Mad Cat Garden | October

I was surprised at how far our garden lasted into October. We didn’t get our first frost until the first week of November, and the garden thrived in the mild weather. The garden was working away, but we didn’t take too much advantage of it, mostly letting it do it’s thing unhindered.

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Poblano peppers grew and grew and we harvested them for salads and tacos.

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Radishes that we planted late grew up and we enjoyed eating them as well. But end of October, they were big and happy but early November’s frost means we have to pick them all soon.

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Wind storms and rain battered our beds and the flowers were loosing their perkiness by mid Oct. The tomatoes were looking scraggly but hanging in and still ripening on the plants. We ate tomatoes but they weren’t as sweet or flavorful as in peak season.

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We tended top the blueberries and tried to make a start winterizing those and other plants that will remain outside. It’s our goal to create a snow shelter for our bluebs this year, as we think it will be a snowy winter. Much discussion was had on this subject, but no plans were confirmed.

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The tomatoes in the front bed all died and we were able to take the stakes down. But the orange sage is still going strong for the end of it’s second season. We transplanted all the peppers we had in pots to the new front bed that we had intended for herbs but never planted. The peppers did well in the front until the cold snap.

We are still rueing that we didn’t get a chance to plant a Winter garden, but we will have larger plans for that and for next Spring, Summer and Fall!

How is your garden looking in October?

October Plant Review

October went quickly from the last days of Summer to blustery Fall. We were able to explore and take note of the changes. We observed much but took photos of little.

October traditions.

October traditions.

We rescued a few of the last butterflies.

We rescued a few of the last butterflies.

Bright and cheery.

Bright and cheery.

I love these colorful berries that grow on our back fence.

I love these colorful berries that grow on our back fence.

We tried to explore our local parks this month.

We tried to explore our local parks this month.

and visit with some neighbors.

and visit with some neighbors.

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A fall feeling lichen.

A fall feeling lichen.

The tents are closed up for winter.

The tents are closed up for winter.

Meeting dinos.

Meeting dinos.

A Fall finale.

A Fall finale.

I wished I had gotten more pics of the trees this month. We got a chance to leaf peep, which is always a treat. What is Fall like where you are? What were your plant observations this month?

Something Nice: Life Drawing

Technically life drawing, or live drawing, isn’t new to me. I was an artist when I was young and life drawing was always one of my favorite activities. So the activity itself isn’t new, but going to a class in my very own city by the sea is. And that is nice!

I’d seen the advert in a local gallery but it took years before I actually signed up. I’m glad I finally did and after one session, I’m hooked!

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Now I have to figure out how to incorporate this activity into my monthly routine!

Have you taken any classes in your area recently? What resources are there for learning near you?

Mad Cat Capsule | Autumn 2019 (October, November, December)

For Fall, I wanted to get back to a more traditional Capsule Wardrobe. I wanted to make sure to go thru most of my clothes, get rid of things I’m not going to use, and to pull out old favorites to wear for the next three months. I wanted to keep to a set number of items, include shoes.

In the past few capsules, I mainly used the same clothing, some of my all time favorites. For Fall, I wanted to bring out some new (old) items. When I first started making capsules, I would have everything ready by mid month but now it takes me longer and longer to finalize my capsule. Here’s what my capsule is looking like Mid October.

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6 Jeans - Everlane blue (sustainable, ethical), everlane grey (sustainable, eithical), raw edge dark blue (thifted), engineer jeans (thrifted), wide leg black (thrifted, vintage), F21 teal (thrifted)

10 Sweaters - Teal (3+ years), rainbow (3+ years), dark grey (3+ years, hand me down), black holey (3+ years), black cardigan (5+ years), grey and blue (3+ years), grey lacy cardigan (thrifted, 10+ years), grey cashmear (vintage, thrifted), grey John cardi (vintage, hand me down), one undecided

6 Tanks - Teal (5+ years), grey (10+ years), black (10+ years), black strappy (10+ years), black cropped (15+ years), one undecided

