Monday, September 14, 2009

Yes, I KNOW it's been a terribly long time....

I'm so sorry to make anybody worry. There's nothing really going wrong (not a heck of a lot really going right either, but....) I've just been in something of a "funk" all summer, and not really feeling like I've either got anything to post on my blog, or not feeling like what I WANT to post is appropriate to post. Mainly because my Mom and both of my sisters read my blog, and some of the ranting I'd love to do, is about one of those sisters..... And my mom and other sister have warned me off telling the one sister off, for the sake of the family. Even if I don't say it to her face, knowing that she follows my blog..... I'd post just to rant to friends, and wind up ticking off my mom & other sis. *sigh* So, for lack of "freedom" to say ANYTHING, I'm not saying anything at all, I guess.

Things here have had their ups & downs. The weeds got ahold of my veggie beds this summer and pretty well took over, despite my efforts to keep on top of things. (Didn't say my BEST efforts, but I did make AN effort.... *wry smile*) Thus, the veggies that I GOT planted didn't do as well as I'd hoped this year. Kinda a down season, I feel. Almost felt kinda burnt out on all the effort, this year.

On the home front, we had some interesting times as well. Not happily so. Things with the kiddo came to a head, and we wound up putting her in a group home. Only for a week and a half. I would have prefered to keep her there longer, but her daddy (my husband) was all flipped out by her not being "in the house" with us every night. (He's got NO problem with her spending as many nights at her best friend's house as she wants. BUT, to put her in a highly supervised "group home" situation due to bad behavior.... freaked him out. He just couldn't handle it.) Suffice it to say, after a week and a half, she came home. Some attitude changes were immediately noticable, but have decreased as time has gone on...... I truly think she'd benefit from at least a couple of months in a group home. The good news is, her ADD meds seem to be helping out. She's doing better in school this year than she has in past. *sigh* Not that she's ENJOYING school more, but her graded papers are showing better results than in past years. Partly due to the meds, I believe, but also partly due to the fact that she's repeating 5th grade this year. And she's at a different public school than she was before we attempted to homeschool her.

I'll be honest, as well..... I've been spending a lot of time on Facebook, playing mindless games. I just don't seem to "feel like" doing much else. I mean, that's not ALL I do. Obviously. I'm still working, I'm still baking & cooking most days. But, I completely fell off the Food Independence Days wagon. My garden was a sham this year. And all in all, I'm just feeling like there's not much worth posting about, or at least not much I'm able to post about. *sigh*

I've got some lovely flower pics to post, one of these days. I won't promise when. That's one area of my "gardening" that really did lovely this year. I guess 40-odd pkgs of flower seed is the trick to getting that abundance of flowers I've longed for in past years.

Sorry again to make anybody worry. I'm around, I do visit blogs sometimes, I just don't comment much at all..... We're all "fine", but in a rather blah kinda way, I guess.

Have a Blessed Day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sorry to Make Anybody Worry.....

I'm terribly sorry I worried anybody..... Things have been ok here, just busy. Soccer 3 nights a week, gardening tasks all the time..... Work, all the time. Hanging out, outside, with the neighbours when it's nice out.....

I've got a whole lot of pictures to share, though!!! *grin*

First, one I just couldn't resist taking..... Scott and Tay were sitting on the couch one evening, watching a Nascar race Scott had recorded..... The dogs told me it was time to go outside to go potty, but when I came out of the computer room, this was what I found:

The two of them, sprawled out on the couch, side by side, fast asleep..... As soon as I got this pic, I sent Tay to bed, and woke Scott up.... He also wound up heading to bed. The race was recorded, so he finished watching it the next day. But this picture was just too precious to pass up.

Next, some pictures of my lilac bush in full bloom...... I really wish lilacs lasted longer than they do. I love burying my nose in the blossoms and just breathing in deeply. But, that is only possible for about 1 week of the year.

Next, some pictures of the smoky skies around my house last week...... We've had a few fires burning in areas close to our area, and the smoke is nasty thick some days. It's hard to show the actual color with these pictures, but it was a deep, muddy tan. Very, very gross.

These were taken from the end of my street, looking toward the refinery that my street is named after. This is facing south.

But, the last one here is taken looking back up the street toward my house, and the blue skies off in the North. Just to try to give some idea of the difference in color between North and South.

Next, I wanted to show some pictures of the blooming flower beds in my front yard!!! The first is there around the birch tree, the alyssum is actually blooming!!!! And LOTS of it!

Here you get some idea of the color, if you click on the pic. The alyssum was 1 pack of seed for white flowers and 1 pack of seed for purple flowers. I mixed them together in an old baby-food jar, then just sprinkled them as evenly as I could. I'm rather pleased with the result. And they do smell sweet!

Here's a pic of the flower-bed along the front of the house...... From a bit of a distance so you can see how much actual green sprouted up. Unfortunately I sprinkled much more seed through the middle than I did on either end. So, both ends are a bit bare as compared to the center of the bed.

A bit of a close-up of some of the flax I sprinkled out...... It came up very well, and a few of them are blooming so far.

Here's a picture of one of the pretty blue flax blooms.

