The Rockies are full of food, flowers and medicine - all coming and going as Mother decides. Each year is different and this year has been just amazing so far. Snow = Wildflowers! Thank you Mother!
My favorite time to be in the garden - or just outside. The whole sky lights up and there is an aching beauty of hope that we're all gonna be alright. I feel the stress diminish on the breeze and become hyper aware of the birds and the silence. I am aware of my breath and turn in slow circles to take it all in. I should be making dinner but August in the Rockies means dinner's not ready until 10pm. Not exactly healthy so we stay up later digesting. One of my favorite songs on earth is the song of the coyote - always different, always hilarious, always joyful. Sometimes I am lying in bed with the cool, silky mountain air coming in the window and I hear them as I drift off to sleep. What would I do without them? The ground animals would take over our life. Coyote does good work.
Last night we ate the last of Joseph Lofthouse's glorious Maxima Squash mix. From last year! They were still as fragrant as a melon and the seeds were perfect. I will be offering this amazing squash Grex this fall. This is obviously a long storing squash as in the heat of August, and without a root cellar, they have stored perfectly. How I loved them. Another crop is coming on beautifully amongst the Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. Since it snowed and froze throughout June, we will need September to finish many things and I am calling that in. I have talked to Mother and she assures me we can have September. Since our season is something like June 1 to September 1 - it is a lot to ask. But hope springs eternal. This squash went with beautiful Eggplant Parmesan, from eggplants I got from growers down below. Delicious! Comfort food! Color! Beauty! Ahhhh.
Cleome serrulata, to know it is to love it. In the apricot light of evening it glows and glows. In the morning it buzzes and buzzes with bees and other pollinators. This is the Rocky Mountain Bee Plant - it grows all around us here in the west - high and low. It is a glorious thing to see en masse. Another name for it is Stinking Clover - ha! The plant has a smell I have never noticed to be unpleasant as I strip the seed pods that burst into my hand each fall. Cattle and deer do not touch it but the pollinators are out of their minds with joy over it. It is called the fourth sister by some tribes, as they knew that wherever it grows, the bees come. That is why it is encouraged to volunteer in the Maxima patch.
Today on my early morning walk I was blessed with this image. Winterfat, backlit and glowing in the morning sun. I love this plant. Krascheninnikovia lanata, starting to bloom and blow my mind with it's wonderful luminescence. It greets me on my walk. Its medicinal properties are mysterious and wise and it beckons me to touch it and feel its soft power. I had to report this to you. It will be in full bloom soon and you will see it from the lowest desert all the way to the high high. A great textural plant for the perennial garden, it lives long and strong. In the bottom left corner of this image you will see the flowering tops of Artemisia firgada, Fringed Sage, another fragrant favorite. Our beloved Doberman Coco used to roll upside down and backwards in the new growth of this staple plant, cleaning her coat and perfuming herself with sage - she knew what's what. I put springs of it in my car to keep it fresh.
The Rockies are full of food, flowers and medicine - all coming and going as Mother decides. Each year is different and this year has been just amazing so far. Snow = Wildflowers! Thank you Mother!
It's been a while Mountain Types! I've been hiding in the woods for a bit - I like it here. Our Mothership Greenhouse Facility is ROCK AND ROLL! Although it's kind of a mess - it's still amazing. Nothing can touch these greenhouses - they perform like a dream come true. I am slowly getting my tropical fruit in - but was too late to purchase organic Guava and Bananas from the source I prefer. Meanwhile, Kava Kava is gorgeous, Ginger in bloom is a thing to see, lemon grass is wild and free, the Fig is growing with gusto, the orange tree has all new growth, the Lemon Verbena turned into a tree, Rosemary is holding it's own against the volunteer tomatoes and I had to use loppers to cut out the spent Broccoli and Cauliflower plants - whew! Pomegranate and Passion Fruit are waiting their turn to be planted.
My tomatoes need strung up, my trees need planted in the ground instead of growing through the bottom of the pot, I need to plant another round of greens and meanwhile seed happens in there all the time and then I can't pull it out until it's finished. It is magical in there - and the Seed Room - a safe place, a cool and quiet place. I retreat to it and sit in front of the fan I have in there to dry 2019 seed. The Rockies are full of wildflowers, there is rain every afternoon, we've dug trenches and installed a French Drain to divert flash flooding and this spring the Dream Team rebuilt all the outside structures that grow tomatoes. They also mounted hail guards over all of the tomatoes and squash growing in the open. Whew!
