Category: Garden

While we’re waiting on spring!

We are getting awfully close to Easter, and spring seems to be nowhere in sight 😦

Even though everything green is waiting on warmer weather, we have had a few beautiful days. Days where you wake up to that thin layer of frost in the morning, but then the sun comes out, and the day turns into a perfect outdoor, lounging in the sun kinda day 🙂

So guess what…  perfect time to start the garden season. And what better way to do that, than to do a bit of spring cleaning! So out came the pressure cleaner, wellies and work clothes 🙂

I have raised flowerbeds with supposed to be white(ish) edges, that was in desperate need for a clean! Not only did the edge need a clean, it also needs a lick of paint… but I have to wait on warmer weather for that particular task.

To spruce up the place a little, I splurged on a tiny, tiny bit of yellow 🙂 and I got my begonia tubers (bulbs) into some soil, for them to sprout inside first. Oh yes, and before I forget.. guess what I found? This years first ladybug!

Maybe, it is almost spring after all…

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June in a nutshell and a garden update!

I’m still playing a bit of the catch up game, getting my posts aligned with the month I’m in, so I’m apologizing up front for the fact that there are two monthly sum ups, right after each other.

This time around I thought I would change it up a little, since I am after all catching up 😉

The garden in a nutshell 

I mentioned in my last post, that the plants have been having a hard time this year, figuring out if they really want to bloom or not, and I’m happy to say that June brought some life to them and they finally decided around the middle/end of June that it was time to pop some colour 🙂 The pictures are from June 23rd.


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And would you believe it – it took until June 28th, before my first rose sprung!

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Now, I don’t mind it being a late bloomer 🙂 As I’m greeted by a heavenly smell every time I open my front door.

Activities, exercise and projects
Now, there is that! Since I told my office the bad news early June, I’ve been out and about as much as possible, to keep my mind off it all. Between walks, mowing my neighbours stamp sized lawn, potting plants, mixing mulch, working in the garden, helping a friend shop for IKEA wardrobe and kitchen items, painting a tiny window frame and mowing the lawn at my step-mums allotment, throw in some more walks, and hanging out a lot with friends, I averaged 6 days a week on my activity scale. This time around none of them were proper workouts, as my focus was just being out.

So what about the normal stuff?

Declutter
I’ve done nil, zilch, zip! Yes I know, me bad, I just didn’t have it in me.

Will I do better in July? Hmm, I don’t think so, it is not looking good so far 😦

Only buying necessities
Back on schedule – except as you see from the allowances below, I still struggle a bit with the eating out!

  • Books – nope
  • Eating out – we are back to old habits, probably because I have been out a lot, and we did just as bad as during May.
  • Flowers and plants – none
  • Buying non essentials – yes – a thin packable down jacket, perfect for those chilly spring/summer mornings. I have been looking for a jacked like this for a very long time. And now I found it, so….

Financial goals
Nothing to report.

I guess this is it for the June monthly sum-up! Not very exciting I know, I’m sure things will “pick up” again, soon 😉

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, I will be going to England next week (for a short week). It’s been more than a year since last time, and it’s time! I’ll be visiting my mum for a few days first, before I ramble up to London to hang out with my brother for a day or two. This time around it’s his birthday, and there is no doubt, we gotta celebrate 😉

See you soon…

Spring is finally sprung!

Hi there 🙂

I’m sure some of you are wondering how my packing party is going (as I haven’t written about if for a little while), but I’m going to leave you wondering for just a little spell longer 😉

You see, I’ve been busy, with just about everything but the packing party! We have had some really wonderful weather here the last few weeks (in between a few rainy days) and I’ve been prioritizing the outdoors, rather than the indoors.

Part of my reason for moving towards minimalism is to have more time to spend on the things that gives me energy and joy, and as some of you know, I love, LOVE my garden 🙂 I love getting my hands dirty and seeing the results from my garden work.

So, I thought I would give you a quick look into what I’ve been spending my time on lately;

Garden stuff

I’ve been spending some time mixing up the “perfect” potting soil (800 litres worth), consisting of a mix of what we call “living soil” (which is really warm composted soil/mulch), sand, peat and cow manure compost (great potting soil consisting of cow manure mixed with peat). I mixed a big bunch last year to refill my raised flowerbeds, and the plants have just loved it. So I thought I would mix up a big batch this year also. Especially since I knew my sister and one of my neighbours needed some as well.

