Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Daily Doin's, Cold Medications and Seedling Progress

We have a cold week coming up, the low for Wednesday night / Thursday morning is supposed to be 3º.  It will be a relief to get through this.  But at least we're not living in a cold house!  And it's nice not to hear that squealing at every start-up, too.  I can't help but to channel Aunt Viv a little on this one.  I mean, Hell's Bells! (as she often said), that thing had been squealing ever since we moved in, and we had three different guys out here to listen to it and nobody seemed to know what it was.  "That's just the sound of your Freon coming in," said one guy.  Another said, "Well, it can't be the bearings going out, they're sealed in oil, afterall...."  So when the guy that told us that last thing replaced the coil, he said there was quite a bit of oil that had leaked out of it, where it isn't easy to see it, and that was evidently where all our Freon was going, too.  I was really grateful that it was finally getting changed out, because if you add up all the money we've spent on having guys out and getting Freon charges, we could've paid for the new coil with just that, and then some.  I want to think that they were just trying to help us rock along, because it's an expensive thing, and they made the assumption that we'd prefer not to have to start replacing stuff any sooner than we just have to.  But I just wish we'd insisted on going ahead and getting it replaced instead of letting them try to patch the old stuff up.  My dentist tries to do this, too.  He wants to patch up a tooth, even though he knows it's gonna need a crown.  Last time the patch broke, I just called and told the girls to set me up an appointment to start getting the crown done.  I'm sick and tired of paying for patches.  And I told my dentist that.  So here's my top money-saving advice for this time.  If someone tells you you are looking at having to replace something "before very long", just go ahead and do it.  It'll cost you twice as much if you just let them patch things up, like they'll want to do.  And you might sit in a cold house for a week.  Or have the patch on your tooth break over a holiday.  I don't know about you, but we don't live on credit.  Money is money, whether you spend it a little at a time or all at once.  It might be a little different if you need time to save up the cost of the expenditure, but if that's the case, do your math and try to estimate what it'll cost you to pay for patches and compare it against, say, finance charges on a small loan.  Maybe you could pay the loan off early by taking on a temporary job.  The worse the economy gets, the more employers depend on temporary workers, they don't get vacation time, sick time, holiday pay, retirement benefits or insurance.  I've worked temporary jobs before and they always treat you well.  You're not there long enough, usually, to find out that the founder of the business has temper tantrums and literally jumps up and down and screams at people.  Or that the founder's son and DIL have big loud arguments at work and use the "F" word liberally.  Or that the receptionist is dating one of the laborers and she's a nutcase.  Or that there's such a rat problem that you find one sitting on your lunch eating your carrots.  And yes, I really did work a job where all this happened.

I hope you don't hate how I go off on tangents because that's just me.  That's how "in person" conversation goes, ever notice that?  You have to learn to bust into pauses, even though that's rude, so you can say what you want to say before the topic gets changed.  Plus you'll forget whatever it was you were going to say, anyway.  I seem to know a lot of people these days who just practically talk non-stop and when I jump into a pause to get a word in edgewise, they just start talking again as if they don't even hear me, and go into another long string of stuff.  It always makes me feel like they aren't interested in what I might have to say, and so, fine.  I can play that game.  Some of what I have to say might be of use to them, I don't know, but if they don't want it, far be it from me to try to force it on them.  I'll just sit there and let them babble on.  I've noticed eventually they finally do run out of stuff to say and there is a long pause in which no one says anything and I just let it lay there.  I'm not mad.  I smile at them.  That's what their reflection in the mirror would do.  Talking to the mirror can be entertaining, I guess.  But people who do that don't find out that their mother's had surgery --twice-- during the spaces between their visits.  Or they don't get to find out what their neighbor knows about what's going on with that empty lot that has been sold.  They don't even get to know whether someone agrees or disagrees with the stuff they've said.  Because
THEY.    DON'T.   CARE.   

Moving on now.

