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.

Monday, January 23, 2012

One more step down the road


Well, the stent has been installed, with an immediately noticeable improvement in blood flow. I could feel the difference before they finished the cleanup. Still had some initial swelling left, which went away and returned several times over the course of the first day and a half, with no discernible reason for any of it. It seems to have settled at partial facial swelling now, noticeable to me, but perhaps not everyone else. I can lean forward, bend over, and kneel now without feeling like my head is going to pop, so the main purpose of the stent (reopening the flow in the Vena Cava) has been achieved. I am now learning what pace I can do things at = for the past almost two months, I have been able to do nothing but walk, and that at a greatly reduced pace. I can walk a bit faster now, but that is going to have to be explored, to see what is a comfortable pace now, that will not have me chuffing in a block or two.


I chased the snow blower yesterday, at a much reduced pace from what I am used to, but I managed to do almost all of what I wanted to before I wore out for the day. Got up today, and rediscovered the “pleasures” of over doing it on muscle sets. It has been so long since I have done anything using more than walking muscles, that I feel every stria of muscle that was used more than once yesterday. Break out the menthol cream, and coat the affected parts. With in the hour, most of the pain is gone, but the muscles still don’t want you abusing them again. I will hit the area with more menthol tomorrow, and push myself into service. It’s the only way to get past this in any decent sort of time = work through it. I am going to do extremely easy work, to give myself a bit of a break, but I will work through it

Things change even as I write this from day to day. I have been modifying the results in the past, but I think that is a mistake now. I will leave what gets written as things progress. It will help me keep better track of what is going on too. The fluctuations in facial swelling seem to have subsided now, and my throat has stopped puffing. I am a bit fuller in the face than I remember, but I can live with that. Still feeling slightly out of phase with the universe, but not bad enough to quantify. It will change or not, and I will get on with my life.

I have to drive over to Trail tomorrow morning (about 90 miles) through one of the more notorious mountain passes. I am getting an echo-doppler scan of my heart, what ever that is. Because of the time of year and the weather we have been having, I have to plan in an extra two to three hours travel time, to allow for avalanche control.


Just back from the “echo doppler “ scan (read ultrasound) of my heart. The “pericardial effusion” (read fluid around the heart) is gone, the rest seems to be okay. The fluid was the initial reason for the scan = to see if it had increased enough to be causing the backup effect on blood flow. I was fairly sure the fluid had departed before i got the scan = I have been feeling radically better in the past 24 hours, and at the same time, dropped almost 8 lbs of weight = the only way I could drop that much weight in that short a time is by passing it out of my body, and I can assure you I would have definitely have noticed that amount of solids leaving me. Initially the weight loss alarmed me, as i have been fighting to maintain weight, even when my appetite was flagging. My chest and abdomen feel much better than they have for weeks. My breath comes easier, i have far fewer undefinable pains in my chest (you know the ones = your not sure if they are muscle aches from some action you have performed, a knock you don’t remember, or what). My stomach no longer feels slightly off, making it much easier to get enthusiastic about approaching a meal. It may all be just coincidence, but I will put it down to the stent returning blood flow to normal, which gave the rest of the systems a chance to repair and reset to a more normal function.

I have already regained about 2 lbs of the initial weight loss, and will likely be able to put most of the loss back on just by cutting back on coffee a bit (coffee is a great natural diuretic, but I don’t want to dehydrate), and eating normal meals. The problem with dropping the 8 lbs, is that those lbs were on while I was having all of my treatments, and indicate the weight that I should be carrying. I am sure that increasing my water retention now will not be a problem (won’t put fluid back around my heart) because there are no longer outside influences pestering my insides = no more radiation or chemo. I believe they set up the conditions (constriction of the Vena Cava) that created the fluid build up in the first place. Right or wrong, that is what I think.

The past 24 hours have increased my feeling of well being immensely, even before having the ultrasound. The physical sense of well being is comparative of course, but still immensely rewarding to me.

And the adventure continues

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The suspense still isn't over

Saw the oncologist on the 5th, and I know about the same as before I saw him, with a tentative confirmation of what I already suspect. Something is pressing against the vein that feeds blood from my head back to my heart, slowing the return and causing a build up of pressure in my head if I lean forward, bend over, or exert myself otherwise. This should be taken care of with the installation of a stent, which I am awaiting an appointment for.

There is a small amount of fluid around my heart (pericardial effusion), and fairly advanced emphysema = which is hardly surprising after smoking for 56 years.

The requirement for me to have a stent installed is possibly caused by advances made by the largest tumor I had = or by a clot = or inflammation from the radiation treatments. The major tumor in my lung has been reduced by ½, the smaller tumors in my lymph nodes have disappeared, but the largest tumor in my lymph nodes may be aggressing already. That is all unclear, because they did not use the contrasting dye when they did the latest CT scan, as I had a reaction to either the dye, or the Advair I had been put on at the same time. My bet was on the Advair, the family doctor went with the dye. I think I was right, as I still had the reaction when I stopped taking steroids. They switched me from Advair to Symbicort, and no more reaction. Unfortunately, someone forgot to correlate the data, so they didn’t use the dye in the last CT scan.

Once the stent is installed, they will do another CT scan, with the dye, and give me steroids in case of a reaction. Since the only problems I am experiencing right now should be cleared up with the stent installation, there is no rush to get a look at what is going on inside = if it is the cancer aggressing, there isn’t much they can do, as I have already had all the radiation there that I can handle, and the location makes it inoperable. A little more time will just give them a better base to make estimates on, as to what is going to happen, and the time frame involved.

Regardless of the actual circumstances, I am optimistic. I have known from the start that there might not be the best of outcomes, despite the assurances of the oncologist.

I have already been blessed with a long and full life, and do not feel that things are going to end anytime soon. It would be nice to have some clear information about what is going on, and what to expect, but it really doesn’t make that much difference. They could tell me I have 40 years left, and I step in front of a bus the next day, or they could tell me it’s short time, and I go into complete remission. Neither way is going to very much change the way I face the world tomorrow. I do not look forward to things ending, but I have always tried to live so that I will have no regrets.

This is not a farewell posting by any means. It is notice that I am going to pull back from the world a bit, and do a few more personal things, put some of the gardening aside for now, and live a bit more in the now. The emphysema says that I am not going to be quite as quick off the gun, or last quite as long at what ever I am doing, and the calendar has been telling me I can’t pack as much as I used to, or as fast, but I will still do what I want to = just a little slower.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

This is still the way I look at things.

And the adventure continues.