Sunday, April 18, 2010

The broken arm blog

Last Friday I tripped and broke my arm. Now I am doing everything with one arm. So everything I was doing before I now tag on “the one armed” in front of it to describe myself. I am a one armed blogger, a one armed gardener, a one armed cook – well, you get the idea.
I am typically very busy person so it’s really hard to sit with my arm up to reduce the swelling while I wait a week for surgery. As a gardener, I enjoy walking out every day and surveying my plants. I know each one and its little story, where I got it, where it didn’t do well, and how it like its new location. I can still go out walk around and look at everything, but I can’t pull any weeds or do much puttering around. We’ve had plenty of rain the last few days so my plants have not a really needed me at all. In fact, they are thriving in my absence. I, however miss them quite a bit.
With my camera mounted on the new tripod, I went out in the late afternoon light and took a few photos. They look a little blurry and far away but that’s a good metaphor for my life right now.
I did manage to get a close-up of my fragrant mimosa, blooming for the first time ever. (see photo at top) As a kid growing up in West Texas I enjoyed the mimosa trees we had in our neighborhood. Now, of course I realize that those were all invasive trees. I was careful to get the native variety for my yard. It smells just as good and it’s such a sweet, delicate little tree.
Here are the evening Primrose. This little patch didn’t do so well last year but with all the rain we’ve had it’s quite happy this year.

Here’s the little xeric garden and behind that is an assortment of native Texas plants.

The Engelmann’s daisies and standing Cyprus are both in bloom right now.

This is a patch of Salvia, mealy blue Sage, with some wild to vetch mixed in.

And here are my little vegetable gardens. The squash plant in the foreground (near the spider wort) has two tiny little squashes. I bought four different kinds of squash seeds and they were the most productive of all the seeds I bought. In the beginning I had it all figured out but now I have no idea what kind of squash is what out there. Thankfully I’ve never met a squash I didn’t like so it’s all good. The back row is herbs and onions. I have one pretty hardy looking Romaine lettuce plant and a couple of Swiss chard that Fosco might enjoy. The other square-foot garden has more mystery squash, some peas – another offering for Fosco – carrots, chives, and a tomato plant. I have a bunch more tomatoes in the greenhouse. The one that I put in there in the fall has done so well that I thought I would try raising most of them in the greenhouse.

Maybe I needed this time off. The first couple of days I was a little down, mostly just dopey and in a lot of pain. One day I felt really sorry for myself and I went out into the greenhouse and cried as the rain hit the plastic top. I’ve had my share of grumpiness, usually followed by feelings of guilt, sometimes followed by extreme gratitude. My son has been a real standup guy, my friend Marie has been terrific in bringing things over to me, the neighbors are very sweet and concerned, and both Janet and Mary Ellen have helped me through some grumpy times by listening to me whine.
After I went to the doctor on Tuesday things turned around for me emotionally (OK, I know there was still some whining). I do like this doctor. I feel very confident that he’s going to do a good job on my arm. So, after the surgery, I can start healing. I leave you with this graphic of the affected area.

Sometime late Tuesday my version of this will have a lot of metal in it. I found myself wondering today if those super strong tiny magnets that I have will stick to my arm now. The old science teacher in me can’t wait to try.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter in the backyard

As I move through life, I find that I'm constantly remaking holidays. The way I was raised doesn't fit who I am now. So I am shaping things to fit, adding new traditions, deleting old ones, and melding some of them together. I was raised to observe Lent, usually giving up chocolate for 40 days. As a kid that was a supreme sacrifice. Come to think of it, it would be a sacrifice now. After Lent, I attended Easter Mass. I got the spiritual angle but I also got the commercial angle - I loved shopping for a new Easter dress, hat, and shoes. Easter egg hunts were fun but I mostly looked forward to Easter dinner. It was a feast as elaborate as Christmas dinner. We usually had a roast ham, a hen, or a goose. That was accompanied by a big spread of veggies, bread, and whatever else we had. I can't remember it all, but most likely dessert was some kind of cream pie with perfect meringue. And my brother and I got to drink wine at Easter dinner. Here I am on some Sunday, holding my prayer book, getting ready to go to Mass. It could have been Easter Sunday.
I observed this Easter by working most of the day. I cleaned the window from the kitchen to the patio. That was an ugly job but now the view from my breakfast table to the backyard is a little clearer. I got the patio cleaned and swept. I potted 30 strawberry plants and 7 okra plants.
I bought no new clothes, I didn't prepare a feast, and I'm definitely a heathen by my family of origin standards. These days I walk the shaman path. I worship the spirit that makes living things live. I don't have a name for it but I'm grateful to it. These early weeks of spring have been a time for gratitude. The temperature is Goldilocks perfect - not too hot; not too cold; just right. I know this pleasant weather will be followed by a hot summer. I can't predict how hot or how long it will be. But today was picture perfect. At this point in time, plants are growing, birds are nesting, and life feels new.
Here's one of the prickly pears. They both have new pads. These are the scrambled eggs that Marie gave me. They over-wintered nicely and spread a little. I can't wait for them to bloom.