Saturday, February 27, 2016

Daily Doin's, Last Week Of February, 2016

I haven't done a Daily Doin's post for awhile, and I just have a jumble of things to write about, so go get your cup of whatever, heeeeeere we go.......

I start this on Sunday morning, February 21.

One of the cool things about living In The Country is that you get to see stuff like this on a daily basis.  When we lived in Lake Station, Indiana (which had just changed their name from "East Gary"), the sky was always gray, and the air smelled bad.  I missed those spectacular Oklahoma sunrises and sunsets.  And when I got in the car and drove, one town stretched into another.  It was always reassuring to come back here on vacation, just to see those hay fields and acres of ground with nothing on it but grazing livestock.  I didn't think I'd miss any part of living in northern Indiana, but after we moved back "home" I missed the U-Pick Farms.  Cool summers. (except that the price was Winter from Halloween through Mother's Day, and Lake Effect Snow OMG).  But Lord, please don't let me ever start taking this for granted.  Amen.  These Longhorn cattle belong to one of our neighbors.

Hubs and I went garagin' Saturday morning.  It's early in the spring and most people don't have garage sales till it's further into the summer.  So people who are addicted to going to garage sales flock to what few there are, this time of year.  Mostly they're estate sales and moving sales. 

We didn't find much.  My wallet is beginning to show it's age and Hubs drew my attention to a new one, for which I paid $2.  We had to buy a new wallet for him on Amazon, as his old one fell apart.  He sounded the alarm before it happened and we hoped to find a new one at a garage sale all during last summer, but didn't, and it was kind of painful to have to pay Amazon $15 for one.  This summer we'll probably see men's wallets at every sale we go to. 

Sometimes it's interesting to see what people sell at their garage sales.  Clearly we are a nation of impulse buyers, and, at gift-giving time, givers of unwanted stuff.  Our children get toys at Christmas and birthdays when they already have so many that, to make room for the new stuff, they have to get rid of some of the perfectly good stuff they already have.  I can't help but think how much better off, financially, we Americans would be, if we just used more restraint when we buy things.  Not that I'm really much better at that than anyone else.  But at least I buy most of my stuff at garage sales.   And when our kids were young, we DID things for their birthdays.  One year we went to Chicago and spent the whole day at The Museum Of Science And Industry.  Another time we went to The Enchanted Forest, an amusement park near Chesterton, a couple of hours' drive away.  Then there was Brookfield Zoo.  The kids would get balloons and hats, and we'd buy whatever food was sold wherever we were.  We liked to go to the beach at Lake Michigan during the late fall and early spring.  It would be deserted then and we'd have the whole beach to ourselves.  We'd bring a picnic lunch, play on the swings, hunt for driftwood and little shells at the edge of the water, and dig in the sand.  It was the same for the grandsons.  We went to Kiddie Park every Saturday night during the summer for years, while they were young.  At first, we'd walk around to all the rides with them, and some of the rides, I'd go on with them.  Later on, after they were older, Hubs and I would sit under the gazebo and keep the tickets so the boys would have to come to us between rides to get another ticket.  If too much time passed, one of us would go look around, and find them standing in a long line.  But this way we knew approximately where they were all the time.  We went to Safari Zoo, and the zoo in Tulsa, and to the big Go-Cart track in Tulsa.  They loved that.  Sometimes we'd let them celebrate their birthdays by inviting three or four friends over for a sleepover.  Their birthdays were pretty close together so we'd do for both on the same night.  JR and his friends didn't get along very well with JC and his friends, so we'd let one bunch have the living room and the other bunch have the family room, which were on opposite ends of the house.  Hubs would lay on the bed in our bedroom and watch TV.  And I'd be somewhere near the kitchen in the middle to hand out pizza and soft drinks and remind everybody to BE NICE.  Nobody would sleep much that night and Hubs and I would be plum tuckered the next morning.  There's something special about giving kids your TIME.  When you give your time, you are giving a piece of your LIFE and I don't care what anybody says, kids know the difference between being given someone's time and just having money thrown at them. 

Our local Habitat For Humanity had a sale and we went to that.  In many places, "the Re-Store", as they call it, is open every week day.  But ours is only open on occasional weekends and I feel like their prices are too high.  Seems like their stuff doesn't "move", either, as a lot of what I saw today was the same old stuff they have always had and I just didn't see anything that got my imagination going.  Lots of times I watch for things I can repurpose.  While we were there, we ran into Don, who was our grandsons' Boy Scout leader, and he had his son, Branden, with him.  Branden does appliance repair and buys used appliances.  A good fellow to have a connection to.  Don has several sons.  The youngest, Quentin, went to Florida right out of high school and learned how to repair motorcycles.  You know, some of these white-collar jobs may come and go, but if you know how to fix things, you will have work, even (and especially) when the economy is bad. 

I did finally get around to gluing a couple of garage sale finds together that I've had laying around the house for a long time.

This is just a tall candle stand and an old nicked-up teacup.  Of course the wind would have this blown down and broken in no time at all, and I was trying to think how I'd stabilize it.  Voila, just bury the bottom of the stand. 

Hubs and I watched a movie last night called, "Let's Be Cops".   There were a couple of instances of nudity that I felt added nothing to the plot, but you know how movie makers think their movies will bomb without it.  It's sad that movie makers have so little confidence in their craft.  It was a good movie otherwise and we enjoyed it.  I even managed to stay awake through the whole thing.

I've made some headway with the problem I have been having with sometimes not being able to see the pictures that I insert into the blog.  I had already tried going out of the browser and back in.  That didn't help.  Then I did a restart, and the problem went away.  Maybe something is not always loading right at boot-up.  And now since I've typed the word "Chrome" with my keyboard, Google has started putting a banner on my e-mail screen offering me a shortcut to use to "Get Chrome".  I'd be upset about Google reading my mail except that I never say anything that's any big secret, anyway, and if they can put up with the boredom of reading what I write, they can do it all day long for all I care.  I used to be really good at this computer stuff but it has gotten away from me and most of it now is just a struggle.  I was just thinking, though, about how technology has changed us.  I was at the doctor's office one time when there was a storm warning and everybody's phone weather alarms went off.  It was kind of spooky.  Our pastor says the schoolbus ride to extracurricular activities has changed.  What used to be a raucous ride, with chanting and singing, and so on, has been replaced with deathly quiet.  All the kids are sitting there peering into their cellphone.  It won't be long before entertainment is not all that necessary in nursing homes.  All the old folks will just be lined up along the wall in the Common Room, quietly staring into THEIR cellphone screens.  I also find it interesting that Apple will not provide our government with "a back door" into the cellphones of terrorists.  Seems to me this is a non-issue.  Just hand the phone to a high school kid. 

And then there's that Zika virus.  I wonder a lot about that.  For sure, it's a danger to pregnant women.  But otherwise, I just wonder if it's all that big a deal.  Or is there some long-term damage that'll come to light later?  If you've had Zika once, then are you immune, or not?  Can you ever be a blood or organ donor if you've had Zika?  Does the birth defect happen if you've had Zika BEFORE you got pregnant?  And what about these babies that are born with small heads.... is it permanent, or can it be treated?  I've had a lot of eye problems and I'm concerned about the conjunctivitis that seems to be a part of Zika.  Everybody knows that our news media "hypes up" everything, so as to increase viewers.  It's not just an American issue, I've seen people from other countries saying that their news sources do that too.  It's just that no one tells us the plain, unvarnished truth anymore.  I get so sick and tired of how they just drone on with THE SAME news items, over and over, all day long, day after day.  It's not "Breaking News" if we heard it yesterday, folks!!  So, are we not to worry about West Nile anymore?  Or Ebola?  I haven't heard anything about Bird Flu in a long time.  I remember hearing, back in my youth, about how lots of our national officials kept certain facts from the general public because they didn't want to panic anyone.  NOW, it seems like panic is what they're going for.

Of course we're deep into preparations for a new presidential election, here in the US.  I don't mind telling you, I've voted for "The Lesser Of Two Evils" for sooooo long, I wouldn't know how to handle it if I had two fantastic candidates to choose from.  It's sad when you have to vote for someone simply because the other candidate scares your pants right off.  That's going to be the case, this time for sure, except now I need to figure out WHO scares me MORE, and that's no way to pick a person that's going to run your country.  But of course we know the president doesn't, really, run our country.  It's all those Senators and Representatives that weren't thought about long and hard enough when they were elected / installed.  Their problem is, they don't want to work.  They want to go home.  And I think they should.  PERMANENTLY.  Let someone who has the best interests of the country at heart have their job.  America.  Land Of Political Gridlock.  Land Of Opportunity For The Rich And Powerful.  I love my country but I hate how it's being run right into the ground.  When candidates for important offices are picked, why can't we choose from truly qualified people?  I know they exist in America.  Instead they just load up The Clown Car.  ...Is it just that truly qualified people are too smart to WANT the job?  And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Hubs was watching Innovation Nation Saturday on PBS when I walked through to fill my coffee cup.  I stopped because I like this show, at least till they get to the part where the young woman stands there and tells us the meaning of all the "big words" they used during the show.  I learned those words in high school, so it's boring, and kind of depressing to think that it actually might be necessary to explain the meanings of words to adults.  What's next?  Will they have someone to explain the words we hear on the news?  Oh, but don't get me started on the poor grammar those newscasters use.  THEY should know better.  But, anyway, I always find something of interest during the rest of the show.  For instance, do you know how Kellogg's Corn Flakes came about?  John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, Will, ran a sanitarium / health retreat in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Will had boiled a blend of ground corn and oats and then mistakenly left it "setting out" too long.  So, being frugal, they rolled it out flat and it turned into flakes, which they then toasted.  Everyone loved this new "cereal".  Will created the Kellogg's cereal company to mass produce corn flakes in 1897, but John Harvey did not associate himself with it because Will added sugar to the cereal.  So there you have it.  And yes, there is so much sugar in cereal that you might as well just eat cookies for breakfast.  How they can get away with pricing cereal at $3 and $4 a box is beyond me.  I always cooked breakfast for my kids, and as they grew older, they learned to make it for themselves.  Anyone can cook an egg and make toast.  Or make real oatmeal in the microwave.  Kids love to cook.  You just have to watch them at first when they're using the stove, because they try to cook everything with the highest heat possible, and they're not careful about turning things off.  So if you're not going to be right there when they cook, teach them how to make scrambled eggs with the microwave.  My grandkids also had one of those "sandwich makers" and they'd make all kinds of hot sandwiches.  You have to be there for that, though, or make sure the appliance has an automatic shut-off. 

