Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday, 31 July 2008 - Shade

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for shade.

S, T and I arrive early at the Ute Valley Park boulders. It's 9 AM and already energy-sapping hot.

The boulders rise above us forming a welcomed sandstone shield. They willingly absorb the sun's rays and mercifully shade our staging area. I anticipate a productive session figuring out moves on current projects.

T, who doesn't tolerate summer's heat very well, is very glad that our "playground" is cool and comfortable. So are we.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday, 29 July 2008 - Good news

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for good news.

This entry will be short and sweet.

My 83-year-old mother was hospitalized last week with pneumonia, a dangerous illness given her fragility. (My parents live in Southern California - a long 1,500 miles from Colorado Springs.) Fortunately, she responded quickly to treatment and rest. Now, she is well enough to return home tonight - a day earlier than her doctors originally expected. Very good news, indeed.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday, 29 July 2008 - A homegrown snack

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a homegrown snack.

My small edible garden can't provide all the food I need to survive. So, I'll settle for a snack.

Today, we enjoyed:
  • 6 blackberries
  • 1 tomato ("Fantastic")
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, about 4" long
  • 1 alpine strawberry
I savor each tiny delicious bite. The revitalizing "life force" stored in just-picked fruits and veggies. infuses my hot and tired body, mind and soul with energy - their gift to me.

For this blessing, I am thankful.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday, 28 July 2008 - One blackberry bush

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one blackberry bush.

I was wrong. The "wild" berry plant growing in the backyard is actually a blackberry bush (I had originally guessed raspberry).

After photographing the ripening fruit, I eat the dark berry in the middle of the cluster. Oh my - it's so sweet and juicy!

I last ate wild blackberries in August 2001 during a trip to England and France with my sister and her family. While hiking through England's Lake District, we spied overgrown, berry-laden bushes lining the trail.

My brother-in-law observed that the ripest berries, when gently tugged, easily detached from the stem. We figured that that's how bears and other animals found ripe fruit.

So, after refining our picking technique, we enjoyed an unexpected sweet feast before resuming our trek.

Lucky me. I now have a private blackberry bush. And, just like I do for all of my edible plants, I'm praying for a bountiful harvest.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday, 27 July 2008 - A memorable Tour

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a memorable 2008 Tour de France.

We haven't followed cycling since the 2006 and 2007 debacles starring Floyd Landis and others.

This year, we gave the Tour de France another chance. And, we're glad we did.

I will remember:
  • The exciting race route that engaged us from Stage 1 (rather than boring us for the first week with too many flat stages)
  • American Christian Vandevelde's stellar overall performance (he had a real chance to clinch a podium spot but, after one poor mountain stage, finished in 5th place)
  • Sprinter Marc Cavanaugh's decisive four stage wins
  • Successful breakaways - can't remember when so many succeeded
  • The endless debate over the merits of Team CSC's controversial strategy on Alpe d'Huez where Carlos Sastre claimed his first maillot jaune
  • The usual excellent live commentary by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen (the "lads") on Versus - they're the best of the best.
For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: Tickseed blooms match the color of the maillot jaune.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday, 26 July 2008 - A decisive win

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a decisive win.

The Tour de France. Stage 20. A 53 kilometer time trial over rolling terrain. For cyclists, the ultimate race of truth.

Few experts think Carlos Sastre can preserve his "shaky" 1'34" lead over Cadel Evans. Even 7-time winner Lance Armstrong predicts that Evans will more than make up the deficit.

We watch the top five riders leave the starting gate at three-minute intervals. We await the results at each time check.

The news surprises the experts. Sastre is not losing a lot of time. Evans is not making up lost ground. 1'34" might as well be an hour.

In the end, Sastre rides the time trial of his life and keeps the coveted yellow jersey. Although I am not a Sastre fan, I join cycling fans around the world in applauding his apparent victory.

Actually, I'm glad that Sastre kept the yellow jersey. At the end of the day, he simply out-rode his closest rivals. He knew his mission and what he had to do to accomplish it. No pre-race complaints, whines or excuses either. He realized that victory depended on his own talent, courage and determination, not a rival's poor performance or bad luck.

A true champion, Sastre successfully controlled his own destiny.

He took the proverbial bull by its horns and rode like the wind.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday, 25 July 2008 - My sewing stash

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for my sewing stash.

I am in a sewing mood, inspired by the new season of Project Runway and my bulging pattern and fabric stash.

