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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Roots and Fruits

 ~ is this a hawk? ~
Do you ever stop to think that as deep as the roots grow, the fruit, vegetable or plant develops accordingly?

It's January and the seed catalogs are coming in the mail; thank God for snail mail although I'm not home to cast a longing eye upon those catalogs, it makes me happy knowing they await. I hate looking at web sites when I'm trying to decide what to purchase by way of seeds, vines, brambles, seedlings, etc.  Do you enjoy looking at catalogs, circling what looks enticing, deciding what new to you or heritage seed you want to plunk into the ground come spring; the hope that springs eternal with seed catalogs, seeds and spring?

Here are a few websites you might enjoy; they all offer heritage, or vintage, if you will, seeds collected from all over the world. I've met some of the folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they are good people. Jere Gettle, the founder, started gardening when he was three and when he was 17, in 1998, he printed his first Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog. Every time I think about Jere, his focus, his knowing at such a tender age what made him happy, his striving to make his life his own and the world a better place in the process, there's also a tad bit of green involved. And, no, I don't perxactly mean the growing kind of green but being kindly envious of someone who so firmly knew, and then claimed, their place in the world. Most of us struggle through life, making our mistakes, scraping our knees and, eventually, being one of those, as Milton said, "who also serves by standing and waiting". Or, as First Thessalonians 4:11 says, "Also, make it your goal to live quietly, do your work, and earn your own living, as we ordered you." Truth be told, I'm better some days than others at "living quietly" -smile-.

The Heirloom Gardner focuses strictly on heirloom seeds both fruit and vegetable. At $12 a year, it's a grand buy and no, I'm not being paid to say these things -smile-.

Seed Savers is in Iowa, I believe, and is another, so I'm told, fine resource for heritage seeds. I don't know much about them so no warm, fuzzy words of faith and inspiration.

Southern Exposure is in Mineral, VA and just up the road a few miles from where we're currently living. I've never visited them but have heard good things but, again, no personal recommendation.

The Amishland Heirloom Seeds is owned, operated and managed by one woman, Lisa Von Saunders and is in the midst of Pennsylvania Dutch country. She specializes in rare varieties grown in her area and only sells seeds from her own small plot of land. She also offers seeds from plants grown on her land from seeds exchanged with others around the globe. There's a wealth of information on her site and she looks like the kind of woman you'd love to sit down with a cuppa at the kitchen table.

El Dorado Heirloom Seeds, in Kansas, offers a package containing sixty-seven seeds that looks interesting but again, no personal recommendation.

Down the road from me, in Bristol, VA, the Urban Homestead offers heirloom apple trees from Virginia. I've never met this family but have known of them for decades; one of these days, I'm going to order a tree or three from them.

This site has a listing of NC farms growing heirloom apples but the one I'm familiar with is Big Horse Creek Farm.

The Cloudforest Gardner has a wealth of information, the most recent, Jan 5, being an introduction to sourdough starter. Sourdough starter fascinates me as it's basically, a mixture set out to rot so it can turn into yeast, a one cell plant that's, essentially, a fungus. Yep, and I adore sourdough bread and cakes and anything else that uses a starter so, please, read more about a fascinating and tasty topic.

Heirloom Seeds, and their sibling site, Heirloom Tomatoes, are both in Pennsylvania and offer, as do the others listed, open pollinated, non hybrid, non GMO seeds.

For those who don't know, GMO is corporate's way of taking over and controlling the world which is just my not so humble opinion, mind, but think about it. Genetically modified seeds means only a few companies...Monsanto, DuPont, Archer Daniels Midland, etc., will own seeds and that means...whoever owns the seeds, owns the food supply and whoever owns the food supplies controls the people. So much research is being done in India where there's a population that's, for the most part, poor, rural and relatively powerless.

The WSJ article states, in part, "...As for India, its $1.5 billion seed industry is the fifth largest in the world, with the private sector accounting for three quarters of it, of which Missouri-based Monsanto controls more than 60%. ..."  Hmmmm...

Ah, you think I'm being paranoid, do ye? As Winston Churchill said, "Even a paranoid has real enemies" and he was right then and he's right today. Seeds of Deception tells more of the GMO story; read it and be concerned; be very concerned.

So, what's your favorite heirloom seed company? Why? Let's get a list going so we can be better informed and take a more active role in our food production. And, while you're at it, make a few loaves of to eat, one to freeze and one to give away. Share your blessings and pass the joy along.

Finally, for your enjoyment, click on The Beauty of Mathematics. I love this, really!

