Thursday, August 31, 2017

Imagining Being Carried Over Deep Water


The child must be looking back at his home and his mother.  Worried.  The stuff of nightmares for years to come.

Here in Maine--dry.  Drought.   Overcast with a chill in the air at night and in the morning.  Wearing more layers of clothing.  In August when I am usually exhausted from the HEAT.  Strange Times.

The Plum Preserves are so delicious (and pretty) that G wants a Plum Cobbler.  Okay with me as I don't want to waste even a single plum.  This is my first harvest from a tree that's had ten years or more to settle in.  Stanley has been moved twice.( I really do try to make my fruit trees happy)  Started flowering three or four years ago. No fruit. I purchased and planted a Beach Plum and they flower at the same time and this seems to be what Stanley needed.  A pollinator.  Even though his name tag says he can do it alone. Now to find someone to make the Beach Plum fruit.  She doesn't fancy Stanley.

So, after I hit publish I am going out to pick more plums.  I now realize preserves are better if most of the plums aren't completely ripe.  Tart. So I don't have to wait--can pick them all today.

I am building a little cloth house like the ones Jude Hill builds on Spirit Cloth.  I have two containers of fabric down here but seems like I don't have what I want.  What I need.  So I will carry the Depression Era prints back upstairs and go looking for some aged and raggedy scraps.  I may even add a "beast" to the little cloth.

For years and years, I had a good sized waste basket (a real basket) that I tossed the cuttings of fabric into.  I made all sorts of lovely abstract work out of that scrap basket.  But it's empty.  And I feel quite lost without it.  So if anyone has a scrap pile they would like to donate---email me.  I may have to venture over to Goodwill and look around in the size small section of the Ladies.  Little prints.  Large prints. Florals.  Abstracts. Animals.  To cut up.  The ones on sale.  The markdowns.

And have ice cream before or after.

It's 3:30 and the house is dark--need to switch on a lamp.  How very odd.  Good thing I found three books at the library.  They may not be anything good but at least I have a book.  I need to make a few more requests.  Get on the lists.  One of the authors has most of a shelf in the mystery section.  So, if her book is good--I have a new author.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tomatoes From Friends


My tomatoes have "miles to go" before they get ripe.  So, I am thankful to gardening friends who sent over their overstock of tomatoes.  One box (yes, to my delight it was a box of them) had many named varieties.  The Snow White was ripest and small so I worked on washing, halving, salting and eating them. (such hard work--laughing)  The Grower said they were almost "too sweet" but with a generous amount of salt...just right sweet.

I have a recipe for a Tomato Margarita that is made with tomato juice.  Sounds like the Snow Whites would be excellent in that.

The very large pink Brandywine is going to be served tonight with cheese and basil in a Caprese.  Not the 3.45 pound one the gardener had taken a photo of --on the scale--- but the next largest.

My early summer Away Job was to water these plants.  I was also charged with adding ties to hold the heavy vines and branches up.  So it seems they are "close friends" of mine and I am proud of the delicious offspring.

The other gardener has planted Siberian tomatoes--small to medium and very prolific.  She will have tomatoes well into October if we miss an early frost.  She has what look like Early Girls, Brandywine, Sungold Cherries and a plum tomato variety.  She has forgotten what she planted.

My friend also has the best looking butternut squash.  Huge.  They need to dry and cure in the sun so she can store them for Winter eating.  We ate tomatoes, crackers, cheese and cucumbers at her house yesterday.  For snack.  We skipped the offered gin and tonics.  Too early.

I returned home to my slow growing garden.  I still have September if it stays sunny.  But we are wrapped in our blankets at night now.  So, I wonder if I have the time will take for ripe tomatoes.

Well, time for breakfast.

Oh, and I am working on an Art Quilt Project.  With dyed fabric.  With my own painted fabric. With Deb's "dirty dyed thread".   It's looks promising.  Finished the one book and now reading the Robotham.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Loose Wires & Connections


Well, these now have plates on them.  Connected to many lights.  Dimmers.  Still no Plumbing .
So there is light.  There is no water.

The small circle on my left shoulder blade, where I have three "bite" marks from a spider we think, heals and then opens and bleeds.  Today it decided to bleed.  Now it is bandaged yet again. I have been taking Prednisone off and on all summer.  So if this was "something" the steroid would have taken care of it.  When it doesn't bleed-- it leaks a yellow, sticky wetness.  Then it drys up and goes away.  Most of the summer it has had a bandage.  The whole of last week it was completely healed, dry and uncovered.  Until last night and then this morning.

I am midway into Ruth Ware's new book "The Lying Game".  It reads well but I am not feeling the "chill" described in the liner notes.  This is just a book about women telling lies--to each other, themselves and to everyone else they have contact with.  Not even big lies.  "how are you?"  "Fine" when you aren't.  Yawn.

