Archive for March, 2019

Gardening-Raised Beds

Several years ago, I built several raised beds in my garden.  I love them for some of my gardening.  Because I am an avid gardener and depend on my garden for eating and preserving  vegetables for the months of nongardening weather,  I can’t grow enough of the main vegetables (beans, sweet corn, limas & tomatoes) in 5’x10′ raised beds to meet my needs.

I really like my raised beds for radishes, lettuce, onions, cabbage, broccoli, and squash.  In the spring, the soil in the beds drains better so I can plant my early spring items before you can even dream of planting in the main garden. If a late frost threatens, they is easy to cover with old sheets.

In the fall, when the weeds have taken over the main garden, I can quickly work up the soil in the raised beds and plant my fall crops. I can winterize the main garden without the fall planting being in the way.

I have never, in all my years in Powhatan, had trouble with deer in my garden until the last two years. My yard and garden was far enough away from the woods and they just did not come this way. Last year they found my strawberries.  They ate the plants as if it was a buffet laid out just for them.  Their tracks revealed that perhaps they gathered around the raised beds and blessed the food before partaking! Bless their hearts!!!

I put hoops over the beds and covered with netting. I used one large piece of netting and hooked it around the sides with nails tilled slightly downward. It worked, but was a little difficult to work with.

This spring I discovered deer tracks all over the garden, up in the raised beds and around my blackberries. I worked up the beds and planted my spring plants and seeds. The next morning the one of the lettuce plants was totally gone and their hooves had exposed some of the onion sets as they danced across the beds. Rascals. What they don’t know is that now they are on my bad side. That is not a good place to be.  I am like my dad in that such a situation. I have to come up with a creative plan and it needs to be clever, neat and easy to use. After much deliberation, I finally had my plan. I am very pleased-so far-with what I came up with but time will see how it works.

Here is my solution.

I have three 5’x10′ beds for my spring and fall plantings.

For my hoops, I used 1/2″x10′ PVC pressure water tubes (Outside diameter of tube is 3/4″). I drilled holes in my railroad ties and simply stuck the ends into the holes. The tubes are sturdy but also bend into a nice hoop.  I used three hoops plus one tube across the top of the hoops and fastened using a single screw through each hoop to make them sturdy and not tilt over.  It took a total of four tubes for each bed.

I made panels from 1″ square vinyl deer barrier fence (this is heavier that netting) by weaving a 1/2″x10′ Flowguard tube through the fencing.  The flowguard tubing is a little smaller in diameter than the PVC and worked perfect with the fencing.

We screwed J-hooks into the hoops near top of the hoop for the top tube of the panel to rest on.  I wove another tube through the bottom of the fencing to hold it down. Because of the horseshoe shape curve of the hoop, the top tube only needed to be 4′ but I used the 5′ piece and just let it stick over the side at the top.

The bottom tube of the fence panel is just lying on the railroad tie. To pick my vegetables or work the bed, I can either lift the bottom panel up and rest on the J-hook with the top rail or simply take the panel off and lay on the ground. The 10′ tube worked perfect for the sides and by cutting the tube in half, the 5′ sections worked great for the ends. It took four of the tubes and ten J-hooks for each bed.

Because my strawberry bed is longer, 20′ long, I used a coupler to connect two 10′ pieces together for the side fence panels. It took a total of seven 1/2″x10′ PVC for the hoops and twelve 1/2″x10′ Flowguard for the fence panels.

Ok, deer friends, I hope I have you beat!  But now my worry will be the main garden and my blackberries, which they have already been feasting on.

And in case you are wondering, deer friends, there is a penalty to pay if you try to beat the system. Just ask Mr. Groundhog. Ooops, you can’t!!!  The Scoundrel.

Five Weeks later.

I am so pleased with my netting system. The deer have not been able to bother the plants and it is easy to work with.

Lettuce and radishes.

Spring onions.




I Can Help You!

