Monday, June 29, 2009


You don't heal from the loss because time passes, you heal because of what you do with the time." - Carol Crandall My mom passed away early last Tuesday. Once she made the decision not to fight anymore, Hospice was called in. Although they were only there for a short time, they were amazing. It is not a job I would be able to handle, but I have a ton of admiration for those special people who can.

Even though I know this is what Mom wanted and I don't blame her for wanting it, I was still devastated. Greedy selfish me wanted more time with her. Being an extremely independent and no nonesense person she would not want us sitting around crying and would consider it a waste of time.

So yesterday I went to visit a friend and picked a bunch of her rhubarb to freeze. When I came home I finally went out to view the garden. I decided I better not to let the last garden we planned together get lost in the weeds. #2 Nephew and I weeded around the cucumbers and beans. Then we picked some black raspberries and currants that had ripened without us being aware of it.

Today #2 daughter and I went back to walking. After the walk we laid down paper and mulch around the cuc's. We weeded around the broccoli and papered/mulched that. As I was cutting a path with the riding lawn mower, for #2 daughter to follow I drove by the mulberry and it was loaded. I grabbed a coffee can and started picking. In a couple of days when more ripen, we will lay tarps down and shake the tree. Mom and I have never gotten enough to make jam but I will this year. I walked across the field and the other tree which has more shade is no where near ripe so I will freeze the mulberries along with bags of currants and raspberries until I have enough to start making this years jam and jellies.

I wasn't sure I was going to can this year as I wasn't looking forward to doing it alone but #1 daughter said she would help. My mother would love knowing the skills and recipes she taught me will continue. And I am sure she will be there in spirit fanning us as we stir one hot pot after another of goodies.

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~ Helen Keller

Monday, June 22, 2009

State of the Garden

I have a rock garden. Last week three of them died. ~ Richard Diran

They probably drown just like everything else in my garden. We have had rain approximately 25 out of the last 28 days. Saturday's high temp was garden is hating it. It resembles my garden in late April - early May of last year. The 4th of July is coming and my corn is only ankle high!!! Of course I may just be growing the wrong thing. If I was growing mushrooms I could become rich. My yard is littered with them!
During a rare dry day I tried to fill in the empty spots in the bean patch. I also planted more zucchini seed, more LI cheese squash and brussel sprouts. I have been on the hunt for some red cabbage, seed or plants. Saturday, I was successful in finding some plants. Hopefully I will be able to get them in today as the sun has actually made an appearance. The weatherman says that the temperature is going to go up into the 80's this week. If we hold there and the rains stay away for a couple of days the garden will hopefully explode. So with that old "make hay while the sun shines" thing, I am going to go out into the garden now. If I don't post soon, I might have sunk in up to my knees and can't get out...send help!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cock fights

"Rooster today, feather duster tomorrow" ~ Russian Proverb

Friday on the way to the pig pen our rooster decided to get cocky and attack the man. The man was carrying buckets of water and was not in a very good position to defend himself. Plus it was so unexpected. He has never displayed this behavior before but now he is a dad to three little chicks.The rooster's spur caught him on the inside of his right knee. He proceeded to dump a bucket of water on him and kick the rooster out of his way. When he got in the house he noticed there was blood on his pants leg. He rolled it up and there was a perfect puncture wound. He took a shower, ate dinner and we went to visit my mother in the hospital. Most of the ride is interstate but when he came off the ramp he found it hard to use his leg. He hobbled up to my mother's room but it got worse while visiting. The pain was running up his leg to his hip. I told him to go to the ER. #2 daughter went with him as I visited with my mom.

After visiting hours I went to sit in the ER waiting room. #2 daughter came out and said the nurses walked him to the car. When I got there, he explained that the rooster's spur had split the tendon. They had given him a tetanus shot and a prescription for Keflex. They informed him it was their first "chicken talon" attack! He told them to at least write rooster so it didn't sound so humiliating!
Living on a farm is never a dull moment.


Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.~Dr. Seuss#2 daughter graduated from middle school yesterday. Today #1's bf, Sir T, graduates from college. Both are scared of the future. #2 is afraid of going to big scary high school and Sir T has to find a job in today's economy. I don't envy either one of them.

Oddly through all of yesterday's hoopla of the awards ceremony, the thing that stuck out most was how few people put their hand to their heart or recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Some parents raised their hands to their chest but didn't say anything and other's didn't even make the effort to do that. I guess it was so ingrained in me since I was born after 1942 when it was recognized as the official national pledge and after the "under God" phrase was added in 1954.....but then so were almost all the other parents. I hope things go better at Sir T's ceremony.So the kids are out of school and I have extra garden helpers. The #2 son started by mowing mom's grass when he got home. It is not easy to get him to motivate but add an engine and wheels and he is more inclined to do the deed. Of course he mows like he is driving on the NASCAR track. The result is not the best but at least it was done in the small window of sunshine we had. Today he weedwacks (think golf)...yeah scary! #2 daughter just cooked me breakfast...I think she is buttering me up so she doesn't have to hand pick bugs today!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dancing in the Rain

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to dance in the rain."

That quote was on the bottom of an email I received right before I went out into the garden the other day. I immediately thought that it described my mother.

My mom has been battling stage 4 cancer for almost three years. They found it in her one kidney (which they removed) but it had metastasized into the liver, lung and spine. There was no waiting for the storm to pass as this was not curable.

She worked full time until last year when the side affects of the chemo made it impossible. She is not one to let someone else carry part of her load and when she thought she wasn't pulling her share, she retired.

She has been in the hospital a couple of times due to dehydration and lastly it was congestive heart failure from the water building up in her as her one kidney was not able to keep up. Each time she exited the hospital raring to go again.

The last time she came home with oxygen on 24/7. She has almost pulled her ears off going further than the oxygen hose allows then takes it off to finish the task at hand. She will never be nominated for the best patient award!

Early this week she was admitted again and they started emergency dialysis. Once they get her stabilized she will be going 3 days a week for 3 hours each time.

Through it all we have maintained a fairly large garden and processed it all. This is the first year she has not been right beside me, bent over planting or weeding. She is the queen of the hoe, which I hate. Luckily my sister moved home and took the hoe in hand to help get the garden planted!

Mom has walked out to critique what my sister and I have done. So far we have received her stamp of approval for our efforts. The real stamp will come with the harvest.

So with Mom in the hospital and me in the garden alone I was thinking about what Mom has gone through over the past few years. She truly has learned to dance in the rain as she has met every obstacle head on. This should not have been a surprise since she did the same when my father died unexpectedly when she was 35, leaving her with his aging mother, three kids and a working dairy farm.

So I forgot how much I hate hoeing and hoed up 75% of the garden. Hopefully I will finish it tomorrow and get some paper and straw laid down. She will be home from the hospital soon can't let her think I dropped the ball.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going to find Peace in the Garden

Climb the mountains, get their good tidings
Nature's peace will flow into you like sunshine flowing into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness unto you
And the storms their energy
While cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

There will be no mountain climbing until the cool weather as I have no need to literally go"into the viper's den". We had enough snakes come down off the mountain and into the yard last year. However I do find peace in the garden or sitting at the barn with the animals.

The winds were blowing the scent of the flowers from the locust tree. Now we have switched to the perfume of the multi flora rose. In and around the garden the peonies are starting to add their perfume. Being out in the yard Monday evening, inhaling all the spring goodness, was the calm before the storm.
We had thunderstorms Monday night. I loved laying in bed listening to the rain and thunder while the lightning gave me quick peeks up into the woods. Tuesday morning was a continuation of the same. The power flickered off three times but quickly came back on.

