Weekend Coffee Share; Carr Fire Update – My Garden – Zen 

I promised you a more positive coffee share this week, and I will deliver! The zen is slowly finding its way back. The coffee is ready, please have a cup! How is your week so far? 

Last weekend I was in shock, when our county was declared in a state of emergency because of the Carr Fire. When a big fire just gets bigger, and gets totally out of control you feel kind of small. I’m a very organized person, that plans ahead, and take care of things in good time etc..well, there’s limits to what you can do in the midst of a raging fire, after you packed your bag. (You don’t want to unnecessarily endanger yourself in anyway, so that precious resources would have to be used to rescue you.) The more positive note is that the fire is getting more contained by the day. Last night (Thursday,) it was 37% contained. The containment lines towards the city of Redding, with the highest population, is strong now. BUT CalFire also said last night that Low relative humidity and an unstable atmosphere have increased fire behavior. I am by no means letting my guard down! My bags are packed, and I’m still ready to go if need be. This is the latest info I have about the fire.

Incident Start Date: July 23, 2018 

Incident Start Time: 1:15 p.m. 

Incident Type: Wildland Fire 

Cause: Mechanical Failure of a Vehicle 

Incident Location: Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road 

CAL FIRE Unit: Shasta/Trinity 

Unified Command Agencies: CAL FIRE, National Parks Service, Redding City Fire, US Forest Service 

Size: 126,913 acres 

Containment: 37% 

Expected Full Containment: Unknown 

Firefighter Injuries/Fatalities: 2 


Structures Threatened: 1,358 

Residential Structures Destroyed: 1,060 

Commercial Structures Destroyed: 19 

Other Destroyed: 474 

Residential Structures Damaged: 189 

Commercial Structures Damaged: 8 

Other Damaged: 61 

Situation Summary:  Low relative humidity and an unstable atmosphere have increased fire behavior. Shifting winds, steep terrain, and dry fuels continue to challenge firefighters. A Red Flag Warning has been issued this evening through Saturday. Crews will work through the night to mitigate potential spot fires across control lines. Repopulation of residents in the areas affected by evacuations will continue as conditions permit. 

When the worst shock subsided, I decided to do my best to stay in a positive state of mind. As soon as I possibly could, I went back to work. On my free time I’ve kept myself very busy in the garden, and taking care of the plentiful bounty from the garden (canning, and distributing the goodies to friends, and family.) I’ve had plenty of time to plan my fall garden this week, and I’ve been propagating some new fruit trees.

I’ve been focusing on propagating citrus trees this week. I’ve propagated California Honey Mandarin, and Meyer Lemon trees. The method in the photos above, propagating from cuttings, in simple tiny green houses made out of plastic bags, is very effective. If you count the amount of work, and the success ratio, this is my favorite method for the majority of fruit trees. My experiment with air layering this spring worked out wonderfully as well, but it is a lot more time-consuming.

My container garden is growing, both in number of trees, and size of the trees. I currently have four relatively big pomegranate trees, a big number of fig trees, lime, lemon, mandarin, two varieties of orange, dates (still very small,) and I just started a couple apricot trees as well. It is very rewarding. I think fruit trees are beautiful. Partly because of the joy of seeing a new tree grow (you can easily see weekly progress during the summer,) and partly because of the promise a new fruit tree gives for the future. I love the nurturing part. Some new baby fruit trees require a lot of attention to thrive. It feels so awesome when it is obvious that they do. I enjoy the challenge. I still consider myself a newbie to growing fruit trees, it’s something I’ve only done for the past 5 years, or so. Still relatively new. It’s kind of exciting not always knowing what to do, and being forced to do research. I document my experiments, and write down what works, a not. That will eventually be a part of my book; Productive Organic Gardening On A Budget. The book is far from finished. I’ve decided to work on my book every week, but lift the timeframe I had in my head. I want it to be both visually appealing, and of good use to my readers. I really like learning about something I find fascinating, like growing my own food. (Yeah, I find the learning process to be very beautiful, and fascinating ..after all, I am a teacher.) Bringing a beautiful tree as a gift to someone I believe would appreciate it, is one of my favorite ideas for a gift. To me a gift is more meaningful if the person giving it have put a thought, and effort into the gift. This gift could potentially help feed a family for years to come. Not even mentioning the joy, and beauty it brings.

