Sunday, June 27, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: WWMD (What Would Momma Do)

There has been much discussion over the past few months over attendance to my youngest daughter's wedding in October in Arizona.Yes, we know they've moved farther west but all the wedding planning stuff was planned and paid for before her hubby got transferred. So now everyone will be traveling for the wedding. She actually had to arrange for the week off from her new job as assistant executive pastry chef. It was one of the requirements she asked for prior to taking their 6-figure yearly salary. Yes, she's that talented and has work experience to back it up at only 35 years old. I'm a proud momma, can't you tell? 

When it came down the pike that maybe I would attend her wedding after the move to southeast Georgia, everyone was ecstatic. If I was still in north Georgia, I would not have gone.  Now the plan was for me to go. On the drive moving, I offered to pay for the round trip airfare for the four of us to Tucson for the wedding and back. Yes, I had saved that much with their help. Then, I was informed that additional person was joining us. After reviewing my financial status after the move, there was no way I could afford the extra ticket. I was stuck. I'd already made the offer. To make matters worse, every one of them was a part of the wedding party so they had to go. 

As always I prayed about it. But it wasn't a GITG (Give it to God) because I couldn't leave it alone, but had to keep fiddling and worrying about it. I even did a WWMD. My Momma was a very logical and calculating woman. Above all, she was a Christian. I went to sleep in the wee hours after checking all the sites for plane fares to no avail. The prices kept fluctuating higher over the next few days.

For the better part of last week I struggled with this. In speaking with the local kids, I found that they could afford the wedding attire, the room rates, and even the food. Finally on Thursday, WWMD broke through loud and clear. "Put your feelings aside. Do what is necessary and trust God for the rest." Although I say it was WWMD, I knew it was God breaking through all the noise and turmoil going on in my heart and mind.

I checked the site I normally did got airfare and found that the tickets and even a rental car was within my budget.  The reason for this was simple. The airline tickets was for four instead of five adults. It wasn't essential for me to go unlike the other four. The wedding could go on without the mother of the bride in attendance. Without me tagging along, it was one less... plane fare, room at the resort, formal wear that had to be bought, and seat needed in the rental vehicle. I was just the mother of the bride not the matron of honor, bridesmaid, best man. nor the groomsman/usher. 

The wedding could go on without major hiccups without me. I'll be there spiritually and virtually though. They were going to live stream the wedding and reception for those members of the family and friends that couldn't attend. I wish the kids well. And who knows, if another stimulus check happens before the wedding, I may be able to make a personal appearance. Unlikely, as that may be, still the request went heavenward and into the GITG box.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: First Canning Session in the New Place

 I had my first order delivered from Walmart Marketplace this week. It's a perk that being back in the big city that I'm finding rather enjoyable. Except several out of stock items were missing and a substitution was made leading to the canning session. My granddaughter is really into Japanese cooking and wanted to learn how to make Pork Tonkatsu so I ordered a whole boneless pork loin. I'd teach her how to break down the loin to make the chops since she thought it would be a good skill set to learn. Well between the time I placed the order and their shopper went to get it, they ran out. GRRR! No Pork Tonkatsu lesson for her. this month 

The other GRRR! moment was had was when they substituted 10lbs of regular green cabbage for Napa Cabbage. I had my heart set on fermenting some kimchee. They are NOT the same thing! What was I to do with 10lbs of green cabbage?! I could have sent it back and got a refund but that would mean waiting until my daughter to get home from work and going to the store. I guess I could have just canned the cabbage plain into jars (yuck! water logged cabbage), but I ran across a YouTube channel that showed how to can coleslaw in a vinegar base pickling it. It is the heyday of summer right now. Quick coleslaw would be excellent. I always say life is about adapting, don't I?

Well, you know my love of YouTube since my stroke. I had never thought to do that before, but there was the recipe from a 1966 Ball Recipe Canning book.  A quick check with other current safe canning websites and with a tweak or two brought the recipe up to today's preserving safe canning standards and you know me I had to adjust the flavor profile a bit to suit us.

The fact that my son-in-law finally got my window air conditioner unit installed this week, God love him, was an added perk for me. It was a warm (90s), humid week in Savannah without it. I'd forgotten how uncomfortable summers could be here after six years away. Plus, being in the city with all the roadways absorbing and releasing the heat of the day. It wasn't cooler at night. Canning in my mother-in-law apartment would have been unbearable without it.

I set about shredding the cabbage. Thank God for my mandolin! Still, quite a bit of chopping was done with my old cleaver. I had four huge heads of cabbages. My cleaver has seen quite a few dozen years service and can still be sharpened to a razor's edge. It makes short work of vegetables and meat alike. I could have just used this to shred all the cabbage but I tend to vary my thicknesses with each slice. Consistency is the key when canning so my mandolin was used. Luckily, they (Walmart) had my order of onions, carrots, vinegars, and spices too. So I set to work. It took me the better part of two and a half days to cut all that cabbage. I ended up with 44 cups of shredded cabbage! I put a couple of large Vidalia onions and a pound of carrots through the mandolin as well. 