12 T Shirts - Spiritualized (10+ years), Happy Bday Sandwhiches (ethical, thrifted, 9+ years), bones (10+years), grey aa (ethical, 10+ years), blue aa (eithical 10+ years), aa grey v neck (ethical. 10+ years), bahamas (thrifted 10+ years), japan (thrifted), ford (thrifted, vintage), hypercolor, blue forgotten boardwalk cat (supports local biz), one undecided

8 Long Sleeved Shirts - Grey turtle neck (thrifted), light green waffle (ethical, 10+ years), talula’s baseball T (supports local biz), denim henley (3+ years old), blue over shirt (found in bar), lavender over shirt (thrifted), grey waffle shirt (10+ years old), one undecided

4 Other Shirts - Felix the cat (thrifted), blue silk (thrifted, vintage), black Emily shirt (hand me down), white over shirt (thrifted, vintage, hand made)

4 Skirts - Black leather (thrifted, vintage), grey leather (thrifted, 10+ years), long black (8+ years), black velvet (thrifted, vintage)

4 pants - Bone leggings (10+ years), 3 undecided,

4 Dresses - Eileen Fisher silver (ethical, sustainable, thrifted), blue denim (thrifted), black and white floral (thrifted), one undecided

6 Shoes - Velcro Vans (3+ years), Emily boots 3+ years old), slip on vans (3+ years), two undecided

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Bc this isn’t a complete capsule, the final number might change but it looks like 65 pieces. Almost all of them are slow fashion or approaching it. This might be my first capsule of which I can say that. I’m looking forward to using this capsule and getting back into making my capsules every 3 months.

How long does it take you to create each season’s capsule? Do you create four per year? Do you ‘Shop” your closet or stored clothes?

6 More Months of Zero Waste

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.

Starting in January and leading to Plastic Free July, we (readers of this blog and I) tried to become more zero waste. Zero waste is the goal, but creating less waste and having a lower impact on the destruction environment is the means by which we get there. Learning to set aside our own convenience and take personal responsibility for improving the world around us, for ourselves, for future generations, and for the planet, is the mental attitude needed to accomplish this goal. Each person’s journey is different and one can only start where they are and do what they can, but it’s now undeniable that each person should at least be trying. To help and inspire, I have chose to make our 6 Months of Zero Waste simple and easy to adapt to just about any lifestyle.

Here’s what the first 6 months looked like:

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
One of the best ways to improve the environment is to stop eating factory farmed meat and industrial fish. Small steps lead to big change so this month we gave up meat (or dairy or fish)
June - No Bottled Water
We gave up bottled water as an avenue to give up more disposable plastic in Plastic Free July.

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In July we participated in Plastic Free July where we used the month to give up as much disposable plastic as possible. Hopefully you were able to change your mindset with this exercise. Did it stick? Did PFJ change the way you look at disposable plastic? Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but just bc July is over, doesn’t mean we can’t keep thinking of how we use plastic and what we can do better.

Hopefully some plastic free habits that we learned January to July lingered in the following months and now were ready to take on some new challenges!

It’s time to look to the next 6 months:

October - Zero Waste Kit
November - Clothing and Fast Fashion
December - No Gifts
January - Bathroom Make-over
February - Mass Transit
March - Grow Your Own Food

Join us as we explore these topics and continue our journey to becoming more zero waste. Follow along in your own time, take what you can use, or share your progress and ideas in the comments below!

Mad Cat Garden | September

September saw the garden wind down considerably. We had hoped to get a Fall/Winter garden going, but we waited to long and ran out of time. It was hard to find plants, too late to sew seeds before we knew it. Lesson learned for next year!

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But in early September, our compost patty pan was still going strong.

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We had already cut back most of the cat nip, but some new buds started growing thru the cracks in the patio. Tom took full advantage.

