Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Catch Up Time, Yet Again, Second Week of May

I am woefully behind on posts.  I keep thinking I should do a bunch of little short ones instead of these long things but I don't seem to be organized enough to do so. 

Hubs and I have been plugging along while I try to recover from shoulder surgery.  I'm making good progress but the doctor authorized another month of therapy and said he wanted me to be "good as new".  I like that orthopedic shoulder guy a lot better than I liked the orthopedic knee guy.  He is so kind and seems like he really cares about his patients.  I don't know much about the knee guy.  I never saw anybody but his PA except for the day of surgery, and I was out cold by the time he showed up.  I wouldn't know him if we passed on the street, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't recognize me, either.

I cannot let this opportunity pass without saying something political.  Sorry.

Hubs and I watch "The View" and yes, it is heavily Democrat slanted.  But hey.  Watch FOX news and you will find that they are so heavily slanted the other way and they are pretty darned petty and offensive about it with all this, "Democrats are just mad because they lost" chant.  That, to my mind, is like a married man that says, "My wife doesn't understand me".  It's a wide generalization and not true anyway, because the real truth is all so much more complicated than that.  If they so want Democrats to "get over it", they need to quit bringing it up and throwing it in our faces all the time.  Sheesh.

Up until this year, I have always voted for the "man" and not for the "party".  I personally haven't given a rat's ass what party anybody is registered as and I think too many people have a history of voting for someone just because it's showing solidarity along party lines.  That is just such a stupid thing to do.  We have not had time to feel the full force of the lack of wisdom in doing this but I believe that we will.  So far, several things have happened that make me feel like turning to certain people who voted for Trump and saying, "How do you like him NOW?"  But that would be rude.  Not that quite a few Republicans haven't been rude to me when they have found out I'm a Democrat, mind you.  If we are reduced to voting for someone ONLY because of their party, we might as well all stay home and let the election board just count how many people are registered for each party.  Botta bing.  We need voter reform soooooooo bad.  Personally, I'm considering changing my party from Democrat to Republican just so I can go to the primaries and vote against the most incompetent candidates from the git-go.  It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.  Lots of somebodies, apparently. 

But anyway.

They had senator Kirsten Gillibrand on The View on 5/8.  She is a Democrat and I really liked some of the things she said, they were just so common sense.  Just so ya know, when they brought her on, I thought she was a Republican.  One of her ideas was that medical insurance should be a not for profit institution so people could have affordable protection.  We all know it's because of their huge profit margins that they don't want to insure anybody that might actually submit a claim.  I'd go one further and say pharmaceuticals should also be not for profit.  Here's her website if you'd like to look around. 
https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/

She seems to be a sharp young female attorney and you mark my words, we'll be asking her to run for president someday.   It both amazes me and annoys me that so many Americans are secretly (or not) afraid to have a woman president.   Mostly men, and same people that don't like to work for a female boss.  A woman was our FIRST boss -- our mother.  And that expression, "If you want a job done right, give it to a woman", is spot on.  Women get together, figure out what needs to be done, and do it.  Men get together, ideas are presented, then their egos get in the way and they all want their idea to be picked whether it's any good or not.  They start bullying each other, eventually it turns out to be the guy with the most political clout or the most money whose idea is picked and they're through early with no idea how to implement it because they want to stand around and stick their chests out and pat each other on the back in front of a TV camera. 

On this same program they also had information about a way that people can help teachers.  You know, this country's public school teachers are some of the lowest-paid people in our country.  And they pay for their supplies out of their own pockets.  Here's a website that helps teachers, and apparently it's up to all of us to help teachers because there isn't any part of government that's doing much of anything for them:
https://www.donorschoose.org/about

I know all this tax stuff is compartmentalized and complicated and I don't see how it needs to be, but I am just an old Redneck woman afterall.  Something feels terribly wrong in Oklahoma to me.  Our state governor is slapping new taxes on all sorts of things, cutting back on programs, laying people off, talking about shutting down state parks.  Meanwhile, the City of Tulsa is on the news really often because they are just spending money like it was Monopoly Money and they haven't got the sense not to brag about it.  I thought that play tower they imported from Germany for The Gathering Place was just outrageous considering all, they even used the same word but I guess they have a different dictionary than I do.  Here's a piece on it if you want to read it.
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/gatheringplace/towers-playground-equipment-making-journey-from-germany-for-a-gathering/article_6473adef-7f32-5721-98a9-f036a33f6d9b.html

I guess that's enough ranting for now.  I can't have you getting used to me not ranting, you know.