After having mixed part of the load above, I took about 300 litres of the stuff, over to my sisters place, to fill up a huge planter box she got from me earlier this year (hmm, guess I really should take a picture of it, to post among my decluttered items).

In addition to doing a bunch of my own stuff in the garden, I’ve been helping out a few of my neighbours as well. Let’s see… I’ve been planting a whole bunch of plants (using my mixed soil), I spent a few days cutting hedges (my part of the hedge took all of 10 minutes…) and I’ve checked the roof and cleaned the gutters, on all 7 units in my town-home (I kinda figured that since I was on the roof anyway…).

So what am I missing? Oh yeah, I’ve unpacked my garden furniture and potted my Begonia bulbs – which I cultivate indoors, it’s still too cold outside, on a good day we are barely into the 50’s (10 C)

If the weather holds, I think I’ll pull out the pressure cleaner and start attacking my white (or not so white) concrete raised flowerbed edges, to clean them up some. My plan is to paint them this year (I think). But as the forecast predict rain starting today, I might hold of on this job for a little while longer… we will see.

Exercise

I love this time a year, when the weather clears up and there are more days you can actually fathom being outdoors 🙂 So I’ve been outside as much as I can. Mostly working away in the garden, but when I haven’t had my fingers burried in soil, I’ve been out taking a lot of good walks. And not to mention all the exercise I’ve gotten from cutting hedges, mixing soil, carry planter boxes, cleaning gutters ++

A few days ago I decided to pull out my Skikes and try them out, for the first time ever. It was hard going (lots of hills here), and not a pretty sight I’m afraid, I looked like Bambi on ice, so after about 1,5 miles I was done in, and threw in the towel on that first try.

The day after my Skike “fiasco” I decided to pull out my Rollerblades instead, to see if I could get my blading balance back before I try Skikes again. A much better idea, if you ask me! It was my first time on them since 2009, so a hint of Bambi here as well 🙂 , but it sure rolled a lot better than the Skikes. A small 2,5 mile trip this time around, but hopefully with practise, I can get back to the 7 mile trips I used to do, when I lived in Houston.

Stuff at home

Believe it or not.. I am still chipping away at my decluttering, as part of my so called “packing party”. I do have a few pieces of items that are going out the door! I just need to get my act together and write about it.. and as you see from my focus above…. well, it hasn’t been hight on my priority list… It will come, I promise. I’m just waiting for that rainy day…

I’m adding a few pictures for you to enjoy, including this years first ladybug 🙂

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My 2014 goals – how did I do?

In 2009, after having lived in the US for two years, I came home with enough stuff to fill up a entire house (after having furnished an empty condo in Houston), and I already had a house full. Since then I have slowly but surely gotten rid of stuff, and I’ve dwindled it down to one household again. But as good as I had been at it, I felt that there was still more that could go out of the house. Which is why I decided a year ago that I would make 2014 a year to declutter and living with less.

And to be accountable – I started this blog 🙂

I decided my main goal, would be to get rid of an average of at least one item a day, all through 2014 – yepp, 365 items!

I also made a second goal, a promise in my post I want. I want – I want it now!!! – to make an effort to buy only necessities, needs rather than wants.

Have I managed what I set out to do? The short answer – YES!

So here it is – my MAIN goal;

2014 tally of items out-the-door  – 634 items, 2200 bookmarks and 14485 emails 🙂

Curious about what items I shed? Check it out;

  1. January tally – 63 items
  2. February tally – 45 items, 2200 bookmarks and 2450 emails
  3. March tally – 12 items and 7535 emails
  4. April tally – 58 items and about 4500 emails
  5. May tally – 126 items
  6. June tally – 22 items
  7. July tally – 22 items
  8. August tally – 45 items
  9. September tally – 103 items
  10. October tally – 7 items
  11. November tally – 23 items
  12. December tally – 108 items

My second goal – only buying necessities; 

I did better on this during 2014 than I did in 2013 (which was the first time I tried this). I replaced broken items, only if I had too. I used up before replacing or even did not replaced at all.

