In the late afternoon, light shines through my kitchen blinds and curtains. My coffee bar is adjacent to the window.

I like to watch as the shadows are chased away and stripes of sunlight begin to filter through the window. After an hour or so the whole window is lit up until it glows.

They have ordered new blinds for me, but they won’t come in until the end of the month. The wand broke off the ones you see now.

My Little Plants Need More Light:

This light coming from this window, the only kitchen window, is all the natural light that my little Trader Joe plants have. I turn on the kitchen lamps, but it just isn’t enough.

I wonder if I could find a plant growing light and somehow rig it up to give them more of the light they need?

Nightly Routine:

At night after I watch a little TV, I go back to the bedroom to read.

My bedroom with Gracie sitting on the quilt

Gracie usually comes out of whatever hidey-hole she has been in and jumps up on the bed. She will curl up next to my right shoulder and go to sleep.

This is something Ivy doesn’t do. When she wants to be petted, she will come to me. Sometimes she will dose at the end of my chair.

But she doesn’t seem to want to be on the bed.

Instead, she begins her mournful cry with that silly curtain tie in her mouth. I’ll keep calling to her: “Ivy, come in here with me.”

But she won’t. She just continues to meow in that strange way around the curtain tie.

What I’m Watching On TV:

I’ve been watching “Jack Ryan” on Prime Video. I didn’t know if I’d like such an action-packed series, but I find I’m enjoying it.

It reminds me a bit of “Homeland.”

TV show Jack Ryan

The book that the series is based on was written by Tom Clancy.

Up-and-coming CIA analyst Jack Ryan is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers. His search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East.

He’s fairly sure there is a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies.

I’m not usually drawn to these kinds of shows, but I like this one.

Spring Is Almost Here:

Normally this time of year I am itching to get outside and plant in my containers. This year I am a little reluctant to get started.

I just don’t know how much I can do with the walking boot on. Or how to arrange my containers when my yard is up another level from the patio.

It’s both hard and awkward for me to walk up that level with the boot on. And it is difficult for me to walk around these uneven surfaces.

A look at my apartment patio

I have been flipping through my gardening magazines, but I haven’t seen any kind of answer to this dilemma.

The unlevel appearance of my patio
See how the concrete blocks drop down to the next level where the bricks are?

Plus there is an irrigation system hooked up to provide water and I doubt they’re going to let me dig anywhere around them.

Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated.

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62 Comments

  1. I said it on one of your earlier posts that I just love that coffee bar corner! If I get such a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing it in a picture, I can only imagine how cozy it is in person! Other people have commented that raised planters may be a good solution – I’d second that! I have every confidence that you will figure it out!

  2. Brenda … How about using raised planters? You could get several to border your patio and they would eliminate having to bend or stoop. You could use a tall counter stool that would allow you to sit yet comfortably work in the planters when standing is uncomfortable. Just a thought! There are many options for them.
    https://www.amazon.com/Best-Choice-Products-Vegetable-Vegetables/dp/B01CQ7A0DQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?crid=1HKTEM154BWAG&keywords=raised+planters&qid=1646875097&sprefix=raised+planters%2Caps%2C137&sr=8-4

  3. Good Morning to all of you;
    I called Brenda yesterday evening and we had a lovely talk. I now understand the how and why she keeps away from subject matter covered in the news, having gotten much negative response from readers of her blog. Yes, I can appreciate the reason for keeping her blog posts free of the current news. It has been a delight to read her blog, I look forward to reading whatever she chooses as the topic of the day.

    1. Thank you so much for posting your update Kate. Most misunderstandings can be cleared up with communication. I felt your pain and compassion for Ukraine. I too am praying for peace. I am also grateful for Brenda’s blog as it is my welcome “refuge” from the greater world.

    2. Good morning Kate. I’m glad you reached out to Brenda privately, to clear up any misunderstandings. I’m sure she appreciated it, as do we. Thank you for sending us all a heart felt message. It was nice to read.