Update on our situation: Dave was admitted to hospital this past Sunday but they couldn't find anything wrong...other than the already known although there were some distressing symptoms. He was released Thursday at 5:00, with a high fever and that worried me enormously, then and now. At 5:00 Friday, early evening, I was told to take him back to the ER where we were until 7:00 this  morning, fourteen hours later! until I left to drive to our RIC home and have some "me" time, meaning four hours sleep and some food. Dave is still in ER, the diagnosis is now "pneumonia" and they are waiting for a bed somewhere not in ER. I'm not going back to the hospital today; I'm not in a good mood and am pretty darn upset at the whole debacle that's passing for "quality care". Dave has a maxim: "any thing that's repeated a lot is, more than likely, going to be a lie." And I add...a big fat lie.
Dave is in the largest teaching hospital in the Commonwealth of VA and that means they receive, mostly, indigent patients. That means, those not even on Medicare or Medicade and no insurance but those who have absolutely no resources, no power, no voice and who are told to "go there, sit there, wait here" by people who have, just about, no possibility of ever losing their jobs for any reason. I mean, they'd have to do something pretty darn incredible to lose their job and then would, probably, sue so, as with a lot of government employees everywhere, Job Security reigns...securely.Yes, I do know government employees who are doing their jobs but, it seems, those who spend dollar!...time surfing the i-net, chatting on the phone, etc. are in the vast majority.
Yet, among all this manure are still bright spots of RN's and docs who do their best to render assistance, "environmental specialists" who clean up the vomit, feces, urine, blood and other gross bodily ejections that happen constantly in a hospital and ER setting and who, mostly, keep their compassion and care level tuned high. I try to focus on those folks, the folks doing their best in a situation that's sometimes frantic and all the time stressful.

I have many, many concerns with the top most being Dave is not receiving his meds in a timely fashion. When I spoke with one of the ER resident physicians, and yes, thank you, I do have his name, he told me, "your husband's meds have been ordered." "Wonderful!" said I, "because he was due them four and a half hours ago.

I try to remember that because my roots go deep with God that my fruits should be love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Truly, I am trying but I am also confessing, it's terribly, terribly difficult when confronted with someone who is doing their dead level best, and generally succeeding, to get me out of their face. Oh, I hear a LOT about "you are to be your husband's advocate" and "you're to look after your husband and see he gets the care he deserves and we promised" but when I do those things...the looks I receive are dark, very dark, indeed. Today, I've been holding on the phone more than twenty minutes guess is, someone didn't want to be bothered with getting me more information than they had at their fingertips. They wanted me to be satisfied with the pittance of information they gave me and, not only, be happy they took time out of their horribly busy schedule to be bothered with me. Oh yeah. I called back and got name, rank and serial numbers...okay, maybe not serial numbers but I did ask for names and ranks.

HELLO! If there weren't Dave and all the other poor sods lying in their staff  would NOT have a job. The only reason you have a job and some self perceived sense of power is there's a sick person who needs your "TLC". So get up off your "blessed assurance" and do your stinkin' job...please!

Oh my. Perhaps I shouldn't be so open about what's going on, I don't know. I do know Dave still has more than three weeks of treatments and that's the carrot dangling in front of my face. In three weeks, God willing, we can go home and, if need be, he can get the chemo treatment he needs at home. The radiation treatment is specialized and can only be gotten here but the radiation department is spot on! Most of those people not only know their stuff, they are compassionate, kind, caring, and doing their job with a smile on their faces. Bless you, Radiation Department, bless you!
Yes, there have been other folks who are kind, caring, compassionate and, just as importantly, have walked us through this maze and done so with a smile and joy. Bless you as well; if Mrs. S.A. hadn't met me that first day, if she had not put me in touch with the wonderful people who are full of knowledge and information, I'm quite sure I'd have crashed and burned by now. When days, and staff, are dark and dreary, I focus on those beautiful souls who have been guiding lights on our path. I focus on them and pray for them and their families and, the most powerful thing I can do for them is call upon God to bless them and their offspring...I call upon God to reward them in kind for their goodness, kindness, caring, love.

As for those folks who aren't so chipper, helpful and do their dead level best to throw me off track, I pray for them also...just like Paul prayed for Alexander.I also try not to think of myself as the hawk pictured above and them as the prey. I do try, really hard, to be considerate of them and keep in mind that none of us ever know what personal hell someone else is going through. Let's face it though, some days I'm just trying.

Blessings ~ caring and compassionate medical staff ~ Dave has been diagnosed and is now being treated accordingly ~ four hours of sleep ~ some me time on the computer ~ folks saving heritage seeds and plants ~ God's beautiful Nature ~

Soli Deo Gloria,


  1. I am so sorry for all that you and Dave are going through. Yes, there are some bright spots of care and caring at MCV but there is a tremendous amount of frustrations and BS. If you want to get away for a couple of hours Monday or Friday let me know.

