How Does My Garlic Grow? June Update

I am most excited that not only is my garlic still alive, but it is doing really well too. Yeah me! I took these photos today. Aren’t these guys looking great?

If you browse back to my post from 3-16-16 and compare the photos you can see that today the garlic has grown quite a bit. The photo on the right also shows a bulb forming. I moved the pot outside earlier in the season, and it really took off. Fresh air and sunshine does a soul (and garlic) good.

It will be a couple of months before full bulbs form. After reading up on the subject it takes about 9 months from sprout to bulb. I planted the sprouting bulbs back in December so there is still a month or two to go before I can pull them up. Interestingly, the one on the right that is set apart from the others is a bit bigger. It must have more room to stretch. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next year’s crop.

Have you ever tried to grow garlic? I’d love to hear about your successes and challenges.  Until next time.

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The Universe

I believe in the idea that there are powers greater than ourselves keeping tabs on the ebb and flow of our existence. This energy could be called Karma, God, Allah, or, as I like to refer to it, the Universe. I can’t really say if our lives are drawn out for us beginning at conception, or if it is decided as we go along, but I do believe that when we need something, truly need something, we are graced with the gift from the Fates.

It is these small things that are given that have convinced me that there is something more out there than meets the eye and we are given what we need, when we need them in order to get through life. Some of the gifts are small, and some might be hard, but each and every challenge we face brings us to exactly where we need to be for the  next step in our lives.

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How Does My Garlic Grow?

Several months ago I posted that I was growing some garlic for the first time. Believe it or not, it’s still alive. I am the first to admit my brown thumb when it comes to plants that are needy. Thankfully garlic is not one of those kinds of plants. I have been told that the bulbs take awhile to grow, so I am not ready to yank one out to see how it is growing. With my luck all four of them would come out and I’d have to start over. Until I pull them out, here are a few photos of how fast it grew.

My first post was back in December and the photo there shows the plants just peaking out from under the dirt (taken December 2). Within a week the sprouts were already an inch tall, and by the 13th they grew to 4 or 5 inches.

December 13, 2017

 

January 8, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 15, 2018

It doesn’t look much different today than from this photo from back in March. The leaves still look scraggly, and deformed but I am hoping the goodness below the soil is beautiful.

I’ll keep you updated on my success or failure growing my first batch of garlic.

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A few Thoughts on Retirement

I am doing my 20’s for the third time so I am getting closer to “that age” for retirement. In my opinion, retirement is a thing that died out with pensions and my parent’s generation. I know, not the entire generation is gone. My mother is the last in my family from her generation. It is the Baby Boomers who are now retiring. Or, trying to. I think the word may, one day, fall into disuse being categorized by the dictionary as archaic.

I do not feel I will ever stop working unless I drop by death, stroke, heart-failure, or some other malaise that ties me down. It’s just not in my DNA. I get restless if I don’t have a job. But, I do keep it real….I’m strictly a part-timer and I keep my calendar open for long vacations. I still have to visit the Isle of Man, New Zealand, Australia, and most of Europe. Visiting farmer’s markets in every state? Now THAT’S a great idea!!

What does retirement look like for you?

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This post inspired by a friend of mine who posted her thoughts on retirement. I ended up writing a reply that was nearly as long as her post.

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Color Coding Bread

Have you ever noticed that there are different color twist ties and plastic bands on bread? Bread is color coded for freshness. The color coordinates with the day is was baked and with the colored bands it is easy for store clerks to pull the loaves that are reaching their peak of staleness. Now, it will make your search for freshness easier.

bread-color

Why nothing on Wednesday and Sunday? Well, bakers do need a day off every once in awhile. Keep in mind that not all bakeries are created equal. Double check the freshness date to be sure you really are getting the best loaf for your buck.

 

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Growing Garlic

I love garlic. I eat it in nearly every dish I make (except cookies), and I’m sure I put too much in sometimes. My sister told me about how she likes to grow her own garlic and she found a great batch from Germany. I don’t remember the exact strain, but she gave me a couple of bulbs so I could grow some too. She lives in the Midwest and I live in the Rocky Mountain region. When I asked how to grow it she said to take one clove, pointy side up, and stick in the ground in the fall and it will come up in the spring. Scratching my head I smiled. I wasn’t sure how that would translate to my climate, but we were interrupted at that moment and I didn’t follow up.  Then, once home, I ate the garlic and never thought again to try to grow it.

Last month, I read an article on one of my favorite blogs, Lovely Greens, about how to grow garlic. She reiterated just what my sister said. Plant it in fall and it grows in spring. Again, this is coming from someone in a climate very different from my own (Isle of Mann to be exact). So, this is the second time in just a few months that I have been told about growing garlic. Maybe I should make an attempt at it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have garlic left from my sister’s batch, but I did just get some from the grocery store. I figure that if I manage to grow that then I will ask for more of the German variety (it is delicious by the way). Doing my usual “guess and by golly” method of doing things, I found a little pot  and stuck four cloves in the dirt and dumped water on it.

It’s growing!!

