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Posts Tagged ‘Reflections’

As you may have seen online or; gasp, read in an actual paper newspaper, or maybe heard some faint mumblings during a local news broadcast; the state of California is in woeful condition when it comes to water. With nothing near the expected rainfall usually seen from New Year’s Day to February 1st, California’s reservoirs, which dot the state here to there, have seen reserve water levels continue to drop to what is now becoming an honest to goodness drought emergency situation.

At least these three will not have to worry about water

Thankfully; these three will not have to worry about droughts

Having lived in California since 1975; I have seen my fair share of droughts and let me tell you; they suck, each and every one of them, just suck. Water rationing is strictly enforced here in California; which means excess water use is strictly verboten. Excess watering usually includes routine chores we take for granted; watering the lawn and garden, washing your car, cleaning / filling swimming pools, etc., will stop being routine this year. The lawn and garden watering issue  also comes with its own potentially big problem; dry grass and dead plants that quickly turn into fresh tinder waiting to be introduced to a spark. Yep, like I said, droughts suck.

Will this hydrangea grow-up or fade away from drought?

Will this hydrangea grow-up or fade away from drought?

There will many gardens facing a very long and thirsty spring should we continue with these dismal rainfall totals. I still haven’t had the heart to break it to my garden friends yet. Today, the patio is awash with Primrose flowers opening in various planters scattered around the rectangular patio. There is also a seemingly endless fall of dainty white Snowflakes cascading down and around the three-shelve plant stand I rescued from a recycling bin last year. Seeing as all of my plants and flowers are happy and oblivious of what is coming; I have decided to wait and see what happens before I break the bad news to my patio family!

New Primrose Greet the Mid-Day Sun

This Primrose can’t be bothered with drought talk

Snowflakes continue to fall all around the patio

Snowflakes continue to fall all around the patio

Thankfully; today we received a promising sign, the start of a predicted week-long rain storm. Now, the rain that is coming down isn’t exactly a deluge of biblical proportion; and I have not yet been tempted to start gathering animals and figuring out what a ‘cubit’ translates to in modern measurements, but it is at least a good start to reducing the severity of the state’s drought woes.

I have always liked primrose when they are saturated

I have always liked primrose when they are water-logged

A soggy primrose; right now, is a happy primrose

A soggy primrose; right now, is a happy primrose

Hopefully, today’s rain will be an omen for another drought; my drought on finding gainful employment, now dragging on into its sixth month! I have reached that point where I have had to reverse where I stood on the issue of; ‘what I want to do‘ for a living vs. ‘what I need to do‘ in order to survive the next couple of months. The field of jobs is now open to anything; from office management to the old stand-by; a prep/line cook position in a local restaurant, I have bills to pay and a cat to feed!

Bright Blooming Flowers Hopefully Signal Bright Future Ahead

Snowflake continue to fill the patio with tiny white flowers

What else is going on? Well not very much actually. I put my road cycling adventures on temporary hiatus to focus squarely on searching for a job to get me through the coming months. I have signed on with five temporary staffing agencies, which even if the employment is not full-time, at least contracting will get some money back into the bank account, the creditors to stop calling, and me on the track to normal life v. 3.0.

Il Toro-Blu Waits for His Turn to Run Free Again

Il Toro-Blu Waits for His Turn to Run Free Again

The Euphorbia Prepare to Sow Her Seeds

Meanwhile; Miss Euphorbia Prepares to Sow Seeds

I had to touch on what was for me the highlight of the past week; the February 4, 2014, Evolution vs. Creationism debate pitting Bill Nye, The Science Guy, vs. Ken Ham, Founder of the Creation Museum.

Science: For the Win!

Science: For the Win!

Since first learning about the debate a month or so ago, I have read a wide array of opinions regarding the merits of this debate. The majority of the science community generally agreed that the debate was not the best use of Mr. Nye’s time and overall just a bad idea; some commented that Mr. Ham was a much more skilled debater and that debates are won more with conviction than with facts; others noted that the Science Community had nothing whatsoever to gain from this debate; and nearly every opinion thought that the idea of the debate being held at The Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, was a really bad idea.

Thankfully, The Science Guy allayed any fears with the head-to-head debate. Bill Nye methodically ripped through the ‘creationism‘ theories scientific merit easily and thoroughly. The best evidence Mr. Ham had was that “there is a book, it’s called the Bible” and if it says so in the bible, it happened. Needless to say; creationism did not pass the scientific test by any means! Thank you Science Guy!

