Saturday, November 28, 2015

Daily Doin's, Thanksgiving Week

I start this on Tuesday, November 24.

Over the weekend Hubs worked on installing the new electric garage door opener.  The one on the bay nearest the door that goes into the house quit working a couple of years ago and we never open that door, anyway, so we've just left the door closed all this time.  It can still be opened manually, whenever we need to.  But garage door openers went on sale at Lowe's a couple of months ago so he got a new one, and now that all that garage sale stuff that was out there has been donated, he can move around enough to get it installed.  He's having some difficulties, but now he thinks he's got it figured out.  I was busy with clean up, for the most part.  I mopped the floors on all of the first and second floors of the tri-level, and swept out all the mess that the rats made in the garage that I could get to.  I just could not get that dead rat smell out of my nose.  I was sure there was a dead rat in the garage behind the little freezer, but we moved it out, found lots of droppings and a nest, but no rat.  And then, later on, Hubs had to move the freezer a little more and saw a streak of blood on the floor.  Yes, there WAS a dead rat in there, he was kind of crammed into the inside corner of the motor well and it was a nasty, awful job getting him out of there.  With him out of there, and bleach-water and then Odo-Ban sprayed all around, the garage smells much better.  I don't know that I will ever want to use that freezer again, though.  {{{shiver}}}

On Sunday we visited a church.  Neither Hubs nor I were raised in the church, though Hubs' mother read her Bible often and tried to live her life by it.  She influenced her children as much as she knew how, but generally the boys in the family were not very good listeners.  Nor was their father.  My mother was a self-proclaimed atheist.  When I started going to church with a friend, the pastor of the church started dropping by the house to visit.  I can't say what his true thoughts must've been, when Mom laughed at how Christians believed what she perceived as impossibilities.  As I grew older I began to understand the miracles that God worked in my life and that of my family.  I saw prayers answered.  And many times, I found God's love through despair.  My children were exposed to church and Sunday school, and we were all baptized, but we had trouble finding one where we felt like we really fit in.  Then by the time the grandsons were living with us, we had settled into "A Church Family" and they were raised in that church.

While the grandsons were in their mid-teens, our church got a new pastor.  The one we had was in the military reserves and he was called up to be a chaplain somewhere.  I don't know how all that works.  But he gave up his post at our church and a new family moved into The Parsonage.  Unfortunately, there was some kind of strife going on in the church from whence our new pastor came, and people from that church went the extra mile when they found out he was coming to us.  They called certain members of our church and said that he had caused the strife that existed in their church and warned that he would do the same for ours.  That information spread like wildfire.  It didn't help that our previous pastor found out that he was going to have more time at home than he thought he was, and after the new pastor took his place in our church, he asked him if he could be Associate Pastor, and our new pastor told him that he wouldn't be comfortable with that.  Anyway, that's what our previous pastor told certain people, and THAT information spread like wildfire, too.  But I was told by one of the church members whose father had been a pastor in that church many years ago that it's in the bylaws that when a pastor leaves his post, he is not even supposed to attend church there.  Much less be Associate Pastor.  I watched as our new pastor tried to find his place in our church.  He told us from the pulpit that he loved us.  I was at a baptism that he conducted and he did it with such joy that it brought tears to my eyes.  Did I see trouble at our church?  Yes, I did.  But it didn't look to me like he was anything more than the victim.  I never heard him say one word against any member of our congregation or even of the previous pastor, who was still going around doing "visitation" amongst our church family when he didn't have the right to do so.  I watched several of our older church members as they conveyed to our new pastor, in no uncertain terms, that he was disliked and unwelcome.  And it hurt my heart.  I spoke with many of these people, trying to get them to see that they weren't being fair.  But their minds were made up.  So eventually we changed churches, went to a bigger church where our teenaged grandsons could participate in more youth activities, and we rocked along that way for awhile. 

Then that church decided to build a new building, and every Sunday became all about squeezing every available penny from its members.  They formed "mission groups" who would have meetings in their homes, the sole purpose being getting people to sign pledges of donations they didn't yet have money for, and accumulating money to meet the goal of paying off the loan in advance.  They had dedicated and sincere people, obviously not well-to-do by any means, stand up during church service and tell, for instance, how they were going to have chicken for Thanksgiving instead of turkey so as to be able to put more in the collection plate when it came around.  No matter how much we gave, it seemed to never be enough, and it got to the point where I couldn't find God in that church.  So, disillusioned with churches but not with God, we just quit going to church.  The sad part is that I just loved having a church family, and I still miss that.  Members of our original church kept calling me, wanting me to say that we left because of the new pastor when that would've been a lie; acting like they thought we'd stopped believing in God and Jesus Christ, when mostly they probably should've looked in the mirror for that.  My faith in God and Jesus never wavered, in fact, it's probably stronger now than it has ever been.  It's always said that, well, people aren't perfect, that's why they need to go to church, but it seems to me like if they're acting up so bad IN that church that they're making it a real trial for others to be there, they must not be getting out of going to church what they ought to be getting.

There was much to like about the church we visited Sunday.  It is located near where we live.  The building and furnishings were modest, as some churches go, but comfortable and functional.  The music was upbeat.  The sermon was upbeat and was about The Healing Power of Prayer.  It was well-delivered and interesting.  I didn't get sleepy once.  After the service, a woman who had shaken my hand and introduced herself, before services, visited with me and led me to a table of handouts for visitors.  It turned out we had been almost neighbors when we lived in Dewey.  And I met my dentist's wife. 

In a perfect world, I'd like to go to a church where my neighbors all go.  But lots of people don't go to churches in their immediate community anymore.  They have a whole long list of qualities they're looking for, and they'll go clear across town if most of those qualities are checked off.  They have things that are higher on their list than "proximity".  No, we haven't made any decisions.  I imagine we'll visit several churches before we settle on one. 

Every now and then we like to get out of town and wander around the shops and flea markets.  Once in awhile I find something I want or need, but now that I've put myself on an austerity program as far as buying "stuff", this time I decided the goal, other than just getting out and enjoying the day, was to see how things were priced, and maybe to sell rather than buy.  So on Monday we put some collectibles that I gathered up during the weekend in the car and set off to neighboring communities to see if we could find a shop where the owner was in-house.  The "Flea Markets" have a lot more variety than individual shops, which is good if your goal is to buy.  They are filled with booths that are rented by different people, the items have an identifying number on every price tag so when you get up front with your selections, the clerk knows who to give the credit to.  But usually the people who ring up the sale are not the owners of anything in the building.  Their wages are paid out of the booth rental that everyone pays every month.  If you want to "deal", they have the phone number of the owner of that particular item and will call them, but if you took something in there so sell they'd just say, "Rent a booth".  And I could do that, but then I'd have to arrange stuff, and deal with losing stuff to shoplifters.  Stuff sometimes sits in those booths for a long time before it sells, and sometimes it doesn't sell at all.  I just can't see how I could keep from "going in the hole" that way.

We went to Collinsville first because it used to be just full of little shops, but that has given way to other things and some of the ones that were still there were "Open Tuesday Through Saturday", and it was Monday.  Sheesh.  There was one very large flea-market-looking place, but it was kind of obvious they just didn't need one more piece of junk.  I didn't even approach the person behind the counter because he was a man and he was already being obnoxious to someone else that was trying to sell him something.  I just didn't feel like having my day ruined by being hacked off that early in the day.  So we made our way back a little closer to home and found a woman at a shop that bought some of the better Guardian Service pans and lids I had, and a Wagner cast-iron skillet that I didn't need.  I left there with $40.  At the next shop, the man was bordering on rude, wouldn't make an offer without my setting a price first and then he did as I knew he would, he cut that number in half and said that was the best he could do.  So I let him take the basket of old dolls, because they were some of the junkiest ones I had, all in need of repair of one kind or another, and there being no "doll hospital" in our area now for the past several years.  He took an old tin laundry boiler for $5 less than Hubs had paid for it.  And he counter-offered me a ridiculously low price on the remaining Guardian Service pans and lids, but since the woman at the other shop had bought the best ones at the price I had quoted, I accepted his offer.  I thought Hubs had unloaded the pans and that I had been paid for them but after we got down the road, I discovered I only had $30 from him, the money for the dolls and the boiler.  It was OK, though, because then Hubs told me the pans and lids were still in the car.  And to tell the truth, if I have a garage sale in the spring I can probably get more for them than the man was going to pay.  I just hate when people are rude.  It doesn't cost anything to be polite, and might pay off at some time in the future.  So, though this man told me he "deals mostly in furniture" and asked me to think of him if I unearthed something in that category, I think the likelihood of my ever going into that shop again is going to be small.

The rat trap that I ordered from Amazon came yesterday afternoon and so I set it up in the front where I had seen some movement and began getting results in pretty short order.  It's a smaller trap than the one we already had.  I think it might be helpful in catching mice that don't seem to weigh enough to trip the other trap while they eat the bait. 

