Friday, July 21, 2017

If....I Had Grandchildren

I love everything about this room.  The carpet is gorgeous--the star of the shop so to speak.

I went out for the first time the grocery store at around 4pm.  The dog and I stayed home together all day.  G had a 4 hour mowing job and the painter and the drywall guy were here and I couldn't leave the dog here with them.  Riley has these panic attacks.  Ringing the bell on the back door (it's way too hot and humid--he wouldn't be able to breathe if we let him out) and he pants and whimpers and acts so odd. I give him Benadryl and turn on the tv and talk.  And eventually (just like G) the dog falls asleep.

The grocery was fun.  Bagels, yogurt, milk, cereal, potato chips and ham, turkey and swiss cheese for G to roll up into a bread-less lunch.  I didn't buy anything extra.  And I saw a very cute three month old baby.  Giggling because he had burped.  Very amused by himself.  Fat cheeks, big smile and bare feet with little toes like kernels of corn.  I missed having grand babies.

I had intended to sew new buttons onto my shirt.  Blouse.  Whatever it is called these days.  New, antique buttons.  With embroidery floss.  The buttons are very odd little bone colored discs with two very large unevenly shaped holes.  They came out of an old canning jar filled with odd, old buttons. Looks like I may have purchased it at an antiques show.  When I did that sort of thing.

I  am thinking of cutting a foot or more off two long dresses and hemming them to make dresses that end just under the knee.  Wondering if I can manage to do that.  In the summer I think a dress would be very cool and breezy to wear.  I looked at Goodwill.  No pretty summer dresses in my size.
I see everyone wearing pretty summer dresses and want to stop them and ask "where did you buy that?"  But I don't.

Well, it's time to go get ice cream.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Traffic, Summer People and Shopping

My little Town has always had a "traffic problem".  And when the Summer People arrive--it gets so much worse. And the Music Theater right in the center of Town isn't helping--out of state cars, parking etc. But today, the regular Town people worked together to make my drive to work and back (just to pick up free seed packets)  really frustrating.  And then Nature added a huge wasp to the mix--in my car (with me).

People with left hand blinkers in lanes with no arrow for left turns.  And when an opening arrived--they weren't "ready".

I traveled to work and then into the lane with a left turn blinker and finally made my own left turn (with an arrow) and arrived at Goodwill.  I scored a near perfect pair of Bean Perfect Knit Pants in my size and my favorite color--black.  The pair I had on while shopping is no longer really black and has suffered from a splatter of bleach on the leg.

I also purchased a used copy The New Basics cookbook ( I gave mine away years ago)-and found a very large four leaf clover inside.  It's like things are going to start going my way.........

And the general contractor came and put up the wallboard underlayment for tile.  In the hall bathroom.  Tomorrow drywall work and sanding etc.  Forward Movement.  Something getting done.
Yesterday the hall bath looked big.  Today it looks small.  The Optical Illusions of Renovation.

And he mopped the hall floor before he went home.  Yes, he did.

Last night I tried to do a bit of gardening, filled up the water bottles I use to water things--quickly--without dragging out the hose.  About 10 to 15 one gallon orange juice bottles.  And proceeded to get bit by most of the mosquitos in Maine.  I am so not interested in gardening right now.  July isn't my month.  Well, August isn't my favorite either.  Good thing G likes to water the garden for me.  And pick blueberries.  He says they are ready.  I did all these things last summer.  But don't want to do them this summer.

I think I am just not getting enough sleep.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Well, It's Wednesday @ Construction Zone

If storage of G's thousands of bandaids and Q-tips wasn't a problem this bath might appeal to me.  I see in the far right bottom corner a few rolls of toilet paper.  That's all this owner has stored.  Not even an extra towel.  Not sure the faucets in the wall would work--wet hands, drips etc.

The Painter is here.  He arrives like clockwork at 7:45 am.  Paints quietly and takes breaks, gives treats to the dog and then drives away at 1 pm.  Cleans up and never leaves a mess.

I don't know what it's like anymore to have a house without paper on the floors, stacks of tools, a black plastic garbage bag of odds and ends and ladders and lights on tripods all over the house. And a bath vanity by the front door.  The living room is full of furniture that belongs in other rooms, a ladder and three rolled up "new" rugs.  Oh, and a stack of framed art that used to be on the walls.

Let's be clear here.  Money has been paid. The Tile Guy is NOT showing up.  The hall bath is just pipes coming out of rough walls and electric wires dropping from the ceiling.  They did sweep. It's been SIX MONTHS.  G and I are past "done".  There will be NO kitchen renovation.

I think I would like to be normal again.  Make dinner.  Sleep past 7am if I feel like it.  Not have to walk past guys to get to the bathroom.  Not have power tools running.

I would like to be able to CLEAN.  There is dust everywhere and my feeble attempts to wash the floors each day after everyone leaves--well, even I can admit it isn't getting anything clean.  And the vacuum keeps clogging up with all the debris.

We do have a finished (and lovely) master bathroom and the staircase to the second floor is finished and quite good-looking, if you ignore the bath vanity at the bottom of the staircase.  The new front door is letting lots of light into the entrance hall--which shows us how many work boots have trampled thru in a day.  The new tile floor is never really clean no matter how many times I hand wash it.  I have beautiful hardwood floors but I have never actually seen them--they got covered in cardboard and tape as soon as they got nailed down.  Now they are saying the cardboard is possibly scratching the wood because it has been down too long.  How is that MY problem???????

So Six Months.  Too long.  Exhausting.  Expensive. Still not finished.  G went out an got things and fixed the leaking toilet in the upstairs third bathroom HIMSELF.  Took quite a few hours. The kit mentioned "easy" but nothing really is, is it?  I may make a cross stitch sampler with those words--to remind me in case I think of doing renovation again-in my lifetime.  Nothing is really "easy".

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Reflections On Life During Renovations

Does renovation lead one to reconsider life choices?

Last evening as I waited for our supper to get heated through, I started in on the storage cupboard. Removing expired canned goods.  Filled the recycling can with emptied containers.  What could --went into the compost bucket.  Emptied the compost once and the recycle container twice.

Our schedule here has stopped being "normal".  Breakfast is still the same but lunch can be served anywhere from 11am to 4 pm.  Supper is being discussed between 7 pm and 9.  Hard to get things "going" while men are roaming around the house. And if you eat lunch at 4 pm--do we really need to eat supper?  And when, actually, would I being cooking said supper?  I do cook on the weekend when there are no workers here.  Today I have pizza dough rising in the oven--off with only the light on. and I have a fennel bulb and onions to cook for a topping.

I started in on the storage cupboard because I had been reading my journal (and pasting in more pictures and articles) and was reminded of the "get rid of one thing a day" idea and tried to grasp whenever that particular page in the journal had been written.  The pages are no longer in order of date.

so--I was well behind in my tossing of un-needed items and the pantry or store cupboard was right there in front of me.

Later, G and I went looking for the wheels for my Earth Box planter.  Hard to move without the wheels.  I am going to plant four pepper plants in it and let them live on the back stoop.  May even go to "work" and buy a second one.  For two tomato plants.  Early Girl Bush.  We can possibly roll them into the house if it gets cold before they are ready.

Found a new blog and new recipe.  Chickpea Tofu.  Requires me to go shopping for chickpea flour.  My daughter is following Dr Furman's diet and the chickpea tofu could be another way for her to eat her "daily beans". And I also found a "hint" that a good remedy for poison ivy is an underarm deodorant stone.  Rubbed on the poison ivy rash.  Seems both items can be purchased at the health food shop. Daughter is weeding for a client with lots of poison ivy.

My thoughts and plans seem more scattered than usual.  I am sleeping every other night.  The prednisone effects.  The rash is gone, for now.  I am exhausted. I slept last night but am ready to go back to sleep as I type this.  I have a book to read but no attention span and my eyes won't focus on the words.  And nothing I could write here would be of any interest to anyone reading.  So, I am going to sign off for today.  Go back to sitting on the couch with my eyes closed--awake.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Doing the Minimum Renovation Work This Week

Today we got a few items finished.  Closet hanging poles.  The door to the basement.  A trap door I had painted to match the ceramic tile floor.  Black.  Blackish.  It had been painted white previously.

Monday we are clearing out the Master Bedroom that is now the way station for tools, the boxed toilet etc.  And we are being moved into the master bedroom.  Ready or Not.

Tile Man is still a "no show".  Hall bath has had no work done on it for two weeks. If he had come when it was scheduled--- we would be days away from being finished. Like by Wednesday of next week.  Now we are not.

