Loving the little things

I think I’m having a week of reflection. I can’t help it! I have to get it out.

Today was a filled with small things that made me smile. I really love it when I take the time to stop and appreciate things when they come instead of worrying about things that haven’t happened yet or regretting things that have already happened.

This is what made me smile today:

I'd given up on them!

Waking up silently cursing my tomato seeds because they hadn’t sprouted yet, and wandering into the bathroom (it’s a nice sunny one) to find that two of them had crept up overnight.

Leon giving me lovey eyes and wanting to make out with me (not really, he just likes licking my nose when he can reach it).

Damara coming up to me for quiet cuddles while Leon was off causing mischief.

Learning that I can make it to a not-a-baby-shower party for one of my good friends in Wellington.

Ordering a crap-ton of compost and potting mix from a local nursery that will deliver to my door. Yes, getting my license is on my to-do list.

Getting Moose to turn around and go back home (as in not follow me) when I walked to the store.

Having a semi-celebrity spotting moment  at the grocery store when I recognized someone that I’ve tweeted at since the February earthquakes in the #eqnz twitter stream. Unfortunately I was too shy to say hello, but it was a cool moment.

Swapping cat stories with the check-out chicks at the store. I am not alone in my crazy cat lady status.

Realizing I picked a damn good bottle of Pinot noir at the store earlier. I will be buying this wine again.

Getting lovely text messages from Ben.

Leon's kitty sling

Having a glass of said wine while making one of my favorite dinners (it’s not recipe post worthy — just pasta bolognese).

Finding out the wine goes fantastically well with said favorite dinner.

Having awesome people comment on this blog.

Finding a not-so-horrible picture of Leon in our new kitty sling!

Thank you to everyone who had a part in making me smile today! :)

Care to share what made you smile today? Please do, so I can smile with you!

Not waiting anymore

I’m really good at waiting…because I seem to be waiting all the time. Waiting till Monday to start eating healthy again. Waiting till we have this or that to invite people over. Waiting till I’ve made more progress in the garden before I post again. Waiting till I have a better camera to post pictures here. I honestly think of millions of reasons to wait until the right moment.

I’ve decided I’m not waiting anymore. Living in the now is a much more fun experience, so the right moment is now!

Here's an out-of-focus pic because I'm not waiting till I have a better camera.

Garden update: My new garden beds arrived last week!  I managed to get one up before I left to go out-of-town (work stuff).

Last night I managed to clear the area where one of the beds is going. When we first moved here (in June), we had to get the phone company to lay cable for our internet…and they butchered the corner of the yard where this first bed is going. I never realized how bad it was until yesterday. One end of the bed is higher than the other, but not by as much as it would’ve been if I hadn’t spent about an hour trying to get the ground level there.

I dug out a lovely little bush and put it somewhere else. Hopefully she makes it through the transplant! There is also a tree stump close to the bed, but I can’t be bothered getting that out of the ground. It’s not a dead, rotting tree stump that would be easy to remove. Luckily the bed fit where I planned to put it and I started to fill it up!

While I was waiting (I couldn’t control that waiting) for the beds to arrive, I read up on what you should put into raised garden beds. There are a lot of conflicting instructions out there…but many of the articles I read said you should put cardboard and newspaper in the bottom to encourage earthworms into your beds, so I did that. Pizza boxes for the win! I also raided what little compost we had in the compost bin and the soil from the broken, busted bed on the side of the house.

No kitty poo, thanks!

Two hours later my raised garden bed was almost complete. It’s sitting in front of the fence that I’m hoping will be covered with purple beans and sugar snap peas in a few months! I still need a few more bags of compost & soil to get it to the level I want, so hopefully this weekend I can do that. For now, I have the bed covered with the compost bags so the cats don’t use it as a giant litter box. Believe me, they would if they could!

Speaking of cats: We’re being woken up on a nightly basis (is that even a phrase?) by Leon trying to get fresh with Damara. His vet appointment seems like it’s ages away. Thank goodness she’s fixed.

And Moose wanted to say hi.

Have you ever realized you were waiting…and wasting time? What kicked you out of it?

