Monday, 19 February 2018

Feelin Cold

Dear Family & Friends

Last month, some of my garden plants were still very brave fighting our winter temperature. Although we have constant very sunny days during the day, yet everything changes as soon as the sun sets.  Temperature just drops below freezing point till sun rises the following day, warming things up a bit again.

the globe artichoke was so brave and upright despite of the frosty nights last month...

but as frost comes night after night, it start looking so sad...

With the constant freeze, some of our perrennial plants can look so knocked down as they freeze up, but deep down their roots are protected that they will simply bounce back as soon as the weather warms up.

This hollyhock can fight winter cold but looks a bit knock down

Some of the plants don't mind the cold at all, but they won't put on much growth.

This poppy plant looks happy all through winter:)

Being in the garden, makes me appreciate the beautiful nature that is full of resilience and wonder. Our Creator is very clever indeed. He made everything so unique in their ways.

These days, I just can't wait for spring to arrive, where I can be working out in the garden as much as I could. I have so many plans and dreams for gardening this year....just...can't wait!!

Sending you good wishes for a beautiful day!


Thursday, 15 February 2018

Spring temperature for a winter season

Dear Family & Friends

It's one very odd week we're having here- spring temperature (18C) for the winter season!! For a full week, our day time temperature was so pleasant and sunny, although our night temperature will drop down to freezing level. So, I took advantage and stayed out in the garden. It's definitely warmer outside than inside our home:)

This handsome rooster has now learned to crow

For the first time, I heard our little rooster crowed. He went on and on with his singing. No longer a tiny little chick who was bullied to no end by our other old hens , just a few months ago. He has settled well and is looking much bigger now. He is a proper crowing rooster:) This definitely adds up more fun to our garden atmosphere:)

my temporary green house - quick and easy

As it was so warm and sunny, I started sowing some of the earliest vegetable seeds that I could do like the broad beans. I also potted up mint which I dug up from the garden so that I could take them to our city apartment. Having some potted herbs in the small apartment balcony would be a nice treat.  Since my daughter requested some leafy vegetable that she could cut for her salad needs, I also managed to transplant some of my veggie seedlings in pots for her. Our city apartment balcony is very sunny and that would make an ideal place to grow plants in containers. 

it's good enough to house a few seedlings for the short time to protect them from cold

Since I don't have a green house to make use of, I improvised a temporary one just to keep the plants in pots warm and protected for these few weeks - specially during the night.

It's so noisy inside this hive - full of happy buzzing bees

After having done a wee bit of gardening, I went to check our was buzzing with noise.  All is well. The bees are happy and very active with the beautiful sunny day. Unfortunately there's not much blooms for them to enjoy, except for the snowdrops. I will definitely multiply more of these early flowering bulbs for the bees right after the flowers fade. 

It's not spring time yet, because next week's weather forecast is cold with some snow. Whatever it will be, we still live in a beautiful place that we are always grateful of. Hope you are enjoying where you are too.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

How To Be A Loser

Dear Family & Friends

If you have noticed, I've been writing a lot about ways to encourage you to be successful in life. It's part of my everyday support for my little family here. If it is beneficial to us here, it's always in by heart that you all benefit from it too.

important chat going on here

Today, I thought you might be tired reading about becoming sucesssful. So, I am going to teach you how to be a loser this time.

My first tip is: Only give the bare minimum to your work - never offer anything more. come to work at the last minute and leave at the first minute. Waste as much time as possible during the day.

Tip number two: Don't have any goals for the future. Because if you have no goals,you don't have any direction, and you have no future and will always have other people tell you what to do all the time. you will always be the lower person taking orders from people who have goals in life.

My last tip for today is: Be very poor at your work and never improve - do only the amount necessary so that you won't get fired. Never aspire to be known that you are good at your work. Just be the lowest level contributor. Complain about your boss, your company, your co workers - how they're no good, they're holding you back, how they are the reason why you are not successful.

worn but very handy

To further hammer it all in: Please don't manage your time well. Don't do anything that is of value, Never ever plan your day, just do whatever comes or happens during the day.
Be a great criticism - criticize yourself and others too. Do a fast job of destroying any relationship. Never aim for good relationship. that way, if you have children, your children would never be happy, if you have spouse - he will never be happy and you will never have anyone like you.

bright and cheerful

Well, these are all heavy and tough ideas...but if that's what you want in life:  to be the greatest loser on earth...then, this will certainly be the ultimate guideline that would surely work.