  2. It doesn't seem fair to have to deal with all that hassle and worry when you are already fighting an illness, does it? Hoping things are looking up already for you and Dave - the poor guy.

  3. Oh well Sandra, I have no words other than I wish I could put my arms around you and just hold you and pray with you. I know you will come out of this as pure gold, as with any trial God takes us to the end of ourselves and as John Bunyan said, " I am on the bottom and it is firm." I wish so much I could be there to help. I hope your rest is sweet and I will pray for that. I will be praying for Dave and for the
    fever to go away.
    I will continue to keep you before the throne and pray that soon you will be reading your seed catalogs dreaming of spring in front of your own fire.
    Blessings to you my friend.

  4. God has blessed Dave with a wonderful wife and advocate. Having spent far too much time in Virginia and other hospitals, mostly as an advocate, I can say that I don't know how the lone patient survives. Agreed, there are many wonderful, caring, giving medical people, but so easily the lone patient "falls thru the cracks."

    Sandra, you 2 are still in my prayers. May God give you an extra measure of strength and peace and grace for the hour. Sending you hugs,

  5. Thanks for the beautiful list of catalogues and websites. I am glad you have the hope of being home in three weeks, looking at the catalogues in your own place. And your husband recovering in his own bed.

    I am sorry for the crummy grouchy care you are receiving and glad for the ones you mentioned that have been wonderful.

    Your honesty is wonderful. I like it.

    The Lord keeps bringing you to mind and I keep praying.


  6. Dear Sandra, I truly am sorry for what Dave is enduring and for the frustration and lack of respect you are receiving. This exact same thing happened with me when my dad was hospitalized at St. Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta. I am very quiet/bashful but I was so sure I was right that I demanded to be taken to THE person in charge...I screamed, I cried, and I finally got what my Daddy deserved. I pray very earnestly that Dave's meds will begin to heal the pneumonia. I pray that the Lord will lead you to the right contacts to make sure that Dave gets the care he deserves. I pray that God will cradle you in His arms and give you the peace and strength that only He can. So many are praying and so many of us care deeply. Sending my love, Mildred

  7. First, Mildred, yes...that is a hawk. I have several around here that try and hit my feeders. Secondly, it's hard for us to watch our loved ones uncomfortable or hurting because of someone else's incompetence or lack of compassion. You're right; they have those jobs because of the patients they are supposed to serve. I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with all this at such a difficult time. I've found that the 'sqeaky wheel gets the oil', so, squeak girl, sqeak! I'm thankful for those that step up and help you; they are a light in a dark place! There are many out here who love you and are praying for you, sister in Christ. Keep on following that carrot!
    Hugs, Deb

  8. Sorry, SANDRA. I called you Mildred, as I was just reading her kind comment to you.

  9. My dear angel Sandra you are HUMAN..remember that. The age and frustration that you are feeling.NORMAL..we have all been there at one time or another..and those who have been spared, well I can only tell you that it takes EVERYTHING you have to be an advocate for a loved one....keep all of us posted and praying for good health and peace for BOTH of you tonight!
    Love, Nancy

  10. Ohhh Sandra, I wish I could help you in some way! I know how frustrating all this medical care can be. Hang in there, girl. Dave needs you to be happy & smiling.

  11. Oh Sandra, this makes me sad and mad! Poor Dave, poor you. I recall getting VERY angry about the lack of care my husband received ( for a non-life threatening but very painful problem) awhile back. He was in extreme pain and the staff wanted me to take him home. My husband could not move... or get into the car. I discovered I could be a real grizzly bear when I needed to,and if ever needed again that grizzly will emerge! It sounds like your grizzly is ever ready too, and Dave is the better for it. Prayers for you both.

  12. We continue to pray for everthing that surrounds Dave and you.

  13. So sorry to hear about your husband and all that you are going through. I always try to remember it's in the valleys that his presence will sustain us more than we think. God bless.

  14. I'm sorry you've had to go through this. We had the same with my aging Dad. It's really a crying shame that the Care has been taken out of Health Care. I'm not very optimistic. Go ahead and vent. It's better out than in. I hope Dave is home soon and his treatments progress well. Be blessed my friend.

  15. Sandra,
    OMG. Are you at UVa? I spent nearly a week in the hospital with my husband when he had his first brain surgery and there were times I received those dark looks. I had a fruit basket delivered to the nursing staff and told them how much I appreciated them. And I continued to stay to make sure he was getting the right care.

    And that looks like a sharp shinned hawk, perhaps, even though his back is to me. The tail feathers go straight across.

    Thanks for those cool seed links!

  16. My favorite seed company: HomeTown Seeds. com
    Organic and superior quality.

    Sandra, you are such an inspiration, full of grace, hope and kindness, even with all that you and your hubby are going through.

    Prayers and love going out to both of you,



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