Monday, August 31, 2015

Last Few Days Of August, 2015

I start this on Saturday morning, August 29.  What a nice way to end August with rain and coolish mornings!

Hubs has been getting a few (very few) tomatoes out of the garden.  A couple of them were the first Cherokee Purples for the summer, so that gave me some seed to save for next year.  After we enjoyed the Crimson Watermelon that he brought in, he found another, this time the kind that are yellow inside.  They are green-striped on the outside.  The ones that are red inside have blackish-green skins.  I haven't found the yellow ones to be as good as the red ones, maybe it's one of those visual things, I don't know.  But I have not planted either of these since that first year that I tried out the seed that I got in a seed swap on GardenWeb, and that has been at least a couple of years now.  They just volunteer, and based on the fact that I got these seed because they were old seed someone was cleaning out of their stash, and I kept them a year or two before I planted them, I feel like this variety is a good one for the home gardener who might not choose to plant the seed every year.  When I see their little multi-lobed leaves sticking up out of the ground, I just let them be.  They grow amongst the tomatoes and cukes and happily travel across walkways and into pepper cages and so on.  My cucumbers didn't come up very well this year, I got enough out of the vine(s) that did emerge to be satisfying but not enough so that I could share with neighbors till even THEY would not take anymore, this time.  I had planned to peel and juice the extra and freeze the juice for drinking later on, but there was not enough to do that.  I sure did enjoy what I had, though, dipped in Ranch Dressing, and also combined with onion in a sugar-vinegar-water "brine".

It's been too wet to pick the Purple Hull Pink-Eye southern peas, but they need to be picked as soon as it does dry out enough.  Shelling them is something I can do sitting down so I've gotten on top of that with the ones I picked before surgery.  Lots of people shell their PHPESP's when they're fresh out of the garden, put them in jars with boiling water to cover and a little salt, and can them.  But I've just found it a lot easier for them to dry in the shell, like is done with most beans.  They are easier to shell that way, and already almost dry enough to store.  They just need to be spread out on a tray for another day or two and then they can be poured into jars and vacuum-sealed with the FoodSaver jar sealer attachment and a used canning flat.  They will keep for a long time that way, as long as the peas are dry before going into the jar.

I was watching a TV program the other day about weeds, I think it might've been one of those America's Heartland segments, but it was awhile ago and I didn't know at the time what the name of the program was that we were watching.  But anyway, they were talking about Spurge, and how cows won't eat it, and it can take over a pasture in practically no time.  Apparently they've found out that goats love Spurge and they will totally eradicate it out of a field.  I live in an area where cattle are raised and cattlemen generally have the attitude that goats are a pox upon the world.  They say they nip off plants even with the ground, where a cow has to have more sticking up out of the ground in order to bite it off.  So goats or sheep in a pasture with cows means the cows don't get enough to eat.  But if goats are that good at cleaning out the weeds that cows can't or won't eat, then certainly having a few goats and rotating them into a field where cows have been FIRST might be a solution for that.  Certainly every bit as good as (ahem...) burning off.  To think that entire range wars have been held in this part of the country between cattle raisers and goat raisers!  Goat's milk is every bit as delicious as cow's milk and in fact there are a lot of people that cannot tolerate cow's milk but can drink goat's milk without problems.  People will pay more for goat's milk and goat's cheese is treated like it's a gourmet item.  And so the cattle raisers' low opinion of goats seems to me to be pretty much unfounded.  It's kind of sad, really, how we tend to shoot ourselves in the foot by not being more open-minded. 