Once upon a time, I sewed every pattern and yard of fabric I bought. Now, unless I start sewing, my stash will outlive me by decades.

On one hand, I take comfort in knowing that, in the event I need a new outfit, I already have the perfect pattern and fabric. But, experience tells me that those special occasions rarely arise.

On the other hand, my lifestyle and wardrobe needs have changed drastically in the last ten years. I now prefer stretch denim jeans to wool crepe suits, high-tech wicking fabrics to silk knits, trendy tees to button-up shirts.

As I survey the pile of luxury fabric, I realize that most of my treasures must go. Not thrown away, but given to another seamstress. Someone who will love them as I have and use them to make beautiful clothes.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday, 24 July 2008 - A return to bouldering

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a return to bouldering.

Late afternoon. The storm finally clears. I think the next one, already cresting the mountains, won't bring rain. I hope the breeze picks up and clears the muggy air.

S, T and I head to Ute Valley Park to boulder for a few hours. It's our first official visit since S's untimely shoulder injury. I'm anxious to see how well I do.

The hiatus hasn't hurt me too much. As I climb various routes on The Wave, I'm surprised at my core and upper body strength. I'm also pleased by my vastly improved footwork.

Sometimes, a long rest is a good thing. I can recover from the annoying aches and pains that accompany strenuous daily workouts. Just my body's way of reminding me that I am not a 20-something athlete so I should stop trying to be one.

Still, on any given day, I'd rather be climbing.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday, 23 July 2008 - A respite

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a respite from July's hot weather.

Someone heard my prayers. Or perhaps Mother Nature is simply responding to T's "rain" sleep.

Today, the heatwave broke. Just a little. But, just enough. It's probably a temporary breach. Still, I'm relieved.

Dark clouds poured over the mountains late morning. The first raindrops and hailstones fell around noon. Thunderstorms arrived an hour later. More rain followed.

T is a rare canine in that storms don't bother him. He's sleeping soundly in his favorite spot, oblivious to the low rumble of thunder, lightening flashes and pelting rain. I'm sure he's dreaming of his favorite cool weather days. I, too, am thinking about autumn's frosty mornings and winter's snowdrifts.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photos: Caught in the act ... early this morning, two butterflies ate breakfast in the backyard garden.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday, 22 July 2008 - Two positive outcomes

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for two positive outcomes.

Although the edible plants and wildflowers thrive in 90 degree temperatures, I wilt like a shade loving perennial.

The heatwave is taking its toll on daily life. After walking just one slow lap around the park, T sleeps all day on the family room floor - the lowest point in the house (not counting the basement). I work in the garden only during the cooler early morning or evening hours. Frequent sips of ice water are my best friends. I postpone writing until nighttime when a cool breeze finally invades my studio. And, after foraging the dry foothills, mule deer dine regularly on my front yard garden's "deer resistant" plants.

There must be something good about this month's continuing drought and heatwave. I can think of only two positive outcomes: fewer noxious weeds are growing in the neighborhood's greenbelt, alley, culvert and open space and no mosquitoes.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, 21 July 2008 - Photographer's luck

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for an unexpected dose of photographer's luck.

Sorry, but here's another butterfly photograph.

While patroling the backyard, camera in hand, I spied this beautiful specimen resting on the serviceberry shrub. I managed to take only one shot before it flew away. Darn it! I was sure the photo would not turn out.

So, when I reviewed today's photoshoot, I was very surprised to find this image. Lucky me!

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, 20 July 2008 - A simple celebration

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a simple celebration.

This weekend, we're celebrating M's birthday (he turned 20 on July 17). Nothing fancy. Just cool presents (locking carabiner, belay device, chalk bag, chalk block), good food, Josh & John's ice cream and an indoor rock climbing adventure at the local gym.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: Another bee portrait. I had a hard time photographing this hyperactive fellow. Here, he feeds on blue flax nectar.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday, 19 July 2008 - Wild additions

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for "wild" additions to my perennial edible garden.

I was right.

The thorny "mystery" plant growing in the far southwest corner of the yard is a berry bush. Raspberries, I think.

And, the tall plant growing along the fence, about 15 feet to the right of the raspberry bush, is a native golden currant shrub.

Funny how the wild berry plants thrive in this year's intense summer heat without any intervention on my part. No extra water. No fertilizer. They are simply "blooming" where they are planted.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday, 18 July 2008 - Wildflowers

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for wildflowers.

