I start this on Sunday, 9/13. Not much to talk about, but I'll give it a shot.
We are enjoying some cool weather right now. We get these little "previews" of cooler weather to come, about this time of year. Mother Nature is such a tease. Our too-warm weather is not done with yet, but we are half a month away from October and October is just about my favorite month in Oklahoma. And who doesn't love April and May?
Today I was up in the living room while Hubs was watching "Recipe Rehab". HERE's their website. Chef Richard was being questioned about what sweet treats he normally brings home in his grocery basket and he was setting out fruit and so on. I was thinking at the time that this wouldn't mean a thing to someone who was having a serious chocolate craving, and then he started talking about how he makes healthy peanut butter cups. He buys the dark chocolate baking chips, some peanut butter, and coconut oil. Melts the chocolate in a double boiler with some coconut oil. Then he stirs more coconut oil into some peanut butter and spoons the melted chips in a small form (or could just spread it in a small baking pan), then a spoon of peanut butter and then tops it with more melted chips. Of course the coconut oil will solidify quickly in the cool of the refrigerator and might do so even better in the freezer, then you can have your chocolate, some protein from the peanut butter, and the benefits of coconut oil and pretend you're being naughty. No, he doesn't add any sugar, there's already a little dextrose in the peanut butter to make it spreadable and I think there's some kind of -ose ingredient in the chocolate chips. This sounds like a keeper recipe to me but I'll try it one of these days and see what I think. I keep coconut oil around all the time, it has so many uses and is so much healthier than a lot of the oils. Plus there's that low melting point with coconut oil. I've seen people melt chocolate chips in coconut oil before to make that "Magic Shell", or, if you're a fan of Dairy Queen's dipped cones, that's pretty much the same thing. I think I taste paraffin in the dipped cones that Braum's makes and in those that are made at the little hamburger stand where all the teenagers go in Caney, KS. We don't have a nearby Dairy Queen. If they used coconut oil, they wouldn't have to have their dipping vat so hot and the ice cream underneath the chocolate shell wouldn't melt so darned fast. Some of those folks at Braum's can't keep the ice cream in a dipped cone long enough to hand it to you, but they hadn't had them on the menu that long when that problem became apparent, and maybe by now they've learned how to manage it, or taken it off the menu, I don't know. I'm trying to stay away from Braum's.
Hubs and I went out to the garden yesterday to pick some things. Found some more Cucuzzi, and a few green beans. I cut some of the prettiest zinnias because I wanted to take them to Claire, one of our neighbors. She was so kind to bring us a big container of chicken and noodles and two pint containers of mixed berries, when she found out I'd had surgery. People used to do this sort of thing all the time and now, not so much. So I wanted to show her I appreciated her kindness and thoughtfulness. Plus I wanted to return her containers. We took her a container of sand plum jam and some Cucuzzi. Of course, their rat terrier announced our presence in the driveway but that was OK, we weren't afraid of him and that way Claire heard the racket and came out to us. I didn't know what his name was, apparently it's Rat. I wonder if that gives him a complex, since their other dogs have more civilized names: Frank, Carl, and Rosie. At least he is not named Doo-Doo as is the dog that belongs to their neighbors, Dane and Debbie. But anyway, we enjoyed a little visit with Claire, Hubs went a few steps more to the mailbox, and then we walked home. That constituted my walking exercise for the day.
We found three little Butternut Squash and I went ahead and picked them. Two of them might be a little under-ripe but the third had a little hole drilled in the bottom and when I opened it I found that some of the pulp had started to spoil. I went ahead and worked them up today, and saved some of the seed for next year.
My order from Amazon finally came. It was new shoes for Hubs and a book for me. I guess the mailman doesn't ring the doorbell or anything, but at least he brought the package to the door this time and didn't try to cram it into our mailbox. The last time that happened, one of the bolts that attached to mailbox to the wooden frame busted. See, although there's always something to gripe about, there's always something to be grateful for, too.
Hubs really likes his new shoes. They are New Balance 709's. They remind me of Tony The Tiger. Heh. We like New Balance, but they run narrow. He has to order EE width, and the first two styles he found that he liked were not available in his size and width. But he's happy with these, says they feel good on, and they look good on, too.
This is the book I ordered:
It is very well organized, has a big section of remedies sorted by condition or malady with a couple of simple "recipes" for their treatment and then another big section of all the essential oils and what they are best used for, including who shouldn't use them and any side-effects they may have. Of course this prompted an order to Rose Mountain Herbs, but I've been needing to do that, anyway. Essential oils can be pretty expensive, so I tend to buy only a few at a time. Don't let anyone tell you that they only last a year. They will last much longer than that as long as you keep them tightly sealed so they don't evaporate, and keep them in a cool, dark place. Some things, I did buy in small sizes, but several that I think I'll use often, I bought in the 4 oz. bottle.
