MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

What a sad and eventful year and it is still continuing

It has been more than a year since I last wrote a post. And, within that time so many things happened to drastically change my life and outlook.

On March 10, 2019 my first son, my beloved Casper passed away. Casper died due to the wrong diagnosis of the first veterinarian to whom I was taking him. Casper's death has really affected Matt, another of my pet-doggy-son. He has grown so old within a year; his face has become much whiter. He has developed arthritis and drags his back legs behind. So, I need to medicate him and that makes him good. But, the medicine has other side effects; he doesn't see or hear properly. He can no longer walk long distance or stand for a while or climb up and down the stairs. I am also seeing a small tumor being developed in his mouth. I am now wondering if he will survive the next one year.

On March 14, 2019, we did the last rite for Casper. We cremated him. It was a beautiful ceremony at a beautiful place. They really did everything so nicely that it seemed like Casper was just sleeping. I did not get much time to mourn Casper before my father got admitted to ICU on March 20, 2019. I needed to rush to his side. He was on ventilation and was almost passing away. He recovered slightly and the doctors put him on tracheostomy tubes. He had Parkinson Disease and dementia. He was completely bedridden now with tracheostomy tubes through which he breath and he was also fed through some nasal tube; he was on catheter; he looked like a skeleton lying on the bed with all sorts of tubes going into him. It was awful to look at him. And, he was not here (in the USA) and thus I couldn't do much as medical laws, rules, techniques, everything is really backdated in the country where he decided to live. He suffered all those tortures and passed away on December 28, 2019.

The year 2019 was the year of death, not only the death of my beloved dog and my dearest father, but also of four colleagues, two close uncles and others. It was also the year when I lost my much-loved full-time job. I am a researcher and professor but my university decided to do restructure and thus it laid off more than 60% of all full-time faculties. Amidst all these sad and desperate time, I am glad that my partner and child are healthy and hearty and Matt is still here. My favorite garden with all its companions is also here. And, I hope it continues that way though 2020 is turning out to be worse as 2019 with Covid-19.

I am yet to overcome all the tragedies of 2019 and the coronavirus is not helping so far. But, spring is in the air. I hope my garden and this garden blog will all the required peace that I need.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Casper and Tim Maher

This blog is about gardening. But, today I am not going to talk about gardening but a wonderful creation. As you might remember from my others posts, I have two dogs. They are (or were) literally the stewards of my garden. They never destroyed any plants or any of the garden beds; they obediently followed all the rules about avoiding which parts of the garden. However, through barking and chasing they kept all the birds, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks away.

As my barren, no-tree, only-grass, chemical-infused (that's how the garden was when we bought our house) evolved through the last decade, so did the stewards. They grew old. The chasing gave away to nimble trot. Constant alert and watchfulness gave away to snoozing in the warmth of sun. You dare not come near my house growling turned to raspy and feeble barking. I saw them grow old and matured, and was getting comfortable with the idea of snoozing with them in front of the fire-place for many more moons to come. But man (woman in this case) proposes, God disposes.

The white one is Casper. On October 26, 2018, he started sneezing badly. They were loud sneezes, the force of which was making him fall over and get his head bumped on the floor. He then started bleeding from his nose. After much ups and down, fail diagnosis, bad veterinarians bent on just stealing money and not diagnosing, we found good vets. The final diagnosis is Cancer. Now, we are waiting for the result which will tell us what sort of cancer, how much time we have with him, any chance of cure or not. In the meantime, though, his health is deteriorating. He has lost almost all his muscles, he is now a skeleton with skin and fur. Now and then he refuses to eat. He is just a very strong dog with a stronger will, and that's what pushing him ahead, we think. He has already been hospitalized four times, and every time  he bounced back so nicely that even the doctors were surprised.

I am just hoping such surprises and miracles continue. I am not yet ready to see him cross the rainbow-bridge. We recently had a baby, and life was so rosy and blissful. But after sunny days come the dark, cloudy days, I guess.

While all these are going on, I decided to have a portrait of Casper done. I know an awesome local artist. So, I requested him to create a portrait of Casper in oil-painting. I gave him a photo, and he created a Genuine Gem.

