Thursday, December 24, 2015

Daily Doin's, Christmas Week, 2015

I start this on Monday, December 21.
Hubs and I attended church on Sunday at the old Methodist church that we belonged to when we were raising our grandsons.  Many of the older members are deceased now, and the pastor so many of the congregation objected to has been replaced by an older man, and his wife is active in the church, as well.  It was nice to be there and it felt like home to me.  There were many people there that came for a hug and an "I'm glad you came".  Hubs and I talked about it later and we agreed that we were glad we'd decided to go. 

I've been trying to get back into the swing of things at home, but I've been a little depressed, what with everything happening in the world around me, the ugly politics around our beginning presidential campaign, and a few recent upsetting events within the boundaries of RockWhisperer Hill.  I find myself feeling lazy and not really wanting to do anything, but I'm making an effort, even if it's only in the planning and internet research stages.  At least it's a start.  I haven't fallen all the way into "The Black Hole", but I feel myself much too close to the edge for comfort.  Been there before, not going back, thank you very much.

I'll be glad to have all this Christmas commercialism over and done with, it is just so much more haranguing to endure, if you know what I mean.  Christmas should be a peaceful time.  A time to reflect upon all the blessings we, as human beings, can be grateful for.  It's also the end of the year with the promise of a new year full of The Unknown, good or bad.  The closer we get in age into the 70's and beyond, the mind wants to be full of dread.  But we can't go there, we can't "borrow trouble".  My parents lived to be 92.  Hubs' mother was in her late 80's when she passed peacefully, while resting after having turned off the fire under a canner full of tomatoes.  His father would've lived much longer had he not had raging high blood pressure that was made worse by his lifestyle (drinking, obesity, poor diet, and chewing tobacco), which went untreated.  So even under the worst of conditions, Hubs and I still have some years left in which we can expect to be alert, active and healthy.  It's not so much that I fear death.  In fact, I know it's the door opening to a new and different life.  What I fear is the part after good health has departed but before death.  I'm sure there are many of you who know exactly what I mean.  But that time is not here yet, and with any luck, we'll be run over by a reindeer or something and go suddenly, unexpectedly.  Please, God.  Beer truck.  Anything.

When I think along the lines of mortality, Alan Atwood comes to mind.  He was a man I knew at work, many years ago.  A man in his prime, well-liked by everyone who knew him.  And then, inoperable cancer in his brain.  We all watched Alan try to continue in his job, 'way past what he should've done, and then he took his own life.  I won't go into the graphics about it, except to say that he was trying to spare his wife and children the pain of seeing him helpless, of racking up medical expenses while he waited to die.  Somebody at work said to me that this was such a shame, because now he couldn't enter The Kingdom Of Heaven, and it hurt to think that.  Alan led his life in such a way that I thought he truly deserved to get to be there.  As the years have passed, I've come to realize that none of us really know for sure what happens after we die to this world, but I know God to be loving, understanding and forgiving.  I think Alan ran, gratefully, into God's outstretched arms. 

I apologize for being morbid on the blog, but don't worry, I'm not planning anything.  Even if I fell deep into "The Black Hole", I don't think I could ever take my own life, or even intentionally put myself in "death wish" situations, as I don't have that kind of courage.  My brand of courage is "Grit-Your-Teeth-And-Work-Your-Way-Through-It.  But yeah, I don't feel like it ought to be against the law for desperately ill and suffering people to be able to make their own decisions like this. 

All that said, I'll be glad to have this year over with and have a fresh one to start over with.  Almost like sharpening a No. 2 yellow pencil for the first time and opening up a brand new Big Chief tablet.  (For those not old enough to remember, they actually sell these tablets on Amazon). 

This is now Tuesday.
I've had an idea for a hood that could be worn with jackets and coats that don't have one.  When I buy a coat, I always look for one that has a hood.  And especially so for children and grandchildren.  Even when taught to stick their cap and mittens down into their coat sleeve when they take their coat off, kids just CAN NOT keep track of them and when my kids were young I just couldn't afford to keep buying hats and mittens all the time.  If they lose their mittens, at least they have pockets to put their hands into.  But I hate to see a kid outside in the cold without a cap.  I actually had to resort to fastening mittens to each other with a cord that would go in the back of the coat and down the sleeves, allowing the mittens to hang out the sleeves, for my son, and even then, I'd drive up to the school yard and there he'd be, with his mittens flapping in the breeze from his coat sleeves and his hands red-knuckled from the cold.  Sheesh.  You can drive a kid to water but you can't keep his hands out of it.  Or something like that.

But anyway, HERE is a tutorial for a hood that can be worn nicely with a dress coat.  A simpler style that I had in mind, for use when working around home, would be easily made by just buying a pull-over hoodie at a garage sale.  Then the sleeves could be cut out and the hoodie could be worn under a coat, like a vest.  Or even all the body of the hoodie could be trimmed away except for the shoulders, sort of like those turtleneck dickies that people sometimes wear.  I've also seen those tube hoods and I realized they must be insanely easy to make when I couldn't find tutorials or patterns anywhere.  So I got an idea, and went upstairs to the sewing room, which is fast becoming more of a storage room since I had my best-working sewing machine brought downstairs to the office, looking for an old pair of sweatpants.  I don't do much sewing anymore, it's just cheaper and easier to buy stuff at garage sales.  But now and then, when you want something out-of-the-ordinary, or you have a clothing article to repurpose, knowing how to sew can be a real asset.  I learned how to sew in Home-Ec in high school, and after that I was kind of on my own.  Mom was probably wise not to get very involved in teaching her children things like this.  The few times that she did, she had so little patience that it never ended very well.  But every fall she'd go where there'd be a fabric sale, four yards for a dollar, and buy a lot of four-yard bundles of cotton print.  She didn't mind allowing me to pick out a bundle of material from her stash whenever I wanted to make something, and she didn't mind buying patterns.  Back then, patterns were not that expensive unless you bought Vogue.  I can't believe how the cost of patterns has sky-rocketed over the years.  But anyway, I made most of my own clothes from that point in the 1960's to about the 1980's when I discovered garage sales.  I made everything we're wearing in this Christmas picture, about 1974.

Sweatpant legs are usually cut on the fold so that the only seam is on the inside of the leg.  So when I have sweatpants that I don't wear, for whatever reason, it's hard for me not to stash them away because there are a lot of things you can make out of the big pieces of uncut cotton fleece material they will yield.  I actually had in mind the making of a bunch of applique-style quilt/comforter blocks, with the appliqued pieces attached with blanket stitch.  Wouldn't even have to turn under the edges because this material does not fray.  And it would make a warm quilt top that wouldn't even have to be lined, and could be made for use as a throw, or as a bed-covering.  But I've never gotten around to putting those plans into action, and I doubt I ever will.  I already have enough quilts and comforters.  I've given quilts to my kids and won't ever do that again.  My daughter left hers behind during one of her many moves.  My son ended up using his as a curtain at a sunny window, and as a pad between things when he moved.  I guess I should be proud that he at least took it with him when he moved.  But a quilt is a lot of hours of your time.  When you give a quilt to someone, you are giving them a part of your life.  Seems like that should be deserving of a little more respect. 

But I digress. 

My idea was that those sweatpant legs are already in a tube shape, the fabric is warm and yet somewhat stretchy.  Might meet the requirements for a tube hood.  That seam down the inside of the legs could be placed directly under the chin.  I found this old pink pair and started tinkering.

I found out right away that straight diagonal doesn't work.  Notice that I had to fold back the "point" on the long side, and trim that part away.  Best to make a curve that flattens out where the forehead will be, similar to the curve that was cut on the other end, or there will be a point that hangs down over the forehead.  This is what it looked like after it was trimmed. 

Remember, that the inside seam, much shorter than the fold on the outside of the sweatpant leg, goes under the chin.   It is put over the head through the end closest to where the waistband was, and the face then pushes out through the narrowest part, closest to the ankle.  Does this make sense?  
Hubs took this picture and it's terrible, I think the lighting there against that wall was too low.  Truly, I'm NOT that wrinkled.  You can see that the wall behind me is that same texture.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. 

Could put ribbing around the face opening.  But I think a lock-stitch around the edges and then one fold for the hem would be just fine.  Probably have to stretch the fabric while sewing, so the stitches don't break when it's stretched to fit snugly around the face.  And, because of the angle of the pants leg, I'll probably have to open the seam a little and sew in a little triangle so that the fold-over won't cause a pucker. 

With my coat on over it, it'll keep the cold air from going down the back of my neck.  When my back gets cold, I'm cold all over.  This bottom edge can just be lock-stitched around the edge and that might be all it needs.  Could then be folded over once and sewed down, as well.  I'm not spending much time to make this fancy, because it's just to wear outside here at home, anyway.