There is a bird that is commonly seen out here where we live that is called a "Killdeer".  Cornell Labs says its name has something to do with the sound of it's call, but I don't know that I hear that.  It sounds very much like a seagull, it's in the same family, I think.  Plover?  Hubs encounters them often when he's mowing The North Fourth.  They lay their eggs on the ground, right out in the open.
Not a wise choice, if you ask me.  Lots of things can happen to eggs on the ground.  But aren't they beautiful?

Mama is always very protective.  Hubs had me walk out with him because I had told him the next time there were eggs, I wanted to get a picture.  She was on the eggs as we walked out.  (Between the two trees near the bottom of the top half of the picture, the fleck of white is her head)

But as soon as she saw us approaching, she went into high gear.

She chose a spot some distance away from her eggs, threw herself on the ground, and made churring noises, trying to get us to see her.  She flopped around trying to make us think she was hurt.  When Hubs mows, if there are eggs on the ground the mother actually runs around frantically in front of the mower.  Once he knows where the eggs are, he's always careful to avoid them.  And her.


All this to protect her eggs.  Cardinals do this sort of thing, too, but it's the male that pretends he is hurt.  I guess that's because he is the one that's red and easier to see.  I am always so touched with sadness as I see how they struggle to protect their eggs and their young, and I think what a hostile environment it is, yet they persevere.

We have coyotes, possums and skunks out here.  And the neighbors' dogs roam free on everyone's open land.  All consider eggs to be a nice treat.  Right after I took these pictures, it rained and rained for days and days.  After the rains were over I went out to see if the eggs were still there and they were not.  I hope mother Killdeer was able to hatch her eggs and get her young to safety till they can be off on their own.

I'm not sure where the wild geese have their eggs, but this is hatching time for them, too.  It's always a treat to see them walking their young around.  Father goose is part of the procession, honking, flapping his wings while he walks, ever watchful, ready to throw himself into the face of danger, literally.  All the little hatchlings following behind, Mother goose bringing up the rear, to watch for stragglers.  Such a great distance they walk those little ones, from one pond to another.  Little short gosling legs must get so tired.

The smaller birds are collecting stuff for nests and laying eggs.  It's kind of a nuisance, sometimes, as they like to nest in inconvenient places.  They've clogged up the rain gutters such that Hubs is out today to do what he can to clear them out.  Clogged rain gutters overflow to the point where there isn't much point in having rain gutters at all.

Sue has a good post over on The Iowa Housewife (link on my sidebar) about making fruit crisps, and that reminded me of how my sister used to make what she called "Dump Cake", she'd put some kind of fresh fruit with a little sugar and maybe just enough water to moisten, if needed, or if she didn't have fresh fruit she'd use a can of pie filling, on the bottom of a greased baking dish, cut about half a stick of butter into a dry cake mix and scatter it on top of the fruit and then bake.  It gets all bubbly as it browns on the top and it's done when the top starts to brown.  I made one, just to make sure I was telling you right.  I used blackberries I found in the freezer, saved from last June's harvest.  Blackberry cobbler is comfort food for Hubs, so he will eat almost all of it, a piece or two every day.  I offered to freeze half of it and he said no.  No is his favorite word, by the way....

Turns out kind of rich and calorific, but if you make it in a 9x14 cake pan and serve pieces same size as if they were a regular cake, you're not getting many more calories than if you ate it as cake, when you consider that you would put frosting on a cake.  But then, if you're going to top this with whipped cream, or a dollop of vanilla ice cream, that would change things. 

I may have posted this recipe before, it's one my mother used to use a lot and I've used it quite a bit over the years.  It's very economical because it calls for canned fruit, and I have modified it so that fresh fruit can be used instead, if that's what you have.