Now, I don't know WHAT these buds will be when they bloom, but I hope you can see the deep red of the bud on the right, and the deep blue of the bud on the left. There are lots more buds, but most of them are red.

Now, just to give you some idea of the thickness of what will be mostly poppies...... *grin* As I said, I sprinkled far more through the middle than I thought I had. These are mostly poppies, with some flax in the back, as well as a fair sprinkling of that flower I just showed above.

That's it for pictures......

Veggie garden-wise, things are kinda wierd this year. The lettuce and spinach over at the FIL's house didn't come up very well, first planting. We replanted lettuce a couple of weeks back, and it's finally coming up. Then the spinach came up the second time around, and bolted almost immediately. The same has happened with what spinach I planted in the back of my house..... few plants, but they bolted immediately. I've got NO Swiss chard growing back there, and my beets are kinda few & far between. As with last year, though.... My turnips have taken off. My potatoes are doing extraordinarily well, as well.... And I do have some lettuce back there to harvest, but not as much as I'd like. My carrot seed came up, as did the onion seed I planted just for experiment. But I doubt either carrot or onion will get big enough to actually do much with. I need to go thin, even so. My cabbage and broccoli plants are doing well, however. I look forward to some broccoli here soon. Also, 1 of my tomato plants (received from a friend, when none of mine "took") has flowers, and 2 of the other 3 are bearing buds, but not quite flowered yet. My single zucchini plant (from the second planting!) is slow-growing this year, but I got a bush-scallop plant that looks like it may over-take the zucchini, at the speed with which it's growing. (I planted the bush-scallop seed as a third planting in that barrel, trying to get SOMETHING to grow!) My rhubarb is in major need of harvesting, but it's just so danged hot outside that I really don't feel like it. My sunset runner beans are doing the same thing they did last year, growing so slowly that I doubt I'm going to get any beans off them again this year either. I don't think I'll try growing them over here next year again, if they don't do SOMETHING this year. And the few corn seeds I interspersed between the bean plants sprouted, but then have languished in the heat. They're only a few inches tall. However, the corn plants over at the FIL's house are tall enough to start bearing ears..... We'll see if we actually get anything from them this year. I'm willing to try corn again next year, that's for sure. But with a different kind of bean if those sunset runner beans don't produce adequately.

As for the whole "Food Independence Days Challenge", I've rather fallen off the band-wagon, I'm afraid.


Let's see, what else is going on??? Soccer is going well. We've lot one game out of 12. The one game we lost, our team came in assuming automatically that they'd stomp the other team, and didn't bother to really "bring it" and therefore lost when it happened that the opposing team was better the second time around than they had been the first game we played against them. Oh well...... Our girls just weren't as ready as they should have been, and they were cocky, and stomping is what happens when you get too cocky and don't "bring your A-Game". But, 11-1 is a very good ratio of wins to losses, even so.


Work has been..... Well.... Work, quite honestly. It's been tedious and frustrating for quite a while now. Really makes me wish I could even just take a job back out here at NP branch as a 10 hour casual page again. But we need the insurance that my current position supplies. Also, the air circulation system (which hasn't worked right in the 4 years I've been working at Noel Wien Lib.) pooped out completely about a month ago. It was a 30 year old system and the borough mayor was telling the maintenance guys that the proverbial duct tape and bubble gum was going to have to be sufficient. The maintenance guys stuck to their guns, though, and were able to talk the mayor into springing for some new parts, though not a completely new system. It's been reassembled with the new parts in place and when I left on Friday, the building was finally tolerable. I'm not kidding you when I say that as hot as it has been outside this past week, our temperatures IN the building were well into the 90's. (The outside temperatures hit up in the 90's and a couple of people reported even closer to 100 degrees at individual houses and work-places, in the shade. Including Scott's workplace, at 97 deg. F.) There are no openable windows in the library building, and only 4 exterior doors, if you include the garage door where the Bookmobile vehical and the courier vehical are stored. So, with all doors remaining shut, no windows to open...... It was a stuffy, insufferable 90+ degrees F. INSIDE the building. My coworkers and I were almost all dealing with feelings of heat-exaustion and light-headed-ness..... Then when you factor in that so many people in the building were adding body heat, and the ice-maker in the fridge/freezer just couldn't keep up with employee demand..... I wound up leaving early on Thursday. I just couldn't take another full day of that.

Friday, when I went back in for my usual short day, the air was back up and running, though it sounds like the AC will still be set considerably warmer than a great many of us would like it to be. I don't understand why the cold-blooded people get to set the limit on the AC in the summer. They can always put ON more clothes, but it gets pretty indecent if those of us who are too warm continue to peel off layers. *wink* Even the library director joked (when I commented how much I was looking forward to getting off work on Wednesday and going home to change into something "highly work inappropriate") that he was considering going home and just stripping altogether. *wry smile* Coming from our usually very proper & polite (though very good humored Southern Gentleman) library director, that was rather shockingly funny.