New garden security

I cannot stress how important it is to have some form of security in your garden if you live in my ghetto suburb. We’ve had two things go missing from our front porch since we’ve moved in. Our house is set back from the street, behind a tall hedge, but that doesn’t seem to stop drunken bastards from plundering our porch on their way home during the weekends.

The first item to wander off was Ben’s motorcycle helmet. The one night he left it on the porch after coming home from work, it went missing. The second item was Ben’s motorcycle cover. A cover! What the hell is someone going to do with a motorcycle cover if they don’t have a motorcycle? I can see taking a helmet — you could get some cash for it. But a dirty, greasy, dusty cover? C’mon, guys. Leave us alone.

I’m half-inclined to put something vaguely attractive and expensive out, but fill it with presents from our cats, if you know what I mean. Let them think they got something really cool till they get it home and open it up to find a not so pleasant surprise! After the helmet went missing we put an earthquake-ravaged TV out to see if it would magically go missing, but I guess they’re not as dumb as I thought. If a TV isn’t inside and plugged in, it probably doesn’t work, right?

Anyway, Ben’s Dad and I went on a gardening outing to get some essentials for my raised garden beds — compost, potting mix, and the like. I got a courgette plant (Emma over at Craving Fresh inspired me to add this to my garden this  year), and some garden lights that will probably end up missing by the fall. I’ve been mulling over ways to secure them to the big railway sleepers lining the path…the only thing I can think of is super glue and zip ties. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but a motorcycle cover?!

I’d like to introduce you to my new garden security guard, Russell, from Rotorua:

Kia ora, bro!

Russ, if you ever read this, this gnome is not named after you. Russell from Rotorua is really his name. In case you didn’t know, Rotorua is a city in New Zealand that has many sulphur deposits, making it a very smelly place. They have great hot pools though!

My security gnome is motion activated and says things like, “It’s ok. I met someone dumber once,” and, “I’m watching you!”And he farts. I guess that might be why he’s from Rotorua.

Hopefully he’ll give the bastards a scare next time they want to take something off the porch….if they actually come up to the porch from the side that turns the sensor light on. That’s a whole different story for a future post.

For now, Russell is by the front door and not in the actual garden, but he told me he likes it there because he can actually see over the muffin top grasses. If he decides to go on his own adventures one night, it’s ok. He only charges $10 for his services (one time fee). I’m sure I can replace him, if need be!

Leon’s hidden orchids

Oops! I told the non-cat folks they could skip my last post and go straight to the next gardening post and what do I do? Post about cats again, under the guise of a gardening title. My bad! Skip ahead if you want. *cackles* One day you all will be cat people. Anyhow. Back to hidden orchids.

Cryptorchidism is when a male has one or both testes that haven’t descended. Like in Leon’s case! The term makes me think of orchids and puzzles or hiding orchids. Yeah. That’s just how my brain works and helps me remember things. Apparently this can lead to cancer in dogs if you don’t have the testes removed, but in cats it’s quite rare.

We found out about Leon’s little balls not dropping when I took them both to the vet to be fixed last month (the day after the city was snowed in). Unfortunately for him, I was out in the garden trying to save trees from breaking under the weight of the snow when the vet tried to call me about him while Leon was still under anesthesia. By the time I’d gotten the message (an hour later), he was already waking up and the Vet didn’t want to put him under again on the same day (I love this Vet, seriously he’s amazing).

I was scheduled to bring him back in the next week, but I had to go out of town for work, and then I decided I wanted him to have an extra month to see if his testes would come out to play.

The month has passed. No balls yet.

Poor little guy! Now he’s going to have to have a more invasive procedure and the Vet is going to have to find his little balls. I feel so bad for him. I’ve scheduled his big day for next month in hopes that they’ll drop by then, but chances are they won’t.

You might ask why I’m even bothering with this surgery for him, but you don’t have a pair of related kittens that are borderline incestuous. Thankfully Damara is fixed now, but it’s not stopping Leon from trying to get fresh with her on a regular basis. It’s unnerving! Also, male cats with hidden orchids can still get the urge to spray, roam (no, WordPress, I did not mean Rome) and just be a nuisance, so yeah. He’s still getting neutered.

