health, depression, garden

Wow, the prednisone leaving my system yesterday triggered a deep sense of depression. It's been ages since i felt that purposeless and joyless. I hope that's it, but i'm feeling yet another wave. Fie.

I did pick a large-ish number of turnips as i weeded the bed i'd planted with turnips (which grew), poppies (some now have buds!), spinach (bolted), onion (never noticeably sprouted), and beets (still sprouting? maybe they'll grow as it gets warmer?) I dried the turnip greens and tried a lacto-ferment of the turnip roots.
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household, garden, hans, cooking, quaker notes

Erm. Time seems to be moving oddly.

Saturday i finally made progress on our first (to-be-done-ourselves) home improvement project, cutting a pressed metal ceiling tile down and some trim to fit the opening behind the stove. Our new smaller microwave - new as of November? December? - exposed a differently painted section of wall. It was a little surprising to realize it's our first project. We've had improvements done on our behalf, but this is the first time we'll do all the work, i think.

I've put a tripod that looks like some strange beast above one patch of passion fruit to act as a trellis. Passioncritter. Christine's thinking we could attach the dear skull i've found to it -- i can't figure out *how* to attach it, but i think it would look fascinating. Not entirely sure what else could be used to construct a beastly head.

I've found a rebar post in the garage that i'll use to train the trumpet vine as a standard (eg: the vine running straight up and then branching out like a tree).

I got some corn in the ground from my 100 starts. I don't think they are quite mature enough: i managed to pull some. Maybe Monday they'll have just enough more growth to be easy to manage to get in the ground.

Shopping. I'm more aware of my shopping now, i guess.

* I put in an order for "impulse" annual flowers (Zinnias because i threw saved seeds into areas at abandon and maybe they'll never come up. Marigolds because i only had two germinate and lost all the other seed in the mystery wet seed episode. Impatiens for the hanging baskets that have been empty all winter) and a case of tiny 4 oz jelly jars to be picked up when i pick up my sweet potato slip order.

I'm trying sweet potatoes in containers to (1) avoid clay issues and (2) be able to protect the young plants from deer but them move them into the open once there's enough plant that herbivory won't kill them. I'm excited about the purple fleshed & skinned variety, and hope that i have a decent yield. I have been eating sweet potatoes at lunch, slowly getting used to an orange food. I discovered i like savory preparations, not the brown sugar-marshmellow-topped horror i grew up with. (Re: orange foods - i have never been fond of cooked carrots or winter squash or sweet potato.)

* Trying to believe that the new bed can't be worse than the current bed. Hoping the "Temperature balancing sleep surface" really works, given my discomfort Saturday night. (We are in the warming up phase where we we leave nice cool night temperatures behind for the temps at which i am willing to pay cooling bills.)

* Thinking of the eventual trip to Florida, there was a clothing item that may lead to some improved comfort. Lands End was having a sale, so i ended up finding a perfectly appropriate item, plus some other items that will be helpful next fall, plus two tank tops bought at extreme mark down in exchange for not paying for shipping. Hopefully the colors will go with the sweaters i have in mind. Anyhow, that should do for six months.


* person insisting their Meeting's list serve is "nonsecular" and open when one clearly must apply with someone at their meeting to be added.

* people who want to meet at the meetinghouse because they are sick of Zoom meetings all the time. (That is a valid frustration, but it's just not mine. My frustration is that "because it is now safe to do so" is not part of the reason.)

* mouldy rye sprouts. Sigh. While a little reading illuminates that there's not ergot to risk, it still seemed... unappealing. I roasted the half that didn't have mycellum and tossed the fungus half in the front yard. Birds, ants -- feast away.
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household, garden, cooking, health, f&f

Happy things:

Prednisone seems to be helping. Not as quickly as i would wish but sufficient to get my energy back.

Having barley in serving sized chunks in the freezer, and making a barley bowl for lunch with fenugreek sprouts, buckwheat microgreens, fresh herbs, a scattering of Australian winter pea flowers and sage flowers. Fancy café lunch!

Sunshine yesterday.

Yardening!Collapse )

We've ordered whole new sleeping arrangement. Little worries about not testing in person flit across my brain. Delight at the thought of a number of infelicites being resolved comes to mind. I'm hoping i can cut down the king fitted sheets to a solution for the smaller mattress.

Other things:

Mental cycles being spent on preparing to join my Dad in a drive to Florida if and when his mother's husband dies.Collapse )

Blackspot on the roses. Probably ought to be preparing to deal with Japanese Beetle
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depression, health, bread notes, quaker notes

Monday morning i found my doctor had called our landline Friday night and left a message. I replied Monday morning, feeling a combination of frustration with myself and the system. Hearing nothing, i sent a brief health system message in the evening.