Grumps - hump..... I'm not even going to end with 'have a good day wishes - for a change.


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Garden Dormancy

Dear Family & Friends

What's in my garden at this time? Well, my vegetables beds are filled with just 50% full of overwintering vegetables varieties. Despite the frozen solid ground, plants are just sitting there without any growth progress.

here's my brassica plants planted last autumn - they haven't grown much over the winter...

There's a lot of garlic planted in autumn too - they're also waiting for spring to speed up...

Rows and rows of onions - also waiting for a warmer weather to come

well, this is not a plant but our underground water pump system - also on hold for the winter season

likewise our outside garden water tap - all bundled up to avoid a burst pipe due to water freeze

It's not going to be long now, the dormant to semi dormant state in the garden will soon come back to life. There's a season for everything. In life, we have to be patient and at the same time expecting:) Enjoy your day!


Saturday, 3 February 2018

Winter Food In The Garden

Dear Family & Friends

Every year the garden yields and gives us food to eat. We really prefer to eat what we grow in our own garden because there's nothing better than that. But I can't guarantee I can do it perfectly. Some years there is just so much of certain veggie and on another year we're out of it.

Grateful for rosemary bushes - so good to flavor cooked food and use for herbal tea too.

This winter season, we don't have many greens to harvest from our garden. I failed to get the right timing in growing my winter veggies. All I can say, I will have to do it better this year.

By now our kale plant seem to be out of leaves as we keep on harvesting it

My girls constantly want fresh salad leaves from our garden...but as winter arrives, there's not much to gather anymore. Most plant slows down their growth at this time of the year.

parsley is frequently harvest to sprinkle on top of our dishes as it's rich in vitamin C

I have learned that I should grow more hardy winter plants and herbs... it's always nice to be able to get some fresh herbs for winter teas and this is very beneficial for our bodies to keep warm and healthy.

my big sage bush is constantly picked on for tea drink to soothe sore throat

As soon as the weather permits, I will have to get my acts together and start growing more plants to fill our garden. So, it's time to propagate and multiply my existing food plants.

All for now...hope you are also enjoying your garden and are encouraged to get more fun out of it too:)


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Develop a moral character to achieve happiness

Dear Family & Friends

When the two girls were little, I taught them good moral character at every chance I get. I act immediately when they do wrong to rectify and let them know what is the good option. It was tiring...sometimes I felt like letting it all go, but I never did. Now, I can testify you that we are reaping the reward. It's not the end, we still constantly guide our two girls. Developing their moral character can only mean that our children will achieve happiness in their lifetime.

Everyone wants happiness in life. The key is very simple. You must always be absolutely true to yourself. This means that you refuse to compromise with your moral character. Refuse to wish, pretend or hope with something that is not true, when in your heart you know that it is. For eventually this affects yourself and others too.

You state the truth simply and honestly. You do not stay in relationship that is wrong for you or do not agree with or believe in. Remain true to yourself. Do not say things to other people that are not honest and sincere expression of your true believes. Insist and live in truth in all aspects of your life and constantly strive to become a better person by setting high standards and refuse to compromise them.

Remember, whenever you live consistently with your self in the highest value, you feel wonderful with yourself. You only compromise your values if you are unhappy with yourself. So always live up to the very best that is within you. This affects and ripples into every aspects of your life: personal and business relationship. A good relationship means everything...from trust to success:)

I share my inmost thoughts here for my family and friends because I want you all to have the very best in life too. These days I have plenty of time to reflect...for our cold winter break has arrived. Have a blessed week.


Friday, 26 January 2018

The Confidence Cure

Dear Family & Friends

My job is to to do my job very well and continously think everyday how to be better than I was yesterday. With the cold winter season, I find myself confined indoors and it's a good time to take advantage in planning for the coming months, focusing on self improvements and motivations to keep myself and my family going forward for a successful living.

I realized that there are 3 things that we could face that would hold us back from moving forward:
  1. doubt and fear
  2. feelings of guilt and unworthiness
  3. feelings of  inferiority and undeserving
Sometimes there are people in our lives who can vastly contribute these negative effects in us - so, my greatest advice is to avoid such people. They probably don't mean and can't help do what they do.... but it is important that we should be aware of these things for the sake of our own self confidence.

Helping others build their self confidence in life is a very important aspect. We are here to build each other up for good. 'How?' -  you might ask. Well, the simple act of smiling works wonder. Every person have a deep down need to be accepted by other people unconditionally. without judgment or criticism. A smile is an indication of your acceptance of them.