They also had a piece on The Green Pizza Box.  Some guy perforated the top so it would tear easily into square sections to become "plates", and the bottom so it'd fold in half to store what's left of the pizza.  Of course, you can use scissors and do this yourself if you have a regular pizza box.  And we gardeners have been putting cardboard in our gardens for years.  Does it seem, to you, like most people don't THINK anymore?  Just put down the cell phone for awhile and try to figure something out for yourself.  It's good brain exercise.  I sincerely hope we don't find out, some years down the road, that all this letting the Internet do our thinking for us is going to weaken our brains so badly that we can't function without it.  What's that we said in the 60's?  If You Don't Use It, You Lose It?  Sad to say, the person who coined that phrase wasn't talking about the MIND, if you know what I mean, but over the years we've all come to understand that is a real law that applies to a lot of other things besides sex: Muscles.  Good Habits.  Singing and Instrument Playing.  Math Skills.  Brain Functions.  And so on.  Have you ever thought about what a miracle your brain and physical body is??  It does so much more than just carry your soul around.  But we don't appreciate it.  We abuse and neglect it. 

I also hope, returning to the subject of cardboard, that we don't find out after so many years of exposure to it, that there's some chemical used in the creation of cardboard that is going to turn us into zombies. 

This is now Monday. 

We went to church Sunday and then to a baked potato dinner which was a fund-raiser for their mission trip to New Mexico this summer.  We sang Great Is Thy Faithfulness and it is one of my favorite old hymns.  Apparently it's that for others as well, as it's all over YouTube.  HERE is one.  That'll open the way for others to follow if you want.  How Great Thou Art is next in line and that's one I love as well.  I sang this song a lot after my daughter went off to Tulsa and took my little grandsons with her.  It was all that kept me sane, I worried about the boys so, and with good reason.  I was in tears most of the time.  After God made it possible for us to adopt those little boys, we sang this in the car on the way to school every morning.  As teenagers they knew the song so well they were able to sing it without looking at the hymnal.  And they would look over at me and we'd smile a secret smile at each other. 

This is now Wednesday, Feb. 23.

We have caught two rats so far.  None for the last 48 hours.  I see the hawks hunting in Charlie's field in back of us, so there are probably some running around out there.  Or maybe they are getting rabbits (Evil Cackle....).  I don't like reducing the food that's available for the Birds Of Prey but I don't want the rats reducing the food that's available for US, either.  If it wasn't for the fact that we get over-run, I'd just relocate them somewhere, miles away from anybody's home, but somehow I don't think there will ever be a rat shortage, anywhere.  Maybe in the event of a Rat Flu or something.  But even if there is, I don't think my trapping them is going to make a difference one way or the other. 

It looks like temperatures are going to start cooling off and getting back to what is normal, if there IS such a thing in Oklahoma, for February.  Not soon enough, however.  The Nanking cherry bushes have already started to bloom, meaning no cherries this year because the flowers will be nipped by the freezing nights to come within the next 48 hours.  The bigger fruit trees have started to leaf out but are not yet in bloom, leaving hope that, two years out of three, is dashed come late March, early April.  It's one of God's true miracles that our pioneer ancestors lived through all kinds of stuff like this.  How they managed to survive and populate the country is more than I can wrap my brain around.

Yesterday morning I researched the making of Sprouted Wheat Bread.  I've been buying my wheat berries from Holman Seed in Collinsville for the last couple of years, but last fall what I got was full of chaff and I'm not sure whether it's safe to grind the chaff with the wheat berry.  It would add fiber, to be sure.  But I wonder if there's dirt and other stuff in the wheat that I wouldn't want in my bread.  I've tried winnowing, and we've certainly had the wind-power for that.  But I'm not very good at it.  So I'd been thinking about covering the grains with water so that I could wash them, and so that the chaff would float to the top and all that could be poured off, but then I'm left with wet grains and I sure don't want to risk gumming up my expensive electric grain mill.  So I'd have to make sure I got them perfectly dry before using.  Then I found a tutorial HERE which told me that sprouted wheat is so much more nutritional, and a phytochemical is destroyed in the sprouting process, therefore making the bread easier to digest.  The wheat we got from Holman's in 2014 was wonderful stuff.  Wayne Herriman, the owner, has assured me that they sell a lot of it to people who use it for bread-making.  It has more rising power than the organic wheat I'd been buying from the Oklahoma Food Co-Op and is less expensive by quite a bit.  Next year, I'm going to talk to Wayne about the quality of the 2015 wheat, and I'll need him to show me what the wheat inside the bag looks like before I buy his 2016 wheat.  It's just really amazing, how hard it is to find a source for wheat berries here, considering that Oklahoma is a wheat-producing state, and so is Kansas. 

If you've ever heard of Ezekiel Bread and wondered how it's made, HERE is a site that contains that information.  I don't have access to several of the grains called for, but I could probably get them from Holman's in the fall.  If you grind beans in your flour mill, make sure they have dried completely and do only small quantities at a time and then grind hard grains in between batches.  Adding bean flour to your bread recipe is a good way to increase the protein.  I don't know why you couldn't cook the beans till soft, mash, and add them to any bread or cookie recipe with the liquids. I think I'd rather do that than risk damage to my mill.

Speaking of beans, HERE is an Allrecipes recipe for Power Cookies, which uses cooked Cannellini beans.  I can't find that kind of bean for sale anywhere here but I'm told Great Northern is an acceptable substitute, and they can be found in any grocery store in this area. 

I don't care much for cold weather but at least I can wear my sweats again.  I've been watching the garage sales for pants in my size that are loose in the knee area (so it won't irritate my knee scar) but haven't found any so this will give me a little more time. 

Today I rinsed my wheat berries that I am sprouting.  Already there are little "toes". 

I'm not supposed to let them get very far into the germination process so maybe even as early as later today, I will be whirring the berries around in my food processor.  Some people dehydrate their sprouted wheat berries and then grind them in their flour mills, but I'd rather skip that step, if it works well enough to make a dough out of them while they're still damp.  My kitchen is kind of cold unless I'm baking or pressure-cooking something, so I decided to just stick the bowl of damp wheat berries into the oven and leave the light on.  I can even turn that bowl upside-down about halfway through if it seems like it's drying out on the top.  So far it seems to be working just fine.  The oven stays wonderfully warm with just that light on. 

Thursday.  The rat count is up to three now. 

I decided to cut the cord on my sprouted wheat today.  OMG, WHAT A JOB!!!!  WHAT A MESS!!!!  And here's what I either did or WOULD do differently, if there's a next time.

First off, the tutorial I linked in a previous paragraph of this post is for two loaves of bread.  I like the bread recipe I normally use.  I let my bread machines do the kneading and into that I normally put 3.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 cups of white flour, 1 TBSP of yeast, 3 TBSP each of honey and oil and 1 tsp. salt.  The amount of water is normally about 1 and 3/4 cups.  Those amounts are for EACH bread machine.  Each machine will process enough dough to make a 1.5 pound loaf.  I divided the sprouted wheat in half, as the instructions said, and ground each half in the workbowl of the food processor.  I have the Cuisinart with the larger workbowl and half the sprouted, rinsed, drained wheat was almost more than it could handle.  For my recipe, I'd only need to sprout four cups of wheat, not six.  And that would make it easier for me to deal with.  In all fairness, the woman who wrote the tutorial was making 100% whole wheat bread, so I guess three cups of wheat berries per loaf would be ok if you're doing that.  I just wanted my recipes the same so I could compare results.  My level of confidence was not such that I wanted to risk making a couple of huge bricks.

And truthfully, the washed wheat wanted to dry out so quickly in the warmth of the closed oven with the light on inside, even with a tight lid on the bowl, that I don't think I'd have had any problem getting it dry enough to grind in my flour mill.  I will try that, but not today.  Not this week.  Maybe not for a lonnnnnng while.

The damp, barely sprouted wheat WAS a little gummy.  It formed itself into a sticky ball with some of the dough sticking to the inside of the workbowl and on every nook and cranny of the blade.  I dumped this into the dough pan of one of the bread machines and then processed the other half, and put it in the dough pan of the second bread machine.  Added my yeast, white flour, honey, oil and salt and started the machines.  Each machine made a huge ball of dough that was still somewhat sticky when the kneading cycle was done, so I took them out, dusted with more white flour, and kneaded them by hand.  When I was done with that, I put both dough balls in a Tupperware bowl, snapped on the lid and burped it, and stuck it in the refrigerator.  By the end of the day it had risen to the point where it popped The Tupperware Seal.  So I went ahead and shaped the dough and set it to rise.  It rose quickly but then stuck to the towels I'd put on them.  They looked to be ok but the round rolls fell somewhat in the oven.  These little mini-breads hadn't stuck to the towel, and are better barometers of how things would've gone, had the dough not been so sticky. 

