Sunday, November 14, 2010

Living a life of Thankfulness

Have you every whined about something you lack and caught yourself short and asked "what am I saying?!  We all have so much to be greateful for but often do not take the time to give thanks for what we have, Instead, we gripe about what is missing.

I am reminded of an approaching Thanksgiving two years ago when we were blessed with a gift we never thought we'd have and every day in every way, I am ever so grateful for her.

If youd like to work on your better self, you have got to get this book, God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life's Little Detours by Regina Brett. I just read it and have come away transformed. I will be sending out her lessons here and there for those who I think will enjoy them. Get it and read it and LIVE it

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Natural Healing Springs From the Landscape

Fall is a time of re-connecting with the earth and seeing a sense of balance come back to our lives.The landscape gets stripped down to the essentials while the plants prepare to sleep their renewing sleep. Digging in their roots a little deeper and farther, prepping for the coming year. The leaves drift downward and the wind swirls them into nooks and crannies here and there to decorate the winter with their subdued golds and reds. I love the colors of fall. So soothing.......If only the X#6@ leaves didn't fall into my pond and clog up the pump!!

I was hoping we wouldnt have to cover the pond this year, but after the nth time cleaning the skimmer net today, I gave in and covered the darn thing. Now we will look at the canvas tarp covering the pond for a few weeks. ugh. I keep thinking I will take that tree down and every year, I let it go. not to mention the leaves clog up the channels in the roof and we have to clean them out before ( and during ) every rain. Glad I have a good rain jacket! but on the plus side, it IS invigorating going from the freezing rain to the toasty fireplace-warmed family room. I think people pay good money at health spas to do that. Hmmm and I get it for free!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gardening takes a toll on your feet

Whenever I am working out in the garden, I just go.  I dont think about me, I am busy pruning, weeding, planting or totally engrossed in what I am doing at the moment.  I sometimes loose track of time, I'm so involved in what I am doing. Its when I get home and I sit down to relax, I realize how much I hurt.

Part of it is that I'm not getting any younger and I am using all sorts of muscles lifting, bending, digging, etc. One thing I learned early on is to take care of my feet. If your feet hurt, you cant seem to dredge up enough enthusiasim to keep going or even get started for that reason.

One of the best things I do for my feet is to buy quality boots and terrific socks.  The socks I buy arent cheap, about $20 but they do wonders for my feet which means the difference between gettin the job done and having some life at then end of the job!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Check your Grape plants

Getting a few calls about buggy grape plants.  The little bugs fly around the grape leaves and leave red or brown spots all over the leaves and a kind of sticky honeydew. the leaves take a yellow cast and then dead brown spots all over. Ugly annoying and downright yucky!  If populations are small, just wash off the leaves and you might be able to keep their populations down enough. If not, its time to spray.
Keep in mind the best control is to clean up weeds and plant litter under the vines so the little guys dont overwinter and start all over again in spring

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The elusive dream... a good nights sleep.

I dont know about you, but working in the garden tires me out! Some days, I just drag in the door and look incredulously at my darling husband when he, for some reason wants to have a nice dinner. Not dinner out or take out, but a real dinner cooked by me. I'm already cooked by the end of the day! some days, gardening uses muscles I didn't realize I had.

Even so, when I can finally drop my head onto the pillow, sleep does not necessarily follow, even exhaused as I am.  Even worse, is when I wake up several times in the night wondering what else I need to do or didn't do that I should have or will tomorrow.  As I get older, this sleep thing comes harder. I think that I dont function as well as I could when I don't get enough sleep.

I have tried lots of methods to induce a sound sleep, but they all seem to fail. I was thinking about going to a sleep clinic, but so expensive and time consuming. So I was really excited to  learn of a new device that allows you to track your own sleep patterns and daily habits and how they correlate, so you can improve your quality of sleep. This new device is available at Amazon. Its called a  Zeo Personal Sleep Coach

It is a little wireless device that has a headband you wear to bed that tracks your sleep patterns. they also have an online program that helps you intrepret the information and make lifestyle changes that will improve your sleep. Amazon has a neat video on how this thing works. You should check it out if you or anyone you know has any sleep issues. I have ordered it and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I will let you know how it works for me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Has Edison Got a Secret Agenda?