The painter wants to start painting the second bedroom and that closet and it's doors.  The hallway is done but we'll be leaving the cardboard over the hard wood.  Riley seems to enjoy sleeping on the cardboard surfaces.  Not slippery and I think he will find the wood floors too scary..  (which is why I purchased a 12 foot carpet for the hallway--but will not be using it until every work person has driven away--for good))  Riley also likes summer days on the entrance hall ceramic tile floor.  Cool.  Black dog stretched out on the black ceramic tiles.  Invisible dog hair.

Visited the Farmer's Market today and got three pattypan squash and made Zucchini Butter.  Well, it's actually Squash Butter.  Use what you have.  Also had some peaches on the counter getting ripe and soft.  But the one I chose to eat wasn't soft enough so I made a Peach, Blueberry Smoothie.   Had to add honey yogurt to it to make it less "sharp" in flavor.  Smoothies are best if they are smooth.

I traveled upstairs to look for regular sized bed pillows.  I had four smaller sized pillow covers ( pink and white stripe) for the summer living room couches.  The big square pillow don't fit.  I did find two regular sized pillows so I sewed the pillows inside the covers.  I may go up again today and see if I can find other pillows.  I have lots of pillows.  If not, then I may slip one cover over one side of a bigger pillow and then slide the other cover over the opposite side and stitch them together.  A seam all around.  Total of 7 or 8 couch pillows.  Then if I am sure no more drywall dust--the white slipcovers.  Though who will see drywall dust on white duck????  Sneeze much?

Still working on that square of woven scrap fabrics.  Still adding bits of fabric if I feel like it.  Top stitching with embroidery floss.  Some from the Goodwill Bins and some from Deb of More Whiffs, Glimmers (who dyed them herself) and I love the ones from Deb--I even went and bought four more.
Waiting for the black one--  Love the changes the thread makes as it moves across the surface.

Which reminds me--G is home and we were going to cut squares off the table cloths and napkins I have to see if they are natural or plastic.  Set them on fire.

We disassembled a hoop house a few days ago.  17 feet wide and 96 feet long.  I bought half and my friend has the other half.  But 17 by 48 feet is still too big for me.  So, we'll see if anyone else wants to buy part.  Or I can just keep the extra bits as replacement parts. Or my friend might need to go longer so she can grow more perennials for her business.

Time is short.  And my energy for large projects is also short.  What I actually want is to be able to start my tomatoes, peppers and zucchini earlier--so now--in the summer I am eating and using the produce--not waiting another 6 to 8 weeks for Maine to get warm enough to ripen anything.

We had good rain yesterday and cool, partial cloudy day today.  Time for the plants to accept the water and get hydrated.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Roses: I Grow them In The Vegetable Garden

Yep, right there next to the herbs and garlic.  It's where I am. So why not have roses there as well. The Japanese Beetles are doing their job of ruining everything.  My favorite right now is Christopher Marlow.  Buds in a nice deep red pink and then opening to fat pink flowers. I love the buds best of all. Promise of good things to come.

This Spring I cut all my rose bushes to the ground.  Pruned them to nubs.  They all look great. It's like they appreciate having a "fresh start" a new chance to be beautiful rather than over grown.  Even the 10 foot tall one.  It's now chest high and looking pretty darn good--after not looking good for a few years.  Covered in beetles.  G "forgot" to spread the grub treatment.  He's gonna regret that...........

I was determined to do all the weeding myself this summer.  But finally conceded that I needed help. G has now just about weeded all the beds.  The carrot, kale, arugula (self seeded from somewhere) and 2 collard green plants (from a whole seed packet) are being crowded by purslane.  I know it's edible--sort of, but I weed it out.  Give it to my friend's chickens.  I also donate clover to the chickens.  That bed is on my radar for weeding (by me) today.

The master bedroom seems to be done.  All the painting is done. Closet doors are being put back on. It's still the storage area for everything and anything.  Tools, odd pipes, bags of screws, the hall toilet still in it's box. Boxes of tile for the hall bath. Paint cans. The soaking tub from the master had been sitting there in the middle of the room--upside down for months.  Now it's sitting in the hall bath.  The hull of the hall bath.  Walls are studs. Floor is torn up plywood.  Ceiling has holes and wires hanging out.  Tub is in enclosure with studs and pipes coming out of the walls.

We are waiting for the Tile Man.  And Waiting.

And it would be nice to not have the bath vanity sitting in the entrance hallway.  Greeting guests.  Starting to be a flat surface that people put things on.

The Plumber came back yesterday to fix the leaking toilet upstairs.  So we can have a second toilet.
It's hardly ever used and I guess it just needed some new fittings.  That's where I am moving my sewing room.  Used to be up there.  Nice light up there.  Big space.  I made good things up there. I miss making good things.  My plan is to make things again.  You happy.

But first.  I need to eat breakfast.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Summer Kitchen Idea

When I was a child, the Summer Kitchen was in the basement.  A stove.  A big zinc wash sink.  A big table.  Dark. Damp. Cool.  That summer Kitchen belonged to my Grandmother.  She also had a root cellar carved into the dark earth on one side of the basement.  My grandmother suffered thru the Great Depression and knew first hand what not having anything to eat meant. She canned and pickled anything she could get her hands on.

When we moved to "our own home" because family sharing wasn't in my mother's vocabulary--our Summer Kitchen was in the kitchen.  My mother didn't do more canning than a jar of (excellent) refrigerator pickles every week.  Lots of cold suppers.  My mother made a very good German Potato Salad with lots of pickled onions and crunchy bacon on top and a lovely lemon pie served ice cold.

Now my summer Kitchen is the regular kitchen.  Except it's very clean.  If you are canning or making jellies you need to clear off all the counters and scrub everything or else it all gets sticky.  Then get busy boiling a huge kettle of water.  Canning jars need to be boiled first then filled and then boiled a second time.  Then, when finished canning, you pour the boiling water down the sink drain--making it sparkling clean as well.

Then I do a big load of wash--all the kitchen cloths are usually pretty dirty or wet by the end of a day canning pickles.   And my clothing is pretty much covered in what ever I was canning.  Turmeric.  Stains all things. I wear a wipe clean oil cloth apron on canning days.  Red with white dots.

Then I sit in a cool dark room and rest and listen for the "pop" of the jar lids sealing tight.

Once upon a time I wanted a soapstone sink like the one above.  I think, now, a good solid stainless under mount is the one I want.

Zucchini are planted.  Peppers going in today.  We got the pepper bed weeded yesterday before it started to rain.  Then we went for ice cream.  I have three kinds.  New Ace.  Red Bells.  Japanese Sweet Pickling.   Yes, a lot of peppers.  And most are given away.  People are so happy when I show up with a fresh picked bag of peppers.  And I need red peppers for my many jars of zucchini bread and butter pickles.

Tomatoes--later this week.  I am waiting for some black plastic mulch sheeting.  Or I will just use composted leaves.  I have plenty of those.

Oh and we had homemade hamburgers yesterday.  With toasted buns, bacon and onions fried in the bacon fat.  Haven't had burgers in so long............ delish!!!

Friday, July 07, 2017

It's July-- Bring On The Watermelon

Not hot today--we are in the clouds with a chance for some rain.  My peppers, tomatoes and other seedlings on the porch--are taking a well needed breather.  I can hear them sighing.  It's not burning hot today.  They don't need water every two hours.

Watermelon.  In chunks right out of the fridge.  Icy.  Right into the mouth and enjoying the juicy coldness.  The sweet.  And also into the Vitamix with lemon and mint for a AquaFresca.  Other wise called juice or fruit water.

I am drinking so much water.  Loving water, right now.  Which is so NOT me.  I usually have to force myself to drink water.

I have strawberries to make into a smoothie with a frozen banana, raw cashews and a scoop of yogurt.  My neighbor gifted me a quart basket of berries on the 4th of July.  So more berries for smoothies.  This is an exceptional year for strawberries.  Everyone has too many.

My blueberry bushes are loaded with green berries (not ripe yet).  Pretty soon I'll be out there every day picking a large bowlful.  Big beautiful blue berries.  And the blackberry bushes are full, also.  but this year I am marking the canes making the tiny wild berries.  And we will be removing them.  I only want the larger cultivated berries.  And the deep bleeding scratches on my ankles from wadding into the thicket.  Grapes. so many baby grapes on the vines.  Seedless concords.

