Lupus Gardening and the Last of the Baby Hats

I feel like I’m re-entering the lupus zone, that area where I feel like taking care of my body is a full-time job.  I’m in the cast shoe, my right foot hurts every day, and I’ve got various aches and pains cropping up on and off making the mornings more difficult and every chore a bigger chore.  In the face of all that, I chose to plant my tomato plants, and I guess I should explain a bit how that was possible. 


Eleven or fourteen years ago, when my disease was in its infancy, I spoke at an arthritis patient gathering.  I don’t remember if it was a mixed disease group or all lupus.  I gave a very esoteric talk on acceptance and attitude and gratefulness, sprinkled with Biblical references.  I know quite a bit of Bible for such an irreverent person.  While I was dabbling with this philosophical stuff, the next speaker talked about what to do with yourself, keeping busy and being productive.  Her far more useful talk ventured into the land of wheelchair gardening, and I learned a bunch of tips that have proved themselves over the years. 


For several not-so-smart years I tried to garden on the ground.  Every year I’d get started only to find that I couldn’t maintain the things I had planted.  I’d be too stiff, too sore, too tired, too sun-exposed…always too “something” to effectively work what I had planted.  When I remembered the woman’s advice, I became more successful.  I started planting in pots and keeping the pots in accessible locations, like on the porch or deck.  That would assure that I didn’t have to maneuver steps to get to the garden site.  It might make it more difficult, however, to get supplies to my garden, so it necessitated my finding an assistant.  That might seem like an easy problem when you have a child of your own, instant help, so to speak.  Hah!  You never met my child.  She was the Girl Scout who hated the outdoors, couldn’t stand for a worm to touch her, and grew weary of hiking after 100 yards on level terrain.  That, however, was not the end of it.  There are other children in the world besides your own.  And adults, too, for that matter.  Somehow I found help from other people’s children (especially if a small fee was offered), or from various friends, and they would do the work of helping me carry (or drag) heavy bags of dirt to the planting site, toting buckets of water, emptying the old pots at the end of a season, and other things I couldn’t manage alone. 


Back to the biblical stuff:  sometimes miracles happen.  This year my daughter put aside earthworm disgust and instant fatigue and helped me with the planting.  You saw the documentation of that two days ago.  She was there from beginning to end.   I wish I could say that I had been praying for this to happen, because then I could point to that and say “See?  God answers prayer!”  In truth, I am pretty fatalistic, and I believe that God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do, regardless of my begging.  But I’m happy for this result, whatever the cause.


Now I have to admit that I had some mechanical help in the form of a little rolling gardening stool.  Mine is called a Garden Hopper ( and I can store stuff in it, but it’s big value is in the way it rolls from one pot to the next.  It holds me at just the right height for reaching those low pots, as I’ve got them all sitting on the deck.  I suppose I could build some support shelves and have my pots waist high, but then I’d have to stand and tend them, and that is fraught with potential problems.  I’ve been fortunate to remain extremely limber, despite achy joints, and I can squat and stand back up with the best of them. 


You probably think I’ve forgotten that I promised to show my last baby caps.  I thoroughly enjoyed knitting the newborn caps for afghans for Afghans, and I sent off ten yesterday, all designs that I would put on my own baby.  My favorite yarn was the Superwash Worsted.  It had the softness and delicacy that you’d want in a baby item, with that sweet fuzziness that you can see in the photos below (the blue and rusty orange yarns).  The totally orange hat is finished at the top with a three-needle bind-off.  The blue and red hat is knit from the new Ulteppegarn yarn.  It has a blue single crochet border at the brim edge.  I made eyelets in the top to thread the tie through, then made a crocheted chain tie.  When I make those chain ties, I weave the ends in for a good ways, at least two or three inches, then cut them off.  I then make an overhand knot close to the end, so that the loose part is secured twice.                                                                  I’ll be glad to post instructions if anyone requests them. 




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