July Plant Update

After a very rainy June, July’s bright hot days made all nature pop around Asbury Park, New Jersey! It was a great month for plant observations. We mostly stayed close to home, worked on the garden, and the beach.

From the beginning of July…

From the beginning of July…

… to the middle.

… to the middle.

Our clematis is going nuts.

Our clematis is going nuts.

The hostas bloomed.

The hostas bloomed.

My husband picked up some beautiful milkweed. Previously, I didn’t know there were so many varieties of monarch butterflies favorite plant.

My husband picked up some beautiful milkweed. Previously, I didn’t know there were so many varieties of monarch butterflies favorite plant.

Late season honeysuckle still going strong.

Late season honeysuckle still going strong.

Mid month we had some crazy storms, Many old trees were downed.

Mid month we had some crazy storms, Many old trees were downed.

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Lots of mushrooms this year.

Lots of mushrooms this year.

Anyone know what these magic puffballs are?

Anyone know what these magic puffballs are?

A neighbor’s garden in the beginning…

A neighbor’s garden in the beginning…

…and end of July.

…and end of July.

We were able to spend some time observing the sky at the beach.

We were able to spend some time observing the sky at the beach.

A rainbow gave July a good send off.

A rainbow gave July a good send off.

What did you observe this July? Are your favorite plants out now? Are flowers blooming?

Jitterbug Perfume

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, written in 1984, is probably one of my all time favorite books.

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Robbins 4th novel spans time and space, myth and reality, love and loss, gods and men, and does a jitterbug the whole way. Alobar, the immortal king, Priscilla, the genius waitress, Pan, the goat god, perfumers, shamans, monks, psychedelicists, and beekeepers are only a few of the people you’ll meet through this fantastic love story.

I’ve probably read this book a dozen times. It’s a great book to read every few years, as are all Robbins early novels. His fantastical but solid writing style reminds us to find the magic in the everyday, the whimsical in the mundane, the love in ourselves and others and in nature. The copy I read this time was pretty beat up. I can’t remember where I got it, but his books are those that I can never leave behind. If I see a one at a book sale, yard sale, or free for, I have to take it! Books like this, I love bc they are very helpful in kickstarting a good reading habit. If I’m having trouble getting in to new books reading an old favorite often help me get back in the groove.
Jitterbug Perfume is one of my favorites of Robbins novels bc it is an epic tale. It literally spans over a thousand years. But at it’s core, and the core of most of his novels, it is a love story. It’s hard to describe Robbins writing, at once flowery and brutal, mystical and visceral. I was struck this reading by how many passages were gross to me, but compelling. I think his secret lies in how his books make you feel; completely transported. When they are taking you to worlds just off from ours, our world but different, more vibrant and more magical, it’s hard not to want to stay there. Or at least take a little magic when you leave.
I highly recommend Jitterbug Perfume for anyone who enjoys fiction of any kind, books about drug culture or mysticism or perfume. I would also recommend this book for those who enjoy epic love stories.

What is your favorite book to read and reread? What book have you read the most?

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Mad Cat Garden | June

May was the first month we started working on and tracking out garden, but June was when we really got down to business. June saw us buying and plating more, making more beds, and seeing plants grow and change. The changes between the beginning and end of June were huge, but these photos and records are mainly from the beginning on the month.

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June was extremely rainy. Many of the plats loved it! Our lilies returned and grew taller then me this year. They are not strictly part of the garden but a focus of June was to bring in pollinators with many flowers. The strawberries over wintered and started blossoming. We planted herbs and they thrived in the rain.

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In out front bed, also our first bed, tomato volunteers started popping up like mad and we had to thin them out. Rather than just toss the extras, we planted them in small pots to give away, or replanted them in other areas. We made new beds in the back and planted lettuce, arugula, broccoli (one is pictured in the first photo), corn, beans, and cucumbers.

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Many flowers helped attract bugs and bees. Our blueberries got off to a good start, enjoying the rain and producing lots of little soon to be bluebs.

