Monday, February 08, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year


The Year of the Monkey.  Lively, playful.  We could use a year like that, since it's an election year and all (smile).

Snowing again today.  And it's very cold, no sun and the wind is pretty sharp.  Actually winter.
The Super Bowl was a Super Dud and we left the game (on tv) before the half and watched Downton Abbey instead.  Followed by Worst Cooks in America.  Much more entertaining.  My personal opinion on the Super bowl is that the two teams that make it were A) just lucky  B) too exhausted to play  C) or like to crash and burn in a very public display of....... incompetence.

Watching them roll around on the ground repeatedly fumbling the ball------ I would have blown the whistle and cleared the field.  Refunded the money.  Done.

I had a lovely job interview this morning.  With another employer.  Now I am trying to wrap my head around starting over someplace else.  Do I want to?  Should I?  Wasn't I just talking about limiting the number of months I wanted to work this year?  The Year of the Monkey.  Wow!

I found some pelletized seed packages.  Carrots, Beets, Scallions.  Easy to see and plant evenly. All the seeds are coated with this red clay substance--makes the tiny seeds bigger and brighter.  What fun. I don't have to do (Monkey around with) the flour paste and toilet paper thing this month.  Pasting the tiny seeds out in a grid on the toilet paper--ready to lay down on the soil surface (in the garden) and cover lightly with soil or compost. 150 of each.  Gosh.  150 carrots rather than the 20 I got this year.

My milk jug project (7 gallon jugs) is outside in the garden.  G placed all the jugs in little depressions he made in the snow.  They got rained on and now are covered in snow.  The caps are off--so a bit of rain and snow has probably gotten inside to moisten the soil.  G wondered what the odds were for any snowflakes or raindrops actually making a direct hit.  Now I don't think that matters as the top of each jug has a little white snow cap.  That will melt eventually.  And the seeds haven't actually germinated yet--they are still "sleeping".  I have two more gallon jugs and one half gallon to plant with seeds.  I asked G to look into the recycle bins along the street for more jugs ---- you should have seen me eyeing carts at the grocery--for ones with three or four gallons of milk.  A milk-jug stalker!!!

I haven't gotten the onion seeds started yet--that's my next project.  I'll be using the nice 6 by 10 inch salad boxes (with lids) I get Spring Greens and Baby Kale in.  Have to ask G to drill holes in the bottoms for drainage.  I am checking to see just how much seed starting soil mix I have on hand.

Happy New Year!!!


Friday, February 05, 2016

Hello, Again


Well, even though it was 50 something degrees yesterday and most of the landscape shrubs had fat buds and very green leaves ---- we now have snow.  Lots of it.  Started snowing very early, before I was awake, and continues into the late afternoon.   Snow globe snow.  Swirling around outside.

The dog is happy.  He loves snow.

G isn't happy.  He has to go out and snow-blow it all off the driveway.

I think it's pretty and wintery but I have no where to go--so it's okay with me.

Our daughter had to drive home in it but she's safely home and getting her own driveway shoveled.
No school here in Maine.  So, it's pretty quiet outside.

G and I just finished our usual late lunch while watching House Hunters (Naples, Florida) and one of the houses looked like something I would actually love.  Big open plan and everything white.  On a golf course.  Not that I would use the golf course.  The golf cart?  Yes.

I took my last capsule of the Z-Pak and I still have a cough--but the chest congestion has lessened. I am going to return to "Deep Couch City" and read more of this Norwegian murder mystery which keeps going back and forth from 1538 to 2010.  I ate the last few pieces of my TJ's dark chocolate covered caramels last week (or the week before) so I won't be tempted to get up off the couch to get candy.

I did some laundry and we have lots of leftovers to eat.  Not much work for me to do this afternoon.  So, I will just sit and read.  Until it gets dark outside.  I am reminded of last February--when I was cooking beans every week--trying out new dry chilies for the flavoring.  And this February we are trying to eat as many potato chips as possible with our lunches.


Monday, February 01, 2016

Well, I Certainly Didn't See This Happening


I had a tremendously hard time breathing last night.  The inhaler didn't help much and when I woke up this morning I still had what I would call congestion (no cough) and a feeling of heaviness in my lungs.  And to tell the complete honest truth--I was beginning to wonder about lung cancer.

Called my doctor.  Had an appointment but the office nurse decided, after talking to me, to send me to the ER for a chest Xray and a breathing treatment.

So there I was --wearing a hospital ID band.  I spent 2.5 hours in ER.  And the ER doctor said my oxygen levels were 100%, my chest Xray was perfect, my color was good and for my age I was extremely healthy.  And they sent me home with a prescription for a Z-Pak as the doctor thought a 2 month "cough/cold" was too long.

Everyone at ER thought I looked familiar.  From working down the street from the hospital.  So, while I rested in my ER bed I gave out helpful gardening tips and advice.

G found that fascinating.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Searching For Color


In an otherwise white, grey and black landscape.  The Sun is shining.  The Sky is blue.  The temperatures are between 35 and 45 degrees and it is not "normal".

I got out my seed box and sorted thru the packages.  I am going to start my onions and shallots. Inside.  But I read about a method for starting perennial and tender perennial seeds--outdoors in empty, recycled semi transparent milk jugs.   You cut them open halfway up the jug, leaving a hinge so the top and bottom halves are still connected.  Then you drill or punch holes in the bottom of the jug.  Fill with a  moistened seed starting potting mix (2 to 4  inches) and plant your seeds (read the packages as some seeds like to be covered and others do not), flip the hinged top over the seed bed, tape with duct tape, leave the bottle cap off  (so air and water can go in and out) and then take the jugs outside and set them on a table or just in the snow.  Somewhere sunny is nice.

Being outside in the "elements" will cold stratify the seeds and when warmer (??) temps arrive the seeds will sprout.  Ready to be planted out in the garden.  I am going to try Lambada Bee Balm, Bread Seed Poppies, Blue Fescue Grass,  Sage, Cottage Pinks. If I had some Lupine seeds I would give them a shot as well. Seed packages should read "sow 4-6 weeks before last frost".  If they say that then it is okay to try this method.  My zinnias will go out in late February/early March along with Calendula.

What is a gardener without a gardening challenge?

I will also set myself up a work station and make toilet paper seed tapes for my carrots and beets. The beets did very well last year but the carrots were a great disappointment.  I also want to put in some parsnips.  Which reminds me that we need to start buying and hauling composted manure from the nearest dairy operation.

Otherwise?  We are still trying to get out of the house once each day to "do something".  G is more successful than I am.  My cold seems to be finished--but wood smoke outdoors is causing my asthma to "react".  It's been a real struggle this winter to breathe without coughing.  Or more likely---wheezing.  I am usually dizzy and awfully tired.  But I try to go out each evening with Riley to look at the stars if the sky is clear.

My Calendula salve project made 10 containers (4 ounces each) and look quite lovely but more of a yellow green than the sunny golden yellow I expected.  It was kind of messy but every project is messy the first time one tries it.