Hubs finally got the garage door opener mechanism figured out and it works as it's supposed to.  Turns out he was trying to take a "shortcut" by connecting it to sensors and switches that went with the opener that had gone bad (and which was a different brand).  Hubs is really bad about taking shortcuts.  I hate when he does that and I hope he learned something.  But it's a little late in the game for that, right?  After he was finished, he hauled his ladders and tools back out to his workshop and I went to work cleaning up the bay.  As I cleaned up the freezer with bleach-water, I discovered the rats had chewed on the electric cord, and it had exposed wires.  Well, that's that.  It was a small freezer that is probably close to 20 years old, so it wasn't a big loss.  We keep the big one inside the house.  I was really grateful that I heeded a small, still voice that told me, while the rat infestation was really bad in the garage, to get everything out of that freezer and unplug.  I was concerned that anything that was plugged in might be chewed on and cause a fire.  It took some doing to find places for what was in that freezer, but most of it was wheat I'd had in there in order to kill any weevil eggs and whatnot, so I let it come up to room temperature and poured it into big jars and vac-packed them with my FoodSaver.  Turns out this wheat has chaff in it.  The wheat I bought at the same place last year was so clean.  Guess next year I'll have to see what's in the bag before I buy. *Sigh*.

We had unplugged the canning stove, too, that's about the only other electrical thing that's out there, and I'm sure hoping the cord to it is going to look OK when I get around to that side to clean.  It just plugs in to the stove so if it's damaged a new one can be bought.  At least there's that.  Hubs said he could replace the cord to the freezer but it's already so old, I just don't think there's much point.  I'm not even sure there isn't something else in the motor well that's been chewed on, too, and it isn't worth taking the chance.  I had him remove the cord so no one could ever accidentally plug it in.  I guess I can use it to store my garden stuff in, or maybe I can give it to some rancher who will use it to store his feed in.  Next time I see Kylie, our woodchip guy, I'll ask him if he can use it.

They say you shouldn't breathe the dust that gets stirred up when you clean up rat droppings, because it can make you sick, so I have been carefully sweeping up areas with a broom and dustpan.  Even with all that removed there's still the residue because rats don't have bladders and they pee every time they take a step.  Anyway that's what I've heard.  So today I used a scrub brush that's attached to a broom handle, dipped it into my bleach-water bucket and scrubbed the floor down in sections.  Then I vacuumed up the water with the wet / dry shopvac.  When the shopvac is used on dry surfaces, it releases some of the dust into the air through the exhaust.  I can't imagine what the producers were thinking.  Maybe the problem was that they weren't thinking, at all.  I didn't think it would be safe to vacuum that floor while it was dry and end up working in a cloud of bad stuff.  Even if what you're vacuuming up is safe to breathe why would anyone bother to vacuum up something that's just going to end up coming out of the exhaust?  It's beyond me.

I'm trying really hard not to be mad at Hubs for not believing me the first (second, third and fourth)time I told him I thought the rats were gaining access to the garage even when the doors were closed.  So much of this damage and mess would not have happened if only he hadn't waited so long.

The stress of the situation has really taken its toll on my sense of well-being.  And also, I'm sure Hubs would agree, my normally sunny disposition.  I just haven't been feeling well at all and I fall into bed exhausted every night.  I guess the silver lining in all of this is that now I've lost five more pounds since surgery, for a total of 25 pounds so far for the year.  I'd like to have ten more off by the end of the year, but considering that it's only six weeks away, that's not enough time to lose much more than three to five pounds.  I refuse to cut 'way back and mess up my metabolism.

This morning I was met at my front door by a young black-grey-white striped short-haired tabby.  I haven't seen the black cat since that day he was on the back patio.  I can only assume these are Bob and Marty's cats.  They live up on the corner near the county road and I know they have several cats.  Every now and then we're visited by Jay and Claire's cat.  It's a very pretty mature gray and white long-haired tabby.  These are all the more reason not to use D-Con. 

This is now Thursday, Thanksgiving Day
I see by my statistics that sometimes I have visitors from Europe.  I just want you all to know that I include you in my prayers every day.  Almost all of us who live in the US have ancestors that were immigrants.  My ancestors came from Germany, France and England, mostly.  Hubs' ancestors came from Wales and England, mostly.  He has some American Indian heritage, very little, but apparently even the American Indian was not original to this continent.  It's just that they got here before everyone else.  I don't know how they know that -- artifacts and carbon testing, I guess.  I have to admit I'm frightened by the aspect of immigration today.  Our country has been fighting against illegal immigration from Mexico for years and I'm not sure I quite understand that.  These people will do work that American citizens will not.  They will live in places where American citizens will not.  Appears to me that we take advantage of them once they're here but maybe I don't see the whole picture.  They may not pay employment taxes but they pay sales tax every time they buy something, and when they work for less money than an American will work for, it seems no worse than an American country out-sourcing American jobs to another country.  It may be that our country provides them medical services and other humanitarian aid but do we not have doctors and contributors who will travel great distances to other countries to do this same work.  This is all so confusing to me.  Especially since now our president intends to open our doors to refugees that may or may not be terrorists.  I don't always agree with what Donald Trump says, and I don't like the pompous way he says it, but he is correct in that a very high percentage of those immigrants does seem to be young, able-bodied men and women.  And terrorists can be parents, don'tcha know.....  Children can grow up to be terrorists.  Children BORN here can become terrorists.  Now they are saying that the way Muslims are treated in American schools is causing the spread of hatred on their behalf but I have news for them and that is that ANYONE that is even the slightest bit different from what is perceived by bullies to be "average", will be bullied.  Being bullied in school or at work is a huge problem in the US and has resulted in many mass murders and non-Muslim-shooter-suicide.  Instead of being so convinced that people who suffer from depression may become killers, we need to be looking into the pasts of who was a bully in school.  In fact, I think the problems that we are now dealing with here in the US, where the police are killing young, unarmed black men, has to do with poor screening when the officer in question first applies to become a police officer.  I can see that this profession might draw young adults who were bullies in school so that they can continue to feed whatever empty places they have within themselves by making some innocent person's life miserable.  There is a real risk that a Police Department can become a Brotherhood Of Bullies.  I know many people who are on The Police Force who are wonderful people, kind, caring, brave, and so on, so don't think I'm making blanket statements.  I'm sure they're just as concerned as anyone when there's another killing.  All it takes is one "bad cop" to give the entire city a bad name.  Now the thing to say is that the shooter "felt threatened" and that just doesn't make any sense to me.  I'm sure there isn't a single day during a police officer's life where he doesn't at one time or another feel a sense of his being in danger.  It's part of the job.  Like I say, there are many things I don't understand. 

This Thanksgiving Day, I'm led to think about why we hold this day as a special day, and how hard it must've been for America's first immigrants to begin a new life in an inhospitable and foreign place.  Many died so a few could live on.  I, and many other Americans, am descended from survivors.  I'm grateful to my immigrant ancestors for their strength, their courage, their persistence, their ability to adapt.  Everything I am comes from them. 

I'm grateful for friends; for another year during which we lived in relative safety; for the comforts of home and family; for reasonably good health; for God and Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful for the progress that my children and grandchildren have made in their lives, and for the presence of my precious great-grandchildren.  I'm grateful that Hubs and I have had the grit and the guts to hang in there together through it all for nearly 50 years now.  Neither of us is perfect and both of us have been a challenge to love at many times along the way.  Marilyn Monroe is supposed to have said, "If you can't put up with me at my worst, then you don't deserve me at my best".  I guess, when I think about it, that can be applied in a lot of ways, to a lot of situations, and actually, to the quality of life in general.  Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, or some equivalent thereof, or not, it's a good idea to remind yourself periodically of what you are grateful for.  If you pray, don't forget to give thanks at the beginning of every prayer.

I've been kind of unhappy with my computer because it seems to be remembering my passwords to various sites where I go.  Sometimes this is really helpful and time-saving, but if you get hacked into or if your computer is stolen, or if it crashes and you have to take it somewhere to be repaired, SOMEONE might be able to log in to whatever sites your computer has remembered a password for.  HERE are instructions for what to do.  By all means, do keep a little address book or at least a list, with all your log-in names and passwords, in a safe place.  Preferably NOT in a document you have stored on your computer's desktop entitled "PASSWORDS".  Heh.

This is now Friday, the 27th.

We had a good Thanksgiving Day.  Spike and DDIL ate lunch and spent the afternoon with us.  She has three children by previous marriages but they spent Thanksgiving with the man who is the father of the two youngest.  So it was just the two of them.  They did not want another big dinner as they'd had one with their church family, and their purpose for coming was actually so that Spike could help Hubs with the replacement of weatherstripping on the sliding patio doors, and so that he could look at the repairs that Hubs made on the golf cart and tell Hubs if the job looked ok.  It was almost too cold to work on the doors, but they did that in pretty short order.  Spike said the golf cart needs new ignition wires, or something, I don't understand these things, and said he had some he'd bring over next time.  Spike is a pretty good lawnmower repairman and does quite a bit of it, so he has stuff like that in his shed. 

I had just baked whole wheat bread and made it into sandwich rolls, as I usually do, so we had sandwiches and chips.  There was tea in the refrigerator and Pepsi and Dr. Pepper is always in the house because Hubs drinks it.  I had baked a cake, nothing fancy, just a German Chocolate mix and Pillsbury coconut-pecan frosting from the pantry.  A far cry from the dinners I used to put together for Thanksgiving, but remarkably stress-free and easy.  No leftovers to deal with, and hardly any mess to clean up after.  I had a good visit with DDIL while Hubs and Spike were working.  They left about 2:30 because there were some deeply-discounted things at WMT that she wanted to get, and the deals would go away by 5.  I'm so glad I don't have to get into that sort of thing.  It sounds horrible.  I saw on TV where there were two men actually fighting on the floor, at a shopping mall somewhere in Kentucky.  I saved Hubs out a couple of pieces of cake and sent the rest of it home with Spike and DDIL.  It's so funny how they are always so happy to come here and find cake.

