Archive for ‘Community’

April 23, 2017

Revamp, Renew, Revive (a.k.a. – What The Cats Left Behind)

Sometimes we can dream, make plans and see our dreams come to fruition, but then a couple of cats come along and sabotage our dreams in a flash.

As a landscape designer, I’ve been trained to try and plan for everything when designing a site; accessibility, location, exposure, sight lines, potential hazards, storage, screening, water, fire, gardens, pets, allergies… the list goes on.  Somehow, in the years I’ve been doing this, I was never trained to envision that new cats will move into the neighborhood 4 or 5 years down the road and use your dream project as a toilet.

Unfortunately, it happens and it has happened.  I’ve been gardening for many years and have had rabbits destroy plants, squirrels steal fruits and veggies to take a bite out of them and leave them behind and deer do pruning for me. While all of those things are annoying, it is nothing like finding your neighbor’s cats’ waste in the space that you grow food in. It is infuriating, disgusting, repulsing and when you have a young child, dangerous to their health.

When I discovered the cat mess in my garden, I knew immediately I needed to stop this from happening again, but in the back of my mind I also knew the damage had already been done and can’t be fixed so I would need to come up with a new plan. I know for a fact these cats kill birds and rodents on a regular basis so the likelihood of the cats having toxoplasmosis is pretty high, meaning it’s also in their poo and likely in our garden now.

So what am I going to do about it? Revamp, renew and revive.

I’ll be honest, when I first started thinking about how to handle this, my first thought was to gather the poo and deliver it to my neighbor’s doorstep, but I didn’t think that would be appropriate or make for a very good neighbor relationship. It could be argued that neither is moving into a new neighborhood behind a nature center, feeding the birds and then letting your cats out to kill the birds, spray your neighbor’s house and use their garden as a litter box, but I digress. Poo delivery is out.

I also thought about fencing, but we already have a privacy fence around the back yard and since we live on a corner, we are restricted on both the height and location of the fence, not to mention fences can be costly.  Plus, a fence in front of a fence wouldn’t look so hot and… cats can jump. Fencing is out.

I thought about putting a deterrent spray or powder around the garden, but I would have to be diligent about applying it in order to (hopefully) keep them out.  Not what I want to spend my summer doing. Spraying is out.

I thought about getting a motion activated sprinkler, but I know myself.  I would sit there smugly thinking I’ve got them, evil laugh to myself envisioning the cats being startled, hair standing on end and getting sprayed and then promptly forget that the sprinkler is on and end up being the recipient of the cold blast of water instead of my neighbor’s cats.  Sprinkler is out.

Finally, I settled on the plan I was really dragging my feet on… move the garden.  It’s hard to say goodbye to 5 years of planning, planting and work, but it really seems like the best option. It’s time to revamp the front garden and move the food to the back yard.

So the new plan for the front is to leave the honey berry, currants and perennials where they are and turn the veggie space into a cutting flower garden. This will allow the space to be utilized for something attractive and still stay in line with my chemical-free “bee safe” yard and better yet, turn it into a pollinators paradise.  My loss turns into a win for the pollinators.  I call that a win-win.

On to the renewal and revival!  The back yard garden was all but abandoned over the past few years with my energy being focused on the front yard garden, pregnancy, new baby and lack of time. Now that I’m past the initial anger of the situation, and our newest is old enough to hang out with me in the garden, I’m really embracing the revival of our back yard.

Here’s a little peak as to what I’m doing with the raised beds. Any guesses?


More on that in the near future!

Happy spring, happy planting and cheers to an abundant season!


February 13, 2013

Don’t Get Mad, Get Eatin’!

If you know me, you know that I’m very passionate about one thing… food. Good food. Great food. Great tasting food. Great tasting, healthy food. Great tasting, healthy food that I can grow!

