Most mornings you will find the Springmoor Garden Club, a group of almost thirty gardeners: pulling weeds, watering plants or picking their vegetables. They are early risers and up and out before it is too hot each day. The season starts in April and will run through October. While the deer and the bunnies have had a healthy feast this year so have the residents at Springmoor. It’s an added benefit to live next door to one of the garden club members!
This week we asked them to write our garden story.
In preparation for planting, what did you do to prepare your section of the garden?
Everyone is extremely thankful for Thom Morgan, Springmoor’s Ground Manager, as he and his crew till the soil for each garden plot. After this step, everyone varies in their garden preparations. Because of the heavy mulch from years past, everyone has ample weeding to do. Some start in the late winter pulling weeds. Some use a weed-block. And others keep the weeds away, without using chemicals, by adding wood-chip mulch and newspaper (in abundance) to cover the ground. Lots of hoes and pole diggers were used to prepare the soil and plant.
What are you growing in your garden this year?
- The most popular plants this season were: tomatoes and peppers (sweet peppers and Tabasco peppers).
- Others vegetables included: cucumbers, squash, zucchini, okra, eggplant, and corn.
- Herbs on the list: basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, thyme, and rosemary.
- There were a few fruits: cantaloupe (hopefully writes the gardener) and watermelon (to cover the ground, decrease weed growth and keep the bunnies away).
- Flowers included: zinnias, snapdragons and marigolds. One gardener planted a pokeberry for the birds to enjoy!
Before you moved to Springmoor, did you have a garden? How long have you been gardening?
The answers for this questions range from “this is my first year” to “in my youth, my gardening was with my mother and dad.” She then added, “I can dig any problems, griefs, or hard feelings right into the soil.”
What’s different here than in your previous gardens?
These answers will make you smile. All of them were written with explanation marks (so be sure to read them that way too!)
- “Someone else tills the soil!”
- “There is loads of sunshine in the garden!”
- “I can’t shoot the bunnies here!”
- “Down East the soil is sand!”
Is there one vegetable, herb, flower or fruit that is more successful than another?
Most everyone agrees it’s the tomatoes. One gardener says, “The tomatoes make it all worthwhile.” From another gardener, “The cucumbers have done great. I harvest at least three a day. They put the tomatoes to shame!”
What have you done to keep the bunnies and deer from eating your crops?
A few helpful hints from our garden group: sprinkle cayenne pepper, plant marigolds, rosemary and hot peppers, add hair from your hairbrush, add a fence and/or pray! “Next year, I’ll plant melons too.” One gardener says that he’s had a bunny stretch out on the grass beside his plot as he worked and just waited for him to leave. “They are quite at home in this big garden!” And some write that they just “like to share. Well, the bunnies aren’t too good with sharing the parsley. They like to keep it all to themselves.”
What helpful hint can you pass along to new gardeners?
- Get a good helper!
- Don’t plant anything that won’t be used. Remember we don’t cook at Springmoor.
- Layer your plot with newspapers for control of weeds. It also helps hold the moisture in the soil. Cover with cypress mulch.
- Place a half bag of rich topsoil around each plant when you first plant it.
- Use an arbor to keep cucumbers off the ground.
- Keep flowers cut to keep them coming!
- Give tomatoes one inch of water per week.
- Plant early!!! You can always replant, but the early jump seemed to work well for others.
- Don’t give up! It’s fun and if things don’t pan out – there’s always next year!
- Be optimistic, water often, and ask advice from other gardeners.
- Don’t over fertilize and try to turn soil as deep as possible before planting.
- This one is the best: with a wink in her eye and a sly smile, she writes, “Get a BB gun, set up a tent by your plot, get comfortable and shoot the rabbits! Also, preparing the soil helps too.”
- How often do you work in your garden? What time of day?
Most of our gardeners are early risers and in the garden every two or three days. Before it’s hot they are out pulling on the weeds and watering. A few prefer the evening hours when there is more shade.
