Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners #18

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Welcome to Practical Matters #18. We came from here:
Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners #17 http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1333066/#new

This thread focuses on the different ways to garden and enjoy the outdoors despite physical limitations. Below is a list of books and websites that may be helpful. If anyone knows of a useful or interesting website not already on our list, please share the web address with us.
I compiled the book list and since I do not see well enough to read print, my list is limited to those books available in an audible format. If anyone knows of a print book that should be on our list, please share the title with us.
Websites:
Thrive
http://www.carryongardening.org.uk/
-This site addresses gardening with various types of challenges. This website is based in the U.K. -AgrAbility
http://fyi.uwex.edu/agrability/about/
AgrAbility is a program for disabled farmers and ranchers. The focus is on agriculture rather than horticulture. The link is to AgrAbility “About Us” page. If you need info such as how to get from a wheelchair into a pick-up truck, this is the place to go.

-Gardening from a wheelchair
http://www.mda.org/publications/quest/q31garden.html
-The Sensory Garden: Smell, Touch, Look and Listen
http://blog.americanmeadows.com/2012/02/06/the-sensory-garden-smell-touch-look-and-listen/

Books: All but one. Of these books are available in audio format from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The exception is “Garden Unseen” which is only available in Braille.
-Garden Unseen: A Manual for Blind Gardeners by L. Stevens
-Accessible Gardening for People with Physical Disabilities by Janeen R. Adil (We especially liked the list of recommended vegetables for containers and raised beds found in this book.)
-The Enabling Garden: A Guide to Lifelong Gardening by Gene Rothert--Written by a horticultural therapist employed at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It should be kept in mind that this book was written 17 years ago. Some of the information on raised bed building materials is outdated, but it is still worth reading. The author writes from first-hand experience. He gardens from a wheelchair
Gardening Through Your Golden Years by James W. Wilson
-Accessible Gardening: Tips & Techniques for Seniors by Joann Woy
Very comprehensive. No matter what problems advancing age is throwing at you to spoil your gardening fun, you should find a way to keep gardening in this book. Mobility limitations, visual impairment and more subtle issues such as balance are all addressed. Will possibly be updated soon.
--The Able Gardener: Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical Limitations by Kathleen Yeoman
A good book for those new to gardening and those who garden on the west coast. Some information may be outdated, but most gardening knowledge stands the test of time well.
--The Bird Song Tutor for Visually Handicapped Individuals is available as a cassette book in most libraries and through the NLS program as a download. It was produced by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The arrangement according to locale (e.g. cities, suburbs, woodlands, wetlands) is practical and the inclusion of sounds other than bird song, such as frogs and insects was a wise decision in my opinion. In this region, we have the well-named bird-voice tree frog and there are some birds that sound like frogs. An excellent tutorial for newbie's and the more experienced alike

Here's to a productive and beautiful new year in the garden! 2014 hasn't started out very auspiciously; Temps fell to the mid-teens at night and didn't get much above freezing during the daytime. It was more than the usual cold snap. More like rolling thunder
Carrie, I understand JetBlue took a harder financial hit than other airlines because of the recent arctic blast. I assume that is because so much of their business is out of Boston and NYC. Hope that doesn't trickle down to affect your DH. I bet when JetBlue recovers they will take even more of their eggs out of the Boston and NYC basket.
I choose to be optimistic and start my lettuce and Spring green seeds. But, I'm going to take a page out of your book, Susan, and hold off on the tomatoes.
If I'm going to remain an optimist, the next book I read needs to be something light and funny. I've just finished reading 'The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World without Ice Caps' by Peter D. Ward. The author's predictions for the future of low-lying regions weren’t good. Poor Bangladesh never gets a good break, does it? Much of the country is at or below sea level. I have more hope for Holland. They can market their flood control expertise to the world, if nothing else. They have been holding back the sea for a long time. Venice has always been on my list of places to visit in my lifetime. The book makes it sound like I'd better make that trip A.S.A.P. Of course, Venice was having flood problems even before we had terms like "climate change." I will plant some trees tomorrow to replace the pines I cut down not too long ago. It will make me feel like I'm doing my bit for the planet. Of all the strange technical fixes proposed to lower CO2 levels or keep Earth from getting warmer, the scariest proposal I read about was genetically engineering trees to make them super efficient at scrubbing CO2. They would draw it deep down into the earth or sequester it in nodules on their roots. Hey! The trees are already doing their bit to solve the problem. I'm more comfortable with space mirrors to reflect some of the sun's heat than re-engineering trees. Falling space junk would probably burn up in the atmosphere. It would take a book to list all the possible backlashes to fundamentally changing trees and I've already written too much. Good morning, everyone. Stay warm! MK*