My rhubarb is still growing but I have no need of any.  I am not "hungry" for it.

And that is my new dilemma.  My habits are changing.  I am less interested in my garden and more interested in the fruit production of my yard.  Plum tree is loaded with tiny green plums.  Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, rhubarb, service berries, one or two beach plums and one singular peach on my new trees.  I do enjoy zucchini production for the pickles.  But my peppers all were given away--I only needed so many for red color in the bread and butter pickle jars.

I am fatigued.  By the endless watering, picking, making of things or freezing of the produce. I am almost 71.  I am tired of it all.  Most of all, I am dreading the canning kettle with all the boiling water on hot late summer days.  The jars and jars of pickled things.  Jammy things with sticky sugar over every surface. and the endless cleaning up.

I eat very little of it.  G consumes all the pickles and the jams.  Though now, he is rather 'picky" about which jam or jelly he will eat.  Didn't care for the peach.  Not as enthused by the blueberry jam. But very excited to find a few more pints of grape.  It's amazing what one finds at the back of a store cupboard.  And more pickles.  The last two production kettles of pickled zucchini.  Which now is preferred over cucumber bread and butter pickles.  Crunchier.

But there will be no new pickles if I don't get the squash plants into the ground.  Oh, I am making myself fatigued just listening to myself whining.  Just get on with it........ plant the stuff, water it, collect it and use it.  Then take a good long nap.

Now I am

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Road Trip

At the last minute I was invited on a Road Trip to Moose Crossing a very nice, large, extensive greenhouse operation north of here.  Not Canada.  We drove past Red's  in Wiscasset and the long, endless line to buy lobster rolls for $24 each.  We drove over two bridges.  Single lanes going north and south.  No passing.

And it was worth it.  Lovely plants.  I was with two landscapers so they bought carts (double shelves) of plants and shrubs.  I bought a little six pack of basil, 2 of blue lobelia (mine has dried up and needs replacing), 2 more white astilbe and some yellow marigolds for the woman whose tomatoes I am watering.  Some of her marigolds (planted with the tomatoes for good luck) have passed on.  So I am going to plant new ones as a surprise.

I wrote about the same trip years and years ago on this blog.  Just remembering.

Weather tomorrow should be a bit cooler--perhaps some rain.  We might go to the movies.  The Painter is still painting.  The closets have so many surfaces.  The walls, the shelves, the trim, the doors.

I baked biscuits yesterday.  Had some for breakfast with my rhubarb and strawberry jello "quick jam".  Was very good.  We had dinner out.  I had Cheese Manicotti.  Only half--the rest tomorrow.

The picture up top proves that too much black is not a Good Thing.

Returned Allison Wiers' Anne Boleyn.  Not my taste.  I quit while Anne was still under the age of 15. Another book is waiting.  Alphabet House by Adler-Olssen.  I am hoping I haven't already read it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Sea Holly Is Almost Ready To Blossom & A Rant

A friend from work dug up a bunch of sea holly plants and gave them to me last summer.  Then she gave me the "mother" plant in a fit of "cleaning up" her flower bed.  These plants do spread and soon colonize an entire garden bed.  Not for those with limited space.

I love blue in my garden beds.  Blue anything.  And orange anything next to it.    Right now, while we wait for the sea holly to blossom--I have very tall stems of bachelor's buttons.  I think they got their name from bachelors wearing these blue flowers in the buttonhole of suits.  Back in the day when men wore suits.

My vegetable plants are still on the porch.  Not in the ground.  What is wrong?  I don't know.  It's as if I suddenly lost interest and can't get back into it.  Like colony collapse of bees.  Sudden and unexplainable.  And my away from home job is watering someone else's garden and tomato plants. Which I must get to right after pressing "publish".

Only the painter today.  No loud music.  No chatter.  Just quiet.  It'll be next week before the Tile Guy starts with the waterproofing etc.  That's a week before he does tile walls.  And another while before he does the floor.  We are stalled.  This has happened before.  But we are so close---and now to be doing nothing again.  Well, nothing but mopping, wiping up dust, cleaning, sweeping and then repeat.
Unfinished things create a lot of MESS..

Riley made it thru July Fourth Fireworks.  Without the panic attack.  We gave him two Benadryl while the sun was thinking about setting.  Had been giving him one when he started hyper ventilating.  Two was the correct number.  He sat by me with his head next to my knee and stared at me.  Which is so much better than whimpering, gagging and barking.  I watched 9 episodes of That 70's Show on Netflix.  There are 8 full seasons.  Four guys, two girls, four parents.  G is hoping I don't intend to watch all of the episodes.

What Was I Watching:  Yesterday it was Ten Years of Trump.  Interviews he gave.  Opinions he had/has.  How much he admired Bill Clinton.  Really great guy etc.  Believed in the Iraq war.  Good Health Care for everyone. Not touched Medicare. Etc. Etc. All things he NOW doesn't believe in. Doesn't believe he ever said those things--Fake News. But he's on record as having said those things--not Fake.

What I Learned Yesterday:  A large percentage of Americans don't know what country we gained our Independence from.  It's England.  Not Syria.  Not Iraq. Not Afghanistan. There was a time when I would have found this hard to believe.  But not yesterday or today.  Independence Day.  Sad.

What I don't Understand And Never Will:  Why there is no travel ban on the ONLY country to send terrorists here,  to take pilot lessons, get into planes and then fly those same planes into the Towers, Pentagon and because of heroic efforts by Americans -into a field in Pennsylvania instead of the White House--- Saudi Arabia.  Perhaps the CIA and FBI should look into Trump ties to THEM?

What We Are Eating:  Roasted Asparagus with garlic, lemon and Parmesan.  Served with pasta and Alfredo sauce with some pesto added.  Today I am marinating beef tips for kabobs.  With red onion wedges and button mushrooms.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Yet Another Black & White Kitchen

Only because, once the bathrooms are finished, I will have to start thinking about the kitchen.  Because I am a complete lunatic!!!!

The vintage (from when the house was built- 1984) Kohler cast iron soaking tub has now been--with a great amount of muscle, effort and swear words (plus brownies all round) been inserted in the space recently vacated by a one piece tub and surround.   The Kohler valve is in, the pipe for the shower head and another pipe for the tub faucet.  They said the tub weighed at least 500 pounds.  men!

Now we wait for the holiday to come and go and the Tile Guy to come start work on waterproofing etc and eventually get tile.  The vanity arrived this morning. It's sitting in the hallway.  By the front door.

The sun is shining here in Maine and everyone who has one, is up to their Camp.  Anywhere else it would be a cottage.  Here in Maine--Camp.  Could it be a holdover from the days of high priced sleepover camps for privileged children?  I once applied to be a camp counselor.  There was laundry service and uniforms.  Shorts and white camp shirts.  I was NOT selected but my love of camp shirts lives on and on.

The local airports shuttle in parents and campers, cater "box lunches" that aren't anything like you would pack for yourselves and arrange limo service to and from camp.  Those little private jets.  I live within 600 feet of the end of one such airport runway.  So close. Yet, so far.

What Am I Doing Today:  I have watered my front gardens and the new peach trees.  Found and lost my grocery list.  Watered  tomatoes and plants at my away from home job and then went to the grocery-- no list.  But I did remember what I forgot yesterday.  Bug spray.  G's vitamin D3.  And I got a bag of "misfit" lemons--a full bag for $1.99. I now have misfit limes and lemons.  Who wants a drink?????  I've got vodka and gin.  Come on over and we'll sit on the sofa and chat.

What Am I Reading Today: I got a fictional book about Henry and Anne Boleyn.  There was nothing much to choose. I had wanted the new Louise Penny but I wasn't lucky enough to snag one off the 7 day shelf.  And my second choice a new book by Tana French was also MIA.   What are you reading this summer????

What Are We Eating :  I think I may have a salad today.  I have had pasta with eggplant and tomatoes. I have had grilled beef teriyaki  tips on skewers with mushrooms and red onion.  Corn.  Watermelon. Strawberry smoothie.  Ice Cream.  Not all at once.  Over a period of three or four days.
Potato Chips.  Fresca.  I am considering making a large iced tea with some of my misfit lemons.  Sweet Tea.  I've been remembering Georgia lately.  Living there.  Being very happy there.   A nice tomato sandwich on white bread with tons of salt and mayo sounds delicious.  But we are months away from that delight.  A veggie plate with corn meal coated okra (fried), squash, tomatoes, field peas, cornbread sounds delightful...with sweet tea.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Front Door I Imagined

Remember me saying I wanted planters--black ones--on either side of the door?  The existing trim in already there next to the new door--just like the trim in this picture.  My door swings open the other way.

