Saturday, August 30, 2014

End Of August & Garden Report

The peppers are turning red.  In the house.  I gave up on the sun doing the work and have started cutting green bell peppers that show a bit of color change.  It takes a few days of rotation on the kitchen island, but eventually I have red peppers.  Which I will clean and slice and freeze. I have a few yellow pepper plants and will try and see if I can get them to change color in the house as well.

Which brings me to the news that the fridge is still working 4.5 days after the new fan was installed. I am slowly moving things into the kitchen fridge from the sunporch fridge.  But now I have to face the fact that the 10 quarts of frozen blueberries won't fit in the kitchen freezer section.  And the four quarts of frozen raspberries, and the one quart of frozen jalapeños.  And I have two quarts of the smallish blackberries.  The easiest solution is jam.  But I prefer thawed fruit in my daily yogurt.  Not jam. Not to mention the many containers of frozen ratatouille. And I haven't begun to slice and freeze all the bell peppers.

Today I am using the leeks and carrots in the sunroom fridge to make an Italian Carrot Soup with canned white beans and cream (which I will eat and not freeze).  Well, perhaps not the cream as it went bad in the fridge.  The use by date.  I got used to having a pint on hand during low carb days.  Not so much these days.

I also have two very nice, heavy cabbages to use.  I picked up and older copy of Vegetarian magazine where I discovered a recipe for vegetable stir fry.  I think I may also start doing a stir fry for my dinner.  Onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots with some sort of sauce.  The sauce is the key thing here.  Anyone have a favorite stir fry sauce they might care to share?

I am also doing laundry today.  Two and most likely three loads.  G and I certainly do fill the dirty clothes basket.  He is working one day a week for Habitat building storage sheds.  G also made lots of holes in his work pants.  I think he gets caught on things and just pulls his way off.  Making a nice hole in the pocket or next to a pocket.  Tough areas for mending.

I have two new books from the library.  Romances.  Summer Porch Reading Material.

Well, I am going to start on my carrot soup.  I also want to take a long walk.  Drink lots of water.  See if I can get closer to my goal for the end of week 7.   I am way off but haven't done anything bad according to the food diary so I am confused (and feeling defeated).  I also have more PT exercises to do. Work tomorrow but only a half day.  Tuesday I have another visit with my foot doctor.  I don't see a lot of progress in my toes but it took a long time for them to get this bad.

Happy Labor Day on Monday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Trying To Find Balance In Weight Loss

The ups and downs of diet this time around--well, I seem to have lost my patience.  But then, I contemplated the past SEVEN YEARS and I did find a pattern.  One that has been there for the entire time, one I noticed, but a pattern I disregarded.

My weight dips to a number that thrills my soul.  Then it goes back up the next day.  I dissolve in doubt and self recrimination.  This is where I fall off the wagon, usually.  This time, due to age and exhaustion, I just sigh "oh, bother!" and keep going.  In a few days, the number reappears and stays put until another unexpected drop in numbers occurs and disappears.  I think it is mostly that I need to be drinking more water.

On more exciting news.  The fan part was installed in the fridge.  Started right up and was still working when I woke up this morning.  We are still feeling insecure.  I have 5 ears of corn, some cut up watermelon and my coffee creamer in there.  I told G we would be transfer things to the "now working" fridge as we used them.  Not a mass exodus from the sunroom loaner.  I still don't have trust that the fridge will keep working.

I ventured into the backyard of my daughter's house, at dusk, to pick blackberries.  Did I tell you this already?  Not the big berries I harvested from my own thicket last summer.  These are the small ones. I may go back tomorrow after work.  I got about a quart of them.  Only two mosquito bites.  I may just have to dress in heavy canvas work pants, long sleeved jacket and boots and try to fight my way into the overgrown mess in my yard to collect the small wild berries.  IF that is all there will be--then that's what I will have to make do with this year.  I had wanted a blackberry pie. Before the diet.
But pie can be a part of a diet if eaten instead of lunch and dinner.

