Cactus & Other Things

About two weeks ago now, I took three Christmas Cactus plants outside and repotted all three of them. I had hope for two of them, after all, being pot bound and all dried out is nothing for a cactus, right? So the two larger plants I repotted, carefully putting some stones in the bottom for proper drainage and I used a combination of Potting Soil and Moo-Poo (Yes it is exactly what it says it is, only composted with dirt and mulch) to re-pot.

The third plant was almost a total loss. In fact, I kind of decided that if it didn’t perk up in a few days I would simply chuck the plant and I would have learned that even cactus need tending. This poor thing was so dried up and pathetic.

Unlike many other cacti, Christmas cacti and their relatives don’t live in arid environments. (So thought I!) Their natural habitat is one of an epiphyte living in tree branches in the rain forests of Brazil! (Brazil?) In other words, they prefer a humid climate, not a dry one, so it’s important to water these cacti more regularly than most succulents. (Who knew?)

20151104_080607The oldest and largest of my Christmas Cactus, before I neglected it. I hope one day it will look like this again.

After doing all the re-potting, I started to bring them back into the house, and then I stopped. After all, it is warm outside and that is the southern side of the house. Perfect for revitalization. Especially since we have had rain almost every day.

After a few days, the first two plants began to perk up! Their color got better and they began to look stronger! I’ve been so excited!

The third plant has been more of a challenge. I watched and watched and two or three times I came close to tossing it in the compost heap. But then a few days ago I checked its base and it was green! Some of the stem segments (called cladodes) have fallen off, but the new ones seem to be growing.

cactusThe two healthy ones are at the top. The one who is still struggling is on the bottom.

Despite not know that a Christmas Cactus was not really a Cactus, it does seem that they can handle a lot of abuse.

Meanwhile, the birds continue to be happy in the yard and I am happily watching them. My favorite is the Downey Woodpecker.

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He is small and so adorable. Some of the other birds try to push him around, but he doesn’t let them.

Ah, nature in all it’s beauty!

Thoughts

In the last six months, I have felt a great change in me. It probably was a result of losing Candy, and then several other close friends in rapid succession, but it all got me thinking.

I’m sixty. I know I mention this often, but I watch how my friends have been dropping like flies and I realize that I am truly more than halfway through my life. I know I need to work a little harder at getting my life all together, so I can ease into my mid-sixties and seventies.

Although my bones creak and pop, in my mind I do not feel sixty! In my mind, I still see myself at this young non-number age. Young, definitely not past middle age!

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I have started to stop and smell the flowers, to feed the birds and then sit and watch them.

Life is passing by so quickly and my plan is to savor each day I have.

P6200021 copySo, I will enjoy the sights, sounds, and joys all around me, and keep working to lighten my closets and drawers and prepare for the future!

A Mommy’s Work

Like any mother of children, cats or dogs, we all have that day where we get puked on. Our beloved children or pets don’t mean to do this, but in their feeling of sickness, they just want to be near the one who makes them feel comforted.

Such was the case this morning.

It started when Anneliese came up the stairs onto my chair and jumped toward me. I had a freshly cleaned, special shirt on, that I’d planned to wear out to lunch with old friends, and my coffee spilled down the front of it. Ugh!

Downstairs I went, immediately treated the coffee stain and then came back up, dressed (again).

About this time, Jack got up and wanted breakfast, so, short order cook that I am, I started his bacon. I felt something squishy under my left sneaker and looked down.

Doggy puke!

Not just on my sneaker, but somehow she’d managed to hit two rugs as well!

So while attempting to cook bacon, I had to toss the carpets down to the laundry room, clean my sneakers, wash my hands repeatedly, and make Jack’s breakfast!

Somehow I managed to do this. Jack is happily eating his breakfast, the kitchen floor is clean, as are my sneakers.

But let’s add that up. 1 shirt and two rugs to launder, 1 pair of sneakers to clean, 1 breakfast made and dogs to watch and walk.

