Bees and Butterflies in My Garden – Blossoms to Plums

This post was originally posted on March 11, 2017. I worried about the plum blossoms didn’t get pollinated. I was surprised by the visit of the bees and butterflies. Three months after I wrote this post, I’m happy to report that I got about 400 plums from two plum trees. When I went to my poetry class on Thursday, I took about 100 plums with sandwich size ziploc bags, asked the classmates to take some home. At the end of the class, all the plums were taken.

I love plums because of the fiber content. I would like to dehydrate some plums. I ordered a plum pitting machine to take out the pits. I also found a recipe to use regular oven to dehydrate the plums so that I could keep them longer. All I have to do is put the pitted plums in the oven with 125to135for 12 hours. I’ll check on them every hour. I’ve never done that, so I hope that it will work. I added the photos of the plums at the bottom of this post.

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This is my “52 Weeks of Thankfulness” Week 2 at Haddon Musings.

March 11, 2017

What an exciting week in my garden.

I worried about my plum tree two weeks ago because it was the first tree to blossom after the rain. There was no bee attracting flowers close by the plum tree. I manually pollinated the blossoms with a fine paint brush.

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The plum tree is against the retaining wall. There are different plants on the slope behind the wall. I climbed over the wall to look at the plants. I had some bee attracting plants on the slope last summer.  Right now the whole slope is covered by clovers with fellow flowers. Somehow yellow flowers were not my favorite color. I started pulling them out to expose the ice plants with purple flowers, only to discover that they were dead.

Before I got disappointed, there was a shocking surprise. I saw BEES. The bees hovered over the blanket of sixty feet wide yellow clover flowers. I almost wanted to plug the clovers back into the soil. Then I was thinking how to get some clovers close to the plum tree on the other side of the wall. First, I wanted to take a few photos of the bees.

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Suddenly, I caught the sight of some bees hovering over the plum blossoms also. Oh, how excited I was. I felt like the whole burden just fell off my shoulder. Now I could just leave it to the nature. Let the bees pollinate the plum blossoms.

Yesterday morning as I was having coffee and doing reading in the backyard. I caught another exciting sight of butterflies hopping from flower to flower on the plum tree also.

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How thankful I am for the nature. How delightful I am to see the bees and butterflies in my garden this week.

Post note – June 17, 2017

I’m so happy that the bees and butterflies brought 400 plums to my trees!

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Daily Prompt: Blossom

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friend / 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 13

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This is the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 13 at Haddon Musings

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When I was in bio-chemotherapy treatment for melanoma cancer in 2009, it was also a time when my husband went back to school getting his MRI/CT licenses. I was in no shape of driving. Jolyn from my church fellowship group jumped right in to coordinate and have people signed up to give me rides.

I needed rides to the hospital for each of the four cycles of the 5-day treatment. I checked out on Sunday, so my husband could pick me up from the hospital. After discharged, I also needed rides for follow up appointments. Toward the end of six months, a professor’s wife drove me to the appointment. She said, “I’m glad I got my chance to drive you before you don’t need drivers anymore.”

It made me feel my friends were lining up to get their turn to help me. During driving, I had no energy to talk.  But I could be myself and not feel obligated to talk, because it wasn’t social time. My friends who drove me didn’t feel it was social time either.

Jolyn also scheduled people to bring meals to me. She told my friends that they didn’t have to come into my home because I was in no shape to receive visitors. She also told me that I shouldn’t have to invite them in.

During those six months, I was totally helpless. I was only a receiver of blessings. I’m thankful for all my friends who blessed me with their prayer support, continued to send me sympathy cards and emails, and provided help in tangible ways. What great friends I have!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Friend

52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 12

This is the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 12 at Haddon Musings

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May 28, 2017 (in two days) will be the 6th wedding anniversary of Mercy and Will. Mercy is in her 23rd week of pregnancy. They are taking a vacation in Ottawa and Toronto Canada for their anniversary and having a blast. I’m so thankful that they could spend their fun time together before the busy and exciting parenthood.

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52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 11

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This is the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 11 at Haddon Musings

My husband I spent Mother’s Day weekend with Mercy and Will in Portland, Oregon. We went to The Salty’s for a seafood buffet brunch on Saturday instead of Sunday.

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After brunch, we went to Kelley Point Park and enjoyed our walk in this fresh green park full of sky tall trees. At one corner of the park, we found an old dock with an abandoned anchor.

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I am thankful that Mercy has a healthy pregnancy. She and Will are leaving tomorrow to go on a 2-week vacation in Canada before the baby joins their family.

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52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 10

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This is the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 10 at Haddon Musings

I am excited and thankful that Mercy and Will are having their first baby.

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Back in January this year, I called my daughter Mercy and talked about visit them in the following month. They checked their calendar and gave us a couple dates. Then we picked the last week in March to visit them.

The time I called was when Mercy first found out that she was pregnant. She wanted to tell us in person, not just on the phone. Mercy and Will were excited that we were going to see them. They planned a surprise to convey the good news.

