A Brand New Gardener

Ponderings of My Predicaments The Great Yellow Jacket Escape

So as I said in my earlier post today, this year I am a brand new gardener!  Most of my friends have gardened way before the age I am now, but I never had anyone teach me when I was growing up.  My mom gardened a little but just as her answer to her teaching me how to can, she’d say, “I don’t have the patience to teach you.”  That was that.

However, with all the rising prices and all the discussions of the pesticides being sprayed on our produce and things being added to our food, (in addition to trying to avoid as many processed foods as I can). Check out how they are adding a coating called Apeel to a lot of the produce to make it look better. There are a lot of foods in the US that are banned from other countries!

I decided to try to grow as many of our own vegetables and fruit as I could.  I kept it small this year as I’m still learning.  I want to try a few different things next year and increase the size of the garden.

I started out by setting up some racks and grow lights in my dining room (that will change to probably the basement next year for sure…what a mess!), some plant heat mats for some of the and started seeds.  I watered and babied and hardened off those things for two and a half months till the last frost date arrived and they were ready to go outside. They were my little green babies 🙂

I didn’t think I would be able to garden the normal way with my bad knees and bad back.  However, after thinking a lot about it and putting my thinking cap on, I came up with an idea that I thought just might work.

I went to Menards and bought about 24 concrete blocks and took them home (in my mini van…yeah, that was interesting 🙂 )  Then I went back out and found some skids behind a garden center they were getting rid of and brought those home (again…an interesting activity, but hey, they were free).  I fit five of them in my van and took them home.  Then I went out and got five more on my way to pick up my son at school.

So after setting the skids up on the cement blocks (see picture below) I had a “platform” for containers to garden on.  This is the result to date:

elevated container garden

It works great because the skids have the open places between the slats and it lets water drain well after watering. (The right side has a cement block that’s cockeyed, but nothing is wrong with it.  I just bumped it with the lawn mower the other day 🙂 )

I also went to TSC and bought four 8-foot cattle panels and…yep, you guessed it -brought them home in my van  (again…that was fun but I did it) and some t-posts.  I turned those into two arch trellises (with the instructions from a YouTube video and another here) by myself (something really difficult to do by yourself, but I’m thankful for these videos. I’ll have to bend occasionally for these tomato plants, but as they grow up the trellis I won’t have to.

I have my indeterminate tomatoes, some cucumbers, and a few other things growing next to it and they are just starting to climb the trellis:

Cattle Panel Arch Trellises

I’m on a new weight loss journey, so all that work led to all that sweat which led to a lot of burned calories 🙂

I’ll hopefully get a few more bags of soil mix to top off some of the tomato plan pots, and there are a few that need transplanted to bigger pots so they have more room to grow.

I’ve spent HOURS and HOURS on YouTube learning how to garden. I have a LOT of gardening playlists categorized to find the videos easily.  YouTube is the widow’s friend 🙂


My Husband has Cancer Please Pray!

Ponderings of My Predicaments The Great Yellow Jacket Escape

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will remember that I posted about my husband suffering from Sepsis back in December and January.  Then in March he had part of his toe amputated due to MRSA he probably contracted during his hospital or nursing home stay.  Now doctors say he has cancer…

I covet your prayers!!  The enemy is attacking my little family left and right and I need the family of Christ to come together against these attacks once and for all.  I guess I must be doing something right to be attacked so badly, so often.  Our son is 16 now and has autism. Still non-verbal, still my greatest gift and joy next to salvation and eternal life through Christ.  My mom has alzheimers. I suffer from spinal stenosis and deal with back pain regularly.

But this post is about my husband who is suffereing the most, at present.

Greg has been diagnosed with squamous cell cancer. He has a tumor on his neck/head the size of a baseball. You can see it in the photo, though it has grown considerably since I took this photo. –>

He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday and will be hospitalized 5 days afterwards. They have to operate in two stages. The first 5 hours will be to remove the tumor and any other areas that need it.(There are 3 others smaller areas). Then another five hours for reconstructive surgery where they will take skin from either his chest or thigh to replace the skin that’s removed on his neck.
This will be at the Cleveland Clinic.
Three weeks later he will undergo radiation treatments for about 6 weeks. That will occur in Cleveland.
My small family consists of my husband, our son (who is 16 and autistic, non-verbal) and myself. We are all disabled.
Greg had a kidney transplant in 2011 after which he has to remain on immunosuppressants for the rest of his life. These drugs help his body avoid rejecting the kidney, but they also greatly reduce hiss immune system and makes him more susceptible to other illnesses.
That makes this cancer treatment so much trickier because they have to monitor him closely as they take him off the immunosuppressants did he can heal after surgery, but during that duration he is at risk for kidney failure.
We live an hour and a half drive from Cleveland near Mansfield.