This message was edited Jan 17, 2014 12:07 PM

This message was edited Feb 19, 2014 12:52 AM

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

So far, I haven't been successful in finding that ultra-positive, uplifting read I was looking for. A collection of the year's best food writing published in 2012 seemed like the perfect candidate. With many holiday dinners still fresh in my mind,, I really should have known better. The second article in the book revolved around a chef trying to find quality ingredients for a seafood gumbo around Grand Isle, LA. (Remember the 2010 BP oil spill off the coast of LA?) The third article was about how restaurants in the Boston/Cambridge areal who advertise sustainability and regional ingredient cope when their ideals and the economic realities of running a restaurant clash. The official ban on blue fin tuna when the fish is readily available in the area was the specific example. I stopped reading after that. I do plan to finish reading the book. Some of the article titles in the table of contents sound like a hoot. Besides, in my role as dining table diplomat, I need the wisdom conscientious hunters who like to cook and reasonable, tolerant vegan cooks dish out in their writing and this collection contains both. I want something a little Pollyanna at the moment, however. That probably means shifting to fiction. lol.
This holiday season did not have any serious dining table conflicts. It only got dicey once when one of my brothers joked that "vegetarian" is the Cherokee word for lousy hunter. As food becomes a hotter political and social reform issue, a host will need the diplomatic skills of Henry Kissinger to pull off a large dinner party successfully. Talking about the food on the table is inevitable. It has always been a normal topic of conversation. But, I experience a sense of dread if any dinner conversations turn to the topics of animal rights, sustainable food production, the fair treatment of farm laborers, acquiring food locally vs. supporting the world food production and, of course, vegetarianism vs. meat eating. In addition, there is at least one guest whose diet is restricted in some way because of health or religious reasons and another guest who feels compelled to comment on it. If I could afford it, I would take all my holiday dinner guest to a restaurant with a very diverse menu. Preferably, one noisy enough that guest with conflicting ideas about food couldn't hear one another well enough to debate their differences at the table. ;-)
I'm researching sedums and salvias this evening. The culinary, broad-leaf sage is among the best looking plants in the garden today. I don't know if it is a matter of placement or the nature of the beast, but the prolonged freeze didn't give the sage any trouble. I hope to add many more salvias and sedums to the outer, low maintenance areas ofAmargia. Texas is particularly rich in salvia species that can handle the opposite temperature extreme. . I'll have to keep my eyes open (Lol. Nose open?) on my trip. mk*


This message was edited Jan 19, 2014 11:49 AM

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Yay! I finally found the perfect book for the winter doldrums. The Backyard Parables by Margret Roach. It isn't the Pollyanna read I thought I wanted. It is, instead, positive in a realistic way and funny in a "Man! I can relate to that." fashion. It is curious she can pull off the latter for me since she gardens in the Hudson Valley. What is that? USDA Zone 5? 6, maybe?
Temps are still unusually low and I have faced the fact that I may lose some botanical treasures that I was pushing the zonal limit with. C'est la vie . Those plants were not right for the new lower maintenance regime, but it would have been hard for me to eliminate them myself. The weather did the wicked deed for me. The lower parts of Zone 8 are a major transition point from temperate to tropical plants. Have you ever notice how many listings in nursery catalogs have Zone 8 as the upper or lowest recommended planting zone? For a truly lower maintenance garden, it would be best if I limited myself to plants that straddle the Zone 8 divide, but that is so hard to do. I tease Jim and Nadi about their impulse buys at the nursery, but I've purchased my share of plants that weren't in keeping with our garden goals.
I'm feeling better than I have in a long time, but the number of prescriptions I'm on temporarily might be up at your level. Carrie. The new anti-inflammatory makes getting up in the morning something I actually want to do. My former GP seemed to believe that if joint pain eased and became tolerable as the day progressed, over-the-counter meds were all that was needed. My new, but quite elderly physician sees it differently. Thank God for doctors old enough to know first-hand about arthritis!
Hugs to all. Stay warm! mk*

Waaaay Down South, GA

Hi y'all
Just thought I'd better pop in and see how you're doing over there in AL, Kay and Jim? We're at 42 with rain right now. They're calling for near or below freezing tonight and in the mid 30's with wind chills in the 20's tomorrow. Crazy thing is, we'll be back in the 70's for the week-end.

