Friday, September 25, 2015

Plugging Along

I start this on Monday, September 21.

Last night I had the closest thing to a good night's sleep than I have had since surgery, and I feel more human today than I have felt since then, too.  I had fallen asleep in the bed in the office while the TV was still on.  It was boring anyway, it was Big Brother, and they are down to the last three and they spent the whole time just reviewing stuff and making us listen to those last three suck up to each other.  They didn't start doing anything new until the competition which will eliminate the loser, and Hubs reported to me that they ended the show before the competition was over.  After a couple of hours, I woke up to find that Hubs had turned off the TV and he was snoring loudly beside me.  ENOUGH.  I went upstairs and went to bed in our "old" bed in the master bedroom.  There, I was actually able to maneuver myself onto my stomach, which is something that's just impossible to do on the new bed unless you're laying crosswise, another impossibility if someone else is in the bed with you.  These new beds seem to be engineered with the assumption that everyone is a back-sleeper, and they make the part of the mattress where your butt is going to be less firm, so that you will sink in there and that will support your back.  But if you try to lay on your stomach, your hips seem to sink down into "the pit" which is bad for the back and you feel like your heels and head are sticking up in the air.  Add that to a knee that still doesn't quite flex all the way backwards like a natural knee will do, and comfort is just about as far off the scale as it can go and not be pain.  The lesson to be learned here is, don't get a new bed and a new knee at the same time.

Upstairs, I still had to get up a couple times, and Sam, discovering I was alone in the bed, could not allow that to go unremedied, so she had her tail draped over my leg just about all night, but OMG, I slept till 6am, I actually dreamed but don't remember what it was about.  Usually I'm in the living room and have drunk half the contents of the coffee pot by 6am.   A few days ago I mentioned to Hubs that I might try sleeping upstairs.  I didn't want him to be concerned if he woke up and couldn't find me.  When he found out how much better my night was, he said, "Maybe we ought to move back upstairs for the night."  *Sigh*.  So I had to tell him that, well, he was also snoring pretty loud and I'd rather just let this ride for awhile and see how it goes.  Maybe that bought a little time, I don't know.  He's a back-sleeper and he seems to sleep pretty well in the new bed.  With me not in it, he can crank the head up a little and will sleep more comfortably.

All this idle time has made me pick up my unfinished quilting projects during a time when normally I wouldn't do much quilting at all.  I've finally finished this one, I don't even remember how long I've had it "in the works".  It's a wall hanging, measuring about four feet in both directions.  I call it "Sneak Cat On The Road To Oklahoma".  The cat was taken from a pillow case I bought at a garage sale, and I chose the black, red and white pieces to compliment the colors of Sneak Cat and his sneakers.   Of course, the four blocks that make up the center are from a pattern named "Road To Oklahoma". 
I just love those Kliban Cats.

This poor little quilt had so much dust in it, when I put it in a bucket with some Oxy-Clean in the water, the water turned dark.  Hubs was just appalled.

I saw on the news this morning a piece about this woman who, after having had three boys, FINALLY had a girl.  The baby's been born and they showed the three boys, each, in turn, holding her and they've all had something to say about it.  The oldest kinda summed it up, I thought, when he said, "I'm scared, .........'cause....'s a girl....."  LOL!

It's been interesting watching the candidates, what they say and do right now.  They walk a fine line, they should not be too inflammatory to their competition because who knows what's going to happen.  They may not make the final cut and then they might be in competition for the running mate position.  Memories are not very long in politics unless it can be used politically (and then every little squeak is remembered and recounted FOREVER), but even so, I don't think any of the people Donald Trump has ridiculed would put things aside and choose him as their running mate.  Mr. Trump is popular because we are all so pissed off now.  We are sick and tired of not being listened to.  We are sick of brutality from people who are supposed to be protecting and mentoring us.  We are sick of the IRS.  We are sick of the middle class having to carry everyone at tax time.  We are sick of American jobs going to other countries.  We are sick of powerful lobbyists carrying our country's leaders in their pockets.  We are sick of high energy costs.  We are sick of politicians who lie.  We are sick of people in Washington going on vacation without having completed their tasks.  So here's a guy that says what he thinks and lets the chips fall where they may.  Here's a guy who's funding his own campaign and so he's not going to "owe" anyone anything if he gets elected.  Plus it's all kind of entertaining sometimes.  If only he wasn't so fond of verbally attacking people in inappropriate ways.  I mean, I have some experience with people like this, and when they start attacking you for how you look, where you came from, or making guesses about your "real" reasons for something you said or did, that usually means that they don't know how to attack you in any way that might have more facts behind it.  If he happened to get elected, it would be pandemonium.  His Republican peers would bog everything down and not let him do anything, and who would suffer?  US, as usual.  It seems a shame to have to think along these lines, how politics can be so devoid of concern for our country, how politicians will act out of their own egotistical wants and needs and cause all the people who depend on them to run the country to suffer, but to my mind, we haven't seen decent leadership of our country for a long, long time.

Well, that turned into a rant.  End of rant.

Yesterday the first batch of pears that I wrapped in newspaper and tucked away into the pantry were ready.

