Thursday, June 27, 2013

What a Difference Some Wood Makes

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that title is reflective of the fact that Mr. W is home for 10 days. And that I'm quite certain my stress level is going to drop significantly. You totally want to make a dirty joke about "wood" right now, don't you?

Get your mind out of the groin gutter, people.

The reason I'm talking about wood is because last weekend my darling sister and I laid a whole lotta cubic feet of wood chips along the front of the house in Santa Ynez.

A week or two prior, my wonderful parents went up to the house and pulled up just about every weed and mischievous piece of grass growing in the front yard. When they were finished, the entryway looked like this:

Still some dead grass. And although the clear dirt looked better than the weedfest, it still wasn't ideal. So I asked Mr. W if I could sprinkle it with some cedar chips.

He told me that according to his measurements, I would need to buy 8 bags of chips.

So I bought 6.

My sister told me to lie to him and say that he mismeasured. (Life lessons from the wife of 20+ years....) But the funny thing was that we ended up needing 10 bags anyway, so both Mr. W and I were wrong.

I'm quite pleased with how it looks now:

I'm sure the neighbors appreciate that it's slightly less ghetto out there too. Now that Mr. W is home for a bit, we'll likely make even more progress up at the new house. Maybe paint the back door that is still a garish red color. Probably do some more yard work. And definitely tackle more ferrying of possessions from Hollywood to wine country.

Now excuse me while I go get my hands on some other wood.... Thankyouandgoodnight.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just Peachy

These guys have gotten more golden since I snapped this pic last week. Yummah.

While I've been busy running all over the continent like a madwoman, the trusty old backyard has been slowly, surely mustering all the fruits of summer. Today I grabbed a peach from the tree (even though they're small, they're beginning to fall off) and it was sweet and fuzzy and delightful. I plan to make caprese salad later in the week with peaches, cherry tomatoes, burrata and a balsamic reduction.

Look at this branch on March 1st:

If ever I wanted to subsist on a diet of tomatoes alone, now would be the time to do it.

I let these guys go to flower because they were starting to be a bit tough. Although
the sister plants behind them are producing more yummy little guys, so I ate one
with my bruschetta tonight.

I have no idea what we'll end up doing with the grapes. I think Mr. W may want to
try to make wine. But I plan to leave that endeavor entirely up to him...

That little green bud in the middle has turned into my first zucchini of the year. Very
exciting. I'm sure in a few weeks I'll have so many I'll have to give them away!

I noticed the half-eaten ripe figs on the ground before I saw the babies in the trees.
Apparently we get an early crop every year and the squirrels got to them before I could!

As wonderful as our backyard bounty always is, I was quite taken with the stuff I saw growing in Hawaii over the weekend. Mr. W was the best man in a dear friend's wedding, so we soaked in some very tasty sights over the course of a few days. One of which being this gorgeous pineapple that was growing at, of all places, a shopping center! I don't know if we can grow these in Santa Ynez, but I would sure love to try!

Totally want to slice it up and throw it on the grill to eat with a burger.

I think if I could grow any kind of tree, banana would be it. I would love to have fresh
ones to throw in my morning smoothies!

I had no idea this was what coffee looked like before it had been picked and processed.

With each season, I'm more excited to plant the garden at the new house. I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life right now and she totally has me convinced to start eating more seasonally. I think becoming dependent on the backyard rather than the grocery store will make me much more accountable when it comes to that. Unless I can convince Mr. W to build a kickass greenhouse...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Trying to Keep the Finish Line in My Sights

My first half marathon. When I was young and in good shape.
There's a reason I've never run a full marathon. Actually probably 20+ reasons... Half marathons are challenging, but they still (somewhat) allow me to maintain my sanity and enjoy the run. I'm almost 100% certain that wouldn't be the case if I did a full 26.2 miles.

Over the last few weeks, I've been feeling like I'm running the final leg of a marathon. I can see the finish line, but my legs are buckling, everything hurts, and I can't hear the people cheering anymore.

I'm pretty much a hot mess.

Remember that post I wrote about all the overwhelm feeling like abundance? That lasted about 24 hours.

After that (and before, too) what it really felt like was complete overload from having a husband out of the country for 6+ months, two houses and yards to care for, cats that are serious a-holes a lot of the time, more travel than I can handle, and a workload that gives me heart palpitations. Oh, and let's not forget this new career path I'm trying to pursue. Yep, I'm the life coach who totally has her act together. Not.

I took my niece to Santa Ynez to celebrate her 13th birthday this past weekend, and everything was going pretty great (she was even patient when I insisted on pulling weeds for 45 minutes Sunday morning) until she alerted me to a bug on the dining room wall. It was a freaking cockroach. In a house that literally has no food stored outside the airtight refrigerator.

Beautiful ride. Even though it was about 92° and we witnessed a squirrel murder.
The roach nearly put me over the edge. One more thing to take care of on my own. One more weight on my overloaded shoulders.

In a state of desperation, I called my mom on the drive home and said, "I need help. I'm going to have a nervous breakdown."

It's not easy to ask for help when you pride yourself on being an independent person. It took a lot to make that call. And after it, I made another to my sister. And then I took my brother up on some additional assistance (he's going to spray the house for roaches).

It's sort of like people have joined me on the race course and have hoisted me up by the armpits to help me get through the last few miles.

It definitely helps. But it didn't stop me from bursting into tears when I found myself scrubbing cat pee off the bathroom floor. And then there were more tears when one of the feline a-holes pooped over the side of the litterbox and I had to clean the floor again five minutes after the first time.

Cats are jerks.
Mr. W comes home in about 6 weeks. I have to travel next weekend and the weekend after, and at least a couple more times in July. Some people think traveling equals vacation. It does not. But it's nice to know that the end is in sight. The finish line is near.

And hopefully there's an ambulance waiting for me just beyond it.