Welcome to GA!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Hi, Susan. Same here. Icicles hanging from the eaves on Wednesday and sunny and in the 70's tomorrow. It was warm today, but rainy. Night time lows will be back in the 20's again by next Sunday. My poor plants are so confused! I'm counting my blessings though. So many people I've spoken with lately have had problems with wells freezing up and household water pipes bursting. Minor troubles with the phone are the only weather related problems we've had.
Jim and I sorted and wrote down the contents of the seed bank yesterday. The tomato cache consist of 15 types of tomatoes and a tomatillo. The Generation Y kids are feeling ambitious and plan to expand the traditional vegetable garden into the sunny places left by last year's tree removals. Well, they call it a traditional vegetable garden". To them, that just means it is in-ground and not in large containers, substantially raised beds or EBs.. I think a wide row, no-till and organic vegetable garden would only be considered "Traditional" by Amargia's standards. The kids are planning to start all the tomato seeds! You can't fault them for lack of ambition. Who knows? 20-somethings might actually have the energy to tend that many plants. Anyway, we've never had trouble giving away tomatoes when we have an excess. It is giving away an excess of zucchini squash that is the problem. Maybe, if we put them in the bottom of a gift basket and covered them with tomatoes? mk*

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Repairing the damage left by the heavy equipment of the arborist and plumbing repair crews plus changing the layout of the driveway plus cleaning up after such a bitter winter has everyone at Amargia feeling a little overwhelmed. There is just so-o-o much work to be done! But, we are beginning to see all the new possibilities and the pansies have started blooming again. Having things in bloom is a mood enhancer. This time of year even the dandelions are a welcome site. They are good additions to the salad bowl for now. Later in the year they will return to their usual role of wicked weed.
The tomatoes planted indoors are beginning to emerge. The 'Rutgers' are growing with abandon. I may have jumped the gun in their case. Temps have dropped again. I have my fingers crossed for the Snow White cherry' variety. We only have 3 pots planted with it. . I find white tomatoes too sweet as a rule, but this one is said to have a better balance of sweetness and acid.
Jim has been using the broken limbs and debris left by winter storms for hugelkultur in the vegetable garden. What Jim calls a hugel beds seems to be very similar to what I call a "waru", except that a waru is built up in late fall and winter, allowed to "cook" through the summer, then, used for fall planting. As I understand hugelkultur beds, they are planted much sooner to grow low nitrogen plants. Also, it is traditional to dig a trench around a waru to hasten decomposition and to conserve water. Hugelkultur enthusiast sometimes bury the wood itself or don't do any digging at all. (Jim is the latter type.) He drives the lawn tractor around the property picking up the limbs with his long-handled grabbing tool while still in the seat and puts them in the wagon hooked on behind without pain or strain. He's making a large dent in our Spring cleaning chores and building new planting beds at the same time. The new hugel beds should revive the hardpan that was formerly driveway and simultaneously keep the area from washing.
Amargia's new layout calls for an intensively garden center surrounded by silviculture and native plantings. Instead of struggling to mow the entire upper eastern boundary which has never been leveled and smoothed, We are experimenting with letting it go to meadow crisscrossed with access paths just wide enough for wheelchairs and scooters. The paths will be irregular and a bit of a maze in order to keep erosion at bay which will make it an orientation challenge for blind people, but such a benign challenge should just make things interesting. Instead of battling the dips and hillocks into something uniform, we've decided to use them to create more diversity. Native plants that don't mind occasional wet feet will be planted in the hollows and native xera-scape plants can rule the mounds. The wild "islands" will be a great place to grow things like swamp milkweed, meadowsweet and Joe Pye weed to keep the bees and butterflies happy.
For Valentine's Day, I got Jim a new keyboard and the figwort called "Redbirds in a Tree". It is the only ornamental plant he has added recently to our "want" list. I wonder if I will get a truckload full of compost for Valentine's Day again? lol. mk*
Hugelkultur: http://www.inspirationgreen.com/hugelkultur.html

mulege, Mexico

Thank you for that link. This is very similar to what we are trying to do here in the dessert. Good ideas. hugs, kb

