Whew!! The past months have really been a roller coaster full of things happening…. I thought I had a couple days to catch my breath a little, but…… This post is a bit of a catch-up on things…. It’s a bit long…..
My last post began with a photo of this same group of trees covered in snow. Thankfully the snow left, but there have not been many days without rain, so the grass has been really growing.
With the coming of Spring came my parents trip to Texas and my usual stay with my Gram mid April. I was only able to stay with her one week this year because our son Nick’s wedding was to be April 30th in South Georgia. The original plan was to head South as soon as I got home from Gram’s, but a cabinet building project was running behind (cabinets we needed to take to GA with us for Nick).
The photo above shows one of the cabinets nearly done after we got them to Georgia. They still needed staining, varnish and assembling once we got down there.We started toward Georgia very early AM Wednesday the 27th. Did I say I was to arrange the flowers for the wedding??? I had expected to have 5 days to do them, but that time was really cut short.
I should have taken a photo of the van after we got things loaded. Four bathroom cabinets, one of my large plastic drawer units full of items that I sell from my ArtFire online shops, luggage and a couple coolers for a few meals and snacks on the road. It was literally full to the roof…. cabinets stacked and filled with whatever would fit in them.
The first 7 hours of the trip went quite smoothly, and we were thinking that we might be able to do the trip without stopping for a night, but as soon as the day got hot and we started traveling through the mountains of Virginia, the van decided to misbehave like it did last summer. It would chug and sputter up the hills, then Ken would try to gain momentum down them, then sputter up again… We cut through the corner of Tennessee then into North Carolina. The scenery was beautiful, and we got to see more of it than planned due to having to stop alongside the highway occasionally. By the time we were nearly to South Carolina, it was time for a stop. As it turned out, it was a good thing that we did not keep going at our original pace…. That night while we were in the motel, many nasty storms cut across our path. It was just a loud thunderstorm overnight where we were, but many tornadoes had touched down during our first day and night of travel.
Ahhh, what seems to be a usual sight with this van…. The morning of our second day, we looked for an auto parts store after breakfast. We found one that put a computer on and a couple possible problems were found. We found out two parts were bad at a garage that was suggested by the parts store, but not cheap and not available that day, so a temp fix of sorts was done. We did get a tire that went flat on the first day fixed, so the van wasn’t shaking wildly from 2 cans of fix-a-flat that we used with a tire patch kit (another thing that slowed our progress on day one). Not long after getting on the road again, the chugging started again up hills. when we got half way through GA, it was time to call for help. All of our boys were at Nick’s house, and Aaron had his Tahoe that could tow the van. A car dolly was rented and he started North while we kept heading South to meet up. We passed a number of areas that had been damaged by the previous day and night’s tornadoes. Lots of trees uprooted and mangled. A bit South of Atlanta, a large tornado had cut across Rt75 leaving the trees on each side looking like a huge weed whacker had gone through. Two tractor trailers were picked up off the road and tossed into the woods… If we hadn’t had the car trouble, we could have been dodging tornadoes. What was a frustration really was a blessing. We finally arrived at Nick’s house Friday morning. I had to work fast to get the flowers ready for the wedding.
It’s a good thing that floral design seems to be like riding a bike for me…. within a few minutes of wiring and taping flowers and arranging, I got fairly fast… not as fast as when I did it full time, but fast enough. The above photo shows the bouquets for the bridesmaids. I finished all of the flowers just in time to dress for the wedding. Talk about stress….
Here are Nick and Megan walking the “isle”… a sidewalk along the side of Megan’s Uncle’s house which made a beautiful setting. It was good silk flowers were chosen… The heat of the day would have been really hard on fresh flowers.
The wedding was a great way to get our whole family together for pictures. Above are Nick and Megan in the center, Aaron, Zack and Marla behind Nick. The tall guy in the back row left is Derek our oldest grandson. Eva and Maia (granddaughters) are on each side of Nick and Megan. Ken and I are on the left, with Aaron’s wife Jonelle holding little Jenna and Andrue on the other side front. the only one missing was Ally, the oldest granddaughter. Not all the faces are great…. the sun was really bright.