I'm still going through things, a little at a time.  I threw away a bunch of over-the-counter medicines that expired a long time ago.  Some of it is prescription and next time we're out we'll take it to the police station.  They have drop-off boxes for old prescriptions there.  I won't buy new to replace what I've thrown out till we need it.  I mean, WMT stays open all night here.  I do like Mucinex for loosening up congestion.  And I like Nyquil for when I'm so sick I can't sleep.  Though I understand it's mostly alcohol, so maybe I just need to learn how to make a "hot toddie".  My mother did that once in awhile for herself, but never for us kids.  I will be using home remedies instead of many of them from now on, anyway.  Oklahoma Transient posted some links for alcoholic and non-alcoholic cough medicine recipes that I've copied off into my "Recipes To Try" folder.  That post is HERE    .   Some people are making honey cough drops and I think that the medicinal properties of honey is ruined if you boil it, so I won't be doing that.  I made some Elderberry syrup last fall, with the Elderberries from my bushes (Thanks again, Diane!), and I've been using that.  And I do agree with some people that say putting Vicks Vaporub on the soles of your feet, and then sox, right before you go to bed, quiets a night cough.  When I have used all my Vicks, I'm going to try making some of my own.  I bought some Eucalyptus essential oil and I still have some beeswax.  I think this week I'll start gathering all my medicine-making ingredients and supplies, at least the things that don't need refrigeration, and keep them together in my pantry.  Which reminds me, I heard on TV the other day that new home buyers are asking for "Open Floorplans", "Spa Bathrooms" and "Large Pantries" more than anything else.  Everything Old Is New Again.......

But, yeah.  I love my pantry.  I wouldn't mind if it was bigger because then I could keep my freezer in it.  I don't guess I've ever known anyone, back in the day, who had a "spa bathroom", but Open Floorplans are not new.  At all.  Think of the prairie log cabin. 

When I threw those medicines away, I noticed the Mucinex Nasal Spray bottle was one that comes apart.  Do keep your eyes open for stuff like this.  I threw out the contents, but the bottle is a pump style, and made to fit up into the nostril.  It could be sanitized by a quick soak in hydrogen peroxide and then filled with salt water when it's needed.  I know one woman who swears that, if she makes a salt water solution and uses her Netipot as soon as she starts to feel stuffy, she can side-step a sinus infection.  I do have a Netipot but oh, my, I do hate to use it.  Seems like a saline nasal spray would be just as effective and less messy.  Of course, anything you stick in your nose needs to be sanitized between uses.  There's some pretty bad stuff that can grow in your nasal passages, according to Dr. Oz, who just loves to be dramatic about things like this. 

Hydrogen peroxide makes a good cleaner and sanitizer.  It's pretty strong stuff, right out of the bottle, but with exposure to light, it just becomes water.  This is why it always comes in a dark bottle.  You don't even have to rinse things you've sanitized in this way.  Something else I noticed about the dark bottle of hydrogen peroxide is that the spray lids off those spray bottles that are sold at The Dollar Store and WMT and other places, fit on the bottles.  I keep one on my bottle all the time.  They say the best sanitizer for your countertops and cutting boards is a wipe-off with straight distilled vinegar followed by a wipe-off with hydrogen peroxide.  Or the other way around, doesn't matter.  Just don't mix them together in a bottle because the vinegar will kill off the hydrogen peroxide.

And don't forget, when you have a sore throat, your mom probably had you gargle warm salt water.  That was my mom's first line of attack.

I know I've mentioned Dr. Oz a few times but I am not one of his fans.  His shows feel like infomercials to me.  And that's all I'm going to say about THAT.

The plant nursery is coming right along.  Remember that I'm only starting cold-weather things right now.  Last Saturday I put the Copenhagen Market Cabbage seedlings in plastic pots.   I don't usually start them this early and usually they are just still so small by time to set them out in the garden that they don't survive if a cold snap comes along.  I might've swung too far the other direction this time.  This is how they look today.

I've grown other cabbage varieties, and, in my opinion, Copenhagen Market is the best.  It makes big, heavy heads.  I didn't grow any last year but we are still enjoying the cabbage that I froze, some in shreds and some in chunks, and the sauerkraut I made.  There are other ways to keep cabbage through the winter, there's storing in a root cellar, but our Fraidy Hole, which I had intended to use as a root cellar, freezes things.  Maybe this summer I will try dehydrating cabbage leaves. 

And on Monday I transplanted most of the Bloomsdale Spinach.