Hubs declined to eat any.  It isn't that he doesn't like to "live life on the edge", because if he didn't he wouldn't say certain things in front of me that he knows I think are rude and thoughtless .  And how he can be so partial to processed food when he grew up a poor boy, eating fried squirrel, or frog's legs, or whatever his family could get into a skillet, is beyond me. 

But oh, well.  I ate one of the round rolls.  Definitely would've been better had they not fallen, but not a hockey puck, not tough or chewy.  I was raised on home-made bread and some of IT was coarse and chewy, because Mom did not know that homemade bread does not store well in the refrigerator.  Either freeze it, or keep it in an airtight bag on the counter.  Nothing in between.  I just can't stand that grocery store bread that dissolves into nothing but foam when you put it in a bowl of soup. 

WHY did I go to all this trouble, you ask??  As I have seen others say when the same question has been posed to them, "Because I can".  Heh.  It was an experience.  Actually, a pretty good option for someone who wants to make bread from wheat berries but doesn't have a flour mill. 

This is now Saturday. 

My buddy Carole, who lives in Joplin, had hip surgery on Wednesday morning.  I told her not to try to call or e-mail me till it was convenient.  I know she's in good hands, and I want her to concentrate on healing and getting lots of rest.  I expect she'll be transferred from the hospital to the care center about Monday and she'll come home after being there about a week.  I sent her an e-mail, saying I wanted it to be there for when she was able to look at her mail, and last night I got an email back from her saying, "All is well".

Hubs and I have been to a couple of sales this morning, an estate sale and a high-dollar moving sale.  I didn't find anything I wanted, and if I had, I wouldn't have paid the prices they were asking at either sale.  Holy Cow....  I could buy NEW stuff for those prices.  The estate sale had a nice big rose bush right at the front door, and I found a branch that needed pruning off.  If anybody asks, The Rabbits Did It.  Then we stopped by Lowe's to see if they had their big bags of Vermiculite in.  Nope.  Just small bags and said they "didn't carry the big bags".  Well, that's news to me, Lowe's is where I've always bought my big bags of Vermiculite.  They suggested I go to a nursery and they might as well have said, "Go to Tulsa".  We'll be making a trip to Tulsa soon, because the new Costco is set to open in April.  I want to go to Home Depot, too, because I want to buy some concrete reinforcement wire in SHEETS, not those Gawdawful rolls.  And nobody here sells 6" thick foam overstuffed chair replacement cushions, either, but I can probably find them at JoAnn's in Tulsa.  All that made me a little Grumpy but I'm OK now.

It is a beautiful day and not windy.  And several days in a row without freezing temperatures expected now.  I enjoy the nice weather but it's bitter-sweet because it usually means there's a hard freeze coming that'll probably be after all the fruit trees have gone into bloom.  I hate when that happens.  I have lots of garden stuff to do, so I will sign off for this time and I'll have a garden post for you in a day or two.  Oh, by the way, I wanted to tell those of you who've been commenting that yes, I've read all your comments and enjoyed them, sorry I didn't answer any of them.  Been kind busy and all.  But you know I luvya, don'tcha?  Y'all rock on.... Hugs xoxoxo

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Late February Garden Stuff

I start this on Tuesday, February 16.

Today I went out to plant the gooseberry bushes and the starts of Pampas Grass that I got from Paula.  If the wind wasn't blowing, it'd be a beautiful day.  The wind is chilly.  It's one of those things where, you wear your sweatshirt jacket with the hood, and when you're working in the sun, you're sweating.  In the shade, you're cold.  There is the smell of smoke, strong in the air.  But I can't see it in the sky.  Lord God, please protect all of us from Stupid Fools today.

Those tall bushes are the gooseberry bushes.  They are different from the gooseberry bushes I got from my friend June.  June's are as I remember gooseberry bushes to be from my childhood.  Very thorny, and low growing.  They are growing there in the bed and their little thorny arms are sticking up out of the mulch.  Last spring they bloomed profusely but didn't put on any berries.  Maybe the late frost got them, but mostly I think it was because they need male and female to bear fruit.  So at first I thought, since they produced for Paula, these new bushes would pollinate the bushes that I have.  These new bushes have no thorns.  They seem to be a bigger bush.  And KM says the berries are purple and sweet.  I wonder if these are Hinnonmaki gooseberries.  Or could they be Jostaberries, which are a cross between gooseberries and black currants?  I s'pose I'll find out.  I love surprises.  But I'm thinking they probably won't pollinate the bushes that I already had. 

After I planted and watered them in, I put a layer of leaves on top and wood chips to hold them down.  Kylie's last load was from a Crabapple tree, he said, and there are little sticks in the woodchip pile that still have some green on the bark.

We'll see if I can get a tree or two from these.

The apple trees I grew from seed have all been pruned by the rabbits.  Grrrrr.  They'll probably come out of it during the summer.  And if they do I will protect them better next fall.  That's rooted starts of begonia in the glass next to it.  Lately I've been just taking cuttings of these right before the first frost, as they are not winter-hardy.  I bought the original plants at a fall garage sale.  There was a red, this pink, a white, and a white tinged with pink.  Some of the plants were in pots and not in the ground, so I just brought them in.  But I missed one and it froze.  Since I'm not good with keeping plants going in the house all winter, the two I did bring in have lived, but only barely so.  I don't have many windows in this house.  And I forget to water sometimes.  So I broke off starts of both and put them in water today.  The pink one is well rooted so I planted it in some soil.  I figure spring's not that far off now.  Maybe I'll take better care of it.  The red was my favorite and I think that's the one that froze.

While I was putting the gooseberries in the ground, I cut off some of the new growth to try to root additional plants in case these don't make the transplant.  It's always good to have a Plan B.  New spring growth is softer and therefore are easier to root.

My regular readers might remember last spring, when I bought one raspberry plant at Tractor Supply and propagated off three additional plants from some of the new growth on the canes.  In that little cream bottle are cuttings from the Doyle thornless blackberry canes that I collected last fall when I moved some of them to the raised beds that are at the far north fence in the garden.  Where they were growing, they arch out into the walkway and can easily be run over by the wheels of anything we drag along there.  I had more than two, and I intended to stick them into the ground and put a jar over them, but I didn't do it, so most of them died without making roots in the water.  I did, however, get some cuttings from one of the Bridal Wreath Spiraea bushes and got them into the ground.  I hope it's not too late in the spring for them to get themselves rooted.

This particular Bridal Wreath is the double flower, and I received the start that made my original bush from a woman at a garage sale I attended while the bush was in glorious bloom.  This bush has retained its leaves all winter, while all the other varieties, the Japonica that I bought at Walmart, the single that I started from cuttings from bushes found on an empty lot in town, and the double that I rescued from Mom and Dad's place after the house had been bulldozed, did not. 

I also transplanted the tomato plants Paula gave me into cups.  I have been examining my cheese pepper seed that I have in coffee filters and so far there is no sign of life.  I went through my seed stash and I have set soaking some from every year's seed that I have.  What's in the coffee filter now is 2015 seed.  I don't remember what year's seed I was working with before that, but I'm going to make sure I keep track of this.  Out of them I only got one yellow and two orange.  No red.  If the seeds are dead, there's no point in keeping them in the seed stash.

Paula asked me if she can still Wintersow, and I said "yes, as long as they are seeds that don't need winter stratification.  If they do, the window of opportunity is probably closed by now."  She is further south than I am, and thus is in zone 7 whereas I'm in a narrow band that is zone 6a.  So her climate is warmer than mine.  We've not had rain in awhile, and the weather has been warmer for a couple of days now.  I must remember to check mine and see if they need to be watered.  With warmer days, I need to be watching for emergence, and I probably need to move the jugs so that they will not be in direct sunlight.  It can get too hot in those plastic jugs quickly.

This is now Wednesday.  Oh, it's a beautiful day!

Hubs and I went to workout, and I just got plum tuckered out.  We needed a few things at Aldi.  Mostly fruit and salad ingredients.  Although we've been enjoying the pears I put up last summer.  These pears have kept their color so well, and all I did was to crush a vitamin C tablet in the water that I sliced them into, and then only about 1/8 tsp. of citric acid into each jar.  I cooked and canned them in the same water I'd sliced them into and seems like only about 1/8 cup of sugar per quart jar.  I think it must be the variety, these are off our tree that is supposed to be Bartlett, if you can trust ArborDay (and it has not been my experience that you can).  The last time I canned pears was when we picked from someone else's tree, and with time they seemed to lose color and take on a little "grayish" tone.  Not sure if I used citric acid in them but I know I used the vitamin C tablet. 

I wanted to go to Atwood's on the way home from our workout and see if they had their seed marked down (they didn't, and I didn't find anything else I needed there, either).  Then to Tractor Supply and see if they had anything interesting.  I bought a hardy kiwi 'Prolific', a bag of yellow onion bulbs, and a bag of three rhubarb crowns.  I swear, if these rhubarb don't do any good I'm giving up.  They had their seed marked down but didn't have as big a selection as Atwood's and there wasn't anything I needed.  Atwood's is building a new store, and instead of being in the shopping center, it's going to be out along the highway very close to where Tractor Supply is.  Now, this should be interesting and we're liable to be able to get some great bargains till they settle down from trying to run each other out of business. 