The picture above shows the ultra fast Candy Mountain Sweet Corn growing in front of the greenhouse - not only does the corn benefit from the water coming off the building but the corn and mulch cool the ground so the air moving in through the vents via natural convection is cooler than the air being pushed out the top vents. Sweet!
Notice how short the corn is and it is beginning to tassle! Candy Mountain gets busy putting on ears and they will come to fruition so fast I can hardly keep up. It was bred to grow short - only 5' but it often grows even shorter. It takes less water to grow short corn...
I am going to try to blog more - there is so much to share - soon pics of the seed room and the jars, jars, jars of seed on the wall - so beautiful.
Cord and Beau build Smart Greenhouses day and night, Wulfgar is helping me in the garden and acting and singing his butt off and Max is interning at a law firm and will begin his second year of Law School soon. They are all 4.0 students and they are all thriving and striving. Thanks for listening - I'll be back... Oh... more soon on Cord's Heart - he continues to live and love.
CANCELLED AS OF 8/15/18
Holy crap everybody Carol Deppe, Steve Peters and Panayoti Kelaidis are coming to teach at our Mountain Seed School Camp-out! this September 2-8! I am out of my mind. Seed School is a blast and a half anyway but Panayoti can tell some stories at the campfire, Steve can sing rock and roll with us and Carol is gonna teach us the OSSI FIGHT SONGS!!!! 6 of 'em! So it's just over the top. Let me tell you about these guys.
Panayoti Kelaidis discovered us. He brought us from the trees into the light. We teach because of him and Denver Botanic Gardens. He is our dear friend and brother. His delightful girlfriend Jan will come along with him and she is our wonderful friend too. Panayoti is a seed hunter, a world traveler, a water saver. He searches the world for high and dry plants that can thrive in our extreme climate. He is an alpine plant specialist which takes him all over the world searching for teeny tiny plants on top of mountains summited only by camel or donkey. South Africa, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Sweden and on and on he goes, coming back and blowing our minds with stories of his travels. Many of his most treasured finds are then added to the Plant Select program here in Colorado. These are plants that come from similar climates and can thrive in high and dry conditions. They are recommended for Colorado Gardeners and most importantly they are not water hogs!
Steve Peters was a guest teacher at the first seed school ever - way back in 2010. We followed him home to Santa Fe and made friends with his lovely wife Moria and just hit it off from day one. When we returned from Seed School - we hosted a seed symposium here in Westcliffe and Steve and Moria drove up from Santa Fe and taught at the event for FREE! That's Steve man, rock and roll. He is a DYNAMIC teacher full of experience and ideas. He is an upbeat, positive, solution maker. Steve grew for Seeds of Change for a very long time and now owns Seed rEvolution Now! We like him. You will too - sign up for Mountain Seed School and see what I mean.
And then there is Carol. We have never met but we feel like we have because of her books. Carol makes you feel like you can do this. One of her specialties is teaching beginners and there are often newbs at seed school. She is the best in the business it seems to me and I know there are other amazing seed rockstars out there but it's Carol Deppe! She has threatened to teach us her OSSI fight songs! The OSSI is one way we protect seeds from being patented and controlled. She will start off the week with genetics of course - and help us nail down the basics. As the week wears on, all we learn from Carol will be experienced and incorporated into our activities.
Mountain Seed School is a heavy-weight, comprehensive seed course addressing everything you need to know to bring seed, it's production, storage and growing, into your gardening universe. You do not have to be a professional to attend seed school, seed can be brought back into any system, from a potted tomato hanging out of a sky rise window to full scale farming operations.
Seed remembers and regional adaptation is the answer for the mountain people. This is how our gardens thrive. Seed learns and carries the information into the next generation, growing stronger and smarter every day.
Come and hang out with us for a week and soak up the seedy stuff. You will make lifelong friends and you will eat. I am on a Mission From God to feed you. You will eat well. Three, luscious, organic, mountain sourced meals a day. Plus more to munch on. It's my thang. I love to feed people and I go all out for Mountain Seed School. You will not be sneaking off to your campsite to eat something real or good. I will feed you.