I just hope the Vet can find his little balls.

Crazy cat lady warning: My furkids

Anyone who knows me knows how much my cats mean to me. I’ve never lived in a house without a cat during my life. My kitties have  helped me through some crap times and they’re really my babies. If you’re not a cat person, I forgive you. You can skip to the next gardening or cooking post!

From oldest to youngest:

Moose will be … 5 years old this October! Holy moly, where does time go? He is a really floppy, melty, koala-clinging cat when you get his motor going. Usually he prefers being by himself. The kittens annoy him, so he spends a lot of time in Ben’s office or outside, unless I can convince him to come have quiet cuddles before bed. He’s one of those cats who makes you feel like you really deserve a purr if you get one out of him. I really need to get him in for a dental cleaning, which will hopefully be happening next month some time.

Winters will be 4 years old this October (noticing a pattern here?) and is the daddy cat of the house. When we got Zeus, our first manx kitten, Winters was the first one to break down and give the little guy baths. He was the first to give our current manx kittens baths as well. Winters is massive. I think he weighs 12-13 lbs or something like that. But he’s not fat. Really. The vets have always told us he’s big-boned! Since we’ve moved to this house, he’s taken to pouncing on Moose unexpectedly, and coming back with tufts of fur. He’s usually a gentleman, but could be becoming a bit of a bully? He can, and often does, purr for an hour before he falls asleep.

And lastly, the kittens. They’re moving into teenager territory now, at 7 months old:

Damara and Leon (click on their picture for a bigger view). We were only supposed to get one of them, but a week after we adopted Damara, Leon still needed a home and we couldn’t say no! I am so glad we got the both of them. They keep each other occupied so they don’t bother the big cats (as much anyway) and when we’re not home, they don’t get lonely. We really should have always gotten our cats in pairs.  A lot of shelters won’t adopt out single kittens now unless you have a youngish cat in your home already for these reasons.

Damara is really quiet and cautious. Leon is loud and an outgoing cuddle-bug. He will offer you his tummy for scratches without attacking your hand.  Both have been known to sleep in a make-shift sling while I work. Yes, I k now that’s sort of crazy. They’re really just what I need, though, after we lost Zeus so suddenly.

Current kitty news: We’re introducing the kittens to wearing a harness and going outside on a leash. I won’t say we’re training them to walk on a leash, because we’re actually not going to walk them anywhere other than the yard. This way they can still get outside, but I don’t have to worry about them getting run over by a car. :) I’ll keep you guys updated on how that goes lol. I think Leon will take to it more quickly than Damara, since he’s a bit more fearless than she is.

Tell me about your furkids! Link me to pictures. I love meeting kitties :)

I know I said I’d show you my cats

But I lied. It wasn’t intentional.

I just have to share how I felt about two hours ago.

This picture pretty much sums it up:

Oh yeah.

Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the finished results of my pruning of the front yard before it got dark tonight. I’ll try to remember to grab one tomorrow. Seriously, folks this is effing impressive. You wouldn’t believe how much dead grass was out there.

Two of the cats I said I’d introduce you to loved that dead grass. They played tiger-in-the-grass all day within its tangled tresses. Now they have to play house-cat-between-tidy-bunches-of-grass. They’ll get over it, I’m sure.

Anyone else having fun getting outside lately? Let me know!

Here comes the sun.. and a nap.

Today, I woke up a little after 10am. I had the curtains drawn so Ben could sleep, and it’s one of my days off, so a little sleep in was acceptable. I was dreading what the weather would be like as I pondered on whether it was the right time to get up or not.

Thankfully, the sun was out in full force!  I put my little seed trays out right away into their morning spot on the back patio. I had every intention of following my little seeds outside after a coffee and breakfast but I didn’t manage to get out there until 4pm…I know I said it was a day off, but I had some work to do, since my manager is away for a bit, and some reading to catch up on, and then of course showering is good.

I moved my little seed trays to the front at around 1pm, and then the neighbor’s house alarm started going off. For 30 minutes. It was so loud, even the cats were annoyed. I had a peek across the street, but couldn’t see anything amiss, so I’m assuming it was a fault. At least we all (and by all, I mean everyone in a 3 block radius) know it works?

