Spring turns to Summer and the garden changes

Last week was the summer solstice.  The sun is as high in the sky as it is going to be, and the race back towards winter has begun.  There are changes that are happening in the garden as well.  There is a transfer that happens, very subtly, transferring from the spring varieties to those of summer.  We also start to think about what will be going into the fall garden.

The transfer from spring to summer in the garden is… like the weather that changes during this time period.  Not delicate and small and drab, but much more vigorous and colorful.  Many of the herbs are setting overdrive while others are starting to flower.  Coriander has bolted and is about ready to be harvested, the lettuces have all bolted, collecting seeds instead of leaves has become their focus.  Tomatoes with their shades of red are ripening, carrots are being harvested, shallots and onions are getting ready for harvest, garlic is poking it’s head… errr… their shoots up.  The first generation of green beans is winding down.  And lastly, in my garden at least, the hops are reaching for the sky and getting ready to start budding.

The weather is warm and and evenings are very comfortable.  Pants and coats have given way to shorts and tee-shirts.

This fall will be a fun one, I think.  The hops will need to be harvested, more lettuce will be planted.   I may look into planting my beds with a leguminous cover crop to give the beds a bid of a rest and some much needed food.  There is still plenty of time before that decision must be made.  In the mean time, I think I will head out to the porch and pet the cat for a little while before I head off to yoga class.

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Catch up week with Bikram

This week is going to be a catch up week.  After taking as much time off as I did, I have to work in an extra class.  Tonight’s class was unbelievable better then Monday’s.  Monday, I thought that I just might not make it through the class.  My head was pounding, I had to kneel out of a couple of posses.  To say the least it was a bit frustrating.

Tonight’s class was almost 1,000 times better.  It was quite 1,000 times better because my balance seemed like it just didn’t want to hang around very long.  I didn’t have any dizzy moments tonight, which was much appreciated.  Not sure who is responsible for the clarity tonight, but I thank them for it. My flexibility seemed to take a step forward off of the plateau I had been on, except for my left knee.  the left knee, always late to the party.

All of this adds up to a class that passed by rather quickly.  In order to keep this up, I am going to head back for a third class this week.  This, I believe, will be the first week I have gone to three classes.  Hopefully Friday will be better then today!

Preparing for the loss of a loved one.

I know this topic will probably turn a lot of people off solely with the title.  But this is a topic that really needs to be addressed before something bad happens, because the loss could be you, and you family may have to make do without you.

Keeping track of your finances is something that you should be doing regardless.  Knowing your financial status allows you to be a smarter consumer.  It also will help take care of your loved ones if something were to happen to you.  If the loss is not you, it will make taking care of all issues much easier.  Putting together a budget, with plans for savings, will allow for a more “normal” life is something happens.

What will become of your possessions?  Your properties?  Do you have a will, does your significant other have a will?  Are there any trusts set up for any children you may have?  Is everyone aware of them?

Finally, have you prepared yourself mentally for this eventuality?  I think this is the part that people have the biggest problem with.  We as humans do not naturally think about our own end.  If we open ourselves to the inevitability, we can make the process easier on everyone.  Just like going through mental exercises to prepare yourself for a football game or for a challenging hike or a race, having taking the time to envision what we will do or what types of decisions that will need to be made will give us confidence in our everyday lives that we are not going to be left, or leave a loved one, stranded.

Take the time to talk with your family.  Don’t leave to regret not saying what you feel or how you feel to your family.  Putting off these things will lead to regret.

Garden update

It has been a while since I posted about the status of the garden.  Just about all of the lettuce, spinach, arugula and coriander has bolted and gone to seed. All of my beets went straight to seed and/or died, which is weird, because beets aren’t supposed to go to seed until their second year.  Most of the carrots I planted did not get enough sun and died shortly after sprouting.

For once, I have onions that are actually forming a bulb and are not going straight to seed.  The shallots that never came out of the ground last year have all multiplied and appear to be doing well.  I have some Italian Rose beans, as well as Blue Lake bush beans all going strong.  The tomatoes that were volunteers in mom’s garden are doing extremely well.  One is a beefsteak type and the other appears to be a cherry.  Two of the bell peppers that were planted two years ago refuse to die, they have some small peppers on them.

