Country Girl Facing Big City Life – The Awesome Aspects

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Last summer I was forced to make a change that I didn’t fully have my heart in. I did it because it was the right thing to do (family business.) The thought of moving to a city with 2 million people, that tourists from all over the world loves to visit, did not make me overly happy. I had just found a good balance in my life. I had a big garden, plenty of outdoor space, friends, and two horses I loved, in gorgeous northern California.

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I launched this blog in May 2017 as an inspiration for mindful living. With the intention of sharing the unique beauty of northern California, while connecting likeminded souls from around the world. However my life changed in August 2018, and the only right thing for me to do was to move to southern Nevada. Said and done. I made the decision I had to, sold my horses, and moved to Las Vegas. Now this blog turned into “country girl facing big city life” for the first time. – Ms Zen

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I’ve been working hard to find every positive aspect of this move to the city as I possibly can, trying my best to find a balance, and live a mindful life in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. I would not be honest if I said that it’s super easy now, because it’s not, BUT there are some pretty awesome aspects of it. I would like to dedicate this post to the awesome aspects!

Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.

Robin Sharma

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I was able to bring my dog Gretchen with me to Las Vegas. I feel that she has a good life. I can spend a lot of time with her, and in the weekends she usually gets to go on some kind of adventure. I’m extremely grateful for that.

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Last weekend she got to go canoeing for the first time. I was slightly nervous about her staying in the boat. She LOVES water so much. Everything went very well, and we had a blast.

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Naturally there was time to play in the water as well. Something my (human) daughter also appreciated very much. Part of the challenge I have with life in the city, is that I want my daughter to know that material things isn’t the point of life, but rather that  people you care about, and experiences gives life meaning. That is how we always have lived our life. It’s definitely more challenging now when we live in the city. Las Vegas is very much about money. When you meet new people they often start by asking what area of town you live in, not because they want to know if you live close to them, but rather what kind of neighborhood (rich/poor) you live in….several people, usually guys, have showed me how much money they have in their bank accounts the first time we have a conversation, which is totally uninteresting to me. The fact that there’s so many amazing nature areas nearby makes it easier to find, and keep a good balance. I feel like we just scratched on the surface so far; Valley of Fire, Red Rock, Mt. Charleston, and Mojave National Preserve. I’m so looking forward to making many weekend excursions this spring/summer and dig a little deeper.

 

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The fact that there is 2 million people living right on top of you, means that there potentially is a lot of good people around you. I like to think that most people are good. It is very easy to make friends here. Last Sunday we had a fabulous time on the Colorado River, just across the Arizona border, with some good people we just met. The photos in this post is from that day.

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes.  All is a miracle. –  Thich Nhat Hanh

I walk my daughter to her school every morning. While we’re taking this walk right in the beginning of our day, we either watch the clouds dance over the Red Rock, or the bright sun shine over the beautiful canyons. This morning it was a fog embracing the red walls behind us. A sight like that totally makes my day, every day. Combined with the friendly, smiling people I meet on our daily walks (to/from school.) I’m thinking of one elderly Asian lady in particular (she’s like really old,) that I exchange pleasantries with every day. She has about a million wrinkles, and her smile reaches each and every one of them. The experience of walking my daughter to school, and the conversations we have during the walks are intense, like everything in the desert. Our morning walks definitely add to the feeling of belonging, and joy in the city. There is beauty everywhere, if you allow your self to be in the moment. I think that is what I’ve learned. It’s been right there the whole time while I’ve been struggling to find balance. What city life really is, if you’re striving towards having balance in your life, is a lesson in mindfulness on the next level. When it is loud, noisy, and you’re surrounded by things that demands your attention (good and bad) 24/7 you really need to force yourself to stay in the moment, not get distracted, but rather take the time to stop and smell the flowers.

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I’ve decided to focus harder on living a mindful life. It’s always been a priority, but I think it deserves some extra attention right now. Perhaps I’m inspired by Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, that I read a couple days ago. It’s about Abbey’s time as a park ranger in The Arches National Park (Utah.) He describes the beauty of the desert in detail, and how it affects him. I really liked the book. Abbey made me think of my grandpa. I have not been to The Arches, yet, but the desert scenery that he describes is somewhat similar to the Mojave.

Both Desert Solitaire, and the book I’m currently reading The Land Of Little Rainby Mary Austen, have left me with a desire to start writing a sort of journal in mindfulness. To bring with me, and write a few sentences here and there, when a place, or moment touches me. When I take the time to stop and take a picture, that moment is often backed up by an overwhelming experience of some kind, I want to get that down on a regular piece of paper. Just something I’ve been thinking about this week. Every day have so many beautiful little moments, that stitched together makes the day. For sure it’s true that there’s some pretty ordinary moments in between, but if you think about it, isn’t it those moments that touches our soul that is life?

As a teacher it’s the moment when I see a light in a child’s eye, when they discover a new truth in their world. As a gardener it’s seeing my garden flourish. As a mom it’s often those little acts of kindness from my child, that makes my heart explode. When working with a wild horse it’s the nano second when I fleetingly appear to be on the same frequency as the horse for the first time. As a human being, life is when I’m in the moment.

Among the awesome aspects, I think I’m starting to get used to some of the conveniences of life in the city, like having access to anything you desire 24/7. Including having food delivered straight to your door. I especially appreciate the large number of health food stores, on every corner. That said, if I lived in the countryside I wouldn’t need them, I’d just grow my own…still..

I hope you’re having a fabulous week my friend.

Love,

Ms Zen

Ps. I’m not an affiliate to Amazon, just thought the links to the books I mentioned, could be helpful to someone who wanted to check them out.

