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I live on the coastline of Georgia. There is nothing like the sand gnats of Georgia to drive one crazy. I was just out watering some plants and I have gone batty with the bites. I can’t use things like Off because of the DEET. It’s a neurotoxin, and when one has neuropathy one tends to stay away from things that are toxic to the nerves.
I’ve heard that eucalyptus oil helps with the gnats. I’m buying some tomorrow and will let you know how well it does work. But for now, I’ll go find the cortisone cream and scratch for a while.
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I had taken down my hummingbird feeders for the winter months. I wanted to make sure they were clean and the syrup was just sitting in them collecting bacteria. Yesterday a male ruby throated hummingbird came to my bedroom window looking for the feeder that is usually there. He hovered for a couple of minutes then flew off. I felt so guilty (my husband says I do that well). The feeders are back in place now.
We have lots of the ruby throated hummingbirds through the spring, summer and early fall months. One of the feeders is close to the pool. As we swim we’re buzzed by them all summer. One fell into the pool last summer. I saw ripples going across the top of the pool surface. There was no breeze, so my first thought was that one of the cats had fallen in the pool again. The bird was so small that I almost dismissed it as a large bug. (we get some big bugs) I reached in to scoop it up with the pool skimmer and realized it was a hummingbird. It was too tired from trying to get out of the water to protest my handling it. I got a towel and sat with the bird for about a half an hour warming it up and coaxing it to take some of the hummingbird food I had on hand.
I can’t tell you how amazing it is to hold a hummingbird in your hand. It was so wet at first that I couldn’t tell if it was a male or female. All the feathers were just dark and wet. But after drying off I discovered it was a male. The red feathers at his throat were so iridescent. He was beautiful. When I felt comfortable enough that he would recover I put him on one of my rose bushes. It’s a safe haven because we have electric fencing around the roses to prevent deer damage. But it also makes it cat proof. I watched and watched until he had enough energy to finally fly off.
It was one of those days where you’re really grateful to good doctors and great cancer breakthroughs. It still brings a sheen of moisture to my eyes as I recall how wonderful it felt to hold the hummingbird and watch him fly off afterwards.
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In 2003 I found out I had breast cancer. It had spread to the lymph nodes, so I had a few surgeries, a lot of chemotherapy, and a good amount of radiation therapy. Prior to the cancer I had been a divorced single mom. My youngest child was 8 when I started all of my treatments. I also had started dating for the first time since my divorce in 1995. John was a rock through all of my cancer care and we married in October of 2003.
I thought that once all the treatments were over with I would be able to go back to work and be “normal” again. Boy was I in for a surprise. Some chemo drugs can leave a person with a condition known as neuropathy. I already had some neuropathy due to diabetes so I was a prime candidate for the chemo to affect me that way. There breast that the cancer was in was on my right side and I’m right handed. So the surgeries and the radiation left my right arm rather weak, and I have adhesions that limit my mobility.
This all sounds like I’m whining, but I wanted to explain the reason I started this blog. I had always been an extremely active person and I’ve found myself with many days where I can barely move now. Prior to meeting me, my husband John had bought property in Georgia. His goals were to plant pecan trees and to build some boats. He has built boats before, but he wanted to build something in the 50 foot range this time. The property was close enough to a deep water dock that transporting the boat would not be too costly. He wants to run a charter service out of the Keys in the winter and spring months and work the property and maintain the pecan trees in the summer and fall. I need to be more of a help and learning about planting and plant maintenance is important. But there are days when getting past the pain is too hard. This blog I hope will spur me to work harder at helping and I hope will also help me learn through the experiences of others.
I had always been a bit of an amateur gardener in my first marriage and seem to have a natural green thumb. I’ve found that when I am outside with the plants I feel calmer and less inclined to mope about. I especially like being able to rescue plants that have been slated to be cleared and destroyed. One of my favorite finds are some azaleas in varying colors that were being cleared from a property that had an old wooden home. The home was at least 150 years old, but the property was on a prime waterfront lot and the people that had purchased the lot wanted a more modern home. The man clearing the lot had all the azaleas in a dump truck and I talked him into dumping them in my driveway. The plants were all over 6 feet tall and had massive root systems. They looked like they were in shock when I got them, and on top of it all they had been blooming. It wasn’t the best time to dig them up if you were intending to transplant. I’m proud to say that I didn’t lose a one of them and today as I look out my window while typing I see azalea blooms in pinks and whites and purples.