Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Daily Doin's, Last Half of May, 2016

I start this on Sunday, May 29.

It started raining about May 16 and has been off and on since then.  One day we got 2.5" in just about an hour.  We got off lucky as they had forecast as much as 4" for us.  They never seem to take into consideration that here in what they started calling "Green Country" a decade or two ago, because it always seemed to be so lush and green, is somehow in it's own little micro-climate.  It is not very much like the rest of Oklahoma.  Yet it's not like Kansas, either, though we're only about 20 minutes from the state line.  We almost never get the same weather Tulsa gets, though we're only an hour's drive from there.  I don't know how many times they've thrown up a shot of cars driving the Tulsa roads in driving rain and that's what I want to do too -- throw up -- because we're sitting here dry as a bone and the rain stops right at our "back door", as they say.  For the past several years, instead of calling the area "Green Country", it would be more fitting to call it "Brown Country".  After several rains we have received, what was in the rain gauge was zip, zilch, nada.  Ain't that a fine howdy-do.  It's like getting up on Christmas morning and there's presents under the tree but none for you.  Kinda.  Sometimes that's a good thing, though.  One year, Tulsa got a horrible ice storm.  The numbers of damaged trees and downed electric lines were incredible.  We were really grateful that this storm did not reach us.

Most of our rain has come at a slow, steady pace, and that's a good thing, because this is the kind of rain that soaks into the soil instead of running off.  This is the kind of rain that doesn't bring hail, wind, or tornadoes.  I've taken advantage of this rain by soaking seeds of things that didn't come up very well, and slipping out during a slack period, poking little holes in the row with a tent peg, dropping the already-wet seed into the muddy hole and covering it up.  Dry seed, especially peas, will float to the surface during a rain.  Being nice and soaked ahead of time gives them some traction and helps them to stay underground till they sprout. 

On rainy days, I am occupied inside.  One day I stirred up a recipe X4 of chocolate chip cookies.  This is not the Toll House recipe that you find on the back of the chocolate chip package.  This is a recipe that I have used several times within the last few years, and I find it not as greasy-tasting.  I always hated how the cookies just seemed to "deflate" while they were cooling and they leave a greasy spot wherever they are placed, even after they cool.  This is kind of a waste of good butter, if you know what I mean.  I show this recipe being from Cooks.com but when I went to find it to link it, I'm finding 80-gazillion other recipes that are like it but not quite.  So I hope they won't be upset with me for posting it here.  (Note: It is not already recalculated X4 here, this is just the "single recipe" version.)
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 C plus 2 T flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 sticks butter melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 C semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Sometimes I include a cup of broken pecan or walnut pieces and/or a cup of dried cranberries

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together; set aside. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in chips. Cover and refrigerate until dough firms. Form about 1/4 C dough into a ball. Break ball in half and place dough on cookie sheet with broken edge facing up. (Or use a standard sized cookie scoop). Bake at 325º until cookies are set around outer edges, starting to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 10-13 minutes. 

As you can see, there are some little greasy spots on the newspaper.  But consider that I've cooled seven or eight dozen cookies on that same newspaper by the time this picture was taken.  And no, I'll probably not eat any of these.  There is nothing about them that is healthy and I don't need to taste to see if they're good, I know they are.  This doesn't make me feel deprived.  If it did, I'd have one.  But when I look at them, I see them for what they are rather than what they represent.  Hubs doesn't have the same mindset and nothing I can really do about that.  But as many as I can will be stowed away in the freezer because I wanted to have a treat on hand for the workers that we thought would come to our house to put in a stronger beam across the ceiling of the garage so that dang center post can come out. 

Center posts were put in double-car garages back in the 1960's when this house was built and they're inconvenient.  The contractor who came out is a good friend of ours.  It will be his crew that are here to do the work.  Many times, the owners of the property on which construction guys and tradesmen are working don't even speak to them unless something has gone wrong.  These guys are just we were, working hard for every dollar.  It's just rude not to treat them like you would treat your neighbors.  Men who sense they are just a set of working hands to you, don't recognize you as an individual, either.  So they trample your plants, throw their cigarette butts all over the ground and don't do any more than they just have to.  Like begets like.  I know what it's like to be patronized and disrespected.  If more of us respected each other and treated each other as equals a lot of what is wrong in today's society could be set right.  In this world you get out of it what you put in.

I'd like to have the double doors taken out and replaced with one long garage door, but that will cost more, because it requires the purchase of the new door.  But I'm going to talk to the contractor about that when he's here.

