Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Let's talk gardens.

Although all I did was mitch and boan (as Mama Pea would say) about our wet, cold spring, I could use some of the wet coldness right about now.  We transitioned right into a HOT, dry summer.  Well, humid, but no rain.  It has been dry as toast.  This morning was the first tiny bit of rainfall we have had in over 15 days.  And it is going to be raining off and on all day - halleluiah!

Looking toward the barn (notice the dying pines). 
Elderberry in the forefront, zukes left, then tomatoes, then
the Alley of Tires.

Weedy herb bed with Elderberries.

Weedy pepper bed.  (Notice the theme?)

Thank goodness for the kale!  Chard behind. 
In more ways than one.

Red noodle beans and yard long beans
on trellis (barely)

Bee balm gone wild!
We are slowly getting used to another person and dog in the house.  Luckily, Rosie is an easy house guest and we are very simpatico.  But I am not used to talking this much.  The dogs are trying to adjust to a sweet, furry bundle of nerves called Fae, and Slimmie is wondering why I hate him.  He comes out in the wee hours and we try to sneak in a cuddle while I'm knitting.  It is nice to have someone other than dogs to talk to, and we do have a lot to catch up on.  She is a freelance writer, so the set up is perfect - she can work from the dining room table and the dogs get company all day.

I am finally off doxycycline and should be able to brave the sun again - good thing.  The weeds are starting to look like they might be there to stay.  NOT.  Thanks to very little rain, growth is slow (except for the aforementioned weeds).  The tomatoes are starting to take off and there are quite a few green ones.  I just can't wait for the first ripe tomato!

Monday, July 8, 2019

It's going to be a rip-roarin' summer!

Lawsymercy.  First, let me state here that I will NEVER HAVE ANOTHER YARD SALE AGAIN.  PERIOD.  I am slated to help my sister with hers, but, as for one of my own?  No way, Jose.

Our office closed early on Wednesday, so I beat a hasty retreat home - and turned on all the fans.  It was a bona fide heat wave with high heat indexes and it was HUMID.  My least favorite combination.  Once the sun started to sink, I fired up the oven and baked my two pies for the library fundraiser - rhubarb custard.  One of my favorite recipes and easy-peasy.  Once they cooled (took hours), into the fridge and the dogs and I were trying to sleep in front of the fans.
IN the sun?  "Slimmie"?

Even with 93% humidity, The Pat
must be covered.  It makes me want
to break out in hives.
The Fourth dawned with the same amount of heat/humidity, so I opted to drop the pies off with a library trustee and then crept into the dark house, with all windows closed, curtains drawn and fans on full.  Amazingly, my neighbor - he of the semi-automatic weaponry - was a mere shadow of his usual Fourth of July self.  Last year, I truly thought we had been invaded.  There were explosions into the wee hours.  This year?  I guess the heat wave must have gotten to him, or his fuses were damp.  There were a few bangs, but that was it.  Bless him.

Friday was up to VT for errand-running, change getting, a short parental visit, and back to start sorting out and putting out the yard sale stuff.  It did not help that the heat wave persisted.  Thanks to my own genetic makeup, compounded by Doxycycline, I could only spend about 10 minutes at a go outside, before having to retreat and cool down.  That made the set-up process excruciatingly long and frustrating.  Have I mentioned that I get cranky in humidity?  Ditto Saturday, where it was even more humid, if that was at all possible without rain.  Speaking of which, in the middle of the day, a cold front moved through and there was much racing around with tarps and bungee cords.  I managed to get everything battened down before the rain.
Nightly "Cheezies" - the big blue one
is mine.  The little, bitty cheezie is Slimmie's.
As I sank into my damp chair to enjoy the sound of rain on the metal roof, my phone rang - the caller was from Tucson, so I let it go into voicemail.  I get so many spam calls, that I don't answer anything that doesn't have a name attached to it.  When the caller left a voicemail, I listened and it was my cousin, Kitt, whom I have not seen in 25+ years!  She, her husband, their daughter and SIL, granddaughter and grandson, were motoring through, on their way to Boston and could they stop to see me in the morning.

Heck yeah.