My earliest purchases, maybe a year or two ago, were Lavender, Thyme, Rosemary, and Cedarwood, and I bought the 8 oz. bottles. The only bottle that I haven't used a lot of is the Cedarwood. Then later I bought 4 oz bottles of Tea Tree and Eucalyptus.
Rose Mountain sells packaged herb seeds, some of which you can't find just anywhere, and I found a few of those I needed. I finally got St. John's Wort to grow this year. Herbs are pretty tough once they get established but sometimes they can be difficult to get to that point. At least for me. I have grown Peppermint, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Horehound, Oregano and Parsley for years and I harvest and dry them several times during the summer. Other things, sometimes I can get them started but they die out before the summer is over. So it's a lesson in persistence if I continue to want to have them.
I don't know how many of you will remember my potato experiment. I picked out some of the potatoes that I harvested last spring and kept them in paper bags in the crisper of my refrigerator, thinking that would signal to them the passing of more time than there had been and therefore result in sprouts. After a couple of months I prepared a couple of plastic totes with compost and buried ten potatoes in each tote. Well, I have dug those potatoes up three times to see why they have not sent up a plant, and this last time I could only find 7 potatoes in one tote and 9 in the other. A few of the ones I found are half rotted. And a few, a very few, have begun to sprout. I took the survivors out of the soil and set them out where the air could hit them, thinking maybe they would sprout better and I could then plant them back into the totes. But frankly, as I go into the pantry and survey the potatoes from the spring harvest that I left unwashed and just arranged in one layer in flats, it looks like the chilling process in the refrigerator made absolutely NO difference in whether the potatoes would sprout by fall, because some of the pantry potatoes have more promising-looking sprouts on them than the ones that I buried in the totes do. Plus, I've only lost two of those potatoes to rot, and that's out of all four flats, combined.
This is now Tuesday.
Yesterday Hubs and I went to The Health Department and got shingles shots. When Hubs went for his checkup, the doctor told us she had heard that they got a grant, which allowed them to give shingles shots to people aged 60 and older, at no cost. I called to see if that was true and they said it was, so I went ahead and made the appointment. My dad had shingles for what seemed like forever, and he was miserable. It changed his whole attitude and altered what little he had left of his life. I've read where some people say having the shot won't keep you from getting shingles, but my friend June had one and though she got shingles later on, she said she thought the shot made it less potent, and it did seem like she was all better in no time at all.
Being on a "roll" for getting good news by asking questions on the phone, I also called the guy who installed our wood-burning fireplace insert. We used it quite a bit last winter because our HVAC went out and we had to wait for the part to come in. We were a little cold, but not nearly as bad as things would've been without the fireplace, and the fire in the insert kept the house warm enough that we didn't have any trouble with water pipes freezing. But anyway, that being the second winter of use, and some of the wood not being what one would consider "prime firewood", I decided to get an appointment for a chimney cleaning. Our chimney is so tall, this is not something we can attempt ourselves. The cost is $100, and he will come out sometime today.
The only thing left to do by phone now is to get an appointment for a flu shot. Hubs got his during his VA check-up, a month ago, and I'll have to wait a month to get mine, being as you are not supposed to get a flu shot within a month of having the shingles shot.
I still need to hold a garage sale, there'll be sweet potatoes to dig the first week of October, and I've got the rest of these pears to put up. Beyond that, I think my dance card is empty for awhile.
I just heard on the news today that kids are drinking hand sanitizer to get a buzz and winding up in emergency rooms across the country with alcohol poisoning. Dang it, WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THESE KIDS???????? I just want to grab them and turn them over my knee. I looked up some recipes for home-made hand sanitizers and there are a lot of them on the internet. Under the circumstances, we wouldn't want to use the ones that call for Vodka as the carrier, but I saw in one where the recipe said, "OR Witch Hazel". I looked up Witch Hazel on WebMD and looks like if taken internally the worst you can get is a belly ache and possible constipation. Well, in large amounts, possible liver damage, and possible cancer if consumed in large amounts on a regular basis. But no buzz, and without that, would there be any reason to drink it? Oh, with kids, who knows? I use cider vinegar as the carrier in some of my herbal infusions. A buzz of another kind, plus the vinegar itself has germ-killing properties. Prevention Magazine offers a recipe HERE that just calls for filtered water as the carrier. I don't think kids think it's very cool to have diarrhea, which can be caused by the Aloe Vera that's called for in the recipe. Of course, you'd want to use the clear part of the inside of the leaf and not that green slime that is found under the toothed edges.
It's hard to be a parent when, not only do you have to protect your kids from harm from others, including their peers, but now so often it seems like you have to protect the little nutcases from themselves.
