Weekend Coffee Share; Northern California Weather & Co-Parenting  

How about another cup of coffee? I sure could use one. I drove my daughter to Sacramento yesterday afternoon, to leave her with her dad for the rest of the summer. That was kind of hard. I stayed the night at a nice hotel, but didn’t get much sleep. Just too loud in the city. I started driving back at 4.30am this morning, and had a big cup of the black magical brew on the go. I never eat at McDonalds, but if I’m on a road trip, it’s usually the only place open for a coffee when I start driving in the am. The coffee was extra delicious this morning, but I’d love to have another cup with you. How do you like it?

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I stopped by the side of the road to watch the sunrise this morning, while enjoying my coffee. It was magical. 

It’s been a  busy week, with very hot weather. I’ve spent every second possible with my daughter, having many conversations, and trying to prepare her the best I can. She is always with me, and is very used to me being there for her. I’m sure she will be fine. Her dad is a good man, but a workaholic. She haven’t seen him in 6 months, and they haven’t spent all that much time together. It’s just the mom in me hoping that she will get the attention, and care she needs. Not that I have any reason to believe she wouldn’t, but still.. She’s my baby, even though her 6th birthday is coming up. I do her hair every morning, reminding her to brush her teeth good, not snack in between meals..you know, mommy stuff. She’s never ever been away this long. I know that she’s going to have so much fun, going on an airplane for the first time, and spending time with relatives on her dad’s side all over the US. That is what I’m going to focus on. I am happy, and excited for her, that she gets to have a relationship with her dad (I didn’t get that with mine.) Time with him is something she has been craving. She adores him, and I can understand why. I gave her my birthday gift yesterday, a camera, and a camera bag. I helped her put the battery and memory card in, and showed her the basic settings, before saying good bye yesterday. She’s been borrowing mine a lot lately, and she was thrilled to get her own.  

The garden is doing good. Fighting the heat. Two days ago we had a high of 117. There’s lots of fires all over northern California. It’s going to be around 108-110 this weekend. We harvested our first corn, and cucumber earlier this week. We still have plenty of squash, and tomatoes. The salad is doing OK, and so is the kitchen herbs. I’m kind of amazed that the salad is still doing OK. I thought for a while that I wasn’t going to  get more salad, but the beautiful green blessings just keeps coming. This time of the year I usually have problem keeping the salad alive. I planted it in my compost from last year, earlier this spring, and have been mulching a lot on top of that. Maybe that’s why. Last year I bought organic soil, and by July there was no nutrition left. A high percentage of what I eat now comes from my own backyard. I like that! It’s something that I am working hard to increase even more. My goal is to have my own homestead, and being as self sufficient as possible. At least knowing that I can be. That I don’t need the grocery store to survive. I do enjoy having grocery stores out of convenience, but…I don’t want to depend on them, and I don’t. Everything one would need for survival is available within a short distance from where I live. Hopefully I will never be forced to actually experience that kind of survival, but this is not a bad place to be. I wouldn’t consider myself a prepper, but I do plan for the future. Different possible scenarios.

How is your week? I have guests coming to visit later today, that is great timing. Giving me something else to think about. I should clean the house before they come. It’s not messy, but I like it when it smells good. Any fun plans for the weekend? 

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Energy

After a couple cooler days in the mid 90’s last week, we’re back to normal three digit temperatures. I was planning on just doing the minimum required in the garden, and with the horses today. I was going to get a great work-out, and lift some weights in my comfortable air-conditioned house. Afterwards I was planning on spending the afternoon reading. Well….it was so much fun outside that I ended up working with both horses, and spending six hours working in the garden. A concerned neighbor actually told me that I shouldn’t work outside more today. LOL.

Well inside I didn’t exactly feel a need to work-out, or lift weights anymore, but my book is still tempting. BTW, don’t Ghost look amazing? The break in his training have done him good, and he have matured some. The heat doesn’t bother him at all. Just looking at him you could never guess that it is over 100 today. If he ever trust me enough to become an endurance horse, we’re going to be dangerous out there. He rarely even break a sweat. I kind of had hoped that the heat of the summer would make him slightly less energetic, making it easier to start him under saddle. That did not happen…

I hope you’re having an awesome day!

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Weekend Coffee Share

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Imagine. You’re sipping coffee under the big fig tree, in the center of my back yard. The birds are singing away. The last of the roses in the rose garden are still smelling as lovely as ever. The horses are neighing their welcome, as they see you walk in. My dog gets up from her regular place next to me, to give you a greeting suitable for a most important celebrity. Why don’t you come on in? Take a 15 min break out of you busy day, and have that amazing dark liquid rejuvenate your soul. I have all sorts of tea as well, if that’s sound more appealing. Sitting down for a while sounds pretty good, don’t it? You know you’re dying to tell me about your week. 

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Pomegranate trees in my container garden.

How is you week? Spring is in full bloom? My favorite time of the year. I think I might say that about every season, depending on where I am, but it is true every time I say it. I usually feel like it is the best day ever (one of my daughter’s favorite phrases right now,) every day when I wake up. The weather is perfect right now, around 85 degrees. We’re having a high of 103 later today. yeah..it’s here, the heat. We had the first three digit day earlier this week. I’ve been spending  a lot of time organizing in my vegetable garden since that first really hot day. My garden has two fenced in areas/rooms. I prepared the container part of the garden with extra mulching, so that my plans and trees will be able to handle the heat better. They all got a layer of used tree shavings, from the barn. The container garden area, is closest to the house ( and closest in the photo.)