Easy Peach Cobbler
This recipe can be made quickly with no fuss, from things kept on hand. I prefer about half as much margarine in the recipe, however, and I prefer to stir it into the batter before pouring it into a greased pan. Otherwise I would try to incorporate the melted butter from the edges towards the center, as it tends to collect on the edges.  This makes for really buttery outside pieces but the persons that get the center pieces miss out. This doesn’t seem like much flour for a 9x13 pan, but trust me, one cup is the correct amount.

To make low fat, add 1/2 tsp. salt to the batter and omit the stick of margarine. Coat the pan with cooking spray. It's not as good this way, but that's the way of it.

May substitute 4 cups fresh berries or other fresh fruit for the peaches, but in that case, melt 1/4 C. sugar in 1 C. water and pour over the top of the fruit, before sprinkling on the sugar and spice mixture.

Mix Together:
1 C. flour
3/4 C. sugar
1 T. baking powder
3/4 C. milk

Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine or butter in warmed 9”x13” cake pan. Pour batter over melted margarine. Arrange sliced peaches and juice from a 29 oz can or a quart, if home-canned, on top of batter.  (I hold a spoon above the batter and pour the juice into the spoon, that way it doesn't disturb the batter as much.)  Mix together 1/2 C. sugar and 1 T. flour (may add 1/2 t. cinnamon or nutmeg if desired) and sprinkle evenly over all. Bake at 350º about 35 minutes or till brown. Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Makes 8 or 9 servings and is best if served warm.

Sue also had a post with a casserole recipe on the blog, and included the link to a .pdf downloadable copy of an old Good Housekeeping Women's cookbook.  When I went there, I was delighted to find that this site has many other downloadable cookbooks.  My only problem is that I hate my current version of Acrobat Reader.  I was forced, some months ago, to upgrade the version that I had and the upgrade is just really crappy, if you ask me.  Or even if you don't.  I suppose they're thinking, "What do you expect for free", but it doesn't much make me want to buy any of their other products.  Anyway, here is that site:
http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/browse.html

Well, what with surgery and all I haven't been very good about being careful what I'm eating.  God blessed me with a lot of things that might be good in some other environment, but are not so wonderful in my current situation.  And one of those things is a good appetite and the ability to efficiently pack away part of everything I eat "for a rainy day", if you know what I mean.  Not that I'd need anything for a rainy day because being cooped up in the house all day makes me want to cook and then eat what I cooked.  Sheesh.

Dr. Oz has been presenting a plethora of weight loss plans and I guess it's good for us to be informed but he presented one method via Tim Tebow a few months ago that totally got me off track.  I've been kind of stalled out since then.  It was just stupid of me, I know what works for me, this ain't my first rodeo.  I like Dr. Oz and I think his heart is in the right place and he does have a show to put on five days a week so I get where he's coming from.  It's just that I find myself watching his show with the attitude of a critic.  And we all have to do this with most advice that is given us about a lot of things besides losing weight.  Some things that work for somebody else work for us, some don't.  I am, however, getting awfully annoyed at all those women he keeps introducing to us, who say they've lost a great many pounds, and all I see is that they're so poured into their clothes, my guess being that they're wearing one of those "Spanx" girdle things all the movie stars seem to be so taken with, because they look like they're very compressed, and it makes me wonder if we'd be able to tell any difference between their "now" as compared to a "before" picture without the Spanx.  I'm happy for anyone when they're able to lose weight they need to lose in order to be more healthy.  But just don't try to make it look more impressive than it is.  It's not fair to us, not fair to them, and damages your credibility. 

Something I found interesting, though, was a piece he did about cottage cheese.  I was surprised to see that there were some people in his audience who had never eaten cottage cheese.  It has earned kudos in the past for it's high protein content, and then other times it's been sort of "blacklisted" because of its high fat content.  But Dr. Oz was in favor of it and in fact they are now marketing a smooth cottage cheese that can be eaten instead of sour cream, cream cheese, and/or greek yogurt. 

My mother made cottage cheese when we still lived on The Farm.  I was just little, but I remember her putting a big ball of it in the center of a muslin tea towel and then hanging it on the clothesline by securing all the corners of the towel onto the line with several clothespins.  It would drip for several hours and the ducks would gather under it to eat the whey that dripped on the grass.  When it was done dripping, she brought it in and stirred cream into it.  Oh, that was good!  After we moved to town, we'd have to settle for store cottage cheese but she bought it often.  And when I was raising my kids, I would buy it to serve with things that I didn't think had much protein, such as pot pies or the canned ravioli that my kids were crazy about.

