Sunday, April 5, 2020

Not myself. . . . . . . .

Celeste fig tree coming along great - even tiny fruits galore already!

This past week was a really hard one. 
Just two days after my dear next door neighbor and friend of 12 years passed away, 
another close neighbor, two houses away, lost his elderly father from head injuries
 from a fall, followed by a stroke.  
These sad losses, along with the terrible growing numbers of deaths from the 
corona virus, and a frightening worldwide situation, has made me want to scream. . . . 
and I did, into my thick Pottery Barn bath towel after taking a shower yesterday! 
I just wrapped it around my face and screamed - luckily the bathroom fan muffles
 noise and Bob's hearing is not as good as it used to be! 
Yes, I admit, I'm not myself by any means - going to bed early, sleep disturbed 
several times a night. . . . . and tired, 
oh so tired in the mornings.

BUT, before you think I'm falling apart, really I'm not!
I'm staying busy because, thankfully, I do have my garden which is probably
 saving me. . . . . . as well as Bob and our great nearby neighbors.  
We are all working outside in perfect conditions this week - brilliant sunshine 
under cobalt skies, perfect temperatures, no humidity, even the pollen 
slowing down, and best of all, for me, very few mosquitoes yet

 Staying in our gardens we are much more than six feet apart but still able to chat, 
share garden tips and, now and again, update one another regarding happenings
in this scary pandemic world.

The birds are singing nonstop now - this male towhee sits in an oak above my
 garden bench for 20 minutes at a time serenading his lady, paying no attention to me.
Mama finch is still sitting on her three eggs.

Within a few days I think the eggs will start to hatch.
So we have been staying busy, the garden taking up several hours each day.
 A very early run to the garden center (with only a couple of other customers at that
 ungodly shopping time) at Lowe's one morning for potting soil, tomato plants, 
petunias and geranium plants, the pre-potted display (above) for the large urn, hanging
 Boston ferns, herbs/moonflower/morning glory seeds etc. All items to keep me happy
in the weeks ahead.

Note my glorious now red maple tree in the background - it will gradually turn green
 and then red again in autumn!

A second early morning trip, armed with washable cloth shopping bags, a mask 
and gloves (above), was to Costco at the specified senior time 8-9 AM. 
On arrival we immediately changed our plan as the invisible end of the line
 somewhere around the back of the huge building, plus many people who
were obviously NOT 60 or older (naughty!), turned us off. Instead we quickly
 drove across the street to Trader Joe's where we were greeted at the door by
 cheery men who wiped down a cart for us, ushered us inside immediately - and 
being early there were not too many customers so safe distance was no problem.

Deciding on perishable foods/produce etc. to buy these days is rather hard - things
 that last as long as possible are important.  I have peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, 
leeks, squash potatoes etc. as I make loads of vegetarian soups - only problem 
now is I'm running out of freezer space to store the soups!

Don't forget some fruits!

We started using the gazebo for supper this week as it was still warm in the evenings.
It's like having a little nearby 'restaurant' and makes a change of scenery.
I've also taken my laptop out there where birdsong, blooming azaleas, and an iced
 coffee make it a comforting retreat.

I hope this Sunday, Palm Sunday, is a special day for you. 
Perhaps you won't be able to be with your loved ones this year but still
 make it a good day.  
We need to stay safe, we need to do what is necessary. . . . . . and by now we all
 know what that entails, so let's do it!

Despite the troubled world and so much sadness, I hope we can still do our usual
Easter time blog posts. Please display decor around your homes (my Easter bunnies
 are ready), beauty in your gardens, or just a few kind words which are needed more
 than ever at this special time.

Stay well dear friends.


  1. What a joy your garden must be Mary. Those azaleas are just beautiful. Here our garden centres have had to close much to everyone's horror. There is talk of trying to get the Govt to open them. So many thousands of plants ready for Spring will die otherwise. I could not do without my garden.

  2. What a magnificent show of Azaleas! I think I'd sit out there for as much of the day as I could. I try not to listen to any news for two or three hours before bedtime and listen to music instead then I curl up with a book for a while before dropping off to sleep - it seems to work for me (most of the time anyway!).

  3. Dear Mary,
    These feelings of helplessness and anxiety are common to all of us during these unsettling days. I found tears pricking my eyes when I went into the grocery store on Friday morning - everyone seemed so tense and we're all so careful to remain 6 feet apart, except for the few who barrel by in complete oblivion. And shelves are empty, not because of a lack of supply, but because of people hoarding and of the logistics of getting things to the stores. I stocked up for at least two weeks, and am carefully planning which vegetables to use first and which will stay. I'm happy that I still have winter kale and broccoli growing in my garden, and the radishes planted a couple of weeks ago are developing well.

    My daughter's MIL passed away this week and it was so hard. I took some food I'd prepared over, but couldn't really visit well. These are difficult days for us all. I'm sure it has been a comfort to be able to visit, at a distance, with your neighbours while gardening.

    I'm also figuring out online teaching and this past week I've done so much technical stuff that my brain is exhausted. Tim works long hours, and is working today, from home at least, but had 346 emails to deal with. It's completely crazy.

    Bread baking and embroidery, some sewing and reading, fill my hours when I'm not working on school stuff.

