Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm Turning 40

My 40th birthday is Sunday and I'm not all together thrilled about it.  In the above picture I was 38.  I liked turning 38.  Thirty-eight is still "in your 30's".  Forty is, well, FORTY. It's middle-aged, chronologically, even if it isn't mentally.  After all, we Americans have a life expectancy of about 80.  The only thing good about turning forty that I've discovered so far is that most people, when hearing me say how old I am, gasp and think I'm lying and am turning 30. 

However old I look matters not to the inner workings of my body.  I used to run 6-7 miles, four times a week.  In the past 1.5 years, I've had to cut that back to a 3-4 mile run twice a week or a long run once a week and have added in yoga classes because I became anemic and my joints ARE almost 40 and they like to tell me so every time I run more than a few miles.  That decrease in activity should have led to a decrease in calories.  Au contraire, mon frere!  I like to eat and I like to drink beer.  This has resulted in extra pounds.  My mother gleefully tells me how when she "hit forty" she suddenly got a belly and needed reading glasses.  How do you "suddenly" get a belly? You just wake up one morning and instead of a 28" waist, it's 33"?  I object. 

The 12 year old in this house told me last night that "forty isn't old." When pressed to say what is old, she replied "Fifty."  So at least I have that going for me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Our temperature highs for the next week are set to hit the lower 40s and upper 30s.  Pretty much how this whole winter has been.  The mild winter has me feeling like it's a lot later in the year than it actually is and has me wanting to hurry up and plant stuff already.  However, since I've lived in Wisconsin for the last 30 years, I know that it is much too soon to think of these warm temps as here to stay.  We could have a storm drop over a foot of snow on us in March. 

That said, the warm temps have jump started my garden planning for the year.  I'm going to move a flowering bush (Weigelia) to the front yard and replace it with currant bushes.  I'd like to add another fruit tree to the backyard, either a pear or another apple (I have 2 apples and a cherry already).  I'll plant the fruit tree so that in a few years, my neighbor's view of my deck and vice versa, will be blocked.  Those are the only changes that I have in mind for my ever-evolving yard. 

I only plant standard sized fruit trees for a couple of reasons.  The first, and most important reason, is that a dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit tree would be killed by the 40+ member herd of urban deer that live in the park next to my house.  By planting trees that are 5 feet tall in the beginning and that grow faster, I figure I might actually have a shot at fruit and a living tree.  The second reason is for aesthetics.  When we bought this home 8 years ago, there was one tree, a generic maple, in the front yard and some dead birch trees in the back corner.  Since we moved in, we have planted 5 trees: 2 apples (cortland and Wolf River), a sour cherry, an Autumn Blaze maple and an Ash.  We went from no shad in the south facing backyard to now having a small amount.  In another few years, the maple will probably shade the blistering hot deck in the late afternoon.  I hope. 

I've got my coldframe planted with carrots and salad greens.  I have some lettuce and spinach that will be ready to harvest in another week or so.  I'm particular about the produce I'll buy at the store...paranoid might be a better word, so growing it myself saves me that angst.  In another 6 weeks, I'll dig under the cover crop in one of my raised beds and put my hoop house back up.  Bush beans will get planted in there to give them a head start on the japanese beetles that arrive every late summer to turn the bean leaves into lace. The hoop house also serves as a greenhouse for those plant starts that I buy from our local nursery.

This time of year is the hardest for me.  It's a solid month of waiting around to get outside and start working. I get cagey.  Cabin fever, I suppose.  The energy inside me is building and at times I physically vibrate with it.  I end up running, hiking and exercising MORE to channel that energy.  Then once the temps stay consistent and the ground thaws, I become much more content.  I become balanced. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I've been fighting a gypsy wanderlust for the past few weeks, though I fight wanderlust every year about this time.  I like to move.  Moving has always felt like a grand adventure.  It has been an opportunity to simplify and downsize and frankly, reinvent myself.  When I move, I give myself permission to try new things.  Once I'm settled, I'm, well SETTLED and I start to bore myself. Intensely. 

However, since my husband is the "breadwinner" and my work is mostly unpaid or low paid (I teach piano, garden and paint), logic has to come into play.  He loves his work.  So I must adjust my attitude.  Which is difficult in Wisconsin in February.  Especially during this essentially snowless winter. 

So today I set up my easel and tomorrow I'll begin to paint/exorcize my wanderlust.  When spring finally arrives and I can sink my fingers in the soil, my wanderlust will ebb a bit, but I'll still hope for that opportunity to move and explore a new town, as a local.