I bought a 24 oz container of large curd cottage cheese at Homeland and it was almost $4.  OMG.  Today Hubs informed me that one of the stores has it advertised for $1.99, so I will buy several.  I actually have enjoyed eating cottage cheese on toast before but I never tried blending it smooth, so I decided to give that a whing. 


Well, I'm not exactly fond of it on toast that way, because it just tastes too salty.  I did enjoy it on a baked potato with some chopped green onion.  I just didn't add salt to my potato to allow for the salt in the cheese.  Not sure if I could find a low-salt version or not.  I find a lot of things taste so salty that they aren't even fun to eat anymore.  I much prefer popcorn, popped in coconut oil, and then with regular salt, instead of potato chips or corn chips.  At least I can control the amount of salt in that, and it has the crunch I want.  Less fat.  Cheaper.  I kind of suspect I might have a little bit of an addiction to salty, crunchy things almost as big as my addiction to sugary things.  My doctor's PA was telling me the other day that his father has heart disease and has to be on a diet, and that they found that the only cheese that doesn't contain a lot of salt is swiss cheese.  Hmmmm.  That's good to know. 

There are a lot of things we can switch out for some of the less nutritious stuff we've learned to love, and sometimes this is a smart thing to do, sometimes it's just more work than it's worth.  You have to be the judge of that for yourself.  I read on someone's blog that doing stuff like this is "like having sex with your pants on".  I had actually never heard it put quite that way and I'm not sure it's a good analogy but oh, well, whatever.  Their point was that you need to retrain your palate to enjoy things that are good for you rather than trying to fool it into thinking it's getting pie.  And we need to learn to "eat to live" and not to "live to eat".  I hear what they're saying but we all have our weak moments when we just want a piece of pie and if we can't have it we will literally eat everything else in the refrigerator trying to satisfy the craving, know what I mean?  Anything that is made with artificial flavors and sweeteners just actually makes you crave again the next day, or maybe even as little as a few hours later, and that's a bunch of unhealthy chemicals you're putting into your body, so it's probably a better idea to nip it in the bud when it first rears it's ugly head rather than to just kick the can down the road.  And there's something to be said for retraining yourself and breaking certain habits you have.  Such as having to have a little something sweet after a meal.  Or eating in front of the TV after you've already had a meal, like between dinner and bedtime.  It's best to go through the discomfort of breaking those habits but if it is just impossible, you can do things like keep a bowl of unshelled sunflower seeds around.  The sunflower seed is good for you and it's not like you can grab a handful of them and pop them in your mouth.  It's still better to break the habit, as there's going to come a day when you are out of sunflower seeds and then you'll walk the floor, anyway, trying to stay out of the refrigerator.  So diversionary tactics are in order.  Get up off the couch and take a short walk.  Or phone a friend and have a short visit.  Or pick up some needlework or some kind or a crossword puzzle.  Sometimes even a jigsaw puzzle on a card table in the room will make a good diversion and you can still know what's happening on the TV.  They say if you can do something for 30 days you can create a habit or break one.

I think we also need to actively train our stomachs not to expect so much volume of food.  This is often referred to as "shrinking the stomach", and it's not so much that as it is figuring out at what point your stomach is going to stop growling at you, and stopping there.  I think this is why they sometimes recommend you have six small meals a day rather than three larger ones.  If you do this consistently, one day you'll notice that when somebody gives you a plate that's piled full, you just won't be able, or won't want, to eat the whole thing.  The adult stomach is only meant to hold approximately a quart. 

Our garden, such as it is, is drying out after getting too much rain.  We expect rain, possibly tonight, and then for three days and two more nights.  So I will try to get some transplanting done today.  I have a Maypop coming up where I don't want it, and not coming up where I DO.  That's Maypop for you.  I found some Lamb's Ear that I transplanted to a spot under one of the fruit trees because it was being walked on, where it was.  And I have several things growing in bunches because they were wintersown and I just took the whole thing out of the jug and popped it into a hole I made, since I knew I'd be out of commission when it was really a better time to transplant.  Some things died, some made it.  I have a good stand of Calendula Resina that I think will divide well for its transplant as it all looks healthy, just too crowded. 