Did the debate actually make a difference? My thought is that is probably did nothing to sway the creationism hardliners; but if just one ‘on the fence‘ family will now allow their children to understand real science then in my book it was well worth it.

A Blue Primrose Joins the Party

A blue primrose opens to reveal her magnificent yellow heart

I leave you today with a trip back to 1986; my hair was longer, my stress levels were considerably less than they are today, and I had still not realized the joys of simple things, like gardens. I dug this photo from a pile of miscellaneous paperwork as I was cleaning the house last week and decided to post the photo on my Facebook page for #Throwback Thursdays. This photo serves as a reminder to me that things turn out okay in the long run and that I am just a gardener who has played many different roles at different times in my life; however, at the end of the day I am still just as young and free as I allow myself to be.

Today is today; tomorrow is tomorrow; today I guide myself to a better tomorrow ~ Peace!
Misc_Feb06 047

Just a humble future gardener; yours truly, Age 17

Until Next Time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Primrose basking in the January sunshine

Primrose basking in the January sunshine

I can’t believe it is the middle of January already and that I am just getting around to my first post of the New Year!

The garden continues her perennial teetering between what should be the winter dormant period; yet as seems to happen each season, there are those garden residents who just won’t give in to such mundane things as weather and calendars and set flowers seemingly at will. Notably are three healthy sets of Primrose which seem to have conspired with each other and are hellbent on continuing with the summer flowering business regardless of what Mother Nature may think. Dotting the patio; the flowers quickly evoke memories of the summer recently passed. Clusters of delicate blue and yellow flowers add much-needed brilliance, warmth, and color to the otherwise fading summer facade of the patio’s plants which decided hibernation sounded like fun.

The outlook is brilliant!

The outlook is brilliant!

January thus far has been good; I am fully back on two feet without the need to use crutches or a cane to assist me. After 3-months of uncertainty, I really cannot express how happy I am about this, but suffice to say, I am grateful to be okay. I have also gotten myself back out on the road on my bicycle! The freedom to be able to get myself out of the house and doing something has made a big difference to the life I was fated with since September. A month ago, I could only look at my bike and hope to ride again, today I did 23-miles! Since taking my first tentative pedal around the neighborhood on December 15th, I have been able to get between 150 – 175-miles under my belt, helping me to rebuild the muscle lost and the cardio capacity to push myself down the road. I was surprised at how much a toll the 3-months off the bike took on my overall conditioning!

Pt. Richmond, CA

Pt. Richmond, CA

A good day in the saddle

A good day in the saddle

Elsewhere around the patio; I notice outcroppings of new growth on some plants; stark contrast to a patio seemingly in the midst of settling in for a nice hibernation. Apparently the Primrose will just do as they please; I am okay with this! Following the Primrose’s lead; the Snowflake’s have also ushered in a flurry of lovely white flowers which creep across and lazily hang from my patio plant stand – a stunning display if I do say so myself.

Snowflakes reach for the safety of the patio floor

Snowflakes reach for the safety of the patio floor

The lookout will find a safe path

The lookout will find a safe path

Some of my regular readers may have noticed something different about the look of my page; indeed, I am playing with some additional imagery as I was just not a fan of the sterile background of old. Now; wild turkey’s crossing a road in Berkeley, CA, that is something which just makes me happy each time I see them.

The Primrose is strong in this one!

The Primrose is strong in this one!

Another change you might see in future posts are more off-topic/non-gardening related posts. There will be adventures in cycling the San Francisco Bay Area, assorted rants and hopefully some useful and possibly insightful thoughts I have regarding local issues, interesting news stories, and anything else I believe would be interesting to my readers. Of course, the garden shall always remain the backbone of my blog, but I have wanted to try my hand at writing on diverse subjects to move my writing style forward and hopefully reach outside my safe zone here in the garden. For me it will be a personal growth challenge; wish me luck and feel free to let me know your thoughts.

The Euphorbia had a growth spurt and easily reach out to bask in the sun!

The Euphorbia had a growth spurt and easily reach out to bask in the sun!

Happy New Year 2014; what started with one plant in an apartment, turned into a thriving patio garden, now the time feels right to venture out along the road and visit the places in-between. I hope to see you along the way!

Until next time….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Happy Holidays from the Garden

As the year 2013 winds itself down; I reflect on what was an interesting year and one which I am going to remember for many reasons. I close the year with a few lingering uncertainties; yet, I plan to begin the New Year with a positive outlook, walking (finally) on two feet, and in general good spirits. I look forward to a great year to come.

