Weekend Coffee Share – Cooler Weather

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! There is regular hot coffee in the French press (very strong,) ice tea and ice coffee. What would you like?

We are enjoying a cool week. The temperatures have been in the 70’s all week, a nice break from the heatwave. We’ve had some rain storms as well. The ground could use some more of that. The rain is softly dripping on my roof as we speak.

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The fig sticklings I got last week are now enjoying individual pots. Due to the cooler temperatures I’ve moved them inside.

In between the rain I’ve been keeping the greenery in the yard from taking over, especially those determined lupins (not in the photo since I’ve taken them all out.) The law says they have to go, as they are an invase species here, and right now they disturb the balance of our ecosystem.

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This area was completely covered in lupins,  I have to cut them down every 10 days or so, otherwise they come back. You can’t really see it in the photo, but the ground is too uneven to be mowed with a lawnmower. I either have to use a scythe, or an electric trimmer.

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The house I live in is more than 100 years old, and at some point someone planted beautiful roses.

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What have you been up to this week? Maybe you are celebrating 4th of July? I hope that you and your family is well. I haven’t said anything, because I didn’t want to worry you, but my daughter have this dry cough that started three weeks ago, two days after her summer break started. It just refuses to stop. I feel so bad for her having to deal with this. With Corona in town I don’t want to take her to a doctor. Maybe she has it? Hopefully she doesn’t, and if she doesn’t it feels lika an extra risk to take her to a doctor if I don’t need too. (If she gets really sick I take her of course.) We are social distancing. She is managing fine. I spoil her at home. When she feels up for it I take her on a short walk. Yesterday we spotted the first blueberries for the season. We saw them three minutes from home.

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With the cooler weather no-one is at the beach, and we enjoyed sitting there breathing some fresh air for a while yesterday. Naturally I am worried about my daughter. She is resilient and takes it pretty good, but is a little frustrated. I pray this cough goes away sooner than later, and doesn’t develop in to something more serious. I don’t think there is much that I can do, except keeping her in a good mood, make sure she rests, and eat healthy food. I try my best to do that.

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It’s less than a five minute walk to get to this beach. We’ve had it to ourselves all winter. Never saw anyone going there during the winter/spring. During the hot days in June it’s been crowded, and we’ve avoided the place. It was nice to visit for a while yesterday. No sun=no people.

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This is the pretty view across the lake. Both my daughter and I enjoy just sitting next to the water, telling stories and sometimes bring a book. This spring we’ve had breakfast at the lake several times. It’s been a weekend fun for us. Do you have a special place near where you live that you enjoy visit again, and again, and again? I hope you do 🙂

This week I’m reading a series of historic novels about Julius Caesar, it’s very interesting. I finished the first one on Thursday; The Gates of Rome unfortunately my library didn’t have the second one, I’ll have to order it. I started the third one anyways, since I know the story well I figure I could read the second one later. I’m halfway into the third one, it is great. I’ve always been a history nerd. The same author Conn Iggulden have written another serious about Ghenghis Khan, and I borrowed the first two books in that series as well, for next week 🙂 There is a lot of time for reading now. I feel blessed to be able to stay at home with my girl without feeling guilty for not being at work. Reading, telling stories, gardening, cooking and baking makes time at home very pleasant. In between I watch some fun episodes of Homestead Rescue, I love that show and I have not watched all the seasons. A show that both teaches you new skills, and makes you laugh is hard to come by. Have you seen that show? Have a fabulous weekend! Happy 4th of July!

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Garden Galore

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! There is regular hot coffee in the French press (very strong,) ice tea and ice coffee. What would you like?

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We are expecting another very warm day hitting 90F. Every day this week have been this warm. It is dryer than usual, but nothing like the desert where I used to live of course. The nights offer some amazingly cool air, and I open up the house to air out at night, closing everything again early in the morning, for the house to stay decently cool. We do not have air-condition. Starting tomorrow the prognosis promise rain for a few days. The ground needs rain, even though it is still very green and lush. Next week the temperatures are going to be in the 80’s, maybe low 80’s even. Which I think is perfect. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a wonderful, wonderful staycation week this week as well. I’m indulging in gardening, books, photography, and blogging. It is rejuvenating, and I feel good. The best thing of all is knowing that I have five more glorious weeks left 🙂 How are you my friend? 

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These are some photos from around my garden this morning. Naturally I do not take any credit for the beautiful flowers, since they were planted long before I moved in.

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Our first whole week without minus degrees at night was only five weeks ago, so the container part is a rather new addition. All the vegetables are grown from seed.

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This is some of the pots with vegetables I have growing around my porch; beans, peas, bell pepper, bush tomatoes, and zucchini.

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The zucchini is getting bigger by the day.

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I planted this zucchini about a month ago. No flowers, or fruit yet but it is looking very healthy, and sure is growing. I had the pot standing on the ground, but decided that it would be nicer to get it spread out here up on the bench, with less bugs crawling all over it. I have three zucchini plants in similar sizes, one next to this one on the bench (morning-day sun about 10 hours of direct sun,) and one in another spot in the garden (day-afternoon sun about 8-9 hours of partly shaded sun,) trying to figure out the best location for each plant, since this is the first year growing here. The green that you see at the soil surface in the pot is basil. Basil is an excellent companion to zucchini. It loves the shade under the leaves. The white that you see next to the basil is crushed eggshells. The eggshells is a slow release fertiliser, a steady source of calcium that prevents blossom end rot, helps aerate the soil, and keep slugs away.  I mix eggshells into the soil while planting, and add some on the top every once in a while during the growing season. If you are free planting your veggies and have problems with slugs it pays off to spread eggshells generously all around. (I mentioned this about zucchinis in a previous post earlier this week, but the photos are new from this morning.)