    3. Yes. Understand. Bloggers are open to the public in countless ways.. Easy to know they must watch their words/subjects. Just how it is now. Will probably always be. So many differences of opinions. Mind boggling to me one cannot have a decent conversation about (all) ongoing matters.

  4. Brenda I think your column is perfect as is, please don’t change it. It is a way to escape for a bit each day.

    I’m sorry the meloxicam didn’t work for you. I took it for years and it really gave me relief for my bad back. But that relief came with a price. Last summer I ended up in the hospital with a badly ruptured diverticula. The dr said it was likely caused from the meloxicam.

  5. Why do people have to be so miserable??????
    Never noticed anywhere in your blog title that mentions current events! Sheesh if that’s what you’re looking for turn on the tv and watch CNN.
    in my area they sell something called patio tomato plants,they’re in a container and they’re pretty well established, maybe that’s something you could look into,I’ve seen them at Lowes,we have a very short growing season here,its not unheard of to have a freeze through Memorial Day!
    Feel better,keep taking it slow,don’t let the keyboard kooks get to you.Gracie is very cute,sounds like she’s a little shy😻

  6. I’ve thinking about your gardening challenge most of the day and I believe very simple raised containers may be the answer. Next time you run into your neighbor, Steve ask him what his thoughts might be. Bear in mind, he might be looking for something to occupy his mind. I bet he’ll have simple but wonderful ideas.
    On a side note – we’re hearing quite a bit about the situation in the Ukraine via the news. Someone else said that this is her spot to fall. It’s mine, as well, and I like it that way. It’s very easy for someone to walk away without judging the content of your blog. Gentle ((hugs)) dear lady – I’m so sorry you’ve been experiencing crying fits.

  7. Dear Brenda, I wonder if the dirt could be dug out the concrete blocks, filled with potting soil and planted with perennials. I understand it would be tricky but I’m always looking for gardening opportunities every where I have lived. Love your new apartment!! It’s beautiful and has your special touch.

  8. Sometimes in this life you just cannot believe what people have the gull to say…I read you every day because in this world you are a soft place to fall…it helps me forget for moment all the grief..all the sadness…like a much needed hug from a friend..so sorry for your pain..bless you always 💕

  9. How about a raised bed on legs? Amazon has several to select from. Maybe they could sit on the brick portion. Lenten Rose and Hostas do well in shade. So do impatients. I know you will come up with the perfect solution.

  10. Was thinking you really chose Gracie’s name well…lovely that she is snuggle bug…what a comfort that must be to you, Brenda!! Sure hope you find someone who can actually help you with your pain…I think some docs must never have had pain themselves…so how could they really understand? Pain is a strong teacher!! Try to rest and give your body time to heal if you can!! I don’t know if some Frankincense and Myrrh would help you but I have had some bad leg pain of late and nothing, not even Ibuprofen seemed to really stop it…but a few times of Frankincense and Myrrh has done wonders. Here is the link where I get it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PXLKQZJ?ref=nb_sb_ss_w_as-ypp-rep_ypp_rep_k0_1_5&amp&crid=QS8J5VMQ6MJQ&amp&sprefix=frank and amazingly it does not take that many drops to help!!

  11. Oh, dear me. Why must someone complain that you aren’t writing more about the horrible situation in Ukraine? We are all aware of it, even inundated with the daily news of it. All of us with any conscience or compassion are horrified by it and yet it does no good to submerse ourselves in the pain 24/7. Your blog, Brenda, is a place to briefly look away from the pain and suffering that most of us can’t do any thing about. It doesn’t mean that you and we don’t care. Yours is not a political blog and you don’t need to make it one. That’s my opinion, anyway.

    Regarding your patio and planting plans, I know you’ll come up with some beautiful solutions, scaled down from what you did at the other place. Just think how frustrating it would be if you were still living there with your current level of pain trying to do all that you normally did on that large space. Maybe the smaller space is a blessing and will cause you less frustration, not to mention pain, in the long run. Just a thought.

    Sending you healing energy and love.

    1. This past week has been a really painful one. I could not have done what I typically did on that other patio. I know that now. I don’t know why people think they need to tell me what to write. I’ve been doing this for 13 years. More often than not, I find that people ask me to write about other things so they can shift away from that kind of news a little bit.