PT continues to go well.  My therapist and I get along like friends who have known each other for years and years.  Isn't it odd how that happens.  Will the friendship continue of end when my therapy ends?  I guess I know the answer to that.

I am working the afternoon shift today.  It's a long afternoon and very boring.  I have an orchid and a pot arriving from our mother ship store.  I have to pot it up for a 60th birthday gift.  I could also take my own orchids in and repot them.  It feels like I should be on vacation.  Sleeping late, reading books, sewing something.  August stuff.

Next month is my birthday.  68.   "oh, bother!"

Monday, August 25, 2014

August Ending & Jar of Pickles

The end of the garden season seems to be fast approaching.  Today I made up a half gallon jar of refrigerator pickles, using the worn scrap of paper on which I scribbled my mother's instructions. Family meals, when I was growing up in Cleveland, consisted of a main dish (usually meat), potatoes in some form, a vegetable (usually canned), a plate of sliced bread (not always from the bakery) and another plate with an offering from the garden. Refrigerator pickles were a favored item.  The pickled beets not as popular (though I loved them) with my brothers.  The portions weren't large but we were all healthy.

The scrap of paper and the smell of the vinegar, sugar salt brine always brings back memories of those years.   My mother gardened with a vengeance.  All insects and diseases were dispatched with products displaying a skull and warning.  When these products were banned my mother stockpiled rusting cans in the garage.  DTD.  Stuff like that.

She also got my father to "pick up" buckets of horse manure from the police horse barns.  Cleveland still had mounted police at that time.  Imagine driving home with open buckets of horse manure in the car.  Ugh!!!  She composted it behind the garage mostly for her roses.

In the summer we were served plates of sliced tomatoes warm from the garden, bowls of steamed green beans, pickled cucumbers and the pickled beets with our pork chop or stewed chicken.  My grandmother (on my father's side) provided us with plum kuchen, apple strudel and an endless array of cabbage based dishes.  Which I LOVED.  She also made the best dumplings.   When the summer garden was closing down my grandmother ground everything in the garden into a pickled chow chow which we didn't like.  Then.  Now I would love it. She also pickled hot banana peppers to eat with rye bread and baked ham.

When I went to stay with my dad while he recovered from pneumonia, I discovered jars and jars of pickled banana peppers in his basement.  Ageless with rusted lids.  Who knows when they were canned.  He ate them.  I did not.  Were they canned by my long dead grandmother?  

These are the thoughts and memories brought to life by a saucepan of pickling brine coming to the boil in the August kitchen.  My pickles (I grew the cucumbers, garlic and dill) won't be ready to eat until tomorrow, but I like looking at the jar on the stove top, cooling.  A connection to two other generations that gardened and served garden grown produce to the ones they loved.

G and I will be having sliced tomatoes tonight--finally my countertop is covered in red tomatoes.  Life is good!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August Perennials

Now is the time of year when the more "shrubby" perennials shine.  The Russian Sages.  The Salvia. The Veronicas.  In this picture we even have a rebloom on the Dianthus, the short stuff at the front of the bed.

I planted my Russian sage two years ago and it has not produced any of the tall blue flower spikes.  It is actually just as big as it was when it went in the ground.  Meaning it isn't planted where it needs to be.  That's the lesson for today.  Now, in that same bed, a tall spiky plant is blooming again even though I have tried to get rid of it over a period of several years.  That plant is where it wants to be and will not be moved.  I don't like it because it is very invasive and will populate the entire bed if I stop digging it up.  I think it's wild blue lobelia.  A very descriptive name.

Today was drop off day for the Arts Are Elementary 10 by 10 art works.  You never got to see the second one.  It got finished very late yesterday and both got names about 5 minutes before I got into the car to drive to the drop off.  I don't like giving things names as I find it limits the viewer to see things "my way" rather than interpret for themselves.  So they both were Garden Bouquet. #1 and #2.  When I was in college studying art--everything was an "artist proof".