This morning the sound of rain woke us both up really, really early.  And it was a productive morning because the rats were hungry and easily trapped.  By 8am I had caught and drowned eight of them, with one trap on the patio and the other sitting in the back of the compost bins.  Would it be unseemly of me to admit that I feel a certain sense of joy with each rat taken out of circulation?  I can't help but think how many future generations I am eliminating.  Rats do serve a purpose, as they are in the food chain for predatory birds: hawks and owls, mostly.  I don't think what I'm doing will cause a shortage of food for those birds.  Surely there are still plenty out in the fields that were not on fire.  If there aren't enough rats to eat, and really I don't think that will ever happen, maybe they'll hunt rabbits.  We certainly have enough of those around. 

Do you know that there can be as many as fourteen Norway "rat pups" in one litter?  Their gestational period is 21 to 23 days.  The "pups" are weaned at three or four weeks old.  Although there is no delimited breeding season, there is a decrease in breeding during late fall and winter.  One male rat, however, can impregnate a whole harem of females.  A rat's lifespan is 2-3 years (unless they get into my trap -- bwah-ha-ha).  Rats can do a great deal of damage and they can carry some pretty serious diseases, so when caught they should not be handled and should be destroyed rather than relocated.  I read on one website that rats pretty much will stay within a 30-yard radius of where they have made their nest.  This is why people who live in the country where there is no burning will often not be bothered too much by rats.  But in our case, the fire that burned here so close to us a few weeks ago pushed them out of their burrows in the fields.  That happens also when the ranchers around us burn off their fields, a practice that I am seriously not happy with but it has been done for so long that there are only two chances of ever getting that stopped: (1) Slim; and (2) None.   All I can do is try to destroy the ones who migrate onto my property.  When we get a few warm days, I plan to take down my compost bins and construct a round enclosure out of three or four fence-wire tomato cages in which to pile pulled-up weeds.  I can place this outside the fence and on the land of what I call "The North Fourth" so if any rats live in that, they will be far from the house and can be hunted easily by the neighborhood dogs and the birds of prey.  I bury my kitchen compost and I think that's about the best way to get the compost into the garden.  I haven't seen any evidence of anything digging there.  Norway rats are attracted to tall weeds so I should be more accepting of Hubs' penchant for using his weed-wacker.  Though I would like to have habitat for lizards, birds, toads and frogs, I'm not sure if I can do that and not have the rats moving into it. 

This is now Saturday and it is cold and rainy.  I bet you're as sick and tired of reading about rats as I am of writing about them.  So before I finish this post off I'd like to give you some stuff to try to make up for being such a bore.  And I am sorry.  It's just, this is my life right now.  *Sigh*.

So, to start things off, I've been dinking around on the Internet, specifically, YouTube, and found this guy named Dr. Mercola, who has some interesting things to say about how to ward off colds and flu.  So start with THIS offering, and then YouTube will show you more, if you're interested.  Or click on the "Mercola" link below the title of the current selection and you'll get a screen full of YouTubes that he has published.  He has a method for fending off a cold by putting Hydrogen peroxide in your ears.  Laugh first, then try it, what've you got to lose?  Hydrogen peroxide is in that stuff called SwimEar, along with rubbing alcohol, and I use it in my ears after I shampoo my hair because otherwise the water that I do not get out of my ears causes me to have an earache and/or some dizziness.  So, open minds, OK?  You will also notice, if you watch the video that I've linked, he says that the over-consumption of sugar can lower your resistance to colds and flu.  And I fully believe that.  How many times has this happened to you:  You let your kids go Trick-or-Treating on Halloween and then the week after they catch a bad cold.  EVEN WHEN the weather has been nice over Halloween, so it's NOT being exposed to cold weather.  I also have a netipot, and I know people who will use their netipot as soon as they feel a cold coming on.  They swear by it.  I've done it and had it work for me.  And weird as it may sound, you can quiet a bad cough enough so that you can sleep through the night by rubbing the soles of your feet with Vicks VapoRub (it's probably the camphor in it), then putting on socks, right before you turn in.  Lots of people swear by that, nutty as it sounds, and I've had it work for me, too. 

HERE are some selections to watch related to Ron Howard's recent announcement of his documentary on aging.  I'm kinda thinking Fonzie could use some help in that area.  But then, so could I.  Spoiler Alert:  Since these are about research, some of the videos show rats milling around.  Sorry.  This link has several short videos that are linked together, so let the next one start when the one before it ends to see them all.  Oh, and one of the speakers is named Brett RATner.  I tell you, I just cannot catch a break!  LOL, LOL

Oh, and looks like Ron's documentary is going to be aired on NatGeoTV on Sunday night, if you have access to that channel, at 8pm Central time.   HERE is their site. 

HERE is a cool YouTube about making Stone Soup, FOR REAL.  I was fascinated by the story of Stone Soup when I was a child and I have often thought of it and how resourceful those soldiers who first made it (according to the original story) were. 

HERE is an Oprah show that might get your wheels a-turnin'.  It's about Rhonda Byrne and "Discovering The Secret".  Lots to think about here.  I'll tell you something that really lit me up and that was, about at 24:30 in this video, they started talking about how everything bad that happens to you comes with a gift.  OH!  I had never thought about that before, but I have said, many times, that had I not gone through that terrible experience with my family that I did, I didn't think I would have ever TRULY found God.  So there ya go.  Think about this, Dear Ones.  Think about the bad things that happened in your life.  And then think about the good things that happened to you after, and ask yourself whether you would be in that same time and place, without the bad thing happening to you, in order to receive that good thing.  Take a deep breath and try not to scoff at this Doofus Old Redneck Woman.  But if you must, oh, go ahead.  There is much about ourselves, our world and our understanding of it that we don't fully understand. 

There are lots of other selections on the sidebar of this particular webpage if you want to get deeper into the subject and see other points of view.  Included in these selections is the Oprah After Show, which I thought was interesting.  And there's a full movie entitled "The Shift" by Wayne Dyer.  I haven't watched that yet, but I'm going to.  It's 2 hours.

Really, when you think about it, this concept is nothing new.  Think about Norman Vincent Peale and his "The Power Of Positive Thinking".   Then there's that book "How To Stop Worrying And Start Living" by Dale Carnegie.  Or how about "The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey.  "Think And Grow Rich", Napoleon Hill.  All different but the same, if you get what I mean.  I guess the thing is that we keep having to be reminded.  Sorta goes back to the old Pogo statement, "We have seen the enemy and it is us".  Or as one of the panel members on Oprah's show said, "We keep getting in our own way". 

At the beginning of this Oprah show, Rhonda Byrne mentions reading a book by Wallace D. Wattles called "The Science Of Getting Rich", written so long ago that it is now out of copyright.  She said she applied the principles outlined in that book to any improvement that she wanted to attract into her life, not just financial.  It's downloadable in it's entirety HERE.  I advise you to save this PDF file to your computer if you think you might want to have it to refer to later, because things like this have a way of becoming re-copyrighted when they become popular and then you have to pay for it. 

Some of the things they talked about made me think of the "Vision Board" that my daughter kept for awhile.  She swore that it worked for her. 

Well, I hope I've redeemed myself, somewhat, for the boring post.  I'm hungry for lunch and will pad up to the kitchen for some leftover chicken and rice with peas and carrots.  Have a great weekend.

Hugs, xoxoxoxoxo

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Daily Doin's, Third Week Of November, 2015

I start this on Tuesday, November 17.

I got up during the wee hours of the morning, it was raining hard outside but rather balmy otherwise, at 64ยบ.  I fell asleep early last night because I was so exhausted from the day, for which I was also an early riser, but not because I wanted to be. 

The rat trapping continues.  This morning I almost stepped on a big rat, lying dead from his dose of D-Con, apparently, on the patio right where we step off the wooden landing onto the concrete.  Sooooo glad I saw him in time.  Finding live rats in buckets, and then figuring out a way to drown them in the bucket by setting a matching bucket that has a hole in it down into it, which keeps them from scrambling out but allows water poured in to make it's way into the bottom bucket to drown the them, was working well for awhile.  Rats are pretty agile, especially when they are terrified, and I swear, they can practically fly if you're trying to dump them into water.  Now THAT's not a mental picture anyone wants to carry around.  But this way, they just look up at you from the bottom of the bucket when you find them there, and as long as you move back out of their sight, they don't try to get out and it's easy to fit the other bucket in. 

I finally proved to Hubs' satisfaction that there is, in fact, an entry point under one of the garage doors.  He worked on that today, using metal flashing.  But not until after I caught six more rats in there between 2am and 6am.  They were still coming even after the metal flashing was installed, but then I noticed a place in the concrete floor where the garage doors meet it when they are closed, and when he slipped some thin pieces of wood into that space, the onslaught was stopped.  Caught four, I think, out on the back patio using "the bucket system", baiting with a little birdseed. 

