Thursday, May 28, 2015

End of May Blessings

It was a slow, slipping into summer week.  I love it.  The blessings were just simple ones, but I am still grateful.  Here are the Friday Fave Fives from Willow's Week.

1.  Checking stuff to do off our to do list.  Deep clean one room a day.  Check.   Clean out and organize shed.  Check.  Daily exercise--bike rides, walks.  Check.  I love summer!  Our summer schedule is 'our schedule'.

2.  Did I just write, "I love summer"?  Waking up in the morning and reciting, "Let's see.  Today is the Saturday we call Thursday!"  It's so relaxing -- and we really need that after our crazy spring.

3.  One thing I love to do is putter around in my little garden.  This week I repotted my chocolate mint.  It had become root bound, so I pulled it all out and replanted it.  There were enough leaves on the bits that didn't go back in the pot to make a yummy cup of tea.  Served with a couple of ginger cookies, it was the perfect afternoon snack.

4.  I also started an experiment.  I'm a huge fan of ginger root tea.  Because I can purchase great fresh ginger at the farmers market, I always have a supply on hand.  In fact, this spring, I had a bit extra which began to sprout.   I got to wondering if I could grow ginger.  I did some research and finally decided that if it doesn't work, it's not a big deal.  It's an experiment.  Here is my pot--we'll see....

5.  I love being able to bless someone else with something I am not longer using.  We had some moving blankets stored in our shed and decided to let them go.  I posted an offer for them on my resource exchange group and a family who is moving out of state this weekend jumped on my offer.  The dad came by today and picked them up.  Win-win.  I recouped a small portion of  money from my investment in them and gained some more room in the shed, and they have padding for their furniture for the move.  I threw in a couple of boxes and some packing paper--Yay!

How was your week?  Any blessings?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Time

Let the summer break begin!  Here are my Friday Faves for this first week of My Summer!

Flags on Ventura Pier

1.  Last Friday evening, we met up with friends who live in Los Angeles.  Usually, they drive up here (to do things like help us move!), but this time we met in the middle, in Calabasas, where there is one of our favorite restaurants--Sharky's!  They have The. Best. Burritos!

2.  The Topanga Banjo and Fiddle (Contest) Festival was awesome!  I spun yarn and demonstrated spinning techniques for hours and hours.  My favorite part is talking to the kids and explaining how long it takes to clean the wool, spin it and then knit it in to ONE pair of socks.  And I produced more than one full bobbin of Cowichan wool yarn.  (The link can give you some information on the kind of wool I was spinning--if you care.)

3.  Safe trip to Santa Monica.  I needed to act as chauffeur for a friend who was having a day surgery in Santa Monica.  Although the occasion wasn't great fun, we both enjoyed our drive through the Santa Monica Mountains and along the beach on Pacific Coast Highway.  After all, how many people can state that they drove to the hospital on PCH?  The extra part of the fave was, yes, safety in Los Angeles traffic.

4.  I've been knitting a small shawl using some handspun silk yarn dyed with indigo and a natural white llama and silk yarn, also handspun, one strand of each.  Finally, I got the hang of the pattern and am almost finished with it.  Every once in a while I enjoy a knitting challenge.  [Once it is finished and blocked, I'll post a photo of it.]

5.  The Professor posted his grades, and now he's on summer break!

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 15, 2015

More Faves in Mid May

Whoa.  It's mid day on Friday already.  I did begin a Friday Fave Five post last night but didn't finish.  There is a lethargy that happens at...

1.  the end of the teaching year!  Yes, yesterday was my last class. While I love teaching writing skills to children, I also love the free time of summer vacation.  Usually, I allow myself a day or two to relax before I tackle the very last part of my teaching year--the last set of compositions to correct.

2.  Another reason and a FAVE  which actually causes more lethargy is Rain!  I'm a native Oregonian.  You know what that means.  We Oregon natives have webs between our toes.  We don't tan; we rust.  When days are cloudy and dark and it's raining, we hibernate because we think it's winter.  Well, evidently, Southern California is having a uncharacteristic weather-- rain and thunder storms in May.  The Oregonian in me shows itself and I go into 'winter mode' which means hunkering down inside with a hot cup of coffee which also means I'm feeling lazy.