After work i made progress with the Buildings and Grounds committee: huzzah, there's a convenor who will take charge. I received an email from one of the public Friends in meeting that went into a long ramble about history of the meeting and that Pendle Hill pamphlet that i could not digest, but i fortunately found the real (?) message at the end,
I found myself wondering, “What exactly is ‘broke’ here that calls out for such a bustle of fixing?” I’m not sure I see it.

I perhaps replied with too much detail regarding each of the four points in the response that my mail client let me know took an hour to write. One thing that it makes me think of is a spouse who is like, "Woah woah woah, what's this with a chore list? Everything's been working fine!"

That *just* came to me. I've been feeling insecure up to this point. Now there's a little simmer of anger in realizing part of this: previous clerk was willing to make many many unilateral decisions and not bother anyone or just informally bother a few.

So that took me to midnight, well past my bedtime.

--== ∞ ==--

Tuesday morning, shortly after i was to start work i heard via the health system i had an appointment at 9:30am. I was feeling better, as i do in the morning, and set up everything i could to prepare for the video appointment. With 9 minutes i clicked start, tested video, microphone, and then the audio failed for me because my work computer has some very problematic audio driver i cannot eradicate. SO then i went through a bit of flailing - and passed Christine who had just rescued a songbird from Carrie's mouth -- and then overheard her exclaim as the bird died in her hands -- and finally had a set up. I waited for the doctor and then Christine let me know we'd briefly lost power and lost internet. I had a small fit, then set my computer to use my phone hotspot. The doctor connected shortly thereafter, while Christine confirmed the land line was live again -- just in time for the doctor to call me on that. SO YAY.

And the visit was better than i expected, with my expectation low due to patronizing comments before. This time he expressed interest in determining whether the asthma was asthma or a symptom. Given Mom's lung "honeycombing" and nodules and that her Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) test came back positive/speckled/titer 1:80 (that's a small signal of something like SLE [lupus], Sjögren syndrome, scleroderma, polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, or mixed connective tissue disease), and that there's an genetic component, i am appreciative. This is "after the coronavirus calms down" so, whatever. So i have a five day dose of prednisone to help. I took it last night and have a splitting headache right now and still cough, but 12 hours is short even for miracle cures.

--== ∞ ==--

My therapist and i talked about lots of worries. Irritated by the cavalier attitude about children not having affects from being infected, i've been reflecting about how the viral impact of chickenpox can lead to shingles much later in life. That's lead to a little reading regarding reactivation of viruses such as the Nipah virus (never had heard of it), HSV-1, and HCoV (generic human coronaviruses): apparently they can persist in the central nervous system to be reactivated. [,] Christine didn't know about shingles: she had chicken pox, i did not. Joy. Anyhow, my therapist wondered at my seeming acceptance i could have an autoimmune condition -- but i've been wondering about that for a decade with the constellation of itches, rashes, sniffles, coughs.... the continuous sense of low-grade discomfort that i suspect all point to an overactive autoimmune system. Really, what leads me to despair is climate change. This virus affects humans, climate change is the whole earth.

Anyhow, we will keep talking.

--== ∞ ==--

I made my bread last night. My mental thoughts through the whole process are ... not optimistic. But i might be learning from slight signals. And i think i'm finally getting pleasant bread (although the tooth cracking quality of some of the whole rye grains is still an issue). I've learned my room temperature isn't enough to make the bread rise, so last night i tried a warmed oven. (Last bake time i had a warm day to leave it on the deck). The flash of hot baking then reducing the oven temp seems not helpful, so now i am baking for two hours at 350°F in covered pans. Making my own malt is a pain, but i think it really really improves. And i've learned to pulse some of the soaked rye in the blender. I might ought to do that with the malted rye too, but i keep mixing the malt with the sunflower seeds for the soak, and i like the whole sunflower seeds.

Lingering post (depression, garden, work, mom and caa)

Tuesday's therapy appointment fell through for no clear reason. I worked hard and late, and felt OK flaking out Wednesday. Instead of thinking about replying to emails and comments, i did a little garden planning. I am mostly pondering the corn and okra that have not come up.

Too cold? The soil too erratic for good contact with the seeds? Too buried where i am trying to co-plant with potatoes? Since a very few corn *have* sprouted, is the seed just too old?

The okra did start fine just fine in starting pots and so i think i'll get some plants started. Unlike okra, corn needs a bunch of plants to all tassel out at essentially the same time. I don't really have enough seeding cells available to start enough corn -- but the gardening place does list the 128 cell flats i found recommended in a report about starting corn in a greenhouse.  


Thursday was full of meetings. I've an undercurrent of disappointment in myself, the forcefulness of my communication and how some of my worries that process will not be followed play out. Unrelated, my colleague K--T-- is feeling blamed for a situation that i am assured she is not to blame for.