For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!
~Edward Abbey

For over 17 years, my backyard garden began like this: In the spring, I worked wildflower seeds into the clay dirt, watered the patches daily and waited. Eventually, seeds sprouted, stems and leaves grew and flowers bloomed. I diligently mulched and weeded. My "cottage" garden slowly took shape, an undisciplined canvas of color and texture. Perfect for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Today, succeeding generations of wildflowers still bloom throughout a more disciplined landscape. As they reveal the innate beauty and magic of native plants, these plants also link my domesticated garden to their original home, the short and tall grass prairie.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday, 17 July 2008 - Fuss-free eggplants

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for fuss-free eggplants.

While I agonize over my "high-maintenance" tomato and basil plants, the eggplants are thriving.

I'm not neglecting them. They get their share of water and fertilizer and sunshine. I'm just glad that the plants are relatively fuss-free and independent. Easy-to-grow, easy-to-please.

And, although I don't have eggplant dreams (does anyone?), I do have a caponata recipe in my archive - will be delicious spread thickly on toasted slices of homemade focaccio.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday, 16 July 2008 - Fresh herbs

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for fresh herbs, straight from my garden.

Tutti a tavola a mangiare!
(Everyone, to the table to eat!)
~ the invitation Lidia issues at the end of her cooking shows

This summer, we're eating a lot of pasta dressed in homemade tomato-based sauces. The dishes are simple, tasty and healthy - typical rustic Italian cuisine. Plus I get to perfect the cooking techniques I've learned from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich on her PBS shows.

I guess I'm becoming a cooking snob. Since my edible garden now provides a bounty of fresh herbs, I refuse to use the dried, store-bought ones that crowd the cupboard shelf.

As chopped red onions and minced garlic caramelize in a heavy saucepan, I step into the garden. There, with kitchen shears in hand, I clip leaves and stems, filling a soup bowl with fresh herbs: sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, tarragon, celery, lovage and parsley.

After carefully washing and drying my treasures, I rough chop them before adding them to the sauce. The aroma is amazing. Deliziosa!

Of course, my real test as a cook comes when, M, our Air Force Academy cadet, visits. For dinner, I serve linguine with meat sauce. To S and me, the sauce is perfect. But, others, not used to my cooking style or preference for intense flavors, might think otherwise.

The verdict: As M finishes his second heaping plateful, he tells me that he really loves the sauce.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday, 15 July 2008 - One gem

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one gem.

Digital cameras are perfect for photographers like me. I take lots (and I mean lots) of pictures with my Olympus 570UZ. Sometimes hundreds a day. Multiple shots of the same subject don't bore or bother me. I know that, over time, only a few photos will be memorable or noteworthy.

One gem.

That's all I hope for when I put on my photographer's hat. And, that's exactly what I got this morning.

The photo is technically imperfect. But, that's okay.

It's interesting. It tells a good story.

My beloved garden, one busy bee, a bouquet of Gaillardia daisies. Is he coming or going? I can't tell - can you?

Finally, one shot that did not elude me.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday, 14 July 2008 - Three things

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for three things.

1. M's safe return to Colorado Springs.
Our Air Force Academy cadet friend, M, returned safe and sound from his trip home. He now begins his final summer adventure during which he'll learn to parachute jump. He was in high spirits, looking forward to seeing his AFA friends and ready to settle into a regular routine. The academic year begins in three weeks.

2. Our return to climbing.
S, T and I climbed in Red Rock Canyon on Sunday. It was our first outing after a long hiatus during which S rehabilitated an injured shoulder. Surprisingly, we did not lose much fitness or form (although we didn't climb difficult routes). I am thrilled to be climbing again.

3. T's determination and courage.
T is one determined Labrador retriever. At age 11.5, he desperately wants to join us on every outing no matter the season. Summer is particularly brutal for him. Even as a puppy, he did not tolerate the heat very well. Now that he is an old guy, his intolerance grows more apparent. This summer is a tough one for him.

S and I can't imagine going hiking or climbing without T. So, we do whatever we can to keep him cool and comfortable. We douse him frequently with cool water and hike at his leisurely pace. We choose shadier trails and cooler times of day. And, when he lays down in the middle of the trail, too hot to take another step, we give him time to rest. In a few minutes, he musters the strength and energy to keep going. As I praise and encourage him, I can feel my heart break a little more. I can't deny the sad truth - T will be with us for only a few more years.

For these blessings, I am grateful.


