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Desert Gardening

I garden to relax and unwind, but I also live in Arizona. Planting a vegetable garden in a desert zone 9B can be intimidating. The hot, dry climate can present unique challenges for growing vegetables. With some planning and preparation, a bountiful harvest is possible in a few months.

Garden Location

The first step in planting a desert vegetable garden is to choose the right location. Look for a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil must be well-draining and not too clay-like. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.

Best Vegetable Type

Next, choose vegetables that are well-suited to the dry climate. Some good plating options include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, beans, and okra. These vegetables thrive in hot, dry weather and are relatively low-maintenance.

When planting your vegetables, be sure to space them out properly to allow for adequate air flow and sunlight. This can help prevent disease and promote healthy growth. Additionally, consider using mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

Watering

Watering is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to gardening in a desert climate. To conserve water and promote healthy growth, consider using a drip irrigation system. This will allow you to water your plants directly at the root zone, minimizing evaporation and runoff. You can also try using a soaker hose or watering by hand. However, be sure to water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.

Fertilize

In addition to watering, it’s important to fertilize your plants regularly. In a dry climate, nutrients can be quickly depleted from the soil. Consider using organic fertilizers or compost to provide a slow-release source of nutrients. I use Arizona’s Best which is a solid multi-purpose fertilizer available at garden centers.

Pests

Finally, be prepared to deal with pests and diseases. Common pests in a desert garden include aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Consider using natural pest control methods. These include ways to naturally deter common pests, like companion planting or insecticidal soap, to keep these pests at bay. If you do notice signs of disease or infestation, be sure to act quickly to prevent the problem from spreading.

Planting a vegetable garden in zone 9B can be challenging. Be sure to check climate charts, against your seeds so they root during your season. Or you might need to use a green house or inside germination for your sprouts.

With the right planning and preparation, it can be a very rewarding experience. Choose the right location, select well-suited vegetables, space them out properly, conserve water, fertilize regularly, and deal with pests regularly. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll be enjoying a bountiful harvest of fresh, delicious vegetables all season long.

Happy gardening!  And be sure to check for more tips at: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Picking A Puppy

 

Picking the right puppy is a big decision for any family, as the choice you make will be with you for many years. When selecting a puppy, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. Here are few tips to get you started on your puppy research.

Right Age?

First and foremost, it’s important to choose a puppy that is the right age for your family. Puppies require a lot of attention and training. Very young children may not be equipped to handle the responsibilities of caring for a young puppy. It’s generally recommended that children be at least 6-8 years old before bringing a puppy into the home.

Dog Breed

When it comes to selecting a dog breed, there are many factors to consider. Some breeds are better suited to families with children than others. Dogs have different temperaments, sizes, and energy levels. For example, breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Beagles are known for being friendly, loyal, and good with children.

On the other hand, breeds such as Chihuahuas and Dalmatians may not be as well-suited for families with young children.  These breeds high energy might not be a good fit for young family members.

It’s also important to consider the energy level of the breed. Some breeds, such as Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. While others, such as Bulldogs and Basset Hounds, are more laid-back and don’t need as much activity.

Another important consideration is the size of the dog. Larger breeds may not be suitable for families with small children. These dogs may accidentally knock kids over or be too rough playing. Smaller breeds, on the other hand, may be more fragile and may not be as well-suited for active families.

Allergies

When selecting a puppy, it’s also important to consider any allergies or sensitivities that family members may have. Breeds that shed less, such as Poodles and Bichon Frises, may be better suited for families with allergies.  There are many versions of “doodle” dog breeds that have poodle DNA to help with the shedding too.

Plus, don’t forget about checking with your local dog shelter, for your next furry friend either. All great companions can come from many different places. You save a life when you rescue any animal.

Ultimately, the most important factor when selecting a puppy is to choose a dog that is a good match for your family. Your lifestyle and other factors play into keeping and caring for a pet for many years.

Take the time to research different breeds. Also visit with potential puppies to get a sense of their temperament and energy level. With careful consideration and planning, you can find the perfect puppy to become a beloved member of your family.

For more lifestyle tips check out my website: KathyHusserTempe.com

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I Loved Barbie!

Did you see the Barbie movie? I did, mainly because I had the doll growing up. I loved Barbie. And here’s why this movie and its message for us all is so popular now.

Perfect World

Barbie has always lived in a perfect world. Pink, plastic, and perfect, the marketing machine has families buy her “accessories” for their children constantly. From the dream house, to the car, to her pet dog, Barbie had it all and little girls were supposed to aspire to that life.

But, like me many families we couldn’t really afford Barbies or her perfect world. I had one new Malibu Barbie, the one with the deep (cancerous) tan, gifted to me for my birthday. I never had a Ken doll, or her sidekick Skipper, so was my imagination stilted?

