Thursday, July 25, 2013

Don't open anything weird from me!

Well, not from me. My Yahoo account got hacked and sent spam to all my contacts. Topic line is gibberish letters, so just delete it. I've fixed the account but messages are apparently still going out from the original hack. I'm sorry for the nuisance :-( Just delete it.
Ellie Hamilton

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


That's what I did at least part of the day. The middle part, I think.

Let's see. This morning I still wasn't feeling well. Oh, I didn't post about that. Well, yesterday I wasn't feeling well. Kind of ached all over and just felt punk. I rode my bike anyway. I have a Big Ride coming up June 22. It's the Diabolical Double route of the Garrett County Gran Fondo: 125 miles of humongous hills. I know I will be fighting fatigue and probably feeling like heck for the last half of this ride, so it's good for me to bike while tired, not feeling well, and resisting the urge to call for a bail-out. So this 28-miler (I took a longer route to avoid a wet dirt road) was good for me. And I got to see a bear. Kind of smallish.... about as large as my 45-pound dog. Probably a yearling, but there didn't seem to be any mama with him. Or if there was, she just let me go by on my bike. Anyway, it's always a privilege to see a bear.

So, this morning I still felt sub-par. I was drinking coffee trying to wake up, and Steve said he guessed he'd go up to my mother's house and mow grass. ~Sigh~ That means, if he's going, I should go too, and sort and pack and clean. My mother went to assisted living in December, and we're getting her house ready to rent. It's a huge job.

OK...... so, with all that preamble, you'll understand now when I say that by the time I got to the garden I'd already done several hours of work while not feeling well. And the work at my mother's..... well, I can't think of anything I'd less rather do. So coming home to the garden was balm to my soul.

I'm arranging my garden plot into beds and patches, separated by walking paths. Some of these little patches have rows going longitudinally, and some latitudinally. I hoe out weeds, but where I've found ox-eye daisies growing, I've left them. They're pretty, and they can be eaten. You wouldn't make a meal out of them, but they're a fun nibble. All parts of the plant are edible, but I especially like the buds, sweet and slightly peppery. So daisy plants are growing in some of my little plots.

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I've also left lamb's quarters where I've found them. Or, if they've grown in places where I'm creating a path, I've actually transplanted some into my beds of greens. Because lamb's quarters are one of the world's absolute best vegetables. There is almost nothing more nutritious, or, in my book, more delicious than lamb's quarters. The leaves taste a little like spinach, but softer and mellower; the stems resemble asparagus, but again softer and mellower. So I was delighted to find it as one of my weeds. 

As I surveyed the work I've done in the last week, I realized I've forgotten what I planted in some of the plots, or whether some are empty, waiting for later plantings. I should have drawn a diagram or something. I can't mark the beds with seed packets, because I don't empty them. Seeds keep for two or three years, so I save them from year to year.

So, grandma here doesn't remember what is planted where in her garden. But that's OK. I'll know as soon as I see the plants coming up. Just today some beans let me know where they are. And some tiny little double leaves of some member of the cabbage family. This would be either collards or kohlrabi, probably the latter, since I planted the collards a few days later. Some salad greens (a spring mix) are coming up too.... little twin leaves that look like little green dots, but unmistakably some kind of lettuce.

After an hour of hoeing, raking, weed-discarding, daisy-saving, rock-removing, and watering from a barrel, I came home (just across the road) and rested awhile. I didn't feel bad anymore. Either it ran its course, or I was healed in the garden, a distinct possiblity.

Then folded the laundry my dear husband had kindly done last night, and found something to eat (we mostly forage for ourselves nowadays), and then it was time to pick up my mother for a nursing-home hymn sing.

She's 92 and lives in an assisted-living facility, but once a month she goes with members of my church to a full-fledged nursing home and plays the piano for us while we sing 8 hymns. It's wonderful fun. So many of the elderly residents know every word of every verse of every hymn by heart. Others use books which we provide. Still others nod their heads and/or beat time. And others loll in their wheelchairs or recliners give no indication whether they even know they're still on this earth. I pray for special blessings for them and that they will be able to hear and sing at some level. What do we know? Just because they're lolling absently in their wheelchairs doesn't mean they're not there.

