1. There was a post yesterday on Bloglovin from ‘Confessions of a Serial Do-it-yourselfer’ on how to make a rolling umbrella stand. It looks perfect for your patio. Perhaps one of your handy daughters could make one for you? Just a thought…here’s the link.


  2. Hi Brenda:

    I am just the opposite of you in the sleeping department. The older I get, the later I want to sleep. I also stay up a LOT later than I used to. Probably because I don’t need to get up for work any more. Could you attach a painters drop cloth to your fence on one side and then pull it across and attach it with nails or clamps to the other side when you need to cover the plants? I know they are very inexpensive.

    Love seeing the fur babies. I am especially fond of Charlie. He is very special.


  3. I’ve been waking up earlier only because of the sun rising so early. We have blackout curtains in our bedroom but the way the sun hits our window just so at a certain time, it comes it over the top of the curtain rod. Oh well, I don’t mind. I like getting up early and having my tea or coffee and then getting things done. I sleep in later in the winter when it’s dark.

    All of my friends and family (including my husband) that work outside the home have all been back to work for awhile now, except for one of my friends who is still working from home. Those who work in offices said they sit far apart from other people, plus things are disinfected constantly.

  4. When I was in Nantucket I once saw where a lady shaded her hydrangea from the sun with an umbrella at the hottest part of the day. She just propped it up somehow. Nothing fancy. But I’m thinking they have those kinds you screw on a beach chair that you might be able to attach to your pots to provide some relief. Anyway good luck and take care!

  5. Could you use a patio umbrella on a stand? They’re easy to shift the cover if your stand is flexible. Just a thought.

  6. Brenda, I thought of you Sunday afternoon and now your post has reminded me to tell you what I saw. In front of a house with beautiful flowers, I saw what I guess was a “shade sail.” It was a triangular piece of fabric roughly the size of a full or queen bed sheet made from a light-colored striped fabric — probably canvas. At each of the three corners was attached a cord several feet long. One or two of the corners was attached to a fence similar to yours and the other(s) were attached to the ground with what appeared to be tent stake(s). It was obvious that it could be configured in different ways to fit the situation. I had the impression it was a purchased item but could be easily made using canvas drop cloths, small rope and tent stakes (or those made to attach a pet’s leash). Hope this helps and good luck finding what works for you.

    Sherry in Little Rock

  7. I was in Home Depot today and there are still packs of flower and vegetable seeds. Maybe if Kendra is in such a store getting supplies for her flip house she could pick up some packs of zinnias for you.

  8. Try cementing PVC pipe into 5 gallon buckets to put you sail or shade cloth on. Can drill holes at top of pipe to affix. Or you can use 4×4 and have cut to length you need. Can also hook one side using hooks to eaves and then use the pe buckets along your fence

  9. Maybe you need to be sure Ivy gets less sleep in a day…would she play with something on the end of a little stick? Some cats…and dogs…like such. I got a pup once that did not want to sleep…my grandparents were visiting and my Grampie said, “We are going to keep this little feller awake today.” Heh, that dog got so tired no matter what we did, she would not wake up. Never had more sleep issues. But a cat by nature likes to be awake more at night…good luck.

    I read someplace that if you eat some raisins before going to bed, it will help with arthritis. Hubby has a shoulder that bothers him a lot. On the nights we remember for him to eat the raisins, he does seem to have less pain. If one is not allergic to raisins, seems a harmless thing to try out. Hope you feel better soon!!

  10. I know exactly what you mean about not being able to sleep late in the morning. I cannot sleep past 6:30. Not only are my bones aching but one of our dogs sleeps with me and she cannot sleep past 6:30 so up I get. I like to get up early anyway and start my day. I cannot nap during the day so by 9 pm I can’t keep my eyes open !

  11. The stump with flowers growing is funny.
    My neighbor has a tent type covering for his dogs. It has been there less than two years. We usually do not have much wind. The material on the canopy has holes in it from that weather. His dogs are out under this in the Texas heat all day and night.