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad!

Of all the happenings this year; it is the broken ankle that I think will live with me the longest amount of time. Not just the scar; which will serve as a reminder that I am not immune to injury, but just how humbling an injury like mine can be. I have always been a confident; sometimes to a fault, person and all to often ‘caution to wind’ was a recurring mantra; however, I am learning that ones journey through life should indeed be fun and free-spirited, yet the paths should be tread carefully and with more than the moment at mind.

Ouch! However, getting much better.

Ouch! However, getting much better.

I always look for silver linings in everything and from the ankle injury came the realization (or reminder) that I have a very strong and resilient personality when I set my mind firmly on a specific goal or task. This was definitely the case with my rehabilitating the ankle to regain as close as I will likely get to full range of motion following surgery on October 5, 2013. It was not without A LOT of hard work; including, exercise, maintaining a proper diet, following my doctor’s advice, and a non-stop regime of at home physical therapy and indoor cycle training as soon as I was cleared by my physician.

With hard work; rewards often follow. My reward: Getting the bike back on the road on December 15, 2013 and already putting about 70-miles behind me!

Il Toro~Blu again stretches her legs and runs!

Il Toro~Blu again stretches her legs and runs!

Dec. 23td Ride; I Am Back on the Road!

Dec. 23td Ride; I Am Back on the Road!

The garden continues her slow transitioning into a dormant land of hopes for next year’s garden. A few stubborn holdouts refuse the call to sleep and dot the patio with glints of bright color here and there. Mainly, my primrose plants continue their blooms unabated by weather and cold temperatures. The primrose must be being kept warm and happy by the lone Dragon still in residency on the patio!

Winter Primrose

Winter Primrose

Blue Primrose provide lovely dots of needed color

Blue Primrose provide lovely dots of needed color

A hardy Dragon lurks the Patio

A hardy Dragon lurks the Patio

Interestingly enough; I also have one lone strawberry that is trying her best to ripen! As far as a harvest, it might not be much to write home about; however, a tasty treat would be welcome if I can get it before Mr. Squirrel does!

Almost!

Almost!

Shutting the door on another year; I am thankful for many things: My wonderful family of course, the few good friends I am blessed with, my general good health, and of course, my sweet cat; Miss Gretchen. She has definitely made my apartment feel like home and rekindled some very needed energy that was lacking in the home.

Miss Gretchen stalks her outdoor lair!

Miss Gretchen stalks her outdoor lair!

Until next time….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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…are not quite as little as I had previously thought.

~or~

How I decided a broken ankle is a temporary setback to be conquered!

Redwood Tree; Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA

Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA

Walking; not really something which I gave much thought to over the last forty or so years, I realize now that it is just not as easy as we all make it look!

Cycling; you have heard the old adage; ‘Easy as riding a bicycle‘? Well, I am now under the impression that whomever it was that coined the term had most likely not broken their ankle. There is nothing easy about riding a bicycle at the moment!

I didn't think much about this ride; 50-miles on 9/4/13

I didn’t think much about this ride; 50-miles on 9/4/13

I find myself now entering the third month of my unplanned one-legged journey through this section of that which I call my life. Still finding myself unable to take advantage of those two-wheels which just 90-days ago would happily take me anywhere my legs could pedal myself to. Even though my trusty bicycle; Il Toro-Blu, resides with me in my apartment and is more than ready to venture, sadly that means of transportation is still a couple of weeks away.

Needless to say; both walking and cycling have recently gained much ground in their intrinsic value and importance to my life.

Self-Portrait of a Cyclist

You can’t hold a cyclist down forever

I am a cyclist; and unfortunately injuries happen. I have accepted that coaxing my weakened and atrophied left leg muscles back into shape is just par for the course; the price of admission, as it were, to the land of walking under my own power.

My outlook is clearing

My outlook is clearing up nicely

I have been working really, really hard on rehabilitating the ankle and am happy to be able to say that the work is finally starting to pay dividends. This week I have begun my first steps around the apartment without the use of crutches or a cane. As expected, my walking gait is sloppy and ungainly; however, the locomotion is solely under my own power and that for me is a huge victory.

Putting in the work here to get me out there

Putting in the work here to get me out there

I have to thank a lot of people for helping me along the way; my Dad, my Brother, My Ex-Wife, and an assortment of great friends who were game to shuttle me around to doctor’s appointments; grocery shopping; etc. If it wasn’t for them, the last 90-days would have been much, much more miserable.