Improvise

No, like any good kid with little resources, I improvised. I made Barbie’s furniture from old margarine tub lids and thread spools. She didn’t have a “dream house.” My tanned beauty had a shoe box, covered with a kitchen towel “patio” with a green washcloth lawn. My doll and the all the Saturday morning commercials gave me permission to use my imagination! I improvised to envision my own “apartment” when I grew up and had a career of my very own.

And the career choices I had, from Advertising Executive to Astronaut, I could live through Barbie and her friends. I didn’t need a man to make my dreams come true. I had my drive and work ethic to make things happen for myself. As a young girl, Barbie really inspired me to succeed to do whatever I dreamed of with integrity.

Movie’s Message

Photo by Priyanka Arora on Unsplash

I see that same message in the movie; Be yourself…whoever you are! No one is perfect or fits a certain mold. Sometimes we hold ourselves up to unrealistic standards to those around us. Whether it’s in work, school, or even motherhood women have to navigate so many other societal obstacles, that men do not.

When we can truly all be accepted as we are, without limitations or prejudices, then we can all rest easy. The world has a long way to go to get there. Even Mattel admittedly has only had three female CEO’s in the company’s 78-year history. One being the founder herself, Ruth Handler.  Where are my pink Birkenstocks?

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Ready for School

As the summer ends, it’s time for students of all ages to prepare for the new school year ahead. From the excitement of starting elementary school to the challenges of college, being prepared is key to a successful journey. Here are some useful tips to help elementary and college students get ready to start the school year off right.

For elementary school students, setting routines is important. As the transition from the relaxed days of summer to the structured school setting can be overwhelming.  It’s important to gradually reintroduce routines a few weeks before school starts. Set consistent bedtimes and wake-up times to help children adjust to the school schedule. Creating a morning routine that includes tasks like dressing, eating a healthy breakfast, and packing their backpacks. All this can be done the night before to help eliminate morning stress and ensure a smooth start.

Preparing the necessary supplies is another vital aspect of getting ready for school. For elementary school students, it’s essential to stock up on the basics such as pencils, erasers, notebooks, and crayons. Check the school’s supply list and make sure to include any specific items requested. Involve your child in the process of selecting their school supplies to help them feel excited for day one.

College students face a different set of challenges when it comes to getting ready for school. Time management and organization skills become increasingly important. Encourage college freshmen to use tools like planners or digital calendars to keep track of assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities. Establishing a study schedule and creating a designated study area at home can also help students stay focused.  Also maintain a healthy balance between academics and other commitments such as sports and clubs.

In addition to organizational skills, college students should also consider their long-term goals and aspirations. As they embark on their higher education journey, it’s important for students to start thinking about their future. Encourage them to explore interests, engage in extracurricular activities, and take advantage of any opportunities for career exploration or mentorships. Starting early on this path can help them make informed decisions about their career paths, leading to a more fulfilling and successful future.

Whether it’s the first day of elementary school or the start of college, preparing is a vital step towards success. Establishing routines, gathering the necessary supplies, and developing time management and goal-setting skills are essential for students at every level. By focusing on these areas, students can enter the school year with confidence. They will be ready to embrace new challenges and make the most of their educational journey. With the right preparation, the school year ahead holds countless opportunities for growth, learning, and personal development.

Check out more living well tips at: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Gardening Desert

The desert, with its scorching sun, arid climate, and sparse vegetation, may seem like an unlikely place to garden. However, with the right knowledge, techniques, and a touch of creativity, it is possible.  To create a flourishing garden in the midst of a dry landscape like my home in Arizona can be done. Starting a garden in the desert opens up a world of possibilities, and here’s how to start that new world.

One of the basic aspects of desert gardening is water conservation. In arid regions, water is a precious resource that needs to be used efficiently. Drip irrigation systems, which deliver water directly to the plant roots, are particularly effective in minimizing water wastage. Mulching is another essential technique that helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. Using organic mulch such as wood chips or straw not only conserves water but also improves soil quality over time.

The choice of plants is crucial when it comes to desert gardening. Native plants that have adapted to the harsh desert conditions are often the best options. These plants have evolved to withstand extreme temperatures, limited water availability, and high levels of sunlight.

Some popular desert plants include cacti, succulents, desert marigolds, and agaves. These resilient plants not only thrive in the desert but also add a unique beauty to the landscape. Their striking shapes and vibrant colors add so much to a desert garden.

Creating microclimates within the garden can also significantly improve the chances of success. Positioning taller plants or structures strategically can provide shade and create cooler, more sheltered areas. Building raised beds can help improve drainage and prevent waterlogging in the desert’s compacted soils. Additionally, constructing windbreaks using fences or hedges can shield delicate plants from the harsh desert winds. This minimizes water loss through evaporation and reduces plant stress especially in the summer months.

