In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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A Day Of Silence

Little Portion in Republic, Missouri is where I spent my Sunday.  It’s where I spent the entire day, on a silent meditation retreat.  I’d never been on anything like this before.  I’ve spent weekends at yoga workshops practicing meditation and pranayama but never a whole day of meditating and being silent.  If you’ve known me for very long you know that I have the tendency to be, well…a chatter box.  This has shifted quite a bit over the last several years though.  I’m hoping I’m a much better listener than I used to be.

We started our day in that white barn that you see.  It has been converted into a bed and breakfast if you will.  Complete with a kitchen, public use room and bedrooms that were private and what not.  This piece of property has three buildings.  The barn, the yellow house that you see that used to be a milk house and a neat stone house where some nuns still reside.  This property also has several acres, a few beautiful gardens, a huge rock, and a stream that runs through the entire place.  Beautiful location.  And just a short drive from my house.  Who knew?  I want to go back here again.

We started out as a group meditating upstairs in a public use area.  I led us through some gentle yoga stretching to prepare for our sit.  We sat for awhile as a group together.  I don’t know how long.  I quit wearing a watch when I quit punching a time clock and purchased my video store.  After our group sit, we were free to continue sitting indoors, or go outside.  We all went outside.  The morning started out cloudy and a bit on the dewy side, but it cleared off nicely for the afternoon.  A few  of us chose walking meditation like we do at the studio.  Some of chose to sit on the benches by the water, or rest in the hammocks on the property.  I chose walking meditation with my camera and it was awesome.

Walking and meditating.  One person did this barefoot, awesome!

The creek.  Sun reflecting on the water.

Frodo.  Take me away.

A view of one of the beautiful gardens.

Someone asked me the other day why I meditated.  What did I get out of it?  And was it worth it?  My only answer at the time was that I liked it.  That question reeled out of control for the rest of my day as I continued to think about it.  I like the way I feel afterwards.  I like the way I feel while I’m meditating.  I like uncluttering and clearing  the junk in my mind.  I like the mental clarity that goes with that after I’m finished.   I’ve received answers to questions that I haven’t asked yet and that can be kind of scary.  I’ve also received explanations to things that have happened in my life.   And perhaps why they happened in the order that they have.  It’s cool, it really is.  And I do see now why some people come to class a few times and never return.  There’s a truth that happens during meditation not at all unlike the truth that you experience on the yoga mat.  It can seriously creep you out.

 

I left the retreat about two and a half hours early.  I had to teach a yoga class at MSU that evening and I didn’t want to stress out about it, or be in a hurry.  When I arrived home our son was at work and my husband and daughter were fishing together.  I was thankful.  I had a few hours to spend in silence and adjust to the tasks that had to be done in due time. 

So.  Do I quit meditating and forget all this stuff that keeps coming up over and over again?  Or do I stick with it?  Do I follow my heart and deal with the pain and other feelings as they present themselves?  I’ve answered my own question already.  I’m not qutitting.  I’m sitting with it.  Where I’m going with this I have no idea and I actually kind of like it that way.  I’ve lived my life without a plan for a long time now and it seems to suit me quite well.  I know that if I have enough money for today, I will be OK.  I know that if I have my health at this moment, everything is damn near perfect.  I know that if I get a “thank you” after I teach a yoga class that that’s all I really need for the rest of the week.  It’s all good.

I’m staying on the path.  It’s a good thing and I’m happy about it. 

 At the moment anyways and that’s all that counts really.

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Our Son Rocks

Our son, Jordan, is amazing.  He’s taught himself quite the technique on working the discus for track and field.  He even bowed out of most running events to concentrate on his passion, throwing discus.  He placed first in the Sectional meet yesterday in Lebanon.  I couldn’t be there, I had to teach a yoga class, but his father was there and so were a ton of other relatives to cheer him on.  The Springfield News-Leader interviewed him and took his photo after the event.  He didn’t land his photo in the newspaper, but he gave a decent interview and got his name in the headline.  We are super proud of how hard he’s worked and how dedicated he remains.  Good job Jordan!

Our daughter, Lauren, is becoming quite the seamstress.  She’s on her 7th sewing lesson, she has one more next weekend, then I think she wants to break for the summer.  So far she’s made a pillowcase, a pair of bermuda shorts and yesterday she made the cutest little skirt.  She’s taking a class with her good friend Madeline as they both received sewing machines for Christmas.  Talented girls they are.  I cannot use a machine to save my life, but I can sew by hand.