A very tall arrangement of silk Hydrangeas, Roses and Calla Lilies.
The Bride’s bouquet lying on a little table between two rockers on the porch of the house. A number of these rockers lined the length of the porch.
A nice picture of Aaron and his family, Jenna didn’t want her picture taken for some reason that day… One photo she actually didn’t hide from.
A photo of my 3 guys together for the last time for quite a while. Zack (middle- Army) is now back in Iraq, and Nick will be stationed in Germany for 4 years with the Air Force, and leaves in only a couple of weeks, now. Aaron is the only one who lives not too far from us. He is in the Air Guard working in Syracuse, NY.
Once the wedding was over, Zack headed back to Texas on Sunday and Aaron headed back to PA… A day later the bathroom remodel that has been in the works since before our trip last year, needed to be worked on. The photo above shows the vanity cabinet fully finished and installed. the cabinet over the toilet is another Ken made. They are made of a combination of Oak and Walnut lumber.
These are the other two cabinets that were made and brought from PA to GA. There was a lot more room in the van for the trip home!
One of the grand fur-kids… This is Ruby, and her sister Sapphire is another pretty black and white. They share the place with two big dogs- Roxy, who stayed with us a couple years ago, and Vladdy a big black lab. The kitties are going to Germany with Nick and Megan, but we will be dog-sitting until they get settled into a home and can get them over there. The weather was absolutely perfect while we were in GA…. Warm enough, but not too hot with low humidity. It rained just about every day we were gone here in PA.
Another of those common views of the van… Nick was helping Ken to check out some possible parts that needed replacing. They did find another bad part that we would pick up after eating breakfast as the journey home began on May 9th. We hoped that new part would solve our problem, but NOT! We got to Macon,GA after a very frustrating 5 hours… normally a much shorter trip to get that far.
Thankfully, Ken has two cousins there, and we stayed the night with one and the next day with the other while the van was in a garage getting a new fuel pump. The photo above is a little old house that we stopped the van near to let it cool a bit before chugging on. Later we found that one of Ken’s cousins lives not far from this house. Finally late Tuesday May 10th we got back on the road again with not enough money for a motel, so the rest of the trip was done with no overnight stop. The new fuel pump and another new part did the trick! There were no more chugging episodes the rest of the way home. We finally got home mid day on Wednesday, then napped to catch up on sleep.
Leaving for a couple of weeks in late April to early May, is not a great thing for the lawn and gardens. All the rain kept the grass growing and it was pretty deep by the time we got home.
The Dandelions were blooming beautifully, and other weeds were also taking off in the flower beds.
I have longed to have a Ginkgo tree of my own, and now I have 2! They are only 2-3 feet tall and were leafing out nicely when we returned home. They will live in a large pot for most of this summer before they get planted in the yard.
The pear and Almond trees were in bloom.
The very shaggy lawn in need of mowing, The leaves on most of the trees were just beginning to pop with little bits of green.
While walking the yard and gardens, I found these pretty Violets…. They must be a cross of some that I have already…. I had white, regular purple, white with flecks of purple, reddish purple ones, and now these new ones!
It’s hard to see the flowers, but here are a few of the Red Trilliums I brought from my parent’s woods last Spring. To the right is a variegated leaf Brunnera in full bloom.
With all the rain and storms while we were gone, a lot of my shade garden washed away…. there has been one gully (the one on the right), but now there are 3 deep gouges from the water.
This was taken on April 13, after I got much of the lawn mowed…. The Lilacs were blooming, but the water did a lot of damage. There were lots of moldy buds. There is my “faithful companion” Cuddles who follows me everywhere while I try to take photos.
Wisteria Flowers!!! The deer had kept the Wisteria pruned pretty short, but I had nine beautiful flowers bloom. As you can see, the weeds were doing well in this bed, too.