We spent most of the day moving things around, a week ago last Monday.  Those shelves, some of you may remember, are what Hubs made out of the extra vertical supports left over from when we redid the pantry.  These shelf units are from Lowe's and they only come with three shelves between the base and the top.  That made them just too far apart for optimal pantry storage.  The guys at Lowe's said it'd be more expensive to buy extra shelves than it would be to just buy two more shelving units.  I hardly see how this could be and I just think somebody didn't want to go to the trouble to try, but sometimes this turns into a roadblock, regardless of it's cause, and you just have to work around it.  So we bought two extra shelf sets and used the shelves from them.  Then Hubs used the vertical parts for these "homemade shelves", which are big enough and sturdy enough to hold boxes of canning jars.  If the workers need these shelving units out of their way, they can be easily carried out to the driveway.  The boxes of jars are all stacked in my office.

You'll notice in this picture that Hubs moved the paint can storage out of the corner, turned the canning stove a quarter turn and backed it into the corner.  One of these days I'll see if I can find matching paint and cover over this unpainted area on the walls where the shelves were.  But it's just cosmetic and we have so much else to do right now.  Maybe in late fall, after all the gardening and canning is done.

There is a concrete ledge, about six inches tall and about as wide, along this back wall where the floor meets the wall.  So in order to be able to push the stove all the way back to the wall, Hubs built this wooden base to set it on.  It's built out further than the stove so that I can stand on it while putting big pots of water and canning jars onto the stove.  The paint can shelves went on the other side of the workbench, you can see that in the two pictures before this one.  Lots of people have worried about how close those paint cans were to the stove before. 

After we got all this done, our contractor came back to look at the garage because the makers of the beam wanted to know what the load was going to be.  The garage is under a bedroom and then a roof is, of course, on top of that.  So he's not sure he actually recommends doing the job.  He and Hubs talked about just extending the garage out towards the front and he went away to work out a price.  I think it's going to turn into something that we will not be wise to put the money into.  If we were younger, it might be worth it.  But seems like there are so many other projects we need to do before something like that.  If we're going to build on, I'd rather have an extra bathroom on the main floor that will make it easier for us to navigate when we are older.  We are at the point where we have to consider our age and try to calculate how many more years we are going to be able to live independently.  It's not good to wait until something life-changing happens.  The question is not a matter of "if".  The question now is only, how long can we keep that from happening?  I'm trying not to worry about it.  I remember Mom started worrying about that when she and Dad were much younger than Hubs and I are now.  It kept her up at night and made her feel depressed.  Nope.  I don't wanna go there.   

I still have my boxes of jars stacked up in my office, waiting till we get the quote on the garage job.  This was not a lost effort because the garage really needed to be cleaned out and I've been wanting to move things around out there for a long time.

Being as I've been doing things inside that allow me to see more of what Hubs watches on TV than usual, I am once again off on several tangents because of what I hear and see.  You know how it is: garbage in, garbage out. 

The commercial about "the tissue test" to tell if you're teeth are white or not wins the asinine contest.  If you can't tell without doing that, you're probably ok.

I wanted to comment about this controversy that's going on about the movie that's replaced the female hero with a male one because they say female action figures just don't sell.  And we women are all supposed to be mad about that.  Much ado about nothing, if you ask me.  Boys and girls really are different, there's just no way around it.  While they are little, they gravitate to things that imprint on them how to be men and women.  Fathers and mothers.  And even when you make boy toys available to girls, most of them do tend to prefer girl toys.  It's just how it is.  I mean, if a little girl has lots of brothers, she might want to play with boy toys because she wants to be included in her brothers' play.  But when she's by herself, she might gravitate back to dolls and tea parties.  Don't we have more serious things we ought to be paying attention to?  If kids want a certain toy, they'll ask for it.  If they don't get it, they'll improvise.  I'm reminded of a story about how a mother resisted getting girl toys for her little boy even though he asked for them.  She caught him rocking his action figures and using his toy gun like a phone.  When I was a small child, my closest sibling was six years older than me, and she was busy following around the sister that was two years older than her.  So I was just a little brat and an annoyance in their eyes and they wanted nothing to do with me.  We lived in the country and I had very little exposure to other kids, so I made up an imaginary friend out of sheer loneliness.  My whole family thought this was the funniest thing, EVER, but they didn't try to discourage it.  I don't remember this at all and I wouldn't have even known about it if they hadn't teased me about it when I got older.  Obviously I put that away once I was old enough for school and able to have real friends and there was no damage done in allowing me my "idiosyncrasy".  But the thing is, I don't think we're doing our kids any favors when we try to mess up how they're programmed to imprint.  Don't get me wrong, I do recognize that there are girls that prefer boy toys and vice-versa.  What I'm saying is, they'll find ways to let you know.  You don't have to force it. 

