Some of you will know that we have two (maybe three) very tame robins in our garden.
They are very hard to tell apart (even the experts can't sex them reliably).
They have young and are very demanding just now - there every time we open the door, and following us around....
I'm trying for the perfect shot of the red robin against the red gate - not there yet.
It must be fascinating to be a wildlife photographer. You would have to know the creatures' habits - the robin often perches on the same place, like this particular hole in the hedge, and on the rim of this pot, and of course, classically, on the spade handle..
It is very touching to be so trusted by a wild bird - they eat from our hands and in the past they have brought their babies into the garden - will they do this this year?
Watch this space!
Following on from my post two days ago and the three jobs strategy - (I'm glad you like it Julia)..
I'm not talking about saving the world here, or big ambitions, just getting through my simple day with more of a sense of achievement than I've had lately....so you won't be impressed with my list, but here is how it goes:
The ongoing job - Keep plodding away at the garden borders. Removing moss from them, cutting back, mulching, edging....did I mention we open the garden for charity in 11 weeks time?....now if that isn't motivating!
The start and finish job - order new cards from the blog photos (watch this space). Quite a lot involved in that but an hour or so should do it if I set my mind to it, and my timer. This is quite a useful motivational tool for me. I set it for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break.
A job I really want to do - put away some winter clothes and get out some summer ones. In spite of the gloomy forecasts every day we've been having a great spell of weather lately..
Am feeling a bit more like this already!
A combination probably of making a plan, taking some action, having a mini holiday and appreciating the kindness of friends and family who sent encouraging e mails and comments, phoned me, visited and sent lovely cards when I was feeling low. I'm really blessed.
My sister sent me this birthday card (image by keith Ringland).
This was the view today of the light on the water of the Kyles of Bute, on the way back from a birthday treat at Portavadie. If you are in Cowal do seek it out. (The viewpoint on the B8000 north of Tighnabruaich and Portavadie..) Take a look at www.portavadiemarina.com
Following on from yesterday's post, here is my solution to my lack of energy and motivation (for now!)
I'll do 'the onceover' (see 26 Oct 2010). It gets the basics done, gets me moving, feels good when it's done for the day and doesn't take all that long. A good start.
When my daughter and I worked part time in a very old large garden where the work was never going to be done (in its heyday it had many full time gardneners)we devised an approach that got enough work done and kept us motivated:
Each day we thought of three jobs for the day -
An ongoing one
A 'start and finish' one
And one we really wanted to do.
I could try this at home....
I think I've always been a highly motivated person without having to think about it much. I just took it for granted that that is part of who I am.
Lately though, I'm struggling.
Being ill for a while slowed me down, and I can't seem to speed up again!
(Do I need to speed up I ask myself? Well, I quite like slow, I don't like to rush, but I can get bored with myself too. I like challenges and the sense of achievement that comes with getting things done.)
So what does the famously motivated Leo Babtua do? See http://zenhabits.net/top-20-motivations-hacks-overview/
Goal setting. Hmm.
What do I want to achieve today? So little really. I'm just coasting along, I'm getting lazy. My goals such as they are seem so mundane I'm embarassed to write them down, and as for making charts and giving myself marks and stars etc...isn't this childish? A bit pathetic? Feeble? I shall analyse my goals....sometimes it all sounds so, I don't know, obsessive, geekyeven! Why can't I just do it? (I do beat myself up a lot when I feel like this. Do you? It's not helpful.)
I've just remembered my word for this year is 'lighter' - so I could start by taking this more lightly and laugh and have a wee bit of fun with it....
I started thinking about this on Sunday morning and to motivate myself I though a cup of real coffee outside would be good to get me going. So what do I find when I lift the new packet of coffee off the shelf? It's called Lazy Sunday Coffee. Not the idea at all!
I see that one of my problems with goal setting is I set BIG goals then part way throught the day I realise I'm not going to get anywhere near achieving them and get disheartened. But 'baby steps' - another approach that does work feels just that - 'babyish'. I'm not a baby! So where is the happy medium for me?
By tomorrow I'll have some solutions - that's my goal.....What works for you? Do share.