The morning of the yard sale dawned gloriously un-humid and cool.  Birds sang.  Winds wafted.  I ran around like a maniac.  I was almost set up when 1) my sister arrived (yay!), 2) my neighbor arrived with even more 'junk' (erm), 3) a 24' flashy motor home pulled into the driveway.  Luckily, they arrived early, so I had time to talk, laugh, show them around, and hug my cousin mercilessly.  Then they were off and my sister stayed for a visit, while we waited for the crowds.  And waited.  The bad news was that very few people showed up.  The good news was that I got a lot of weeding done!  I positioned myself under the big fir tree in my front yard and weeded as long as I could take the sun, then flopped in a chair and listened to my audio book.  I gave the dogs marrow bones (frozen, so they could gnaw on them and cool down at the same time), infused some filtered water with mint, made some cold brew, tidied up here, tidied up there.  Twiddled my thumbs.  Sighed mightily.  I finally had to call it quits, as far as sitting outside, shade or not, and went in to do housework.  I figured the dogs would sound the alarm should anyone arrive.
Cukes weeded - except for the middle.
In the early part of the day, it was just peaceful - with birds flitting about.  A young catbird found me fascinating and we sat about five feet apart, sizing each other up.  I think they are such pretty birds.  The only sour note was the endless cacophony of young crows, pestering their parents in the chicken yard.  I'm not sure if it is a Murder of Crows, or Let's Murder Some Crows.

I also received news over the holiday that another close friend has ended a chapter in her life - she will be staying with us for a few weeks, while she works out her next adventure.  She comes with her bestie, Fae, an 11 year old fluffy, four-pawed girl dog.  It will be interesting to see how I do, going from semi-feral, semi-hermit to roomie.  And how the pups do with a new face in the pack.  Given that Rosie is the personification of positive energy and sunshine, I think I will do fine.  I can always hide in my room!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

All I needed was a cause and other ramblings.

This energy drain is really getting on my nerves. There’s nothing worse, to me, than sitting around looking at your list multiplying and not having the energy to tackle it. However I did get a little boost from an  unusual source on Sunday. When I dropped off the baked goods at the farm, I found out that one of my gravel pit neighbors ( codename: Pinocchio) was in the process of trying to get a permit to screen over 50,000 yards of soil. Apparently, that comes out to around 2800 truckloads. Or 2800 trucks going past my house, twice. Plus the noise of the screening. I was so incensed I think there was smoke coming out of my ears.

There is nothing like righteous indignation to give one an energy boost! I got on the Internet and found the email address for the mining division of the DEC.  I then fired off an email to them and sent emails to everyone I know who has any connection with state government. I’ll  do everything in my power to make sure that that permit is not issued. Our road is in terrible shape now, with just the heavy truck traffic that we have with the two mines.  Quadrupling – or whatever-ing - the traffic is not going to make it better. There is also a small bridge that is crumbling and it would be disastrous to subject it to that kind of wear.  Hmm.   Then, again, should the bridge collapse with a truck carrying a full load, I guess that would put a monkey wrench in the traffic pattern.   I digress.

I was pleased that DEC responded quickly,  and I now have names, email addresses and phone numbers, plus some leads to influential people.    I’ve only just begun the fight.


The Little Prince (aka The Butter Pat, The Pat, Mr. Stinky) had to go to the vet this morning for his first seasonal allergy shot.  And nail clipping.  This now involves:  administering half a sedative an hour before his appointment; strapping him into his brace; clipping him into his booster seat, all while Lovey looks on, worried.  He is the only dog I have had (beside Scrappy, who was 99.999% perfect) who just can't wait to get to the vet's.  He almost levitates up the ramp.  This morning, we came through the door and smack into a vastly overweight and amped up lab mix.  Who roared.  This set off the high yodeling of the Pat.  It was chaos.  His vet, Dr. Hannah, came running across the waiting room and scooped him up and trotted back to an examining room, me in tow.  There was much cooing and massaging of little ham legs and carrying-on.  No wonder he looks forward to it.  I would, too.  No one offered to massage my big ham legs, however.  And thank goodness.

While they were waiting until the reception area was clear - the 'fluffy' lab is the polar opposite of the Pat, shedding in fear like a ninja and peeing all over the place - Little Prince managed to draw a crowd - there were two vets, two vet techs and a receptionist, all squeezed into the lab, taking turns rubbing his little cranium and hand-feeding him treats, all talking in high-pitched voices.  It was embarrassing.  By the time we made it back to the car, his little head was drooping and he dozed all the way home.  There was a joyful reunion of siblings - parted for those long minutes - and then he went into his crate on his own, pulled up his blanket and was asleep before I left for work.  I want to come back as the Pat.


