Happiness is Time in the Yard

I defer to Jane and all the other gardeners here when it comes to planting–everything I put in the ground dies and let’s not talk about me and house plants–but when it comes to sitting outside, I am a champ. I live high on a hill over a lake that used to be a river (long story) and while I let my land go to hell for the past three years, I am now starting to take at least my side yard back. I can drag my lawn furniture over to the fence and sit there and crochet while watching the river/lake wander past below, and it’s so beautiful and peaceful. It’s too bright to work on anything with a screen out there, which is good because I spend too much time looking into screens already. I don’t even feel that bad about the overgrown yard: it’s good for nature. So little by little, I am settling into spring and the paradise I live in. It’s good to sit in the yard.

What made you happy this week?

49 thoughts on “Happiness is Time in the Yard

  1. Not reading the news makes me happy right now. My sons loving music makes me happy. Of course sometimes that means I have to listen to a lot of “their” music, but they’re young enough that they still like Mom and Dad’s music.
    And in the last few months, we’ve realized older son on the autism spectrum knows a lot of song lyrics. Even at 11, he doesn’t have a lot of unscripted spontaneous speech, but if you start singing a song and then pause, he will finish the lyrics. Dozens of songs. Songs we listen to all the time and songs (as far as I know) he hasn’t listened to in years. We’ve always known he understands and retains a lot more than he can show, but it’s always nice to have confirmation.

    I think after this I’m turning off my phone and taking an Internet break.

  2. I took some time to prune the camellias yesterday, reveling in the sunshine and warmth. It’s the first gardening type of activity I’ve done since my fall. It felt good, and it makes me happy to see the results. I even found last year’s bird nest, not currently being used.

    And right now I have a kitty rubbing and purring around me. That makes me happy.

  3. Sat with my my by the ocean on Friday for a few minutes when the sun was just going down. All bundled up. We often sit out there to watch the sea and the planes fly to and from Europe. We’re happening people. Of course, no planes for a while.
    I brought the (very heavy, made from recycled milk carton) chairs out so we can have a fire on the first day of spring. Trying to think ahead to make sense of the coming weeks and come out of it with more than news scanning, worry, and anger.
    Will take long walks and read good books and take some online courses on an aspect of technical writing I need to explore.
    But pussy willows, birds singing, red-wing black birds, daffodils showing up, it’s pretty happy-making!

    1. Fellow tech writer here. Just curious: what aspect of tech writing are you going to explore?

  4. I had friends over for dinner. We made pizza, and ate pie, and just relaxed, and it helped me recenter so much. We all work in the arts, so it’s been a long week, and it was just really good to be around friends.

    1. These are particularly hard times for people working in the arts, with so much being cancelled. I hope you and your friends are okay, Cate.

      1. We’re doing fine. We’re all in marketing/ box office stuff, which has been incredibly hectic, but we still have jobs when performances get canceled, which isn’t true for all of our coworkers.

  5. Despite all the craziness happening due to covid9 , I managed to get all my grocery shopping done yesterday. It took visiting several stores to find everything but I now have cat food/litter, goldfish food, people food (and yes, I even found a 6pack roll of tp!). I then got a really nice walk in along the canal trail and enjoyed a large chai latte later in the afternoon.

    Today is a chilly (39 degrees F) but sunny day. I have the laundry nearly done and plan to go for another extended walk somewhere afterwards. I really like walking out in nature.

  6. Yesterday I read in Argh a comment by Susan Berger that she was snacking on Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies, so that made me go to the refrigerator and sure and begorah I found a nip bottle of the liquid gold. Looked up a recipe on Google. So instead of Irish Soda Bread I made brownies. Thanks Susan

    1. Oh, faith and begorra, that sounds amazin’! I’m heading off to find the recipe because I have a bottle of Irish Cream in my fridge… yum!!

