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I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

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I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Razed Bed on 7/24/2015, 12:58 pm

Since I am stuck at home until at least 3:30 with 2 large briskets getting smoked in my Pits & Spits BBGer, and because this is about the last week or so that there will be anything still living in the garden until the August planting for Autumn and Winter, I snapped some photographs.

This proves that not only is our garden the ugliest on this forum, it is also in a lot that was too freakin' hot to grow without protection.  When I can sneak over to the nature park again, I shall take some pictures of their thriving garden getting limited sunlight.

This first shot is a picture of part of my back yard that has not been watered.  This shows the effect of the heat and long rainless period.


This is my wife's thriving herb garden.  It is not 100% SFG, as it grows in 100% compost with Azomite and SEA-90 minerals.  This medium is about 18-24 inches in depth.  She planted these herbs according to Mel's spacing and actually had string to separate the squares, but the herb growth engulfed the plot, so you cannot see the string any more.

Among the herbs in this plot are rosemary, parsley, thyme, 2 types of oregano, basil, lemongrass, garlic chives, lavender, and some other exotics used for medicinal purposes that I cannot remember.


This struggling thing is a Mortgage Lifter tomato in a 36-inch container filled with Mel's Mix and with Azomite, SEA-90, and kelp added to the compost.  It was thriving until early July, as we had picked several 1-2 pound ripe tomatoes for my elderly parents, brother's family, and next door neighbor.  Even with daily watering, sometimes more than once, it still dried out, and has been reduced to about 70% of its original beauty and productivity.


What a difference a self-watering container makes!  This is a basil plant in Mel's Mix.  The container is actually half the size that basil supposedly needs, but with a potent compost blend and compost tea regularly added to the water reservoir, this thing grows so fast, you can pick leaves three times a week without hurting it.  We have about 9 of these growing, and we have all the pesto we can enjoy.


This is part of our original SFG method that Mel started with in the early 1980's.  This section is more than 30 years old, and when we rented our house when we moved to Colorado for 2 years, we hand-picked the tenant on the promise that they would maintain and keep this part organic and SFG.  The two girls that rented our house during that time now have a large SFG of their own in their houses.  One is the head of an herb society where she lives, so Mel got 3 for the price of 2 with that book purchase in 1982.

There are 4 different varieties of tomatoes here--Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple and 2 cherry/grape varieties that my aging brain cannot remember the type.  There are also a couple of banana peppers hiding in here, and there is some basil underneath.


I hope by now that some of you have tried the very quick 14-day hot compost method that I have linked multiple times from Youtuber Reaganite71.  Here is my most recent pile made inside a 32-gallon container.  This was just grass clippings, kitchen waste, alfalfa meal, chicken poop, nutritional yeast, Bragg's Liquid Amino's, Succanat, and RO water.  It was turned after 6, 8, 10, and 12 days.


This is the compost thermometer of the current batch being made in another 32-gallon container.  At this temperature, it breaks down quickly.


This is our very special guest for the summer.  We did not plant this.  It is a volunteer, and whatever it is, it thrives in the heat.  It is a winter squash of some kind, and it is immune to squash bugs and everything else.  We have about 9 more this size still on the vine of whatever this monster plant is.  I hate to admit it, but it is growing in our oldest compost windrow.  I didn't have the heart to uproot it, so I let it grow there to see what it was, and lo and behold, it is our most successful thing we grew this year.  We just picked two this morning, and we don't even know what they are or how to cook them.  They are too big and narrow to be butternut.  They are both in excess of 20 inches, and one weighs 3 1/2 pounds.


Our yard looks more like the Mohave Desert.  This is immediately adjacent to our patio.  If you see something that looks like smoke in the air, that is oak and pecan burning in the barbecue smoker.  26 pounds of organic brisket is going to be fed to 20 people tomorrow for brunch.


In summation, I want to tell each and every one of you who inspire me to become a more aesthetically wonderful gardener how much I love your posts and pictures.  I admire the beauty of your gardens more than you will know.  This is my happy place to retreat to when I am home alone with hyperactivity forcing me to find something to do other than sit idle.  So much is not so great in our family's life at the present time, but that goes with the territory of having parents near 90 still hanging on albeit not totally there any more, while medical bills not covered in insurance force you to support them like they are now your children.  To you that have been through having a parent no longer knowing who you are, you have my deepest sympathies.  You really do lose them twice.  So, when I say you guys mean a lot more to me than I can put into words, you can possibly understand the seriousness to the statement, and why I feel compelled to maybe preach health and nutrition to those I feel are like family.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  mollyhespra on 7/24/2015, 1:20 pm

BIG hug

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/24/2015, 2:18 pm

Good luck with your aging parents. My dad had dementia toward the end, and after what was likely a series of small strokes quickly fell apart. It was very hard on my mom, and it was tough for his friends and neighbors to see him in that condition. One stopped at his door and turned away; just about the same age himself, it was too much for him to see right there in the flesh.