My car.  Another story.  It will be repaired but who knows when.  They have to get parts from a few different states, since the car is ten years old.  So far the repairs are up to $3,052 and that’s OK.  The insurance company already issued me a check with a letter that says they will pay for anything over that amount.  Then why not just wait until the car is finished and cut the body shop one check?  Who knows?  What I do know is this.  I deposited that check and I’ll put the repairs on my Discover card, pay it off immediately and enjoy my 5% cash back bonus.  Thank you insurance company.  The accident got into my front wheel drive, so though the Volvo doesn’t need much in the way of body work, it needs under carriage crap.  Hopefully it will drive just as good, if not better when I get it back.  And oh, am I missing it!  They gave me a 2010 Pontiac G6 to drive.  It’s a brand new car, I guess I should love it, but I don’t.  It’s nothing like my Volvo.  Nothing at all.  I like my 10 year old car and I will have myself a serious little party when I get it back!

Off to work some more in the garden.  We finally have a day without rain (so far) but it’s pretty hot and humid out there!  I weeded half of the garden already and have decided to blow the other half off.  I didn’t plant much this year, so we’ll be moving the fence to make the garden smaller here in a little while.  That is, if I can get Frank to help me.  Enjoy the day.


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Walnuts And Wind In My Hair

walnutvilleSo far this fall the weather has been really crappy for picking up walnuts.  But at the same time too much rain followed by a cold snap and a couple of warm days, allowed for me to gather a decent crop.  The bad news is that by the time I got our walnuts picked up and sold on Wednesday the price had dropped to a whopping $6.  That’s the lowest I’ve ever seen it.  They usually start off the month of October with a price of $13 or $11 for 100 lbs., then it usually moves to $8 later in the month.

The weather was amazing.  Nice and warm and dry with an awesome breeze.  I was able to soak up some much needed vitamin D since we hadn’t seen the sun for like 10 days!  After these walnuts were hulled, they weighed in at 954 lbs. and I received a check for a whopping $57.24.  Not so great.  Someone asked me the other day how many walnuts they’d have to pick up to make $20.  I told them an awful lot.  I picked all of these up (pictured) from our yard and from one tree next door on Sunday and again on Tuesday.  The bad news is our largest tree still hasn’t let go of her walnuts and the last day to sell is the 31st.

If you don’t really like to do manual labor outside and if you don’t like to get dirty, I highly recommend that you don’t pick up walnuts.  It can be a pretty nasty job.  But I don’t mind.  In our case it’s not just the selling them, it’s a matter of safety.  We have several trees and cannot mow or walk the dog unless they’re cleaned up.  I actually find the whole process to be very meditative. 

On another outdoor note, we did dig our sweet potatoes and the shallots before the big rain.  For having too much rain, a garden without enough sun and planting them a bit late, we didn’t fair too bad.  They’re really good too.   Mama Jean’s, eat your heart out.

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Our green beans also went totally crazy and so did our peppers of all varieties.  I’ve never had so many peppers in my life.  I’ve given away quart bags full and there are still a ton of green ones out there.  I have a nice bunch hanging to dry.  Chili peppers anyone?

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Our broccoli didn’t do anything at all.  It got tall, it got flowers and nice thick stalks but never produced anything worth clipping off.  Not enough sun, too many walnut trees.  Our asparagus produced one stalk and by next year, we should have a bunch.  The squirrels and raccoons pretty much destroyed most of our tomatoes, but all of my herbs faired very well.  Hopefully the mint will come back next year.  My sage is also loving this cooler, wet weather as it’s grown really tall the last few weeks.  I’ve clipped a bunch of herbs and given them away as well.  I had no idea that two Basil plants in the garden would get so big.  I usually grow the herbs on our deck.  I brought in some oregano and rosemary and potted them in a big pot.  Then I placed it in our bathroom.  It smells really nice when you get out of the shower now.  How did your garden grow?


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The Garden In Pictures

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Jackson loves to help me in the garden.  Help as in chewing the asparagus and rolling around in the dirt!

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Look at those sad sweet onions, this was after I weeded them.  There are three rows, too close together for the hoe, so I had to remove all the grass that had grown there by hand.  It was solid grass, the width of my yoga mat.  It actually looked pretty cool, but it had to go!

