Weekend Coffee Share

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Another weekend, time sure fly by faster than I can blink. I don’t know where it goes. How about some coffee? How was your week? 

I’m very happy to report that we have some kind of truce in the horse pasture. Ghost have not been biting Fancy since last weekend. He is still bossy, but she doesn’t have new bite marks. Which is a great relief. I’m continuing to spend time hanging out, grooming, and doing nothing, with him every day. He had a lot of changes this year, and I believe he needs some quiet time to digest things. He is after all a young, and very sensitive horse. It seem to go in the right direction. I just need to be patience. I’ve also added more good fat to his diet, (in the shape of stable mix. It has almond hulls in it.) He do not need to gain weight, he is just perfect, but I do think it’s beneficial for his overall well being. He just gets a little bit, Fancy gets a lot more, since she needs to gain weight. I separate them when I feed them. To make sure Fancy gets her share. She is gaining weight nicely. When I work in my garden, I let her eat the grass in that area as well. You have to look very closely to see her ribs now. I like the progress very much. Her coat is also coming out of its dullness. She had rashes, and big patches missing when I bought her a month ago. I’ve given her three medicated baths since I got her. Her skin problems are gone, and her coat shines now. She is a very sweet horse, meeting me every time I enter the pasture.  

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We’ve had a comfortable week weather wise, not to hot. We even had rain one day. The garden is doing good. I’ve been doing a lot of mulching there this week, using organic matter available around the property. I read an awesome book about weedless gardening a couple years ago, and that is how I work now. It’s a lot of mulching. The plants are happy, and I do a minimum amount of weeding. The mulching serve many purposes; feeding the plants, suffocating the weed, and absorbing moister (a big thing here where it gets really hot/dry for six months out of the year.) It’s also an outlet where I use my compost (garbage,) horse manure, and the endless supply of leaves we have laying around. I can highly recommend Weedless Gardening, by Lee Reich. (I’m not an amazon affiliate, I just really like the book. It has helped me a lot. His other books are a great read as well, especially Grow Fruit Naturally.)

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Any fun plans for the weekend? I’m planning on spending a lot of time outside. I’m going for at least one hike, hopefully two. The horses always need their time, and the garden need more mulching. I have a rather big garden now, it takes time. The other day I thought about what I have in my garden this year. I’m always adding new things as the season goes by, by at the moment this is what you can find in my garden; 

  • A variety of salad greens (kale, baby spinach etc.) 
  • Three varieties of tomatoes. I was just guessing about the amount of plants last week, it is actually closer to 40. Still small. 
  • Two varieties of sweet corn.
  • Eggplant
  • Squash (I believe two different kinds? The labeling got a little mixed up, with some loving help of my daughter.)
  • Cucumber
  • Bell pepper
  • Kitchen Herbs; basil, oregano, cilantro, lavender, sage, dill, parsley. (Will be adding more this coming week.)
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Watermelon
  • Pomegranates
  • Figs

I like having both a regular garden, and a container garden. It’s like having the best of two worlds. LOL. On my wish list is to add some citrus trees to my container garden. I’ve been drooling over different greenhouse designs this week. I love geodesic dome green houses. I could live in one of those! I know we’re just in the beginning of the gardening season, and the season is long here. I’m having so much fun, so the planning part of me naturally start to think about how I can make it last longer. I’ve had a couple greenhouses on another property I’ve lived on, but right now I don’t have one. At some point in the future, when I own my own place, I want to have a permanent one. For now I’ll probably get one that can be moved easily, later this season. I’m investing in expanding my container garden, so I need to make sure my container fruit trees doesn’t die over winter. It would be nice to be able to grow vegetables longer as well.

My daughter and I visited the new butterfly house at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, in Redding (CA,) yesterday. It was nice. My daughter liked it a lot. (Honestly, we have more butterflies in our rose garden.) We did have a fantastic day though. Picnic under the bridge, and a fun time exploring the park. She even made a new friend. She is very good at making friends. 

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Spontaneous dancing at Santiago Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge, the world’s largest sundial, Redding (CA.) Located in Turtle bay Exploration Park, the same park as the butterfly house we visited.