Camping in the Rockies in September. Oh the skies, the dark, beautiful star-lit skies. Westcliffe/Silvercliff, Colorado is 9th in the world for Dark Skies, the first Dark Skies Community in Colorado and the highest in elevation Dark Skies Community of all. What does it mean? It means geographically our nights are dark, but it's also because we have shrouded our lights to direct the light onto the ground and not into the sky so we don't 'pollute' our beautiful Wet MountIn Valley with light at night. Star-gazing is big around here. We think everyone can see the Milky Way every night. Except when the moon is too bright. The week of seed school is a New Moon - bring your headlamp and prepare to see more stars than you ever have before.
43 acres of prime mountain real estate. That's our place. You can camp in the woods, in the open, on a bed of pine needles or in a 1,000 year old tree with an open-air sleeping platform. Piñon, Juniper and Pondies make up the multi-generational forest. You can bring your own camp and we also provide two wall tents and some extra cots for people who don't have their own gear. It is September in the Rockies, nights will be in the 40's. Daytime will be hot and sunny with occasional wild storms moving through.
Campers, Pop-ups, RV's, Vans and vehicles are all welcome to camp in here. Power is available. Facilities are provided.
The classroom is in the blacksmith shop and activities are held all over our property, in the Mothership Greenhouse, The Seed Room and the gardens. We travel to other seed folks, tour our seed library and hunt seeds everywhere we go.
Other guest teachers will drop by, Seeds Trust will be there, we will sing at the campfire every night and listen to stories and adventures while we eat. Cord will host a blacksmithing night and students can take a shot at forging if they like.
I really want you to come. Sign up, the course fee is incredibly reasonable and remember, it's Carol Deppe, it's Steve Peters, it's Panayoti Kelaidis! You're gonna like it. Oh yeah, and us too - come hang out with Penn and Cord for a week too...
See you there!
The Mothership Greenhouse!
So close, so close and yet so far.
When I last left you I was a sad little puppy when it came to progress on The Mothership. As if! The Dream Team comes in great waves, they all converge and knock out more than I could ever imagine and then they all go away. It's insane. Cord says we have about 10 days left on it but he can't do all 10 days in a row.
I am a patient person. I am tapping in deep to my resources to stay patient. It's been 3.5 years. Can't have it till I can have it. Can't have 70' of tropical food forest until I can have 70' of tropical food forest. Without ever using any fuel. I know this. I don't wring my hands. I wait. And use my magical powers to make The Dream Team converge. Here. At the same time.
Over the holidays they worked the entire time. I cooked and painted and cooked and painted and cooked. To Cord, Max, Beau and Wulfgar - you guys are the best. Thank you for your continuous work on this project and for making my dreams come true.
I AM IN MY SEED ROOM!!!!
This is the best part. Over the holidays - the Seed Room was finished. I put down flooring and began moving in immediately. 7 car-loads later (SUV) the piles and piles of seed in all of it's glory - was inside the room - breathing in and out.
I go to work in my Seed Room - like people do. Sometimes I carry a basket with my various items like Little Red Riding Hood and sing a song on the path through the trees as I walk along. I sip tea and clean seed or play John Denver and dance around the room while making labels. I am slowly putting my bulk seed into jars on the shelves on the wall. It is the most beautiful room I have ever seen. Getting to actually see my seed is something. I have a long way to go and the work is joy.
My cup runneth over.
More shelves coming. Bookcases and tables and blinds and work stations are all coming. I'm filling seed orders everyday. Every bag or box you see is drying seed and will be condensed down to a jar. It is very satisfying work right now. A fourth long shelf will be installed at the top of the wall soon. The room is about 10' wide by 24' long and is off the north wall of The Mothership Greenhouse. There is a tile covered block wall on the other side and a concrete pad to keep it cool and steady. It is solid as a rock and so quiet and lovely. More pics to come as I get the room operational. What a thrill.
Seeds in my hair, seeds in my pockets, seeds clinging to my bathrobe, seeds in the sink, seeds on the floor, seeds in the tub, seeds under the table, seeds on top of the table, seeds in bags, seeds in boxes, seeds still in the pumpkin, seeds in the cushions of the couch. Seeds. Did I mention it's seed season? Orders are rolling in, seed is flying out the door, the ladies at the post office are already starting their seed and no-one's had a proper dinner for months. Ahhhhh. As it should be.