I may just have to put my foot down, cross my arms across my chest, stick my chin out....and say--Paint it!

Rain over night and into the morning.  Humidity is very high.  Mosquito count is even higher.  Poor dog was out there covered in insects.  So, I got the leash on him, dragged him inside (literally) and then made myself presentable enough for "errands" and we got into the car--together.  Still cool enough being in the car but by the end of the "errands" getting a bit too warm for a black dog.

I got steel wool to sand the metal sun (for a co-worker's mom) and a "short stuff" can of golden spray paint.  Now I am thinking of searching the attic --and all those containers--for sparkly beads to glue into the pierced holes all around the edges.  So when the light hits it--it flashes a bit.  I might have golden ones.

G is off cutting grass for Summer People.  The Painter is off early to hang bunting on a house for more Summer People and their holiday visit.  Someone else is filling the fridge, stocking the wine cabinet, setting out fresh flowers and making the beds.  The laundry needs doing also.  Coming in from Washington, DC.

Here at my house I have two armloads of cold weather gear to carry up into the attic--after the paint on the stairs drys.  I have a load of wash in the washer.  I also promised myself to fill two large bags or two boxes with things for Goodwill.  Last Tuesday all the old lampshades I had in the attic went into recycling.  Once upon a time, I thought I would recover them and "make them cute".  My "cute" phase is past--thankfully.  Think Mary Englebreit.  I still have light switch plates--lots of them with little cherries and black and white checkerboards.

Well, I am off to call the dog.  He needs to come in and cool off.  And then I can look for sparkly beads.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More Black & White Design Ideas From The Internet

So the "trend" here seems to be more black.   Black walls--at least one.  Black doors.  Black furniture.
I am all for black--I like it, but I am keeping it to floors and counter tops.  Picture frames.  Light fixtures.  

I am liking the black tile floor in my walk in shower.  I am REALLY LOVING the black ceramic tiles on the floor in the bath and the hallway (entrance to house).  I love it so much I mop it on a daily basis.  Just because I like mopping it.  The previous hallway floor could not be mopped.  It was a hands and knees job.  And Q-tips to clean the grooves.  Many, many grooves.  And a sign that said "dangerous when wet".  Seriously dangerous.  Like crack your skull open slippery.

So, my tile choices--- Super Wonderful.

My entrance hall and closets are being painted this week.  Primer, first coat and then finish coat. Extra White.  Sanding in between.  So dusty.  Mopping required.

I spent yesterday on the couch.  Not moving much.  Vertigo.  Like being on a ship in a big storm at sea.  I have no idea why.  But it was seriously scary.  No reading no looking at anything.  Eyes closed head steady in one spot.  Walking was not fun.  I seemed to be aiming at walls and smacking into them.

Today was better.  I got outside and did weeding.  So many weeds.  Not many successful carrots, arugula, or collards (out of a whole packet of seeds--four plants).  Plenty of kale (as usual).

My squash seeds aren't germinating.  I may have to buy a bushel of zucchini at the Farmer's Market in order to make jars of pickles. I have found the bread and butter recipe works so much better with thinly sliced young zucchini instead of cucumbers.  And you know--buying a bushel seems like a really good thing right now.  I can make all the pickles at once.  No waiting for more to grow.

My potato plants are looking great.  My tomato and pepper seedlings are growing nicely on the front porch "greenhouse".  Ready whenever I am to go in the garden.  I am waiting for a cooler than usual, rainy day.  Or at least a cloudy day.  Easier transition for them.  Thought they are getting some wind.

So my first 6 days away from work have been good ones.  Tomorrow I get my hair cut, water a client's tomato plants while she is away, go to the bank to cash a check.  I think that's about it. I am still working my way thru The Thirst.  It's slow going and I don't remember Nesbo's books to be this slow.

I am thankful the "mean" health care bill is being set aside for the July 4th recess.  What really breaks my heart is taking Medicare away from older folks in nursing homes.  In most cases, they have no where else to be.  Will they just be put on the curb with their box of belongings? Perhaps the wealthy folks getting their tax cuts could take them in????  I am just unable to believe this is happening in America.  Brings tears to my eyes.  What exactly did he mean when he said he would make America Great Again??????  Please, someone, explain it to me.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Thinking Forward

Drawers for dishes.  Now I would want this next to the dishwasher--or nearby and not next to the microwave or oven--whichever is being shown in this picture.  But dishes in a drawer is the way to go in any new kitchen I design.

We used the new master bath last night and this morning.  "Where's my....." was the question from both of us.  And, while not massively large the bath seemed very tight yesterday as it was shared. And neither of us can dunk our heads to wet our very short haircut (removing bedhead) under the new faucets.  These are things that happen.  I still haven't had a shower in the new walk in.

But the guys are here taking apart the hall bath so my next shower WILL be in the new walk in.

The new Painter is here caulking nail holes--in everything.  Seems the old Painter had painted all the ceilings so that is finished.

I wasn't aware of it--- but Saturday (last) was my last day at work until Fall.  I missed it.  Called out due to the amount of heat and because I was too busy clearing out the hall bath.  And truth be told.  I was very weary.  Not just tired.  But "done" with going to work and not doing much and couldn't face 9 hours of it.  They say they missed me.  That was nice of them to say but I don't know how true it was.

Today I have more tiny seedlings to "prick" out of their seedling container and relocate them into larger spaces.  Native perennials.  Boneset.  Virginia Creeper.  Ironweed.  "Picky" work but needs to be done and I kind of enjoy it.  It's very Virgo.

I am 30% into Nesbo's new Harry Hole thriller.  The Thirst.  It is going along slowly.  But, since I have missed Harry Hole, I don't mind.  I might just start reading again, from the beginning, to enjoy Harry's take no prisoner's personality.  And the brutality.

And that may be my summer.   I have eggplant to bread and fry for meals the rest of the week (eggplant parmigiana is a favorite).  And fruit for smoothies.  And of course-- a couple long naps. when the nail gun is silent.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Next Up...Paint

That's all that's left to do now.  Paint everything.  Trim, the new hall doors, closet interiors, walls, ceilings.  Geez.  That sounds like so much.

Oh, the vanity drawers in the master now have "pulls".  And G's shower supplies are lined up in the little niche in the shower wall.  Making himself at home.  The toilet paper roll is on the window sill. I don't know why but that roll on the window sill in such a spiffy black and white modern bathroom--well, it makes me laugh.

Monday the guys are tearing apart the hall bathroom. ( shuttering)  They say it'll be "easy" as there is no construction. (Famous last words in Demo) Vanity replaces vanity.  Tub replaces tub.  etc.  There is new flooring (heated), new tile work in the bath surround,  and paint.  The new door is in but none of the trim work. Oh, and we'll need to order the new mirror once everything is in place and the granite and sink are in.......  see?  Easy.  Another 2 to 3 weeks.  I hope not into August.

I am still getting used to the kitchen counter height of the vanities.  The chair height toilet.  I feel "shorter" when I use the new things.  Then taller when in the hall bath with the old things.  Like Alice in Wonderland.  Growing and shrinking.

And with that Dear Readers, the construction project that began demo in Mid March will be completed.  Now, I started work on emptying and sorting etc in early February (or even January)  So, it's been a long time for me to be packing, moving, sorting, finding, not finding, moving, sorting etc.

In Other News:

My friend has found a commercial 80 foot hoop greenhouse for sale at a very good price.  It has to be taken apart and moved.  She can use 40 feet and asked if I could find a use for the other 40 feet and then we could split the cost.  I said, I think I could. (laughing)  Includes the plastic and the watering system.  I can picture it out behind the fenced veggie garden.  So, from the house I would be looking at the sideview.  

I wonder if the General Contractor and friends will be interested in helping us take it apart and transport it?  I don't have anymore classic roadsters to tempt them with. Darn it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Guess It's Going To Rain All Day

The Gardener in me is pleased to see and hear the rain falling.  That means I don't have to haul hose and water.  And Rain is softer and absorbs into the earth so much easier.

The Reader in me is also pleased as I can settle into the couch and read my book.  G is going out with Riley to get the paper.  Morning News.  Riley may not enjoy the rain.  It always surprises him.

Last night, before bed, Riley and I went out to look at the stars.  The entire sky was filled.  So many layers of stars.  It was amazing.  Stars all the way to the ground.  And I was expecting a sun filled day today. I was wrong.

