Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The last week of the year....


I love the hush that takes over the neighborhood and my small town the day after Christmas. All the frenzy is put to rest and the celebration we all enjoyed is a warm memory to enjoy time and time again. But then we come to that last week in the year, you know the one, where it is difficult to know what to do with yourself. Because...

You're a bit tired from the wonderful Christmas you just enjoyed with family and friends and possibly a little too much of the foods that you don't routinely eat, except for special occasions, like Christmas.

You're pretty sure you want to take a vacation in a warm climate, but that old bank account is saying no, no, no...

You're growing a bit tired of the decor that spilled all over the house in this wonderful celebration we enjoy. But you're not ready to invest the energy to put it all away, as you clearly remember how much work it was to put it all up!


You're missing the cookies that have already been eaten, wishing the ones you don't enjoy as well, had been baked in a smaller batch or possibly not at all. Unfortunately, there is still too much food to ask for anything to be baked...

It is the middle of the week, and there is no football to watch, or shopping to do, or chores that are calling your name (well not loudly enough!). So you feel a bit off kilter.

And then someone gives you a big hug and a heartfelt Thank you, and you truly know that Christmas and all the work involved is so worth it and you really can't wait for next year!

But for now, you have decided that any New Year's resolutions, will just have to wait because right now it is the perfect time to do nothing and enjoy the memories of this year. Because this is the last week of the year, and this moment will never happen again, for you to enjoy!


It's a new week, thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Regarding retirement, giving "the blues" the boot!

Retirement is a different animal that I was not used to. It is calmness where I use to work in an environment of busy, loud and endless need. Suffice to say that one does not succumb to retirement until a few rungs on the ladder have been stepped on. You see while you climb the ladder up in the working world, you must step down the ladder for retirement. And until you understand it a strangeness can come over you, and we shall call it the blues.


Once I realized I had entered into the blues, I also knew that I had to get out, fast! Where I had rule after rule in my working day, I had none in retirement, and that was the mistake that led to falling into the blues in the first place.

I had been enjoying the slow lane, even if it is so new, that the traveling is a bit scary because I have never traveled here before. And then one day, it seemed that as quickly as I entered retirement, I became bored with it as well. Silliness for sure. And it was because instead of changing a couple of rules, like no commutes and deadlines, and no endless inbox. I got rid of all rules entirely. The truth is one must have some rules to engage in life and those around you.

So now...

I have two rules for myself. The first one is to be present to the day ahead, which really means that I get up, get dressed and get busy. The second one is to openly discuss my plans for the day, not only to keep my dear husband in the loop of how I will spend my day but to set it in stone if you will, as in this is what I will accomplish/do/enjoy today, for accountability.

And it is going pretty well.

I have been busy working on Christmas gifts, one of my goals for this new life we are rebuilding. I say rebuilding because oh so many years ago, all my Christmas gifts were handmade. Just like the bread we ate, and the fruit in jars, in the pantry.

I have been getting to know my husband again.

I have had the opportunity to think in a calm setting of what I do want in this life, for the rest of my life.

And I have also given myself the permission to just sit and read or enjoy watching the birds at the feeder right outside the window.

And life is good again.


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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Baby it's cold outside...

First, my apologies for being away so long. We (or rather I) have had some changes to work through and they took up most of my thoughts. I am happy to say, that I am officially filing for retirement and I am so happy to be doing so! However coming to that decision was the part that took up my thoughts...

We are in a cold snap here on the peninsula, it was down to 33 degrees! Since this is our first winter here, we were surprised (I don't know why for Pete's sake, it is winter...) at the cold, and had not completed our usual winter chores. Given our frosty environment, the chores were fast-tracked, and quickly completed!

Here are some photos of our yard dressed in frost.


The violas have bloomed and are covered in frost.

The Salal is in bloom, after dropping all its berries.

The lava rocks around the sand and fire pit.

A very thin coating of ice on the bird bath.

Frozen rainwater in place of the food usually found in this feeder.

I am hoping we have a potato harvest. The vines had died back, this is not frost damage. Our neighbors have indicated they grow potatoes year round.

I was very (very, very) happy to see leaf buds on the currents, after the deer ate them all last summer!

Strawberry ground cover in the sand and fire pit area.

This guy wanted out in the worst way, until he got cold feet, literally! He like us, is adjusting to winter in a new home.

How are you doing with winter in your area?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Our backyard includes, The Pacific Ocean.


We were very excited to be able to see the super moon, unfortunately we had so much cloud cover, there was nothing but clouds to see! Not even a faint glow, where the moon was....


