Writing101 – Unlock the Mind

Writing101 – Unlock the Mind

Our first assignment for this course is to ‘free write’ for 20 minutes – about anything – anything at all.

So, of course, this is the time that I have nothing going through my mind! Me – the one of the racing thoughts keeping me up all night, distracting me all day – now I have nothing to say.

Wait! There’s a thought – it’s April! My favorite month of the year is April. Yes, it’s my birthday month but that’s not the only reason it’s my favorite month. Yes, I like birthdays because the alternative (not having a birthday) really sucks! This year’s birthday was really special to me because I came close to not making it to this one.

Besides all that, April has the prettiest name of any month. When I was a child, and even into early adulthood, I often dreamed of changing my legal name to ‘April.’ It has such a lyrical, fantastical sound to it – is that a word? Fantastical? Anyway, it’s a pretty name that churns up all kinds of amazing images in my mind of worlds and characters that could be, should be and may be somewhere, sometime…

April is also the month when Spring truly seems to arrive although logically I know that scientifically Spring arrives in March. April is when Spring ‘springs’ in the form of so many blooms and the nurseries are full of gardening potential. I love to roam the aisles looking for the next masterpiece lying in wait just hoping to be chosen for my garden. Well, at least I used to do that…these days with the health issues, I only dream of roaming the aisles like I used to. On a good day, I can manage a few minutes but nothing like the hours of years gone by. I miss those times but know that things change and I have to make the adjustments to save my sanity and that of those around me.

April is the month of young love, just check out all the nests of baby birds and litters of kitties and puppies and skunks and who knows what else in the wild! Love is in the air! Isn’t there something about springtime in Paris too? April is simply a magical time and forever reigns as my favorite month of the year so I don’t just celebrate on my birthday, I make every attempt to celebrate the month every day of the month – to enjoy it in all its glory.

April showers also bring May flowers but that’s a conversation for another day.

Friday Frolics #10

Friday Frolics #10

On this beautiful Friday morning, I started out in the garden, such as it is, so early in the season. Nonetheless, it got me thinking about preparing for the onslaught of the season ahead and preparing my various potions for plant growth and pest control.

I prefer to minimize, if not eliminate, the use of harsh chemical preparations as much as possible so I have a couple of favorite concoctions I’ll share with you today. One is for feeding the plants in the garden and one is for pest control. Both of these ‘recipes’ were shared with me by my mom, may she rest in peace, although I have seen similar recipes on Pinterest and other sites.

garden tools

D-I-Y Garden Plant Food

1 tsp Epsom salts

4 cups warm water

Spray on plant leaves every 10 days.

-or-

2 Tbsp Epsom salts

1 gallon warm water

Substitute for regular watering once a month.

-and-

When you are planting your new plants in the garden, put a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the bottom of the planting hole along with the new plant. Mix it into the loose soil at the bottom of the hole before inserting the new plant. I find it gives the new transplants a bit of a boost as they’re establishing themselves in the garden. Of course, be sure to water-in the transplants well to activate the salts.

garden tools

D-I-Y Garden Bug Spray

This doesn’t repel pests so much as it kills insects such as aphids and squash beetles that are already on the plants. I find companion planting does most of my work as far as repelling the majority of the pests – we’ll get into that on another day.

10 oz. rubbing alcohol

2 Tbsp dishwashing liquid

14-16 oz. spray bottle

Mix alcohol and dishwashing liquid in spray bottle. Fill bottle to capacity with water.

Spray plant leaves and stems in the early morning or in the evening (so alcohol and water have time to evaporate before full sun hits the plants). Remember to spray the undersides of leaves too. Repeat as needed.

These are simple concoctions that have worked well for me. I have had multiple pets and children in and out of the garden throughout the years and have always felt comfortable about their being around these ‘potions.’ I hope you achieve acceptable results if you choose to give them a test run.

Enjoy your weekend!

Happy New Year 2015!!!

Well,  it’s been about six months since my last (and first) entry here but a lot has happened. I know, excuses, excuses, but, really! A lot has happened! All of that aside (separation, moved twice, health scares, etc.), let’s attempt to get back on track with some inspiration, some craft ideas and maybe a gardening idea or something.

This first day of the year is always a day that fills me with feelings of gratitude – much more so than Thanksgiving does for many people. I think it is because I am always somewhat surprised (pleasantly so) to make it through to another New Year’s Day. Having said that, what am I grateful for besides just another chance at another new year? I am grateful for a beautiful family, wonderful friends, what health I have and the opportunities that come my way to enjoy this life.

Something I’m trying for the first time this year, and invite you to do the same, is a “gratitude jar.” I’m sure many of you have seen this idea shared on Facebook and other sites throughout the year. It’s really very simple; take a pretty jar (something you won’t mind having sitting out) and throughout the year, write down those precious moments when you feel thankful, grateful, humbled, and put those slips of paper in the jar. At the end of the year, gather with your friends and family to share those moments again by reading the papers together. Of course, if you need reminders throughout the year of the good times, the precious moments, feel free to dig in and have a reading session anytime the need arises. Just grab the jar, a good cup of coffee or tea and settle back in your favorite chair with the best reading material in town – your very own gratitude journal, compiled one day at a time!

Before I get away for the day, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the garden. This time of the year is so often a time when we ignore the garden. In fact, many of us downright avoid going anywhere near it! Remember, though, the garden needs love all year around so here are just a few things to think about concerning the garden in January: check any stored bulbs for sprouting or mildew, check the mulch around tender plantings and replenish as needed, review seed catalogs and start planning now, clean houseplants thoroughly and feed with slow-release fertilizer, and water trees and hardy outdoor plants if the season has been dry.

Happy New Year!!!