Saturday, July 14, 2012


So much has happened since my last post, I hardly know where to start!

First, you know I was doing a lot of work in my yard this spring, trying to enlarge flower beds, planting more perennials, and ta-dah: my first raised bed garden!
I stacked together two kits bought from Home Depot and laid cardboard in the bottom to prevent weeds and grass from coming through, then just layered peat moss and compost and garden soil, as described in the book on lasagna gardening.

Those little plants in the back are squash (no more slugs for me!), and the two little plants to the right side are cherry tomatoes.  I also planted carrots, peppers, radishes, eggplant and one lone okra plant. Later, after I harvested the radishes, I transplanted a jalapeno plant from the large container it shared with a second plant.

In another large planter, I planted two heirloom tomato plants.
Well, here they are today:
The heirloom tomatoes aren't doing very well. This is the second time I've planted heirlooms in this planter, and I don't know what the problem is, but this combination doesn't work well.

The jalapenos:
They're doing MUCH better than the tomatoes. I've already harvested 4 and you can see there are at least a dozen more, and more blossoms besides.

But look at the squash and the cherry tomatoes!

I came home from vacation to find some branches broken off from the weight! I had to drag an old swing frame from under the deck, string some bungee cords and use fabric strips to support the branches! Note to self: tomatoes and squash LOVE fish emulsion!

Between the two veggies, the other plants are struggling for sunlight, but I do have some peppers and carrots hanging in there.

I'm so thrilled! My first successful garden! I think I may get another kit or two for the fall, and grow some greens, or at least have them for next spring. I believe the tomatoes and squash need beds of their own. Fortunately, my neighbor diligently watered my garden and flowerbeds while we were gone to visit my daughter last week, because we had temps in the upper 90s and NO RAIN for 3 weeks. My water bill was double the usual amount. However, it has rained for the last 3 days straight, and things are getting waterlogged, so I'm ready for a little sunshine so the tomatoes will ripen.

We went to Virginia to see our daughter, and visited Monticello while there. Knowing the crowds would be astronomical on the Fourth, with the nationalization ceremonies, we went on July 3. Holy cow, it was SOOO hot and humid there. Just miserable. I did spend a bit of time looking at the Jefferson vegetable garden, but decided not to try the flower gardens. Even with a big hat on and bottled water, it was almost unbearable out there, and then add pushing Jack around in his wheelchair, and I was wilted in minutes. The house tour was interesting, though still uncomfortably warm, but the cellar was pretty cool.  Thought you might like to see one of the sewing displays there:
You can click on the picture to enlarge. I lifted some of those irons--I'm thinking the house staff had arm muscles as bulky as those of the farm slaves!

In other news, I changed jobs. I have been increasingly unhappy at the hospital, and just couldn't support the direction they were taking us, so began looking around in April. This is not a large area, and opportunities are limited, but I was fortunate to find a job in an area I've been contemplating for years: hospice. I didn't realize how long I've been thinking about it until my daughter mentioned I was talking about it 10-12 years ago. Monday was my first day, though it was filled with paperwork, etc., and I didn't get to the floor til Tues. night. And yes, I'm still on nights, only it's a combination of 12- and 8-hour shifts, which will be nicer. Sometimes the 12-hour shifts kick my butt. My schedule could change later, but it's what I want right now. In another month or so, I will start cross-training to do home hospice visits as well, because I did take a sizable cut in pay. On the plus side, I'm already way less stressed, and only have to drive 3.5 miles to work as opposed to the 15 miles I was driving. With gas as high as it is, that's going to be helpful. 

I took 2 weeks off between jobs, and had a long list of things I planned to do. Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men, don't you? I did manage a few things, but that list doesn't look a whole lot shorter. One of the things I wanted to do was paint the kitchen, but it didn't happen. Yet.

All was going well with Tandi, and we had finally achieved full freedom last weekend. We put her wireless fence collar back on, allowing her to go out the pet door to potty, and she has been so happy. Then, Thurs. night, the pizza delivery guy came 15 min. earlier than they had predicted and I didn't have time to put Tandi in her crate. (The doorbell always initiates loud, mad barking--as if we don't know someone is at the door!)
Anyway, she slipped out of the collar and the leash that was loosely attached, and went barreling out the door, down the steps and into the yard, barking at the delivery man and his truck the entire time. I managed to scoop her up and bring her back into the house, but when I set her down, she was limping. Somewhere along the way, she must have slipped on the wet grass, because she has now torn the ligament in her other knee. 

So my vet will be contacting the surgeon on Monday, and we will start this whole process all over again. I can't believe it. Her little leg was so swollen and she was so miserable right after the surgery. 

We'll have to watch to make sure she doesn't eat her bandage again. Her last surgery was mid-Feb. and she just now completed all the restrictions. We're talking January before we reach this point again. Bless her heart, she's not having a good year at all.

I'm sure more has happened, but those are the highlights. I haven't even started thinking about Hallowe'en yet, and that's unbelievable! 


Pokey said...

Well, let me be your first comment tonight! I'm glad to hear of the great gardening successes. How cool to see the old iron, I have one in my yard that looks just as rusty...but it's an old electric one we dug up when we went to Nebraska last summer.

So sorry about Tandi, my goodness, what an amazing turn for her. I hope she heals quicker than before.

And a new job, too, good for you to see the ups and downs of it all. God does have a way of making ends meet when money is short.
Hugs to you, pokey

AnnieO said...

Oh my gosh, that is a full post! Congrats on some gardening success and working out what will and won't work in the future. I want to plant some lettuce and herbs. It doesn't rain here for months at a time so no rain for three weeks doesn't impress me much, lol!

The change in jobs I hope brings you much fulfillment. I'm going to be getting a new job too, don't know where yet, but definitely not in management!

Oh, Tandi, Tandi, Tandi, you incorrigible scamp. Hope she has less of a hideous time this go round, sheesh!

Libby said...

Wow - you have really been on a journey lately.
First of all, congrats on the beautiful garden. I have been so enjoying mine this year - though it really has been neglected these last couple of weeks. I think I may just have to pull it up. I got some tomatoes. The peppers will survive the neglect. Onward and upward to a fall planting.
Wonderful news on the job front. Taking a pay cut can seem daunting but the price of peace of mind surely figures into the equation. Remember that when if you have any moments of 'what have I done?'
Last but not least - dear Tandi. I can surely sympathize for the both of you. When Harper had her knee done, they warned us that the second knee would likely require surgery, too. It's a long recovery but it is also a HUGE opportunity for snuggle time. Get yourself some good movies and cuddle away *S*