My baby sis was back in town this weekend for her best friend's wedding. Apparently she brought divorce papers with her, but she never bothered to call and see about meeting up with Tay and I, or even asking Scott to serve the papers to her ex. (Her ex apparently moved back here after Kori dumped his dumb ass and moved to Spokane.) Scott was kinda hoping Kori'd ask him to serve the papers to Brandon. He thinks he'd be good at it. *wink* I was hoping Kori'd call and ask to meet up. I'd have liked to see how much Kiara has grown in the past year.

But, I'm not terribly suprised (sp?) that Kori didn't call. Apparently her newest loser-boyfriend didn't come through with the travel plans he'd promised to Kori, and left her hanging without fantastic rental car, and upscale hotel-room reservations. Therefore, Kori was going to have to stay with the best friend and fiancee, and no rental car. And Kori isn't about to call me when she doesn't have something to brag about or show off. Don't know why she feels the need to one-up me all the time, or feels like she's got to show off, but since she couldn't show off a fancy ride, or brag about a stay at Pike's Lodge, she didn't call at all..... *shrug* Whatever.


I think that about covers it for now. I've got to get offline, as we're heading over to the inlaw's for supper at 3:30.

Sorry I've been such a lousy blogger friend. I'll try to do better.

Hope y'all have a Blessed Week!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gardening Pics and Food Independence Days Update

So.... A bunch of pictures of things that were accomplished here at my place this past weekend.

First off, a pic from the street of the front of our house as it is now. We just installed the two plant beds that are visible. The support posts were taken from around my birch tree, and we built up a circular rock bed, into which I planted pansies, alyssum, and some sweet peas. (All as seed, so nothings come up yet and there aren't any flowers currently in the flower bed.

The other bed is just visible against the house (a better picture is below). It's made of redwood "logs", each log approximately 6" (maybe 8") in diameter, stacked two high, then back filled with top-soil. Again, planted flower seed, so no flowers are yet in the bed.

Here is a better picture of the flower bed against the house. In it, I planted Batchelor's Buttons; Black Eyed Susans; Forget-me-nots; Shasta Daisies; Delphiniums; Larkspur; Hollyhock; Columbine; Persian Jewels (also called "love in a mist"); Echinacea (also called Purple Coneflower); Scarlet Poppies and multi-colored Iceland Poppies; Marigold; Johnny Jump-ups (also called Viola); Lobelia; Baby Blue Eyes (also called Nemophila); Snapdragons; and Sweet Peas.

Scott said he thinks I bought out the entire stock of flower seed, and why the heck was I planting so much seed. I told him it's mainly so SOMETHING comes up! I haven't had incredible luck in the past with my flowers germinating and growing, so I figured the MORE seed, the better. If even a part of it all grows, we should end up with a reasonably full flower bed this year. *grin* And some of it is perennial, so hopefully if it grows this year, it'll self-seed and grow again next year. (The Shasta Daisies, Poppies, Echinacea, Columbine, Hollyhock, Delphinium, Black Eyed Susans and Johnny Jump-ups are all perennial.)

Here is a close-up of the bed around the birch tree. Scott picked out these lovely "rose brown" stones. They're actually concrete, poured into these angled molds that make paving stones that stack nicely into a circle. It's almost 4 feet in diameter. I planted the alyssum around the outter edge, the pansies in the middle, and a few sweet peas right up against the tree. Hopefully the alyssum will fill in those cracks in between the stones and drape over the edge. Unfortunately, when watered, the water also wands to run out between the stones at this bottom edge, taking soil with it. I hope I'm not washing away all my alyssum seed before it has a chance to germinate and take root.

Now, if only that poor little birch would thicken up and bulk out. I still think it really resembles an adolescent boy, all gangly and lanky and no meat in "his bones." *grin*

Next, a picture of my veggie beds in the back. Yes, I said veggie "BEDS". We got my second one built this weekend. Or, more accurately, Scott built it then we rototilled out where we wanted it to go, partially took some of the rototilled dirt out (basically set the dirt back around the OUTSIDE of the bed to anchor the bed in place), and back-filled it with fresh top-soil.

Here in this pic you can see the veggie bed we put in LAST summer. I've partially planted it, but I'm waiting for my carrot seed to arrive before I finish planting it. (I realized early on last week that I forgot to order any new carrot seed and we'd used up ALL the carrot seed I bought last year. So I ordered more, but it hasn't arrived yet.)

The new veggie bed sits back there at a 90 degree angle to the old bed, but a foot or so further back, and 2 feet to the left. I may yet get a barrel planter back there in that corner. I'm not sure. That, or a pallet or two holding my cucumbers and such, if they don't die first.

I'm going to put in a couple rows of carrots, and at least one more row of Swiss Chard.

Here, lastly, is a close-up of my newest veggie bed. When I took this picture yesterday I didn't have much in the bed already. A row of turnips down the right side, a row of beets down the left. (I learned from last year, and planted the beets where they won't be overshadowed by the turnips, and I put them so that the sun runs up the LENGTH of the rows, instead of across rows.)

What isn't seen here is that we came home last night and I planted 4 cabbage starts into this bed, and 8 broccoli starts. That pretty well fills it up. (A tiny little strip at the far end of the bed that I may put more lettuce into.)

So, there you have it. This is what we accomplished HERE this weekend. That's not even to mention all the planting we did over at the FIL's house yesterday.