I have two more days to finish before it's due.  Our library now has 7 day books for quick readers. No waiting in long lines for bestsellers.  I can generally read a book in one to three days time.  In the Winter I will read a book a day if I can find good books.  And, good books are getting hard to find these days.  I have another book waiting.  It needs to be read by September 5th.

Yesterday I made a "Greek Salad" from a website I read everyday.  Supposed to make it in a glass canning jar and take it along for lunch.   Fill jar from bottom up.  Tomatoes.  Cucumbers.  Red Onion slivers.  Colorful bell peppers.  Black olives.  Feta crumbles.  Oh--I forgot--the dressing in the bottom before the tomatoes.  And a few leaves of spinach on top.  I made it and it was terrible.  Not the veg. the veg is always wonderful.  The dressing.  I was belatedly reminded that I like my Greek Salads with Ranch Dressing.  If I can find enough cherry tomatoes in the garden today, I will make it again, but this time with Ranch.

Our TiVo remote has stopped being able to turn off the TV or lower or raise the volume.  Everything else works.  So we pull the plug out of the back of the tv when we are done watching tv.  I watched the last five episodes of season 5 of Longmire last night and then pulled the plug.  You are supposed to be able to "reprogram" the remote but...............

Riley now is back on the Invisible Fence Program.  Collar, repaired wires around the perimeter etc. He was going "walk about" as they say in Australia.  His Vet says he doesn't have doggie dementia  but just is intelligent enough to realize he can just "go" and so he has taken advantage of our complacency.  There have been improvements in the collars.  Now he hears a buzzing as he gets close--before he gets the shock.  The buzz does it for him.  He backs up.  I still have no idea where he is most of the time.  He has his own interests and places to visit but they are now inside the wires.

I have an artistic fabric piece in the "works" but I need more fabric.  So I am waiting for a package from Deb Lacativa.  I also have those 2.5 inch squares to stitch.  My book to read.  Summer is coming to an end.  It seemed both too long and too short.  Just as I seem too young and too old.

Friday, August 25, 2017

This Is Not A FAKE Blog Post


Gosh, are you as tired of  the word "FAKE" as I am.  Fake news.  Fake President.

Anyway, it's late August and I woke up needing to run to the bathroom.  And after that, I needed drops in my eyes.  The August trots and itchy eyes.  It must have been the peaches.

I am trying to make my life simpler and nicer.  Doing good things for others and for myself. Yesterday was my first venture into the world of "experiences" offered by the college art museum here in Town.  A "drawing workshop" in the drawing exhibit which covers hundreds of years of work. By reservation and ticket only.

The workshop consisted of a brief outline of "what to do", two pencils, paper and a clip board.  A docent at the museum offered to get me a chair.  I must look like I need a chair?  I did a drawing of a portrait by Henry Matisse (1935) and a segment of a pencil still life by Marsden Hartley from 1939.
The instructor promised to stop by each of the participants as we worked for some coaching etc.  I never got to meet her.  She spent most of her time chatting with the museum curator.

The best part of the evening was when I went to pick up my two drawings from the floor (where we were told to "exhibit" them) and another participant said "I like yours (the still life) better than the original".  I said thank you and burst out laughing.  And then I returned my pencils and clipboard and went home.

Life here at my house is hardly quiet.  The Blue Angels are in Town for the weekend and the jets are screaming over my house most of the afternoon.  At times it seems like they might crash nearby, they are so low.  I live 6000 feet from the end of the runway.  When we first moved here, 26 years ago, the trees weren't as tall.  My son and I sat out on the yard and watched as the Angels flew over us.  I took pictures with my old Nikon.  In the pictures you can see the pilot's heads.  That close to us.  They still fly the same paths.  Only the trees block most of the view except when all four scream right over the middle of my street........lord, I am always sure they are going to crash.  Flying so low.

We have a retired four or five star admiral (6th Fleet) living in the adjoining Town.  The Blue Angels fly over his salt water farm, upside down as a tribute to him whenever they are in Town (which seems like every other year).  Really low and then up into that open formation.  He was Top Gun of his "class".  And a very very nice guy.  I know his mother.

I picked two nice sized green peppers yesterday for G's kabobs.  I usually wait for them to turn red. But they are edible in either color.  I also made him some steamed rice.  I had his dinner ready for the grill before leaving for my drawing experience.

I pressed (with the long missing iron) fabrics and cut 2.5 inch squares and now I have the stacks of six colors set up and ready for assembly of little four patch blocks.  I have way too much pink. I had to dig in containers in the attic to find more blue and yellow and green. (depression era prints).  I plan to sew them together by hand.  To keep myself "busy".

