The end of the week and gardening

The reports of the Nile Virus on the news broadcasts sounded daunting. Since I can’t use insect repellents or insecticides, I may be spending more time indoors than I had planned on, timing my gardening around pest-free conditions. I expect that may involve being out on a breezy, dry day in long skirts/long-sleeve shirt and work gloves. I still have to improve the soil along the front and sides of the house, where nothing grows, now, but for the tulips in the spring. I’ve the “aged” used coffee grounds and the peat moss. I have only to dig out half a foot of soil all the way around (in sections), mix the barren dirt with the additives, and smooth it out, again. Then I can water the soil and tamp down the seeds. I’ve only the annual flax seeds, and only two ounces of those, and so I may have to order more for summer and autumn blooming.

The new garden is in shade more than I’d planned on, by the backyard fence. It catches tree and house shadows before 9:00 a.m. and late in the afternoon until dark. So, I must pick wildflower mixtures next year that fit better with that.

Tuesday Morning Photos

Some of the photographs that I took when the Scampers and I went outside after breakfast.

I got outside to exercise, later in the morning. Almost ready, now, to assemble lunch, not having been hungry for a mid-morning snack. Took note of some vitals at The Art of Disorder, making a concentration shift to cholesterol levels. The exercise affects both the cholesterol and the blood sugar levels. Now that I am “between” allergens and have an energy level again, I’ll be working on establishing exercise and sleep habits that will, hopefully, maintain in some form during the ragweed season.

A new week, new flowers

We’ve enjoyed a lot of rain showers, recently, which helped with keeping the flowerbeds watered, and also the grass seed that Al has added to the tracks made by the trucks and related equipment during the renovations the summer before last and the preparations for the wood-working shop that’s currently underway.

The rabbits are spending a lot of time in my wildflower garden before we get up, mornings. The Scampers enjoy the frantic races, first thing. Gives them an appetite for breakfast. I’ve increased the amount of food I give them, because they were losing weight.

This morning we got up early, so that I could have lab work done prior to my appointment this coming Wednesday. Just got a notice that the rest of the test results are waiting for me online. Suppose I should check those out. The new A1C and other misc. stuff are at The Art of Disorder.

Best wishes for the coming week!

A quiet Thursday (with wind)

There was far too much wind, today, for Al to continue the shingling, and so he put together the framing for the interior wall of the workshop. I helped raise it, and we figured out where we want the wall positioned (how large each room should be) and where the door should be situated. He’s off, now, looking at door frames.

This has been, I now realize, a tough week for me. Internal adjustments, the most profound of which is becoming aware that I really do not have to take my mobile phone with me as I move around the house and yard. There will be no more telephone calls from hospice, hospital, care or independent living centers concerning decisions to be made about my parents. My siblings all have spouses and in-laws to respond. Their children are grown and are themselves having children. Even when/if something happens to my husband, I have a whole raft of in-laws and siblings, nieces and nephews to call upon. Who have demonstrated their willingness and ability to handle things.

Does that leave me alone, here, to grieve about one more thing? Or do I accept being cherished by those who know and love me? There is not another, comparable burden to pick up.

What brought this on? I woke up, this morning, with no thoughts about what must be done, but instead set about a normal routine that included putting on coffee to brew, feeding and guiding the puppies, deciding not to eat breakfast, washing last night’s dishes, and wandering out into the back yard to catch up on what Al was doing. I had not put my phone by my bed, last night, and this morning I plugged it in to recharge and left it in my sitting room. Didn’t think about it. Sometime during the week I set my phone to “Do Not Disturb”, and it’s still there. And I can leave it like that.

I took the camera outside with me and took some photographs. The blue flowers in the upper right corner. I am wondering what they are. At first I thought perhaps a variety of oxalis, but the leaves don’t look right.

We’ve another bird nest above the motion detector light. Sparrows have moved in again, after the first nest disintegrated in the winds, wet and late snow of this dampish spring. I hope that this nest holds together.

Sparrows Nest

A not rainy day

The winds and rain bypassed us, today, although the temperature was not very high. Sixties (F).