I planted the rhubarb in the herb garden at the side of the patio this time.  My thinking is that a) it stays wetter there than in the average garden bed; b) it's partial shade there, which might be a saving grace in the heat of the summer; and c) I'll see it every time I come out the door and therefore will notice sooner if it starts to look like it's in trouble.  I was able to grow wonderful rhubarb when we lived in northern Indiana.  But that's a colder climate than here by at least a zone or two.  Where we lived, we would almost always have snow on the ground by Halloween and up until about Mother's Day.  I had "Cabin Fever" every winter, living there.  I Potted up the kiwi and broke off a little new shoot I'll root and have myself a second plant.  My research provided good news.  This variety is self-pollinating and thus there's not that male / female thing.  They are also 'early ripening' and smooth-skinned.  However, people say the deer like to eat the vine.  Since I had planned to give up on growing grapes and plant the kiwi at the grape arbor, I'll probably have to rethink that.  I watered my wintersowing jugs.  They were really dry.  I'm so tired right now I can hardly pay attention.  Ate some carrots, a spoon of peanut butter and heated up a cup of coffee. 

Well, the rabbits or the rats have nipped off almost every single cane from the raspberries AND the Doyle blackberries in the garden.  Since they fruit on last year's canes, there won't be any fruit off them this year.  *Sigh*.  Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.  And I can't even FIND the raspberry plant I propagated.  It's just a little early in the garden season for this kind of disappointment, don'tcha think?  Usually that sort of thing doesn't happen till the squash are attacked by the bugs. 

I have edged where the Spiraea "Bridal Wreath" are growing along the outside of the west garden fence with stones and I decided that was just not needed, now that the bushes have grown up such that Hubs would not be "accidentally" mowing them down.  I had planted a couple of lily plants out there but I can and will move them.  And then when Hubs mows, he can mow in closer to them and even (WHUT am I saying???) weed-wack between them.  So I spent some time raking the leaves out and moving those rocks against the fence behind the bushes, so as to discourage the rabbits from digging under the fence.  While I was doing that, Hubs came out to see what I was doing, and saw a rabbit hopping across the back yard from the south.  We both gave chase but the dang critter ran right past the gate Hubs had opened, several times, and eventually got itself under the chicken house and would not come out. ~~~~FUME~~~~  !!!GNASHING OF TEETH!!!!  I even dog-barked.  It didn't help this time.  It's onto my tricks, I guess......  You know, you'd THINK, by NOW, after being married to me since 1967, yes, People, FIFTY YEARS AGO in another year, Hubs would know better than to point out to me that I had left the gate at the northeast corner of the house open and to add that this is probably how the rabbit got in.  Well, excuuuuuuuuuse me, I was right there, working in the Spiraea bed, and he saw the rabbit coming toward us from the SOUTH of the back yard, clear on the opposite side of the house, for Cripe's sake...  Dang passive-aggressive man.  Blame it on The Woman again.  Please forgive me, God, for my lack of patience with This Dang Man.

At this point in our marriage, young men have often asked us how we managed to stay together this long.  And I have told them that one secret for a long and happy marriage is, "Know When To Shut Up".  Unfortunately, Hubs can't remember to do that and then I forget, too.  *Sigh*. 

I guess it's on me for not knowing better than to marry a man who had eight sisters, six of whom were older than him.  It's not just A Man Thing.  It's A Man Who's Been Spoiled Rotten By His Older Sisters Thing.  Being spoiled by women is something that Hubs has just always taken for granted and expected.  I know several women who say they don't have "X" amount of children and a husband.  They have "X + 1" children.  I can relate.

This is now Thursday. 

Today I rearranged my office to accommodate the Redneck Plant Light Stand being moved in from the garage. 

I have totally run out of space on the one plant light stand that I keep in the office all the time.  The garage is still just a little too cold for seedlings.  I asked Hubs if he thought it would be too big a load for both light stands to be plugged into the same timer and he said he thought it would be ok.  There are two plug-ins on the timer, and I plug the lights into a power strip.  So I'll try it.  If it's too big a load it'll just trip the switch in the power box and if that happens I'll just go buy a second timer and plug it into the other outlet.  No biggie. 

I check the cheese pepper seed that are in a damp coffee filter every day now.  I think I can see a little "toe" sticking out of some of the yellow cheese seeds, but so far nothing happening with the others.  This morning I started some of all the years of cheese pepper seed that are in my seed stash in coffee filters.  Peppers need warmth to germinate so the jar that holds the sandwich bag that holds these loosely is sitting on top of the water heater.  Doing anything I can think of to speed things up, because it's getting toward the end of my Window of Opportunity to start things.  I just don't have very good luck with them when I set them out in the garden before they get to any size.

My "hydroponic" experiment so far is not looking very good.  These are the best.  They have grown a lot slower than they would have grown in soil.  And the jury's still out as to whether they will even live.  They are so leggy.

And these........ well, they're about as "worst" as they can be. 

I didn't have high hopes for them, as they already had their cotyledons when I put them in the rock wool.  I should've planted those in soil and just started new seed, but I thought I might luck out. 

So I set some more spinach seed to soak in water.  Tomorrow morning, I'll drop the seed into the holes of the rock wool.  It stays wet, as the bottom of it is in the water, and that ought to be sufficient to take them the rest of the way. 

I'm not seeing very good signs, success-wise, for my garden year so far and I'm starting to get concerned that it's sort of "setting the tone".  I guess, if the garden fails this year we'll just take some more road trips.  I've been wanting to go to Cabool, MO to see if I can find the cemetery where my great-great grandparents of the Peabody family are buried.  I have a few mysteries to solve and sometimes there's just nothing left to do but GO there.  I told Glenda we'd drop by and see her and Max since we'll be in their neighborhood.  Glenda and I met on Oklahoma Gardening, too, and we've had many email conversations and a few phone conversations.  But we've never met face-to-face, in probably eight years of friendship.  If we have another late frost this spring and don't get fruit on the trees, I might wait till fall and see if I can go with, when Glenda goes and gets her apples at an orchard that's near her.  Oh, those Braeburn apples she put up one year just made my mouth water!! 

I went out about 10am to mark where I planted the rhubarb and the pampas grass.  Yes, they're both unmistakable when they emerge, but if they haven't, and two weeks later I go out to plant something, I might not remember that I planted something there.  I always think I will, so I don't mark it, and then I realize after I'm dug it out trying to plant something else there, that .....I forgot.  Sheesh.  It's not growing old that's done it, as I've always had problems like this.  I think it's that A.D.D. stuff.  .....Although, growing old has not helped.  Sometimes I just HATE getting old.  Other times, I think, "It's not so bad..." 

While I was out there, I ran onto the rabbit.  I Chestered up to the house, trying to keep my eye on the rabbit and opened the door enough so I could call for help from Hubs.  He came out and watched the rabbit while I opened the south gate.  The rabbit took out north, for the garden.  Hubs ran ahead and opened the north garden gate while I kept my eye on the rabbit.  Then I followed the rabbit as he made a big circle out east and then north.  Hubs positioned himself so he could keep it from circling around south.  It got in front of the open gate and stopped.  I didn't bark this time.  I just went, "WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH!!!!" as loud as I could and it hadn't heard that one before, so it went out the gate.  I'm going to stick some rocks in around the chicken house.  I thought we were going to have this battle won when we got the new fence, but if anything, it's worse.  We had that cable strung along the bottom that's supposed to prevent anything pushing through the bottom of the chain link.  And there are so many rocks under the ground, something big, like a dog, wouldn't be able to dig under.  We put chicken wire over the bottom 2' of the chain link.  Hubs wired extra pieces of post at the bottom of the gates where there's a space between the gate and the fence.  I'd THINK that'd do it, wouldn't you?  They keep finding places where they can dig and squeeze in.  I think they must be able to collapse their spines like raccoons can.  Either that or the dang little boogers are catapulting each other over the 6' top, is all I can think. 

It's been windy as the bejeezers today.  We lost power about noon, and then there were fire trucks out by the tower that our internet thingies look at so we can get online.   

I called as soon as Hubs said we didn't have any power, and entered my info with that robo-thing.  Not long after we saw the PSO trucks so we thought we were good.  About 5:30 still no power and lots of smoke in the air.  Without electricity, we can't find out what's going on unless we listen to the battery-operated radio or call someone.  The local radio station was not exactly a well-house of information, let me put it that way.  So I called June, who has a scanner, and she said the reason we had no electricity was because an electric line either fell or arc'd over the tower where we get our signal from for our Internet access, and started a fire there.  There was fire in all of Wann, a very small town northeast of us that's known by locals as "Wann, America", and in Owasso, which is due south, between us and Tulsa.  She said Wann called Caney and Tyro in KS for assistance, but they were on fire, too.  I called Joe and he was at work in Pawhuska at Pioneer Woman's new building, said he'd called Jay and they'd told Jay they'd have it on by 3:30.  Well that ship had sailed.  So Joe called PSO and they told him they didn't know we all didn't have power.  WHAT????  He called Jay and Jay called PSO and they told him they thought he was already back on.  I called PSO and they told me they expected to have it back on by 9pm.  I called Jay back and told him that and he was pissed, he works from home and had a computer installation to do.  Anyway, it's almost 7 (I think) and I had finished taking a military shower with the hot water that was left in the tank and looked out the windows just to see Bob and Sharry's yard light go on, then Joe's yard light, and Jay's lights on his house.  I realized I didn't have lights turned on so did that and voila!  Lights.  Sheesh.  I don't know how the fire thing is going to play out.  Apparently we're in the wrong direction from it.  I hope the freezer will stop beeping soon.  It's running and appears to be ok. 

This is now Saturday and I will try to post today. 

The freezer was still beeping when I got up Friday morning, I checked and the temperature was what it's supposed to be and everything was still frozen rock-solid.  The little beeper window had a "b" code on it.  I told Hubs about it after he got up and he said, "Oh!  That means 'dead battery'!"  The battery feeds the beeper, which makes no sense, because if you don't have a battery in there, it beeps.  If I can get a freezer without this dubious benefit, the next one we get is not going to have that feature.  We know when our power is out, and a thermometer can be kept in one of the top baskets.  That's really sufficient for me.  But anyway, now the freezer is quiet.  There was only a faint smell of smoke in the air.  And the wind had died down such that I could burn trash and brush in the burn barrel.  And I was also able to finally get my fruit trees sprayed with Volck spray.  I will need to be getting a better tree sprayer.  I had a lot of trouble with the one I was using. 