We had about 3 days without rain after we returned from GA, then it began to rain every day for what seemed an eternity…. This Dandelion was swimming in the “ditch” through my back yard mound garden.
Ken tried to get the bales of hay off the fields…. Because of all the rain, the low spot between the lawn and the field was really soggy…. The tractor remained buried for a couple weeks…. This photo was taken at least a week after it got stuck… I mowed the lawn a day after the tractor got buried, but nearly got the mower stuck, too. Thankfully I got that much done before the seemingly never ending rain began again.
Wet Pink Lily-of-the-Valley…. The white ones that didn’t wash away bloomed nicely this year, too.
A pretty bouquet of Spring flowers…. I picked these to bring in the house to brighten things up after things really took a turn and life seemed to blurr by…. Very early May 15th (before 4AM) I had to take Ken to the ER with chest pains. He was admitted for observation after a few tests, and to wait for additional blood testing. I came home for a quick nap after he was settled into his room, then things got even crazier after one of the test showed he had already had or was about to have a heart attack…. He has had artery blockages in the past, and has had 2 previous catheterizations with a stent placed during one. He has had angina pain for the most of the past 10 yrs. even after the caths. He got moved to ICU before being transferred to the Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, after much waiting for a doctor, a room, then an ambulance. He got settled into a room at the Packer by 7PM and he said he didn’t have any pain, so no one was super concerned. As we were waiting for the Dr to get back to us to let us know when a heart cath would be done Monday AM, Ken had a heart attack while we were watching the second half of the finale of Survivor on TV.
I was pushed out of the room, and people were coming from everywhere. His heart had to be shocked back into rythm, and I was allowed back into the room once he was awake and talking again, but very groggy. It seemed forever (but wasn’t really that long) before he was wheeled to the cath lab to find out what had caused the attack. I found that a hospital OR floor can be VERY desolate after 10PM on a Sunday night. Aaron and Jonelle came up and as soon as the procedure was done, we got to see Ken. Aaron thought he looked near dead…. One Dr showed us videos of the procedure and the two blocked arteries that had caused the attack and were now opened and everything flowing properly again. One blockage was referred to as the “widowmaker”. Even though it seemed that there were delays all day getting to the Packer Hospital, everyone who he needed was there when he needed them.
I went home after he was settled into the CCU for the night. He was waking a bit more, but didn’t realize everything had been done already…. I got home near 2AM and got a couple hours sleep before calling the CCU the next morning. He was sitting up and eating breakfast and all looked good, so I slept a couple more hours. By the time I got to the hospital, he was sitting up and looking perkier than he had in quite a while! He said he felt better than he had in years…. no chest pain! He came home on the 19th after a few boring sleepless days and nights in the hospital, and we both spent the rest of that day sleeping…. Hospitals are no place for patients to get any sleep….
Once Ken got home and got some sleep, he ended up spending most every day the rest of that week visiting friends and “supervising” Aaron’s kitchen floor re-do. His only limitation was no lifting over 10 lbs for the first 10 days…. Totally Amazing!
By this time I still had not had time to work in my gardens…. Here is one of the new pairs of garden gloves I got for the task…. A great dollar store find! They don’t look like this now, after 3 weeks of use.
While pulling weeds in the Front Door Garden, I found a wonderful surprise…. The Glads that I had planted last year lived over the winter… they are not usually hardy around here…. What a wonderful find, especially since there is no money left for many annual flowers this year.
A week after Ken came home from the hospital, it was time to get Memorial Day planters potted up and delivered to the cemeteries. A bit of a challenge this year with Ken’s limit for lifting. He usually moves things around for me since I can’t lift most of these myself. We ended up sharing the load to get the job done. The day we delivered the pots to the cemeteries was hot and a really nasty batch of storms popped up…. we had to wait out hail at one cemetery, and the storms seemed to follow us, we stayed dry during most of the task. We visited Ken’s aunt and uncle near the end of our deliveries, and found that there was a tornado warning up, and the storm was headed for our home…. Kind of Spooky…. We got the rest of the planters placed and on the way home we were in the middle of a really nasty storm…. Not a fun ride home, but we got there and everything was fine there. The 2 pots above were delivered later, and just behind them is the little “creek” that was running down the driveway due to the storm.
