Monday, June 27, 2022

Walk with me

I did a video this morning while walking around in the garden, talking about it.  I didn't intend for it to last ten minutes, so you've been warned about the length; don't feel you have to watch it for my benefit.

One other disclaimer:  I'm at an age where I'm always wondering whether I'm ready for the old folk's home, because I often use the wrong word for things... if I can remember anything at all!  After wasting an hour trying to edit the video, I gave up and just decided to keep it real.  When I'm talking about the corn I re-planted that didn't grow, I said I just bought the seeds this morning.  Obviously, since I planted them two weeks ago, I did NOT buy the seeds this morning.  (Don't laugh; it could happen to you.)  Then at the strawberry patch, I'm talking along and at one point call them tomatoes.  Keep watching my blog for more signs of dementia.  

Here's the video, without further ado. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sunday Stealing

Sunday  Stealing

Stolen from the book "If"


1.  If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?  That all my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren could be content and at peace.

2.  If you could spend one night alone with anyone in the world who is currently alive, whom would you select?  Dolly Parton, but  let's make it just an afternoon, not a night.  I'm really uncomfortable trying to talk to anybody I don't know personally, especially anyone who's famous to me.  But I think Dolly would make me feel comfortable and have me talking with her in fifteen minutes.

3.  If you could spend one night alone with anyone in history, whom would you choose?  Any of my grandparents.  I would like to know what their lives were like.  By the way, why am I  spending the night with them?  I sleep at night; I'd rather be awake to spend time with them.

4.  If you could physically transport yourself to any place in the world at this moment, where would you go?  I'd like to see a lot of the United States I've never seen:  I want to ride a train up the California coast, or go on a group tour of New York City.  But if this is talking about someplace permanent, I am already at my favorite place to be.

5.  If you could have lived through any war in history (without actually fighting in it), which would it be?  The Spanish-American War, because I doubt it would have affected me much.

6.  If you could eliminate one type of insect permanently from the earth, what would you get rid of?  The Asian Lady Beetle, imported here to keep pests of the soybeans.  In the fall when soybeans are harvested, they absolutely coat the sunny side of a house.  They get in the house, too.  They make a stink when they're upset, and they will actually bite you... not a big deal, but not pleasant.  I've had so many in the house that I'd vacuum them up, but then you can't get the stink out of the vacuum.  Now, I am not talking about the happy little "ladybug, ladybug, fly away home; your house is on fire, your children will burn."  I seldom see those any more.

7.  If you had to eliminate any single type of animal forever, which would you choose?  At this time, I'd say moles, since they're messing up our yard and garden.  However, if I still had ducks or chickens, I'd choose opossums, because they have killed a lot of my chickens in the past.

8.  If you could have an elegant dinner alone with anyone presently alive, whether you know them or not, who would you want it to be?  Nobody.  I am very uncomfortable at elegant dinners.  I would embarrass myself.

9.  If you could alter one physical characteristic of your mate, what would it be?  I wouldn't change a thing about him.

10. If you could change one thing about your childhood, what would it be?  Again, nothing.  I was so protected, loved, and taken care of at home, it was a happy place... until my teenage angst came into play  and I ruined it until I left home.  But that wasn't their fault.  My parents were far from perfect, but they did the best they knew how.

11. If you could have any room in the world become your bedroom, which room would you choose?  I've often wished I had mountains to look out of, outside my window.  But I don't want to move to the mountains, so that's out.

12.  If you could alter one thing about your physical appearance, what would it be?  I suppose my teeth.

13.  If you could have stopped aging at any point in your life up to the present, how old would you wish to remain?  45

14.  If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would you like it to be?  I'd love to be able to really play the guitar, or even better, the piano.  

15.  If you could have permanent possession of any single object in the world, what would you want it to be?  I can't think of anything I want to own at this stage of my life.

I got this meme on the Sunday Stealing blog.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron.

The words above are from Deuteronomy 28:23, but they describe my garden for the last couple of weeks to a "T".  It was impossible trying to pull weeds because the sandy soil in my garden was as hard as concrete.  Even hoeing didn't get the job done.  The sky may as well have been bronze, because no rain came.

