About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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April 19, 2022

To me this Blackeyed Susan, means bring it on, the garden has begun!  

Last year we walked through a sea of Blackeyed Susans but this year there are not as many but any amount makes me happy. 

I am going to post about two topics together and post many garden pictures because the garden is changing so fast, it was bare in mid march other than the fall plants that were still growing in the troughs. 

These are pictures I took yesterday and this morning in the garden. Beans on the left with tomatoes, basil and on the right zucchini and peppers.

Each year I ask myself, how much longer will I be able to garden and that I cannot answer so I concentrate on this season.  We made our garden paths wider in the main garden (seen above) so I can use the rolling walker chair if I need it.  I have a walking stick and we have chairs and benches placed in strategic locations.  Some days are good and I need no walking helpers. 

I have several conditions that are debilitating, and I can say that I understand pain and depression.

How do we cope when we want to just stay in bed or a recliner? What about the days that it is difficult to even sit at the table or even get out of the bed to go to the bathroom?  What do we do when depression hits?  Fatigue so bad that we feel that we just can't anymore.

I can only say what I do about this situation, I fill my life with interesting things to do for the days I can do.  I study and learn when I am down and then on better days, I do what I learned. :)  

I have days that I am in an out of the bed and when I get where I can, I prop myself up to read.  If it is really really bad, I just go to sleep because if I give it time, it will eventually improve.  I also pray, a lot and try to have patience.  

Do I complain?  Yes.  

See, I could explain it like this, if Charles found me on the floor unable to speak he could tell the doctor, well the last thing she was complaining about was.... and then maybe they would have a clue to figure out what was wrong.  I am only helping right? 

If we do just one thing a day, that is thirty things we did in a month. This thinking is part of the reason why I came up with the one room proper cleaning that I shared November 2019.  

As I am typing this blog post, it is Tuesday, the one room proper cleaning each Tuesday is special clean up of the dining room / laundry / desk area all close to each other. I also iron on Tuesday.  There are many other things I do each day such as cooking and picking up things taking care of the pets, just general every day things.  One room proper is just a way to make sure that once a week, each room gets a good clean up, it has nothing to do with normal activities. 

Yesterday, being Monday, was the day I type out the diary post, however, Charles helped me Sunday evening and typed while I read the diary because I could not turn my head to read the diary and type.  I was concerned it was not going to be resolved by morning and the diary reading would be late So it all worked out.  

The chores I was suppose to do yesterday were, laundry, clean our bedroom, the main bathroom, bathe Bernadette and wash her bedding. 

I had to get stitches removed from my side from a tick bite gone wrong so I had an off day and I could not drive myself so I hitched a ride with Charles while he was working and he dropped me off at the hospital.

When I was finished he swung by and picked me up and I rode with him part of the day so he did not have to cross town again.  I packed a bag before we left with my garden planner and gardening books for sitting in the car waiting for Charles work accounts. :)  Boy, did I learn a lot yesterday about saving garden seeds! 

I try to fill my mind with learning new things or learning old things because it is a good distraction from discomfort.

When Charles dropped me off at home as he was crossing back across town, I cooked a meal that was easy, chicken and vegetables.  

And roasted zucchini.

I have a spill on the bottom of the oven but it is on foil.  The kitchen is on the clean every day list so I will get to the replacing the foil when I can bend over safely. If not, Charles will do it but I don't want to ask right away because I need to do what I can do.  This is where I have had to learn a patience thing, it may not happen as fast now but as long as it happens. 

With the one room proper cleaning, I know that the things I miss will be on next weeks cleaning schedule because each room is planned for a certain day. I try to do a really good job at the things I am doing in case I do have to miss a week and to be careful and not fill it with more things because it could make the next day worse with pain.  

Charles lunch that he took with him this morning since he was working out of town today.  I cooked enough yesterday to have enough for today. 

Tomorrow, which is Wednesday as I am typing this,  chores will be deep clean the living room which does not take long, bathe Elizabeth and clean the bathroom. Katherine gets her bath on Fridays.   If I have a really bad week health wise, and get off track then Charles will step in and help me to vacuum or cook a meal. He enjoys cooking but he just has little time to do these things. 

I was giving the girls baths on the same day but can not do this anymore so I just split it up to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  We do not need to give up on things that are hard if we can find another way of doing them.  Find an easier way, break down the steps.  

We have a stand up bathtub now for the girls so that helps a lot.  You could google stand up folding dog bathtub if you need one. I noticed the kind we have is unavailable. 

I am using pain and depression as an example but a young mother with small children or a working couple that just cannot find time to do it all fits this topic. Breaking down the things that are just too much to do and spreading it  out seems better than cramming it all at once because then it will all come back around at the same time.  

The thyme is just beautiful this time of year.  Thyme has many benefits, the list is long.  Many herbs you can use for making cleaning solutions too because they can have disinfecting properties. 

This Gecko is sitting on a plantain leaf and no his name is not William.  Isn't he so very cute? 

I have mentioned on another post that one room proper is about cleaning, not decluttering but when we keep going back each week we eventually start decluttering because we cannot get behind or under things to clean.  

This is just my way, I am not saying one room proper is the right way.  The right way is what works for you. 