I have a 7 day book checked out from the library and only 4 days left to read it.  The Lying Game by Ruth Ware.  Into The Woods was good.  The Woman in Cabin 10 not so much.  So we'll see.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Little Squares


I decided I need hand work to do inside when it's too hot to go out and garden.  The hot humid-ness of August is not good for me or Riley. And watching MSNBC is not good for my mental health.  And reading, while lovely, is only great when one has a very good book.

 I finished The Other Einstein about Albert's first wife who may or may not have written the relativity paper that won Albert the Noble Prize.  Which might be why he gave her all the money from a Prize in their divorce agreement (to keep her quiet).  She certainly did all the mathematical equations.  Albert wasn't great at math.  The book was remarkably similar to the series on cable "Genius" that I watched in the early summer.  Try and find it in the cable line up.  National Geographic station. Next up is Robotham's The Secrets She Keeps.

Took a break to chat on the phone with my friend.  Her dad is 99 and turns 100 on the same day as my birthday.  She reports that he is flirting with older women when she takes him on errands in Boston.  Not older than he is, for sure.  But older white haired ladies.  Especially the ones who are still stylish.  Made me laugh and I'm still smiling.

Anyway, back to the fabric and blocks.  I HAD to go FIND the IRON.  To press the fabrics before cutting them into 2.5 inch squares.  And I still need more blues.  Too much pink.  I haven't used the IRON in such a long time.  It might be years.  OMG!

I've forgotten why I am cutting 2.5 inch squares.

I have another sewn together bunch of pink depression style fabrics (I am sensing a theme here).  I had to go up into the attic to search boxes and shelving to see if I had the "desired" pink striped fabric for a framing border.  Geez. I couldn't find anything and am NOT going shopping but at the last minute I pulled a pile off the topmost shelf and there it was.  Deep pink and yellow.  Modern stripes.  But "use what you own" is the motto.  And, it looks great.

While I was up there I noticed a great deal of cobalt blue and all manner of greens.  So I have to start thinking about that.  I have nothing to make moons or suns.  No circles.  Spending time reading spirit Cloth and Jude has so many circles to make into things.  I guess I could try and bleach circles into some of the cloth I own.  Some of the cobalt.  Or paint circles on fabric.

But then I would have to go look for the PAINT.  I can see the next few months (maybe years) of playing hide and seek with my possessions.  The ones that got packed and moved to empty rooms.
Up and down the stairs.  Repeat.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Front Porch--Today


Still cluttered with plants and construction stuff.  I may never get the native Maine perennials in the ground but do need to get them in by Winter if they are to survive.  I have space in the vegetable raised beds.  That's where I overwintered the blue grass.  Perennial seeds need to be planted in the Fall, overwinter outdoors, grown along in the warm months, and then achieve adult status after the second winter.  Natives seem a bit trickier.  We'll see.

Most of the plants belong to my native seed starting partner.

Oh, and yes, the ceiling on the porch is painted blue.  I paint all my porch ceilings blue--like the sky.

Yesterday I stayed in as I didn't have any of the special glasses and didn't want to accidentally look up during the eclipse.  It seemed like a wonderful experience.  I hope I have the special glasses in 2024 when Maine is directly under the sun's path.

The painter is painting the front door.  He had a few days open so we are getting the door painted.  The electrician is coming tomorrow.  The plumber is............not.  So--the lights will be on but nothing else will be.  No faucets, toilet or shower.  Trite as it may sound... it's always the very last things that take forever to get done.

Tonight is Music Theater Night.  Newsies.  It's also the day the new class at Bowdoin College arrives with parents, packed cars and all their "stuff".  So parking in Town will be a "picnic".  And so will  trying to get into the grocery or a restaurant.

I spent yesterday finishing a small piece of patchwork.  A doll sized quilt.  With doll sized blocks. I finished hand quilting and then worked on the edging.  Got it finished.  I also cut a package of 5 inch squares into quarters.  At some point I will sew the quarters into four patches.  I may not have enough to make anything of any size.  I liked the packet because the top squares were all pink.  And they are. It's the rest of the squares that aren't pink.  The blue and green ones are okay but the lilac/purple ones--ick.  I know 30's quilts--which I adore have all the colors mixed together--but I am Virgo and I like to CONTROL.

I COULD cut them all and put them in a brown paper bag and randomly pick a little square out and sew it to another random square.  I COULD.  But I would end up searching in the bag for what I "really" want and that defeats the whole process.

I may go looking for solid pink.  I must have a bit in the stash somewhere.  Connie sent me a lovely piece of pink in the mail yesterday.  Thank you Connie!!!  Love the striped heart!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Green Tomatoes Make Excellent Pickles

Now---no matter what happens in the garden going forward--I can make green tomatoes into Bread and Butter Pickles.