We went in for our workout but I didn't do anything but the bicycle and the upper-body weight machines.  No walking around the track.  My knee was sore and swollen from all Thursday's activities in the garden.  I had to quit working out there because of the wind.  Every time I pulled something up, the wind would blow the loose dirt away.  It blew so hard against me it almost knocked me down a couple of times.  And it has blown leaves all over into places where they're not needed / wanted.  The brush that Hubs threw on the ground near the burn barrel was all blown up against the gate.  I sure hope this doesn't mean we'll get another rush of rats.  Hubs thinks not, as the fire was travelling away from us.  Ahhhhhh.  Life on The Prairie. 

I checked my seeds that are being germinated in coffee filters.  The peppers were taking so long that I put the jar that they were in, on top of the water heater.  And finally, there is some activity.  Of COURSE there is, being as how I decided they weren't going to, and started more.  Hmmmmppppfff.

So I planted those in little cups of seed-starting mix.  I had put some Cowhorn okra seed in water because Kylie, our woodchip benefactor, mentioned to me that he wants to grow okra this year and I want him to try this kind.  Cowhorn is the only kind of okra that I will plant.  Even when the pods get bigger than you can let your average okra get, they are still tender and not woody.  So much so that it's kind of hard to get good seed from them.  When they start to size up, I clip a clothespin on the connecting stem of one on each plant so I'll know to leave that one alone and let it start to dry out on the plant.  But anyway, I wanted to make sure these seed gathered in 2013 were still viable before I gave any to Kylie.  Well, OMG, they actually germinated overnight in the water, and not wanting to waste the seed, I went ahead and planted those. 

Spike and DIL have three cats and they buy kitty litter in small plastic jugs at Aldi.  DIL is very much a recycler so they've been bringing the empty jugs here.  I would estimate they hold about a gallon.  I didn't know if I'd be able to think of a use for them but I hated to turn them down as I cannot get things at the recycling center anymore and eventually my big kitty litter jugs that we use to take water out to The North Fourth for trees will have broken down and I won't be able to get any more.  Those hold about 2.5 gallons and, being "squareish" they fit well into the wagon that Hubs can attach to his riding lawnmower. 

Most plants can be started inside but for some, the issue is that they don't transplant well, and so the answer for those is in the making of newspaper cups, which allow the seedling to be planted, container and all, causing no disturbance to the roots.  Hubs made me a "form" to shape the newspaper with.  It's 2.5" x 2.5" x about 8".  Our local newspaper is not as big as, say, The Wall Street Journal.  It comes in double sheets, folded in half, with an occasional half sheet.  The half sheet measures 11" x 23".  So I run a knife down the fold of the double sheets so all my paper pieces are single sheet size, and then I fold each one in half, lengthwise.  (5.5" x 23")  These strips are then wrapped around the wooden form, starting at a line I've drawn on the form.

The extra length on the form is for ease of handling.  Then I fold the extra that hangs off the bottom like gift wrap.

It turns out that six of these are just the right size to fit into the bottom of those kitty litter jugs, after the top's been cut off of the jug. 

I decided to line the jug with a Walmart bag so they would be easier to get out of the jug at planting time.  After the newspaper's been wet for awhile, it seems to want to stick to what it's been sitting in.  Another "little extra" is that the bag can be loosely closed and so will maintain humidity till the seedlings emerge.  This will help eliminate "helmet head" (the drying out of the seedcase before the cotyledons emerge from it). 

I sure hope you can see these pictures.  I've been having a lot of trouble with Blogger lately, not showing me the pictures I insert.  Some days I can see them fine, other days, I get those little boxes with "x's" in them.  It's an annoyance.  I've done a drag and drop, and it only helps until I save, and then it's the same thing.  I can't even see them in a Preview or even if I do a view of my own blog after I've published it, sometimes.  Other times, they're there and everything looks fine.  So I have no way to know if you can see the pictures or not.  I think you must be able to see them or none of you would've been able to see the pictures of our babies because it's been doing this, off and on, for several days now.  Blogger lets us do these blogs for free, I'm sure they benefit somehow even if you don't allow them to advertise on your blog.  But many times it seems like I'm only getting what I pay for, if you know what I mean.

And so, I will take a Leap Of Faith and publish this, hoping everything will look ok on your end.  Let me know if it doesn't.  Not that I know what to do about it, mind you.  Sheesh.  I've done a search and have found THIS, apparently we are being forced to download Google Chrome.  It's always something, ISN'T IT?????  I've been resisting downloading Windows 10 because every time there's an upgrade, it seems like other things don't work anymore and it only goes downhill from there.  If I download Chrome and it doesn't work right, then I'm forced to download Windows 10.  THEN, what else won't work?  GAG.  I'll probably need a new driver for my printer.  Other stuff.  This is taking all the fun out of it.  It's times like this that make me wonder if somebody isn't trying to tell me something about whether I should even be blogging or not.  Normally, I enjoy it.  It's an outlet for me.  It helps me organize myself.  But I get a big enough dose of frustration with, just life, if you know what I mean.  There are other avenues, right?  Somebody said, "put your blog on WordPress".  I've still got the old TheSunRoseAndTheWindBlue blog, just haven't posted anything on it since I came back to Blogger.  I was having troubles with IT, that's why.  The weird thing is that I can see the pictures that other Blogger users have posted on their blogs.  I've resisted being on Facebook because I just wouldn't have the time to do both.  Maybe it's time to do that, instead.  I noticed our local ElderCare is offering a Facebook class for $7.  I dunno.  I'll let you know, if I decide to do something different.  If I abruptly stop posting stuff entirely, you'll know the damned thing has CRASHED, again, and I have drop-kicked it.

Rocking on, though, for now.  Hugs xoxoxo

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Road Trip!

Be a friend.
You don't need money; Just a disposition sunny; Just the wish to help another.
Get along some way or other; Just a kindly hand extended out to one who's unbefriended; Just the will to give or lend, This will make you someone's friend.

Be a friend.
You don't need glory. Friendship is a simple story. Pass by trifling errors blindly, Gaze on honest effort kindly, Cheer the youth who's bravely trying, Pity him who's sadly sighing; Just a little labor spend on the duties of a friend.

Be a friend.
The pay is bigger (Though not written by a figure) Than is earned by people clever In what's merely self-endeavor. You'll have friends instead of neighbors For the profits of your labors; You'll be richer in the end Than a prince,

If you're a friend. 

- Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

Edgar Albert Guest was born in England and moved to America with his parents when a young child.  He lived in Michigan.  I first became acquainted with Mr. Guest's works when I began searching old Arkansas newspapers for the poems of my great-grandfather, Aaron Filmore Peabody.  Many times there would be a poem by Mr. Guest in these papers also.  Great-Grandpa Peabody's style was much like that of Mr. Guest's. 

But anyway, I found this poem and I thought it was appropriate to this post.

And Now, (please say this like Edith Ann, if you don't mind....) (If you don't know Edith Ann, you're missing out, so go HERE for a dose of that.  In fact this particular segment is one of my absolute favorites.)

In true A.D.D. fashion, I have wandered from the original intent of this post.

Which is actually about Paula and me.

I met Paula on GardenWeb's Oklahoma Gardening, a forum that we were both contributors to.  I've made many friends via GardenWeb.  Glenda, Sandy, Florida Jo, Joplin Carole, to name some others.  You know who you are....  That's how most of them came to follow my blog, and it was through that blog that Paula learned about that HUGE redo task in our John Deere Green kitchen that we took on, right after we moved here in 2010.  And she determined that she would come here from Norman and help me paint over that Gawdawful stuff.  So she did and we did.  And that put faces and true personalities into the friendship that we had already developed via e-mail. 

Paula tries to make the trip to spend a day or two with us every year, usually around springtime, but there are times when other responsibilities come into play and she's unable to do so.  There are many layers to Paula.  She has a very demanding full-time job.  She's a wife, mother, and grandmother.  She has a home and garden.  Every year, she coordinates The Spring Fling for the people who are part of Oklahoma GardenWeb, and holds it in her front yard.  They all bring food to share at noon-time, and extra plants and seeds for trading.  They get to know each other personally this way and a good time is had by all, as the saying goes.  She likes to come to us when our local garden clubs have their plant sales, and we always take her Garagin' with us on Saturday morning.  We have a blast.  We are all easily entertained, I guess you might say.  Heh.  So this spring she sent me an e-mail and told me that she was trying to figure out when she could make a trip but didn't know if she'd be able to this year.  And I said to her, "WE could come see YOU, you know."  So she asked, "How's Valentine's Day for you?" and the road trip was ON.

It's a three-hour drive, and this early in the year, we all understood it would be "weather permitting".  For awhile, Mesonet was reporting that we'd have freezing rain, but we couldn't have ASKED for better weather or better driving conditions.  No rain on either end of the trip, and above-freezing temperatures the whole time.  The trip there was pleasant and the three hours passed quickly.  We had started out at 5am, had the Interstate mostly to ourselves the first part of the trip and traffic was even light the rest of the way, as well.  Hubs and I share our friends, and he loves to drive and get out and see new scenery.  For me, it's always the destination more than anything else.  But we had fallen into winter doldrums and needed to get out.  So this trip was a "win-win" as far as we were both concerned. 

Paula's driving instructions brought us right into her driveway, and before we could get out of our car, her husband, I'll call him KM, for blogging purposes, was right there to greet us with Paula not far behind. 