Got our electric bill last friday.  I wasnt looking forward to the bill, because it has been so humid lately that we have been running the air conditioner in both the house and office. I was shocked when I saw the bill. It was at least half of last months bill!

Hmmm... the game is afoot!  I went out and read our meter and of course, the reading they billed for was off, by at least 1,000!! so I called up Edison and demanded they bill me more.

Crazy you ask? Not so much.  See with the tiered rates, If I waited until they catch up the bill next month, I will be paying for those units at a much higher rate. The lady at Edison said I was one in a million.

Talking with my neighbor, THEIR electric bill was lots cheaper too! Now either we have a really stupid meter reader, or... perhaps this is a plot by Edison to get more money for the same electricity?

I'm thinking it is a conspiracy. No meter reader can be that stupid to get the readings at two houses right next door to each other wrong on the same day.What do you think? Do you have a low electric bill lately

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Confessions from the soul

Hi. My name is Cindy.      I'm a bookaholic.

I love every chrisp page as I turn each one. I linger over every book jacket. The typefaces and cover art thrill me.

I ve always known I've had a problem. Sometimes as a child, when reading, I would ignore all others around me. Even when they were offering food! It started with Nancy Drew... Just a little story now and then. Soon, I graduated to Where the Red Fern Grows  and then  To Kill a Mockinbird .

Now it is just Hard core. I sneak into the bathroom 6 times a day just to read a paragraph or two! People are thinking something is wrong with me. And they are right!

I knew I had a problem when I resorted to reading the book of the day at long stop lights while driving. I love everything about books. I cant decide if my favorite is Go Dog Go or the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

Somebody please help me. Is there a cure for the love of libris? Do I want to be cured?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The secret life of cactus

I really love most plants. There are a few exceptions, but that will remain for another post. And I do love cactus. They are quite remarkable plants, little water storage units really. Their spines are there to shade the cactus and protect them from water loving desert dwellers.

I have the privlidge of helping some of my clients care for their gardens. One home today has lots of cactus. Unfortunately, the drip tubing was chewed in half by a sneaky little rabbit and I had to repair it. I had to lay on my stomach and dig under the cactus to get to the tubing to repair it.  I am now (still) literally covered with the fine little spines of the cactus. Sigh... I am loving the cactus today  but not so much!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Real Secret to Creating a Low-Maintenance Landscape

Low-Maintenance. Nobody ever asks for a landscape that takes a lot of time to maintain. So when someone says that they want a low maintenance landscape, I’m thinking… well, yeah. Very few people in this world do not care how long or how much it takes to care for their landscape. If they don’t, then they can, and do usually afford to have someone do it for them.

That’s not most of us. The real key to getting a low maintenance (or Easy-Care as I call it) landscape is all in the planning. At that stage, you will know how much time and money you want to invest in the care of your new landscape. Right then, BOOM! is where most landscapes are successful or not.

You gotta understand plants to landscape properly. One plant might work just great for your neighbor, but be soooo not right for you. Or not right for THAT place in your yard. ONLY if you know your client, plants, climate, and location can you select the right landscaping. And if you have the wrong plants in the wrong places matched with the wrong maintenance skills or budget, you, my friend have just wasted your money on landscaping. It’s as simple as that!

Picture a cute little evergreen bought at the nursery 2 feet high by 1 ft wide. Plant 20 of those suckers 1 foot away from the front sidewalk in a row every 5 feet. Cute when planted. However, did I mention that those little cuties are arborvitae? Now when you know that, you know that they will reach 10 feet wide and 15 feet tall within 10 years, they don’t look so cute. When you know that they could ultimately reach 30 feet wide and 45 feet tall. They are downright monsters. Think of trying to make them stay small and all the effort that will go into that for the first few years and the time an expense that it will take to take them out when they get too big. That is the big secret… Plant only what works for the space both now and ultimately

I just want to hide inside..

The heat is opressive. I make my living outdoors every day, but I'm not a fan of the heat. As the saying can only take so much off.  The humidity was terrible yesterday, and we had to turn on the air conditioner for the first time this year.  The water cooler wasnt doing it. We had a tremendous thunder shower last evening. In just over half an hour we got nearly an inch of rain! I was content to watch from inside. The plants at least got some advantage.

