Collecting Crocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s Limey the lime tree on the right. Limey has spent the winter indoors next to a very sunny window. We’ll move Limey outside for the summer as soon as we’re sure the temperatures will stay well above freezing. In addition, I believe Limey needs a bigger pot. I have a 6 gallon crock in the garage that will allow room for drainage (broken crockery, big sticks, whatever I have around the yard) and still give Limey room to grow.

The other 5 gallon crock has drainage in the base (broken dishes pulled from my rock garden) and potting soil. This crock will house cherry tomatoes or jalapeno peppers.

I have a third 5 gallon crock that I’ll prep later today – after the Brewers send Craig Counsell a clear message that hey, Milwaukee is still the best place for baseball. If you haven’t guessed, Brewers and Cubs are starting a three game weekend series in the Windy City.

Foot status: I can handle small amounts of yard work like filling the crocks, but I’m still not very strong. I’ll build up what strength I can between now and the next surgery, and I’ll get as much of the garden planted as possible, too. Coping, it’s all about coping.

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The Agony of the Feet

To be clear, it’s the right foot again. In February, I had a somewhat routine fix – a bunion and preventive procedure for two tiny hammertoes. In March, I tripped. Big time. Stubbed the toes badly enough to need the surgery redone and the ligaments surrounding the big toe sewn up.

Now it’s April (Cue deep sigh of self pity here). Bone healed well; soft tissue did not. The ligaments are pulling the toe out of position (again) and causing pain. I dug through my closet and found exactly one pair of shoes that I can wear with minimal pain, and I’m wearing them for yard work. Again, minimal. The next surgery, a joint fusion, will happen in mid May.

Ugh. And double Ugh. I’m doing what I can while I can and getting the tomato and pepper seedlings ready to plant. The re-landscaping of the front yard may fall on Chuck. We’ve been planning since last fall, and we picked up containers (big ones!) for that project. I’ll help prep the containers and plant if we can do it before my surgery. I’m even setting up containers on our deck so I can maintain them without going up or down stairs. Getting my hands in the dirt is emotionally healing, so having plants around is a priority.

Unfortunately, this surgery will require absolutely no weight bearing for two weeks. I’ve reserved a knee scooter and I’ve been adding to my Kindle. Recommendations and books are welcome (I’m looking at you, Green Girl!). I’ve contacted a local candidate I support and offered to volunteer from my home (my couch) and I might help a local organization with their grant writing. All those factors should help keep me busy enough to prevent excessive self-pity.

Readers, this is a lousy situation, but it could be worse.

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Starting Over Again

I’m starting over and looking at six weeks of healing for the right foot. Lots of resting and elevating, reading books, icing once every hour (at least for a few days) and just general bump on a log activity. Like, no activity.

Back story: on February 1, I had surgery to repair a bunion and two tiny hammertoes on my right foot. The second and third toes, tiny as they are, healed beautifully. Getting the pins pulled out wasn’t pretty, but neither was it awful. Those toes look great now.

The big toe, however, encountered a problem. I tripped. I wasn’t wearing my boot, and I stubbed my toe. Stubbed it hard. Yes, folks, it hurt, enough so that I may have let loose a few four letter words. I was loud enough that Chuck came running across the house to ask, “Are you okay? What happened?” I sniffled and told him I’d bumped my toe. Sniff. Sob.

Move the calendar ahead a few days to my follow-up appointment and the removal of the pins. The doctor came in the room, took one look at the big toe, and almost shouted, “What happened?! This toe was perfectly straight the last time I saw you!” I sheepishly explained what had happened as she examined the crooked toe that by now was at a 45 degree angle from the foot. She immediately scheduled me for repair surgery.

I told you she scheduled me immediately, right? I saw her in the office on Monday, and I found myself in the surgical center three days later, on Thursday. Surgeon (let’s call her Dr. Toes) put the bone back in place and repaired the soft tissue, ligaments and tendons, around the toe.

And here I am, once again, sitting on the couch. There’s a basket on the end table with almost anything I could need: hearing aid batteries, lip balm, lotion, my medicines, hair scrunchies, and more. I’m watching a marathon of Homestead Rescue and reading a book on my Kindle. I have the Harry Potter series next to me, too, ready for a reread.

Readers, do you have any recommendations? Books I should read while I’m resting and healing? I’ll find them on Paperback Swap or download them to my Kindle. Thanks for your help during this long healing process!

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Guerrilla Gardening, Chipmunk Style

 

Rogue Sunflowers

I planted cherry tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and banana peppers in pots on the deck this gardening season. The chipmunks, however, had other ideas.

Indeed, that’s a sunflower – three sunflowers, actually, in with the cherry tomatoes. I didn’t pull them out because, well, sunflowers! I have no idea where the seeds came from. The closest sunflowers I know of are about half a block away. Those chippies sure get around.

Readers, did you get any interesting volunteer plants this year? Any rogue anything?

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Problem Solving – It’s What I Do.

I ordered a number of books for my Kindle – nothing unusual here. When I’d finished reading one and went to download the next, I discovered something unfortunate: my Kindle did not play nice with the house wifi. Everything else in the house worked just fine with our network, so I knew I didn’t need to reboot the router, yada yada yada, or anything like that. I went for my backup: establish a mobile hotspot with my phone.

Nope. We made some adjustments in our plan recently to save a few bucks, and one of those changes meant that I needed to pay to set up a mobile hot spot. Damn. This would not work.