We stayed the rest of that day, spent the night, and left around noon the next day.  We had Breakfast Casserole for brunch, then grilled steak, baked potatoes and salad for supper and the next morning we had a huge breakfast of biscuits, hash-browns, bacon and sausage, and eggs. 

Our men were already acquainted, because KM had come with her on her last visit here, and some of the time the men visited with each other.  If Paula and I were in another room, they tended to sit there together, listen to the things Paula and I said to each other, interjecting their comments / corrections / complaints / rebuttals at will.  It's A MAN THING.  If you ever want your man to hear you and pay attention, just forget talking to him directly.  He will pay rapt attention if you allow him to "overhear" what you say to another woman.  Heh.  When Hubs and I were much younger and I felt like he thought my talking was just so much "Wah-wah-wah-wah-wah", and seemed more interested in what was on TV, I'd just sit down and write in a "fake journal" and leave it laying on the table.  I knew that as soon as he discovered it, he'd be unable to resist reading it if he could do so without my knowing.  He couldn't disclose that he had read it, because he knew he wasn't supposed to, but afterwards he would have a better understanding of why I was giving him "The Old Cold Shoulder" and we wouldn't have to have an argument, which almost always consisted of my being thoroughly pissed off and full of frustrated words, and him all silent and bottled up and determined not to hear a dang thing I said.  That's A MAN THING, too.  One caveat, if you decide, ever, to do the same thing: Do write with the knowledge that he WILL be reading, and word your feelings carefully so that they will produce understanding and not frustration, jealousy and betrayal.  Know your man, is what I'm saying. 

All this is not to say that Paula and I did not include our men.  It's just saying that women have to have their "woman-talk".  For the most part, men know this.  And men, I think, are very curious about just what it is that women say to each other.  We are a different species from them and I feel like they struggle to understand how we tick sometimes, but they don't think we KNOW that and they're more comfortable if we don't LET ON.  WE don't understand how THEY tick, a lot of the time, either, but women are not uncomfortable with anybody knowing that.


Paula and I talked gardens, essential oils (she has a Pinterest board, but I can't find it now), kids, grandkids, husbands, food, decorating ideas........  Well, YOU know......

She had a couple of gooseberry bushes she said she was going to dig out.  I offered to give them a new home, as mine will flower but will not make berries, probably because you need a male and female plant and I, apparently have only females. 

She had a big clump of pampas grass that grew from seeds wintersown one year.  She said she was going to move it, and KM dug me out a start.  I've tried to grow pampas grass many times and failed. 

We played with her essential oils.  She had several that I don't have, so I got to open the lid and smell the ones I was curious about.  Frankincense and Myrrh, for example.  She gave me samples to try of some.

She gave me a permanent marker for plant tags, and had her tomato and pepper plants started, so gave me some Kellogg's Breakfast tomato seedlings.  She had told me earlier she'd plant some for me, because my seeds of this variety don't produce the right thing now.  Must've crossed with something else.  I'll transplant them today and add some worm castings.  They'll catch up with the others quickly, I bet.

I had brought her a few things -- a pressure cooker I'd found at a garage sale because I want her to know what it's like to cook rice or beans in just a short time.  I brought her some Sunchokes and some Walking Onions.  She left some artificial sweetener at my house a couple visits ago, so I brought that back and some that I had bought and didn't like.  I told her, if we didn't show up, we might've gotten stopped and searched, and found to have a pressure cooker and some white powdery stuff in ziplock bags.  But Hubs didn't speed and all went well. 

Paula had this cat plant and I was real tempted to ask her for seeds, but I promised myself I would not love another cat.  It hurts too much to have to take them to the vet for that very last time. 

Isn't he a beauty?  He is a Maine Coon Cat.  I had one, named Pearl, and she was the sweetest, most loving cat I ever had.  Huge feet, though, and when they walk on you as you are sleeping in your bed, you KNOW it.  It's not that they are heavy, because they're not, they're mostly fur.  But Pearl would press down VERRRRRY firmly, with each big-footed step. 

This was Pearl.  She insisted on keeping me company while I sat at my computer. 

Her "neck ruffle" would get so full and thick that every little stick that was where she would roll around would get tangled in it.  And it would mat.  So I would trim it with the scissors while she was all relaxed in my lap.  She had the saddest eyes and came to me as a stray.  I named her Poor Pitiful Pearl, even before I knew she had decided to be mine.  Later on, when she wasn't Poor or Pitiful anymore, we just called her "Pearl". 

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I had intended to.

KM would not pose for me and told me this was his best side.

Well, allrightie, then......  That's Hubs to the right. 

I loved their pine trees.

All too soon, it was time to head home.  Paula took this Selfie.

I don't have any makeup on so now you know what The Real Me (on the right) looks like.  I can see a little of my Aunt Viv in my face, and that's kind of comforting.  And yes, Paula is EVERY BIT the onery little bundle of sparkles she looks to be.  Heh.

And no, they are NOT saying, "G'wan!  Git Outa Here!!"  Heh.  Thank you, P&K, we had great fun, a good visit, yummy food, and a good night's rest.  And we didn't even have to sleep in the shed (private joke).

I thought Hubs was NEVER going to buy gas, he said he would not pay the prices they were asking for gas along the Interstate.  I kept pointing out filling stations to him and he got really snappy with me, ergo I got hacked off at him and quit talking to him when we were down to a quarter of a tank.  Which was probably what he was trying to accomplish.  He finally filled up in Ponca City.  And then he got himself lost.  Ah, Karma.  *Evil Giggle*.

We got home three hours after leaving Paula's house, safe and sound.  I called Joe to tell him we were home and to thank him for keeping an eye on our house.  I haven't called Bob, who was keeping an eye on the back of the house, but he saw us drive by.  Both Joe and Bob are hunters and they have guns.  So I feel safe when they keep an eye on our house.  Then I called Paula to tell her we'd arrived because she said that was something she required of us.  Well, OK then.  She told me on the phone they'd already run to Walmart and she found the worm castings that I told her might be there, in their garden center.  Got online, emailed Carole, who was waiting to hear that we got home, and found JR's email about the babies being born and so I called and talked to him, told him that we love him and to tell Au that we love her, too, and he chuckled and said they love us back.  I told him to bring My Angel over here if they need to, she'll be fine with us, and I have a feeling when those babies come home we'll see more of her than we usually do.  Heh.  I've been thinking that they over-estimated the number of weeks they're going to keep those babies in the hospital, just to hedge their bets, because they are, after all, only two or three weeks overdue.  Twins run smaller than singles, though, so it's anybody's guess.

And there you have it.  Today is a beautiful, unseasonably warm day and we have gooseberries and pampas grass to get settled in.  It's STILL too windy to burn trash *Sigh*. 

Hope y'all are having a good week!  Hugs xoxoxoxo

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Daily Doin's and some FRUSTRATION

I start this on Friday, February 5.

I know that both Carole and Scotland Jo are struggling with altering or making pants right now, and since I had a couple pair of pants that I needed desperately to take in (they were "roomy", 25 pounds ago and now are just insane), I thought I'd jump in there, too. 

So a few days ago I did one pair of pants by trimming off the seams that go down the inside of the legs and come up to the center of the waistband.  This gave me a flat(ish) panel to work with with the side-seam intact because there were pockets set into the side seam and I didn't want to disturb them.  Besides, when pants are made by clothing manufacturers, they always assume that, when someone's a size 20 to 22, they are that big ALL OVER.  This means that the crotch might hang too low, or that the legs will be too long, or that, if it's a blouse, the neck opening is just HUGE.  So it's not like, when you alter something, you can just take in the sides till it fits.  Been there, done that, and it doesn't work that way, especially for pants.  So I dug around in my old patterns and found a loose-fitting pants pattern in the size that I think I now am.  I laid the pieces onto the pants panels as best I could, trimmed conservatively, basted the pants together, and tried them on.  Found them too snug in the calf area but luckily had enough I could open the seam and taper it out closer to the edge, and the pants ended up fitting OK but they're just not anything to brag about.  Luckily, they are made of a stretchy fabric.  And they have a loose-fitting long matching top.  It needs to be taken in, too, feels like a maternity top,  I think I can get away with making deeper seams in the sides. 

Now I have a pair of linen-cotton-poly blend pants to take in and I wanted a better pattern, as the fabric is not stretchy and is therefore less "forgiving".  Also, garage sale season is coming on and if I had a good way to alter larger clothing, I might just buy some of the bigger articles of clothing if I like the material.  Garage sale clothing is "Lakka Bawxa Choklits" in that, "you never know what you goan git".  You can't generally try things on, out there in public, though I do know some women who wear clothes that allow them to pull things on OVER their clothes, or UNDER a skirt.  There's still the chance somebody is standing there in the crowd watching you and overworking his imagination though, and that just gives me the creeps.  Just because the tag says it's the right size doesn't mean much, because some brands run small and some run big, and who knows, it might've been altered somewhere along the way.  I could ask if I could try something on and maybe they'd let me into their house, but I know how much I hate letting strangers into MY house and they do tend to ask to use the bathroom.  No matter how nice they seem, strangers in your house can really rip you off, and I've been really lucky in that so far, the only strangers that have done so have been teenagers that came into my house with my daughter when she was growing up. 

