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Anita Latte

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  1. Sharon...yes, so many projects. There isn't a time table though...just plans...and deciding what is the highest priority and/or what we can afford to do. LOL. Courtyards are a prominent feature in AZ too...and the Spanish style is very conducive to a courtyard. Our home is one of those 1980s homes that has features that borrow from all different styles of architecture to create a mismatched, confused looking home. It also has one of the ugliest roof lines I've ever seen...but I think that a courtyard to really help with the overall look. I think courtyard walls could help balance the roof lines...as weird as that sounds. And I do think it would be a great place for being social with the neighbors. Mom's Bestie started a thing in her neighborhood when she moved in. She called it Sunset Cocktails and the idea was just that people would gather with their drink of choice...out in the street or a driveway...maybe even bring your own chair...and enjoy the sunset for a happy, social cocktail hour. I've always thought that was a lovely idea. I do envision something similar. We live on a cul-de-sac now...I never have before...and I think we could enjoy some neighborly socializing between that and a courtyard. I'm thinking about making some cardboard forms for "walls" to test out exactly where to build the walls. Our office will overlook the courtyard...so I'm thinking about a water feature and maybe a fireplace incorporated into one of the walls. I don't want it to be jumbled though and have too much going on...
  2. Let's talking about breathing... I find that writing really helps me to teach myself...so I'm writing this as much for my benefit as anyone else reading this... One of the very first things that DH's MAT therapist worked on with him was proper breathing. Most people think of belly breathing as being "proper" but I'm here to tell you that even belly breathing isn't quite PROPER. Say what? I think everyone knows that your shoulders should not be moving when you breathe. Some...my DH included...have a tendency to do this thing with their shoulders when they try to take a deep breath. This is NOT diaphragmatic breathing...this is shallow breathing. It is a compensatory style of breathing...it can develop for any number of reasons but the main point is that it is definitely NOT proper. Enter belly breathing. Especially if you have ever taken a yoga class. You're in Relaxation Pose and that soft, calm voice is telling you to let your belly rise and fall with your breath. Supposedly, this is deep breathing...the opposite of the shallow, shoulder enhanced breathing...and while it may be a form of deep breathing...it STILL isn't PROPER. Think about it. WHERE are your lungs? Are they in your belly? NO. There are under your ribs... So...WHAT should be expanding and retracting with each breath? Your belly? NO. As crazy as this sounds...you should be able to have a TIGHT belly and STILL be able to breathe. Because your lungs are not IN your abdomen...your lungs are under your rib cage...and in fact it is your rib cage that should be expanding and retracting with each breath. You should be able to work your abdominal muscles and still breathe... So if you are working plank... Your arms are stacked...shoulders over elbows over wrists...and there is a straight line from the back of your hand down the back of your torso and over your rear end and down your legs...and in order to properly keep that body of yours IN that straight line...your ABS are DYING...well, they are dying if they are MY abs... Now BREATHE. With those abs fully engaged. Problems? Yes OMG...how in the world are you supposed to BREATHE when you are holding your core muscles as tight as you possibly can? Well...that is what the DIAPHRAGM muscle is for. I didn't know that the diaphragm is shaped like a parachute. When it is relaxed, it is like a fully blown up and beautifully formed mental picture we all have of a parachute. But let's picture a different kind of parachute. Let's picture the one that we may have gotten to play with in elementary school. Everyone is standing around in a huge circle and has hands on the big circular parachute. We all lift and lower and lift and lower and eventually...we get that parachute up into the shape of an umbrella and now some of us get to run under it! THAT's our diaphragm muscle. It's all attached around the edges to various places and then there is a central tendon that raises it up and down. When the diaphragm is relaxed it is in that perfect form for running under...a fully expanded umbrella. When the diaphragm is contracted...when you WORK the diaphragm...that central tendon is like a string and it tenses and pulls the diaphragm DOWN from the center...essentially making it flatter. It's like the kid's parachute falling and no one can run under it. This downward motion of the diaphragm creates negative pressure in our chest which causes air to rush into our chest. Thus, the lungs fill with air and as they fill with air...our flexible ribcage EXPANDS in every direction...expanding outward from the spine. The lower ribs expand the most. The belly doesn't have to expand AT ALL... If you are belly breathing in the typical fashion recommended in so many classes...then you aren't isolating your diaphragm...your diaphragm is working in concert with abdominal muscles. Suddenly then when you want to have strong, contracted, supportive abs for any number of exercises...it's like you can't breathe well. Our MAT therapist instructed us to engage our abdominals when breathing. Pay attention to your abs AND your shoulders...don't let either move really while breathing...and search and seek out that deep breath that is actually isolating the DIAPHRAGM. Feel the ribs expanding. When I first