And it's time to plan ahead for the seed I will grow this season. We will have a carrot crop, hopefully a cucumber crop, of course the mighty Northern Bush Pumpkin and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of trial tomatoes to grow out. Luckily I intend to live a long life so I can grow them all out. My trials this year are about "Earlies", "Dwarf's" and "Peach - or Angora" tomatoes. Super fun!!!!
NO excuses! It's time to rock and roll! Even though we are no longer experiencing proper winters to kill off bugs, disease and critters, we will still try to grow. Disease is coming higher and higher and so are the bugs. ORGANIC - NATURAL SOLUTIONS ARE THE ONLY ANSWER. If you don't already know this - please don't kill predators unless they are attacking your livestock - please? One coyote can take out 40 ground animals in one night. The fox and the bobcat will gobble up hordes of critters all night long. The mole hills and mounds and burrows trip up my horses and last year, one of my mares came in with a severely bowed tendon - which cost us the big bucks to heal her. Keeping the critters balanced is the name of the game. Mother Nature will cure it in a harsher way - too many means starvation and disease to wipe out clusters like we are experiencing. In all of these years, we have never seen ground animals at this level. 4 warm winters in a row will do it. So we need those predators to do their job every night.
Last fall - when the critters tried to move in - I came face to face with a wood rat coming out of my bread drawer! He was unafraid and looked at me as if I was intruding - we stared at each other as he sized me up and down. I said, "NO." He said, "We'll see." 45 minutes later he was live-trapped on the counter with peanut butter and after the guys took him away - I began the bleaching process. Such attitude.
Meanwhile - I better get studying up on tomato diseases - as they are coming! Last year a grower friend of mine got TMV - (horrors!) Tobacco Mosaic Virus and she had to ditch the whole lot - including the seeds. TMV will remain in the seed - what a loss! Tobacco kills tomatoes. No smoking tobacco around tomatoes, do not let smokers touch the plants or anything around them. I simply ask tobacco smokers to wash their hands with soap and water if they want to touch anything - I even provide wet wipes on tours. I don't want them to touch the door jam of my greenhouses as to not leave remains behind. No judgment! Just information. How many tobacco smokers have said to me, "Is that why I can't seem to grow tomatoes?!" Yes.
Greenhouse/Seed Room progress:
Holy crap it's slow right now. Patience is my middle name. I wait. Cord and Beau continue to build one greenhouse after another and try to work on ours 'in between' - which is really just an illusion. Beau works with Cord full time and goes to college full time - and commutes a lot. He studies on the road - I don't know how he's doing it. Cord is finishing one and lining up two more so his brain is complete.
Meanwhile - I wait, and dream, and pack the seeds back up in tubs every time I fill an order. Pumpkins are still rolling around the living room floor, tomatoes are still in bags everywhere and the couch is my office. My Seed Room awaits.
It's gonna be great.
I can't believe a year has gone by! What I really mean is I can't believe I haven't written a post in a year. So I decided to start with the latest family selfie. More grey hair - that's for sure but we are all still kicking. We were just getting started with the greenhouse build here on the mountain when we left off. Since then Cord has built 3 more client greenhouses and is working on the fourth. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the boys and Cord are working on our new, large greenhouse every chance they get. We have a deadline and I know they will rally and help us finish.
Such boys! The big ones came home over the holidays and we worked and worked. I cooked and cooked while they worked and yelled and worked and yelled some more. I feed them mostly hot meals when they are working in the cold full time FOR FREE for us - I really enjoy it and I've been flexing my cooking muscles all year. My crockpot never had so much action. It was super fun and they got a LOT done.
Latest news on Cord's health.
The last time we saw the cardiologist, Cord's Ejection Fraction was hangin' around 53-54. The doc is happy and says he is back to normal. He does not have to reach 60% as I thought - 50-55 is more like it. He has to take his heart medicine every day and wear oxygen at night. I am so grateful for this treatment - it works and it keeps him going. He seems as strong as ever and I can't imagine him any other way.
So here's what they have been doing in their "spare time" - - remember, the two buildings will be attached - making about 70' of continuous greenhouse (!!!!!!!!) and a 24' long SEED ROOM on the north side. I KNOW!!! We've been pouring concrete all winter - I have a floor - I have walls! One day my seeds will have a home. One day I will be planting tropical trees in the new greenhouse - can't wait.