The garden is limping along.  We are not having August weather.  The days are in the low 70's and the nights in the 50's.  And it's often overcast or cloudy.  And it rains making the plants all mildewy. That's what has happened to the zucchini.  It is suffering from mildew.  Now that I have a recipe I like (the fritters) the plants have stopped making zucchini.

The cucumbers are still producing as are the green peppers.  I also have cherry and regular tomatoes getting ripe.  My cabbages are looking very plump.  I have kale and chard.  Carrots are coming into the house and going straight into my salads or the fritters.  My pole beans (started late) are just starting to climb the trellis.  I planted them late so I wouldn't have to deal with them at the same time as the tomatoes.  I like my green beans roasted in a hot oven with olive oil and salt.  Fine September food.  I am waiting for the tomatoes on the counter to get nice and soft and then I will be making tomato jam.

I am one pound away from my 5 week goal on weight loss.  I would be happiest if I could exceed  my goal but I will be content just to reach it--such has been the struggle.  Going from the high fat/high calorie routine of low carb to the low calorie diet high in watery vegetables and salads has been difficult.  My zucchini fritters have been a nice refuge.  And the ratatouille is almost a daily choice. With 4 ounces (dry weight) of pasta which I would never been able to eat on no carb.  Physical therapy is making a difference.  My hip and knee feel much better.  The knee especially.  I'm not sure the tape on the toes is doing what it should be doing but have to wait 2 more weeks to see the foot doctor.  The ¼ inch pad stuck on the outside edge if my foot is certainly working.  Taking the pressure off my knee.

I am busy today, as I am every Saturday, in trying to process all the produce from the garden into meal or package it into freezer bags.  I am wondering if I have enough time and carrots to make the Italian carrot soup I love?  Or do I want to make a stir fry using the one cabbage I have already harvested?  Stir fries are always so beautiful. And I do enjoy all the chopping, slicing etc. Onion, carrot, cabbage and peppers with some garlic and ginger.  Perhaps a jalapeño.  Over brown rice. Sounds promising.

Hours are being cut at work.  People are being laid off.  College kids are going back to school and others are searching for and finding new jobs.  Parting is such sweet sorrow.  I think it's hardest to be the one left behind.

Monday, August 18, 2014

This Blog & Garden Report & Recipes

This blog has actually been (and still is) an open journal of what I do (or don't do) over a period of days.  I tried to blog each day but my life doesn't lend itself to interesting daily posts (laughing). Not that what I do produce is all that interesting, but it's me, and since I can't talk about other people, I am limited to me.

I have had a reader email to report that her comments are returned to her.  I had wondered why I don't get any comments.  This could be why. Up to now I thought I was just talking to empty air and everyone had stopped reading.  I am going to see what I can do about my comment section.  Not that I know much about how this blog actually works and you can always email me directly.

Today is clean out the fridge day.  This loaner fridge is just like my old fridge (which I disliked) because once stuff is stuffed inside--it is very hard to find unless you get down on your knees and dig around.  Things get pushed to the back and linger there until they get "soupy". UGH!!!

I have gotten a few bags of veg out of the fridge and now need to go digging to see if there is more. I have zucchini shredded to make fritters (recipe at end of post) which turned out to be quite tasty warm and even more to my liking straight from the fridge.  My guests ate them with a yogurt lemon garlic sauce and liked that very much.  I also pulled out all the cucumbers I could find but I think there is a second bag in there with larger cucumbers (that recipe also at the end).  I also found another eggplant so I plan to throw together another pot of ratatouille and freeze it.  I did harvest one long thin lavender eggplant from the garden.  Looks gorgeous.  I finally have tomatoes.  Not as many as usual in August but enough to enjoy on a daily basis.

My diet continues to work with bumps in the road caused by "eating out" so I have made an announcement to G that I will no longer be eating out--a large salad does not interest me in a restaurant. Never as fresh as it should be. It just isn't in my best interest right now, at the beginning, to eat out.  I think it's the salt content of the food.  Not that I don't heavily salt my food, I do, but they must really oversalt in restaurants.

