SHORT, SWEET, AND SIMPLE STUFF.

I have been watching the news WAY too much lately.  Our weather is at the point where I can step away from all the ugly, and look to the future.  No, this is not a Syfy article.  I am talking about simple things starting with gardening.

info overload(FYI click here:  How to Avoid Information Overload, it will take you to another friendly post. My favorite is #7.)

We always start some seeds inside – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers – things that will provide an abundance of food but may take a bit longer to produce it. I have come to trust my email newsletters, YouTube videos, and even some gardening supply websites for information like this one:

So, You Want to Start a Garden?

8 tips for planning and planting your first garden

By Kevin Espiritu

We haven’t purchased anything from them in a few years (no need, we have enough), but I am thrilled that I was smart enough to sign up for their awesome newsletter.  More and more posts, blogs, and email newsletters are turning to gardening as a way to destress from all of today’s scary stuff.  I am going to try to find the special ones that are designed for “first-timers,” people that are kind of new to gardening, and those that would just like to revisit a simpler time as a refresher.

simple gardener

I learned something from an IT Tech decades ago (yes, I am ancient and proud of it – stone-age computers were vicious monsters from hell, but I did learn not to be afraid of them.):

“There is nothing you can do, that I/we can’t fix.”

Silly man! It was my task at that job (middle of the night after everyone else went home; it was my unique task: 1. I knew so much about computers; 2. I was not afraid of them.) to purposely try to shut it all down.  It was a brand new computer system at a school for financial planning, and I got very good at my job.  Well, my words of encouragement to you are the same, “there is nothing you can do that we can’t fix.”

nothing you can do

Here are five of the ways I have been handling all the scare:

  • Pulling weeds: This is actually one of my most favorite ways to handle life whenever it is out of my control.  I rip them suckers out of the ground for about an hour and I feel great (pain)!  Physically and mentally exhausted to the point of merely just sitting back and enjoying my work.  It is very rewarding (pleasure), at the end of the day,  to see what I had accomplished.
  • Disconnect: This one is very hard for me.  I have forced myself to try to do two things better in this regard: 1) Share fun, funny, or inspirations stuff in the morning.  2) Only share ideas that are relevant to all of us helping each other or protecting ourselves better.  I have to be honest that the second one is much harder for me to maintain as there is just too much B.S. coming from our elected officials.  I try to stick to traceable facts.

disconnect 1

  • Read: I love to read, but most of my reads are how-to books (and ebooks).  Perhaps this is turning out to be a great thing.  I read up on how to do something and I just want to dive right into creating it.  Unfortunately, I do not always have the supplies that I need for the project, so I just bookmark (or lots of sticky notes) it for later and go on to the next.

bookworm

  • Craft: This is my most favorite thing to do.  I have several crafts I am into and find it not only distracting, but very relaxing, and once again it is great to see the end product of my hard work at the end of the day.

crazy crafter

  • Exercise: I am in no way an exercise nut. It’s just not in me.  We bought a stationary bike after my first knee surgery to make sure I keep them (both have had complete replacements) flexible and robust.  It turns out this was an excellent idea for all year around exercising.  The bike faces a large picture window where I can watch birds eat at a feeder, trees blowing in the wind, or a good thunderstorm.  It also faces toward the TV, so I can watch a movie or cartoons (my favorite) while I am peddling away.  I am very “mental” my head never stops thinking, so even regular exercising (like suntanning – could never to that either – just lay there?) never works for me.  I get to cheat at this step by taking lovely walks.  We have a small farm with lots of gardens and a greenhouse.  Just trolling around all of that really adds up the steps without having to think anything about it.  I have a great step-tracker on my phone, and as long as I keep it in my pocket, it will add it all up for me – no brainer!  (I use Pedometer Step Counter-free version – for my Android phone, however, there are tons of freebies to download to your own phone.  It only tracks my steps.)

stationary bike

I have been researching things that, my hope is, will make my life less complicated or stressful.  One last share for you is WorkFlowy.com. I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!  It is free and so easy to use.  The best part is I create, add, delete my to-do list from anywhere at any time.  I built the original on the website (did I mention it is FREE), and then review, add, or remove as I accomplish my tasks.  No more carrying around (or abusing trees) pads of paper and losing pens. It’s all done technologically.