My hops are looking pretty good.  I think I over fertilized a couple weeks ago because they all but stopped their growth (maybe they were putting energy into root growth, ahead of a big push above ground)  I know that you shouldn’t expect to get much, if any, of a harvest from you first year, but it would be really cool to make a beer with home grown hops this year.

The fruit trees are doing ok.  The Blood Orange has a couple fruit on it, the Honey Mandarin is going gang busters, grapefruit is putting on some leaves (it needs them), the pear looks good (probably won’t get any fruit production until next year), the apple… the apple… darned neighborhood kids.  I have close to two dozen apples on the tree earlier this spring.  Now, there are 5.  I think they kids thought it would be fun to use them as projectiles… or food. Grumble…. And last but not least, my Kumquat is working on it’s third crop in a year and a half.

All in all, not bad, but I should put more production into the raised beds…  As with everything else, it’s finding the time.  I have to put that drip system and timer in this weekend.  That should help out.

WOW!!!! back to Bikram… I don’t remember it feeling like this…

So today I took my lazy butt back to yoga.  It has been six weeks since I was last at class.  Life had gotten crazy and just didn’t have the chance to get to class.  I knew it was going to be a little rough, and I wasn’t just going to step right back in where I left off, but….

It is really amazing how tight ones back can get from staying away from the yoga studio.  Right off the bat, with half moon, I knew that my body was not going to cooperate tonight.

So, I go at it with the intention of “taking it easy”…. which lasts all of about five seconds.  I’m pushing for the limit… and it’s only 10 seconds into the 60… oh boy, so this is how my first class back is going to go…

Make it through half moon, awkward pose… amazingly strong.  Excellent, maybe this won’t be as bad as I thought.  Eagle pose, piece of cake, confidence is building.  Standing head to knee, I’m not the greatest, but I can hold my own for a big guy… not bad.  Balance is a little off, but I pull through.  Standing bow… right side ok… left side… umm… I think my foot is supposed to come over the top… I think… Oh boy, heart rate is really starting to climb.  Hmmmm, this could be trouble.  Balancing stick, I’m still here… Standing separate leg, breath… and of course everyone’s favorite! Triangle pose!… oh crap, legs are shaking… I really don’t remember this being this hard… come on, come on, let me switch!!!!! ok, switch… oh crap, now I’m doing this to the other side.  Phew, made it through that, standing separate head to knee… wait… this is normally an easier pose… awwww crap… this really is going to be one of those nights.  Tree pose and toe stand… balance is wobbling, please don’t fall over.  And then one of the best parts of the night, Savasna… dead man’s pose… I’m on my back trying to catch my breath.

The rest of the night was manageable.  I made it through.  But my arms were feeling the strain.  I think it will take another two practices to get my back back to straight. If someone had told me it was going to feel like this, I would not have taken a month and a half off.  Moral of the story, do not take a long time off and expect that you will come back where you left off.

Adding a drip system to the garden

Last week I purchased a kit to install a drip system in my garden.  There were multiple reasons I wanted to do this.  One being water conservation, another, save myself some time.  Combined the two equal money savings.  I will be automating the system as well, which will help when I travel out of town, I will not have to worry about making arrangements for someone to stop by and water.

Conservation is a two fold attribute.  One, I live in Southern California… a desert.  Yes, the water saved will not be much, but ever last bit counts.  The other part of conservation, a decrease in the bill.  The less water that I use, the smaller my bill, the more money in my pocket.  I will be able to conserve by putting the water where it is needed, instead of water the entire area, losing some of the water to evaporation.  The automation saves me time, which equates to more money saved.

A third point, and maybe I am just justifying this to myself.  Starting the project gets me outside, and adds knowledge and experience of a new skill that very well could come in handy down the road.  Eventually I would like to do this with a rain catchment system, to further lower the cost of operating.