Saturday, July 29, 2017
I see people I know on Facebook and they show pictures of themselves doing "bucket list" things. "here's us at a Giant's game--Bucket List". Did these people live their lives not doing things they would have liked to do??? When I die, I don't want to have a list of things I didn't do. You didn't do those things because you actually didn't want to do them.
My Bucket (not on my list) is no longer here. I loved the little bits of red on the yellow lid. Next to the bucket is the radio over which I have listened to Janis Joplin, Rush Limbaugh and everything else at full volume. It's been quiet for quite a few days. I would rather not have had to listen to Rush. Quiet Tile Guys. No radio.
There are those who might say my new bathrooms are Bucket List items. Feel free to discuss this among yourselves.
My sink is supposed to arrive on Monday (but not be installed until some point in time that has not been determined). I have a tracking number so I can watch as it moves across New York state and north into Maine. The sink is traveling with towel bars and toilet tissue holders. The granite for the sink to be undercounted to---well, that hasn't been ordered as yet or cut or delivered. See where this is going--or better yet--not going? But I had to "hurry" and order the sink.
Did not get the Tomato plants into the ground. I did water them three times today. They are very thirsty. Mostly I have been busy vacuuming the carpets--G finally got the vacuum fixed. It would vacuum but not pick up anything. Now it picks up the dog hair, dust and lint. Finally.
Then I hand washed/wiped the entrance hall tile floor. Tile Guy walked in and out to the tile saw about 100 times on Friday and this morning (7:30 am) another 10 times. Then I made the mistake of walking out with the dog to water my containers out front. Then had to wash the floor again. I had tracked in tile dust. Yep.
Been watching Netflix. A Chef's Life. A Russian. A Korean Monk. Today it was Nancy Silverton.
The Russian was very odd and the food didn't look like anything I would ever want to eat. Loved everything about the Monk. A woman. Especially her clothes. There was a scene of her taking trains into Seoul to teach a Vegan Cooking Class. That coat, those shoes, those pants that gathered at the ankle. Above those shoes. And her food. The Lotus Flower Tea. So beautiful. Everything about the segment in Korea was so beautiful. I will watch it again.
Nancy Silverton is very strange. She has curly hair. She had curly hair. Now it's all braided and wound into tight balls with many, many little shiny objects. And her clothes. Very strange and I am guessing, seriously expensive. I did love the orange linen apron. I won't watch that episode again. But the scenes with her making loaves of bread were wonderful. I love making bread. So maybe I would watch again.
I don't know who is next or how many episodes there are this season. The photography is stunning.
I think this is Season Three.
So, the President has a general as his "newest" secretary. And no transgender people in the military. And now he is saying no women. He isn't "comfortable" with women in the military. Having guns, I guess. But he did say something I do approve of. The government employees should have the same Obamacare insurance as "we the people". Now, the government employees are not happy about that.
Friday, July 28, 2017
We haven't finished the wall next to the stairs. Waiting for European style radiators to arrive. But the floor is in and Riley loves sleeping on it this summer. Nice an cool. And not slippery. No fear of a slip and fall for him.
The hardwood stairs were covered with carpet. We had no idea the wood was there. Such a surprise and not sure we could have afforded the cost of having the stairs done in hardwood. So happy the second owner of this house decided to do the work. The guys did a fantastic job creating a new baseboard for the steps. Nice and tall.
The hallway to the bedrooms. The mess is in front of the hall bath (first door left). Today it's getting a blue waterproof coating before tile is added. The floor got orange underlayment and the heating wires. The floors in both bathrooms will be heated. Tomorrow the tile guy is putting down the black ceramic tile (same as the hallway) over the heating cables. Saturday grout. And next week I hope the bath surround gets tile. The entire hallway got new doors and knobs, white paint and under that cardboard--hardwood floors.
I had fun climbing over that pile of stuff every time I needed something from the bedroom, office or needed to use the bathroom. Trying not to trip and fall.
That's the second bedroom (where we have been sleeping since February) and it will be hard to move back into the master. I never expected that bedroom to be as nice as it is. Quiet. Cozy. That bedroom will become the guest room. I'll need to get a nice bed to go in there.