Hmmmm.  Not too bad for the first pass.  These sweatpants made me look fat(ter), anyway.  They were a women's size XL but seriously, I have XL pants in other brands that are 'way bigger than these.  So these, being too snug and too bright to wear over thunder thighs, have been laying around in a drawer for at least 25 years.  Since I didn't screw up too bad on the first pass, I can get two of these out of this one pair of sweats, and use the first cut as a pattern for the second.  No more falling-down scarves, or blowing-off caps to deal with while I'm trying to work outside.

Do you ever watch Big Bang Theory and see Sheldon folding his laundry?  He has a T-shirt folding contraption that apparently is popular amongst the Millennium generation.  HERE is a fellow who's made his own.  I think I'll show it to Hubs and ask him if he'd like me to make him one.  And really, when you think about it, there are a lot of cool things you can make with cardboard pieces hinged together with duct-tape.  Heh. 

A new spin on washable panty liners HERE.  I like the round design.  Hubs folds and puts away the laundry.  I'm thinkin' if I make any of these I might end up finding them in the hotpad drawer.  Heh.  Hubs is color blind so already he can be full of surprises when folding the laundry.  Now and then I find a lavender sock and a blue sock folded together.  Or a red with a green.  I've tried to imagine what it must be like to be color-blind, but I just can't wrap my brain around it.  So when Hubs has on a pair of socks that don't match, we just laugh and say, "Yeah, and there's another pair in the drawer JUST LIKE these!"  Heh. 

I was out in the garden the last pretty day we had, trying to decide what to do about those kale plants.  They have gotten very tall and some of them have fallen over.  The summer insects really riddled the leaves so that only the leaves that have come on since the first hard frost are worth harvesting, and though they have gotten to a size that would make harvesting worthwhile, I haven't done so yet.  I kind of hate to tear them out, but I think they might be attracting the rats, rabbits and whatever other wild critters that can get in, being as food sources are getting scarce.  And I can't very well have Hubs till the garden bed if they're still in it.  I found instructions on whether it's possible to propagate kale from cuttings HERE.  Some people I've talked to have said their kale has come back every year.  Maybe I'll just cut the plants 'way back and cover them with leaves, and have Hubs skip tilling where they are.  Allrecipes has a ton of kale recipes HERE.  And HERE is a Huffington Post article about the benefits of eating kale. 

This is now Wednesday. 
Hubs and I went into town for our workout this morning.  I'm just not at my best today.  Maybe because I got up too early, not sure.... 

Yesterday I had my appointment with the dermatologist.  She also said that what I have is perioral dermatitis.  But she said the prescription that the PA at my GP's office (don't we just love how everything's abbreviated these days?) ordered for me, while a dang good first-aid ointment for cuts and bruises, isn't going to do much of anything towards getting rid of this rash on my face.  She ordered up what she said was "very mild" antibiotic pills and some ointment.  I have started the pills but the pharmacy did not have the ointment and had to order it.  They don't get a delivery again till Monday.  In the interim I'll using the Lotrimin Ultra ointment I bought at WMT.  Dr. Hill says this skin condition requires a two-pronged attack and I think the prescribed ointment will be an anti-fungal. 

I went to the garden and gathered some kale.  With some of it, I made kale chips, seasoned with olive oil and soy sauce and baked at 350º for 15 minutes or until crisp but not brown.  Nope.  Not a fan of that.  With another pile of it, I made kale slaw, pretty much like I make cabbage slaw, with craisins, sunflower seeds, mayonnaise with a little honey or sugar in it, and grated carrot.  Would be even better if I'd had a chopped apple instead of the chopped onion, as the onion was a little hotter than I expected it to be and I had to add lemon juice to tone it down.  The secret to making slaw out of kale is that you sprinkle salt on it and "massage" the salt in till the rough-chopped kale is reduced in volume and very dark green.  Kale leaves don't turn limp under the massage like lettuce and cabbage would.  Then you mix in the other stuff.  It'd be good with any kind of chopped nuts or seeds instead of sunflower seeds, and with raisins or blueberries or even chopped dried apricots instead of craisins.  Might also be good with a little shredded cheese, whatever is your favorite kind, and some chopped hard-boiled egg.  Since the onion turned Hubs off and he won't eat any of the slaw, now, (Sheeeeesh!)  I might add some bleu-cheese dressing to it, as well, as I didn't overdo it with the mayonnaise.  This would make a nice lunchtime chef's salad.

I saw where someone mentioned that they froze their kale without blanching first, so I put the last pile in a ziplock bag and stuck it in the freezer.  It's not like it hasn't been frozen several times already, right out there in the garden. 

I cut off the growing tips and planted them in a flower pot.  I think they might take root.  I'll let you know later on.

This is now Thursday and Christmas Eve, and I will try to publish today.
Hubs and I went to Aldi yesterday and bought a ham butt and a few things we were getting low on.  Eggs, yogurt, oatmeal.  Some other things.  I had a coupon from their sales flyer that gave us $3 off the price of our ham.  We were going to buy fruit but none of the prices were very good so we decided to eat canned pears this week.  I'll probably let Hubs have those and I'll have the dried apples he doesn't like.  Oh!  I could cut up some of those dried apple slices with scissors and add them to my salad today! 

Later this afternoon we've been invited to Christmas Eve Service at our old home church mentioned before in this post.  I'm looking forward to it.  I will not cook tomorrow, because we'll go to a local Bartlesville church that serves Christmas Dinner to people who don't have family invitations.  We went last year.  I was really surprised to see how many older couples were there.  Also that some people brought quite a few family members.  The food was good, and we sat with some people we knew.  They do not ask for payment but there is a donations jar.  While I don't like being expected to tip waitresses in restaurants, I don't mind at all leaving a nice donation in the jar.  

I found a You-Tube on how to make kale chips and I think I'll try again in the next few days.  This is a cute presentation, it's very sweet how lovingly this young mother interacts with her three sons and how happy and cooperative they are.  Such a breath of fresh air after seeing all the worst of us on the news every day.  Plus it's an interesting recipe and those little boys sure seem to eat it right up.  It's HERE

Well, my dear friends, that's about all I have for this time, so I will publish this and go out and bring my rugs in.  Hubs ran the vacuum and it's my job to shake out the rugs, pick up shoes, and so on.  I also need to check the burn barrel and see if all my trash burned.  It's 54º out there so I'll probably go out and harvest some more kale.  It's expected to turn significantly colder after tomorrow, possible heavy rains and maybe even some snow by Monday.  We usually have some of our worst winter weather in early January -- mostly ice, but I have to say, the last few Januarys we have seen snow such that we've had to just "hole in" till the dang stuff either melts or blows away.  We don't even have to open any doors or make any forays outside if we don't want to.  Hubs hasn't smoked a cigarette in a year now, though he's still sucking on that E-Cig, but I don't make him go outside with it.  And there's no dog or cat asking to go out.  I'll ask Hubs if he thinks we ought to have a pile of firewood on the patio where we can get to it easily, in case the electricity goes out.  I know there were some bad storms last night where some of you are, and I hope y'all made it through OK.  I haven't heard from anyone yet, but then, it's Christmas Eve day and probably everybody's busy in their kitchens. 

So, Merry Christmas from me to all of you, be safe, stay busy, be healthy and happy.  Hugs, xoxoxo

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Daily Doin's, Third Week Of December, 2015

I start this on Sunday, December 13.

First off, I just want to say how much I enjoy your comments.  I may not answer directly on the blog unless you ask a question or otherwise write something that needs some kind of explanation from me, and then even sometimes I might respond to your comment within the next blogpost.  But I do read and enjoy every comment.  Same for those of you who e-mail me.  I've not met most of you face-to-face and some people don't think we who only know each other through the internet should really consider ourselves friends.  But I do, just so you know.  And I don't think that's weird at all.  Long ago, my mother had a pen-pal who lived in England, and they corresponded for many years without ever meeting.  Internet friends are much like having pen-pals, except that we can have several conversations with each other within the time that it takes to get a letter.  Just shoot off an e-mail and usually get one back the same day.  You can't beat that!.  But I do miss letters sometimes, do you?  My mailbox is often empty.  When there's something in it, it's usually junk mail or the utility bills.  Sometimes a catalog, which can be interesting and welcome, sometimes not.  I like getting Penzey's catalogs but sometimes I wish they didn't send new ones out so often.  Maybe someday, we won't even get mail delivered at all, the way things are going.  All the people who mail me bills are pushing for me to let them send the bill by e-mail.  But I don't want to get locked into this.  If I were to get injured or sick, or if electronics failures prevented me from being able to get online, it would be a headache for me or whomever had to take over to make sure the bills are reviewed and paid.