  12. Hello Brenda- I will try to explain an idea for a make shift shade – use a flat sheet- ( not a good one). Use a staple gun to attach the sheet to your fence – one side only. Insert long Stakes into pots that need shading- like bamboo .when the sun becomes to intense drape the sheet or sheets over the bamboo to shade the plants. I have seen the bamboo sold in bundles at Home Depot. You can use any thing for a stake – as long as it keeps the weight of the sheet off your plants .When the sun is less intense let the sheet hang down against the fence. AM suggesting this because nothing is heavy- I’m sure your daughter has a staple gun- I love your plants- Do not want you to hurt yourself 😊

  13. For shade ideas, google ‘homemade diy patio shade’ for ideas. Plastic plumbing pipe a light material for a frame. A project to make with your grandson?? My idea, if you can stretch a line along your fence, made from that plastic covered spring curtain ‘rod’ hung with old sheer curtains from a thrift store and the other end attached to a movable stand made from plastic pipe….or something similar!!!!!

  14. For sure I agree with you Brenda re arthritis and lack if proper rest. Me too.
    R.A. is no party. Gets increasingly worse daily. EVERYTHING is sore. Some days I can barely change my cotton socks. Tenderness throughout body.

    My idea was a few jumbo umbrellas. Easy to do if not overly windy.

    Glad there’s no need for me to buy anything. Well, I live slippers. Nice to be able to order. Usually from Zappos for best deal.

    Hope you sleep tonight. Feels so good when we are well rested. Any extra hour you can grab is wonderful for our health, our disposition.

    Nice chatting Brenda. Have a great Tuesday!

    1. I’ve actually got much better sleep in the past 5 days after Charlie is taking Zyrtec. It’s helping till around 4-5 a.m.

    1. Yes I have. But OK is VERY windy. I have never had an umbrella on the patio. But the wind blew down a big sturdy gazebo in 2017.

  15. Hello Brenda, I am sorry that you are having a bit of a rough day. Make sure that when you are outside that you have water and your phone, just in case you get dizy or have a problem.

    Email me your address, I have some zina seed packets if you want them and will put them in the mail asap.

    As for the shade, I agree with the others, either an umbrella or something you can attach to to the fence.

    Have a wonderful day.

  16. Brenda I have two umbrellas that are on heavy bases that has a handle to roll the umbrellas where you want them. The bases are very heavy, you just want to make sure you let the umbrellas down at night,in case of storms and winds. Mine have worked great as I can move them around. I got these at sams club last year. I noticed they don’t have them this year, but you might find them on line with the heavy roll around bases.

  17. Possibly something like adjustable light-weight steel tent poles (check out cabelas.com, search for adjustable tent poles) would work to hold up a shade sail.

    For zinnia seeds, try edenbrothers.com and bentleyseeds.com. Also I happened upon this stunning dark dark purple poppy that is called “Double Black” for $3.95 a pack at Eden Brothers. Absolutely gorgeous, I’ve never seen anything like it.

    I’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. or 5:30 a.m., it depends on whether it’s overcast outside. When my bedroom gets light enough signalling the sun is rising, I just wake up. I had a window partially opened last night because it was cooling off somewhat outside and there was a breeze that felt good for a change. I can clearly hear the robins and other birds start to sing about 4 a.m., LOL! A cold front was slowly coming through and this morning brought much drier and cooler air out of the northeast – it’s gorgeous outside right now and I even wore a light jacket when I hiked to the supermarket early this morning. There’s something to be said about rising early. And since I am fortunate enough to be retired the summertime is my time to take naps; I’ll stretch out on the sofa and snooze for sometimes up to 2 hours, but I don’t mind because it’s still bright daylight out when I wake up. I also am a relatively early to bed person. I usually am in bed shortly after 9 p.m. “Staying up late” for me these days is after 10 p.m.!

    What’s that old saying – something like “Early to bed, early to rise makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy and wise.” LOL!

    1. I’m a morning person and I rarely make it staying up past 9:30 myself. I’ve checked Eden Brothers already today. I will try the other one and check out this poppy. I typically get black petunias, but they didn’t have them this year.