Construction continues.  The master bathroom is now complete.  Just needs those items that mean people are using it.  Towels, soap etc.  G has taken the first shower.  The mirrors went in yesterday. Now that I can see what the room looks like with the mirror I can judge what sort of lights would look good in there.  Lights that hang over the tall mirrors will reflect and look like double lights. Also up so high..... do we want to look up at lightbulbs?  The Electrician said it takes some new bathroom owners a year or more to decide on the lights. pressure.

Today, with the rain, I guess we might have the last of the trim work done around the new doors.  Closet and hall.  Or they may take the day off.  Or--horrors--they may decide to start taking apart the hall bath.  The Painter is coming to look at the situation.  This is Painter number two.  Number One is "no longer available".  I'm not sure if he decided he didn't want to paint here anymore or if we decided we didn't want him to paint here anymore.

Yesterday was a "Bad Day" for Riley here at home.  I was gone (working) and G was gone (working) and Riley was here destroying the kitchen and the breezeway.  Really.  The breezeway door looks like he clawed it.  Things were spilled.  Things were chewed up.  There was barking.  The General Contractor and Others did their best to clean up and then let Riley out.  And he was fine after that and then G got home.  Sort of a Hissy Fit.  Totally out of character.  Perhaps Riley has had enough construction noise and would like a quiet day?  Ten Year Old Dogs are different.  Especially when taking Prednisone.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Black & White Bathrooms

I guess I got it wrong.  The vanity in my remodeled bathroom is white.  I visited a Black and White Pinterest site and noticed more black in the combos than white.  Black walls, doors etc.  I had asked my general contractor about making the doors black---but he wasn't a fan.  Well, that is an understatement.

The shower had a few of the wrong parts but now (with additional purchases) it should be good to go today.  Showers for everyone!!!  Doors are going in in the hallway AND in the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms.  G ordered closet doors for both rooms.  I wasn't going to but he did.  Now all the doors in that wing of the house are the same.  Now we need to find a new painter.

This house was built in 1984 and has "settled" (I think that's the polite word for the swing and sway of the door frames) and a lot of shims are being used to get things leveled.  As they get closer to the front hallway--more swinging and swaying.  Right now the "pantry" which was actually meant to be the door to the basement stairs is being shimmed.  No basement due to high water at the time of construction.  Must have looked like they were digging a swimming pool.  We do have a 4 foot deep crawlspace.  The workers have been down there quite a bit--especially the electrician and plumber.--causing a shock to Riley when their heads pop up out of the opening in the pantry floor.  It's funny to us and not funny to Riley.

I am home today as the air quality doesn't suit my breathing situation.  And I feel "unwell" without any specific symptoms.  Need to rest on the couch until I feel able to get up again and do things.
I watered the plants on the porch and the shade garden plants.  And my two new peach trees.  Now I am resting.

Finished reading the new thriller by the author of "The Girl On The Train".  The new one is titled "Into The Water".   I bet there was lots of discussion of titling it "The Girl In The Water".  I was not "shocked" by the ending.  I was not really turning pages to find out the ending. It was certainly not like the first book.  In fact, I always suspect that the second book was actually the first book the author wrote and no one wanted to publish.  Then--fame with book 2 and suddenly book one looks like a money maker---cause we'll buy it expecting a thriller.  And we get--- well, not a thriller.  My book was a 7 day quick loan from my library.

I have two 10 ounce jars of Peach Blueberry Smoothie with frozen banana and a handful of raw cashews for creaminess in the fridge.  There is also some plain yogurt and a tiny bit of vanilla syrup in the mixture. I made and drank them last summer.  Better than trying to eat food.  I told you I was feeling odd.

That's about all I have to share today.  Library is holding the new Nesbo book "Thirst" for me and I think the grocery might have a four pack of brownies with my name on it in the bakery section.  I have to wait until I can get my car out of the driveway.  Blocked in with trucks.

Absolutely no interest by the neighbors in what has been going on over here for 3.5 months.  Not even the trucks hauling a total of 72 yards of fill for the side yard.  Not a peep.  Perhaps they think we are running a business out of the garage?????

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June Heats Up--The Reno & the Garden News

Still distant...but closer and closer.  Sinks have drains and water comes out of the faucets I bought back in March.  First time out of the boxes.  New chair height toilet connected--flushes.  Not in use yet.  (laughing)  The fourth carpet ordered and arriving.  For the Hall.

I had to get a carpet.  Hated to cover any part of the tile flooring but with the uncarpeted stairs--going way up to the second floor (glorious) the ECHO in there was LOUD.  I am hoping the carpet sucks up some of the noise.  It's still rolled and wrapped.  The way the FedEx man delivered it.  Safer that way--because the final layer paint.  Always a danger.  A mess. And then finally--- complete.

At work.  A long day but not as chilly as expected (and dressed for) so some un-layering of clothing.
Some sun.  Not much.  Enough.  Soup for lunch.  Very good with the extra carrots I add to it.  Panera's Cheesy Broccoli.  Two very large cups of tea.  A nice brownie would have been welcome.

Now that I know the end of June ....... is the beginning of a work free summer... I am eager for June to come to an end. Tuesday  G and I are going to the Music Theater for Patsy Cline.  Love her songs.  Reviews say the two woman show is wonderful.

Email from someone I worked for last summer (after leaving work).  She is off to visit her sister and I will be watering her tomatoes and other assorted plantings while she is gone.  An hour a day for 8 to 10 days.  It's on the way into Town--so no trouble at all.  And it gets me warmed up for watering my own garden (laughing).

Some of my seeds are germinating.  A few sunflowers.  Some arugula.  Collards?  Quite a few very tiny kale seedlings.  The celery plants I bought in a flat of 12 are doing good.  My new grape is doing good.  The two burpless cucumber plants are sending out tendrils--looking for something to grab hold of....ready to climb.  A friend gave the two to me in exchange for tomato seedlings.  I have a plan for the the last section of the herb garden.  Curves.

I repotted about 60 very tiny lavender seedlings.  Very tiny.  But already fragrant.  It will be fun watching them grow over the next year.  I also have some elderberry seedlings.  Some Boneset. Some Blue Salvia. Verbena Bonariensis (encourages visits of Monarchs) All very small.  Less than the size of a child's thimble.  This is the way it goes with perennial seeds.  Slow.

My Rumanian Tomato seedlings are doing well.  As are the Italian tomato seeds.  The pepper plants are growing--the ones from the flat I purchased at work and the ones from seeds that I started late.  At work, all the pepper seedlings are sold out.  There are no more.  I have yet to start my summer squash seeds.  Tomorrow I think.  Alongside more cucumbers.  Pickling ones.

I plan to mulch the vegetables with wet newspaper (to smother weeds) and top that with my composted leaves.  Chopped maple leaves about two or three years old. Did you know worms LOVE newspaper and wet cardboard?  Worms are the best garden helpers.  I am noticing more worms in the garden soil.  They have been in short supply up until now.  I've had more chipmunks than worms.

My potatoes are showing nice growth.  Excited about growing potatoes.  Overall, I am excited about this year's gardening adventures.  I made a lot of mistakes last summer so I hope I can learn from them and do better.  The garden does look neater.  And very empty.  But things happen fast---overnight sometimes.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Almost Summer

The Dog Days of August are still far away.  Today, here in Maine, we are having rain--drizzle rain--but rain..  I don't have to haul hose and water today.  A day off.  Good.

I found the second white duck slipcover.  In the Attic.  In with a pile of folded quilts.

The Electrician was here yesterday and things are lighting up in the bathroom.  And the master bedroom closets.  We also have the heated floor in the bathroom working.  Has a timer and a daily schedule of when to warm ups and when to cool down.  One more thing to learn how to program.

The Plumber is here today.  Attaching things to pipes and getting the water running in and out.  So, we'll see how the new walk in shower works (or doesn't) and the new sinks and toilet.  He has quite a bit to do.  The sinks alone look like quite a bit of work.  And we noticed the basement light shining upon thru the drain in front of the washer.  So, not attached to anything--down there.  I guess, if there had been a leak--it would have just drained straight into the basement????

Made a "straight up" Southern Peach Cobbler yesterday.  Used the full two cups of sugar.  The full stick of butter and regular milk in the batter.  I also followed the directions on my recipe card (circa 1970) to the letter.  I had been making it in a sort of  "relaxed" way for years.  Shortcuts.  I also used the full amount of peaches.  Six overflowing cups.  I think that was 8 or 9 peaches.  It's sweet. Next time only one cup of sugar.

