You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.  ~ Vernon Howard

Is there anything in nature more simple than moss or fungus.  And yet there is such complex beauty in these.  The picture above is of my beloved tree stump at the back of the garden on January 1st still not snow covered.  It used to be a white ash tree, but I think I like it better as this stump giving back to nature.  Now losing its bark, decaying further, but utterly covered in green moss on its north facing side and these lovely steps of fungus.  I am not schooled in fungus so I have no clue what it is, just that it is exquisite.

In my last post I wrote about making choices on how I want to live my life this year.  One of these was to Simplify My Life.  I have found simplification can take hard work and can get complicated if we let it.  But it is worth it.  This year is a year of completion for me.  One in which I am compelled to clean out the debris in my life (and house including the dust-yuck), finish what I started and get ready for a new cycle of things to come.  I am not sure how I know this, I just do.  Call it intuition or that little voice, but whatever it may be it has been sending signals that I know not to ignore.

It was timely that I recently ran across a great definition for simplifying your life.  Leo Babauta@Zen Habits focuses you on 2 steps:

1. Identify what’s most important to you.

2.  Eliminate everything else.

Of course Leo’s post references many other steps you can take and he has a great book to read if you need more help.  I think I will make a focused start with the 2 steps, but I am sure I will be investigating this more as the year progresses.  I am focusing on a few important things….

– I am getting rid of clutter.  I have stuff that is in the basement and packed in closets that has not been used since we moved here 7 years ago.  So I am purging those things…or at least many.  We tend to have emotional attachments to some things that we can never give up or throw away.  And that is OK because they are serving a purpose for now.  It is a slow, room by room process but I am up for it.

Simple meadow in early spring

-Once I purge I will be surrounding myself with those things that are easily managed.  Without a lot of stuff, the dusting, cleaning and management of my space and life should feel more relaxed.  It has felt this way when I have purged stuff.

-And then I am making buying decisions based on what is simple.  Do I really need this or that?  Will I use it and for what purpose?  Can I find it locally?   I have come to realize that I buy things because I want them.  Maybe they make me feel better, but I rarely sustain their use if the reason behind the purchase is emotional.  I don’t want to clean out so I can buy more stuff and pack it in those closets again.

attracting more of these beauties with native shrubs

-I will be looking to simply the garden as well.  I have decided the best way for me to start is to finish removing invasives from the garden particularly some  invasive shrubs.  Once I have the plan, I will share it.  The simplification of the garden will take a lot longer, but so far I have found that the addition of natives has substantially cut my costs and maintenance of the garden.




The main challenge for me with simplifying will be to not buy more stuff.  This will hopefully lead to my spending less.  A good habit to get into, and as I look toward retirement in the near future a habit I MUST acquire.  I would rather not buy stuff, and instead use the money saved for an occasional trip to a place that I have always wanted to visit.  For me that experience will far outweigh the stuff.


There are many benefits from simplifying your life even a little. Here are just a few of the benefits I hope to derive from simplifying my life…

*Having more energy.  Without the clutter my living space feels free, less complicated and easily maintained thereby leaving my energy to pursue other hobbies and activities.

*Having more time.  I tend to procrastinate more when I am surrounded by stuff.  I look at the task of cleaning and clearing and I put it off and other tasks that should be done.  Once the spaces are cleaned and cleared, I find I want to take on the other things I have been putting off.

*More critters in the garden.   Simplifying the garden by using natives has had the added benefit of more critters in the garden like the oriole that visits the pond.

Native Americans believe that without the clutter we actually bring the flow of abundance to us.  I do believe this because I have seen this happen for myself other times I have clutter-cleared.  I hope to keep you updated on how it is going especially in the garden.


Other Things and The Great Seed and Herb Experiment

Every year I try to find one special donation that can contribute to the betterment of the world or environment; one cause that I take on especially around the holidays.  This year it has been the Cape Leopard Trust spot adoption.  I found out about this wonderful program from Diana@Elephant’s Eye.  I have a special place in my heart for certain animals:  whales, dolphins, wolves, wild cats, polar bears…..well you get the picture.  Diana’s story about this program touched my heart and I gladly wanted to sponsor a leopard.  The cost in dollars is small.  I believe it was around $60 US dollars.  A small price to pay.  The Trust keeps me updated and sent me a lovely picture of one of the leopards.

As far as the herb and seed growing goes–the herbs are doing well, but the seeds were just started this past weekend.  I needed some time to recuperate from my recent illness so I am behind.  I promise all the details on the herb and seed growing for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD) next week.


“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”  ~Steve Jobs


Coming this winter to the blog:  Lots of color.  Posts during GBBD and Wildflower Wednesday will focus on one color, its meaning and highlights of that color in my garden over the past year.  I decided I needed some color this winter.  We waver between white, brown and some green when the snow melts.  The first color to be highlighted will be the color of the year-orange.  Just in time for GBBD next Monday.

Two new monthly posts: I will be joining Diana@Elephants Eye who challenged bloggers to pick our top 12 plants. These post will be called, “Simply The Best” and focus on native plants I love and need more of in the garden.  The first one will be this Friday.  I will also be joining Holley@Roses and Other Gardening Joys and her new meme, Garden Book Review on the 20th of every month.  I have lots of garden books I want to read and this is a great way to share.

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