In the spirit of positive thinking, I went upstairs and got a few things out of the size 16 box.  Summer pants only.  A few of them fit and others were still snug.  Gives me incentive.  It's also nice to have something different to wear.  The clothing is mostly from the "retail employer" and I can see why most were only 20 cents.  Same size, same style and completely different fit.  Too big, too small, too long, too short.  Across the board.  So, this week I will be wearing sizes 18 and sizes 16 and both will fit exactly the same.  Which is the right one?  Who knows.

I am completely out of hangers for the closet.  And in related news, I am wearing the same three or four clothing items over and over.  Which means I don't actually need the other things.

Physical Therapy is going well.  I need to find a small ball shaped object for one of the exercises.  PT used a balloon.  Now I wish Riley liked to chase balls.

Here's the Fritter Recipe

Shred one pound (less or more) of zucchini (don't peel), lightly salt and let drain in a colander for an hour (or so) Grate one onion (tastes best with a good amount of onion), ½ cup fresh dill (I used dry), 4 T fresh chopped parsley, ½ cup grated cheese (feta is suggested- I used dry cheddar and some grated Parm), 2 eggs, 1 cup flour, salt and pepper.  I think you could add any herb combo you wanted or like using to this recipe.  Since the recipe is Turkish I think mint would be nice.

I skipped the added salt and just seasoned with pepper.  Squeeze out any water from the zucchini and mix everything together.  I added a shredded carrot to my mixture and you could add chives or green onion also.  Scoop out enough to make a 4 inch round patty (I just scooped the mix right into the pan and then flattened it out into a patty shape).  Easy as the mixture is thick. Fry in olive oil until dark and crispy.  Serve hot, warm or cold.  The sauce I made was ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, mashed garlic clove and lemon juice to make a nice smooth sauce.  Made around 16 patties.  I served three people and had 4 leftover for my lunch.  I think you could make these in the Fall with shredded sweet potato or butternut squash, a carrot and even a shredded gold potato.  Longer cooking time to get crisp but I think they would be very good.

Cucumber Recipe

Thinly slice as many peeled cucumbers as you have.  Salt and let drain in colander.  Mix sour cream (as much as needed for amount of cucumbers) I use about ½ to ¾ cup.  I add one or two packets of Splenda and 2 to 4 T of cider vinegar.  I mix the sauce and taste until it is as sweet, tart and yummy as I like it to be.  Then I fold in the drained cucumber slices and a generous 1 or 2T dry dill.  I serve this with grilled Italian sausages and fried potatoes and onions.  It would also be good with the fritters. I often eat this alone as a cold breakfast or lunch.

Ratatouille  Recipe (from Martha Stewart--google it an see pictures of finished dish).

I cut one pound of eggplant, one pound of zucchini/summer squash into cubes about an inch in size.  I chop  two large onions up and sauté it with garlic and cut up two green or colored bell peppers and soften in olive oil in a large oven safe pot.  When the onion and peppers are soft, I add the cubed eggplant and squash.  The recipe wants you to roast a 28 ounce can of tomatoes (on a sheet pan and NOT in the can) in the oven for 50 minutes to dry out and thicken.  Then you add everything and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes--till cooked but not mushy.  Seasoning is salt and pepper and marjoram leaves.   Eat with pasta, as a side to grilled meats, with an egg on top or in a wrap.  I also mix some black beans or chickpeas into a bowl of ratatouille for more protein.  Parmesan cheese on top is pretty nice.

I use double of every vegetable to make a really big pot of this.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Still Waiting For Tomatoes

Another blogger here in Maine (soulemama) is already roasting pans of tomatoes for the freezer.  We, here at my house, north of that location, have had two or three plates of tomato caprese and little more. I don't think I could fill even a small tray with tomatoes to roast.  So I wait.

