01.29.19 Introducing our new blog theme “BECAUSE HE LIVES”

We started writing this blog years ago under a different name, Dora and the Explorers.  There will be no more posts about Roy and I traveling with Dora since Dora moved to California.  That move lead to a change in the site’s name and the look.

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In this new blog we will focus on our life in Louisiana, about living a Christian life, updates as my dementia progresses, along with some Wild and Wacky posts from time to time.

Because this new blog is about our future life, I thought a good bit about how that should be expressed in the blog’s new name.

The new theme is BECAUSE HE LIVES….. I can face tomorrow!

Some of you will know what that means and some will not. If you do Praise God!  If you do not I hope you will read and learn!

As I was thinking about the new name, the thought that stood out in my mind is that I don’t know what my future holds.  Whatever it holds, I know my future is in God’s hands because I am a Christian.

After Christ died on the cross, He was buried and rose from the dead so, HE LIVES.  Because of this I have the reassurance of Christ walking by me through every storm and joy that comes our way.  Therefore I can face anything that the future brings.

BECAUSE HE LIVES I can face tomorrow is the first two lines of the chorus in the amazing song written by Bill and Gloria Gather in 1993. I will share an audio version of the song and the lyrics below.

Back in the mid 1990s I was in a particularly dark place in my life.  One Sunday during that time in our Worship Service we sang a new song called Because He Lives.  My attention was immediately grabbed by the first verse.

God sent his son, they called him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives

When we got to the chorus I felt something come over me that couldn’t be ignored.

Because He Lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He Lives
All fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just Because He Lives

When we sang the second verse it hit me hard because it talked about the calm assurance that this child can face uncertain days Because He Lives.  During this dark time my main concern was  the well being of my children. I felt like God was talking straight to my heart giving me the assurance I needed.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day Because He Lives

I had to sit down I was so overcome with that amazing assurance from God.

And then one day I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know he reigns

Oh how I needed to be reminded of this guarantee for true Christians who get to live with God in Heaven for all of eternity!

This song reminded me that Christ came to earth for the purpose of giving Christians the assurance that we are able to face tomorrow, with all of the uncertainty that it brings. God holds the future right in his hands and makes life worth living for all who trust in him.

I shared with my mother why that song grabbed my heart so much.  After that time whenever we sang Because He Lives we’d look at each other and hold hands while we sang.  It became our favorite song. Since she passed away, whenever we sing it I think of Mama and how Great our God is!

Here is a You Tube video of the song with the lyrics included.  I hope it will speak to you as it did and always will to me.

Songwriters: Gloria Gaither / William J. Gaither

Because He Lives lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

There is a much newer version of Because He Lives.  It’s a beautiful song but the original speaks to my heart with such comfort.

I look forward to sharing fun, meaningful and even silly moments with ya’ll.  When I am having a great brain day my favorite thing to do is to write.  When I’m not, well I just don’t write.  It takes me much longer to put together a post now but I push through it since I know it’s good for me.
Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

12.07.19 WHY JESUS IS BETTER THAN SANTA CLAUS

Santa lives at the North Pole • JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh • JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year • JESUS is an ever-present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies •. JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited • JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa • JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap • JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn’t know your name, all he can say is “Hi little boy or girl,what’s your name?” • JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too .He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly • JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO • JESUS offers salvation, love and hope.

Santa says ”You better not cry” • JESUS says “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”

Santa’s little helpers make toys • JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but • JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree • JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.

It’s obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.

Yes, Jesus is better, He is even better than Santa Claus!

Have a Blessed Weekend!

10.06.19 Cindy’s Retirement Lunch with “THE GIRLS”

On Wednesday, several of “the girls” who worked together over the years in the Office of Technology at Southeastern Louisiana University gathered to honor our dear friend Cindy LeBlanc who recently retired.