They were also talking about how some of these invasive weeds emit poisons from their roots that stunt the growth of other, more desirable plants, and one farmer said that he had discovered that Lupine would grow amongst them and would, in many cases, crowd them out.  HERE is some information about Lupine.  There is some mention about Lupine having poisons in it's roots or seeds but I don't see whether it becomes hard to get rid of once it's established itself.  Certainly Lupine is prettier to look at than Spurge, and medicinal besides, if you know what you're doing with it.  I have a terrible time with Bindweed and I'm thinking I might try sowing some Lupine there in the garden where it is the thickest.  I've been told that Bindweed is another plant that gives off poisons from its roots and I have found that things planted where Bindweed grows do not do as well as they do in places without Bindweed, even if I manage to keep it all pulled off the surface and away from the plants in question.

This is now Monday, August 31.  I had the closest thing to a full night's rest that I've had since surgery, last night.  I'm down to half a pain pill at breakfast and the other half about 2pm, then a whole one just before I'm ready to go to sleep for the night, which is about 9pm.  I take each pill with a gel cap stool softener and you know that your life is boring when the high part of your day is having a good bowel movement.   Still taking Meloxicam, one daily, and one Warfarin every-other-day.  I will take my last Warfarin this Thursday.  The "drain hole" that they made at the outside of my knee has healed and I've been allowed to leave the bandage off.  The big bandage that covers my suture, which is about 8" long, can be removed on this coming Saturday.  Having swelling and stiffness most of the time, and pain during the prescribed home-exercise sessions, but I'm able to do even the two most difficult exercises successfully now and that's an improvement.  As Paula would say, "Baby Steps".  I am getting around pretty good with the walker.  I get to advance from it to a cane in about ten days.

I've stationed my three-footed cane at the stairs, it's actually easier for me to climb the stairs with the cane and I can make it up and down the three steps between the office and the main floor without assistance.  I'm able to set the walker up or down on the landing of the floor where I'm going because it's only three steps and so is within my reach.  The ten steps up to the top floor, where I have to go for my shower every night, is another story.  I'm not brave enough to do that without assistance, even though Hubs' walker is on the landing up there so my walker can stay down on the main floor. 

Hubs and I walk once or twice a day down our driveway, out onto the blacktop road between us and Joe, past Joe and Cathy's driveway and out to Bob and Sharry's mulberry tree, then turn around and come back.

These pictures aren't very good but they show going down the driveway, then past Joe and Cathy's house, then towards Bob and Sharry's house.   The Mulberry Tree, my turning point, is the tallest tree in the picture.

We have antenna-TV hookup in the office where "Sick Bay" was set up for after this surgery, and I have to say I find myself liking it better and better as time rolls along.  There are negatives when compared with satellite TV.  You can't choose the channel on the remote and go instantly to it.  You have to use the "up" and "down" buttons.  There aren't as many channels, but there are certainly a lot more than there used to be.  When I was a kid, we just had three channels, and they all came out of Tulsa.  Then in the late 60's we got The Educational Station, OETA, and that brought pre-school presentations such as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and so on for the kids.  I think some painting lessons and cooking shows and so on for the adults.  But there are benefits to having antenna TV over satellite, too.  In fact, I'd be ecstatic if Hubs would allow me to Ditch Dish.  But no go, so far.  So we have Dish in the living room and antenna downstairs and upstairs.  The first benefit is, IT'S FREE.  The second one is that it works during storms.  Satellite TV is the first thing to abandon you during a storm.  Over the years, The Educational Station has improved a lot.  On antenna TV you actually can choose between channel 11-1, 11-2 and 11-3.  One offers home improvement and redecorating projects.  Another is mostly cooking and food shows, and the other is stuff like quilting, sewing, and so on.  I saw a really interesting Quilting show on Saturday that I hadn't seen before, their website is HERE, caught up with Nancy Zieman again, her sewing shows are HERE and her blog is HERE, and then I watched several programs that had to do with pie, one of which is HERE (scroll down).  One of the pies that caught my eye was the Blue Hawaiian Pie.  This is a fruit pie and not a cream pie, and when I did a search for the recipe, mostly what I found was the recipe for the cream pie version.  This one is a pineapple and blueberry fruit filling in a pie crust with a streusel-type top that contains toasted coconut, and is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I may never make this pie, as MAKING a pie means I'm going to be EATING it, but this is the stuff an old country gal's dreams are made of.  Heh.  I caught a few good tips about pie making that were new to me, such as making the crust with half butter and half lard, (usually I make my pie crust with lard), coating the inside of pie shells to be used for cream pies with loosely-whipped eggwhite before baking to help the crust stay crisp after the filling is added, and I saw a cool machine called a "sheeter" EXAMPLE HERE that would sure be nice to have if a person made a lot of pies.  For instance, there is a local church that makes pie crusts and sells them as a fund-raiser about Thanksgiving time.  I don't know if they have a sheeter or just a lot of church ladies with rolling pins, but I'm tellin' ya, if I ever find one at a garage sale, I'm buying it in a heartbeat.  They probably cost an arm and a leg.  Of course one of their tips about brushing the top crust with evaporated milk and then sprinkling with sugar is close enough to what my Grammy Britt used to do that it's something I've just always done whenever I've baked a two-crust pie.  Usually I don't even brush with milk as Grammy always did.  I just sprinkle the crust down with sugar and as it bakes the sugar glazes the crust and makes it crunchy.  I've had pie in restaurants where the crust was just plain, and 'way too thick, besides, and this just ruins the whole pie.  