tried doing this...I couldn't believe how my stomach cramped. OMG...I've never experienced abdominal work on the level of simply contracting my abs and trying to take deep breaths at the same time. I ached for days afterward. We did this work while laying on a mat...feet flat on floor...knees bent...the back of the head on the floor. If the BACK of your head doesn't hit the floor...use a pillow. Have your pelvis in a neutral position...don't do the tilt that forces your lower back to the floor...your lower lumbar should have the natural curve. Once your body is well situated...engage your abs...use your hands to ensure that your abs stay engaged and aren't moving. Now BREATHE. Don't necessarily try to do a LONG breath. Do a simple 3-4 count inhale. Hold for a beat and then do the 3-4 count exhale. Hold for a beat. Repeat. It helps me to envision one of those blowers for stoking a fire. You don't necessarily want to have SLOW breathing...you want to get air in. Let it out. I used to envision long breathing as deep breathing. I recently read that this type of breathe control will actually deprive you of oxygen because there is too much time in-between the breaths. Breathe with long breaths for too long and you'll just want to start panting because you aren't getting enough oxygen. So DEEP doesn't mean LONG. DEEP is in reference to the expansion of your lower ribs and rib cage because you are filling the lower lobes of your lungs with air. I will tell you that it isn't easy to do. This is an exercise that can also be done in a chair but it may be harder to think about engaging your abs and then contracting and working your diaphragm until you become familiar with how that feels. The only online instruction that I could easily locate is here: https://www.coreexercisesolutions.com/belly-breathing/ There are many, many benefits to proper breathing. One of the greatest benefits has to do with the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This is the system that tells your body to relax. This is the system that is NOT engaged when we are under stress...that is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The PNS and the SNS are like a light switch. If one is on, the other is off. Both cannot be off or on at the same time. It's one or the other. We want the PNS to be active when we want to go to sleep...relax...have good digestion...and LOSE FAT. When the PNS is engaged, fat is the primary fuel source. So personal goals... Diaphragmatic breathing is simple. Not easy, mind...but simple. And the results could be profound because PNS activation is something that I could definitely benefit from. I find that I can downplay simple things...if it seems too easy, then it can't be worth doing. Something like that anyway...but I happen to know that diaphragmatic breathing is NOT easy...so here's focus number 1. Step 1...focus on breathing PROPERLY. DAILY. Doesn't that sound absolutely ludicrous? Nevertheless...I will take time every day to work on proper breathing.
  3. Sally...LOL the weather has improved quite a bit. We camped out on Friday night. We went to the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve Park which is an official dark park. The temperature wasn't bad at all. We fell asleep on top of our bed and then in the middle of the night it was actually cool enough to get under the covers LOL. But we did some major yard work...we took down a dilapidated trellis that was covered in star jasmine...so we took the plant off the trellis (and the roof LOL) and then the next day we took down the trellis and the humidity was fierce. Part of it was the rain...which was on and off...but still. I'm still looking forward to the day when I don't have to dry out our work clothes before I can put them in the laundry LOL. IDK if that will ever happen though... Funny how it feels like the rest of the country is gearing up for their more indoor focused season and we are now entering a time where we are going to get a lot done outdoors! I don't know how much planting we will actually do this autumn...we are focused on planning and hoping to get some hardscaping and other construction work to prepare for some specific spring planting. I need to call to see if we need any sort of permit for building some walls to create a courtyard in the front yard. I know we would need a permit for fence work but I don't know if walls qualify as fences per se. One motivation to get this done is that I want the walls for additional flood protection. I can see a stain on the stucco of the front stoop where water had come up at some point in the past. It didn't reach above the foundation of the house but it was close enough. You never know what previous people have done in your house...like, did they use any sand bags in that instance? Or was that when they established the sand bag collection in the shed? KWIM? So anyway, the idea of the courtyard walls is to create a decorative, permanent flood wall that will just have a walkway opening that we would have to sandbag in the future. This is actually something of a high priority. We're planning a cinder block wall that we will eventually face with some sort of stone facing. I love courtyards though. Something about that outside room is very appealing for me. I don't want the walls to be privacy walls though. I want to achieve the courtyard wall feeling from strategic plantings with a wall that is more like a pony wall. Meanwhile, in the backyard, we'll be getting underway with construction of our fire pit area. We came back from camping and bought a simple steel ring very similar to what is at all the campsites. Classic. We put it in the ground like a biscuit cutter and are planning on trying it out to verify that we like our placement before we actually build the whole patio seating area. Hopefully we can get a break in the rain to be able to have a fire soon.