So, here's my FIDC (Food Independence Day Challenge) Update for the past week.

Planted: lots & lots of flowers (as they were mentioned above by name, I won't do so again here); onion; beets; turnips; cabbage starts; broccoli starts; another pepper plant from the FIL's house. 3 potato barrels. AT the FIL's house: half-row lettuce, half-row spinach; half row onion, half row radishes; 1 row swiss chard; 2 rows beets; 2 rows carrots (FIL went and bought more yesterday rather than wait on my order to arrive); 2 rows bushy beans; 2 rows peas; 1 row (18 plants, I think?) broccoli (or cabbage, remember the mix up with the seed?); 21 cabbage (2 rows); and 1 cucumber seedling that was in dire need of transplanting. FIL said he's not working this week, so told us to leave the transplanting of the cucumbers, tomatoes and squash to him, to give him SOMETHING constructive to do this week. (Well, something that doesn't involve working on MIL's "Honey-Do" list.) Scott and FIL actually planted the potatoes last Monday over at the FIL's house.

Harvested: a LOT of sun, and freckles, and some sun-burn.

Tended: My previously planted bean patch. (8 seedlings have sprouted so far! 17 left to go.) My barrels with the zucchini seeds and the dill seeds. (None of those have come up yet. Another day or two and I'm going to re-try.) My pots here in the house with rosemary seed; thyme seed (2 little sprouts!); MORE tomato seed; corn seed; and sage seed. My pepper plant (which started to die. *gasp!* My rhubarb and chive plants.

Preserved something: Nope.

Make Preps: got 4 5-gal-sized buckets from a coworker who has cats. (These buckets contain the un-used cat-litter. When she gets a good number of buckets accumulated, she asks at work if anybody wants them. They're free for the asking. I got 4. Not a WHOLE lot of "preparation", but once I get the other two washed out, they'll work great for storing flour or sugar or such in, instead of the bags being stored in my cabinet. (2 of them are holding top-soil for my potato plants.)

Eat Your Veggies: (previously "Cook Something New") That is, not just our veggies, but the things we're putting aside, we should be eatting them and cooking with them. Making good use of the preparations we ARE making. If I had chickens, this would include eatting the eggs and the cooking the chickens after "processing" them. Let's see now.... We DID have salmon this past week (caught by Scott's buddy Jeremy, last year). Also eatting our pickled beets & carrots & green tomatoes & cucumber-pickles that we put up last fall. (DANG!!! Those cucumber pickles are POTENT! But the beets aren't nearly pickled enough, and have TOO much clove, for my taste.) Gotta clear out the previously pickled goods so we can reuse the jars this coming fall.

Manage Your Reserves: Finished up the last of the potatoes from last year (put 3 of them in my potato barrels, planted a bunch over at the FIL's house); ate a couple of them. Eatting the canned goods as mentioned above.

Work on/Toward Local Food Systems: nope, not unless you count the fact that I'm gardening here AND at the FIL's house.

Reduce Waste: (Was compost something) not really.... Again, unless you include me taking those 4 buckets; and the fact that I'm now using my clothes line. (But, I'm NOT harvesting rain water yet, due to the fact that Scott's currently digging up the spot where my rain barrel sits, trying to figure out why we kept losing fuel pressure from our fuel tank to our furnace, all winter.)

Learn a new skill: Nope.

So, what else is new??? I saw the Dr. on Thursday and she put me on Advair for allergies. It's been helping, too!! So, I get to call her tomorrow morning and tell her it works, and ask her for a full prescription for it. Eventually (once everything with Tay slows down) I'm going to get in and get some allergy tests done, so we can find out exactly what it is I'm allergic to. And we'll take it from there, but for now, the Advair is working enough that I'm not miserable & feeling sick any more.

I've got a new addiction. It's called "Farm Town" and it's a game on Facebook. I've been spending FAR too much time playing this game. *wry smile*

I think that's it, really.... Nothing new to pass on, really. Hopefully this weekend I'll get a chance to get by everybody's blogs.
Have a Blessed Week!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Look How Tall She's Grown!!!

So, I finally had Scott take a couple of pics of Tay and I last night to show how tall she's gotten. I know my mom & dad & sisters would want to see, and I thought I'd share here as well. Pardon my sweaty, red-faced look.... I'd gotten home from work at 6 pm and set right into gardening tasks. Scott and I spent from about 6:15 to 9 working outside, him cleaning the grill and helping me with one or two harder bits of the gardening, me.... Just gardening. *grin* More on that later. Anyway, Tay is all but standing on her tip-toes in this pic, trying to appear taller than I am. She's ALMOST there. But NOT quite. *wink*

Here, Tay and I had been trying to make "bunny ears" on each other, but Scott told us to settle down and just smile. As you can tell, we were still a little giggly. I wish Scott had been standing up when he took these pics, I feel like this one has y'all looking up my nose. *wry smile*


I haven't posted gardening news in a couple of weeks (meant to last week, but just didn't accomplish it), so I'll go ahead now and clue y'all in on what I've been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Mind you, I'm still fighting/recovering-from the bronchitis, so I haven't been doing as much as I'd really like to be.

IDC Update: Weeks 2 and 3 (and 4?)