And again, the moles got my corn seeds, leaving only 3 tiny plants in one row and 4 in another.  Farmer Ed, whose blog is called Riverbend Journal, suggested Diatomaceous earth, but I forgot about it this last time.  The only corn I have doing well is the corn I planted in hills, and I did use it on those.  So I'll remember next time.  I'll try one more time when the soil is dry enough from the one inch of rain we got today; and if I succeed this time, I may plant more a couple weeks later.  The lack of rain and the abundance of moles has had me in a pouting mood and I had no desire to to a blog entry.  The extreme heat didn't help anything, either.  Not that pouting helps, but that's my go-to behaviour when life gets me down.

Our son from Georgia will arrive next Thursday evening and spend four days with us, along with granddaughter Lyndsay and her daughter, Maelyn.  So we are getting excited about that.

About three times a week the weather-guessers have been telling us we are going to get rain, but evidently Farmer Ed in Iowa got it every  time, because it missed us and went north.  This morning when they once again said rain was coming, I ignored it completely, having lost all my faith and hope, and probably a lot of my love.  So I was thrilled hear the rain falling gently long enough to do some good.  I spent lots of time in the garden pulling weeds this afternoon, happy as a clam.

I did have one bad experience at noon today:  I had a cooked turkey breast in the freezer and decided to get that out and warm it up.  I had a can of cranberry sauce to go with it, made scalloped potatoes, and cooked some broccoli... not from my garden, because I can't get broccoli to do well.  But I buy it often.  I just left everything on or near the stove so we could help ourselves.  Cliff filled his plate, then I moved over near the food.  I put a good amount of everything on my plate, ready to eat.  However, I sat the plate down too near the edge of the counter and it all went splat! on the floor; of course the plate landed upside down.  So that food was wasted, although I did let Gabe have the turkey.  While we were eating, Cliff's sister stopped by; she'd gone to the country vet to buy her dog's prescription dog food, and we we were on her way home.  We told her to get a plate and eat with us, although there was no more broccoli, thanks to me wasting one good serving of it.  We had a good visit.  

As far as how the garden is doing, there are green beans that will be ready to pick in a couple of days.  We've had Harvard beets twice and I pickled some beets that I forgot to set out today.  No canning, just refrigerated.  I have some really big tomatoes coming on, and can hardly wait until they ripen.

I guess that's about all I have.  I have been reading all the blogs while I was pouting, so I didn't forget any of my blogger friends.

Peace to all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

We're having a heat wave

I'm sure a lot of others are too, since the whole midwest and south seem to be involved.  It's supposed to continue at least through next week, so we may as well get used to it... or stay inside.

Today is our 56th anniversary, but we're doing nothing to celebrate.  We don't made a big deal about these occasions except to wish one another happy anniversary, although for our fiftieth we went by train to the Grand Canyon.  We have our former charge, Cora, here with us.  During the summer months she's coming to visit us every other Tuesday, during the week her dad has her at his house.  We had pancakes for breakfast together this morning, but since then she has spent most of her time with Cliff out in his shop.  She just now brought a couple of sparrow eggs to me in a foam box she'd made, and I told her I might fry them.  She knew better than that, so she and Gabe went promptly outside again.  Gabe is so crazy about her, I don't think he'll ever forget her.  All I have to do is mention Cora's name and he runs to the window, barking, to see if she's here. 

Because my almost-fainting episodes kept getting worse (and more often) and my regular doctor couldn't do anything for it, I finally got an appointment with a cardiologist.  He gave me some very strange instructions for the period of time until I see him in July:  I was to stop taking tge blood pressure med I've been taking in the morning (hydrochlorothiazide) and just keep taking the Amlodipine at evening.  Since my blood pressure had been running high for a while, I wondered how that would help anything, but for the last month it's been very low!  Another thing he told me to do was take my blood pressure standing up.  For whatever reason, my blood pressure is much better and I've had very few of the faint spells I was having several times a day.  Most days now, I'm not bothered by it at all, and it was several times most days, before.  Next week I'll have an echocardiogram.  I'll see the doctor again July 6, the day before my birthday.  I'm going to ask him how quitting one of my blood pressure meds made my blood pressure go down.  I've googled questions about it, but found nothing.

Last night we had creamed peas and new potatoes.  I don't usually make supper, we just hunt for something; but we each had a nice big bowl of this, and loved it.  Takes me back to my childhood; does anybody make creamed vegetables these days?  Cliff and I also love creamed carrots.  We are eating beets often, too.

Cliff, Cora, and Gabe just came in for the A/C, and I don't blame them.  I'll get off this thing and see what they've been up to.

Friday, June 10, 2022

I'm so thankful for electricity!