I went up to the main floor last night to tend my vegetable soup and found Hubs watching a show about "Tiny Houses".  I watched it with him so I could get up every now and then to stir.  If I'm down in my office while things are cooking, I usually forget about them till I smell something burning.  Not a good thing.  But FYI, if you burn something and can't get the crusty burned residue off the inside bottom of your pan, try about a teaspoon of dishwasher powder in enough boiling water to cover the bottom.  Just let it sit overnight.  If it's really stubborn, you can reheat it right in the pan and let it sit some more.  Burning food is terribly wasteful, so I take precautions not to let it happen, but now and then I get careless and it happens.  I have a little Poulan timer that I can clip to my shirt, and often I will set that to go off when I estimate I'll need to go up and stir something.  It goes wherever I go, so if I get distracted and end up out in the garden or down at the end of the driveway, I still get my reminder.

Our soup was very good.  It was made up of bits and tads of things similar to the stuff that I used to watch some of my sisters run down their garbage disposers.  What a waste!  There was the last of the beer roast I made last week, cut up into small pieces and tucked away in the freezer.  A quart container of frozen mixed vegetable broth, saved in layers as they were left over from vegetables cooked for various meals, a couple of containers of "beef glaze", accumulated in the freezer, a quart of frozen cooked garden-grown cucuzzi, half a quart jar of green beans and half a can of whole kernel corn left over from previous meals, and tucked away in the freezer, about a cup of frozen chopped onions and the same amount of frozen chopped cheese peppers, a quart jar of whole tomatoes from the pantry, a cup or two of Great Northern beans, fresh out of the pressure cooker (which will be our supper today with cornbread and fried potatoes), some peas and carrots left over from a previous meal.  I think that's all. 

There was enough left over to freeze three quarts for a quick, no-mess meal at a later date, and some that wasn't enough to freeze that I just poured into a soup bowl.  I'll heat it up for my lunch today.  I've not frozen one of the containers yet, as I never know if Hubs wants to eat leftovers for lunch instead of his sandwich that he usually prefers to make.  So I try to give him the option to do whichever he wants.  It's no trouble and eliminates the chance that he might feel like I'm "making" him have a dang sandwich while I have a bowl of hot soup, which I think is preferable but most of the time he doesn't. 

Hubs has his father's temperament.  He's not as difficult as his older brother, but then, his older brother has not been married to me for almost 50 years.  I know what pushes Hubs' buttons, and I know he can be unreasonable sometimes, so most of the time I just don't even go there with him.  Unfortunately, I'm not perfect either and sometimes the air around here is pretty charged up when Hubs forgets where the line is and blows right past it.  If I cross the line, he just simmers on it for awhile and then does something on purpose to piss me off.  I think they call that "passive-aggressive".  Either way, it works out the same.  I think every couple needs to draw the line with each other.  Arguments are not bad, if you stay on topic and don't start calling each other names. 

I'm really puzzled about this "Tiny House" thing.  And I wonder, WHERE is "ADAM RUINS EVERYTHING" on this matter?  I mean, they take an ordinary metal trailer, like people tow around behind their vehicles with lawncare equipment on it, or use when they move or go to the farm store and buy cattle panels, and they build a Tiny House on it.  And they sell these Tiny Houses for, like, $30,000!!!!!  So ARE there really couples who are willing to actually live in one of these things?  That price is just for the fancied up trailer, mind you.  They've got to have land to put it on, or at least a city lot.  And that's not cheap.  In most towns and cities, you go towing something like that to an empty lot you've bought and the City Inspector is going to fall all over himself getting there.  There are permits and inspections.  A certified plumber has to be called in to hook up the plumbing.  Same for an electrician.  Maybe natural gas or propane, too.  So, by the time you're done, you have quite a few more dollars into it.  You sure wouldn't want to be in one during a tornado, maybe not even during some of the wind that we have here.  The people who are shown on these programs that are having these made for them say when they have to move, they can just tow it down the road.  Is that allowed?  Doesn't sound right.  I have a sneaky suspicion that these Tiny House shows are just marketing, where the show is scripted and the couples buying the house are actors and actresses.  On yesterday's show, the couple had two little kids, and the wife wanted a bathtub in the bathroom.  So they installed a shower stall and then built half a wine barrel into it.  THAT was the bathtub and the wife was just ecstatic about it.  She got into the tub and she had her knees tucked under her chin.  If I could even GET into that position, I'd have to have somebody help me out.  And you have to climb a ladder and sleep in the "loft", like our pioneer ancestors did in their prairie log cabins.  Seriously, these Tiny Houses have got to be the biggest marketing ploy since the diamond engagement ring.  And the idea is not even new.  Think "travel trailer".  If I thought I could live every day of my life in cramped surroundings, I'd sooner go buy an old silver-bullet Airstream and fix it up.  At least THAT's a classic.  Or how about an old VW bus?  Or an old schoolbus?  Rock on!  Heh.

This is now Tuesday, December 15.
I had a weight gain of a couple of pounds last week and it was a little disconcerting, because, gosh, at half a pound a week, it took me nearly a month to lose those two pounds!  But, according to the scales today, they're gone and so now I'm on my merry way again, hopefully.  It's possible to attribute the gain to the fact that I've been going to the workout center with Hubs.  When people start building muscle, they gain a little at first.  But I don't know if that's what's in play in my situation because I work pretty hard here on RockWhisperer Hill, anyway, and the workout center just kind of fills in the gaps when the weather's not such that I can spend much time outside.  Could be water retention, or anything, really.  Even if I don't lose another ounce during the next two weeks left to the year, I still have a loss of 25 pounds for 2015.  If I can lose another 25 pounds in 2016, and then again in 2017, I'll be at my goal.  Yeah, I know.....  That seems like an awfully long time.  But I'm living my life anyway, at least I'm hoping to.  So why not do it with a healthy lifestyle?  That's only two pounds a month, doesn't feel like much.  It seems like, if people can't stand up and say, "I lost TEN POUNDS this month!!", they don't feel like it's worth the effort at all.  And really, there has been hardly any effort expended this way.  While the destination is obvious, the journey is that I'm training myself to make healthier food choices without counting calories, without writing down everything I eat, without obsessing about food, without thinking ahead to all those poor food choices I'm going to make once I've lost all the weight I need to lose, because, that ain't gonna happen, anyway.  Frankly, after almost a year of this, I really have no desire to eat the way I used to.  I admit I've had a bit of an increase in appetite since I've been working out, though.  You know how fond I am of saying how we get things done out here, just a little bit at a time, done consistently and persistently.  One foot in front of the other, as Lorraine says.  That rule can apply to nearly anything you want to accomplish in your life.  Can't save money?  Can you spare $10 a week for 50 weeks out of the year?  In two years, that's $1000.  If you have the foresight to start when you're 20 and do that consistently, you'll save $30,000 by the time you turn 50.  Got a pile of stuff in the sewing basket you just can't seem to get to?  Make an appointment with yourself to spend one hour every day at the sewing machine till the basket is empty.  At the end of the week, voila!  Hate cleaning the bathroom?  Clean just one thing each time you go in there.  At the end of the day, it's done.  For me, and probably for anyone, I think, the hard part is in getting yourself started. 

My mouth is feeling better and I think part of the problem was that I might've cut my gums with the dental floss.  Oh, how I hate to floss.  Still doing the oil pulling, I started adding a drop of clove oil to the coconut oil and I don't like the taste but oh, well.  Called and got an appointment for a check-up.  It's time for one, anyway. 

The rash on my face is better but not gone.  The treatment suggested on the You-Tube video that I linked to my last post was 'way too harsh and made it worse, real quick.  I even tried some Betadyne and that was harsh, too.  Sometimes a remedy that works for one person won't work for another and so far the best results I've had is with dabbing on Betadyne, then washing it off, and then rubbing in some coconut oil.  I think today I'll make some Comfrey tea and try applying that.

Hubs announced to me yesterday that Ree Drummond (aka Pioneer Woman) was going to be on Dr. Oz's show.  "OMG", I exclaimed, "Wait till Dr. Oz sees how much cream and butter and bacon she uses, not to mention all the big beef cuts she has because they raise cattle out there on their ranch!"  We watched the show and yes, indeed, he did make comments like "Wow, THERE's a coronary in a bowl!"  I have no clue how all that came about, but then there's a lot about this world that I don't understand.  I have nothing against Ree, personally.  It's just that most of what she makes is pretty calorific.  I guess if you have people that work hard all day doing physical labor, they need those extra calories.  But it just wouldn't be safe for Hubs and me to eat like that.

