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!
A mother with her toddler son, a husband with his young wife, a daughter with her frail father – they sit in the emergency room waiting with fear of the unknown. Once ushered back to a room, multiple doctors, nurses and technicians come in to ask questions, take them for tests and administer medications. Waiting for the answer can take hours. Waiting for the pain to subside is difficult. Having a family member or friend with you makes all of this a little easier.
At Springmoor, we are all family. If a resident needs to go to the Emergency Room for a fall, for shortness of breath or any other need, we will go too! A family member is always called first. However, often the family lives out of town or even out of state. Perhaps they are traveling on business or even tied up in a meeting. If they can’t go with their family member, we will.
There are ten administrative staff members that rotate a pager through the business week. A Stewart Health Center employee carries it during the evening hours and the Springmoor Senior Staff carries the pager on the weekends. There is always an extended family member here for our residents.
An administrative staff member writes, “Our primary goal is to make sure our residents feel connected to us and do not feel alone. One of the best feelings I have when accompanying them is the gratitude they show and the feeling that I am able to help during a time of distress. One of my most recent experiences is with a resident who had no family locally or even in the state. When I arrived at the Emergency Room, I introduced myself. The resident smiled and said thank you for coming. I then asked her if she needed me to stay or if she felt okay by herself. She asked that I stay a little while until she knew what was happening. While she was being assisted, she periodically looked at me and smiled. Once, when I stepped out of the room, I heard her ask, “Where did my lady go?” She seemed relieved when they told her I was still there but standing outside the door, waiting to come back in. When I returned, she looked at me again and smiled. The look of relief and peace on her face was priceless. Although she never really said anything to me while she was there, her expression and smile was all I needed.”
From another staff member: “I have been many times to the ER with residents. The first question asked of me is usually from a nurse, ‘Are you a family member?’ When I reply, ‘No, I’m just a friend. I am from Springmoor.’ Their response is always one of surprise and appreciation.
While waiting for doctors and tests results, the resident often wants to call their family. I have offered my phone or even taken notes from the nurse to ask the family. I have been there to fluff a pillow, raise the bed, get water or call for a bedpan. Laying on stretcher in the ER can be a stressful experience for anyone. Being in pain makes this even more difficult. Having a friend eases the burden. I have heard numerous stories about resident’s children, their family, their travels, their childhood homes and so much more. These stories warm my heart. We may not have even known each other when I arrive but afterwards, I feel like I have a new parent, a new friend. This time together has always felt like we both were given a special gift.
Our Chaplains visit residents in the hospital on a daily basis. Robin says of this unique service, “One of the many remarkable things that makes Springmoor stand out from other retirement communities is its staff. Not only is the staff dedicated to their unified mission of making each day special and valuable for each resident, Springmoor employees have put in place extra steps to ensure resident satisfaction on every level. The emergency pager policy is one of these steps.
This seemingly small task is a huge gift. The staff person, carrying the pager, has to stop what they are doing and perhaps have others cover for them while they go to one of the several area hospitals. I have seen first hand, as a chaplain, how very important this service is for the resident who finds themselves unexpectedly in the Emergency Department. Sometimes they have only a short visit with a staff person, as a family member arrives quickly, or sometimes it can be a long day. We all know how slow time moves in the ER. This small gesture, of not being alone in the time when you feel the most vulnerable, is so appreciated by the residents, their families and the chaplains. These busy Springmoor employees help lend that comforting hand for your loved ones, when an emergency arises.” Continue reading →
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 →
This week we asked the Springmoor Residents as well as the Staff where they were going for their summer vacations. The answers varied from short in-state trips to long overseas excursions. Join us as we travel from coast to coast by air, by sea and by car.
We will be heading to the Metro Detroit area to visit family in Michigan. We lived there for 23 years and will see family in Troy, St. Clair Shores and the Clinton Township. My mother, brother and sister-in-law will make the trip with us from North Carolina.
I’m hoping to take my children the Detroit Zoo because I loved going there when I was a kid!
Art and Architecture
My Daughter-in-Law and I share a “Girls Only” vacation each year. Our trip is art museum focused. This year we chose to widen that focus to include naturally occurring art as well, as we visited the Grand Canyon and the Red Rocks of Sedona. We included the art of architecture by including the Arizona Biltmore and Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Designs.
Of course, no art focus is complete without a visit to a formal art museum so we enjoyed the collections of the Phoenix and the Heard Museums. As we parted ways at the airport for return to the West and East Coasts, the final conversation was about where our vacation destination would be next year!
We have recently returned from a glorious two-week tour of Scandinavia. The highlight of the trip was the hundreds of waterfalls we saw in Norway. We were not on a cruise. We prefer traveling with a group by bus and crossing countries to see the interior while learning how the local folks live their lives. A bus trip provides the advantage of a guide who feeds you knowledge of every sight you pass along the way.
A bus tour also offers you instant new friends – our group of forty travelers included twenty from Australia. We learned about life in Australia, as well as life in Scandinavia.
We have recently returned from a road trip to visit friends in Foley, Alabama on the upper Gulf Coast. We are planning a midsummer drive (after our first grandson arrives) to South Florida’s Gulf Coast to visit friends in Bonita Springs and Fort Myers, where we lived for fifteen years. This will be our first return since moving to Springmoor in October 2015.
Late in summer, if not early fall, we will drive to Naperville and Chicago, Illinois to visit more friends. We were students at Memphis Central High School with all of these friends. The three trips will average a minimum of 35 hours and 1,600 miles but we no longer enjoy flying so a road trip is our favorite style!
We will be going to Oak Island on our annual family beach trip with my mother’s family. This year will be the 54th year our family has gone as one unit. We drive there and now have to occupy two houses. We continue the tradition with my mom’s siblings. It has become the highlight of my girl’s summer. They cannot wait to be there all week with their four cousins. We still play putt-putt in the Annual Family Challenge game, eat at the same restaurant that we have for over 20 years and we always go get Italian Ice.
We will also head back to the OBX for a long weekend to celebrate my third daughter’s graduation. We will rent an RV and stay at Cape Hatteras as we navigate the rest of Hwy. 12. We also escape to Topsail Island every chance we get, including this weekend!
We are just got back from a very quick trip to Iowa. There was lush, beautiful greenery along the roadside with the mimosa trees in full bloom. There was mostly calm traffic. And only a few rain showers along the way.
The trip highlights included a family luncheon, a short Lutheran Commitment Ceremony and a drive with my sister to Nauvoo, Illinois, where we admired the outside of the reconstructed temple and stopped at the LDS Visitors’ Center where we viewed an interesting video, “Remembering Nauvoo.”
We are going to Cape Lookout. We have never been there before. There will be four or five boats going with lots of friends on board!
We are headed to Orlando to see grandchildren and of course, their parents, too. Yes, we’ve been there before and will be there many more times in the future.
We are planning a trip to Canada later. I want to go whale watching, see Niagara Falls from the north side, and eat French food!
Wyoming and Utah
Our vacation for the summer starts the last week in June with the Caravan Tour Company. We will fly into Rapid City, South Dakota and journey via bus, river float trip, and more to Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse; Little Big Horn, Montana; Yellowstone, Wyoming; the Grand Tetons and Jackson and end in Salt Lake City, Utah.
We are going by ourselves and will join with probably thirty-five or more people on the tour, generally from all over the country. With the exception of Yellowstone, everything will be new to us.