I hope that some of these ideas will help you to deal with all the scary stuff, even for just a little while.

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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Where Have All My Birds Gone?

We received a really great bird feeder from my sister and her husband just before she passed away in 2018.  The ends sat empty until last Christmas.  I began placing hardened, spoiled, or just unwanted bread pieces in those ends.  My feathered friends went crazy over the bread bits.  It seems they love that even more than birdseed (which is in the center of the feeder).

our-bird-feeder-w-bread.jpg

I find great enjoyment in watching them messing around with the feeders.  Fighting over who gets what first.  Scrambling to catch the snippets that fall to the ground.  I have even noticed them watching me, watching them.  One little beauty even tried to come to me through the kitchen window one day (darted at me as if to come and visit several times before realizing there was glass between us.

I never cared for birds in cages (even at the zoo), they just do not seem happy in there to me.  But I do love watching them in the wild.  On an average day here on the plains of Colorado, I can view a variety of birds doing all kinds of things:

  • Hawks catching snakes and prairie dogs
  • Owls catching rabbits, and
  • All my little buddies in the front yard looking for food, water, or just playing around.

The only time I remember not seeing any birds is when it is a bad storm.  It makes sense as they would be seeking shelter just as we do.  However, today is a day with NO BIRDS and it is freaking me out.

ABSOLUTELY NO BIRDS – NO SONGS – NO SOUNDS – NOTHING?

This has never happened before.  Usually, they are in our front yard, back yard, near the barns looking for left-over scraps from the chickens, or down in the hollow making tons of noise.  Every day I spot at least one hawk circling around or at least testing their wings in the blowing winds.  Today is very quiet and calm outside and personally, I find it very unsettling.

My birds let me know how things are doing on an “earthly” level.  They and animals can sense changes in our environment, unlike we oblivious humans.  I would love to have their sense of changes in the earth, sky, seas, or any earthly shifts.  Since we humans do not have this amazing sense, I watch the critters constantly to try to judge what’s going on around me.  A day with no birds is scary, to say the least.  Today (date of posting this 1/9/20) is actually day-2 of no birds and it is starting to really creep me out!

I checked the weather channel and know that we have a storm coming in, but it is not even supposed to start until about 11:00 p.m. tonight – so where are they and why?

I guess I am just going to have to wing it (pun intended – sorry) and try to watch for other local signs of what’s up.  Please let me know (if you have a moment) where you live and how your birds are doing.  This really has me spooked.

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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ALL RIGHT, What Are You Trying To Tell Me?

Apparently, I am going to have to have a talk with my house critters AGAIN!  I don’t know if it is because I am a farm girl, because I love critters, or because I instinctively watch nature, but something is trying to tell me something.

This time every year we get critters in the house:

  • Ladybugs
  • Spiders
  • Mice
  • An occasional snake (yep – actually the cat brought it in, but it was just a baby snake – eek!)

We know the routine of the mice (have not found their entry point yet – grr!), and traps work perfectly according to the barn cats (they get the snapped goodies).

cat w mouse

Ladybugs only come in every few years, and they usually bunch in the corner of the ceiling.  The weird part is they disappear after about a month, and not a single body is found anywhere in the house??  By the time they disappear, it is very cold and/or snowy outside, so I am sure they do not go back out – so where is their “panic” room? The issue this year is my spiders.

Now I really thought my spiders and I had a pretty good understanding:

“Stay on the ceiling, up out of reach, and you live.  Get down to my feet, and you die.”