  18. Maybe a 1×1 pieceof lumber from the building supply. You can usually get them about 8 feet long. If the fence post is rotten, maybe you could use zip ties to attach it. Alternatively PVC or metal pipe might work.

    1. I just want something I can order online and have delivered, as I don’t plan to go into stores.

      1. Here we can do curbside pick up Lowes, Home Depot and Ace Hardware.

  19. You might try cane fishing poles to use as stakes for the shade cloth.

  20. Brenda, if you have to buy a big pack of seeds to get what you want, put the rest of them in the refrigerator. I worked in a nursery for a few years and that’s what we would do.
    Good luck

  21. Brenda,
    I sympathize with your struggles of trying to save and protect your garden. Maybe your daughter has some thoughts regarding a shade roof of some sorts. As a renter, are you allowed to do improvements to your landlord’s property? What if you bought a small house? What if you and your daughter bought a house together and you rented from her? You would be free to make changes. Also, most neighborhoods have streets with trees. They tend to be cooler because of less asphalt and cement. Just some thoughts…
    I’m glad your “Charlie” is having easier nights. As for allergies, I think it must be nationwide. I have several friends who have moved from Washington state to other areas. One friend is in Las Vegas and she told me yesterday that her eyes were in absolute misery. She just saw a Dr. who prescribed drops and an ointment!
    As for your back, a jacuzzi will work wonders. We got a small one about 8 years ago and it’s the best investment for aches and pains I’ve ever used! No drugs needed!
    Take it easy for the next few days..

    1. My daughter would help me but she’s recovering from surgery, the older and the younger one both. We’ve tried Kendra buying and my renting from her, but it led somehow to problems and we decided to keep things like that separate. I don’t know that I could handle a house and yard at this point in my life. I don’t want anymore room than I have now and you don’t find many one bedroom houses.I apply ice and heat to my sore spots every night.

  22. You definitely need some shade. It is so hot where you live. I got a small packet of zinnia seeds on Etsy. xo Laura

  23. I know what you mean about everything being snatched up. I could use a better looking pair of sketchers slip on’s and when I check QVC website, my color and size of the style I want is out of stock. So then I get an email that what I was looking at is in stock again so go take a look and I check and no it isn’t. I said I could use and not need as right now nothing is needed for me except medicine and pet and human food runs so I will just wait it out till I feel a majority of people are abiding by CDC recommendations on this virus spreading and then will do some shopping at a store I know that carries them.

    1. I have signed up for so many items to get an email when something is back in stock. Then, like you, I go there and it isn’t there. Not sure what’s going on there. Where I live, I rarely see a mask and people will come right up to you. That’s why I’m not going out. Like you, I want to see people take this thing more seriously. When I wear a mask, I’m protecting others. I’d like for them to be generous enough to wear a mask to protect me.

  24. Hi Brenda. I’m not suggesting that this would look lovely but for emergency shade how about sinking a long piece of 2” pvc in your larger pots and adding inexpensive patio umbrellas that can be opened when needed. Just a thought. Take good care of yourself. Judi

  25. Last summer, We scattered the zina seeds from the dead flowers As we cut them off. We have a bumper crop this year.

  26. So happy you enjoy your little heaven created on your patio. We all need a special little sanctuary we can go to especially now. Love the little plants popping up through the tree stump. Shows that life goes on. Have a good week.

  27. If you screw an eye hook into the fence, you could add a carabiner clip to it, which would give you a connection point to attach a shade cloth.

    1. I’ll see if I can do that. But the fence is rotten and before I was not able to get a nail to stay in. I’ll keep trying. Thanks!

      1. Are any of the posts that the fence is attached to sturdy and stable enough? If so, an eye hook could be screwed into one or more of the stable posts, which are sunk down into concrete (more than likely) and would be very stable. Or what about screwing an eye hook into the tree trunk or a larger overhanging branch, if you can reach it? That would be sturdy enough too.

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