August Update

Hello again! It’s been a while. Typically there is the word “garden” in the title of these updates, but this one is going to be a bit more general since I haven’t posted since June.

So where have I been the past two months? At home mostly. At the end of June I got a project at work that required a lot of time and energy so I briefly (or so I thought) put aside writing to work on it. Then shortly after finishing the project in early July I had a health flare. This is not entirely unexpected as my illnesses wax and wane, and flares in July seems to be becoming sort of an annual thing. I immediately focused my energy on trying to stop the downward spiral of worsening symptoms and everything else got put on the back burner…

… Which brings us to now. While I’m still very much in the flare, I am happy to report that things seemed to have stabilized a bit, at least at the moment. I think the flare was caused in large part due to the weather (hot and humid) so hopefully as we move from mid-summer towards fall things will improve.

Feeling worse hasn’t stopped me from doing things all together however. I’m still working (a very limited) part time, which is only possible because the PhD who is supervising me is SUPER understanding and all around awesome. This past month I’ve tried my hand (and failed) at making sauerkraut, I’ve slowly made progress through the herbalist course that I started last fall, and I continued to practice my mandolin. I also participated in Ravelry’s Tour de Fleece this July and seem to have caught the spinning bug. And as usual I have a few knitting projects that I’ve been working on.

Drop spindles, spinning fiber, and a bobbin full of singles.

Some of my spinning for the Tour de Fleece this year.

I also have been trying to go out to my garden plot semi-regularly, usually with recruited help from family. Even if the heat and humidity didn’t cause my flare they certainly make it worse, so I have to be very careful not to spend too much time outside. The past two months have brought large harvests of currant tomatoes and green beans. I’ve been dehydrating the tomatoes and freezing the extra beans so I can enjoy them this winter. The beans and sunflowers are about at the end of their lives so they will probably come out soon to be replaced by beets and spinach (my planned fall plantings).

raised bed with red and yellow sunflowers

(this picture is from July)

I’ve also had a decent herb harvest from the plants on my deck. The blueberry bush continues to grow and now looks like a bush, which is exciting, and the lime tree has branches. Overall, considering the level of neglect that most of my plants have been subjected to these past few months, they’re all doing remarkably well.

Bowl full of cut herbs

Clockwise from top left: Stevia, Thyme, Oregano, Calendula, Lemon balm, and Sage (in the center)

As for what’s going to happen this fall, it all depends on what happens with my health. I start grad school next week, which will be a priority, and I also plan to continue working part time. I hope to be able to go back to writing posts regularly soon. I do miss blogging, but unfortunately other things must take priority.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer!

June Garden Update

May was certainly an interesting month weather-wise. It hasn’t quite warmed up yet and we’ve gotten at least twice the normal amount of rain. Not that I’m complaining. It’s quite nice to be able to be outside without overheating and not to have to water my plants. Speaking of plants, here’s how they’re all doing.

Houseplants

Almost no change in the houseplants this past month. The African violet is still blooming, the lime tree seems to be mad at me for trimming it and hasn’t grown much, and everyone else is holding steady. Luckily Olive (my new dog) isn’t into eating plants.

Deck Plants

Everything is growing really well and loving the rain (and their well-draining pots). I harvested and froze the last of the spring spinach crop this week since it was starting to bolt and planted calendula in its place. The dill is growing well and the lemon balm finally sprouted. The stevia is now larger than it was when I bought it so I think it’s safe to say it successfully survived the bird attack.

Deck planters and pots with plants

The netting and wire cages have done a good job of protecting the plants from the wild life. This meant I got to harvest my first strawberry yesterday. I don’t have a picture since I ate it immediately. Although there will be no blueberries to eat this year the blueberry has grown quite a bit this past month. I actually hadn’t realized how much it had grown until I went and looked at my last update.

Community Garden

Other than a few lost bean plants (from wind and digging critters) things in the garden are going well. I planted my tomatoes in ground a few weeks ago, but since it has been cool they really aren’t growing much. The squash plants now have flower buds and the beans are blooming. The sunflowers are growing well and the marigolds are little bushes now. I had a lot or carrots sprout last week, which is exciting since I may actually have a carrot crop this year.