Plant: dill seeds in my "tomato barrel" (to which the tomatoes will be added IF and when they ever come up!); zucchini seeds in the other barrel; thyme, sage, rosemary, tomatoes, and corn all in little pots here in the house to get them started before transplanting to larger pots to be kept outside. So far, the thyme is the only to have emerged. Sunset Runner beans in my bean-patch. When the corn comes up, I'm going to plant it out on the edges of the bean-patch and hopefully allow the beans to provide the nitrogen that the corn so badly needs to grow properly. One of my big chores last night was turning over the soil in my planter bed to prepare it for planting into. There were a lot of weeds and weed-roots to be pulled out. In my planter bed last night I planted 2 types of lettuce (Pirat and Oakleaf); spinach; radishes and swiss chard. Scott's planning on getting my other planter bed built & dug in within the next week, so I'll wait till that's in place to put in my turnips and beets.... Maybe a couple rows of beans as well. My first planter bed actually has half the bed-space still available for further plantings of radishes, spinach and the like. These things do better if you plant smaller portions, but plant successively for successive harvesting.

Tended: I suppose this is where I'll tell you that I killed off the basil my friend & coworker gave me. *wry smile* For some reason the pot got infested by these miniscule black midges and these things were all over the house. (They didn't get into ANY of my other plant pots, despite the fact that the basil pot was sitting side by side with all the other pots.) Scott HATES those little black flies, so he dictated that the basil pot must go outside and may not come back INSIDE until we were sure to have killed all the little flies. Unfortunately, it's still too cold at night for basil. The 3 seedlings died. *sigh* I've been able to keep my little pepper plant alive, though!!! And my hyacinths, while alive still, have not yet bloomed. *sigh* I've started watering my strawberry plants a couple times a day, in hopes that they survived the winter. We've yet to see, though.

Harvested: Nada. (Though, ideally I SHOULD have kept all the little dandilion seedlings I was pulling out of my planter bed last night and eaten the greens. I'm the only one who'll do that, though, and I was too busy trying to get them GONE to want to seperate them from the rest of the weeds for eating.)

Preserved Something: Nothing.

Make Preparations: nothing.

Cook Something from scratch: Nothing. (Yep, that's right.... This past week I cooked ABSOLUTELY NOTHING completely from scratch. I'm not talking "down to making my own noodles" but as in, not using canned soups as sauces. Not a thing, this past week, was really from scratch. And, other than the taco salad I made early in the week, I didn't really make any new recipes either. (And, Taco Salad is really so simple as to not really be necessary to share the recipe for. Just add taco seasoning mix to browned & drained ground/minced beef, then top a bed of lettuce & tortilla chips with the meat and other taco toppings as desired.)

Manage Reserves: we're eating the last of last year's potatoes, and what won't be eaten in time is being used for seed stock for this coming year's crop.

Work on/Toward local food systems: nope.

Compost/reduce/reuse/recycle: Nope. I've been very poor about actually composting our compostables. Scott's rather upset over how badly my compost bin stunk the first couple of days this year, so I haven't yet started setting aside the compostables. Besides, my home-made compost bin may well be replaced soon with a store-bought plastic bin, and I don't really want to add new fresh stuff until I know for sure I'm getting a new bin. (The plastic bin will allow the compost to heat up more and retain more moisture, thereby actually COMPOSTING. If I get the new bin, newly added things will actually COMPOST before the end of the season. If I DON'T get the new bin, newly added compostables will only sit in my home-made bin, not composting, till fall, when I'll have a wierd (inseperable) mix of compost from last year's garbage & leaves AND this year's "greens". Not really the best of options.) Of course, if possible, I may try to persuade Scott to let me keep the OLD bin AND a new plastic bin, and be adding new stuff to the new bin, while the old bin keeps the "already working" compost for hopeful addition to my planter beds this fall.

Learn a New Skill: Nope. BUT, I AM working on a baby afghan for a woman at work who's due in about 7 weeks now. Don't want to try to pick up a new skill when my old one is in use. *wry smile*


Oh..... So Scott got me a "spading fork" for Mother's Day. (Yes, I asked for it, and NO it didn't tick me off to get something so utilitarian as I HAD asked for it specifically. He also got me a new pair of crocs and that new dishware set. Did I mention all this before?? I may have, but I've forgotten. I know I told y'all about my dishware set.) So, that spading fork makes turning over my planter beds TOTALLY easy. Well.... Totally easy if I wasn't still getting winded so easily. But seriously, I put the fork in and levered the soil like I was shoveling it, then I stuck the fork back in and turned like I was winding an old fashioned clock. That broke up the soil SO beautifully!!! And for other clumps that weren't so easily turned apart, just stabbing them a couple times with the spading fork really broke them up well. Had I not had to stop several times to catch my breath, I would probably have had my planter bed turned over in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes. As it was, it took me the better part of an hour. But, oh well.... It got done.

I'm hoping that within the next few days I can get out and spend some time turning over my flower bed here in the front yard. I had originally hoped to get the flower seeds thrown out by this time, BUT with being sick.... I haven't had the energy. And when push comes to shove, the veggie beds took priority. But I am feeling better enough that I can hopefully get the flower bed turned over and broken up (and weeded) over the course of a couple of days after work.