Starting a garden in the desert requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to adapt. (Kind of like life!) It is essential to monitor the garden regularly, observe how different plants respond to the environment, and adjust. Learning from your successes and failures of each gardening season will help refine your techniques. This will increase your chances of creating a thriving oasis in the desert.

Starting a garden in the desert may seem like a daunting task.  However, with careful planning and using appropriate techniques, it is possible to transform barren landscapes into vibrant havens of life. Focusing on water conservation, suitable desert-adapted plants, and creating microclimates, gardeners can overcome the challenges presented by the dry environment.

Desert gardening allows us to connect with nature. And enables us to appreciate the incredible resilience and beauty of life in even the most challenging conditions. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and embark on the journey of creating your desert garden. This a true testament to the triumph of life in adversity!

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Beach Reads 2023

As summer ramps up and vacation calls, it’s the perfect time to read a good book while lounging beachside. As a librarian, here a few “beach read” recommendations sure to please any reader.  Each title promises to transport you to different worlds and capture the heart of this summer season.

Strong Women

Dive into a story of love, self-discovery, and sandy shores with “The Summer of Lost and Found” by Mary Alice Monroe. The story is set in the enchanting coastal town of fictional Sullivan’s Island. This novel brings together the lives of three generations of women as they navigate their personal journeys.

With vivid descriptions of the beach and an exploration of family dynamics, this book is a perfect beach read. For those seeking an emotional and touching summer read about family, chose this story. 

Thriller

If you’re craving a suspenseful thriller, “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn is sure to keep you riveted. Set in the bustling city of New York during a hot summer, this psychological thriller follows an agoraphobic woman. (She’s deathly afraid of going outside of her home.)

She believes she witnesses a disturbing event in her neighbor’s house. As secrets unravel and tensions rise, the story will keep you on the edge of your seat, turning the pages.

Hollywood Glitz

If you want a blend of romance, history, and exotic settings, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is for you.  By Taylor Jenkins Reid (author of Daisy Jones & the Six) this book is a must-read! A captivating novel taking readers on a journey through the glamorous and wild life of Evelyn Hugo a fictional movie star. With its rich character development and fascinating narrative, this book brings you into the world of Hollywood and forbidden love.

Self-Discovery

If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted and delightful summer read, “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman is an excellent choice. Meet Eleanor, a socially awkward woman with a strictly structured life. Join her on a heartwarming journey of self-discovery and unexpected connections.

This uplifting novel explores themes of loneliness, friendship, and the transformative power of compassion. This book makes a perfect companion for lazy days by the seaside.

No matter which book you choose for your summer adventures, find one that speaks to you. A book’s well-crafted story has the power to transport you to far-off places, stir your emotions, and leave lasting impressions.

So, grab your beach towel, slather on some sunscreen, and lose yourself in the pages of an enthralling summer read. Whether it’s a tale of romance, mystery, or self-discovery, these book recommendations are sure to boost your beachside bliss. Make your summer even more memorable and check out a book today from your local library!

Check out more summer reads from: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Fathers Day

Father’s Day is a special day celebrated worldwide to honor fathers and father figures. It’s a day to appreciate the contribution and sacrifices that fathers make in their children’s lives. Let’s delve into the history of Father’s Day and explore some gift ideas that you can consider for this special Sunday.

History of Father’s Day

The History of Father’s Day Father’s Day originated in the United States and was first celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. It was started by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was inspired to create a special day to honor fathers.

After hearing a Mother’s Day sermon at church, the rest is history. Dodd’s father was a single parent who raised six children on his own. She felt that fathers deserved the same recognition as mothers and slowly it took hold.

The idea of Father’s Day slowly gained popularity in the early 20th Century. Finally, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a permanent national holiday. (The late 70’s until Dads got their official holiday!)

Gift Ideas for Dad

Finding the perfect gift for Father’s Day can be challenging, but there are many options to consider. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Personalized Gifts – Consider getting your father a personalized gift, such as a mug, photo frame, or keychain with his name or initials on it.
  • Tech Gadgets – If your father is tech-savvy, consider getting him a new gadget, such as a smartwatch, wireless earbuds, or a fitness tracker.
  • Outdoor Gear – If your father loves the great outdoors, consider getting him camping or hiking gear, such as a new tent, sleeping bag, or hiking boots.
  • Books or Movies – If your father enjoys reading or watching movies, consider getting him a new book or movie that he’s been wanting to read or watch.
  • Food or Drinks – Consider getting your father a special treat, such as a food basket or a bottle of his favorite wine or whiskey. Or make a special homemade dinner for your dad complete with a heartfelt card.

Father’s Day is a special day to appreciate and honor fathers and father figures. The history of the holiday dates back to over a century ago and has gained popularity worldwide.

While finding the perfect gift can be challenging, there are many options to consider. Whatever gift you choose, remember to show your father how much you appreciate him and the role he plays in your life.  A very Happy Father’s Day to my dad and husband this year!

KathyHusserTempe.com