I really need to dig up and divide my iris. I have too many and plan to ditch some and gift some. Now is the time, but I have too much to do this weekend. I am bustling about making sure everything gets plenty of water here, checking the sprinklers and drip for "issues". I only found a few problems of clogged heads and some emitters that had gone cattywampus and had to be adjusted.

I am getting ready to head to the Home Improvement Expo at the Victorville fairgrounds this weekend.There were so many businesses there setting up today. It looks like it will be a big hit to have a July show. I saw several vendors that I have not seen at the show before. Looks like an intersting weekend.

I WAS looking forward to relaxing this weekend with a good book my hubby bought me. He said I havent read anything fun lately and got me The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo. I have just barely started it. It will have to wait til next week as the Home Show will take center stage this weekend. Come by and see me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cash for Grass not Dead Yet!

Just received an email from the Mojave Water Agency in which, they report the Daily Press article stating the Cash For Grass" program's death was a bit premature. In fact, the CFG's program is a resounding success in saving water and they are "re-working" it to be better this fall. So they are only going on hiatus, sort of like your favorite TV programs. 
If you need any more information contact

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get ready for the bug invasion!

A doctor must diagnose the problem before he/she can prescribe a cure. Bug problems are no different.  You have to know what (or who) the problem is before you can select the proper control (if any) to use for that bug.

Pests of the West is a fabulous resource book for just that. I just discovered it and it has tremendous pictures of lots of common pests and suggested plan of attack to mitigate the problems.  I love the pictures! I have been trying of late to get better up close pictures so I can document the pest issues I come across on my yard and clients yards.

Most of the time, identifying the pest is the hardest task. Once that is done, you are all set to decide how and IF to apply controls.

Check out the section on Grubs.  They will be an issue for you with lovely pretty scarob-like beetles by next month if you havent applied some control by now.  Do it before it is too late and the beetles start flying.

Cash for Grass Program Ending Soon...

Well, the local paper announced that the Mojave Water Agency is suspending their "cash for grass" program at the end of the month due to massive budget cuts.

For the un-initiated, that's a program where they, through your local city's water department pay you a rebate if you remove your grass and replace it with a drought tolerant landscape and a drip irrigation system. You have til June 30 to qualify, so if you are considering it you'd better get right on the ball NOW.

You must be pre-approved for the program and the rebate is paid after the landscaping is done and a final inspection. They pay in most cities 50 cents per square foot. That's not enough to pay for the whole job, even if you do it yourself. However, it can amount to a nice add in to your budget for garden lovelies like pots and benches.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Again with the Crazy Busy!

I'm not sure what time it is except late, late, late! I have so many things to do to get ready for the Home Show for this weekend. You can be sure that 1pm Friday is approaching fast. I hope to talk to you there. Come by and see me. Bring photos and measurements and I will be dispensing lots of advice ( if you want it).

Here is something to soothe if you are as frazzled as I am.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Free Ride is Over!

OK folks, your free ride from all the recent rains is over. You will have to start up the irrigation system now. The soil moisture is really depleted from the warmer temps we have had lately, and with no rain on the horizion, you better get crackin on tweaking up the sprinkler clock.

I would reccommend in our little High Desert Valley to be watering the planters and shrubs once to a couple of times a week for established plants and maybe a couple of times a week for the lawns.

Remember to check your drip emitters on your plants to see that they are working properly. Replace them if they are clogged or broken. Clean the Drip Y-Filter out. Just un-screw it, and wash it out and re-assemble snugly. Oh yeah, make sure you do this when the valve is not operating or you will get quite wet.

We will be really busy this week in preparation for the High Desert Home Show in Victorville at the fairgrounds. Thats this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and see me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Busy Busy and Busy some more!

Ok. The last 30 days have been just filled with work. A lot of weed spraying work. I love helping people get a handle on their problems! The soil temperatures have risen enough to germinate lots of weeds with more to follow. Hard as I try to get people to plan ahead for the weeds, they mostly wait until they start to pop up. Human nature I guess! I shouldnt point fingers. I am a procrastinator toooooo.