Even with prescription inserts, my feet have hurt for years. I have blamed it on genetics and my lot in life. An everyday pair of shoes last me about six months. By that time, the sides are blown out and it is obvious that I walk on the outsides of my feet. In the last number of years, I have become more and more aware that I am getting very knock-kneed and have wondered if maybe my feet issue are a result of a larger “structure” problem. When I am sitting in the lazy boy chair with my feet straight out, it is startling how crooked my legs have become. I have developed an unnatural gait that is uncomfortable and frankly very unbecoming. Try knocking your knees together and roll your feet to the outside as you walk.

I finally went to see an orthopedic specialist last week that looked at my feet, knees and hips.  One of the first things I said to Dr. Kerr was, “I’m not sure you can help me but this is what i am dealing with.” After listening to me and looking at my x-rays he said, “I can help you!”  I had prepared myself for the worse; that there was nothing they could do. How do you fix such a mess?

I was ecstatic.  He. Can. Help. Me! There is actually something that can be done.

My Problems:

  • The tendons in my feet burn, especially in the arch area.
  • My feet always hurt. I can’t go barefoot and have to wear good shoes with prescription inserts. I am always aware I have feet. I only have one style of shoe that is comfortable for me to wear– my “granny shoes”!
  • Knees are larger than they should be and it often feels like my knee cap could give out.
  • When I get down on my knees,  I have a very difficult time getting up.
  • It is very difficult to stand for long periods of time such as waiting in line, standing at the kitchen stove or standing in church for singing.  I need to sit. It is much easier to keep moving. Long walks, particularly on concrete or uneven ground kill my feet. Running is out of the question.
  • My hips ache and often my lower back bothers me.
  • Coming down stairs, I like to use the handrail and it is right foot down, then left foot; not a continuous stepping action.

Diagnosis: Osteoarthritis.

I have severe arthritis in both knees, a bone spur, and the knee caps have gotten off center. It is bone on bone. I knew there was probably some arthritis in my knees, my little fingers show “Uncle Arthur’s” presence,  but I had no idea my knees were in that bad of shape!  It is truly amazing but I do not have pain in my knees. They ache and bother me, but no pain. My lower back actually bothers me worse than my knees.

He asked me if my knees clicked. I said, “no”, but as he moved them around you could hear, “click, click, click!” When I left the office and walked down the hall I could feel my knees clicking away! I simply had not picked up on it. He also noted that I have developed a little bit of a “squat” stance. When standing straight, my knees bend slightly forward so I am not really standing straight.

The good news is that it is not rheumatoid arthritis.  Dr. Kerr looked at my hands and said, “See how the end joints of your little fingers are affected. That is arthritis.  If it is the first joint on your finger and goes back into your knuckle, it is rheumatoid arthritis. That is worse”

I Can Help You:  Robotic Double Knee Replacement.

I was stunned as I had never even considered the knee replacement option in my brain.  The first thing I have to do is six weeks of physical therapy to strengthen the leg and knee muscles. The middle of April he will see me again and we will talk.  One thing he did say was that he needed to do both knees at the same time; it is the only way to get my knees and legs straight.  He said, “When I am done, I am going to walk out to the waiting area and tell your family that you legs are straight!”

How Do I Feel?

I have been doing lots of reading online and talking to a few people trying to gather information so that I know what I am facing. It is daunting to think of doing both knees at once and not having a good leg to stand on. I will admit, it is a little scary, but I am also very excited. I have to get through the busy spring months in the store before I can schedule this ordeal. It is a bit overwhelming to think about and at this point I have lots of unanswered questions. I feel this is something I have to do while I am still healthy and “young enough” to prevent more severe and untreatable structure problems later on.  After all, I have a surgeon who says, “I can help you” and I know a “Great Physician” who can help the surgeon.

It is very distressing to me to see pictures of how I actually look and how far I have slipped.  I think, this can’t be me.  I want you to see why I am so excited for surgery! The video is a very short “now” picture of me walking. In a few months I hope I can post another one that I can title, “Look at me now. He helped me!”

