Sunday, May 17, 2020

Saturday Progress - And a Tour of My Gardens.

I am achy!  It was almost 80 degrees yesterday and sunny.  Friday was about the same.  The five days prior the daily high temperature was between 54 and 66 degrees.  The sudden heat wiped me out yesterday but I loved it.

I baked the bread I planned. Then I mowed the part of the lawn around the garden with plans to finish the mowing after I planted.  Well, between weeding, feeding, prepping the beds and finally planting, I ran out of steam and time.  So today I have to finish mowing and continue with the gardens.  I also want to bake cookies or brownies.  Then tonight I'll start laundry and change linens and if that migrates into the work week so be it.

I planted 15 pepper plants (5 varieties), 8 tomato plants (8 varieties), 5 zucchini plants (2 varieties) and 2 cucumber plants. 

Pepper plants, zukes way up top, radishes on the left.

Tomatoes and that far right corner will have cucumber seeds planted.
I also have my permanent herb garden that I cover in the winter. 
Many different herbs, chard, sorrel, kale, lettuce, and purple sugar snap peas.
I still have basil, parsley and shiso to plant as well as several flowers. 
Shiso in the front, basil, mexican tarragon, lavender hyssop & chamomile.
Next I have to continue on with the squash/sunflower garden.  Worked a little on that, but need to expand another 1.5 feet.  There is a giant tree on the other side of our fence that has huge roots all over my yard, so I'll be gardening in between.  Makes for difficult digging.  We have clay soil too which is also a pain.  I'll dig as deep as I can, amend with some peat moss and compost and see what happens.
New squash/gourd garden.  Bee balm and lemon balm in the foreground, 2 blueberry bushes in the back.
Then I need to expand a garden on the side of the house, hack back the overgrown flowering quince shrubs and plant my flowers, more herbs and my pumpkin seeds.
Flowers & herbs will be on the left of the quince.
Pumpkin will go in between the a/c and quince.

Mint, chocolate mint, chives and edible flowers.

I also need to edge and clean up my little mint and chive patch. 

Since COVID-19 hit I decided that instead of annual flowers, I'd plant more veggies in my pots. 
Lettuce mix and spinach.
I didn't take a picture of it but the front garden is shrubs and perennials that are focused on feeding pollinators and butterflies.  That garden is a mess of weeds so that will be a future weekend project.

Well I hope you enjoyed the tour.  I would honestly become a homesteader if I had help outside from the LoML.  The gardens I have are a lot of work.  I'd love to get chickens and maybe a goat or 2 but my city won't allow it so veggie gardens are it.

Happy Sunday!  I hope yours is more restful than mine.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Mid-May Movin' Along

Happy middle of May everyone!

Another week of working from home in the books.  I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day.  My two daughters came over with some logs and s'more fixins' to have a fire and hang.  We had crab cakes and salad from the garden for dinner and instead of a fire we watched ""Fleabag" on Netflix.  I thoroughly enjoyed my day with my girls and LoML.  We'll do the fire and s'mores another time.

We received word this week that we will continue to work remotely through at least Labor Day.  My company is also making noises that they may reduce our overall office footprint by potentially allowing employees who's job allows them to work from home most days of the week, maybe coming in once a week, to do so.  Those who choose to work in the office would have an office assigned, as we do now.  Those who choose to work remote would have to reserve an office hotel space for the day they come in.  I am soooo down with it.  I work in a cubical farm and the walls are about 5 feet high.  My job involves a lot of complex reading, writing, calculations and a gazillion conference calls, so working in a cubical is not ideal for productivity.  Additionally we have our social butterflies who chat all day long with any and all who will make eye contact.  I have several friends in the office but honestly, my work load doesn't allow me a lunch hour, much less multiple hallway conversations.  And seriously, I just want to get my work done and go home.  So even though these circumstances or terrifying and life disrupting, the whole work from home thing is a definite plus for me.