We had storms Wednesday night with tornado warnings.  Remember, we live in a trailer house.  I heard the warnings, and went on to bed as usual; we get a lot of warnings here in Missouri, and usually they come to nothing.  I woke up at 2 A.M. and heard Cliff's cell phone in the living room sounding off with a tornado warning.  After going to the bathroom, I went in and looked at his phone... sure enough, Wellington had a warning to go to a safe place.  I went back to bed just in time for the loudest blast of wind ever hitting our home.  My dog was so scared, he didn't know what to do or where to go.  I sat up in bed and forced him to join me, whereupon I recited the 23rd Psalm and then sang Jesus Loves Me; this was for the benefit of both of us, but me more than Gabe!  For fifteen minutes wind and rain beat on the house.  It was possibly the most frightened I've ever been in a storm.  The electricity went off during this time.

Then the wind quieted down, the rain stopped, and I thanked God no harm had come to us.

When I woke up Thursday morning I strolled around the property and found nothing worse than a lot of broken tree-limbs; when the grandson got home from work, he and Cliff took care of that mess.  We did lose one small tree in the yard, but that wasn't a big deal.  Oh, but since the wind came mostly out of the west, and my garden rows run north to south, all the corn, peas, and potato plants were practically laid on the ground, but not much real harm was done except that the two row of peas laid over and stayed there, all tangled up.  There are a few pods ready to pick, but you have to pick up the pea plant to see them.  And pea plants don't like to be handled much.  I may just call the peas a loss, pull them up, and plant corn there.  Peas are supposed to have a support for their vines to climb up on anyway, but Mother always planted Little Marvel peas, which don't grow as tall, and she never used supports.  Peas really aren't a big deal for me anyhow:  You can buy frozen peas in the store for a reasonable price, and they taste exactly like the garden peas I can grow.  The plants do benefit the soil though:  Peas and beans put nitrogen in the soil.  Thank goodness I have cages around the tomato plants; no harm was done to them at all, and every little green tomato is still in place.

Anyway.  We were without electricity all day on Thursday and were beginning to wonder if food in the freezer would ruin.  The Evergy team was out and about, but there were thousands of people without power in the Kansas City region, so those guys had plenty to do.  East of Wellington there were two broken utility poles, and in town there were hot wires on the ground.  It's no wonder we were without electricity until 5:30 P.M.

Now remember, we have a well as our water supply, and without power, the pump doesn't work.  So we can't flush, shower, or wash dishes.  We made do with bottled water to drink and make coffee (we have a gas cook stove, so at least we can cook).  We finally went to our daughter's house, two miles away, and got enough water to flush the stools, but shortly after that, the power was on.

You know, sometimes I think having to do without some things is good for us:  I now have a renewed appreciation of electricity every time I flip on a light switch or turn on a water faucet.  

This coming from a person who only had outside toilets and no running water in the house until I was 12 years old.  How quickly we forget! 

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

My job as a book-finder

For those of you who read the entry about a note from my husband, you may have noticed one of my special talents was "book finder".  Perhaps you thought he loses his books around the house, and I'm the one who goes finding them for him, but that's not it at all.

Cliff reads his books on my oldest iPad.  You might already know that we read our books from the library, simply because they have any popular book we might want, and they're free.  And with these digital readers such as the iPad, we can choose our books from our easy chairs at home.

However, Cliff has troubles looking for new books online.  He can't type, and there are things I can do to find a book for him that he doesn't want to do because they would take up too much time for a non-typist who isn't all that comfortable on the Internet.

He is very partial to biographies, and has read books about Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and many others of the founders of our country.  He's read so many of those, I've had to branch out.  Sometimes a book doesn't don't work out for him, so I usually try to find at least two, which gives him something else if the first one isn't interesting.  Popular books at the library often have several people waiting in line for them, and I don't do holds for my husband because he often takes two or three weeks to finish a book, especially in summer when he's doing things outside.  So the hold is liable to come when he's in the middle of reading something else, and he wouldn't have time to read it.  

First, I grab my computer and do a search for biographies.  Yesterday I googled "best biographies", which gave me many lists:  30 best bios, 50 best bios, etc.  I went with a list of thirty this time.  A couple of books Cliff has already read were on the list.  Before I actually decide on anything, I surf my way to Amazon and see what kind of ratings each book has; sure enough, these must have been some of the best, because they all had four-to-five star ratings.  Finally I chose Edison, by Edmund Morris; Genghis Khan, by Jack Weatherford, and Robin (Williams), by Dave Itzkoff.  He's reading Edison at present and apparently is enjoying it.