And… if you know me, you probably know I’m pretty pissed at the world about the “food” that is in our grocery stores. I’m mad that the stores are jammed to the gills with processed crap that feeds the majority of the world. I’m mad that the “good stuff” is on the perimeter of the store and that the “good stuff” really isn’t all that good because it’s picked too early and selected not for its taste but for its ability to last on the store shelves for as long as possible. I’m mad that we’ve become dependent on convenience to feed our bodies rather than really good food to nourish them and keep them healthy. I’m mad that when I want to “go out” to eat there are only a handful of restaurants that serve “real” food. I’m mad that most people don’t realize exactly how bad the food is. I’m mad that most families are choosing cost over nutrition to feed their families. I’m mad that people have to choose cost over nutrition. I’m mad that the food in our stores is killing us, causing Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes. I’m mad that people aren’t mad about that! I’m mad that it’s often uncomfortable for me to talk to people about food because they get defensive and think that I’m “one of those people” or that I’m cramping their style or somehow judging them when instead I’m just mad that we are even in this position to begin with.

I’ll tell you what though, being mad doesn’t do any good. But being the change does. So I decided that I’m not going to be mad any more. I’m going to do something about it. What am I going to do? I’m gonna eat. That’s right, eat.

I’m going to eat and I’m going to grow. Okay, realistically I’m done growing in the physical sense, but I am going to grow food. I already have a garden, but I’m adding on this year. I’m making another section of lawn go away and I’m going to grow as much food as I can, right out in front of my house. And then I’m going to have as many people as possible eat my food. I want them to eat it and taste how great it is and love it. And then, hopefully, they’ll want to grow great food too and share that food with everyone they know. And before you know it, we’ll all be eating food not because it’s “cheap” or because it’s quick or because it’s convenient, but because we want to eat something that tastes wonderful and that nourishes us.

And I want to share recipes for that perfect tomato we grew in our garden. And I want to learn to can my own food not from You Tube, but from my friends and neighbors. And I want to trade some of my eggs for a great loaf of bread or a jar of homemade jam. And swap my tomatoes for greens or strawberries.

I want food to be food. I want it to nourish us, all of us. I want us to be healthy as a neighborhood, as a community, as a country, as the world. Yes, that’s right, I plan on saving the world by eating… one delicious bite at a time. Starting now.


February 1, 2013


It’s Friday.  Five Minute Friday.  Today’s word is Afraid.

Afraid is a big word. It’s a scary word.  But what pops in my mind is that to be afraid means not to trust.  Not trusting in yourself, not trusting in others and not trusting in the Universe or whichever higher being you believe in.

Fear strikes all of us, but I think it’s important to catch it, be aware of it and when it strikes, when we acknowledge we are afraid, we can reign it back in.  Because when we think we are afraid of something, it’s usually a fear of the unknown.  If we can grab our fear, check it out and figure out what it’s all about, often times we will realize that our fears are really pretty irrational and often times out of our control.

Fear, too, can be limiting.  When I’m afraid, I become paralyzed.  I often psych myself out so badly that it causes me to take no action.  But if I can acknowledge the fear, figure out what it is that I’m afraid of and put take action on the things I can and let go of the things that are out of my control in trust in God and the Universe to take care of me, I will no longer be afraid.

I hope the same goes for you.


Five Minute Friday


January 25, 2013


I check my inbox. A post from Kasye Pratt titled Again (a five minute friday post). Curious, I read on. I follow the link to the Five Minute Friday Post to see what it’s all about.

It’s a writing flash mob. Every Friday people blog for five minutes on the same word. Today the word is “Again”.

After forwarding to a friend and blogger, I decide to do it myself. So here I am, again. Looking for motivation outside, approval outside to write without care, without constant question and correction. Once a week I’ll give myself the opportunity to write, for five minutes, without critiquing myself.

I’ve done challenges before. Maybe too many. Is this a challenge? No, not really, but somehow my mind is making it feel like it is.

So my time is up. My five minutes is done. I wasn’t supposed to edit, delete or worry. I was to just write, but I’ve done it again. Maybe next time. Maybe I’ll get better after I do it again and again.


Five Minute Friday