Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pride Goeth... Before Pain?

“Some people believe holding on
and hanging in there 
are signs of great strength.
However, there are times
when it takes much more strength
to know when to let go
and then do it.” 

~ Ann Landers ~

I was told when I was 12 years old, that it would be a miracle if I could see past my 20th birthday. That same year I was told I would NOT be walking past my 25th. Well I turn 40 this year. I can still see, and I am still walking. This has been a source of pride for years; that I am still beating the odds. But that's only part of the story.

Over the course of the past 16 years, I have been capable of increasingly less. First I gave up cycling. Then it was running with my children. Sledding, picking up preschoolers, hiking anything but a paved trail - they've all slipped away, along with countless other things most people take for granted. This month, it was my sewing machines. Every year another sacrifice is made. With each loss, my pride has reminded me that at least I didn't need to use the wheelchair - yet.

Last winter, I spent nearly half the season wrapped in a comforter, homebound, because it hurt too much to walk. The wheelchair sat just down the hall, shunned, because I didn't need it - yet.

For 28 years, I have known that the wheelchair would be a necessary part of my life. For 28 years, I have fought with increasing degrees of failure, the concept that if I just work a bit harder, lose a bit more weight, become a bit stronger... I won't need the wheelchair - yet.

This week, for the first time in years, I allowed my husband to bring me to the store in the wheelchair. I wheeled the aisles, faced the curious stares, asked for help reaching things on higher shelves, (which SHOULD seem like a small thing, since I'm 5'1" tall... and shrinking) and - didn't hurt when I got back into the car.

Such a simple thing really, not hurting after purchasing toilet paper and lemonade. THIS is what I have been fighting? Why? Do I enjoy pain? Did I honestly believe that somewhere, there was a man handing out badges for hurting when it's not necessary?

Pride. My ugliest stumbling block, has earned a serious chip in it's slowly decaying facade. May I live to see it crumble completely.

In the meantime, over the next few months, I shall slowly be working on a small but fun project. I am going to "steampunk" my wheelchair. If I'm gonna use it, I plan on having FUN with it! Bring on the bronze spray paint, and the velvet cushions... I'll be riding in STYLE this winter!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2015 Garden - Part 1

Wow, I can't believe it's June already, and I haven't shared this year's garden! I have had nearly 700 visits to LAST YEAR'S garden post - and nearly 100 of those were from this past week alone! If you're visiting from Pinterest, Hello and welcome!

What are we doing on our deck this year? Big things. Many big things.
To start with, my husband and son took the leftover decking and lumber we'd been saving to build steps, and built two raised beds for me!!! Each one holds TWO of my 2'x3' cement-mixing bins, so I have 24 square feet of RAISED bed this year! I couldn't be happier.

The dog thinks that we built these just to give her a shaded walkway with which to patrol the deck looking for rogue squirrels, and I'm in no hurry to tell her otherwise.

We are also adding melons, zucchini, leeks, and parsnips to this year's garden - AND switching from pole beans to Chinese longbeans... just for fun.

Our other BIG change? We took the bamboo poles from our tepee system last year, and turned them into a corner trellis! I can't wait to see how this looks completely covered with the vines from the beans, zukes, melons & cukes! We're hoping it will actually provide a tiny bit of shade to our little bistro table - as well as adding an element of privacy!

So far we've had some pretty strange looks, and dozens of thumbs-up from the neighbors. I think they're getting used to our ever-changing garden; as we were putting the trellis up, we had dozens of people coming by to ask what was going to be grown on it, and what our plans for NEXT year were! I'm starting to see tiny glimpses of contagion in the neighborhood too. There are four tomato pots on the deck two doors down, and I can see FOUR cement-mixer beds in a yard one block away with what appears to be herbs & tomatoes set out in a pretty square pattern!

This is what our garden looks like as of today.

Running alongside the wall to the right of the door, are our tomatoes and carrots. You can see my mint in the strawberry pots, in a tiny niche along the deck rail as well. Our 8 tomato plants are about 2' tall right now, and are underplanted with parsnips. The carrots are in the orange pots in the middle (creating "breathing space" between the tomato pots, since we had issues with crowding last year) and are about an inch tall right now.

My favorite seed company was sold out of our beloved Bumble Bee cherry tomatoes this year, so all of our tomatoes are Ananas Noire. We're crossing our fingers for a bumper-crop, as traditionally our cherry tomatoes do much better than fullsize for some reason.

In the raised bins, our peppers, marigolds, and herbs are doing amazing! The chives are of course growing like mad, having come back yet again, and our leeks are starting to bulk up and look like more than just green hair sprouting from the ground! We're quite excited about the leeks, as they are VERY hard to find in stores - and extremely pricey when we DO see them!

And in our trellis bins, we have seedlings! They all look pretty much the same, but we have a small army of little bean, cucumber, zucchini, and melon seeds proudly standing at attention in the six bins surrounding the bistro table.
It's "monsoon" season here, and we're expected to get another 1-3 inches of rain within the next 48 hours, so we'll see how our tiny garden does. But so far everything is growing amazingly quickly, and looks oh, so promising!

I can't wait for my first zucchini fry-up. Or warm-from-the-sun tomato. Or potato leek soup!

Of all the things I learn from my garden, patience is probably the biggest lesson in which I need constant refresher courses.