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Hi, Katie! It's good to see you here again.
Even though it is humid in this region, I imagine we have much the same problem in one respect. When it does rain, it POURS! Any technique that will slow the water's rush down our sandy slope is a technique I will try. Erosion remains a problem in the NE corner. It is currently covered in Bahiagrass and other grasses, but since every other terrace in the field above was leveled by a farmer who leased the land and with rain storms becoming more fierce, the grass is no longer enough to hold the soil in place. \. Large pines separating this corner from the vegetable garden are becoming pedestalled. To me, that says foresting the slope would hold the soil better, but the power company who owns a right of way in the field above insist I not plant trees that could conceivably damage their lines. So-o-o, I need trees that mature under 30', have extensive root systems, are able to handle sandy, dry and somewhat windy conditions, improve the soil over time and, ideally, provide the people and/or animals at Amargia with something useful. That is a lot to ask from a tree!
Since this thread is about finding ways to garden AND enjoy the outdoors despite physical challenges, I'm adding an audio book called The Bird Song Tutor for Visually Impaired Individuals to the resource list in the intro to this thread. A month or so ago, I spent time hunting for what sounded like an injured bird only to be startled by a healthy, large, red-shouldered hawk taking flight when I was only a few feet away. If I had discovered this book before that encounter, I would have known what I was hearing and wouldn't have nearly gone into coronary arrest when I found it out the hard way. I never imagined red shouldered hawks would sound so different from their cousins the red tailed hawks. From my experience, this is definitely a valuable resource for visually impaired gardeners and nature lovers.
The Practical Matters resource list is getting a bit long. Does anyone think it would work better as a forum sticky? mk*

mulege, Mexico

Check out theherbcottage.com and read about vetiver grass. Sounds like just what you need. I got some several years ago and it grows well here and makes a pretty grass plant. It gets to be about 6 feet tall here. You must see the picture of the roots of a 2-yr-old plant. It will inform you more than words could. The roots are harvested for an aromatic oil.

katie

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Thank you, Kb!!! I never thought of vetiver even when I considered its relative, sorghum. Vetiver is much more versatile than I realized. It sounds tailor-made for my problem area.
Yay! The 'Snow White' cherry tomatoes are coming up. I had to separate out all the Rutgers seedlings into their own pots. We planted almost 38 pots! lol. That flat must have been double seeded .
I installed bamboo post in the vegetable garden to mark off beds and make it easier for me to navigate. The cord run between them will be guidelines for now and later provide the peas and grape tomatoes something to climb on. Daffodils are beginning to bloom. Spring peepers are peeping. The little signs have never been so welcome. mk*

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

new thread? i got lost, a little. jim, are you sgill cominbto tx? i cam barely ee.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

You can barely see? Is it something wrong with your equipment or are you having problems with your eyes? The former, I hope. Computers are easier to fix.
We are planning to leave for TX on the 5th or 6th of March, but we will be traveling slow. It will probably take us two days to get to sister #3's house in Weimer, between Houston and San Antonio. We'll spend a day with her then head for Dallas. We thought we would visit with you and Debra before heading up to see sister #1 in Bowie which is up near the TX/OK border. Hope you will still be in TX and feel up to a visit. Is there anything we can bring you from way down south?
Hugs from Nadi, Jim and myself.

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh, I don't remember why I could barely see. Maybe I didn't have my contacts in or something. If anything is wrong with my eyes, it is probably MS-related. I've had optic neuritis once (1992) and it was plenty for me. I'm having a little trouble with my left eye, it can't be corrected to 20/20 for some reason. I have reading glasses and a distance prescription. I switched the brand of lenses I wear, thanks to my last visit, and use more eye drops. I STILL have trouble with my left eye sometimes. I play solitaire all night on my cell phone, and sometimes just CANNOT make the cards be in focus.

I think I'll be up for a visit then! Do you believe that I still have not met Debra in person? We have a tiny little itsy bitsy problem in that our lease is up April 31 and we agreed to move out by then, but Ray has to work for this company until Oct. 12. We thought we would just go back to Boston and he could do anything, but it seems that said company doesn't want him to leave DFW. Now we have no place to live as of May 1!!! And I'm thinking if we're staying another 6 months, I should try again to grow tomatoes or veggies or something! But where to live?