Same recipe.  Same process.  Go forth canners--pickle those green tomatoes!!!!

And I learned something that European canners always knew.  The Bon Maman jelly jars--reseal.
I had the green tomatoes in one of those cheerful red checked lidded jars and wanted to taste test.  I turned the lid and "POP".  It had sealed.

Well, So NOT putting any more of these delightful jars in the re-cycle.  Jam is going in them. My jam.

Late Bloomers--Me & My Dahlias


I potted the dahlias up at the right time--but they are slow to set buds and those buds are slow to break open into flowers.  Some are over four feet tall.  I am hoping the flowers come soon.

We had MUCH NEEDED rain yesterday.  Slow and steady for about 20 out of 24 hours in the day. G is napping today instead of watering the garden and Riley is happy the rain has finally stopped.  He'll walk in the rain if he has to, but it's not on his top 10 list.

I picked some blackberries while it was raining (the rain would have spoiled them).  Soaked them a bit in case they had worms (berries so that), then let them sit out on paper towels to dry.  Now they are in the jam packed freezer.  I need to start using what's in the freezer.  Get it empty. I was going to eat the berries with yogurt but when I opened my yogurt....it had blue mold growing.

While I was out in the garden (in the rain) picking berries, I also was sprinkling the dirt around the stems of pepper plants and zucchini with fertilizer.  The rain would help it slowly soak into the roots.

The Tile Guy is here today trying to repair the black grout.  He got to a stopping spot and is now off to the job he is supposed to be doing this morning.  But he said he'd be back.

The Paint Guy got everything in the hall bath painted.  And then he worked on the baseboards in the hall that got put in (tardily) and then gave the entire wall it's finish coat of paint.  This all was done over two days as things need to dry in between.  So an hour or two and then away and then back for an hour and then next day the same.  We are now painted.  Complete.  So, I asked if he wanted to do the front door (he had told me the job he was working had abruptly ended).  G went into the basement for exterior paint.  Painter and I discussed paint.  We had three cans. Finally, eliminated one can.  Then decided where the remaining two colors would go.  I think that's why I needed a nap.

Also I was sad.  My dream of a black door ended with the paint choices.  My dream of a white house with black doors and shutters is also gone.  But......I have black and white inside the house.

My PBS station is completing week four of "Fund Raising".  So no programing other than people lecturing and then trying to sell books and tapes with infomercials. The same books and tapes year after year.  I stop watching PBS during this nonsense.

We have two different cable providers for PBS here in Maine.  Our newspaper lists both.  One is "fund raising" and the other is showing regular NEW PBS programing.  Programs we are missing out on. Our station will never air them or they air them between 2am and 6am with no notice or all episodes one after the other on one day (The Great Baking Show).  Endeavor will be on tonight.  The first episode of the new season.  How many weeks late???

Well, I am going to set the big canning kettle onto the stove and get it boiling.  And get my salted raw veg out of the hall fridge and get to rinsing and draining it.  Then make the brine. Wash the jars. Etc.
Try not to get the turmeric brine all over myself.

Try not to watch any more "news".  Whenever I think things couldn't get worse........  The silent crowd in Barcelona made me weep.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Blackberry Season & Rethinking Grandmotherhood


Just about soft enough to pick. But still have to really pull to get the berries to release.  And when I taste them--still a bit pucker-y.  Okay, I guess, if I made a crumble.  I'll wait a day or two.  So many this year and mostly all big berries.  I am marking the smaller branched ones--so G can cut them away.

I should buy a quart of plain yogurt and start making fruit, Bran Buds and yogurt lunch bowls.

G and I had a very late lunch at the Seadog, on the deck, overlooking the river and the green bridge.
A pure summer delight.  While we dined on lobster and mussels, a young woman was seated behind G and with her a very charming little girl.  I can't guess her age (3?) but she was talking, walking and had a full set of teeth.    She had also draw horizontal lines from ankles to above her knees with markers--perhaps wanting to be wearing striped tights?  A future artist or fashion designer?

The woman and child were discussing things and I overheard the little girl say "'well, I'll just buy it with my debit card".  The woman (who may have been the nanny), said, "well, you could try".

At this point....I realized I might just be glad I didn't have any grandchildren or at this point in my life--great grandchildren..  I would want them to be like my children were at that age.  And who is like that anymore?  They have computers and phones before they can walk.  I handed them toys.  Now parents hand them phones with games. I have overheard grandparents saying their baby grandchildren know more about technology than they do.  I expect it by 6 or 7 years.  Not 3.

I know, I know......... you don't have to say it.

I have been burn testing linens I got from Goodwill and other places--some from my mother in law years ago.  Lucky for all-- they burned (yellow) to fine, soft ash and not to hard chemical pebbles.  Onward to the L'VilleDyeDecks.