I had enough for a canner load of seven quarts, with enough for five more left, but since that was not a full canner load, I cooked them and packed three quarts in the freezer.   The other two quarts went into the refrigerator and we'll eat some of them instead of buying fresh fruit at the grocery store.  We are getting volunteer watermelon out of the garden and that is so good for me right now as watermelon is a natural diuretic.  It's low calorie and is a good source of potassium, vitamin A and C.

This is now Wednesday.  Hubs worked on the last gates that he needed to rebuild to be as tall as the new fence.  There is too big a space between them now and we had a rabbit on the patio last night.  Hubs chased it and where did it go?  Right out into the garden.  Oh, well, there's not much left out there that it can eat, so maybe it'll eat some of the weeds.  I'll have all winter to get it out of there.  They usually scramble out when Hubs uses the weed wacker out there.

Last spring, I decided that I would allocate one compost bin to just weeds.  When I pulled weeds, no matter how noxious, I just loaded the pile in my little push wagon and dumped it into the bin.  Then before I was to have surgery in August, I went out there with the pitchfork, moved the top layer into the bottom of one of the other bins and then shoveled the composted material under it into big plastic totes, and, after running out of those, old chicken feed bags.  Those have been setting in the driveway since then.  Yesterday I began the task of screening it.  I could have just shoveled it into the raised beds as it is, but I'm pretty sure the composting action did not kill all the seeds.  My goal, anyway, was to have some freshly-made compost with which to make my seed-starting mix with.  Not much danger of weed seeds germinating in it because I always bake the compost in the oven before I mix it in equal parts with peat and vermiculite.

Hubs made me this screen and it's very useful.  I just scoop a bunch of compost into it and then smoosh it around with a wood block, which is actually just an end-piece of 2x4 that I can pick up out of Hubs' wood-scrap pile.

That's some really pretty stuff, eh?  I guess you could call this "Growing Your Own Soil".  Heh.

At any rate, I'll have an ample supply of seed-starting mix for use between December and March, and it'll get incorporated into the garden whenever the seedlings are planted there.  All I will have had to buy is the peat and the Vermiculite, and I'm thinking about leaving out the peat, or at least cutting the amount down by half, since my mixture's going to be fairly loose, anyway.  I don't like how it takes so long for peat to absorb liquid because it will float, and I don't like how, after it's on the surface, it dries out and turns into this impenetrable paper-mache-like skin.  I see where some people are using coir, which is a by-product of coconuts and is more eco-friendly than robbing from the peat bog.  But I haven't been able to find a reasonably-priced source for it yet.

Today I'm making some Refrigerator Biscuit Dough.  I saw a recipe on Pinterest where you mix little balls of biscuit dough from those tubes with a can of pie filling, pour it into a greased casserole and bake it and you've got a sort of a cobbler.  Plus we haven't had "Pigs In Blankets" in awhile.  We all know what that is, right?  Put a 3" piece of frankfurter, or smoked sausage, with a slice of cheese wrapped around it, inside a wad of biscuit dough.  We made these when I was a kid, and then again when I was raising my own kids, regularly, and we always used those tubes of canned biscuit dough that were actually pretty cheap to buy.  It was a quick meal and also was pretty popular as party food, too.

Here's the recipe that I use for the biscuit dough:

Refrigerator Biscuits
Tastes better than the biscuits you buy in a tube, costs very little made from scratch.  Be sure to use real buttermilk and not make your own by putting vinegar in milk, as it will be thinner and cause you to have to use more flour, so the biscuits will not be as tender. 

5 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. solid vegetable shortening
1/4 c. warm water
2 and 1/2 tsp. Salt
7 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
2 c. buttermilk
1 pkg. dry yeast

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. Mix dry ingredients and cut the shortening into dry ingredients until the size of small peas. Add milk and yeast mixture and mix well. Knead on a floured board until smooth.

Store in a large plastic bag in the refrigerator. No rising is required before baking, they will rise some in the bag and double in size while baking. Bake as many as you want when you want them. Dough stores up to two weeks, biscuits taste better as the dough ages. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 400ยบ until done.

We found a lot of uses for these little cans of biscuit dough, from topping casseroles to rolling in melted butter, then cinnamon and sugar and making "Monkey Bread", and if you did, too, you can use these in just the same way.

This is now Thursday.

Kylie came yesterday and dumped off a load of wood chips.  This time we both saw him from where we were and went out to visit with him a bit.  He said his garden hadn't done well at all this summer, and he talked about his family and the chickens and so on.  He had never grown Cucuzzi so we gave him some to take home.  A particularly big one that I told him to hold up and say to his wife, "Happy Wife" <chuckle>.  By his reaction, I felt like he was pretty likely to do just that.  

Hubs and I watched the Big Brother finale last night.  I watched up to when I saw Steve, the only one of the three that I was interested in seeing win, to lose the contest he was competing in and after that I just went upstairs and crawled into bed.  Hubs told me this morning that there were two more contests and Steve won both the other two.  So he got the big money, and Vanessa, the one I definitely did NOT want to win, was the one of the three who was eliminated.  The second-place winner was the girlfriend of the wrestler and then they had a prize for the l'il guy from Texas that I liked, because so many people voted for him on Facebook or something.  That was good news.  He seems to be a nice guy and he did try hard to play a good game.  He was just outnumbered by all those people in the house that got turned into Vanessa's mindless drones.  Apparently they all saw where they went wrong, too late for it to do them any good in the competition, but maybe they'll take away something from this that they can use as a "life lesson".  