I divided all the vegetables between five mounded 7 qt. hospital basins courtesy of my stays at Emory and the NEGRMC, I has prepared the pickling solution while I salted the vegetables. I ended up making five times the recipe for the liquid to have enough. I packed it all into the jars and water bath canned it. I ended up with four dozen pint jars of coleslaw! I think that's a year's worth of fish fries and BBQs, don't you? Now all that is left is to make the pulled pork soft tacos for dinner and clean up. Good thing too 'cause I'm pooped!

An update on Lilbit and her transition to the new place. It took the better part of two weeks for her to acclimate herself to the new home. Now, she's walking around with confidence and her tail is high, She's slowly getting used to seeing through the pet gate across the door leading to the main house. It's a bit disconcerting to her knowing the dog can see through the gate and whines at her. She'll walk over to the gate and touch noses with him to check that he's okay before she continues on her way. 
She thinks it's a grand game when he comes in searching for her, but she's on the back of the recliner watching him go round and round. He never looks up. The only time he barks at her is in frustration like if she's under the bed and he can't get to her. He's too big to fit under there. She gets so lonesome at times. She'd found the spot with the best acoustics, in the small bathroom hallway, to yowl to get my attention no matter where I am in the house. Sometimes she'll just walk up to meowing. She's back into Mommy mode, where Momma has to be in line of site to her every couple of minutes or she'll have to come find me, this now includes the big house. She enjoys exploring it when the dog is in his cage in the mornings. She's three steps behind me unless she smells something interesting. When she loses me, she'll call out. I'll answer her back until she finds me again.

The landscaper friend of my son-in-law came over and cleared out the beds and area where the garden will go. It looks great. Now I see and plan where things are going to grow better. I'll be able to now widen the garden to 40' instead of 30' and still have a 4' border around it.  That will give me three more 50' rows to plant  now corn can be added into the growing plan for next spring. There's a 4' wide growing bed. that's now empty except for a kumquat tree/bush. I can't decide whether to whether to espalier fruit trees along the fence or plant blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries there. I've got until the fall to decide because that neighbor will be replacing the wood fence this summer. What I'll be able to get done will depend on when the kids find another house to buy. I figure with the housing market opening up again, it'll at least take about six months or so. Until then, it's produce what I can and preserve what I harvest. Now to arrange for delivery of that tree service "waste" to set up the garden. I'll still do the market garden setup for optimizing the space I have. Even without selling the produce it still makes sense and cents.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Elevated Raised Bed Construction Begins

 The dismantling of the deck began this week several weeks prior to when it was suppose to. Now keep in mind, I never asked my son in law for elevated raised beds, he saw this video...

and he decided on his own to build them for me out of the pressure treated wood from the deck boards and braced. When I asked him how the limber was pressure treated, he looed at me confused. I then explained that heat pressure treated boards could be used without worry about leeching chemicals. He told me that he just thought to cut up the pool liner to protect the soil. I thought about it. He's really a smart kid.   

I showed him this. It's what we did om the homestead.
He liked that idea also. He decided that where the pool and deck was, he put in the elevated raised beds. His reasoning, to make it easier on me and recycle what he was demolishing. See, I'm already rubbing off on the kids in a good way.😋

It will be  closer to Fall before they are all completed, but that's okay. I can have ;omg growing dedicated spaces for like onions, garlic, and leeks which can take 9 months to grow before harvesting. Meanwhile, I cab use the on ground garden for kale, collards, carrots and other cool-ish weather crops. I may be able to plant my Spring veggies such as cabbages, Napa, and peas in. I don't know yet. First projected frost date isn't until Nov 1st with the first projected hard freeze date until around Thanksgiving. I've given up trying to second guess Mother Nature. I'm going to plant and pray. At least until I can get a high tunnel built.

I interview my new cardiology team later this month. My daughter has heard some great things about them so we'll see. In August I meet, the neurology team I was referred to by my past neuro team, My daughter again has heard laurels about them, but not my individual doctor. That's okay, I've found it easy to switch doctors within the group. My round of Botox will be late by three months, and I'll physically pay the price for that, but I'll grin and bear it like I usually do. In north GA, I had a hard time finding a PCP to play ring leader for my circle of preforming specialist, not so much here. I had n appointment with my daughter's for next week. All that's left is choosing an endocrinologist. It would not be so bad if I didn't have a long list of specialists in this field that I will not choose because I had experience with them due to my husband's rare endocrine diagnosis that eventually killed him. Remember, he was one of 600 cases, documented world wide.

Well, that's my update for this week. How's your week going?

