daffodils.jpg

(Gorgeous shot of daffodils found at Eight Days A Week.  These are exactly the sort that are blooming in my front yard this morning.)

Look what is blooming in my front yard.  Yep, the daffodils are up and nodding their buttery blossoms in the sunshine, and I've even got a bright red tulip or two beginning to bud.  Thank goodness the snow and ice appears to have gone for good — winter was dragging me down this year.

I've been paging through all of my gardening books and magazines for the last month, trying to bring myself some sunshine by photographic proxy, and dreaming of the days when the earth would be warm enough and friable enough to make the pilgrimage to the garden center of joy (that's Freed's Greenhouse in Shinnston, for those of you who live in WV).  Suddenly, the warmer days are giving me some gardening hope, and I noticed yesterday afternoon that the honeysuckle bush behind our mailbox had started the tiny leaf buds that will burst out all at once when the sun gets a little more faithful.

Ahhhhhh.  Just take a peek at the photo above, and breathe in the joy that is spring.

Southern Living has an article on their website about easy grow petunias — new variations on the "wave" variety theme – and suddenly, I'm having delusions of beautiful container blooms on our porches.  It seems that every year I have these huge plans in the late winter and early spring, and then never quite find the time to bring them into reality as the warmer weather approaches.  Might be something to do with the full time blogging, the full time momma duties, and the whole work in the house, be a wife, and try and squeeze out some "me time" thing — but this year, I have vowed to be smarter about the planning.

And I'm asking for all of your help to do it.

Let's take a little time today to talk about gardening schemes — and, for that matter, healthy cooking schemes — that take a little planning up front but yield great results with not a whole lot of maintenance and constant tending on the back end.  What I'm asking for is this:  some easy to live with plants, that will take some neglect and still look halfway decent, even in the hot, humid summers that we get here.  Or some meals that are relatively easy to throw together, still healthy — and tasty — but that don't take me hours to do the prep work, let alone the actual cooking.

I figured if I am looking for some shortcuts and some easy grow ideas and some things to just make my life a little simpler to manage, a whole lot of folks in the readership are looking for the same as well.  Just managing one four-year-old, a dachshund, a kitty, and Mr. ReddHedd is enough some days to wear me out completely — how some of you manage with several kids is truly amazing.  But it sure seems like, more and more often anyway, everyone I know is just walking around exhausted or desperately trying to eke out an extra twenty minutes for themselves somewhere in the day.  So I thought we could put our collective brains together and swap the ways that we cut a few corners, or plan a little smarter, or whatever it is that we are doing to give ourselves that little bit of extra time or ease of living.  And yet still manage to plant a few tomatoes and herbs and flowers to enjoy for the summer along the way.

While we're at it this morning, just take a moment to enjoy that next sip of warm coffee.  And pause, just for a moment, and think about all those things for which you are grateful in your life.  I don't take the time to do that nearly enough, but every time I do, it always makes me smile.  Thought you all could use a smile this morning as well.

I was talking to TRex about this earlier this week, but Mr. ReddHedd discovered the best thing on our new HD cable with the new, glorious, big screen teevee.  (Yes, it's still a love affair for Mr. ReddHedd.  How could it not be with March Madness, I mean honestly?)  It's called "Sunrise Earth," and it comes on every day on the DiscoveryHD channel.  Every day, they pick some lovely spot on our planet and film the sunrise.  No irritating background music.  No voiceover blabbity-blab.  Just you and nature and a beautiful sunrise.  If you have HDTV, you have to check this out.  I swear, it is instant stress relief — your entire body just goes "ahhhhhhhh" and you can literally feel yourself exhale.  Amazing stuff — especially if you record it on your DVR, and watch it just before bedtime.

It's Saturday morning, so kick back and relax a bit, and talk about what you've been doing to ease things off a notch or two.  If you have some no fail plant ideas, please do share.  Or some things that have worked to make your gardening life easier, even with fussier plants.  Here's one from me:  add another layer of mulch around your plants and they retain moisture better in the heat of the summer.  How about healthy, yet low fuss, eating ideas?  (Or just some ideas to get your incredibly picky four-year-old to eat something beyond guacamole, yogurt, cereal and cheese.  But maybe that's just me this month.)  Whatever it is that you are doing to make your life better, let's talk about it this morning.  Pull up a chair…