I guess I haven't mentioned yet about my sleeping issues. I found the Benedryl to help a little bit, but not significantly. So I had Terri call in the prescription for Ambien. When I got it in my hands and saw all the warnings and such, and how you shouldn't take it if you couldn't devote 8 hours to sleep, I started worrying about whether it would make me so groggy that I'd either fail to feel the need to get up to go to the bathroom, or that it'd cause me to stumble and fall down on the way there or back. I mean, because of that Meloxicam, I have to drink a lot of water to protect my kidneys from damage. Even though I don't drink water after supper, it seems like I still have to get up in the night. So the prescription bottle is still in the sack. Oddly enough, that same afternoon I fell asleep all by myself while watching TV lying on the bed with my heels hanging over the edge. So now I lay further down in the bed and I seem to be sleeping at least as well as when taking Benedryl. Oh, for the days when I could sleep like a rock. Maybe those days will return gradually. Last night I wanted to watch the program that was on the educational channel about Walt Disney, and I fell asleep and missed the whole thing. I woke up to the TV off and Hubs snoring, and then had trouble going back to sleep. Sheesh. I sleep a lot better in a bed by myself but Hubs insists that he needs to be nearby in case I need something and I cannot find a way to convey my preferences that wouldn't hurt his feelings.
This is now Wednesday. Hubs has gone into town to have his "workout" at the fitness center, where he intends to spread the word about shingles shots being available at the Health Department. Plus he'll stop at Walgreen's and get my refill of Meloxicam and some milk. We always buy our milk at Walgreen's because it's cheaper there than in the grocery stores.
We picked all the pears that we could reach off the tree yesterday and I washed them. Today I'll wrap them in newspaper. There are a few that have bruises and bad spots, they will rot if I wrap them, so we're munching those after cutting out the parts that are not edible. They are sort of semi-ripe and are a little crunchy, but they are ripe enough to be sweet. Pears are not our "preferred" fruit. I think Hubs' favorite is probably grapes and mine is apples. But the grapevines developed Black Spot this year and the apple trees didn't set on very well. We've sprayed the grapevines and peach trees with Liqui-Cop and hope to have better luck with them next year. I'm rethinking putting wood chips under fruit trees / vines because I suspect they introduce fungus or at least encourage growth of it. And since I'm carrying a credit at Stark's, I think I'm going to order a Red Haven peach tree and plant it where the purple-leaved peach tree was torn out last spring. The tree I have is a Hale Haven, and I assumed it was the same as the Red Haven but it is not. The peaches do not mature until fall and so they hang there through the worst of the summer in their immature state. The pits are not freestone. And the skins are hard to peel. Red Havens are ready to pick in early July, thus avoiding the worst of Oklahoma's summer heat. They are beautiful red-yellow peaches, are freestone, aren't too difficult to peel, and the flavor, in my opinion, can't be beat. Once the Red Haven peach tree is going good, I'll cut down the Hale Haven.
Every few days, I'm checking the pears I wrapped in newspaper last week and they are not ready to be put up yet. I've sampled those pears I canned with the skins on and I'm not too happy with the flavor. The skins impart a slightly bitter taste, almost a grapefruit-like flavor, and they are kind of hard to chew. I tried peeling the pear quarters after taking them out of the jar but they aren't much easier to peel after canning than they were before. Yes, it does save time not to have to peel the pears, and if you're in a real time crunch, canning them unpeeled is certainly a better option than not getting them canned at all. I don't have anything else coming ripe right now that needs canning so I will probably peel the next canner load.
This is now Thursday and I'll probably post today. It's going to be hot today so Hubs and I went out for my walk early. I missed the window of opportunity yesterday, and I had worn myself out deadheading stuff in the herb garden, anyway. I seem to be tiring very easily but they say that there is nothing that saps you of your stamina like laying around. This time we walked in the other direction, past Jay and Claire's house and then past Dane and Debbie's, up to their mailbox, before turning around. It was further. After a short rest, I went out to the garden alone, picked 4 Cucuzzi, a handful of Jalapeno peppers, a couple of sad looking tomatoes, a few snap beans. Now I'm tired.
I think I mentioned before that the insects have completely stripped the Blue Kale plants, and I had considered cutting them down to a stump to see if they would come back up from the root, but yesterday I noticed there are little leaves trying to grow on the bare stalk. Sometimes, in the garden, it's just better to have a "wait and see" attitude.
We watched Big Brother last night, they are down to three contestants now, and it's been interesting, but all but one of the people I wanted to win have been voted off and it's down to the one that's run the house since the beginning, the girlfriend of the wrestler who was voted off on Tuesday, and the math whiz guy. There's one more show where they'll get down to two and I guess it IS all about who manipulated everyone else and thus "played the game the best", and if that's the case, the person I like the least is probably the one who should win. The people who went to "The Jury House" after they were evicted will choose between the last two. But there's a nice little pile of money for the person who comes in second, so both people will go home happy. I hate to see people be rewarded for lying and for succeeding on the backs of people whose only error was that they trusted people who didn't have an honest bone in their body, but that is, afterall, how this particular game is won. That's pretty much the way Survivor works, it's just in a different setting, but we haven't watched that one in a long time.
Well, this is about all I have for this time, y'all rock on and Hubs and I will do the same. Hugs, xoxoxo