    2. They are amazing, aren’t they. https://www.spendwithpennies.com/baileys-brownies/#wprm-recipe-container-121570
      Rich fudgy brownies with a fluffy buttery Baileys frosting and topped with a rich boozy Baileys chocolate ganache. These are definitely the best brownies we’ve ever had!

      1 Boxed Fudge Brownie Mix 9×13 size , plus box indicated ingredients or your favorite homemade brownies
      Baileys Frosting
      3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
      1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream
      3 cups powdered sugar
      Baileys Ganache
      3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
      2 tablespoons heavy cream
      1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream
      Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest


      Prepare brownies according to package directions. Cool completely.
      Baileys Frosting
      Beat butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add in Baileys and mix well.
      Add powdered sugar a little at a time until completely incorporated. Beat until soft and fluffy.
      Spread over brownies and refrigerate while making the Baileys ganache.
      Combine Baileys and heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring just to a boil and immediately pour over chocolate chips. Let sit 5 minutes without stirring.
      Whisk until smooth and spread over frosted brownies. Let sit at room temperature about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until set.
      Calories: 119, Carbohydrates: 12g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 20mg, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 120IU, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.2mg
      KEYWORDbaileys brownies

  7. Friends visited and we drove out to the coast. It was easy to get a hotel and restaurant reservations and we visited the shops that were open and tried to buy something at most of them. There were so few tourists it was almost self-isolating. And we were being careful with hand washing and the like. After the winter these guys are hurting with people staying away. There are so many shops for sale and shuttered in a normal year. This year is going to finish a lot of them off.

    We had a great time with sunlight and glimpses of the ocean and staying up late playing Azul and drinking Irish whiskey and chatting. Vacationing with friends is so much fun.

  8. Went for a walk with a friend and enjoyed the primroses, violets and wood anemones on the hedgebanks. Also went to a couple of private views and so chatted to lots of friends – and half a dozen of us also went for an Indian. Today I went to three garden centres/nurseries and stocked up on compost, just in case they’re closed down. Finished up at Powis for an hour and walked all round the garden: the wild daffodils were out.

    It all started to feel like a last hurrah; things are changing fast. I’m planning to go on gardening and working and phoning friends.

    I think you’ve got your priorities right, Jenny: I’m always telling people to fashion their garden round how they’d like to enjoy it – and especially, find the places that are best to sit and immerse yourself in nature. No digging required, unless you fancy it.

    1. PS. Bought myself an unusual yellow scabious, seed of Salvia patens (fabulous blue) and a self-fertile kiwi: this last being a very young and rather weedy plant, but only £3! Gardening day tomorrow!

  9. Beautiful days here on the west coast. Mowed the grass, front and back, first time this year. Good to get outside in the sunshine. All the perennials are breaking through the ground. Sun, wickedly cold wind and weeds.

    Happy eldest and wife did not leave for Morocco. They are so glad they did not go. They have shopped and now turned off the phones and hibernating for a couple of days. This is the second year in a row they tried to go to Morocco. Last year he broke his leg, this year the virus. Hmmm.

  10. Still in Canada visiting friends and doing work for the non-profit I volunteer for. I am enjoying it but starting to really look forward to being home with DH and cats. Not looking forward to being in the car for 6 hours, but that is always the case.

    Still snow here, so no sitting outside, but sunny and pretty so not complaining.

  11. My book group met last night – we discussed the book (Girl, Woman, Other) but also COVID19, etc. We are all 55+ and in good health but it’s a frightening to see how quickly the virus has spread in Italy and Spain. Canada has a robust pandemic/emergency management infrastructure but health systems are provincial and could be easily overwhelmed. For the time being, DH and I are going into are respective office – there are so few people in my building that it’s a form of social distancing. Having an active young dog requires us to take frequent walks – we’re waving at our neighbours from a respectable distance. Neighbours and friends are posting offers of help on FB, which is very nice to see. Hoping everyone stays safe and well.