Just my thoughts for the day. I hope you go through life, looking for opportunities to make people feel valuable and special. It won't cost much since:  a simple smile and one kind word works wonder. Have a good day.


Monday, 22 January 2018

It's A New Week - A New Start

Dear Family & Friends

It's January and supposed to be the coldest month of our winter season...but so far I can say it has been so mild compared to last year. We really can't complain about this. The bitter cold freeze came a couple of weeks late. For one of us who has to commute to work, beautiful days alway comes as blessing and incentive.

Monday morning can be a drag, but not on a beautiful shiny day:)

Our big girl stays in our city apartment for four weekdays only. She always look forward to Fridays' when  she comes back to our village home for the long weekend. By Monday morning, she takes the train or public bus from our village back to her city workplace.

On her way to catch the train to work...
Here she is walking to the train station. But on her way, she took the time to enjoy the beautiful sunny morning.
but something caught her attention and she took her camera out...

She stopped half way - to capture the beautiful scenery of where we live with her camera that she always takes around with her.

She stopped to take photo from this point.

And this is what she saw. Yes! We do live in a beautiful country, where peace and quiet abound. Surrounded by mountains on all four corners of the country, though they are far away, yet they're all visible for us to see. At this time, we note that it's peak are well covered in snow.

Can you see the mountain yonder covered with white coating of snow?

Well, this girl should hurry herself up...she got the train to catch and can't afford to be late for work as our train only comes by once every hour.

I myself have to get back to some of my routine housework...So, I wish you a good day and a productive week too.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

plants grown in many different ways

Dear Family & Friends

While we hear some parts of Europe are having extremely early winter snow, one day I came out to the garden to be greeted with a very strange warm air... but not to be deceived, it's not gardening time as we are at the start of winter season! Thus, I just start thinking of the many different ways I garden.

Sometime ago, I threw a lot of beetroot and chard seeds onto the garden since I've gathered more than enough seeds from last year's growth. Some of them have now sprouted but until they are a bit bigger, I can't really tell if they are beetroot or chard. One of the disadvantage if you garden on adhoc way. My excuse is because I love gardening the natural way:)

beetroots sprouted after I threw seeds on ground in random way

On some days, I would transplant my plants in orderly manner. I love the rows of globe artichokes and they are happy where I locate them. Their leaves are grand and elegant...but wait till you see their big majestic blooms in the summer to come:)

globe artichoke is a very beautiful perennial plant to have in the garden

Still there are some plants in the garden that are not ordered by me at all. They establish and grow themselves. I saw this cluster of mushroom and I think they are so pretty too. I'm not sure they will stay there for much longer. I'm so surprised to see them at this time. I think it is because they found a more sheltered place amongst the undergrowth.

Another beautiful creation you can see in our garden - mushrooms

I don't have any plants on container as they require more watering attention...but I have this tub of  garlic sprout simply because I was curious if I could grow the garlic seeds that I gathered this year when they started flowering and developed into seeds. As you can see, they are easily grown from seeds too...but I'm not sure if they will give us good size garlic bulbs next year. We will have to wait and see.

garlic grown from a flower seed - they're very tiny as seeds were just the size of a grain of rice

When possible, I must admit that I won't hesitate sowing seeds in trays and transplant them onto the garden plot once it's bigger. This way, the little plants are less susceptible from being eaten by slugs and snails too.

these argula were presown on seed tray and transplanted onto the garden plot

As I cleared and sorted my seed collection, with so many extra seeds, I decided to throw away a mix selection onto my garden soil - my way of sowing seeds. I'm not sure if it's the right time, but who am I to say what nature could do as a favor, since most of my plants are self seeding themselves. I also don't mind them all mixed up in random way - resulting a most natural garden.

Wishing you a happy day:)


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Let's start with a big BANG!

Dear Family & Friends

It's now time to sit back and set aside the time to plan well for the new year! I believe it is going to be an amazing year to move forward and live the life of prosperity and purpose that God has in store for us!

Today is not exactly a New Year's Day, probably we're well into the New Year even...but, you can start to be financially free any time of the year as long as you put your act together. Let's start with a big BANG!

It's a new day! The only power the past has over us is what we allow it to have. Learn from the past and use it to create a better future.

Don't get stuck in the past triumphs. It's time to move on and move forward because greater days are still ahead! If we all think last year was amazing, I believe the coming days, weeks, months, will be even more awesome!