We have a neighbor who has Alzheimers and still takes the long walk around our development every day. He's German, and speaks to me in German now. I don't speak German. His wife is having a hard time coping, and it's anyone's guess how long he will live.

I deliver food to disabled and shut-in seniors on a volunteer basis and I see on a regular basis the infirmities that come to us all. I'm also the guardian/conservator for two ladies with advanced dementia who now live in memory care facilities and are no longer allowed to move out and about in the world even though they can still walk. Sometimes I feel it's pretty depressing. At other times it occurs to me that the ones in homes have three hot meals a day plus snacks, clean secure rooms that they don't have to lift a finger to maintain, all the medical care they need, and plenty of people their own age to talk to whenever they feel social. You know, it's not really so bad. In fact they're living far better than they were when they were taking care of themselves. And the others that I visit, the ones still living on their own, get at least one hot meal a day from us and enjoy their freedom and quite often the presence and assistance of family, friends and neighbors. Even the ones entirely on their own usually have caretakers making their continued independence possible and comfortable.

There are always people in terrible situations, but I've read that numerous polls find seniors the happiest age group and disproportionately financially secure compared to other age groups. There's one guy I deliver to who is the type I'd like to be if I reach his age: happy, friendly, and relaxed, and no matter what food you bring to him, he says he loves it and it's delicious and that today is a great day. Another is a lady who has had muscular dystrophy all her life and is the cheeriest, brightest conversationalist imaginable. Everybody loves her; even the mailman comes in to chat with her for a while. She's in a wheelchair and has every ailment in the book -- she even has to get shots in her eyeballs -- but is always upbeat and never has a bad thing to say about anybody.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by the hardships of any age period, much less those of old age. Some younger people seem almost terrified of older people and physical and mental decline. With my dad before he died, and my mother and some elderly neighbors and such now, I've learned to just work with what we have and make the best of it and be grateful for it as much as I can. Some older people and others faced with problems can never accept them and become unhappy or even bitter and resentful toward the world. Sometimes it's hard to see that there are lucky things going on if you take a fair look at even very hard situations: if only that there are people around who care for, feed and comfort and entertain their family, friends, even total strangers when its needed most. That's an awful lot in this world.

I hope you weather your storms as well as you would hope to, razedbed, or even better than that. And take comfort in doing the right thing and treating your folks well ... something that's never a small thing. We'll all be in need one day, and it's in a very real way wonderful that a lot of us will have so many of those needs answered. I hope future generations carry on the best of that tradition and that it never dies out completely.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/24/2015, 2:27 pm

Razed Bed,

I don't see any photos.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/24/2015, 2:30 pm

I see them on Firefox.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/24/2015, 2:33 pm

They suddenly appeared.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  trolleydriver on 7/24/2015, 2:43 pm

Razed Bed ... thanks for sharing your garden with us and I appreciate your concerns about aging parents. I lost my dad quite suddenly about 18 months ago and still miss him a lot.  My mom, who is 89, lives by herself in a city which is over 500 km from where we live. I am the only child. She has been doing very well except for being lonely. Health-wise she has been good, takes no prescription medications and is mentally not bad.  I have noticed that she is losing some of her very short term memory and her hearing is not that good. We have her staying with us for a a few weeks. Actually I was expecting to drive her home next week.  Yesterday we took her out to a nice village which has boutiques, etc.  We went into a restaurant which was not well lit and she fell. The fall opened up a large wound on the front of her leg which bled profusely. Two of the young ladies who work in the restaurant have some medical training (one is a volunteer fire person and the other is training to be a paramedic). They helped out until the ambulance arrived. Mom required 15 stitches in her leg but it was not easy for the doctor because her skin is very thin. There is also one patch where the skin was ripped off completely. Thankfully no bones were broken. Now we pray that there will be no infection.  Needless to say she will be staying with us for a few more weeks.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/24/2015, 3:30 pm

Yikes, sorry about what happened to your mother. Hope she still has a good immune system to deal with infection. That sort of thing used to happen a lot to my dad, and it was gruesome, but much better than the ghastly way it looked.

Does your mother have a life alert bracelet or anything else to help her in case she hurts herself while living alone?