Simple, easy to understand, a beneficial agreement that has been adhered to for almost a decade now.  At least that was until about October of this year.  I have been killing (just by stepping on) at least five spiders per week since about the first of October.  WHAT THE HECK??  They are in our home year-round but understand that their place is on the ceiling and up in the skylight.  Why are they all down at my feet?  Do they all have a death wish now?

Most of the above pics are small spiders.  The Garden (Orb – the one with the yellow stripe legs) spider is bigger and usually hangs out in the barn or greenhouse, basically an outside critter just like the Crab spider (the one with the pointy back that looks like a shell).  The other three, along with the Daddy Long Legs are found in our home.

I started this post in early October.  It is now the 20th of November, and I have still been finding at least 3-5 per week down at my level for a death sentence.  This one I almost stepped on BARE FOOTED this morning heading to the bathroom:

wind spider 11-20-19 (the front mandibles are barely visible but look for the darker brown tips to see how long they are)

I can’t stand these guys!  They are not native to Colorado and do not like the cold (it will die in the cold or, as I found, in too much water).  They are called Wind Scorpion Spiders, and we have been told that they most likely came in on military gear coming back from a very dry desert climate.  THEY DO NOT BITE HUMANS, which was the first thing we had looked into.  Never-the-less I just can’t stand looking at them.  This one is normal size – about the size of a half-dollar (that’s with leg and mandible reach).  I even prefer the garden spider to this thing, maybe because it does not look like a spider to me. (Got to tell you I am creeping myself out right now – yuck!!)

I have seen a Wolf spider too up-close and personal for my liking, so I know about them.  Black Widows were in the pine bushes in my home in Denver, so I know what they look like and where to watch for them.  I was bitten by a Brown Recluse, so I am extremely wary of them.  But none of those freak me out like the Wind Scorpion – not sure exactly why?

The simple fact is that too many spiders have shown up not just in the house, but specifically downstairs (my turf) and at my stomping level.  This is not the norm and not in our agreement!  I am pretty sure they are all trying to tell me something about the environment, but my spider-eeze is not working very well this year.

So, for now, I will continue my daily discussions with the general household insect staff about the house rules and how to avoid death.  I hope that they will all just settle down in the fact that I do not have their natural instincts regarding the ecosystem, I cannot speak their language, and I will have to deal with whatever good Ole Mom Nature decides to throw at us.  Wish me luck!

nice mom nature         grumpy me

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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WAY TO GO MINNESOTA!

All-in-all, it’s sad that we have had to come to this.  But I do give major kudos to the state for finally doing something to support our natural critters, even if it had to involve money.

The Smithsonianmag.com email that I recently received posted this new report:

Minnesota Will Pay Residents to Grow Bee-Friendly Lawns

It’s part of their “Smart News” series which I love reading.

We try to do as much as we can and promote others to do the same, in all ways natural.  We saw our first Bumble Bee of the season just a week ago.  It was having a hay-day on our Honeysuckle.  I could not get close enough (or get it to slow down enough) to see if it is a “Rusty” or some other species.  I just loved that it chose to visit us.  The stupid boxer, Pig (yes that is his name) dog, spotted it and thought it was worthy of chasing – idiot!  Caught him snapping at it, so I had to chase him off of it.  His is supposed to be a smart breed, yet I constantly catch him doing really stupid stuff?!

bumble bee

I had a wonderful, beautiful wandering thought.  What if everyone in the world grew flowers?  They could be as simple as a single Daisy in a pot, or a rail basket full of marigolds, or a ton all over your yards (kind of like our home – we try to put flowers in everything).  Imagine not only the beauty but the benefits.  Feeding good bugs and birds naturally (FYI: I love it when our Humming Birds come to visit our Honeysuckle).

We also love to use companion planting with as much as we can in our gardens.  When I initially started learning about it, I was amazed at how many ways you can protect and encourage your own little space of land, just by using “buddies” while you do it.  Isn’t it nice to know those good friends work best together in nature, not just in humans?

Happy Gardening!

You can also check me out at:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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