I was up really early this morning, and checked my traps.  Neither were sprung but neither had any peanut butter left in them, either.  So you know what that means, right?  Mice.  I set up a small spring-type mousetrap and set it INSIDE the cage trap, because my neighbors have cats that come into my yard in the night and I don't want any of them catching their little inquisitive paws in a trap.  A few hours later, I had my mouse.  The trap's been reset so if it has any siblings maybe I can get them out of circulation before they start having families.  I suppose that's a good sign, when you start seeing mice instead of rats.  But they can still be a big problem.  I looked at the two traps in my garden shed and there was a rat in one of them, after several days of sitting there unsprung.  It seems like, when it rains, it changes their patterns of movement.  I read somewhere that, since rodents leave a scent trail everywhere they go, other rodents of their same ilk (or ick), will follow the trail, trusting that those that have gone before have been successful in finding food (or one of my traps -- Bwah-ha-haaaa!).  I guess the rain might wash some of that scent trail away.  I'm just glad that rats are too dumb to learn to avoid the traps.  Even with the spring-type traps, if there's one that's already got a dead rat in it, and a second one right beside it still baited, if another rat comes along it won't see it's dead cousin as a red flag.  It just goes right into the other trap. (Bwah-ha-haaaaa!)

This is now Thursday.
I mentioned to Carole in an e-mail that this rash on my face just isn't responding very well to anything I try.  Gets worse, sometimes.  And she said she thought I ought to get to a doctor as soon as possible because it might be staph.  Well, that pretty much gave me pause, because I sure don't need staph going on in my body what with this new knee.  I tried to get in to the dermatologist, but they couldn't work me in till February.  I told the girl on the phone that if this turns out to be a staph infection, it'd be in my new knee and I could actually be dead by then.  I laughed and she did too, but seriously, if you have been to that doctor before and you feel like you need to be seen, it seems like they ought to try to work you in somehow.  This is not something I do very often.  She ended up finding a slot for me in another week.  My general practitioner, or rather, her physician's assistant, saw me within an hour of my call.  I've been a patient there for over 30 years.  The receptionists come and go and don't know me from Adam, so they wouldn't know I don't call unless I feel like I really need to.  Unless somebody put a comment on my account they look up.  Maybe somebody did because they always try hard to accommodate me.  Going to the doctor's office is a time-consuming thing, both for the patient AND the doctor, and really I'd have no problems walking up to a camera and talking to a doctor that was seeing me from a remote location.  Just so long as they can SEE me.  All my vitals (pulse, temperature, blood pressure, lungs) were good.  The verdict?  Not staph.  Perioral dermatitis.   Prescription called in for a topical antibacterial with instructions to call the office if not considerably better in 7 days.  If I'm better next week, I'll cancel the appointment with the dermatologist.  If not, I'll be glad to be able to get her opinion.

Today was my appointment at the ophthalmologist's office.  I took my old appointment card with me and just gave it to Lena.  Lena is Dr. Jeff's registered nurse, and while she is a very dedicated employee and always has the reputation of the clinic and the safety of its patients on her mind, she is also a kind and loving person.  When I worked there, she was the one who gave the clinic staff flu shots and she would say a prayer with every shot.  That's just how Lena is.  I trust her to know what to do with the fact that they turned me away one morning last week when they had, indeed, written that appointment time on the reschedule notice they sent me, rather than one later on in the afternoon that they told me was the correct time.  Lena will know whether anything needs to be said.  I think I mentioned before that I won't do an afternoon appointment unless I'm desperate and that's all I can get, because by afternoon they're running so far behind that you can sit there and wait for HOURS to be seen.

I saw both grandsons yesterday.  I had a winter cap that looked like a cat's face, with braids down the side, that will be cute on JR's little girl, sorta like this one HERE, so we stopped at the grocery store where JR works in the bank satellite, and gave it to him.  JC works at the same store as a grocery-shelf stocker, and he was standing out front taking his break, so we shared a hug and I invited him to come out and bring his girlfriend so we could meet her.  I have some extra blankets, pillows and towels I'd like them to have, now that they've set up housekeeping together.  I'm sure JC would like his light sabre now that there's a new Star Wars movie out.  Maybe some other things... 

This is now Saturday morning and I will try to get this posted today.  Yesterday was a hard day because we had to take Sam to the vet, and she was put to sleep.  She was my "little shadow" and so it's going to take some getting used to, not having her around, making her little grunt-meow sounds.  Some people may think putting a pet down right before Christmas puts a pall on the holiday, and maybe that's so.  But it's not fair to a suffering pet to make them wait till after the holidays.  Pets don't know when it's a holiday.  All they know is what the quality of their life is. 

This leaves us petless, since we had to have Sonny put down about a year ago.  And we'll not adopt any more.  At this stage in our lives, it's often a worry and a burden to have to consider the needs of a pet, when we decide to take a trip, or when one of us has to be in the hospital, or even when a tornado threatens and we have to head for the cellar.   Veterinarians can be very expensive.  We don't think very far ahead when we adopt a puppy or take in a stray cat.  But coming up to the end of their lives is part of the package, and the worst part of it, at that.  I just don't think I could get enough joy out of owning another pet that would make up for the sadness that happens at the end.

We are having some colder weather, with temps below freezing at night, but Christmas week is supposed to be "unseasonably warm".  I don't know about the "unseasonably" part, I don't think this part of Oklahoma is ever really what the "experts" think is "seasonable".  I remember, when I was the last kid at home, my older sibs would all descend upon us on Christmas, and bring their bratty little kids (being a teenager at the time, I had little patience with all the whining and crying and tattling that went on amongst them).  But usually the weather was nice enough that, after the big noon-time meal, they could all spill out the back door and chase each other around with only a few interruptions for, well, more whining and crying and tattling.  But at least most of the racket was OUTSIDE, and I could retire into my room and play my radio without some little munchkin in there trying to turn all the knobs.  I guess I didn't realize at the time what a blessing it was to be "in the sweet spot" where I was no longer a child, but also not yet considered an adult.

But anyway, Hubs and I have been talking about tilling the next bed in the garden.  It will be difficult, being so full of Bermuda grass that it is. 

It's that one with the red plastic Folger's cans still in place on the ground.  We'll probably till it next week while the weather is nice.  That's Russian Kale on the right end, but the Hackberry trees are obscuring the view, kinda.  I may pull them up (the Kale, not the trees, OMG), or I may just have Hubs not do any tilling on that end.  Haven't decided yet.  This bed is kind of shaped like the state of Oklahoma, with a looonnnnng panhandle just past the blue wading pool and the sweet potato / lettuce bed.  The bed to this side of it is the most recently tilled and is now covered in leaves. 

Yesterday I burned the rest of the brush that I had accumulated in a pile by the burn barrel from cutting wild plum tree saplings out of the canna bed and pulling up the Moon Flower from The Deer Garden.  I decided to eliminate that spot, because it's too dry there for much of anything to grow -- except Bermuda grass, of course.  Hubs moved the deer to under the Maple tree for me, but they're in such bad shape now that I'm not sure even a new coat of primer and paint would be enough.  Come spring, I may just take them down, draw off a pattern in case Hubs might want to make another pair of deer later on, and then see if someone else would like to have them, to use as a pattern, or to fix up.  They're just made of exterior grade plywood, slotted to fit together 3-dimensionally, and then they can be taken apart and stacked flat for storage.  Remember those little toys that used to come in CrackerJacks?  I think, at one time, there was a whole zoo, you'd get the pieces for one little animal in each box, made out of Balsa, and they went together just like these deer do.

There is a clump of iris out there, still yet, and some perennial flowers that will come up in the spring that will need to be moved then, when I can tell where they are.

I still need to dormant spray the fruit trees.  I like to use Volck oil, but seems like it's getting harder and harder to find around here.  This leads me to a pet peeve, and that is that Bartlesville merchants complain loud and long because so many people go out of town to spend their money.  Yet, when you need something in particular, nobody carries it.  And, OMG, their prices are just not competitive when you DO find it.  Hubs says he's bought his last pair of glasses from merchants here.  He can go to Owasso where they will make them for half the price, and have them ready in a couple of hours instead of the week to ten days that are customary here.  Two hours is not very long.  So while we wait, we can shop in some of the other stores in the area.  And have lunch.  Causing FURTHER loss to Bartlesville area merchants, and I'm sorry about that, but it is what it is. 