Cindy wrote this on her facebook page the day she retired. It describes so well her connection to her work life at Southeastern and her love of her time working there:

“For the last 34 years of my life I’ve spent a huge majority of it at Southeastern Louisiana University in McClimans Hall, room 109. The department name has changed many times during my 34 years, but my work area (the exact spot where I’ve sat for 32 of these 34 years) has never changed. You were always welcome to room 109. You will still be welcome but you won’t find me behind door number 109. I’ve made a great big decision or should I say, another great big life decision. At the end of this day, Tuesday, November 26, I will be retired. Yep, retired from a job that I’ve done more than half my life. I’ve met and made some amazing friendships that I shall cherish for the rest of my days. These people, my co-workers, we have been with each other through many celebrations and many sorrows, enjoyed the happy times as well as our share of the bad times. Many of them have already gone on to other opportunities or gone on to their heavenly homes. They still remain in my memories and will so for as long as I have a memory. It’s time now for me to take it easy, get through my cancer treatments, spend more time with my family and grandchildren (I have a new one on the way in December) work on all the crafts that are waiting for me in my crafting cottage, and do some fun things with my hubby. I must say though, when you’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to work at a job you love and work with so many special people that you care about, it’s very emotional saying good bye. Wiping tears from my eyes, I will just say, see you later.”

Cindy has had a welcoming smile for anyone coming through that door (Room 109), an understanding ear when we needed it and a dear friend to all of us.  I know she will be greatly missed by all those still working at Southeastern.

All the ladies in the photo below met at Hammond Streetside Market for Cindy’s retirement lunch with “THE GIRLS.” The ladies in the photo are Hannah, Jacquelyn, Becki, Cindy (the newest retiree), Donna, Sandy, and Rosalyn!

We talked and talked and talked and talked and then ate some! I had seafood stuffed potato which was delicious. Streetside Market has a lot of different types of food on their menu. I believe all of us enjoyed what we ordered.

While sitting next to Cindy it was difficult to get a photo of her so I found this one that also includes her dear friend (and ours) Angelique who we all worked with and who recently moved to Texas.

This is me and my dear friend who was my boss at Southeastern. She’s boss to all of the ladies in the first picture. She’s retired too but sill goes to work two days a week.

Jacquelyn, Becki, and Sandy actually stopped talking for a minute for me to take this picture! Don’t they look like nice ladies, they are!

Thank you Cindy for all the years of friendship you’ve given to me. I love that you are also now retired and can’t wait to hang out in your She Shed (craft cottage) creating something fun together and talking of course! If we gather on Wednesday Sandy can join us!  Those other ladies still hang out at the office so we’ll just send them some pictures of the fun we’re having!

We all enjoyed the time we got to spend together at the luncheon so much we are hoping to do it every month! We’re all very close and have truly been to heck and back together so I’m happy we will be gathering more often!

Here’s a photo of Cindy, Jaquelyn, Donna and I being goofy a while back when I came to visit. Look at my bags Cindy, I’ve had them for a while! It’s sad, I know!

 

 

12.03.19 1st Corinthians 13 Christmas Version, by Sharon Jaynes


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.


Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.


Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.


Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.


Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust… But giving the gift of love will endure.

The author of this is Sharon Jaynes. Sharon has a website where you can learn more about her and her Christian women’s ministry. I hope to share more of her writings in future blog posts here.

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

 

11.29.19 Roy’s pain update

Things have moved along a bit in Roy’s back pain journey. Last Thursday we went to Hammond to see Dr. Rochelle, pain management doctor. He is a very thorough, informative and kind doctor.  He had access to Roy’s MRI and reviewed it with us. The picture below is one of the slides from Roy’s MRI. It’s one that shows Roy’s spinal canal with plenty of space for the nerves near the top of the picture. It also shows the constriction in the lower portion of his spinal canal. The oval circle is where the compression is.

He will give Roy an epidural steroid injection, tentatively on Monday, December 2nd at 11 am.  If our insurance doesn’t approve it by Monday the injection date will change.

Physical Therapy was approved. Roy will start that next Wednesday, December 4th at Kelsey Physical Therapy in Amite.

One of the things Dr. LaFleur said Roy had to do was stop smoking. We went to the North Oaks smoking cessation appointment this week. They have funding from a smoking cessation trust so their services and any medicine he takes to help with stopping smoking are FREE!  My wonderful hubby stopped smoking cold turkey a week before the appointment. We’ll be prescribed Wellbutrin and will have counseling sessions as time goes on. We’re waiting for his primary care doctor, who is on vacation this week, to approve the prescription and Roy will get started on it probably next week. This is a big deal for Roy who has been smoking since he was a teenager.