Much time was spent in finishing preparations for beginning to shingle the workshop roof. A kind (young) neighbor volunteered his help in carrying the shingle bundles, which are quite heavy. I helped to lay down the starter stuff. I do not like balancing at the top of a ladder, but I managed to get up there and do my part for both the front and back sides of the roof.

Otherwise, I have exercised, gotten a letter out to a friend, although I did not do a proper closure or signature, because the mail carrier was approaching earlier than I had expected. I swept the front sitting room and the kitchen. With all of the disruption of the ground over the past few years, we have a lot of dirt, and the grass is not growing back as fast as we would have hoped. The White Campions et al. are doing well, however. Better than the thistles, at this point! Adding the dry to the dirt, I feel like I’m having to sweep out gravel, a couple of times a day. If I leave it for a day, it’s dust, gravel, and dog hair. Much prefer damp mopping the whole thing with frequent rinsing of the mop head.

Generally, everything is proceeding splendidly, however. Looking forward to running errands in a little while and coming back with more protein. I’ve lettuce and asparagus, but no meat, fish, or poultry.

Looking forward to the return of rain and some time to laze around.

Out in the rain

 

 

Our promised rain arrived! I’d gone outside, yesterday, with the spent coffee grounds from making Toddy coffee (cold-brew concentrate) at the end of the week, and mixed those with the sandy loam and more wildflower seeds along the south side of the garage, where I’ve been unable to grow anything but tulips since the addition of dirt around the house. Was that only last summer? I’ve lost track!

The rain started before eight o’clock in the morning, and I had slept in. By the time Al’s alarm went off, it was too wet for him even to think of starting to work on the workshop roof. I did help him carry the table saw out to the workshop (and back inside, afterwards), so that he could make a sliding panel to keep the dogs out of the workshop. That’s gotten me to wondering if perhaps a double-hung door would be a good idea for the workshop. Surely it would help to keep the workshop cool, adding another source of fresh air while keeping the dogs out (or in). Also, to keep the rain from splashing into the workshop while the door is open. It’s not going to be a terribly big room. I’d think that an open door would make the room seem larger.

I have gotten behind, here, with writing. Several spontaneous poems, this week, but no Weekend Coffee Share post. Time did not organize itself during the weekend, and I did nothing to try to tame it. I looked at Ronovan Writes Haiku, just to find out what this week’s prompt words were, and went on with rereading a story arc of books from Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series.

There is total silence in the back yard. I do not see my puppies anywhere. I must investigate!

Best wishes for your week!

Lizl

 

Long, Cold Winter

Things have been rather tangled, here, this year, what with the type-2 diabetes diagnoses (both of us), frigid weather, much snow (and sleet and rain and fog), postponed appointments and the fumbling for proper diets. I haven’t gotten out as much to take pictures. Conditions have not favored frost formations on the windows, either.

The puppies are showing signs of maturing. Not chewing so readily on towels, washcloths, upholstery and such. Although I did discover, while taking my husband’s new blue jeans out of the dryer, last night, that my puppy had eaten an entire belt loop from one of them. There has been almost no lint in the lint trap since I tossed all the stuff that had chewed spots.

I hear sounds of puppies and husband’s alarm clock. Guess it is time to accommodate morning rituals.

Hope your day is going along as you would have it be!

Elizabeth

Frost & Scampers

Attention

Our promised storm was not visible here, away from the winds. I think that a No Travel advisory is still in effect in the area. The temperature is expected to drop after Noon with a high of -2°F for tomorrow. The out-of-doors is beautiful, but I don’t want to go outside again until April.

We were having a sleep-in, this morning, but I woke up an hour before my alarm. Got on the telephone to the clinic to find out what was about with my appointment times through March. Also, called the pharmacy to discover the why of a particular prescription oddity.

Still worrying the ins and outs of the diet, but now I do have an appointment with a diabetes dietitian, next week. I do hope that it is of some help. If I’m understanding this, the idea is to eat enough carbohydrates to avoid the “I’m starving” mechanism that sets off the liver’s manufacturing glucose, but not enough at a time to spur the pancreas into overdrive. I, who can forget to eat, … I consider purchasing an alarm that will ring when it is time for a meal or snack. With a variable tone, so that it will not fade into the background noise and , through familiarity, go unheard.