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Broccoli never took off for us but someone was enjoying it all Summer. Poblano peppers were a favorite throughout the growing months and were still going strong in early and mid month. We thought September saw the last of our favorite summer pepper meal, but at the very end there are still more poblanos to be had. The flowers we planted in Spring are still blooming and attracting pollinators!

Tomatoes are still reddening and ready to eat in mid Sept. We planted some last Summer radishes to enjoy in Sept/Oct salads.

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In mid September, a new fancy blueberry bed was made and planted.

Most of the peppers we planted in pots got too dry in the heat this year. Unlike last year, in which they thrived in pots. My take away there is all good things in the ground! Almost everything in bed survived and did well.

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We planted one milkweed this year and by end of Sept it is still going strong with flowers, pods, and visitors! We have been capturing seeds and planning our milkweed empire for next year!

September was a slow month in the garden, a natural winding down. Our second year garden has been so different than the first year’s. We are excited to remember the lessons we have learned and make plans for the third year! And yet we do not know what to expect!

Did your garden go as planned this year? What is the biggest surprise you encountered? The biggest challenge you faced? The biggest victory?

2019: Goals for the Rest of the Year

In August, I sat down and looked at the goals I made in Jan 2019. Find my reflections here. I find that reviewing my goals “mid” year, helps me think about how I want to spend the rest of the calendar year and what I want to focus on.

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Here are some goals I want to concentrate on on for the rest of 2019:

Plastic Free/Zero Waste
I want to make sure that I keep up this goal for the rest of the year. When we went away recently I felt good about how much it was on the forefront of trip goals.

Home Improvement
Especially now that we have a roommate, I ant to make sure to complete a few of home projects before the end of the year.

Health/Weight
I’m getting old and want to make sure I’m making various aspects of my health a priority.

Mindfulness/Creativity
In this aspect of my goals, I have been failing. I would love to take some time to concentrate on this for the rest of 2019.

Exploration
We’ve done really good at this this year, I don’t want to fall short for the last quarter.

Paring Down
We still have boxes never unpacked from when we moved into this house. Now that we have someone else living here, it’t time to really pare down.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

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Mad Cat Capsule | Summer 2019 (July, August, September)

I have gotten to the place with my capsule wardrobe where I’m pretty tired of making them. I still really like having a capsule, but actually making it is tiresome. I certainly have enough clothes to make 10 or more capsules so making one only requires going through my stock. Even that has become quite overwhelming. Part of the reason to make a capsule is to have less options and pare down to only having clothes that you love. I love so many of my clothes that, while each time I go through my back stock I do let go of several items, there are so many that I cannot let go.

For my Summer wardrobe, I sort of wanted to go through every item of clothing, but I only made it about half way. Not only did I have enough clothes for my current capsule, but I was exhausted from looking through all the clothes. I gave up mid way and decided that most of the items that were in my Spring Capsule would work for Summer as well.

The result of which is that I never felt like Summer was a true capsule. Sure, I had a limited amount of clothes that I re-wore, instead of buying new or adding to my closet from the back stock of clothing I already own. I had this feeling a bit in Spring as well, Even though they were almost opposite conditions. In Spring I made the capsule a more fluid capsule, taking things freely from the back stock.

Instead of listing every items of my Summer Capsule, I’m sharing some of my key pieces, either those that I really enjoy or were the most worn.

For future capsules, I oscillate between the idea of only using my favorite pieces, most of which were in many of my capsule, and the idea of returning to my stock pile and creating a totally new wardrobe. I also have become aware that I require less items in my capsule over all. Having less items means that I might get a little more bored with my wardrobe and also that I use each piece more over the season.

What was your plan for your capsule this Season? Were you satisfied with it? What will you do differently next time?

I bought the tank tops at least 15-20 years ago. Still good and fun to wear!

I bought the tank tops at least 15-20 years ago. Still good and fun to wear!

A hand me down sweater that didn’t get much wear until Sept, but it’s getting wear now.

A hand me down sweater that didn’t get much wear until Sept, but it’s getting wear now.