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Whenever I dig in the garden, I run across a lot of glass.  Mostly clear and brown.  I save all the pieces that are cloudy, a pretty color or the pieces that are earthenware.  I’ve uncovered some really unique pieces of old stoneware, mostly green in color.  Some have really funky textures.  Did people used to dump trash and bury it in our yard?  Who knows.

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Nice looking broccoli and basil.  I harvested the cilantro and arugula before I shot the photo.  They were both up above my waist.  There was so much, I had to give some away.

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Blue lake green beans, yum yum!  The thing about working in the garden, is you snack as you go.  I ate all the strawberries out of the box before I took this.

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A reminder that my cup really is half full.  If I still had the business on this coffee cup, I wouldn’t have this garden, or two solid days to play in the dirt!  Check out that sweet potato plant.

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Weed free for a day!  Sending a garden wave your way.


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Around the House

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Beautiful begonia!  This one was new this year, it’s a double begonia and it really looks like velvet to the naked eye.

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Light filtering bamboo-look blinds.  Best investment I’ve ever made for our huge, east facing window.  Bed, Bath & Beyond, thank you for making these affordable.

 100_3845Flower pot covered with stuff from my mom’s beach.  I’d had these in the garage and forgotten about them until they reappeared when we had our sale.  I covered one with ocean rocks and coral and the other with shells, above. 

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 The lavendar outside our front door is digging this weather.  What a calming scent as you hit the front door.  The mailman digs it.  I feel like I planted it just for him as our dog goes nutso every time he approaches the front steps.

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Someone, has been chewing on my clematis.

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This rosebush is around 100 years old.  We moved it from underneath a shade tree two years ago to a sunny location.  It’s almost 7 feet tall now, is weighting down the trellis and is covered with 1,000 buds now.  

While I was recently in St. Louis shopping at an Italian market, I spotted this little beverage 6-pack of pear nectar in glass bottles.  The brand was called yoga.  Of course, I picked it up and the packaging pretty much sucked, so one fell out, busted all over the floor and splashed my left foot with sticky pear juice.  I was wearing cloth slides and was as dressed up as I get for dinner when this happened.  Nothing like pear toes and sticky shoes!  I had planned on buying the drink anyways, but they insisted I grab a full pack.  Scared to death it would happen again, I carefully grabbed a complete package.  On our way to the check out, I spotted a bottle of wine with the label, Oops!  I died laughing.  They also had a bottle called Mommy’s Time Out, too funny!  The pear nectar is really good and the bottles that say “yoga” are now holding clippings of this rose bush at the studio. 

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One of the most beautiful colored lilies I’ve ever seen.  Somewhat battered by the rain from yesterday, but still amazing.

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Gazing into my future.  My old ball, was shattered by a rock from the mower.  It was way cooler than this one.  I know, we need to seriously power wash the house.  Maybe if we wait long enough, an image of Jesus will appear.

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This little guy was marked way down, because he’s all pocked up.  I thought he was still cool.  He’s guarded the garden for three years now and he hasn’t changed a bit.  He’s sitting atop a big rock, that measures 24″x18″x4″ it weighs a ton.  I know, we carried it home from a day outing.

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Subwoffer Buddha…….have a gorgeous day!


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Malasana Garden

shed-garden-21A few years ago on Mother’s Day, my family gave me the beautiful lily you see at the left.  I’m only around 5′ 3″ tall, and this lily is now taller than I am!  The main stalk of the plant is almost as large as a .50 cent piece.  It has multiplied and I have divided it up and given some of it away to others.  The lilies haven’t bloomed here in our area yet, that usually happens in June. 

We have extreme black dirt here at our house especially in the backyard.  This whole area used to be a farm.  Frank’s parents live right next door to us and they have lived there for 55 years!  Their house was built in 1924 and the house next to them, is even older.  Most of the homes on our street were built in the 50’s (including ours) so that left several years of open space for farming.  Years ago, Frank used to ask me to come over and see his horses.  My reply was usually, “You’re full of crap, you live in the middle of town.”  He wasn’t kidding.  Their farm was grandfathered in and they had horses and other critters here until the mid eighties.  I never came over to find out and I always thought he was full of it, until 19 years later when we reconnected.

