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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

2020 new year
I see it has been awhile since I posted on this blog. I am finding life in an apartment complex interesting! Over the summer, I had a small garden plot here on the grounds of the complex. I put up a bamboo constructed lattice to grow Suyo Long cukes on, using bailing twine as cross ties for the cukes to grow up. I found a discarded wood gate, put that up and grew pickling cukes on that. I planted two crops of lettuce consisting of several varieties of lettuce, one early crop and a late crop. I had Kale, Red-Runner pole beans, parsley, dill, borage, a couple of hot peppers, some Johnny-Jump-Ups, one or two Lupines...and horseradish. Last fall, after I was assigned the garden, I started to dig up the small area, I discovered my plot of dirt was pretty contaminated with grubs. And loads of crabgrass seed. I dug down about five or six inches and removed the top soil, planted some oats and covered all with dry leaves. In late winter, to my dismay, I discovered termites eating the leaves!!! I bought some Neem oil and did several soil drenches, then put in six bags of organic garden soil. What I didn't realize was that the soil was created mostly from ground up wood, drawing more termites to the area! More soil drenches and most of the termites left the area. Altho' my garden grew so much better than most in the garden area, I did find root aphids when I dug up some plants that were not thriving. I will put down crab meal to help get rid of them next growing season.

Every month there is a residents meeting staffed by the building manager and activities manager. Since last fall, many things have been going on here with residents and non-residents. Two new laptops were stolen from the TV room within the past month. Twice, the glass door to one of the exits has been kicked in or smashed with rocks. The automatic gate has been broken, leaving the parking area open to anyone who wants to come in. It is interesting that most of the residents who go to this meeting are women. Seems as if the men don't care or don't know how to do anything about the issues except complain to each other!

So, being the person I am, I volunteered to host a class on gardening for the residents. The activities manager wanted to schedule it for May...and I said not, but the end of March! I got some strange looks...but said if weather permits, I would show how to plant peas in the garden during the class. I am waiting for a date to be set so I can prepare a class for the residents who may be interested in learning how to grow successive crops. I hope someone shows up!!!

On the sad side, Charlie, a friend and resident went into hospital in late August for a gall bladder operation. Some kind of cascade event happened, he ended up in ICU for days, then into progressive care and finally into a rehabilitation facility. He was in rehab, still with intestinal drain tubes in him...and was there for over two months. He insisted on coming home in late November. I tried to dissuade him, he had no support networks set up, no food in his house, no cable, no help. But he got mad at me and said I was trying to control his life. I later found out he had a fight with the head of the PT staff because he wouldn't do what she told him to do so he could build up his strength. He really yelled at me, so I told him he was on his own if he wouldn't wait one week so we could get all his support (nurses, Meals on Wheels, personal assistants, etc) going. He came home on a Friday night and was found dead on Monday morning when the people who were going to set up his oxygen couldn't get in touch with him. Sad.

Another resident here had encephalitis when he was younger and suffers from seizures. His medication wasn't working and he had some problems, also has several ruptured discs in his spine, has had some surgery on his neck...and is basically frail. He was hospitalized the same week in August as Charlie. Stan is much easier to deal with than Charlie...and I have been helping him with his issues. He spent three nights in August and one night in December in hospital. I have been working with him to help him become more organized in his apartment. I revamped his vacuum, a bagless unit that had had no maintenance for about five years. It had stopped working (I wonder why). I cleaned out all the filters (there are three) and found the handle of a brush lodged in part of the hose, thus stopping any suction. We stay in touch almost every day, I cook for him and am sure he is doing much better. Stan's PA said the vacuum is working like new! Next, I will try to figure out what is going on with his Dyson Stick vacuum. Not as easy to work on as some but I am sure I will be able to figure it out.

Then there is Odette, a woman who lives on the same floor as I. She has a LOT of issues and takes a lot of medication. Some of her issues are anxiety and she suffers from anxiety attacks as well as restless leg. She has problems sleeping at night. Odette is like my mother, she wants to take a pill and have it all go away. But obviously, her medication is not working! She has a dog, overweight as she is, a cat she adopted last year and Mr. Fish. Stewie, the dog is blind. The cat insists on trying to make Sushi out of Mr. Fish...

I gave Odette a small spray bottle with water in it and told her to spray the cat when he tries to get Mr. Fish. But Odette refuses to close her bedroom door (where Mr. Fish lives on her night stand) when she leaves her apartment. The cat, named Parker, has already broken the top of Mr. Fish's tank and the light for the tank. I helped Odette get a new set-up for Mr. Fish, who likes this new tank very much. At Christmas, one of Odette's family gave her a live plant and a ceramic turtle for Mr. Fish's tank. Now Mr. Fish hides in the plant. And Parker the cat doesn't bother Mr. Fish so much because he has been water-squirted for trying to make Sushi out of Mr. Fish.

I am still been working out at Syd's in Rochester. The latest chore is pruning her sizeable Forsythia stand...that was partially crushed when a large part of a Black Walnut tree fell on the stand. Two 4 hour sessions with Sam, my left-hand man have really helped clean up a lot of crushed canes. But the Forsythia hasn't been well pruned in maybe 20 years, and it is very large, so I am chipping my way into it.

We did finish up the Lilac stand in October. We removed a huge quantity of bittersweet vines, roots and lots of other vines an weeds from that area, planted many Resurrection Lilies & split many spring bubs in the Lilac stand. Then we mulched almost most of it before the mulch ran out. We can finish up in spring. In the Lilac stand, I found many Foxglove & Columbine plants, obscured by vines and other tall weeds. The flowers will be lovely come spring and summer.

All in all, things have been pretty good for me in the apartment complex. I have found the trade-off from ticks in summer to be salted walkways in the winter! Poor BB the dog suffers from the salt on the walks, it gets into his eyes and onto the insides of his thighs. So, we have a nice wash every time we come inside during the winter. I recall the time I spent combing him for ticks when we lived in the country.

I will be taking BB the dog for a long walk on the Fairhaven bike path today. It is very warm, almost 60 degrees, the sun is shining and the wind has abated for today. Thanks for reading.
Bless you.
Monday, January 13, 2020 11:16 PM by Mwalacavage
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