Books from the library yesterday.  I went online looking for "recently released" and found a number of books by favorite authors.  Sigh.  Books.  Life is good.

I am off to transplant my tiny seedlings out of their milk jug "greenhouses" into a small cell planting tray.  Lots of tiny lavenders.  English and Provencal.  I have tape to stick on the edge of the cell tray so I can identify things--later as they get bigger.  It's nit-picky work but on a rainy day--a good time to get it done.

Love the puppy up top playing with the hose.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summertime And The White Slipcovered Couch

There is something so seductive about a fresh white slipcover on the couches.  Makes summer--SUMMER.  And the ceiling fan slowly revolving overhead is pretty sweet, too.

Here in Maine we have had three sticking hot days in a row.  Today promises to be be cooler and nicer.  I have books from the library to read, a pitcher of cucumber, lemon, mint water in the fridge, Things to make into a crisp salad plus leaves to saute in a pan with onion and red pepper flakes. These are just a "few of my favorite things..."

The mosquitos are NOT.

And back to those slipcovers.  I have one.  I am supposed to have TWO.

The search is on..........

Monday, June 12, 2017

Balance Between Work And Not Working

Today.  I went to work and took care of two customers and then told my employer I was going home. 86 plus degrees outdoors and possibly over 100 inside the glass greenhouse.  Breathing alert. I was not doing well so called it a day after 36 minutes.

Also, employer asked if I was finishing the month and then taking July and August off again.  Not much oxygen getting to my brain.....but enough for me to and my head "yes".

Ordered library books for reading on the couch.  Until they get here I have strips of dyed and painted fabric to make into "something".......really don't care what.  It's the stitching by hand that calms and relaxes me.  Weaving the strips and then stitching them together.  It can be something to nothing.

Sold my little Z car.  Letting go is easier than I thought it would be.  Balance.  Takes practice but then it's almost effortless.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Not My Kitchen--But My Tile Floor

Yes, I trolled the internet and found my tile in a very nice photo.  This tile, laid just like it is here, in my bathrooms (well, only one of them so far) and in the entrance hallway.  I thought it was slate but it's actually ceramic.  From Italy.  I am very happy to have Italy under my feet.

I dislike the black cabinets with the tile floor in the photo--way too dark.  Perhaps it's a display kitchen as there are two different counter tops as well?

The tile guy suggested to G that we use a shower curtain in the hall/guest bath instead of a custom glass door.  It's what he would do.  I kind of like the idea.  We need the glass door in the big walk-in shower but not in the guest bath.  With the soaking tub.  So, we decided to "save money" which is laughable.  We aren't "saving money" on anything even as I try to do just that.

My 9 hour day at work today was way longer than I wanted it to be.  I was ready to go home at 2:30. Which was when I used my rescue inhaler.  My voice had gotten "thready" by then.  Three cubic bales of ProMix by 2:30.  That many large repots.  That much mixing of bone, dust dry peat (treated with wetting agent) with water.  Then scooping it into pots etc.  And all the walking to help customers out in the Perennial yard.  Walking, walking, walking.  Talking, talking, talking.  Mixing, mixing, mixing.  And then I was asked to water plants.

What the heck is wrong with me??????  But who would tell them how to get rid of ants? (Borax from grocery store) Brown tail caterpillars (Bt)  Mildew on pumpkin leaves (sour milk or whey and water in a spray bottle)  Cats in the garden beds (plastic forks--pointy sides up-- ouch!)  Start a new bed (cover grass and/or weeds with cardboard--soak in water and cover with mulch or soil).  Lilacs need pruning (remove 30% of oldest branches at ground level) when they stop flowering--not fertilizer.  Daylilies are good, sturdy plants for around the mailbox where the snow plow dumps 6 feet of snow in the Winter.

Now I am going to bed.

Friday, June 09, 2017

My Front Hallway Is Finished

Riley decided he had had enough of the door on it's side blocking his way into the hall then around the corner into the living room.  He'd been shut out long enough.  So he knocked the door down. We were supposed to wait for the caulking to dry a bit more. Riley didn't get the memo I guess.

Day One we walked on the plywood under flooring (not the word I want but spell check is deciding on the wrong words) and not on the tiles with adhesive under.  Day Two we leaped over the newly set tiles onto the ONE with blue tape and then a long step or jump into the hallway (where the bathroom and bedrooms are located).  Today we were all supposed to wait until late afternoon.  Riley didn't.  I think he has had enough of the construction--he wants to be able to sleep under our bed--like always.

My car--the 1998 BMW Z3 is going to live with a new person.  I haven't driven it in 9 or 10 years. Not since I brought home the little Honda Fit my dad purchased a month before he passed.  With black leather seats because he knew I liked leather seats. And he knew he wasn't going to be driving a car--anymore. It's the perfect car for me.  Easy on the knees.  The Beemer is tough on old knees.  Old hips.  Old people.  G said he wanted to drive it--but in the year since we brought it out of storage and had it tuned up (new battery etc) he has driven it twice--and that was the first week we had it.

A car like that needs to be driven, enjoyed and loved.  And I did all that for it's first 10 years.  Time to let go.

The news this week has put me over the "tipping point" as they say.  I think I am going to have to stop watching MSNBC for a while.  Till I calm down.  Even PBS is too much but I may watch the Friday Washington Report.  Then sign off.  I Am Not A Crook +  I Am Not A Liar.  Who protests too much?

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Half The Entrance Hall Has Tile

We have a slim path on which to walk to the bathroom and bedroom.  We have a door (on it's side) to keep the dog away.  He will have to sleep on one of his three dog beds tonight.  And tomorrow night.

The sprinklers are running outside.  I guess we are getting grass on the newly "graded" slope.  The carpenter has a Bobcat.  He also removed some trees and relocated my compost heaps of leaves and grass clippings.  I wasn't aware of needing more grass.

The picture above is one of three that caught my eye for it's clean lines and simplicity.  Things my eye and heart like.  But the reality of my life is piles and clutter.  I have to find a way to move more toward  what my eyes and heart like.  It takes a lot of work to declutter.  Lots of "letting go" but I am ready.  Estate planning gets one ready for the ultimate "letting go".

Work--on Wednesday--was better.  Still that unidentifiable "something" that is not quite right during the day.  No one can identify it but we all feel it.  We added another new person.  She felt it.  But perhaps she was enough of a difference to change the vibe?

I was not as busy as on Monday but still lots of things going on--- I ordered and ordered for the containers that were dropped off for me.  "Take them down to the lady in the white shirt--she'll take care of you" was what I heard before seeing another customer headed toward me.  Yes, I wore a white tee with a company sticker pasted on it.  Dark green is way too hot.  Monday stripes.  Loved wearing stripes.  I am hoping the things I am trying to get from other locations actually arrive.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Georgia Peaches

My local grocery chain is advertising Georgia Peaches and I MUST go buy them.  My six years living in Georgia (outside Atlanta) was formative in my cooking history.  Going from college to married in a few weeks.  Then going to Georgia where both my babies were born and raised for awhile.  Georgia Peach Cobbler.  Peach Pie.  Peach Smoothies--- well, not in Georgia.

The grocery peaches are not ready to eat.  I have figured out a method to ripen them.  The cover I put over microwave dishes.  Plastic with an adjustable vent to let out steamy air.  Works beautifully with peaches.  Tuck them under (tricky to buy just the right number of peaches to fit) and then let them gas each other on the kitchen counter until ripe enough for you to eat.  And when you eat them be sure the juices run down your chin and onto your white linen shirt.   Just saying...........

I planted things on Friday.  Arugula.  Kale.  Collards (Georgia roots yet again).  My window boxes with an assortment of throw away plants from work-- nothing precious.  I have nasturtiums, basil, and sunflowers to plant today before it starts to rain.

And I want to pot up some of my abundant supply of Lily of the Valley for my neighbor.  The neighbor with the old dog G takes care of when she is away.  Lily of the Valley reminds her of her mother.  It will be a nice welcome back home gift.

Long time customers at work yesterday.  Hugs.  Happy to see them and be seen by them.  This is my strongest tie to work.  These sweet long time customers.  We are all growing old together and would miss seeing each other.  Knowing we are still walking the surface of the planet is a comfort.

