Gardener’s Holiday Stress

Gardening, Cooking, Cleaning, Decor.. Oh My!

It’s that time again. Halloween is upon us. On November 1st, we will all be looking at those countdown clocks for the holidays, to be over! for some, Martha Stewart types, it’s always a great, wonderful, organized time. For others, well, the “fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants” group, it’s a nightmare to remember, because the “oops” things that occur, can’t be diluted with any amount of “special eggnog”.

So I’m jumping out there, like all the rest of the DIY and Special Buy emails you get, and help calm the jitters a bit. BUT, on my end, it’s all about your decor, recipes, and outdoor illumination. So, if you make it to the end of this article, I hope it will show you a bit of calm, so you can be excited too!!

First we’ll take a look at your plans for your festive table and elsewhere. What is actually in your garden that you can use as cuttings for a centerpiece? Firs, Hollies, Pyracantha, Nandina, Winter Daphne, Blueberry, Burning Bush, Camellias, just to name a few. This doesn’t take long to fabricate, no special skills or talent. Some of what you have in your own yard, clustered in layers on a table with a Pillar Candle in a glass Mason Jar, would bring attention to the warm homey feelings for your guests, and take the stress off the meal, mismatched silverware,the  missing pie that burned… And most of the missed cobwebs. Try a few pieces now, just to see. Time yourself, then step back, and go look out there again. See it? You will. Then, breathe, and get that spring in your step, and collect those recipes.

Recipes. That’s always hard for me, because I always want to do some others I found since the “Fall Bug” hits me in September, when I really see the difference in daylight hours lost. That’s when my mind goes deep into cooking. But, there are a few things, from many years ago that I cooked, that I get asked every year from different people, “Hey, are you gonna fix that orangy-potatoey stuff again?” Or “That Brandy soaked bready-cheesy thing?” There are a few more, and I always, say yes, and it’s great that it’s always a phone call, so they can’t see my eyes rolling up at the ceiling. I guess that’s a good thing, because, that’s when I always see that last cobweb.

Coupons are your hero when grocery gettin’. Everyone has that HUGE holiday influx of goods, that need to be sold out. So I do strongly suggest, to do some clipping, and start looking online at all those recipes.,,, and if you are into Paleo Dieting, there’s even sites for that. There are apps for your phones, iPads, and pc’s. Start looking, clipping coupons, and make that meal plan. It will all go swell, so don’t stress. If you screw up like I did many years ago, you will be outstanding, and your home, will be the must-go-to place every year….. Found out, mine turned from “stress” to “therapy”. Imagine that.

The cleaning part is simple. Invite that OCD relative or good friend over to help. We all have one, use them. It’s a great gift to them, even if it’s after you clean, or think you cleaned, they will find everything. Have them at least make a list for you, and go to it over the next couple of weeks. When they show up for the Holiday meal, they will have nothing but accolades for you. Just have the major cleaning done like by the middle of November, no one likes to eat while smelling that lingering aroma in the air, of Pine-Sol…

Outdoor Decor, well, let’s see. Are you loving the cover of Martha Stewart magazine? Or, are you a “Tacky Tour” Clark Grizwold type? Either way, it’s time to start looking into those boxes in the attic. See, the big box home improvement stores, like Home Depot, always do that trade in incandescent light thing for great coupons towards LED’s. But, they do it way earlier than most folks are even thinking about lighting, for a reason. They lose money, thru that 7 day event, and it’s coming, in just a few more days, look for it. Are you always tripping breakers, blowing strings, or just leaving that ornery section unlit? There are some cool charts out there explaining wattage, amps, etc., on how much a load to use on your outlets. THAT, in itself, kept the fire and water in me, equal, after the “switch” came on in my own noggin. Funny, every time I move, the new place must have a great gardening possibility, and in my head, where are all the lights going?

I always take digital pics of my gardening seasons, for my journal. Also, in my own semi-OCD way, my holiday meals, decor, exterior lighting, etc, so I can remember for next year. And yes, even damage or repairs of things on my home, I’ll forget, ok? I found it keeps the stress down. Can’t have that same loose brick on the steps there next year, just can’t.

As a Personal Garden Coach, I realize the Holidays sneak right up on you. My services don’t include me sitting in line for you the night before Black Friday, anywhere, but they are there to help you ease into a time of year when all, is calm? Well, that’s no fun, until the 26th of December. I have helped so many over the years accomplish their little corner of calm, for some things they just didn’t see or know they could do themselves, and it’s time again, to start taking on “Holiday Crunch” clients. We always have fun, and they always learn, because if you can’t screw up in front of me, then who else? That’s where we find the new mindset. So if any of this fits you, email me, and we’ll get busy. My calendar fills up fast, and if you are out of my area, I have even used Face Time garden walks with clients or just emailed pics of their surroundings to me, and shown them what I would do, or seen, and had fun with that, and did it on the cheap!

If you made it this far in reading, I hope you are either really jazzed about it, or at least, a bit calmer. It’s time.



Wallops Island Rocket Launch…. Woops!!

So last evening was supposed to be a spectacular launch from Wallops Island, of a supplies rocket for ISS Zarya, the International Space Station. On the website, , Zarya was to be inline, at the same time as the supplies rocket, just in time for dinner. But wait, ever see that commercial about “having a rough day”? Thanks to a boat in the bay,  that was in the restricted area of the trajectory and stage debris, the launch was scrubbed with about 10 minutes left, as the entire East Coast anxiously waited for the sight, I know they were, was touted on every news channel with “sightings maps” and where to be to see it.

Now you’d think, with the communications of today, the boater knew where he was, and wasn’t supposed to be. I mean, the rocket probably had warm 5 Guys burgers, cold Cokes, toilet paper, more Swiffer supplies, AA batteries, new iPhone 6 and iPads, mail, Halloween candy, and other “things” folks without a 7-11 needed as well. But the boat. Really?

Hopefully the US Coastguard pulled them over and gave them a hefty ticket. Those guys were probably getting ready to eat dinner and see the launch as well, but, the boat.

Tonight, at 6:25 pm, the launch is rescheduled to happen. Again. Last night would have been spectacular, as the ISS was at a blazing magnitude of -2.4, that’s brighter than Venus. And in perfect alignment, to capture the “Space 7-11. The Launch was supposed to be 6:45, and Zarya passed over us at 6:49, can’t get that kind of service at Sonics… Boaters, please, stay away, you know who you are. You anonymously made the news, and I myself, would have held you as a terrorist. Treated you as a pirate captured, and sunk your boat. I wonder what his excuse was in this day and age of GPS and communication.

The way to see it, IF no boaters, is to find a nice higher spot, with a view towards Wallops Island. Google Maps has a nice directional pointer to find your view. Pan out after the app has located you, and find Wallops Island off the shore, it’s a little jutting out spot on the eastern part of the Eastern Shore. Turn your device towards the area, until the small arrow where you are, points directly at it, and then mark it. I have to be looking towards 111 degrees here in Richmond Va. Hopefully, there’s no “woops” tonight.

For more on ISS viewing, is very interesting. Click ISS Zarya , next page click 5 day predictions, then in the charts, the lower Magnitude number, the brighter. -2.0 and lower, great viewing. Check the box in the chart, and a trajectory line will appear on the map at left. Just know your states. Green arrow is up, red is down. The three times in the line, are approaching horizon, Max view overhead, and ending horizon. Have fun. It is, very interesting.