March 30, 2014 - Cupcakes for Grandma

Five-year-old Alicyn wanted to surprise me with a special treat today.  We were supposed to go to her house for either brownies or cupcakes, but Mr. Granny wasn't feeling well so Alicyn came to us with................


She said her Mom baked them and put on the frosting, but Alicyn did the sprinkles.  And what a beautiful job she did!  She brought a whole dozen, so we'll be having a treat each day this week.  Thank you, Alicyn!

Alicyn and her mom, Amy, also brought us lunch from McDonald's, so we did a lot of eating! Just as they were leaving, elder daughter Shannon drove into the driveway and promptly disappeared into the garage.  ????  What was she doing?  She was filling the freezer with another week of pre-cooked meals for our dinners!  I can't tell you how much we appreciate this.  We ate like kings all last week, and all I had to do was toss something into the oven or crockpot and make us a salad.  

Shannon loves to cook.  And she loves to cook in bulk for her family.  Last week we had Taco Soup, Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, Honey Glazed Pork Chops with rice and veggies, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Lasagna, Chicken Pot Pie and Fried Chicken Dinner.  I haven't been out to look in the freezer yet, but I know it will be something super good!

I gave the girls my cookbook collection.  Amy, who holds down a full time job along with raising her family, took all the crockpot books.  Shannon, like her mother, reads cookbooks like they are novels, then does her own thing.  She took the bulk of the books. 1st. Man, the one she gravitated toward was the one you sent me!  I expect some good things to come into my kitchen from that one, LOL! I also began clearing out the kitchen items I know I'll not be using.  Shannon got everything from pie plates to Dutch oven and French bread pans.  

Next came a string of grandchildren and two great-grandsons.  Hug and kisses were given to all, dogs were tormented by little boys, and everyone had a good time.

That entire gang headed home, and son John drove up.  We had a good visit, and I shared my dinner with him because he was a good boy and chopped up the salad fixings for me.  John is still not well from the accident he had at work before Christmas, when he was overcome by exhaust fumes blowing through a fan into his work space.  He had severe carbon monoxide poisoning, followed by a stroke, and hasn't been able to return to work.  It breaks my heart....he was always my hard working boy.

The only one missing was our youngest son.  But he called.  Twice!

Another good day.  I love my family.

March 29, 2014 - A Lovely Day

It was beautiful, warm and sunny today.  A perfect day for getting my seedlings planted in the Kennel Garden box.  After a morning of watering the indoor plants, I grabbed the containers of chard, spinach and lettuce from the patio table and set out to get them planted.  What would normally have taken me an hour or two took half the day!  But......I planted 12 Swiss Chard, 6 Winter Density lettuce, 9 Sierra lettuce, 9 Jericho lettuce, 27 spinach plants and 75 beet seeds.  The bed is now full and covered with netting.  Now I'm exhausted, but happy!

Kennel Garden, surrounded on two sides with snap peas and sweet peas.  Ready to grow!

I should be picking this over wintered spinach, but it's not looking too appetizing to me.  Tough winter leaves are not nearly as tasty as.....................

This lovely baby spinach/lettuce salad I had for my dinner last night.  All of it from the seedlings that were growing on the patio table!  There's even a Happy Yummy sweet pepper in there somewhere!  I only had one that was ripe, but many more on the way.  I have to admit, the indoor grown pepper didn't have a lot of flavor.  Hopefully the dozen or so that are growing now will get enough outside time to develope a bit more sweetness.

Garden on!

March 28, 2014 - A New Season for an Old Garden

Yesterday my son-in-law, "Bigfoot Bryan", came over to help me by rebuilding the box in "The Kennel Garden".  It's the one with the frame that gets covered with netting to keep the leaf miners off of the beets, chard and spinach.  The box has always been larger than the framework, and difficult to keep covered.  It's fixed!  I picked up a few yards of netting, and had planned on getting the remaining spinach, chard and lettuce planted and covered today, but it's raining.  That's OK, we really needed the rain.

The garden looks quite bare.  I do have a bed of lettuce, 4 beds of onions, 2 beds of potatoes, a wide row of snap peas and a row of sweet peas planted on this side, as well as a garlic bed that was planted last fall and is looking great. .  There is also another bed of spinach on the other side of the garden, next to the shed, that may end up being transplanted into the kennel if I don't have enough netting to protect it where it is now.  I haven't picked any of my overwintered spinach yet.  I'm not that fond of the tough winter growth that it's showing right now.

There are just a few seedlings ready to set out.  They are perfectly happy living on the patio for now.  The large container is my own personal little salad garden, where I hope to be able to nip off a few leaves to add to my meals.  I put a few sweet onions in it for a bit of extra flavor.

 Inside, the plant window is getting full!  I hope I don't have to pinch those tomato tops, but there's not a lot of room left for them to go up.

 I have tomatoes.  Green, but they're at least setting fruit.

 The overwintered Happy Yummy Sweet is loaded with at least a dozen full sized peppers.

