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Thursday, 23 March 2017

"Gardening? What are we to do?!" - I'll tell you.


Hello everybody.

By day seven, you're hooked. :)
(what is this? it's a continuing sentence from my previous post)
After the first few days of adjustment to all the hurts and pains of our winter-body while it's learning to cope (with bending, kneeling, dragging heavy load and so on) all is well. It will take another week to stop feeling like it's THE Apocalypse whenever it rains. :)

Let me give you some pointers:


First job to tackle if not done earlier (NOW is the last moment) is to give your roses spring hair-cut. If you have done a strong cut in late autumn, then this might not be necessary. Still, give those beauties a good check-up. All broken branches, and dried-up pieces should be safely removed by cutting with sharp pruning shears. You have a pair shears?
OK; to tell you the truth, some of the tools I consider an essential part of my kit might come pricey for someone who hasn't got anything to start with. I say: using old tools is not shameful. Any tool is good, as long as it's safe to use and in good shape.

Then: RAIN STARTS.
What to do?!

When it rains, our Gnomes are having a face-lift. :)

Some years ago, while I still lived across the street (with dad & mom) I adorned my mom's garden with a whole jolly family of these garden keepers. Even though I move them into the shed every winter, the seasons had their influence on mom's Gnomes. This winter I moved them with me, just to give them a little bit of fresh paint, and to return them o their own gardens.

And, here's what we can all do on March:


OK, then: 

.
.
.
.

let's put on some overalls,
roll up the sleeves and.. 
hope it does not rain. :)
Marija

Friday, 17 March 2017

...come MARCH(ing) in. :)


Hello everybody.

With just few days before Spring officially takes over, I'm ready to admit a few things about my life, style, and activities. Nothing drastic (definitively nothing that can be counted as criminal!), nothing shocking and nothing paranormal (well, this is up for a debate)  :)

Winter days are behind us. When I write about "winter" I mean the snow, the chill, extremely low temperatures, drippy noses and general laziness that defines it - in this town of ours. Also, when I write about winter, there is no place for romanticizing it's true nature. 

Winter, in dream-like vintage fashion 
would probably look something like these two gorgeous ladies pictured below
(furry pleasure, court shoes and delicate coats)


.
.
.
.
.

In reality, winter days are not permitting any mistakes
such as exposing your bare skin to the elements (unless you plan on getting severe frost bites)
so: this is what I looked like most of the days:


This winter has cost us a lot (of everything). It has lasted very long, the days were harsh and cold. heating got pricey (but, this is not the place for me to write about the current financial situation), orchards had massive losses - we're in the process of removing them, and a whole lot of the plans got postponed.
That is life, at it's most natural form.
We can not control the weather (I will not have any of the "press the button, move the satellite, release the weather-changing beams" kind of talks over here, OK?). We can adjust our plans to nature's conditions. Not something most of us like, but waiting is the only thing we can do - because, nothing will grow from the rock-hard & completely frozen ground, right? You can't mix cement while it's snowing, right? No respectful gardener would recommend any activities until the risk from frosts is gone, right?

What are we to do?
Sit back.
Stare at old gardening magazines, and wait.
For THIS:


Now that the Sun has gotten a whee bit stronger, I can feel the tingling in my fingers (mind me, the sensation might be similar to the first stage of a coronary trauma, but is much, much less life threatening). My nose gets up in the sky more often, and like many generations before me, I have learned to smell it's coming. We've learned when to say "It's time"

I got outside!

Overwhelmed at first day, just spinning around with a coffee mug in my hand - going up and down my yard and my garden. Staring at thing like it's the first time we meet, touching branches for their elasticity, pushing my heel into ground, frowning my nose - then rushing inside with the feeling of this all being too much.
Second day, stepping outside angry with myself for being lazy the previous time. Tacking with some most important tasks. Over-working myself. Getting inside with serious back pain, and realizing I've been too hard on myself today - or, was it that I've been to much of a "lazy rag-doll" during winter?!
Moaning, I take the third day as a day off. For about some 15 minutes. I mean: I'm tired, my back hurt, I've been exhausted from my office hours,.. etc. Then, I put on overalls (this is new: I've got them as a present & I wear them with no shame, since they are now part of who I am) and get out again; knowing that it's making me happy.


"..not only in size" I say - getting back into gardening is like a boomerang effect. Just like yo-yo dieting, something I am personally very much out of; since I've been there, and I've done that.. and the yo-yo is back on it original place. Right where I started - right where I feel best at. Shoot me if I know why I started getting smaller in the first place - not that it got me any happier. 
Only hungry.
When hungry - I eat. Then: move on. (quite the simple philosophy, but it takes so long to accept it's profound impact on our lives). Move on - to what?
To another day.
To day number four. As it just happens, that was an requisite day: great sun, clear air, lot of things got done. Empowerment was the feeling on my mind as the day went to it's rest.
On day five it rained! Oh! Horror! Eyebrows got raised, nerves got itchy, fists went into the air and some R-rated language was used while addressing to Mrs. Rain, who decided to.. well: rain on my parade. Muddy boots, moaning wind, some kind of Edgar Alan Poe's scenery started evolving in my mind, as this rain was an apocalyptic event.
Truth to be told, that mood stops as soon as the wind does. While it rains, I take on sewing, because one always has something to do with her needle & thread (or is it just me, that even as a grown-up tend to get clothes torn up?).
This is a cycle of life. The course changes.

Then what?
.
.
.



Then sun comes back up and I continue meddling with the dirt, or scraping old paint from six gigantic windows, or digging in posts to hold the fence, or.. we can think of something, as long as it's turning into something meaningful.
...
Are there going to by ANY vintage-related posts?!
Of course there are - as long as that is on my mind and in my life at the time. But, it will not be forced upon any of us. Just like many other themes and events going on in our lives.
Right?

*inhale & exhale*
This went well. :)
Marija

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Waiting for snow-drops


Hello everybody.

It's February.
This is a first post after some time. In case some of you might have wondered about what has happened to me, is everything all right on this side of the screen (or why there are even no Love Stories on Sundays), I owe an answer.

Life, lately: 

Office hours, sub-zero temperatures,
problematic house items & appliances, and
waiting for snow drops to appear.

For days on end, we are having less than enjoyable weather over here. It has been over a month since the temperature hasn't risen over zero degrees Celsius. By now, we are all "under the weather".
Despite all our efforts to keep them safe, most of the decorative outdoor potted plants have suffered; we usually over-winter them in a safe shed, or in an empty room, but the actions were not good enough and I noticed the water froze over in the room - that said, I am to conclude that the roots of about one hundred plants have frozen, too. A massive loss.
(that is one of the things you must face when living in a temperamental aka "continental" climate)
Plants froze-over, and so did some of our pipes. In my home, I have had (so to say) a mild case of freezing, where only a part of the vent has given me problems, and I haven't had a running water that morning - but, after a little bit of TLC (using a hair-drier to heat the vent, and then wrapping everything in sweaters) was enough. Due to that morning freeze, my water meter's glass has broken - an expense unforeseen, but not a huge financial impact.
Heating-vise, this long period of less-then-pleasant temperatures has made it's impact on some of my systems. For one, my furnace has (yet again?!) decided to break up with me, and gave me the "smoke signal", taken quite literally. After having the wash every single item in the room two days in the row (yes, I even scrubbed walls & had to make a two hours long drafts on a sub-zero weather) I have decided to let go the wood-burning system.
Fortunately, I have two more. One of them is somewhat expensive, but clean and reliable  the air-inverter, feeding on electricity, keeping the house air warm and humid. Need I say that the outside unit has a freeze-over cycle?! So, every now and then (yesterday was one of those days) I shut it down, then take the front part off of it, and give it a hot "shower" to melt the accumulated ice from withing the thing. I use the same time to clean the filters.
The last heat source is a simple, and old-school gas burning furnace that I have (wisely!) acquired while ago. This absurdness in adjusting oneself to Nature's ways has taught me a large lesson in life: sometimes, having more options is the difference between getting seriously bitten by cold and keeping yourself safe - while awaiting for spring.

I am not the only one who's waiting for Spring. :)

Now that that I have burdened you with all the joys of winter, rest assured: I have planned for the worse (and always hope for the best). Though this winter is an exceptionally long and cold, our summer labor has payed up in many ways: no one is cold or hungry.
Definitely NOT hungry.
There is a reason I have been posting all the gardening leaflets each month back in 2015 (starting January) and all the food preparation posts (like the one with jam recipes). Those are the thing we do here, every single year. That is our cycle of life. We spend the winter waiting for the summer, so that we can spend our days of summer prepping for winter (yes, every year). Some might think that gets tiring and dull, but to be honest: every year is different, and the food sources available to us last year just might not be so bountiful this year (especially THIS year, after all this frost biting us longer than usual).
This is the choice we've all made when we decided to stay in a rural area. I doubt I'd know how to divide my year any other way. :)

Please, do not write to the address given above, 
Chili in no longer receiving mail. :)

As this post was not strange enough so far, I'll give myself the right to write a little bit more on my life so far, regarding the changes that happened (intentionally).
Over the course of some four years I have undergo a change in body-shape. Right now, after a long time recovering, my shape is back to "pear" (see the image above, Chili pretty much sums it up). Some of the clothing items left my wardrobe, since they no longer fit me, and I can honestly say: they should not ever fit me.
No need to be sad about it, since that gives room for some new clothes - and I, for one, like having a real reason to update, making my visits to the used-clothes shop more often. Shopping for used clothes has it's benefits; one of the major ones is precisely the one I have experienced within last year. Since those pieces are truly cheap they don't make a heavy load on my finances and therefore I do not feel guilty when turning them into rags, scraps, cleaning supply and, ultimately: throwing them all away. (those that still hold form, and look good - I pack and keep, if there comes a day when someone asks for modest-looking dress and a pencil skirt, I'll give it gladly).
It's: out with the old, in with the new (so to say).

We shouldn’t compare ourselves with others, 
nor we should worry about what others think about us 
and then we can truly be happy.
(small singing birds - do help)

Sorry about the blurry backgound in the picture, my photographer caught a strange lady at the door. :)  However, you can still spot the smile, right?
With all the things I've just told you, some of you might wonder how is it that I'm still keeping my smile. To be honest, I practice a mental task every time I wake up - I remind myself mentally of couple of things that I can make better. Also, every time I get to bed I repeat at least three things I am grateful for. Yes, it does work.
It makes the winter-waiting easier to cope with.
.....
I do hope I'll write something you're more used to soon.
(hey, at least we're not in the negative temperatures today - we're just having rain)  :)
HAVE A NICE DAY.
Marija

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Love Story: Ugly Duckling


Heads up, everybody!

There is a SEVERE sub-zero temperature wave happening right now in the large part of Europe. One of the reasons there's a lack of posts this week and this post is late is because of this emergency-state that we are in. Making sure the animals are all right, re-checking every inch of the house, securing the over-wintering flowers.. and my latest: de-frosting the water pipes!

I am in a dire need of a soft story
from the days gone by:







This DOES warm me up.

I hope all of you out there are keeping yourselves warm, and safe. 
We have had years of experience with this kind of weather, and we equip our homes with most of the things that come in the "might come in handy" category. Loaded flashlights and piled-up woods (if the frosts bites-off our electricity), water supply (if, like myself today, you wake up to realize there's no water in the pipes), food provisions (the regular: meat, vegetable, jars of pickles and jam), all the baking supplies (if the bakery fails to produce bread - don't look at me that way, it has happened, and we'd rather have our own way of making food - just, you know, in case)..
We are all OK over here.
How are you doing?!
Marija