Between January and March, Mercy was doing some decluttering. Decluttering is something I do as an ongoing project. But somehow a little bird told me something else was going on. In one of the conversations, I couldn’t hold my curious feeling any longer.

“Mercy, are you pregnant?” I asked.

She tried to distract my attention by talking about something else. I went along with the conversation.

At the meantime, I had this urge to tell my husband something. I was holding this urge for a week, but couldn’t hold any longer.

“I think Mercy is pregnant!” I said to my husband.

One week before our trip to Portland, Mercy called. Then she suggested that we skyped each other. During the skype time, Mercy and Will revealed that Mercy was pregnant, and showed us the ultrasound films. We also learned that her due date is September 19. She said she was going to wait, but couldn’t wait even for one more week. She decided to skype and gave us the exciting news face to face. We talked for a long time, then gave each other virtual group hugs before saying good bye.

Time has gone by so quickly. It’s May already. My husband and I are going to Portland to spend Mother’s Day with Mercy and Will. It will be a wonderful time for all of us.

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52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 9

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This is the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 8 at Haddon Musings

I am thankful this week for good health.

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My health insurance has a great prevention program for patients over certain age. The “head to toes” physical check-up does not require copay for doctor’s visit. Upon completion of the check-up, patients will receive a $50 credit card as incentive. The insurance customer service representative even called my doctor to set up the appointment for me.

I always have my annual physical examination anyway. The proactive, preventive program of the insurance made it easier for my visit to the doctor. Prior to the appointment, a physical history review form was sent to me to fill out. I was thankful that I checked “no” or “none” for 99% of the problems. The only concern I had was my high blood pressure.

Dr. Hutain has been my doctor for 25 years. During the visit, he had on his computer a list of questions. The questions were in the categories of my diet, exercise, lifestyle such as drinking or smoking, my emotional state, my vision, the ability to drive and my memory. It felt so good to hear my own answers to all the questions were positive.

At the end, I was prescribed a low dosage of high blood pressure medication. My doctor had a big smile on his face and said, “You’ll be around for a long time!”

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Daily Prompt: None

Daily Prompt: Lifestyle

52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 7

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This is the 52 Weeks of Thankfulness – Week 7 at Haddon Musings

I had written eight posts about my melanoma treatment. I need to write one more to complete my story. I emerge it as part of my Thankfulness. So this week I am thankful for going through the journey of cancer treatment and have been in remission for almost eight years.

August 13, 2009

My bio-chemotherapy came to the end. I just needed a couple more procedures done before the completion of treatment.

When I had my first cancer surgery in October 2008, the surgeon removed all the cancerous tissues except one cancerous lymph node. He sent me back to my primary health care provider and oncologist for chemotherapy. Due to the lack of communication, the referral didn’t get any attention until two months later. I went to the oncologist’s office, sat in the waiting room, demanded for attention. Finally a case caretaker came to talk with me. I cried and complained, saying that my last surgeon requested chemotherapy within four months before the cancer entered my brain, and it had been two months already.

The next day she called the case management office. The supervisor of the office took over my case. She made all the arrangement of tastings and obtained the authorization of referral to a melanoma specialist.

By the time I started my first cycle of treatment in January 2009, the cancer in one lymph node on the right hip area had invaded the whole set of inguinal nodes on the left. So the cancer went from stage II to stage IV.

I went through two cycles of bio-chemo and one surgery and two more cycles of bio-chemo. At the end of June 2009, I completed four cycles of in-patient treatments and one surgery. By this time, the first cancerous lymph node had shrunk into a dead tumor. Dr. O’Day, the melanoma specialist, and the surgeon agreed that it was a good idea to have one more surgery to remove the dead tumor. I had the second surgery done in early July, 2009. The surgeon removed one larger tumor plus 15 smaller dead tumors.

The final procedure was the radiation. Dr. O’Day ordered two sets of radiation. The first set was five days a week for four weeks in the pelvic area. The second set was once a week for four weeks. I met with the radiologist. She aligned me with the radiation machine, marked the tattoo on my body so that each radiation would be done in the same position. She further explained to me the side effect and the possible damage of the radiation. My husband is a radiology technician. He discussed the situation with Dr. O’day. Dr. O’Day decided that the damage would have outweighed the benefit. Therefore he cancelled the first set of radiation. I only needed to do the second set. I started the second week of July and completed it in the first week of August 2009.

Before I entered this journey, I didn’t know where it would have taken me. I only knew that if God didn’t say He was done with me, I had no right to decide to quit. I had to take the chances presented to me and trust him to guide me through. All I could do was to take one day at a time. There were so many nights that I didn’t have any sleep because the chemo drugs burning continuously. My body was so hot and the skin was so sensitive. Knowing that I didn’t have to go to work the next day helped to reduce my anxiousness. Throughout my treatment, my family and friends were my greatest support.

I do believe there is a reason for every season, and for every suffering. With God’s help, I could look beyond the suffering, even when I was right in the middle of it. In the end, I was able to count the suffering as my blessing.

Post note: The highlighted links are linked to the previous 8 posts. I continue to suffer lymphedema (swelling) on left leg, and nerve damage on both legs resulting in tingling and poor circulation.

 

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