What happens to all of the items in your garden? Do you share with neighbors, cook them, can them, donate to the food bank or just eat them everyday?
Best advice from the blog writer – make friends with a gardener. They love to share their harvest.
What’s your favorite way to prepare you vegetables?
- Wash and eat!
- Tomato aspic
- Gazpacho – tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers (Vidalia onions and celery too)
- Cucumbers and vinegar
- Caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar
- But the all time favorite is the tomato sandwich – white bread and mayo!
Your first visit to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) involves research and planning. Where to go, what to look for and what questions to ask will require researching as well as visiting different communities in the area. With each phone call and visit, you will become more familiar with the questions to ask and the things on your list that are the most important.
Asking questions of friends and family will help narrow your search too. What have they seen? What do they recommend? What experiences have their friends and family had in area communities? What activities and amenities does each property offer? How long is the waiting list? What type of fee schedule is offered? What types of floor plans are available? Taking time to research your questions will help with your planning. And planning the search process at least five to seven years prior to a move is important too.
The Waiting List
After you have made a decision on the perfect place, the waiting list will be the next step. This wait time at Springmoor can be from a few months to five to seven years depending on your preferences. A down payment will be required to put your name on the list but you can then enjoy all the amenities and activities offered. Gardening with soon-to-be neighbors and dining in The Bistro; attending a musical event and a lecture; or using the Wellness Center Pool and Exercise facilities are all available to our waiting list residents. This will also be the time to begin downsizing.
We suggest you start working on this in stages: room by room and months ahead of your expected move date. It helps to go through your items in several steps. Start small with a drawer and then a closet. Move from room to room. From small pieces of furniture to larger ones, from photo albums to clothing, from kitchen accessories to items in your garage – the project can be overwhelming. Once you start, it becomes an easy task. Just starting is usually the hardest part.
Your name has been on the waiting list. You’ve looked at lots of apartments and locations and today the phone rings. It’s Springmoor. Your name has come to the top and the next apartment is yours! The location is perfect and the floor plan is just what you requested. It’s time to schedule a Selections Meeting and choose a mover. You will be given floor plans and templates to help you arrange your furniture. We will provide you with a list of movers and Senior Move Specialists that can help with the next steps.
Once you’ve said, “Yes” to the apartment, it is time to make it your own. During the first design meeting you will choose paint colors and flooring. Cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring might be chosen too if the apartment is scheduled for a complete renovation. You may also add a few personal touches: ceiling fans for the patio, bookshelves in the office or living room, closet shelving and rods, can lights or any other special features that will make your new house feel like home.
The Springmoor Residents’ Welcome Committee will be here to greet you the day you move in. There will be orientation meetings prior to your arrival with a member of the Marketing Department. The Welcome Committee will have dinner with you and introduce you to a few new neighbors. They will let you get settled and be back to help answer questions in a few days. Finding your way to the mailboxes, the Garden Cafe or an exercise class can be daunting when you are in a new place. Your neighbors have been through this first week of newness too. The Springmoor Staff as well as your neighbors will reach out to make you feel welcome. We are all glad you have chosen Springmoor to call home! Continue reading →
It’s time for an All-American Independence Day. What’s better than apple pie or juicy slice of watermelon, a hot dog with all the fixin’s or a delicious hamburger with fresh lettuce and tomatoes? Top it all off with fireworks and baseball and you have the perfect summer day!
Art Ernteman, Springmoor’s General Manager of Dining Services, was asked what’s on the menu for our July 4th Celebration. Of course, he is serving everyone’s favorites and adding a touch of stars and stripes to the dining rooms too. Along with the burgers and apple pie, he’s added okra and tomatoes, grilled zucchini, potato salad, sweet potato fries, rotisserie chicken and baked beans to the menu.
The July 4th menu will include one of everyone’s Springmoor favorites – Strawberry Fields Salad. He says it’s easy to make and can be served as an entrée salad.