  4. You look great Laurie! There's something about being able to see you in "normal" clothing. I think my mental image of you is associated more with a red formal/semi-formal dress LOL. Or any number of other dresses this hiking outfit really shows off your lovely shape in a different way. Funny about the masks in a way. DH and I have done that...walked all the way to the car and still had our masks on, but usually we're really happy to rip those things right off when we leave a store. DH is wearing one all day at work so he's wearing one a lot more than I am...you are probably the same way with work I guess. I get the whole wearing a mask when you can't keep distance...and maybe there is some lingering that happens with all the stairs and the lookouts...I've been in places similar to that...so I guess the request to wear a mask even outside makes sense, but I must say...kind of a bummer. Maybe it isn't so bad in the cooler weather? We are still in the heat and humidity here...wearing the masks outside at all is awful. Such a beautiful place that is. And the changes colors! So nice. Earlier this year...shortly after the holidays...DH and I had talked about the possibility of taking a road trip to find some fall color. We talked about possibly going back up to NC and the Blue Ridge Pkwy area or somewhere else around that general area. There is no feeling of fall at all around here. And after experiencing our first fall further south again...we had missed the colors and thought to do something about that this year. DH's work isn't really conducive to that idea though...not right now anyway...and I don't think I want to spend the time it would take to drive to the colors for only one or two nights. So anyway...I'm very much enjoying seeing your pictures. Oh...most of the brews sound yummy. Very good descriptions. DH and I are really into craft brews...I could imagine the different ones from what you said. I don't recall ever finding a good pumpkin brew though. There's something special about going to the brewery and having it there. I recall Wegman's from when DH had his apartment up there. There was a Wegman's near DH's work in NJ...that was a GREAT store. It wasn't the same as Central Market in Texas...which, for anyone that knows THAT store...that's an amazing grocery store...but it was very much in a similar vein as Central Market in many ways. I know what you mean about liking your grocery store and being reluctant to move away from it...that is the one thing that is always the hardest with the moving...especially if you have a good one.
  5. Laurie...not boring at all! I love all this. It is very much what I am doing also. I love that spring green color. It is reminding me of the formal dining room chairs that I had in GA. Very much that spring green. Very cheerful green without being neon about it. I found that it went with everything really. It would go with all sorts of seasonal decorations too. Seeing your fall photos are wonderful. It is so far from what I am dealing with right now...it is lovely to see. I like your layers and your color mixes. Fall is really the season when it is so fab to be earth...all the mixing and matching of the easy to find and typical colors just works so well and it feels like the one season when we can really do that. It's just not as easy to wear a rusty orange and olive green combo in summer or spring. The area you went to looks gorgeous. Looking forward to more photos!