I did really good at not buying anything but necessities, until my trip to US in September, when I ended up buying some clothing I didn’t really strictly “need”. I do however have an excuse as my luggage was lost for several days, and I got sick of walking around in oversized men’s clothing that I had borrowed. So I caved and bought some ladies things 😉 And it’s not like the clothing won’t come in handy, when I wear out my older stuff…

Other than that, as far as I know, there are only a few other items I got, that were strictly not a necessity. 1 small box set I thought was really cute, that I really haven’t found a use for, yet! And then I got a a few cheap IKEA wine glasses for my birthday grill party, as I did not have enough glasses for the champagne toast! (thinking about it, I believe this could be considered a necessity 😉 )

I did have some allowances for the year! Things I could do and things I could get that aren’t really necessities;

Books – I could buy up to 10 books/magazines – I bought one physical book, and two or three e-books

Eating out – the goal was to cut down to half the amount of times we (a friend and I) eat out compared to 2013 – we didn’t quite manage, as we only cut 39% on times. But what we did manage was to cut the amount we spent, with more than 50%, which was ultimately the goal.

Flowers and plants – The goal for 2014 was to cut down to procuring less than half of what I normally wouldDone 🙂 I did even better than half as I cut my procurement of plants for the garden closer to 70% compared to any other years.

So all in all, I would say that I passed my goals for 2014!

Did I pass with flying colours? Hmmm, probably not, I’m sure I could have done better, but I’m pretty happy 🙂

 

Packing up for winter…

It’s been getting colder and colder outside, and it’s time to prepare the garden for the winter season.

On the west coast of Norway we never really know what winter we will have. A couple of winters ago we had so much snow it wasn’t funny (well actually it was 🙂 ), then there is the no-snow-freezing winter and last year we had a mild wet winter. So you see.. it’s hard to know what to prepare the garden for.

Last weekend, I cleaned up my water-feature and packed away the power, pump and lining. I packed away the pump/filter for my automatic watering system and cleared away some pots and plants.

I’ve started to pull my Begonias from the ground (have one big pot left I’ll take care off this weekend), I store the tubers indoors during winter. And I have one big pot of Dahlia which I’m keeping outside until the first frost and then it’s going in, just like the Begonias. Fortunately for me I have a friend that have a storage room that I can keep bulbs and tubers in (you see, my storage room is warmer than my house 😦  )

I’ve washed all my patio furniture and yesterday they were all packed together under the furniture cover (living in 807 square feet.. I have NO storage for my outdoor furnitures, except the pillows).

I have to admit, I’m not to fond of this time a year, when I have to pack “summer” away. It makes my patio (and me) a little sad 😦 The view from the living-room isn’t quite as cosy as it it during the summer months.

It’s not like I don’t like winter. Winter can be really beautiful, especially when we have those beautiful cold crystal clear days.

I’m just not quite ready to welcome the winter yet 🙂 Fortunately, I don’t have to, as there are still plants that are flowering in the yard, so I’m hanging on to “summer” a little while longer 😉

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“Homemade” apple juice

My step mum have two apple trees on her allotment. One little one and one big brute of a tree! Somewhere along the way she decided it be a good idea to pick the apples, but she didn’t want any.. would I?

Saturday last weekend, a friend of mine and me, moseyed over there and picked the trees clean. With the exception of about 6 apples hanging so high there was no way I was going to get to them, without risking my “life”. Yes.. had a little “scare” when my ladder started to slip because a branch gave in, or rather to be absolutely frank with you, it broke! Not a comfy feeling let me tell you 😉 So I caved and left the last ones on the tree. Better safe than sorry.. right? 😉

There are a couple of places in town that lets you do something about your apples.

One place will exchange 1,25 kg of apples for a 0,7 litre bottle already made apple juice (of the type that has been treated to last a while). You pay for the juice, but you pay less than normal, since you are bringing the apples.

There is another place in town where they will press apples into fresh apple juice for a small fee. Since this is not treated apple juice (pure fresh, as if you used a juicer yourself) they will only last a few days, so you will be needing some room in your freezer for storage.

