A Weedin' and A Seedin'

Friday, April 29, 2016

**A picture happy coffee and a donut post**

Back in the day, (Ha! I always wanted to say that) our county sanitation department would come around every so often and haul off any oversize unwanted stuff that didn't fit in the trash bins as part of our regular garbage service. Somewhere around the time Ms. Olivia (the mail lady) exchanged her personal vehicle for an honest-to-goodness mail truck, the county began charging a fee to haul off the "big stuff". A hefty fee. Personally, I would have appreciated some head's up because as soon as that happened, Freddy Frugality (DH) decided rather than paying any fee, we'd just hang onto our pile "for awhile". Ha. HaHaHA.

The pile grew over time, as things broke and were replaced. For awhile, it bothered me. Then I suddenly found myself enmeshed in the first of a series of medical misadventures: a surprising cancer diagnosis, followed by multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and Herceptin treatments. After that, pending piles of junk and other such concerns were relegated to the back burner. I just couldn't care about it. Ultimately, I found myself at the point I could barely keep up with a full-time job and family; never mind the things that went with having a house (e.g. both indoor and outdoor things), so I did what I could to get by. I guess you could say I went into survival mode (except maybe it was more like survival of the UNfittest ;o)

As the state of my health declined, so did the state of the house. I kept working full-time, but had to let go of a LOT. The grass grew steadily over the sidewalk. My once pretty flowerbeds, suffering from abandonment issues, became home to a few tangled clumps of weeds. Left to their own devices, those clumps spread like wildfire and grew to alarming heights. Half the time I'd think our house looked like IT was abandoned with all those overgrown weeds. At some point I started narrowing my eyes to slits every time I pulled in the driveway so I couldn't see them anymore. By the time I was diagnosed with Polymyositis (a debilitating muscle disease) a couple of years later, I couldn't walk more than a few feet at a time and the inside of the house had become as badly neglected as the outside. Over the last couple of years as my health has started to improve, I've been working my way - albeit in fits and starts - through the inside. I managed to hit the "indoor floor" running this year (e.g. this post). I'm not finished by a long shot, but things are definitely looking less depressing. This year, I also decided I was finally able to start tackling the outside.
Photo Inset: One of my badly neglected flowerbeds. Embarrassing, but true. *sigh*

Now I may not be a big fan of the labor involved in gardening - I hate weeding [and thank you for your contribution to our struggles, Adam *blows raspberry*] - particularly when you have flowerbeds as neglected as mine, but oh how I do LOVE flowers! I love my flowers even more than DH loves his rustbucket and junk collection. The man actually calls it his yard art. Ha. Maybe he says that because he doesn't want to haul it all away. You think? Guess what, though: A few weeks ago, while deep in thought about what I wanted to accomplish in the yard, I found myself drumming my fingers on the desk as I contemplated a nifty little word on my computer screen than I hadn't thought about in awhile:

Repurpose /rēˈpərpəs/ A verb meaning to adapt for use in a different purpose.

I also learned that when you couple that particular word with, say, Pinterest, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. To wit: Junk, your days are numbered. Mwah-ha-ha-haaa...  That means anything old that isn't nailed down is now Fair Game. What if it is nailed down, you say? Well, then. That's what that little claw thingy on the other side of the hammer is for (and silly you ;o) Naturally, I didn't have a lot of the "desired" junk that came up, but I was willing to work with what we had; copious amounts of junk in general. The UNdesired kind. One thing we did have? A rusted old wheelbarrow with a broken handle. I splurged on the Gerbra; it's the same one from the earlier photo (isn't she pretty?) I bought some seeds, since they were pretty inexpensive. I learned about pre-sprouting, and started some Dwarf Nasturtium on my kitchen windowsill. It did well in little peat pots and [hopefully] it will flourish in the wheelbarrow. Weird note? Apparently Nasturtium grows much better in "poor" soil. Happily, I just happened to have some on hand... 
In spades. 

I moved the seedlings outside under the patio roof, but in the sun, for about a week before planting them (photo right).

One thing I found fascinating?  I came across some information that recommended using egg shells instead of peat pots to start plants. I decided to see if it would make any difference and put the next pre-sprouted seed in an egg shell (photo right) instead of a pot (photo left). Looking at the base part of the stems in the two pictures below, I'd have to say that the calcium from the eggshell made a huge difference from the get-go. Look how much thicker it is! Even crazier, the plant on the right is actually a couple of weeks younger than the one on the left. Pretty neat, eh?

My Nasturtium seedlings are now in the wheelbarrow, and I'm waiting (ever so IMpatiently) for them to grow. Hopefully, it won't be too long before they "fill and spill" ;o)

Here's the first of three (count 'em - three) dead yard carts. DH has had about seven or eight years to find replacement wheels for them. *DING* Time's up! ;o) I hit this one with a coat of paint, planted it upside down at an angle, and filled it with the purple heart I rescued from the weeds. It'll look better once it fills in a little more, I hope. One end of DD's old crib provided an interesting background, and I painted it a light sage green. It also helps to hide the *cough* desirable (?) junk we have stashed behind it in the garage. *laugh* I'm hoping to get my hands on some Zebrina Wandering Jew to put in a rectangular planter in that doorway (should be a great color compliment for the purple heart). If and when I do, I'll be sure to take another picture for you! The "stepping stump" in front of the cart is a halved cypress log DD salvaged from a neighbor's trash pile years ago. I'm still working on this section.