Another big haul of zucchini from the garden (why am I underwhelmed by it?).  So I went to buy red peppers (peppers in September and zucchini in July/August) so I could make another batch of Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles.  They sit--sliced thin, salted and iced in the hall fridge.

Tile guy has been here everyday but Sunday. Grout and a few more tiles in the niches.  Yes, two niches.  One under the shower head (this niche will stay dry) and the other on the back wall.  It also will stay dry.  The one in the master is always full of water--it drains but all the bottles are wet--we should have insisted it go on the back wall.

The granite vanity top with sink attached arrives Wednesday (some time).  We have to wait a day or two before drilling for the faucet.  Or attaching pipes under the sink (drain).  Make sure adhesive is set up.  Then we order the mirror that goes behind the sink.  And the toilet goes in.  How many days left before August ends?  Will we make it?????  6.5 months......and counting.  Oh and our friend the electrician comes to hook up the in floor heat, the LED ceiling lights over toilet and tub (total of 8 switches in a standard hall bath) and then the painter.  And we still have no radiators.

I'm telling you.......if I was going to go nutcracker crazy....this would have been the  six months to do it. I guess I stay sane. (ish)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Morning Chat With My Daughter Regarding Chickens


Little known things about my daughter.  That she would pick up a chicken.  That she would like chickens.  But she does and she did.  Our friend had to band the chicks and my daughter picked them up for the banding.  Friend's chicks are now laying eggs.

I sent over a bucket of things from my garden--things I would have put in my compost.  Chickens are picky eaters.  They didn't like the purslane but liked the arugula flowers.

Riley decided it was time to pick my one singular peach off the tree.  Today I ate it.  And it was delicious and very juicy.

I was watching Hinderlands on Netflix yesterday.  In between taking naps.  I just didn't feel well.  It could be "summer".  Not a big fan of the heat and humidity.  Usually its cold dark and winter on Hinderlands.  But two episodes seemed to be taking place in a season that was not quite winter.  Still awfully dark.  Takes place in Wales and most of the roads are one lane.  I am watching because it seems like they have a "new" season three.

Which reminds me that the final season of Longmire starts this Fall on Netflix.  September, I think.  I usually try and watch two full seasons before watching the new season.  Catching up.  Being reminded of the story lines.  But now that I have actually read the books......I am usually confused.  Story lines do not match or even go together.

I harvested three long burpless cucumbers.  Got to find something to do with them.  Besides eat them with salt.  Which isn't a bad thing to do with them.  I did make a jug of cucumber, lemon and mint water and then forgot to drink it.  Easier to drink it when I was working.

My ankles have been swollen all summer.  And this week==they aren't.  Trying to think what I maybe doing different. So far--not thinking of anything that is different.

Tile guy is here for third day in a row.  Tub surround is getting close to being finished but he's into the two "niches" for soap and shower bottles.  That will take some time.

G will be walking the neighbor's dog for five days.  The two Earth Boxes full of peppers plants are just starting to use the water from the bottom.  Now I have another thing to be mindful of watering.
Blackberries are almost sweet enough to pick.  And there are lots of them this year.  Last year--very few.  Blueberries are about finished.  I have enough to make one more blueberry sour cream sheet cake.  Very nice.  Especially a cold slice from the fridge.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Thursday In August


I am just so interested in how I can take these moving images and tuck them in my picture file and then when I insert them in the blog--they start moving.  Icy cold images on sultry August days.

Make more ice.

The tile guy didn't show up yesterday, but he is here today.  Tiling the wall in the hall bath.  As much as he can get done today.  I was called upon to make a half dozen or so "decisions" on the placement of tile and grout colors.  I must have "aced" the test because I chose all the right answers.  Last one was multiple choice.  Tile guy says they always give customer choices but have already decided which of the two or three they prefer.  I chose the one he preferred.  He's happy.  I'm happy.  Life is good this morning.

I signed up for a hands on workshop that "enhances" the local college art museum's drawing exhibit. Some of the drawings are from the 1600's.  It is an amazing display, mostly from the archives of alumni donations.  I recognized most of the names from my days at college taking Art History classes. I am wondering what we might be doing in the workshop--but whatever it is--it will be me trying to open myself to new experiences.

My friend tells me the BUS SERVICE to the big (for us) city of Portland starts next month.  That means I could actually take a bus to Portland and shop or visit the museums. library etc and then take the bus home again.  Like when I was 13 or 14 and took the bus, alone, into Cleveland (the race riots were a few years later).  The bus dropped me off in the center of downtown Cleveland by Terminal Tower.  I then would walk to the central library--a huge marble building with iron gates on the rooms with special book collections.  I once spent the day in such a room reading The Sheik, a book no longer in print and a first edition and valuable.  It may have been August.  And the marble room was dark and cool and quiet.  So unlike my situation at home.  I stayed and read the entire book.  Then the 30 to 40 minute bus ride home.  No one missed me.