The first door to the right is the pantry (vacuum cleaner room). If they hadn't hit water when digging the house's foundation, that door would lead to the basement. There's a French door that closes off the bedroom wing from the hall and rest of the house. I added two French doors to the house. One here and the second to the doorway between the kitchen and what had been the dining room. That was the first thing I did on moving in. Twenty Six years ago.
I still need to get outside and plant my tomatoes. Some of the potted tomato plants already have tomatoes on them. Got to hurry. The vibe from Mother Nature is a foreboding "early Winter" so time is short. I just don't have any energy and the mosquitos are terrible.
I think the 8 months of prepping for reno and then the actual work--has just wiped me out. I just want it to be done. G and I had a big argument about all the Bonne Maman jelly jars I have saved.
Really. An argument about jelly jars. In a mood of reconciliation: I put 18 out into the recycle bin.
Tomorrow morning I have to order a sink for the hall bath, towel bars and toilet paper holders and try and return the trim kit that wasn't the right one. On the internet. I was supposed to do it today but I didn't. Last time I ordered bathroom parts it was extremely STRESSFUL. And it was March.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Here it is. My black and white bathroom. My walk in shower. My very expensive shower head etc. The black granite counter tops and my cute faucet. The orchid in the pot is fake but I may put one of the real ones in here on a rotating basis. But their pots are larger and the space is rather tight.
You can just get a glimpse of the shelf at the bottom (it goes all the way across) where we store folded white towels. That shelf and the legs that go above the floor made the vanity quite expensive. that's another word for "custom". And you just see the glass door handle at the far right edge. The bath is small and I may have to shimmy myself in behind the toilet to get more in the picture.
This is a picture of my master bedroom. Real time. This is what I walk thru to get to that shiny bright bathroom. The closets have doors and they are already holding our clothing. So, we have to walk around all the paint cans etc to go in and get the day's clothing. You can see the little black hinges. And the details of the new doors. Next time I take pictures, it will be off the inside shelving.
This is a picture of my front entrance hall. Lights on this morning because we are overcast and still rather cold this morning. That's the hall bath vanity. And the light shining into the hall is from the window beside the new front door. That's one of the hall closets. The arched entry into the living room has always been here. I love the arches. And you can see the black tile floor (and the painter's paper and tape peeking out of the closets). Same as in the bathrooms. I wish there was more light but I am still learning how to take pictures!. The room to the right is the living room. The walls are painted (by me, long ago) a distressed Tuscan yellow.
Well, that was exciting. I pressed the "take a picture" button too hard and too long and got ten or twenty of each. Then had to delete. Then forgot how to send them. It's a learning curve thing. The pictures will get better (they can't get worse) and all can be clicked on to see larger--at least I think they can be.
Now I am going into my picture file and deleting all the pictures that I don't need anymore. Because now I can just make NEW ones myself!!!!
Monday, July 24, 2017
I started with strips of fabric. Whatever was at hand--no going looking for stuff up in the attic storage area where my fabric is in containers. Whatever was in the plastic tub. And whatever Connie sends me. And now Deb is sending me stuff I order from her Frankenworks Dye Deck.
I wove the strips into a square with loose edges. Then stitched with floss from the floss nest in the basket. Then added more strips, more embroidery stitches. And then, the other night I started cutting up the big 18 by 18 inch square into rectangles and smaller squares. Then adding borders. See that blue Connie? It's all about you!
The embroidery thread nest is still pretty much full. I buy little baggies of thread at Goodwill. I think it's from kits no longer wanted or just comes in a knot and then the people at Goodwill stuff a baggie full and paste on a dollar sticker. I like the bags with mostly blue or pink thread, but there's some dark side colors at the bottom.
And for my newest project? I took these pictures with my iPhone (the one I don't have a clue how to use) and sent them to myself and here they are. Know what that means? Real pictures of my reno. Coming your way--not from websites or pinterest or anywhere. Right from here at my house.
This may not sound Earth Shattering To YOU. But it is for me. It's been a very long time since the update on my camera downloading program got too technical for me. Long time since my own pictures were actually "fun". But these two were FUN!!!
It's raining today and much, much cooler than it's been in weeks. No workmen. No painter. No tile guy. Nothing happening except for the double recipe of granola for my daughter. Oats, coconut, almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil and finished with mini chocolate chips. There's a small amount of cinnamon and vanilla as well. The ingredients are in the order of the volume. So more oats than coconut. More coconut than almonds. All toasted together till fragrant. Well, not the chocolate chips. They go in when it's all cold (room temp on a cool day)
Finished The Alphabet House. If "life" hadn't intruded--I would have read it right thru from beginning to end. One day. It was that good.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
All these photos are from a very late night visit to someone's Pinterest file on black and white room designs. Hundreds. Thousands. Of Pictures.
