Monday, June 18, 2012

Well, that was Stupid!

   Have you ever done something and the second you did it, you knew it was stupid? And you wonder why you couldn't have realized it was stupid 2 seconds BEFORE you did it?! It happened to me at about 1 PM on Saturday. Boy, was it ever stupid. Remember how I've been complaining about the green water in my koi pond? I finally decided I needed to buy a pond vac to suck up all the muck (leaves and such) off the bottom of my pond that were decomposing and causing all the problems. I could have been pulling my pump to clean the filter several times a day all summer to get that stuff out of there. I'm not that patient, so I bought a pond vac from my cousin who had only used his twice and no longer has a pond. It is called The Muck Buster. Impressive name, don't you think? Well, let me tell you, it is an impressive machine. It was getting all kinds of muck and stuff from the bottom of my pond and draining it thru a long discharge hose into my yard. Oh, I was having fun! I couldn't even see the bottom of my pond before this. It was like liposuction. I kept poking and prodding with the wand and it kept chugging away and passing all kinds of debris out the other end of the hose. I could see I was making great progress and getting more and more excited about it. Of course, it was 90 degrees out and I was dripping with sweat and splattered with muck, but I was HAPPY! If you have a pond, you'll understand that. I had worked for an hour standing on the south side of the pond and decided to move to the north side. I went to the area where my husband had placed two massive 8" thick by 2' x3' flat rocks that I could stand on without fear of them moving. I was going like crazy getting more muck up when the machine sounded like it was straining. I thought it must have sucked up something too big to pass. I couldn't see the end of the hose from my position so I stepped back to see around my Japanese Maple. UH OH! I forgot I was a foot off the ground. I knew I was falling and would land on my back on rocks. It's amazing how many thoughts can go thru your mind in a matter of a second. I remembered I had handle-less pitchforks as a low fence behind me and knew I'd land on one of them. I knew it was going to hurt. I believed I'd be impaled. I thought how awful for Randy to have to cut his Rocky Mountain bike ride short to come home for my funeral. I thought how upset my Sissy would be to have to come to Iowa instead of Maine this week. And, mostly, I thought about how STUPID I was.... I twisted so I could see where I was going to land and hit the 8 pronged pitchfork on my right side. It has a 3/4" diameter square iron rod sticking up 2" that would fit into a wooden handle, if it had a handle, it didn't. I pushed off of it as soon as I hit and was on my hands and knees for a minute groaning. Then I was sick at my stomach and knew I had to get up and get into the house to see the damage. I staggered into the bathroom and lifted my t-shirt to see if I had a hole in my side. Unbelievably, there was NO hole. I had a perfect red indentation matching the end of that pitchfork on my side about where my bottom rib is. I wasn't bleeding. I started saying "Thank you, God!" over and over and apologizing for being so incredibly stupid.

Here is what I saw in the mirror. I took a picture so if I had internal injuries and died, they'd know what caused it. Morbid, I know, but I was alone and scared.


Here is where I was standing (Upper left corner)and here is the pitchfork I landed on...


After a lot of probing the area of my  rib cage and experimenting with movement to access the damage, I sat in my chair for about a half hour feeling fortunate to be alive and not impaled. I went back outside to clean the pond area and put the pond vac away. When I came back in the house I called my Sissy to tell her about my close call and swore her to secrecy, at least from my Mother. She would be scared to death and always worry from now on if she knew I was working on my pond. So, anyone reading this, don't tell Mom!

Here is what it looked like at bedtime that night...

And on Sunday morning...

  I went to the chiropractor this morning, because I think I knocked some vertebrae out of alignment when I hit. The bruising is spreading out, but hasn't all surfaced yet. I'm so grateful to be here and still able to fly to Maine tomorrow. I didn't call Randy. He needs to be concentrating on navigating those mountains on his bike and enjoying himself without worrying what stupidity I'm up too! I'll tell him when I get back from Maine and the bruising is gone.

  The good news (besides not being dead) is, my pond is looking better and the waterfall is running freely now. A fellow gardener would understand my logic.

  Some of my daylilies are starting to bloom. I'll miss most of their glory while I'm in Maine, darn it! Here are a few photos of them this morning...