Another issue is that on his way home from an appointment a few days ago, he hit a deer and (probably) totalled our only running vehicle (still waiting to hear back from our insurance company). We have a rental car through tomorrow but his surgery is the next day.
I don’t know how we can afford the rental car after the insurance company stops paying for it. The contract is only through Monday and surgery is Tuesday. I’m praying they will extend the time we can keep the rental car.
There will be a lot of trips to Cleveland and back for my son and I during surgery week, then when radiation begins (3 weeks after surgery) there is up to 6 weeks of getting him to Cleveland daily for that.
The average cancer patient in our area can get radiation here in town, but due to his complex medical situation with his kidney it has to be done there, the doctors tell us, where his specialists are.
My husband suffered sepsis in his knee in December and January, then had part of his toe amputated in March due to MRSA, now cancer…

I asked his surgeon and oncologist why this keeps happening. They explained about the risks the immunosuppresants create. Even though they help him retain his new kidney, they put him at risk for anything else.
Those who know me, know how much I hate doing this… but several people asked me to set up a GoFundMe page, and if you share this, it may help us through this season of trials.

It’s so hard to be humbled in any situation, but when it comes to asking for help the stress multiplies as people may think you are trying to scam them or make money off a situation. They don’t know the person on the other side of the screen and how genuine they are. God does, and I’m trusting Him to get us all through all of this, but also to provide through it all. He is so faithful.

go fund me for Greg

Any help for getting him to surgery and treatments and meals for my son and I during surgery week and the six weeks of radiation is so much appreciated.

I had no idea what amount to ask for, and the GoFund Me default is $1,000 so I just left it at that. Any help at all is much appreciated.
We are a Christian family and I’ve laid this at the foot of the cross. This funding was suggested by several members of Facebook groups I’m a part of, and I’m humbling myself to place this as part of trusting God to get us through.
I know the Lord will bless you for any help you may offer. Thank you ❤

I truly appreciate your PRAYERS mostly, as I know God is good and faithful, and He listens to the prayers of His children.

I’ll be doing my best to keep you all updated here and my mirror blog, SincerelySapphire.com

God bless you!

oh, BTW:  I’ll have a lot of time during my waiting room hours to work on June’s scripture writing challenge, and our other monthly plans and challenges, so I’ll do my best to get that done as well.

Ponderings of My Predicaments: My Husband’s Crisis

Ponderings of My Predicaments The Great Yellow Jacket Escape

I told you all last month that I would post about what happened with my husband in December.  I’ve found myself with some quiet time this evening, so I thought this would be a good time to do so.

It all began the week between Thanksgiving and December.  My husband was in the backyard preparing things for winter.  He was walking across the back yard and forgot about the raised garden (railroad ties raised up around the garden to raise it above yard level).  He tripped over the wood and fell.  It’s important to note here, that he has a bad case of eczema and had some small sores on his knee, so to it was easy for infection to set in.

He came in hobbling a little bit, cleaned up and didn’t think much more about it.  He started hobbling around even more and eventually couldn’t walk.  I had to call 911 to come and help me pick him up. He thought it was just the one leg and it needed time to heal, so we told the EMT he could go.

The next day (or the day after, one of the two), on December 3rd my husband got down the stairs to the downstairs bathroom (we live in a split level) and he couldn’t get back up the stairs.  In fact, he was on the floor at the bottom of the stairs and couldn’t even stand up.

Continue reading

Ponderings of My Predicaments – The Great Yellow Jacket Escape

Ponderings of My Predicaments The Great Yellow Jacket Escape

See this yellow jacket here? —>

Yellow Jacket

One just like this one is at the center of one of the worst days of my life to date.

On July 19th I was on our deck sweeping the leaves and debris away in preparation to assemble the new patio umbrella I’d gotten for my birthday 10 days earlier (it’s still not together). My 15 year old non-verbal autistic son, Evan, was inside and I could see him in the house on the other side of the sliding glass door that separated our kitchen from the deck.

In the corner of the deck there was a cover that usually goes over one of our patio chairs covered in leaves. I picked it up not knowing it contained a yellow jacket nest.

Yellow jackets swarmed me and one got in my ear!  I quickly went into panic mode and raced into the house and up the 7 stairs to the bathroom where the mirror was I was hoping would help me to see the nasty little creature to extract him from my ear.  The loud buzzing was disorienting me, besides the fear of the bee being in my ear to begin with. But this was just the beginning of the traumatic day for my family and I.

Continue reading

Ponderings of My Predicaments – June 27 2018

Ponderings of My Predicaments June 27 2018

So I was talking with a few friends a while back about my blogging and mentioned that I was considering starting a new series that was just me talking about what’s on my mind. They said they thought that was a fabulous idea to help my readers get to know me better.  I’ve been meaning to do this before now, but it just sparked in my brain to actually start it while I had my laptop fired up 🙂

I had a blog way back when when it was rare for people to blog’ and I used the picture of myself above (from several years ago) and called that very first blog, “Ponderings of my Predicaments”.  So I decided to pull that out of the photo archives on my computer and use it. I think it looks very reflective as if I really am pondering my predicaments 🙂

My House and My Mouth

I’ve been cleaning and decluttering my house since June 8th. Really hitting it hard and gathering things in boxes and bags I want to get rid of (or hopefully sell).   I’m suffering for it, but was trying to push through the pain.  I have spinal stenosis which means I have nerves in my back that are getting pinched. The worst pain is when I’m bent over and forward like when you get clothes out of the dryer or reach for something in the back of the fridge (I SO miss our old bottom freezer fridge!) or make the bed. The official term is, “narrowing of the nerve root exit points”.  It’s in my lower left back, but I’ve been having pain in my entire lower back since starting the cleaning efforts. I’ve been spending a lot of time at night with my ice pack and my TENS unit.

Continue reading