I made a mistake in scrolling down on THIS site.  Get a load of that Frozen Samoa Pie.  Or that cool top crust with round holes in it, or Island Pecan Pie.  Or those cute tart cups made in a muffin pan.  Whole Peach Pie.  Brown Sugar Pie.  German Cream Pie.  Sugar Cream Pie.  French Coconut Pie.  A person could get totally lost in Pinterest and never get out.

As you may remember, Hubs and I have two grandsons, whom we adopted when they were in the 5th grade (no, not twins, just 11 months apart).  I call them JR and JC on the blog, because that's their initials.  JR is the blonde. 

I never realized before how they look kind of sad in this picture.  This was taken on Parent's Day at the annual Grand Lake scout camp, it was always the BIG camping trip for the year, and they were really excited to get to go.  But it was a pretty grueling week.   Maybe they're just tired.  Or maybe I'd been chewing on them, I don't know.  JC had forgotten to pack underwear so he'd worn the same pair all week, and he had a tentmate he wasn't getting along with.  JR had gotten himself assigned to a tent with our neighbor's grandson, the one he was always up to no good with, and so there were reports delivered to me of their high jinx by then, I'm sure.

JR went back to live with his mom (my daughter) when he was 15 because I couldn't seem to keep this headstrong kid out of trouble.  He and JC were having a lot of trouble getting along and I don't know how many fights I had to break up between them down the hallway to their rooms.  He made friends with all the wrong kids, sneaked out his window in the night, started smoking, and I think he was dabbling in the harder stuff.  He discovered how to be The Class Clown about in the third grade and was the bane of existence for every teacher he had after that.  He got in big trouble at Church Camp one year, so much so that I just made him "sit out" for the following year.  Had to do that sometimes when it came to Boy Scout camping trips, too.  Praise God for that patient man who was their scout leader, but sometimes he would bring our boys home after several days' exposure to JR's antics, just sputtering with tales of the harrowing experience.  Seemed like I was chewing this kid out every time I looked at him.  One time he got suspended from school on the very first day.  I didn't think he'd ever amount to a hill of beans.  But ya know, he has really turned himself around.  He's married and he and his sweet wife have a little girl that's about three years old now.  ....Or is it four?  He works at a bank and she works at a call center.  On weekends he and a partner have a lawn-mowing business.  So of course you know this is one busy little family.  JR and I have rebonded well.  I always knew there was a good kid in there somewhere.  I mean, I saw glimmers of it all the time.  And several times he has told me that he is sorry for all the crap and that he appreciates now everything Hubs and I tried to teach him.  And I have told him that I loved him even though it wasn't always easy.  We don't see them often, they live in an apartment building only a couple miles from our house, but JR and I e-mail every now and then.  He comes over and helps us when we ask.  Their little one calls us "Gum-Maw and Gum-Paw".  Such a little Sweetie-Pie.  Anyway, JR announced to us yesterday that they are preggers and it's twins!  Hubs' mother, JR's great-grandmother, is an identical twin.  Apparently there are no twins on the other side of their family so I guess this is our legacy to their lives.  As near as I know, no one descended from Hubs' mother has yet had any twins so this is kinda cool for us, too.  They're excited and happy, I'm not sure if they realize just how much impact twins are going to have on their lives, though.  But twins are always special if you can survive The Baby Years.