That tells you more than you need to know about my life at home.

After high school and before going away to my first year at college, I worked for the Cleveland Water District and took the bus to work each morning and back home in the early evening.  Everyone was happy at home that summer.  I was away at work.  Gone.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I was 17.

I was out yesterday with a good friend (we went to the Art Museum) and then I got my new glasses adjusted.  Very good today with the screen and keyboard.  I also stopped in at the local, downtown quilt shop.  Lots of patterns and things for sale but very very little fabric.  They did have a skein of the exact color of floss I needed.  So that was wonderful.  I visited with quilters working on sampler blocks.  and in doing so--saw a background fabric that looked fabulous with the same type of prints I still have in my stash.  So I purchased a yard.  Just enough.  Not too much.  They used the fabric with half square triangles and the background as the triangles sewn to the corners.  I still can't get access to my sewing machine so I will cut pieces and have a "hand work" project hand sewing the pieces together.  I think I prefer doing it that way, these days.  The cutting will be intense.  As I have to really think about how to cut the shapes.  It's been a long time.  Exercise for the brain cells.


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Tuesday In August


New eye glasses prescription.  Trifocals.  Three lines.  Eye crossing three lines up and then three lines down--over and over, trying to find the right spot for vision.  Quite the headache.  Feeling nauseous.  Reading the newspaper this morning--endlessly.  Trying to SEE.  Brain has to figure it out.

It rained over night.  So a day off in the garden watering project.

My one singular peach was ripe--ready to be picked.  Quite the treat.  My First Peach.

Tile Guy is arriving tomorrow morning.  Wondering what he will get done.  Would be most excellent if he got it all done.  Would have to return for grout. But there would be LIGHT at end of this renovation.   It's been endless.  Epic as they say.   A Cluster **** as some others would say.

Tomorrow J and I are visiting the Bowdoin Art Museum to see the drawing exhibit.  10:30 am.

Monday glasses and Wednesday Art Museum.  Big week with two events.

August just makes me tired.  I wish I could just sleep through it.  Well, I'm going for trying to read my book.  Should be fun.  Or not.

Our employer did not like being called sulky.  She reads this blog.  So--what I meant to say was that she was super intelligent, generous and kind and has a terrific sense of humor.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Monday, Monday


Another of the pickle jars gave up it's seal.  I heard the "plop" from across the room.  Now G has two jars to eat in the fridge.  Plus the refrigerator dills. I am probably going to pitch in and eat some of them.

When faced with "too much to eat" my husband reverts to "teenage girl" and slowly stops eating.

I watered the garden today.  G is off cutting grass for our employer.  She is a friendly employer but gets sulky if not obeyed.  He has misplaced his hearing protectors with the good radio.  So he is quite upset.  We spent some time looking for them.  Trying to think about where he's been.  When he last saw them.  I think they are across the street.  Where he was putting down mulch--at least 10 days ago.  He says no.  He had them on when he was cutting our side yard.

I slept well the past two nights.  Lots of cleaning made me sleepy.  But last night a very disturbing dream.  I was asked by a woman I hardly knew to watch her children (they were in bed) while she went out on a "family emergency".   The toddler woke and cried and had foam bubbling from his mouth.  The four or five year old told me "she made him drink this" and it wasn't something a child should drink.  I tried calling the mother--no answer so I called a person I knew but not well and he agreed to come stay with the older child while I took the toddler to ER.  By the time he arrived, it was obvious she had given whatever it was to both.

So there we are, two strangers with two children who don't know us at all--in ER-- critical condition trying to comfort them as best we can.......and then I woke up.  Tears in my eyes yet again.

I have no idea what it means.  Not related to the 15th Century mystery I am reading... Benjamin Black's  "Wolf On A String".  Not related to anything I am watching on television.  Not related to real life---pickles and blueberries.

What a way to begin a day.  I promised G I would go and get my new eyeglasses.  So I am going to do that.  I got groceries yesterday so I don't need to do that.  A quick trip into Town. Then back home to the dog.  The dog who did not get his walk today.  Looks like it might rain.  Which would be nice. I really don't like brown, crispy grass.

In my front yard the heather is in bloom.  Some pink and some yellow green and of course, day lilies. the sweet shrub is in bud but has not flowered as yet.  Smells sweet and spicy.  In pink.  The sedum have set buds but they haven't colored as yet.  The deer are coming by night and eating whatever is not covered in netting.  Coming right to the front stairs.  Brazen this year.  And the woods are full of green leaves.  Enough for them to fill their tummy without my flowers.   I do not like deer.