Photo: Red Rock Canyon. T chews a conveniently positioned scrub oak branch while resting in a shady spot near today's routes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday, 13 July 2008 - Summer blues

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for summer blues. Not mine but my garden's.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


(top) delphinium
(bottom) blue flax and bachelor's button

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday, 12 July 2008 - Strawberry dreams

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for strawberry dreams.

We love to eat fresh strawberries. This year, however, the organic ones are terribly expensive. I won't buy non-organic berries - the pesticide load is too high.

My solution: add strawberries to my perennial edible garden. At the annual plant sale, I was delighted to find alpine strawberry plants. I bought two and promptly planted them near the herbs and rhubarb.

Everyone told me not to expect any fruit the first year. So, I downgraded my expectations, shelved my strawberry dreams and repeated my default mantra, "Just wait until next year."

This morning, the plants surprise me with their display of white blossoms. And, as you know, blossoms are precursors to berries.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday, 11 July 2008 - Daylily gifts

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for daylily gifts.

Two years ago, a neighbor decided to thin his daylily beds. He asked me if I wanted the excess bulbs.

Although I am not an avid daylily fan, I said "Yes." Who can turn down free plants? Not me.

He promptly gave me over a dozen freshly-dug clumps. It was spring so I had to plant the daylilies right away.

I never planned to add daylilies to the landscape. And these were the hardy, common, everyday variety that thrives in drought conditions.

I decided to plant them throughout the backyard garden - wherever I could find space. A few by the house, a few on the slope, the remainder in the hot, dry and sunny north strip. My rationale: if they live, they live; if they die, they die.

No blossoms last year. No matter. My garden didn't miss them.

But this year, they are making a bold statement.

During the current lull in the summer flowering schedule, their lovely orange blossoms appear daily.

Every morning, they shout "Look at me!"

And I do. In fact, I can't take my eyes off of them.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday, 10 July 2008 - Sunflowers

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for sunflowers.

My favorite Tour de France images show the peloton riding along a sunflower-lined road.

So, with the 2008 race in full swing, I'm not surprised that my garden's crop decided to bloom a month early.

July sunflowers
Wear familiar colors.

Sturdy green stalks

Support sun kissed blossoms,

Rich rust centers
Framed by bright yellow petals.

These early birds

Are two feet shorter

Than their August siblings,

But just as happy to see me.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wednesday, 09 July 2008 - A sharp knife

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for a sharp knife.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

S and I laugh at T's antics, remarking that he is not always the "sharpest knife in the drawer." I'm not either. Especially after this morning's incident.

When I prep ingredients, I know the value of using sharp knives. So, I don't know why I continued to slice rhubarb stalks with a dull serrated knife.

The accident was inevitable, I suppose. The dull blade slipped against tough rhubarb skin. My left index finger was in the way. The blade was sharp enough to slice human tissue. Ouch!

My hard-learned lesson: Always sharpen the knife before chopping, mincing or slicing anything. Only takes a minute.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tuesday, 08 July 2008 - Homegrown tomatoes

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for homegrown tomatoes.

Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes
What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes

Only two things that money can't buy

That's true love and homegrown tomatoes

~Clark Guy, lyrics from "Homegrown Tomatoes"

You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook's year. I get more excited by that than anything else.

~Mario Batali

I will never tire of eating homegrown tomatoes. In my opinion, no store-bought variety will ever surpass the intense flavor and sweetness of the luscious red and orange globes that grow in my small edible garden.

We eat the first ripe tomato of the season, a deep red specimen from the "Fantastic" plant. I savor each nibble. Yes, this is how a tomato should taste.

One half of a small tomato just isn't enough. My appetite for another grows exponentially.

Unfortunately, I find only green fruit on the "Fantastic" plant and a score of yellow blossoms on the "Brandywine" vine. The Sungold cherry tomatoes are still too young to bear blossoms or fruit.

Although it's July, the outdoor growing season in Colorado is barely a month old. With luck, the plants will bear fruit through September. Or even October, if we don't get an early frost.

So, I will do what gardeners do best.

For the plants, I'll water daily and feed weekly.

For me, I'll work on patience and pray harder than ever for a bountiful harvest.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday, 07 July 2008 - Another photography lesson

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for another photography lesson.

Here is this season's key photography lesson: Do not inspect or tour the garden without the camera. Otherwise, I miss too many photo opportunities.

Today, I remember to heed my own advice.

With camera in hand, I catch a lovely Monarch butterfly feeding on lamb's ear blossoms. These photos make up for the one that got away - a delicate white butterfly sitting on a cluster of centranthus alba (white valerian) blossoms.

