Friday, September 12, 2014

Passive Gardening


I did plant a few things in my garden this year. One was one hill of Charentais melons. They are a French heirloom that I bought from Baker Creek Seed Company. The reason I decided to try to grow Charentais was first, because they had a short growing season and I had a pretty good chance of ripening some before it got too cold. And second, because they were described as very sweet and a green market favorite. I'd never even seen one and wondered how I'd know when they were sweet. Have no fear - all you have to do is sniff. They are like a small, honey sweet cantaloupe without the netted skin. They have small seeds, they're very juicy and I had half of one for dessert last night.


Now this big boy was a complete surprise. It took me a while to figure out what he was and where he came from as I certainly didn't plant him. When I first saw the huge leaves and aggressive vines start to pop up, I thought for sure he was going to be spaghetti squash from the mistake I made a few years ago - before I was in the habit of buying one every week. I planted too many and they took over the whole patch. I couldn't even give them away. When it appeared that the squash hanging from my fence was a pumpkin, I was totally surprised but I let him live. He bullied his way through the cucumbers (who fought back valiantly with a crop I couldn't keep up with). But he was on his own. No other pumpkins evolved from those giant flowers.
 So, gradually, through the summer, my pumpkin turned from a pallid white to a creamy tan. And then I knew what he was and how he got into my garden. Two years ago I bought a lovely Long Island Cheese pumpkin from my local grocer. I bought it to sit on my doorstep because of its perfect shape and color. By Christmas, of course, he was compost and I never thought of him again. Until this summer when he arrived, unexpectedly in my garden patch. He's perfectly formed because he's another heirloom variety.

And boy, didn't I break my back to get all these lovely figs. Well, I did have a bit of trouble transplanting the tree into a larger pot when it kept falling over last summer. It was my son who actually worked the hardest when he picked the pot up out of the garage in May and dropped it next to the patio. I watered, spread some organic fertilizer and voila, figs!




When it's time to make my Blackberry Vodka, I'll show you my harvest from my canes. It's in the freezer for now. I think I need to put my feet up and knit for a while.



























Thursday, September 4, 2014

Anticipating Autumn


Anticipating Autumn


 

....doesn't have quite the ring to it as...



......waiting for Spring, does it?



.....while we wait for a birth...."they're awaiting the stork"...


.....it's been said that one anticipates a hurricane, snow, a death...
sorry to sound so dreary, but


....I shush my husband when he mentions that the pool must be closed up before the leaves fall



.....and we've had our last party for the Summer


.....and I'm anticipating being cold and needing a new sweater...


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"But, What about the MS?" What about it?


I kind of tend to forget that my blog posts appear on a group post with other bloggers who have MS. Would I prefer to forget this disease? Damned straight. And, much of the time I'm able to push it to the bottom of the list of things that bug me. Which is wonderful because it plagued me big time for the better part of two decades. Now, I wasn't as sick as many people but I was a whole lot sicker than many others. My eyes crossed on their own, my face hurt, I lost my sight many times. The fatigue was so bad at times, I'd have to be driven home from work and head straight to bed. When my legs were affected, they felt as heavy as the legs on my dining room table. And when I needed to bring my cane with meto work, that spelled the end of my career. In Human Resources. I know..I could have brought a discrimination suit against them. But I was fed up with my boss and the nasty "corporate"  atmosphere at work anyway and had a young stepson who needed me at home. What about now, almost 30 years after I was diagnosed? Most of the time, I eat way better than the average American. I don't mix Cheerios with Lucky Charms because, for the most part, I don't eat wheat, or oats or any grain at all. I try not to eat sugar except on special occasions. I've used no fat to cook except butter or olive oil for almost 15 years. Now I mostly use coconut oil. I eat beef (finally found some grass-fed that I can access easily), organic chicken, wild caught salmon. I put my pasta sauce on spaghetti squash instead of macaroni.  I eat plenty of vegetables (not corn) raw and cooked and I treat myself to a light beer with my husband every evening before dinner. I exercise at my local YMCA doing their water workout. I got orthotics which helped my balance (we work on balance at the end of the water workout also - it is helping a lot). I try to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep. I cheat (ice cream!) once in a while and my digestive tract lets me know later on. I don't know how much my life style affects the MS. I haven't noticed a direct correlation. I do know that I didn't get any worse when I stopped taking the Avonex, then the Betaseron injections. After I stopped taking them (mostly because they were so constipating) I had a few years of IBS before I got my gut flora straightened out. I think the meds caused the IBS. I don't advise anyone to stop their medication. I just know that, for now, I'm holding my own without it - against my own doctor's advice.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Happy Accident and Summer Spinning