  12. Brenda
    You share your heart with us many times. I enjoy every blog you write. I go back and reread many and comments. It bothers me that some cannot read and if they dislike what they read or don’t find. Cant they just move on? We all feel and think differently. Bless you and I wish you many pain free days ahead.

    1. I don’t know why they stay long enough to leave a negative comment. Just go to another blog is what I would do. No comments at all are necessary.

      1. Maybe some ajuga ground cover planted amongst the gravel? It loves shade. Maybe you could ask your grandkids to come and plant/ help with the planting and lifting and then order in a yummy dinner for all to share. Maybe a few pots of flowers scattered around too, instead of digging. Or maybe the handyman could do it?
        Just ideas. A few chains in trees with hanging baskets? Might be hard to water those though.

  13. How about some sort of vertical outdoor planter. You can keep it on the patio, where it’s level and safe for you to walk around. The vertical space would allow more plants. That in addition to some pretty containers would be lovely, I think.

  14. Brenda, I know you were finally able to get the MRI of your ankle and foot. And I know you said that your doctor that did it thought that physical therapy would be the solution. I don’t know why that doctor thought it would help when you’ve been doing physical therapy for 10 years and no improvement. I have a lot of orthopedic issues from old injuries and I have found relief from PRP therapy. It is not covered by insurance and it is not cheap but it is amazing for healing. I’m sure there is someone in Tulsa doing it.

    1. He knew that the bones fused at the top of my foot after it healed from surgery. It didn’t cause any other problems for a long time. Then I guess that fusion stretched the limits of the tendons and tissue underneath, and now they’re strained too. Physical therapy feels great when she does it, like today. But then I leave and start doing things and walking and here we go again. I don’t know how I’d handle surgery living alone. Today I am wearing the lift I ordered that someone mentioned on my left foot. Hoping it might at least help my hip. I’ll check into this other therapy though.

  15. Maybe some ground cover like lantana could be planted above the cinder blocks and trail over it. I planted two jasmines in a long rectangular planter and put them under my kitchen window on a trellis. They have grown so much they are now doubling over and back down. I don’t know if I can propagate them if I cut them but I’d love to. Just take it easy. Your other bedroom will happen when it happens.

  16. Brenda, enjoy all your decorating ideas, your home looks great. I agree with one of above post, possibly use pot plants on block, start slow and try different plants to determine what will work in this area. I like to plant Hosta in pots for shaded area, have good luck growing in containers, like the look of big green leaves on this plant, and they are perennials. Like you, I have to be careful working with plants, trying not to fall or stumble. I use a garden stool to sit on while working on some plants. Lot of good suggestions for this area, the ideas will come to you, look forward to seeing your plans. It will be fun trying new plants and arranging them. Stay Safe!
    .

    1. I keep thinking about the various hostas I left in that raised garden. Wish I had them now, but could not bring all that I wanted. Guess I’ll be shopping for more, as I love them.

  17. The uneven nature of the outside space, especially with all the small stones and the concrete blocks would not work for me either. When I first saw your photos of that area, I kinda thought – maybe not so good. The idea of containers of plants right around your sweet patio,entrance area seems a good plan for this planting season.
    And I love your blog and feel it’s so much your personal place to write about whatever you decide. Just don’t understand how folks feel that you need to address everything under the sun. Not OUR blog. We know that you are a good,kind,compassionate person who is experiencing a lot of physical pain right now. And wishing you better days.
    Mary

    1. I’m probably going to do containers only. At least this year. They have an irrigation system so probably would be afraid to dig in the dirt much anyway.

  18. You will find inspiration with you go to your favorite nursery. My advise is to start small this year with flowers and pots of vegetables. You had many years to create your garden before. Sweet potato vines and other green vegetables could cover the bricks. I had a friend who combines spinach seeds, mustard green seeds for a ground over. It was beautiful with zinnias. Take your time.and enjoy starting over

    1. I would only have morning sun. I don’t know if vegetables would work without full sun. Will have to do some reading on the subject.