But there have been changes in our surf from the super moon and it is spectacular to see and enjoy. The surf is much more robust, with bigger waves due to the pull of the moon. This morning during a quick walk, we noticed that the smell in the air was different also.


With larger waves, there is more movement in the water. There was a smell I can only associate with decaying murk. Not totally unpleasant, but it is apparent that the ocean is cleaning house! Along the sand, was this rusted (and burned) bed spring, brought up on the high tides in the middle of the night.


Everyday is different when we walk along the beach. There is always clues to where the tide ended and of course the patterns left in the sand, when the water returned to the ocean.


While we did miss seeing the super moon, we see signs of it's force on our daily walks.

Note:  all photos taken with my camera and have not been edited.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A path of nothingness.



I missed the Monday deadline to write and use some creativity that does not involve my kitchen. Granted it is a goal I sat for myself, but Monday is gone, much like the Super Moon. The next few months will be a transition, going from full time work to retirement. I am having some challenges.

I can already see that being off the clock can lead to nothingness, if one is not careful. Which means, I must be careful. There is much to get done  enjoy, in this life of mine. So many things I have not done, because I had to go to work the next day. So many things I put off, until I did not have to go to work the next day.

I will tell you right now, it is a difficult task transitioning from job ready to self ready. Job ready was easy, you were expected to arrive at a specific time, work hard to accomplish a specific standard or production quotient, then go home. The details of your fatigue and what might be possible for self later that day was not the concern of any supervisor or manager.

Where as self ready means you are not only the supervisor, but also the employee. You must organize what needs to be done, along with all the things that you want to get done. Plus you must manage your self, you know that same self that has started on the path to nothingness. To self manage is to have a clear understanding of the important things in one's own life, and get them done.


So essentially retirement is a full time upper management job.....

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Garden update, look at those potatoes!


This hungry Doe made her way through the yard nibbling on some of the leaves that grow on the various trees. She gently nibbled in our side yard where all the bird feeders are located, in her silence she did not disturb any of the birds. We were only aware of the Doe's presence because our cat became fretful.

When we looked outside to see what we could see, that is when we spotted her.

Once she had her fill of the side yard, she moved around back to our little potato patch garden. These potatoes have been wind whipped and rain drenched. But they are not Doe food. We might get a harvest yet!


She was very interested in our little garden shed, and then wandered back into the greenway.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Happy Election Eve to you!


Tomorrow is the Presidential election for 2016. As important as it is for all voters to have a say in how our country is managed and by whom, I will be happy that the election is over. I believe I have come to see a trend in our political structure that is disturbing as well as harmful.

That of shaming and blaming through social media sites. Social media has become not only big business, but how we communicate as a world community. Tap, tap, tap and zip an opinion has been sent to social media cyber space in less than a half second.

That bite of opinion, is quickly read by many and becomes fact if for no other reason than it is there in black and white (much like a newsprint use to be deemed valuable and important) to be read and shared time and time again.

I am as guilty of using social media as the next person. I blog on one platform and keep up with family and friends on another. During my visits to these social media sites, I see the other information and heated discussions of opinions, with this election being more heated than the last.

Social media is a formula, information is quickly released, to be seen and shared by many and if viewed repeatedly by enough viewers, becomes real. Social media is a means to gather followers (and believers) for your cause.

I am not certain this is how we should be electing a Presidential candidate, unless we are speaking the truth.

It's a new week, I hope to see you again.



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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Garden Tuesday, the one about rain...

We are having a very wet autumn. Lots (and lots!) of rain, wind, and more rain. I think the rain is preventing some of the larger animals from finding enough food to eat, one visited our yard and demolished my favorite bird feeder.

My husband spotted the badly bent hook and the missing feeder (The top cap was still attached to the badly bent hook, the glass housing was gone.) from our bird watching window and went out to clean it up before I could snap a photo to document the damage. The photo above is very grainy, but the mostly red, stained glass bird feeder, is no more.

Potato plants, wind beat, but otherwise OK.
Our garden pots of potatoes weathered the wind storm of two weeks ago just fine. But the rain just might do them in! It never gets so cold here to freeze out your plants. And according to info we read, while the cooler weather will yield a crop, I am not certain it includes getting so much rain. When the tops die back and all we harvest is rotten potatoes, I will rig up an umbrella of sorts for next year.

These snapdragons are proof that the cooler weather allows growth year round, they were in a sheltered place under the awning in Vancouver, yet they almost froze out. When we brought all the garden pots to the peninsula, there was just a touch of green poking out of the soil, but here they are blooming in November! These plants are now going on three years old. Even nestled in the rhododendron bushes, these garden pots get plenty of water.