I will be writing my journey as it unfolds; I am hoping for surgery in June. I would love to hear from others who have had the same experience.

Other blog posts about my knee replacement surgery:


A good name is to be chosen than great riches

Loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

Proverbs 22:1

 It was at my husband’s birthday lunch that we found out the news.  It took a moment as we read the card for the reality to sink in.

“Dear Grandpa, you don’t know me yet, but the doctor says you will around March 6th.  I’m looking forward to meeting you.  Happy 50th birthday!  Love your Grandkid.”

Suddenly we joined the club of other smiling “older” folks called grandparents. We didn’t have any pictures to show yet but we did get to see a glimpse of our still unknown offspring through a grainy ultrasound photo. It was fun to see its head was shaped just like my babies. Our first grandchild!    It was so exciting and so much to dream about and anticipate.  Would “it” be a boy or girl?  What would “it” look like?  What kind of personality would “it” have?  As the days and weeks crept by I began to bond with and pray for this little one being created in seclusion by a loving heavenly Father.  I found myself praying that this little one would have a gentle spirit and a heart for God.

One day Viv, Jill, and I were having lunch together and Jill and I were trying to weasel out of Viv what the “its”  name would be.  Finally, I said, “whatever you do, if it is a girl, just don’t name her Emily!” I just did not care for that name.  There are times when it is best to not say out loud what you think! Unbeknownst to me, I created a real problem for the expectant parents. After seeking counsel from several other people, they decided to stick with their name of choice.

I have made it a habit through the years to pray for my children, even before they were born.  When they were little I started praying for their spouses.  As the children’s personalities developed, I prayed for specific personalities for each of their spouses. It was so neat to see how God answered each one.

It is interesting to me to observe people’s names and to see how often their personalities reflect the meaning of our names.  Is it by coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe not. I choose to believe that godly parents who seek God’s favor are given divine guidance in naming their children.  In the Bible  God sometimes told parents what to name their children and what the life mission of that child would be. God’s eyes see and know our substance being formed.  (Psalms 139:16)

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalms 37:4

When tiny, precious Emily was born, her mother, unaware of my prayer for a spirit of gentleness said, “We like the name Emily because it makes us think of a gentle, sweet person.”  As I watch our oldest granddaughter develop, I am grateful to God for her gentle, sweet nature.  And guess what?  I immediately loved the name Emily! How could I not, God had smiled with delight as he answered my prayer!

Happy 19th birthday Emily!


Sometimes simple questions have very hard to understand answers.  It was one of those times when 4-year old Emily ask me, “When is tomorrow?”   My first response was “tomorrow never comes.”  I could tell by the puzzled look on her face that I needed to come up with a more sensible answer.  As I tried to intelligently answer the question, I found myself stumbling over a jumble of confusing words.  “Tomorrow is the day after today except it never comes so when tomorrow comes the next day is tomorrow.”  Fortunately for me the answer satisfied her desire for more knowledge or questions!

My mind began to ponder the elusive tomorrow.  If it never comes, why do I fret and worry so much about it coming?

Jesus preached a little sermon on worrying and being obsessed over the basic needs of life.  He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it’s own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  (Matthew 6: 33-34)

James said we should not boost about our plans for tomorrow, what we will do, where we will go or the profits we will earn.  “You do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” (James 4: 14-15)

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes struggled with the vanity of life. He too fumbled for words, “Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after” (Ecclesiastes 1:11) and “that which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of the past.” (Ecclesiastes 3:15).

In 1950, Ira Stamphill very eloquently penned the words to the following song.

I don’t know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day.

I don’t borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to gray.

I don’t worry o’er the future, for I know what Jesus said,

And today I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand;

But I know who holds tomorrow, And I know who holds my hand.

Maybe I will wait until tomorrow to worry.


Written: April 11, 2004




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