Strawberry Fields Salad
- Grilled Chicken Breast
- Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles
- Spring Mix Lettuce
- Sliced Red Onion
- Fresh Sliced Strawberries
- Walnut Pieces
- Topped with a Honey Poppy Seed Balsamic Dressing (serves 8)
- ½ cup of Balsamic Dressing
- Add honey and poppy seed to taste
We look forward to an afternoon get-together in the Garden Grill and The Terrace Room for a fresh slice of juicy watermelon before your evening activities.
Are you entertaining family and friends this week too? Raleigh has a long list of local farms. Lyon Farms offers two choices: you can pick your own bucket of berries or drop by their neighborhood produce stand. A Creedmoor Farm since 1861, they bring their fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood during the growing season. They are located only a few blocks away on Creedmoor Road! For the best blackberries – and a day on the farm – you can pick your own from mid-June to the end of July. They have a large of assortment of fruits and veggies at the stand and also sell a few speciality items that you won’t want to miss: pickled items, strawberry lemonade, jams, cider and corn on the cob.
Page Farms is located only a few miles away too. If your family is in town and you want to explore “a little bit of country”, they suggest you come for a visit. Blackberry season is in full swing now on their farm too. You can pick your own or buy them by the pound.
What’s more All-American than apple pie? How about a little minor-league baseball while your family is here? The Durham Bulls and The Carolina Mudcats have stadiums that are only thirty minutes away. Both teams are in town this week and have special firework events scheduled for their 4th of July celebrations after the game. The Durham Bulls take on The Charlotte Knights at the DPAP in downtown Durham. And at Five County Stadium, in Zebulon, you will find the Mudcats and The Salem Red Sox.
After a burger and a slice of apple pie, you and your family might want to head downtown to join in the Raleigh festivities. The ‘Works! begins at noon. There will be live music, Aerial Performances, Cirque de Vol street performers and more. The fireworks begin about 9:30pm. This great show always lights up the Raleigh skyline.
The young dancer laces up her pointe shoes for the first time and the magic of the ballet begins. In her lifetime, as she advances through many lessons, auditions, performances and professional debuts she will go through hundreds of pairs of pointe shoes. A professional ballerina wears a new pair for each performance and a different pair for each rehearsal. In one season, she will wear 100 to 120 pairs of shoes at a cost of $80 each.
No two pairs are alike. No two dancers are alike. The process of finding the correct shoe for her foot and finding her manufacturer can be a long process for each dancer. The shoes are molded to fit a dancer’s foot, from the toe box to the satin heel; each shoe is created for an individual ballerina.
LaVerne and Bob Wells were living in Washington, DC during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Bolshoi Ballet was performing at The National Theatre and La Verne had two tickets. Bob remembers the story well. He had never been to a ballet and really didn’t think this would interest him. LaVerne talked him into going with her and the magic of the ballet – the dancers, the music and the performance – was amazing. He was hooked! When asked to describe the feeling, he simply asks with a smile, “Oh, have you ever been?”
When the Wells moved to Raleigh the local ballet company was still in their developmental stage. The two traveled through the south to many competitions to see International and National performances. In 1998, they became season ticket holders to The Carolina Ballet. They have since become sponsors of the pointe shoe program.
Elice McKinley was their first point shoe recipient. After many years of dancing, she has recently retired at the age of 30. The Wells had not only watched her career but become personal friends as well. Meeting her often before or after a performance. The couple was recently paired with McKenzie Van Oss, who joined the company in 2015. She began her training when she was only a toddler, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. And has officially become part of the Carolina Ballet at the age of 21. She has also studied classical piano.
The Wells have been fans of the Carolina Ballet for the past twenty years. They rave about the addition of Robert Weiss, former Artistic Director of the Pennsylvania Ballet and principal dancer at New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. He was hired in 1997 to move the regional dance company, Raleigh Dance Theatre, Inc. to a professional company status. The Wells agree that the company is now one of the Top 10 in the nation. The North Carolina Symphony often accompanies the Carolina Ballet. There is an artistic staff of the thirteen; an administrative staff of twenty-seven and numerous volunteers all supporting the forty-four dancers.