I know it's going to be worse before it's better, but this organizing for a yard sale is horrendous!  I have piles everywhere.  There is no surface showing.  I am starting to develop a tic.  It hasn't helped that it's been put off for a week - the weather last weekend was uncooperative.  This Sunday is so-so, but I am not putting it off again.  I had planned on putting an ad in the local rag and went through the grinding process of actually contacting someone.  If you call, you get voicemail.  There is no information in the paper as to the cost of ads ($ per line), so one is forced to send an email.  A full week later, I received a reply.  Eight emails later - with me sending them my copy and requesting a price and never getting one - I got this reply:  "One problem.  Every summer we take the first week of July off and there is no paper."  Seven emails prior to this, I gave him the copy - which included the date of the sale (7/7) and told him I needed it to run in this week's edition.  I do believe he expected me to change the date of my sale to coincide with his vacation.  I will turn to Facebook.  It's no wonder that social media is taking over the world.  And that is not a good thing, IMHO.  Friday I will get my change and start setting up.  Saturday I will finish setting up and take pictures of the 'highlighted' items to post on FB.  Sunday morning, mimosa in hand (kidding.  maybe.) I will brace myself and hope that lots of people come and find just what they've always been looking for.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Mama - get lost!

When I was a child, this would have been all the impetus I would need to ditch the folks.  Happy Weekend, everyone!

*Edited to note that I now know why it's called a "murder" of crows.  It's how we  (I and all the parental crows) feel about the adolescent crows, those huge babies that NEVER SHUT UP.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Yes, this is all I have to show.

My lunch.
Saturday morning was spent at Express Care (Lyme's), herding cattle, battling migraines, picking up Roger, and hunting for my energy.  I have the sneaking suspicion that the Universe is getting tired of trying to get her point across, while I refuse to listen.  Pfft.

Another weekend lost to lack of energy.  I will have to say that that is my least favorite feeling.  It leaves (this) one with (mental) wheels spinning and stewing in frustration.  Which helps nothing and no one.  I have resigned myself to taking my doxycycline and being patient.  I seriously think that insects will take over the world within an alarmingly short period of time.  Adding insult to injury, doxycycline renders you super-sensitive to sun.  And guess what we had all weekend?  Yep. 
I did do some vacuuming, and managed a short visit with my parents after the EC visit.  I picked up quail eggs from Marianne and discovered their Highland cattle on the loose.  Luckily, her husband was home and we rounded them up between us.  It's rather intimidating, being faced with those hairy beasts, horns and all, armed with a stick - the only thing at hand at the time. 

I also picked up Roger.  Remember my reference to 'never say never'?  Well, our roosterless state lasted less than a month.  Friends of a friend needed to rehome a young RIR rooster and I, of the wet lettuce spine, said yes.  I picked him up Saturday, late afternoon, and integrated him into the coop when it was darkish.  One would think that he would be thrilled to be let out of the cat carrier, but that one would be wrong.  I could not get him out, even with shaking the carrier like a salt shaker.  I had to grope around in the dark and take the carrier apart.  However, all was quiet (except for crowing) in the morning and the mix was seamless.  He is quite handsome and seems very nice.  However, after my recent experiences (of the last four years), I am withholding judgement.  I was impressed that he refused to go in to roost until every last resident was inside.  The ducks gave him an extra dose of anxiety, as they are always the very last to go in - stretching it out until it is fairly dark.  Roger kept coming out and staring at them.  To no avail.  There is no hurrying ducks. 

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, weather-wise.  Sun, of course.  It was all I could do to dart in and out, hanging up the laundry.  I was draped in netting, hats, veils, shirts, vestments, trailing about like a wraith.  Geez.  I did get my recycling to the transfer station; I did fertilize the tomato plants.  I did not much else.  Peanut spent some time in his brace - which he cannot get off, try as he might.  I gave them each a marrow bone and put them out on the deck on their beach blankets.  That bought me a lovely, restful period of about half an hour.  While I was pacing the floors, waiting for the miracle cure, I whipped up a batch of Chili Burgers from one of my Moosewood cookbooks - the one with fifteen sticky note bookmarks.  I believe it's their Low-Fat cookbook.  I will have to say they were and are delicious!  (See photo above). 

So, onward and upward.  I am most anxious to get my get-up-and-go back.  Hopefully, by the middle of the week, I should be feeling much better.  I have my yard sale coming up this coming Sunday and I'll be damned if I will continue this slogging around for much longer.  I've set up a makeshift table in the car port and I have been toting out objects every now and then.  This week I will spend time in every room until I have a nice, big pile.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Rising to the surface.