A happy accident took over my little garden. It's so light I'm guessing it's a white pumpkin. I think if it were going to be orange, it would be greener. I'm guessing since I've never planted pumpkins.

I did, however, plant sunflowers last year. I dried the heads and popped them on the fence posts for the birds. A few came up and I moved two of them where passersby could see their faces.

An extra patio tomato plant ended up in the herb garden with the Echinaceas.
My first hand-spun skein of Merino wool. I think it's going to be a little toy.
 
Blue faced Leicester and silk My first real attempt at spindle spinning. A little thick and not too soft but very shiny, nonetheless. I love summer colors.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Sweet Summer




                           

It's not just the colors, the fragrances and long, warm evenings that make me happy. It's that we don't need an excuse to play together in the summer. The food is easier to prepare and everybody's ready to bring something to share. The clean-up's a breeze. The kitchen that I love dearly, stays clean and cool - the oven's off for now. I'm harvesting and freezing big plump blackberries to use when this summer's just a sweet memory.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I am a Corvette - What are You?




I've been exercising on a fairly regular basis again since February. Recently, I've gotten more serious about keeping my Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule of 45 minute sessions of water exercise at the Y. I've tried more strenuous activity in the past and ended up hurting myself. The water in the pool helps me with my balance issues and it's great for those of us with MS. I'm also well aware that I turned 62 last month. That said, I've come to believe that there's a big difference in the way people "age" and quite a lot we can do about what we've come to think of as inevitable. I read an article about treating ourselves as well as we treat out pets and I completely agreed with that. I read the labels on her food, make sure she gets walked and all her visits to the vet. Her haircuts are more frequent than mine and cost just as much. She even has special shampoo for her sensitive skin. And the vet does not let me out the door with a $15 co-payment. I love my dog, but I'd rather think of myself as an expensive sports car. Would I leave it out in the rain or the sun with the top down for days on end? The leather seats and shiny paint job wouldn't last long. Would I leave it sitting for months or years or would I take it out for nice long drives to keep all its fluids and gears moving smoothly? A car left to sit for long without moving ends up with flat tires and a dead battery. Why do we humans think we can put cheap gas in our tanks and get good mileage? Our tires go flat, our paint gets dull and we end up with too much junk in the trunk and then wonder why we look and feel the way we do. Reality check. I was in the pool today, holding in the tummy, working away to the music. A very nice, very round 70ish lady remarked, "I've been doing this exercise every week since November and I don't see any difference!" I told her I thought I might see more of a difference after I lose 20 lbs. And I really think I will. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Linen and Lace




Summer wedding dressing for the mother of the best man - pale blue linen and lace top over a slim white crocheted skirt. I bought the top in a boutique at the shore when we were on vacation. It's made by August Silk. The skirt is Liz Claiborne New York. Comfortable, cool and age appropriate. As I get older, I do worry about that. I've asked my husband to tell me if I ever look like I'm trying too hard. I want to keep up with current trends but many of them are best left to the kids. I saw a woman in the mall last week with black mani and pedi and black slave sandals laced almost to her knees. She had to have been well over 60. As difficult as it is to look sometimes, everybody should have a full-length mirror and an honest friend with good taste, fashion sense and a kind heart.