This is one of the arbors I built a few years ago. It leads into a corner of the back shade garden...

The hollyhocks in front of the outhouse/garden shed are blooming...

I'll show some photos of Mom's  new and improved garden I didn't take my camera with me last Friday when I made the last improvements. These are from the week before. The arbor entry...

 A pond view standing behind the waterfall...

 My SIL, Joyce, talking to Mom sitting in her arbor turned gazebo. Joyce had been helping earlier, but got cleaned up to go see her mother. She wouldn't have let me take this picture before!

 My big brother, Jerry, performing surgery on the tin man who was injured during the move from the old sunny garden...

 A closeup of the surgical procedure, which involved reattachment of left arm...

 Checking for range of motion to the limb post op...

 Patient fully recovered and on the job guarding Mom's outhouse/garden shed...

 Mom's garden is terraced. This view is from the bottom of some steps between some of the rock walls I built. Notice the arrowheads embedded into the cement? Mom used to love to hunt for arrowheads up till she was 85!
 

 A very contented and happy Mom sitting in her gazebo. Behind her is where the old sunny garden was...

A down hill view looking towards the back of Mom's pond area and house...

 Another set of steps leading to Mom's deck...

One of Mom's old wagon wheels enjoying its new location. It is as tall as me! The old gate is stationary, but Mom loves it, so I nailed it in place just for "show". All the dead ground behind it is the old sunny garden... 


This may be my last post till I get back on the 27th. Hopefully, I'll have plenty to write about when I get home. For now, I'm going to the quilt frame for a couple of hours. Keep stitching!

Becky

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What can I say? Life Happens!

  I had a voice mail from my Sissy this afternoon chiding me for not having blogged in 3 weeks. Wellllll, I'm sorry, but I've been a little busy. School was out May 25th and I hit the ground running. I've barely stopped except to eat and sleep (and not much of either.) First I had invites to 27 graduation parties and those took a lot of time. I actually got tired of eating cake! If you knew my sweet tooth, you'd find that hard to believe. I had promised Mom I'd go to her house (100 miles round trip) as soon as the partying was all over to do a major overhaul of her flower garden. It had become a jungle as she has gotten too frail to spend hours weeding. Although she still thinks she can! So I've made two all day trips to Dallas City spending 8-10 hours doing the heavy jobs I don't want her attempting. I have her shady hosta garden around her pond all weeded, pond pump and new filter in place, and repaired and expanded her rock retaining walls. We hired a local man to run his weed hog over her sunny garden last week; then my brother and I raked the whole thing to get rid of the debris. After several pickup loads were hauled to my brother's ditch, I sprayed the whole area with Roundup to kill everything that was left. I know this sounds drastic, but the garden was approximately 50' x 50' and overrun with poison ivy, alfalfa, trumpet vine, sweet pea vine, and numerous aggressive weeds. It was time to get rid of this garden, leaving her with her shady garden and pond area which is plenty for her to maintain and enjoy. She is 89 yrs. old and needs to slow down a little!

  Tomorrow I'm going over to access the situation again. If it doesn't need a second dose of Roundup, we'll hire someone to plow or till it; then we'll seed it in grass. I need to do some redesign work on her arbor so it's not a walk-thru to that garden anymore. It will become a 3-sided structure with a chair for her to sit under its shade and enjoy a view of her waterfall. I have some fence work to do too. The old garden had a two rail fence around it I had built. My brother took it down on three sides, leaving one in place on either side of the arbor facing the pond. I'll reuse some of the posts and rails to add to this section of fence. I've built her two arbors and at least I only have to work on one of them! She's having a dump truck load of river rock  delivered first thing tomorrow morning to put in her pathways. They used to get new mulch every couple of years. I convinced her to switch to rock so it wouldn't have to be replaced anymore. That's what I have in my garden paths and I love it. I'll be loading my wheel barrow in the back of the General to take for that job. That's one more reason I needed a hatchback!