The roses are doing well, I try to pick one for our breakfast table. I have noticed that the deer prefer the open blooms. They have to be pretty hungry to eat the buds.

I am not certain if the deer come for the roses after stopping by the neighbors for the cut apple pieces left on a bench, or before enjoying their apple breakfast!

We have a few rose hips ready to ripen.

And we still have Calla Lillies popping up in the side yard! All the rain has "watered" them very well, providing lots of new growth. More digging is in store to remove them from this area. The previous plants dug out of here and tossed into the swampy area of the lake, have taken off and are growing like crazy. So we made the decision to reclaim the Callas and plant them in a bed in the back yard, so we can enjoy them! Calla Lillies are another item that does not interest the deer......

The Gooseberry is growing some leaves, so I think we are fine there, I plan on getting a second Gooseberry bush to grow enough to enjoy.

I am still holding out hope for the Red Currants, only spring will tell if we will have fruit.

And finally, our volunteer tomato is blooming. I doubt with all the rain we shall see fruit, but it has been fun, just the same.

How is your garden growing?

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Ritual to you too.


Today is Halloween, not one of my favorite holidays, but Halloween does start our end of the year holiday parade. And if nothing else, I like seeing Halloween show up on the calendar because I know the other holidays near and dear to me are on the way. Holidays could also be spelled rituals.

A rite is "any customary observance or practice". Whereas a ritual is "an established procedure, religious our otherwise", meaning that it is repeated with regular occurrence.

You know, like a holiday!

I believe we create and sustain rituals to remember the past and guarantee the future. Rituals and holidays allow us to bring up the past for review and enjoyment. And usually, the memories are sweet or at the very least, comical!

And that is what builds families, the commitment to be a part of something larger than just yourself.


It isn't always easy to make the journey to attend. Sheesh, it isn't always easy to be the tribe host, either. But once the ritual has passed for another year and you look back, it really wasn't difficult. All it really was, was commitment.

Families do change. People marry and move away. Job transfers happen. Babies are added, and older family members are suddenly no longer there. So whenever possible, make the journey, it will always be a great view when looking back!


So, Happy HallowThankfulChristNewYear Everyone! May your journey be safe and full of wonderful views on the look back.

It's a new week, I hope to see you again.

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Is this a debate or are you arguing with me?

Deciding to "write" is a blessing and a curse. Having to write in order to meet a deadline is upon first inspection a curse. But if you break it down, having a deadline (even one self-imposed) means you must get the task completed. This gives the opportunity to think and if needed rethink, then edit and finish.

Which makes this an opportunity to learn about yourself. In the quiet of your own working space without debate or having to defend your thoughts. Some folks love a good debate, I am not one of them. I hated it in school and for some reason never took to it in later years. I equate it with arguing and yet I know that arguing and debate are not the same activity. They only seem like it.......
Ironically we think we know ourselves when we reach our mid-thirties, but all we really know is our habits and preferences, which is very different from our true self. It has taken me a long time to learn that learning about our true self, takes a lifetime. And I suppose it should. Because we are not the same person in the morning that went to bed the night before. Each new day offers the opportunity to be the best new you, that you can be.

We wake up privileged with all the knowledge from the day before. Whether we put it to use or not is a very different issue, we still wake up privileged. Unfortunately, the word privileged has become tainted in recent years by being attached to the idea of one having money. But below you will see the definition I found to support that we all are privileged.

priv·i·leged
ˈpriv(ə)lijd/

adjective
  • having special rights, advantages, or immunities.
  • having the rare opportunity to do something that brings particular pleasure.
I do not see the mention of money in the above definition. So it seems safe to say anyone waking up after a day of living and learning, is, in fact privileged.


Knowing yourself is one of life's greatest riches and one that you will take comfort in for the rest of your days. And unfortunately, I must also be the spokesperson for some additional bad news. The rest of your days are limited. Yep, we all are going to die. I would take that last sentence back, but then I would be a liar, and I don't think that it would be a good idea to become a writer and a liar on the same day.....


Which brings us to the issue at hand.

What is it that you want to do? And, what are you waiting for?

Now remember you will be different tomorrow. But you will not wake up ready.

I don't know if there really is a state of ready, where one embraces the opportunity and succeeds from that point on.

But I do think there is a state of willing, where one starts right in and continues to work hard toward success.

And I think that is a great tool to have in your tool chest.

