Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April Snow Brings......What?

Well.  Misery? Our light sprinkle of snow is still coming down.  Hard and heavy. The town workers put the plows away.  So, nothing is getting plowed.  We went out for a few groceries, return library books and mail a few bills. Slipping and sliding even with 4 wheel drive.  I have a big pot of chili (for me) on the stove and G has plenty of leftovers to eat so that's that. Beets are roasting in the oven. I love roasted beets, chilled, with olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.

I never got around to planting my seeds.  We ended up helping our friend P with her grape vine pruning and ended up installing the top brace on the arbor G built many years ago.  Long ago he got tired of working on the arbor and just never "got around to it".  Now the two ends won't tip into the middle.  Anyway, it took forever and we got back just in time to finish cooking the pork I had in the oven.  At least dinner was good.

As I sit here in my wool sweater with a wool cowl warming my neck--- I am reminded of yesterday in just a tee shirt, standing in the sun, watching my friend's dogs pull each other around with the leashes in their mouths.

My library books went back--I had already read them both.  A mystery you already read--well, not much mystery.  I may do something else.  Or not.  I have tomorrow off as well.

Just ate forbidden potato chips.  They weren't worth the price (calories).  That's how I know I am invested in the diet-- things just aren't worth eating.  Not eating enough protein so still getting hungry and that's my biggest hurdle right now.  Have to figure out what protein I am willing to eat.  I don't like HB eggs.  Tuna is okay but I have to mix it up.  Chicken?  Only like nuggets.  And nuggets gotta be dipped. Deli ham and swiss rolled up is good but then I'd be eating G's lunch. OMG.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Thoughts Regarding The 2016 Garden

Each year I struggle to make improvements to the vegetable garden and to the various beds around the yard.  This Spring more trees (so expensive to get rid of) will be cut down--to bring in more sun.  As it is right now, I don't get the Southern sun until high noon.  These tall trees are blocking the warm morning sun from the south.  It's still cold here at my house, and the forsythias are not in bloom yet, thought they are nearly past in warmer (less treed) neighborhoods.

I would so love to make these cages for the tomatoes this summer.

Yesterday I had the pleasure (really) of working Spring cleanup at a house on the ocean.  Warm, sunny and the house was perched on a large slab of ledge.  Second job site yesterday was overlooking an ocean side marina.  The tide was coming in.  The sun was shining.  It was impossibly warm and the black flies were still sleeping.  Lunch was a warm toasty BLT from an iconic Maine store and supper was a generous scoop of homemade Whoopee pie ice cream from another only in Maine ice cream shop.  Late into the night, more episodes of True Detective on Xfinity's free Watch-a Thon (which ends Sunday night). I now only have one episode left to watch.  I have a short list of movies I will try and watch-- but sometimes they aren't available -- like The Martian.

My son always thinks I am one of the people interested in Game of Thrones.  I am not.

On regular television we are watching The Americans and Orphan Black.  The season ending episodes of regular shows such as Sleepy Hollow and Blacklist have both killed off the leading actress making me wonder why (and also being seriously surprised).  G has also reported that Beckett is leaving Castle, which I HOPE means cancelling the show as Castle by himself will be tedious and boring. Hoping Netflix ordered another season of Longmire.

Today I am hauling lime and fertilizer out to the veggie garden and planting (really!!!this time) my carrot and beet pelleted seeds.  Also my lettuces.  No peas this year.  I have transplanted my tiny tomato seedlings to larger pots (I do these little jobs in the 20 or 30 minutes before I fly out the door to work).  The onion seedlings look good and it's almost time for them to go into the garden.  Garlic I planted in October is coming up.  Need shallots.

I scavenged some wild geraniums, some wild phlox, and a tiny little Japanese Maple on my travels  to various dump piles the past few weeks.  Now I have to find the "correct" spot to let them thrive and ramble.  We have also rooted large branches of lilac and forsythias in half gallon Mason jars.  They also need to be planted sooner rather than later.  The deer have chewed off the tops of all my blooming hyacinths.  The pretty dark blue ones.  My favorites-- and theirs, I guess.

