Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How does your garden grow?

This is a Smarty Pants bougainvillea. I love the colour and the honey eating birds love it too. My garden has been going through the changes again. I seem to change it every so often . I realise out the back it has fewer flowers than it used to have because of the drought we had. I lost a lot of flowering trees and shrubs. I replaced them with succulents which have their own look . My garden is moving onto a tropical look these days. Palms, monsteras, philodendrons, passionfruit. It is interesting to watch my garden change. It always looks at its best around October and November. For me, it is how I get my exercise. I have the fresh air, nature, the work to be done and there's always plenty of that. I am physically active in my garden. No pottering and gentle pruning for me. I don't have trouble focussing on the work to be done and then just doing it. I'd never swap it for a gym. So my garden and walking my dog keep me healthy. I look at new houses these days and they have very little by way of gardens and that is a shame. People don't seem to want to work on their own bit of land anymore. Children grow up without seeing a garden change on a seasonal basis. In summer mine looks dry and crispy at times. I did get it through this summer well. That in itself is a challenge. I have to think how I will get my garden to deal with particular weather impacting on it. It's  good to think about and sometimes it makes me quite creative. It's nice to have this place AI can go which adds to me in all sorts of ways. I wonder how people manage without a garden and what replaces it in their lives. Nature is very healing.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

If it wisnae fur yer wellies

I love Billy Connolly's wellie boot song from the Big Banana Feet show and I love my new wellies. It's true, where would I be without them? I used to always have a pair of wellies and then I stopped wearing them. Now I have a dog who really likes walking. I know that sounds odd but my other dogs haven't been big on walking. They have always preferred swimming at the beach or playing ball and walking has been something they haven't liked much. This new dog of mine loves her walks and gets really enthusiastic about going for a walk. She then walks really happily. She is unhappy when I don't take her for a walk. For me that is usually when it's wet and cold. I am very bad at wet and cold. I decided this year, since my dog really doesn't ask for much, that I'd make a bit more of an effort and get myself ready for walks on cold, wet days as long as it's not raining. Pretty sure she'd walk in the rain too! The truth is, the walks are good for me too. I always feel much better after. So I have my new turquoise wellies and may well go back and get the shocking pink ones too! So cheerful. It means we can tramp over the countryside in comfort and she will be a happy doggie and my feet will be dry.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Be kind to people...

It is not always easy to be kind to others or to think kindly of them. It's harder when they have really done soemthing to hurt you or they have really hurt someone you care about. As you get older you learn to deal with nastiness and unpleasantness better. You can shrug a lot of it off or you can get it into perpective more quickly. Those who lash out or who do the most unthinkably hurtful things which create a major problem for the recipient of their horrible behaviour are often in a bad state of mind and at crisis point themselves. We always like to find the reasons. When you are at the receiving end of it you just have to learn to rise above it, recover your dignity and reassert yourself. You do that by being who you are and following the values you believe in. Challenging behaviour from others, which temporarily throws you into disarray, chaos, personal pain and immobility, requires the help of others- your network, the people who love you, the people you can trust. It's good to believe you can always be kind to people but you should never let someone who does you harm get away with it. You can ignore it and remove them from your life. You can take some firm action to show them they cannot treat you like that. Sometimes you have to just deal with it however you can. The main thing is to do something so you are not disempowered.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Potting on

My newly created potting shed isn't quite paradise yet, but it will solve a number of problems for me. On my fence line is a massive gum tree which the neighbours cannot control. It puts gum nuts, bark, twigs and occasionally branches onto the bottom of my garden and can make it unuseable. The other neighbours have a German Shepherd which I found out had been coming into my garden and they had broken the fence to get it back in theirs. I found this out when I got my new dog. The Shepherd came to find it. Originally I had a pool down the back but it had to go because the gum tree was making too much mess in the pool whether I had a a cover or not. It was a massive task to clean it for the summer ..then two biggish branches came down and I thought - this is now dangerous. I removed the pool and so the pool shed fell into disuse. The fence is still there to protect the pool so I have been setting up a veggie patch. I then thought I would reclaim the shed and area and force the neighbours to do something about their dog. That part seems to be working. They now know I am down the back and they keep a better eye on their dog. I had spoken to them about it but I don't actually think they know how to manage a large dog. I have had to work hard to clear the things from the gum tree and to create a bit of a path, get the old stuff out of the shed and set it up for potting. It means the other neighbours know I am down there clearing up all their gum tree stuff. I am hoping they might take control of it. Not easy given the size of the tree. My potting shed now means I can get seeds ready for summer and  I have a place to be in winter because I am very bad at being in the garden when it gets cold. It means I can get cuttings going of my favourite plants and it also means I can store the things I need for in the veggie patch instead of constandly walking up to the big shed for them. I can see the difference. It is a lot of work and all manual labour so it is keeping me fit and active. In time I am hoping this will be an area which has a special charm and I am working towards that. So my potting shed:

1. Is solving the annoying dog problem
2. May solve the annoying gum tree problem
3. Is helping to develop my veggie patch
4. Has inspired me to be creative
5. Is a little place to be outside in winter
6. Is keeping me fit

I have been really enjoying working on it because it has been inspiring. I can really recommend setting up a project which will, in turn, solve other problems you are dealing with!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Snow's step-through harness