 Sweet peppers have all germinated and are just getting their first true leaves.  I was late with the tomatoes, but I pre-sprouted the seeds before planting, so I have 100% germination.  Well, plant has failed to show so far.  Those KFC Go Cups are fantastic for growing the seedlings, two plants per cup! They are extremely strong, unlike the flimsy plastic 4/6 cells.  Leeks are growing in the background.

I'm just planting a few (6) broccoli this year, as I'm the only one who really likes it.  Everyone wants cabbage though, so this is just the first round of 12 cabbage seedlings.  Germination was 100%, and I think I planted them about 4 days ago.

And so begins a "New Season for an Old Garden"

March 27, 2014 - Gardening for Granny

You guys are making me cry....happy tears, of course.  None of you can begin to know how much your love and concern give me the strength to continue on.  The oncologist wanted to know If I would meet with a counselor, and I told her I had hundreds of on-line counselors and a wonderful family that were giving all the support I need!  My life has been long, and it's been good.  Having this dropped on me was quite the surprise, but I'm dealing with it well, I think, and determined to live as normally as possible for as long as possible.  1st. and 2nd. Man, you are amazing, wonderful friends.  Gammy Tammy, I'm so happy I found you, and your artwork is fantastic!

I have begun planting my garden.  It's slow work for me, but I'm enjoying my few minutes a day doing some easy work outside.  My dear son-in-law, "Bigfoot Bryan", came to help me yesterday.  I threatened to take Mr. Granny's cane and give his ankles a big whack if he dared step off my garden paths!  He's pretty scared of me, LOL!

My youngest daughter has been helping with grocery shopping and trips to the doctors, as well as just being here for me when I need her.  My older daughter has filled my freezer with pre-cooked meals, so all I have to do for dinner is toss something in the oven or crockpot.  Mr. Granny is holding up better than I expected, he's even learning how to feed the dogs.

Today I have to make an appointment for a couple of biopsies, then wait for results so the oncologist knows what kind of chemo to use.  I've finished with the radiation, but still must have another MRI of my brain and another meeting with that doctor in a month.  I've been poked and prodded with needles and IVs until I feel like a sieve!  I'll try to do an occasional update here on my blog, but I don't want to turn this normally happy spot into a pity party.

The good Lord willing, I plan to see my garden grow strong and productive, and to be around to bring in that one final harvest!  SO................Let's garden on!

March 21,2014 - From "C" to Shining "C"

Let's change the subject from CANCER (boo) to CUTENESS (yay)!

Wouldn't it be a great world if everyone was as happy as great-granddaughter Amaya with her first taste of bananas!  Her Auntie Alicyn, age 5, does a great job feeding her, too.

March 20, 2014 - Happy Spring.....and a Very Good Day it Was

I had an exceptionally good day today.  My arm is stronger, and I actually have regained a bit of use in my right hand.  I'm even using it tonight on the keyboard, with not too many typos!  Son-in-law came this afternoon and we got 36 hills of potatoes planted, plus a double row of snap peas and a row of sweet peas.  My arm and hand were strong enough to balance a hoe or the light weight rake, so I even got a little bit of garden cleanup done.  Not much, but some!  Bryan is such a good helper, but I must constantly preach to him to keep his size 14 boots out of my soft garden beds. The man cannot keep his feet in the pathways!  I think I'm going to have to put the little wire fencing around some of the beds to protect them from "Bigfoot Bryan"!  While we were in the garden, I did get down on one knee to move a seed potato and couldn't get back up, LOL!  Bryan had to come to my rescue.

I also got a small container salad garden started on the patio table this morning.  If it grows, I'll  have a tiny personal space to putter in for a while.  There are a few spinach plants, a bit of lettuce and about a dozen tiny onions in it.  If my fingers are still working tomorrow, I'll try to get a picture or two.  My lunch salad was a big bowl of baby spinach leaves and lettuce from earlier sown seedlings.  It was so fresh and crispy...and I couldn't even taste it!  I lost my sense of taste after yesterday's radiation treatment.  I had lost about five pounds in the past week, so I was looking forward to pigging out.  Bummer that everything tasted like wallpaper paste!  I found I could taste chocolate, so Mr. Granny keeps bringing me Almond Joys and M & Ms.  Daughter Amy baked chocolate chip cookies for me, and I had a couple with a glass of chocolate milk.  I'll probably gain that five pounds back by tomorrow.

Happy Spring!


March 16, 2014 - The Family Garden

I will have a garden this year!  The kids are all pitching in.  Son-in-law Bryan kick started it by planting all the remaining onions today.  I downsized the amount, and sent half of them over for Son John's garden.  Bry will be back to plant potatoes later in the week.  We'll see how it goes, but the plan is for all the kids/grandkids to come one day a week to help plant, hoe and share in the harvest.  I'll blog for as long as I can, then I'll make daughter Amy do it for me, LOL!

We (Bryan, Amy and myself...until I pooped out) planted Copra, Walla Walla and Red Grano onions.

All of my pepper seeds have germinated, and I have them in their little grow pots under lights.  I put tomato seeds in damp coffee filters for pre-sprouting.  I think I'll go for a few cabbages too.