I have found some cookbooks that address gluten-free cooking for the diabetic diet, which I am finding helpful.

 

Thursday’s Garden

Only two flowers appeared, yesterday, on the blue wild flax plants in the wildflower garden. The plot reseeded well, and I’m on my third growth of these annual plants. I don’t think that they will make it into November, though, this year. Al is hoping to build a small building in the back yard for his woodworking, which will allow him to be involved in that during more of the year and also to help keep the sawdust out of the house, since I am quite allergic to it. (Also, his working surfaces will not continuously fill with boxes, bottles, etc. that keep him from working without a couple days of cleaning first.)

He’s suggested that we abandon the current flower garden in favor of a 4′ x 10′ close to the southwest edge of the lot, so that I can kneel in the soft grass and reach to plant and weed comfortably along the whole garden plot. I expect that we will need to bring in fresh soil as well as nutrients to mix in, if the clay is too close to the surface. I need to figure out where the shadows lie, so that I will select wildflower mixtures to suit. I would like to plant some milkweed and some butterfly bush plants. And perhaps flax seed for plants with both red and blue flowers.

Still missing her

In the gazebo together, my cocker spaniel
Samantha – 2016-02-05
3 April 2008-18 February 2016

The milestones in life, birth, adoption, birthdays, illnesses and death. My mother’s move from hospital into a nursing home under hospice care on Tuesday, and I find myself returning to the sorrow and leavetaking from my puppy Samantha in February. I have photographs of her in my lap at the veterinary hospital when we brought her in and decided to have her euthanized.

Warm, here in my lap
I held her tight,
letting go forever . . .
so hard

Mother and I were quite close before I left for college, and then starting again perhaps ten years after my graduation. Restaurants, plays, lectures, faculty recitals, orchestra concerts, telephone visits once they were no longer metered. After I married, she and I spent much less time together, which was inevitable. Now, over the past five years or so, as her eyesight failed (which fact she did not share with me until earlier this year), her loss of hearing increased, and she isolated herself, so as to remain with Dad in their home, and I no longer see the person that I’ve known all of my life. She did not say until just a few months ago, and much more as she more quickly fades: “I am changing, now. I have been changing. I have changed and cannot be the person that you thought you knew. All these things about my past, I am telling you now, so you will know why I am leaving with so much pain, fear and regret. So much rage.”

After my husband and I returned home, the next evening, we talked openly about our experiences of growing up, our decisions and transitions, our self-understandings and our separate but parallel growths of who we are. Our turning away from “career”, “ambition”, plans and goals very early on, to more immediate living of our lives. Al deciding that he did not want to be an electrical engineer, but instead applying his knowledge and genius to his love of computers, after discharge from the Air Force, and taking a field tech job with Burroughs, much sought after by the local office. My epiphany came earlier, my sophomore year in college, when I asked my organic chemistry teacher to help me find a way to explain to my parents that I had no desire to spend my years doing research in a corporate laboratory, but instead absorb the humanities. No goal but learning how to learn and continuing to do so and expand, not narrow my experience of and involvement in the immediacy of the world. As our own lives become more intimate with old age, they do not become less rich. They gravitate toward each other and toward the many activities and interests that still are well within our reach. Al’s family is long-lived, barring illnesses. His mother died only a few years ago, enjoying life until perhaps the quick decline during the last few months. My father’s still living independently, pursuing quiet interests and activities at age 99. I expect that I am more like my mother and will start to fail more rapidly as I approach my 90s.

And so, as we have already been using our parents’ lives as general guidelines, we continue the process of shedding what no longer works, expanding into new interests and activities and relationships that are closer matches to who we are now and are becoming. Discarding personal possessions that have become burdens. Spending more time with/on our latest pair of dogs. It is much more difficult to housebreak and see to two puppies at once, rather than having an older dog to mentor the incoming puppy!

A more recent change, also, is the return to waking in the middle of the night and writing, returning to sleep, and then taking a nap in the late afternoon. Which I now will do, since I have to get up at eight o’clock to out and feed the puppies.