Both these were in the soil blocks that I made with a push-up popsicle mold.  They were starting to get a little too tall and they didn't look like they were anchored very tightly into the soil block.  Some of them were starting to lean over.  I have had them as close to the light as I could get them in an effort to keep from having "leggy" seedlings.  But in spite of that and the fact I've been fertilizing with MiracleGro, the spinach seedlings were still in need of a transplant where they could be put down deeper into the soil.  Remember, this is the same spinach I tried to grow in trays on the driveway last spring.  They were eaten by rats or maybe rabbits when they were at about this stage.  Dumb critters!  If they'd just waited a month, think of what a feast they would have had on bigger plants with real leaves..... and there would've been some left for me.....

And now I'm starting to move the seedlings that are in the little peat pellets into containers of their own.
These are Red Russian Kale.  Some people say the netting that's on peat pellets doesn't let the roots grow through.  I don't agree.
But I do agree that when you pull up a big plant that's been started in a peat pellet, the peat pellet is still intact, stuck right there on the stalk.  So when I plant these in cups, I peel the stocking off.  It takes with it some of the roots that have grown on the outside, but it doesn't seem to hurt anything, at least not that I can tell.

These are called Tyfon.  They are an Asian ground cover, I'm told, but they are edible and are good to mix in with other greens, in salads or as a cooked green.  They were the first to come up of the things I planted in the peat pellets.  And the first to be transplanted into cups.  I didn't put them deep enough.  Will probably have to do them over, but I'll let them rest a couple of days.

I'm using styro cups because I still have a lot of them.  I use them over and over, eventually they break down the sides, or the bottoms come completely out.  I've been known to put newspaper in the bottoms and to put tape around the collars of the cups but some of the cups always have to go to the trash every spring.  When the cups are all gone I won't get any more.  They are too tapered and don't allow much room for roots.  But they will do for the time-being.  

Here are my onions: Ailsa Craig Exhibition.

These are long-day onions, I don't know how well they'll do here.  But it's 'waaaaay too early to worry about THAT, considering that I am "onion-growing challenged" and might not even GET that far.  IF I get far enough to actually grow an onion, these are open pollinated so I could possibly grow my own seed by leaving a couple of onions in the ground to winter over. 

I thought you might like to see how my "Growing New Veggies From Old" experiment is going.

Of course you recognize the carrots.  We all grew carrot tops when we were kids, right?  Really all I want to know is, do they grow another carrot??  No one has ever shown a new carrot growing from the old cap.  If they don't, then I don't see the point in messing with this.  Carrot greens are not very tasty.  Now, if I still had chickens, THEY might be interested in the carrot greens.  Right in the middle, however, that little tuft of green that's coming up through the soil, is growing through the bottom of a grocery store clump of celery.  This could be interesting....  And over on the right, that tall skinny spike is a green onion coming up from the root of a grocery store onion.  Here's the thing:  if you can grow a green onion, you can grow a big one from the green onion, right?  Just plant it out in the garden come spring and let it do it's thing, right?  Or will it bolt?  Hmmmmmm.  All I've ever seen people show is the green onion that they get from planting the bottom of a grocery store onion.  Which is kinda interesting, in it's own right. 

I still have not scattered my poppy seed, but I need to pick a non-windy day in which to do that.  I thought this time I'd mix some sand with my seed in an effort to get them spaced better.  I hate to waste a seedling, since I grow them in mixed colors now (thank you again, Glenda!), I worry that I will thin out some of the colors and lose them.  There was a beautiful red-orange in the mix last year and I saved those seed separately.  They were gorgeous mingled with blue Dame's Rocket.  Poppies are nice to sow in a bed where you'll be growing zinnias, or in the canna bed.  By the time the zinnias and cannas are up, the poppies are done.

I guess this is about all I have for this time.  I hope everyone's staying safe, warm and dry.  XOXOXO


  1. Your cabbage plants are extremely healthy looking!
    Everything else looks good too with good color. With the temps coming our way they may have a long wait for the outdoor planting!

    So glad you got the furnace fixed in time!

    1. Well, they have a ways to grow before time to plant. For the last couple of years, I've started too late to have a nice, full, healthy plant to set out into the garden. I want them to get a good start before the pestilence begins.

      You know how it is, after January's over we may be getting some nice days. Or not.


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