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The area furthest away, has plants planted directly in the ground. With one small exception, of kitchen herbs in containers. This is what the garden looked like 6 weeks ago, when I moved in to this place. I’ve done all the work by myself, by hand, with help of my 5 year old daughter.

My garden is organized by the amount of sun hours that each plant needs, and by age. Have you tried succession planting your garden? In my area, the gardening season is long, and I hugely benefit from succession planting. It helps keeping my garden in harvest, and producing all through the growing seasons. I’m sure there’s as many ways of doing this as there are gardeners. I practice three varieties of succession planting;

1. Crops that only harvest one time, gets completely cleaned out after harvest, and replaced with a new type of plant. The space will not remain empty.

2. Some crops like different types of salad greens, I plant a few seeds every two weeks. In that way I have fresh greens longer. (Until it gets too hot to grow them here.)

3. The third method is similar to the second method, but more extended. I use it for plants like tomatoes. I start all my tomato seed indoor in March/April. (I only grow my vegetables from seeds. I never buy seedlings to plant.) During April-June I plant the seedlings I raised outside, with a few weeks intervals. My upper garden contains the tomatoes that I transplanted first. They are planted directly in the ground, and will produce the first harvest. This is the biggest harvest, of around 30 tomato plants. Planted within three weeks of each other. In my lower garden, I have big containers with tomatoes (among other vegetables.) The containers are just planted this week, and are tiny at the moment. When my harvest in the upper garden is finished, they will start producing. I mainly apply the third method to tomatoes, and squash.

If you have a garden, do you have a method to maximize your harvest? As silly as it may sound, the harvest is not my only priority. I know that there’s things that I could do to work less, like install a drip system for watering my garden. I have done that in some gardens I’ve built. However, when I don’t hand water every day, I miss so much of what’s going on. I enjoy the process, even if it’s not the most efficient. Our weather is extreme and changes fast. I’m more in control when I water my garden every day. I notice the little sign of distress, or need of one thing, or another. I don’t use any chemicals, or pesticides, which forces me to be on top of the game with pests. I need to notice all the little bugs before they get to established. What’s your thoughts? Do you enjoy the convenience of having your garden irrigated? Or do you prefer watering by hand? I definitely see pro’s and con’s with both methods. 

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Mini corn field, with tomato plants in the background.

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The fig tree cuttings I planted  almost a month ago, got repotted in bigger pots earlier this week. 

There’s a wonderful peace settling in between my horses, Fancy, and Ghost. From time to time Ghost is a little rascal, and chases Fancy around, but for the most part it’s very peaceful. I couldn’t be happier. They both have glossy summer coats. I’d like Fancy to gain a little more weight, and muscle up, but that’s going to take time. Her hooves can only take light work at the moment. Slowly she’s tapping in to her potential. Fancy is showing more and more of her personality. She is a highly intelligent horse. More so than I thought in the beginning. I’m starting to see a more powerful horse. A horse that still chooses to be gentle with my daughter. This new discovery only makes her more valuable in my eyes.

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This is a close-up photo of Fancy’s face. Fancy has two swirls/whorls/cowlicks close together, placed high up in her face, far above her eyes.

Many knowledgeable horsemen, along with several recent studies, show a connection between a horse’s personality and the pattern/number/placement of the swirls in their face. I do believe there’s something to it, and have compared all the horses I’ve been in contact with for the past 7 years, after I first heard of this. I’ve also studies photos of my favorite horses prior to the date I read about this, for the first time. All my favorite horses throughout the years (30+,) all had two swirls a little above their eyes. Interesting, don’t you think? One swirl in the middle between the eyes is much more common, and indicates a stabile, kind, predictable horse. Swirls that are higher up in the face usually belongs to high energy horses. Up until now Fancy have been the fist exception to the rule, or rather, I have not seen her personality in full light until now. Which makes perfect sense, since she wasn’t herself when I first got her, due to prior neglect/abuse/starvation.

Many Grand Prix horses in both dressage and jumping, and successful eventers have very high, side-by-side double swirls. This type of double swirl seems to give the ability to hyper focus. These horses are challenging and gritty, like most double swirl horses, but the ability to hyper focus and not back down from a challenge can be an asset in professional hands. The side-by-side swirls do give the horse access to both sides of its brain in a flash, ‘wickedly fast thinker’ is a description often given to them.

– Charlotte Cannon, multi-World Champion trainer, who learned the study of Swirlology from NSBA Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Stanford.

Fancy has that kind of hyper focus, is a fast thinker, and is gritty.  I see more and more of this every day, as she is gaining strength, and health. If you’d like to read Charlotte Cannon’s study, I recommend this link. It’s a very interesting read.

Ghost and I take it slow, but we’re going forward. He seeks my company more and more, and I have been successful in letting go of my expectations. He is growing a lot. Arabians, and mustangs mature later, and it’s not unusual that they keep growing until they are 8 years old. He’s a cross of those breeds. I’m thinking that with the quality feed he gets now, he might make up for some growth he missed earlier in his life. Most of all, it is a pleasure to enter the pasture every time. I was going to finish this post with a flying photo I took this morning. That is rather spectacular, if I may say so. However, a bird sang in my ear that tomorrow’s Sunday Stillsis going to be Fur and Feathers, so you’ll have to check in tomorrow to see it 😉 LOL. Or (hint..) you might be able to catch a sneak peak on Instagram.  

Any fun plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear about them! Would you like another cup of coffee?

Love,

Ms Zen