After reviewing how you have fared, it is now time to set goals that are achievable. Write them down so you won't forget and review them from time to time.

Believe the reason why you are reading this. It is because you have it in your heart to be financially free! Start creating steps to pave your way. Study and put your lessons to the test by actually acting on them!

All the best for the new year 2018! Happy new start!


Monday, 8 January 2018

Weeds keep us and our garden healthy

Dear Family & Friends

I'm always asked how's my garden doing after the 'how are you' question. That's how some people associate me with. It's true that I do the garden and enjoys it...but people tend to think that I toil tending the big garden. I used to, but not anymore.  Weeding is the least of my worries. Every year I realize that I'm running out of weeds, as we learn to enjoy them to keep us and our garden soil healthy.

my garden old plants and weeds as all kept as precious mulch resource

For most part of the year, my vegetable garden beds gets covered with self seeding purslane...thickly. Most calls it a weed, but it doesn't bother me. I harvest them for our chickens, and most of all for our consumption. It is highly nutricious - packed with omega that we normally associate with expensive fish food. If I need the ground to plant other veggies in place, it's just as easy to pull them out and they can be composted to produce a healthy soil too. There are many weeds growing in our garden happily, most of which are edible as salad or for tea drink. There's plantain, dandelion, nettle to name a few.

my assorted veggies in row needs a mulch cover to keep them healthy

Other weeds that are non edible like vineweeds...well, they're not problem either. I just pulled them up from time to time as I also need them to bulk up my mulch resource. So as you can see, I really need all the weeds in my garden to help and keep my garden healthy.

Remember it is very important to keep your soil covered in mulch as protection...the same with our body. It's been very cold as we entered mid winter, but we are all keeping warm and happy. Wishing you a good day too.


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

There's more good things in store for 2018

Dear Family & Friends

Festivities came and went. For us, we didn't have the sense to join the many traditional practices. We did our way: chilled out and just had some of our unique family fun time as we always do - no pressure whatsoever in conforming everyone else. We ate what we wanted to eat and took advantage of slowing down as we have been hectic with so many things for the past months.

These calendula are the last of all the flowers to give color to our garden before hard winter freeze - and they're still fighting till present - to stay:)

So many blessings came our way last year, and with it, so many works to work on too. For years, both of our girls had always been hard working on their home schooling, language interest, projects they venture into, part time work they did from home etc... as part of their routine living. 

Then, all of a sudden, the oldest one decided to try out applying for jobs for the first time (she speculated on two different companies). experienced job interviews, and both companies immediately offered her a job almost at the same time, of which she could only take one of them. 

As a foreigner, she had to do extra processing of legal paper works needed for employment, and managed to do it all own her own. To top it up, she also enrolled on driving school all at the same time. Life became so hectic for her that she had to drop her part time earning job she used to do from home and handed it over to her younger sister.

although never been to school, yet our girls taught themselves foreign languages - thus here is a written cyrillic translated cake recipe as requested for by our neighbor

For the fifteen year old younger sister, it was a bonus. She just wanted to do more jobs in addition to what she is already doing. Both girls just loves work challenges. At her young age, she wants to get employment too, having been earning a small keep from home since she was 13. But, we think she won't pass the legal age requirement for company work. Yet, towards the end of the year, she managed to get registered with a company for some freelance job opportunity. She was so pleased. 

As they avail themselves for more opportunities, another business opportunity opened up for them. Both girls boldly took the chance of cleaning maintenance for two apartment blocks (one of them being our apartment block). They got the job contract. It's just a once a week (1hr) job for them to keep and maintain the communal area of the building - but they wanted to do it, not for the meager money, but more for the exercise and probability that it will lead them to a bigger  business entrepreneur later.

a home is a good place to rear and teach your children everything they need to know for a successful living

The way we brought up these two girls - by handing them responsibilities through their homeschooling and just being part of a working family from the beginning- they are trained never to be afraid of work . Even now, they know they prefer to start their own business venture rather than work for a company. As parents we are slowly guiding them to achieve what they want to venture into, but a day at a time. We will support them as always and we are all excited what this new year will bring.

