Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday - My Avon Walk Update and the Kindness of Strangers….

Wednesday I had to take my poor fourteen year old car in for repairs and decided to walk home instead of asking a friend to give me a lift.  

From my mechanic’s garage to my front door is a a ten-mile trek and the longest walk I’ve done so far but there’s less than a month till the Avon 40-mile walk for breast cancer and I need to get my body prepared for the two days of 8-hour walks.

So after dropping off the car at 8:30 am.   I started out on foot towards home with my backpack, water, a snack, camera, lip gloss and some of my donation cards to hand out.  

My first stop was at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. I handed out a few of my Avon Page donation cards, told my story and asked a few people to sponsor me. 

One man was very direct and told me that he couldn’t. He said his wife died from lymphoma and he had just lost house to foreclosure.   I told him I understood and was very sorry to learn about his misfortunes, after all, these are very tough times we’re living in, but a few minutes later when I was sitting at a table with my coffee and breakfast sandwich he came over and handed me a $20 bill and told me about his sister-in-law, aunt and several other women in his family who had all died in just the last ten years from breast cancer.

Let’s just say it was everything I could do to keep from tearing up. 

The rest of the walk took me three hours and 20 minutes and that included a stretching stop, water stop, breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and some picture taking.

Some scenic spots that I passed along the way.Lamprey River Falls, Raymond

Goose Pond Farm - Fremont








Aside from being mildly sore and really tired which had nothing to do with walking and everything to do with not sleeping well the night before, I felt great!   In fact I felt good enough to walk another five miles the following day.

Exeter River viewing area - Odell Rd Sandown

Old Fremont (Poplin) Town Pound








I’m getting fitter with each walk.

As of today I’ve reached about 50% of my fundraising goal but here is where the kindness of strangers comes into play…

There’s less than 35 days till my walk on May 14th and I still have about $900 to raise.   Maybe that seems like a lot but I think of it as $10 from 90 believers, 90 followers and 90 friends who are like me and have a family member or friend who’s been affected with this disease or who don’t want to see the next generation at risk.

Remember it’s not just breast cancer that’s benefitting from this fundraising—it’s all cancers because many of the new treatments that are developed to treat breast cancer will  also be used in treating other aggressive cancers.

Won’t you help me meet my goal—$10.00, that’s all I ask. 

What would you be willing to give up in order to donate $10.00? 

Lets see… $10.00 will buy five FQ’s or a couple of dahlia bulbs, two flats of summer annuals, six packages of seeds, two value meals at McDonalds.  Would it be worth giving up just one of those things to end breast cancer?   To me it would be.

Please click on the “PINK” Avon Walk button in the top left of the page or go  HERE to support my walk today.  I do need your help.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


P.S.  In case you need another incentive to donate how about a super FREE give-away because every one who sponsors my walk will be entered into the drawing for my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, “Hope’s Garden”

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Forcing Branches

Remember the poem…”April showers bring may flowers”…?  Well you can have them earlier than May.

april 5, 2011 013Every year, I cut some forsythia and fruit tree branches and bring them indoors to use for my Easter centerpiece.  I like to arrange them in a large vase with tulips and other spring flowers.

I select my branches from trees that are early bloomers like wild cherry and plum. Though, it’s also possible to force lilacs and  early flowering azaleas,  the results aren’t always as good.

Forcing branches is simple and almost foolproof.  Timing is the most important consideration because once the flowers open up, they only last a very short time. 

Pick your branches no more than five to seven days ahead of when you plan to use them.  Look for branches with large swollen buds (these usually contain the flowers) or look for buds that are showing some color.

april 5, 2011 021If you look at the picture of the lilac buds (above) you can see a marked difference in the size of the buds.  The larger terminal buds (on the tips) contain flowers.  The smaller side buds contain leaves.

Cut the branches at an angle and try to take branches that really need to be pruned out so that you don’t ruin the shape of your shrub.

It helps to crush the ends of the branches a bit with a mallet or small hammer.  This will allow them to take up water faster.   Before you put the branches in your vase, trim all the leaves and buds below the waterline so that it doesn’t pollute the water.  You can add a drop of chlorine bleach to the water to prevent bacteria build up too.april 5, 2011 012

Now put your vase of branches where they’ll stay cool, like an unheated garage or covered porch.  They’ll continue to open up but the cold will slow them down so they won’t bolt or bloom before you need them.  Check the water daily and add more if needed. 

About two to three days before you want them to open, bring your branches indoors into a warm sunny room to finish opening. 

april 5, 2011 014Experiment—try different shrubs and flowering trees.  Trees and shrubs that bloom early in the season work best.  

Don’t be surprised if some branches develop roots. Forsythia roots very easily and you can plant the rooted cuttings.    

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mother Nature’s April Fool’s Day Joke

Who would think that Mother Nature would be the April Fool’s trickster this year! 

Just when  I’ve got the water situation in the garage under control…

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(Ernie decided to write his name for posterity in the wet cement that Handyman Jerry used to patch the garage floor around the new sump pump. )

and I’m ready to write some gardening tutorials about forcing branches, farmer’s markets, early veggie crops & planting seeds she decided to let winter have a last laugh and drop eight inches of snow last night!

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(Does this crabapple tree look happy?)

So my attention is again diverted to my other  projects like doing some more fundraising for my Avon walk…April Fool's Day 2011 009

and making a laptop sleeve (tutorial to come)… 


and repairing some vintage doll clothes for a Cabbage Patch doll collector.  Some of these outfits are very hard to find and worth quite a bit of money.  

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I’m heading out to start up “Deere Jane” and clear the driveway of snow—hopefully for the very last time!  Sigh.