This morning after Hubs and I had our walk, he said he needed to mow, and I decided to go out to the garden with my cane to see if I could do any weeding.  I weeded all the way down two bean rows and found a few beans to pick and a little watermelon that was hiding in the tall grass.  I pulled the wagon along behind me in the walkway that had a big plastic tote in it, and that's where I threw the weeds I pulled.  I filled that tote brimming over twice before I got tired enough to quit.  Those weeds will be the start of my seed-starting compost for spring of 2017.  My glutes will probably be sore tomorrow after all that bending from the waist.  I'm not even tempted to go out again this afternoon to do some more.  It's going to heat up by then and we'll be inside with the A/C running.  I'll probably sit in front of the TV with Hubs, but I'll be quilting.  With the little red and black quilt done, I've picked up another unfinished quilt, one I've had "in the works" for at least twenty years.  Time flies, you get side-tracked.  It takes such a long time to hand-quilt and if you find yourself raising grandkids, going back to work, and then, after retiring, moving to a "blank slate" country home, things just get away from you.   I have had to make myself quit piecing quilt tops.  They won't be meaningful to anyone unquilted and I might've accumulated more unquilted pieces than I'll live long enough to be able to finish. 

According to Mesonet, we have a full week of days coming that will be just like today.  That means a week of cool mornings in which it will be pleasant to be in the garden.  After a month-plus of laying around in the house, I don't think I have enough stamina to work in the garden longer than a couple of hours during the cool of the morning.

This is now Friday and I will try to get this published today.  Not much new to report, Hubs is gone to town for his workout, we had a walk before he left.  I spent about an hour in the garden pulling weeds and now I'm inside cooling off.  It seems to have heated up quickly this morning, the difference between today and yesterday being that it was cloudy most of the day yesterday.  There was rain to our west, but we didn't get any.  We're ok without it, no probs.

This afternoon or weekend, we plan a run to Lowe's, as they have a good price on electric garage-door openers, and we have needed to replace the one in the south bay of our attached garage for at least a couple of years.  I want to go with him, mostly just to get out, but also because I want to see what plants they have on sale and see whether they've clearanced their canning supplies.  One year, I got a lot of canning flats at half price that way.  I've also been building a grocery store list.  When you have a well-stocked pantry, your grocery store list is never very long, but what you buy, you buy several of.  I wouldn't know how to cook if I had to buy things one can, bag or box at a time.  I know people who don't have storage space and seems like they're "stopping at the store" alllllll the time.

I'd love to go garagin' on Saturday but it's still too difficult getting in and out of the Silverado.  We have running boards and they help, but not enough.  I keep saying I want to get a little car that I can just back up to and sit down in.  I think I'd like to have a Nissan Altima but who knows what we'll end up with, or when.  The Silverado is about ten years old now.  We don't accumulate a lot of mileage and Hubs does upkeep and repair timely so it isn't uncommon for our vehicles to keep on hummin' along 'way beyond their tenth birthday.   I'm kind of afraid to buy anything right now because of all those faulty airbags, seems like they're in nearly everything.

JR's Better Half e-mailed me a sonogram of the twins, she had a doctor's appointment yesterday and all's still well.  Of course, I don't know what I'm seeing on that sonogram.  She told me the second baby is difficult to see because it was busy "twirling".  As long as she and her doctor saw it, that's good enough for me.  It'll be interesting after they're born, to see if one of them shows any propensity for "twirling".  Heh.  (That kinda reminds me of JR as a kid.  JR might be in for a little "pay-back".  He was a hot mess.)  Too early to tell whether they're boys or girls, it looks like they're in the same sac and so that means they're identical, like Hubs' mother and her sister were, rather than fraternal.

Well, that's about all I have so I'll get this posted.  Till next time, Rock on.  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. Glad you are doing much better Ilene.

    Your refrigerator biscuit recipe sounds good and easy.

    You canned pears look delicious.

    Have a nice weekend and don't over do anything ~ FlowerLady

  2. I loved this post. A fine example of getting lots done and your pears lokked marvelous. I am going to try the dough. I got some home made sausage at an Amish Grocery store we found so delux pigs in a blanket! Keep well and don't over do it!

  3. Your quilt is beautiful, Ilene. I have a top I started, oh, about 10-12 years ago. I haven't been able to talk myself into getting it out to work on it since we moved here. It happens, doesn't it?

    There are some folks in the area that have pear trees, but aren't picking them. A friend of mine has permission to pick, so we plan to do that this week. Looks like I will have some pears to put up as well. It's great to hear how well you are getting around. Keep at it.


  4. Having trouble commenting using my Wordpress blog name on blogger posts but just wanted to say that your quilting looks fab and the pears sound yummy. My sewing hasn't improved any in the last few months as work keeps getting in the way :-D Jo


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