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I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to this week! What’s the weather like? Is spring in full bloom? Or like here, almost over? Thanks for having coffee with me. As always, I enjoy the conversation, and your company very much!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share

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Come and have some coffee with me! How do you like your coffee? I’m sitting here contemplating what kind of nature adventure to go on this weekend. We always (with very few exceptions) go for one day trip in the weekend. We do some research, usually over the internet, and set our sails towards an amazing destination in northern California. We drive there, and enjoy the nature for a day. Usually by going for a hike, and having a picnic lunch. If it’s a longer hike we might try some local restaurant for dinner. I’d say that we try a couple new spots every month, and return to a couple favorite spots every month.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. — Rachel Carson

There’s an endless supply of hikes that are totally doable with a young child. I’m usually the one with the ideas about where to go, but not always. Sometimes we bring friends, but often it’s just quality time for our family. The thing with favorite spots that we return to, is that besides the obvious pleasure of getting to know a place better, and enjoy it more than once, I turn it into a homeschooling project for my daughter. The first time we visit it’s usually like today, a spontaneous decision, to a destination we decide around breakfast time. I believe in learning by doing. Lessons that you experience with all your senses; smell, feel, taste, sight, and hearing really stays with you for a life time. Before we return a second time to a place, my daughter and I read everything that we can find about the place, and the places we will pass on the way there; history, legends, traditions, and local flora & fauna. Since the places we visit are at the most 3-4 hours from our home, usually 1-2 hours from home, we get to know our area well. Both my daughter and I like to know our surroundings. It feels good to be familiar with, and experience a sense of belonging to the place where you live, even (or maybe especially?) if you weren’t born there. My mom taught me this approach to life. I’ve explored every place I’ve lived in like this, and I’m so grateful for the memories, and life lessons this have given me.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. – John Muir

I have a couple ideas for today’s adventure. One is about an hour drive away, and includes a waterfall. My second adventure idea that I’m going to suggest is 3 hours away, and a bigger adventure. We’ll see what my family votes for. I’ll be sure to tell you next weekend. Last weekend we ended up going to one of our favorite places; Lassen Volcanic National Park. You can read about that adventure here. So this weekend both my ideas are places we haven’t experienced before. Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? Need a refill on that coffee?

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Homemade tomato cage, made out of old field fencing.

It’s been a little windy here this week around 15 mph, and temperatures in the mid 80’s. Pretty pleasant weather. The days are beautiful this time of the year. (Before the heat arrives.) My garden is doing good. Noting spectacular have happened since last week, but everything is growing as it should. I added some more herbs to my container garden; sage, parsley, and dill. The herbs that I already planted (from seed) earlier; cilantro, lavender, basil, and oregano are starting to come up. Especially the cilantro is thriving. Cilantro seem to like it here, I usually have lots of it in the summer. I also planted a mix of organic greens in a big container this week. I’m already eating my baby spinach, so I’m going to need more greens soon. Some of the fig cuttings, the ones that I planted directly in soil, are starting to show some new growth. That’s exciting.

I have started to make tomato cages out of old field fencing, that I got for free off Craigslist. I love repurposing materials. It feels good to do that. I still need to make more cages. My tomatoes are growing, and it is going to be a priority this coming week. I have around 20 tomato plants, in a couple different varieties. I choose two smaller types of tomatoes this year. For two reasons, my daughter loves cherry tomatoes, and our heat often crack the bigger varieties before they have a chance to get any where near being ripe. Last year I grew lots of heirloom rainbow tomatoes. They were big, juicy, sweet, and absolutely delicious, but a bigger number than I would of liked got cracked by the sun. The year prior to that, I only grew cherry tomatoes, and did not encounter that problem. I have some more tomato seedling on the way. I’m going to plant those in containers. The 20 plants I Have now are planted in the ground. 

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Fancy helping me keep the grass down around my garden.

