About Grunt and Grungy ...

For those of you who don't know about us, a little history to fill you in.

Between the two of us we had over a hundred years of experience gardening. (Now that makes me feel old.) We had gardened in climates that can be described as West Coast Marine, to Sub Arctic wilderness, to flat prairie and finally settled in what we commonly refer to as our little piece of paradise, here in the Creston valley, in south eastern B.C., Canada, located about 10 km. north of the Idaho panhandle and just below Kootenay Lake.
The property lies in a small microclimate that gives us a zone 5/6 Canadian version or 6/7 US version.
We were avid gardeners for years, and about 10 years ago noticed that more and more of the old varieties of vegetables were no longer being offered. Being raised in the generation that thought "if you aren't part of the solution, then you are part of the problem", we decided to start growing heirloom and open pollinated varieties of vegetables (especially tomatoes) and offering the seeds to other gardeners.
Well one thing lead to another and we ended up starting a private seed bank so that our and your grandchildren will be able to have the same tastes that you are having now. This past couple of years we had gone past tomatoes and started seed banking (cold and cool storage) any annual vegetable seed.
If you have questions or would like to contribute to this blog, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Also for those who wish to trade please contact me at the below e-mail address and I will get back to as soon as possible. Thank you.

I am sad to report that Dan McMurray passed away on February 15, 2012 at his home in Wynndel, British Columbia. Dan was 69 years old.

Much of the final years of Dan's journey is chronicled on this blog. He was a man who made a difference to many people, and his family believe that his thoughts in the last years and months of his life, and his work in preserving heritage seeds should remain available.


What I post about ways, methods, and results is based on what I observe in my garden. Your growing conditions may achieve results that differ from mine. I am putting this blog here to offer a site to exchange gardening ideas and methods, and to exchange seeds.
I welcome questions and discussions about anything gardening. The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask. I will try to find answers for questions that I can't answer, and may post links to sites that have clearer answers than I can come up with.


I do have tomato seeds to offer. The seeds are free, but I ask you to help cover the postage and handling in one form or another.
They can be obtained through trading seeds, or paying for postage at the rate of $2.00 for the first ten varieties or seed packs, and an increase of $1.00 for every ten varieties or seed packs beyond that. Seed packs are approximately 25 seeds each (not counted, just a pinch of seeds). Germination rate usually exceeds that of commercial seed packs. If you have problems with germination, let me know, and I will replace the seeds, either with more of the same variety, or with a variety that I think will give you something similar to what the original variety would have. Please note. I am not a seed company. Iwill only offer seeds from my current trade lists and also if I have lots to spare from previous years. I don't check germination on older seeds, but my experience has been over 80% on five year old seed.

2010 FALL SEED LIST = http://tinyurl.com/4whnxy3 Some seeds from this list may be in limited supply, but I will do my best to fill your request.

Albums containing photos of most of the varieties I have, and other photos that may be of interest, can be found at:
http://www.picasaweb.google.com/tvgrunt, or

When you have made up your list, send me a copy at grungysgarden@gmail.com

Changes ...

The status here has changed substantially, as you can see above. The blog will continue, hopefully with more frequent input than recently.
Seed saving and trading/sharing will also continue. I still want to bank seeds, not just of tomatoes, but I am older than the lead photo on the blog would indicate, and have passed the seed bank on to younger hands.
In the meantime, I will continue to pay it forward, and trade/share seed to all corners of the world, as I did with Val.
This poem, which we both have known since the 1960's gave us much comfort through Val's battle with cancer.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Life comes with no guarantee of quality or quantity. It is up to you to remember to smell the flowers, watch the sunset, hear the birdsong in early morning, and the spring frogs in the evening. What ever happens in your little corner of it, it is still a beautiful world, and you do yourself a great disservice if you fail to see and celebrate what is there.

A little footnote here, that will stay at the top of the blog. I have married again, for the fourth time. Another internet marriage, as Val's and mine was, and just as good, although completely different.
I was also diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2011, and started treatment to cure it in late August 2011.
The blog will carry on, in much the same vein as it always has. I will post mostly garden related articles, but also a few comments on things and life in general.
For a while, I thought Gump had it right = sh*t happens. He's wrong = LIFE happens

I am sad to report that Dan McMurray passed away on February 15, 2012 at his home in Wynndel, British Columbia. Dan was 69 years old. His family wishes his blog to remain for those who wish to read Dans' journey.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two weeks in

My first week of treatment consisted of 3 chemo sessions, and 4 radiation treatments. I am now in my third week of radiation, with another 3 sessions of chemo next week. Already feeling slight improvements, and so far, no bad side effects, although I know they are coming.

I'm staying in the Rotary Lodge behind Kelowna General Hospital during the week, and driving home Friday nights and back again Sunday evening, or Monday morning, if my first treatment is late enough in the day. It's a 5 hour drive each way, and I will go home every weekend, unless I start to feel too rough to make the drive. I have a mattress in the back of the Montana (all seats pulled to give me ample room), so I can pull over and recoup with a nap if need be.

Total treatment routine for me will be 12 chemo sessions = 3 consecutive days, a two week break then another 3 days, etc. and 33 radiation treatments. I expect things may start to get a bit unpleasant after about week four or five, but I am willing to be disappointed in that respect.

I've been taking Prednisone for a rash since just before the treatments started, and it is keeping my appetite at a higher than usual level, and my weight is staying up with no problem. I am also wired all the time, also due to the Prednisone. I'm walking 10 t0 15 kilometers a day (6 to 10 miles), just to keep the energy under control.

A note on the garden and home front = I have seeding tomatoes picked for almost everything now, and they are waiting in the greenhouse for me to process when I get home this weekend. I will have to do chemical processing for this years seeds = I'm only home for two days, and fermentation takes more than that here, but less than a week, which is when I would be here next to finish them.

I have about 60 varieties that I have to get seed from this year, and some of those will have multiple entries, because they are stabilization grow outs, and have presented more than one good expression. So I am looking at 70 to 80 batches of seed to process. I'm not really rushed on these, thanks to having the greenhouse to hold them in, so I'll split the time I have, and do a day of tomato squishing, and a day of bean picking = they can hang and dry in the greenhouse too.

In the two weekends I have been home, we've processed 46 quarts of tomato juice, and a half dozen quarts of kosher dills. Shaoling picks the tomatoes on Thursday, and cuts them into canning pots and puts them in the oven Friday evening to cook. Saturday morning we start processing the tomatoes into juice, and can them in the pressure cooker through the day. If there is more than one canner load, it goes in the oven Saturday night and gets processed before I leave Sunday afternoon.

It's going to get interesting a bit later, when the pears start wanting to be canned, and the apples are ready for juicing, and we still have tomatoes to process. Storage is going to become a bit of a problem for a while too, when I start bringing the squash in from the field = I have only a slight idea of just how many squash are out there hiding in the leaves. And I believe I have a few watermelon hiding someplace under the tomatoes and squash in the main garden. This weekend is going to full of discoveries, I think.

And the adventure continues.

1 comment:

  1. We think of you often, especially this time of year when we are harvesting all those wonderful tomatoes (and cabbage) you shared with us. I wish you the best of luck as you work your way through these challenging health issues.

    I'm not sure if you are into alternative medicines but my wife has recently read a book called "Essiac - A Native Herbal Cancer Remedy" written by Cynthia Olsen about Canadian nurse Rene Caisse who claims to have discovered a herbal remedy (Burdock, Sheep sorrel, Slippery elm, and Rhubarb root) that helps fight cancer...written in 1998.

    Keep fighting Dan, our thoughts and prayers are with you - Mike