Thursday, April 30, 2009

More About Native Plants . . .

Great article from the NYTimes:

The book the writer speaks of, “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens” (Timber Press, 2007), by Douglas W. Tallamy, is the book that inspired our recent native plantings as well. And I am fired up to start planting more. I noticed lots of native bees buzzing around the dandelions in the early spring. But S is allergic to them, so we have to pull them out. And no, dandelions are not native but all kinds of bees like them.

We are also being sure to leave some uncovered ground to provide nesting area for native bees. Most bees native to North America burrow in the soil or in wood and do not live in hives. So leave some portion of your yard unplanted, to give those sweeties room to roost. If you can't tell, I love bees and bees love me. I'm one of those weirdos who's never been stung. (Now watch me go get stung right now).

Here's more of why you (yes, you) need to put some native, flowering plants in your garden, if you haven't already:

"My Korean spicebushes (Viburnum carlesii) are also in full bloom, their clusters of pinkish-white flowers filling the air with the heady scent of cinnamon and honey. But it’s striking how few bees are sipping nectar from these Asian shrubs compared with my native redbud and sassafras trees, which are literally vibrating with pollinators.

It bears out the research that Gordon Frankie, an entomologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has begun in gardens around that city, where he and his students have surveyed 1,000 different plants, both native and nonnative.

“Only 50 were native plants, but of that 50, 80 percent were attractive to pollinators,” Professor Frankie said. “In contrast, only 10 percent of the 950 nonnatives were attractive to pollinators.”"

Go native, y'all!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More of What We Planted

So, we planted the native and drought-tolerant perennials by the walk to the front door.

We have:

"wild thing" sage (salvia greggii)
"coral canyon" twinspur (diascia integerrima - from S Africa)
desert beardtongue (penstemon pseudospectabilis - native)
sticky geranium (geranium viscosissimum - "utah's choice")
firecracker penstemon (penstemon eatonii - native)
mountain big sagebrush (artemisia tridentata vaseyana - native)
rubber rabbitbruch (chrysothamnus nauseosus - native)
heather queen/mosquito plant (agastache cana - ?)

All native plants were purchased at Western Gardens. Some even came with a cute "slow the flow" waterwise plant label with the "" website listed.

Some of these are going to get too big for where we've put them. I'm hoping they will survive being dug up and repositioned later on - hopefully not till fall.

We also put in lavender by the steps to the front door, and lots and lots of alyssum. I think the walk will smell lovely, no? And be very bee friendly.

Garden Dreams

Shane & I have brought a whole lots of seeds and plants the past few weeks. It is so fun to have some land that we can grow in. We've bought two apple trees (a fuji and a jonathan red), an Italian prune (plum), blackberries, raspberries, currants, strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, many herbs, spinach, etc. We have many seeds we are praying will sprout (a few radishes already have). We have also bought a bunch of native/drought tolerant perrenials for the front garden. Yes, we've gone a little plant crazy!

We've put the trees in the "back back yard," were the playhouse is. We are planning to put the popcorn back there this year as well, so it doesn't cross polinate with the flour corn we are putting in the regular garden. Eventually this area will be the mini-orchard, with the fruit trees and a beehive.

In the "back yard" we have the veggie garden and the compost. And the tire swing. And the clothes line. And, hopefully, the shade-loving wildflower patch.

In the side yard, were the massive roses are, we've put in all the berries. The herbs are in the kitchen window box.

We are planning to put the perrenials in the front yard, along with some lavendar by the front porch, to go with the smaller roses. We hope to have an almond and a walnut in the front yard, eventually. Shane's Dad has some great walnuts and he is going to start some saplings, and he's giving us one. I cannot even begin to thank him for all the help he's given us - including helping us prune like crazy when we moved here last fall.

Our dreams are probably bigger than our abilities--well, my abilities. But with Shane temporarily out of work and me working four 10's, we think we can keep up with it all. We think of it as an investment in our house and our family. We intend to stay here forever, but if we do need to sell, established fruit trees and vines, as well as the climate appropriate perrennials, should help the resell value. But mostly we are excited for the food and beauty! E is as excited as we are to grow our own food (M is mostly happy about strawberries). And that's a really good feeling.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great post from Byron Katie

In this post a salesperson confronts his belief that "having more customers means having more profits."

Katie's process is pretty simple. First, you find a thought that seems to bring you pain. Then you ask yourself "is it true." Then you ask, "is it really True? Can I know with 100% certainty that this thought is true?" (hint - most thoughts are not 100% true - those that are you sit with). Then you try to "turn it around," basically come up with the opposite thought. So in the above example you could say, "having less customers means having more profits" or "having more customers means having less profits." Then you ask yourself if the opposite statement is true, or at least as true as the original statement. You try to come up with at least three ways the opposite is true.

This process has been useful for me in confronting beliefs about myself, like "I'm too fat" or "I'm a bad mother" or "I have to do everything just right or I'll be in trouble/no one will like me/the world will collapse." :)

I learned about Katie's process from my friends Carol and Kathy. I like the simplicity of it and the way it helps free you from word traps in your head. Hope you like it too!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Radio Magic and Misheard Lyrics

I've noticed a strong musical, radio (radial?) magic connected with the women's group I attend once a month. Last month one group member talked about her efforts to find a new job. She radiated positive energy (she was seriously glowing!) and I had a strong feeling that she was going to suceed. I told her that she had this awesome magical energy popping all around her. And lo and behold, when I got in the car after group I flipped on the radio and I heard, "Oh-ho it's magic, you know-oh-oh." I started laughing uproariously and turned off the radio. I emailed my group to share with them. And, yes, she did get the job - earning twice what she was before and moving into a much healthier working environment.