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Tom often helped by inspecting the catnip patches. In June we created three new beds and had a delivery of filtered soil dropped off to fill them. Although pricy, we found this to be a convenient and zero waste alternative to buying many bags of dirt. We are still contributing to our compost on a regular basis, but it’s not big enough to fill beds. We do use some compost to help enrich the soil.

By the end of June, the yard looked very different, but we’ll have to wait until July’s update to take a look!

How is your garden growing?

June Plant Update

June was all about the flowers! The previous months were not as spectacular as they usually are, so June really shown this year. It was a wet month with only a few very hot day, so flowers and plants took a lot of days to grow and flourish in the wet and temperate weather. We were able to take some long walks, go to new places, visit nurseries to buy plants for our garden, and see some critters this month. This is the first month of 2019 that I feel like we got outside a proper amount.

The colors of various roses this year took my breath away.

The colors of various roses this year took my breath away.

Does anyone know what this plant is? It’s stunning and I’m seeing it in many places this year.

Does anyone know what this plant is? It’s stunning and I’m seeing it in many places this year.

Cuties.

Cuties.

So many climbing roses this year. These are not ours, but the ones we have in the back year went bananas. Those blooms were gone by June, however.

So many climbing roses this year. These are not ours, but the ones we have in the back year went bananas. Those blooms were gone by June, however.

We didn’t plan(t) well for pollinaters this year, but the bees loved our little lavender.

We didn’t plan(t) well for pollinaters this year, but the bees loved our little lavender.

Such colors!

Such colors!

Brooklyn Blooms.

Brooklyn Blooms.

There have been so many lightening bugs this year, it makes me happy!

There have been so many lightening bugs this year, it makes me happy!

Between rain showers, this neighbor headed to a dry porch.

Between rain showers, this neighbor headed to a dry porch.

Another surprising color of rose.

Another surprising color of rose.

So many kittens this year! Blooming like flowers. I hope they all find homes!

So many kittens this year! Blooming like flowers. I hope they all find homes!

A shy chicken at a local farmers market.

A shy chicken at a local farmers market.

Always in style.

Always in style.

A new generation of bunnies.

A new generation of bunnies.

What animals and plants are you seeing where you live? Do you have a favorite Summer plant?

June in Review

Looking back, June seemed so long! I feel like I barely remember all that happened in June.

We went on garden tours, saw family and friends, I took a trip to Brooklyn, we tried to stay dry in all the wet weather. We saw #watchercats and #favoritetrucks, we swam in the ocean, and walked around town.

1) A snippet of Brooklyn, 2) a sparkle of sky, 3) a style of driving, 4) a skyline to spy.

1) A snippet of Brooklyn, 2) a sparkle of sky, 3) a style of driving, 4) a skyline to spy.

It was a great month for visiting and visitor, new and frequent. Brooklyn was like a time capsule, and seeing family was like coming home. We had guests from BK, FL, OR and NJ.

1) a duo of brothers, 2) one eye to lend, 3) relaxed on the porch, 4) a black and white friend.

1) a duo of brothers, 2) one eye to lend, 3) relaxed on the porch, 4) a black and white friend.

When they weren’t hiding from the rain, watcher cats were plentiful and often draped out beating the heat.

The garden went from meager beginnings, to full swing. Flowers were everywhere!

1) A master of color, 2) some cozy light beams, 3) ready for take off, 4) bursting at seams.

1) A master of color, 2) some cozy light beams, 3) ready for take off, 4) bursting at seams.

We tried to focus on the plants, our plans, the cats, and our home in June. We walked, we swam, we rejoiced in the rain and sun.

June was a long transition into Summer. July, what will you bring?

Bullet Journal Check In | New Book in June

I’ve started my new Bullet Journal book and I’m loving it! I love that each Bullet Journal is unique and customizable. And more that that, for me at least, each one takes on a little bit of a life of it’s own.

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For my current bullet journal, I did end up buying a new new book to start in June. I went with a dot grid which I haven’t used in a while. The grid is huge compared to my last notebook! Bc of this, my approach to pages and layout are a little different.

I kept my main pages (the index, year at a glance, my monthly trackers and such) pretty much the same, but I’ve flipped my dailies and been really good about keeping up with a little bit of journalling each day!