Once I've got the flower bed all prepped and planted, the only other thing that will need doing is planting my other veggie bed. But that requires Scott's hard work. AND planting my seedlings as they sprout and it becomes warm enough outside. And this week I hope to get my potatoes in. Gotta get those going before Scott hauls home another truck-bed of soil.


Beyond that.... I'm still recovering (as mentioned). I'm very highly tempted to call the dr's office tomorrow and see about a follow up appointment. I just feel like I really should be more recovered by now than I am. AND, a coworker of mine who was previously a respiratory therapist suggested that I get an allergy test done, so I can start getting allergy shots to prevent future allergy attacks like the one that resulted in this go-round with bronchitis. She said that as I've now had bronchitis 2 years in a row in May, it's a pretty certain thing that I'll continue to have attacks in May, unless I pre-empt them with allergy shots to prevent the trigger in the first place. *sigh* Really don't know that I LIKE the thought of allergy shots, though. Then again.... The thought of getting knocked on my @$$ by bronchitis every year is also considerably unappealing.


Tay had an appointment this past Friday at the Alaska Center for Natural Medicine, in Fairbanks. The point of the appointment is to see about getting an ADD diagnosis. The Dr. though is a Naturopathic Dr. so she addresses all "illnesses" as a whole body issue. So we spent over an hour in her office talking over Tay's likes, dislikes, activities, eatting, sleeping, bathroom habits, etc. Then the Dr. did a finger-stick blood-test and sent us home with a urine-sample kit to gather a first-of-the-morning urine sample. These samples will be sent off to a lab for assessement as to Tay's hormone levels. The theory that awkward hormone levels may trigger symptoms that seem like ADD. (BTW, even though it wasn't using a needle, and it wasn't even MY finger getting poked..... I had a panic attack. The Dr thought she was going to have to take care of me next. *wry smile*)

We go back on June 5th to get the results of the lab tests and follow up with the Dr. Of course, depending on what the results are, the Dr. is more likely to prescribe suppliments or dietary changes, than typical prescriptive meds that an allopathic Dr. would prescribe for treatment/management of ADD.


We're back to having BEAUTIFUL weather. Blue skies, faint whispy clouds if there are any at all.... Temps in the 70's to 80's, no rain. (Ok, wish it would rain a BIT, but not too much. Esp. as I can't use my water barrel till Scott has had a chance to dig up the fuel lines on the house. The water barrel sits right over the fuel tank, when it's in place. And once full, it'd be impossible to move.) That beautiful weather sure does make gardening tasks a joy!

Ok. I've gotta get ready for work and head out early to take that sample in to the Dr's office before work. I AM working a long week, this week. Worked Saturday to cover for a former coworker who's no longer there (Ie: they needed somebody to pick up her hours since she quit). Worked Sunday as usual, then I'll work today through Thursday as usual. AND I'll work Friday to begin my summer hours. So, when all's said & done, I'll have worked 7 straight days. I can tell you NOW that I'm SERIOUSLY looking forward to Saturday of this coming week! Then to have a 3 day weekend...... Ah..... I hope to get to sleep in, along with all the planting that we'll be doing over at FIL's house to get the garden there set up for the summer.

Have a Blessed Week!!

Friday, May 08, 2009


First off, though.... Tori was SOOO sweet and gave me THIS on Monday!

Thank you Tori!!! How lovely to be a recipient of this. Esp. as I feel I've been such a BAD blogger lately, not posting nearly often enough.


I've been pretty well house-bound all week, and it's driving me nuts! That cold I mentioned last week??? Well I saw the Dr. on Monday morning and she diagnosed that I've got Bronchitis born of a sore-throat-bacteria AND seasonal allergies. Apparently the bacteria that's causing the sore-thoat didn't END with the sore throat for me. The infection moved down into my lungs, and mixed with some post-nasal-drip issues from my allergies, and I've got some fluid in my lungs. So, she gave me antibiotics to fight the infection, an Albuterol inhaler for the fact that I couldn't/can't catch a full breath, some codein-laced cough syrup for the sore throat (and to calm my body so that it's not coughing so much), and told me to pick up a 30 day supply of a "leading over-the-counter allergy medication" who's "name" I won't utter here. Suffice it to say, she sent me away with a pocket full of prescriptions and instructions to get back to her if I wasn't feeling better in a few days time.
By Thursday morning, I wasn't feeling ANY better, even actually a bit worse. So I called. Twice. Left two messages on the voicemail with her assistant. No return call. *sigh* The assistant FINALLY got back to me this morning and when I'd described for her my increased difficulty with the coughing and breathing, she said she'd call another prescription out to the pharmacy for me. Turns out it's a course of even STRONGER steroids to try to assist my lungs in their job of expelling the fluid still in them. I'm to take this through the weekend, and get back to her Monday if I'm still not feeling better. As it is, I'm pretty miserable. I've had so little energy that I've been sitting here at the computer, or in front of the TV, almost non-stop for the past week.
What I've WANTED to be doing is gardening!!!! I SHOULD be getting my flower bed dug and planted! That ACTUALLY should have happened last weekend, but it didn't because I've been feeling so poorly. And Scott isn't highly inclined to get out there and shovel and dig for me. *sigh* Even if he was, there's still an expense of energy on my part in the raking out (because he cannot rake evenly!) and the planting of seeds.
These three pots are pretty well the extent of my gardening over the past couple of weeks. I did find just a TOUCH of energy to do a bit today, but I'll post that little bit more on my Independence Day update on Sunday.
These three pots consist of 1 pot with two hyacinth bulbs (there in front); 1 pot with 3 basil seedlings (to the left in back); and the final pot which contains 1 pepper seedling and 2 lettuce seedlings. (Neither of the lettuce seedlings look like they're going to surivive. Darn it! The pepper seedling is from those pepper seeds that I saved this past winter.)
Here is a close-up of the two lettuce seedlings and the pepper seedling. I planted 2 more lettuce seeds around the other side of the pot today. We'll see if they do any better than these two have.
And here is a close-up of my basil seedlings. These came from a friend/coworker of mine whom much appreciated the pepper seeds I passed on to her, and decided to pass some basil seedlings on to me. I've never grown basil before! I look forward to trying it in cooking!
What DID happen this week that was exciting????