Yesterday I finished the garden.  But I can’t say that’s true, as a garden is probably never finished.  So our line up is as follows:  Hybrid Tomatoes, Cayenne and Jalepeno Peppers, Asparagus, Broccoli, Yellow Sweet Onions, Blue Lake Beans, Sweet Snap Peas, Whopper and Jewel Strawberries, Arugula, Rosemary, Sage, German Thyme, Tarragon, Thai and Italian Basil, Italian Parsley, Cilantro, Oregano, Mint, Dill and two pretty pink Cosmos just for the heck of it!  I found some thin, old wood and dug a trench to make a wall to keep the strawberries contained.  The last two days have involved lots of squatting, hence the Malasana garden.  Malasana is the squatting pose in yoga.

I also picked up a new plant I’d never seen before.  It’s called Corkscrew Rush.  I usually don’t like to blow my money on annuals, but I couldn’t resist it.  It will add cool texture to my north side shade garden.  I haven’t taken a photo of it, as it’s been raining buckets since I finished planting yesterday, but here’s one I found online.  It’s a spiral and it feels pretty tough!  It reminds me of that stuff they dry and put in flower arrangements, and hey, maybe it is!corkscrew_rush2  I also blew a few bucks on some really pretty Geraniums and Gerbera Daisies for the deck.  I also bought some Fiesta Impaitiens (they’re pink and white with green and white leaves) for my shade garden.  I hope I can winter the Corkscrew Rush inside, it’s such a cool plant!

Another cool thing my in-laws used to keep on their farm were bees.  The last few years the bees have been back.  In fact, from my kitchen window the other day, I saw my 83 year old father-in-law, dressed in the bee garb pitching the tallest ladder ever (imagine wooden, rickety, old) against one of our walnut trees.  This didn’t look good.  He’d moved some bees into a hive a few days prior and I guess it wasn’t good enough for the queen, so they bolted.  He was going to “brush them down” with a broom.  Sounds like a bad idea to me.  Frank arrived home from work to head straight out back to help.  They ended up getting the chainsaw and getting the bees on the ground.  Good thinking.  I didn’t get a photo, but here’s one I took of bees from another time.

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This many bees weigh around one pound.  That’s a lot of bees.  And I’m not sure how many it takes to weigh in at that.  Frank’s dad now has 6 hives full of bees.  Maybe we can talk the guys into robbing them for honey this year, as we didn’t last year.   The bees will also pollenate all kinds of stuff in the garden as well as the great rash of wild, Black Raspberries that grow here as well as next door.

I went to yoga this morning and the rain was a nice backdrop for our class.  We didn’t do any squatting (Malasana) and I was pretty thankful.


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How Does Your Garden Grow?

north-side-3This will be the third year we’ve planted a garden.  Not a flower garden, but a food garden.  I have a few flower gardens.  The one pictured at left is from the year before last.  My blog header, is actually one of my gardens as well.  This garden is on the north side of our house and it’s in the shade.  That called for lots of hostas, perennial begonias, ferns, lilies and impatiens.  I can do flowers, I can.  The veggie thing is somewhat new to me!  The first year we planted a food garden, the squirrels literally ate everything.  I mean all of it.  We have lots of walnut trees, so we have lots of squirrels.  They ate the tops off of the sweet potatoes, they ate the green tomatoes, they destroyed the garden.  Last year we planted peppers between each tomato plant and guess what?  We got maters, that’s what! 

So tip number one.  Plant peppers, any peppers between each tomato plant to deter any critters.  This would’ve been nice to know, especially after I spent god knows what on different repellents!  We also have several mature trees in our yard which I adore, so this makes some serious shade near our garden.  I found by trial and error that leafy greens do really well in partial shade.  Corn on the other hand, sucked.  It needs sun!!  But we harvested some micro-corn last year and it was tasty, but small.

So this afternoon I planted 10 hybrid tomato plants, 10 asparagus crowns (that’s a new one for us), a bunch of yellow, sweet onions, snap peas (yum), some arugula and a row of broccoli.  The strawberries from last year have taken up another row and that’s a good thing.  I will have a hybrid of Jewel and Whopper strawberries this year!  Tip number two.  Buy some cheap netting and cover them up because the birds will eat them before you get out of bed in the morning!

Tip number three.  A good friend told me to get a couple of tires and stack them.  Fill them with mulch and plant potatoes in them, instant potato garden.  I have not tried this yet, but we intend to.  We can put the tires in any sunny spot in the yard this way!

Tomorrow I buy the pepper plants and get them in the ground.  Hopefully.  Our weather has been pretty much hit and miss for any yard work here lately, that’s for sure!  How does your garden grow?