Staying busy, last garden harvest, celery, a card, and ornaments

Back in February, when this whole pandemic thing began, and then in March when the shutdown occurred, I was suddenly thrust into days of nothing to do . . .

Which is to say, after doing one thing or another day after day after day for years – mainly gardening (a goodly amount of this because it feeds us and all of the extended family), babysitting (mostly this), troop (AHG – a lot of this, too), taking care of Jerry (well, maybe this is the most), whatever β€“ I suddenly had almost nothing to do.


Haha! Yes, I was estatic! I FINALLY had free time.

I haven’t had any free time since my boys were born. πŸ˜†

I was happy to just sit and do . . . Absolutely. Nothing.


I put my feet up and took a “shutdown vacation.”

(I’ve never had a “real” vacation in my whole life. Growing up, my family didn’t do vacations. No vacations in either marriage. A two-hour drive in the country is about as close to a vacation as we’ve ever gotten. Lack of funds and untrustworthy vehicles being the main reasons.)

All this nothing-to-do changed after a few weeks as I went back to gardening (essential for food), babysitting (essential so the kids can keep their jobs), some troop meetings on Zoom (which were a lot of fun for the girls and we leaders and kept us all connected), and other things that I regularly do that keep me busy. I can only sit for so long or boredom sets in, lol . . . but things are still at a slower pace nowadays than before the pandemic began. (Granddaughter Kara didn’t want to continue in AHG, and I “retired” from being a leader since Jerry’s medical issues compounded in the past couple years and I just felt I needed to be focused on him.)

Pandemic Shutdown Spring turned into Pandemic Slightly-Shutdown Summer, which has now turned into Pandemic Uncertain Shutdown Autumn. Although you wouldn’t know it by the temperatures and weather lately in Kansas. We went from the 80s at the beginning of the month to the low 20s and 10s this week and have had three days of ice, sleet, and snow. Not a big amount of snow, maybe less than an inch. My kids and grandkids all know that I won’t drive in that junk (bald tires and mechanical problems on the car), so if they need me, they have to come get me. But we sure didn’t expect Winter to be horning in on Autumn this soon!

Son John picked me up yesterday to watch Nova and Aero because their daycare closed (apparently due to the weather) – and it was the only daycare in town to do so! It was just really odd that she chose to close (the weather wasn’t that bad), putting several families in a tight spot because they had no alternate caregivers.

We had our hard freeze this past Saturday, and alas, gardening is over for the season sooner than expected.

*sniffle* 😭

I harvested a few days before the low temps hit and got the last of the sweet snacking peppers, roma and cherry tomatoes, rosemary and basil.

I counted 178 of just the green snacking peppers (from only two plants!) by the time I got done. I left those on the counter for several days and as they continued to turn yellow, orange, and red, I then sliced/chopped them to the size I use for stir-fry and put them in the freezer.

As the tomatoes have ripened, I’ve used those in our salads.

Anyway, back to the weather for a minute . . . it’s been pouring down rain for several hours. We’re in a flood watch through tomorrow, maybe several inches by the time all is said and done. Why couldn’t we have had this moisture back in August and September!

I nabbed a celery stalk base from John a couple weeks ago. My boss at the garden center where I worked years ago would bring her scraps in and let me do this. I’d always wanted to try to grow one at home but never remembered to keep the scrap part. I cleaned this one up and set it into a container with water. After only three days we could already see growth.

I poked four toothpicks into it a few days later to keep the bottom free for root formation. I also changed the water every two days. Celery likes fertilizer, so I used the already-made ferti-water I keep on hand for my houseplants.

This is today after finally getting enough roots to put it into potting soil. Our apartment is on the north side of the building, so we don’t get a lot of sunshine, but the celery seems to be doing okay regardless.

Celery grown indoors doesn’t produce much in the way of stalk (it’ll be shorter), but the leaves are great for the same uses as the stalks. A lot of people use them in place of cilantro, which is what we do because neither Jerry and I can handle cilantro.

Jerry and I are still making cards for Mom in the nursing facility. This one I printed the design, Jerry colored it, then I glued it onto cardstock and cut it out. I already had the greem scrapbooking paper, alphabet and cutsie-pootsie stickers.

A couple folks contacted me after my previous post when I talked about Mom in the nursing facility this year. First, let me say THANK YOU! for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. She really is so isolated and lonely without Dad or any of the rest of us being able to visit or even see her. Blog-friend Martha at Seaside Simplicity sent me a message that she wanted to send Mom some cheer herself, which is so sweet and I know will be a great blessing to her!! (I’ve not heard anything from Mom yet, but will let you know. πŸ˜‰) (*UPDATED*) it has been a great blessing to her!