Nothing is impossible

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Settling Into My New Place

 My mother-in-law apartment is huge! Sleeping in my old bed wasn't bad as I thought it would be. It took some adjusting though. I mention to daughter #3 on the phone, the night before I moved in, that it was difficult to get out of so she raised the whole bed on blocks and added another box spring to the mix. Well standing beside the bed the top of the mattress came to my waist! She meant well. Her husband, as tired as he was, lifted the bed and while she knocked the blocks off the  legs. That made the bed better. It only took a little hop to get on the bed. He ended up removing the extra box spring too undoing all of daughter #3's "helpfulness." The new box spring and mattress was higher than my own. So it's a bit higher than my old set. Still lower than ideal but I can live with it.

All my things are about me and fit the space perfectly. I do have to get some shelving units for the canning stuff. I still haven't decided which spare room I'll make into the larder. but for now it's all stacked neatly into one corner of my dining room. Actually, I could convert that whole corner into a larder. There's several empty boo shelves in here that could easily work to that end. I could fashion curtains to block the light.

I've even found a gardening spot for vegetables and space for the herbs that I brought with me! The whole back of the property is   overgrown badly. The herbs that I brought with me will be planted in the flower beds along the front walk. There's a 30'x50' (that's 10- 50' rows) on my side of the side yard that will be perfect for vegetables, I'll implement the Ruth Stout method and just cover the area with cardboard and thick layers of hay all that gras wi;; become a compost to feed the vegetables. It might be late in the season for planting, but hey this is Savannah, you can garden ten months out of a year here. It won't get cold here until December or January. But, I've had it trying to second guess Mother Nature. I can remember dressing my ids in tank tops and shorts on Christmas Eve. I still may get some home grown goodness yet. There's a double gate by the trash can so unloading it all will be a breeze.

I'll have to talk to daughter #3's husband first because he'll have to do all the heavy lifting of the compost bags and hay bales. I can spread it all out myself. I do not have a garden cart here, I'm going to miss it.  I'll need more cardboard boxes too. So many little things are needed, but that's my one handed life. The beautiful parts of using the side yard is it out my door and hang a right, and then there it is. It's a short walk to the outside shed too. What's in there is a mystery but I do know the grandmother was an avid gardener.

She'd be so angry about the way the landscaping has not been kept up, but at 92, it might not matter to her now. I'll have to price a landscaper to see about all the over grown hedges and stuff. There's no way daughter #3's husband or my daughter can do it all with their work schedules. They aren't really green thumb type folks. I sure can't. There's a ton of knee high pine trees and brambles out there.

I spoke to the son-in-law, and his plan was to demolish the back swimming pool and deck area during the summer months. He also sees the need of producing our own food. He has been a city dweller all his life so he'll need some guidance. There is plenty of roof line for water harvesting for the garden beds. Currently it's all running into the sewer. What a waste! Even if we have to move from this property, the "improvements can move with them onto the new property.

He mentioned leaving the Oleander in place as a privacy screen, I said cut it down. Oleander, while beautiful, is poisonous to humans and critters. We could plant blueberry bushes along the back fence instead. We'd have the privacy restored and enjoy the berries for years to come. And come to find out, his grandmother planted an herb garden. It's very badly neglected. But, I was able to salvage a few od the herbs.

I found a tree company that will deliver wood chips by the dump truck load for free! So starting a compost pile and garden beds will be cheaper. Now if I can the county composting site, I'll be in hog heaven and my gardens building will be complete minus some minerals. Now, if I can just get my fifteen year old granddaughter excited about the prospects of gardening...I don't believe that will happen though. Although, she admitted a desire to learn alternative uses of herbs and preserving the harvest. So that's a start. 

I've cooked two meals this week. The leftover meats from the shoulder pork roast will become shredded. BBQ sandwiches later in the month. The leftover beef pot roast will become roast beef hash to serve over rive. I'm still having to adjust serving size because now I'm cooking for 4 instead of 2. I founds our old dump cart that I had loaded with jars had made the trip to Savannah with me. It will eventually have to be returned to Mel. But in the meantime, it will help me set up this garden.

I found out from my podiatrist. two days before I left the mountains that I have three more stress fractures in my AFO clad foot. So I'm back to swapping out AFOs and shoes again. The swelling in the foot becomes too bad for me to wear my shoe very long or stand more than a dew hours at a time without elevating it and getting off it. SIGH! There's nothing wrong with the AFO. It's my bones that are the problem. They just aren't back to normal yet. All the chemo and radiation has done a number on my bone density. Even with a 1200 mg calcium plus D3 taken daily and the Vitamin D3 (50,000 unit capsules) taken weekly, it will take months to recover normal density back. In the meantime, small bones like in my feet will break. Right now, my bone density loos like the bottom right in my smaller bones and right upper in my major bones which is why I'm getting the stress fractures, but I gotta walk. God is still working on my patience issues. SIGH!

Nothing is impossible.