Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009...Was it good for you?

2009: Was it good to you, or is it good riddance? I think that it's a little of both for me, and I'm honestly looking forward to Twenty-Ten.

Thinking of the Christmas season that just passed, it doesn't really matter what religion you are, it doesn't matter what you believe, or if you believe, it just matters that all things are possible! With the possibility of all things, there remains some kind of hope.

So, Happy Holidays to Everybody! Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Happy December birthday, whatever you are into, Happy Whatever it Is. God Bless America and God Bless the World! So I guess it really is all about Dickens, Tiny Tim, you all know who I'm talking about, not the singer, but the character from Dickens in A Christmas Carol, and he ends it by saying "God Bless Us, Everyone!"

Here's to hope for the coming year. Here's to stopping the bickering over the small stuff and focusing on the big challenges that we all face. Here's to equality for ALL. Here's to making and spending time with those we love and care about.

Please have a happy and safe New Year, my friends.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Not a creature was stirring.....

Welcome to my Central Florida taken December 2009 The temperature is about 70 degrees and raining off and on. Who would believe it is Christmas day. Certainly not you folks dealing with freezing temperatures, snow and travel delays at the airport due to the weather problems.
The last several days I have taken several photos out in my garden. This is the time of the year that those of us who reside in Central Florida can brag & rub it in about our great climate.
The birds & even the butterflies love to stop in and visit the watering hole.
They have to have choices of places to hang out.
This plant I purchased at the farmer's market in Port Saint Lucie just because I liked it. I don't even know what it is called, but it is looking great.
My very small little water feature.
My African Violets on my patio are loving this cooler weather and flowering abundantly.
The double purple trumpet is one of my favorite flowers. At the center-lower side of the photo you can see a "seed pod" forming. I have collected several to start new plants with.
Some holiday decorations sit among my plants. This Santa relaxes among some Orchids.
Another bird feeder amongst the plants. Red Bird, Cacto Cardenal just behind it.
Finally the flower! I have been watching and photographing this very interesting plant....Kalanchoe Gastonis Bonnieri (donkey ears) for about 8 weeks since the formation of the first bud. This interesting plant has certainly proven itself to be a fun conversation piece in my yard. In another post, I will show through my photos the transformation to what it is today.....very fascinating.
An angel sits besides some variegated leaf Bromeliads.
Christmas Cactus, totally ignored most of the year are always a surprise when they burst into a beautiful flower right in time for the seasonal holiday. This one was buried on my patio where the squirrels could not get at them.
Just a closer view.
This Bromeliad was given to me by another Seminole County Master Gardener, and is obviously happy where I planted it in my yard.
One never can predict the surprises they come across in my yard!
I hope I did not bore you with my photos. I also hope the display of the wonders of mother nature will inspire others to go out in the yard. The pleasures and surprises are endless.
What ever holiday you choose to celebrate this holiday season.......I wish you the best.
And a happy, healthy and safe New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Managing Holiday Stress......

The holidays are here and 'tis the season to be merry'! Well, merry until the reality of all the the shopping, decorating, entertaining, cookies, eggnog and hors d'oeuvres hit! The weekend after Thanksgiving, my autumn wreaths were packed away and replaced by my Santa wreaths. A sign that the holidays are officially here. This year I will not be pressured to do more outdoor decorating than I want to. My simple front door wreaths shown here can convey a sense of celebration.
Don't take me wrong, I love the holidays, all of them. I love the decorations and am known for going beyond the normal with it, I love to get out the trees, I love the sparkle and glitter of it all and even the crowds in the malls. As you can see, I sort of blend the holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas......after all to me, they both represent family, friends, goodwill, peace and hope.
This year, I have decided to keep things simple. I will again put up my little kitchen tree, which several years ago was just that, the kitchen tree, then there was the formal living room tree, the fun family room tree, etc. I will decorate my mantle and put out some additional decorations....but this will be my year to keep things simple and manage typical holiday stress.
I am almost done with my gift shopping. I willl watch lots of the sappy holiday movies that are run pretty much 24/7, you know the ones that all have a predictable happy ending. I will experience more goodwill through my volunteering as time allows, and I will prioritize my time for what's important.
I will have more time to relax as well as take care of my garden. My vegetables in my square foot raised bed garden have more then tripled in size since they were first planted several weeks ago. This is my first attempt at raising vegetables for myself. As a Seminole County Master Gardener, I have worked on the Three Sisters Demonstration Garden at the Sanford Museum.
Here I am on Thanksgiving day cutting my red leaf lettuce to add to the salad. There really is nothing as good as fresh produce.
This photo of my Giant Kalanchoe Gastonis Bonnieri, Donkey Ears, was taken on Thanksgiving day. It has been getting ready to bloom for about 4 weeks now. I have been taking photos every several days to document this wonder of nature. It appears that perhaps I will get the gift of full bloom in conjunction with the "wonders of the season".
I have decided that this holiday season I will set realistic expectations, develop creative ideas, initiate new traditions and activities, and overcome the holiday blues. Won't you join me to add sparkle and glitter to the holidays....whichever you believe in........creating new traditions that will bring memories for years to come.
My goal is to add a little peace and quiet to my holiday celebrations and make room for meaningful time with loved ones. How about you?