My effort to stay in a positive state of mind have been successful. Everything that is happening is beyond tragic. Over 1000 people lost their homes, and people have died, but I can’t go around thinking about that all day, then I would need some serious help myself very soon. I’d rather stay positive, and perhaps I can inspire, or make this tragedy easier for someone. I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of semi-strangers this week; phone calls, emails, messages, real life conversations with actual strangers while in town. The majority of people are coming together, and showing a beautiful side, that might have passed unnoticed earlier. I see it. Many people are noticing the positive vibrations that this tragedy started. Another unexpected effect of this is, that I actually have been blogging every day since this started. All this turned into a good new writing habit. It started to ease the mind of friends and loved one, and ended up being a wonderful outlet for me. Writing helped me process this tragedy to some degree. Kind, encouraging, daily interaction with my blogging friends, via comments on the blog every day have been absolutely wonderful, and very helpful in keeping my spirits up. I’m going to do the best I can to return that. The goodness in other human beings had me humbled. 

Do you need a refill on that coffee? I think I’m going to have another cup 🙂 Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? 

This was just to let my friends and family know that I’m still here. In good spirit. Thinking of how this week started, I feel so much stronger now. How are you doing?

Weekend Coffee Share is 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! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about? All are welcome! 


Ms Zen

It’s a very important day today!

It’s a very important day today! My baby girls 6th birthday  No-one have ever brought as much joy to my life as you have.

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I’d do anything for you Princess. Happy Birthday!

Love MOM

Weekend Coffee Share; STAYING BUSY

This morning I really need my coffee. I’ve been awake half the night thinking. How about you? How was your week?

I’ve been keeping myself busy, even busier than usual this week. Trying to not think about the fact that my daughter is not with me. However happy I am for her. It is hard! There’s a thousand thoughts running around in my head. I’m as far from the worrying kind as one could be. I know by experience that the only thing in life that is constant, is change. I can handle her being away for a visit with her dad, no problem, but there is even talk about more. I’m not really sure how I am going to handle that. He has offered to let her start school in his town, in another state. She is happy, and thrilled about finally getting some dad time. All I know is that I would do anything for that little girl. I love her to death. Since I found out that I was pregnant with her I’ve been showering her with love, reading to her, and had educational conversation with her every single day she’s been with me. I’ve happily tailored my life around her, only accepting jobs where I have been able to bring her with me. Just to spend as much precious time as possible with my daughter. (Imagine how easy that have been, to find/create jobs where you can bring a small child.) The few days now and then she haven’t been with me, have been an exception to the rule, and very few in between.

I want her to have a relationship with her dad, that is why I gave up my life in my home country. (I love America, and it’s my home now, but in the beginning it wasn’t as easy as I showed family and friends.) So far, I’ve felt that we have not been a priority. In the end I guess one could say that we have different survival strategies for hard times, that I read as not being a priority. That is why I left her father (but not the country,) when she was a baby/toddler. We’ve been able to stay friends, and I think highly of him. For the most part we’ve been living within a few hours from each other, and when he’s been able to make time, I’ve been driving her to him. For her sake. I want her to know her dad. I feel that I have been going out of my way, a lot, to make it happen. Now he lives an 11 hour drive away, without traffic. In reality it takes two days to drive safely with a kid, one way. All of a sudden he wants to see her more. So far it’s been very easy to cooperate around her. I am so hoping that it will stay that way. I think it is. I hope it will. It’s been heavily on my mind this week. My daughter is my number one priority. Her well being, and her education is more important than anything to me. You get the idea, lots of things to think about. What is in her best interest? That’s all I really care about. But how do one know what’s in her best interest? My gut feeling want to keep her close, always, but a little voice tells me that’s selfish. How could I deny her spending more time her dad, that she adores? I’m sure the universe have a solution for this as well. Please just make your solution known in time before the new school year! The uncertainty is killing me. I can work with a definite decision, and make the best of it. Not knowing is challenging.

In the beginning of the week it was easy to think of other things, as my cousin and her boyfriend from Sweden, and my aunt from Washington was visiting. I wrote about our visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park, and McCloud Falls earlier this week. Having them here was wonderful. To say the least.