This is Hubs' mom and her identical twin.

Well, that's about all I have for the last post of August, so I will publish this and go about my day.  Hubs went into town for his workout and to run some errands.  Claire, our neighbor up the road to the north, rang the doorbell, but I was downstairs and so I just hobbled to the door to the garage and pressed the button to the big garage door before she gave up on me.  She brought food.  I enjoy having her and Jay for neighbors even though we don't see each other much.  They are busy with their jobs, grown kids and grandkids.  It's their lake that you see often in the background in many of my pictures of our place.  Right after we moved in, they came down and she brought a pie made from the apples that grew in their back yard.

Anyway, the leg is beginning to tell me it's tired of being in the chair, so I'll walk around a bit, dig around in the freezer to see if I can find those black turtle beans I cooked and stuck in there some time ago.  I'll mix some of them with one of the jars of hamburger mix that siphoned a little but still sealed, I've been keeping it and another jar with same situation in the refrigerator.  But I think turtle beans would be good mixed in and maybe eaten with corn chips?  Might take my mind off pie.....

So y'all Rock On and you know we'll be doing the same.  Hugs to all, xoxoxoxo


  1. SSSSSQQQQUUUUEEEAAAALLLL! Twins?!? OMG. Bless their hearts and what a delight for you & Hubs! Really cool news you're sharing!

    Glad to hear the updates on your progress! I think you're doing fabulous considering all the other reports I've heard from others that have had this procedure. Yes, baby steps.

    Hugs to ya via the net until I can see ya myself!


  2. So glad to read about how you are progressing right along. Pretty soon this will all be a past experience you went through and survived.

    Congrats on the upcoming twins.

    Have a great week dear Ilene ~ FlowerLady

  3. Trust me on this: it will not take your mind off of pie! I am thinking an apple tart made from some Jonathons as I type.

    I am so happy that your grandson is finally at a very good place. God bless them....twins. My mind boggles with that.

    Sounds like you are moving right along with recovery.

  4. Another interesting read! I was especially struck by your account of the grandson since we had a similar experience. He never got into drugs or alcohol, but I'm sure he put a few gray hairs on his teachers' heads. He was a very active little boy and we kept him a lot for his first five years, until his mother married a man who acted much like a spoiled child. He made life miserable for the kids, always demanding something or withholding things from them. Anyway, the boy went into the Navy a few days after graduation to get away from home. It didn't work out, and when he came home I think he was homeless and hungry until a sweet girl took him in and turned his life around with her love for him. They recently married (on the bluff, in my post) and I know the many prayers we sent up to God are what carried him through. He has turned out to be a loving, polite young man and never fails to tell us he loves us, and thanks us for all we did for him. So, it seems the same is true with your grandson ~ God is good!

  5. I'm really slow at getting around and reading everyone's blog this week, Ilene. It's good to hear you are doing well and your hobble is increasing. I haven't picked any of our cowpeas in several weeks because of my sinus procedure and complications. Maybe next week and I can bend over and do things without a headache. I have been able to pick the tomatoes and cucumbers that are on trellises, and the okra is finally producing. It's been a strange year. Take good care of yourself.



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