Since this was the first time ever, trying this (and we had no clue if the apples were good or not), we decided it be a good idea to try both of the options above.

So off we went with about 60 kg worth of apples 🙂

We delivered about 38 kg to the “swap” place! Which amounted to 30 bottles of juice at reduced price. But since we had no idea if that juice was any good or not, we decided to buy only 15 bottles this time, which gives us a another 15 we can buy later.

Then we delivered  22/23 kg at the apple press place, and would you believe it, it amounted to about 17,5 litres of freshly pressed! Woohoo 🙂 How’s that for utilising our resources, and they are guaranteed organic (since nobody have done didli squat with the trees in years) 🙂

Which one tasted the best? As nice as the juice at the swap place is, I have to admit the freshly pressed is way better. So guess which version I’ll be doing next year? Yepp, the freshly pressed way (depending on how much room I can borrow in my friends freezers 😉 )

Did we save some? Yes, off course! The little tree had some really nice red tasty apples, and these are kept outdoors in my garden box. So right now, I’m eating apples like a crazy person 😉

 

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Garden give aways!

Before I left for Houston, a few of my outdoor items was moved over to my step-mums allotment. She needed a garden storage box and I had one to many 😉

At the same time I figured I could clear out some more stuff, and she ended up with 3 flowerpots, 2 trays for the flowerpots and one of my Hydrangeas, in addition to the garden storage box.

At the time I totally forgot to take the pictures for my blog 😦

Today though, I went over to her allotment to pick some apples from one of her apple trees 🙂 and I figured it was as good a time as any, to show you the things that made it out-the-door (or out-of-garden as it was) before I left for my Houston trip.

I guess.. better late than never.. right? 😉

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My morning visitor

When I opened my front door this morning, I was welcomed by this friendly visitor, who seems to have fallen “head over heels” with one of my plants.

Visitors like this, brightens my day, and makes it feel like summer is here.

Thought I would share, to brighten your day 😉

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Happy as a clam…

I can’t even begin to tell you what wonderful weather we have had here the last week, it feels like summer (actually, you never know, it might be our summer! )

In my post Spring cleaning a month ago, I cleaned up the wall around my raised flowerbeds. After this, my patio looked a little forlorn 😦 probably wondering if I had forgotten all about it.

Well I’m happy to say that with this great – and I mean GREAT weather – the perfect opportunity presented itself for a little patio TLC.

He never knew what hit him, before he had time to take a breath, he was stripped bare of furniture, plants and stuff.

One proper clean-up with cleaner and a pressure washer, and my patios hair was standing up in pure shock.

Well we couldn’t have any of that, could we! So next day when everything was dried, out came the sanding paper and my Black and Decker sanding mouse. Throw in a few hours of “elbow crease” and my patio was smooth as a baby’s bottom 😉

Fast forward a couple of days, and about 40 minutes ago I finished putting on the last lick of oil!

The patio is positively radiant! Happy as a clam, in mud at high tide 😉

And here it is! Before and after – and a couple of more, for good measures 😉

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There is Spring in my step!

We are having some really pretty days here this Easter, the sun is out, and I can’t help but hang out in my yard 🙂

Walking around this morning I suddenly glimpsed a tiny, tiny bit of red out of the corner of my eye, and it stopped me cold.

Could it be? No really.. could it be my first Ladybug of the year?

I stopped and took a closer look, and there – hidden in the middle of some dead leaves still hanging on my “blood birch” – was the first Ladybug I had seen this year.  I don’t know what it is, but for some reason that first Ladybug in my yard each year, put’s a smile in my heart. It’s almost like that – for that tiny moment – all is well in the world.

Maybe it’s because seeing a Ladybug, brings back a moment in my life, a good memory from when I was about 6 years old. When my best friend at the time and me, ran around in the neighbourhood (in the middle of urban city), picked summer flowers (that we would “sell” to strangers walking by) and “hunted” for ladybugs to count their spots, and see which one of us would find the most “spotted” one 🙂

This years Ladybug inspired me to take some pictures of my tiny garden (with my phone) – and I just thought I wanted to share my joy of Spring 🙂

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