I got new dishware!!! My old dishes were purchased just after my HS graduation, before Tay was born. It's the only set I've bought for use, before now. I'd broken at least 1 salad plate and at least 1 dinner plate, I think even a bowl. And I never kept the mugs from that set because they were highly impractical. What I hadn't broken outright, had chips and cracks in it. It was simply time for a new set. It has long irked me, people who go out and buy new dishware every year or two just because they want a change. Well bully for them!!! What a waste!!!! (MIL is one of these people. She simply tosses her set into the trash, or has FIL take it to the dump when she upgrades.) But, there DOES come a time when it is pretty well a done deal that new dishware is needed. But I hope that this set lasts me at least as long as my previous set did.
This set, I didn't actually buy. Scott bought it for me, but only after I'd done extensive searching online for a set that I liked the appearance of. He went out looking for something that resembled what I was wanting and found this. I DO like it!!! Unfortunately the picture with the bowl (was more of a side view) didn't make it through my editing process. (The computer wouldn't save it for some reason, and therefor it got deleted from the picture editing software.) Anyway, the dishes are FABULOUSLY heavy!!! Not "fine china" but more pottery style. They've also got this rather faint speckling to them that's not really visible in this picture.

I did get outside and get some pictures to share with you, though!!! Tay had Jenny out playing fetch. (This was AFTER she took Puck for a good long walk. Jenny prefers playing fetch, but Puck prefers walking around the neighbourhood sedately smelling and peeing on every tree, bush and blade of grass he can find.) So, I decided to go out and take some pictures to share.
What are you doing, Mom?!?!?!
(Tori, Tay's standing in the frame, holding the green tennis ball, and Jenny's just looking at the ball, waiting for Tay to throw the darned thing already. Tay was actually asking what I was doing, as I took this picture.)

"Here she comes to save the day!!!!!" (Sorry, "Mighty Mouse" theme going through my head!)
(Tori: just trying to show some pics of how fast and sleek Jenny is when she's playing fetch. I really wish I could describe these better for ya. But man..... Really she's a white blur, all I did was catch what I could on "film". Her long white tail streaking out behind her; long legs galloping underneath..... Almost resembles a horse when she runs.)
"Gosh I love it when they throw that ball for me!!!"
(Tori, she's almost got a smile as she turns back toward us in this pic. It's funny, because when she's playing ball, Jenny really does look like she's smiling and having fun. This pic is pretty funny because only her back, left leg is on the ground, the rest of her legs are off the ground a little bit as she comes down from a stride.)
"I'm gonna get it, I tell ya!!!!! I'm not gonna let it outta my sight!"
(Tori, this is a photo taken as Jenny attempts to leap and catch the ball out of the air. In the background is the neighbour's house, as Tay bounced the ball up into their yard. Jenny is kinda squatting and ready to pounce up and GRAB that ball out of the air. AND SHE DOES, TOO!!!)
"I'm gonna get it, I'm gonna get it...."
(The ball is there in the neighbour's yard, this is Jenny racing down the road toward the ball.)
What is this??? Some new kind of dance??? Nope!!! It's Tay kicking the ball for Jenny. And Jenny, apparently hasn't caught on yet that the ball is already airborn.

(Tori, Tay is in an odd pose in this pic. Left foot on the ground, leg straight. Right foot in a kicking position, about stomach-level. Left arm in the air above her head, and right arm balancing her at about waist level. Jenny is ears-forward, tail curled up over her back, almost looking ready to pounce.)
"Ooooooh, what fun it is to run all out.... Breeze in my fur, tail flying behind me!!!!"
(Tori, Another pic of Jenny at an all-out gallop up the street toward us again after she's caught her ball.)
"Am I PRETTY or what?!?!?!"
(Side-view of Jenny, holding her ball in her mouth, tail wagging..... She's been having a blast.)
"That's enough Mom..... I'm done. You can turn off the camera for now!"
(She was rather worn out by the time I even STARTED taking pics, as it took me forever to figure out how to change the setting to the sports-activity photography setting. So, she's lying down here in the grass, away from me, ignoring me even though I kept trying to get her attention. She just wanted to be left along to rest a spell. Of course, the fact that she was done playing fetch doesn't mean she gave up that ball. She's still guarding it even though she wasn't running after it any more. We went in a few minutes later.)
I hope y'all enjoy the pics. I don't often think to grab my camera and take pics while Jenny's out playing fetch, and even on the rare occasions I do, I never seem to get the picture settings accurate in time to get some photos.