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

I know moving is a pain in the anatomy, but perhaps y'all can find a place that is more accessible for you. You would probably enjoy your time in the DFW area more if the housing situation was more to your liking.
If you are up to a little online detective work, there is a realtor in the area who might be helpful. Her name is Annie Seals. She is a w/c user herself and makes a business of getting handicapped people into accessible housing. The problem is I don't know what her business is actually named. Other realtors just refer to her as "Seals on Wheels". I believe her business focus is on selling houses and walking disabled people through the home buying process. (lol. word twist unintended.) But, I would wager she knows where to find accessible rentals. She's a Dallas native and knows the market.
Yes, I was surprised to notice your post on Amanda's "Night Owls Only" thread. I had you pegged as a lark. I guess insomnia gets all of us sooner or later. BTW: Now that I know the book you mentioned on the Owls thread has a happy ending, I'll finish reading it. I started reading it because it received the World Fantasy Award, but Tender Morsels has the gritty feel of a Russian fairy tale which don't tend to have happy endings. Well, I think Western European fairy tales had that same gritty, unpredictable aspect also before they were cleaned up and Disney-ized, but even Walt's crew knew the futility of trying to clean up Baba Yaga. lol.
I'd better go cover the blooming peach trees with old sheets to protect them from tonight's cold snap. sigh. mk*

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Oh I was totally a lark before I started taking all these drugs, I mean helpful medications. I don't know what's happening these days, whether it's just old age or my husband or what. And in the old days I would get out of bed and DO something. Now I need help doing even that, so I stay in bed and play free cell while I wait to feel sleepy. And I'm sure my sleep is disrupted from taking drugs. I get very sleepy during the day, too.

I'm not sure if you can appreciate free cell, Kay. It's a solitaire game where ALL the cards are exposed at the beginning, in rows. Theoretically you should be able to predict all the moves you'll make, like playing chess, I guess. Of course, mere mortals can't plan out all those moves, at least I can't. You have to get everybody lined up in piles, going A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K.. It's a huge waste of time, so I only do it when I can't do anything else. Like waiting in line at Walgreens or something.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Jim likes to play that one too when he doesn't have access to WOW (World of Warcraft). I wish I could play games like that to pass the time when I'm waiting. I need to start knitting or crocheting, or something.
Jim did an interplanting of carrots and radishes in one of his w/c raised beds today. I appreciate that. Moving that particular bed closer to the house and giving it top-notch fertility was tough work. Using intensive planting methods will make it worth the effort by giving us more produce from the space. This is our first year using the intensive gardening "time share" approach .. "Time sharing" is my phrase because the concept is like the plants owning time shares in a vacation home. The radishes are nothing but salad memories by the time the carrots move into the soil space. I know. It's an odd imagining , but it is an easy way to remember the different interplanting methods. A cooperative planting like The Three Sisters (corn, beans and a member of the cucurbits' family in the same planting hill) is like a well adjusted family home. While the root zone interplanting method makes me think of the plants living in a three-story apartment building. See. It is a good memory aid.
Nadi and I are experimenting with the latter, root zone intercropping, in the new asparagus bed we're making by combining the deep rooted asparagus with tomatoes having a medium root depth and shallow rooted strawberries. It is a much used combo except for the strawberries. The most traditional shallow rooted choice would be basil. Nadi thinks we need more strawberries. Of course, Nadi always thinks we need more strawberries.
We will be leaving Thursday morning for TX. Jim will have his Windows tablet so I assume we will be able to post pix. The only change in plans is Sister #3 wants to travel with us to see Sister #1 so we thought we would visit Dallas on the way back when it will just be Jim and I.
I'm resorting to a liberal splash of spiced rum in my Sleepy Time tea tonight to get my sleep schedule straightened out. (Alcohol makes me drowsy.) Insomnia is usually a winter time problem for me. I was hoping the change of season would take care of it naturally, but it hasn't thus far.
Peach blossoms survived the cold snap. Yay! We didn't have any peaches last year, but it is looking good this year. mk*

"Cucurbits"-Member of the Cucurbitaceae plant family. (Cucumbers, melons, pumpkin, squash, gourd, etc.)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

So that would put you in my area when, Kay? Who-all is coming (Nadine?)? My big news is that we're not moving until October 2014. Means one more summer of annuals! When I thought we were leaving any day now, I let some of the house plants die (what a bad mother I am). We're moving from 3 BR house to a one bedroom apartment. BUT, it has a WC accessible everything! Cut out under the sink, washer/dryer hookup, closet I can get in to!! If it weren't for the carpet, it would be dreamy! I've never lived somewhere that was built post-ADA.