New favorite jeans, silk/linen thrifted pants (fully lined), perfect summer shorts now 10+ years old.

New favorite jeans, silk/linen thrifted pants (fully lined), perfect summer shorts now 10+ years old.

Mid Year Goals Review

Although August is not the mid year, that is the time when I always want to review my goals. August is a rough month in my profession. It’s the busiest, moat stressful month in many ways, the time when tensions are high and work is exhausting. In life, August might be one of my favorite months; it’s hot, summery, and reminds me on some of my favorite adventures. These two sides of August always put me in the mood for relections of the past and plans for the future. So Last month I took some time to look back to Jan and see how my goals for 2019 are shaping up.

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Here are the goals I set:

Seek Balance in Life/Work/Art
I make this goal every year and I’m still working on it.
I do make this goal every year and this year was not a good one for fulfilling it.

Create More Than Consume
I’ve become very aware at how much time I spend on my phone and the internet and how little time I spend concentrating on creating. This year, Creating should be the priority.
I would say I’m failing at this goal as well. But I have worked in the garden, taken care of the house, and created systems, worked on the blog, and other creative endeavors. Over all my tally of creativity is low.

Become Better at Being Plastic Free and Zero Waste
One of the best things I’ve done for myself in the last few years was start my Zero Waste journey. Here’s to a more good work in 2019.
I have made strives in this area, at least mentally. When I started ZW was with a sort of mental fever, making me feel terrible as well as good. This year, I feel that I don’t stress quite as much about it, but now I just need to get better.

Blog / Youtube
I dabbled in YouTube in 2018, but this year I want to make it a regular part of my life. Blogging is also a priority.
Zero work on youtube, but I’m happy so far with the progress I’ve made with this blog. I would love to create more plans and be better at blogging in the future. I wonder if I will ever feel satisfied in my blogging habits?

Habit Building / Monthly Goals
In 2018 I tried to build new habits and set monthly goals, in 2019 I want to make sure to do more.
I went strong on this goal until the middle of the year. I hope to get back on track now that it’s fall.

Home Improvement
There are a lot of things we want to do to improve the house. Some we have started, others need starting and all of them need finished! I hope to get a lot done this year!
We did some work on this this year, but haven’t tackled any of the really big projects yet. Since we will soon be sharing our home, some of these will take on a new priority.

Be a Better Wife
I never thought I would be a wife. Now I want to become better at it. This has to do with lots of things that I will go in to depth another time.
I honestly have no idea how I’m doing at this goal.

Travel / Explore
We did OK at this goal last year, but I want to do more!! There are a lot of local areas and some more far afield that I want to go to.
I think we are doing really well at this goal! We have upped our travel game this year and we have more planned for the remaining time of 2019.

Read One Book per Month
Another goal that I set every year is to read more, but this year, I want to set the goal to read at least one book each month.
I’m not sure I have really read or listened to one book per month, but I would love to take a look back and see. I have been reading again, and I love it.

Create one Tattoo per Month
I only created a few tattoos in 2018, I want to make sure to do more in 2019.
Nope.

Study Japanese
I love to learn languages and I miss studying. I want to get back in to the habit of this and be able to converse with more people.
This goal totally fell off the map for me. I decided I’m not really interested in this for the rest of the year (ever?).

Lose 20lb
OK, I usually don’t include goals like this. I usually don’t make them!! But this year, I need to get serious about my health and losing some weight is part of that.
I have worked on improving my health a little this year, so far and I have improved my weight. I wonder if I can fulfill this goal by 2020?

Save Money
Pretty standard.
Despite having to make a few large purchases, I think we’ve been doing well at this goal. I think this would be a great topic for a more detailed post.

Looking back at these goals I feel very detached from some of them. This year as not really worked out how I planned. Now that I have reviewed these goals, I will take some time to contemplate what I want to get done in the rest of 2019.

How are your 2019 goals shaping up? Do you have a point in the year where you feel the need to review them?

Mad Cat Garden | August

August was the best garden month so far!