June Garden 4 June Garden 1 June Garden 2 June Garden 3

With all this rain I’m very glad I opted for a raised bed instead of an in-ground plot this year. The charity rows are super soggy and the plants in them are NOT happy.

Other

I did eventually hear back from the architectural committee last week about my front landscape change request and it was approved (thank goodness!). Once it stops being so soggy outside I hope to tear out the yew bushes and replace them with holly.


How has your garden been doing this month?

Olive

Hello! I know I’ve been gone for a little bit, but I have a good reason. I’d like to introduce my new garden helper and general partner-in-crime Olive!

Black dog on red deck

Olive has been living with me for about two weeks and we’re figuring out a routine that works for both of us. Once we get some basic training down, things should get a little easier. Not that things are difficult at all; she’s a smart, sweet, quiet little girl. I’m so lucky to be her guardian.

Picture of a Crash

Today, May 12th, is the Awareness Day for ME, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. I potentially have all of these (had my blood drawn for a Lymes test this afternoon). I don’t really talk about it too much, because while my illnesses are without a doubt a part of me and greatly impact my life, I try to not let them consume me. Some days it’s easier than others and today was not an easy day. Today I crashed, unexpectedly, and very hard, for the first time in a few months.

My day started out normally enough. I woke up tired and both slightly nauseated and ravenous. My hands hurt and my joints sounded like rice crispy treats as I got out of bed. I took my early-morning meds and started to make breakfast. Then I took my morning-morning meds, ate breakfast, and headed to class.

This is where it all started to go down hill. Today we got our take-home final. Instead of letting us go home to work on our 20 short essays we have to write by Tuesday we got to be free manual labor and plant plants for the school. Now normally I’m super happy to do anything with plants, but I had not budgeted my energy for planting today. Still, I felt okay enough that I thought if I was careful I would be okay. I didn’t dig many holes, I didn’t even do much of the putting of plants in the ground. I took plants out of the pots, because it wasn’t extremely physical, didn’t involve bending over or standing up quickly, and was still helpful. I thought it’d be okay.

Picture of medications and supplements.

All the meds and supplements I take in a day so I can function.

I was wrong. It was sunny outside where we were working so I went in to get some water, because being hydrated is especially important for me. As soon as I got inside the crash hit. I felt light-headed, weak, nauseated, and disoriented. I couldn’t form thoughts or complete sentences. I got grumpy and felt like crying. Fortunately I was by myself so I didn’t have to communicate this to anyone. I grabbed my bag with my food, water, and meds and went back outside, one because it was cooler than inside, two so there’d be people if things got worse, and three so the professor didn’t think I skipped out early.

I ended up sitting on a bench, eating trail mix to get my blood sugar up, drinking my water, and eating salt to make sure my blood pressure didn’t drop too low. The professor started to give me a hard time about “sunbathing” but once I explained I wasn’t feeling well and was done for the day he let me be. Other than that, and the one kid who asked if I was okay, people pretty much left me alone. It was lovely because I could do what I needed to without having to explain or having people try to help and just making things worse.

I ended up sitting/laying on the bench until class was over, because I just continued to feel worse. Mom took me home after class and I was able to get a small nap (didn’t help) before I went to get my blood drawn and have acupuncture. And now I’m home. The worst thing about crashes is that I never know how bad they’re going to be or how long they’re going to last. Will I feel fine tomorrow or will I not even be able to get out of bed? This one is particularly unknown because unlike the last few I didn’t see it coming. I thought I’d be fine.

So now it’s a waiting game. I’m heating up some soup that I had frozen for days like this for dinner and drinking tons of liquid. I plan to lay on my couch for the rest of the evening and head to bed when the sun goes down. All I want to do is curl up and sleep. I’m hoping that maybe if I do the right things this won’t last long.

But yeah, so that’s what a crash looks like. Sometimes. All crashes are slightly different, but they’re never fun.


Last Year’s Post

My CFS/ME/Fibro resources page