I called Employability, that's our local workshop for the developmentally disabled, today.  They run a thriftshop and depend on donations of things to sell.  They will take my extra mattress and box springs that is upstairs leaning against a wall, and the washing machine that I replaced with a front-loader, that is out on the driveway under the carport, so they can have everything else.  The last time I had stuff to donate, Employability wouldn't take the Hide-A-Bed.  They said it was too heavy for their disabled folks to lift.  I used to work there and I know those disabled people aren't the ones who lift that stuff, anyway.  So I gave it and everything else I had at the time to Mutual Girls' Club's Tuesday House and they were really glad to get it.  But the time before that, I gave a huge bunch of clothing to Employability and everything else I had.  It has begun to hit home to me that I might be becoming a hoarder.  They say hoarders have a big empty place in their lives they're trying to fill, and I might fit that category.  Not that most of us don't have empty places to some degree. 

So Employability's truck is coming out Friday morning, and I will let them take all that garage sale stuff that's in the garage, plus the washer, plus the box springs and mattress, plus, I think, that extra sewing machine and cabinet I bought that I didn't need and can't seem to use because the instruction book is horribly vague.  And then I'm going to start going through cabinets, chests and bookcases, room by room.  I am not agile enough to take on an interior redecoration project, and so this will be my project for the winter.

I also have quite a few things that fall into the "collectible" category that I'm thinking of taking to some of the antique stores where the owner is in the store.  Since I bought most of them at garage sales, I can probably make a little on them.  Even if I can break even, at least I'll get them out of my house and I'll have my money back.  If I had that money in savings it wouldn't have been making much over the last several years, what with the interest rate being so low, anyway. 

There's just not much incentive for people to save money since our government hit upon the idea of shoring up the economy by lowering the interest rate, so people will borrow more money so they can buy more and get themselves in more debt.  They want us to spend, spend, spend, so we can keep all these businesses alive.  Seems to me that's not going to work in the long run.  You know, The Law Of Supply And Demand is out of balance now.  Eventually a lot of people get so they have so many debts they can't make all the payments, and then they've got all this impulsively-purchased stuff that clutters up their lives. 

I was talking to a woman just yesterday who told me that she and her husband were trying to make some plans for retirement and they just really didn't know what to do.  It's hard to know, these days, seems like no matter what you have, it can be taken away from you in one way or another.  Normally I'd suggest going on an austerity program now, pay off all your bills one by one, including your home, and then don't buy anything you can't pay cash for.  Then when you retire you don't have creditors.  But if a fire, tornado, flood, earthquake or war happens, you can lose your paid-off home and cars and be lucky to get out of it with just your life and that of your loved ones.  So you might then wish you hadn't worked so hard to get everything paid for.  On the other hand, if you rent your home all your life, by the time you get old you've spent all this money and there's nothing to show for it except that you lived somewhere.  Plus rentals keep going up and up, and many people find, when they retire, that their Social Security isn't enough to pay their rent and allow them to eat, too.  If you buy a home, and nothing catastrophic happens, and you don't try to pay it off ahead of time, the amount of interest you pay is astronomical.  If you are making house payments now, dig out your escrow sheet.  It tells you how much of your monthly payment is going to interest and how much is being applied to the principle, which is the actual price of the home.  You're going to be appalled to see how much money you actually end up paying for that house.  For many years, the payment that you make is going almost entirely to interest.  A lot of people don't know that, if you have an escrow sheet and know where you are on it, for maybe $100 extra you can to pay off several years of house payments and put yourself further down the road to owning your home.  Hubs and I did this by paying $100 extra every month.  We paid off a 30-year loan in 15 and saved $17,000.  Then, when we sold that house and moved to another, we paid off our new house with what we got for our current one.  To get this place, we had to sell our current residence plus a rental house we owned.  We could not afford to live here if we had to make a monthly payment and pay all that interest.  Interest is killer simply because, even if the rate is low, it's strung out for years and years. 

Lots of people say, "Get a Financial Advisor and invest", but you have to pay for that service.  You can lose everything if there's a crash or if you get a dishonest broker and there was a situation like that in Bartlesville that rocked the world of a lot of honest, hard-working, frugal people.  The guy was discovered and went to prison but not until after he'd gambled away, at the local Indian casino, most of what he stole.  Oh, and just don't get me started on those casinos.  They draw people who can least afford to gamble.  They let them win a couple of times and then they're addicted.  Their marriages are ruined, their poverty increases, but they keep coming back, because they just "know" that they'll "make it all back next time and then some".  Yeah, right.  These casinos wouldn't be in business if money didn't flow in their direction a lot more often than the other way.  Letting people win is just "priming the pump".  Seems like every now and then I get in a room somewhere with some young chick who's bragging to everyone that she went to the casino last night and won.  I just want to slap her.  Doesn't she know they're just setting her up?  It just doesn't seem like people are very smart anymore.  And yes, sometimes I make money mistakes, too, mostly by buying stuff I don't really need, so I have to count myself in there.  Unfortunately.  I can try to justify it by saying almost everything I buy is from garage sales, and I do get some fantastic deals, but a deal is not a good deal if you don't really even need it at all.  And THAT's my problem.

This is now Friday, 11/20. 

We went all day yesterday without getting anything in the trap on the patio.  So we moved the trap to the back of our back yard, where our firewood rack and three sheds are.  I was greeted by a rat one day when I went into the shed where I keep my garden stuff.  I threw a D-Con packet on the floor of each shed, and they are all gone.  Hubs found two dead in the yard yesterday.  We caught two last night before we went to bed.  I got up early this morning and there was one in the trap.  After that I accidentally let one go, because it was small and hid under the rocker mechanism, then I caught a dang bird.  Sheesh.  I saw two rats moving around out there and there was a big one laying behind one of the buildings dead.  Death by D-Con is grisly.  And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Cathy called me last night to say she saw a huge raccoon climbing the rock wall that is around our North Fourth and coming this way.  Oh. My. God.  If that isn't all we need, I don't know what is.  I guess I should feel glad this is not Bear Country, we'd have them tearing all our doors off. 

Yesterday the winds were calm for the first time in many days.  I burned trash and while I had the barrel full of fire, I burned the stalky, brushy stuff I'd accumulated from the garden.  Mostly Basil and Zinnia stalks and tomato vines.  There was also a pile of tree branches we'd let JR leave here because when he had Hubs take him to the dump, they wouldn't let anybody in because it was too muddy.  I had most of those burned when Hubs came out and said the wind was coming up and I needed to stop.  I handed the limb-cutters to him and asked him if he would finish cutting the branches to a size I could get into the burn-barrel and he did.  He came in and told me he'd disturbed a rat's nest under the brush pile with two rats in it, which he had stomped on but they had both gotten away.  He felt confident they'd go somewhere and die but if they're alive enough to run, I think they'll most likely survive. 

That took most of the morning.  After I had a shower and changed clothes, I made two batches of strawberry jam from the strawberries I'd moved from the freezer to the refrigerator the other day.  Strawberry jam goes fast around here.  Hubs smears it on toast to satisfy his sweet tooth because I haven't been making many pies, cakes or cookies lately.  And I put a spoonful of it in my yogurt.  I prefer strawberry or cherry jam for that.  I find I can consume small amounts of sugar but about all I can get away with is a scant spoon of real honey in my tea and a spoon of homemade jam in my yogurt.  I made chocolate pie for Hubs one day a couple of weeks ago and I had a little slice of it.  I lost count of how many times I opened the refrigerator door after that, looking at that pie. 

I think I mentioned before that have managed to "maintain" my weight loss during surgery recovery.  They didn't want me to be trying to lose weight while recovering.  I had lost two pounds during that period when I couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep, then gained that back when things got better, but I just weighed this morning (out of curiosity, but normally I try to only weigh on Monday mornings) and I've lost both those pounds plus another pound and 2/10.  I've been doing pretty good this week, what with "The RockWhisperer Exercise Program" because of this rat infestation, all week.  I've been to the Fitness Center with Hubs several times where I usually do the recumbent bike for a mile and then walk around the track for half a mile.  Some of these bikes just have foot-shaped pedals that push forward and back rather than go in circles.  I can't do the circles yet.  So I think this coming Monday I'll have a nice loss to report.  Still working towards a goal of 35 pounds lost by the last Monday of January.  That'll run pretty close to a year.  Thirty-five pounds is not a bad loss for a year since it includes time off for surgery recovery.  Hell.  Who am I kidding?  ANY loss is good.  Better than the customary ten-pound gain.

I want to thank you, Scotland Jo, for mentioning T'ai Chi in the Comments section of my last post.  I went out on YouTube and found some really nice demonstrations and / or lessons.  I'm impressed by how peaceful they seem.  Several years ago, I saw a movie where, in one scene there was a group of people in a park, and they were doing some kind of a routine that I thought at the time was Yoga.  Seems like Gary Busey was in the group.  Does this make sense to anybody?  I have searched and searched for some lessons on how to do that, because it was so rhythmic and flowing.  Nobody had to get down on the ground to do any of the movements.  HERE and HERE are a couple of those demonstrations, and if you look along the sidebar, there are many others to try. 