This past weekend, Jerry and I made two cards exactly alike, one for Mom and one for Dad (and forgot to take a picture! arg!), because their 44th anniversary is TODAY and, for the first time ever, they’re having to spend it apart. I mailed the cards on Monday in the slot downstairs because the weather kept me from driving to the post office, so I hope they made it in time for today.

I’ve also been working on ornaments. I’ve made felt ornaments for the kids and grandkids for their Christmas trees for a long time. Like this purple set (their favorite color) for John, Elissa and the kids in 2018 . . .

And this blue set for Amanda, James, and the kids . . .

Sorry, these few ornament photos are from my old phone, which by that time was on its last legs and the camera was really bad. If you notice on the heart ornaments for each there are two red sequins for the adults (John/Elissa and Amanda/James), and pink sequins for the girls and blue sequins for the boys in each family. I always do something different in felt each year and there is always one of the ornaments that has “meaning” (as with the sequins). You notice in Amanda’s blue ornaments that there is a bead ornament; that was made by my [step]Mom (Sharon) many years ago, as was this one below . . .

I decided to give the gold/off-white ornament to Amanda/James and the purple/white/gold ornament to John/Elissa.

This year, I decided that I’d finally had enough of working with felt and trying to sew beads or whatever on them. The feel of the felt has become extremely annoying to me over the years due to my fibromyalgia (besides the constant pain, probably one my worst FM symptoms are the awful skin issues of the “feel” of things). So, I did a little research on Pinterest and came up with  cute, new idea for this year’s ornaments.

Snowmen! The first photo shows the process, the second is a finished snowman. I totally LOVE these cute little guys!

I found the idea on this website. The only changes I made are that everything I did on the snowmen are painted by hand (no sharpie use), and I used gloss white acrylic paint, then a couple coats of hardcoat sealer. I already had everything on hand to make these. I’ve finished enough for each person in the family. There is one more thing I want to do, but I have to hunt down the person who I know has what I want to use to personalize each snowman. Once I get that done, I’ll show you the finished ornaments. It’s been such fun and so easy to make these!

Hope all is good with you and yours. Blessings to all!

P. S. Everything is going well with Elissa, meds are working and she is getting therapy regularly and they’re also doing marriage counseling. God is good!

0 thoughts on “Staying busy, last garden harvest, celery, a card, and ornaments

  • Winter seems to have descended on your rather abruptly. Good thing you took all the garden produce out in time. Your peppers did amazingly well.
    It's great to hear that Elissa is doing much better.
    And I don't want to forget to wish your parents a Happy anniversary. I know it will be a day late but still, it's a special day for them.So sad that they are not able to be together for it.

  • One year my grandmother made each family a set of ornaments, she crocheted some, made some felt ones (like yours), made one for each family member with their name embroidered on it. They are treasured to this day.

  • You have certainly stayed busy! You sure got a nice little final harvest and all of your ornaments are beautiful! I'm so relieved to hear Elissa is doing well too. I'm so sorry mom and day have to be apart for their anniversary, that is really sad. I sent a card off right after we emailed and included some of my artist trading cards and just introduced myself and told her I was sending a little package soon. I should be able to get that to the post office tomorrow or Monday. I picked up a couple of cards and post cards to send off here and there too. I have a second grade class working on some nice pictures to send to her and the facility and a middle school class will be making cards for her and the facility as well. I'll be putting info out on my art Instagram account next week. I'm trying to spread it out a bit. When this pandemic is finally under control I hope you will take a nice little vacation, you deserve it!

  • So much going on! I love posts like this. I was hoping to get more done during lockdown but that hasn't happened…yet. πŸ˜‰ You have been very busy–gardening, babysitting, crafting, cards! (Love the cat card.) Have a great day! πŸ™‚

  • You sure had a LOT of garden produce at the end of the season. I've never thought of starting celery at home. I wonder if I should give it a try, although I really don't have any windows with tables near them. I do like the ornaments you've made. I have done the same for my grandchildren every year. I used to make them for our kids too and I did again last year. The snowmen for this year are my favorites. I adore snowmen.
    Congratulations to your parents on 44 years. I am sorry that they aren't able to spend the day together. So many people are in the same boat. I feel so badly for them. My friend who lives in assistad living said, "I just want to touch another human being." She hasn't been allowed anyone in her room since March. All foods are eaten in her room, no dining room. This is SO hard on everyone but especially people who live in facilites people.

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