This bathroom gender controversy just has me confused.  If you've got a penis, go to the men's.  They're equipped so you can pee standing up.  It's not so much of a gender issue as it is a physical one.  If you sit down to pee in a men's public bathroom, the only other guys that are in the stalls are going to be in there with The Wall Street Journal, if you get my drift.  It's pretty hard to pee standing up with "Lady Parts", though my mother said their neighbor, Edna, wore dresses and no underpants and would pee wherever she happened to be standing, if she was outside.  Mom said she knew that because sometimes it could be seen running down her leg and into her shoe.  Oh, small town living in the 1950's!  Seriously, though, if I was a trans-gender woman, I wouldn't WANT to go into the men's restroom.  And I think allowing someone who has a penis into a women's restroom is an invitation for some non-trans-gender pervert to enter a women's restroom and do stuff in there he's not supposed to.  Don't get me started on THAT.  And no, I don't know anyone who is trans-gender, at least I don't know it if I do, but I don't spend any of my time thinking about what people have under their clothes or what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms.  That's just none of my business.  If people are nice to me, I'm nice to them.  Sometimes I'm nice to them even if they're not nice to me, depending on what kind of mood I'm in, just so ya know.

Another thing I wanted to comment on was how I think if Donald Trump continues on his slant on how Hillary's husband had an affair because she, in essence, "didn't keep him happy at home", he is playing with fire.  That will do more to make me vote for Hillary than anything.  (And seriously, this is going to be yet another time when my vote will be for whomever I perceive is The Lesser Of Two Evils, and I'm getting really, really tired of it being that way.)  For how long have men used their wife as their excuse?  My mother used to laugh about it when men said they had affairs because their wife was "frigid", and say that French men have a saying that goes, "There are no frigid women.  Only clumsy men."  Heh. 

I have also heard Donald Trump say that Hillary chose to "look the other way" while her husband was having his "dalliance", and that she was therefore an enabler.  Oh, yeah.  Like THAT's not going to strike a chord with every woman whose husband has ever looked lustfully at another woman -- and trust me, that's probably 75% of all women in America, at least.  What the hell was she SUPPOSED to do?  Would Donald have been happier if she had granted tearful interviews to every reporter that came to the door?  Is it even possible to throw all your man's belongings out into the front yard and change the lock on the door when you live in The White House??  Then he followed up with how badly he thought Hillary treated "poor Monica".  OH, PUH-LEEEEEEZE.  Monica was not a child.  She knew exactly what she was doing.  She would've happily kicked Hillary out of the White House and taken her place, and felt proud of herself for doing it.  I felt like Hillary handled the situation like a real lady. 

When I have witnessed situations like this, and during my life, I've seen it much more often than I want to, I am always reminded of a story I heard at work many years ago.  The large corporation I worked for during the 1980's had a top executive whose name was Charlie.  He was a handsome and charming man.  Charlie had a fancy office on the top floor of the fanciest building the corporation had.  He was well paid and had more power and status than most men can only dream about.  Money and power are a real draw to certain women.  Well, it was common knowledge that Charlie had what was then called "hot and cold running women" in his life.  Heh.  And that his wife, home living a life that only money can buy, was busy with her very expensive home, her very select social life, and the children, and "looking the other way".  Charlie had a favorite young woman, one that he told he would marry in a heartbeat if only he wasn't already married and if only his wife would "give him a divorce".  The young woman, tiring of the situation, decided to take matters into her own hands, and so one day she called the wife on the phone and told her that Charlie didn't love her (the wife) anymore and that she (the girlfriend) and Charlie were "in love" and wanted to get married and that he should be "given" a divorce.  After a short silence on the line, the wife spoke.  "My dear," she said, "You are not the first and you will not be the last young woman in my husband's life.  If you think, for one moment, that I would willingly give up my marriage, security for my children, and my standing in the community, just so YOU can have my husband, you are sadly mistaken.  And further, if you think my husband really WANTS a divorce, you are stupid, as well." 

Donald Trump has a very short memory where it comes to past presidents that had wives that "enabled" them, as he wants to call it.  In the past, the president's personal life was off-limits to reporters.  This is why no one thought of trying to impeach Jack Kennedy for all those things he did around the pool and elsewhere at The White House, right under Jackie's nose.  I think, if anyone had publicly confronted him about Marilyn Monroe and all the other women he messed around with, he would've just turned his head to the side, smiled, and said, "My personal life is none of your damned business", and most men in this country would've backed him up at the time.