  6. The shoes I ordered just arrived! So early, I wasn't expecting them until Friday. How funny, Judi, I ordered Skazz by Sansha! I had read and read about the odd sizing and rolled the dice on a size 13!?! I normally wear a 9.5/10 but then I also need a wider (not officially wide) toe box...and as it turns out, I think the 13 will work just fine. A quick test run with some simple moves on our floors and all seems go to go with them. I'm going to keep them. Surprisingly, they were really affordable. I'm so pleased. YouTube has always been such a good source for videos. I would search and search for routines. My only issue right now is that I would usually have a clue on a song...somehow...and so I would search just like you said @burm with the song title and Zumba and find a routine or pick and choose and combine and alter...something to work with though. But now...I need to find some songs first I think... I'll check out that name Judi. These days I'm a Spotify user. DH and I had a bit of a salsa lesson together...this is me trying to show him how to do some salsa...and I searched for Slow Salsa and got many many different playlists of that title. I may just need to spend some time listening and then searching. With the whole knee situation...DH has troubles with one of his knees too. We believe it's related to some compensation movement that he developed after he sprained his ankle on that leg. So I've been doing a lot of research on knees for the both of us...and basically, I think it boils down to needing to reactivate a whole lot of muscles...when your muscles aren't working as they should, your joints end up bearing the brunt of the force of impact. And usually the muscles aren't working as they should because your body senses that a joint is unstable...so your body kind of cuts off the network to the muscles around that joint so to speak. This can especially happen after injury. We've gotten into this idea of Muscle Activation Therapy...if you want to read further about it. DH actually found a MAT therapist well before the whole lockdown situation and was approaching the end of a 10 week schedule? The work was very slow going but it seemed to be helping. I'm planning on taking some ideas from that to incorporate into some routines to help make it all more therapeutic for my own knee situation.
  7. @burm Thanks for sharing the link! I have a few CDs that I made of some of my classes. For a while there, I was paranoid about something going wrong with my iPod and I'd have a CD that I recorded as a back up. I wrote titles like "Tuesday" on them so no idea what is actually on them. Tuesday happens to be a great play list. So many of my favorite songs and while I had the CD playing I was trying to remember the routines. Funny how memory works...I could get some whole songs...some just the chorus or the verses or everything except the bridge...anyway...I couldn't believe how fast the pace was!! And to think that I was doing that however many times a week. OMG. Gyms are open here. My local Y only has Yoga classes...and you have to make a reservation to attend, but I'm not comfortable with the whole indoor aspect. Judi, wow on having COVID. I'm so happy to hear that you are on the other side of having it! It also seems like you didn't have severe symptoms? Just maybe debilitating symptoms? Are you fully recovered? There's talk of long haulers having lingering symptoms. Well...whatever...so glad that you are moving on and continuing on. Zumba Gold is what I'm talking about! Kelly was my instructor that I loved so much and she taught Zumba Gold classes. The ladies there were the best. It was definitely a social class and because it was taught through a community/recreation center, there was a core group that attended many of the classes there. It's just what they did. Line dancing is fun! It's great that you found a group that could give you that consistency...I think that is really the key. And if you are a social person, then having the energy of the group is really key to developing that consistency. Stupid COVID messing with you schedule. I'm not on FB so not aware of any regulations there. Interesting to note about the copywrited music. But there isn't a problem on Zoom? OMG that would be amazing to be in a Beto class! I also don't have any Zumba shoes right now. Nothing I have is appropriate. I ordered some that should be here tomorrow. They are a dance sneaker with a split sole. I had a pair like that before and ultimately I didn't like them because the heel was too high. The ones I've ordered have a much smaller heel. The soles on the toes are stitched on suede and rubber on the heels. They may be too slippery for things like squats? And maybe they won't have enough cushion? I'll report how they are when they get here. My fave Zumba shoes were the Zumba brand shoes. I haven't even looked at the site though...they didn't last long and so I didn't think they were worth the money but they fit pretty well...but I was doing a lot of Zumba and wearing the shoes to and from class etc so maybe they would hold up better in my current situation? I don't have a scale so no idea what my weight is. I know from my size that it isn't good. I'm still doing ok with my ACL injured knee. The conservative treatment has been fine but I know that the weight has got to come off. I could feel how impactful it was to do what I did with the CDs playing...how I know that I need better shoes for doing Zumba!! But my personal goal is to put together a low impact, slow paced, just start moving kind of playlist. I want to include the different international rhythms because I know it helps time pass better to have that distinctive change in beat but I'm not going to be as strict as the Zumba protocol would require if I find other songs that work.
  8. Aw those photos are sad but at the same time they are hopeful. I think I might be more distressed to see more people on the subway. I often wonder how the Tube is...and if there are a bunch of people on it or not. Does it look like that photo? DS rides the Tube...has to in order to get to school... Over the weekend I bought another pair of the waterproof Birks. I got the two strap style this time in the Bronze color. I have a thong style in a turquoise color. I have worn them quite a bit. They are good rain shoes. But I find that I'm needing shoes to wear around the house. I have laminate floors over the concrete slab...they are HARD...and my usual barefoot routine is not conducive to happy feet, especially if my activity is requiring a lot of standing. I also find that I do a lot better if I wear my compression socks on more standing type days and they are slippery on my floors! So I need some HOUSE shoes. LOL. So I'm designating these bronze ones for house shoes. I also ordered a pair of slippers from LLBean...which haven't come yet but I'm slightly concerned that they will be too hot until the weather cools a bit more. We're still very warm.
  9. Resurrected! I'm bringing this thread back from the archives (I think) because I need to be able to search it! LOL. Using Google is hit and miss and the forum search function won't pick up an archived thread... Sooooooo. It's back! The short story is that I'm wanting to put together some Zumba routines for myself...after all...this is why I had become an instructor...so I could always put together a Zumba class for myself...but the sad, sad news is that I'm having issues with my music library. I thought I could rely on my old iPod BUT one of DS's friends had found it and started using it! I have one of the old square iPods with a wrist strap...it kind of sort of resembles the Apple watches and this friend thought it was cool and that he would just adopt my little iPod. I saw it on his wrist and was like...DUDE. But he wrote OVER my iPod with all HIS music. UGH. So I'm starting from scratch except for the fact that I know that I documented a lot of info here on this thread... We just bought a house over the summer. Yes, we moved in the midst of a pandemic...and are homeowners again after being renters for 10 years. We have a flex room that we call the Yoga Room. Really it's going to be a studio room...it's in the midst of some dry wall repair, new texture and then painting. I have mirrors to create a mirror wall...and otherwise the plan is for it to be open space...available for use for yoga, PT, Zumba...really anything that requires open floor space. My body has become a bit of a blob over the past couple years...and the lockdown didn't help. But right now, I have no valid excuse for not doing something about it. DS is off to college. All obligations on my time are in my control...all related to housekeeping and home and garden improvement. And an empty calendar stretching for days into the future with no disruptive travel plans. There really is no excuse. There are things that need to be done in order for me to actually be able to do some Zumba... 1. Remember/Find my music. 2. Remember my routines. 3. Create a routine that is the equivalent of the couch to 5K program...because a normal Zumba class would probably hurt me. LOL. This is the start of finding my music and my routines. I'm also wondering if anyone else is out there continuing to do Zumba? And if you are...can you recall any names of songs that you are doing and like? I'd like some new material... Warm up song. Cool down song. All of it. I've been away from the scene for so long...I have no idea how popular Zumba is any longer... I'm toying with the idea of doing virtual non-Zumba classes with friends...technically I can't do a Zumba class because I'm no longer licensed to do so. So if anyone is still out there and wanting to talk each other up to focus on something good for ourselves...I hereby open the conversation again...
  10. Laurie...you look set up for a great break! It’s fun to see vacation clothes that I’ve never seen before 😂! I’m quite used to seeing your dresses, I think I could imagine several items that I know are in your closet. You say you’ve had the yellow shirt for 4 years and I’m like...I’ve never seen that shirt before! lol Take pictures so we can enjoy a virtual road trip with you! I hope you have a wonderful getaway!
  11. This is the set I got. It still has the sticker on it and so I looked it up out of curiosity. https://www.ashleyfurniture.com/p/glambrey_dining_table_and_4_chairs/APG-D329-154.html?mrkgcl=1069&product_id=APG-D329-154&google_pla=true&&mrkgadid=1&mrkgen=gpla&mrkgbflag=1&mrkgcat=ihbrand&&acctid=21700000001497894&dskeywordid=92700034592221430&lid=92700034592221430&ds_s_kwgid=58700004177320769&ds_s_inventory_feed_id=97700000003427474&dsproductgroupid=284546674304&product_id=APG-D329-154&merchid=102213865&prodctry=US&prodlang=en&channel=online&storeid={product_store_id}&device=c&network=g&matchtype=&locationid=9011776&creative=178925287679&targetid=aud-741224452289:pla-284546674304&campaignid=633632129&adgroupid=37443483782&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiJ6Cpeig7AIVA-DICh0_wAh2EAQYBSABEgL8e_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds I’m sure the whole glass thing in the middle will get old after a while...cleaning it may not be fun...but it works in our space with our current stuff so I’m really happy!!
  12. So funny Sally... Today I bought a dining set!! I'm very happy. The table that I really want is way beyond what I'm able/willing to spend right now. And I'm not sure what size will ultimately fit best in the room...in part because I envision needing new seating...and that will be so much more expense...SO I've been scouring Craigslist for a round table somewhere between 36-48 inches. I have to be able to live with it for a while though...so I have to like something about it. And today was the day! $50 cash for a 44" table and 4 chairs! I'm very excited.
  13. I called and canceled two Royal cruises I had on the books. I had a short cruise in January and then the TA on Harmony in April. Somehow, I either missed the proper ports for the January cruise when I booked it, or they changed it...I had thought it was a 5-night that only went to Labadee and CocoCay. Seemed like a great getaway and I snagged a corner aft balcony. But then I saw that it was going to Nassau and Labadee...and when I booked the TA, I always planned to cancel the January cruise so that wasn't too big a deal to cancel. Canceling the TA though...OMG...I'm almost embarrassed to say that I totally cried. I was so excited for that cruise...booking it before it was available to book on the website. I was on the phone for so long with the agent while I compared so many different cabins and was excited to finally try a Boardwalk balcony. All those Sea Days! I so enjoyed the Allure TA with Mom and Dad and had been waiting and waiting to be able to do one with DH. And then we were planning to meet up with DS in Barcelona for the end of his break between terms in the Spring. I just can't imagine feeling comfortable being on a ship for that long...headed to an international destination...even if the cruise were to actually happen. And having DS travel to Spain...the UK enacted a sudden 14-day quarantine requirement after having said that Spain was a travel corridor...there was very little notice given and so suddenly all these Brits had to suddenly plan for to self-isolate...I guess there are a ton of Brits that have vacation residences in Spain...it's so easy to go back and forth over there...unless you suddenly have to self isolate for 14-days if you go to your vacation home. Anyway...I wouldn't risk something happening that would affect DS's ability to go to school. And at this point, if I WERE able to take that much vacation time with DH, and if we were going to spend that money...I would just head straight to London. We haven't talked about it yet, but it's pretty much a given that DS will not be home for Christmas this year. So anyway...it all combined together to make me very sad...I canceled my cruises and cried. I did have both booked with refundable deposits so the good news is that I get $200 back for the January and $900 back for the TA. So that's helpful, I suppose. Stupid COVID.