We had a visit from our amazing barefoot trimmer Donna on Tuesday. Fancy’s hooves were very neglected when I bought her in April. They were cracked, too short on most places, with long parts sticking out on other. Her heals were kind of pushed up into her hooves, and her toes were partly too long, and flared. She was walking on her toes. She had an untreated abscess on her left front hoof. After a first trim, Donna’s been balancing her hooves once a month. They are growing out nicely, and her heals are starting to take a more normal position. (You can see the progress in the photos below. There is still a way to go, but it is going in the right direction.) She is moving more freely by the day. She is making great progress. This week Donna told me that Fancy will not have any lasting injuries on her hooves, from the neglect. It’s such great news! The new growth is straight, and looks very healthy. Nutrition, and TLC goes a long way. Right now Fancy is on alfa alfa (hay), Stable Mix, and California Trace.

I ordered a new bitless bridle for her last week, that came this week. It’s handmade with her measurements, made out of biothane.

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Doesn’t she look beautiful in it? You’ll have more control if you put the noseband a little further down, compared to where I placed it on Fancy. (She has an old injury in her mouth. Healed, but she has a bad deformation on her tongue. Her tongue was almost cut off at some point, and left untreated.) I have only used the headstall for work-in-hand (on the ground) so far. It seems like she really like it. I’ve successfully started, and restarted, different horses in this type of halter. Including wild mustangs. It’s soft, but the signals to your horse is very clear, and easy for them to understand. I order them from Moss Rock Endurance (they are having problems with their website right now, but they are working on it.) They also have great customer service. If you’re interested in one for your horse, contact the owner, Lisa. She has been very helpful to me throughout the years.  

Do you need a refill on that coffee? Do you have a  garden this year? How is it doing now? Is it at is peak? Or have you already harvested the majority of your bounty? I’d love to hear what garden zone you are in, and about the plants that thrives there. 


I’ve planted three different varieties of smaller tomatoes; grape, cherry, and cocktail. When I pick them, I just pick the ripe ones, all together. The different tastes makes for great salads. Speaking of which, I tried this recipe the other day, it was amazing.

I’ve harvested at least 10 lbs of cherry tomatoes this week, some squash, cucumber, salad, and corn. To the benefit of friends and family. I’ve also added one Meyer Lemon tree, and one Navel Orange tree, to my container garden. I’ve been wanting to add citrus trees for a while, so this is exciting 🙂 It’s a start. There will be more. I’ve also done a lot of mulching. We’ve had three digit temperatures the whole week, most days more than 110. (The new saltwater pool is even more awesome than I imagined. I’ve spent a lot of time there this week.) I’ve started to clean out plants that I already finished harvesting from, some squash, and corn. Those beds I’ve started to prepare for my fall garden. The fall garden is still weeks away, but I will keep feeding those beds until it’s time. I spent time planning my fall garden this week, and ordered the heirloom seed I need from RareSeeds.Com. I will have eggplant, carrots, lettuce, kale, Chinese meat radish, and two tomato varieties in my fall garden. I will start those seeds indoors as soon as they arrive. When the temperatures are cool enough, I will plant them outdoors. 

I have not been able to write anything on my book this week. Maybe next week? LOL. On an interesting note, I’ve had three hawks visiting me for hours every day. There’s a hummingbird feeder hanging from a tree, a few feet outside the living room window. Someone placed a beautiful bird bath made out of stone underneath. There’s never any humming birds there. Now these three hawk, have started to hang out there (maybe that’s why there are no hummingbirds there..) Sometimes it’s just one, or two hawks, but most of the time three. I’m far from a bird expert, but I believe it’s two males, and one female. They are just a few feet from the window, and I’ve enjoyed watching them very much. If I’m sitting very still on a chair outside, or in the pool, they come. If I make any moves, they are gone. I have not yet been able to take their picture. I’ll work on that. I don’t know what kind of hawks they are. They are on the smaller side. 

I hope you’re having an amazing week! Don’t get me wrong, despite my thoughts about my daughter in the beginning, I am having a good week, just more to think about than usual. My dog Gretchen is working wonders on my happiness levels. She always does. I’m working a little harder than normal to keep my zen balanced this week. I’d love to hear about your week! Help yourself to another cup of coffee, and tell me about it 🙂 


Ms Zen


PS. I am NOT an affiliate to any of the links I share. I just enjoy sharing things I like, and appreciate.