Did I tell you I am now on the Board of Directors for the High Desert Contractor's association? The association is a group of licensed contractors, ya know.. electricians, painters, window people and such, from the valley that want to promote professionalism and ethical business pratices here in our little high desert valley. Our mission is to educate the contractors and consumers alike in fair and ethical business pratices so everyone can benefit.

Well, that happened in January and I got stu....uh er awarded the priveledge of writing the association newsletter. So 2 newsletters down and only 10 more to go for the year. That actually has been fun 'cause I get to do what I want because no one else is silly enough to complain or else they get the job. Although I do try to make it informative for all and I have actually had a few compliments.

Getting ready for the surge in business coming later this month when people realize spring has hit and they want to be a part of it. The Home Show will boost the mood and I'll be there to meet and greet and offer advice if you want to stop by. March 26th, 27th and 28th at the Victorville Fairgrounds. More on this later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Desperately Seeking Landscape Perfection!

Ok, I'm officially sick of the rain.

I know that it is good for the plants. I love not having to turn on my sprinkler clocks ( all 5 of them). They just replaced our water meter today, with a "new and improved" version that is supposed to be super efficient at tracking even the littlest flow of water so our water company doesnt miss out on ANY revenue. (Does it matter that the rates have quadrupled since 1992 when I moved here!) I need to go and check it out, because they did a sloppy job of putting things back and it is my opinion that if they are sloppy in one area of work, whats to say that they are not sloppy in installing the meter? It's ust a little leak, wont hurt.... I just think that they should be neater thats all. I mean, our name IS Perfection Landscape, after all.

It appeared that they just used some guy off the street. I dont know who they "contracted" to do it, but I didn't see any logo, uniform, or anything official. The guy looked like someone they would pick up in a park. After a recent conversation I had with a local water department guy advising me how I could get around the "regulations" so I could bid on a project coming up, I am a little dubious of anything they do.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quality Questions Que Your Life

Why have I let a whole week go by without starting that important personal creative project that seemed sooo possible a week ago? Is is because I have not set a schedule to work on it for fear of setting a standard I will not attain?

Fear. F.E.A.R. False Expectations Appearing Real.

Starting is the hardest part. Do it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sister's call leads to better pre-emergent application

Ok, my sister read my blog about the pre-emergent application and reccommended to her friends that they read about it on my blog. (She's going to ask her gardeners to apply it.) I realized that I know all about pre-emergent, but perhaps YOU do not. So I thought I ought to give a couple of tips about the proper application of pre-emergent.

It is real simple. Prevent them before they start. But how to do it right. As with most things, if done improperly, it can be at best, ineffective and at worst, be downright dangerous. (think dead stuff you dont want dead)

Keep in mind a "professional knows dose" and as a licensed and trained professional pesticide (yes I used that terrible word) applicator, I really think the application of chemicals should be done by people who are familiar with and trained in the proper weed identification, application timing, various chemicals and application process of pre-emergents or any other chemicals.

I am going to get on my soapbox now. Just because your gardener makes his living at mowing your yard, does not a professional applicator make. If the size of your home dining table is all the people who have applied for landscape, gardening, spraying work with our company, then the number of people who actually had the skills and training to properly apply chemicals would fit on the head of a pin! One guy was even currently employed to spray and didnt even know how to figure square footage (sigh). Yeah anybody can go to Home Depot and buy stuff, but that doesn't make them a professional (or safe).

I reccommend you hire a licensed professional. The State of CA licenseses pest control applicators. You gotta know what you are doing to get a license. You test. You have to get continuing education every 2 years to renew your license. It's worth it. Check with your county agriculture department to get a reccomendation or list of applicators.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unwanted Stimulus Package!

Hey, Its soooo nice out. I'm enjoying the sun. It's been so wet lately. We had 5 inches of rain in just 5 days last week. I KNOW that all that rain is going to stimulate all the weed seeds lurking under the soil just waiting for the opportunity to pop up and ruin your weekends this spring. It'll be really nice and warm and all those weeds will be calling your name.

Get rid of them before they start. Put down a weed preventer, called pre-emergent. It works amazingly. We put down a lot of it this time of year for our clients. Some of our clients are smart and do it every year, sometimes twice a year before the weeds show up. Others, just wait it out hoping the weeds won't show and they won't have to spend the money. Dry years the gamblers sometimes win. Wet years, not so much.