My Hosta that are used to getting buried a bit each winter, really got buried with that storm…. the gravel on them is from somewhere up the driveway…. a LONG way from the garden.
The grass in the yard was flattened from the water in a 12-14 foot wide path.
This photo shows the edge of the road heading to our house…. The ditch is at least a foot deep and pretty wide…. there used to be a gravel shoulder there.
Well, there are not supposed to be waterfalls in the shade garden, but the water was still flowing over 12 hours after the storms ended. There were a few plants clinging to the sides of this gully, but they must be at the neighbors or lower in the woods.
One of the pretty Blue Iris that decided to open the morning after the first Big storm. The day after our stormy planter deliveries, we attended a reception at the Troy High School that was the first of 3 parts of Ken’s 50th class reunion. The skies were clear and the weather really warm when we left home, but the rains began again during the program we attended. We again drove home in another nasty storm to find that the driveway was blocked by a group of little trees that had fallen across it. We ended up walking (or running) down most of the driveway in the lightning, thunder and thankfully lessening rain (good thing I had a flashlight in the van… I’m blind in the dark, and we had to dodge the rivers of water. It was almost like day with the lightning).
The next morning, this is what Ken found…. A pretty large Pine tree had snapped off from what must have been a big gust of wind. It knocked the other trees over the driveway… That WAS a nice tree.
This is more gravel that used to be in the driveway…. It is nearly 6″ deep in many places.
Not only grass and Hostas got buried in driveway gravel… here are a couple poor Echinacea plants that I don’t think will recover. They are not happy having their crowns buried. First the grass from mowing caught on them, then the gravel piled on. I have a lot of gravel removal to do in the back yard.
Thankfully the night of the Class reunion dinner was nice with no storms…. A power outage caused the venue for the dinner to be changed at the last minute. We were crammed in an almost too small building with no air conditioning, just windows to let in the breeze. It was nice to have a drive home without lightning and pouring rain.
Here is one of the Peony flowers from underneath…. They came into bloom while we had a heatwave, so they didn’t last very well… The heavy rains didn’t help either.
One of my fat, fluffy Peonies with Siberian Iris in the background.
During a few cooler days, I was able to get the Front Door Garden weeded and mulched…. The mower wasn’t working, but the tractor made hauling the hay easier with the wagon. This was taken just as the Peonies were ready to pop their buds.
My late blooming Miss Canada Lilac with Hello Darkness Iris in the background. May ended, and June began….
Then another Sunday in the ER…. Night this time… Sunday June 5th after church and afternoon nap, I tried to mow more lawn with the mower that kept throwing off belts and causing other problems, and Ken did some mowing with the push mower…. probably more than he should have done. A couple hours later while sitting watching a movie, his heart started racing and BP jumped, so we ended up heading back to the Towanda ER to be sure it was nothing serious. By the time he was hooked up to the monitors, things were back to normal. Ken was kept over night and discharged the next morning with a heart monitor for 24 hours. Another night with no sleep, and another day of sleeping to catch up on…. A new med not taken at the right time in addition to the mowing probably caused the scare.
Here is Ken working on the mower again a day after getting home from the latest hospital visit… I think Cuddles is more pest than helper…. After that fix, the mower worked until I almost ran it out of gas…. This time the drive belt popped off… There are still areas of the yard that have not been mowed for the first time of the year.
My single white Peonies are the latest ones to bloom…. The blooming blue Nepeta make a nice background.
There are still a few of these Iris in bloom…. They put out a lot of flowers this year.
Well, that’s been a wrap-up of the past few months….. Many scares and frustrations, but all in all there is no doubt that the Lord has been watching out for us…. Ken is feeling better and we hope all is good at the cardiologist follow-up next week.