At around 2, I decided it was time to attack the compost bin on the side of the house. When we first moved here in June, I found numerous beer bottles and wine bottles hidden in a hedge out back, so I had low expectations of what lie in wait in the compost bin. I opened the bin to find grass clippings that haven’t even started to decompose! And newspaper. I don’t know much about composting, but something tells me I need to read up on it and get this little bin sorted. I’m wondering if it’s in a bad spot. The sun doesn’t hit it for very long and it’s on the cold side of the house. Compost reading is on my to-do list for tomorrow after work.

Ben decided we were having take-away lunch and watching an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, and after eating and sitting on the couch for 40 minutes, all I really wanted to do was sleep. Somehow I fought off the nap attack, though (for a little while, at least) and headed out front to do… something!

Ben’s dad kindly gave me some hedge clippers. This is the result of my something today:

Giving new meaning to 'muffin top' since 2011.

The slightly OCD part of me is telling me to go out and trim more off the right side of the front one after looking at that picture. DOH! I could probably use all the trimmings for mulching on the garden beds. Will go grab it all tomorrow morning, I guess. My arms are aching from using those trimmers — it’s a good work out! I still have a couple to do towards the front hedge, which is looking really bare due to over trimming. I hope the poor thing bounces back soon. You can see my massive rosemary bush in the background, too! I love rosemary.

The nap attack I fended off earlier came back directly after the grass-trimming, so the kitties and I dozed off in the late-afternoon sun and I woke up much later, to my dismay. I always feel foggy after a nap where it’s light when I close my eyes and then dark when I wake up. Still trying to shake the feeling 2.5 hours later!

So yep. I did something in the garden today. I like my little muffin top grasses! :) Tomorrow, I shall introduce you to my furry kids for a change of pace!

P.S. WordPress doesn’t like the word bin, peak or bare. When I ran a spell-check on this post, it suggested I use been, peak and bear! XD Wtg, WordPress.

Upcycling in my garden

Earlier today I saw an email come through from my local freecycle group. If you’re not familiar with freecycle, it’s a mailing list/message board where folks can offer items they want to get rid of, or post about items they need/want. The rules of our local freecycle group clearly state that the purpose of the group is to keep things from ending up in the dump, so you see a good amount of large appliances and beds and such making their way through. Today, however, the email I saw had me seriously rolling my eyes — someone asked for a wii. A Nintendo Wii. Really? I don’t think anyone has an extra one of those lying around.

I’ve gotten a lot of cool stuff from freecycle in the past year, and have found homes for many of our old items (beds, fish tank stands, books) through the group as well. I find it almost as handy as trademe! You have to be particularly fast with freecycle, though. I saw a pack of Terry Pratchett books offered once and I replied within two minutes of the email arriving. I was 10th in line to get them if everyone else before me fell through! You’ll often see people asking for scrabble letters or broken plates to use in making new things like jewellery or mosaics, which I think is pretty darn nifty. Upcycling is definitely awesome!

I know I started off on a tangent, but many folks use their freecycle items to upcycle! See, I have a transition! I wanted to show you guys the upcycled tires that I’ll be planting my flowers and herbs in this year:

Look! It's pretty!

Not so tired-looking, eh? Harhar!

You have to admit this thing looks pretty cool. And the best part is, I got 4 for under $40! I bought two last month and two this month, and I hope I can get them filled up with some compost & soil to give my flowers and herbs a good place to grow! They should look really cool once planted :)

I have excellent gardening news, too! My manager’s husband has a wood-working business, and he makes raised garden beds! I highly recommend his work — we have a trestle table from him and I absolutely love it.  If you want to look him up, he’s got a trademe store.

New garden beds coming soon!

I’ve ordered two garden beds from him, and plan on putting both in front of the house instead of on the side (the side gets zero to no sun whatsoever!) Hurray for wooden raised garden beds (made from sustainable sources) and not ones made with plasterboard!