  14. Laurie...Did I miss something? I don't recall hearing about your DD et al moving to Florida? Enjoy your time with them! Maybe you'll eventually be coming down more to FL to visit them? I totally get what you mean by moody with that stripe. It's very somber. I don't think it is in keeping with the whole light and airy vibe that you have been talking about. However, I do like that green color in the stripe. One thing that Mom and I have been talking about lately is how our paint colors can affect the way that the house relates to the outside. She has a lot of brown/gold tones in her paint and she thinks it is making those tones on the outside be more prominent in the view through the windows. So she's contemplating painting in some green tones to try to make the greenery outside be more connected to the inside. Since your drapes are just to soften the window frame and basically frame the view...I would take into account how the fabric may or may not relate to what your view is...and what kind of effect it may have, similar to the way that different mat colors affect framed artwork. Margaret...we have also been thinking about having our outside areas be useful for entertaining. We have finally decided on the first project for the backyard. The fire pit. It's an easy thing to think about doing because DH and I both really love campfires. I get what you are saying about having something warmer than a wood fire for outdoors...but the campfire should be good enough for us here. I just love the sound of a wood fire. The crackle and the pops. I can watch a fire for hours. So conducive to good conversation too. Heat lamps are used a lot in AZ...very useful and nice. And for real...sometimes a little too warm if you are sitting too close to one LOL. In other home news...we got our soil analysis back. I have very low ph...perfect for blueberries. And blackberries. Our front and back yards are separated by a short picket fence that is rotting away and leaning away from the posts. It's in really bad shape. And it's in full sun...so we're going to take down the pickets and cross bars...the posts are in good shape though so we're keeping those and going to create a support for the blackberries and make a living fence. I thought I might want to try some thornless blackberries but we got to talking to this very chatty man at one of the several nurseries we hit up on Friday...he was talking about his blackberries and how the first year he thought he had to net them like he does his blueberries (to save them from the birds) but come to find out that the birds leave the blackberries alone because the thorns keep them away. He harvested 35 pounds this year off his 3 blackberry bushes...I think 3...anyway...now I'm enthused for dealing with the thorns. So the berries and the fruit trees...yes...I know...the rats...well the good news is that my neighborhood is TEAMING with hawks. And there are at least 2 cats that are outdoor cats that move around our cul-de-sac too...so I'm definitely going after turning the far side into my orchard area. I'm all into this idea of Permaculture and designing fruit tree guilds. I'm not a lawn enthusiast and so we'll kill off the whole area for the mature drip line for the trees and I'll work on a developing plan for the fruit tree guilds. The early years will be able to have more variety in the area as the immature tree grows. This is where I'm going to focus for year 1. Around what I'm calling the orchard and around the blueberries. The blackberries will be close enough to the orchard to benefit I think...plus there'll be enough blackberry bushes to make a statement for the pollinators I think. Did I share that I bought a science table for my craft room? I finally cleared enough space back there to get that table in there. Things are getting quite functional all around. I'm still looking for the brackets to support the shelves for two bookcases...I put them in a really safe place that I can't remember. But I can sew now...and things are getting sorted enough that I feel like I can work on projects again without feeling like I'm neglecting things around the house. I did go through my cosmetics finally. I tossed all buy one mascara and most of my lip colors. I tried on all my lip colors and figured out the few that really look good. I searched and found ELF brand clear mascara and brow gel combo. It's a two sided product with one side saying Lash and the other Brow. I'm experimenting with just using the clear to see how I like the way that looks. I've been trying to be better with washing my face, etc., too and so I picked up some Micellar Water. Anyone else use? Edited to add: I forgot to say! Melody...the aspen! Oh! One thing that I miss from our years in CO. There's nothing quite like it. That is gorgeous color.
  15. Yes...I would agree that it is your soil. It's probably not providing the right nutrition for the tree. Did you feed the tree at all? I remember you moved recently...did you buy or rent? Maybe the previous caretakers of the lemon didn't take good care of it either. I've also read that being water challenged can affect the fruit. IDK where in FL you are? It's hard to imagine anywhere here being water challenged this year LOL. I'd never heard of purple heart before seeing it. We drove up to Ormond Beach to check out a specialty wood shop that had nothing but furniture grade wood and there it was. Come to find out that there are some challenges working with it so I'm very glad that I'm doing such a simple project. I just need to cut the board to length and rout all the edges. The purple color can fade so I'm hoping with a UV protective finish coat and the fact that they will be blocks and so not exposed like a piece of furniture might be, the deeper purple color will last. I'm not making garden beds yet. I'm going to do something that I read about a long while back. Unfortunately, I can't find the book again...but it was a book about how to build your vegetable garden over 5 years. Basically in year 1, you use bags of soil as your beds. Poke holes in the bottom of the bag and make room for your plants in the top of the bag and there you go. A somewhat shallow, but still, a "raised bed". You can test out the area that you plan to plant. I'm going to lay down cardboard and about 6" of gathered mulch from the yard (pine needles etc) and lay my bags on top of that to get started this fall. If it all works out, we may build some beds in the spring. I've been thinking about building beds from pallet wood and scouring my area for free pallets. I'm all about doing this with more effort but less $$$.
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