Well that's novel!! I just checked to see if the link to zen habits worked and met this:
Page lost, a haiku
Our search is lonely
a footprint left in pure snow
blown into nothing
Don't worry...go into archive and scroll down to 2007, Feb 17....
Did you have a look at http://casnocha.com/blog ? I liked the Apr 1st piece about how the dynamic Rahm Emanuel is trying to improve higher education in Chicago..
'This is a big book' says Steven Pinker of The Better Angels of Our Nature. The Decline of Violence in History and it's Causes which arrived today, 'but it has to be.'
Quite a tome, isn't it?
Excuse me while I make a start....
In my rapture over the tulips this year I've rather overlooked the daffodils..
A mixed bunch is a quiet delight, and some are very fragrant. These are Jonquilla Pueblo with a nice scent and at the top a few pure white Thalia. With its multiple heads and long season this is a favourite.
So is Suzy, quite small, very cheerful.
The daintiest by far is Segovia, tiny and with almost no trumpet to blow....
A world away from picnics, fashion magazines and flowers, I'm enjoying a lively blog by someone who knows how to blow his own trumpet (and why not?)....Ben Casnocha writes a blog 'about entrepreneurship, books, current affairs and intellectual life' http://casnocha.com/blog Thanks to Gretchen Rubin for the link.
The first swallows appeared yesterday, the first cuckoo this morning, and this afternoon....
I bought Elle magazine on impulse. Total fantasy! Airbrushed impossibly beautiful people and everything costs hundreds or thousands of pounds. What can any of this have to do with me and my life? I asked myself, about to bin it and tell myself I'd wasted a few pounds.
But then I thought Wait a minute, something made me buy this - what was I looking for? Surely there is something in there for me!
So here is what I gleaned:
I could do a simple manicure on my gardening hands (I did - nice).
There was one smiling model - amazing - and I thought I could smile more even if my teeth look nothing like this
Next time I'm in the city I'll look at Mango where they actually have dresses for £22.99? I don't want a dress but I do like looking..
I quite like wearing lipstick, and somewhere I've got a nice bright pink....there seems to be a trend for very soft colours, must have a look
I'd like to see this exhibition at the V&A of glamorous ball gowns and it is on till January 2013
Fragrance - I like perfume - maybe i could get some for my birthday. I tried all the little samples in the magazine but the one I liked was £67....hmmm, always did have expensive taste.
I could jump, wearing nice shoes?
I like high heels (about three times a year). Must plan more occasions to wear the ones I've got.
Prints are in it seems - maybe not this backless dress, but a shirt or a scarf might be fun.
I love my sunglasses which are very old and may fall apart any day. If I carry them in my bag I may find a pair that are similar...
A free make up lessson and personalised face chart from Bobbi Brown? Could be fun..
I realised that what I was looking for when I bought the magazine, was a little boost, a little incentive to think about my appearance and the end of winter clothes and winter skin (there is still snow on the hills as I write this!) but I think I did actually get my money's worth and am off to rummage in my wardrobe right now....and put on some lipstick!
(NB I am having annoying problems with the layout of my blog pages and hope the text is lining up with the pictures!!)
This gem of a painting St Catherine by Bartolomeo Veneto was my favourite in this lovely exhibition of Italian Art from the 14th to the 19th century. More details at www.glasgowmuseums.com/italianart Glasgow museums all have free entry, but there is a charge for this exhibition - a modest £5, £3 concessions - worth every penny. I shall be going again....(can recommend the fruit loaf and french lemon tart in the restaurant downstairs..)
It's so exciting to have such vibrant colour everywhere!
The four tulips I grew this year were Purissima (white), Flaming Purissima, Apricot Impression and Apricot Beauty. They are giving a good succession over several weeks.
I'm already planning next year's - so many to choose from! I grow them for picking, but am also planning a mix of reds oranges and pinks in the three big black glazed pots I have around our sitting area. We've been sitting out in the sun quite a lot at tulip time this year - such a pleasure.
I hope you are getting the same - the good weather and the pleasure.
It's a beautiful warm sunny day and I'm sorting canes to make wigwams for the sweet peas. The lime green ones look good with all the colours, and the red ones are for a red sweet pea called Winston Churchill which I am growing for the first time this year. (The blue ones were to support delphiniums but I used matt paint which washed off when it rained - gloss is best....)