Oh yeah! That's what I'm talkin' about!! EJECTION FRACTION - 52%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We just saw the cardiologist and the news was beyond expectations! If you remember, we needed 40% for Cord to take the Life Vest off and 60(+)% to reach normal. So for it to be at 52% in 3 1/2 months is awesome! The treatment is working - the Doc is smart and Cord is an excellent patient. Taking the Life Vest off once and for all was a beautiful thing. In the last weeks, the thing started acting up regularly and it became very stressful. What I mean is it 'bonged' often - saying something was wrong - like 'check the sensors" or whatever but nothing was wrong and it won't stop until you fix it.
It is alarming when the thing goes off - no matter what the reason - and as Cord said, "It's threatening to electrocute me again!"
We finally called the company and they sent out replacement garments and looked it all over. That did the trick and it stopped bugging Cord. By then he could tell that he was getting better and better and didn't need the thing anymore - but our appointment with the cardiologist got postponed and we had to wait. So he wore it diligently while we waited. He started stepping it down at the end, he would wear the vest but not plug in the brain. It is heavy and cumbersome and hangs over a shoulder and gets in his way while he works. So we always knew where the brain was in case something happened and we had to plug him in. WHEW! I'm glad that is over!
He slept with it plugged in every night but near the very end, he would 'take a break' from the Vest and take the entire thing off for a couple hours in the evening. He would lean back in his chair and say, "Ahhhhhh." He did great and it sure paid off. He wears oxygen every night - it is a big part of his treatment and knowing that it is helping is a comforting thing. Plus the 'whoosh' of the machine knocks me right out and I don't hear a thing.
We get to SPOON!!!!!!!!! That is a wonderful thing - spooning should be mandatory! It's so nice to have that simple thing back in our lives.
I am not hating on the Life Vest - it served it's purpose and is a wonderful invention. The staff is outstanding, they helped us many times, including running a battery charger and battery out to Cord when he forgot his on a trip. They also sent a rep to our home when the thing just wouldn't shut up.
But that's behind us now and Cord is happy as pie. I swear - I think he did a jig and said "We're back in business!".
Here's amazing news. While the boys were home over Christmas, we began building our new 50' of greenhouse here on our mountain. The Dream Team was together again and they worked and worked. I cooked and cooked. You won't believe the progress they made. Max was only here from Christmas to New Years but Beau and Wulfgar were here until the 18th! They worked every day on our new greenhouse. We've been salvaging for this thing for years and will pay off the new lumber we need now over time. Which leads me to:
More amazing news. He had a greenhouse consultation here in the area and came home and announced he was breaking ground over the weekend. And he did. He and the homeowners just hit it and got it done and he rented a machine, broke through the 3-4" of frost and excavated the area. They will pour very soon. He is so happy when he is working like this - and this is the one we call "Cord's Greenhouse" - we have plans for sale of this one - and he wanted to get a chance to build it again and streamline it. Not to mention working means paying the bills - old and new. He is a happy man.
He will be building another one here in the Valley in May as well. We are booking classes here and in Denver and we are now booking greenhouse builds for 2016. Cord is back in action - he looks great too.
It's been a team effort to be sure - as you all know.
Christmas with the boys was beautiful - the best ever. We even had hilarious and wild times with my big brother who was here from Alaska. He knows how to laugh and laugh - it was raucous good fun.
I will leave you with pictures to feast your eyes on. (I am still knee deep in tomato goo....seed season is starting!)
Optimistic. Positive. Happy. Love On The Wind.
Another Crash? No Way!
Good grief a month has gone by. And a lot has happened - you won't even believe it. Another crash! This time someone else ran into Cord while driving Big Red - our old, F350 work truck. He was pulling a borrowed trailer and skid steer!!! Oh man, I couldn't believe it. Luckily, it was a sideswipe and of course - the neighbor lady's vehicle had it much worse - she is okay. So another episode by the side of the road while trying to get stuff done. He was bringing the skid steer here to move soil from behind our greenhouse site in preparation of starting the framing this Christmas!
The truck is injured - smashed on the driver's side and a leaf spring broken. It looks hilarious - a foot lower on one side than the other. We had to drive it until the insurance got us a rental. So now we have a big rental truck so Cord can continue working and I can do what I do plus find a car. Our dear friend Mitch's trailer is injured and the car nicked a tire on the skid steer - boy - it could have been much worse. Oh - she slid on the snow on a curve into Big Red about a mile from where I crashed the car.