Many times, we need to examine that about which we complain. 
  • Is our complaint caused by something we've done?  Our local merchants need to ask themselves if the gain from higher prices received from the captive market (those who are poor, old, or ill, and therefore least able to travel -- also least able to afford to buy overpriced merchandise) makes up for the loss of business from those who can go out of town to shop.  You know, it just isn't the responsibility of the townspeople to keep these businesses alive, under the circumstances.
  • Can our complaint be eliminated by doing something different?  Yeah.  Instead of complaining, we can go to Owasso.  Or shop online. 
  • Can our complaint be less of an annoyance to us by changing how we think about it?  Yeah.  Day trip to points past Owasso such as Tulsa, Joplin, and so on, could be a lot of fun and a welcome diversion for two old duffers.
Of course, all merchants just hate garage sales, not only do they lose business to them but also some towns and cities have decried the loss of sales tax revenue because of them and some have actually required that each garage sale be licensed, the price of said license going into the same "hopper" as sales tax.  And there for awhile, our local police force was stopping at garage sales and fining people for parking on the wrong side of the street, and having signs too close to the road, and so on.  It felt like harassment.  But they don't seem to be doing that anymore.  Personally, I just hate to shop in stores.  But I enjoy going to garage sales.  The people who host them are almost always friendly and helpful and not trying to get a huge price for anything.  I'm not usually disappointed by what's on sale because I never have expectations, and, well, you can turn and leave whenever you want and just go to the next sale. 

Well, this is about all I know for this time.  I did not find any rats or mice in the traps this morning.  Bait is still intact.  I've started closing the traps up during the daytime because I haven't caught anything during the daytime for a long time, unless it's a bird.  I thought I heard something rustling in the leaves last night when I was out front, so I set up the small cage trap there.  But then this morning when I checked the trap, a jack-rabbit went bounding out into the front yard from the flowerbed near the foundation.  I think it must be warmer along the foundation.  Rabbits are a nuisance and they can wreak havoc in a garden full of seedlings, but, I was so glad to see that it was not a rat (or a skunk) that I forgave it for being a rabbit. 

Y'all have a good weekend, appreciate your blessings, as I do, even when it doesn't sound like it, stay safe and be happy.  Hugs xoxoxo

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Daily Doin's, Second Week Of December, 2015

I start this on Monday, December 7.

I think (hope, and pray) that we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as regards to our unwanted rat population.  I don't know if all of our neighbors are taking measures to deal with their populations and seriously, WE are not just "the lucky ones" in our neighborhood.  If WE have them, EVERYBODY in our neighborhood has them.  So if any of our neighbors are doing nothing, then we have the problem of their populations growing exponentially and eventually spilling over to us again.  *Sigh*. 

Every now and then, something digs up the dead rats we've buried.  And yesterday morning, I found out what it was.  I had a trap near there and I was going to check it before dawn.  I nearly walked right up on a skunk, feeding on the rats.  If I hadn't had my flashlight, I might be telling you a WHOLE different story today.  I quickly backed off and went back into the yard.  Guess I won't be trying to trap out there anymore.  Don't know what I'd do if I got a skunk in one of my cage traps.  Later on, I went out there and it looked like the skunk had quite a snack.  I didn't know skunks would eat dead rats.  Apparently not the heads, though. 

I haven't caught anything in the mouse-sized spring traps in several days, so I gathered those up and put them away.  I have two rat-sized spring traps in the garden shed and one tucked back between the metal cabinets that are on the patio.  I took up the one I had in the front garden bed that I had situated under a wire crate, because all I caught in that was an unfortunate snoopy sparrow.

Hubs and I both had appointments in town this morning.  His was a lipids test at 7:30, mine was an annual ophthalmologic check-up at 9:10.  So we ate breakfast at the hospital cafeteria after his test, then went to the workout center where we were finished in time to make my appointment.  Only problem was, the girls at the front desk told me they had me down for 2:10 in the afternoon.  I wish I'd brought that card they sent to me with my appointment rescheduled to today, because it did, indeed, say 9:10.  I don't like to make appointments for the afternoon because by that time they're running so far behind that the wait time is pretty long.  So I had them reschedule again.  When I go back, I'll take my card and show them that the mistake was theirs, because they were so confident that it was I who had made the mistake.  And also because, when I worked there, every DANG little mistake I made, people wore out the carpet getting to my office to tell me about it.  First it would be my supervisor.  Then the office manager.  Then I'd check my voicemail and I'd have one about it from one of the doctors.  Then the other doctor would stick his head in my doorway, and he, an older man, was kind of hateful about it and always treated me like he thought I was not very smart.  It wasn't like I endangered anyone's eyes or anything, just so you know.  And after being told of my transgression for the second time, I'd start to feel a little like, ALLRIGHT, ALREADY!!!!! for the third, fourth and fifth.  So let's just say I'll be doing a little payback.  But no, I'm not going to set all that in motion by showing the doctor or someone who might blab to one of the doctors or the office manager.  But it's sure tempting.  Those girls up at the front desk are new since I worked there and they need to be able to consider that sometimes they might make a mistake, that's all.  (mumble, grumble....)

It was a good day to work in the garden, after we got home, and so we finished cleaning up the bed that's next in line to be tilled.  Hubs said he figured it'd be dry enough by tomorrow.  I dug out some clumps of perennial red clover (the flowers are actually more purple than red, but they call it red clover, all the same) and transplanted them into spots under fruit trees and in the elderberry bed.  A lot of people don't like clover in their yards and that "Weed and Feed" stuff they sell at the garden centers will actually kill it as if it's a weed.  But clover, in my opinion, is definitely not a weed.  It's an herb.  And when used as part of the "Guild" under fruit trees, it draws the bees.  It returns nitrogen to the soil.  It holds it's own against Bermuda grass and Bindweed.  People use it to make herbal tea.   HERE's what WebMD has to say about Red Clover when used as an herb.  And HERE's what has to say.  I'm not sure if what grows out there in various spots is from a packet of seed I broadcast and then lamented that it didn't come up that year, or if the birds planted it, but suffice it to say I was happy when I first noticed it, the following year, growing and thriving. 

I had gone through my stack of catalogs and that resulted in quite a pile of old ones that have since been replaced with new.  Catalogs and phone books are hard to burn because they are too thick, but this thickness can be a real plus when it comes to using them in the garden.  I've been tearing apart the really thick ones, and just opening thinner ones out to their centers, and putting them under the cinder blocks that I use to edge my raised beds.  If you don't have old catalogs or if you have concerns about the inks used in them, you can use cardboard or several thicknesses of newspaper, or even your junk mail.  It's a little work to get them in place, but it pays off in less work in the long run.

We sat in our Adirondack chairs on the back patio in the afternoon and enjoyed the day.  It was warm enough that we were comfortable with a light jacket on.  We saw a hawk hunting in the field behind our yard.  It actually landed at one point, where it caught and ate something.  I sincerely hope it was a rat.  Next choice: a rabbit.  I don't think hawks hunt skunks.

This is now Wednesday, December 9.
Hubs and I went to the fitness center this morning, and on the way home we stopped to pick up leaves in response to several phone calls we've had.  We weren't prepared for the number of bags of leaves and the weight of the bags at the last stop scared me.  You know men.  They will do stuff that is beyond their capabilities and then pay for it later.  I told Hubs we could skip this stop.  But he said, "Well, we're HERE."  So I dragged them over to him and he wanted to bend over, once inside the bed of the truck, and hoist them up from the ground, but I told him, "Absolutely NOT!"  These had been sitting on the curb since before those last several days of rain and they were all chopped up and saturated.  Being in clear leaf bags, they will compost pretty quickly, right in the bag, so will be nice to have for the garden.  But getting them there is the rub.  We now have all the leaves we can use, and then some, and so we won't be picking up any more this year. 

People find it hard to dispose of their leaves now.  First, our city waste management system said they'd pick them up separately if they were in clear bags.  So everybody went out and bought a supply of clear bags.  And then after about a season of that, they said the homeowner would have to buy a special "tag" to put on each bag, or they would not take the bags at all.  I guess they no longer care if the bags are clear or not.  I don't know if this is how it is in other cities or towns, but here, it seems like they keep trying different recycling schemes for all kinds of different things, they spend a lot of money implementing it, and then they don't stay with it. 

We have a mulching blade on our mower and we don't rake leaves.  My parents never raked leaves, in fact, hardly anyone did, in the bitty town where we lived.  Mom just mowed over them when spring came.  And I don't think they made mulching blades for lawnmowers then.  But her electric push mower chopped them up just fine.  They had a little travel trailer parked in the yard and when they moved the trailer out in the summer, you could tell right where it had sat because the ground under it was a couple inches lower than all the ground around it.  All because of the leaves that composted themselves into the soil.  But hey, this is Nature's Way. 