Just a journal update to keep, but I hope and wish that you and yours will believe and keep working for there's also more good things in store ahead of you too:) Happy new year to you:)


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Table center crochet pattern

Dear Family & Friends

In our city apartment, when one starts feeling cold, all it take is to switch on the air-conditioner...that convenient! Not the same in our village home. To keep warm in the winter months, we have to light the log burner. This heats radiators that run around the house. I have to do this before it gets dark, but sometimes much earlier depending on how cold it gets. I call myself Cindy...but I don't mind because I'm getting very good at this too:)

my latest crochet project

Watching the fire glows can be very entertaining as I listen to the sound of burning logs. As I keep watch of the ongoing heating system, my hands are busy exercising with crochet needle and thread at the same time! There's nothing more therapeutic winter activity than this:)

For the moment, I'm frantically crocheting a table centre runner for a tiny rustic table we got for our apartment. In between moments all throughout the day, and before I go to sleep but already snuggled in under the comfort of my duvet, I crochet like there's no tomorrow. I like the design pattern and it is doable in just 2-3 days.

a crochet table runner

Hope your week is bright:) We had our winter solstice on Dec 21 this year. Which means that we just passed the shortest day of the year...from here on, the coming days will get longer and brighter. Although still in winter season, yet we know spring is coming afterwards:)

Enjoy your day.


Friday, 22 December 2017

It's OK to go for natural gardening

Dear Family & Friends

My 'critique' will not really like to hear this. The fact that I don't go out to work to earn a penny, but chose to stay at home to give the best care for the unity and well being of my, I'm finding more and more lazy way out of gardening too:)

globe artichokes are happy with the old plant debrie that are left on ground as mulch

Over the last years, I've decided to go for natural gardening, which basically means I chose not to work but let nature take it's course as much as possible. I don't till my garden as it is not necessary. I don't clean up my garden as my goal is to allow the soil to build the fertility on it's own - and that's the job of the soil microbes. My biggest responsibility is just to keep up with the harvesting.

presence of mushrooms appears on undisturbed soil

If I am less engrossed with our big garden, that frees me to do other work interest. I do believe that God created us to enjoy work. Our little family all loves it - when we get lots of work! It's what keeps us going. We remind each other that, if we don't work, we also shouldn't eat. Thus, we all love eating too!

Hope you have a fun and cool day to chill out as well:)


Monday, 18 December 2017

Seasonal changes in our garden

Dear Family & Friends

The beginning of winter is already showing us it's presence. I don't go out to garden anymore except for a quick trip to snip some herbs to add to our soup or stew dish. As it was very sunny today and with unusually warm air, I decided to linger on to check what's going on in the veggie patch at this time. The vulnerable plants who can't stand the freezing temperature at night have already said their goodbyes. I'm not pulling up the dead plants and will leave it there till spring time. Many beneficial insects can shelter inside the hollow stems or under the masses of leaves this winter.

the aubergine plant decided to say goodbye and left one perfect fruit:)

I saw one aubergine that wasn't was glistening and calling my name. Such a blessing! for we all enjoyed this very last one veggie for this year - and it's top of our family's favorite too! Sad that there wasn't more. 

the chives collapses to the ground after a night chill

Another plant that we enjoy from our garden is the chives. There's still enough to gather to put into our favorite baked bread, but not for very long. They are slowly flattened to the ground due to coldness. Soon, they will disappear from sight but their roots stays safe underneath and will come back by spring time once again.

immatured figs left on trees as cold weather sets in

One sad sight in our garden are the fig trees. As soon as freezing temperature arrived, they immediately shed their beautiful leaves. Now that they are naked, we noticed that there's still a lot of fruits on the trees:( They didn't reach to the size before the time...and will not ripen anymore. I have to take them off the trees for composting. It's sad to see so many unripened figs but I'm sure we will have more next year.

beetroot seeds that landed on the dirt sprouted in time

Although some of the food we grow in the garden dies or hibernate for the winter, yet there are other cold resistant plants that we could still enjoy: root veggies like carrots, beets, some leafy greens like kale, argula, lettuce, chards, sorrel etc... These plants won't make any rapid growth anymore, yet they could cope and stay alive during our cold winter. Perhaps if I'm more organized in making a cover for them, they will do better...

lots of quince fruits falls onto the ground

The cold temperature outside is just not so inviting anymore to do gardening - well, at least not for me...but I've gathered enough food from the garden the past months which we will enjoy during my winter garden break:) But under our quince trees, I feel ashamed that I just left so many fruits to fall and rot on the ground. If I find some free time, I will go and rescue some and make some fruit compote out of it...otherwise, the chickens and garden worms will just have to deal it for me.

As season changes, it's time for me to change and engage into some of my quiet projects. I'm grateful that there's season for everything in life. Hope you are enjoying the seasonal changes in your life too.