The broken stepladder fit perfectly in the bed by the feed room; it's home to some Orange Mint. I found one of my favorite old clay planters hiding under a pile of stuff in the garage: 

DH even got into the spirit of things and made me this awesome super-sized step by the feed room "loading" door using an old poly-whatchamacallit pallet and some inexpensive dog ear fence boards. The plant you see in the foreground was a half-dead African Orchid I rescued from a garden center clearance pile at Wal-Mart for $2. It's amazing how many plants you can find on the cheap. More (lots) on that next time, though. A rusted out piece of [ancient] garden border seemed to work well there (super handy-dandy that rusty is so trendy, eh?) 

I thanked him by giving his old lunch cooler (the one he hasn't used in 20 years) a reason to live. It's now home to some Sweet Alyssum I found for $1 on the DNR cart at Lowe's. It was all brown and sadly shriveled when I brought it home, but it seems to be feeling a bit better. I didn't get the lunch box as centered/straight as I wanted. It was annoyingly awkward to affix *insert alliteration applause* but it doesn't look quite so bad from a bit farther away.

I think that's [more than] enough reading for one day. I'm still working away out there (and in here), and still have a quite a few photos left to share :o) Have a blessed week everyone!

Note to Self: When in Doubt, Go WITHOUT...

Friday, April 15, 2016

...saying anything that might could would morph into a massive unloading [read: demented rant] from which your fingers may never recover. Not to mention the things you would just have to turn around and repent anyway. Right Jennifer? You betcha. So. In lieu of posting a twenty page diatribe explaining the circumstances I alluded to in my last post (found here, for those of you looking sideways at the screen and scratching your head in confusion) I'm going for the "less is more" version. I will, however, offer you a bulleted summary to accompany the picture to the left. Said picture being worth FAR more than a measly 1,000 words because it is an incredibly accurate depiction of my mental state during the time in question (albeit a disturbing one). Well, maybe not the male gender/mustache part. And yes, I entertained myself with the bullets in my little summary (what did you expect? ;o)

To quote Sergeant Friday (on a Friday no less), "Just the facts, Ma'am."
 My father got sick, then became ill (as in tempered). Then he got really ill (as in go to the hospital). What started as a plain old "vomit virus", turned into something far more serious over the course of a couple weeks.
 Ultimately, Dad required the better part of a week in the hospital which, in turn, required me to spend the better part of the week sleeping at my parent's house with Mom (Alzheimer's patients do not do well with any change in environment). This was, of course, in addition to working full time, caring for the horses, and spending time at the hospital. 
 Turned out my Dad had a pinched intestine (and did we even know that was a thing? Nope), which was ultimately - and thankfully - resolved without surgery.

It probably goes without saying that I ran around like a crazy woman throughout all of this at warp speed from home to work to hospital to home to Mom's and then back home again in the wee hours the next day.

I also learned quite a bit about myself and (hopefully), I stretched and grew a little more spiritually and grace-fully. Ummm...How about this: I definitely grew, but it wasn't very pretty. Here's the rest (as politely as I'm able to phrase it):

 I love my parents. I really do, but they are not always easy (or pleasant) to be around. My dad, who is never sick, has to be the worst patient I think I have ever encountered (I'll take sick whiny kids any day). 
 It is a darn good thing that God's grace is sufficient, because I had nowhere NEAR enough of it for either one of my parents: both of whom managed to surprise (shock?) me with some truly obnoxious and downright hateful behavior.
 Silver Lining? (sort of): It is absolutely possible, when you toss in enough stress-filled frantic, to drop five pounds in a single week without even trying (yes, I really did).
💡 I did a tremendous amount of introspection in the weeks that followed, and ultimately realized that I had a veritable boatload of unresolved emotions and resentments when it came to my parents that stemmed from years of internalizing. A BIG boat. Okay, maybe more like an armada. Since it is not my intention to engage in a round of "bash the parents" (a.k.a. the temptation from which I was - barely - delivered), I'll just say that there are people on this earth who can - and do - take condescension, [what I call] "destructive" criticism and personal dissatisfaction to a whole new level. I suppose one could also say that teenagers are not the only ones with the mindset that precious little outside of their own wants and needs should be considered. Yep, one could say that all right... *Ahem*. 
'Nuff said.
 I learned that setting healthy boundaries can be a wonderful and truly amazing thing. Just be sure to seek counseling from a trusted source first, and be as kind as as you can (in my case it was our pastor and a very close friend). I also had to give myself a couple added weeks of "calm down" time before drawing that line in the sand to keep things from turning ugly on my part. (I never said I was perfect ;o)
The end result?
I guess some people are just going to be the toast crumbs in your butter no matter what you do. Sort of a weird analogy, I guess, (but I'm hungry ;o)

So there you have it: my little tale of whoa (was me). As to the past couple of weeks? Busy, busy, busy. My bender is back; in spades! Hopefully, I'll have some pictures for you next time to show you what I've been up to. All I can say is Pinterest is a double-edged sword (handy, but dangerous). Have a blessed week, and stay sane. At least try. *laugh*

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