Goals for 2014

Goals for 2014

Before the accident; the above graphic was a typical week for me cycling. I was averaging between 175 – 200 miles per week and was loving it. My goals for 2014 are realistic and I will be working at putting 400 to 500 miles per month under my belt throughout the New Year. I still have a 100-mile ride to conquer; to date the longest bike ride I have done was just 2-days prior to breaking my ankle, on Sept. 4th, 2013, where I rode from my house in Oakland, up the I-80 bike way to Vallejo, CA for a total of 50.29-miles.

A lovely ride it was

A lovely ride it was

Really though, the one thing that I am looking forward to is just the fun of getting out there and exploring the world on two-wheels, at ground level, and making my own routes as the mood strikes. To be able to get back to the hills, to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow cyclists, and to be able to come home after a long workout and relax in my garden.

I am a simple man, I am a gardener, I am a cyclist.

Until Next Time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Since the accident on September 6, 2013 which resulted in me breaking my ankle quite decently, gardening and blogging have unfortunately had to take a back seat to me focusing on my recovery. There will be plenty of time to tend to the garden and even more time to write down the road; sadly, I only have a very narrow period of time to ensure that the ankle heals properly.

Let the healing begin!

Let the healing begin!

The injury to the ankle was pretty major; a bimalleolar fracture, which is doctor speak that simply means that I broke either two bones or that I broke one bone in two places in the ankle, mine was the later of the two. The bones were set at Solano Medical Center and I had hoped they would set properly; unfortunately, the break was just too severe and I reluctantly conceded defeat and visited Highland Hospital. The attending physician in the Orthopedic Department confirmed the ankle was not healing after looking at my x-rays and scheduled my surgery. The operation; an Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF), was performed on October 21, 2013, and included the need for some new hardware to be added to ankle; a titanium plate and six surgical bone screws, were required to align and keep the fractured bone back into correct alignment. Yep, Ouch!

The point of incision after staples removed

The point of incision after staples removed

I definitely have to thank my surgeon; Dr. Peter Slabaugh and the entire staff of Highland Hospital here in Oakland, CA, for their amazing work. The doctor was really great about explaining everything and ensuring that I understood what I was in for regarding the surgery and post-operative care. The staff at Highland were also great, from the day I walked (well, hobbled)  in to get the ankle looked at, to the scheduling all of my various orthopedic appointments, and through to my surgery, I was never in the hospital for more than just a couple of hours at the most. With the only exception being the day of my surgery, which I believe took between 6 – 8-hours in total from check-in to release, I was a little out of it so departure time is a hazy still.

I also must recognize and give my sincere thanks to my AMAZING family for always being there for me after breaking my ankle. Especially my Dad for taking me to the hospital for all of my appointments, my surgery, and for picking up groceries for me. I am also grateful to my brother and my ex-wife for making themselves available to take me grocery shopping or drop off the rent check if needed. I never really imagined just how completely limiting having a broken ankle really is and were it not for the support of my family over the past 2-months, it definitely would have been nearly impossible to mange completely on my own.

Recovering; swollen from a walk today, but getting better!

Recovering; swollen from a walk today, but getting better

The seemingly endless boredom of being home, limited to the couch and the occasional trip to the kitchen or to the patio, has easily been the worst part of my recovery. Frustrating and Emotional succinctly summarize the last 2-months of my life;

  • Frustrating; in that I have not been able to enjoy the two activities which most make me happy; gardening and road cycling
  • Emotional; in that there had been that lingering uncertainty regarding the recovery outlook
Things are looking brighter!

Things are looking brighter!

Thankfully; since having the operation, the last 2-weeks have been much, much better than the preceding weeks. The surgery went great and the ankle feels much more stable than I would have thought so soon after the operation. In fact, my doctor advised that I am able to start adding weight to the leg, which is a month sooner than I was expecting. I still rely on my crutches for mobility and balance; however, with each passing day I am able to increase the amount of weight my ankle can bear. I have set a goal of being able to use a cane by my next appointment on December 5, 2013. Hopefully my doctor will clear me to start indoor cycling after the December appointment and that I might get back to road cycling by January or February.

Soon.... soon!

Soon…. soon!