I have spoken before of a man by whom I was employed, many years ago, who truly showed to me what God intended Man to be.  He was so very wise, kind, and honorable.  We started out our day, every morning, with prayer.  It was a gift from God that I got to work for and know this man as I was pretty disappointed in what I had seen of men as a species at the time.  I will forever appreciate Tracy for the difference that he made in my life and many of my attitudes.  He was the one that said, "Don't Pick Up That Package".  Some of you will remember that story from a blogpost I wrote several years ago.  But anyway, Tracy and I were talking, one morning after prayer, about Clinton, and he said something that stuck in my mind during several other incidents that I would see happen later in life -- the Michael Jackson controversy, for one -- and it was this.  Tracy said that, whenever a person "dogs" another person about some personal disgraceful act that they have committed, it's usually because they, themselves, secretly have the same tendency or thoughts, or are already doing the same or worse, and they are terrified at being found out.  And so they become the worst nightmare of the person whose shame has been made public because they know if the focus is concentrated on someone else, nobody's going to think about looking into THEIR private life.  I have since thought that there must be a special place in hell for people who would do this.  Not only are they living a secret life and therefore a lie, but they are intentionally adding to the pain of another human being and all their family, out of their own selfish needs and wants.  It's one thing to expose someone for doing something they should not be doing.  It's another to become obsessed with it. 

All this to say, Donald may very well hand the presidency to Hillary with his personal attacks on her choice of reactions after finding out her husband violated their marriage contract and brought shame to himself and the presidency with his infidelity.  I saw this, at the time, as a personal thing better left between Hillary and Bill and I still see it as that today.  Statistics say that half of all American marriages end in divorce, many of them having to do with infidelity.  There are other statistics that say that half of all American marriages, where there is infidelity, can survive it.  This is kind of confusing and I'm not sure how to do the math, but it says to me that there's a lot of infidelity going on in marriages.  Many women (and men) have had to make the decision as to how to react when a spouse has "wandered".  Often the third person in the relationship will create a lot of additional pain in trying to assassinate the character of the person "wronged", as if they hadn't already done enough by having sex with a man who was not free.  I have never been the third person in a relationship so I don't know what they might be thinking.  Maybe it's an effort to make themselves feel like what they did is somehow not all that wrong, like they were doing a "public service" or something.  The spouse that wandered likes to try to make themselves seen as the victim because their spouse "drove them away", or the person they had the affair with "seduced them", and maybe there's some credence to that.  But isn't that sad and cowardly, really?  Living daily life with someone is not as exciting as just spending a few hours with someone who's all dressed up and smelling wonderful.  Whether it's you or me or Hillary Clinton, what happens between a husband and wife is their business, and whether there is a divorce or whether there is forgiveness and a period of picking up the pieces is also their business.

Plus, I'm not sure Donald Trump would be wise to open up this can of worms, if you know what I mean.

Moving on now.  And I beg your pardon if my opinions are different than yours.  We can still be friends, though, right?

I received an e-mail notification from Food Babe and HERE is her blog post about how Cottonseed Oil is a GMO waste product and yet it's on the ingredient list of almost everything we eat.  Most restaurants use it in their recipes and it is included in what they fry things in.  OMG.  Oh, and if the ingredients list on a packaged product says "may contain...", don't just complacently think that there's a chance it doesn't.  There are actually two chances:  slim and none.  By the way, Fluoride is also a waste product, and the biggest coup ever pulled off was when we, the general public, were coerced into believing we must have it included in our water for the health of our (and our children's) teeth.  I wonder whose pockets we have lined with money making THAT waste product a "cash cow".  Even dentists are saying now that fluoride doesn't really do much, after all those years during which they promoted it as a way to prevent cavities.  Well, I guess it's possible to hoodwink dentists, as well as everybody else.  Everywhere you turn, there's fluoride.  It's bad enough in the water supply.  But most toothpastes and mouthwashes contain it, too.  Lots of people are now brushing their teeth with baking soda.  But getting the fluoride out of our water supply is more important and it seems like people are horrified when it's suggested.  Like you're questioning God or something.  Not only do we drink this carcinogen-contaminated water.  We cook in it, clean with it, wash our hands in it, use it to water our gardens, bathe and wash our hair in it.  We probably glow in certain types of light.

Speaking of "glowing", Hubs finally drank the last Pepsi he had stockpiled and replenished his supply this week.  I told him what to look for.

Well, it's baby steps with Hubs.

Oh, and I forgot to mention I have a "new" juicer.