Saturday's high was around 80 or 85, then Sunday it was snowy, hail, frozen pellets and temps in the 20s! We were colder than NY and Boston on Sunday! My husband keeps reminding me it's tornado season. If we end up in Oz, I want to be Glinda the Good and he wants to be one of the boys in the Lollipop Guild!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Jim says if you make it to Oz please snag those ruby slippers for him so he won't have to drive home.
That's great you found a new place that is w/c accessible! I'm so happy for you. Life is so much simpler when accessibility is designed in from the get-go. Jim took down a small section of wall last week to widen the laundry room doorway. There was electrical wiring running through that wall section to our surprise. The wall will remain bare studs until we are back from our trip and come up with a clever way to re-route the wires. @*%#!
Friday, the 14th or Saturday, the 15th, is my best estimate for when we will roll into Dallas. A large family makes it hard to do anything in a small way. My sisters keep reminding me of relatives whose feelings will be hurt if I pass by without visiting. I have relatives all along the Gulf Coast and scattered across Texas into Oklahoma. The original plan was for a week-long trip. Two weeks looks more likely now. Nadi can't take time off work for this trip. She will have some friends stay over to help her hold down the fort.
I wish you could make it to Texas, Katiebear. We will have to arrange any future forum get-together in Mexico or CA. Carrie, Jim says your address was in the old tablet that fried and he didn't write it down so he will contact you soon. It will be Jim because my computer access program doesn't work on the Windows tablet. Everyone please forgive any really bad misspellings or punctuation in the next two weeks. Jim is a good husband and an excellent sighted guide, but he makes a lousy secretary. lol. mk*

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Jim DID contact me, Kay. Don't forget Debra. I haven't managed to hook up with her yet but we keep mumbling about it. The weather should be nice by then. ^_^

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

We made it to Lafayette LA and enjoyed the best gumbo and seafood fondue ever.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

yay!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Traveling through Louisiana is a bitter sweet experience. I enjoy the food, music and low key atmosphere of the bayou country, but I also know how threatened the traditional way of life is there. The land itself is subsiding Even without hurricanes and tropical storms hastening the process. Its odd to think A stretch of marsh I'm in may be part of the gulf twenty years from now.
I wonder if anyone has ever submitted a photo of a nutria for the invasive species photo contest. They were introduced to the Louisiana wetlands unintentionally around 80 years ago from Argentina. Nutrias have pushed muskrats of of their ecological niche and are ,in general, a nuisance. A French chef attempted to convince people to add nutrias to the local cuisine, without much success. It's a little like convincing New Yorkers to eat pigeons.
Jim didn't realize rice was a major crop in LA and SE Texas.
Ps We did get hold of Debra and have a way to contact her
Photo: Rice growing.
Link to Nutria wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coypu

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Kay, I just found out we're going to be in Boston Wed the 12, Thu the 13 and Fri the 14. Actually we'll probably fly home to TX on Friday. You have my cell number, correct? Please call more than once...sometimes I don't hear the phone and I may be in the air. I NEVER listen to my messages.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

We are on no set schedule. We will see you Sunday, the 16th, if you are rested and feel up to a visit.
today we will be touring some painted churches in SE Texas.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Super! I will sleep on the plane.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

God Blessed these craftsmen.

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Jim and Kay,
is that you two?

I imagined Kay as taller. Can't wait!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Yup, that is us. I think Jim was standing on a slight rise there I am 6' but Jim is 6' 3".

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Both very tall! I'll be able to recognize you, then. Hey, does Jim want one of my leftover wheelchairs? Or maybe does Debra? They both need batteries, but the price of a battery is much less than the price of a new chair!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Yes I know Jim would like to check out your former rides. If Debra can get free on Sunday, is it okay if we bring her over to visit you also? I don't think Debra has a car right now.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Thanks for lunch yesterday, Carrie. It was great to finally met you. See you again Wednesday afternoon.
I didn't realize how much trouble drought conditions were still causing in this area. The level of Lake Carter is still very low. We may dread tropical storms striking the Gulf Coast by this region would benefit from a tropical storm hitting the Texas coast. mk*

Picture the dock is dry.

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Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Melissa (Kay) and Jim, it was great to meet you too! We've been dreading getting rid of those wheelchairs....I think we were both ecstatic when you said you wanted them BOTH. And then Jim thought we would charge you? We would have to pay to get someone to take them away if we were in Boston. In Texas you can probably just leave them at a parking lot.