Note to self: always invite good luck, good timing and serendipity to join me in the garden.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday, 06 July 2008 - Sunday sports

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for Sunday sports.

We'd rather be climbing. But, the weather doesn't cooperate.

So, on this cool and rainy Sunday, we settled in front of the television for a full slate of sports - Stage 2 of the Tour de France, Wimbledon men's singles final, and the final day of the US Olympic Trials in swimming and track and field.

Yes, I should have been more productive and worked on indoor projects. But just for today, I let my inner sportsfan rule my agenda. And, she didn't disappoint.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saturday, 05 July 2008 - Yellow

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the color yellow.

My gardens exclaim that yellow is the color du jour. In fact, several flowers proudly display their unique versions of le maillot jaune ... just in time for Stage 1 of le Tour de France.

For this blessing, I am grateful.



- prickly pear
- gaillaridia aristata (blanket flower)
- eschscholzia californica (California poppy)
- erigonum umbellatum (sulphur flower)
- achillea millefolium (yarrow)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday, 04 July 2008 - Declaration of Independence

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for the Declaration of Independence.

On the Fourth of July, we forgo some popular traditions like fireworks (T hates the noise) and large community gatherings (T can't attend because the organizers ban pets). We do, however, look forward to the reading of the Declaration of Independence on NPR's Morning Edition.

NPR's rendition used to feature voices of past and present personalities including former anchor, Bob Edwards, and the late Red Barber. They've updated the recording to include only voices of current reporters and personalities. A mistake, I think. Like so many things, the original version is always better than the update.

Thomas Jefferson's words, however, endure. And, sadly, they comment unfavorably on American politics and politicians in the 21st century. I think we're long overdue for a new American Revolution.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: prickly pear blossom

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thursday, 03 July 2008 - Garden gates

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for garden gates.

they prevent others from entering our private enclave, protecting my secret garden from foreign eyes, keeping all miracles within the fenced yard.

they give outsiders a glimpse of our home's outer landscape, allowing others to inhale the special air that insulates the structure and breathes precious life into the rooms.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 - One blushing tomato

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for one blushing tomato.

I'm delighted that my garden's first tomato has begun to ripen. The fruit is on the "Fantastic" plant, an early producer.

When the tomato's vine-ripened - probably in another 3-5 days, I will pick it and eat it (sharing, of course, with S and T). I'm hopeful that its flavor and texture will live up to its name.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesday, 01 July 2008 - Mulch

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for mulch.

My desperation grows daily. With summer turning up the heat to near-intolerable levels and teasing my garden with rainless thunderstorms, I need mulch - lots and lots of mulch.

Yes, I am obsessed with mulch. Many years ago, when I became a serious outdoor gardener, I read about a New Mexico woman who heavily mulched her gardens. Despite the hot, dry weather, she only watered her plants once a month. Yet, her gardens thrived. I decided right then and there to mulch my gardens regularly.

Finding the right "thickness" took a few seasons. I've since learned to spread enough mulch to preserve moisture and protect roots but not smother the plants.

In the fall, I prepare my gardens for winter by applying pine mulch and tree leaves (donated by teens who rake neighborhod yards) around the base of each plant. In the summer, I apply a thick layer of pine mulch around plants and on bare spots.

The mulch works well for my gardens and me. Even during the hottest and driest months, I deep water established plants and shrubs every 10-14 days and spot water new plantings as needed. A few of my xeric plants have very deep taproots and need virtually no supplemental water. Most, however, need a periodic drink, preferring rainfall to the hose. My edible garden, also heavily mulched, still requires daily watering.

Late this afternoon, S takes me to the Slash-Mulch Program site. The Program, a local wildfire mitigation and recycling program, is a major collection site for landscape slash. Donors include homeowners and landscapers.

A towering industrial chipper turns the slash into mulch. Several times a week, the public can stop by for a supply. Although the mulch is free (with a non-perishable donation to the local food bank), you must supply the tools and energy required to shovel the material into bags, truck beds or trailers.

During today's trip, S and I collect enough mulch for Round One. Y watches from the truck cab as I hold open the trash bags and S dumps in shovelfuls of fragrant pine and fir mulch.

When we return home, I spend the rest of our daylight hours applying the 8-39 gallon bags of mulch to the garden. To my dismay, I quickly run out. Thankfully, S promises to take me back on Thursday evening for one more load.

For this blessing, I am grateful.