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Articles from: November 2011

Giving Thanks…..

As the holiday season is upon us in full swing, I want to take this time to say how grateful I am for my family, friends, health, my career, and all the joy in my life.  I find myself reflecting on past times when money was scarce, stress and worry were at an all time high and the general outlook looked bleak.  What a contrast to today.  While we don’t live in a mansion or have the newest cars, we are rich with blessings.  And you really can’t put a dollar sign on that, can you?  Really helps to put things in perspective and makes me even more thankful for the little things in my life that make me smile and gives my heart joy.

It’s easy this time of year to get caught up in the sales, and give in to the panic and over-extend ourselves financially and emotionally.  To quote a favorite film in our house, “How about some perspective?”  Don’t give in to the chaos.  If your cookies don’t turn out picture perfect, or you don’t get the “it” toy no matter your efforts, take a deep breath and realize it’s going to be OK.  Seriously!  I wouldn’t steer you wrong, would I?

So, go tell your loved ones today how thankful you are for their presence in your life.  Don’t wait!  Your heart will feel joy and you will share that love with the people that mean the most in your life.  Pay it forward.  Take some time during this season of excess and crammed schedules to reflect, inhale and find a moment of quiet and peace.  Just five minutes!  You can carve out five minutes for sanity, right?

I wish you all peace, joy, love and gratitude.  And Zen – don’t forget the zen!  What do you wish for?

The Baby Green Steps….Part 3

Since it’s been quite a while since my last post, I wanted to update everyone on the garden experiment this year.  Our garden did well and grew like it was on steroids.  I got cucumbers that were at least 3 pounds!  And tons of them!  I got some huge squash and zucchini.  Things were growing good in our neck of the woods…. But all good things must come to an end, right?

I started noticing the blossoms were dying off and didn’t really pay that much attention, because after all, they’re not all going to survive – that was what I told myself at first.  I got alarmed as I noticed that every time I watered, there was a small commotion of flying beetle like insects that would fly away. Again, I didn’t give it much thought until one day I decided to google yellow and black beetles on cucumber vines.  That’s when I decided to take some serious action.

To the local nursery, Oakland Nursery, to seek advice.  The recommendation was made – which I purchased and promptly applied.  The promise was that this worked fast and was still safe on a food crop.  Take that, cucumber beetle!  Well, I will admit I did get some satisfaction spraying those little demons with wings.  The satisfaction was short lived though.

After a while, I was under the impression that I was actually spraying them with the insect version of Red Bull, however.  They weren’t dying off and they didn’t seem phased by the stuff! Back to Oakland to get a better product to kill these horrible beasts.  I returned to the back yard with a renewed sense of cockiness and a secret hope to smother these pests once and for all.  A couple I managed to directly hit with the hose, knock to the ground and smoosh beyond recognition with my hippy sandals.  I will admit, I did resound an evil laugh on those occasions.  Now it was personal.

On my third run to the store and my third different product I was starting to wonder if I had just waited too long and should just cut my losses.  The inner perfectionist in me was never going to wave that white flag, but the outer hippy in me was telling the perfectionist to give up already.  Just grab the 3 pumpkins that were still on the vine and run!  Run into the house and be happy they didn’t take you down with the blossoms!


While I lost the battle with the tiny yellow and black swarm, my tomatoes grew in comic proportion.  My three tomatoes broke free of their cages, grew so heavy that the cherry tomatoes fell over, and grew along the ground with glee.  From there, the two other tomato plants followed suit and toppled to the ground.  No staking would keep them upright so I gave up that battle quickly. The Romas were quite tasty and we made some great sauce from them.  But they didn’t yield much crop.  I got some huge beefsteak tomatoes, but much to my disappointment, they had rotted on the vine!  I didn’t realize until I grabbed one and the flesh squished under my fingers.  Gross – I didn’t get one of those darn it!

I tried a couple things this year that I heard about from family and friends.  If there is one thing that will get my attention, it’s the statement, “You can’t do that!”  I had read somewhere that you can train cucumbers, squash, small pumpkins and zucchini onto a trellis.  Well, of course I HAD to attempt this!  I had limited space in my raised bed, yes.  More importantly was the tone of the delivery from numerous people who gave me their loud and doubting opinions. “Hey, check this out,” I’d say as I’d guide the nonbelievers to the trellised raised beds.  My grinning face would gaze upon their confused expressions as I’d tell them everything that was growing on the hodgepodge of tangled vines.


I will admit it was great to have some successes and unexpected experiments gone well. The planning for next years’ garden is formulating in the way back of my mind as we speak.  I will keep you posted to any hair-brained ideas I decide to attempt.  I am sure there will be more than one.  There always are. How did your garden grow?  What were your successes or failures?  I love to hear about all of it.  Please, do share!  I can’t wait to hear from you.  Ciao!