Last time I had this problem, I stuck my Kindle in my purse when I went to Petunia’s apartment. Her wifi and my Kindle were fast friends. Success! But I can’t impose on Petunia every time I need to download a book. Think. Think. Think. Where can I find free wifi for a few minutes to update my Kindle library?  Coffeehouse, maybe. Local fast food joint. Doc’s office? Convenience store?

We ended up in the parking lot at our credit union. Logged in easily, and then watched the downloads commence. Chatted a little, planned our evening, and when all the books I needed (five – don’t judge me, I read a lot) had finished, we headed home.

Thanks, credit union. If you notice me in the parking lot and I don’t come in, I’ll be downloading Kindle books. Nothing to see here, folks, just a reader who needed a creative solution.

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Memorial Day and the backyard

Ah, Memorial Day. Ceremonies, parades, and somber reminiscence.

And maple seeds. The helicopters have arrived! Chuck saw me picking up a handful and announced, “The Next Season of the Compostermom: Maple Seeds!” and well, he isn’t wrong.

I love the idea that there’s free food in the backyard. I cooked burdock roots a few weeks ago, just to say I did it. The smaller roots were more tender and tasty, so I’ll remember that in the future.

Now that the seeds are falling, I’ll pick up as much as my knees can handle, and I’ll roast them. These roasted seeds can go in anything that might call for sunflower kernels or pepitas or similar yummies. Trail mix, bread, cookies, you name it.

They don’t last forever. Maple seeds are seasonal, at best. I’ll roast as much as I can handle during the next few weeks, and we’ll be set for most of summer.

The Next Season of Compostermom? Probably weeding season. If I want tomatoes (and more!), I need to weed.

Say, readers, do you have a backyard in which to forage? What do you find there?

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The Garden Begins!

My knees hurt.

Why do my knees hurt? We had a couple of really nice days – warm, dry, sunny days – and I knew there would be rain and cold on the weekend. I pushed myself to work outside as much as possible, and now I’m really achy and sore. It’s a good kind of achy, though. It’s the kind that makes me say to myself, “Hey, self, you’ve really accomplished a lot. You’ve earned a rest.” A rest, and a little ibuprofen, and coffee, and peanut m&ms. Right? Right.

During those two nice days I got outside and dumped compost on several sections of garden. I pulled up a lot of creeping ivy (Jenny or Charlie? Don’t know, don’t care), and spread the compost where the ivy had been.

The barrel near the garden edge is planted with spinach now. This barrel, scavenged from my old office before it could hit the dumpster, has grown kale, parsley, and more. This year it’s spinach. Lettuce is ready to grow in a long and thin planter that hangs off the deck railing. That’s an easy location; we can step outside and gather a little for a salad or sandwich any time we want it. Fresh lettuce: yum!

I have some larger pots ready to host peppers (jalapeno, mainly) and cherry tomatoes. The weather isn’t consistent enough to put them out yet, but when it warms up mid-May, I’ll be ready.

Meanwhile, I’ve left Earth Month recommendations behind, but I’m practicing what I preach by preparing to be a little more sustainable every day. Hey, readers, have you started playing in the dirt yet? What are you doing outside?

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And more Earth Month! Go, Green Freaks!

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Day 14:  Read the Directions on Products

By reading the directions, you can avoid overuse. For example, you probably don’t need as much detergent in the laundry as you think you need.

But I’m not focused on reading packages (or manuals) right now. We are having a rare streak of warm, very warm days, and I’m getting outside every chance I get to do yard work and garden prep. So far today, I’ve loaded up a few large containers (five gallon ceramic crocks, for example) with yard waste and compost. This fills each one about half way. The rest will be potting soil, and I will transplant pepper plants and cherry tomatoes into these containers so they’re easily accessible for cooking and salad-making.

On that note, I wish I could find the manual for the worm farm set-up sitting in my garage. It’s a perfect example of good intentions being the way to you know where. In a handbasket, no doubt.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month – Day 8

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Yesterday was laundry day, so I jumped into Day 10: Air Drying Laundry. Meanwhile, let’s go high/low tech for Day 9: Resist Double Spaces Between Sentences. According to Treehugger, the extra spaces in a published book really, really add up.

I learned about single spaces when I completed my graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I was typing the old-fashioned way, the way we did in the 1970s and 1980s, when typewriters were the tool. It took me a while to adjust to the updated requirements (dang muscle memory!), but I’ve adjusted.

In terms of computer use, email, and text communications, that double or single space may not be as critical. However, if you’re in a position where emails and newsletters get printed, the single space could save pages and pages of papers.

If you’re still typing the Baby Boomer way (dare I call it Mid Century Modern?) with two spaces between sentences, make the effort to cut down to one. You’ll be glad you did.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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Earth Month, All Month: Day 4

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Here’s another action that many are already doing. It reminds me of the energy crisis of the 1970s. Yeah, I was around then, people. I’m old enough to know better. Suggested action for April 4 is this lower the thermostat (while the heat is on) by one degree. One simple degree Fahrenheit, folks. It’s an almost undetectable difference for us humans, but it makes a significant difference in the amount of fuel used to heat an entire home.

Heck, if you’re lucky enough to have a programmable or Smart thermostat, set it to a lower temperature when you’re gone to work and turn it up just before you arrive home. Make sense? Of course it does. It made sense in the 1970s, too.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

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