    We'll get through this, together. Hugs to you and Bob.

  4. Your garden is so beautiful. Braden centres are considered as non-essental here so they are closed. Our yard/ garden is looking rather sad. Sorry to hear you had a bad week. This surreal situation is upsetting everyone.

  5. Oh, Mary, it was so good to read your post. Your outdoor spaces are so pretty. The flowers and trees and birds. It just does my heart good to see you surrounded by so much beauty. And then to see the colorful produce and know that you're taking good care of yourself and Bob. Your photographs are simply stunning. Opening your blog is like browsing through a magazine. I love it! Hugs, Nancy

  6. You have such a lovely garden. I am sorry to hear about your other neighbor.

  7. That screaming would surely alarm your Beloved if he had heard it. ☺ I am glad to know that, in spite of the sorrows of the week, you will be okay. Life goes on. It is a strange new world and I certainly hope that we all decide that we don't like it not even a little bit. We'll do what we have to do and move forward from there. This, too, shall pass as you so aptly reminded us in an earlier post.

    The beautiful produce reminded me that I need to add to my grocery list. Daughter will do battle in the morning.

  8. What a lovely post. The garden looks so beautiful! And the photos of the birds are amazing. What a wonderful variety of birds you have, I have many birds but only the more common ones, some of the coloration on the birds in your pictures...well all I can say is "wow!".

  9. Dear Mary - I think that everyone of us must be feeling similar and we all have our various ways of coping. I am much better if I don't listen to the news - I know that I am burying my head in the sand.
    The Queen spoke to us all this evening in her usual reassuring manner. I am amazed at the way she copes with the many problems that seem to be continually coming her way. It must be very difficult for her at such a great age.
    I dread going to the shops - I have seen some people from the opposite sex, who obviously feel that the virus is not their problem, and they do not respect the safe distance rule.
    Continue to enjoy your flowers and birds Mary, your garden is really, really beautiful, and a place where you and Bob can be safe together.

  10. You are allowed to scream. And cry. Do what you need to do! We are all in this together and there are some days that just totally stink. My feelings are all over the place - some days I feel so down and anxious and sad and frankly, pi**ed off. Other days I feel like my cheerful, usual self. I find the weather plays a big part in how I feel, too. The cold, gloomy days really get me down.

    All the stores here have said no reusable bags. I wonder if we can bring them if we bag ourselves though? I will have to find out.

    I'm always amazed at how lush and gorgeous your property is. Your landscaping and flowers are SO pretty!

  11. Dear Mary, your garden is glorious, and what a comfort it is to have it these days. Those azaleas are stunning! So sad you had to scream - they are tense times indeed and it does build up. I have not been sleeping well either, with strange dreams. Must be trying to analyse the situation to process it. We too have tried having a meal in a different spot, on the deck or the garden, and trying new recipes or foods as available. On Saturday night I have deemed 'dress up' night. Your idea of an early morning run to the garden shop is a good one, and I might just do the same. There is no potting mix here, and I'd love some new annuals. Last week I threw out some nasturtium seeds and today found a 4" plant! We must enjoy the small things. Be safe. xxx

  12. God bless you, Dear Mary! A scream now and then can be a good thing. Your garden is looking very lovely. I can scarcely believe the size of that fig tree! I remember when you planted it. What a beautiful place to keep one busy and distracted from all the craziness going on. My husband has gone to Costco a few times but usually left right away due to the impossible line. However, this week he was able to get right in (they have a separate line for 60-plus and it was very short). However, checking out after getting supplies was another matter; inside was too crowded and the lines very long to check out. Trader Joe's, on the other hand, was amazing. They had someone outside letting everyone know what to expect, to wipe down a cart as you went in, and kept the number inside quite low so it was very quick to check out and depart. Well stocked shelves too. Kudos to TJ!! I look forward to seeing your Easter decor. Wishing you and Bob a Happy Easter with lots of love.

  13. Your garden is your own piece of paradise, you are so lucky to live where you do, the way you do! The gazebo looks like the perfect place to be in this glorious spring weather; supper there sounds very appealing.
    Why can folks not stick to those sensible rules such as leaving senior citizens to shop at certain hours? Maybe some of them will have to go to work later and can only shop early mornings, but probably not all of them; it is pure selfishness on their part. Sad!

  14. Dearest Mary,
    A person who lives and works so hard in your most beautiful garden can not be sad for long. I'm so glad to see your garden. It is beautiful. In the past we have only seen snippets of your garden space. To see it in all its glory is so uplifting. Your birds love you. They line up for picture taking.
    You are the master of close-up shots, whether it is a magnificent bird or a lowly vegetable.
    You have made my day.

  15. It is indeed a time when we all want to scream, stomp our feet, and cry. Such a sad time. I am totally avoiding Costco and actually have not been to Trader Joe's either. So glad you had a good experience at TJ. I hadn't done a large shopping for 3 weeks, so this morning early we suited up and headed for the local market. I ended up spending more than I have ever spent, but we should be set for 3 more weeks now. We set up a table in the garage where we wiped everything down before taking them into the house. Then we each tossed our clothes into the wash and ourselves into the shower. It was a full morning event. Whew!


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