Don't be distracted by the reflection of the mess that was on my table in the chrome.  I don't bother it, and it doesn't bother me.  Heh.  The woman said she and her (now deceased) husband paid $300 for it, new.  He died of cancer, by the way.  She had priced it at $200 but had marked it down to $100, and you know me, I tried to get her to $50 but all she would do was $75.  Well, considering that right before we got to that particular garage sale, I had turned to Hubs and said, "Help me watch for a juicer.  I want one that spins the liquids out", I kind of felt like this was another one of those little "gifts from God".  Laugh at me if you want to, it won't bother me.  I had seen a Jack LaLanne juicer at the church garage sale, but I looked inside and it was all bent up.  You have to wonder how people use things sometimes....  After I got home I read the reviews on Amazon, and found that some people have had trouble with the plastic arms breaking that hold the lid down, but they can be replaced.  Some of them also have problems with the spin basket getting off-balance.  Yes, the price had been $300 when it first came out, but the product now sells for $200, new.  Replacement parts can still be purchased from the manufacturer and their Customer Service is said to be good.  There are people who hate it and people who love it.  People who love it say the people who hate it are not using it correctly, and that they're forcing the vegetables into the machine too hard and causing the blade to wobble.  I can see how that could happen.  The woman didn't have the instruction manual but I was able to download one.  I'm planning on juicing cucumbers this summer, depending on how many I have from the garden.  Maybe throw in some tomatoes, parsley, onion, carrots, celery.  I haven't tried it for myself yet.  Will I make juice, or a mess? 

On days it doesn't rain, I'm spending time pulling out a gazillion dill plants, along with Bermuda grass, Bindweed and several other kinds of weeds.  Rainy days are good for planting seeds, so I've been doing some of that.  We've also been putting cardboard and wood chips down in the walkways.  Where I don't have cardboard, I've been experimenting with used leaf bags, since we have so many, anyway.  They disintegrate in the sun, but will last a long time if they're covered up with something.  At least they should last as long as the cardboard does.  I sure wish I could think of something that was permanent, to go in the garden paths, and then I'd never have that job to do again.  I don't mind doing a little extra work if it means the last time I'm going to have to do it.  Unfortunately, there are not too many things that fall into that category. 

Every day it's the same thing in the garden.  Weeds, weeds and more weeds.  I don't much mind the weeds that grow densely and pull up easily.  They tend to shade out the bindweed and the Bermuda grass, both of which send their roots deep into the ground.  One weed that pulls up easily but that is a pain in the a$$, anyway, is this one:

I don't know what it's called.  It is a very coarse and rough plant.  It grows lots of branches off a central root and there are clusters of burrs on each branch.  They always manage to drop some burrs on the ground whenever you pull them up and so I will probably never be able to totally eradicate them.  I do not add this unknown weed to the compost bin.  The burn barrel is the only place for it.  Does anybody know what it's called?  I've been calling it "Stick-Tight" but that's not what it is.  "Stick-Tights" are Galium aparine, aka Catchweed Bedstraw, Sticky Willy, Goose Grass or Cleavers.  I remember that stuff from my childhood.  We never thought of it as anything other than an annoying weed.  The whole plant would cling to your pant leg and to an animal's fur.  And it really ticked-off the cat.  Now I find out that it's edible and medicinal.  HERE is that information from Eat The Weeds.  Oddly enough, it's one weed I haven't seen here. 

We were lucky to get all the Yellow Dock killed off that came to us in a load of dirt, several years ago.  And we dig up Puncture Vine every time we see it, so it's not as thick as it was when we first moved here.  But Puncture Vine grows in my neighbors' prairie land, and their dogs come onto our land with the stickers in their fur.  Puncture Vine is only second to Poison Ivy in noxiousness, as far and Hubs and I are concerned, because of it's ability to puncture tires. 

I think, with the next trip to Tulsa, I'll ask Hubs to swing by Collinsville and see if I can buy some Annual Rye at Holman Seeds.  I've been reading that it's an excellent cover crop.  I didn't like the Winter Peas or the Hairy Vetch or the Daikon Radish.  They are all too "rangey" -- they go to stems or vines without much leaf material in between, right away.  Bermuda and Bindweed coexist very well with them.  Sometimes we do need to run the tiller to loosen up the soil, and all these plants will wind round and round in the tiller.  We get around that, if we have nothing growing in the beds yet, by using the weed-wacker to "scalp" the area, and then raking it up before tilling.  We lose the benefits of tilling in the "groundcover" because there are a gazillion bitty pieces of Bermuda Grass and Bindweed in it.  We all know what happens after THAT. 