Every town has signs posted about when you're allowed to take a shower (joke) water your lawn. We sort of never do, water our lawn, that is. I guess not gardening makes me not notice how much it doesn't rain. And it does rain. We don't have a basement so it doesn't get flooded. When we first moved we were really conscious of dripping drips or the water that swirls away during a shower. Now we don't think about it.

Did you hook up with Debra?

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

I just "read" the last few post and fired my personal secretary. lol. He still insist he should receive a bouquet and box of candy on National Secretary's Day. I was surprised at how much I missed direct access to the web while traveling. There are tablets designed for the use of blind people. I want one before I travel again.
After two weeks and two days on the road, the familiar bumps of Amargia's driveway were a welcome sensation. A long trip always gives me a new appreciation of home.
Debra is as sweet in person as she is online. The toddler she is caring for, her great-nephew, was totally adorable. Life has thrown more than the usual number of challenges at her the last year or so. I was a little worried for her, but she is taking it all in stride.
I spent time talking with physically challenged survivalist types on route and hope to be able to put my conversations and research together into something readable over the next few months. I didn't interview any of the weapons stock piling, bunker building types, but I went as far in that direction as disabled people setting themselves up off-the-grid and striving for food self sufficiency. I find survivalist of that ilk inspiring and a joy to be around. They made me realize how spoiled I really am, however. I'm still basking in the wonder of having all the hot water I could possibly want at the twist of a tap. In one place I visited a hot bath was obtained by running cold water in a tub, putting in an emersion heater and waiting….and waiting for the water to get hot. (The standard hot water heater uses an embarrassing amount of power.) Amargia is looking at a solar water heater or, at least, a more energy efficient on-demand water heating system.
Jim limited me on plant acquisitions while we were traveling because of the space issue. (Debra did get around his ban and slip in a No ID clematis I'm looking forward to trying to identify. Seeds fortunately take up no noticeable space. In Schulenberg (TX), I found seeds for chocolate daisies, black-eyed Susan vines and a new dianthus called 'Lace Perfume.' Jim teases me about my purse full of seeds, but several of the packets were his purchases. He found black hollyhocks and the heirloom watermelon, 'Moon and Stars'. I don't know how well Texas bluebonnets will do in our humidity, but I was given a few packs to plant in Tara's Wildflower Garden this fall.
Nadi rescued another batch of tadpoles in my absence. Spring Peepers this time so they will become tree frogs very quickly. She claims the peepers are responsible for the phenomenal growth of the sweet potatoes I left in her care. The sweet potatoes were in the kitchen window to form slips for planting . In the two weeks I was gone, they formed vines and climbed 5' framing the window and weaving themselves among the hanging houseplants. When Nadi changed the tadpoles water, she poured the waste water into the SPs growing medium. Hm-m-m, maybe her beloved toads and frogs ARE good for something. We made a deal. I will create a place for her adopted tadpoles outside and she will put their waste water in the raised beds whenever she does a clean-up.
Jim is looking over the Jazzy and the Quantum today to see what he needs to get while he is out shopping tomorrow. Thanks again for those, Carrie. mk*

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Kay, you seriously did us a major favor by taking them. Even if we gave them to the local pawn shop we'd have to get them there ourselves. I'm glad you made it back - and your car's still in one piece, I hope.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

I was very happy with our Dodge Grand Caravan. This was the first major road trip we've ever taken without any kind of vehicle trouble. Jim had everything strapped and tied down so tightly in the back nothing fell or shifted. The only problem was it took me half an hour to get it all untied once we were home. :-)
I'm glad we stopped by to visit you before heading up to Lake Carter. The original trip plan was to pick up a w/c lift for the van in the Wichita Falls area, but, after seeing your ramp, Jim decided he wanted one of those instead. The lift still might be a good idea for my sister and her off-road truck. It's one of those with the truck body raised higher than normal for extra clearance underneath.
As of this trip, I'm acquainted with 5 people who've been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis so I decided to educate myself more on the subject. I came across the term "MSer" in the book I'm currently reading. I had never heard that term used before. On a purely rational basis, it doesn't seem any different from "Londoner" or "New Yorker". One newly diagnosed person found the term objectionable, however. As an experienced elder , do you have an opinion?
a late start in the garden has turned out to be a good thing. Temps are predicted to drop down to 32° F tonight. Thankfully I haven't transplanted the tomatoes or peppers outside yet. mk

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Hmmm MSer and what's the alternative? MS patient? (Reduces your self to only a patient.) Person with MS? Awkward, but I think that's what I say. Just don't ask me how "MY MS" is because I'll tell you it's not mine; it's free to the highest bidder. The one term I hate is MS sufferer or person suffering from MS. We're the ones who decide whether we're suffering or not.