This month we talked about surrendering to the realities of parenting - such as, you can't control children and they make their own mistakes and choices. One group member also talked about listening to her real self and trying to find out what her true self wants. So I get in the car and hear, "Listen to your heart - there's nothing else you can do - I don't know where you're going and I don't know why - but listen to your heart." Not all the lyrics worked but still - close enough, eh? And I don't know where my friend is going - she is in a deep transitional stage - but I trust that if she can hear what her inner voice says she will go the right direction.

So that songs ends and I suffer through some Rod Stewart song a bit, flip channels for awhile and land on a station playing Dido's White Flag. I totally misheard the lyrics at first as saying "I will not get down with this shit [yep, that's what I heard, sorry] - I will put my up hands and surrender - There will be a white flag above my door." Yes, those are not the lyrics (the lyrics are exactly opposite actually), but what I heard matched what we were talking about. So that probably says more about my crazy brain. But still . . . radio magic.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Status Update (Overshare Warning!)

We took M & E to "mighty mites" today, which is a little sports group at the community center for younger kids on Saturdays. M is just too dang silly to focus on playing well, but E is a natural. They were playing with basketballs this morning. Guess who made 80% of his shots? Of course, they had the hoops about four feet off the ground. :-) E was totally focused on the instructions and quickly picked up everything but dribbling, which is harder when you are only about 3 feet tall. M was just silly, as usual. The two male teachers were both named Paul - M immediately named them Thing One and Thing Two. So no surprise M's current career goal is "clown."

Just had my annual check-ups with my CNM and my endocrinologist, and I am happy to report that all's well! My endo is kind enough to order a HcG test with my thyroid labs (the tumor that I had produced HcG) and it was totally negative! I am so happy to celebrate another year cancer free.

My CNM said I had lost 8 pounds since my last visit and tried to encourage me to get below a certain weight. I told her that if I try to lose weight - if I even think about trying to lose weight actually - I will more likely than not gain weight. I told her that to lose weight I just have to focus on being happy. And I cannot be happy if I think I need to lose weight. She was kindly skeptical.

My endo also noticed that I lost weight (she thought it was more the 8 pounds but she doesn't weigh me - Gosh I love her). She asked me what I had being doing to cause the weight loss and I told her we bought a house and I got happier. I explained that I have noticed that the happier I am, the healthier and leaner I become. She thought that was totally sensible. Did I mention that I totally love her!? (Dr. Leanne Swenson, in case you want to go see her yourself). Dr. Swenson noted that I seem to, hormonally at least, be going through an early menopause, due to the hysterectomy. She said that the reason I feel little to no symptoms is because I am reasonably active. She said that active women experience few, if any, of the symptoms of menopause. Yet another reason to get moving!!!

Shane says he's noticed that the happier I am, the less fatty, sugary foods I eat, which makes sense. Fatty, sugary foods work like anti-depressants for me. When I am naturally happy, I don't need them.

In other news, Shane got the word that there is no more funding for him staring May 1. Financially, I feel mostly prepared for Shane to be laid-off but I still have moments of terror - and moments of elation. We Shane first told me I sort of jumped for joy - mainly because I think Shane will be so much happier in another job. We have a semi-decent savings cushion and once we get our interest-free loan from Uncle Sam (because we were new homeowners in 2008) we can pay off one more law school loan and be that much closer to debt-free living. I am grateful we started living the "Ramsey" plan all those years ago. We've not been able to scream "we're debt free!" yet but we are getting close. Given that we started $125,000+ down the hole, I'm feeling good (of course, if you count the house, we are still quite a ways down the hole, but I'm not counting the house right now).

Since I'm the whole "status update" mode, I thought I'd review how I'm doing on my New Year's intentions:

1. Breathe.
I am doing pretty well at this. I notice that the faster I catch myself holding my breath, the quicker I can release the tension by "aerating" it.

2. Un-round my shoulders.
Also doing well here. I've noticed that as I've released the tension in my shoulders, I've released some old emotional pain. Big surprise there, right?

3. Hug my kids etc.
Well, I'm good at hugging, not so much at the "etc." I find it very hard to listen to M because he has a hard time telling a story coherently and E is sometimes just plain ornery - and thus hard to listen to. But the more I focus on dropping my own storyline and being present, the easier this intention is to meet.

4. Never take the amazing Shane for granted.
This one is piece of cake!

5. Walk & bike whenever walking or biking is an option.
We had a mini-spring earlier in the year and I took full advantage of it. I love the late season snow, since it truly helps with the hydration come July, but I miss being able to bike to work. E and I took a nice walk this evening with Sophie - it was great for us to just be together enjoying the natural world. He is my nature boy.

6. Pay attention to my home's appearance etc.
So not going well. Need to pay attention to this more, definitely.

Well, that's a lot, but I haven't posted in awhile.