I have Dutch White Clover established in a few places.  It's a perennial. In the patches where it has become established, it has managed to hold it's own against everything else, including Bermuda Grass and Bindweed.  I think I'd really like to have it growing thickly in the walkways between garden beds.  And in fact, I wouldn't mind my entire yard being Dutch White Clover, though I know people who buy stuff to kill it out of their lawns.  Unfortunately, The Weed Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken (because I don't know what it is) seems to be able to hold it's own over the advancement of clover, so it has to be pulled out before the clover will grow into that area.  Once it has, though, we're good.  Clover is pretty, at least, I think so, and it will tolerate some foot- and garden-wagon traffic, and seems to be encouraged to spread by the lawn mower because it will bloom and ripen seeds between mowings.  Plus it's a nitrogen fixer and the beneficial insects love those flowers.  Dutch White Clover doesn't grow very tall so it wouldn't even really have to be mowed.  I noticed Ray Browning, "Praxxus" on You-Tube, has clover in his garden walkways.  But I don't know if I want it growing IN the garden beds.  This is where Annual Rye might work better.  I think I'm out of Dutch White Clover seed, so I might as well add that to my Holman Seed shopping list.  Oh, and I might add that, though I love Crimson Clover, the down side is that it's an annual plant.  It's quite a show-stopper when it's in bloom, but it gets pretty ugly right afterwards and then that's it.  I've tried putting up with the ugly long enough for it to develop seed, and then Hubs mows it down, but the land stays bare and therefore inviting to every weed in the area for most of the summer and into the fall.  So, not a good weed barrier at all.  I have what they call "Red Clover" growing in some places (the flowers are more purple than red, but they are still pretty and the flowers are nice to put in salad.  But it grows taller than I would like for the lawn and the garden walkways.  I do grow it under fruit trees, however, along with several other things.  This year that's Nasturtiums and Comfrey.

We didn't go garaging this weekend, but we went the Saturday before that.
This was $35.  We enjoy hearing the water, and the pump that circulates the water is silent.  This allows us to have a birdbath without having to worry about mosquitoes hatching in the water.  Mosquitoes need quiet water for that.  I wonder about all the ponds we have out here and Jay's Lake.  Maybe the wild geese will take care of that.  Not much any of us can do about it, otherwise.

This stand was $1, and I bought it specifically to put these cowbells on.  I would be happier if the cowbells would fit inside the circles, but they are just a tad too big.  It's those big circles that are attached to the tops of the hearts that are the problem.  I can pile some rocks on top of the base and that will keep it from blowing over in the wind.

I bought 3 pairs of knit pants for $2 each, comfortable on the knee for wearing around home.  A nice Oster blender with a glass pitcher was $2.  I bought it because I wanted an extra screw-on base so that, when I want to use my little blender jars for chopping nuts or herbs, I won't have to screw the base off the bottom of my glass blender pitcher and have it sitting there on the counter while it waits for the base to be cleaned and put back on.  I could've bought an extra from Amazon but it costs $10.  I'll just store the remaining parts of this blender.  If the motor burns out of the one I have, or if my glass pitcher breaks, I'll have replacement parts for them, too.  My little half-pint blender jars were found at an estate sale, a couple of months ago, for a quarter each.  They cost about $6 each on Amazon.  I wouldn't have paid that for a little plastic jar because canning jars that take regular-sized lids will also fit the blender base.  This is really nice for certain things because you can store what you chopped up in the same jar. 

I also got some interesting-looking books by John C. Maxwell for a quarter each.  I don't have time to read right now, but this winter, they'll be nice to have.  This Christian author gets really good reviews on Amazon.

Hubs got a gallon of chain-saw oil for fifty cents, and a cordless drill with two rechargeable batteries for $15.

I bought some Burpee's brand Triomphe de Farcy "heirloom" bush snap bean seed at Tractor Supply the other day.  After I got home I did a little research to find out if I'd made a good choice and evidently this is the old Tendergreen bean that people grew here in Oklahoma in the distant past.  I don't know why some people think they have to rename things.  It gets confusing.  Just give it a French name and we silly Americans will just glom right onto it.  Sheesh.  There were quite a few more beans in the package than I expected.  They're supposed to be long, tender and stringless.  I don't typically like bush beans, the beans are hard for me to pick and they take up more space than pole beans do.  We'll see what we think.  So a package of those have been planted and some of them are already up because I also bought a package of bean inoculant, and put some in the water I pre-soaked the beans in.  I should've done that to my Lazy Housewife beans.  They didn't come up well at all this year and I feel like it'll be stretching it to get enough to can.  More likely I'll just get fresh seed that I can plant for fall beans, or spring of next year.  I also planted some Turkey Craw and White Whippoorwill cowpeas, some beets, and some Red Noodle beans.  There are small fruits on some of the tomato plants, the pepper plants, and on some of the winter squash plants. 