My horses, Ghost and Fancy, had an interesting week. I’ve been continuing going out to their pasture for around an hour a day (besides the regular care/training,) to read a book, just hanging out with them, to get Ghost to come on more friendly terms. He’d been acting very jealous of my time with Fancy. It started with him throwing a fit whenever I worked with her, later he started to distance himself from me, and now it actually escalated a bit further with him biting and chasing Fancy. It has been a tough week for her. A few days ago Ghost took a big bite out of Fancy’s shoulder. He took a lot of skin off, and it was bleeding, but was not very deep. I’m taking care of it myself, since it wasn’t deep. It’s healing good. This unexpected thing with Ghost is heavy on my mind. Luckily it’s the only cloud on my horizon, so I can deal with it. 

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Ghost’s summer coat is gorgeous. Those dapples are more defined in his summer coat. I’ve always been amazed with how much a horse can change in appearance from winter, to summer. The first mustang I adopted had a bay (brown) winter coat, and black mane/tail. In the summer he turned silver, still with black mane/tail! That’s the most extreme color change I’ve seen. 

My daughter and I had a fantastic week, with many interesting conversation, and spontaneous singing! She’s been starting to make up songs about people she loves, and things we do, and been entertaining me with them while we’ve been working with different projects. I love it! 

We went to an educational show with wild animals on Thursday; A Walk On The Wild Side. It’s a show featuring local wildlife, that been orphaned (or lost their captivity for other reasons,) explaining why we need them in our eco system, while showing us the animals up-close. It’s going to be a daily show, at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, over the summer. It just started this week. We enjoyed it very much. 

I hope your week was marvelous! If you are a mother, be sure to enjoy your weekend a little extra! Happy Mother’s Day!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share – Turtle Bay Exploration Park

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that summer is here. The day temperatures have been 80-85F all week. We’re coming towards the time of the year when it’s wise to do outdoor activities early in the morning. The heat usually lingers until bedtime, but the mornings are cool. That said, would you like ice coffee today? I also have a wonderful ice tea in the fridge, that I made yesterday, Green Tea/Kombucha with honey. It’s not super sweet, but very refreshing. I drink a lot of ice tea during our hot summers. Since it’s still morning now, I’m drinking hot coffee. I’m on my second cup. The coffee in the pot today is Major Dickason’s Blend, from Peet’s Coffee. It’s a favorite. 

My daughter and I spent two days at Turtle Bay Exploration Park this week. It’s 300 acres of fun. The park has a lovely big garden, Sundial Bridge (designed by Santiago Calatrava,) Sacramento River, Hiking Trails, a museum, playgrounds, aquarium, wildlife center, seasonal exhibits, a Parrot House (my daughter’s favorite,) and many interactive learning activities for kids. We had a marvelous time, learning about Butterflies, the theme this month. Starting next weekend they are opening a butterfly house, that they are going to have open over the summer. We definitely have to experience that at some point. The weeks fly by with the speed of light with my energetic daughter. I know that I’m going to wake up one day, and she’ll be all grown up. I don’t look forward to that day. She is the greatest blessing. I so enjoy every second we spend together.

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All the photos in today’s post are taken at Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding (CA.) The first photo is the Sacramento River, taken from Sundial Bridge. The photo above is my daughter inside the Parrot House.

Blogging wise it’s been a busy week. I started out by participating in the 3 Day Quote Challenge, sharing some action photos the first day, some roses from my garden, and some tree art from our last homeschooling project, paired with some of my favorite quotes. It was fun! Speaking of our Tree Theme, our latest school project that we just finished, yesterday I shared a post about an experiment we did in that theme, with different methods of propagating trees from cuttings. We choose a fig tree, but the methods could be applied upon almost any tree. If you feel a need to add some beautiful trees to your garden, or balcony. 

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One day with had lunch by the river, under Sundial Bridge.