Amy and Bryan brought over pinto beans and smoked bratwurst, and half a smoked turkey breast, so we're being well fed.  Daughter Shannon has also volunteered to provide some meals and both daughters will help with heavier housework once a week.

I've already had 3 radiation treatments for the brain cancers, but will spend 6-8 hours tomorrow in the hospital for intravenous hydration before and after a scheduled CAT scan for detection of cancers in my other organs, then back in the evening for more radiation.  The radiation zaps are scheduled daily all next week, plus a visit to the oncologist on Thursday re: chemo. We're lucky to have excellent cancer centers so near, and state of the art radiation equipment.

The steroids have helped with arm movement, but my right hand still doesn't work.  I'm getting a bit better at typing one handed, and you should see how I can pair up socks using my left hand and my teeth!  I managed to do two loads of laundry today, made the bed cleaned my bathroom and spent time with the family.  John came yesterday and put a shower seat in my bathtub, so I can actually bathe again....whew!  It was a lucky find at Lowe's.  He'd gone looking for grab bars, but they just didn't work for me.  I could get in the tub, but not back out!  The shower seat gave me the stability to enter and exit the tub, and it was on clearance...marked down from $129 to $29!

I must say the love, prayers, well wishes and moral support you, my dear readers, my wonderful garden bloggers, my greatest give me the courage to not just crawl in a hole and give up.   I'm determined to do what I can for as long as I can.  It might be 3 months (they filled my RXs for 90 days, they must expect me to live that long!), or 3 years....only God knows.  But I'm going out kicking and screaming and gardening.  You can bet your tomatoes on that!

I love you all so much.  Thank you for standing by us during this difficult time.  I think Mr. Granny could use a few of those prayers.  He's taking it pretty hard, but he's trying to stay strong.

I'm worn out from typing and correcting my to bed so I can be at the hospital by 7:45 tomorrow morning.



March 12, 2014 - Saying Goodbye to Annie's Kitchen Garden

I had the MRI today, and the news was not good.  I did not have a stroke, as the doctor had thought.  A diagnosis of stroke stroke would have been preferable to the diagnosis of metastatic cancer.  "Although some types of metastatic cancer can be cured with current treatments, most cannot. Nevertheless, treatments are available for all patients with metastatic cancer. In general, the primary goal of these treatments is to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms caused by it. In some cases, metastatic cancer treatments may help prolong life. However, most people who die of cancer die of metastatic disease."

I had an IV of steroids today, which will hopefully reduce the swelling in my brain so I may regain the use of my right hand, and they will begin aggressively treating the cancer tomorrow morning.  I'm afraid I've given up all hope of having a garden now, but my two indoor tomato plants have several small fruits for me to  attend to and hopefully enjoy soon.

You, my dear blogging friends, have given me so much joy these past few years.  I am so very grateful for the love you have shown.

Goodbye for now.  If typing gets easier in the future, I'll attempt an occasional update.

Love you all,

March 6, 2014 - It's a Start!

I'm glad I prepped most of the garden beds last fall, as they are in pretty good shape for planting now.  Armed with a kitchen spoon, I did what I could manage today and planted 9 each Little Gem, Anuenue and Yug Red lettuce and 24 spinach seedlings out in the garden.  It's a bit early for the lettuce, but it's inside a frame that can quickly be covered with plastic if needed.

My garden plans have been scaled down considerably, but a small garden is better than no garden.  I've alerted my son-in-law to start digging his garden ASAP, as I'll have a lot of seeds and seedlings to pass down to him.

9 each (bottom to top) Little Gem, Anuenue and Yugoslavian Red lettuce

Two dozen spinach seedlings

Not your typical Granny garden, but it's something.

March 4, 2014 - Seedlings

No sun, but 54F outside.  Seedlings are enjoying a day of natural daylight.

March 2, 2014 - To Be or Not to Be

To be or not to be, that is the (garden) question. I may or may not have a garden this year.

About a week ago, I woke up and my right hand wouldn't work. My fingers were stiff and wouldn't bend, my wrist would just flop from side to side, and my arm had no strength.  I can't hold an eating utensil, or slice off a piece of bread, sign my name or type.  I can touch my index finger to my thumb, but that's about it.  I've pretty well adjusted to eating and using the computer mouse with my left hand, but I'm still painstakingly typing this by hunt-and-peck, left handed, one letter at a time.  I'm quite sure it's a pinched or inflamed nerve from an old and painful shoulder injury.  So....why haven't I seen the doctor?  Well, it happened just a couple of days before I was scheduled for a colonoscopy.  Any of you who have had to prep for this procedure will understand why I didn't rush right in to have the hand taken care of. Unfortunately, the colonoscopy and a blood draw for cea levels  indicated a recurrence of cancer, so now a visit to an oncologist is of more importance than a trip to a neurologist.

Mr. Granny knows how I love my garden, and he has vowed to help me as much as he can.  I don't know if I should buy seed potatoes, or start the peppers, tomatoes and garden flowers.  I'm just wondering, at this point, if just an exercise in futility.