Glad your car is working out. I'm always bummed because I can't get a stick shift convertible. Can't you envision me in a sports car?

There's one think you might want to check, Jim. It fits on a trailer hitch like you guys have, then it .... let me see if I can find a picture.

Ack, what a lot of characters for no picture!


This message was edited Mar 26, 2014 10:13 AM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Well, I'll work on finding and saving what I'm trying to explain. It's more electric than electronic, if that helps. It's smaller, and it stays outside the car. The car can be almost any type.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

How is the move going, Carrie? I re-read your featured article yesterday and came up with a few new places to put in more bulbs with an eye for places that are exceptionally well-draining.
Looking out the window, one would think Amargia is located deep in a swamp instead of on the edge of a river marsh. We have gotten flash flood warnings twice in the last week. The two sunken gardens appear to be small ponds. How I wish I could magically transport our excess rain water to the lakes north of Dallas/Fort Worth. I imagine it would be enough to bring the area's ground water table back to a normal level.
Nadi, being a product of the South Carolina low country, and her amphibious adoptees couldn't be happier and more at home with the current conditions.. She wants to add miniature cattails and pitcher plants to containers in the sunken gardens and is enthusiastic about the new outdoor home for her rescued tadpoles.
Jim has almost finished with his project making the laundry room w/c accessible. It's down to molding and repainting. He's been online drooling over a new Massey-Ferguson tractor today that does everything but tuck its owner in bed and kiss them good-night. He will be dreaming for a while to come. I've checked out the price tag on that darling.
I'm fretting over my water-logged bulbs rotting in the ground and looking around to see what has survived this year's weather trials and is fit for next month's RU. There are new gladiolus bulbs that need to be planted as soon as it stops raining long enough. The glads are a variety Jim purchased for his Old Soldiers Garden under the name 'Fire Balls'. I can't find a Plantfiles listing for it and need to figure out how to add a plant to our journal without a PF match. This will be the first time I was unable to find a match. I've been spending my indoor time cleaning up our journal and blog. What a mess! From now on one person will be in charge of keeping those up. What do you want to bet it will turn out to be me. lol. With so many old plants being pulled out and new ones going in this year, I'm afraid it will be chaos without good records. There may be gardeners who can always remember what they planted where, but I'm certainly not one of them. Kb, I remember you mentioned in a post some time ago that you were thinking of making a trip to the beach and picking up some seaweed for your garden. Did you get to make the trip? Did seaweed work well s a soil amendment?. Someone suggested I add salt to my asparagus bed. That sounded a little scary. I thought I might try seaweed instead. It just seems safer and more holistic than applying straight salt. Like compost instead of chemical fertilizer. mk*

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I believe seaweed is a wonderful addition to compost, or at least to lasagna type beds, although I haven't tried it myself.

I remember WRITING that article about adding bulbs--it was fun to write. I just wandered around my usual haunts in my neighborhood (in Boston) and looked at where bulbs could be or were tucked in, and looked through my burgeoning stash of photos. Articles are always easier to write when they're assigned, like when we sign up to each write an article about spring bulbs. Somehow it's more like just doing homework and relies less on inspiration. Oh shucks, even that's not true. I don't know why some articles are like pulling teeth, some are like doing homework (which means straightforward), and some turn into multi-volume tomes, after which point I usually throw the whole thing away and start over.

Be sure to catch today's article about SUPERFOODS.

mulege, Mexico

Seaweed is a great addition for many plants. I would not add plain salt. You can wash the seaweed to remove some of the salt but that also removes the potassium. I have a friend who brings it by the truckload. We put it through the shredder and mix it with whatever else we're composting. Asparagus, tomatoes and pomegranates are among the plants that really like it. We have cherry tomatoes starting to produce - a first for us and I have mostly focused on getting the fruit trees going.

It's full spring here, already heading into summer. The seaweed comes in to the shore about this time of year. We'll be adding more.

By the way, vetiver is quite salt tolerant. Don't know if that is an issue in your swamp. I have a lot of little plants and will be putting some along the rive/estuary/Sea of Cortez banks as there is a lot of pollution here.

katie

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