This is the picture of the oil-painting, and seriously the picture is not doing justice to the painting. The picture is all grainy and hazy. But, the real-painting is simply mesmerizing. We didn't realize that it was going to be so lively and life-like. Hubby and I simply cannot take our eyes away from the painting. The other evening I entered the room deep in thought; I caught the painting through the corner of my eyes and mused for a fraction of second what was casper doing on top of the door frame; how did he climb up there? Then I realized it was the painting.

The painting is so realistically done that it seems like real, living and breathing Casper staring out of it. The painting captured each and every spots and shades on his fur. Not a single strand of his fur missing. The posture is perfectly captured. His emotions and personalities are vividly coming out of the painting.

Now I am wondering whether the painting will give me solace or more heartache when Casper will be no longer with us. I will think Casper alive, sitting and staring at me; I will reach out to touch his soft fur only to realize that it is a painting.

Tim Maher is the artist who painted it. I wonder how long it took him to paint such a masterpiece, at least to our eyes since we know Casper in real life and thus can compare the painting to him. Yes, it costed some money; many might say why not blow up the photo to the size of the painting? But what is money compared to the love, dedication, thought and hard-work that the painter poured into the painting? Perhaps that is why the painting has come out so life-like as it got imbued with the magic and breath of the painter.

Thus, I dedicate this post to painter Mr. Tim Maher of New Jersey. 


Thursday, December 27, 2018

End of the Year 2018

It has been since ten months that I am away from this blog. It is because I now have a baby, well she has already grown to an eighteen month old toddler. It was easier to do some blogging when she was really young but I am finding that babies really become much more demanding as they grow up :-). My blogging and other free time flew out of the window as soon as she crossed one year of age.

Here she is busy inspecting the porch Christmas tree

Here she, with her father, is accepting gift from Santa 
It has been a disastrous year in terms of gardening. I did not get any time to go out to the garden as I was busy with my full-time work, household work and motherhood work. Also, it was one of the wettest year in the history of NJ. Until September, the state received 32 percent above normal rain.

So, our garden grew so wild that in October we needed to call out landscaping company and shell out twenty-five hundred dollar to just clear out all the overgrown plants, weeds and mowing the knee-high grass.

But, I have lots of plans for the year 2019. She will be a two year old lady in June, and I am hoping that she will develop interest in nature and gardening, and that will help me in gardening What do you think? What does your experience say -- will I be able to devote lots of time in gardening with a toddler and at the same time have my full time and other jobs?

Some of the plans are already under way. Our garden is very uneven and slopy, with ups and downs. So, we already built a leveled patio. We also built a beautiful raised bed.

This is what the area looked before 
This is how the area looks now with a brand-new patio

This is how the side area looked like
A portion of the side area now has this beautiful raised bed

Still lots of work left -- more raised beds on other sides, arbor for grapes, cleaning of leaves and pruning. I have some trees by the side and front of the new patio. Since the patio is made of bricks, I am thinking of creating some kind of structure around the base of the tree, a brick circle with stones as mulch, as shown in the picture below:

Much of our lawn got stripped off in the process of building all these structures. So, instead of laying down a lawn, I am going to plant in creeping thyme, sage and oregano and lay down a path in between.

A big play area for the toddler was also created. On it will go tree-house and swings and playing sets for the toddler. By its side will be grown kid's flower garden and kid's vegetable garden.

We truly have an ever-evolving garden. Since we moved into this house in 2009, our garden has gone from bare green lawn to wilderness area, from tiny raised bed and vegetable garden to big raised beds and fruits, herbs, flowers and vegetable garden, from really used and nice self-built greenhouse (which even produced during winter but got destroyed during hurricane Sandy) to a broken greenhouse. Now, it is slowly turning into a matured, family-friendly but also at the same wilderness-friendly garden.

So, to all of my garden friends, I wish all of you Happy Gardening in 2019 and to all of us, many, many years of good health and happy gardening. May the New Year of 2019 brings lots of good vibes and harmony and peace in both your life and your garden. A Very Happy New Year to all of you.