Money-wise things are grand.  My 401k is up another $30K, still down about $60k from pre-COVID times.  Our mortgage keeps going down by about $2k in principle on average.  Our savings keeps increasing by a little less than $3K per month, as budgeted.  And we really only spend money on groceries and liquor.  Way too much liquor. Job and COVID stress and weeks of crappy weather is a bad combo.  But the weather looks like it is finally turning so hopefully my mood will get better and the stress will start to dissipate.  I am also working on being less emotionally invested in my projects at work.  Our culture at work is changing such that respect and accountability are just fading away. Wonder where that comes from?? It frustrates the shit out of me and I need to let it go.

So the weather is finally at a stage where I can plant my veggies and herbs.  That is on the agenda for today.  I am also building another garden along my back fence for honeynut squash and a non-edible gourd experiment.  I'll also plant some mammoth sunflowers there.  Then I'm expanding a garden on the side of the house to include more edible flowers and some pumpkin vines.  I need to run to the garden center and get a few bags of compost, a bag of peat maybe, some mulch, some japanese eggplants (forgot to order seeds) and organic pesticide. Then I need to mow the law and bake a loaf of bread.

Writing that made me think that I should highlight the fact that we are able to save a lot of money simply because we do most things ourselves.  I don't pay anyone to do anything except contractors to do home improvements (LoML is NOT handy with a hammer and saw).  We do all of our yard work and landscaping, we clean our own house, I make most of our baked goods and we cook at home 95% of our meals.  We also rarely do elaborate vacations.

Well I need to get moving and tackle my chore list.  I also have to change bed sheets, do laundry and bake a sweet treat for the week.  I'll save those for Sunday since its supposed to rain.  How is everyone coping these days?  What do you do to mitigate stress?  How does your veggie garden grow?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Just Keep Swimmin'

So I've made it through my 2 filings and the last week has been gloriously low stress.  I do have another major project that has ramped up but the people I work with on that or easier to deal with then the subject matter experts on those 2 filings.  The other project will be active thru May culminating in another filing June 4th and then that one will slow for a while.  In the meantime the 2 May 1st filings will receive data requests from the parties soon so that will be crazy since they have a 15 calendar day turn around. 

I've gotta say, I'm sick of the commercials on T.V. and posts on social media about people being bored and getting creative at home.  Other than not having to commute, or get dressed, my life is not much different work-wise.  In fact, I start earlier, usually take few breaks, and end later.  I need to change that.

On the financial front the retirement funds are holding their own after the COVID-19 shutdown initial negative hit.  Cash savings have increased since we aren't doing anything.  Every thing is sort of autopilot. 

The garden is producing the early spring greens (arugula, chard, spinach) and radishes, cilantro, oregano, marjoram, savory, mint, chives, and garlic chives.   The lettuces and kale are growing bigger as are the sugar snap peas but no harvest yet.  I've also replanted the radishes several times so we have a consistent supply. 

I would normally be planting my other veggies and seeds this weekend but since 2020 is the year of the apocalypse (COVID-19, Murder Hornet) and now the polar vortex causing 31 degree temps here, I think I'll wait another week.  Realize summer is barely a month away.  Sigh.

I must say I am grateful for many things, but this week I am particularly grateful that I fell in love with the man that I did.  He and I have enjoyed our time with just each other and have barely had any conflicts.  And to top it off, he is a great cook.  We have been eating well.  I am also grateful for our pets.  We have 2 dogs and 2 cats and working from home and having them around has been fantastic. 
Here are 3 of them hanging with the working LoML.
And this one must ALWAYS participate in my video conference calls.

Today is Mother's Day and I wish a relaxing and happy day to all mother's out there, especially those with young kids.  It is hard enough raising kids in normal times, I can't imagine doing it during these times.  Let me just say, I'm not sure there is enough wine to keep me sane if I had to deal with this situation with young kids. LOL!

In the words of Dory from "Finding Nemo" - keep on swimmin'!

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