3.  All the years we lived outside the US made us much less aware of American holidays.  In Indonesia, we didn't celebrate Fourth of July or Thanksgiving.  Mother's Day and Father's Day at that time weren't a big deal.  Even now, I don't get all 'expectant' about it.  All I care about it that my kids check in with me which they all did.  That made the day complete for me.  An added bonus was lunch with The Professor's sister and our nephew.  We might have sat on the outside patio/courtyard of the restaurant for two hours...

4.  Time in my garden.  Lettuce is ready to pick. Tomatoes are ripening.  Basil is growing.  As a Mother's Day gift to myself (with The Professor's agreement), I bought some "color spot flowers".  Usually I don't plant non natives or annuals in the garden.  These are in pots.  I think I might like pink and purple.

5.  Can anticipation be a FAVE?  I hope so.  This week I received my comp tickets to The Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival.  Every year our handweavers and spinners guild is invited to participate as demonstrators.  It's my favorite venue to do this!  Can't wait for Sunday!

Monday, May 11, 2015

What's In My Garden This Week

Mid May is making its mark in Willow's Garden.

The Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are turning -- gold.

The herbs are healthy.
Sweet basil is just waiting to be thrown into a pasta dish this week.

Slowly making its comeback from near death over winter, the chocolate mint is pushing out a few green  and aromatic leaves.

In the lavender patch, a honey bee is busy collecting pollen.

Since this is Southern California, the ubiquitous California poppies are blooming their hearts out after a mist of rain last weekend.

This bougainvillea lives in a large pot by the front steps.  Even after ten years, it still produces beautifully.

A new addition to the back bank this spring, this California native plant, chocolate daisy, is bravely establishing itself in the clay soil.

The prayer of a gardener
Thirteenth Century Cisterian monk Guerric D'Igny

Lord Jesus:
You are the true gardener;
You are its creator and cultivator,
And the guardian of your garden.

You plant the seeds by your words,
You water them by your Spirit
And you make them grow by your power.

Lord, who is allowed into your garden,
Becomes himself a well-watered garden
That keeps growing and blossoms,
And its fruits are multiplied.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

May Flowers

What a week.  Again.  It seems like spring is always spent going full speed ahead.  This week did.  But.  We survived.  And now it's Friday.  Friday Fave Fives with Susanne.
Here are my Fave Five from Willow's Week.
[Insert small note: as I am typing this, it's RAINING!  Any amount of rain is a miracle which we so desperately need.]

1.  I love poppies.  They just pop up in my garden--well, it is the California state flower, after all.   I picked a tiny bouquet and brought them in to the kitchen.  They're wonderful while they last--but poppies don't work well as cut blooms--within a day they had all wilted and dropped their petals.

2.  Sunday was the annual local hospice sponsored Garden Tour.  This year's chosen gardens were...undistinguished.  We had expected more focus on water wise, drought tolerant gardens considering the dreadful state of our lack of water here in Southern California.  Still, it was fun to wander around other people's gardens.  I did notice a color theme.  Lots of orange, terra cotta, and green.

3.  Also on Sunday afternoon, we grabbed a bit of lunch with The Professor's sister and her two sons.  Since our own children all live far away, we especially appreciate the time we can spend with our nephews and their little ones.

4.  Once a year,  the performing arts dept at the university presents "Arts Under the Stars, a free evening of outdoor art, music, film, theatre and dance performances by CI students."  Dragging our blankets, jackets, caps and chairs with us, we joined the throngs on the lawn in front of the university library and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

5.  Lunch with one of the nephews after teaching one day this week.  He works near where my Thursday classes are held.  He recommended Thai food, and I happily agreed.  And at the same time, some legal advice and information.  It is so very useful to have a lawyer in the family :)