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!
Update September 8th
Q: I have a large opaque bowl that has been identified as a piece of Paden City Glass. I can't find this type of glass mentioned in any of my reference books. Can you help me? -- Dot, Hammond, La.
A: The glass company was established in Paden City, W.Va., sometime during the early decades of the past century. During the 1920s, the company expanded its production to include colored wares in crystal and opaque glass in a variety of patterns and styles. The Paden Glass Company built a reputation for its high standards of homemade wares until about 1950, when under new management, the plant was automated. Paden Glass later closed due to financial problems. One of the best sources is "Glass A to Z" by David Shotwell and published by Krause Books.
Q: I have a series of maps, mostly from the 1870s and 1880s, and all documenting regions in North and South America. I would like to have them appraised. -- Brett, Weston, Conn.
A: Kevom James Brown, owner of Geographicus Fine Antique Maps, appraises maps for about $50 each. He does not purchase maps that he appraises, as he sees that practice as a clear conflict of interest. Contact for Brown and Geographicus is 201 W. 105th Street, New York, NY 10025; http://www.geographicus.com; and 646-320-8650.
Q: I have a planter that features a poodle design. It was made by Hull Pottery and given to me as a gift. -- Susan, Mason City, Iowa
A: I found your planter referenced in "Warman's Hull Pottery: Identification and Price Guide" by David Doyle and published by Krause Books. According to Doyle, your planter is valued in the $20 to $40 range and was a "novelty" product of Hull.
Q: I have a copy of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens published in 1935 by Dodd, Mead & Company. Can you tell me how much it is worth? -- Lillian, Marion, Ind.
A: I contacted several used book dealers about your novel, and they seem to agree it is probably worth about $35. The value of a book is determined by several factors including condition, rarity and edition.