Fail

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I meant to get out and ride yesterday, I really did, but my garden got in the way. I’ve got all my annuals and the handful of veggies I grow and once I have those staring at me I can’t relax until they’re planted and settled in. I thought I’d work on a few floral beds for a bit in the early morning, then saddle up and go for a ride. It was a perfect day for riding; not too hot, nice sun, big puffy clouds, a gentle breeze. But the more I did the faster time went and the next thing I knew it was noon. I took a little breather to rehydrate, then started right back up again, telling myself I’d take a break at one or two and ride. By the time that rolled around my back was shot and I knew I wasn’t in any shape to try to ride.

This is my dilemma. If I ride early, then my back is shot and I can’t get anything more done that day. If I postpone riding until after I’ve gotten a few things done, then I run the risk of my back being too fatigued to ride. While I’ve worked very hard to condition my back to withstand a lot more than I ever dreamed, I’m still far more limited than I like to admit. Normally, this isn’t a big problem except for those times of year when I have to get a lot done. Spring and fall are the heavy hitters.

So I didn’t get to ride. I did spend a good amount of time grooming both horses. I’m using that Bio Spot stuff for ticks and I think it makes them itchy like Advantix does with the dogs. So both horses had gone down back and found a nice muddy place to roll. I cleaned them up at morning feeding, then they went back down and rolled again. So they both got a repeat grooming session.

I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to ride today. The weather’s back to crap …. again. I live in the wrong place to have horses.

In A Fog

Foggy morning

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I haven’t had time to ride in a few days. The weather has been over the top (hot) and I’ve had to pick my activities carefully. I figured since Dharla hasn’t fully shed her winter coat, it would be better to focus on the yard and garden and go back to riding when the temperatures go back to being somewhere near normal.

I’ve been a bit frantic with the gardens. I don’t recall there ever being a spring where I’ve had to uncover and start working my gardens this early. I’ve literally had day lilies shoot up 2-3 inches overnight. If I don’t get the flower beds cleaned up and mulched now, I won’t be able to go back and do it later on, which means TONS of weeding. Here, its a fine line between growing things you want and keeping the invasive stuff at bay.

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I love my gardens, I really do, but every year it gets a little more difficult to do the bull work to keep things under control. Because of my back issues, I can’t do much else on the days when I’m putting lots of energy into the gardens. Typically this is only an issue in the spring and fall, when the major job of splitting and moving things or planting new stuff have to take precedence. I’ve tried doing things in smaller bites, but that really doesn’t make any difference, so now I just hunker down and put everything I’ve got into getting the job done. But it means I don’t have much left in the tank for anything else, including riding.

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My goal is to (eventually) have everything growing where I want it so I can just do the seasonal maintenance. I’m starting to realize that’s probably just a fantasy, but it’s what I’m striving to achieve down the line. We’re in the planning stage of building a new barn (mostly for hay storage) and I’m already daydreaming about landscape options and gardens around the site. I think this is an addiction that never ends!

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On another note, I’m scheduled for eye surgery next week. Almost everything is done and ready for me to be somewhat laid up for a few days. The recovery is supposed to be fairly simple UNLESS there are complications. Thing is, when you look in the New England Journal of Medicine under Medical Screw-ups, my name is listed. Yeah. So while I’m confident I’m making the right decision to do this and I believe I’ve got the best doc for the job, I’m still a wee bit stressed out about it. The last time I got up at the crack of dawn and took a long dark drive to the hospital for surgery, I came out the other side a totally different person. Broken. Damaged. Disabled. Not the happiest of times. That was fifteen years ago this May, but I guess old memories die hard. I’m trying to keep things in perspective, but my track record isn’t the best. Still, I need to get this done. I’ve waited as long as I possibly can, but my vision is too compromised to put it off any longer. It’s my right eye; my dominant eye, my shooting eye. So yes, I’m (appropriately) concerned about the outcome.

Barring any issues, I should be on the mend soon. Or so they say. If everything goes well I’ll be able to use a computer and watch TV (blah), but I won’t be able to read books for awhile. If things go wrong, it gets ugly. I’ll have to spend 50 minutes of every hour laying face down. Possibly for a few weeks. That might be interesting, to say the least. But since I only have two eyes (well, one that works right now) I’ll hope for the best and do whatever needs to be done for a positive outcome. Meanwhile, I’ve got to get back to my gardens  … chores await me!

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PS. I made a new page in the header for the dogs. I thought they deserved a “formal” introduction.

Spring is Sprung

Gardening? I can do that!

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Well, I can’t put it off any longer; spring is officially here. I must admit, it feels a little weird having my windows open in March and walking around with a rake in hand. For two weeks already no less. On one hand, while it’s nice spring has arrived, on the other hand it’s a bit chaotic. As soon as things start popping through the soil it becomes a mad race to uncover and nurture the things I want to have grow, and go after the things I don’t. The last couple of years it seems like the weeds and invasive species have been winning. From rampant chipmunk over-population to spreading mustard garlic (and other invasives), I’m putting out fires everywhere I turn.

Initially, I eschewed pesticides. I tried “spot treating” problems when they cropped up, but I really try to keep my yard, flower and veggie gardens as organic and chemical-free as possible. Lets face it though, that plan isn’t cutting the (garlic) mustard anymore. So last year I decided to take this battle to the Dark Side and started using a few carefully selected chemicals. (If the engineer had his way I’d be spraying everything in sight with chlordane.) I put my magic potions in plastic spritzer bottles so I could hang them on my garden cart and zap the nasty interlopers on the spot. In years previous I did dumb things like “mark” the offending weed with a stick so I could come back and spray it later. With two stick-loving dogs? What WAS I thinking? No, this was serious business and I fully intended to nip things in the bud (so to speak) by hitting the pests with a vengeance.

Problem is, I failed to mark the bottles with what’s inside them. If you’re anything like me you constantly do things half-assed. You tell yourself you’ll get a marking pen and write the name of the potion on the spray bottle later, but you never actually get around to doing it. Instead, you put the chemicals in slightly different looking (read as: recycled) bottles and tell yourself you’ll remember which chemical is which by it’s container. For awhile you keep things straight and know which bottle contains what, but as the summer drags on it becomes a bit of a guessing game. In a pinch, I’ll resort to sniffing a bottle to identity the contents in question, but I never do get that marking pen and mark the bottles. Ever. So chances are when that new patch of Poison Ivy didn’t die off after being sprayed it was probably because I hit it with insecticide, not weed killer. *Sigh*

Eventually, like all good things, gardening season comes to an end. I diligently store the four or five different containers of nasty juice on a shelf; nice and orderly, but still not marked. As I stand and gaze at my handiwork (all proud because for once I actually put my gardens “to bed” and picked up my gardening tools) I tell myself I really ought to figure out which bottle contains what and jot it down, but …. well, I don’t.

Now I’m right back where I started, with weeds and vines springing to life as I try to figure out which bottle contains the concoction I need. Meanwhile, the Poison Ivy, mustard garlic, Virgina Creeper, Wild Strawberry and God knows whatever else has decided to invade my property this year plots their revenge. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air and say forget it. The bugs, the weeds, the heat and humidity …. is it worth it?

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Hell, yeah!