We've moved on. My badly abused dog from the RSPCA 2012 is now in a step-through harness and it is working well. In the video she is out in front of me but when I first used the harness she took to walking right next to me without even thinking. We have been through the Thundershirt  which my vet recommended and that was so worth it. It took me nearly a year to get her totally settled in her walking and the Thundershirt certainly contributed in a big way to that. She used to jump, be very nervous and launch herself at cars and trucks which is why I had the chain leash to start with. I did not want her slipping out of her collar at all. The harness matches her leash and there is a good video here about how to put them on. I confess she jumped around like a Mexican jumping bean and I had to coax and talk to her a lot to get it on. She is fearful and suspicious of anything new and she knows now I don't hurt her or allow her to be hurt. It's just that she hasn't had a proper life and so doesn't know what to do when something new happens other than to be highly nervous ,worried and ridiculously wiggly. We have got through it , though. Each day is easier because walking is high on her list of priorities.
So now, with the step-through harness which she seems to really love, we have really good walks and she is totally happy to have it You can see she is relaxed. Now, in this second year with me I am working on the notion we can just have a nice walk and not have to worry about cars, trucks or anything else. As a by the by, you can see how dry our state is. This is South Australia and it isn't really into the full swing of summer. We are already dried up and dusty, so we do a mix of pavement and off road walking because those grass seeds can be quite nasty in their paws and coats. She did well to sit while I took the photos!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Early to bed, early to rise...

My new dog that I have had for nearly a year has me out of bed at 5.30am. Even though I have always been able to get up early and preferred it, I confess it was a bit of a shock. Then I started to appreciate it. It meant I could go on the computer in peace to wake up, get things organised but not in a hurry and achieve such a lot by 10am if I was at home or be really ready to leave for work after 7am. So I have kept the habit. It works. The origin of the proverb Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy , wealthy and wise probably comes from Aristotle and Mama Lisa's World fills in some of the historical and linguistic transformation of this saying. Aristotle said : "It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom." I have found by being up early I am more active and have the time to be active rather than frantically trying to fit everything in. It also means I have time to think and sort things out properly and so I am probably wiser. The wealth for me is not about riches and lots of money but all my bills and financial affairs are in much better order because I have been thinking things out well and I do take the necessary action to sort out financial matters quickly and effectively. I am not tired. I don't leave things because I am tired. Wealth can mean a lot of things to me. Not just money. My health is my wealth and I am certainly healthier because of my energetic dog. I also have the time and frame of mind to engage with others better so my relationships are healthier and they to me are a sound investment. If it comes to riches, then that is something altogether different. We have a world full of the rich and famous. Most of them look awful, are pictures of misery and are very unhealthy. They are not an inspiration. Yes, there are rich people who are happy and well but the richest seem to be in a state of perpetual torment as far as I can see and not very happy at all.  I'll stick with health and wealth.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Tommy's gunna do it


This is so incredibly moving. Tom Barbour has a Facebook page which is equally inspirational. It is a humbling experience to see what he, his parents and Project Walk have been able to achieve. Tom is tackling his challenge head on. He has been surrounded by people who care and you can see his trainers have some expert skills. The way in which they can help him move forward is extraordinary to watch. Tom is showing us that 2013 is about getting stuck into it, setting your goals and dreaming your dreams. I feel sad it is costing so much money. When some is so willing to tough it out the really hard way, when someone, against the odds, will take their life into their hands and show they are determined to better themselves and then show it all online so others can gain courage and determination too, then it's sad it costs so much. Makes me put the idle, the destructive and the disruptors into perspective. Why do we focus on them and not people like Tom? Our TV programme The Project picked up this story and it came up in my Facebook feed. That to me is what we should do. Care about those who are adding to our world. Spend time with them helping them and encouraging them. Go with the positives and pay no attention at all to the nay sayers, the negative people and those who would use our time and energy to feed their lack of capacity to achieve something as awesome as Tom Barbour, his family, his friends and his trainers. I look forward to seeing him walk.

The great knee challenge

It's a fortnight tomorrow since the labrador retriever cross slammed into my leg. It has been quite challenging and hard because I am normally very active. The knee exercises worked. Pedalling on my exercise bike for short amounts of time really helped. Resting it helped. Having a bath helped. Bracing it with a knee brace helped. Wearing good sneakers helped. What also helped was the amount of encouragement and praise I got at work. People could see I was struggling at times but they kept chatting to me and kept me moving and came along side me at my pace. They let me work out what I could and couldn't do by myself but then they really encouraged me when they could see I was going along better and better. They also were good at making me laugh. Toughing it out was worth it. My leg is almost back to normal. I can go up and down stairs slowly. I can almost manage slopes and I have been able to do some of my yoga poses. I still have trouble getting up if I crouch or squat. Pushing myself safely through different routines has brought back normal knee use. I don't need the knee brace anymore but I do need proper shoes with non slip soles. I cannot afford to unbalance that knee at all. Tackling it this way means I have been able to take control of my injury and work through it. I needed things to do and I needed to be able to gauge how well I was doing , so having benchmarks and goals was a good plan. By the end of next week I am expecting to be practically perfect in every way. Cannot wait!

See part one of the story.