I decided to get the Robin Williams book for myself while I was at it, but am rather disappointed with it so far.

Anyway, maybe you can tell that this is quite a job, finding a book for someone when he has no suggestions on what he wants.  Seems like I'm pretty successful in my searches, though; I guess that's why he put "book finder" on his list of special things about me.  By the way, if anyone has suggestions for biographies for Cliff, feel free to recommend them.

We're having beef tips and noodles today.  The meat is in the crockpot, smelling delicious already.  I decided to see how beef tips would work with homemade noodles today, so those are drying on the counter.  I've always used store-bought dry noodles before, but how could it go wrong with home-made ones?  It will seem strange, though, boiling homemade noodles in salted water instead of chicken broth.

I guess that's all I have today.


Sunday, June 05, 2022

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing

1. What is the best story your parents or grandparents tell about the good ole days?

Here it is, in my mother's own words: her story from 1932:
It rained all through December and stayed above freezing, and our day came: We were going to be married! I had bought blue satin material and made my own beautiful wedding dress. Everett had bought a suit from his cousin for $2 and we were all ready for our big day. Just one catch: the rain had stopped, but with dirt roads, the mud was almost impossible to get a car through. Everett had asked a friend to take us to Bethany to get married. The friend had an old Dodge pickup truck, so Everett walked six miles to my home and the friend got there about the same time to pick us up; but we didn't get far!
The mud rolled up on those wooden spoke wheels. We all three punched mud. With me in my blue satin dress and with Everett's second-hand wedding suit, you can imagine what we began to look like. We'd punch mud and go a few feet at a time. We finally got about two miles from my home and got stuck again. The two men kept working away. I walked to a neighbor's house ahead and called the judge, who was also a preacher, and asked him to take a marriage license home with him, telling him we'd be too late to get in the courthouse, so we'd come to his house.
The pickup finally was so buried in the deep ruts of that mud road, we knew we were as far as we could go in it. So we left it in the middle of the road and walked on three miles, to 69 highway, which had been paved.
Some folks I knew lived there, the people who operated our lumber yard in Eagleville; so I went to the door and told him our hard-luck story, and asked him if he would take us on to Bethany. By then, it was five o'clock and dark. By the time we got to Bethany and got the ceremony over with, it was seven o'clock. Everett's friend and Mr. McElhiney were our witnesses. I was 20, Everett was 25, and we were the muddiest bride and groom you will ever see!
After the ceremony, he took us back to his house and fixed us something to eat, and he and his wife insisted we spend the night there; you couldn't travel anyway, except on foot. The wind had changed and it had gotten cold, so we all three stayed all night. By morning, winter had arrived with a vengeance. We watched the little McElhiney girl, four years old, open her presents under the evergreen tree they had decorated for her before we left to walk to my sister's. They also gave us breakfast; no nicer people were ever known.  
There is a little more to the story.  You'll find all of it HERE.

2. The best things in life are . . .

Home, family, nature, and pets.

3. Name a few things that drive you batty.

The people who are so set on the fact they're always right that when someone, ANYONE, presents the actual facts to them, they just say that person is lying; they will not accept any fact-checking site.   Most members of a certain political party are guilty of this.

4. Name a place you'd like to live and why.

At this stage of my life, I have found that place.  I used to wish I lived in Colorado, but that was back when I could hike and enjoy the mountains.  If I had to choose another state to reside in, it would probably be Arkansas.

5. What is the best thing you've ever found?

Jesus and my husband

6. The best thing that happened recently is . . .

The strawberries my garden has produced.

7. I admire people who . . . 

Live a good, kind life and aren't judgemental about people.  Unfortunately, that isn't always me, but I wish it were.

8. What makes you special?

My eccentricities

9. I am looking forward to . . .

Eating a ripe tomato from my garden sometime in early July.

10. What are some things that scare you?

Everything in the world, these days.  The fact that anybody can buy an assault weapon is at the top of the list.

11. What are some complaints you have?

Complaining never does any good.  I'll pass.

12. I could never live without . . .

Having a home in the country.

13. List some things that make you laugh.

My husband... he and I take turns being the straight man in a two-person comedy team; my dog, Gabe, and Blue the cat... they are also a two-person comedy team at times; and Andy Sipowicz, a character in NYPD Blue.  Cliff and I are watching that series from the 90's, mainly because of him.