  12. My Ukraine trip is off, so I’m rather pleased that I procrastinated so long over buying plane tickets, and don’t have to argue with the airlines about getting my money back. And I’ve been sitting out in the garden too, especially late evenings when the swifts are hunting insects overhead. Beautiful little creatures.

    I’m also happy because I’ve been able to start walking again – walked for twenty minutes yesterday on the beach, for the first time in more than 6 months.

  13. Been watching the gardens around the new house to see what’s coming up. We moved into this place December 5 and all the plants, etc. were cut back for the winter. I’ve already got some daffodils and Friday, we uncovered peonies, roses, irises, hens-and-chickens, ferns, and hostas. We also discovered that the two bushes on the side are lilacs! And there’s a burning bush, too. Excited to see my new yard blossom!!

    1. Sounds like it will be a fragrant and beautiful. Exciting, a “surprise” garden.

    2. The first couple of years in this house, every season was filled with fabulous surprises. Peonies, lilacs, apple trees, and bunch of flowers I didn’t know but loved. Congrats!

  14. I’ve been on a meandering car trip south with a Florida destination. We made it to our friends in Sarasota pretty much when everything got shut down. It’s beautiful sunny 85 degrees and nothing to do but sleep eat drink and hang out poolside. While in the pool we talked about that movie On The Beach where only Australia was left after a nuclear war. Our humor has become more Addams Family than Family Circus. Anyway. my friends garden is teeming with amaryllis blooms that the previous owner planted. They grow like happy weeds down here. So, I pretty much have been out on her lovely lanai since I woke up and dressed In my bathing suit. Our next stop cancelled so we are probably heading straight home from here. And that’s okay. There’s no place like home sometimes. It really is gorgeous in Fl right now, though.

    1. I remember that book and the movie. I read/watched it the same year as Failsafe. But in your movie, Australia wasn’t the only place left – it was the last place left, and they all died, too. I’m kind of hoping Covid 19 doesn’t go that way.

  15. Hoping to get outside more. But, it’s that time of the year when it’s pretty cold at night and takes most of the day to warm up. Still I should be able to do some Spring clean up in the yard.

    Baking cookies-oatmeal, chocolate chip with walnuts, also through in some salted caramel chips. I’ll have enough for 3+ weeks.

    Went out to lunch with my cousin. One server, a hostess, whoever was in the kitchen and about a dozen customers including us. My cousin wanted out of her apartment since her husband was making corned beef and cabbage for their son and a couple of friends. She thought it’d be a bit crowded in their senior apartment.

    Afterward I dropped her off to visit my other cousin, who is still hospitalized. Louise swears it’s going to be the final time she goes. Not sure what’ll happen there but one of Lilly’s nephews is in charge and a younger in-law also visits.

    Then I hit the liquor store for some gin. I only had enough for one gin and tonic. That will never do!

    Also filled the gas tank because who knows when people will go nuts and create chaos there.

    This has all made me pretty happy. I’m in good shape and my nearest and dearest are behaving sensibly.

  16. I started a fun jigsaw puzzle and took two naps. Finished the evening reading.
    Today I am doing Taxes at the VITA site, but I don’t have a client yet. On the way her I enjoyed looking at amazing clouds. I love cool weather

  17. Forgot to say! We had snow yesterday, and it was beautiful, and fun to see two neighbor kids get excited about it.

  18. Happy to take regular walks and see signs of spring: robins, crocuses, Dumpsters full of home renovation debris.

    To combat my COVID-19 fears, I’ve been following Mr. Rogers’ directive to look for the helpers. The state legislature extending the ban on utility shutoffs, so people can have electricity, heat and water. Internet service providers offering free service to homes with school-age kids, and other groups gathering devices for those kids. People texting and checking on each other. That makes me happy.

  19. This is going to sound bizarre, but my happiness today is my husband’s surgeon calling this afternoon and telling him that his back surgery, scheduled for tomorrow morning is NOT canceled.