To unload, Hubs just backed into the garden and pushed them out of the truck bed onto the ground.  While I was out there helping him unload the trailer, I noticed several clear bags that had finely chopped leaves in them, from an earlier trip.  After I had a little rest, I went out there with the red wagon and lugged those onto the garden bed Hubs tilled yesterday.  Oh, you should've seen the excitement the tilling of that bed generated in the bird community.  There were so many big fat robins and cardinals, working over every inch of the newly-tilled soil.  I hope they were getting bugs and grubworms and not the red wiggler worms.  It seems to me that an obvious advantage to tilling the soil is that the bugs and larvae that are wintering over in the soil get exposed.  I've seen some kind of little beetles, might be cucumber beetles, running around, when I've tipped over a cinder block.   

I'll be going out after I've had another rest, and then I'll start opening all those bags and dumping the contents.  They'll need spreading with the rake but that's enough for today.  I'll let the birds inspect them first.  Tomorrow's expected to be a pretty nice day, and we don't have workouts.  A good enough day to do that, I think. 

Several of you have reminded me I haven't said much about the knee lately.  I'm now a week away from four months post-op.  They told me at the osteopathic clinic that I can do anything I want to, the knee will cooperate or not, and that will set my limitations.  It still feels like a heavy chunk of concrete, still stiffens up at night and during periods of being "at rest".  I still limp.  I have good range of movement, and I can use the bicycles at the workout center that have pedals that go in circles rather than just forward and back.  But I have to take that slow, and I usually am sore that night. 

Well, we went all day Sunday with no rats caught.  Then Monday, no rats in the spring traps in the shed or on the patio, but three caught in the cage traps that I set along the east fence where I had seen some movement.  Today, so far, there have been four caught there but none in the spring traps. 

I heard an interesting little tidbit about smiling on some program Hubs was watching the other day.  Of course if you do an internet search on "benefits of smiling", you'll get a lot of hits.  But if you want a link, HERE's one.   Of course, I already knew from my secretary days that if you smile when you talk to someone on the phone, that makes your voice sound more pleasant.  And then I heard, many years ago, about the benefits of laughing.  There was a man who said he cured himself of cancer by exposing himself to things that made him laugh: happy people, children, funny books, movies and TV programs.  It may be that the reason why getting out in public elevates a person's mood is more the increased number of people to smile at, than it is the change of scenery.  When my eyes meet those of someone else, I have always just automatically smiled.  I understand this is not the same for everyone, and I have run into an occasional person who returns my smile with a glare, as if to say, "I don't think you're WORTHY of a smile from me, and how DARE you expect one?"  Unfortunately, there are people who had to fight so hard to gain their social standing that they are afraid to risk it by being too friendly to someone they consider "beneath" them.  All I know is that I got the benefit of smiling, while, I guess, they didn't.  Hmmmm.  Karma.

This is now Thursday and my, how the time does fly!  It's a gorgeous day.  I did get the leaves spread, gathered up the garlic that's been languishing in the refrigerator crisper in brown paper bags, half expecting most of them to have softened and not be good for anything.  But all of them were in beautiful shape -- even the large cloves of Red Estonian, which is usually a very poor keeper.  And so I do recommend separating the cloves after the garlic has been dug in the spring and has had time to dry out a little -- maybe a couple of weeks -- then closing them up in brown paper lunch bags, and keep the bags in the bottom crisper drawer of the refrigerator.  I think it has something to do with the paper bags, and how the paper wicks out the excess moisture yet doesn't allow the garlic to dry out completely.  It isn't unusual for the bags themselves to feel slightly damp.  The people who sell this garlic say to just keep them at room temperature.  We here in Oklahoma are too warm in summer and fall for that.  It's a good way to lose all the garlic you grew.  I'm a little late getting these planted, but I think they'll be ok.  I'll have extra plants by spring and if I have a garage sale then, they will sell well.  I started out with Asian Tempest, Martin's Heirloom, German Porcelain,

Music, Red Estonian, Chesnok.

Inchelium Red, Red Toch, and Red Estonian.  But over the seven or so years I've been growing them, I've gotten some of the ones that look alike mixed up, thanks to neighbors' dogs that dug up my garlic bed.

HERE is a link to the place where this garlic came from.  The site hasn't been updated for awhile and the forms for ordering are missing.  I emailed and got a response that they had taken some time off.  They are a young family.  Life happens.  Maybe they'll be back soon.  Till then, their informational pages are still there and those are interesting to read. 

Hubs dumped the ashes out of the burn barrel and I scattered some over the graves of our 130 rats, 8 mice and 2 sparrows.  Maybe the skunk will stop digging them up.

This is now Saturday.
Only two rats caught, all day Thursday, and one yesterday.  This morning, when I was gathering up non-burnable trash to take to Joe's dumpster, I picked up a leaf bag full of other leaf bags and a rat scurried away.  So I moved one of the traps to the northeast corner of the house foundation where that happened and have caught two today. 

Hubs and I had three or four estate sales to go to, and they were all over the place when it comes to starting times and locations, so we combined some errand running with it.  Went to the 7:00 sale and found a few little things we needed.  Then to Walmart to pick up some stuff for this rash I have on my face.  Then to another sale, then to Aldi to get eggs and yogurt.  It wasn't quite time for the last sale to open so we went to Tractor Supply just to look around.  They had some interesting magazines, and I almost bought a Grit magazine, till I saw that single copy price is $7.  Oh, my stars and garters!!  HERE is Grit's website.  At the last estate sale, it was half price day.  I didn't see much of anything I needed, but I did buy a Dyson DLC-16 battery-powered small-task vac for $37.50.

I watched Cook's Country today, but other than some kind of cake I don't much remember what they did on the show.  I'm still kind of hacked off at them for they way they manage their website. 

I hope the stuff I bought at Walmart helps get rid of this rash I'm carrying around on my face.  It started along the crease of the sides of my nostrils, and went down the smile line to my mouth.  It's inside my nostrils.  I did some research online and I'm pretty sure what I have is Perioral (Perry-Oral) Dermatitis.  This is something I've had, off and on, all my life.  I remember when I was a child my mother used to get a salve from the doctor that had pine tar in it.  Since I've been an adult, I haven't found that pine tar works, and I hate the smell.  So, over the years I've tried this and that, and eventually it goes away, probably because it's just tired of being there, you know?  Apparently it can spread to the chin and also upwards on the face but I've never had it that bad.  Some of the pictures they showed just made me feel so sad for the young women who had it.  It's more common on children than adults and more common on women than men.  And you know what?  In a day and age when they can cure cancer, they don't have the slightest idea what causes this.  I found a You-Tube where they recommended a product called Spectro gel, but apparently that's made in Canada and not sold here except at Amazon, and kind of expensive there.  So I was looking for other options when I found this young woman's video where she repeated her pharmacist's instructions of how to clear it up with easily found products.  Hmmmm.  Worth a try, I guess.  HERE is her video, if you can get past the fact that she cannot pronounce "perioral", OR any of the pharmaceutical names for the active ingredients in the products she recommends.  Bless her heart.
I probably spent more than if I'd just bought the bottle of Spectro gel on Amazon, but I'd have to wait for it to get here, and I'd get a bitty tube so I might not have enough left for future attacks. 

I'm having trouble with a tooth, too, may have to call the dentist and I just hate to do that because I don't think there's anything he can do about it without removing a couple of teeth. 

Back when I was a senior in high school, I broke a tooth, about third from the back, on a popcorn hull.  My mother would rant and rave every time she had to spend money on me and I hated how she acted like I did stuff like this on purpose, just to be a bother to her, so I just didn't tell her about it.  It didn't hurt and I went on and graduated from high school, then went out and got myself a job, and an apartment, and so on.  But about a year out, I began to have some serious pain, and went to a dentist who pulled it and built a gold bridge over it and the tooth ahead of it and behind it.  I didn't know it at the time, but in order to attach the bridge, he had to seriously cut in to those two perfectly good teeth.  All I knew was, after the harrowing procedure was over, and all the men at work teased me about how they thought I'd been in a bar-room brawl till the black and blue turned to green and then went away, I was good to go.  Until I was the mother of teenagers, and then the fake tooth that was held down by the bridge broke in half.  So a different dentist worked on it again.  And then, when I was the grandmother of teenagers, the bridge came off.  So my current dentist crowned the two teeth holding the bridge.  Well, guess what.  Something's loose again.  I get food particles inside there and it makes my gums sore.  He says only one end of the bridge is loose, while the other half is securely fastened, and he doesn't think he can get it off without having that tooth pulled.  So I've been crippling along, trying to keep everything clean, and until just here lately it hasn't been too bad.  The last several days, though, it seems like all the things I've done before just aren't working, and with this new knee, I can't afford to get it infected.  They told me I can't get my teeth cleaned or have any kind of invasive medical test done without taking antibiotics first, until I've had this knee for a year, because if I get an infection it'll go right to my knee.  We don't want THAT.  So I'm doing my best to take precautions and stay in good health.  I'm flossing more, which I hate, but learning to be gentle with it, I'm brushing with a softer brush and more gently, using baking soda instead of toothpaste, and doing "oil pulling" every morning with coconut oil and a little peppermint essential oil.  Might try clove oil tomorrow morning, see if that feels better.  I bought some mouthwash today that fights plaque but that doesn't burn like my old standby, Listerine yellow.  Plus I got the idea that maybe, with age, my gums might be receding and so I've been massaging them gently every day with my finger.  Monday I'll call the dentist and set up my annual check-up appointment, then call the orthopedic clinic and have them call my antibiotic in to the drug store, let him take x-rays all over and find out if he's thought of anything else we can do.  Though I doubt he gave it a second thought once I left the chair.  They don't go home and think about us.  I suppose if they did, it would drive them all crazy. 