In the afternoon we had severe thunderstorm/tornado warnings. Luckily the storms went around us. They said the storms were loaded with hail so the garden was saved from a thrashing.

And today I intend to immerse myself in that garden. While the plants were setting their roots and the seeds working their way through the soil, the weeds didn't care if it was hot/cold or wet/dry. They took off and today need to be beaten into submission. And undisturbed in the garden is the greatest place to think and work through life's ups and downs.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Getting Things Done

Besides the noble art of getting things done,there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. ~Lin Yutang Oh I like that...leaving things undone is a noble art!!! Of course, I would never say it is wisdom that makes me eliminate non-essentials...more like laziness or time limitations. Usually things roll along pretty smoothly but sometimes I feel like life has me going like this walking onion...contorted and moving in more than one direction. I would love to be able to do it all! Who wouldn't?

For some unknown reason, planets aligning, Jupiter in Mars, whatever, things have ironed out and I don't feel as pressured and we have been slowly getting things done.

Lets start with Friday...the shawl for #2 daughters formal was finished with time to spare. #2 son and daughter had a great time. #2 son even let #1 daughter cut his hair! All of his ringlet curls are gone but I can see his eyes again and his friends even approved the change.

On Saturday the man had to work 1/2 a day. #2 daughter joined me for a walk and then we went to visit a friend. #2 had the girls come over to play. The man kept#2 son busy stacking firewood. I seeded in beans and cucumbers. Sis and a friend hoed rows and planted over 200 feet of potatoes. Normally we have them planted much earlier but an old farmer told me to wait until June 1. Yeah I know I was early, I just hope that they do well and we have enough. There are no more seed potatoes left in the store otherwise I would probably buy more as there is space left.

On Sunday, my sister left to go to my brothers in MD. In a "while the cat's a way the mice will play" moment, I snuck 9 more tomatoes in the large garden and 5 in the greenhouse garden. I blame it all on Cyndy as she gave me some that I didn't have and I HAD to plant them so I would have seed. She also gave me some pepper plants that HAD to go in. I seeded in Fordhook zucchini, Iroquois melon. LI cheese squash and I actually found room to squeeze in 11 more cabbage! I walked both gardens and did my final (?) garden drawing so next year I know what & where everything was planted. And after the man finished mowing the barn area he put the new belt on the mower I mowed the back field.

Monday, Mom had a Drs. appointment which did not take as much time as expected! We did some shopping, banking and picking up prescriptions and we were home by noon. I seeded sunflowers and birdhouse gourds into the large garden. I raked out the rest of the new potato patch that didn't get used and seeded in acorn squash, spaghetti squash and pumpkin. I gave everything a good dose of water as the weatherman keeps postponing the rain.

I was a little more alert as a bear was in my yard when I came home from mom's doctor's appointment. I came up the driveway and it had it's front paws on the trunk of #2 son's car and was looking over at the ducks and chickens. I drove toward him and he went behind the blackberry patch and into the woods. It was about hip high which I am told is a small bear. I went reading and found this is their mating season. The cubs stay with their mom for 17 months. Right before she is ready to mate in late May to July, they force their cubs to stop traveling with them. Hopefully it was just trying to find it's way alone in life and will not be stopping in anytime soon for a chicken dinner.

Today #1 daughter and I papered and mulched most of the greenhouse garden. I have a small area that I could plant but yesterday I received a package in the mail. It was 50 crowns of strawberries that my son bought me. So that small area will be where the compost bins go and a path to what will be the new section of the garden! The man is so happy to know this garden is enlarging also!

And wait that is not all that got done! I am knitting away on the smock coat. It is going very slowly because it is seed stitch.
I decided I needed something to move alittle bit faster so I started the Fancy Baby Socks from KnitPicks. I am doing them to match the coat. The first pair looked very small so I used a bigger needle and made a second pair. And I washed another fleece. I don't know how long this productive mode will last but I am going to enjoy it while it is here.