In garden related news; I got a great new book for my birthday on Nov. 3rd from my Dad’s wife. I am just starting to dive into the book; however, so far, I really enjoy it and can see that i will likely be referring to it often. I was very pleasantly surprised with the book and it is the perfect gift considering my current state of immobility and residence. The book; Apartment Gardening, by Amy Pennington, is a great reference for all things gardening in an apartment environment, including many projects and recipes to get the most out of your tiny space. I look forward to reading the rest of book, trying out some of the projects and recipes, and adding it to my reference library.

Apartment Gardening

Apartment Gardening

I was able to clean up the patio today, do a little bit of pruning of the overgrown snapdragon, watering all of the indoor and outdoor plants, and finally just relaxing and enjoying the patio garden. Next, finish preparing the garden for the long winter months ahead and start planning next year’s garden!

A clean, happy place for plants

A clean, happy place for plants

The other side of the patio

The other side of the patio

A happy day in the garden

A happy day in the garden

Until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Lithodora Diffusa shadow the road ahead

Lithodora Diffusa v. Heavenly Blue cast his shadow on the road ahead

The inevitable tightening of the belt string has begun in earnest; I have balanced the household budget between the must pay (rent, utilities, credit cards, etc.), the should pay (cell phone), and the probably a good idea to buy (food!) items and it will be tight but I should be just dandy until I can land another position. Most of last week was spent on the aforementioned budget and plugging away at finding a likely candidate for Noah’s Career v. 3.2. 

On Fire!! Amazon Sunset, Parrot's Beak

On Fire!! Amazon Sunset, Parrot’s Beak

I have been filling what precious little time is left doing what having a day job usually puts a serious damper upon; namely, pedaling my bicycle where ever it is that I feel like going or just hitting the local driving range and getting a $5.00/bucket of range balls and working on my golf game. I continue to eagerly await the happy voice mail or  email from a Human Resources professional near me real soon with my orders to come in from the cold.

Happy Hydrangea - a sign of good things to come!

Happy Hydrangea – a sign of good things to come!

I will continue to apply for those positions which I am qualified, adding to the six lucky companies who last week were graced the opportunity to hire me!

Patience Kwai Chang, Patience – I must continue to remind myself that it has only been one-week!!

What is it they say? When the going gets tough, the tough purchase a Dahlia? Meet Mrs. Dahlia v. Mystic Haze, apropos to my state of mind over the last week. Ha ha!

Welcome Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

Welcome Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

My latest addition is definitely a bright beauty in a dark-ish week

My latest addition is definitely a bright beauty in a dark(ish) week

Elsewhere around the garden; the hydrangea are exploding into their full spring bloom. The Helen Mount viola have also made a remarkable comeback from the brink of death from dehydration!

Helen Mount Voila

Helen Mount Voila

A viola here, a viola there, viola, viola, everywhere!

A viola here, a viola there, viola, viola, everywhere!

I will leave you today with the following shot; I thought that the flower stalk of the coleus set against the pink flower of the Ornamental Strawberry (fragaria x. lipstick) was interesting and I wanted to share. Until next week friends.

Happy Gardening Everyone!!

Happy Gardening Everyone!!

~ Noah

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Decoration Day

Decoration Day

In memory of those who came before us and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms too many now take for granted.

It should be noted that Memorial Day is not a holiday. Memorial Day is, and should always be, a day of  National Mourning, a date to remember, mourn, and to be grateful, to those who did not make it home in defense of our Country.

5 May 1868: In response to the overwhelming loss of life on the battlefields of the United States during the American Civil War, a Union Army veterans group; the Grand Army of the Republic; acting under General Order No. 11 (Gen. J.A. Logan, Cmdr in Chief) which proclaimed May 30, as Decoration (Memorial) Day, observed what is generally accepted as the first public honoring of those who died in battle by ‘strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

Rememberence

In Remembrance

THE MUFFLED drum’s sad roll has beat The soldier’s last tattoo;

No more on Life’s parade shall meet;

That brave and fallen few.

On Fame’s eternal camping-ground;

Their silent tents are spread;

And Glory guards;

with solemn round;

The bivouac of the dead.

Bivouac Of The Dead, by Theodore O’Hara

Half_Staff

¤————§———§———§————¤

So, what is happening in the garden this week?

Hydrangea Blooms

Hydrangea Blooms

Ornamental Strawberry Flowers

Ornamental Strawberry Flowers

Euphorbia flowers

Euphorbia Flowers

Nature at Work

Nature at Work

The Garden at Peace

The Garden at Peace

Nothing too different from the last few weeks; I will leave it at this for today…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

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