Methven Care Trust - News

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Gardening keeps Doug happy .....

Sue van den Heuvel - Thursday, July 07, 2016

"This is a good reminder of what we're fundraising for.  Methven House staff and supporters going the extra mile for residents as demonstrated by Doug's story below.  Despite a modest increase in size, the new aged care facility will be just as responsive to residents needs."

Just because you age doesn't mean passions die.  Doug Paulson (87) is living proof of that.  The Methven House resident continues to grow vegetables made possible by support from staff and volunteers associated with the community-run rest home. 

Doug arrived at Methven House last November after falling at his daughter's home.  Increased frailty, combined with an existing eye condition, made returning to his daughter's place impossible.  The former Waimate resident was initially reluctant to embrace his new home.  "I did find it a bit hard when I first came in.  But once I got used to it, it was alright."

Keen to help Doug settle, Methven House staff researched his hobbies.  They discovered a love of vegetable gardening since childhood so a plan was hatched to create a raised garden.  Local couple Paul and Julianna Coldicott donated materials and labour, while Kevin from KT's Contracting provided soil.  "I didn't know anything about it until the bed was done.  It knocked me back a bit (to see the bed).  I wasn;t expecting it."

Over summer, Doug planted lettuce, tomatoes, radishes and beans.  His one stipulation was no flowers and this included parsley.  While his efforts have slowed now winter is here, Doug still has leeks, silver beet and parsnips in the ground.

All produce is donated to Methven House going into the meals for 13 residents.  It makes Doug feel good to know he's contributing.  He estimates two recycling bins of tomatoes, several lettuces, dozens of radishes and four feeds of French and Dwarf beans were produced over summer.  He downplays his efforts.  "It's not a big bed, only a small one.  But I can get everything done in 20 minutes to half an hour."

With arthritis plaguing his hands, Doug doesn't know how long he will be able to keep gardening.  But he appreciates the opportunity to work outside.  "They did a great job with the raised bed.  It's even got a cover so it's very tidy."

With a working life that included work in shearing sheds, fence building, spud picking, crane and tractor driving and seed cleaning, Doug isn't one to sit around.  Despite near blindness, he walks regularly around Methven.  "I follow the lines on the pavement."  And the raised garden keeps him busy planning new crops.  "I tried cauliflower and broccoli but they didn't work.  A lot of things bolted last summer.  But we got things in pretty late so maybe that was it."  Whatever the reason, Methven House has provided a new lease of life for Doug and he's very appreciative.

Pictured:  Doug proudly displaying his harvest

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