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Kelejan on 7/24/2015, 3:58 pm

Razed Bed, Marc and TD:

Especially for you.
BIG hug BIG hug BIG hug
Hugs from Kelejan

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  trolleydriver on 7/24/2015, 4:08 pm

Marc, I have been trying for ages to convince her to get a life alert bracelet or equivalent. When I get her back home I will be all over that. I will also try to find someone to come in and check on her each day. She has a bungalow which is in a seniors complex consisting of about 50 attached bungalows and three apartment buildings. The whole thing is known affectionately as "the village".

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  sanderson on 7/24/2015, 6:09 pm

I've been through what all of you are going through.  It's not easy, can be downright hard and emotionally draining.  I'm very thankful for assisted living and memory care facilities.

Razed,  We all have something ugly.  Thanks for sharing yours.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t18737-winter-gardens-photos?highlight=winter+garden

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  sanderson on 7/24/2015, 6:19 pm

[quote="Razed Bed"]This is our very special guest for the summer.  We did not plant this.  It is a volunteer, and whatever it is, it thrives in the heat.  It is a winter squash of some kind, and it is immune to squash bugs and everything else.  We have about 9 more this size still on the vine of whatever this monster plant is.  I hate to admit it, but it is growing in our oldest compost windrow.  I didn't have the heart to uproot it, so I let it grow there to see what it was, and lo and behold, it is our most successful thing we grew this year.  We just picked two this morning, and we don't even know what they are or how to cook them.  They are too big and narrow to be butternut.  They are both in excess of 20 inches, and one weighs 3 1/2 pounds.


Looks like this.  A very old variety: http://www.rareseeds.com/canada-crookneck-squ/

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/24/2015, 6:56 pm

I've come to think that volunteers are the champions.

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ugliest sfg

Post  kauairosina on 7/24/2015, 11:05 pm

How touching to see those who love their gardens are also so compassionate.  A wonderful bunch of folks on this forum.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Kelejan on 7/24/2015, 11:28 pm

@kauairosina wrote:How touching to see those who love their gardens are also so compassionate.  A wonderful bunch of folks on this forum.
I agree, Rosina.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Razed Bed on 7/25/2015, 1:43 am

Many thanks for this info.  I sure did not plant any Canadian Squash, and Neither my wife nor I can ever remember buying this type of squash which could have led to a seed getting into the compost.  It is a mystery for sure.

I surmise that Baker Creek maybe put in the wrong seed in something we ordered from them, maybe a zucchini or standard yellow squash.

My wife thinks maybe a bird or other small animal picked up the seed somewhere else and deposited it either from the air or from the ground onto the compost pile, and then it was covered with more compost ingredients at a point of time in winter when it was too cold to heat up and kill the seeds.  Then, it sprouted in the compost and took off.

As soon as this current homestand ends, and I don't have to work 8 consecutive nights, we will cook these babies and see how they taste.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/25/2015, 11:55 am

I do think volunteers are superior in many ways, they typically get an early start, and ave by definition hardy little buggers!  I like to give them a chance, and see what they turn out to be.

As for the other struggles, it seems there are extremes of experiences; my dad died when I was 13, my mom, who never worked or even wrote a check, then had to take over.  I became the "man of the house" so to speak, which didn't go so well at times.  Then my mom died when I was 29, both suddenly.  So, I didn't have the trials and tribulations you are speaking of, but my grief and loss happened all up front and in a lump sum.  Not sure which is worse....but I know how it feels to grieve.

Hugs from here in Ohio, to all who suffer and have sorrow.


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 7/25/2015, 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/25/2015, 4:19 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:Marc, I have been trying for ages to convince her to get a life alert bracelet or equivalent. When I get her back home I will be all over that. I will also try to find someone to come in and check on her each day. She has a bungalow which is in a seniors complex consisting of about 50 attached bungalows and three apartment buildings. The whole thing is known affectionately as "the village".

I deliver to a place like that. It's quite nice and well-kept, and everyone has their own apartment.

I know of a case in which an elderly woman might be removed to one so she can be monitored more easily, since she refuses to wear a bracelet. That she can't seem to choose between simply wearing a bracelet or being removed from her home by the state for her own safety suggests that she may be in no position anymore to judge what is important to her safety and what isn't.

The elderly often turn extremely inward. They may think smaller and smaller, neglecting or discounting more and more, from their nutrition to their hygiene to their relationships with others, including their children. They may become very stubborn, about almost anything at all. I guess they're just trying to hold on to whatever they've got, and more and more seems confusing, unmanageable, and just too much trouble. So they narrow. After a while, other people have to come in and make up the difference between that narrowness and perhaps fearfulness and the ability to live a safe and hopefully healthy life.