    Its out-patient surgery, was originally scheduled for last Monday and the hospital called late last Sunday afternoon canceling it due to “staffing issues”. We were afraid that it was going to be postponed indefinitely due the powers that be requesting that all elective surgery be canceled for the foreseeable future. We got lucky and the hospital board decided not to pull the plug on elective surgeries until Tuesday.

    In the mean time we are practicing social-distancing…extensively for the next two weeks while my husband heals and after that he will probably try to limit going into the office to two days a week until we get past this. I work from home.

    Irony: planning to retire in less than a month so that I can get out of the house more and become more a part of the greater local community – all of my co-workers are spread all over the country. Looks like getting out of the house more will just mean taking walks and starting yard work for now….

  20. After agonizing for days, we decided not to attend a horse show in a near by town. Close contact is not an issue at these events but with all my health issues my husband did not want to take a chance. It was a relief to me – he has sacrificed so much for these 4 years for all my ailments and he was so looking forward to this, but with so much unknown it was hard to make a decision.

    1. Good. I’m kind of the same way, thinking that I’m healthy now and what’s the worst that could happen.

      Turns out, that’s death for people like us. Stay home.

  21. I spent most of my time in the yard today, too, but I was spray-painting some side tables that needed a serious overhaul and cleaning off the grill so I can make pork tenderloin this evening. It was wonderful being outside, and now that the pool is heated, even better.

  22. I got to see/have coffee with a friend who moved further north, and that made me very happy. We hugged hello and goodbye, which may be my last touching episode for awhile. Local library has not yet closed, so went yesterday and loaded up. Stood there and thought, I need some Jenny, and just finished re-reading Fast Women, which had me giggling.
    We had online church, which is not as satisfactory. I watched the service from the National Cathedral, which was better, of course. Also made roasted cauliflower steak for supper, with mozzarella cheese melted on it.
    The governor of Ohio has shut down pretty much everything–no work for me (except freelance), no bars or restaurants open, most libraries closed, my workout place going online, and my chorale rehearsals on hold. I’m trying to think of this as a retreat, waiting for it to warm up to walk. I used to be better at this, I think.

  23. I’m telecommuting snd told my associate who lives with elderly grandparents to work from home.
    But I’m trying to support 50+ advocacy organizations as they figure out what to do and also advocate with congress and states to make sure our policies keep families healthy and And safe. Medical care and sick leave anyone? (Actually the bill I expect the senate to pass Wednesday does some of that including for self employed but not enough. )

    Also DH drove 7 hours today to pick up DS from grad school they are encouraging them to go home and work remotely .

    DD in London is ok but upset every time the death toll rises. And FD has a huge fight with one of her roommates who went out to a bar and she feels put them all at risk.

    Not a peaceful weekend.

  24. Well, I got to go to both of my knitting groups and one last karaoke night before everything was shut down, so there’s that. I told people goodbye and they thought it was a bit much, but am I wrong? Hm, no. Today I got around to emailing my theater friends asking if they want to get in on a group text check-in since we won’t be seeing each other for a long time. The crush was the first one to say he was in, huzzah. So far only two responses, but I did send it on a Sunday and will give it a few days.

    At least for the weekend I’m safe indoors, crafting and watching videos. I have to go to work in person with no way out of it, but what can you do there. At least they are sealing off us having to deal with people at our front counter–we get to borrow someone else’s protective window this week. And happily I don’t do front counter work–I don’t know how our staff doing it are so cheerful and comfortable doing it this week, but they aren’t fazed, god love ’em.

  25. Daffodils – that’s what made me happy today. The stores might look like a swarm of locusts have passed through, but my local Trader Joe’s had plenty of $1.50 batches of daffodils. I love having fresh flowers in the house and these seem so cheerful.

  26. Read an article reminding us that the US is NOT running out of food — our supply lines are not equipped to produce the amount of hand sanitizer and medical supplies that are currently being used, but we are not going to be eating more food. Some responsible stocking up may be warranted, that’s all.