I am hoping for another 20 or so Sungold cherry tomatoes for a quick pasta sauce today.  That would make me happy enough to skip lunch and just have a big dinner.  Skipping meals is something I don't take lightly.  Makes Joanne a very crabby girl.

Work is still dreadfully slow but my visit (after physical therapy) to TJ Maxx made me realize that no retail store is actually busy right now, even though my "retail employer" of last year has it's busiest month in August (tourists).   I brought in more popsicles and some microwave popcorn to raise the spirits of my co-workers.  And alcohol wipes to clean off the dry eraser boards.

Physical therapy is going to last four weeks.  We are working on my left hip and right knee.  My therapist said it would be "so much" easier if both concerns were on the same side.  But they are not.  I am still taping my toes.  I still get flashes of nerve tingling in the ball of that foot.  Not painful but nerve "tingling" always feels strange.

Refrigerator News.   The Whirlpool guys, *two*, showed up, thawed all the ice around the valve and installed the new three way valve.  The fridge part started right up and they said "fixed" and packed up and left.  G called the next morning to say "not fixed" and the guys said "we didn't think that would work but Whirlpool wouldn't approve us doing anything else".  They also were not approved (by Whirlpool Corp) to return and do any further work.  Period.

 We then switched to the extended warranty service number (run by Sears) and a guy (who actually knew how to run digital diagnostic on the fridge using the door panel display), went thru all the gadgets and connections and guess what?  It was the fan.   I got it right weeks ago.  The sad news--it'll be  almost 2 weeks before the genius guy and the new fan can come back here.  We will then be very close to TWO MONTHS with a broken fridge.  Thank goodness for the Lowes loaner fridge.

I just want to mention how very UNHELPFUL the Whirpool people have been.  In Maine.  In Michigan.  In Tennessee.  Long waits on the phone.  If you are shopping for an appliance, don't buy one of theirs.

Meanwhile a guy from India keeps calling to warn us about some "trouble" with our Windows laptop (we don't have one) which he can "fix" if we just give him our secret code numbers.  I tell him I am calling the police and he hangs up but then calls back the next day.  I think we get these calls because we still have a landline.

The cable company was here to replace a whole bunch of cables, the router connection and a few other things that were corroded.  My computer now runs pretty good and Netflix looks like it did in the past (it lost all it's bells and whistles a few months ago probably due to the bad cabling from the street to the house, under the house, and in the walls.  This is the second time we have had to have major cables replaced.  Like every 10 years.  Hopefully I won't have to sit here swearing at the computer--which makes posting an unpleasant task-- in the next little while.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Turnips & The Garden Report

I collected a bag of turnips in the fridge over a period of a week or two.  Yesterday, the second of my days off this weekend, I decided to wash, tip and tail and quarter the turnips and roast them.  Now I have a low calorie snack or addition to a salad or frittata.  Or even a vegetable soup.  Aren't they pretty?  I love the lavender shoulders.

I also pulled four carrots from the garden just to see how things were going.  A gorgeous purple carrot (orange on the inside) which is just stunning.  I am thinking of using it as a model for a watercolor.  Then I will eat it.  I love carrots in a salad.  So much so, that I even turn a bit "orange".

This morning I am feeling groggy.  And I am sneezing and my skin itches.  Not the best of days so far.   This morning I washed and cut open a colander full of very nice jalapeño peppers.  I wore gloves.  The cleaned halves are now in the freezer.  When frozen solid I will pack them in bags for future salsas and guacamole.  There are many many more in the garden to eat fresh.  And about 50 green bell peppers.

I now have 6 (overfilled) quarts of frozen blueberries and many more not packed up.  Too many.  I was going to order more bare root blueberry bushes for next year--but I don't think that's a good idea.  I have two and a half quarts of raspberries in the freezer as well.  No blackberries yet.  I am wondering if I will get any this year.  My friend Patty has lots of grapes which she will share with me.  And our two year old fig tree is loaded (the branches are hanging low) with big figs.  I need 24 for a recipe for fig preserves which makes 6 jars.  G counted over 30 figs.  We are waiting for them to be golden.  Still green.