After work, a social distanced celebration of my parents' anniversary was postponed to today [Friday -- and it didn't happen again]. I changed and indulged in weeding the berm i have been most focused on turning into a decorative flower bed. I pulled out tons of the Indian strawberry (Potentilla indica) out, thinking about how on Wednesday evening i had tried eating some of the fruits from the east yard.

I do taste the "watermelon" flavor, and i found one that seemed particularly tasty (well, relatively, i suppose). My conclusion is that i may eat the fruits of the plants i pull out in the garden as yard nibbles, but i will continue to not intentionally grow the things. Spending time bent over just to harvest them is not attractive. They will continue as a ground cover inside the "orchard," the fenced in area the pets roam, and, as such, not a good place for ground growing edibles.

I distracted myself for a time pondering whether i should replace some ground cover around the house with REAL strawberries: i'm not sure that real strawberries will win in a competition with Potentilla indica.

Back to Thursday evening - i managed to clear a large sweep of Potentilla indica that was thickly growing on the berm, probably keeping back other weeds. After Saturday night's low temperatures, i'll start setting out plants. I've grown Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum) in the garden, and have a small plant that's come back this year. From last year's seed i've started a bunch of plants, some of which will go back in the garden as a food plant, others will be good on the berm. I also started Moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora). I'll see how this open pollinated variety does at the base of the berm, i'd love it to be a ground cover i could naturalize. If it survives, i'll order some specific colors from Swallowtail Garden Seeds. I've also got sesame started: i imagined one year i would use it in the fight against stilt grass. Instead, the few plants that i have will go to the berm. I'll see how it does. I wish to grow culinary seed plants like sesame and breadseed poppy, but so far i don't manage any interesting quantity of seed.

With the sesame, the red garnet amaranth from Sow True seeds should make a lovely combination, albeit a tall stand of plants.

[posting on Saturday morning]
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Tuesday morning (covid-19, garden)

Hard waking this morning: part of me was convinced it was Sunday, probably something pulled from dream time. Waking i have no trouble knowing the day of the week. I'm aware other people have lost a sense of time, a colleague yesterday, a columnist this morning.

The pandemic is a shared experience, but not necessarily a common experience. And that's not even counting the stark information divides. I finally watched a little news after some very disciplined divestment. Collapse )

Made it through the workday yesterday. Christine mowed paths in the orchard while i used the wheeled string trimmer to clear the mossy areas, trim around the blocks of crimson clover and Best Grass Ever (Dichanthelium laxiflorum) that is going to seed, and mowed the east and front lawns. There's a prediction for lows in the upper thirties at the end of this week, and i continue to wonder what to move out of the green house.
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(explore west)

During worship, i had a sense of leaning my head into a lap/a large tree. "So tired," i thought to the Presence. And the Presence responded -- in a way i haven't experienced for some time -- a sense of support and care, a sense that i don't need to Do All The Things but that they will be done through me by the Presence.

In the moment it was incredibly comforting. In retrospect -- How?? How does that work? Can i stop making plans? Can i go back to sleep and my workday will be completed? Calls will be made to The Concerned Party at meeting?

I do not believe Divinity will make a puppet out of me. There may be moments when the Presence gives words, a message to share, but that never seems to be restful. I don't believe that is what that message for me meant. My sense this morning is that there is some sort of cognitive aikido available to me, some shift of mental weight that will reduce the sense of being so tired, and that the Insight was to draw my attention to it.

I think of Aikido and think of the need to be relaxed, alert, calm, centered, open. I think of how i dreamed of doing the rolls effortlessly, and the physical reality of bruises and a feeling like a tire made of a bunch of hard edges. I surmise that my physical being isn't quite as necessary in making this effortlessness offered a reality as in aikido. So i'll set aside the cracking joints.

I have some destinations for today: certain progress with the Terrifying project and the Surprise project. At the end of the workday, i need to go outside and make some progress mowing the high grass in the orchard. Maybe at lunch i can scatter the zinna and dahlia and sorghum seeds in preparation for rain tomorrow. Maybe i can adjust the settings on the mower at lunch as well. Can i make a batch of barley for lunch in the pressure cooker too?

[A couple hours later: feeling panic/distress about terrifying project. Procrastinatingish. Posting this so it is "done."]
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Salad: Escarole, endive, lettuce, chicory, radicchio, oh my (garden, cooking)

Better Thursday morning after a chat with someone from meeting. Also had a video visit with my sister Thursday morning.

The Need To Meet With People But Wanting To Hide energy has resumed, though.