I also have a confession to make. I have planted many, many seeds into my little seedling trays. It was so warm out on the day I did it, I thought it would be safe! Mother nature is laughing now, because the weather the past two days has been cloudy and grey :( They’re living in our tv cabinet tonight, where it’s nice and warm until I can get them into a sunny spot where the kittens won’t knock them over!

I’ll leave you with this from Recyclart:

Flower Bed

Love the pun, and it’s so pretty ^_^ Do you have anything at home that’s been upcycled?

It has begun!

I’ve ordered my seeds for the veggie garden this year and I can’t wait till they’re here! Even the grocery store seems to be beating me at getting things planted. Last time I was there, there were tomato plants and strawberry plants on sale already. I couldn’t help but get two strawberry plants to bring home. They can be friends with the three that live here already from previous tenants.

Note to self: replant existing strawberry plants after you’ve drilled holes in the plastic trough they’re in so they can drain properly and not smell like stagnant swamp water.

Here’s the list of what’s to come:

Veggies:

  • A rainbow mix of heirloom tomatoes (couldn’t decide on which variety to get)
  • A rainbow mix of heirloom cherry tomatoes (same deal)
  • Sweet jingle bell peppers (capsicums for you kiwis reading)ZOMG Purple carrots!
  • Eggplant – Golden egg variety
  • Lettuce – Red salad bowl variety (sort of like red oak leaves you get in mixed lettuce bags)
  • Lettuce – Little gem (a boston variety known for small head size)
  • Bean – King of blues variety (they’re PURPLE)
  • Bean – Scarlet runner variety
  • Snow Peas
  • Sugarsnap Peas (a variety that will hopefully climb)
  • Carrot – Purple dragon (see pic)
  • Cucumber – Crystal apple variety

Ch-ch-ch-chia!Herbs:

  • Thyme – French Summer
  • Catnip (yay for kitties!)
  • Basil – Mini greek (think chia pets!)
  • Sage
  • Parsley – Italian (flat leaf)

Flowers:

  • Sweet pea (apparently these smell awesome)
  • Nemophilia snowstorm (pretty!)

Exciting times! :) While looking for these pics, I found the site where the person I’m purchasing seeds from must purchase her seeds (www.kingseeds.co.nz)! Nice profit margin — maybe I should sell seeds on the side. Glad I stumbled upon the site, though! They have another color of nemophilia that will look awesome in contrast with the one I ordered, and the lady I’m buying from isn’t selling that kind.

A bit of bad news on the gardening front happened yesterday, though. :( I went out to dig out the raised garden bed on the side of our house and while I was digging out the millions of potatoes that live in it, one of the sides of the gardening bed crumbled to bits. It turns out that the sides of it are made from plaster board (sort of like thin drywall for you Americans), of all things! I really have no idea what possessed the maker of said raised bed to use that…I don’t think it’d be very good for growing vegetables in. I guess that was a blessing in disguise, though — looking at new raised beds. Hopefully I can grab one that won’t break our bank, and maybe stick it somewhere else instead of on the side of the house!

I think I’ve babbled enough for today ;) Until next time!

 

On new beginnings.

Making space for new things is surprisingly refreshing.

Spring is just around the corner here in New Zealand and I’m chomping at the bit to get out and start gardening. Fortunately, I’ve learned that gardening this early isn’t always a good idea because sometimes we can get late frosts here in Christchurch.  Instead of planting, I’ve decided to use this time for preparing — cutting down the old and making way for the new. I’m finding myself doing the same in other aspects of my life. It’s surprisingly refreshing and less painful than I thought it would be. I’ve been letting go of all sorts of things and hoping new new things will come along soon. Change hasn’t always come easily for me, but I think as I grow older, I’ve realized that nothing ever really stays the same and that I shouldn’t expect it to.

A great friend of mine recently started a blog and inspired me to do the same, except where hers has a good, solid theme, my posts will most likely cover a broad range of topics including but not limited to gardening, cooking, cats, and more cats. Of course there will most likely be a slew of other things thrown in, but you can expect to see those three, for sure!

If you do decide to follow this blog, thank you! I hope you enjoy the ride and don’t mind too much when I wander off on tangents now and then. :)

Follow now & gwen on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: