A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Shave and a hair cut…..it is Spring!

  These are the loves of my life. The pups are Papillion mix and the legs are my husband’s. He went into the cheese drawer…enough said if you have dogs. I let their fur grow out all winter to keep them warm. The day this picture was taken, it was 85 degrees. It was an unusually warm spring day, and we were not prepared.

 This is Browny. He is a “special” dog as in the fact he is was pretty traumatized. I have no idea of the truth of their history other than they were very mistreated. They think they were around four and five when we got them and we have had them for four years.

  He is the sweetest baby ever. But he has manic episodes where he barks like crazy at anyone near our home. If they come into the home, its even worse. He has bitten someone. He will defend his partner, Cookie, if anyone tries to threaten her. We have no idea of the true relationship of the pair other than they are devoted.

   Miss Cookie seems sweet at first, but she is a bruiser. She likes to be dirty all the time. But she adores me and her Dadder, especially me. She does not like to be brushed so by the end of winter, she is pretty messy.

  She loves to roll in the snow, but hates baths. She will go out and roll in the grass or mulch and often comes in the house covered in “stuff.” So it was time for their summer haircuts. I finally found a groomer who has a van and will come to the house. Groomer on the Go. Eric was wonderful with them and I highly recommend him.

 Cookie was mad. She did not want her picture taken at all.

  But she looks amazing!

 The B Boy looks completely different. His fur was extremely long with a long tail. Eric cut his tail, which was necessary. But the view is completely different.

  He really fits the name Monkey Boy now.

Spring is everywhere, finally. We spent the day yesterday digging out the veggie garden out and turning the soil. We then planted some lettuce. I was so thrilled to be able to get down and actually work in the garden. It was at first scary getting down, it was even more scary trying to get up after being down on the ground for a couple of hours. But I did it. I am paying for it today, but that’s ok.

  Here is half of the garden with the lettuce protected from the bunnies. I put in some lettuce in pots without sticks and the chomped them down overnight. Sorry bunnies…. the sticks are back.

  Slowly the garden is getting in shape. I think of it as a canvas that Mother Nature and I work on together. Next week I will post pictures of the flowers and lilacs. It is beautiful.

 

 

 

Water, water, water…..

 I used to think it would be so grand to have a house down on the big lake. I would actually love to have a place on the River. But after this spring, I am not so sure. The rain has been non-stop. The creeks are overflowing, parks are under water and roads are closed. We took a journey out to one of our favorite parks this afternoon. It was shocking.

   This is one beach area at the park. In the distance, you can see a break wall under water. That is how far the beach use to go out. Now it is right up to picnic area.

  This part of the beach was three times as big as it is now.

  Where those trees are used to be dry. You could walk out there and sit. There was a small beach area around the trees. Last week,  we also went down to another favorite spot. There is a long pier going out from the bay to the lake that you can walk on. It was too windy for us. We took some pictures of the houses that face the lake.

  Where the logs are out far was where the beach once was.       The  erosion and water is very bad. This was last week. This location is now closed because the bay and the lake have breached on either side.

  It has been so cold and damp that I have not been able to sit out. I also am very sick with the flu. It has wiped me out. I have never slept as much as I have this past weekend. Although I think I am on the mend, I would not wish this on anyone. Well, maybe Trump.

  Our garden is waiting for me to spruce it up. Fortunately, the flowering trees have been spectacular. My annuals are coming up including the roses I thought I lost. The lilacs are blooming, but they need more sun. Mrs. Dove grew her baby and it took off last Thursday. She is already sitting on a new egg or two. We also have a sparrow family in one house and a chick-a-dee in another. I want to sit out. Slowly I hope the weather and I will improve and it will be garden time

 

 

Mother Nature’s Wrath

   This has been a strange week. Living near the Big Lakes, our weather is always changing. This week brought warm enough to sit outside temperatures and blue skies to the storm of the decade. And it looks like we are going to get creamed again this upcoming week with snow. Twenty-six years ago to the month, we went through an ice storm of epic proportions. It decimated the area. This week, we had a wind storm. It too decimated the area.

Our property is fine. Even our resident doves were fine. We have a ton of sticks in the garden. I hate picking up sticks but it beats what happened to our neighbor.

She has many old pine trees on her property. Many face our backyard. I thought for sure one that is still leaning was coming across and would have taken down a transformer and power lines and gone across our back yard.

Instead, a large tree very close to her house cracked in half and landed on her roof. It left a huge six foot gash in her roof which is now tarped. She has had power, but the people behind her do not. It was 9 degrees this morning with wind. It has snowed all weekend and has been bitterly cold.