Since their move to Springmoor, the Wells have changed their season tickets to the Sunday matinee performances. Joining their neighbors, they can travel together on the bus, arrive at the door and never worry about parking, traffic or the weather. Springmoor takes them from door to door for each performance. They often go on their own to watch a dress rehearsal or to a social event sponsored by the volunteer supporters. Continue reading →
National Best Friend Day seeks to celebrate best friends and the contribution that best friends make in our daily lives. They are the person that you can always rely on, someone genuine, trustworthy and who accepts you for who you are.
Today, we celebrate the many friends we have at Springmoor. Some are life-long friends, some met in college and have reconnected again in retirement, some met at work and some met when they moved in next door to each other.
Peggy and Eunice
Peggy Blackburn and Eunice Bland met each other at the puzzle table. The two moved to Springmoor from the Raleigh area. Eunice moved to Springmoor from Wake Forest, a small town north of Raleigh, twelve years ago. Peggy moved onto the same hall just three years ago. The first puzzle they did together was one that Gail Jens spread out for those on the hallway to work on as a group. Since then, they have inherited many from Eunice’s daughter. They’ve never done the same one twice and much prefer those with photos from North Carolina. Eunice likes to sort her pieces by color. Peggy sorts them by shape. Eunice wonders if they are “left brain and right brain friends.”
One Word Description
When asked to describe their friend in one word, they both found that much to difficult. One word was not sufficient! Eunice says of Peggy, “She is fun, friendly, and a wonderful care-giver.” Peggy describes Eunice as a “Saint. She is so very good to everyone. She visits the Stewart Health Center everyday to say hello to her friends.” She takes her little poodle Ginger too.
Similar and Different
Peggy loves to cook and was preparing special treats for her family’s beach trip this afternoon. Eunice was quick to say that Peggy chooses something special for each one of them. They will all stop by tomorrow on the way out of town to pick up something from their mom’s kitchen. Cheese straws, chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate cheesecake have all been prepared today.
Eunice likes to cook too, but loves sporting events! Whatever the season, she has a team to cheer for: the Golden State Warriors, the Red Sox, Davidson College and UNC. “Oh yes, anything Carolina” adds Peggy, “we love to cheer for them too!”
The two grew up in North Carolina. Eunice grew up on a Harnett County farm in central North Carolina while Peggy was raised in Marion in the western part of the state. They have both landed in Springmoor’s West Wing and met at the puzzle table. Sitting for hours, sometimes not saying anything but enjoying the excitement of building a puzzle together. And sometimes, chatting more than puzzle making. Ginger is usually not far away, curled up on the floor beneath their chairs.
Nadine and Jan
Nadine Tope and Jan Christensen met at North Carolina State University. They moved to Raleigh, Nadine from Indiana and Jan from Wisconsin, within eight years of each other. They both started careers in the Cooperative Extension Agency at NC State. Nadine’s department prepared the research and Jan’s department edited the publications. The two, although in the same office, never did much outside of the office together.
The both retired from the university in the early 90’s. At a home economics office event Jan heard Nadine say she was looking for someone to go to the NC Symphony. Jan was quick to raise her hand and say, “Oh, I will go!” They have been going to both the Pops, Classical and Summerfest series together ever since. They have North Carolina Ballet tickets too.
Jan, the “avid sports fan” (as Nadine describes her) is the one that gets the tickets for NC State Basketball (both men and women’s games), NC State football, an occasional Hurricane Hockey game and Durham Bulls baseball games. Nadine tags along for the excitement.