I confess that I am not good about prepping food ahead as I used to be when my children were young. Now due to fatigue, I need to break up tasks to make kitchen work easier so I wash the greens ahead of time and put them in the fridge. I do some things the day before if they can be done.  

Sometimes early in the morning before things get going it helps to do a few things ahead for lunch.  I Peel and chop ahead of time and not in a rush when cooking.  My friend Catherine inspires me to work ahead when it comes to cooking, she is the master of this task.  She plans her meals ahead of time and preps her food ahead of time as well as puts full meals in her freezer.  This is the way it was done long ago, I could do it when my children were young but I seem to have lost that skill.  

The old bunny cage in the background we are using to grow beets. 

Some things we had the strength to do alone, now Charles and I have to do together and as long as we have each other this is what we will do at each stage from here on out.  We will need to adjust what we do and how we do it as we continue to get older.

We are also thinking ahead of when there is just one of us because obviously this is where we are heading like it or not.  We are gradually trying to think, could I do this by myself?  Do we need to adjust it now?  If I cannot do this by myself now, how can we improve this situation.   

The gas blower is too heavy for me to use so Charles purchased an cordless electric blower just for me and it is easy.  I have some left sided weakness from a light stroke so it is not easy for me to sweep or I would just sweep it and actually prefer it that way and how it was done long ago.  I can use this light electric blower, it is not something they had in 1943 but there are exceptions to our study, mostly outside chores.  The way I look at is they had many tools back then that were better than we do now.

I have been asked for a garden update.  

We have gardened so many different ways that it would be very difficult to say  what worked and what did not work over the years.   I was asked in particular about an older post when we used hay inside chicken wire rings and put soil down the middle.  The veggies grew but the problem was the hay rounds dried out too quickly and it wasted water.  If something does not work, we try it a different way. I appreciate the question, it made me realize I should go back and put the outcome at the end of the season.  

We have had a huge bloom on our citrus and many babies. 

I have learned that sometimes a plant just does not want to grow where you plant it so if it is struggling and nothing is obvious then try to transplant it in another location.  We should learn all about the plants that we do plant so we can give them what they need.  Some plants might do better in a container and some in the ground.  One year we had the most beautiful Bok Choy that grew in small hanging baskets that we took the hangers off and set them around a dying tree that had been struck by lightening.  One year we filled a third of our freezer with zucchini that we planted earlier than we should have and it went on to produce the biggest harvest we have ever had in our small garden.  

Gardening is a new experiment each year. Many people can garden with a good outcome most of the years if they use chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  We do not do that so ours keeps changing but we haven't given up. 

We do change each year to make our space easier for us to reach the things we grow.  

We have many trees in our small yard so we have to plant where there is sun and we are considering removing non producing trees and planting new ones that do produce. We are having problems with this plum tree.  We let it get too large for our yard and it is not producing even though we have another plum tree for pollination. 

We would have to plant another plum so there would be one of a different variety to pollinate with.  We may give it a couple of more years to see what it does.

I have mentioned before in my posts that Charles and I enjoy adding whimsical touches to our yard.  I call this above, tree jewelry.  

This is Heather, she was added to our garden last year a gift from Charles.

Last week Charles came home with this years garden addition, this is William.

This is Benjamin, he is a quail and he has been in our garden for a few years now. 

This is Carley, she is very old.  She is in a large pot of mint.  

In this area of our garden we have eggplants and peppers that are starting to grow quite briskly now that the weather is warmer. The pot on the right and left is oregano that needs pruning.

The potatoes are doing very well at this time.  This is a large cattle trough that has holes drilled in the bottom.  We have been using these for several years now with good success. We are hoping for many potatoes this year under all of those leaves.  They did pretty good last year.

Here is another trough that is growing potatoes and is sharing space with bee balm.

We are surprised at how quickly our vegetables are growing. Zucchini, basil, tomatoes, peppers, onions, beans, cucumbers and okra. 

The Daikon Radish that we left to bloom has seed pods.

And these shoots are from the English Plantain so it is getting ready to bloom.  I still have much to learn about Plantain, it is the newest herb that was added to our garden and was added last year.

The young chamomile is getting ready to bloom. 

This pot of carnations is blooming for the second year after planting it several years ago.  I guess it decided it likes being in this part of the garden now.

This garden bed has beans, cucumbers, tomatoes purple basil and globe basil with flowers here and there.  This is one of five in ground beds, all have been planted but one.  Everything else is in cattle troughs or large planters.  

Make your life interesting with things YOU enjoy.  Don't follow what others are doing unless what they are doing is what you want to do and then do it your way. 

Give yourself little challenges to help you make that first step do something that you enjoy doing.  

The day may come that we have to stop gardening but we can garden until that time comes.  The day may come when housework is getting too difficult.  First I would thin out the house more, letting go of things to make it easier before I would give it up.  Who knows, I might just outgrow some of these ailments and  you could too.

On a very bad day last week I was thinking if I could just keep meals on the table, and the house clean I should do this and just give up on the interesting things I often start.  But then a few days later I was bouncing back.  

When I need to settle on meals and cleaning that will be good and then I will knit. By the way, I have learned how to knit laying down.  I can tell you it is not easy but it can be done. 

I will try to get up a history study update this week.  

Here is a link below to one room proper part one if you have not already read the post. 


Grandma Donna

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