Posted by Brenda Gorseth | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 14-06-2015
The past month has been a whirlwind for our family of eight and quite honestly, none of us have shared it on Facebook because we are not ones to bang the gong, so to speak. However, things are getting better and so a blog is in order. This picture was taken on mom’s 76th birthday on June 7th at the Monte hospital where Roseanne, myself, and Larry, along with our kids, were able to spend some time with her on that special day. It was a divide and conquer kind of day; three were with mom and three with dad in the cities.
Most of those around us know our dad has had multiple health issues for the past fourteen years and has been in the Montevideo nursing home since ’10. Mom has been his caretaker and living on her own in Appleton, successfully, until late May when she suffered a stroke. She was airlifted to St. Cloud, went through rehab there, and is now in the nursing home with dad, regaining her strength and ability to live on her own again. In the meantime, dad was taken to the Monte ER three times before being sent to the cities for more specialized treatment. This is where having five other siblings is a blessing; it might not have felt like that when we were younger and had to share EVERYTHING, but now that we are older and four of them live in the cities, it has made taking care of our parents a shared burden. Having Larry on the home farm has been instrumental as well. The role reversal is a funny thing; one looked at these two parents as caretakers for twenty-two years (through college) and then we all moved on with our new jobs, lives, etc. Suddenly, they are in their twilight years and we are looking after them, scolding, cajoling, and cheering for their recovery efforts. It was especially hard to see mom in a vulnerable state, since she is the glue in our family, keeping tabs on all of us, etc.
Things are looking up; dad is back in Montevideo and stealing Oreos from the nurse’s station, I’m certain, and mom is expected to be discharged soon back to her house. While dad will go back to his nursing home routine, mom is going to need to scale her life back. She has too many irons in the fire and it’s time to let them go; it will be hard to learn she doesn’t need to plant a garden for a family of eight anymore, nor buy groceries to feed the hired hands who used to work for them.
I haven’t blogged for over a month, but between graduations, caterings, the ten hour drive to my parent’s (twice), and the garden/yard, there just hasn’t been time. The garden is shaping up after all that rain in May, but now June needs some precipitation. We got up early this morning to water, since the wind prevents any decent irrigating around here. It’s calm and cloudy-the perfect time to water. Plus, if we go through all the trouble of setting up the watering system, it’s sure to rain…like it is right now. We have been fortunate not to have deer and bunnies as some do, but just to be sure, our son made some neat cages for us our first year here and I still use them as insurance. He took a roll of woven wire we got at an auction (the best place to get cheap fencing) and made them into a torture device for any critter trying to eat tender, young plants. Here it is:
He made the top tines face upward so they can’t nibble through them; it was an easy day-long project and they have lasted almost ten years, so I’m going to use them until the day they aren’t productive. We got hit with the snow/frost in May and I lost all the vines, but the peppers survived and the tomatoes hadn’t been planted yet…thankfully. However, the wind has been giving us fits and I had to recover all the peppers/tomatoes for a few weeks while they got strong enough to handle the brute force of Mother Nature. This year the vines, peppers, and tomatoes are planted in black plastic, but the rest is soil, which we’ll mulch in the next week or two. I have been harvesting the cilantro, which grew up volunteer from last year; I simply replanted them in a row and that saved having to use seed. This year we are doing the NDSU trials again with corn, potatoes, basil, golden beets, and gladiolas. I never do flowers, but thought that would be a fun one to try in my new flower bed. I am desperately hoping the strawberries do well this year; they didn’t last year and I need a crop. I am going to replant them next year and start over since the grass has decided it’s king. Grr. I saw last year the big thing was the gutter strawberry gardens; I wonder how they turned out if anyone did them…
For my ‘ew’ story of the day, my son was looking for a missing kitten (next blog) and was behind the evergreen bushes in front of our house where the cats like to lay out of the elements. He came out and felt movement on his arm; he looked at it and saw it was covered in baby spiders. I panicked just listening to his story. Our neighbors from four miles away would have heard my screams if that had been me. I wouldn’t have gone so far as to saw off my arm, but a long, hot shower would have been next while I talked myself out of the sawing part…
Catering has taken over my life for the past few weeks and it’s been fun. Appetizers at the Garr dentist office opening, NDSU research, and the Birding Festival, to name a few. I made sack lunches one day and a dinner the next night with a North Dakota theme. Steele Family Bison provided the meat, and we served up red lentil pasta in white sauce, Aronia berry wonton cups, homemade pickles, homemade raspberry jam with Dijon mustard (amazing, by the way), and Juneberry or strawberry-rhubarb kuchen. We served over sixty and it was a fun night visiting with the birding festival attendees, who come from all over the country; I got to visit with a guy who lives by McAllen, TX, where I used to live, some nice ladies from DC, and a guy from Ohio who promised me an “All In” Cavs t-shirt in exchange for goods. I love a good barter!
I am very blessed to have great help with serving; making the meal is not the problem, it’s the serving/clean up and there are about eight women whom I call to help, and a few distinguished men and women I call if it’s during the weekday and all my friends are working. They are what make this catering gig work and I appreciate them!
I will try harder to blog…my life isn’t so ‘life in the slow lane’ anymore…if I could invent something to read my mind and print the blog, you’d see one every day. To sit down, find/upload pictures, etc, takes time and by 8 or 9 o’clock at night I’m bushed.
With that, it is time to sign off. Have a great week and remember: your family loves you, warts and all.