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


  1. I agree about the buy local thing. When the products are equal and priced fairly we do it. When we were dairying we got complaints about our buying KANSAS and further north alfalfa, but we never saw any local alfalfa comparable in quality yet the wanted the same price!

    Here is my thought about you tilling that Bermuda grass infested bed. Do some research first. If you chop up the roots and 'broadcast' them with the tiller, each one will without fail take root next summer. I started to till part of my infested garden even after I had sprayed herbicide and even though the tops were dead, I could see the roots I was turning up were fat and pinkish white......not dead at all! I stopped. I will just keep spraying, Check out organic ways to kill it. Maybe loose that bed for one season and just layer it with tarp or black plastic and let the sun kill it. Research it.

    1. Glenda, I've tried shading Bermuda out and it doesn't kill the roots. They just sit there and wait. They also send out runners till they find light. Even fire does not kill Bermuda, in fact, that's why ranchers here burn their pastures, because the fire will kill weeds but the Bermuda will come back stronger than ever. I've tried herbicide, even though I don't like to use it, and it only slows it down. At least with tilling, I can go along behind the tiller and pull out roots after they're turned over. I've tried digging out roots by hand and it's a LOT more work, the grass roots go really deep, and it's back before the season is over. I don't think I'll ever totally eradicate it, but at least maybe I'll be able to grow something in the bed between tillings.

  2. I, too, have burned a few things when busy doing something else! I have always used baking soda, but will be trying the dishwasher soap/boiling water.
    Your soup sounds delicious, Ilene...we eat a lot of homemade soup in the winter.
    I am at the point where I refuse to buy locally, the merchants are rude, they don't carry several items I use and are way more expensive than other nearby stores.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy New Year.

  3. I'm sorry to hear about your cat, Ilene. It's always difficult to lose a pet. Thanks for the weekly update, it's always a good read.


  4. I have seen the Tiny Houses program online - it's great for storage ideas as our houses in the UK are pretty "tiny" in general. I like Flylady's tips for getting started (google for her site) and avoiding procastination - she also put me onto using a kitchen timer to get things done. I use it whenever there's a job I don't want to do and I know I will actively avoid, then wish I hadn't. I'm so sorry to hear about Sam - you will miss her terribly. The only consolation is that we can put a stop to our beloved pets suffering - if only we could do this so easily to our beloved human beings. Our weather is unseasonably warm for the time of year. Last night it was 14 degrees C at 5.30pm and I believe the crocuses in some parts of England are already poking their heads through. They no doubt have a fright coming. My "Chinatown" yellow rose threw out a fresh flower last week - it's smaller than usual but is hanging on despite the wind and rain. Very pleased to hear that you're currently vermin-free and long may it continue. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


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