Are you growing sweet peas?
My favourites for scent are Gwendoline and Matucana.
Final question from www.66squarefeet.blogspot.com - Why do you garden?
I garden because it is one of the very few things I do where I am not thinking about something else at the same time, so it is wonderfully relaxing even when the work is hard. It is such an elemental basic, literally down-to-earth thing to do, yet it has academic, intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual aspects to be explored too.
Edmund de Waal has said Potter is the most honest word ever. It's something I am very proud of being.
I think gardener might just have the edge on potter in this claim.
So. Gardener is the most honest word ever. It is something I am very proud of being.
Who are your favourite garden writers?
Vita Sackville West for poetry
Beth Chatto for descriptions and acute observation
Christopher Lloyd for experience and plantsmanship
Dan Pearson for thoughtfulness
Sarah Raven for enthusiasm (favourite is her favourite word...)
Helen Dillon for humour
Sandra and Nori Pope for colour
John Brookes for clarity of design
Piet Oudolf for dreamiest dreams
What is your favourite private garden? asks Marie at www.66squarefeet.blogspot.com
Another difficult one. I remember so many gardens open under the National Gardens Yellow Book Scheme which were so clearly labours of love and full of delight. I always loved villages where several gardens opened at once - tiny modest ones as well as the Vicarage and the Manor. Whichford Pottery at Shipston-on-Stour was wonderful (part private, part public). They have an interesting website www.whichfordpottery.com and the head gardener's blog is a good infomative read - click on Harriet's Gardening Blog on their home page.
When all is said and done, I suppose my own garden is really my favourite!
These are the third tulips to come out in the garden this spring. Apricot Beauty lives up to its name, subtly changing colour as the flower develops - it has a greenish tinge in bud, goes through a lemony yellow phase and then a deeper apricot, finally fading to pink. Absolutely gorgeous. Its an early single and much shorter than Apricot Impression (see 5 April) at about 30 - 40 cms.
Were you aware that violence in the world is on the decline? Significantly? And that in 1946 there were fewer than 20 democracies and now there are close to 100? Or that the number of authoritarian countries has dropped from 90 in 1976 to about 25 now?
Read more about it at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/22/world-less-violent-stats_n_1026723.html I like the way it draws attention to and gives credit to all the efforts that are being made, every day all over the world, to strive for peace - good work which rarely makes the newspapers....
I've sent for the interestingly titled book by Steven Pinker The Better Angels of Our Nature:Why Violence Has Declined.
We live in Interesting times....
This little siskin crashed into the greenhouse yesterday and stunned itself. It lay recovering for long enough for me to get a good look at and a photograph of its beautiful markings before flying off, apparently none the worse.
'There will be wars, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for peace.' Barack Obama.
The mediators, conciliators and researchers working in the field of conflict resolution rarely hit the headlines of course, but there are some fascinating stories of inspirational people - read about two of them here:
Is there a correlation? Leo Babatua at www.mnmlist.com thinks so - take a look at his short post today.
And so apparently do the people of Bhutan, a tiny kingdom, among the poorest and least developed in the world, rated 8th in the world on a happiness scale. The idea of Gross National Happiness, as a supplement to Gross National Product as a measure of how well a country is doing - and now taken up by many countries and the UN - seems to have originated here.
A recent survey in UK found that 75% of people living here describe themselves as being satisfied with their lives.
Who'd have thought it!
We don't hear enough of the good news, do we?
First, Marie asks If you could garden anywhere where would it be?
Somewhere warmer (but not too hot). Britain is a wonderful country to garden in. Tresco would be good I think, though I've never been there.
What is your favourite public garden?
I never tire of the greats - even with the crowds, though I try to go midweek always. Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Hidcote, Beth Chatto's of course. Giverny was a great influence - ordinary plants used to extraordinary effect. The times I have been there it got quieter in the garden over lunchtime - I wonder if that still happens. Beningbrough Hall and Piet Oudolf's Scampston in North Yorkshire, and his Millenium garden at Pensthorpe in Norfolk....It's impossible to choose. I refuse to choose!
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)