetry, Poetry Month

Hundreds of miles from home
I am home again
with my grandfather
walking the streets
past the bookstores and
ice cream parlor
past the little shops and
around the park
Home again with my grandfather
When I am with my grandfather, I am home.

More NaPoWriMo poetry can be found at the website.

Today in the Garden (Reviving a Series)

Posted by on 01 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: garden, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, seasons

I used to try to post a little something from our yard once a week, and whenever new things “popped up.” But after the loss of our home it was too hard to keep ahead of much.

I think we have turned a corner this year. At least, I have, and so here for your viewing pleasure are a few pics of today’s landscape. Tom took these, enjoy!

In random order, can you find the yellow japanese kerria that is “climbing” the chestnut? The bright coral quince that belonged to Tom’s grandmother in the hills of Kentucky? Cascara flowers? The plum with an orchard mason bee already enjoying the dryer weather? The scylla, several clumps of daffodils, heather, primroses, and trillium? Wally’s fenced area should be pretty easy to identify! The author might be in there too, looking tired but relaxed.

Decades

Posted by on 08 Mar 2017 | Tagged as: celebrations, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, Tom

I remember the first time I started really thinking in terms of DECADES. Our elder son was about ten. Off the cuff, I mentioned something that had happened about 15 years before.

It was his first true realization that there had in fact been “life” before him…

And it was my first recognition that I was “old.”

Today I am thinking in terms of decades of commitment. My darling Tom and I have officially been a couple for longer than we were not.

This particular threshold feels almost as momentous as that first “double-digit” birthday, or the realization that once high school is over, childhood is also gone.

Are we really old? Perspective suggests we would have been considered on the cusp of old age in our grandparents’ generation. Today, however, people twenty years our senior are running marathons, picking up new instruments, learning new languages, and conquering mountains.

We aren’t old yet, but I have to say I am really looking forward to growing old together.

I love you, Tom.

An End, and a Beginning

Posted by on 03 Sep 2016 | Tagged as: 3rd Grade, education, Education Professional, good things, teaching, Uncategorized

The summer was not “as advertised” this year. I remained ill for another few weeks, though we had a lovely visit with my grandfather in Ashland at the end of July and saw several plays (LOVED LOVED LOVED Richard II!!!). Was too exhausted, though, to try for the second silk painting session. Hoping for at least one this autumn, though!

August arrived, and my heart and brain went quickly into teaching mode. Tom took an extra week off that second week of August to help around the house and the classroom. By the end of the third week of August, the classroom was mostly in shape, and in the fourth week it was official training and a couple extra days… so that by the time the kids and parents arrived at 5:30 August 30 the room looked ready enough.

Kids in seats on August 31. By 2:43 on September 2, the room was already showing evidence of engagement and learning. I have a WONDERFUL paraeducator who comes in for 45 minutes in the afternoon to help with literacy and reading, and while we haven’t yet met to decide which few students need intensive pull-out instruction, with the in-class help every day, very few of them will have to leave. I am so happy in my teacher-heart that I will have most of them all the time!

Proof? Check out below!

A look toward the door to the restrooms.  The number chart goes up when needed, but will be stored flat for a few weeks.

A look toward the door to the restrooms. The number chart goes up when needed, but will be stored flat for a few weeks.

The reading table on Friday-- materials to sort, collate, cut, copy, and use next week!

The reading table on Friday– materials to sort, collate, cut, copy, and use next week!

All ready for Tuesday!

All ready for Tuesday!

The students use these to show something about themselves as we are learning about the new year.  Three pictures, and one word!

The students use these to show something about themselves as we are learning about the new year. Three pictures, and one word!

The purple "windsock" was a gift from a student on the second day of school!  The empty paper panels on a pulley system! will hold student work and anchor charts.

The purple “windsock” was a gift from a student on the second day of school! The empty paper panels on a pulley system! will hold student work and anchor charts.

The I-charts are a suggestion from the "Two Sisters" framework for Daily 5 and CAFE instruction.  They allow students to consider behaviors and purposes for studying in specific situations.  These are our first two.

The I-charts are a suggestion from the “Two Sisters” framework for Daily 5 and CAFE instruction. They allow students to consider behaviors and purposes for studying in specific situations. These are our first two.

Summer finally begins for me

Posted by on 16 Jul 2016 | Tagged as: allergy, friends, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, health, seasons, Uncategorized

I was still recovering from the allergic reaction into the middle of the first week of July. Not fun. But had energy to have a nice dinner for my parents on Sunday the third, which of course wiped me out for the next couple of days.

Then, on July 7 I had a chance to meet up with a friend from New Zealand — it was a very spontaneous visit, so we didn’t have as much time as I would have liked. But … so glad we were able to finally gives in-person hugs instead of virtual!

On July 8 we had a silk painting session at my house. LOVED it. My friends are such amazing artists. Planning another session next month.

But I pushed myself a little too hard… the following weekend was unproductive, and it wasn’t until Wednesday that I started to have some energy again. Managed to get cars swapped around so one of them could have service done. Then I figured out some ideas for school and dug in on Thursday and Friday with some thinking and planning. Not a lot of organizing going on in the physical world, but a good bit happening with setting up ideas and lessons. AND I pruned a few trees and shrubs…

And I still have a reasonable five weeks of vacation to look forward to. I am glad. I will need every minute to be ready for the upcoming school year.

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