    You know, that’s right.

    1. And rereading MANHUNTING, and falling down laughing all over again as Kate bests Peter at golf.

  27. We’ve had painters all week, getting the house ready to put on the market. Happiness is very good painters who listen, and clean up after themselves. Happiness is a freshly painted house. Happiness is a day off from painters, because dust, noise, fumes.

    Canceled next week’s trip to Portugal – things are changing so quickly that I had to concede it made no sense, even if the flights go. We’re practicing social distancing, but I have an appointment with my cataract surgeon tomorrow, so I’ll be out in the world once again. We’ve made our own hand sanitizer (alcohol, aloe vera gel, and peppermint extract), so I’m armed and ready.

  28. We braved the threat of contamination to eat tonight a Texas Roadhouse. We skipped last week, and I expect more skips than dinners out for the next month, so better now than when the tally of infections is higher. That may have been foolish on our part. OTOH, I had an excellent pork chop and fries with “poutine sauce” to balance the risk.

    The only postprandial shopping was at a Target, where my biggest expenses were “facial tissue,” liquid hand soap, diet A&W Root Beer and (I will take all credit for ushering in a snowless spring, 2020) a replacement snow and ice scraper for my car. Had I no scraper, at least one ice or snow event would be inevitable – as I am prepared, it shall not happen.

    Per others’ reports, the toilet paper and hand sanitizer aisles were empty, as was the bottled water area.

    Working for Virginia in the category “essential personnel” means that working from home is not an option. A “liberal leave policy” means that any shift where two or more are available and can be staffed by one, the other(s) can use up their vacation time. If I have to do that, I foresee an earlier retirement than otherwise planned. We’ll see what we’ll see.

  29. I read Charlie All Night, and that made happy. Also we have so many apples on our apple trees. And grapes. At least we won’t get scurvy.

    I know it’s not Thursday, but any recommendations for books like Charlie All Night? Romance, with characters who don’t upset my feminist apple cart…

  30. I wish I lived in a place with lovely outdoor areas, but I live in a city and am having to be very careful about going outside.

    I’m tapped it on happiness right now. But I’m grateful that I’m a telecommuter. Alas, my husband is not. And his workplace isn’t closing, or even letting employees who could telecommute do so.

  31. I had a good text chat with our friends in the city, our travel buddies. Everyone is well and they are looking forward to clearing out the backlog of DVRed tv shows and movies.

    Lisa’s dad just had cancer treatments and they were staying with her but her folks are at home now and happy to be there. They have granddaughters who can run errands for them and a daughter who is a nurse so they are looked after. My parents are on the farm with a full fridge and freezer and so won’t need to go to town often.

    If we weren’t in dire need of some things, we were stocking up this weekend anyway, we wouldn’t be going anywhere either. I’m going to feel horrible leaving PetSmart with 6-8 bags of dog food but they don’t deliver here and I can’t just run 20 minutes to another store, though I might have to on Thursday. We are also picking up some things for a coworker of Paul’s so that he and his family don’t have to make a trip anywhere so that’s a plus in the social distancing column.

    Yesterday I sat in my butt and watched TV all day and stayed off the Internet. My brain is much better today.

  32. Went to Pilates and was the only one there besides the teacher. I think this is a sign from God to go back to sleep. That makes me happy.

  33. Got up this morning, washed hands, emptied dishwasher, disinfected the buttons, switches, and handles, etc., then actually did my morning sun salutations. And of course feel much better for it.
    My company decided last week that we’re all working from home, so I’m not an outlier anymore. How I need noise cancelling headphone, because my desk is not isolated from household noise, and my work is kind of dull and other things are often more interesting.

  34. It’s still safe to travel round NZ and I’m on a road trip, visiting friends and going to a retreat. Feels weird to be able to do this but seeing friends and relaxing and being away from work has made me very happy. I hope you all are safe!

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