I'm harvesting peas now.  Wando was first by a few days, and then Tall Telephone.

Yesterday I blanched and froze 1.5 pounds.  When the pods are rough to the touch, the beans inside are mature and will dry well for seed-saving.  Usually I shell these peas but I notice I tend to damage some of the peas in getting the pod open, and that might be why I had so much trouble getting good germination this spring.  This time I decided to leave my seed peas in the pod and string them up for drying, like I saw being done on someone's blog I was reading last winter.

There might be a problem with mold so it's an experiment at this point for me. 

I got about half a pound of Wando peas last week.  Those were shelled and made into Creamed Peas and New Potatoes, one of Hubs' favorite things.  While I was weeding I uncovered a couple of potatoes that were close to the surface, and then I "gribbled around" and found a few more.  This is how Glenda says her mother always got her new potatoes without having to dig up the plant.  You get your new potatoes and your plant will go on and produce.  How cool is that?  This year, I will leave those potatoes in the ground until the tops die back, as Hubs said his parents always did.  Maybe they will store longer before starting to sprout.  I'm pleased, though, that the potato plants seem to be doing so well. 

These are from just the sprouts that I cut off from last year's potato crop.  I did buy a 5# bag of seed potatoes but they are planted in another part of the garden. 

The potatoes in the bag were small and so I just didn't cut them up.

I'm having a few potato plants coming up where I grew them last year and apparently missed some, and in a spot where I buried some compost also.  If a potato wants to grow, it will.  Some people say they start potato plants from peelings, but I think they must peel their potatoes more thickly than I do.  I usually don't have potato plants coming up out of where I buried the contents of my kitchen scrap bucket. 

I have had several salads with baby spinach out of the garden as the base.  I just add whatever I happen to have.  Usually it's shredded carrot and grape tomatoes from the store on a day when I don't want to go "foraging".  But there have been times when that salad has included baby lettuce, green onion, baby kale, fennel and celery stalks, sprout thinnings from buried compost, red clover flowers, dandelion leaves and flowers, and nasturtiums, all from the yard and garden.  I looked for pods on the Redbud tree because I wanted to try them, after finding out they're edible, but there were none.  Added to that, some cauliflower, avocado, carrot and grape tomatoes from the store.  My salad dressing is a small handful of shredded or grated cheese, some sunflower seeds, salt and pepper, and a slosh of lemon juice.  Sometimes I cannot eat it all at one meal. 

I'm glad I decided to plant the spinach in several places.  It's done poorly in some places and better in others.  But none of it has grown as big as the package says.  It'll be bolting to seed before long.  The kale seed pods are ripening and I'll be harvesting the seed soon.  Been thinking about letting it self-seed somewhat.  I may never have to plant kale again.  I'm really glad to have it when there is nothing else growing in the garden. 

Only two of those peanuts I planted have come up.  Now I'm soaking some in water and bean inoculant with plans to replant, maybe on Monday morning.  You know what they say, "You're not gardening in Oklahoma if you haven't replanted at least once or twice".  Sheeeeeesh.  I don't know how well peanuts will grow here.  They say you need sandy soil.  I hesitate to introduce sand into the garden beds.  Sand and drought conditions equals zero.  We're having anything BUT drought conditions now, but after mold kills half the things in the garden, drought can come along within 30 days and kill the other half.  The wind has blown the first fruits off the plum and apricot trees, but there are still apples, pears, peaches.   Something keeps eating the leaves off the okra plants.  A couple have died.  We haven't seen any more rabbits inside the fence, but now there are squirrels.  It's always somethin'.

Where I have used bean and pea inoculant, I have seen what I think is a big improvement in speed of emergence and in the overall health of the plant.  I used to think it just made no difference, but I'm about to rethink that.  So I went out today and made a little trench near every Lazy Housewife bean that has come up, dropped in some inoculant, and then watered.  Will it help?  I don't know.  But I've got to use the inoculant or wind up with something that's inactive.  Use it or lose it.  Apparently it had been expired a month by the time I bought it.  The next purchase, you can bet I'll be looking at the expiration date. 

The sweet potato plants have had a slow start, but they are looking pretty healthy now. 

That's some spinach and volunteer lettuce on the left, but there are little sweet potato plants among them.  I started these by planting the sprouted ends of the sweet potatoes I grew last year.  I didn't have time to mess with "growing sprouts". 