Still, despite all the work, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Laughter in the Rain

Like so many summer days here in New England, our day started with sunshine and bright blue skies. But rather quickly, about 1 o’clock, the skies grew dark, the wind picked up and we had drenching rains. For about ten minutes! Then the sun shone and life was good.

I recalled growing up on Cape Cod. That type of weather was very common in the summer.

I remember being on the beach, with the sun shining, and all of a sudden a brief downpour would come. Tourists would be yelling and scrambling for their cars, grabbing their beach chairs and coolers, and I recall sitting there, in the rain, watching it all go by me.

I recall the song by Neil Sedaka, Laughter in the Rain, and thinking that this is how I felt, most of the time when caught in the summer rain. No worries, no cares. Just happiness in the warmth of the rain.

I wonder now, all these years later, why I lost that wonderful sense of adventure. When a summer rainstorm didn’t thrill me anymore? And I cannot recall.

All I know is, at sixty years old, I am so glad to have discovered summer rainstorms once again.

Oh, how I love the rainy days and the happy way I feel inside!

(Sorry Neil, I had to steal that wonderful phrase!)

Oct 16 001

Orange Coffee

Did you ever have one of those mornings when, despite sleeping well and heavily, you only half wake up?

Such was the case for me this morning. I was still groggy as I got out of bed, and walked to the kitchen and turned on the coffee maker, as I always do. The dogs were in a hurry to get out, so I systematically let each one out as I do each day.

I came in, filled the suet feeders for the birds, and Lili and I went back out to hang them. All was going well.

I came back in, gave the dogs their breakfasts, cleaned up the bird seed mess on the counter, and then, as I listened to the beeps on the coffee maker telling me that the coffee was ready, I went over and pulled out my coffee mug.

I added my Splenda and poured the coffee into my cup. Mmmmm! I went over to the fridge and pulled out my creamer and went back to my mug and started to pour.

Orange!

Oh, My, God! Orange Juice! Only a few drops went in. But what a screw-up! I had three choices. Drink my coffee with the slight addition of the orange juice, dump the coffee and start again, or add a little cream, with the orange juice, and suck it up and drink it.

Since I have been married to the cheapest Scotsman on Earth for 31 years, I have also become, ah, thrifty! I opted for the last one. Why waste a perfectly good cup of coffee over a little bit of orange juice?

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Well, I grimaced and groaned and then took a sip. Oh sheesh, I really should dump it, I thought, but ah well, I can get through one cup!

I did make it, but the residual problem I encountered is not worth it. Somehow the orange taste hasn’t left my mouth despite two more cups of perfectly made coffee.

So, this is how I started my Saturday morning. Walking the dogs, feeding the birds and drinking orange coffee!

The Friday Five

j0382597This week seemed to go by very fast. I’ve been amazingly productive and I have found so much joy this week, I am all smiles! So here goes with this weeks list!

  1. I think one of the best things was spending part of Tuesday with my grandchildren, and going out to dinner with Mandy, Matt, and both kids. It was Savannah’s last day of First Grade and so we celebrated her accomplishment! She did so well in her first year of Public School, and I am so proud of her!
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  2. Little Quinn had an accident and fell and sliced his head open. Apparently, it was quite a bloody mess, and he wore his stitch and band-aide as a badge of courage! He is one tough cookie.
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  3. I had my first Physical Therapy Session and begin actual treatment next week. I expect to be slightly the worse for wear during the initial stages, but I am excited by the prospect of getting the pain under control.
  4. My Bird Feeders are providing me with such joy. I even got my windows clean and sparkling so I can take a picture and also see out clearly.
    P6200021 copy                                    A tiny Downey Woodpecker at the feeder.
  5. Despite the fact that I promised no more gardens, I have some patio pots with tomatoes, peppers, basil, rosemary, and thyme that I am growing. Nothing too much, just a small number and just right.

So that’s my week and what a nice week it was. Enjoy your weekend one and all!

It’s All About…

In the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the whole weight loss journey that I have been on for the better part of eleven years. I have had times when I found great success, but it cost me a great deal as far as what I wanted to eat and what I could. Like a petulant child, I wanted what I wanted and points be damned.