When something like this hits a community, we rally and that has been happening. Our clinicians saw more patients just to make sure they were ok. On Friday, I volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Our delivery route was littered with down trees and large branches. We checked on our folks and made sure if they were in their homes, they were ok. And if they did not answer, we called in to verify their family knew they were not answering the door. The amount of damage was terrible. Huge old pines toppled like they were pushed over by a giant. One area would have nothing, and then there would be mass destruction to another.

I am so sadden by all the trees that are damaged or toppled. It takes a tree so long to get big and powerful and in a flash, they are gone. It reminds me how tenuous life really is. Strong and powerful pines, rooted into the earth and stable…ripped from their existence by the breath of Mother Nature.

Pantheism is a form a spiritual practice where you see God in everything, and everything has spirit. I subscribe to that belief. It really bothers me when I see the ruin of nature even when it is not man-made destruction. Houses can be fixed and cars can be replaced, but it the trees are not so easily replaced. The tree that came down on my neighbor was at least forty feet tall. It is part of what is left of a forest that lined the farm that was the center of our neighborhood before all the houses were built. The maples in my yard are over 75 years old; according to the arborist I had come in and trim. I am grateful they are ok.

  Amaryllis blooming in my inside garden

Slowly the community is coming back on line. It will take many months to clean up the area. No one was killed or even injured, which is amazing. People do not know how to handle intersections when the traffic lights are out. The Equinox is next week, it is full moon today and we are back to that silly daylight savings time. Everyone will be off kilter for this week. We will brace for the next storm this week, and hopefully, that will be then end of winter.

 

 

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

4- 2016 garden   It’s the most wonderful time of the year for me. I love the Yule/Christmas season for its beauty. I love the crisp air and color of early fall. But my heart longs for early spring right into June. It is definitely my favorite time.

street in park    Right now the garden is still shrouded in snow and mud. There are sticks and debris and a plethora of doggie deposits. But last night, after work when I got home, I sat outside and could smell the harbingers of spring in the air. It is very hard to describe the smell. It is part sweet, mixed with earth and in my yard a bit of dog. It is the sweet that is the noticeable change.

spring ice

Even though we get notoriously serious storms in March, the weather slowly improves. I actually love a good snow storm if I don’t have to drive. I decided this year I would not put myself in a dangerous situation and call off. We have not had a storm yet that I have had to do that. Matter of fact it has been very mild.

Louie 1  There was a cardinal sitting in my honeysuckle. I have them all year but they hang out when the weather changes. But in the distance, I could hear another bird singing. I think it may have been a robin. This morning there is a cacophony of birdsong. It is no longer so quiet that you can actually hear snow fall.

dove nest  My already elevated spirit was treated this morning to the best surprise of all. The doves are back. We had sat out last night and just talked about how beat up the nest was and that we were wondering if they would be back. This morning, when I let the dogs out, she flew right by me from the old nest.

Dot and Dudley   It had been “spruced up”.. I was elated. We had several baby chicks born in that nest last year. I felt very protective.

CHUCK     I think it is time to put away the outside Christmas decorations and put up what my hubby refers to as the birthing centers. We have a bunch of bird houses that we put out and every year. We have a chick-a dee family that comes and has a family. We call them Chuck and Rita.

vhuck1 Last summer I bought a new big house to put out to see what I could entice. The rent is cheap and there are diners everywhere in the yard. (I have several bird/SQUIRREL feeders)

squirrel 2

I will spend as much of the day outside as I can. It amazes me how I connect with the change. I feel like there are possibilities and fortuitous changes on the horizon. The bleakness of winter will return for a while, but soon, the days will be warm and my garden will be alive again.

 praying bunny

 

Thanksgiving

writing spot 2014

It is Thanksgiving week. Many people travel at this time back to their family homes to gather to give thanks. I am sitting at my spot at the kitchen table thinking how wonderful and blessed I am and grateful. Many times I will sit here or in my chair and look around my home and think how lucky I am and how much I love this place. I did from the moment I moved in.

I saw the house in a whirlwind of viewings of places when I needed to move and get out of the house I was in. I was in the process of a crappy divorce and did not want to remain in that house. I had sold it and already successfully secure a mortgage loan. I actually do not remember much of the visit other than I liked it, it was in the village  where I wanted to live and it had a garden and a pool.

Heron Hill 2012  house after renovations and painting

The interior was very dark. They had covered all the windows with heavy drapes. It was early spring and the garden had not quite come to life but I saw potential. I bought it, had it inspected and moved in. Little did I know that the  inspection was a fraud and I discovered many things that needed to be redone, including a very leaky roof.