This is now Tuesday, May 31.  Memorial Day.  To all our country's military, past and present, and their wives, parents and children, THANK YOU for the sacrifices you make every day, or have made in the past, in order to serve your country.  It matters not whether I am in agreement with where you are sent.  What matters is that you obediently go, and you give your all.  When you are a military family, your sacrifice goes unnoticed most of the time.  But your sacrifice is real, too.  We wives have our babies without our families and husband there.  We live our lives as best we can until we can go home and live "a normal life", knowing, all the while, that there are some places where people never know what that's like.  Hubs and my era was Viet Nam.  He served on the USS Enterprise. 

We knew how fortunate he was to not be in combat.  We knew, even at our young ages, how blessed we were.  Our sacrifices were nothing compared to that of the many that came home in a body bag.  Or didn't come home at all.  And their families.  All who serve come home changed forever, some in very profound ways.  Hubs' changes were not profound, but he matured in the Navy.  May God bless all of you and protect you.  Big hugs all around.

Mondays are my weigh-in days and I admit to having some weird ups and downs during this past month.  Yesterday I showed a loss that I was pleased with, but because I know I always seem to weigh a little more on Mondays (not sure why), and also because today is the last day of the month, I weighed again, and I showed the loss of yet another pound.  So, for the whole month, I have lost four "new territory" pounds. ("New territory" means I haven't been this weight in 20 years.)  It's more than my planned half a pound a week, and might've been more than that except I have been going a little overboard on some unsalted cashews I bought at Aldi.  I'm real tempted to go at it "hammer and tongs", as Mom used to say, so I can get UNDER that 200-pound mark by the end of next month.  I'm more than just sick and tired of my weight starting with a "2".  And of having every doctor blame everything that's wrong with me on my state of obesity.  But I know if I cut back too much, I'll mess up my metabolism and then I'll be on a plateau for awhile and I'm just not up to that.  It doesn't really, after all is said and done, get me there any faster.  And those quickly-lost pounds pack right back on at the first opportunity.  Nope.  Not going there.  If it happens by the end of June, I will be a happy camper, but I will not white-knuckle it to get there, is what I'm saying. 

Well, my dears, it's daylight, I've had my breakfast, Hubs has already gone outside and those garden weeds are calling to me.  A high of 81º is expected and the humidity will be high.  I want to be in the house by then, know what I mean?  So till next time, Rock On...  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. What an interesting post filled with what's going on in your lives, and in your thoughts. :-)Love that fountain and your heart cow bells.

    My DH was in the US Navy from 1969-1973. He was sent to Rota, Spain and we were thankful for that. Nice photos of your hubs. Those uniforms bring back so many memories.

    Enjoy your week dear Ilene ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thank you, Lorraine. Hubs was in from 1965-69. Oh, Spain! That would be cool. He saw Japan, The Phillippines, Hawaii, but only for short periods of time. Out in the West-Pac, the rest of the time. He shipped out when I was 2 months along, and right after our baby was born, he was flown off the ship on a helicopter with the body of a deceased man, and then left stranded in Alaska. I had to wire money to him to get to where I was staying in San Francisco. I don't know what I would've done if we hadn't had good friends who helped me with all that. The baby howled all the time we were waiting for the plane at the airport and then quieted right down when he took her from me. She must've sensed how alone and scared I was feeling at the time.

      Enjoy your week, too, dear Lorraine.

  2. Your plants look wonderful and you have been so busy. Its a great feeling isn't it!
    I am glad you found some of the real sugar pepsi. Anything but HFCS!

    changing your eating habits is hard but those new territory losses are the most satisfying.
    We had our first peas tonight and I am going to sneak out for baby potatoes tomorrow.
    Rain delay again....but we did have 2 and one half good planting days and I did get the laundry in before the thunderstorm!
    Ralph was in the Marines.

    Take care and God Bless

    1. We are totally out of potatoes in the freezer now so if I don't use what we're growing I'll need to buy some at the grocery. Not sure what kind of harvest I'm going to have, it's so wet here. I don't know much about the Marines but seems like they are a top outfit. Thank you Ralph, for your service. Hugs to both of you.

  3. I do enjoy these longer posts. Like having you for a visit and we get all caught up on things.

    Your mentioning the new potatoes jogged a memory for me. They called it 'graveling' for potatoes. I need to check mine but I doubt they have any big enough yet.

    You are always so busy with projects. I am impressed. We seem to be busy just doing our daily 'chores'.

    Your garden is looking very good.

    1. Oh, maybe I've made up a new word, 'gribbling'. Heh! I couldn't remember 'graveling'. Some of my plants are dying, we've had so much rain and it is wet where they are. I guess I'll have to take the fork out there and see if there are any lower down. They won't grow any more with the plant dead, will they? I was in hopes you'd know what that weed is called. Hugs


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