Although AJ and I have been doing well, all is not happiness and light in the park.
In July, Gary passed. He was suffering from cancer, which took over his entire body before he relinquished. Gary was a quiet and seemingly peaceful man who lived in the back of the park. He was only in his mid fifties when the disease took his life. We have heard that Gary was a rough and tumble guy, with a penchant for hard drugs, in his youth. However, the man we knew was a gentle giant who cared for his mother at the end of her life and always took our neighbor, Carrie, to the store until he was no longer able to do so. Rest in Peace, Gary.
Jack, the atomic veteran and hoarder, who lives behind us, is in the hospital. He had some discs removed from his neck; and I am told that when they were transporting him to the rehab facility, three paramedics dropped him and fell on top of him. Word is that he may be sent to a nursing home, instead of returning to the park. I think this would be in his best interest, as his living conditions are far beyond unsafe and unsanitary. I’m hoping that he gets placed in a nursing home nearby, so that I can go visit him. He really is a fascinating guy, and I’d love to document some of his stories in a more comfortable setting than the cluttered heat of his yard. My hope is that he finds comfort and cleanliness at the end of his life; and in a fit of selfishness I find myself wishing that his accumulations will soon be removed from our back yard. Although my anti-clutter trellis has managed to disguise much of the junk, I still have concerns about wandering roaches and rats, which will be rendered homeless when he is gone.
Carrie is not doing so well. We feel so helpless as we witness her gradual deterioration. Her mind seems to be holding fairly steady, but her physical state continues to decline. Last week she fell on her way to the bathroom. Her tale of crawling (first to the kitchen table and then to the living room chair) to right herself, was mortifying. What do you do with a strong-willed, independent woman who professes that she would rather die than go into a home? The worst part is that her air-conditioner has completely quit. So, while we languish in our cool environment, she is roasting in the sweltering heat! I am sickened by the thought, but am unable to help her. AJ spent half the day trying to fix her AC, and I have posted an ad on craigslist in search of some window units. If I can’t find something in the next day or two, I will have to call social services and see about getting a case worker assigned to her. I feel like such traitor, but I don’t know what else to do!
The garden is pretty weak. The pepper plants are hanging in there. The stevia is doing OK (although, I’m not sure what stevia is supposed to do). The weedy greens like Okinawan Spinach, Purslane and Amaranth are doing great, while the green onions and basil are limping along.That’s about it for the Oasis, as the nematodes have decimated everything else.
O2 is not doing much better. I have harvested quite a few Jalapeño peppers, and another, smaller pepper given to me from my cousin Alan. The Culantro continues to produce, as well as the rosemary. Because of the nematodes I have all but abandoned the garden. AJ has taken over with planting pineapple tops (mostly donated by our neighbors, Jane and Barry.) The pineapples and the sea beans seem to thrive, no matter what. The sea beans are a wild native ground cover that produce pretty, round leaves and purple flowers. As you can see in the photograph, they have filled up the trellis and are doing a good job of blocking the view of “Hoarder Haven”.
Well, that catches me up on the park business. I have one more post to share the recipe of a hot sauce I made today. I’m not too shy to admit that it might be one of my best concoctions, yet!
Come back tomorrow for that recipe. Better yet, come on down for a taste of the real thing!