|Oak Lawn Cheese Factory is feeling especially cozy this year!|
By now most of your Christmas presents have been opened and for many, gardening thoughts may be temporarily on the back burner. I have yet to feel that 'tug', although I was checking out some gardening books that looked like they could be very inspirational and gardening thoughts began to creep ever so subtlety back to the forefront of my mind.... afterall, we had summer like temps in late March last year... not so far off when you think about it. That special gardening excitement never flows too deeply below the surface and it can easily kick in without too much persuasion! One book that I am considering is David Culp's "The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage", the description of which would seem to fit in very closely with all the changes I've been making over the past year. This strikes me as being very pertinent for everyone truly dedicated to gardening... after all, having enough acreage may well be a concern for most gardeners so why not allow the land we do have work to its full potential! Maybe I'll go ahead and order that book as soon as I finish this post!
I titled this post as I did because I've decided to get a bit personal and share what I consider to be amazing news that I received just before Christmas. I have had an array of heart problems for many years and eight years ago it got to the point where I actually was forced to take early retirement because of my poor health. Among my concerns are a number of arrhythmias which are now mostly under control thanks to the medicine called Tikosyn which I consider a life changer for me. Any forays into arrhythmia these days seem to be short lived and for that I am thankful. A pacemaker has also been very beneficial since I previously would often have very low pulse and blood pressure, and extreme dizziness. I now consider this aspect of my heart health to be an annoyance but under control.
There has been another aspect to my heart challenges however that has also been a concern for me; that being congestive heart failure. Despite warnings from members of my family, I decided long ago not to let these sorts of things control over my life. I learned to 'read' my body and let it tell me how much I was capable of... this fall as you may know I even ventured into the area of building fieldstone walls which can be heavy work. Just before Christmas I had my annual echocardiogram and to my cardiologist's and my amazement there was significant improvement. Two years ago my heart function was 35% and it has now risen to 55% which is considered in the normal range... I was ecstatic to say the least. I really attribute these changes to three things... 1. many sincere prayers from so many close friends at my church and in my life 2. some good medicines that help strengthen the heart and that I will continue to take, and 3. Gardening in all it's forms, including building stone walls! In fact, I am already planning my next fieldstone wall because it's very good medicine indeed!!
Here are examples of my stone work thus far... expect more in the future!
Take care and keep gardening... it's definitely good for the mind, spirit, and body!
|My most recent wall with a bit of frosting on top!|
|One of the rock gardens|
|Rockery view #1|
|Rockery view #2|
|Rockery view #3|
|Retaining wall #1|
|Retaining wall #2|
|Building side walls|
|Incidental stone walls|