As time has gone on and Roy has been resting, his pain has subsided some to where he doesn’t take the pain medicine any longer. He’s pushed himself physically the last couple of days to see how that would affect him. He hasn’t done anything terribly strenuous and his pain has only increased a bit. He still has constricted nerves but at least the pain has gone down considerably. Big answer to prayers.

Two weeks after the epidural steroid injection we will go to see Dr. LaFleur to see where everything stands. Roy also goes to the vascular surgeon on December 12th about the blood circulation around the aneurysm.

The only really great thing about all of these doctor visits is that I’ve had lots of places to hide rocks!

We’ll keep ya’ll updated!

 

 

 

11.28.19 Scriptures of Thanksgiving

SOME THANKSGIVING SCRIPTURES AND A FEW PHOTOS OF OUR TRAVELS WE’VE BEEN THANKFUL FOR.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1

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“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7

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“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29

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“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

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“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.” Revelation 11:17

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“I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

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“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; …” Psalm 136:1-5 (*)

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“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Revelation 7:12

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“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1 (*)

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“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ephesians 5:20

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“The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalm 28:7

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“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

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I may do this another day if time permits.  A lot of change and upheaval are going on in our life right now.  We’re use to a pretty regular daily life and that just isn’t happening right now a long with turmoil and things I’d prefer to not make public.  Please keep Roy and I in your prayers.  God is our Lord and that we know to be true.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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11.27.19 Chauvin Family Thanksgiving Gathering 2019

Golly geez whillikers!  We enjoyed our family’s Thanksgiving dinner with our two son’s families last Saturday! Several little adorable Chauvins running around, fishing, playing on the hammock, enjoying Bo and Peep Duck and eating Thanksgiving dinner!

Bo and Peep are used to peace and quiet and the only people around them are two old folks who walk slowly. I can’t imagine what they thought when the active little children invaded their quiet life! They were waddling around A LOT more than usual! They are not flying ducks but they can fly a few feet. I expected to see some of that with the little folks chasing them but they just waddled around and squawked and quacked! Before our family Thanksgiving, Roy added some flat stepping stones in front of their cage because as he said: “their little short legs have trouble climbing into their cage.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing!

Our sweet grandpuppy, Misty’s little baby dog, Samson was the star of the day. Everyone wanted to hold his cute cuddly self! He’s never been held so much and by the end of the day, he was sound asleep in his mama’s arms! In most of the photos below, if you see children, you also see Samson!

This little girl does not stop unless you ask to take her picture!

Our oldest son spent some time fishing with his son. They both caught a lot of fish.

This is what I dreamed of when we created our picnic area! Everyone was having fun and I got to spend some quality time with my oldest granddaughter.

The hammock turned out to be a lot of entertainment for the little girls. You can see the holes starting in this first picture. Nothing tore, the strings just moved apart and the girls loved it!

Madisyn is in the hammock with her sweet brother Samson.

Then all four girls crawled in there with Samson the strings really started to separate, still nothing broke but you can see in the second picture below how their body parts and even heads came through.  Their mama and I were sitting at the table right next to the hammock and she kept a good eye on all that.

This was Roy and I after everyone went home! I don’t think we moved from there for over two hours!

A memorable family Thanksgiving gathering in the books and lots of love shared with all!  Most families are celebrating on the traditional Thanksgiving day. I hope you and your families have many memorable moments together! We’ll be spending the day watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, cooking and eating more Thanksgiving food and watching the Saints play football in the evening!

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11.23.19 “Gooch of the Day,” by Andrew Kane

Andrew Kane’s mom had dementia. He wrote this FB post on the group Being Patient: Brain Talks which I read from time to time.  It helps me a lot reading how others handle what they are going through or how the caregiver describes life with a dementia patient. My personal dementia journey has included so many ups and downs, so much frustration, and sadness watching what was me leave over time. I do want to share more with ya’ll but I can’t seem to sit down and share. I will though, soon.

Andrew obviously loved his mom. I love her nickname “Gooch” and hope this will help educate someone, give comfort to someone or a better understanding of the awful disease called dementia..

Here we go “Gooch of the Day”

“Gooch Of The Day”… (as seen on my instagram) … unfortunately this will be the last “Gooch Of The Day” as my mom, “Gooch” (my dad’s nickname for her and her grandkids called her) passed away last night from complications caused by Alzheimer’s and old age.

LET ME FIRST PREFACE THIS by explaining I am posting this to assist others with family members affected by Alzheimer’s to explain some of the things that my family experienced.