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My first attempts at writing out my monthly trackers went a little wonky, but now that I’m more used to this big grid, July is gonna go much smoother. Another thing I love about BuJo is that I’m never upset about making mistakes, bc the next month is a chance to improve!

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Do you prefer a big dot grid for your journal? Do you keep a diary in your dailies?

What are your favorite aspects of Bullet Journalling?

6 Months to Zero Waste: No Bottled Water

In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.

Since January, we’ve been taking some time each month for small ways we can reduce our waste and move towards a more zero waste lifestyle. Here are some things that we have tried in the last six month:

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
We went thru what we have to declutter and reduce.
March - Switch to Paper
This month we moved to paper to get one step closer to reusables.
April - Compost
Composting is an easy way to reduce food waste and prevent it from reaching the landfill.
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

Next month is Plastic Free July, so the last of our six months is a great time to start gearing up for a more drastic anti plastic challenge.
The perfect way to start is to give up some item of disposable plastic. Find one items that you use and stop using it. Hopefully in March we were able to give up plastic bag, so this month choose some other convenience, like bottled water, plastic straws, yogurt cups, plastic cutlery, or something else you use on a daily basis but might not think about.

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By giving up one seemingly small item we can tangibly see how we can reduce our waste little by little. An important part of moving towards zero waste is moving away from the constant convenience of modern life. It doesn’t mean your life will get harder, but it hopefully will mean that your life becomes more mindful. This does take a mindset shift, a habit shift, and a being more prepared in daily life. Once we see how easy it is to live without our bottled water, it’s easy to start giving up other such items.

But how do you actually give up bottled water? Once you set your mind to it, it’s not so hard. A great thing to do is use a reusable water bottle. You can get in almost any grocery store, or better yet buy one second hand. But if you don’t have one yet, try refilling a disposable plastic bottle you already have, use a water fountain, instead of taking water to go stay where you are and use a cup or glass, bring a cup to work to use. Or simply go without until you get to a place where you can drink from non-disposables.

Next month we’ll take part in Plastic Free July and gain even more insights into what we can give up or change to be even more zero waste.

What disposable plastic item will you give up in June?

June Life Admin Day 6/5/19

In March I started incorporating a Life Admin Day into my monthly routines. A Life Admin day is a day that you schedule to get life things done, usually those which you’ve been avoiding, putting off, or might need some extra care, things that are more complex or annoying than a regular daily to do list. It’s like your “to do list extra”.

For me, these days have varied in task and execution, as well as results, but I really like the idea of making my own work, to dos, and tasks as much a priority as I would similar things at my job. A method that I find is working for me goes something like this:

Schedule the day before the month starts.
I usually do this when I’m migrating my monthly bullet journal calendar. Since I’m putting in other dates to be mindful about at this time, other appointments or obligations, it works well for me to also schedule the upcoming month’s life admin day.

Have my LAD early in the month.
I’ve found that I have had to push my life admin day back at times, like I might do with a oil change appointment, or work meeting. If I schedule this day early in them month then I feel like I have time to still get it done if it gets pushed back. Also, it feels nice to accomplish something early, instead of waiting until the last minute.

Make a list several days before.
If I make a list too early, I forget about it. If I make it the day of, it feels like a regular days to do list. By making my list a few days in advance, I can really think about the tasks I want to achieve. Ideally, this would also give me time to prioritize them, but I haven’t really gotten that good at it, yet.

Give myself a time limit to get things done.
On my life admin days, I try to keep it brief. I usually have these days on my only day off and I don’t want to spend the whole time doing work. I also tend to flit about and giving myself a time constraint is most productive for me.

Following these basic guidelines have helped me keep a LAD in my monthly routine.

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June’s LAD was a little spotty for me. I ended up doing my tasks over two or three days. And of course, I didn’t get everything done. I still felt satisfied with what I got done. As usual with life admin days, I ended up with almost as many new tasks to get done as I got done.

Do you use a LAD? If so, share some tips! If not, can you suggest other methods to use to make life tasks a priority?