I am pleasantly surprised that it is actually growing. The larger sprout had already started while it was attached to the bulb so that little guy had a head start. The others are also showing signs of life. If all goes well I should have four nice bulbs of garlic late in the Spring or early Summer.

I will keep you posted on the progress of my planting experiment. Until then, I think I need to eat what’s left of the bulb these came from. Roasted sounds lovely.

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Goodbye 2017

What many people may not realize about being a writer is that it can be nerve wracking. We writers pour our hearts and souls into what we do, and if there is a single misspelled word we feel failure. It is not an easy job, but one that we all feel crazily compelled to do. We can be an insecure bunch of people, but we are not in it alone.

I am a member of The Insecure Writers Support Group, and every month we are given a question that we can answer in our IWSG post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. This month, the last in a very long year, our question is:

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

The only thing I would do differently is to wrap my entire family in bubble wrap. Without going into detail, let me just say that seeing the inside of nine emergency rooms in twelve months is more than anyone should have to go through. (No one died this year, so there’s that). To say the least, this put a huge crimp on my writing progress. Getting a story out has been the last thing on my to-do list.

It wasn’t all bad though. I did manage to complete a couple of short stories, several blog posts, and I wrote everyday for NaNoWriMo. My debut novel, The Manx, is shaping up with characters that are living and breathing entities in a brilliant world. I also attended two writing conferences (PPWC and RMFW) where I reconnected with writers across the country and re-energized my creative battery. I also had the pleasure to meet one of my favorite authors, Diane Gabaldon.

At book signing during RMFW2017

My advice to anyone who is in the thick of life’s challenges? Get through it anyway you can. Writing does not have to be at the top of your to-do list, but sometimes it should surface to the top just so you can have a few moments of sanity. It is okay to let the words fall by the side of the road while you are trying to maintain a straight direction with four flat tires.

Say goodbye to 2017 because 2018 will be a better year. It has to be.

Thanks to our awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG, Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

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NaNoWriMo – 2017

It is that time of the month again where I join with other writers to discuss the “dark side” of being a writer. Actually, that might be a bit of a strong term, but it will do for now. On the first Wednesday of every month Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) posts one or two subject questions so we can talk about our doubts and the fears that we have conquered as writers. We can discuss our struggles and triumphs then offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling with their own writing.

This month’s question:

  • Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Let me explain NaNo for the readers who are not familiar. The full term is NaNoWriMo which is short for National Novel Writing Month. During November of every year, writers around the globe sit down to write a novel in thirty days. Sound easy? NOT! The goal is to crank out 50,000 words in a mere thirty days, and if you want one day a week off you have to manage 2,000 everyday of the month. It is, to say the least, an insane challenge.

On to the questions. Do I finish NaNo? I have only participated once before and it kicked my butt out the door by day 10. November is just plain HARD. It is a month when my job intensifies and life just pulls in too many directions. I am trying again this year so I’ll let you know the results. Needless to say, nothing has been published ——

YET.

Thanks to the awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG, Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

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Arbitrarily on Facebook

Social media is one of those formats that I have a hard time keeping up with. Not because I have an aversion to them, but it is more an issue of time. Between writing for blogs plus writing a novel I find my time is thin so I have resisted expanding this  out to a broader social media presence.

That is changing as of today.

I now have expanded to:
Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/arbitrarydustbunnies/
Jump over and like Arbitrarydustbunnies….I really need a few “followers”.

I’ll be on twitter soon.

 

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Cancer Free

It has been two years since my breast cancer treatments concluded and I am happy to say, I am still cancer free. Beating cancer was one of the hardest things I have ever done, being free of it should bring joy. Yet, I have to say this statement (being cancer free), with a little trepidation. I am anxious every time I feel a twinge of pain, or when I do my monthly self exams.  I am always afraid of finding a lump. When I visit my oncologist, my apprehension increases to a point of ridiculousness weeks before I actually see him.

As it turns out, this persistent anxiety is pretty common in cancer patients. There have been a number of studies done (one noted study was done by Lancet Oncology) that confirms anxiety is prevalent among cancer survivors and their families. “Our findings suggest that anxiety, rather than depression, is most likely to be a problem in long-term cancer survivors and spouses compared with healthy controls.”

I thought, when my treatment was finished that everything would get back to normal. I would go about day to day life as if I just recovered from a cold or the flu. No. That’s not how it has played out. My day to day is to have at least one episode of anxiety during the day and at least one as I go to sleep.

Are they detrimental to my well being? No. I get through them. I have learned to breath deeply and appreciate the little things that bring joy into my life. I reached out to my psychologist who taught me how to ride out an anxiety attack and how to see the good things in my life. I have learned how to cope with the devastation of my diagnosis and the possibility that cancer may return. Make no mistake that this is an easy journey. It is not. Some days are easier than others. My mantra is to remind myself that I beat cancer once, and I will beat it again, and again, and again.

I am a survivor.

 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Make a difference by donating to your charity of choice. Support the fight against Breast Cancer!

breast-cancer-ribbon

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