My family was one of the lucky ones as Gooch was still as happy as ever. I can’t imagine if she became mean as many people with Alzheimer’s do.

She became a little girl again and would laugh and joke and even pee in her pants from laughing so much! She was always happy and still very proper and polite always thanking everyone or helping other people. She even offered her wheelchair (stroke related) to a physically fine stranger that was standing next to her as there weren’t any more chairs in the room.

She lost her filter as age often does and always said what was on her mind. We would just say “shhhh Mom”.

Her recent and short term memory deteriorated over the past 3 years relatively rapidly but she could remember so much from the past. Just recently I asked her what our phone number was on Barberry Lane where my sisters and I grew up. Sure enough sh,e blurted out the number with area code …(315) 637-3___… amazing… no hesitation!

So back up 3 – 4 years in Connecticut, she was found wandering around her assisted living facility several times not knowing where she was and even going outside looking for her car which she did not have for several years. They could not assist a resident needing memory care. It was time for her to move back to Syracuse.

That reminds me that every move made things worse so if you need to move your family member try to decorate the new place as close to identically as possible which is tough as usually you are down sizing as we were. Change always causes problems… “where am I”, “let’s go home”…”this is your home, mom. See the painting of…” I would reply.

As she became “younger” she would talk about the past more and more and think she was living in the past. She thought the Nottingham Health Center was her high school, Nottingham High School.

You had to learn to tell her “therapeutic fibs” so that she would not think about her failing memory and then get upset…. “Dad’s out golfing mom… probably having a beer with the boys afterwards” and she would huff and puff and then forget it. If you said “dad’s dead mom” that would just cause anxiety.

One of the most negative things that really affected her was anxiety. Anxiety that she didn’t know where she was, anxiety about where Dad was, anxiety about losing her memory.

The busier you kept her with activities the less anxiety… but for the times that nothing was going on and family was not with her the Savior was “Kiffy”, a Hasbro mechanical cat that meows, purrs, lifts it paw, wiggles it ears and opens & closes its eyes. All you had to do was give Mom Kiffy and she would settle down. You see Gooch had cats while we were growing up and most recently had the real Kiffy which unfortunately she could not care for and was given to a niece. In comes “Kiffy” to save our Mom. My family and I thank Hasbro for manufacturing moms’ mechanical cat (they also have mechanical dogs and babies). Find the thing that calms your loved one.

We were also “lucky” as mom didn’t forget any of her kids when we came to visit. She had trouble with me as she often thought I was her brother. But at least knew I was family. But my three sisters were normally recognized immediately. Often this is not the case and I am sure she would have forgotten us eventually if she had lived longer but who knows.

Be patient more than anything. Realize it is not their fault and they have no control. I originally was not patient with her continually asking me the same question over and over. I would say things like “Mom you just asked me that”. I fed the beast that was within her and she would get anxious and upset.

Not until she moved back to Syracuse did I learn to be patient as her primary care giver. You have to just answer as if it was the first time she asked you and then attempt to get her focused on something else… that is why keeping her busy is so important. It hurt so much seeing what was happening to her but we always felt comfort that she was a happy person overall.

Mom (“Gooch”) passed away due to Pneumonia/fluid in the lung, fluid around the heart which was caused by asphyxiating on food and liquids & medicine required to bring her temperature down as high blood pressure, irregular heart beat and low oxygen levels had to be regulated. The inability to walk to get rid of the fluid in the lungs and heart was a huge detriment as well.

I sincerely hope that this helps others that find themselves in a similar situation.

And thank you Being Patient: Brain Talks as your members educated me and in turn I hope to educate others!

Roy and I just had our family Thanksgiving gathering with our two sons and their families. We are worn out but very happy!

My precious granddaughter Madisyn brought to me her twin baby dolls, Madison and Mason. I’ve loved them and she is letting me have them for when the time comes in my dementia journey that they may give me a calming comfort.  I’ll share photos and more about them in a future blog post!

I hope each and every one of ya’ll has a very very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

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11.20.19 Roy’s pain update

Roy saw his orthopedic spinal surgeon, Dr. LaFleur, Monday. The MRI shows narrowing of his spinal canal and vascular claudication.

Narrowing of the spinal canal is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through your spine.