I never had enough rhubarb to freeze for winter pies.  I have 6 plants but they are just not robust enough to pull from.  More manure.  More fertilizer.  I like growing fruit and I love rhubarb.

I removed more damaged leaves from the tomato plants.  The Early Girls have very few leaves left but many tomatoes waiting to ripen.  I hope.  The Sun Gold cherries still have leaves (I started them myself from seeds) as do the Siberians and the Cherokee Purples.  The plants I got from work are the ones showing the most disease.  The squash plants are taking a breather so I don't have any to harvest. The cucumbers are also slowing down-- but I am not ready for them to stop just yet.  So, It's fertilizer time.  I am waiting for the tops of the potato plants in the tubs to die back.  I wonder how many potatoes I got this year?

I found a few Fava bean pods.  My twenty plants still have flowers on them and are slow to make pods.  I think I like Fava beans.  At this rate I may never know if that's actually true.

My fennel didn't make bulbs.  Just fronds.  And hopefully fennel seeds which is what I want.  I have to get them before the birds.

A few of my cabbages have nice firm heads.  No bugs.  No worms.  So that is nice.  I have to watch the weather and cut the heads before we have a heavy rain (which cracks the heads open).  The Brussels sprouts haven't started making fat little sprouts yet.  The kale looks very good where I can see it--the cabbages are crowding everything out.  My recently seeded chard is looking very nice.  I plan to use it for a filling for tortelloni like we had in Germany.   Tortelloni Alle Erbette.  Chard and ricotta cheese filled pasta squares in a butter/wine sauce that was so good we licked the plates.  A girl can dream about recreating the dish.

Which reminds me of the creamed vegetable "soup of the day" in Germany.  The carrots and turnips would be nice is something like that.  I need to find my German cookbook.

I am going to make potstickers for G today--for the freezer.  So a double batch.  Instead of driving to Portland to buy them at Trader Joe's.  I will take advantage of the empty freezer on the porch to freeze trays of dumplings and then bag them up.  Chicken I think, unless he wants pork. I am having ratatouille with pasta (4 ounces) for my dinner or a very large salad.

How is your garden growing?

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Evening View From the Dolphin Restaurant in Harpswell, Maine

The sun was setting.  We were drinking.  Then eating.  What's not to love about that?  Well, the Red Sox won.  That night.  G and I started with a huge serving of mussels.  I could eat them once a week and be very happy but the best mussels were from Back Street in Brunswick before they went out of business.

Today I went to the grocery to get two eggplant so I could make another huge batch of ratatouille with the zucchini and peppers from the garden for my low calorie dinners.  I had so many squash to use up that I made zucchini brownies (with Splenda for me), a chocolate zucchini loaf for G, and next up is a batch of Turkish zucchini fritters which are full of cheese and fresh herbs.  The herbs are from the garden as well.  I promised myself I would try very hard to use what I grow in the garden this year.

I am quite proud of my bell peppers.  The addition of sulfur to the soil when I transplanted my seedlings to the garden has done wonders.  The walls of the peppers are thick and they taste so good. I have many, many green peppers on the plants but I try and wait for them to turn red before picking them.  I also have some golden yellow bells and jalapeños.

We are harvesting a few red tomatoes each week.  They are Early Girl Bush which I started transplanting in late April and with the addition (another experiment of mine) of iron in the planting soil along with Epsom salts (magnesium) the tomatoes taste wonderful.  Some years they are rather bland.  Not 2014!.  We have had them sliced (these are big tomatoes) with fresh mozzarella and fresh picked basil leaves. Simply dressed with good olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.  I also serve some crusty bread warm from the oven to sop up the juices.  There are plenty of green tomatoes still out there so August and September are looking delicious.

