Gardening with Arthritis
Many mornings I fill the bathroom basin with really warm water, plunge my hands in and keep them there for several minutes. I find it to be the best ways to get rid of the stiffness that sets in during the night as I sleep. Like so many of you who read my columns, I have serious arthritis issues in my hands yet I like to garden. I also have two knee replacements and though the knees don’t hurt, I still find it difficult to get up and down in the garden without some pain in other joints. So, I thought I’d offer a few tidbits on how to make your gardening experience more enjoyable.
Let’s start with our bodies. Even in warm weather it might be very beneficial to wear warm protective gloves on arthritic hands. Gardening gloves should be a must, regardless, but wearing them to keep your hands warm helps keep the joints supple. Garden in moderation. Rather than several hours of potentially exhaustive and painful outdoor work, break up your time with rest periods where you can relax your joints, massage your hands and catch your breath. The garden will wait for your return!
Perhaps even more important than the obvious care of our arthritic hands and joints are the tools we place in those hands. The Fiskar Company has several nice tools for gardening including their Micro-Tip® Easy Action™ Scissors which have earned the Arthritis Foundation’s commendation for ease of use. These scissors, which retail for $17.99, automatically open after each cut which eases hand strain. A second Fiskar tool is the Power Grip pruner which uses a rachet and gear system to easily cut through ¾ inch branches without straining your hands and retails for about $29.99.
One final Fiskar garden tool is the line of Power Gear Loppers that range in price from $26.99 to $45.99. This tool also received a commendation for ease of use from the Arthritis Foundation. The Fiskar Company has done a lot to help those with arthritis enjoy gardening and their web site http://www2.fiskars.com/Gardening-and-Yard-Care has many more product descriptions.
Following are three sites that will provide helpful hints and ideas for reducing your gardening pain. Ten tips for gardening with arthritis: http://www.everydayhealth.com/arthritis/10-tips-for-gardening-with-arthritis.aspx
Tips for reducing pain while gardening: http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/everyday-solutions/do-it-easier/yard-and-garden/gardening-arthritis.php
Handy garden tools: http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/everyday-solutions/do-it-easier/yard-and-garden/garden-tools.php
In any case, what matters most is simply getting out into the garden. Some days I drag my pain with me but in a few minutes, among the flowers, the butterflies, the zooming Purple Martins, I find the pain diminishes and my spirits are boosted. So, don’t let the pain keep you inside looking out the window! Read some tips, get some tools and get back into the garden!
Q: I have a Liberty Bell cookie jar that is marked with the dates 1776-1976, so I assume it was made to commemorate our country’s bicentennial. Is this something worth keeping?
A: I think you are probably correct that your cookie jar was manufactured to observe the 200th anniversary of the United States. Although there are a few collectors of bicentennial items, it will take a little more time before many of the items are all that much in demand. I have spotted plates, cups, posters and, yes, cookie jars at antiques malls and in shops, but prices do not seem to be increasing all that much. My advice is to keep your cookie jar, since it will probably be more valuable in the future. How much, I can’t begin to guess.
Q: I have a three-speed Capitol phonograph that my mother purchased for me 60 years ago when I was a teenager. Capitol only made a few, and mine still is in working order and in excellent condition. How much is it worth?
A: I spoke to several collectors, and they seem to agree that your phonograph would sell in the $75-$150 range. In your letter you also listed several other items, including dishes and guitars. Let me state again that in this column I do not make appraisals and take only one question at a time.
Q: I have an original edition of the Stars & Stripes newspaper announcing the end of World War II. I would like to know what it is worth.
A: Timothy Hughes is one of the leading newspaper dealers in this country and has bought, sold and appraised vintage publications for more than 30 years. His contact information is P.O. Box 3636, Williamsport, PA 17701; firstname.lastname@example.org; and 570-326-1045. Check out his website at www.rarenewspapers.com.
Q: I have an Elks Jim Beam decanter from 1968. What do you think it is worth?
A: I found the decanter on eBay. It sold at auction for $12, which is probably close to what it is actually worth.