Weekend Coffee Share – Beautiful Spring

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How would you like your coffee today? Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly post, that anyone is free to join, and add a post of their own. I was thinking that we could have our coffee date in my backyard this week. It’s still a little chilly in the mornings, but so beautiful. It’s hard to believe that it can be chilly when the sky is so blue, and the sun so strong. I thoroughly enjoy these cool mornings, and warm days.

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The signs of spring had me smiling all week.

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Blossom on the trees, new leaves budding. I agree with Tolstoy’s philosophy about spring.

Spring is the time of plans and projects. 
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

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I’ve been planting a variety of organic heirloom cherry tomatoes this week. They live inside the two mini greenhouses that we recently put together.

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The nights would of been too cold for them without the greenhouses. The day temperatures are from mid 60’s to low 70′ now, and will get higher rapidly with every passing week. The perfect time to start seeds! I wrote a post about heirloom seeds, versus hybrids earlier this week.

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I also planted these young Black Mission Figs this week, and moved them to the greenhouse. Gardening makes me so happy! I haven’t looked at as many horses for sale as I usually do..LOL… (Only a few Arabian Horses, as I think they would be most suitable for this climate, and I happen to love the breed. I’ve only looked at ads on the internet, not in person.) Would you like a refill on your coffee?

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I was gifted this planting table a while back, and it’s now standing in the corner of the backyard, that I envision that my container garden is going to take over really soon!

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I envision that the area between the planting table, and the tiny greenhouses is going to be filled with vegetables, and the two greenhouses homes to fruit tree propagation projects. A slight difference compared to the 1.3 acres garden I had last summer (that would of covered 2-3 streets in our neighborhood here in Vegas… LOL.) It is still a garden, and I am grateful.

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What is the weather like in your corner of the world? Any signs of spring? Or are you still enjoying a deep blanket of snow?

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My dog Gretchen is enjoying these marvelous days very much. She’s five now, and I notice a maturity in her, that wasn’t there last summer. She is a very good dog. I can’t bear to think about her ever growing old. I hope she has many many good years to look forward to.

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One of the things I enjoy about Saturday mornings here in Las Vegas, is watching the hot air balloons. There’s many of them, and some of them are there for our enjoyment every weekend morning. It’s a beautiful sight, seeing them in front of the Red Rocks. I can’t see the Red Rocks from my backyard, but I can see the hot air balloons as they are making their way towards the designated landing area. If I step out on the street I can see the Red Rocks as well. Have you ever been in a hot air balloon? I haven’t, but I think I would like to go for a ride in one, one day.

Tell me, how is your week so far? Any fun plans for the weekend? I’m waiting for some furniture from IKEA that I’m having delivered today. It’s a couple organizers for my daughter’s crafting things. They have quickly grown in number. She is really into crafting (the hot glue gun is used on a daily basis,) drawing, painting, sewing, woodcarving…you name it. I need to create a system for her things. I’ll involve her in the process, and she is always the one cleaning up her own things, but I want to help create a neater system than the one she has now. I think it’s great that she enjoys crafting, and I highly encourage that.

Oh, I almost forgot, we went to a movie night at my daughter’s school yesterday. It was great. She was very happy. They are awesome at creating simple, but fun small events for the kids. Very low key, and friendly. I’m so happy with her new school. Her teacher is great, and the school has high standards. They have high expectations on their students, and rank high among the national standards.

Have an amazing weekend!! I’ll leave you with some beautiful flowers I was surprised with at work earlier this week. Enjoy, and feel free to grab more coffee on the way out!

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Love,

Ms Zen

 

Organic Gardening; Heirloom Seeds V/S Hybrids

 

It’s spring, even though it’s still pretty cold in some parts of our country. Here in southern Nevada it’s definitely time to plant some seeds. If I decide to plant my vegetables from seed, are all seeds equal? Will I get similar results? What is a hybrid? And what is a heirloom?

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

If you buy vegetables at the grocery store they are usually hybrids. A hybrid is a cross bred vegetable, that is modified to grow a big crop, be resistent towards diseases, and yield a harvest that is as tolerant as possible. Fruit and vegetables sold at the store often have to withstand extensive travel to get there, and of course most consumers like them to last as long as possible before they go bad. They can be modified with help of humans, or naturally in nature. (Genetically Modified Organisms are always created in a lab, and that is not the same thing as a hybrid.)

A heirloom vegetable on the other hand comes from someone that saved a seed from their favorite vegetable, and planted it again. It’s not unusual that heirloom seeds are hundreds of years old. Most gardeners would agree that they are non-hybrids, and open pollinated. If you save a seed from a heirloom vegetable, and plant it next year, and save a seed from that vegetable to plant the year after that…..and so on, you are always going to get what you first started out with. That is not the case with hybrids. If you ever tasted a heirloom vegetable, you never want to eat a hybrid again. They taste a million times more, and comes in varieties most people are unable to imagine. For me the choice is simple, if I take the time to grow my own vegetables (which I love to do,) it’s definitely going to be both organic and heirloom varieties. If I like them, I save the seeds for future use. It’s a great idea to build a seed bank of your own. Have you ever tried saving seeds? It’s pretty cool!

I planted some cherry tomatoes with the kiddos at work today. I’m pretty sure it was the first time they planted something from a seed. I can’t wait to see how they react to the process of seeing their seeds turn into a delicious harvest. I’m going to have them help me take care of the plants every day.

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. – Lindley Karstens

The seeds we planted today are going to be part of a container garden. It’s the beginning of my favorite season! Extra exciting this year since I am in a new area, and gardening is likely going to be pretty experimental this first season. Do you have exciting garden plans? Tell me in a comment!

Love,

Ms Zen