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We still had some items in pots and containers. This year they didn’t do as well as the previous year. Perhaps it was too hot and sunny.

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Most things in our back beds were growing like mad. Tomatoes and poblano peppers were ripening up and the bushes were laden with them. Shishitos were starting to grow. We transplanted our corn and it survived! Our arugula, lettuce, and spinach had long overgrown.

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Our morning glories that come back every year really started growing and getting in amongst the beds. They really enjoyed the bamboo trellises we made.

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Some of our blueberries didn’t fruit as much as the previous years. We are thinking we will recondition the beds and repot those in containers. Some of the bushes fruited well, but we ate few berries. Most went to the squirrels and birds.

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Our compost squash is growing huge! It’s a white pattypan! Mid month was when everything we grew produced fruit and veg. We ate well and varied.

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Although our front bed looked quite scraggily the entire month, it produced many tomatoes! We really aren’t sure why this bed was so thin this year. Compared to last year, when it was super lush, it looks terrible! We wonder what next growing season will bring.

For our second year of gardening we are very pleased with how everything turned out in August but also very surprised. This summer’s garden has not been what we expected. But there is still nothing better than eating meals grown right out your own door. We already have many plans for next Summer.

How was August in your garden?

The City of Falling Angles

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

I bought the audio book of The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt at the Wall book sale for $4.

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I love the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on another of Berendt’s books. I read that book many years ago, so when I saw this audio book I was happy to snatch it up.

Having always been fascinated with Venice, John moves there to see what it’s like to be one of the locals. He unintentionally comes at a time of upheaval, right after one of the grandest opera houses burns to the ground. The characters he meets living in Venice all have something to say about the Teatro de Fenice.

This book doesn’t so much have a concise story line, but a meandering group of stories and experiences. This is what Berendt is known for; observing and gathering these stories and tidbits and making a book with many interesting characters that happen to be real people. Like in Midnight in the Garden Of Good and Evil, this book loosely follows a trial, and that trial doesn’t end in a satisfactory manner. The City of Falling Angels gives an amazing, mysterious and magical picture of a Venice, which seems to be lost or stuck in a history all it’s own. Although the reader is not overly exciting, perhaps a little flat, Holter Graham does a fine job at conveying all the people living there. This book’s main character is the city it’s set in and how it effects all living in it. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in true mysteries that are not gorey, books about Venice, real life personalities, or books about unique cities.

This book made me want to read more about Venice, more fiction and true stories about or set in that city. Do you have a favorite city to read about?

Bullet Journal Check in | July Before and After

I’ve been Bullet Journalling for quite a few years now. It’s a daily practice that keeps me on track with tasks and goals. It has also become a treasured and comforting daily routine.

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at at a July’s monthly spreads as they are before being filled in and after they are totally full. Many of my pages have not changed in the years I have been practicing, but some change depending on the journal I’m using or the monthly tasks I need to complete.

The monthly calendar is an overview I reference every day.

The monthly calendar is an overview I reference every day.

I like to have my monthly goals and tasks laid out close near the calendar to reference. These are routine goals that are usually the same each month, or long term goals that I don’t want to loose track of.

I like to have my monthly goals and tasks laid out close near the calendar to reference. These are routine goals that are usually the same each month, or long term goals that I don’t want to loose track of.

My monthly habit tracker changes seasonally.

My monthly habit tracker changes seasonally.

Since starting this journal, I’ve created a new blog log and content calendar.

Since starting this journal, I’ve created a new blog log and content calendar.

I try to use a sleep tracker each month. In this journal, I try to keep more detailed notes about each night.

I try to use a sleep tracker each month. In this journal, I try to keep more detailed notes about each night.

The expense tracker is not always the most accurate of my trackers, but I do like to keep a record of what I pay out and what comes in.

The expense tracker is not always the most accurate of my trackers, but I do like to keep a record of what I pay out and what comes in.

