August 12, 2017

Of flowers and plants and other things

I'd planned on doing a post mid-week, but haven't been feeling well. There's a odd bug going around making people feel sick, but they're not full-out sick as if it was the flu. Not sure if it's that... or one of my health issues that has become concerning the past few months. I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (moderate 3A) several years ago, but since last December my lab work has shown that I have reductions in kidney and liver function... which in turn leads to greater exhaustion and other problems. I've had chronic fatigue most of my life, but what I've been feeling the past several months is different. Not having health insurance and an extremely limited income means all I can do is tough it out for now. I have to drive 45 minutes to a health ministry clinic where I pay $25 for a 15 minute visit with my ARPN and get minimal lab work. Plus, I get four of my medications through their medication assistance program, otherwise I couldn't afford them because it would be nearly $3,000 every three months! (I don't have that much in the first place!) She orders the absolute basic blood work so I don't get charged more than that, but what will show her the specific results so she can keep track of these issues. For now we try to figure things out as we go along. And pray a lot.

Enough of that. On to other things....

A week ago we were having some severe weather... torrential rains, lots of dangerous lightning, tornadoes in the area. I watched the storms from my ninth floor windows as the 60mph wind-driven rain came straight from the west. The east-west streets below looked like literal rivers for a time. The house I grew up in, which is the house where daughter-in-law A and the grandkids live (my Dad was going to leave it to me when he died, but I didn't want it, so told him give it to my boys) always flooded during storms like that... it still does. In all these years, the city has never figured out how to remedy the situation. But! We finally got enough rain to make a little bit of difference for our lawns and gardens. Woohoo!

Daughter-in-law A has pretty much given me free rein on what to grow and where, so I've kind of taken over. Ha! But she's happy, and she buys the plants she wants (or what I think will work) and all that, and I get my garden therapy. Mama and Dad started me (and my brother) gardening when I was 9-years-old... and I haven't stopped since! I've taken classes along the way, worked in a garden center/nursery for several years, and done loads of research with a ton of trial and error. I've always said it's not the green thumb, but the brown thumb that proves you're a gardener.

I used to look at other women's perfectly manicured, polished and laquered fingernails and compare them to my raggedy, permanent dirt-under-the-tips nails and would be embarrassed... until a friend told me I'm more down-to-earth (pun? haha). I grow plants, not nails!

This year, the veggie and herb garden consists of: tomatoes (Roma, Early Girl, Sweet 100 and Grape), jalapeƱo peppers, sweet bell peppers, zucchini, cucumber, onions (just yellow this year), parsley, chives, basil, dill, and asparagus (which is in it's first year, so no cutting yet). The lettuce and beans didn't do well because our Spring was so wet. There's also lemon balm, spearmint, and sweet mint, but those are small bits of the plants I thought were dead but that came back mid-summer after things dried out some. I don't know that I would be able to list all of the flowers and schrubs that have been planted over the years, plus the annuals that change from year to year. There are descendant daylilies of the the originals my Mama planted when we moved to that house (I was 4 years old) still going strong. Any time I moved, I would dig up a bunch to take with me for my own gardens. So, there may still be some of those daylilies growing in Dodge City, Wichita, and Newton. Not to mention how often I gave some away to friends and neighbors over the years.

Most of the Spring and summer flowers and other plants are starting their yearly die-off, while others are just beginning their show. I love to watch the gardens change with the seasons. It's never the same... and yet it's comfortable familiarity. August and into September are definitely not my favorite months because in Kansas it's always so hot then. We've had an unusual summer, though. Right now we're experiencing low- to mid-80s, which rarely happens at this time. I saw some folks on Instagram posting photos of the foliage in Colorado because it's already showing signs of Autumn color-changes.

I'm ready for Autumn anyway!

Well, until my next post (which I hope is sooner than a week!), I'll leave you with something funny. Yup, actually happened to me during those thunderstorms last week.

From my Instagram: "That moment when, during your wandering from window to window watching the thunderstorm because the electricity went out, you pass by your table and look down at the rubberbands you left there the night before, and the table be all like... "

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