Cord, of course, was unhurt. He came home and unloaded the skid steer and moved the soil in the nick of time - he reloaded it on the trailer with the headlights on. He had put on a leaky spare tire on the trailer to get it home and so he loaded the compressor to return it to Mitch and added air along the way.
So now we dance with insurance companies. I will just say it. Sigh. This kind of stuff sucks the life out of you while stealing away your day as you wait for them to return your call. It will all work out though - love continues to conquer.
Cord and Beau finally returned to Evergreen to finish the greenhouse there. He has one more trip back - and a vent or two and it is done. That will feel good. He's been working on it here - Wulfgar cuts his wood for him and stocks the pile in the shop.
Cord has worked on designs, trucks, greenhouse parts, emails, phone calls and the class we taught last month.
Speaking of that - if you remember, we were prepping for our big event up at Denver Botanic Gardens. Cord built the most amazing model of our greenhouses. I told him it could teach the class by itself. It's so cool - it comes apart so they can really see how it works. It actually saved the day.
Right up until we left, Cord was busy creating sellable plans, building the model and preparing vent parts so he could build a vent in class. I was busy preparing the slideshow for the evening presentation and madly packaging new 2016 seed. We both worked and worked to get it all done in time and even got there early enough to check into the lovely Bed and Breakfast DBG put us up in. We went over early, I set up seeds, friends came to help - all was great. DBG gave us a wonderful introduction, we thanked everyone so much for everything and then we began. I was really proud of the presentation - it told the story of our greenhouses and how they evolved and how the design kept getting smarter and smarter. It showed the boys growing up in front of their eyes. It ended with the current greenhouse and where we are today. I was gonna have 'em weepin' in the aisles.
Instead, the tech system at DBG and the huge concrete walls, (or the Ghost of Gates Hall), suddenly scrambled the presentation and dumped about 200 pictures. They were just gone. The slideshow had about 30 pics left - all scrambled and out of order.
So we had to stop and save the day. I had to suddenly start looking for original pictures on my computer and while my heart was pounding in my chest, I started scrolling through my pictures, forgetting that the audience is watching the screen show ALL of our pictures, with plenty no one wants to see. Once I realized that I just started pushing buttons until I got us into another slideshow and out of that embarrassment. While this was happening, Cord grabbed the greenhouse model and started teaching principles. That prompted Q & A and once I was finally ready to show bits and pieces of things I could find - no story now - no through-line, just random pictures of greenhouses, we had 5 minutes left. Crap. My heart was in my socks. I'm sure the same was happening to our program director whose eyes looked pretty big to me at the back of the room.
I waited to cry until I was in the truck.
Everyone gave us great kudos for handling it as well as we did but I was pretty disappointed. The next day was a workshop class and we did very well that day. Of course the greenhouse model was so cool and the students put on safety glasses and helped Cord put a home-made vent together. It was cool. Our friend and program director Sarah said that this has been happening quite a bit at DBG and it keeps her up at night. We shall look forward to their new classrooms. DBG is always awesome - even with that!
It has been a busy month to be sure.
We are thrilled to be in Grit Magazine in January. The article is already online. The writer, Bill Giebler, and his lovely son Simon, came and stayed and learned for two days - remarkable. He also got it right. It's a really hard thing to write about - and this is about the nuts and bolts of how it works. Very exciting to be in a national magazine. So as this was happening, we were approached by Mother Earth News to add a picture of one of our greenhouses to another greenhouse article they were already writing. So that was great. But then I discovered that our friend and Seed School brother Josh Thayer of Native Sun Gardens had already mentioned us in Mother. So when I discovered that 800 people had visited our website in one day, I started looking around and found that these articles had hit cyberspace.
Check out the Grit Article here;
The Life Vest
Okay - it is official - Cord does not like the Life Vest anymore - especially because he doesn't think he needs it. It drives him crazy, it hurts his back and mostly - it pisses him off. If he moves too much or if he doesn't move too much it is buzzing him on his spine or it starts beeping to say something is wrong - like a sensor out of place or a low battery or something - even when it's not! The problem is it beeps more and more, we try everything they tell us to do and it doesn't seem to matter. One of the sensors on his back buzzes him and he doesn't like it - it's not a zap but it is a buzz. Hard to describe. The point is - he's been wearing this thing for months against his skin, strapped on his person and putting pressure on his ribs. There are two zapper paddles on his back so when he sits back in a chair - he is leaning on those paddles and it makes his back sore. He has to wear the brain on a belt he wears over his shoulder. It is quite heavy and drags on his neck sometimes.
