Neither Here nor There

On my mind:

A very full summer. Students have just marked the end of the season with the return to school, but only the temperature is changing for me this year.

The Job. The first six weeks were tumultuous to say the least. There is so much on the job learning in the field of nursing, and there’s so much that you never even begin to learn about in school. Responding to changing scenarios, interacting with other professionals, and working advanced technical equipment keeps each day extremely different.

Running. I never thought this would be me. If you told me three years ago I would be starting this activity I would never have believed you. Still, distance covered is nothing spectacular, but the consistancy has been there since May.

Wading through all of my childhood belongings that have arrived at my personal dwelling, as the family prepares the home for showings, and hopefully a sale. My room is filled with boxes in the process of sorting.

Fall: Food. Decor. Leaves.

Days off alternate between long and lazy, and frantic and  filled with long walks in the outdoors. Hopefully a formal recap of some summer highlights soon.

Creating a Nature Collage

Fern prints, earth tones, and songbirds, Oh My! Nature walls and tables are a trendy standby, yet far from cliches as there are unlimited possibilities in arrangements. My homeschool family we grew up in a culture of nature journaling and collections. Nature tables are a great way to collect and display these finds, related books, and small souvenirs from travels. It also helps keep them from getting dispersed throughout the house.

Audubon paintings are in the common domain can be found and printed off at A friend gifted me some gorgeous spare frames from her attic, and several matched my favorite avian watercolors. I also try to include some living plants as a backbone to the arrangement.

Three rules I follow when arranging make a difference in the  visual appeal:

  • Arrange similar colors together, sticking to a few, complementary colors for the majority of the items.
  • Try to work in sets of three or five, odd numbers always look best.
  • Arrange different shapes so they would create a triangle if you connected the dots between them.

DIY Worm Compost System

Materials I used to make my Vermicompost bin
  • sturdy plastic tub with lid.
  • Drill for making holes every 3-6 inches apart, about two inches up from the bottom.
  • screen mesh
  • Spray Adhesive to spray on the inside of the bucket after drilling the holes, to keep the residents from escaping.

(design courtesy of my father, the weekend engineer)

Putting it all together

I filled the bucket with moistened, loosely shredded cardboard egg cartons, black and white paper scraps, dryer lint, and dried leaves (these are the best!). Then I added some vegetable kitchen scraps and the biome was ready to receive the new arrivals. The red worms came by mail- one pound of them to be exact.

Worm castings are often marketed as black gold since the richness of the nutrients and live microbes fives unparalleled nutrition to plants. The price gives another reason to treat it as treasure. Ever since I started a to learn about the worm compost system, I’ve had a hard time just throwing away coffee grounds and banana peels. One man’s trash can be turned to treasure.

I had varying amounts of fertilizer from the box. The more established they were, the more I got! After I had mine for three years, the worms processed 4 bags of brown leaves in one winter. When I forgot to feed them regularly, they would usually go into hibernation and I would only get a few cups in a few months.I had to watch for escapees during the first weeks before they adapted to their new home. There were several close calls when I first started the box, and I spent an hour returning the migrant nightcrawlers to the bin. Any vegetable matter can go in the box, but definitely no raw meats, citrus fruit, or onions. I brought the box inside when temperatures dipped below 40 degrees.  The material will compact as the worms do theirs work.  To start a new batch when the current soil is nearly black, scrape most of the castings to one side of the bucket. Add more of the base material, and the worms will migrate that way over the next few weeks.


Summer Days

There are now no homework assignments due, papers or reflections to write, or textbooks to pour over. I graduated over a month ago, but for nursing candidates degree completion means more studying. The dreaded NCLEX-RN exam that we have been hearing about for four years approaches. I did well on a few practice exams in school, so I wasn’t extremely worried until I started working through a study guide and realized I hadn’t looked at half of the topics for over a year. Frantic studying ensued.

But the exam date came, and I passed, and I have just enjoyed my first full week of holding an official RN license. I now enjoy a month until starting a new position as a pediatric (children’s) hospital nurse. In contrast to the stiff schedule I maintained while holding two jobs and a rigorous honors choir practice schedule, I’m enjoying a more relaxed nannying job for the meantime. And taking many long walks in the summer sun. (It’s the midwest. It won’t last forever.)

Home at Last

The tumultuous month following finals seems to be drawing to a close. The move is complete, wifi is installed, and most belongings are accounted for and restored to a partial state of organization. It seems that when change comes, it comes all at once, and not in stages that could be much more smoothly managed. I had envisioned the time after graduation as a calm restoring of balance post finals, but instead it has been a wild shuffle of getting things in order. But it seems to be nearly finished now. The in between dwelling filled with stacks of boxes is beginning to look like home.

Be Back Soon!

The lull in amount of posting  is due to the fact that I have been in the process of moving this month, and my new home does not have internet yet. I hope to have everything settled down soon so I can spend some time here again!

{phfr} – last week of school


This rosemary is the first potted plant I’ve been able to keep alive indoors longer than six weeks:


Me and my sister last week.

My neighborhood was up for the local free junk pickup, and I saw this table in a pile by the side of the road. I instantly ran over to inspect: it was in definite need of some TLC, but was solid wood and nothing was broken.

I immediately knew I wanted to salvage it, and quickly called my sister on the phone. “Maria, come help me get this table! It’s won’t fit in my car!”  She did, and now we both swear by dumpster diving. The two of us must have made a funny sight pushing the table into the back of the truck, where it just fit. I have no experience whatsoever refinishing furniture, but it appears I am going to learn.



No picture, but finally found a good place to live after graduation!


Again, no picture. Just use your imagination to envision the state of my desk and room through finals week.