At that time, my one basset had seizures every so often. She would circle and her face wound cave and her tongue would hand out. She would be like that for hours and sometimes, she would whimper or cry. They were awful. I had her tested and they feel that she had been so abused that there was traumatic brain injury. My friend took her and Bishop for the day. They came over with them after the move was done. She walked into the house like she owned it. She pranced around the back yard. At night, she walked down to our bedroom, pulled the blanket on her bed over her as she always did and slept. She did not have another seizure until four years later, which was actually a stroke and she lost her life to it.

side after

There is an old style enclosed back porch with large screened windows that was my spot in the summer. I would sit out there for hours. In the winter, the downstairs room became the TV room and I filled it with overstuffed comfortable furniture. That was the only new thing I bought for years as I have too much furniture and need to get rid of some. There are many hand-me-downs and antiques and furniture I got in my first marriage. There is one room I call the museum which has a lot of crystal and fine things that were given to me by relatives. I wish I had a relative to pass it on, but sadly, there is no one who wants or even gets what they mean.

I have made improvement through the years. The interior has been redone with bright paint and papers. I had the bathroom and kitchen refurbished and the lower level area redone to include a man cave for my husband.  The exterior was painted the colors of the blue heron. We call the house now Heron Hill as there are over a dozen heron garden features all over. I had the old pool removed and the garden completely re-landscaped. I had the driveway widened and redone along with some new retaining walls.

The house was built in the same year I was born. We have aged and have creaks and groans but are still functioning. People comment on how comfortable the house is and often say it has a warm special feel to it. No one will ever say it is glamourous or worry about spilling something. It is a place to relax and recoup. I have one person who stays here to watch the dogs while we are away who absolutely loves the place and calls it her vacation spot.

Waiting for Santa Paws

I am sitting here this morning gazing at the snow falling. The house has an abundance of windows including a bank of almost  floor to ceiling ones in the front. They are old and drafty and I will soon cover them to keep the warmth in. But that’s ok because I have many plants inside and they have white lights in them to keep a festive feel even after I take down the Christmas stuff sometime in MARCH!!!! ( wish I was kidding)

Christmas 2014 1

On Thursday, my husband and his daughter will sit down to a meal which we all helped to prepare. I insist we say at least one thing we are grateful for. I practice every night thinking of things I am grateful for before I sleep. Even when the pain of my Psoriatic arthritis is pulsing through me, I find peace and solitude in my humble abode.

 

 

Transitions

sept-doves-2016

I have been writing about the Doves who have lived with us all summer. They left their spot up on the porch for a long time in August and we figured they were done having babies. We were wrong. A new pair had another set of babies this September. That made three sets of twins and one single baby dove that came into the world in my garden.

We lost one young bird from the first pair that was attacked earlier in the summer.  I found her on the walkway and she died in my hands. She is buried in the garden.

dove-love

This newest pair grew quite large. Yesterday, the nest was empty. But I found one of them on the deck. We knew that one was not doing great from birth. We could see that she breathed a lot faster than the other one. I think she cannot fly because I was able to walk up to her pretty close and all she did was walk away. Throughout the day, I would see her in another spot, often with her nest mate. The bigger one can fly away. I put out seed and I hoped she would be ok.

How frightening it must have been for her to find herself on the deck after being in her nest for so long. Now she is in this huge space and alone, unless her brother/sister comes back. Last seen she had meandered closer to the bird seed I put out, but in the safety of a bush. I worried all night and I am waiting for day break to go out see if she is ok or gone. I pray she flew away, if that is possible.

spet-doves1

There may be a day when we will vaporize and be transported to our next location by breaking apart and reassembling somewhere else. I doubt I will see that in my time. For now, I have to physically move myself and enter into a new arena from the comfort of where I was. For some people like me, it is hard and disruptive. But I have been practicing doing a Soft Landing, one of the new Mindful Self-Compassion skills from the class I am taking.

I am very sensitive to my environment. So much so that I am not even completely aware of all the signals coming into my brain, but I do react. I am still hyper-vigilant, but not as bad as I was years ago. I do not like loud sounds or bright lights. And I can detect emotional distributions or as they say, bad vibes, very easily and it puts me on alert.

The concept of a soft landing is to take a moment every time you go from one spot to the next in your day. When you enter somewhere and find you seat, take a moment to breath. Close your eyes if you can and listen for whatever sounds are in the room. Go inward to your body and scan for discomfort. Much like you would massage a muscle, send soothing energy to the discomfort or simply become aware of it. I find the act of just being aware of pain seems to lessen its grip. I do this now all the time including when I get into my car and drive anywhere. It only takes a moment.

garden-sept-center

My favorite grounding is when I come home from work. I change out of my work clothes into something soft and comforting. I like to sit in the garden and just be there for a moment. Then and only then, my husband and I will share our days. He knows he is not supposed to hit me with drama when I come through the door. It was a hard habit for him to break.