After that, I loaded my mother back into the truck (requires a step stool), stopped around at the Dollar General to see if they had any big boxes, which they did, which I loaded into the back of the truck; then stopped at the ice cream stand and bought a cone for my mother and another one for me; then drove out to her house and dropped off the boxes,  to pack her junk with; then drove back to her assisted living via back roads that she rarely has occasion to see, hoping to see another bear, which we didn't, but she told me all about all the residents of her assisted living home. I know all about them because she tells me about them every time we talk. She does not remember that she's told me. She is lucid and with-it in the moment, and uses a vocabulary that will send you scurrying for your dictionary, but she doesn't remember most of what anyone has already said, including herself. But put her in front of a piano, or hand her a violin or even a cello, and she enters the realm of knowledge that's never forgotten.

And then I came home and wrote this and now I'm going to bed.

I intended to do a 2-mile run but I never got to it. Tomorrow.

Sunday, June 02, 2013


I have let my blog lie fallow.

That's because I was tired.

Because I wondered whether there was enough of me to live my life and write about it, too.

But I am going to reseed. The land will support growth again. New crops will sprout.

Speaking of which.....

One of the things that's taking time nowadays is my garden. Now, we live in a 28-foot travel trailer, in an RV park, with no yard. But the church across the road has a big, flat, grassy yard, which they have plowed, divided up into plots, and announced available for gardening. They take no rent for this ground, only a free-will donation, which I am glad to give.

My garden plot has more square footage than our living space.

It's almost all planted. I need to get over there and put in my kale, squash (yellow crookneck, acorn, zucchini, and spaghetti), parsley, potatoes, green beans, and another installment of salad greens (so they don't all come ripe at the same time.... a person can only eat so much salad in a week.)

So, with this blog re-planted, I'm going to let my thoughts for it settle and take root while I go tend my garden.

Be fruitful. Let your love and experiences multiply.

Friday, July 06, 2012


We're in New Hampshire now. We've done mountain hiking, kayaking, and I've done a lot of biking and running. There's a bike ride coming up next Saturday, the Prouty Ride, that I'd love to do but we'll have moved on. There are distance options of 20, 50, 100, and 200 miles. It's right outside our door. I can ride out the driveway and be on the course. It's killing me not to be here for it. I would have wanted the 50, and planned all week that since we're not going to be here, I'd go out today and ride the 50-mile course.

Steve & I were watching the 4th of July parade Wednesday when 2 cyclists rode up on road bikes, stopping right in front of where we were to watch the parade also. They were wearing jerseys from previous years of the Prouty. I thought about asking these folks if there might be going to pre-ride the course on Friday, but then thought, no, they're old, 70's probably, if they're riding it at all this year they're no doubt only doing the 20.

Today I went out and started the 50-mile route. After about 5 miles I saw 2 cyclists way up ahead, and within 5 minutes I'd caught them. It was the older couple from the parade. They were doing "part of" the course today, about 12 miles. I asked them if they were riding next weekend, and..... he's doing the century, she's doing the 50. Surprise, Ellie! Don't judge a book by its cover. I rode with them and talked with them. He's 70 and she looks older but is probably in her late 60's, I'm guessing. They offered me a rest stop at their home and gave me a glass of ice water.

As we rode together, she mentioned that she's a little apprehensive about doing 50 miles since she's just getting back to biking. Oh, have you had an injury? Slight chuckle, yes.... less than a year ago she wrecked her bike during a race, in Sweden for petesake, and broke 6 ribs and punctured a lung. (They said the Swedish Emergency Medical Services and hospital were fantastic.) Then when she recovered from that, they discovered she had a very rare, very aggressive skin cancer, Merkel Cell Carcinoma, which has a higher mortality rate than even melanoma. She had surgery and radiation treatments. So, she's now getting back to biking less than a year after the wreck and the cancer, surgery, and radiation. She got behind on the climbs today but said although she was slow and it was hard, she felt well, which is a new improvement. Her husband was ecstatic. She's definitely planning on the 50-miler next week.

Oh, she started biking  years ago because she was in renal failure and thought it would better her chances if she became more fit overall. She got her husband to bike with her and they've both been at it ever since. This is his 20th consecutive year of riding the Prouty Century. She's been told by both her oncologists the Swedish trauma specialists that her overall fitness is to thank for her quick recovery, especially at her age.

I want to be just like her. I want to be just like them. I want to ride a century when I'm 70, and if I ever break ribs and puncture a lung in a bike wreck and then fight a potentially fatal disease, I want to be back on my bike riding 50 miles in less than a year.

The odd thing is, as we shared experiences,  that she said she wants to be just like me. Because of the things I do... biking, triathlons, hiking the AT. Even though I've never had to recover from anything worse than tendonitis and sprains. She called me a "phenomenal athlete."

I'm humbled. I told her about Holly continuing to train for a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy for melanoma, and then founding the Cancer to 5K program.

I'm not going to complain about the small stuff anymore.