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On the ground next to the zucchini we have smultron, a variety of wild strawberry.

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They are tiny, and widely spread throughout the country. This is the very first one of the season. Have you ever had a smultron? Or is there another English name for this berry?

I love figs and made sure to surround myself with fig trees in all the different locations I’ve lived at, in California and Nevada. With some effort you can actually grow them here as well. I don’t know how familiar you are with Sweden’s geography, but we have two big islands on the East coast. I ordered fig sticklings from a lady that have a big fig tree on the biggest Island, Gotland. I purchased two, and she was kind enough to send me five. That was so nice! I planted the sticklings in a pot I had with some culinary sage growing already, they are great companions.

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I watered them generously, and covered them with a plastic bag with some holes in, to make a mini greenhouse. For a couple days they stood like this in my kitchen window.

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Yesterday I took the plastic bag away, and watered some more. The sticklings did not have any roots at all when got them. I decided that they did not need the plastic bag anymore.

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Late last night I found them a shady spot on my porch. They will not get scorch by the sun, but will enjoy some nice warm weather, similar to their native country. When they have some roots, should grow quickly in this weather, I will plant them in separate pots, and move them to a sunny spot.

I also purchased two small fig trees from an online gardening center that I like a lot. Everything I bought from this store have been of excellent quality. These trees turned out to be much bigger than I expected, so I repotted them immediately. They look very healthy, just a little dry from being shipped.

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I ordered ‘Desert King’, the left fig tree is definitely a ‘Desert King’ but I believe the right one is a different type.

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Typical ‘Desert King’ leaf, in the left pot (above.)

Below is two photos from the right pot. Is this really the same plant?

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I’ve been thinking about what it could be, and came to the solution that it’s likely a ‘Celeste’, a very sweet, cold hardy type of fig. Or do you have any other ideas of what it could be? I’d love to hear, since I am far from sure about what it is. I’m just guessing. I had a couple young Celeste’s in California. Looking forward to see them growing. I’m going to have them in pots until I get my own place (renting now) and a greenhouse, then I will plant them in the ground, inside the greenhouse. Figs do great in pots, and will grow strong until it’s the right time to plant them. In fact when you restrict the roots, like in a container, it actually encourage the tree to direct the energy to growing fruits. Since I live in a cold climate, with freezing winters I will need to protect my trees from the worst cold as well, that is easy when you grow in a pot.

Would you like a refill on that coffee? Or tea? What is growing in your area right now? Tell me in a comment 🙂 Have a fabulous weekend!

Love,

Maria

The Golden Frame

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Sunset

You may know that I’ve lead a kind of adventurous lifestyle previously in my life, with a lot of travel. At the moment I’m on a long vacation. Staycation I mean. It’s lovely. I’m relaxing in my home, with my daughter. We read books, crochet together, spend time in the garden, and talk, and when she wants to play Minecraft I get to play with my camera and do some blogging. Just perfect! I can see many relaxing staycations in the future, even when the big bad wolf Corona is gone. It’s so peaceful. I love it. How are you spending your summer?

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Sunset

My daughter and I often spend our free time hiking, and/or camping in beautiful nature areas. I like it because it offers a completely new environment, and you can make it a big, or small adventure, whatever you feel like for the moment. It can be very easily accomplished, or a big deal. Another benefit is that you can do it anywhere in the world.  One of the things I enjoy the most with camping is to indulge in the sunset, and the sunrise with the company I’m with (usually my daughter.) It’s like a magical, golden frame to the day, and the adventure.

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Sunrise

The sunset, and sunrise in this post is from one of our last camping adventures, in November last year. The location is near Mesquite (NV,) 1,5 hour from Las Vegas. November offered perfect temperatures for this location. If you could see into the background of the three first photos you would transport yourself into Valley of Fire State Park, another marvellous place to visit. We were regulars in that park while living in Las Vegas, one of the few things I miss with the area, next to having ice cream delivered from my favourite ice cream shops 😉 

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Sunrise

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To see more fabulous sunsets, and sunrises visit my friend Terri’s Sunday Stills. I hope you are having a most enjoyable week. Stay safe my friend.

Love,

Maria  

PS. Are you intrigued by beauty of the desert? I collected my favourite places in the Mojave Desert in my illustrated guidebook The Desert Around Las Vegas – A Guidebook To Amazing Day Trips In The Mojave Desert from last year. My book gives specific, customized ideas of many amazing day-trips, several for each destination. This book, with its personal descriptions, and authentic photos of Valley of Fire State Park, Mojave National Preserve, Spring Mountain Recreation Area, Death Valley National Park, and Red Rock Canyon will inspire you, and make it easy for you to choose your adventure. It will answer questions like: If I only have a few hours, where do I go? How do I stay safe while I experience the desert? Can I bring my children? Is it dog friendly? Are there restrooms available? What time of the day should I visit? If I want to see wild horses, where can I go? Is there food and water available, or do I need to bring my own? Each place has lots of room for your own explorations. This colorful guidebook will get you there, well prepared, knowing what to expect, but your imagination is the only limit to the experience you will have!