On the cucumber side of the garden, I have very few pickling cucumbers and quite a few of the long burpless ones which is turning out to be okay with me as I usually just slice them and mix with sour cream and dill.  I may skip the pickling ones from now on unless I can find Kirby seeds.

My toes are still taped and feeling much better.  I have not signed up for my physical therapy to strengthen my left leg which is weak but I will call on Monday and set something up.  I threw away several pairs of shoes.  I check to see if my ankles and feet rotate to the outside edges and if they do--I get rid of the shoes.

The diet is going along.  I am having some difficulty finding things to eat (that I want to eat) and that are not low carb/high calorie.  I took to low carb like a duck to water but gained weight (eventually) instead of losing because I believed that "eat all you want" advice.  Do not eat all you want.  You have to still count calories on low carb.  It's 2500 instead of 1200 but it's not a lot of food either way.  I am alternating between 600 to 800 calories every other day and 1200 to 1500 on the other days.  It seems to be working.   Chewing gum helps.  And it also helps that my pants are already feeling looser.  Loose clothing is my biggest motivator.

I am trolling for new books to read.  Any suggestions?  I have Dan Brown's Inferno on my table and I haven't started it yet.  I was also thinking of reading Wolf Hall again as I really enjoyed it. Both are books I purchased at the book sale so I don't have a deadline for getting them read.

We are watching the fourth season of Damages on Netflix and still have House of Cards to look forward to.  G has been watching Orange is the New Black but I have not.  I am still miffed to have missed watching the last 2 episodes of the Americans.  And Netflix only has season one on DVD.  I may have to buy Hulu or Amazon (whomever has it) to watch season one.  Buy, watch and cancel. I wish a family member had a membership and would lend me their pass code number, but no luck.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Wednesday By Wednesday

I like Wednesday.  Yes, It's the "hump" in the week.  Get over it and you roll south into the weekend. But I also like Wednesday because I was born on a Wednesday, so I kind of think it's "my day".

Here is the art work I have been trying to work on.  It never got to this stage before the deadline to enter the publicity contest.  I think I am in the right "ballpark" with the subject matter as the 2014 Common Ground Fair poster art looks sort of like this.  Let's hope someone buys it?

The second piece is still in it's infancy.  I added new things but they haven't had time to adjust yet. So no pictures today.  Perhaps tomorrow.   It's too dark for pictures today.  We are having cooler temps and evening rain.  Which means---no sunshine.

Yesterday was my foot doctor appointment.  New doctor.  My primary doctor (the "You Are Fat" woman) said the foot doctor would make me laugh.  Not so much.  He is definitely "out there"-- like crazy as a loon.  But he taped my toes together (while humming and yipping) and stuck a strip of something to the side of my right foot and--well, I don't understand these things---- but it all feels different.  Better.  Even the knee. And by the end of the appointment I was cautiously thinking of a second visit with this guy.  He certainly is different.

The foot doctor also said I would be needing to replace my shoes more frequently than is common.  Meaning as soon as I started listing to the outside edges--I need to get a new pair of shoes.  He suggested buying in bulk.  Like six pairs at once.  Not that that doesn't appeal to me.  It does. Because that is the way I am "wired" already.  If I like something, I want multiples of the exact same thing.

Is that technically called Hoarding?

The fridge is still not fixed. Whirlpool is not to be trusted. The repair guy and the part were supposed to come on Monday (after G worked on it for hours on the phone with supervisors in Michigan and Tennessee) but the repair truck broke down and needed fixing.  All his equipment was in the broken truck.  I am starting to see the fridge on the porch as being "part of my life" now.  It is helpful with the trays of berries I am freezing.  The raspberries and blueberries.

I skipped work on Sunday which gave me a "three day vacation" from work.  Actually became very difficult to get to work on Tuesday.  Could I be ready to retire?  I cleaned the kitchen, did laundry and made a full meal 3 nights in a row.  I even weeded, planted and mulched a garden bed. All things that had been backsliding while I went to work.  That's the problem.  The things I should be doing at home--just don't get done.  And then, there are the things I would LIKE to be doing.  They don't get done either.