So these are the complaints for a device that could save his life if he has a heart attack. Since he feels so much better it's hard to take as he feels like he is fine and he doesn't need it. Not much longer. In 2 more weeks it will be 6 weeks since we saw the cardiologist and got Cord's new numbers. If he keeps improving like he is, he should be out of the danger zone by then! So we shall call and see if he can get an ECHO to prove what we already think - that very soon he can take the damn thing off. The next visit to the cardiologist is mid January. Oh - I didn't mention this - the brain sleeps in between us in the bed. I'm not complaining - I hope he never needs it - and I have been grateful for it. Easy for me to say right? I don't have to wear it!
Max returns from Scotland soon - just in time for Christmas - I can't wait to see pictures and hear stories of his adventures. Beau is finishing up his first semester in Colorado Springs and we will have him back too. It will be so good to all be together again.
So much love on the wind to all of you - and so many thanks. This will be a very special Christmas.
Yesterday was our first visit to the cardiologist. Love on the wind and brilliant minds who know things about hearts are doing the trick - Cord's heart is on the mend!!!!!!!!!! We were thrilled when the doc agreed to do a quick ECHO - to check for improvement of Cord's Ejection Fraction. This doc is chill and doesn't like to rush - he warned against checking too soon so we wouldn't be disappointed - but after talking to Cord and hearing how he sets off the Life Vest by running - or how he wants to start exercising - the doc agreed to check because he could tell Cord was improved. And you know it's true, his Ejection Fraction was 10% at the hospital - it is now around 25-30%!! We were out of our tiny minds. Cord was smiling from ear to ear. I started whooping and hollering just after we cleared the doors of the lobby. WOOOOOOOOOHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! And once we got in the truck it was, "Yeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
So we are happy. It is working. The meds are working and the prayers are working. Please don't stop sending that love on the wind - it is all around us and gives us strength.
The doc adjusted the meds after a nice, long meeting with Cord. He is very cool and seems confident all will go as planned.
Cord still has a long way to go and will continue wearing the Life Vest but once he is up to 40% or more - he "can kick it to the curb and never look back" to quote the doc. The doc could see the problem with Cord's heart - and how it throws the beat off - or how the 'left bundle' wobbles. As the meds work, this will diminish and as his heart gets stronger, could correct itself enough to operate on it's own. If not - and after we give the meds a chance to work - a pacemaker could be in order. But not yet - the doc is a positive guy and seems to think Cord could heal all the way and not need one so we shall be patient and see.
We were so encouraged to get this news and will continue on course.
Denver's Coming Right Up!
As you know - last month - the Denver Botanic Gardens postponed our greenhouse event until November 19/20. The time has come and we are working madly on a two day event. We would love to see you if you are near Denver this Thursday evening, November 19th, for a photographic story of our greenhouses and how it all happened. The next day, November 20th from 10-3, is a nuts and bolts workshop on sustainable greenhouse design. Both are beautiful affairs and a part of the Bonfils Stanton Series - this year's theme being, "Heroes of the Front Range" - and we are honored to be speakers for it.
The lecture is Thursday evening with a meet and greet from 6-7 - then the talk from 7-8:30, along with catering both days. It is inexpensive and always lovely to attend an event at Denver Botanic Gardens, again, we hope you can come.
I am buried in seeds. I hope to have as many new varieties ready for these events - especially new tomatoes - all I do is squeeze them all day long. I will have seeds there - some saved by firefighters and some saved by me!
Happiness to all - thank you for your incredible support - Cord is on the mend!!!!!!!!!!
Hi again! We are so busy - days are just blending together. Cord seems to be busy all the time. He has been doing lots of finishing work in our bedroom - right now he's using beetle kill to create a wainscoting around the bottom of one of the walls. It is really shaping up - the room feels like another place - like a place we are visiting - or a hotel room we are staying in. We haven't moved anything in yet but our bed and our overnight bags from our trip to hold our clothes. So I hang my robe on the hand truck and leave my shoes by the bed.