The Employability truck came this morning.  I had them load the washing machine first, then brought them in the front door and they went upstairs to the landing where the mattress and box springs were waiting, and carried them down.  Once they were back out on the driveway, I opened up one of the garage doors and they carried out what was in there.  I started noticing a stink in the garage yesterday, and I thought it was the little freezer I had emptied out and turned off, and left sitting there with the lid up after I'd wiped it all out.  Some spray disinfectant didn't help much, and I was going to have Hubs help me move it away from the wall because I decided there might be a dead rat back there.  He said he agreed that's what was probably stinking, but thought it was coming from under one of the tables that held boxed stuff.  And sure enough, after the boxes were all taken away and the tables were taken down, we pulled out the tubs of driveway sealer that Hubs did not get applied to the driveway when the weather was warm enough to do so (ahem!), and there was the sunken-in body, rank as rank could be.  This is the problem with D-Con.  They say the rat will leave before he dies because he's seeking water but we haven't found that to be true.  Also, if a hawk or an owl comes along and consumes the rat while it's out and about, D-Con can kill the bird.  So much better to use a trap.  And more humane if you have a tub or a vat of some kind that you can fill with water and submerge the cage with the rat still in it.  That water gets really rank after you drown several rats in it, so you want to keep it outside, wear gloves and try not to touch anything you don't have to.  By all means, keep kids away from it.  And then you wash up after the deed's done.  We've had so many to deal with, we just dump them in an old bucket after they drown, and then go bury them all at the end of each day. 

Hubs has been acting kind of beleaguered lately, as if he is thinking what a champ he is for still loving me after all this crap has left our home and there's still more to go through in the house.  I don't think he realized how much I had accumulated and in truth, I didn't either.  And I've apologized for it.  But hey, let's call a spade a spade.  I don't drink, except for a glass of Mogen David, once in a blue moon.  And come to think about it, I think I'm overdue for a glass of it.  I don't gamble.  I don't smoke.  I don't have a shoe collection.  I don't go to concerts, ballgames, plays or even movies or on expensive vacations.  I don't have a standing appointment at the beauty shop.  I'm not pointing any fingers.  Most of us have our vices, that's all I'm trying to say.  The thing is, now I KNOW this has got to stop.  On an "up-note", the driver and his two helpers were very happy with the stuff they got today.

I was just on the Down To Earth Simple Living Forum, catching up a little, and guess what they're talking about?  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.  I don't know if you can see these if you're not registered, but HERE's the link.  Wal, now, ain't this timely?  Amazon has the book HERE, and there are even some used books for sale there.  I think I'll hold off a bit, read some YouTubes HERE, see if it might work for me.  One thing that she said was that, when sorting through things, think of which things you will KEEP, and make a place for them, then discard, donate or sell what's left.  I tend to do that the other way around.  Not sure why that's wrong.  Another thing was to sort by category and not by space.  In other words, when sorting books, gather together ALL the books you have from everywhere you have them stored.  I dunno.  When I did that with clothes last spring (or was it last fall or winter?), I got really overwhelmed.

This is now Saturday and I will post today.

We are expecting our first hard freeze tonight.  I'm ready.  I've had it with the outdoors and once in awhile I've even thought about how nice it might be to live in an apartment, where somebody else does the maintenance, the vermin control, and where I wouldn't be able to accumulate so much stuff.  Although I wonder if I had to live in a smaller space, would I BE one of those classic hoarders with boxes everywhere, beds and other flat surfaces piled up high, and just a pathway in each room.  God help me.  But I realize this is just a rough patch and Hubs and I will get back to loving where we live when things settle down. 

I have not seen the raccoon or any signs of its presence.  Hubs says it won't find anything to eat here and will go on.  Please, God, make it so.  We are not having trouble with the rats up close to the house now.  But they are in the sheds and the compost bins that only contain weeds I pulled all summer long -- no kitchen scraps.  But that's still too close to allow them to multiply.  I need to come up with a better way to manage that compost.  I love the beautiful stuff I get from it after it's decomposed for a year, in fact, I have sifted and poured into a big roll-around garbage can most of what I "made" throughout all of last year and I will be using it, after it's baked to kill seeds and insect eggs, to start my new seedlings late this winter and early spring.  I'm thinking that I just need to take apart three of those fence-wire round tomato cages and join them together to make one big, round enclosure.  I can put that 'way out in the far corner of the garden, or even out onto The North Fourth, for that matter.  I've been reading that, under normal conditions, rats pretty much stay within 30 yards of wherever they have their nests.  When conditions are ever normal, out here, is another matter.  We can't kill every rat in the county.  All we can do is keep them at bay.  Last night I moved the trap to the back of the compost bins and during dusk to bedtime, caught one about every fifteen minutes.  I lost count, but must be at least six and maybe eight.  We went upstairs probably around 8 or 9pm because I was exhausted from another full day, and I moved the trap back to it's spot between the sheds.  This morning there was a rat in the trap.  But now it's turned cold and is sleeting.  It's not supposed to get to freezing today but I thought I'd have better luck if I set the trap inside the garden shed where I've seen them running across the floor when I've slid the door open.  So I did that and left the door open a crack, more for my convenience than theirs, so I can shine the flashlight out there and know when the trap is sprung without having to walk all the way out there.  Another facet of The RockWhisperer Exercise Plan, I guess.....  It's not dawn yet and they begin to be active at dawn and dusk.  Usually pretty quiet the rest of the day, unless their nest gets found and disturbed. 

This morning I sorted through my books and found quite a pile of them that I just don't really have to keep.  Today I need to mop floors.  We have tried to be very careful not to track in stuff, but I'm sure we have. 

While I was in the garage I found a plastic bucket of powdered stuff that is concrete-based, is for indoor or outdoor use and will adhere to most surfaces without additives or primers.  I think it'll be perfect to use to level out that low place on the garage floor where one of the doors meets the floor that is large enough for rats to squeeze in.  They can collapse their spines like raccoons do and slip through spaces you wouldn't think they could.  Hubs' thin piece of wood has stopped the flow for now but it isn't a permanent solution.  I have a coffee-tub lid on the garage floor with ten pieces of dry catfood that hasn't been bothered now in about three days.  But I think if we leveled this low spot out with some concrete stuff it would be more durable.  So I'd like to work on that today, too.  But for now, it's 6:49 and dawn is beginning.  Time to start paying attention to the trap.  I ordered another from Amazon HERE.  It should be arriving soon.  Maybe in time to put right into service.  Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun.  Heh. 

We will soldier on.  Hope you will, too, whatever is going on in your life right now.  Hugs xoxoxo

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Daily Doin's, Second Week of November, 2015

I start this on Monday, November 9.

Before I went to bed last night I remembered that I have been forgetting to write about a method having to do with not wasting food that's thought by some to be kind of silly.  It has to do with meat and meat flavor.  I used to watch The Frugal Gourmet all the time, many years ago, and he had several little "rules" that he mentioned often.  One was,  "hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick", which everyone says now is just not true because the hot pan makes the oil hot and so you might as well say, "hot pan, hot oil, foods won't stick".  But he also used to say, "meat should be the flavoring, and not the main ingredient."  I think back about how my mother kept five kids fed and healthy, with Chicken and Noodles; Meatloaf; Beef Stew; Beans, Cornbread and Fried Potatoes; Biscuits and Gravy.  Come Thanksgiving dinner, it was Mom's hot rolls, practically as big as a small loaf of bread, fresh and hot and dripping with butter, that everybody really came for.  The turkey was just the side dish.  When my teenagers were big eaters, I depended a lot on Chicken-Fried Rice; Slumgullion; Macaroni and Cheese; Hamburger Soup; Cabbage-Roll Casserole; and yes, the penny-wise dishes I grew up on, as well.  But, OK, there are exceptions.    We had our "Meat Days", when there'd be a whole chicken cut up and fried crispy, served with mashed potatoes, milk gravy, and corn.  Fried green tomatoes if they were in season.  Or a round steak, floured and browned crispy on both sides, then covered with the contents of an undiluted can of Cream of Mushroom Soup, and simmered with the lid on till the soup was all beefy and yummy.  Who could deny pan-fried pork chops, with sides of sweet potatoes still in their jackets, slathered in butter, and okra or home-canned green beans cooked with bacon??

But anyway,  I don't think I've ever written about "deglazing the pan".  It's done when you have pan-fried meat and you do not intend to make gravy.  When I intend to deglaze, I prefer to cook the meat in it's own juices, without coating it in flour.  But if I have floured it and added something to the pan to keep it from sticking, I generally will choose lard or at least something that will solidify in the refrigerator.  Keep two small containers in the freezer.  One marked "Pork Glaze" and the other marked "Beef Glaze".  And all it is, is a little water poured into the pan after the cooked meat has been removed, the water is brought to a boil and is stirred around in the pan till everything that was stuck to the pan has been incorporated into the water.  You can keep a container for "Chicken glaze", also, but it's a little harder to manage because chicken fat doesn't solidify as well as the other fats.  I do, however, save my chicken fat in a container in the freezer, and when I fry chicken, I use this fat instead of cooking oil.  I don't want to horrify anyone, but there are some "experts" who have the opinion that using cooking oil is worse than using animal fats.  The real truth to this issue is that nobody really knows which is worse / better. 

Pour your "glaze" off into a bowl or a glass measuring cup. 