I think Benjamin Franklin said "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I think this applies here.

I just had breakfast with my Mom...

"How can that be?!" you ask, "your Mom passed away 9 years ago!" Well, I just re-lived a lovely breakfast with my Mom channeled through the most amazing sticky buns I have eaten in years!

My Mom was not a great cook. I remember lots of goulash, and samon patties with the little round bones in them. Succotash. Canned vegetables. Not much stellar food on a day-to day- basis. I mean, you gotta understand. She had 4 hungry kids. a husband with a big appetite and a limited budget. You go with bulk and economy. As an adult, I can understand this.

BUT, she did know how to bake and to make specialty items. Some of my fondest food memories come from my Mom who couldn't really cook that well. One of those was Sticky Buns. Light, delicate, airy cinnamon rolls covered in gooey carmel and pecans! Mmmm you could taste the buttery carmel since it stuck to your teeth. But you didnt want to brush your teeth and waste all that goodness.

I have found a clone of my Mom's sticky buns right here in River City, I'm telling you boys! A litte place in Hesperia called The Cinnamon Roll Lady. Its on Main Street (760) 792-8119 place your order and you too can have breakfast with my Mom.

I'd post a picture of the lovely edibles, but I ate it all. There is always tomorrow

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Post Script: Quality Questions

I'm thinking about yesterday. Can't get it off my mind. I think my Quality Question of the day is:" What do I have to do to get more days like yesterday afternoon?"

Whether you want more of money, loafing, stamp collecting, golfing or whatever, you need to ask yourself a quality question: What's the question I have to ask myself to get more of what I want?"

Surprise visit makes my day!

Well, the jobs down the hill didn't have too much of a mess from the storms to clean up. Everything went well and we came in on time. The weather was really nice yesterday until the afternoon when it became quite cloudy and grey.
The best part of the day came as a surprise when I returned home to find my son-in-law Shawn and my granddaughter Kennedy visiting! Shawn had come to get some computer advice from my husband who is a computer wizard and can do anything!
Kennedy patiently watched as I carefully parked the large truck and trailer. She seemed transfixed on it. I'm not sure if she was scared or not as the truck makes a lot of noise, for a little kid. After parking, she exploded into a run towards Grandma and Grandpa had to grab her so she didn't fall on the concrete. We had a lovely time feeding her (or trying to! she is sooo picky) and later looking at a book, her favorite thing. When we came to the page with all the vehicles on it, she broke into a smile and pointed at a picture and yelled "truck!" Oh, what fun she is!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Busy Day Ahead

Well, its 4:30 am and I am getting ready to leave for down the hill today. I and my crew are going to take advantage of the few days of sun drying things out a bit and do some gardening for some clients before another round of rain comes tonight. Hope it isnt too bad. Took several days off last week cause there was no earthly reason to go out in the storms. I super enjoy tidying up the landscape. My favorite task is pruning, though not with a chain saw. That's not my forte. I prefer the less noisy pruning tasks. Let you know how it went


"There are 3 things to a good life, learning, earning, and yearning" Christopher Morley

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This day is all you got.

My last post was wishing for snow and eventually we got a little with lots of rain. I kept meaning to post. The holidays came and went. I actually had time to watch a movie and take some personal time with some of my family at Christmas. The lively conversation, scrabble, tons of food, and laughter is imprinted in my brain forever. I imagine the others will remember bits and pieces.

You get to an age where you really wonder what your purpose in life is. Have I made a difference in anybody's life? Am I just here sucking up energy? What do I have to give back? Anthony Robbins says the quality of the questions you ask yourself determine the quality of your life. I am planning to make better use of the oxygen I breathe in making a difference to others.

I am reminded of this because of the sad blog post by a fellow blogger I follow. Her blog is here: Johlene has lost her grandma Mema. Johlene was blessed to be able to be with her Mema until the last. One can read her blogs and see the impact one human being has made on her whole family. I'll pray that the feelings of loss and sorrow will be overshadowed by the gifts of love Mema left for them.

Remember, you only have this day. What will you be remembered for?