It's a new week, I hope to see you again!

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

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friendship friday @ create with joy

Our backyard is changing....

I want to write.

Yes, write.

About stuff.

If I remember correctly this is how blogging began, people were keeping weblogs of written information, hopes, and dreams. I don't know if I am any good at writing, I know I will need to learn as I go, in order to have anything that anyone might be interested in reading. But isn't that what is best about the internet, you will find the good, the bad and the getting-better?
I hope to be in  the later category soon!
You can easily walk around Seattle to see the sights.
Seattle Washington
We are getting closer to having more time for travel and our final hurdle besides winter, is the magical age of 62 for me. We have prepared for the last few years and we have all we need to enjoy a bit of travel. First on our list is Washington state. From there I am not sure, but Santa Fe sounds good as well. I was fortunate enough to be in Santa Fe many years ago. It was quiet and serene and beautiful. I know it has become a mecca for many folks, but I am hoping the heart of Santa Fe is the same, as all those years ago.

One reason it was easy for us to prepare for retirement is that we enjoy the simple things in life. Hiking, reading, photography, meeting new people. We took care to purchase the things we wanted before retirement in order to live comfortable, on less money. And it is a fact, early retirement is always less money. But we have less time on this back hill slide and I would rather do less, and have more time to do with it what I want.

See Astoria on foot, a very easy city to walk around in.
Astoria Oregon

We are all set to get through winter also, with rain gear and each other. If you don't like your partner, life is not as joyful of a journey. I was fortunate to meet my husband when I did. We have similar ideas, and we work well together as a team. We each are prepared to share what is available and be happy with what we have. Which does not mean we always agree, but we do respect the others opinions.

There is not separate man's work or woman's work in our home. Actually, I am surprised at how much of the household my husband takes care of. I will take back some of the household chores when my working years are over, but for now, he feels that he needs to help as much as he can. And honestly, who am I to fight with logic like that? I have struck a deal regarding the laundry, I will do the laundry and he will do all of the electrical repairs.......

It was hard for my husband to retire without me, but with three years difference in our ages, we could not retire at the same time. He was ready after years of schlepping freight and I was not ready financially. Now with just a few months left for me, I am the one having some difficulties. Mainly because I have always worked. I began working full time at age 15, so 47 years later, it is hard to not do, what I have always done.

Honoring veterans in Olympia Washington.
Olympie Washington
To help ease into retirement we are volunteering at different places in our community. Right now our list includes the library and a no-kill animal shelter. My husband has already started and I will join in when I am done in March. We have also tried kayaking. I love the idea of kayaking, but I was a complete failure! Those little boats are like a drunken sailor, tipping and bobbing on the water! So for now just one kayak, for my husband. At this point, I honestly cannot say that I will become more comfortable on the water.....but one can hope.


I have been ill with a horrible virus/influenza for the past 4 days. Which has given me much time to think about things, and summon the courage to express what I want to do. And as this post started out, I want to write. I love the creative process that writing offers and when I return to edit, I learn more about myself in the process.

It's a new week, I hope to see you again!

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends (we would love more followers!), if not, tell us. Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Worm Factory

When we got settled and I thought about things a bit*, I realized that the answer to composting that would benefit our garden was a Worm Factory.

worms for composting, indoor composting
Our Worm Factory

I had a worm box in Vancouver. At the time I did not have the time needed to learn about worm farming, fortunately, this time around I have a generous husband who took on the tasks of the Worm Factory right from the start.

We started with 1/2 pound of worms. As they increase not only will we need to add more food, but another layer of the factory as well. It looks small now, but within months this will be a multi-story factory. Once all the layers have been added and they have outgrown the factory that is the time to clean out the oldest layer, using the castings for your garden and to make a "worm tea".

Once you have cleaned out that layer, you make a fresh bed to begin adding food scraps for the cycle to start again. Once the worm factory is up and running full speed, you can expect to capture one layer's worth of casting each month.

While you can place large pieces of food and scraps in the box, it is easiest for the worms if you chop them up a bit, so we took an old cutting board and knife out to the work bench.

We will never run out of food for the worms, not living in such a natural setting. There is a fresh supply of "green" foods (our vegetable scraps, weeds pulled from the garden, grass clippings etc) plus the "brown" foods are readily available (shredded paper, dried leaves, cardboard) and the bedding material crushed egg shells, coffee grounds are available daily!

We should have a couple of layers ready by spring.

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

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* Due to our black bear population outdoor compost bins as well as keeping your garbage can outside is strongly prohibited.

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