Often it's not more than half a cup to a cup.  This also now leaves your pan very easy to clean.  This is just from one hamburger patty that I cooked for Hubs last night.  Put the glaze in the refrigerator till cold.  By then any fat that's in it has solidified on the top.  Remove the fat and then pour the remaining liquid into the appropriate freezer container.  Or into an ice-cube tray, or whatever floats your boat.  You can also save the beef fat and make soap with it.  I save any pork fat and cook with it like I do with lard and/or bacon fat.  If you like to cook with wine, you can certainly deglaze with wine, if you want to, but you may be more limited in how you can use it later on, so you'll want to be sure and mark on the container that it contains wine.  Use your "glaze" to add flavor to soup or sauce.  Pork "glaze" is really good in the bean pot, if you're not cooking it with a ham bone.  Then it's just overkill and better used at another time.  You'll be amazed to see just how much flavor you can get out of even a small amount, and so much more real than those bouillion cubes or powders, which are mostly fat and salt. 

I've been, as usual, dinking around on the Internet.  Winter's coming on, I'll have more time to read, so I thought I'd sign up again for the newsletters on Mother Earth News (click on "Newsletters" in the gray bar under the orange bar that's just under their logo at the top of the page).  and Mother Earth Living (click on "Newsletters" in the white space under their logo at the top of the page).  I used to get the newsletters for Mother Earth News when I had a subscription, and I found it to be redundant, so I took myself off the email subscription list.  Just recently I've allowed my subscription for the paper copy of Mother Earth News to run out, and so now getting the emailed newsletters would be worthwhile.  If you're interested, When you sign up, they send you a "welcome" email with links to some downloadable PDF documents on a variety of subjects.  I found some interesting tips in some of these, and there is a wealth of free information on both these websites.  Any time you see something you want to keep, this can be done easily enough.  You can either print it off, or highlight what you want to save, click "copy", open up a blank text document from whatever word-processing package you have (Word is the most popular, but I use OpenOffice, which is a free download, and compatible with Word (should you want to, for instance, send a resume or some other document to someone who has it).  It works much the same way so if you've used Word before, there's not much of a learning curve.  But anyway, just "paste" into a blank document.  Now, here I need to warn you that your document continues to "talk" to the website that you "pasted" from to get the pictures, and if you don't have internet access, the pictures will all become just bitty boxes with a red "X" inside.  There are several ways around this, the easiest of which is to save your document in PDF format.  This breaks all the links and imbeds the pictures into the document.  I have a free PDF converter I downloaded from called "PDF Redirect".  It installs in your Printers folder and when you convert a document, you just pretend you're going to print it and choose PDF Redirect off your printer list that comes up on the print screen.  It'll convert it and then you can save it to your files somewhere.  I don't seem to be able to get it to save anywhere but on the desktop, but after it's there I can move it into any folder I want.  Keep in mind that copyright laws say it's ok to make one copy "for comment".  But it's not ok to distribute someone else's hard work as you would if it was yours.  Copying things off the internet is great because if it gets deleted (and this happens often), you still have your copy, all safe and sound.  Well, as long as you don't crash before you get it backed up, that is.

I've also been on YouTube and THIS guy shows a method for rooting fruit tree cuttings.   One of the first things I thought about was how every fruit tree I buy is grafted to rootstock.  I've been trying to find out what the reasons are for grafting fruit trees and so far all I have found is that the rootstock determines the size that the tree will be.  If you don't care how large the tree will get, then what????  Most of the comparisons are made between trees grown from seed and cuttings grafted.  But what if you have a rooted cutting?  How is the grafted tree better if you don't care about size????  I have a plum tree that's oozing "gel" from its trunk.  Borers, I guess....  I've treated the tree, but probably too late to save it.  So I took cuttings from it today, trimmed them and put them down in a Welch's Grape Juice bottle.  Call that experiment #1 for 2016.  It's probably the wrong time of year.  If they don't work out I'll try with fresh cuttings in the spring.

The last experiment for 2015 was the fall potato tub.  I had some problems getting the sprouted potatoes to go ahead and grow once they were in the soil.  There are two up now.  After I took this picture I added more soil to the tub.

Hubs finally gave up trying to find someone who could fix the golf cart we bought (a year or two ago), made a list of the parts he thought he needed and we called DIY Golf Carts in Texas.  It was really nice that they were so helpful seeing as how we didn't know what we were doing.  We ordered a new carburetor, a new filter, and a new belt.  Two days later, it arrived, Hubs put them in and it works good.  If you want something done timely, there's still nothing like doing it yourself.  One guy kept it a whole month, and then said he didn't have time to work on it.  Sheesh.  A couple of cosmetic things to do to it yet, but now we have something to go to the mailbox in, or run up to the corner to see Bob and Gwen or Bob and Marty.  We're just full of "Bobs" out here.  Bob and Sharry live on the other end of the road.  

This is now Thursday, the 12th.

Hubs and I had an interesting day yesterday.  I went to workout with him again, and after we were finished there we went to get some business done in town.  It took most of the morning.

When we got home we found our neighborhood on fire.  The fire was up to the backs of the houses that belong to our neighbors across the road.  And there were patchy places on our land that were blackened and smoking.  Thick smoke all around.  Apparently the volunteer fire department had been here and then left because the wind was whippin' down the plain and the fire was spreading like, well, wildfire.  Before nightfall, it had reached Lenapah and Nowata and parts of Kansas.  It burned down a big ranchhouse in Lenapah, caught an oil well on fire somewhere, burned big round bales of hay that people had stored in their fields to feed to their livestock this winter, just literally to the ground, and, in our neighborhood, caught the firewood that Joe, our neighbor across the road, had neatly stacked up for the winter.  He managed to put that fire out with the garden hose.  Hubs gathered up all the garden hose we could find and he and Joe took that and Joe's Kubota backhoe to Bob's because he still had fire behind his house when everybody else's was put out.  I really think that if our houses hadn't all been so far apart, if we didn't all keep our land mowed, and if we hadn't all stayed around to keep track of what was happening, a few of us might've lost our homes.  We all, I'm sure, went to bed uneasy that night, I know I did, but Praise God, by morning all was calm though still stinking of burnt grass.  Some of the neighbors that have been here the longest said this is the closest fire has ever gotten to our homes. 

First we heard that it was arson.  Then Hubs heard that the fire started when an electrical line was broken by the wind and ignited the grass in a pasture below it.  In all, our newspaper said, 46,000 acres burned through three counties, from several grass fires that merged into one.

So much grass has burned in the open areas that now we, and probably all our neighbors, if only they knew it, are overrun by rats.  Those of you who were reading this blog last year will remember how we had a rat problem off and on all spring through fall because of ranchers burning off their pastures around us, and we trapped, drowned and buried over 100 rats during that period.  So far this fall, we are now up to 6 rats, one mouse, and one possum. 

Actually, two possums, but Hubs let the first one he caught go, because I was in the hospital at the time and he just didn't want to deal with it.  Apparently this little guy was responsible for all the digging that was going on under the old chicken house. 

Today  I had to buy, download and install new security software for my computer.  I just hate to download and install, seems like something always goes wrong.  I guess I'm not going to use Mozilla Firefox much anymore because it never does the download right and I have to go on Explorer eventually, anyway, to do the download.  It's just I seem to keep forgetting that it has that problem.  Add this to the fact that it quit allowing me to insert pictures into my blogposts and that translates out to "limited functionality" as far as I'm concerned, so I've been having to use Explorer when I write on the blog for about a month now.  But anyway, suffice it to say that I had quite a few problems muddling through the security software process.  It's finally working, but not after I had to say a few prayers and walk away from it for a little bit to fill my coffee cup and do a little thinking, and apologize to God for swearing. 

This is now Saturday the 14th. 

We drove to Tulsa yesterday for my 3-month post-surgery follow-up at the orthopedic surgeon's office.  They feel like I'm doing very well.  I asked about the dang stiffness that I have every morning and in fact, every time I spend very much time not actually using my new knee, and they said that's normal and will be for probably another three months.  I have a spot on the outside of my knee that is still tender, and I asked about that.  They said that was normal and will go away with time.  I asked about the Meloxicam and what their opinion was about it for long-term use, and they said they didn't recommend that because of possible damage to the kidneys, that they have some patients who can't take it at all and they have to use something that's less effective.  So I'm glad I'm not taking it anymore, although my good knee is starting to holler now from the extra work it has to do, and so's my back.  It was sure nice to have a pain-free back for three months, though. 

After we got out of there, we went to find a Whole Foods store.  Apparently there are only two in Tulsa. 

Wow, this was a big store and there were lots of interesting things in it but I was kind of disappointed that they didn't have any bigger variety of beans than the grocery stores and WMT here in town do.  No, they did not have Cannellini beans.   Yes, things are more expensive there.  But everything's organic.  They must grow that produce in greenhouses, that's all I have to say, as everything was unblemished and beautiful.

I also wanted to go to the address I had for the new Costco store that was supposed to, according to all the news releases I saw, open up in the summer of 2015.  We watched for an announcement, like there was when Sam's Club opened in Owasso, and there just hasn't been one.  I couldn't find any recent information online.  This will be the first Costco for the state of Oklahoma.  There's one in Wichita, KS, which is about a three-hour drive from here. 

So we went out to 103rd and Memorial and yes, construction is under way.  But no way they're going to be ready to open up any time soon.