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Avocado For Lunch Plus Attitude Adjustments


My local grocery now has "Misfit" produce.  One day it was limes and lemons.  Not the right size (small) but still good limes and lemons.  $2.49 for 6.  Last time I was shopping--it was avocados.  Very small. Very green and hard.  Again, $2.49 for six.  I had one for lunch today.  It had taken three days for it to ripen but when cut open it was beautifully creamy green.  Perfect. And delicious with some of the misfit lime juice squeezed over the top.

The same day I bought the avocados, I purchased two red bell peppers to go in the zucchini bread and butter pickles.  They sat with ice and once that melted they waited for me to "do something" until this afternoon.  I set the big canning kettle on the stove, filled with water and pint jars.

I have been putting it off.   It's what I do these days.

I decided today it was less being tired and more being depressed.

So I forced myself to can the pickles.  Five out of the six jars have pinged.

Yesterday I forced myself to sweep and wash the floors.  I also pulled up enough dirty cardboard (supposedly protecting the hardwood floors) so I can walk thru the master bedroom to the bath on wood floors instead of dirty cardboard.  I did this labor because I had begged out of going sailing that morning.  To welcome a tall ship into Portland Harbor.  It was a good decision.  The seas went up and down. A very good chop.  I would have been sick.  When I beg off doing something (and disappointing people--ie the Host and G) I always do some hard work that I also don't want to do.  I beg off doing things a great deal.  Always have but now....it seems that I refuse more often than I accept.

Which is why I now think it might be called "being depressed" instead of "being stubborn".

I also finished a book while canning the pickles.  Multi-tasking.  The Dry by Jane Harper.  A debut novel.  I have always brought home any first novels I find on the library shelves.  First timers work harder, rewrite more and try and have a solid story.  Later in their author lifetimes--well, they might do one and not the others.  For the money.   This book was good.  I look forward to any others this author might write.  I may have discovered who done it earlier than I was supposed to---but then I had to really wait to see if I had been right.

I also went to the movies.  G loves going to movies.  He loved going out on the boat ride.  We went to see Atomic Blonde.  Hard to imagine Charlise being so perfectly gorgeous  even when being beaten to a pulp.  G and I were the ONLY PEOPLE in the theater to see the 3:45 showing.  We moved around and tried out all the seats.  We were well entertained by the movie.  Interesting seeing 1989 Berlin and the Wall.  We left Germany in 1988.  Without seeing the Wall.  Americans weren't that popular in Berlin.  Everyone in Atomic Blonde was British or Russian.  A few Germans.

So, to overcome my "attitude" I have successfully made pickles, read a book, washed all the exposed floors in the house, emptied a bookcase and put all the books in the recycle container (they weren't worth the space they had been filling) and gone to see a movie.  I am now going to wash the orange Cheeto dust off my fingers and find another book to read in the pile from the library.  All of a sudden--they are sending me books.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

It's August--Pickle Time


My first batch of Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles is in the porch fridge soaking in salted ice water. Getting crisp.  I had enough zucchini from my very tardy garden to make a full recipe.  I had to go out to the grocery to get two red bell peppers and one jalape├▒o.  I had onions.  And I always have a gallon of vinegar and a 5# bag of sugar handy.

Back to the garden.  Harvest includes:  2 burpless cucumbers, enough zucchini (green and yellow) for the pickles, another two quarts of blueberries (total of 6 quarts so far), two very nice Sungold cherry tomatoes which I ate right in the garden, basil for a tomato (Farmer's market) and fresh mozzarella Caprese salad.   I have plenty of herbs and what people call "green leaves" but haven't picked any yet.

G weeded and watered and I planted a few more tomato plants.  I think I found the Early Girls.  And the Heinz special tomato they use in the ketchup.  And, possibly, the few Italian tomatoes that germinated from the five seeds in the package I purchased.  My Cherokee Purple plant has a nice tomato growing on it.  There is hope.

And my fertilization "program" seems to be having a result.  Dark green leaves.  I hardly follow the rules on fertilizing.  But the tomatoes all got pink stuff.  Miracle Grow Tomato Food.  And Epsom Salts.  Next up will be Fish Emulsion.  The peppers will be getting a pinch of sulfur along with their fish emulsion.  Riley likes to be involved in the "pouring" of the fish fertilizer--he is in charge of licking the bottle clean.  Dogs love stinky things.

My Hall Bathroom is never going to get done.  So slow.  I have a skim coat over the drywall. The vanity is in place but not the granite or the sink or the faucet.  No tile in the bathtub surround.  No faucets etc.  85% of the tile is in and grouted.  The part over by the radiator--no tile.  The pipe for the toilet water supply is coming out of the floor and not the wall--toilet wants it out of the wall.