However, now he forgets sometimes to tell me I had a phone call. This was the case last week. By the time he remembered, it was too late to call them back. Unfortunately, this was a call that was crucial that I returned. Seems my mammogram is “inconclusive” and I had to reschedule for another series of images and then a consult.

After talking with a few girlfriends, I learned that this was not an uncommon occurrence when you have a mammogram done. But when it happens to you, it is very troubling. I have been having them done since I was 21. My Aunt had breast cancer was diagnosed at a very early age and ended up with a double mastectomy. My mother died of cancer at 56, although her original diagnosis was lung cancer. Every therapy I have taken for my Psoriatic Arthritis has a warning that it can “encourage” lymphoma.

From all the classes I have taken and including this one, the principal of living in the present moment is a basic core truth. I worry way too much about way too much which causes undo stress and physical pain. I have to learn to stay in the present moment. The MSC class is helping me recall many of the strategies that I let go of. Being in the present moment while in this situation is critical for my wellbeing while I wait to hear what is going on. But it is hard to not worry.

So like the little dove, I am in a transition that I am not really happy about. But then that is life. If we do not move forward and face our issues head on, we become stuck. The image that pops into my mind is one from childhood. It is a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit. The outcome is never good.

August Garden

aug garend 3  The garden is beat up and truthfully, so am I. We have had 90 plus degrees every day (28 days to be exact) and very little if any rain. It finally rained yesterday, right after I watered all the pots. If I knew that was the key to make it rain. Actually, I watered every other night all summer. I also make up buckets of plant food water and give them that. It is a lot of work. And I am tired of it.  I will long for it around January, thinking that the work was no big deal. But the heat and humidity has barred me from sitting out there until much later at night.

aug garden 4 I do not bother with the lawn. If it does not grow we do not have to mow it.  Usually I pop out to the chair around 7:30 after feeding my bunnies, who usually join me around that time.  Petee But with the heat and the bugs, it has not been very fun.  I try not to use bug spray because… well, I am covered with Psoriasis lesions.

This is a whole other thing with this summer.  I am now on my sixth drug in a year. I went from Enbrel (after 8 years it stopped working as they all do)  to Simponi (gave me high blood pressure, like stroke level)  Cimzia (raised my blood sugar to over 400 with one shot) Otezla, the glamour drug at $80.00 a pill (which was the most horrific one of all, I was so sick on it and it made my arthritis worse) to leflunomide, (raised the blood sugar back up there to almost 400) to Humira. I have only had two shots of Humira and it is helping the PsA but not the Psoriasis.

aug garden 5  As beat up as these plants look, so am I. I am grateful for the relief on the arthritis (PsA), but I am a long way from where I was before. I can only walk short distances, and at least I am not crying when I get done grocery shopping. But the lesions are awful and they itch and hurt. My legs and arms and scalp are covered.  But the next thing issue is was something that I have been trying to avoid for the last 8 years.

Diabetes.          aug garden 4  Ever since I was old enough to go to the Doctor, they have tried to make me out to be diabetic because I am fat. Up until they started giving me all these very strong drugs, my blood glucose has been perfect. It never was above 5.5. When I first was truly diagnosed with PsA, they gave me a cocktail of Methotrexate  (MTX), prednisone, and Advil prn. My A1C went to 13 and no one caught it for a while. To bring it down, they gave me Metformin on top of all the other crap. The result was my right kidney failed. They took me off of everything and after a while, my kidney came back to about 41%. The sugar came down but it never has gone back below 6.  Now it is back up to 8 or 8.8 even off the last drug that increased it.  So now I have to take Januvia in the am and a shot of 10 units of insulin at bedtime. Already my morning readings are improved after two shots so I am hopeful we can “jumpstart” my pancreas again. If not, this is a life sentence.   My doctor told me this, thinking it would help: “I had diabetes when I was 29 and I got rid of it by losing 40 pounds.” Well isn’t that ducky? At 29, I did not have any health issues! All this shit started after my divorce when I was 47. But I could go off on a tangent about how trauma affects your health, but I am saving that as I am doing more research on it.

aug garden 1  What is keeping me together is we leave for the River next Sunday. We will be gone for 10 days. We have people staying at the house with the “kids”. They use our house as their vacation spot.

Bro Brow cooling off I am going to try to stay cool, get through this week and go to the one place in the world where I feel safe and grounded. I will have a ton of pictures to share.