  19. Could a lattice/trellis be put up in in or next to those concrete blocks? Not to block off your patio, just to individualize it some. If so then you could plant some brightly colored flowering annuals that are climbers such as nastuturiums, or perhaps a vegetable that would do well like beans/peas/cucumbers. Gradually add pots of different sizes so you can enjoy your area without overtaxing yourself. Perhaps a tomato plant or two might be worked in. Who doesn’t enjoy the taste of a home-grown tomato ripened on the vine? I’m suggesting annuals rather than perennials so that you would have a chance over the Summer to see just how the sun hits the area at different times. I hope that your new home brings you much joy.

    1. I don’t know how I’d be able to hold up a trellis over in that area. If I end up doing a small fence like many of the other residents, that will likely be next summer. But I’ll see. A fence would help me define the area.

  20. I am loving seeing how you decorate your apartment and make it look so inviting and comfortable. Thank you for sharing with us. Amazon sells regular size light bulb for your lamp that is also a plant light. Hope the link works.
    Grow Light Bulbs, Briignite LED Grow Light Bulb A19 Bulb, Full Spectrum Grow Light Bulb, Plant Light Bulbs E26 Base, 11W Grow Bulb 100W Equivalent, Grow Light for Indoor Plants, Seed Starting, 2Pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091DLFDL9/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_AM4TGFV5EWRMAS78J3XV

  21. Until your ankle and hip get better, maybe this season you will have to content yourself with just planting in small pots and placing them around your patio and resting some of them on top of that concrete block wall (be careful pushing those rocks and stones back out of the way so you don’t strain anything). I know for a dedicated gardener that will be a massive sacrifice, but you need to think of your physical well-being first and foremost. Get that back to the best it can be, and proceed from there, maybe next year. The other thing is that making this a year of minimal planting in movable pots will give you insight into how the sun moves through the space throughout the day and give you insight into what kinds of plants would best work in certain areas of the patio and garden area.

    1. I may have to do that. I have had crying fits lately over both the extent of the pain and what you just wrote about my ability to do the whole garden thing. Those raised concrete blocks really pose a problem for me. My balance is already off and I don’t want to fall. I just got back from PT and I feel great for a while after I come home, but it doesn’t last long, unfortunately. And I found I couldn’t tolerate the Meloxicam.

      1. My sister loves Lee Child and the Jack Reacher books. I’ve read one so far and it was really enjoyable. Neither of us have watched the movies but I can recommend the books.
        I hope some of the suggestions end up helping you with the pain. There has to be something more out there.
        I wonder if the yard must stay that way or if it can be levelled out and made more user friendly.
        Gracie and Ivy are both adorable in their own ways.

  22. Thank you for checking in everyday. You are like an old friend to many people. I am sorry some choose to criticize your blog. Please do not give those few negative comments overwhelm all the positive ones. I don’t write in very often but I do read you almost everyday. Thank you again for your wonderful site.
    Susan B

    1. I’ve had lots of negative comments over the years. Sometimes it bothered me. But I’m dealing with a lot of pain right now and ugly comments just don’t seem as significant as they once did when compared with trying to walk and drive a car. If they want to read about that stuff, they should start their own blog.

  23. Brenda; I have been reading your blog for many years and enjoyed your subject matter a lot and was someone who thought of you as a friend. However, your lack of mention of the situation in Ukraine has really upset me. I tried to message you about this, but you are apparently checking messages and only those that meet your approval get published. I tried to unsubscribe from your blog today and could not find the unsubscribe option – please unsubscribe me.

    1. Dear Kate – allow me to insert myself here for a moment. Anyone who truly has come to know Brenda through her blog has seen the beauty of her character shine through. She is a gentle, caring, compassionate soul who, without a doubt, grieves deeply for the current injustice in Ukraine. Remember how she befriended Issac and helped him through problems, giving him supplemental pay for odd jobs at her previous apartment? Remember the amount of time and loving care she devoted to her pets to keep them pain free for as long as she could? Brenda is not a cold person dismissive of people or animals in trouble. I’m not sure why Brenda has not responded to your messages. Perhaps the thought of what is going on now in Europe has dismayed her to the point of substituting mundane news as a form of relief for us all. I identify with that – I can barely watch cable news to witness the pain, yet I feel guilty as soon as I turn it off. I live in a constant stream of prayer for Ukraine. I know you are suffering as well. I wish you peace.