G has gone to walk the dog.  G's truck is being repaired at Toyota in order to get an inspection sticker. We decided to put more money into something that only has junk value rather than buy a newer one. Trust me--it turned out to be less expensive this way.  And the tires are still good.  Then I will go to work and G will wait for the fridge guy.  Again.  I'm working till 6pm today. August is a very slow month in the greenhouse.  Very.  Slow.

I had some downs (good) and ups (bad) in the diet this week.  I made a huge mistake in eating on Sunday and am still trying to lose what I picked up.  Going to bed hungry is the key to this diet.  Hard Lesson.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

The News From Here

July is old news and August is arriving.  With clouds and 30% chance of rain.  This summer has been quite odd.  Global Warming?  Who knows.  50's and 60's over night but that's the good news (good sleeping) but the days???? Endless humidity.  Sticky clothing.  Mosquitos.  And more mosquitos.

I tend to be tethered to the potting bench in the greenhouse (110 degrees) or out in the perennial yard in the sun, heat, bees and mosquitos.  My clothing is usually quite damp and I am often covered in a fine layer of dirt.  The work freezer, on good days, has popsicle sticks.  On VERY good days, the mango ones.

My X-rays showed nothing.  My record for having "nothing wrong with me" even though things hurt continues.  I have given up.  Still planning to see the foot doctor (first visit was cancelled by the doctor) eventually.  Perhaps Thursday.

The 1200/1500 calorie diet continues.  If my scale is accurate I have now lost six pounds.  Some days I eat less and some days more.  My thoughts on the process, this time around, is that the days will average themselves out.  My doctor was kind enough to say 1200/1500 the last time I visited her.  If any of you, reading this, have done this sort of diet, you know that eating 1200 a day is very difficult. Salads mostly.  Add any meats and you are way over.

I did find a nice fat free organic plain Greek yogurt at the grocery.  120 calories for a full cup.  And it is thick, smooth and good tasting.  A nice change from the plain full fat Cabot I have been eating (340c) for more than a year.  My no carb lifestyle haunts me.  In order to stay under 1200, I have been skipping lunch on days I start work at 7:30.  I do eat lunch on the days I work until 6 pm.  Usually yogurt and fruit.  But in the "old days" it was always a very big green salad with some sort of protein.

This morning I sliced two gallon sized bags of yellow squash and one very large zucchini.  The yellow will be fried down to a mahogany mess and eaten with white rice and a side of chicken.  The zucchini will be made into a Mark Bittman frittata.  Lots of veg and 2 eggs which I enjoy eating cold.

The garden is producing a great deal of squash right now.  I picked and ate three Early Girl tomatoes yesterday and they were wonderful.  My pole beans are 8 inches tall.  I need to pull my yellow onions out and dry them.  My chard seeds have sprouted and the plants are 3 inches tall.  I have a total of 5 turnips and need to think of a way to eat them.  My cabbages are "heading" up.  The kale looks good.
Lots of big fat green peppers on the plants but I like waiting until they turn red.  Jalapeños are getting fat.  Carrots (yes!!! I have successfully grown carrots this year) are looking great.

We were gifted expired seed packets at work and I selected okra to try to grow next summer.  I also got onion seeds to start over the winter in addition to the usual seeds I plant each year.

The days at work are long, hot and quite boring.  Things will pick up as the fall mums arrive and before we know it--it will be Christmas.  That's just the way it goes.  Seems to take FOREVER for summer to get here and then, whoosh! it's all over.

The (even as small as 6 pounds) weight loss, has allowed me to dip into the storage boxes of smaller sized 20 cent pants.  And, it means the pants I was wearing already are now looser.  So, happy days here in the wardrobe department.  I think a 10 pound loss translates to one size but I could be mistaken.  Anyone out there know?

I promise no more diet talk in the coming three months.  It's boring and no one really cares.  Not even me.