Hubs and I are catching a minimum of five rats a day.  And now there's one in the garage because the paper package of D-Con I keep in a coffee tub lid on the floor was moved and is empty.  Considering how nasty they are and how much damage they do, it's hard to find the humor, but we've had a few laughs out of this latest rat invasion.  Yesterday I turned over a planter that was upside down in the flower bed and there was a rat sleeping in there.  I hurriedly carried it to where I had a bucket, dumped him in it and this time set another bucket that had a hole in the bottom down in it.  Poured water in until he drowned.  Then today, when I moved the downspout that diverts the rain water from the roof away from the bullet tank after it's empty, I heard scrambling and scratching inside it.  All I had in my hands was a disintegrated, raggy trash bag I'd picked up in the yard, so I stuffed it into the bottom of the downspout while I went to get my trusty pair of buckets.  He was a feisty one, and almost got away, but I managed to prevail, and he slid down the downspout into the bucket and drowned in the same fashion as the other one had.  Hubs thought this was incredibly funny.  This puts our count for today at six, so far.  They move around a lot around dawn and dusk, maybe we'll get a couple more before the day's over.  Hubs has seen one running between the sheds in the back of the yard, and I still hear rustling noises in three different places when I step out on the patio.  Yesterday I threw down bags of D-Con in the front driveway and in the front flower beds, since we've only the one trap, and all the bags have been moved, a couple are already empty today.  I don't do D-Con in the back yard because Sam is often out there, and there are risks if she should eat a rat that's been dosed up with D-Con.  It's a Coumadin product, and the rats die because they bleed to death.  She doesn't seem to be interested in hunting, though.  She goes out there and just looks alarmed, as if to say, "......What the hell?????"  She has cataracts now so not sure how well she's seeing.  She caught a little mouse last summer but a neighbor cat was over (uninvited) and the mouse got away while the cats were arguing about it.  She hasn't tried to catch a rat in a long time. 

Hubs and I went garaging today but didn't find much.  I'm thinking about taking a yoga class when I get a little further with my knee, they offer them sometimes through the Wellness Center for a small fee.  So when I saw a yoga mat for $2, I bought that.  But I think that's all we found.  We did run into a woman whose boys grew up with our son, they and another boy were best friends and did a lot of stuff together, so we got to know the parents simply because our boy was either at their house or their boys were at our house, all the time.  It was good to visit with her and catch up on what her family was doing.  After our boys grew up and left home, we both moved away from the neighborhood where we lived within a few blocks of each other. 

Well, that's it for this time.  Oh, isn't there so much evil in the world these days?  I try not to get too involved in world events and politics on the blog, nobody really wants to know the opinions of an Old Redneck Woman.  It's getting so I dread turning on the TV in the morning to find out what has happened while I innocently slept.  So much hate, so senseless.  Breaks my heart when thinking about those involved and their families.  Praying for them, I hope you will be too.  Hugs to all.  xoxoxoxo

Friday, November 6, 2015

Daily Doin's, First Week Of November, 2015

And now it's November.

We had a nice rain last Friday night (Oct. 30), it was over an inch because the bullet tank overflowed, and that's what that means....  Since then we've awakened to fog, some days more than others.  At least the wind's not blowing all the moisture away.  We have not had our first freeze yet, some nights pretty close, though, and lots of things in the garden have gone ahead and died off. 

I've been working on my seed list and I'm making progress.  Unfortunately I'm just not in a very good mood today.  Hubs rolled the clocks back an hour before we went to bed last night and I didn't sleep well at all.  I don't know if it was the anticipation of having my Circadian Rhythm all messed up again, or because my knee stiffened and was uncomfortable most of the night, or because Sam, my old female Siamese, spent most of the night trying to snuggle up to my face.  WHAT is up with that?  Was she cold, and trying to catch a warm draft from my nose, or what?  Every time I moved, she'd grunt-meow and then start purring, if I rolled over, she'd climb over me and get in front of my face again.  I've tried shutting her out of the room.  It doesn't work.  She grunt-meows and slips her paws into the space under the door and makes the door rattle.  Oh, I know, I could put her outside, but I would never forgive myself if I slid the patio door open the following morning and found that one of our many birds of prey out here had shredded her.  Normally she is a sweet girl and she is very devoted to me.  But she can sure make me feel smothered, sometimes literally. 

I guess I'm going to have to abandon my desire to buy a Nissan Altima.  This whole process is so screwed up it's just unreal.  It turns out that a 2015 that hasn't been sold yet (which they still refer to as "new") costs less than a pre-owned 2015 through 2013.  And all the pre-owneds have LOTS of mileage on them, but not enough yet for them to be off warranty.  The reason the new ones cost less than the pre-owneds is because the factory helps the dealership give the prospective buyer some "incentives", which amount to several thousand dollars, on the new ones.  It also turns out that if you intend to buy that new car out of your savings, thus avoiding a finance fee and finance charges, you have to pay so much for that car that it eats up what you would save in not borrowing.  So, they suggest a "workaround", which is that you make a nice big down-payment, have the car financed, make three payments and then pay off the loan.  You still pay the application processing charges and the interest for those three months.  But you get a markdown in the price of the car of several thousand dollars just because you had it financed.  This is all Bass Ackward if you ask me.  But I guess it's a sign of the times. 

We don't have a Nissan dealership in town.  So there's the drive to Tulsa.  And I, though embarrassed to tell you this, am absolutely petrified of driving in Tulsa.  Everybody knows where they're going, and they drive so fast and change lanes so unpredictably that you'd better know where you're going, too, or you're in danger.  You'd better watch what everyone else is doing because they'll crowd in ahead of you so that you have to make room for them.  And if you drive too slow, they give you dirty looks and the finger as they go around you.  This is all very upsetting to me and makes me, as my Grammy always used to say, "As nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs".  Hubs doesn't understand why it wouldn't just be a piece of cake for me to drive the Nissan home, following him as he drives the Silverado.  And it does sound easy, doesn't it?  Except that you have to know Hubs and my history with him.  First off, we have been married since 1966.  In all that time, he has done the driving when we go somewhere together because he is uncomfortable in a car that I am driving.  And this is SOOOO obvious.  If we're in an area that's not familiar to me, he waits till it's too late to change lanes before he tells me to.  When I drive past the turnoff, he yells, "WHY didn't you TURN OFF?????"  Then, when we are back in home territory, where I fully know my way around, he continues to tell me where to turn.  That is, where HE would turn.  It's never the only place to make the turn in order to get where we're going, and usually it's at a place where the oncoming traffic is heavier.  It's not always the shortest distance, either.  Of course, by this point, I'm so hacked off I can barely see and I'd sooner give him a good sock in the jaw and push him out on the curb before I'd turn off where HE wants to turn, anyway.  The situation only degrades from there.  And following him?  That's a WHOLE 'nother event.  I just won't do that anymore, I don't care if it means he has to pay a towtruck.  Oh, and I can tell you stories.  When we were much younger and lived in Hobart, Indiana, he had an old Chevy truck and I had a new AMC Gremlin.  One day I went to the U-Pick farm between there and Valparaiso and when I was ready to come home, the Gremlin wouldn't start.  He brought his chain and hooked the Gremlin, with me in the driver's seat, onto the back of the truck.  Before we took off he told me, "When I hang my hand out the window, that's my signal for you to put on the brakes."  We got about five miles down the road when he lit a cigarette and hung his arm out the window between every puff.  Well, HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW????  When we got home he chewed me out for driving all the way home with the brakes on and acted like I'd purposely made his job of towing me home a lot harder than it had to be, and said I probably caused extra wear on my tires and his transmission and yada, yada, yada.  I don't know.  I was so hacked off, I wasn't listening anymore by then.  Then when we moved back to Oklahoma from Indiana, he went in front in the truck and I was to follow him.  We had CB radios then, and we had them on for communication with each other.  I'll be danged if he didn't get up there in front of me, several cars got in between us because he kept changing lanes, weaving in and out of traffic.  I had NO idea where I was or where I was going.  When he would change lanes, for all I knew he was in that lane because he was going to need to be, so he could take an exit ramp.  So every time HE changed lanes I'D have to.  Finally I got so exasperated at him, I got on the CB and I said, "THE NEXT TIME YOU CHANGE LANES, YOU'D BETTER BE TURNING OFF BECAUSE I'M ABOUT READY TO PARK THIS DAMNED THING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!!!!  Well, everybody that was listening on that band must've thought that was pretty funny, because immediately after Hubs acknowledged, some trucker got on the 'horn" and said, "Wal...... It sounds like we got us a Shirley Temple here......"

So trust me, I'm traumatized.  These might've made good scripts for Lucy and Desi, though.

Fast forward forty years or so.  Hubs' sister died and left a nice little inheritance to Hubs, one brother, and a sister.  That's a whole 'nother story.  Maybe I'll tell it someday, but not today.  Anyway, Hubs decided he was going to buy that Silverado that he drives around now.  So, unbeknownst to me, being at work and all, he loaded up JC, who had only recently gotten his driver's license, and off they went to Independence, Kansas, where Hubs walked in to the Chevy dealership like a rich man and paid cash.  No dickering.  Just plunked it down.  And then they take out for home, with Hubs in front in the Silverado and JC following in the little red Chevy shortbed which would eventually become his.  I got home, there's the Silverado in the driveway.  And then JC tells his story.  "I was SOOOO scared!" he exclaimed.  I said, "What.  Did Gpa drive 'way out in front and change lanes so often you couldn't tell when he was going to turn off?"  JC's mouth fell open.  "How'd you KNOW?" he asked. 