However, very recently, I started to look inward at the long term effects of being overweight, at the kinds of food I was putting into my body, and how I could achieve a healthier weight, without missing out on the things I like and enjoy.

It’s called balance.

So, I memorized the zero point foods and I stopped counting points. I mean, I knew how many points I could have in a day, but I tried to plan, enjoy and live with the foods I loved.

Of course, this made me look at my food preparation, what things to eat, and how I could balance the foods in my life.

20190520_134134Diced chicken sauteed with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, served with riced cauliflower with peas and carrots!

Fruits and vegetables have become good friends! Fish and Chicken are in my fridge and freezer, awaiting preparation.

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Sauteed zucchini, summer squash, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, with a piece of broiled swordfish.

Every day, I have considered what I wanted to accomplish. If I feel hungry, I drink. I know what I am eating has filled me up, so it isn’t real hunger, but just casual, mindless, eating.

I’m doing well. I’m doing better than expected. And I feel very relaxed about it all. I like the direction this new attitude is taking me.

I feel no pressure to count points, and I also do not feel under pressure to lose X Pounds by X Month. It’s slow and steady and I do not feel anxious about it all.

This is the first positive freedom I have felt about my weight ever. I have been so hung up on either losing or gaining that I was coming to really hate my body. Oh, how cruel we can be to ourselves.

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So, this new attitude, has me happy and smiling and enjoying life! And loving my body once again.

So remember, in the end, it’s all about balance and loving your imperfect self!

My Life Right Now

After a couple of years, I finally am enrolled in a good physical therapy program to treat my neck and shoulder pain, which is a continuing problem since my spinal surgery. For all this time, I just thought I could cope. You know, the good old stiff upper lip!

However, I gave up earlier this year and asked for help. I went through x-rays, doctors appointments, and today was my Physical Therapy Evaluation. I was twisted and turned and measured and bent and a plan of action have been laid out. I am hopeful for the first time in a very long time.

I go back in one week to begin the treatments and then we will go from there.

Meanwhile, the birds are feasting and my new Bird Book arrived. I am just thrilled with my new hobby!

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Glimpses of Spring

I think this has to be one of the wettest Springs I can recall. In any case, flowering shrubs are finally blossoming, and so I went out and took this picture of our home. One Snowball Bush isn’t quite as healthy as the other, but otherwise, it’s not looking too bad out there.

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The Azalias and Snowball Bushes are simply lovely to look at, and I clipped some Lilacs to bring inside.

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I am truly amazed at the number of birds looking for a free meal in my yard! And  I am in Heaven. I must admit to having a big grin on my face as I watch them out the windows.

I have even ordered a Bird Book identifying the back yard birds of New Hampshire and Vermont. It is written by a man who takes all his own pictures. I will let you know how it is once it arrives.

Anneliese has worried me for a few days as she been fussing and not happy. I’ve been worried. But today she is like her old self. Perhaps she missed me a lot and was just making me pay for my time away from her.

Have a great week!

Feed The Birds

After rescuing the cute Woodpecker earlier this Spring, I noticed during a shopping trip to an Odds & Ends Store Bird Suet and Woodpecker Suet Treats. Well, that got me started and I bought two to bring home and put out for my ever-growing list of birds.

When we first moved in here I had started to feed the birds, until they began cleaning off our fruit trees. Then I thought they could fend for themselves, as they appeared to be doing very well indeed!

But now, we are no longer working the trees and well, the poor things might go hungry! (Not!) So out my Shepherds Staff Poles, and onto them, the suet treats.

20190615_174455Not the best picture, but that is Woddy hanging on to taste the suet treat! I blame the lack of clarity on the window screen!

At first, not one bird noticed them, but by late afternoon we had quite a few. At dusk, I will need to bring them in for the night so Mrs. Bear does not stop by, and then return them in the morning. I am so into this art of nature. I wish I could say the same for Jack, but he could really care less.

Ah well, I am doing this for me. Well, for me and the birds.

Happy Sunday!