Surgery is probably needed for the spinal narrowing, either fusion of several spinal vertebrae with a 6 month recovery or a lessor spinal surgery to decompress his spine with a 3 month recovery. Roy doesn’t want to have either surgery right now sincie the Thanksgiving, Christmas seasons are coming up.

He will have an epidural steroid injection as soon as we can schedule it when seeing Dr. Rochelle on Thursday in Hammond. That should numb the pain until he can have surgery. Roy will go back to Dr. LaFleur two weeks after the shot to see if it is helping. 

Roy will start physical therapy as soon as we can get it scheduled to get his body in better shape for whichever surgery he has. There is a good PT in Amite so he’ll go there. We are waiting for his first appointment to be scheduled.

Roy has vascular claudication and has to go to the vascular surgeon Dr. Eckholt on December 12th to find out if his blood circulation in the area of the aneurysm is causing or worsening his pain in areas other than his back. The orthopedic doctor wants to know that.

Last but not at all least Roy has to stop smoking to help his body get in better shape help him with the surgery and healing after. His appointment with them is on Monday at 2. So we will spend our 47th anniversary there!!

Roy is still in pain but if the epidural shot works he’ll be able to get lots of things that have built up around here taken care of while he’s not in pain. I’ve tried to do what I can to pick up his slack. Things like finishing putting on a new door frame, miter out places for something on the door frame, or putting door handles on all of the doors in the house are above my pay grade!

We both appreciate all of the prayers so far. I’ll keep ya’ll updated as progress is mnade.

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11.16.19 Chauvin Produce Company – end of season report! Bo & Peep Update!!

Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning the temperature here was in the mid-20s for several hours.  This is unusual in Louisiana for November. It will be the end of what’s left of our vegetable garden.

This is our last Chauvin Produce Company report until next year. I’d give our 2019 garden a B-. After Roy pointed out to me all our failures I probably should say a D+! We learned a lot of lessons this year and have a lot more to learn to do this gardening at a better level.

Our okra crop has been phenomenal. It gets an A+. The production has dwindled down to maybe 5 fully grown okra a week. Way down from 10-20 every day which we picked for months. These pictures show two things. One, that there was still plenty of small okra wanting just a few more days to grow.

Two that the stalks are now so scrawny and tall. What’s there is the second growth weeks after the original stalks were cut down  These started off about six inches high and then grew and grew to be between 3 to 6 feet tall. Most of the leaves have fallen off leaving the scrawny stalks. After Tuesday night’s freeze, we’ll need to pull these up and the tiny okra will not be able to grow to adult size.

Today is the day after the freezing night. This is the top of one of the frozen okra plants. They have been such strong plants it is sad to see them like this.  So the end has come to the 2019 okra crop. They will be pulled up on Thursday. I just tried pulling them up and they developed such strong stalks at the bottom that I only got three pulled up before having to stop.  I’ll go back and pull more up later.

I took this next picture because pictures I’ve taken like the one above do not show how thick and strong the stalks really are. Many of the roots were at least 3 feet long.  This has been our best crop and will definitely be planted next year.

All the tomato plants have died and were pulled up. We’ve grown tomatoes in the past several times, even while we were living in Minnesota and they have always done really well.  This year we tried to grow from seeds and from small plants and the produce from these plants was pitiful.  Roy took over the tomatoes at one point and even with him trying various things it just did no good.  They were the skinniest, scrawniest tomato plants. So sad. They get a D-

Bo and Peep, our ducks, finally found the garden and waddled around it a bit!

Each bell pepper bush had several flowers on them getting ready to birth young bell peppers! The bell peppers get an A-.

Overnight all of the bell pepper bush leaves froze and are all limp leaves now. They will all get pulled up tomorrow.

The artichoke plant struggled to grow since planting it in the garden. No artichoke has even tried to form but it is showing no signs of being affected by the freeze.  It will be left alone and we’ll see what it does all alone in the garden! It’s the only plant still in the garden and can stay there until Roy tills the garden soil early next year.

All of the leaves on our fig trees have fallen off like they are suppose to.  What isn’t supposed to happen is for a new fig to develop yet here it is! They got a C+ for the season.

The daisies aren’t in our vegetable gardens but the beautiful plant that Ellen Smith gave us at Easter is blooming away again!  The freeze didn’t affect them which I found odd but I’m glad it didn’t.