I had my birthday this week and my first gift in the morning was a soft little rug for my side of the bed. Ahhhhh! When you've only lived on bare OSB for 25 years - you never go barefoot - it's way too dangerous. So this is like a dream - and the little rug is just right. We had traveled all week and I wanted to stay home on my birthday so we did. It was lovely - I did what I wanted. I am in the middle of massive seed production - the whole house is full of melting tomatoes - and bags of seed heads - I can't keep up! It's time to call in some help. But, that day - I processed and photographed tomatoes and wandered around drinking bubbly water and counting my blessings.
Since the crash we both got sore enough to start seeing a chiropractor. Soon we will start seeing the wonderful Melissa Harth - our local massage therapist. Thank goodness for insurance. My car is covered and I will work on replacing it asap. Our bodies are covered too - so this maintenance will be good. My old ribs are a bit angry. But I am fine and it is amazing how little there is to fix. Cord too of course. The day before my birthday we went to the Reef - our favorite local hot springs. Cord dropped me off to go birthday shopping for me and I got to soak for a long time. He came back and joined me - taking off his Life Vest is a treat for him and he relaxed and soaked and watched the shooting stars. Now there is some therapy for mind, body and soul.
Speaking of the Life Vest - here's news. Occasionally they want Cord to send in his data - the vest keeps track of his heart - constantly. We need cell service to send in the data so we have to do it in town where we can plug in and do it on the phone. When I called them to report about the wreck, they reminded us that we had not sent in data yet - for 24 days and they wanted to see it. So we went to town and plugged in and sent it. While it was coming in the man on the phone could see it and he told Cord that there were no arrhythmia's - not one bump - for the whole time - including during the wreck! His heart has been steady and not doing any unauthorized tricks!!! The heart meds are really working - I can feel him responding to them. Steady as she goes!!!! Great news!! We were so happy - this confirms our suspicions that the meds are working. When we first got to the hospital - he had three arrhythmia's in two days but once he started the meds - it stopped. So getting this report from the Life Vest folks was affirming!
Today we wake up with both Wulfgar and Beau home. They will work on greenhouse vents together. Cord is starting the fire in his wood stove in his shop as we speak. This is for the greenhouse in Evergreen that has been stopped in its tracks. The homeowners are wonderful and understanding but of course Cord thinks about it a lot and wants to finish it. We are prepping for our big presentation and workshop in Denver on Nov. 19/20 and building a vent in class is one of the things he will be prepping for. So they will prepare that today as well.
One more thing, last week we attended the funeral for our young, beautiful friend Cindy (fly free, girl!) and we drove our big truck because that's all we've got. The night before we left, our $50-found-it-in-the-paper-refrigerator crapped out. We madly started moving everything into the deep freeze and the little shop fridge. Some produce just got put in the shop where it is cold. The week before my friend told me about the Sears Outlet Store in Denver and how they got an incredible deal on a new fridge. This is another thing on our list to get for the remodel of our kitchen. So when this happened and we found ourselves in Denver with the truck - I told Cord - well, we are going to the Sears Outlet store! So we did. We had such fun with the sales rep - she was great and we found a perfect fridge with a ding or two in it and the price was incredible. The best thing though, was the financing - we can pay it off over 18 months - no interest. So even though it is always scary to take on another bill, (sheesh), we had to and it was perfect and we both feel very optimistic about next year - we will pay it off early! I know this stuff is personal - but I am reminded that an open-heart is the only way to go.
Cord figured out how to unload the new fridge with the chain hoist! It and the truck are so tall he had to let the air out of the tires to make it low enough to lift it with the chain hoist. Brilliant! So it is in the shop and running with some stuff in it as we need muscle to move it in and the old one out. I've never met a fridge that doesn't pee on the floor but I have been assured this one won't - I will believe it when I see it. Ha!
I will leave you with some pictures of the Life Vest - it is doing it's job beautifully and even though it is a pain in Cord's butt - it is so smart and helpful. He ran the other day - just jogged to answer the phone or something - it did not like it - it beeped at him! No running yet Cord!!!
We see the cardiologist on the 13th - I will have a news then for sure - we are making a list of questions.
I can't say it enough, please keep the love coming on the wind - we obviously need it - and it is working it's miracles on both of us. Thank you all for your love and care.
Penn Parmenter is a high altitude gardener and student of the earth. She is married to Cord Parmenter - an awesome gardener, gorgeous man and a master blacksmith. She is a mother of three boys and an outdoorswoman. Penn forages wild food, hunts big game, fishes, preserves, maintains a huge organic forest garden and occasionally makes dinner.