Similar and Different
Jan is the “wild traveler” having visited eighty-eight different countries while Nadine is the homebody. Jan lives on the 4th floor and describes her apartment view as “living up in the clouds” while Nadine lives on the ground floor, her view is much more “down to earth.” They both agree this seems to also describe their personalities. Nadine has a dog and a cat that keep her grounded. Jan lives with her suitcase packed and always ready for the next adventure. They both love to learn and have found participating in the OLLI (a continuing education program) at NC State is a great way to keep their minds active. And they share a similar taste in ice cream – when asked their favorite flavor, in unison, they both said “moose tracks.”
Friends for more than forty years, the two have dinner plans tonight with the Springmoor Out-To-Dinner group. 42nd Street is where you will find these two NC State retirees on this National Best Friend Day. Continue reading →
The sisters began working at Springmoor when the North Village wing was only built out to Apartment 228. South Village was on the architect’s desk and the West Wing was just red mud. That was thirty-three years ago.
Sisters, Barbara Venson and Sandra Harris have been Springmoor employees for thirty-three years. Their sister, Linda discovered Springmoor first. She encouraged the two of them to apply for a housekeeping job too. Barbara took Linda’s advice and joined the staff. Within a month, Sandra had joined her sisters too. The family (all six siblings) has their mother’s work ethic. They are proud to say that she continued to work until she was 87 years old. Keeping a clean house and taking care of her children and their children was part of who she was.
Barbara says with a big smile, like her mother, she has a hard time “just sitting around,” she much prefers to be doing something. Whether it is working in the yard or cleaning her own house: she likes to be moving around. She is an early riser and loves her job and the residents at Springmoor. In her quiet time, she does enjoy a good book. She has always been an avid reader. Sandra says that since Barbara was a little girl she has always had her nose in the books. When she can find time, a good walk in the neighborhood on a beautiful North Carolina day is another favorite pastime.
The two sisters live only a few blocks away from work. They share a house and all the household chores. While Barbara is keeping things clean and tidy, Sandra can be found in the kitchen preparing the meals. Cooking, shopping and a good movie are Sandra’s favorites activities. Barbara is happy to brag on her sister’s cooking skills, “Her ribs are the best!” After work, they can be found at their favorite Harris Teeter picking up a few more ingredients for tonight’s dinner. It’s usually something quick after a long day on their feet.
The Extended Family
North Village residents are happy to have both sisters working on their side of the Springmoor campus. They each are assigned four resident’s apartments a day. Barbara worked in the villas and homes for over fourteen years but now can be found inside the East and West wing apartments. She is a floater: cleaning her assigned apartments as well as filling-in where she is needed, training new housekeepers and also assisting with management duties. Sandra can be found most often in the West wing. They both love a clean house and they both love their job!
The residents have become family to the sisters. They have shared many hours cleaning but more importantly being a friend, listening to a story, helping with a small task or finding a missing key. Springmoor Residents, Lorine Calloway and Peggy Blackburn consider the two as great friends of theirs, “They are very special sisters to all of the residents. They always ask about our families.” Lorine says, “They make my day! They always greet me with a great smile.” The residents are the most important part of their job. The laughs they have shared are numerous!
Sandra loves to tell the story of the resident that dressed up for Halloween to scare his housekeeper. He put on a monkey’s mask and patiently waited for her to arrive. While waiting, he crawled onto the bed and fell asleep. We will never know who laughed and who screamed more. The surprise on both of their faces was a story that has lived on for many years!
Another resident asked if her housekeeper could help find her second pair of glasses. She was watching TV and could not seem to see things clearly. After an extensive search through drawers and cabinets and under the bed and through the kitchen and all the coat pockets the two decided that the glasses must have been left somewhere on campus. When they could search no more, the housekeeper, looking at the resident, realized the glasses were right in front of them. Both pairs were on her nose. No wonder things were so blurry! What a laugh they shared with each other.
Mary Daniel, the North Village Housekeeping Supervisor, says these two are shining stars! “They have always been great workers and are very dependable. You can count on them to do anything asked of them.” At one time, Mary also had two of her own sisters working at Springmoor. “When you know how to treat your family with love then you really can treat others the same way. They are a joy to have as part of the team.” Continue reading →