I finished reading Shanghai Sisters, by Lisa See yesterday. It’s a complex, and very interesting story about two modern (for their era) sisters. The book begins after WW1, and the sisters lives  with their parents in Shanghai. The story takes many twists and turns, and are filled with tragedies, and hopes. It’s a novel, but feels like it could of very well be based on a true story. The authors writing voice is brilliant. I wish that I could tell a story like that. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. I would love to read a follow up book, the ending kind of left you hanging. I’ve read 28/52 books in my reading challenge this year. Are you reading something interesting at the moment? Books never lasts very long for me, I love reading, and I’m a fast reader. If I start reading a book, I can’t put it down, unless I really have to. I can always use book recommendations. 

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Sundial Bridge, seen from the garden at Turtle Bay.

I know I haven’t written much about my German Shepherd lately. She loves our new place, and have definitely found her spot here. Having some land to roam is the perfect setting for a dog like her. She is happy just knowing that we are there. If I’m out she likes to hang out by my side. She’s just a low maintenance, happy dog, when she gets to be with me. She doesn’t like being alone, but she accepts it if she’s in a familiar place. If we’re somewhere else, visiting someone, or on a trip, she’ll raise hell if she can’t see me, at home she’ll just go to sleep. I love her very much. She is the perfect dog for us. 

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Trying the smoke jumper simulator, at the Mill House (Turtle Bay) was lots of fun!

My rescue horses, Ghost and Fancy, enjoys their days in the pasture. I’ve been working on Fancy’s hooves, and they look a little better. My daughter still rides her, almost every day. Both of them enjoys that very much. Since Fancy was emaciated not long ago, I’m taking things slow with her, slowly building her up. I’ve been given her a supplement for her hooves, and I’m going to start giving her other supplements that will help her build muscles faster. I just didn’t want to shock her body, by starting to give it all at once. Fancy and I are getting very close. She knows that I want to help her. Even when I have to do things that are uncomfortable for her, she works with me. I really like that trait in her. I was warned that she is buddy sour, doesn’t like to be without other horses. She was in the beginning. She still loves being with Ghost, but she doesn’t freak out if he walks to the other end of the pasture, while I work her in the round pen. Most of the time she doesn’t even look for him. She is trusting me more and more. I’m starting to allow my daughter to enter the pasture by herself, and hang out with her, when I work in the garden. I can see them the whole time. Fancy is so sweet with her. Ghost still have his very personal, curious, playful personality. He can be hilarious.

One sad thing is that Ghost and I, we used to have a very tight relationship, but the closer I get to Fancy, the more he distance himself from me. It’s not like I don’t have time for him. I’d like to spend several hours a day with him, I have the time, but he’s not interested. This is a first for me. Horses usually compete about my attention. I know all the good spots to scratch them, I’m pretty good at massage, I have light hands when I ride, and I love just spending time with them. This is usually something horses appreciate. I hate giving horses human traits, but if I didn’t know better, I would say that Ghost is jealous. I can feel his eyes on me all the time, if I’m outdoors. If I try to reach out to him, he says hi, put his muzzle on me, and walks away. He have never, ever acted like that with me! Nothing happened between us, that I’m aware of, other than that I also spend time with Fancy now. This is definitely something that’s been on my mind a lot. For now, I’m just going to give him the space he asks for, but being there for him when/if he reaches out. He is a horse that could’t get enough attention, so this is a little weird. To say the least. Physically he is in excellent  condition, and the image of health. He has had a lot of changes this year, from not being handled at all in January. Maybe he just needs time. I’ve taken my book, and a chair into his pasture for about an hour every day this week. He usually stays pretty close to me. From time to time he comes up to smell my hair. It’s almost funny, now when I have all the time in the world to spend with him this summer, he’s not interested..I’m hoping it will change. I’m going to give it until July/August, and not fret about it. If I don’t see any change by then, I’ll have to start figuring out a plan B. 

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The garden at Turtle Bay, have a lovely Mosaic Oasis. It’s made by repurposed materials, donated by local residents.

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Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I’m hoping to go on some kind of hike today. Not really sure where. Preferably in the mountains. The mountains are calling my name. Feliz Cinco de Mayo, if you’re celebrating today 🙂 Maybe I’ll have to see about getting some Mexican food later today. I know a place with margaritas out of this world..wanna go?

Thanks for having coffee with me! Have a wonderful weekend!

Love,

Ms Zen