   Besides all of that I've been working in my own flower gardens too. I finally started my pump in my koi pond last Tuesday. It didn't run for long until it slowed to a trickle...uh oh, not a good sign. I pulled it, cleaned the filter, and dropped it in the pond again. Same thing happened. I repeated that all day. I had to give up on it, because I was going to Mom's on Wednesday. Thursday I was determined to get my pump going to clean my very green water in the koi pond. I could only see the koi when they surfaced to eat. Poor koi, I knew they had to be miserable in that yucky water. Well, maybe they didn't mind, but it was driving me crazy!  I ended up making an emergency trip to Burlington to buy a new pump. They didn't have the 1250 gph size I needed, so I bought the next size, a 2000 gph! Gph is gallons per hour of water it will pump. Of course a bigger pump meant I had to buy a bigger hose! It's 2" diameter and the water almost shot across the pond! Yikes, that's not supposed to happen. The idea is for the water to flow over the rocks on the waterfall like in nature. I had my work cut out for me taming this bad boy. I had to build my waterfall up another level, which meant hauling a lot of large rocks and placing and replacing and placing them again to get it just right. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, you have to try a lot of pieces to find where they fit. That's all done, but I still have very green water to deal with. I spent all day Friday working on it. Once an hour, I had to pull the pump (in a 3 gallon bucket full of lava rock and water) to clean the filter;then drop it in again. The last time I pulled it was at 9 PM. At 10:30 PM I turned it off for the night. I couldn't trust it not to stop working overnight.

  Yesterday, I pulled the pump at 7 AM to clean the filter before I loaded up the General for my presentation in Bonaparte. By the time I was ready to leave at 9:30, the pump had slowed to a trickle (a sign that the filter is full of sludge), so I unplugged it. It would burn the motor up if it got clogged while I was gone.

  I got up at 6:45 AM this morning and pulled it again, showered dressed, and went to early church, got home, changed clothes, and pulled it again. That's how my life has been going for the last three weeks, Sissy! THAT'S WHY I HAVEN'T BLOGGED!!! OK?!!!

   If you are still reading after all of this, thank you for listening to me rant. On the positive side... I have quilted several evenings and am down to the last three rolls of the quilt on the frame! I want to get it done before I fly to Maine, because the day after I get back, I'm presenting in Muscatine for the quilt guild there. I'd really like to have this quilt for my display. It's the CW era quilt my niece bought me in Maine last year. It was yummy, but it was tied and had inch thick batting in it. I've been displaying it as a top ever since I took the ties out and removed the batting. I washed the backing for reuse, used new thin wool batting, and have been quilting it for the last month.

  I've also had some good luck in acquiring several more antique doll quilts. I just love them all. I still hope I'll find at least one good one in Maine this trip. Greedy, I know, but they need to be in a good home with someone who will love and take care of them....oh, yea, I guess that is shelter dogs isn't it? Well, quilts need love too.

  I should go quilt so I'll share some photos before I close. The first are of my new (old) doll quilts.

I love this 30"s 9-Patch with its blue flowered backing...

I had to buy the doll dresser to get the petite "Hexagon" doll quilt, darn! : )A REAL sacrifice...



The back of the hexy...

This 13" x 17" "One-Patch" is circa 1910-1920' It has a triangles border and a yellow and red plaid backing...

  Since I've been working like crazy in my garden, I'll share some pix of it too. Here is my Jackmanii Clematis I showed earlier, but now it's really in full bloom...

Remember the Lillian Gibson climbing rose I showed earlier with a few blooms? Here is an update...
 A "blue" iris (in the foreground)...
Another clematis with orange poppies in front...
A very showy lavendar/pink clematis....
   Alas, no pictures of my pond till I clear up the green water. I'll share a few pictures of my display in Bonaparte, Iowa, where I presented at the Burns Gallery and Tea Room. The room I set up in was very long and narrow, a real challenge for placement...



  If you've never been to Bonaparte in Van Buren County, you should make a point of going. It is a very old town, settled in the 1830's I believe, and charming. There are several shops on the one main street, including the Burns Gallery&Tea Room, antique shops, and the Bonaparte Retreat, which  is an eatery in an old mill on the Skunk River that serves up delicious food. There are several small towns in the area making up "the Villages of Van Buren" and they all have points of interests and activities to enjoy. It makes a wonderful day trip to SE Iowa.

  Ok, I hope this makes up for the long dry spell between posts. I'm heading to my quilt frame. Keep  stitching!

Becky