It's a shame when others have to step in, from family to in some cases the state, but thank goodness somebody does. At some point, it seems, we no longer know what's good for us anymore, only what we want or can still understand, and often that's not nearly enough for our own health and safety.








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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  boffer on 7/25/2015, 4:32 pm

Marc, that's a good assessment. We just put my dad in a home yesterday. The advancing dementia became impossible for family members to physically deal with 24/7, even with two different services helping out a couple days a week.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/25/2015, 4:49 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:I do think volunteers are superior in many ways, they typically get an early start, and ave by definition hardy little buggers!  I like to give them a chance, and see what they turn out to be.

As for the other struggles, it seems there are extremes of experiences; my dad died when I was 13, my mom, who never worked or even wrote a check, then had to take over.  I became the "man of the house" so to speak, which didn't go so well at times.  Then my mom died when I was 29, both suddenly.  So, I didn't have the trials and tribulations you are speaking of, but my grief and loss happened all up front and in a lump sum.  Not sure which is worse....but I know how it feels to grieve.

Hugs from here in Ohio, to all who suffer and have sorrow.

I can't speak to anyone's specific situation, especially one losing their parents so young, but feel that, generally speaking, a sudden loss can be a mercy compared to having illness or injury drag the natural processes out. When I or any of my family members and friends go, I wish us all the standard quick and painless end.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/25/2015, 4:53 pm

RB, I think that any garden that produces is beautiful!  Some aren't so lucky, right?

Tough decision, Boffer.  But what a relief that he has round the clock care and your family can get a much needed rest now.

My mom is currently in isolation at a hospital in FL with ESBL after having her 2nd knee surgery 2 Tuesdays ago, going to rehab (which she hated), contracting e.coli and rushed to the ER yesterday.  She's as ornery as a wet cat....when she has the strength.  

Lost my dad to Alzheimer's in '08.  He was sweet and fun the whole time and didn't go into hospice until 5 days before his death.  But Mom, my son and hired help cared for him in his Florida home  24/7 the last 3 years of his life.  Then it took Mom another 3 yrs to recover from being a caregiver.  She really never did get her previous health and strength back.

Watching her wearing herself down so horribly while caring for Dad taught me that it's probably better for our health to let go sooner rather than later.  And Marc's view on the homes really makes  it easier to stomach...for me anyway.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/25/2015, 5:16 pm

@boffer wrote:Marc, that's a good assessment. We just put my dad in a home yesterday. The advancing dementia became impossible for family members to physically deal with 24/7, even with two different services helping out a couple days a week.

Thanks boffer.

It may have been hard to do, but it sounds like you made the right choice. I hope he's happy in his new living situation, and he likely couldn't be healthier than when monitored by the certified professionals who do that sort of thing for a living.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/25/2015, 5:29 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
Lost my dad to Alzheimer's in '08.  He was sweet and fun the whole time and didn't go into hospice until 5 days before his death.  But Mom, my son and hired help cared for him in his Florida home  24/7 the last 3 years of his life.  Then it took Mom another 3 yrs to recover from being a caregiver.  She really never did get her previous health and strength back.

I wouldn't be surprised. I've read that being a caretaker can take years off a person's life. The stress, interrupted sleep, lack of ability to get out and about for exercise or just to maintain a healthy social network and active mental life, all take a big toll over the years.

I respect caretakers, especially live-in ones, a lot more than I used to now that I've spent more time around them and the elderly. It can be a very demanding, responsible job. The more I've learned, the higher my opinion of them became.


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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  donnainzone5 on 7/25/2015, 5:37 pm

I have a 96-year-old aunt who insists on remaining at home.  Although she is pretty independent--she still does most of her own housework and even a bit of gardeniing--she is forgetful, needy, and cantankerous at times.

My cousin and her husband are worn to a frazzle, spending almost every evening with her, keeping her company, and making sure she eats dinner.  

The best I can do is give them a break a couple of times a year, which they call their "date nights."  

If only she would accept the fact that she needs additional care (in-home or otherwise), everyone would be much happier, and she would be safer, as well.

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

Post  boffer on 7/25/2015, 5:48 pm

Marc, you're right again. My step-mother was the primary care giver, and had been procrastinating about the decision like a lot of folks do. But she ended up in the hospital for a couple days for a pinched nerve after trying to man-handle my dad day after day, like must done in those situations. I guess the silver lining is that no longer being physically capable relieved her of the guilt she was experiencing about making the decision.

I'm with you: I hope I die with my boots on.

boffer

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Re: I took some pictures of the ugliest SFG

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