Monday, May 21, 2012

Avocados and the Holy Punch

“Avocados and the Holy Punch”

I went to bed last night with a pit in my stomach, and I woke up this morning with a feeling as if I had been punched. When I’m stressed, I have a tendency to press my hand firmly against my face while I’m sleeping. I woke up with a red pressure area on my chin. It’s faded now, but sore. My husband jokingly referred to it as the “Holy Punch!” Actually he called it something else, but I had to change the name for this public blog. I laughed.

Last night, I went from this amazing, overwhelmingly intense feeling of happiness, to an overall emotion of discouragement. (I am not manic.) Oddly, I was already expecting that type of story to be produced in that publication. A story that downplayed the hardships endured with accessibility from people living with disabilities within and around the ‘Holy City’. The story seemed to highlight the supposed valiant efforts of the city, many efforts that could be easily refuted in all areas of access, including parks.

A few weeks earlier, I had been interviewed by someone who very pleasantly surprised me as a Freelance Reporter with a very genuine and personal understanding of the needs of people with disabilities. She, and her parents have all endured hardships that have made them all very strong people. Understandably, I realize that newspaper Editors have a tendency to do what they do, and in my book this Reporter is still awesome for trying to tackle such an issue in a city that can’t face the truth that accessibility is nonexistent for the most part and incredibly dangerous! She also did an outstanding job with her writing, and using the appropriate terminology. (This was a condition of our interview.)

Fortunately some good came out of this report on the accessibility of the ‘Holy City’, and for that I’m appreciative. I’ve made new contacts, new friends, and have been introduced socially to real people who genuinely reflect a positive attitude, no matter what life throws at them. I’ve met real people who know the daily struggles of any person living with a disability. If you add to that, the lack of accessibility in every aspect of life, it is understandable why many are frustrated and discouraged with life in general.

Once again, I find myself digging very deeply within to find my smile, and to focus on the sunrise. This week, I have been listed as a Contributor with an International Publication on Horticultural Therapy and Horticulture. It’s still in the works, but it seems like a great opportunity. This will be an opportunity to have even more fun at doing something that I actually truly enjoy.

The pit in my stomach will disappear as I think about gardening. I see this as being a transformation very similar to that of an avocado becoming a tree, or a bean becoming a bush with lots of beans. The raised beds with vegetables that I planted just a few weeks ago are doing quite well. My new seedlings are reaching towards the sky. I had given up on growing veggies a few years ago, until last year when I saw the open spaces around my yard as an opportunity to grow something that I could actually eat. This year I decided to purchase a few elevated beds, and have them on my porch. I know the difficulties of pests, insects, and diseases when trying to grow anything.

Let the battle begin. The outcomes are certainly worth it. I try to utilize organic preventative practices whenever possible, because I’ve seen dead bees in my yard in the past. My Master Gardener friends would refer to this battle as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), with the use of either chemical/biological and mechanical controls. Last year, after encountering many daily insect battles, and after witnessing a tobacco horn worm eating my cherry tomatoes, bite by bite, I found myself becoming somewhat brutal with my hand pruning shears, with my secateurs. This was probably in July, when the temperatures were close to 100 degrees, and I found myself watering twice a day. (Probably after a meeting too.)

I know that a more ethical treatment would have been the use insecticidal soap, and to have handpicked the caterpillars off of my tomatoes, one by one, and to have placed them gently in a solution of dishwashing soap and warm water. This trick I actually learned from my genetics class in college when we were examining the traits in Drosophilae (fruit flies).

(They didn't have a snake....)

In life, some of us get bopped more frequently from the giant bop bag than others. (For those of you who have no idea of what I am referring to, a bop bag is an inflatable cartoon character, about 3 feet high, filled with sand at the bottom. You repeatedly hit it, and it continually comes back at you for you to whack again.) Others manage to avoid it completely. Regardless, we all deal with whatever life throws our way.

Avocados can turn dark very quickly. I learned a trick this past week regarding placing the actual avocado pit, (obviously being careful not to eat it, which seems impossible to do, but you never know), into the Guacamole to delay this process. I’ve always just used lemon juice, but I was told through a friend that this also works.

Occasionally, in the garden there are insects and pests that make our task seemingly never ending. Sometimes, we can simply remove these pests, or remove the damaged plant areas, and at other times we are forced to use whatever treatment we deem necessary. Hopefully, we opt for the safest treatment to avoid injuring the beneficial insects, and to reduce any potential toxic use of chemicals.

Dealing with equal accessibility in this area has definitely been very similar to getting whacked repeatedly. I question how some communities, i.e. Tybee Island, Georgia, can understand so well that good access is good business. Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell’s Inlet, SC has a beautiful and very accessible garden whereas some gardens keep using crushed stone or sand. Last week our media ran another story about how a women and her family was denied access to the beach because she had a service animal with her. It sometimes seems endless. To quote a new friend, SMH! (Shaking My Head!)


  1. Getting back up again-yep, that's all one can really do. Like coming home from a day of photography only to find out after the tiresome task of film development that the camera had sprung a light leak. bummed for sure. Back out again tomorrow. For a representative of the City of Charleston to say 100% access is the goal is a bit premature, if not downright arrogant. One needs to identify the problems first and then move forward. The city needs to LISTEN to those with accessibility issues!!

  2. Hi Brenda,
    I'm glad you found your smile again. Your raised beds look awesome. You pose some very interesting points in your post. I am finding accessibility issues in my area as I assist my mother (who is 89 and has difficulty walking.)