I may be back later in the week--or not.  I don't have my work schedule yet.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Why Instagram Is The New Blog

Most bloggers work hard to find a good picture for the top of their posts.  And an enticing caption at the top helps to snag new readers--sometimes with false hopes as did the Doll House Kitchen title a few posts back.  Nothing relating to an actual dollhouse. But double digits in the visit counter.

I finally had waited long enough for a favorite blogger to update her blog--checked her Instagram and found loads of interesting things she has been making, doing and places she has visited in the 6 months of no new posts.  I don't expect to ever see a blog post again--from her.  This is the third or fourth of my favorite blogs to switch 100% to Instagram.  Pretty picture and three sentences.  Done.

So is blogging the new dinosaur?

Pinterest is something else.  I have stacks of folders filled with ideas.  I rarely, if ever, refer to any of the "pinned" items.  It's something I do when I am procrastinating or am bored out of my mind.  I look at pictures and save them.  Why?  I don't know.  It's probably a hoarding disorder.  And, weirdly enough, I have no way to actually enter my account without pinning something new.  No idea how to get in.

My plan for today is to rake the dirt in my raised beds smooth --winter has done something odd to the soil surface-- and plant some carrots, beets and kale.  Sprinkle some lettuce seeds in a square for cutting (for salads) hopefully.  Each year I do this and then forget to go out and clip the baby greens for my daily salad.  I know--head thump!!!!--how stupid is that.  The lettuces get too big and finally set seed.  I think a nice sign on the fridge--"go cut lettuce" might be the way to go.

Only one of my rhubarb plants has leaves.  This has been a great disappointment for me as I love rhubarb pie and recently learned how to make fantastic strawberry/rhubarb jam.

I am also going to plant my two new concord grape vines.  On the trellis in the garden.  It will be a few years before the vines make grapes which I will use to make jelly.  I am trying to grow what we like to eat.  I now have two new beach plums to pollinate the oldest plant and hopefully create beach plums to make into jam or jelly.  The older and younger fig trees produce enough figs to make 6 pints of fig preserves for G each season.

Also, I think the beach plums may help pollinate the prune plum tree.  Last year I had 8 little plums  (first time ever in over 6 years) and they were very very delicious.  I said thank you to the little beach plum.  I'm waiting to see if the prune plum flowers again this year.

And G pruned the blackberries last fall and I have to cut back the raspberry canes today.  The blueberries will be getting fed their Hollytone today, as well.  We are well supplied with fruit but I often wonder if we need to find room for an apple trees (need two to pollinate) for applesauce and apple pies.  They get big.  We have espaliered apple trees at work--with three to four different varieties grafted.  Which would make one tree a self pollinator.

Anyway, that's what is going on here today.  I am tired from my week at work.  And, I decided, finally, to only work a 4 day week.  It's hard letting go--but I have to be kind to myself.

Friday, April 15, 2016

More Spring Pansies

These, I believe, are the Karma Violet Face Pansies.  I really like them and always order more than I should for the greenhouse.  They always sell out.  I haven't purchased any--- the deer eat them.  Within 12 hours of purchase and planting.  It's very sad.

Yesterday I had an appointment with a Pulmonary Specialist to discuss and fact find my newly discovered asthma.  I'm pretty typical.  The inhaler makes me feels perfectly healthy ---so I think I don't really have asthma.  Don't need the medicine.  Happens to everyone.  But without the medicine I would feel perfectly awful.

I also had two draws of blood for an Asthma Test (did you know there was such a thing) to be perfectly sure I have asthma.  I think it gives the doctor "proof" to show the patient.  The second test was an allergy test.  To see what I am allergic to.  It maybe Riley.  Boo!  I already know I am seriously allergic to cats.

My arm has a very large bruise from the blood tests.  Next week they are giving me a Breathing Stress Test.  Doctor says "if someone doesn't faint or pass out, we aren't doing it right".  Can't wait.

On the employment front.  Four days @ work.  Three days not at work.  Resting. Reading. and actually making dinner.  Quite novel.  Could get used to it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

April Showers And Pansies

The greenhouse at work is filling up with flats of pansies.  Too bad the weather won't co-operate.  Today it's cold with wind, rain, and threats of more snow. My Monday walk has been cancelled for the second week.  I am ready to start gardening but it's too cold, too wet and just downright miserable.  Of course, yesterday it was fine.  But I was AT work.  The greenhouse was nice and warm.  Ticks are already a problem here in Maine.  I worry every time I have to work outside.