The rest of the month is occupied by my daily spreads. In this journal, I have been trying to use this space for daily tasks and make space to write a bit of diary each day.

The rest of the month is occupied by my daily spreads. In this journal, I have been trying to use this space for daily tasks and make space to write a bit of diary each day.

And below are all the pages filled in after the month.

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I don’t need my bullet journal to be neat and tidy, I like the way the pages look full and messy. Is your bullet journalling style neat and clean, or rough and messy? Are your favorite pages empty or full?

August Plant Update

We had lost of opportunity to observe plants this Month. The weather was amazing and we mostly stuck close to home. We were excited about that garden (more on that soon) and kept an eye on pollinators. We took many long walks, so we were also able to check on the neighborhood.

Our first milkweed pods!

Our first milkweed pods!

Our first monarch caterpillar!

Our first monarch caterpillar!

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Wesley Lake and the swan boats from afar.

Wesley Lake and the swan boats from afar.

Sunset lake and one of it’s residents.

Sunset lake and one of it’s residents.

Overlooking Deal Lake.

Overlooking Deal Lake.

A distinct color.

A distinct color.

Magnolia fuzzy pods.

Magnolia fuzzy pods.

A little truth about me.

A little truth about me.

We are so happy that we still get to see so many flowers!

We are so happy that we still get to see so many flowers!

Overcast but wonderful beach day.

Overcast but wonderful beach day.

Moon over the West side.

Moon over the West side.

Moon over the East side.

Moon over the East side.

Summer was in full swing in August. I was happy to be mindful about the plants and animals around me. What was August like where you live?

September is usually a time of change and transition. I’m excited to see what it brings.

August Life Admin Day 8/7/19

Life Admin Days or reset days, are days to get your life back on track; days to dedicate towards marking off your To Do list. Tasks can be small but those that you keep putting off, or large which you have trouble getting done. To take a life admin day, is to take a day to commit to getting it all done if possible.

I love the idea of Life Admin Days, bc some weeks it’s too hard to chip away at these tasks over several days. It’s nice to block out time to get things done. My general rules for a LAD are as follows:
Schedule the day before the month starts.
Have a LAD early in the month.
Make a list several days before.
Use a time limit to get things done.

I’ve started writing my Life Admin Day list in a spare space in my Bujo. This helps it stay present in my mind, Each morning, I can add to it, or remove tasks if I complete them before the official day. On the Day of, I can leave my bujo open and it serves as a reminder and reward. I love checking off lists!!

I’ve started writing my Life Admin Day list in a spare space in my Bujo. This helps it stay present in my mind, Each morning, I can add to it, or remove tasks if I complete them before the official day. On the Day of, I can leave my bujo open and it serves as a reminder and reward. I love checking off lists!!

Sometimes even when you follow all the rules things don’t work out the way you plan. Although I love the idea of a Life Admin Day, and enjoy the practice of them, I find it’s hard to actually get the done. Having only one day off in a row, and only one day for chores and getting things done, makes it difficult for me to utilize a Life Admin Day to it’s fullest potential and get everything done in that one day.

Recently I have had to take two days to get much done on my list. No matter how much time I set aside, or how much I try to focus, I can’t seem to get one good day or set of hours to get everything on my To Do List. Now I try to get as much as I can the first day, and pick up the slack the nest day. I will continue to use a Life Admin Day (or Days) in my monthly routine. Even if I can’t cross everything off my list, it is helpful for me to get some things done in a set amount of time. LADs keep me intentional and on task.

Have you been practicing Life Admin Days? How do you find they work for you? Have you developed any tricks to stay on track?

Mad Cat Garden | July

July saw the garden really take off. Here is the record of last month progress.

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The flowers and cat nip were still going strong.

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We moved the corn out of a bed and into the ground.

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Strawberries and raspberries growing but slowly.

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Spinach and arugula went nuts. We plan to take them all out when and replant for fall.

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The last picture is of our compost squash. We had to wait until August to find out what it was!

What’s your best growing garden items this year?