At least they were in southeastern Kansas, where there are a whole lot of little towns in between Independence and the KS/OK state line.  If Hubs had taken JC to Tulsa I do believe I would've had to hurt him.

All this to say, if we buy a Nissan in Tulsa, I have no clue how we'll get it home.  I guess maybe I'll just have to pick out something else.  There aren't any Nissan dealers in Independence, either.  I mean, there are plenty of carlots that sell used ones.  But they want as much for them as what a new Nissan costs.  "That's what we have in it," they say.  This just confuses me out the door.  WHY would anyone pay that much for a used one?  Maybe THEY don't want to go to Tulsa, either, I don't know....

So I've kind of abandoned the whole thing for the moment.  When something's right, everything just falls into place, and there's been just one small thing after another, enough to make me feel like maybe this isn't the right time, or the right car, or something better will come along that'll make me glad we waited.

This is now Tuesday, 11/3.

I'm baking bread today.  It's been mixed and kneaded in two bread machines and it's sitting there now waiting to rise.  I'm spoiled by my bread machines, which I buy at garage sales for $5 apiece.  I won't pay more than that.  Seems like everybody, at one point or another, buys or gets given a bread machine.  And then a lot of them don't want them because they haven't figured out the right proportions of ingredients and they don't like how the bread turns out.  Or they think they have to buy special stuff to turn out a good loaf of bread and that's just not true.  Or, if the bread turns out well, they don't bake bread often enough for it to become commonplace in the household and everyone gobbles all the bread as it comes out of the oven and then gains weight.  So then the bread machine goes in the garage sale.  I use my standard bread recipe, which is the same that my mother used to use, except that I use about 60% freshly-ground whole-wheat flour.  I turn off the bread machines when they finish kneading because I've found they get too warm during the rising period.  The bread rises just fine in just the warmth that has been created during the kneading process.  And then I punch it down, shape it into round, flat hamburger-like buns of about 3 oz. each, cover, let rise, and bake.  We like the flat round buns because they're just like a regular bun when they're hot, but after they've cooled they slice really nice and are good sandwich buns.  They are great sliced and toasted, too.  I'm one of those persons that always has to have "the corner piece".  This way, EVERY piece is the corner piece. 

It took me awhile to learn how to keep fresh bread in the house without baking every couple of days.  Then I learned that refrigeration toughens the crumb of bread but freezing doesn't.  I don't mind tough, crumbly homemade bread, I grew up on it.  But Hubs will buy store bread rather than eat it.  The absence of chemicals to retard mold can become obvious within more than a couple of days in a warm kitchen.  So, as soon as freshly bread cools I pack away most of it in the freezer and I take out what we will be able to eat within a couple days, as we need it. 

When we were at the garage sale of one of our new neighbors a week or two ago, I noticed an exercise bike.  Later, I began to think about how it might be nice to have, at least till I have full flexibility of my new knee.  Then I don't have to trek up to the workout center with Hubs to use the stationary bikes there.  So I asked Hubs if he'd stop by and see if they still have it, and find out how much they want for it.  He came home with it in the bed of his truck.  $20. 

I hopped right on it, and ouch, ouch, OUCH!  They told me at the orthopedic surgeon's office that it was OK to use one, just have no tension on it and use it no longer than 20 minutes.  TWENTY MINUTES????  Hell, I couldn't even do FIVE.  And then I was so sore today it scared me.  Not getting on it today.  Maybe tomorrow, though.

I found a few little Pinterest board gems HERE.  Maybe you will, too.  Winter's coming on.  Those who know me know I have a little trouble with depression around the holidays, so I always start thinking about how to insulate myself from it about this time of year.  I've been "in the black hole" before and I never want to go there again.  It's too hard to get out.  So generally I start a home interior project, but I don't know if that's possible this year what with my knee still healing and all.  Although, I do need new countertops for my kitchen and I still have my eye on that new Formica that looks like granite.  The real granite that I had installed when we lived at The Ponca House was a big disappointment in that it tended to soak up any oil that happened to be spilled, which caused discoloration.  I suppose after awhile it would balance out, but the colors would be duller, much like an oil painting that gets dirty and dull over the years.

One of the things I like about Pinterest is that, if you find something you like, and click on it, and then scroll down to the bottom of the screen that comes up, there are what they call "Related Posts".  And you know, I never realized Marilyn Monroe had so much to say.  Am I one of Marilyn's fans?  Hardly.  But wisdom is sometimes found in surprising places.  If she really said all these things that are attributed to her, I guess she must've been smarter than we all thought.  But I don't know if I can ever forgive her for how she rubbed the fact that she and John Kennedy had something going on in Jackie's face so publicly at that birthday party of his.  It's one thing to be messing around with a married man.  It's adding insult to injury to flaunt it and laugh like it's funny.  You're darn tootin' it ain't funny to the wife.  But I guess really it says volumes about the man and the girlfriend, and probably whatever it says is no more than what they deserve.  Our presidents have been intimate with people other than their wives all through history.  Only when it was Bill Clinton's turn did our society find that to be an ugly thing.  Go figure.  That Bill felt the need to go on TV and LIE about it is what I objected to.  The rest was just business as usual and hardly worth the air time. 

This is now Friday, and I will try to post today.

I have one week left of my supply of Meloxicam and the prescription will have run out.  I decided to stop taking it at this point so that I would know if I could stand to do it, and so far it's been going reasonably well.  The knee is about the same, maybe a little more swelling but not much.  But my back, which felt better during these last three months than it has in years, has started to hurt again.  I have my three-month follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon (or at least his P.A.) very soon and I thought I'd ask about whether it would be worth it to pursue another round.  I'll be having my annual check-up with my family doctor in a couple of months and I think I'll talk to her about it, too, since she's the one I go to when my back goes into spasms.  I'm concerned because WebMD says it's hard on the kidneys and the liver.  But surely it can't be any worse for me than Prednisolone, which is what she prescribes for the spasms and the debilitating pain that follows. 

I have finally finished updating my Seed List. 

I cleaned out a lot of old seed, and reduced the quantities of some of what I'm saving.  I have no need for a gallon-sized bag of gourd seed, for heaven's sake.  The Hyacinth bean vine made a lot of bean pods and there is no point in saving all of them.  Several years ago I was involved in seed trading on a gardening forum I participated in, and it was nice to have a lot of seed on hand then.  You never know what people are going to want.  But I haven't been doing so much of that lately.  Some of the extra seed, I scattered here and there in the garden or in flower beds.  If it comes up there next spring, fine.  If it doesn't, that's ok, too.  I find a lot of what I plant does self-sow so there's no need for me to save seed for those.  Some of the excess seed, I threw out onto the land in what I call "The North Fourth".  Hubs said if any of it comes up he'll just mow over it.  Earth to earth.  And all those shell beans I was saving?  I mean, seriously.  Beans have to be kept some distance from each other or they cross.  Do I really want to ruin my future harvests of Lazy Housewife snap beans by growing shell beans too close -- shell beans that were sold as culinary beans anyway, never make what I consider a good harvest, and which can be bought reasonably by the pound?  Nah!  I'll make a small batch of Hillbilly Beans as a trial, and if they're good enough for that, we'll get them eaten this winter.  If they're not, the rest of 'em'll go out on the North Fourth, too.

Hillbilly Bean Soup
When I worked in Internal Auditing at Phillips during the 1980’s, the wife of one of the supervisors gave all the secretaries and clerks a decorated quart canning jar of mixed dry beans with a little “bouquet garni” tied around the lid as a Christmas gift. This recipe was attached to the jar. I’ve made it many times. Prepare a day in advance for better flavor.

Wash 2 C mixed beans. Cover with water. Add 1T. salt and soak for 2 hours. Drain water & put beans in 2 quarts fresh water. Add herb bag (1t. oregano, 1 bay leaf, broken, large clove of garlic, chopped). Simmer 2 1/2 to 3 hours, adding water as necessary to keep beans covered. Then add the following & simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours more.  Remove the herb bag before serving. 

1# ham pieces
1 can tomato sauce with bits
1 large chopped onion
1 C. chopped celery
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste

And HERE's also a recipe for Calico Beans that I've made several times.  It's Spike's favorite bean dish and one he even bothered to learn how to cook.  If I wanted to use dry beans I'd soak and cook them first, then put the recipe together, as it calls for three 15-oz cans of beans.  By measure, that's about, what?  Maybe 1-1/2 quarts of mixed beans, cooked?  I guess I'd start with a couple of cups of beans, measured before soaking and cooking.  If you're feeding big appetites, you might want to double the recipe as presented on Allrecipes.

We are expecting our first freeze this weekend.  I pulled up everything in the in-ground bed on the west side of the garden (left side of the picture) and Hubs tilled there on Wednesday.  Then I opened about eight bags of chopped leaves and scattered it all over the top of the bed.  The day after that, it rained.  This morning, I went to work on the in-ground bed next in line, pulling up marigold and tomato plants, stacking the folding cages, and picking anything that's left, which isn't much.  Maybe I'll be done with it in a few days and Hubs can till it on the next warm day we have. 

I'll keep going towards the east, (to the right as shown in this picture).  There are two more beds, these are "raised beds" edged in concrete block. 

I just don't think "no till gardening" is going to work for me.  I tried it this year and the grass and bindweed just took over.

Well, not much else to write about for this time....  Y'all have a good weekend.  Hugs xoxoxo