The only thing I've found that's really helpful is to know what a similar article of clothing that I already have, that fits as I like, measures in various places.  So if you do buy clothing at garage sales, take an index card that has those measurements on it, and a dressmaker's tape measure.  This is important for me because I have those same Grand Piano Legs that my German aunts and my grandmother had and when that fad for tapered pants came along, I was hard-pressed to be able to buy a pair I could wear.  Now they're turning up in garage sales and all I can do if I buy a pair is either donate them or make shorts out of them.  Since I don't like to wear shorts in the garden, they almost always wind up in the donations box.  So I've measured my "good-fittin' pants in several key places.  An inseam measurement is important, so you know how far down the widest part of the thigh and calf will be, and then you can measure the width of the pant leg there.  Find the widest part of the hip area and mark that down.  Start at the bottom of the waistband at the center seam, and, with the pants laying flat, measure where the inseam starts.  If you've been buying pants for several years, you'll already know where ready-made pants don't tend to fit very well.

I did stop in at Goodwill the other day.  They have changing rooms with mirrors in them so the clothing can be tried on.  But I didn't find anything I liked well enough to pay $7 or more a pair.  I'm spoiled by being able to buy cheaper than that at garage sales.  I might pay $5, but it better be a pair of new-ish, name-brand jeans.  For just slacks, or sweatpants, I generally don't have to pay more than $2.  Often much less than that. 

I'm not always able to find stuff at garage sales in my size, but when I do, sometimes the workmanship is terrible and the fabric is cheap.  Or it's not a color or a style that I like.  On the other hand I might find something that's too big that's made of really wonderful material.  If I can pick it up for less than a dollar that's well work fiddling with.  For that price, if it doesn't work out I can make quilt blocks, hot pads or children's clothes out of the material.  Often, I will buy an article of clothing just for the material it's made of.  For awhile I was buying sweatpants of any size and color, because I had in mind to make an afghan, using a woodland applique quilt pattern I have that would be quite tedious to make if I had to turn the edges under, but I thought, with this fabric, I could just blanket-stitch the pieces onto a background square.  But who am I kidding?  I've got so many unfinished projects in the works NOW, I cannot possibly live long enough to take this project on.

I'm frustrated with sewing patterns and I certainly don't blame anyone else for being so.  I have sewn my own clothing since I learned how to do it in Home-Ec in high school.  I've made lined tailored suits and children's coats and everything in between that and those tops that are made from a square folded into a triangle with a hole cut in the center for your head.  Are you old enough to remember the 1960's??  Ah, those were the days: cut-off jeans, white canvas Keds, and sweatshirts. 

But anyway, becoming an experienced "seamstress" means that you have EXPERIENCED the disappointment of using a pattern that's supposed to be your size but ISN'T.  And you don't find out it looks terrible on you until you've got it on and are standing in front of the mirror.  Which by then is generally too late to do a dang thing about it.  *Sigh*.  You've wasted your material.  And your time.  And if you're like me, you're darkly considering going out and beating up Betsy McCall.

The easy way to deal with this issue would be to just take apart something I already have that fits well.  But I'm WEARING those, thank you very much, and I didn't want to have to take anything apart just to put it back together.  Many of them have parts that can't be taken apart without ruining them, such as sewn-in elastic waistbands.

So the first thing I did was get on YouTube and I found this video HERE.  But she's working in centimeters, which made a difference because she was calculating "ease", and then she said she made a mistake and would tell what it was when she got to the next step. Well, I didn't see where she ever said, and I got so I didn't trust her information at all. After that I got so I couldn't wrap my brain around it, anyway.  I have found that too much information boggles my mind and gives me a "To Hell With It" attitude.  Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

Then I remembered I had one of those Nancy Zieman "pivot patterns", so I dug THAT out.  Right away a problem became apparent: the paper was printed on both sides, the pants back on one side, pants front on the other.  So, guess what, I need to trace the pattern and there are oh, so many things to copy!!  By hand, even.  Ish.  And I figure I'll have to use it again when I get at my weight-loss goal.  Such a lot of work for "temporary" pants.

I watched THIS Nancy Zieman video on how to copy patterns off without taking the garment apart.  But, gosh.  WHO has transfer marking paper that size??  And what if you get "off" somewhere?  Then you don't know till you actually use the pattern to make or alter.  So then I remembered about reading, somewhere, long ago, about copying the pattern of ready-made clothing using lightweight fabric and pins.  I went upstairs and found an old sheet that I'd bought at an estate sale.  I have lots of those.  I use them in spring to cover things I want to protect during late freezes.  I will always have more opportunities to buy these, as I don't have to care if they're not very pretty.

I was so proud.  It was going to be SOOO easy, and I would show you all and solve all your pattern-copying problems.  Yeah, well.  I ended up just spinning my wheels.  I even opened the inseam of the pants I wanted to copy and that didn't work well at all because the elastic waistband was throwing me off.  I even pulled the waistband over a bucket and secured it tightly with bulldog clips.  Nope.

So today, I sewed the pants back together, and now I'm back where I started.  While I had black thread on the sewing machine, I repaired my favorite black sweatshirt, which had a broken seam.  I pulled on a pair of sweatpants that I found in the back of the closet, probably a garage-sale find.  I don't remember ever wearing it, and I think I'd remember, because there was so much material in the crotch I felt a little like MC Hammer.  I was able to alter them fairly easily by gradually increasing the depth of the seam from the inside of the knee, up, on both sides.  I basted first, and then tried it on wrong-side-out before I did any cutting and I was satisfied with the results, at least well enough for wearing around home.  But good grief, so loose there and yet tapered in the calf area?  I'd be curious to see who they measured for THAT one.  All this made for another day of not getting very much accomplished. 

But I'm retired, I don't have to meet a schedule or make a quota, at least till gardening and/or canning season gets into full swing.

I've decided to defer the pants-making project altogether, because in digging around in the back of my closet, I found a couple more pairs of pants that fit well enough to get me through till summer.  Who knows what I'll find at this summer's garage sales? 

And that's the end of my sewing rant (for this time). 

I don't know if those of you who use Blogger have noticed there's a problem with certain lines of typing that end short.  It's like
in the middle, the line just breaks
like this, and no matter what you do, you can't make it "wrap around" like it's supposed to.  It tends to happen when you edit out a word, or add more to a sentence after it's been written and saved.  Just so ya know, if you go up to the bar that's just above your text box, where it says "Compose" and "HTML", click on the "HTML" and then scroll down where your text is, there'll be " " at the end of every sentence, and probably one right at the place where the line ends where you don't want it to.  If you delete it out (the one that's not at the end of a sentence) and put a space in it's place, it'll straighten out.  My text usually has one of those in SEVERAL places where it's not supposed to be.

And do you have trouble, sometimes, putting in a picture, so that it just inserts a little square with a red X in it?  Now and then, I do, and it's not because I've done anything different than I usually do.  It must be some kind of Blogger glitch.  If you ever have this problem, sometimes you can click on your picture, where it is stored, and choose "copy" and then "paste" it into your text.  Other times, you can go where you have the picture stored, use that little "double box" that's up in the right-hand part of your screen (next to the red "X" that you click on to close the window), and then do that to your Blogger screen as well.  Use your mouse to grab the edge of each so each one fills half the screen, allowing you to view them side-by-side.  Then, with the mouse, drag the picture and "drop" it into your Blogger text.  You can also just wait until another day and try to add your picture then, as this problem, it seems, comes and goes. 

This is now Tuesday.  I've been dinking around trying to put together a blogpost on my Hufford family line, and it's complicated, so now I'm not even sure I'll publish it.  I have not submitted my family files to Ancestry because it just rankles me that so many people have done so and now Ancestry is using all that information as if it was theirs.  I used to really get frustrated when I'd run into older people who had lots of data but I wouldn't be able to get them to share any of it, and now, I guess I'm becoming the same way.  My problem is that I've shared data with some people that the only information they had was from stories told to them by their grandmother, and, well, in lots of cases Grandma got mixed up somewhere, but no, they won't even consider that she might've been wrong, because she KNEW, afterall.  And then there's what they do with the data you give to them.  They post a picture on Ancestry as being Martin VanBuren Jones, the brother of Thomas Porter Jones, who fought and died in the Civil War, when it's actually a picture of Thomas Porter Jones' grandson by the same name.  And then every other person researching that line gets a "leaf" with that picture attached to it and they don't even question it, they just add it to their files and spread all that bad information around.  Before you know it, so many people have their files all so full of pure CRAP, it's just unreal.  If you try to help them get it right, they're defensive and rude to you, like you don't know what you're talking about and are just trying to make trouble.  ENOUGH!!  Most of the time nobody ever gives credit to the people who so unselfishly gave their data to them, but then, once they get done massaging it, I guess I ought to be glad when they don't credit me.  In the end, because of all that, I catch myself wondering if sharing my data with people is worth the time.  And so, botta bing, I'm right there in with those folks who used to frustrate me so badly in years past.  Genealogy is not that easy and everybody makes mistakes, I make plenty of them, myself, but if someone can prove that I'm wrong with documentable facts, I really appreciate that they took the time to do that.  Unfortunately, "everybody says so" are not documentable facts as they've probably all just copied off erroneous data from the same source.

And THAT's the end of The Genealogy Rant.

I want to start out the garden section by showing you how well my little tomato seedlings are doing so far. 