I have planted beet seed twice and I just haven't seen much happening at all.  I can't imagine why.  The seed I used for the first planting was packed for last year, but I've had good results from seed planted before that was a lot older than that.  And the seed I planted most recently was packed for this year.   I haven't seen that it's made much of a difference.  There are pea pods on the spring peas, and the fava beans have been in bloom for what seems like forever with no beans formed yet.  Spinach bolted to seed before it even got very big.  I do have some nice little clumps of Buttercrunch lettuce out there, but I just saw another dang rat run across the patio last night and so far it's been able to eat the bait without tripping the trap.  If it makes it out to the garden, goodbye, lettuce.  I read somewhere if they're getting plenty to eat elsewhere, your trap will work better if you put a ball of cotton in it, as they will be looking for nest materials.  So I did that with one of the traps.  I saw the rat again this morning, it was checking out the compost bucket I'd set out there.

And though it isn't June yet, we are starting to get June Bugs banging themselves against things in the early morning if the patio light is on.  I get up early so I've been having my coffee out there and I pick them up and drop them into an empty milk jug.  The birds have gotten used to my putting grubworms out for them and they are pretty prompt at taking them.  But they weren't interested in the June Bugs I left for them yesterday.  So this morning I burned trash and threw the ones from yesterday and today in the fire.  I could take them to Brent and Rebecca, around the corner, for their chickens, but you know, sometimes things like this are just a burden for people to let you think you're doing something FOR them.

The onions are looking good and coming along.  I have one row of open-pollinated "Sweet Candy", and then all those hybrid Candy onions Paula sent me for my birthday (thanks again, Paula).  The garlic are putting on scapes and should be ready for harvest in early June.  These are from garlic sent to me by a man who frequented the same gardening forum I did, back when we lived at The Ponca House, and I have kept them going every year. 

The Albion strawberries I was so proud of have winterkilled, except for about three small clumps.  I hope those three will spread this summer and maybe I can learn a better method for helping them through next winter. 

Potatoes are blooming.  I'm growing some blue ones this year.  Also some Yukon Golds and some red-skinned ones, in addition to some tan-skinned potatoes from last year's garden and some big brown baking potatoes that came from the grocery store and sprouted in the bowl in the kitchen. 

Maybe next post I will have some garden pictures.  OMG the clover in the pathways is really growing, and blooming, and the bees are loving it.  But so are the weeds and I'm having a helluva time with that.  I don't think planting annual rye grass as living mulch was all that good an idea.  It's all starting to make seed now so I'll probably be fighting that for the rest of my life.  I had Hubs go out with the weed-wacker, finally, because I just couldn't get on top of it. 

Well, this is probably not a very good post, but it's the best I can do for now.  At least y'all know I'm still amongst the living.  Must get out there and get some things done.  Till next time....

Rock on.....  Hugs xoxoxo  (Hubs just yelled at me from outside!  Just now caught that dang rat!!)




2 comments:

  1. I enjoy your posts because you tell it like it is! :) My cataract surgery is tomorrow. I'm ashamed to complain after reading about your shoulder and how long you'll be out of commission. I've about worn myself down today getting all the laundry, etc. done because the farmer doesn't know a thing about housework. :) It's looking like I won't get to have a garden until late summer.

    Before the president was elected, I said people may get what they asked for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charlotte, I've had cataract surgery on both eyes and a retinal peel on one eye. You'll be able to be back to normal pretty quickly, just don't lift anything heavy for awhile. We always used to tell people not to lift anything over 10 pounds, don't bend over and tug on anything, and don't use power tools for at least the first week. Just make sure you do your eye drops as prescribed, and wear your perforated plastic eye guard at night for as long as the doctor says.

      Hubs does what he can to take care of me, but if a meal is involved he drives into town and buys fast food. So I'm usually up and cooking as quickly as I can, sometimes I make things ahead of time and store them in the freezer. But I was able to get around and make our meals pretty quickly.

      I don't see why you can't have your garden. Talk to the ophthalmologist who's doing your surgery and see what he says. Good luck! Hugs

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