The little solar powered birdbath pump is doing a good job.  Makes a nice tower of water when the sun is bright, shorter when the sun isn't and then stops when a stray cloud passes over.  The area where it was intended to go--too shady.  Well, too many stray clouds passing by.  So it is outside the window by Riley's kitchen dog bed.  No birds.  But I hope some come for a drink and a shower someday soon.  G and I enjoy looking at it spraying and spinning around the bird bath.

So many things are in blossom right now.  The rhodies--especially the big white one.  Full of blossoms and scent.  Not heavy but sweet on the breezes.  The Beauty Bush has lots of blossoms still closed.  The lilacs still hold their flowers but they are getting tired looking.  Both are French and deeply violet blue and perfumed.  The azaleas are in flower.  Mostly pink.  I purchased two new ones--in white.  It gets shady and white is nice.  The crab apple trees are done flowering and showering the yard with white and pink petals--like rain.  Next up are the viburnum.  The front bed is full of Lily of the Valley.  Wo Peng my reluctant Tree Peony has more leaves and stems than ever before but no evidence it will make it's first flower in over 15 years in my garden.  I can still hope a flower will appear in my lifetime.

How does your garden grow?

Friday, June 02, 2017

Getting Past The Nonsense

The lack of sense.  It is all around us these days.  I have left several pages in my journal open so I can add things from the newspaper.  Make notes of things being said.  Laws trying to be passed-or not.  A history of non-sense.  What will become of this great country which is no longer "great"?

I am calmed by simple black and white.  Today the master bedroom closets are being made into custom closets with shelving and rods the way we want them.  They are lovely.  And the white closet doors now have their permanent black "dummy" knobs.  Perfect.

The temporary bedroom has fresh sheets.  Open windows for fresh breezes.  Clean clothes fresh from the dryer in the new master bath--dried with wool dryer balls.  So nice.

I planted my pieces of potato into the garden bed prepped from potatoes--a bit late but the soil has been too wet until now.  Riley guards me as I work. Pulled up the raspberry volunteers.  Everywhere.  I intend to fill the window boxes on the shed. And sprinkle seeds for arugula and kale into the garden.
My intentions are sometimes better than what actually happens.

G and I cleared all the weeds and leaves out of the blueberry bed yesterday.  Filled a very large wheelbarrow.  Weeds just know how to grow.  Blueberries are heavy with berry flowers.  I went to look at the grapes and my friend was right--tiny little baby grapes already there-  if you look closely.

Well, lunch is before me--roasted, chilled beets with olive oil and vinegar mixed with diced fresh mozzarella.  A good meal.  Let's see if I can NOT drop any on my shirt and stain the front with red beet juice which washes out to gray.  G is off site mowing grass--- before it starts raining again. And then-- planting beet seeds?

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Wednesday--Used To Be My Favorite Day Of The Week

Another black and white room--the foyer of this house (not mine) The door is almost like the new closet doors--only a panel at the top--not glass.  Black hinges.  Black tile floor.  I may look for that light fixture on  My new front door has more panes of glass--lets in more light.  Quite a change from the past 26 years of a dark, dark hall.

 So, Wednesday at work not being my favorite day of the week.

 Three--or is it 100?--weeks ago my schedule changed at work.  "Something" happened at work--On a Wednesday-- and my employer had to "bring in an influence" to correct things.  That might be me--or not.  Nothing much has changed. Or it has and THIS is better?

Things.  Were.  Awful.  Today.   (well, yesterday because it's after midnight)

It's hard to believe.  Monday was a great day.  Saturday was long but a good day.  Today---I just wanted it to end before I was tempted to dive into the path of the tractor..

What makes Wednesday an awful day?  The combination of people working (or more correctly-not working).  I heard so much complaining.  So much agony over events during the day (who moved my cheese sort of things).  So much "it's not my problem--you fix it".  We even locked a customer and her car into the parking lot at closing.  That's the royal "we"--  I didn't lock anyone into the parking lot.  My lips were locked in the "oh, no" position.

And the phone.  It would ring for like 20 to 30 rings and no one at the front would pick it up.  They just couldn't care less.  And it wasn't that they were "busy".  It was cold and overcast with rain threatening.......... they just could not be bothered to interrupt their conversations to answer the phone.

Customer Service at it's worst.  And the boss was in the building.

There is really nothing more to say.

But the new trim molding was up around the closets at home.  And the new wider baseboards--awesome.  And new black hinges in the doors (check out the picture above for the black hinges in that foyer-just that little line of black), and the black door knobs.  The little washer/dryer closet has a door and door knob--today and so does the bathroom itself.  For the first time since construction began.  Doors. And my closets are getting built in shelving.  Tomorrow the new vanity gets a "dry fitting".  OMG.  That is going to be something.  I will try and get a picture.  Still no usable plumbing.

I purchased a hallway runner on yesterday--it will arrive by the end of the week.  For Riley as he doesn't like walking on bare floors at age 10.  2.3 by 12 feet.  Hot pink and other vivid colors.  Tufted cotton.  In a zigzag pattern.  The bedroom rugs (4 by 8) are tufted cotton in circles in the same hot pink vivid colors.  One for each side of the bed.  They are already here.  In the closet--waiting.  So pretty.  So me.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Old Fashioned Kitchen Reminds Me Of Grandma

My grandmother's kitchen was so small.  She had to use the enamel topped kitchen table as her only countertop for food prep.  The stove sat against the far wall and butted up against the sink.  Then there was the fridge.  Not big like the ones we have now--small with a tiny lunch box sized freezer. But the food that came out of that kitchen was divine.

She made a soup out of garden fresh green beans that was delicious on so many levels.  I have never been able to duplicate it, but I remember it to this day---50 years since I last had a bowl (or two).

Her garden is the standard I work toward each year.

Here was a woman who was always "without".  Not enough money, love or caring.  But she kept going. Kept smiling. Kept being kind and loving.  And.  Big thing--she did the things that mattered to her--always.  Starched clean apron every single day.  Lovely permed hair.  Roses in every garden she created.  Fruit trees--always.  Vegetable garden, always.  And she canned and pickled  everything. there was no waste.  At season's end everything got ground up in a chow chow pickle kind of thing. Carrots, onions, turnips, cauliflower.  I loved that stuff.  I think of her while I slice yellow and green zucchini, peppers, onions and make pickles all summer long.

She never grew rhubarb.  But I think she would be thinking of so many ways to cook it, bake it and pickle it at this time of year.  G and I gathered a large, heavy armful this afternoon at my friend's house.  Pounds and pounds of it.  Big red stalks.  My friend has the BEST dirt!!!.  Now I need to go looking for new and interesting ways to use it all up.  Any ideas?  Mainers like rhubarb sauce the best.  Just cooked down with some sugar and piled on a hot fresh baked biscuit.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

An Examined Life- Looking Back And Forward

I had a dream or vision the other night.  Falling asleep was difficult and I was tired. I don't know where this particular "thought" came from but it was visual and memorable.

I was on the ground (at work) looking up at myself floating higher and higher in a mist of sparkling gold dust.  I kept looking down at my body--my red frame eyeglasses.  And I kept saying "I thought I had more time".

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time--you know I am continually putting off doing things I might actually enjoy doing.  I spend too much time doing things that others could do just as well.  I feel compelled to be working and earning.  I (we) have enough of nearly everything--but Time it would seem.  I may not have enough Time.  I need to "re-calculate".

At work, I have been "cleaning out my work clothes closet" and bringing in company tees and sweatshirts.  To give to other employees.  My employer gives everyone two tees per year (times 10 years equals 20 tees)  Some of us do not have access to home laundry equipment.  How very grateful the girls were to have two more, each.  Used but clean.

Perhaps this is where the "dream" came from.  Clearing out the work space.  Searching for more quality time.  Re- Calculating as the voice on the navigation system keeps saying.

Today two carpenters are here nailing in the new hardwood floor in my master bedroom.  It looks wonderful.  And--miracles happen---the master bathroom vanity has been delivered.  And it's the right height, the right size and the right color.  And nothing is broken, scratched or dented.  The floor matched up perfectly to the bathroom tile floor.  They are working from the headboard side of the room toward the double closets.  That's when work will slow down.  Flooring goes into the closets. I could have kept it carpet--but..... this is the only time I will have a house to my personal specs.

I went to Walmart today to buy Aveeno soap.  They had it so I got two bars.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Working At Home Today- Plus Vegetable Gardening Tips

Working seems to be my only activity.  How did that happen?

The front porch is starting to look like a miniature nursery operation.  Seedlings Inc.  So many things out there and all looking happy.  My dahlia tubers are coming up.  And the tuberous begonias are over a foot tall.  Tomato and peppers seedlings are getting taller by the day.  Some are still only a few inches tall--the ones I started from seeds in the milk jugs.