Thursday night i made a salad of mixed greens:
* two miscellaneous lettuces, frisée, sorrel, and violet greens. I would have thought the sorrel to be more noticeable, but it wasn't.
* pea shoots from the Austrian winter peas.
* a thinning from red garnet amaranth and rose petals from Zaide ("large pink rose with a fruity fragrance"). The color combination was lovely - wish i had had more of the garnet amaranth. The rose petals added a slight pleasurable flavor.
* some of the tiny bolting spinach.
* two different mints and lemon balm .
* some parsley, cutting celery, and oregano - the cutting celery was mild, the parsley and oregano noticeable.
* dressed with shredded hard cheese.

It wasn't a harmonious combination, but it wasn't unpleasant, either. I should fix more. None of the lettuce is growing in abundance. I struggle with wanting to let it thrive and get bigger and recognizing when it will be too old to be pleasant.

I started reading about frisée (curly endive, chicorée frisée, Cichorium endivia var crispum) because it just grew over winter. Now i understand it's a perennial and in the chicory family. The herb and salad seed mix i bought in the fall of 2018 has "endive" listed so, voila. I now look at the radicchio listed in the plant starts availability and ponder adding to my perennial greens collection. I don't mind bitter that much, personally.

And then i've stumbled into enlightenment about Batavian lettuce, which isn't Lactuca sativa at all, but Cichorium endivia var latifolia -- "commonly" escarole. Theoretically, i started some Anuenue Batavian "lettuce". Or maybe "Batavian" is applied both to a lettuce and to an escarole?

I may need to grow something like Batavian full heart endive right next to one of these Batavian "crisp head" lettuces and try and figure out whether they are the same thing.

So what's available as starts are Cichorium intybus: Bel Fiore radicchio ("technically of the Variegata di Lusia type") and Indigo radicchio.

Ponder. Meanwhile, so hard to complete a post.
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Midweek (cats, dawg, garden, depression)

Trying to frame things as good, or at least focus on delights.

Marlowe is amazing and delightful:she is still so small compared to the boy-os. She must be heavier than she was when we adopted her in November: Christine guesses eight pounds. She dashes around the yard, following Carrie's modeling of hot laps. One afternoon when i was walking around the outside of the fence, she rushed up to the corner and climbed all the way to where the fence turns in. And the fence performed as it is designed: she turned back around and jumped down. She's been climbing trees. I think it was Sunday night when a brown thrasher was in the massive crepe myrtle, loudly calling "Tuck!.... Tuck!" Marlow was indignant and scrambled up into the tree until she found the point about ten foot off the ground where Christine had cut back one of the stems to rescue the drone. There she sat fussing at the bird. Eventually, she just jumped down. And last night, up she went in the small oak tree just off the back deck. Again, over ten feet up and considering more exploration.

I do not want her getting stuck out of our ladder's reach.

But her acrobatics and athleticism, her dashing after bugs and (sadly) frogs provides me with delight.

Carrie, too, is still playful. I don't think she and the kitten have quite sorted out games they can play together, but in this lovely weather Carrie wants to be chased around the yard, playing keep-away with her (gross) rawhide toy.

The attempt to solarize soil seems to simply be creating a warm place, not an oven. At the worst, perhaps all the weeds will sprout and then getting them out will be one swoop before putting out the tomatoes there. I am going to put out some tomatoes early in the patch i cleared last weekend.

Last evening i picked three turnips with proper turnip roots. The co-planted spinach and beets aren't thriving but i'll get proper turnips. I don't think i let the turnips out compete. Maybe the beets just need more time. The spinach is bolting, which - at smaller than baby leaf spinach - is kind of peculiar.

I keep reminding myself not to wish for summer heat, but i do wonder if the vegetable plants are impatient for warmth.

(Feeling glum and low)
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goals, depression, garden

Christine and i had been commenting on the dearth of news about using blockchain to fix coronavirus issues -- but never fear, IBM and Ernst & Young are on it. (Per a WSJ article Thursday.)

Collapse )

I tried water steam distilling rose petals Monday night. The principal configuration of doing it at home was demonstrated successfully, but the result was bitter. Nothing like steeping the rose petals in tea water. I imagine i will try drying the petals next, or layering them in sugar and trying to extract the essence that way.

I know some think Taco Bell is horrible food. It can be vegetarian, so it got some business from us in California. (I will admit that here in NC, the chain has been far more been disappointing.) Their cheese quesadillas are one quick snack i enjoy. Monday night i figured out how to easily replicate the creamy sauce with Russian dressing, hot sauce and cheese. It's not something i needed to learn to make, but it's mighty satisfying.

I have touched crochet while watching shows twice now. It's not a habit yet, but i would be happy to get back into doing a craft while sitting.

I've not been doing the yoga.

Black holes of negativity: Quakers this past weekend. I was cranky. (Perhaps i forgot to take my antidepressant on Sunday?) I want to focus on the good things. So i am also not reflecting heavily on displaced energy for work focus yesterday.
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