Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New Life on the Homestead

Well, again it has been a long time since I last posted.  Reading my last post brought up alot of memories and tears to my eyes.  Glad I had a box of tissues handy.  Much has changed in the year and a half since my last post.  I am now single and have moved back to my home state of Virginia.  I mourn the passing of the love of my life and best friend.  Even though we had parted in our relationship, we had become the best of friends afterwards.  I miss him greatly.

On a happier note, I am living on a nice little plot of land where I had a wonderful garden this past summer.  There is a heavenly grove of trees in the front yard and half of the property is wooded for those nice walks amongst the trees.  I wake alot of mornings to deer in the grove and all day squirrels are racing from tree to tree.  Here and there are a few bunny rabbits, but they mostly keep to the hedges at the front of the property.

My garden this summer was amazing, even thought I got it started a little late.  We moved to this property in June and by then most of the planting should have been done.  I had loving kept my little seedlings alive and thriving in the temporary living arrangement I was in until I got here and was able to place them in the ground.  Even late, the seedlings took off like crazy.  I had more tomatoes than I could eat or give away.   I grew patty pan squash this year and the plants were so gigantic, reminded me of the gardens from my childhood.  In North Carolina, I could never grow squash because of the humidity.  By the time the plants started to take off, powdery mildew set in and they all died.  I had handfuls of pickling cucumbers and had so many, I was able to make a few jars of old fashioned pickles and bread 'n butter pickles.  This was my first adventure in canning anything on my own.  They turned out quite yummy!

And I finally have my little flock of chickens!  I have six little hens and a young rooster.   The hens will not start laying eggs for a few months yet.  Everyone has a name and everyone gets along well.  I take them out of their pen twice a day, morning and evening, for some free ranging time.  I keep a watchful eye on them because there are hawks in the area.   With the trees as cover they are safe most of the time, but a power line runs through the property and if they get in the clearing, the hawks start to circle.  My young roo is getting smart and brings the girls to the garden and they hide under the tomato plants that are still there. Still, with the hawks around, I will always have to watch them during free range time.  I don't mind, because they are amusing to watch and make me smile.  They scratch and back up and see what they have uncovered and their fluffy butts are funny to see running across the yard trying to catch a bug.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Trapped In A Fat Suit

Well, it seems to have been awhile since I have posted anything on my blogs.  Having just come through a very difficult time in my life, I can now look back and see the amount of pain and misery I was in.  Depression sneaks up on you and engulfs your life without you even knowing it. 

I can say this now, looking back.  But I was definitely depressed, and in denial of it.  First, lets start with the heart condition.  Cardiomiopathy of the heart, where my heart only works at 25-30% of its capacity.  This made any kind of physical activity extremely difficult, from grocery shopping to trying to do some gardening around the house.  I was even too tired to keep my house tidy.  Every day I took a 3-4 hour nap.  I felt trapped.

Lets talk now about being trapped.  Because of the heart problem, I put on weight and was not able to loose any of it.  I could not stay active long enough to burn it off.  My meals I had reduced to eating off the smallest dinner plate I had, referred to as the bread & butter plate.  I ate lean chicken and pork, avoided most carbs and ate very little bread.  I ate alot of salad with a little ranch dressing cut with apple cider vinegar.  (Try it, its good)  That's okay, because I love salad.  Calories were between 800 and 1200 a day, and still not loosing any weight.  I was being smothered by a fat suit that I could not get rid of.  I was trapped!  This extra weight made me a little self conscience and therefore I avoided the majority of public activities.

People can be very judgmental just looking at someone and not knowing the facts.  I have even been guilty of this in the past.  They see a large fat person parking in a handicapped parking space and automatically they think, "if they quit eating so much, they wouldn't be so fat".  Not realizing, in my situation, my bad heart created the extra weight, not food.  But they cannot see that I have a bad heart, I do not wear a sign announcing my heath problem.  People with all kinds of "hidden" painful health conditions do not wear signs either. 

So, the past few years, I have been trapped in a body I hated.  Suffocated by a fat suit that had created a mean, hateful, depressed, miserable human being who just pushed people away.  I had no joy in my heart, and the light of my soul was dim.  I could have benefited from some help.  And I am not talking about help in a prescription pill form.  I personally think prescriptions cause more problems than the correct.  Maybe having an educated person to talk to, who can spot the signs of depression, would have brought me through that dark time a little easier.  I almost lost everything that was important to me in the whole world.  My sanity, and the love of my life.

My only answer to the weight issue was weight loss surgery.  I had researched the types of surgeries there were for almost four years, trying to decide which one would be right for me.  I had my heart issue to consider and the long term effects of the surgical results.  There are four common types of weight loss surgery.  The Roux-en Y  (commonly called Gastric Bypass), Sleeve Gastrectomy, Adjustable Gastric Band, and the Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch. weightloss info  Weight loss surgery is a tool, not a miracle cure.  You have to follow the plan of eating properly and getting regular exercise. 

So now that I have shed over 100 pounds of that awful fat suit that had me trapped, I have become a much happier person.  The light has returned to my soul and I no longer push people away.  I still have about 50 pounds to go to my goal weight, but I have determination to achieve it.   With a slight adjustment to my heart medications, I am now a much more active person.  I can get outside and get my hands in the soil and grow my vegetables again.  I can take care of my yard and keep the inside of my house neat and tidy.  I no longer need a daily nap.  I feel so much better mentally.   But I do realize now, that I was almost consumed by depression. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Starting Older Seeds

You can see the tiny root sprouts
If you don't grow a full size garden, you usually end up with a good supply of seeds from year to year.  I purchase seeds instead of plants because I like to find rare and heirloom vegetables and the local garden centers only carry the "average" garden variety of plants.  One thing I like to do to see if they will grow before committing them to a peat pot is getting them to germinate first.

In order to do this, you will need a plastic container with a flat type bottom, similar to what you may place a sandwich in.  Place a folded damp paper towel in the bottom of the container and space your seeds in the bottom.  Dampen another folded paper towel and place on top of the seeds.  Place the lid on it and place in a warm location, like on your entertainment equipment, a coffee maker that has a continually heated water reserve, or on top of your refrigerator.  You need a warm location because you are trying to create a warm humid environment within the container to encourage the seeds to germinate.  If you germinate more than one type of seed this way, be sure to label the tops of the containers.  Check them after 2 days to see if there is any change in the seed.  Be sure to keep the paper towels damp but not soaked. Check the containers daily.

Once your seeds begin to sprout a little root, place them in prepared peat pots.  Gently remove the seed from the plastic container and drop in a peat pot filled 2/3 full of good quality potting soil or seed starter.  Be very careful not to damage the tiny sprout, or you will have to discard the seed.  Top with a half inch more soil, gently patting down.  Place your peat pots on a tray and add a little water to the tray so the peat pots can soak up the water from the bottom. Place in a warm, sunny location until time to transfer outside.