While we wait for the plumber to get things moving-----still walking on dirty cardboard to get to the one bathroom and the bedrooms.  And the boxes of tile, grout etc and the toilet are still in the bedroom.  Oh, and paint, big tub of drywall compound, a construction vacuum.

And if we change radiators in bedroom (we ordered new ones) --we'll have to add more baseboards-- and find a solution to the "now the wallpaper (the other one--not the one on the walls) will show and how do you want to manage that?"  More baseboards = more painting.  It's getting to be a classic Money Pit thing over here.  And if we do any of these things--we won't be able to move into the master until all of that is done.

I have mentioned that the original owner pasted four different patterns of paper in each and every room in the house.  Home owner two had most of it removed but we find nasty little surprises of wallpaper--like behind the hall bath toilet and in the guest bedroom.  She "really" didn't want the stuff to come off the walls.  And in the master-- wall paper behind the radiators.  Original. We found it under the trim work on the windows also.  One construction guy said--she REALLY liked wallpaper.  Awful wallpaper.  Like a Victorian Candy Box.  Above the chair rail, below the chair rail, the chair rail, along the top of wall by ceiling.  Four different prints.  Each room a different set of four prints.  I got a first hand description from a teenager who babysat when the house was new.  She said it was all over the house and it was even in the two story high family room.  Wallpaper from floor to the very very tippy top of the room by the skylights.  Four and even five different patterns.  Each room.

Owner number two was some kind of trooper.  Removing all that wallpaper, painting everything, putting down hardwood floors, adding a third full bath, making a fourth bedroom.  She stayed only three years.  Imagine the flurry of workers that must have been here?  And she got it all finished.  Nothing left undone.

Perhaps that's the legacy of the house.  Renovation.  We were 26 years late getting our part started.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

August Carrots


I plan to "inspect" my carrots to see if they are ready to be pulled and eaten.  Last year I got a terrible shock when I pulled my carrots.  The chipmunks had been down in the dirt--under--- eating the sides off most of my carrots.  I pulled up half eaten carrots.  It was very sad.  I stamped my feet and yelled but little could be done.  I have to go to the store and BUY carrots.

I got my tomato patch covered (mulched) with straw.  It looks very nice.  Eventually the straw will start looking matted and begin composting.  But right now it's crisp, yellow and very cheerful looking.  I got as many tomato plants in the ground as I could before giving up.  It's hot out there. And itchy.  I planted all the "seedlings"- (2 foot tall seedlings) the ones with tomatoes already started on the plants.  I have some Early Girls, Sungolds, Romanians, Italians.  They have all lost their name tags.  I also am tending about six free spirits that are self seeded from last years tomato plants.  No idea which ones but could be the yellow ones or some of the Romanians. I am basing my guesses on location.  The yellow ones had a funny name--not Arkansas Traveler.  But maybe.  Big, juicy with yellow flesh and a bit of red across the shoulders.  Hillbilly.  that was it.  Hillbilly.

I plan to go out and pick greens and carrot tops and kale and any other green leaves out in the garden and make up some "greens balls" or patties.  Most of my arugula has gone to seed and the leaves are now powerfully hot (sharp) to eat.  The kale hasn't gotten very big yet.  And I have some parsley stems that are trying to go to seed so I can cut them.

For the first time in forever--I have basil.  And it looks healthy.  Shocking.

Also the little zinnias I call Lowe's Zinnias are in bloom.  Such a pretty magenta pink. I saved seeds from the first batch I ever purchased at Lowe's (years ago)--and that was a good thing.  As they don't carry them anymore.  Short, stocky and very prolific in flowers.  I have them in the herb garden alongside my first ever (two) sunflowers.  I planted a packet of seeds and got two plants.  Better than none.

The deer are coming right up to the front steps to eat the yellow petunias in my containers. Yes. Right up to the front steps of the house.  Brazen.  And I don't live "out in the country".  No wonder Riley is up and barking like a crazy dog.

Farmer's Markets today and the girls want more pickles. ( my daughter and my friend)  The two of them like "organic" so the Farmer's market seems like the best solution.  And G wants another jar of refrigerator pickles.  I have to decide whether to water the garden (or trust G will do it) or drive off into Town to buy my produce.  G isn't all that reliable anymore.  He tends to drift over to his new woodworking workshop and "be gone" until it starts getting dark outside.  Right now he is cutting grass on the side of his workshop.  It's new seeded grass and it's mighty tall and thick.  If I wait much longer they won't have what I want at the market--got to go.  Then water if he hasn't remembered to do it.  sigh.  August.  And, Readers, its HOT.  Sunny and ever so HOT.  ICK!!!!