Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Inspiration + imagination = WOW!

I am going to call this my WOW... the Wheelchair of Wonder.

I try not to be vain, truly I do. But with multiple weddings and other special events in my very near future, I have been feeling rather self-conscious about the fact that I may need to use my chair. It's functional, but NOBODY could call it attractive. Ashamedly, this bothers me more than I'd like to admit.

The other day I was browsing Pinterest, when I came across THIS decorated chair. My initial thought was how LOVELY and thronelike it looked! With a chair like that, while I would still stick out like a sore thumb, at least it wouldn't be because of how ugly my chair was. (Told you I can be vain!)

I got to thinking about how to recreate something similar with items I have on hand, that wouldn't require a visit to the florist. After raiding the holiday decorations for chair ribbons, my jewelry drawer for a brooch... and a $9 order for a pashmina scarf via Amazon... my chair has been beautified.

Rather than THIS

I can now wheel myself about in THIS!

This may need a bit of tweaking; keeping the tassels out of the wheels and the scarf from bunching up are a few issues I'm working out right now. But isn't it so pretty? And it is SO easy to pull off that ANYONE could do this!

I am still working on my self-esteem and my struggles with vanity, but at least for the moment - I think this will help me feel less awful on special occasions.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

2015 Garden - Part 3 (photo heavy)

There's something surreal about how quickly the garden grows in July. Two weeks ago, I had cute little plants. Today? It's a jungle out there!

From the street, our garden has finally begun to take on a jungle appearance. It's still filling in, but the dinner-plate sized zucchini leaves, intermingling with the twining melon and  cucumbers - all in beautiful golden bloom right now, is quite the sight. I can ALMOST sit at the bistro table hidden from view right now!

The inspiring part of our garden right now, is the close-ups. I love a photo of tangling twining vines, but let's see some FOOD already!  Here it is! 

There are dozens of peppers, hundreds of tomatoes, and I counted a dozen "fingerling" zucchini this morning. I have at least 50 cucumber blossoms, but I haven't seen the telltale swell of fruit just yet. The same is true with our melons. But our garden is SO pretty right now!

The rest of our yard is also in full bloom right now. The lilacs & rose have long since spent their blossoms, but July is lily-season here. All of the lilies from my mother's garden are up and in their full beauty right now. I don't often share flower photos, but please enjoy a walk through my front yard.

We have had so many struggles over this past year, and there are several new struggles vying for our time right now. By this fall, we are hoping to have the finances together to start building a wheelchair ramp to our front door. I will be landscaping the side-yard at the same time into a pretty contemplation-garden in blues and whites... but our spirits are low.

At least for a moment, while the lilies are in full bloom, I can sit and contemplate the beautiful things in life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Garden - Part 2

The Great War has begun. I'm talking about an all-out, no holds barred, war. It's the 9th annual battle between me... and the squirrels.

Forget all those fluffy squirrels you've seen on television sweetly dusting furniture with their tails, because it's all a lie. Squirrels are evil. They NEVER offer to help with the housework, and they destroy gardens. They dig up my plants. They plant trees in my beds. And... this is the reason I fight... they take ONE MEASLY BITE out of every vegetable in the garden, and then toss them aside. Spoiled for me, and uneaten by them.

This is what makes my blood boil. I wouldn't mind sharing with the local wildlife, but if all they're going to do is waste my organic produce - the gloves come off.

In past years, I have created "Squirrel jails" out of PVC and pest-netting. They chewed through it. I tried vinegar. They loved it. I sprayed the plants with cayenne and water, and was treated to an exotic dance as the squirrels thanked me for seasoning their dinner by running up and down the screen, creating holes as they chattered their thanks. I've also planted enough mint and pest-deterring flowers to prove that the squirrels are secretly working in seed-factories, creating labels for plants they WANT humans to plant, just so they can destroy them. I have even seen their sentries running ahead to warn the soldier-squirrels to flee, as we've come home from church. This is obviously an organized operation.

Our dog sits as garden-sentry, waiting to sound the alarm so we can let her out to chase rogue squirrels away from the garden. She takes her job VERY seriously, but these are ninja-squirrels who sneak up while she's snatching a sip of water or checking the front door for wayward mailmen.

Earlier this spring, I tried garlic. While I do feel an incredible urge to consume pasta every time I step onto the deck, spraying the deck rails and planters with garlic seems to have done nothing to deter the devil-rats as advertised. Perhaps they're Italian seed-factory working ninja mafia squirrels.

Now I'm going for cayenne. TONS of cayenne. Enough cayenne that I'm being reduced to sneezing fits for daring to step out onto the deck at the moment.

Here is how our garden is doing this afternoon. Please note the liberal application of orange cayenne, dusting EVERYTHING!

In the Southeast corner, the strawberries have been completely uprooted. Multiple times. I honestly think they're damaged beyond recovery at this point, I'm just too stubborn to give them a proper burial. Those Italian seed-factory working, ninja mafia squirrels really love their berries. In the back however, the tiniest of my tomato plants are already more than 3' high. Note I said - the TINIEST! More to come in a minute.

In the Southwest corner our chives need to be pruned before they start spilling onto the floor, and the marigolds are amazing. The peppers? I see flowers and the tiniest of peppers beginning to grow... but the darn squirrels are uprooting them every other day. The Italian seed-factory working, berry-nibbling, ninja mafia squirrels obviously adore Mexican cuisine.

The herbs, as always, are amazing. My lemon basil is spectacular at the moment... it's nearly 2' tall. Cowering below the herbs however, are my much-abused leeks. Whoever said that squirrels hate the allium family, obviously lied.

This is proof-positive that Italian seed-factory working, berry-nibbling, Mexican-munching, ninja mafia squirrels are working in the onion and leek department at Baker Creek Seeds. I will be lodging a complaint with their HR department later this week as this is an obvious and blatant violation of rodent working conditions. Perhaps this is the very reason that the group unionized in the first place.

Along the Northwest corner, our climbing plants are also having mixed success. The melons (blue bins) are being completely decimated by the squirrels.

The cucumbers are growing painfully slowly, but they have always tended to be my slowest plants to grow, so I'm still confident with them. The zucchini on the other hand, are growing amazingly well! Look how they're already starting to climb the trellis!

Just a few more weeks, and I'll have a green screen
hiding me from the street while I sit at the bistro table. I am contemplating using it for top secret guerilla purposes in my rodent-battles.

And in the Northeast corner, my tomatoes are once again becoming behemoths. I see dozens of beautiful parsnip heads starting to peek through underneath the nearly FIVE FOOT TALL tomatoes. Flowers are appearing all over the place, and they're starting to overhang the door!

My carrots however, have also been attacked by the squirrel footsoldiers. I am hoping that they'll be okay, but - *shrugs* It's up to the cayenne at this point.

I'm just praying that the unionized, biracial factory-working, fruit-salad munching, carrot-shredding, exotic-dancing, vandal ninja mafia squirrels don't happen to be from the hot pepper festival I hear is held locally. If they are, I may need to reconsider a pet cougar.