Report on this year’s crops:

Next year we will not grow corn, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, onions, broccoli, watermelon, cantaloupe.

The watermelon and cantaloupe crop failures were my saddest losses. They produced lots of vines and several small watermelons and one especially nice cantaloupe which was eaten by something overnight. Only one watermelon grew to a decent size and it was delicious. All the rest (about 12) of the watermelons never grew any larger than a baseball and then stopped and died! We even tried growing them in two different places but that didn’t help

The corn was cool to grow and looked neat but out of two crops of 10+ stalks each, we only got 6 nice corns from the first crop. They were delicious but not enough to make it worth the work involved. The second crop of 10 produced nothing edible. A lesson to pass along is that corn grows just as well when planting a seed into the ground as it does when growing it from seed inside and transplanting into the garden.

The cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli got a disease and had to be pulled up. The disease spread to no other plants, thank goodness.  I tried in September to grow those from seeds and after growing the seeds inside for three weeks the pretty little plants were eaten by the mystery critters.

Eggplant plants did really well at first producing several nice size eggplants.  After that first crop, what we got was small eggplants. They started falling off the bushes and if I didn’t find them right away the eggplants started rotting.  I began pulling them when they were small and preparing them to freeze when I had a bunch of them. Since the first crop did really well I’ve learned that I should pull them up after the first crop is over.

The cucumbers did really well for the first few months. I planted more seeds and those grew fat short cucumbers which were weird and turned yellow quickly so I pulled them up.

The militons were a total bust and that was very disappointing. This was a vegetable we both enjoyed seeing Roy’s mom grow when we were young. We tried really hard and for a while they seemed to be flourishing. They all the leaves and vines started to wither up and died. Lots of flowers developed on the vine before the withering started, but no militons showed up.

I may try potatoes and sweet potatoes again, we’ll see about those. They produced fairly well but the lesson I learned is that if I dug their holes deeper they would have more room to grow further underground.

I’d like to figure out why I had no luck with growing yellow onions, green onions, and garlic.  I’ll probably try again with those.  What I don’t like is that since onions and garlic grow under the soil and you can’t see if it is growing you don’t know until waiting several months that not much was growing.

Another growing below ground crop was our carrots. After around 6 months of growth, they were about the size of my pinky finger.  I’ve grown carrots in the past and they did fine.  Some research about growing carrots is needed!

All of the peanut plants above the ground were chewed off up by the mystery bunnies or other critters that come here at night and eat things. I may grow them in the main garden this year since we are planning to put a fence around the garden to keep critters out!

Our blueberry plants were not affected by the freeze and look really nice. I’m hoping next year they will be old enough to produce more than just 3 berries!

Our new pecan and plum trees were just planted a month ago and look great after the freeze.  I checked with Bracy’s before the freeze and they assured us we didn’t need to do anything to protect them.  Roy put pipe insulation around it for the night of the freeze, just in case.

I’ll end this with a Bo and Peep update on their adventures..

Our sweet duckies are enjoying pecking around where the bell peppers were pulled up!

They are loving it here and have developed some cute habits. They love watermelon and peck away till they get to the rind.  They also love lettuce and grapes and will gobble up a small head of lettuce whether chopped up or not.

Roy put fresh baled hay in their cage before the freeze because Roy learned that is warmer for them than the pine straw that was in there.  Their nice thick cage cover helped to keep them okay that night and every night. They now go into their cage every evening without any fighting!

Another thing they do now is to sit at the top of the hill where they can see everything from there like we do from our kitchen window. They follow us everywhere we go outside. When they hear the back door opening they run to see what we are doing. I probably should say they come waddling to us! They are so cute and sweet and again we are thankful to Bonnie and Tony for giving them to us. When they swack, quack and waddle around the yard Roy and I sometimes squack, quack and waddle with them. They probably think we’re crazy humans but well, we are!

I painted them a Bo & Peep Chauvin rock and individual Bo Duck Chauvin and a different one for Peep Duck Chauvin to lay on their cage cover during the day when the cover sides are laid on top of the cage.

Well, that wraps up this year’s garden updates and a Bo and Peep update!  After just now pulling up our okras, some of which had 3 foot long strong roots, I am ready for at least a couple of months of no gardening before we start again next year!I’ll be using this time to learn how not to do whatever we did wrong and maybe how to make our positive vegetable growing even better!

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!