I would like to get the onions into the ground today.  And I really need to haul bags of compost from the storage area over into the garden area and dump them into beds if my raised beds ever hope to look like the ones in the top photo (and I might get G to go with me in the truck to buy a half yard of compost).  And I think the beds in the photo have some sort of watering device attached to the tops of the hoops.  Why did I never notice that before?????

I also bought seed potatoes and want to grow potatoes this summer.  I waited too long last year and missed out.  If you want to grow potatoes--NO cow manure in your soil profile.  NONE.  Chicken poo is what they want.

I had pruned my blueberry bushes (very hard) a few weeks or months ago and they responded with a heavy load of berry flowers.  Which is a "very good" thing.  I need to feed them with Holly Tone. I also need to put on a heavy canvas coat and go into the blackberry thicket and prune that really HARD.  I am reminded of the thorns ripping the skin on my ankles bloody last summer as I picked berries.

I top coated my rhubarb plants with a heavy coat of blue crystals of Miracle Grow and they responded with a massive growth spurt.  Rhubarb LOVES fertilizer.  Yes, I heavily sprinkle the tiny plants with crystals and then walk away.  Rain and night dew melts the stuff into the plants and they go nuts and grow big fat stems and leaves.  Now--they grow while we wait for the June strawberry season and the sale table along the road to my house.  Just a card table, umbrella and a few ladies.  It's what Maine is really all about.

I am hoping to get my beet seeds into the ground today.  I "stole" some shims from the stockpile in the construction zone--how can I actually be stealing something I paid for?-- and split them to make long thin plant markers.  I think it will make the garden look "sharp". And remind me of what I planted--where.

The Herb Bed is now empty except for two lavender plants and a bunch of sage plants (all the mint has been removed to the front bed under the crab tree as ground cover).  The thyme my friend gave me as a gift is dry.  Dry equals dead. I am not replacing it because--truth be told--I don't like the taste of thyme in my food.  Once I add some additional soils I can try and make a "design" in the bed.  Like divisions or squares.  For parsley, dill, calendula, violets, lavender, sage, marigolds (red ones), chives, and a herb I purchased--and have thriving--but have forgotten what it is exactly. (*winter savory)  It's something you add to spiced nuts.  Oh, and I am forgetting the tarragon and marjoram on the back steps.  Still in pots from overwintering.  And the rosemary and bay leaves in clay pots. I also need to plant some basil.  Six squares by two squares.

ACK!!!!! So much to do--so little actual time to do it.  But ONCE it's done--I can just water, weed and pick.  Just.............laughing is better than crying.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Friday's Shopping Adventure

South Street Linen.  They have a website.  All linen.  Very strong color and pattern (when there is a pattern) and the clothing has "style" which is never easy to find these days.  Everything looks like jogging wear.

Today I was determined to get some vegetable seeds into the ground.  Only carrots.  The beds need work and additions of more compost.  So---I wait to see how much rain will fall tomorrow.  And it will be getting cold again.  The heat and sun are going away for about 6 days.

I did manage to rip out more of the wildly unmanageable mint.  The more I remove the more that appears.  The stuff I planted under the crabapple tree is looking perky so the transplanting is working out okay.  I also planted annuals in my three large pedestal containers.  Pinks, reds and yellows.

I purchased another Concord grape plant and G will plant it in the garden next to the lone I purchased last summer.  Last year's plant made 6 very tasty grapes.  Let's hope it is more generous this year????

Back to work tomorrow.  I really NEED two days in a row off after a hectic 9 hour day on Saturdays.
One day is just not enough time to shake it off.

We drove all the way out to the last work site (second job) and where I thought I had left my work tools.  They weren't there.  And on the way home we stopped to buy on sale $4.48 a pound bone in ribeye steaks and sweet corn (5 for one dollar).  Delicious dinner.  I haven't eaten that much meat since the Atkins days.  It was very, very good.  We might do it again tomorrow.

Friday, May 19, 2017

French Greenhouse To Buy when I Win The Lottery

What's neat about this greenhouse is the wall of rocks.  To hold the sun's heat and reflect it into the room's volume all night or on long cold days.  My "greenhouse" right now is a shelf with lights for small tomato seedlings and a huge tray of Red Morpheous Marigolds I grew from seeds in one of the milk jugs.  And on that subject, all but 3 out of the 25 jugs germinated.  Big success. Everything else is in tidy rows on the north facing front porch.  Flats have been divided and repotted into bigger 4 inch pots.  Sunday I may finally have a day at home to start planting things.

Today at Whole Foods I bought 4 pounds of big fat carrots from California.  And 5 gigantic red beets to roast in the oven and eat ice cold with vinegar and oil.  Plus a small bag of French shallots to plant in my garden.  To grow into bunches of shallots.  I plan to roast a big cast iron pan of carrots in the oven with butter.  Mark Bittman recipe.  Lunches this week have been cold rice with peas and big salads with lots of sliced carrots.

Today G and I had lunch in a fine restaurant down in Portland.  While we ate and chatted, I watched almost all the others using their phones.  No talking.  What has happened to people???  When is a phone message more relevant than the person(s) sitting with you at the table?

G had Rare Seared Tuna with a salad of red bliss potatoes, French green beans, radish slices and fresh made mayo with grated hard boiled egg yolk.  I had panko chicken gyro with Greek yogurt sauce (needed more cucumber) the bread was too well crisped (difficult to bite and chew) and the homemade potato chips missed the mark. But the majority of the food was fresh and good tasting.

We had an appointment with our Trust Attorney.  He had to run off copies so we took a walk over to South Street Linen (owned by three artists who paint) and I tried on clothing I have been admiring online for years.  Then back to the law office and then over to Walter's for lunch.  Then to Trader Joe's for cans of marinara and then Whole Foods for veggies.   I asked for Aveeno soap and the clerk at Whole Foods said " do know how to get there don't you?"  In such a sneering voice.  I actually wished I had had my phone so I could record her and report her to the manager.  Why on Earth would a person be like that???

The regular Joe at Rite Aid walked all over the store to try and find my soap.  Polite and not the least bit of attitude.  Guess where I'll go next time I need soap?

Work tomorrow and I have a load of laundry to do.  We've had a week of heat, too much sun plus humidity.  Work was awful (for me) on Thursday--80 plus and still.  I thought I had heat stroke for awhile there.  A cooling breeze is blowing through the house right now--moving all the drywall dust and paint fumes around.  No workers for the next two days.

All of my crab apple trees are in complete flower.  Very, very pretty. Things are sending up shoots in the flower beds and I seem to be having a very good Lily of the Valley year.  Wo Peng my Tree Peony is standing taller than he has in the 10 or more years he has lived here with me.  Perhaps he'll make his first flower this year?  Wouldn't that be amazing?

So, get out there and dig in the dirt.  Okay?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


For pay.  I helped out a landscaper friend with mulch the past two days.  Very big and beautiful house on the water.  Wow.  It was like my very own dream come true being there.  Lots of stone steps, curved beds, boat dock-- not my dream but I like looking at them-- and such lovely surroundings.  We had lunch on the boat dock on day one and on rocks around the fire pit on day two.  I took a breather at one point and sat on on stone stairway watching the birds visit the feeder and just enjoying May in Maine--glancing down at the columbine growing so bountifully on the hillside.

We often are too busy to be still and just absorb the "good" in simple things.  Blue sky, clouds drifting across the sky, birds chirping, green grass growing.  The sun was shining.  No rain.  The black flies were biting but, hey, it's May.

I even had a nice treat after work--a peach ice cream cone.

Tomorrow the regular job.

The Painter and his helper have been here all week.  The doors were going to be sprayed but he decided to hand paint them here in the house.  Most of the windows are finished.  Ceilings next I think and then the walls.  No other subs have visited.

G ordered door knobs on Sunday and they arrived on Tuesday before noon.  Delightful service and prices from  $5 less per knob than the Loew's price.  Same product. Free shipping.  The boxes of hardwood flooring are here.  Getting climate adjusted.  Two weeks to match the climate in the house (so doesn't shrink or warp).  Then hardwood floors in the master.  Then closet and baseboards.  Then paint and hopefully a working bathroom.  What do you think? By June or mid June???  Not that it's a hardship to be using the 2nd bedroom.  It's really very comfortable in there.

We still have to order the hallway doors.  I am hoping the General Contractor ordered them!