I swear, it just seems like I ought to be named RoseAnn RoseAnnaDanna, because "It's ALWEAYS SOMETHIN'"!  Oh, wait a minute......   I might be speaking that into being, might'n't I?

I saw an interview with Kevin Nealon on TV and he was talking about his mom and dad.  They've been married 65 years.  He said they still hold hands.  Then he smiled and said, "But I think, really, that's just to keep from falling over...."  LOL    Hubs and I hold hands sometimes.  And truly, sometimes that's the reason.

Here are a few places to visit, if you are interested:
Nature is Speaking by Conservation International.  Several to look at.  Harrison Ford does a great job speaking for the ocean. 
Henry Ford's Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca

Well, my dears, I'm working on a pot of soup, beef vegetable with beans, for supper.  The pressure cooker is making the beans and the rest is simmering on the next burner over.  Guess I'll go up to the main floor and see what Hubs has on TV, watch with him while I watch supper. 

Y'all have a super weekend, be safe, be happy.  Hugs xoxoxo

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Daily Doin's, First Week Of December, 2015

I start this on Tuesday, December 1. 
Continuing on with The Rat Patrol.  This morning I had one in the trap.  I couldn't reset the trap as the temperature was below 32º.  The grass that I walked on was white with frost and crunchy under my feet and the surface of the water in the "drown tank" was covered in a sheet of ice that I had to break in order to drown my furry, beady-eyed little victim.  But the other trap had not been disturbed and since the dew hadn't fallen yet, the trap was still dry and therefore not frozen open.  I moved it to behind the compost bins and shortly thereafter caught another rat. 

I had Hubs buy another package of spring-type mousetraps when he went to Lowe's to get a new gasket for the bottom of our garage doors.  He drilled a hole in each one and I fastened a thin plastic cord into the hole with a larkshead loop and knotted the two ends of the string together so I could easily loop the cord over and under a brick.  Drag THAT away, you little creepy critters.....   I still have not found the little spring trap I set last week.  No "dead rat" odor, either, so, somewhere, there may be a rat wearing a rather large piece of wooden jewelry.

I got two mice yesterday and have had two today.  The nice thing about these spring traps is that it kills the mouse by breaking it's neck (I guess) and so there's no drowning to do.  The bad thing about it is that I have to get a lot closer to a dead critter than I want to.  I've still had a couple instances of something eating the peanut butter off the trap without tripping it.  Since I have two set up, there's usually a victim in the one trap when the other trap has lost it's bait.  Not sure if that's the same rodent, having gotten confident and therefore careless, or if there is still one that got away.

We stopped at Bob and Gwen's on the way home from workout yesterday and had a nice visit.  We hadn't seen them since before The Fire.  They are further away from the path that the fire took but said they are inundated with rats, too, and have spent over $100 so far just on D-Con.  I gave them information on the trap we bought and showed them how to attach a cord to a spring trap so it can't be dragged off.  Spring traps for rats are 7" x 3.75".  I'm calling it a spring trap because they have a really tight spring that clips to the metal piece that holds the bait.  When the rats put pressure on the baited metal, it triggers the springs and the wire clamps down on the critter's neck, but I guess what it's really called is a "pedal trap".  The little ones (about 2" x 4") are the same kind of mousetrap that people have been buying and using for years.  The house we lived in when I was a kid was old and not very well made, so every winter we'd get at least one mouse in the house.  My mother would bait her traps with a little piece of bread, tied on with a piece of thread, and then smear butter on top of it.  You would sure want to keep these out of the reach of anything else.  Verrrrry dangerous with curious cats around.

Today I got my hair cut at the local Tech school.  The student is closely supervised when cutting the hair of real people.  Only once have I had a cut I didn't like from there.  I thought today's haircut was very well done and I'm happy with it.  Gosh, now that I look at this picture, it looks longer on one side than the other.  It's not, but I have a "cowlick" back there that's probably gone into play.

Glad to have that extra length off my neck.  I always shampoo my hair before I go in, it costs more if they have to do it.  I don't like how the person who washes hair always has such long fingernails.  I don't let them blow-dry or style it, either.  With the "Senior Citizen Discount", a cut used to only cost $4.50 that way.  This time it had gone up to $7.50.  There's a shop that advertises $12.00 haircuts and they'll cut men's hair for $7, they say, but so far the Tech school still has the best price.  I always cut Hubs' hair, and so he gets the best price EVER!  Or maybe not.  But really, I think I probably earn my keep.  Can you imagine all the money we've saved, over the years, by my being able to cut hair?  I always cut my kids' hair and then that of my grandsons.  JR always griped that he'd rather have a barbershop cut, because all his friends went to the barbershop, and so when he went back to live with his mom, she let him do that.  He has naturally curly hair and when he lets it grow, it just keeps getting bigger and rounder by the day.  I would often give him a hard time about that because with that big round head of hair and those big wide skateboard shoes and with his pants hanging about 8" lower than they were supposed to, he looked really awful.  But now, he's gone back to wearing his hair short like I always used to cut it.  And he wears pants that fit better because he works in a bank.  Praise God.  The first time I saw him at the bank satellite where he works, I told him, "Oh, you look so handsome..."  I see a lot of my dad's looks in JR, and I have a picture of Hubs when he was young that JR looks a lot like, too.  His brother JC looks like their dad.

I still have my Flowbee, and it's good for if I want an all-over layered cut, but the hair at the nape is always a problem.  What I need is a "buddy" living nearby, we could do each other's hair in the back.  I wouldn't trust Hubs to cut my hair any further than I could throw him.  Short hair is a problem for me.  The wind out here blows it around and I come inside looking like someone gave me a "Swirlie".  Wearing a scarf gets hot in the summer and the scarf slides down while I work, anyway.  It just works better for me to have it long enough that I can pull it back into a ponytail when I need to work outside.  Probably it would be perfect if I just shaved my head but then I guess I'd sunburn my scalp, wouldn't I?  LOL  I only seem to need to have someone cut my hair about once a year, so it's not a big deal.  I wonder what it costs to go to a Cosmetology class.  I just got a course schedule in the mail but it's "Community Education" and Cosmetology is not on it.  Sometimes I learn something I didn't already know just by watching what they do, and listening when the teacher explains to the student what to do.  If there's someone working the chair within eyesight, I watch what they do, too. 

I realize my Google photo needs to be replaced with a more current one.  The one that's there now was what I set up when I first started blogging, nearly 8 years ago.  I've really aged during that time.  Carole's been encouraging me to color my hair.  I think a nice Honey Blonde would be enough.  I don't want to go dark because it would look too stark.  I hardly have any eyebrows or eyelashes anymore.  Maybe I'll do it.  Maybe not. 

This is now Thursday, December 3.
Yesterday we went to the workout center.  I did two miles on the recumbent bike and walked half a mile around the track.  Used a few of the weight machines.  We stopped at Walgreen's on the way home and bought a gallon jug of milk, and then went to Atwood's and bought some of those 5" x 7" spring rat traps.  They were half the price of what I saw on Amazon.  You've gotta watch Amazon, sometimes they have better deals and sometimes they make up for when they gave you a better deal, if you know what I mean. 

I won't be able to drown rats much longer as the weather's getting colder and soon I'll have to empty my drown tub. 

If the water in the tub freezes all the way to the bottom, it can bust open the seam where the bottom attaches to the sides and then the tub will leak and not be good for anything except filling with soil and growing something in it. 

