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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blooming Marvelous

     Weather in Wyoming can be very unpredictable. This spring as been particularly good for my flowers.  The blooms have been in great profusion this year, more then usual. So how could I not share the bounty.

The tulips started things off with a nice display

The William Baffin roses are going crazy

These Clematis (Nelly Moser) blooms are 7 inches across

The crab apple tress were gorgeous. I wish their blooms lasted longer.

We have an abundance of peonies  

My creeping thyme was beautiful as usual.

The Ivory Silk lilac trees are busting out and the fragrance is wonderful.

     Even the wildflowers have been putting on a display, as you can see from the photo below. This photo was taken on one of our morning walks.

     Every day I am excited to see what new blooms have graced my garden.  That is one of the many things I enjoy about gardening. The wonder of discovery, from the first sprout of spring and on through the growing season.

A thought to ponder: "Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the                                          flower."                                          John Harrigan

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Building a Waterfall

     We've lived in our present house for almost 25 years. It's fun to look back at pictures and see the changes that have taken place in our garden. In this post I am going to share the evolution of our waterfall/pond. We started out with a concrete fountain that we bought at a local nursery in 1994.

     This worked well for several years. Our dog at the time enjoyed climbing into it with his ball or just to get a drink and splash around.

     Our Wyoming winters started to take their toll on the concrete, so we decided to replace the largest bowel with an in-ground pond. So the hubby with the help of our son dug a hole that we lined with pond liner. We used flagstone and other rocks to finish it off. 

     As you can see from the above shot we also expanded the area to make an Asian garden.

     The weather continued to take it's toll on the concrete even though we tried to protect it in the winter. So then we were down to two bowels.

The birds enjoyed our waterfall as much as we enjoyed watching them.

     But we also started to have problems with the ground shifting around the pond area. So we decided we needed to come up with another idea that would hold up better with our crazy weather. My husband was working at the time at a hotel/restaurant. He found that they were throwing out some large aluminum baking pans, so he asked if he could have them. Thus was born a new idea for a waterfall/pond. First we bought a sheep water trough to put in the existing pond and filled in around it, with a little help from the grandson. The rigid sides of the trough keep the dirt from shifting. 

     A friend knew how to weld aluminum so helped us build the waterfall from the baking pans. We cut off one end of the pans and then stacked them in a slight curve and welded them together. At the highest end a metal pipe was used to support it. I spray painted the pans with brown paint to make them blend in more with the rocks that we stacked around. We covered the bottom of the pans with river rock.

     This has held up really well since we built it in 2009. The blue color of the water is a non toxic coloring we bought at Home Depot. By making the water a darker color it helps slow down the growth of algae. 

     As you can see we made a few other changes to the area. It is lovely to sit on the patio and listen to the flow of the waterfall.

This bell was made for us by a friend, from a used oxygen tank.

    We had a turtle for awhile. Our son spotted him trying to cross the street and was afraid he might get run over.  He brought him to our house, he stayed for awhile then moved on.

We put this board and ramp to make it easier for birds to drink from the pond. It came in handy for the turtle. It is also helpful when we have the occasional frog stop by for a visit.

We added some larger frogs to the decor. These were given to me as a retirement gift.

We have also used the pond for an orphaned goose.  See my post A Goose without a Mother

     So as you can see the pond and waterfall has brought us more then just beauty and soothing sound but also the enjoyment of wildlife.  It diffidently has been a wonderful addition to our garden.

A thought to ponder: "Life is like a waterfall, it is always moving and there is                                        always an uneven flow to it."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

My take on the capsule wardrobe

     Last month I turned 70. Now I'm not telling you this so you'll say, "why you don't look a day over 68."  But rather to marvel at the fact that I've gotten to this age and still have so much to learn. I'm sure I've acquired some knowledge in all these years and hopefully I'm able to pass some of it along to others. But with the internet so many new ideas are opened up to you. Many that you might never come across otherwise. It of course can be a source of much misinformation, but that's a whole other topic.
    You might or might not be aware of Marie Kondo and "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". And by extension the whole minimalist movement.  This all hit a cord with me because I am a pretty organized person. I would go through stuff periodically and either donate or have a garage sale. But the saying, "you don't need more room, you need less stuff", really started to resonate with me. Another thing that got me thinking, and it might sound a little morbid, but I don't want my kids to have to deal with too much stuff when I'm gone.

     One area that has needed work is my closet. Deep down I knew I had too many clothes. In the past I'd made some half-hearted attempts to pare things down. If I bought something new I would try to get rid of one old item. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. I recently ran across the concept of the capsule wardrobe. If you're not familiar with this search on Pinterst. You'll get all the information you'll ever need on the subject. Here's a couple of sites to get you started: How to start a capsule wardrobeGet started.

     I read quite a bit about this idea. I thought, "this makes good sense, but how can I apply it to my situation." I'm a retired senior, my needs are different then a working 20 or 30 year old. But that's what I like about it, you can adapt it to your life style. Some sites give you a list of must have basics, many of which I'd have no need for. One thing all have in common, they say start with what you have. So that's what I did.
     I took everything out of my closet. And then I got tough with myself. Some things I hadn't worn in several years. "But it's cute" or "I might wear it someday", NO, out it went. I also found I had several items that really didn't go with anything else, OUT. 

Here's my discards

     I then started to put together outfits from what was left. It is suggested you do your wardrobe according to seasons and only hang a three month season in your closet at a time. Although Wyoming does have four seasons; fall, winter and spring can be very unpredictable. One day it can be 60 and sunny the next it is snowing. So I decided to put definitely summer in the guest closet and switch it out for definitely winter when the time comes. I'm keeping everything else in my main closet.
     Next it was time to go thru my shoes.  The following is a photo of all my shoes, not including boots (I had 7 pairs).

     I took each pair and besides comfort, did they go with more then one outfit. I managed to reduce by 11 pair. I even got my husband to go through his clothes and shoes. Although he didn't have near the number I did, he was still able to get rid of items.
     Some of the sites I visited had as few as 10-15 items while others had 30-40 per season. When I finished I counted and found I had an average of 45. I don't think the number matters as much as what works for each individual. I still think I probably have more clothes then I need, but I'm going to work with what I have for now. As I wear my outfits hopefully I will be able to pare it down some more. Or maybe I'll find this is the right amount for me. Either way I'm giving myself the challenge of not buying any new clothes or shoes for one year. This might sound extreme but from looking at the amount I have discarded and what I have left, I obviously have plenty.

These two photos are my closet now. Before there were no spaces between the hangers.

     When I do finally decide to buy something new I'm going to be more deliberate about my purchases. I don't want to get something just because it's cute or on sale. I want what I buy to go with more then one item that I already have. I want to really love it. Comfort is important also, not just style. Although I like to stay up to date, I don't want to be a slave to fashion (I never have understood torn jeans). This will be an on going process and learning experience. I'm excited to see where it leads me. 

A thought to ponder: "Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity.                                   Everybody's buying far too many clothes." 
                                                                                      Vivienne Westwood

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