Today I made a list of things "to do". I watered the plants on the back stoop and the large planters in front of the house. The pale yellow petunias are re-growing after being "pruned" by passing deer. I now have the planters covered up with almost invisible deer netting. It would seem that the nocturnal pruning of the petunias by the deer was a "good thing" and now they are thicker, more flower buds and happier. Who knew?
I did my watering before 10am. By 11 am, it's too hot and humid for me out there. Breathing is harder. My next opportunity for outdoor things will be around 4 pm. I have things to plant in the garden. To say it's been a difficult summer so far.......well, that's an understatement.
I am reading a real "page turner" right now. The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen. He has also written the Department Q novels which begin with the Keeper Of Lost Causes. Alphabet House is a dark thriller. The Dept Q books have some hilarity to them and of course a murder to solve with Carl, Assad and Rose in the basement of the police building next to the boiler room. Alphabet House is set near the end of WW2 in a Nazi mental hospital, where two British pilots are pretending to be crazy while trying to find a way to escape.
I also found a few more jars of expired foods in the pantry closet. One item from 2009. A can of chocolate fudge cake frosting. I am sure it's still "good enough" to eat. But we won't. Some things have too many chemical components to ever go bad.
I have been embroidering on a woven piece for a few weeks now. Having no plans for it but needing something to do during the long days of not being able to go outside. A few nights ago, I started cutting it up, then adding borders to the cut portion. I intend to find out how to take pictures with my phone and send them to myself and then move the pictures from email to my picture file. Then I can show you things. Like my floors. Like my bathroom. Like my embroidery.
I did sew the new "old" buttons to my shirt. I also removed the labels and tags from the neckline. I then removed the extra button from one Flax shirt and used it on another Flax shirt that had lost two of it's buttons (they cracked in half). Does Flax even exist anymore? Flax used "natural" buttons on it's clothing. Mostly Flax clothes are linen and after a few years of machine washing are soft and really lovely to wear. I now dry them in the dryer or let them dry on hangers. I refuse to iron linen anymore. I wear it wrinkled. Because who cares anymore????
The new Perfect Pants Cropped pant from Bean is perfect. Some of the pants I would try on at the store had legs in different lengths etc. And even in one size--all different kinds of fit. Too big, too small, too long, too short, too wide, too narrow etc. At the time (many many years ago 2006?) I had wanted to buy two pair of the cropped style pant. Tried on every pair in the store in my size. Only ONE fit me properly. So I had only the one. As Fate would have it.....this new (from Goodwill) cropped pant fits exactly like the 2006 one. It's like a miracle.
When I worked at Bean ( remember that?) I purchased all the Perfect Black Pants in the employee store in my size for 20 cents each. Figuring I would keep the ones that fit me and give the others away. Guess how many pair fit me?? Zero. I had better luck with the corduroy pants. About 25% of them fit me correctly. The many linen camp shirts I bought cost me $2 and 50% of them were given away or sent off to Goodwill because they didn't fit. Sleeves too tight, body of the shirt too skimpy, sleeve cut too short etc. and then there were the darts.
Camp shirts aren't supposed to have darts. Anyway, the darts were rarely in places a woman of my age would need the darts to be. For awhile there, I tried to unsew the darts and resew the side seams. But the new (cheap) linen shredded easily and once I knew how transparent the new linen was....I gave up buying any newly made shirts. Now I only buy the ones without darts. Antique ones. At Goodwill. Really hard to find in XL or 1X. But once every two or three years, I find one.
The other really amazing thing about that first pair of Cropped Perfect Pant is that I have worn those XL (reg) cropped pants when I weighed my maximum, my minimum and all the weights inbetween from the early 2000's to 2017. And they always fit exactly the same. Perfectly. Of course they are no longer black. And they have holes and bleach spots on them. But I love them.
Friday, July 21, 2017
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 today......to 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
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
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
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
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
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 know...be happy.
But first. I need to eat breakfast.
Sunday, July 09, 2017
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
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
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
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
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.