We stopped at Bob and Gwen's so I could ask Bob some questions.  Bob was an auto mechanic before he retired and he said the best way to keep rats from building nests in the engine of your vehicle is to scatter cayenne pepper around under the hood.  I wanted to see exactly how he did that, how much he used, and ask him if that would damage the vehicle in any way.  He lifted his hood and I could see the red pepper in small amounts in various places.  He said he had it in a shaker and he just sprinkled the pepper over the whole area.  Bob had bagged a deer and he kept the head because the deer had such strange antlers.  Short and going every which way, like a "Bedhead" hairdo, almost.  I kind of shivered at the thought of looking at the severed head of a deer and said, "Yuk", before we even got into the building where it was, and Bob turned and looked at me and said, "THIS shouldn't bother you, you're over there at your house killing rats every day...."  Those people you went to grade school with, they cut you NO slack.  Heh.

It was chilly but otherwise sunny and kind of a decent day, so I decided to move the compost to a spot out on the land where it would be easier for the birds of prey to pick off any rats that take refuge in it.  Plus it'll be out of the 30-yard distance that they're supposed to travel from their nests when foraging for food.  I don't know that I believe that, but oh, well.  I had a lot of trouble taking apart those weak tomato cages and fastening several together, so I had to get Hubs to do that.  I lugged out four cinder blocks in the wagon and we put them inside the wire circle, so they wouldn't be in the way when he had to mow, and he attached them with the pieces of wire we had been using to keep the fronts on the old wooden pallet compost bins.  That should keep the enclosure full of compost from rolling off our land and into Dane's driveway during the next high wind.  I hope.  We came in to rest and eat lunch, then I went back out and started wheel-barrowing the compost material from the old bins to the new one.  This is it about center of the picture, outside the garden fence.

The old bin structure has served us well.  But it harbors the rats, and therefore is too close to the house for comfort.  The insides are beginning to show rot and they've been chewed on by the rats, apparently.  For now, till we get them taken apart, they will serve to corral stacks of tomato cages that keep falling over, out into the walkway, and things still needing to be put away.  We left the fence posts in place where the fence had been between the garden and the house, as I was intending to put birdhouses on them, but I think the stacks of tomato cages could be dropped down over one and that would keep them upright. 

One bin was easily done and in pretty short order because the material in it hadn't started to break down yet.  But the material in the other bin was a little further along and harder to move.  I had to come in and rest several times.  The spirit is willing but the body is weak.  In the process, I ousted three little rats out of that last bin.  Sam took no notice of the first one, then saw the last two and chased them, but she's not much of a hunter anymore.  With so many people out here using various methods to kill rats, I'd rather she didn't, anyway.  Hubs thinks it's sweet that she wants to be wherever I am, but I just HATE how he will let her out when I'm trying to work outside.  That means I have to make sure I close the gate every time I go in or out, or she'll go out the gate and she KNOWS I won't leave her out there.  If I'm just out there for some casual reason, she's good about following me back inside the fence, but seems like she can tell the difference between that and the times that I'm actually trying to WORK, so THEN she ignores me when I call her and makes me CHASE her so I can pick her up and put her back in the yard.  SHEESH!!

At least I didn't have to come in and cook supper.  I'd made a Beer Pot Roast in the pressure cooker the day before and we had leftovers.  (simple recipe: one 12-oz can of beer, one pot roast, pressured for an hour.  If it's a tall roast, I usually will cut it into several pieces so the beer will cover it -- or almost -- and the meat will be very tender.  Add vegetables -- or not -- after the pressure's gone down and you can take off the lid, put them in the liquid and lift the roast so it sits on top, then put the lid back on and simmer till the veggies are done.)  What's left now is a small bowl of just potatoes, carrots, celery, onions and bits of beef in broth that I'll have for lunch today, and three chunks of meat that I think I'll shred with two forks and stir in some barbeque sauce for lunch-time sandwiches.  I'll probably freeze it in patties and then they will heat up in the microwave for a quick hot sandwich whenever we want one.  Hubs doesn't like to be "locked into" eating leftovers.   

Today was a nice sunny day.  I went to the garden and pulled up dead plants and vines.  The plants with vines or stems that were not very woody went out to the compost, and the woody stems, like zinnias, and stems of things that are in the nightshade family, which I think kind of poison the ground, went into the burn barrel.  I burned trash and the last of the brush this morning and there were still embers in the bottom of the barrel, so the garden stuff was burned up in pretty short order.  One of our people that saves their bagged leaves for us called and so Hubs went to pick them up while I did that. 

This morning I walked up to the trap that was behind the old compost bin and scared a rat off.  Dang it!  He went towards the three sheds in the back yard.  I noticed rat droppings all over the floor of the shed where I store my garden supplies, so I baited one of the big spring traps and set it up inside the shed.  With doors closed, birds and cats aren't going to get in there.  And Hubs knows where it is.  I've already caught one in there.  This morning I actually caught a small rat in one of the small spring mousetraps that's on the patio, but he was almost too big for it.  I looked in the other shed and what served as a chicken house when we had chickens, and there's been considerable chewing up of some stuff in the chicken house and some droppings in the shed where Hubs keeps gas and the push-mower.  So I baited and set two more of the bigger spring traps, and fastened their string around the wheels of something heavy.  I also saw movement out in the deer garden so I moved the newer Have-A-Heart cage-style trap out there.  There simply has GOT to be an end to this, at some point

This is now Saturday and I will try to publish today. 
Yesterday we went to the workout center and then stopped at Big Lots and bought a shaker of cayenne pepper for about a dollar.  I don't buy much at Big Lots, they are supposed to be liquidators of discontinued items, or things that are surplus, I'm not really sure how all that works.  That's supposed to make their stuff really cheap but that's not always the case.  When Aldi's took so long to get oatmeal back on their shelves, we bought a box at Big Lots and it cost more by quite a bit. 

Once back home, I did a couple of loads of laundry and then went out to help Hubs in the garden.  I had asked him to close up the "keyholes" I'd built into the raised bed on the far east side of the garden.  It's bordered with cinder blocks and lifting those heavy blocks really hurts my wrists.  We are going to have to start tilling the garden again.  That is the only effective way to knock back the Bermuda grass and the Bindweed enough to be able to grow anything.  Keyholes might be a good idea for some people, but they make it almost impossible to run the tiller through the bed and so not for those of us who cope with Bermuda and Bindweed on a daily basis.  I would rather do "no-till" gardening.  I don't like killing the earthworms in the tilling process.  But maybe by this time of year they have all gone deeper into the ground than the tiller reaches.

Hubs and I hit a few garage / estate sales this morning.  You would've been SOOOOOO proud of me.  This is all I bought:

The sweatshirt and matching sweatpants are different brands but the shade of navy blue is the same on both so I can wear them together if I want.  I do love the thought of angels hovering over our houses, don't you?  The other pair of sweatpants is charcoal gray.  I really needed these, and I said out loud that I was going to look for some as we started out.  You know how that works, right?  They were $1 each.  Hubs got a nice red plastic gas can and a Pouland gas-powered blower and a pair of pliers for $16.50 total.

We got back home in time to watch Martha Stewart making Mango Upside-Down Cake and then to catch Cook's Country, showing how to make Delta Tamales.  And seriously, they looked pretty easy.  I didn't write down anything because I thought I could go to the Cook's Country website and get it there.  Turns out I had to register for some kind of "trial membership" and what's THAT all about?  Now, here's the thing:  I really love tamales and this recipe looked like something I could do because 1) they used ground beef as the meat.  2) they used regular yellow cornmeal instead of masa, into which they mixed baking soda, dissolved in water, and a small amount of the cornmeal mixture, to keep it from cooking up crumbley inside the cornmeal jacket.  3) They put some of the spice mixture, that had been used to season the meat (which also turns out to be a pretty good recipe for making your own Mexican spice blend if you buy your spices in bulk, like I do, from Penzey's), into the water that they used to simmer the tamales in once they'd been tied into their little cornhusk bundles, and then they just thickened that same water (which by the time the simmering is done has also been flavored by the meat inside the tamales) with some cornstarch, and that made the "red sauce" that is always so good drizzled over a plate of tamales.  And so many other little tips and tricks.  If you love tamales and would like to make them yourself, I'd recommend you register on this site just to get these instructions.  After I registered they asked if I want a trial of their cooking school, and I declined that, but it still let me in to get the recipes.  You can bet I'm going to be printing off several recipes during my 15-day trial period.  I also signed up for their newsletter, I don't know what that'll have in it.  Try THIS link, see if you can watch their show without having to register.

Before I leave you for this time, I'd like to share with you some You-Tube videos under the title Adam Ruins Everything.  I saw an interview with Adam Conover on TV this morning.  He says all their research is documented and that it all started with engagement rings, the greatest marketing innovation of all.  LOL, you might watch that one that tells the real reason why so many male babies are circumcised.  Yikes, sure glad we females managed to dodge the bullet Mr. Kellogg had for us!

Well, my dears, it's time for me to check my traps.  The rat count is 107.  Mice: 9. 

Hugs xoxoxoxo