And these are the Jalapeno peppers:

They were planted in a seedling mix of equal parts compost (screened and baked) and peat moss, and about half of an equal part of Vermiculite.  Normally it's equal parts of all three, but I'm short on the Vermiculite and not able to get more for probably about another month.  I made the compost from weeds gathered out of the garden, to which I would add a thin layer of wood chips every now and then.  The wood chips did a good job of filling in empty spaces and holding moisture in the compost bin.  It took about a year for everything to break down, and then the stuff on the top and around the sides were still not decomposed enough to use, so that was all thrown on the bottom of the caged-in heap that we have started building out on The North Fourth, which is further away from the house.  We'll be taking down the compost bins that we made out of wooden pallets because they are too close to the garden and the house.  When fire pushes rats onto our property, it is there that they take shelter, and it's in too protected an area, so the dogs, wild critters and birds of prey cannot hunt them as easily as they will be able to if their nesting area is out on open land.  It seems like most of our neighbors have a brushpile out on their land somewhere, and I just wonder if they are intentionally doing so to provide shelter for rats and other critters that is far enough away from their houses and out-buildings so as to lure them AWAY from them, as I have started to do.  To my mind, the only reason why God made rats was as food for some of the wild things, and I don't like to interfere with that.  But when they get up around the house, or start getting into the garage, they just really leave me no choice.  The "pallet bins" are about to fall apart, anyway.  I found it interesting that they were showing how to make compost bins out of wooden pallets on one of the gardening shows that I like to watch on Saturdays, (Growing A Greener Garden) and it was exactly as we had made ours. 

Back on topic, now.

This time I added about a teaspoon of worm castings to each 8-oz Styrofoam coffee cup of seedling soil, and I just stirred it into the top layer with my finger as I planted each little seedling.  Worm castings can be bought in a plastic jug at Wal-Mart or probably any garden center.  I'm pleased to say that these are the healthiest-looking little seedlings that I've ever grown.  Once in awhile, I'll have problems with seedlings being "leggy", and most people will tell you it's because they aren't getting enough light.  But I'm really thinking that not having adequate food contributes greatly to seedling failure, maybe moreso than inadequate light.  Another thing that I have found is that seedlings will adapt better to outside when the time comes if there is some air movement where they are while they are inside.  For this reason, I run the ceiling fan during the day, or if they are where there isn't a ceiling fan, I'll set a small box-fan on the floor, aimed towards where the plants are, running on "low".  The soil will dry out a little faster so I have to remember to water more often.  I've done this for the last several years and I find that when the weather's such that I can take them outside to "harden off", all I have to do is keep them in the shade for the first few days, and cover them loosely on the very first day, with, say, an upside-down laundry basket or a recycling crate, something that lets in air but buffers out part of it.  And I choose a day when the wind is not blowing 30MPH.  This is not always possible in the spring here.  If there is lots of wind sometimes I can get away with putting the plants in the bottom of a box, and then covering the box with old curtain sheers.  But I fasten the sheers on securely and tie the box to something so I won't have to go fish it out of Jay and Claire's lake.

My pepper seeds have not been germinating very well.  The jalapeno were the first ones to germinate and boy, they just went to town.  I think it's because the seeds were in the pepper until right before planting time.  I had a few old seed for Big Jim and Joe Parker and I've thrown them away because those seed just turned black in the coffee filter.  And that's ok, there's no point in keeping it in my seed stash if it isn't any good.  Today the orange-colored Cheese pepper seed has finally started to germinate.  But it looks like I'm going to have to start over with the red and the yellow varieties. 

And the hydroponic spinach project just seems to be stalled, not doing much at all.  A few of the most spindly seedlings died, but that was probably from being too far sprouted when I put them in the rock wool. 

This is now Wednesday.  We went to Walmart today and bought a programmable timer for the plant light stand.  Now I don't have to remember to turn it on (or off).  Wish I'd started doing THAT a long time ago.  And that, as my mother used to say, "is as handy as a pocket on a shirt". 

I set the timer to stay on for 12 hours and then shut off for the other 12.  Plugged the lights into a power strip, plugged the power strip into the timer and plugged the timer into the wall.

I've been getting into the swing of things at The Fitness Center.  For us old folks, these places are also venues for making friends.  Having lots of friends is really good for old people.  Hubs and I have sat around and griped to each other because our kids / grandkids don't come around very often and all that does is put the situation into words.  It doesn't make us feel better.  In fact, it makes us feel worse.  Sometimes I think putting it all into words keeps the cycle going.  Mom and Dad used to sit around and wait for us kids to come to visit, and they'd gripe at us and guilt us the whole time we were there, such that it really didn't make us want to go back again very soon.  They knew when was the last time they saw each of their five children, and the only one they excused was our only brother, we sisters could never understand how HE got off so easy.  But when they got done griping to me about ME, they'd gripe to me about my siblings.  My siblings and I would say to each other, "I WISH they had more friends!!"  Just ONCE I would've liked to hear them talk about something they did the previous week that brought them joy.  But nooooooo, they sat around that whole week and waited.  All they had to talk about was something they'd done last month, that we'd already heard about three or four times.  One time I was talking about that with some co-workers and one of them laughed and said, "I have to practically MAKE AN APPOINTMENT to see my mom and dad!", and I remember wishing my parents could be like that, and then thinking, "that's how I want it to be with MY kids."  Well, it has taken feeling forgotten and neglected for awhile, but Hubs and I have realized that we've fallen into that same trap Mom and Dad were in, and we agreed that we just need to get out more, we need to go places where we can meet people, and we need get involved in our community.  Our church has a mission trip to New Mexico planned for this summer and I would've been willing to sign up to go.  This church is small and they never have enough people that sign up for things like this.  But Hubs said "Maybe next time".  So it's baby steps.  Maybe get Hubs started going to "Methodist Men" first. They eat a meal together and then they sit around and talk about repairs that need to be done to the church and figure out a way to get them taken care of.  The women have a book club that meets one evening a week.  They call it "Chick-Lits".  I've been specifically invited to join and have said I'd like to, but I don't drive very well in the dark.  Plus, there are all those deer trying to cross the roads between there and home right now.  When the days are longer, though, will be a good time to start.  I guess it's baby steps for me, too. 

This is now Wednesday. 
Hubs and I went to a pancake supper at our church last night.  There wasn't a very big turnout and I was really glad we'd gone, and lent our support.  There were enough people to visit with and we had a nice time.  I found out the pastor's wife eats her pancakes without syrup, too, Heh.  One of the church members is a foster mother and she has quite a little troop of kids under her wings right now.  A church dinner just isn't a church dinner without kids running around.  They reminded me of how this church interacted with our grandsons during the times they lived with us.  They were also in the Boy Scout troop that met at the church for many years, and the scoutmaster still attends the church.  So many people there still ask about JR and JC, and we laugh together sometimes about some of the things that happened back then.  Those were some good memories to plug into a couple of little boys that had had a rough start in life.  I've said so many times that we just don't know how much we can impact someone else with just even so little as a smile and a hug.  Maybe a few words of encouragement.  It doesn't take much and turns out, so much of the time, to be just what that person needed to hear at that moment.  Never hesitate to reach out.  Everybody benefits. 

I got caught up on the laundry today.  Found several things hanging on the bottom rack in my closet that were covered in cat fur.  So THAT's where Sam went upstairs when she wasn't on one of the beds!  Hung those out on the line for the wind to blow around, and then washed them and our big terrycloth robes that we wear in the evenings and the early mornings over our jammies.  They'll be coming in off the line before long.  A warm but windy day.  Fire advisories out.  Again. 

This is now Thursday, and I'll try to publish today.
They had a piece in the local paper about a couple of birds in Australia, called Brown Falcons and Black Kites, that actually "pick up fire" and drop it in the areas where they're hunting.  Don't that beat all.  If THAT's not all we need, here, I don't know what is. 

Today we have actually had THREE bogus phone calls.  The first one was real early this morning, asking me to hold because Dr. Johnson had an important message for me, and I said I didn't know any Dr. Johnson and hung up.  They hadn't identified themselves and I figured if it was legit they would have.  The second call congratulated me and told me I'd won a cruise.  We've gotten this kind of call before.  And frankly, with all the bad stuff that's been happening to those cruise ships, I don't think I'd be interested even if the call was legit.  The third caller said they were from my credit card company but they didn't specify which card company they were calling from.  Dorks!  It really frosts my cookies to get calls like this.  I keep myself on a "Do Not Call" list, but they've all gotten around that by calling computer-generated random phone numbers, in which case, they don't have to pay any attention to who's on the list.  My phone number is unlisted but random numbers get around that road block as well.  Most of these calls are now just recordings that will transfer you to people if you hold on or press a certain number, which I'm not about to do.  But if I get a real person at the beginning of the call,I might pray for them while they're on the phone, or encourage them to find a more respectable way to make their living.  Heh.  I know some people who actually cuss these folks out till THEY are the ones that hang up.  But really, I think this is counter-productive, in that it seems like they pass this number around to their co-workers, especially the ones they don't like very well, so they can get a good cussing out, too.  I worked the Sam's Club call center for awhile, and some of those people that like to cuss people out sound like they're about ready to bust a blood vessel.  Ya know, I've HEARD all those words, they don't impress me except that I knew a lot of developmentally disabled people when I worked in the office at their workshop, and though they may not have had a very good handle on language, they could cuss fluently.  So, bottom line, and this is what I always told my teenagers, you don't have to be very intelligent to use the F-word, and in using it you might be telling people more about yourself than you REALLY want them to know.

Hubs had to run an errand in town today and he came home and told me he had seen JR.  Those twins are due in March, and JR told Hubs today he's both excited and scared.  If the babies are early, they're supposed to try to make it to Tulsa, which is an hour's drive from here.  If they're late, they are going to be allowed to go to our local hospital for delivery.  I can certainly understand JR's feelings, it's hard enough to drive safely in Tulsa WITHOUT your wife in labor in the car.  Not that it's going to be a lot of fun to be in labor for an hour in a car, either, mind you.  If you pray, I'd sure appreciate your prayers for JR and Au, especially in March.  I had an e-mail from her a couple weeks ago and she said those babies were really "kicking her butt". 

Well, this is about all I have for this time, so I'll pad up to the living room, pick up my quilting, and see if I can get interested in whatever Hubs is watching.  It'll be time to fix supper before too much longer. 

Y'all have a good weekend, coming up, stay safe and well.  Hugs xoxoxo