Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gardens and quilts

Apparently, I can only manage one post a month. Sheesh!

This one will be short, but picture-heavy, as I am so behind in chores and projects.

First, the garden.

The cherry tomatoes have gone ballistic! I have harvested at least a couple of hundred and given away more than half. Some have been eaten on salads, just eaten by the handul, tossed in the freezer, and chopped up in a salsa.

The jalapenos have been prolific, too--also given away, tossed in the freezer and chopped up in said salsa. The squash got decimated by a squash borer that ate through the stalks and rotted everything. I only got one squash off of it, but my neighbor's boyfriend brought a sackful from his garden for me, so I've put some of those in the freezer as well.

These pictures are about a week old, so I've already harvested these peppers--one is red, the other yellow. I'm not getting many from these plants, so I'm not sure if they didn't get enough sun early on, or if that's all they produce and I need to plant more next year.

My one okra plant! I am so surprised! There aren't many, so I may just pickle these few and give the jar to my daughter for Christmas. She loves them, and I bought some burgundy ones at the tailgate market last Sat. Red and green pickled okra--just says Christmas, doesn't it?

See my eggplant? Another surprise! It has a couple more blossoms on it, so I may get more than I figured. Last weekend I bought some Japanese eggplant from the tailgate market, and made this eggplant casserole with them. They were so good, I think I'll have to grow this kind myself  next year. Since we aren't big eggplant eaters, I was unsure about planting any, but hubby declared the recipe a hit, so there you go.

I already harvested most of the carrots, but I think there's time to plant more. I'm headed to Home Depot this afternoon to buy 2 more raised bed kits and am going to go for some cool weather plants before winter gets here. I am by no means a farmer, but it has been so gratifying to raise some of my own vegetables. The Homeowners' Association hasn't said anything, so I'm hoping as long as I keep the beds neat, no one will complain that they are right out there in what's practially my front yard.

The new job is going great! I am working with and for a great group of folks, and that has made such a difference. I'm a bit easier to live with at home, I think, because I'm not stressed out as I was before. I've been doing all 12-hr shifts, and that's working out really well for me.  As a plus, look at what's all around me on the beds:

and on the walls:


and tossed over recliners.
(Sorry some of the photos are so dark--they were taken with my phone, at night, and the lighting is okay for bedrooms, but not for photography.)
We have volunteers who have made these, as well as butterfly pillows, patient gowns, and drawstring pants, and we have a washer and dryer for washing these bedquilts, so they don't have to go to the commercial laundry.  Since ours is a non-profit organization, and we try to make these rooms as home-like as possible, we have gowns and pants made from old sheets, and lots of mismatched pillowcases. (Kinda like my house.) I never knew what was the big deal about making pillowcases for gifts, but since we use so many pillows repositioning people, and making up the sofas and recliners for family members to sleep on, I think I may just have to jump on this bandwagon.
As you can see, most of these quilts are works of heart, not necessarilyworks of art, but they do cheer up the rooms so much. I peeked into one of my rooms the other night to find the hubby in the bed under a red, white, and blue sampler quilt, the wife on the sofa bed under a scrappy quilt, and the daughter in the recliner with a lap quilt over her legs--all of them asleep. Not a normal situation, but made more comforting by quilts instead of hospital blankets. And if a family really loves a quilt that was over their loved one, we will give it to them.
I don't know if there's a hospice facility near you, but if there is, I hope you'd consider donating some bedquilts or pillowcases to them.  If you don't have much spare time, but do have a pattern for gowns or pants, they would be appreciated, too.  And please, consider volunteering if you can manage it. Again, as a non-profit organization, we depend on our volunteers so much. They save us so much money and time. We have volunteers who maintain the flowerbeds, run lab specimens to the local hospital, push patients in wheelchairs through the gardens, play music or CDs in the rooms, run the washer and dryer and fold towels and linens for the closets, and so much more. They free up the CNAs and nurses to do the more technological or hands-on care and the reams of documentation that must be done to qualify for the Medicare assistance that covers most patients' expenses. Our organization figures the volunteers save us the equivalent of 15 full-time employees' salaries every year. I wish we had some volunteers at night. If I ever get to retire, I think I'll have to stick around as a volunteer. 8^)