      1. Yes, Brenda is very compassionate and I know she’s saddened by what’s going on in Ukraine so I completely agree with you but I also think that everyone should realize that her blog is hers to write what she wishes, she’s not a news channel covering current events.

    2. I get slammed when I mention current events and politics. So I’ve stopped writing about them. I did not get your messages. I always respond. I’m not sure how you messaged me, but I didn’t get it. Sure, I’ll unsubscribe you.
      No problem.

      1. Kate, I clicked on your name and no email address comes up. Email me your email address and I’ll unsubscribe you. I can’t do it without that because I have more than one Kate on the subscriber list.

    3. Why, oh, why does Brenda have to jump through your hoop? It’s HER blog, for goodness sake! The airwaves are full of Ukraine. Maybe some of us want some respite from that situation and soothe ourselves with her blog.

    4. Kate, perhaps Brenda doesn’t talk about Ukraine on her blog because it will get political – and she doesn’t want to go there. Or perhaps she looks at her blog as a place for all of us (herself AND her readers) to get away from the news of Ukraine. Regardless of her reasons, this is HER blog and she can write about anything she wants. If you want more news or thoughts on the situation in Ukraine, then perhaps you should write your own blog posts about it.

  24. I use these bulbs in my office when the light isn’t the best for my plants, or on gray winter days https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085ZVM2R7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 … these may not fit your existing lamp, but there are numerous bulbs that you can get that might fit your existing lamp or another lamp for that area. I use a clip-on overhead lamp that I can move around my office, clipped to this or that bookshelf or over my art table when extra light is needed.

    I hope you can come up with some ideas for containers and such that could sit on the uneven turf outside your apartment, maybe things that wouldn’t need daily tending, since the ground is uneven.

    I’d also be interested to hear how you are adjusting to wall-to-wall carpeting after living a place with other types of flooring. Are you thinking about getting a roomba-type vacuum?

    I’ve really enjoyed watching your decorate your new and less problematic space, and I love what you did with the kitchen mirror, the valence does such a fantastic job of obscuring the off-center boob light, and is complementary to the other curtains. Just love it.

    Can’t wait to see what you do with the extra bedroom/office. I call our extra bedroom my office-artroom-sanitarium, and it’s complete with a daybed under the window for this or that occasional guest, or for an afternoon read or crochet space. I bet you’re going to love having that space designated for your creativity and such.

    1. I did a quick check on the internet and as Anne said, there are different kinds of plant grow light bulbs available at Amazon and they’re not very expensive – seems most of them come in 3 packs and they look like they can be screwed into a regular lamp socket. I’m going to check into this further for myself as I have plants in my living room that often don’t get enough light and would benefit from this kind of light bulb.

    2. I rarely comment on anything I read .I read your blog every day and enjoy it..The comments from Kate moved me to write…In my mind she has no right to judge what you write about or for that matter , no right to judge anyone or anything…She has a right to her opinion, but not the right to force it on anyone…she doesn’t have to read your blog I am sure no one forces her to… Anyone with a heart cares about their fellow human beings…Please keep doing what you do..you bring light into alot of people’s lives..Something we all need …Take care…..

    3. I’ve been in a lot of pain in my hip and ankle the past week, so I’m moving slow on the office. I’d love to have it all finished, but my body is not complying with my desires. I’ll get there. I hope in the next few days. I thought the wall to wall carpet would bother me, but it doesn’t. I’ve looked at the Roombas, but they are expensive and I think one would scare the kitties half to death. Ivy can’t even handle the rolling light.

  25. Is there dirt in the blocks where you could put plants in if that is something you would want to do. Have a great day

    1. I think there is dirt in them. I’d have to plant succulents or something like them because that small amount of room in concrete would get hot fast.

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