Saturday I made a pot of brown rice and lentils (in the rice cooker) and then added a garnish of brown crispy fried onion rings.  Today I made a tray of croutons to add to my daily salads.  It is still too cold to really enjoy a nice crispy salad, but the croutons might help.  They smell delicious so I had better get them packed away in a jar.  No taste testing.

My hot water kettle (electric/counter top) has not been dependable the last few weeks.  Takes a bit of "tinkering" to get the little orange light to go on.  But once the light is on, the little kettle heats the water pretty darn fast.  I have returned to my habit of large (oversized) mugs of tea in the afternoon and evenings.  Last night--no matter what I tried, the little orange light would not go on.  So, no tea. Then, just before bedtime, I walked past and pushed the lever down--and orange light.  Was I annoyed?  You bet.  I haven't tried it today.  But I imagine there won't be any orange light.

It seems that the little water heater pot was purchased in 2004.  the clerk in the cooking shop where it was purchased said it had "lasted far longer than it should have".  Also, they don't make the model I have any longer.  It's very cute.  Black button on the top of it's shiny chrome body. I think Dualit moved it's manufacturing to China, pots were defective and they went out of the hot pot business but I do see the same shaped pots for sale on Amazon with terrible comments and reviews.  Some never work--not even new, out of the box.  No orange light.

Think I may read my library books.  Under my down lap throw.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Doll House Kitchen

Years and years ago, Mary Englebreit was my icon.  I wanted everything she had pictured in her magazines.  In fact, I kept all the magazines (until a few years ago) and regularly opened them to look at the pictures.  I would have swooned to own the kitchen above.  I even hunted down that canister shelf in antique shops.

Time changes everything.  Now I am eagerly looking at sleek modern kitchens.  No little shelves of cute but useless antiques.  No shelving over the cabinets to fill up with clutter and DUST.  The magazines are gone and the love affair is well and truly over.

As the years of being 60 come to a close in a few months, I am choosing a new and different path. Wanting what I love, not wanting things that require work--like dusting.  I was the gal who ironed my teenager's tee shirts and jeans in the 80's.  I also starched and ironed all of my husband's work clothing and my own.  That stopped when he retired.  I don't even iron the pillowcases anymore which shocks me to my core.  I often wonder if the iron even works after such a long rest period.

This is pretty radical for a girl who was forced into ironing at a young age and was required to  starch, dry, wet (sprinkle), roll and then iron every single thing that a family of 6 used/wore etc.  Sheets, pillowcases, dish towels, underwear, tee shirts, dresses and curtains.  No steam iron.  And the ironing was done in the dark, chilly basement year round--one overhead light bulb.  Eventually the slave labor included a radio.  I was 15 when I got the radio and had been ironing since I was 11 or 12.  Even college summers---- I was in the basement, ironing.  Every Saturday of my life at home--in the basement ironing.  My mother never liked me.  Wanted me to be as unhappy as she was.

I think the Mary Englebreit stuff was a fantasy world where things were different for little girls. Things were pretty. And I guess I needed a fantasy to help me survive.

Now, I'm happy all the time.  I don't know when things changed for me (but it was recent), but I'm so thankful that they did.  It's nice being happy.  Smiling.  Enjoying the day.

Today I have things to plant.  I have pizza dough in the oven (with the pilot light) warming up and rising.  I have strawberries to make into a strawberry smoothie.  I am almost finished with my book and have another ready to start (like money in the bank for a reader) and the taxes are not only done, they are in the mail.  And I didn't eat ANY candy while doing the taxes (bonus).

G is out walking the dog. The sun is shining.  No rain or snow today (I hope).

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Winter Returns To Maine

For the next few days, here in Maine, we will be having winter.  Blustery, cold winds, snow and night time temps in the teens.  Big changes from last week's 60's and sunshine.

Which reminded me of this owl ornament.  A slice of wood.  Some chalk paint.  A star, a twig and an owl shaped stone.  I had meant to make some last Winter.  Why not make some during this strange April Winter.

It once snowed, here in Maine, all of July. So, not so out of the ordinary to have Winter any of the 12 months--or all of them.  I'll be making soup tomorrow.  Chicken noodle for G and Lentil for me.