If you find my Mother's story here interesting, there are several posts I made, copying her stories about her early life.  You can go to THIS 
PAGE and find all those entries in order.

You can find more Sunday Stealing HERE.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Shortages, shortages

When I plant my garden, I never intend to can and freeze much of my produce.  I feel I'm doing well, at my age, to simply keep things growing that we can eat as soon as it's picked.  The exception to that would be tomatoes, because I use a lot of tomatoes.  I like breaded tomatoes, made-from-scratch spaghetti sauce, and lots of chili in winter.  I do freeze some sweet corn if I have extra, which I usually do; but never more than a couple of gallon bags full for reunions and holiday meals and perhaps half a dozen pints for us.

It looks like I'll be freezing tomatoes too.  There seem to be no canning lids anywhere except Amazon, where the price is sky-high.  I have frozen tomatoes before, and they work fine for my needs.  It seems some foreign country bought out Ball and Kerr, and they will only sell them on Amazon, Walmart, and Ace Hardware; and since they are the only ones selling them, they have a monopoly.  So like everything else, they cost more... IF you can find any.  An employee at our local Walmart told me they can't even get any canning supplies.  Here's the article I found about the shortage

Another thing I've noticed is that Walmart can't keep enough of their store brands items, especially their off-brand of round crackers.  I've bought off-brands for years, but two out of my three last trips to Walmart, they had plenty of Hi-Ho's but none of their own brand, which is about half the price of the name brands.  I'll have to stock up on store brand crackers next time I go to Aldi, because that's all they carry.

By the way, it seems a popcorn shortage is coming, too.

I felt really super all day yesterday.  I was in the garden for hours, picking strawberries, hoeing weeds, pulling weeds, and tilling in places.  When evening came, I decided to take a small walk and made it back to the pond and then to the Green Cathedral.  There was one hill that really made my knee hurt, but other than that, it was very enjoyable... the first time in ages I have walked back there at all.  It was probably only a twenty minute walk, but I was happy to be able to at least walk back to the trees.

The new header picture at the top of the page is taken from my back deck right after sunrise this morning.  If you wonder what that thing is that's sticking out of my yard a few inches like a chimney, it's where our septic tank is; just one of the things you live with, out in the country.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

The state of the garden in rainy weather

We are getting frequent rainy periods about three times a week lately.  Kansas City received a lot more than the two inches we got here over two days, but I think we're about to get another shower or two this evening.  Cora, the girl we used to babysit, came and spent a few hours with us yesterday and we picked strawberries.  She's old enough to be a good picker, and knows not to step on the plants.  I find it unbelievable she's barrel racing with her horse at nine years old, but she will be nine years old in August.  Last night our daughter and son-in-law picked up fish and chips from a food truck that came to our area and we all ate our fish and visited.

The forecast ahead still looks wet, with chances of rain every two or three days.  I like the rain for my garden, but it would be nice if it would dry out one day, enough for me to get in and do something about the weeds!  My vegetables, though, are growing by leaps and bounds, and there are still lots of strawberries ripening... although they'd be in better shape if the sun would shine a bit.  We can't have it all, can we?  Better too much rain than not enough, I say.

I have tiny tomatoes coming on, more every day! 

You can hardly see it, but there is a tiny pea-sized tomato in front of the prominent one in the middle, which is about the size of a big bing cherry.  These are on the Big Beef plant.  I'm crossing my fingers that there will be some tomatoes ready for July fourth. 

These tomatoes are on one of the Jet Star plants.

Here are my sweet potato vines.  I imagine in a week, they'll be vining everywhere; the rain has really done them good.

These are my two rows of peas.  I doubt if you can make them out, but there are pea-pods hanging off all the plants.  All they have to do is fill out with peas, and then I'll be a pea-picker as well as a strawberry picker... or maybe the strawberries will be done by then.  Oh, and the weather looks like it's going to be good for peas for the next ten days, in the 70's and 80's.  That means we won't be using the air conditioner for that period of time if the weather-guessers are right.

If I pick the strawberries every other day, I get about a gallon each time.  I don't think I'd ever tire of them.  I ate about a pint of strawberries, sugar, and cream this morning... nothing else!  Cliff wanted his strawberries on his cereal, like always.  I'll probably freeze the ones I get tomorrow.

I guess that's it for my garden report.  The whole world seems broken and unhappy, but when I'm at home with my husband, my garden, my cats, and my dog, I am at peace.  I wish this kind of peace for all of you.  

There's no place like home.