One would think that, having spent so much time away, I could at least make up for it with a riot of photos, memorializing all that was done.  Well, one would be wrong.  It's been a whole lot of hurry up and wait around here.  And there's a lot of the same on the job.  Which, I am happy to report, I have for another year.  I was hoping for two, but we take what we get and be glad about it.

I spent a futile night cleaning the guest room for my youngest sister - only to find out on the day she was to arrive that she had let her drivers license lapse and wouldn't be coming.  Ah, well.  As it turned out, the cleaning and fluffing was not for naught, as I had ordered a mattress topper (in my never-ending quest for a good night's sleep) and was instructed to place it on my mattress and let it 'come to life' for 48 HOURS.  What?  So, off to the guest room I shuffled for the allotted time.  This, in turn, stirred things up on the furry kids front - what was I doing down there?  Why was I up in the night?  Why did I not want company in the bathroom?  Tonight, thank goodness, my mattress topper should have come to full sense of itself and I am back where I belong.

The Pat is still under crate arrest and I have to carry him in and out, morning and night, to do his business.  I can tell he likes the additional attention, so I am sure I will have to wean him off after he's feeling better.  I will wait until its been a full two weeks before I strap him into his L'il Back Brace - I want to make sure that he can't twist himself into paralysis when my back is turned.

I continue to experiment with pickled quail eggs.  So far, every recipe I've tried, I've liked.  There was the bourbon, the shallots and white wine, and the soy.  I think the soy is my favorite, thus far.  Next on the agenda is mustard.  The four little girls seem to be settling in, being without fear of dismemberment. 

I do have a couple of pics...



And knitting
Of course, over the period of the last week or so, I noticed that the zucchini plants were starting to sport yellow leaves - just to be thorough, I sprinkled some Epsom salt around each and gave them a good going-over with my homemade spider mite/aphid spray.   The beans are up, the chard is up, everything is holding its own, even with lots of rain, very little sun and much cooler than normal temps.  I only had one melon seed out of four germinate, so I am trying to decide whether to just go with the one (sensible choice) or replant six more (insane choice).

I still  have some things to do in the garden, but it is pretty well done - except for all the watering and weeding.  I am getting ready for a yard sale on the 30th, so that has meant lots of piles.  I have found that the most useful way for me to get ready, is to place a box/boxes in each room and then, as I am in the room, sort through things and put everything that's going into the boxes.  Then these will be sorted by price, etc.  I am only having it the one day because I thought it would be safer than having cars parked on the side of the road with all the idiot truck drivers zooming around the corners without slowing or looking.  Plus, I can only take interacting with the public for one day.  I figure I can work in the garden and on the compost piles when I am between customers.  If the weather is nice enough, I may set up doggy day care on the back deck.  It would be too much turmoil with all the comings-and-goings.

So, back down I go - into endless sheets of inventory and unending farm chores.  I will resurface next week with my own rendition of Never Say Never.  Hehe.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Really, you know me so well...'s almost scary.  After a totally unscientific procedure, wherein I went through many machinations and figurings and calculations, all adding up to nonsense, I decided to opt for pure numbers.  Since Michelle and Leigh were within a half-chore of each other, they win!  And, as I winged this whole process, the prizes are still a mystery.  To me, too! LOL!  But I do have some ideas...

Michelle, I have your info, so Leigh, would you please email your mailing address?

I am desperately trying to cut back on my lists.  The problem is, once I have it written down, I take it as a challenge to get it all done.  No matter how insane it is.  It's a condition.  I have always been very competitive with myself (and, honestly, just in general).  I remember, back in a past life, when I worked in the advertising industry, the agency had a 'teamwork building night' that included a volley ball game.  Apparently, by the end of the game, management had the idea that I was actually 8 feet tall and a spitfire.  Thereafter, my coworkers tended to hug the walls while passing me.  I got both a raise and a promotion.   Decades later (I'm not saying how many), I have a more laissez faire attitude about these things - except when it comes to competing with myself.  I could blame it on being raised to think that what I did was never enough.  However, that would be a complete waste of time and energy.  Once you've been dipped in that dye bath at an early age, it can become part of your DNA.  Best to just come to friendly terms with it!

Thank you again, you dears.  I appreciate those that think I am super-Sweezie and those who think I should sit down, have a martini and seize that diem!

(Now excuse me while I start my list for the weekend.... wash the dog (singular), bake bagels, laundry, Home Depot, weed wack my parents' place, plant trees, wash kitchen floor, vacuum, dust, sweep, clean deck, quit avoiding the sweater.........)