The weather cooled down a bit this past week. Temps haven't been back up into the 70's and sunny and clear since last Saturday. It's been overcast and cold, or partly cloudy and kinda muggy, all week. A good bit of breeze blowing too. That breeze has Scott worried, as we don't now have snow anchoring our car-sheds in to keep the wind from blowing them about. Not that I wish we DID still have snow. I'm glad we don't. BUT, I also wish the wind would quit blowing.
As for the rest, It's not that I mind terribly that it's been a bit overcast. It makes it easier for me to not hate being so sick, when the weather is kinda yucky as well. BUT, I DO wish it would actually rain a bit. I mean, I don't want the non-stop rain like we had last July and August, but every few days, a good soaking rain wouldn't go unappreciate. Well, maybe unappreciated by some, but not by those of us who'd like to have rain to water our gardens.

Speaking of rain being unappreciated though..... I hear that the overflowing Chena, Tanana, and Yukon Rivers made national news. A small town to the East of us, Eagle, was pretty well wiped off the map when the Yukon overflowed. Apparently the river level was 20 feet above it's norm. *shaking head* I can appreciate sometimes why folks build along rivers, but at other times it makes me wonder at the idiocy. Then again, the Chatanika river has also been terribly high, according to our neighbours Jim & Teresa. They were out at their cabin along the Chatanika this past week, and said that the water was about 8 inches from breaching the flooring of their cabin. Said they lost 5 big spruce trees and 20+ feet of ground to the river.

Ok, a bit of a primer on how to pronounce these river names!
Chena: chee-na (chee as in "cheese")
Tanana: ta-na-na (the first a sounds like "apple", the second a sounds like the u in "ugly", the third a sounds like "awful")
Yukon: you con
Chatanika: chat a neeka (that second "a" also has the "u as in ugly" sound; the "neeka" is Knee like the body part, k, then "u" as in ugly)
Oh, and for the record, don't EVER pronounce "Valdez" with a short "e" It's a LONG EEEE sound. Very hard "e" sound. Val DEEZ And "Prudhoe Bay" is pronounced "pru" like "prudent" and "dough" as in bread dough.

Last but not least, PETER, you'd asked me for an "Alaskan Pollock" recipe. I'm pretty sure that pollock is a fish, but I don't think I've ever eaten it. Is there anything you can compare it to??? Is it like whiting, or cod or tilapia??? If I have something to compare it to, I may be able to provide some recipes. But I know for a fact I've never seen "pollock" in the grocery store bins. If it's anything like either of these other 3 fish, I'm sure any recipe that I would use for them could easily be used for pollock as well. I'll look around, see if I can find any ideas.
Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Support Judy Blume!

Apparently because she wrote a Mother's Day piece for PPA (planned parenthood of America), Judy Blume has started receiving masses of hate-mail from people who disagree with the things that PPA does, says and works for. Once again, whatever else a person may believe, they do NOT have the right to threaten and harm others over those beliefs. And yet, it still happens!!! In this country of ours, supposedly the most free country of the world, we still see extremists threatening others for their views and actions.

To show support for Judy Blume over her recent Mothers Day piece, and to let her know that there ARE folks who appreciate her and her work, go here:

Let her know that there are folks out there who support her and are grateful for her voice!

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Wilderness Survival and a Couple New Recipes

Has anybody else been watching the Discovery Channel show "Out of the Wild: The Alaskan Experiment?" The link is HERE if you want to check it out.

Anyway, Scott and I have been watching it and I'm having rather mixed feelings about it. To start out, the Show's producers took 9 volunteers from "the lower 48" who wanted to give this a try. The volunteers were each given some basic survival training and a GPS-call unit (for rescue should they decide to give up, or need medical assistance), and were dropped, en masse, in the middle of the Talkeetna (tall-KEET-na) wilds. The spot where they were dropped off had already been primed with a huge bundle of "supplies" that the volunteers then had to pick and choose from, deciding what to leave behind (for the producers to rescue later) and what to take. They had enough tarps with them, and sleeping bags and foam sleeping mats, to make yukon packs with, containing the supplies they decided to pack along. And initially, they packed EVERYTHING. (This included a few "worthless" supplies such as a violin that nobody knew how to play anyway.) Right away, it became apparent that they weren't using (or hadn't been provided!) all their survival knowledge. By the time they reached the first "planted" cabin (placed their for their convenience, but needing some repair) after their first day's hike, they'd hiked OVER a ridge, instead of around as their map directed. Going around would have taken longer but would have been an easier trek for the older members of the team.

And once at the first "cabin", they spent most of their time hunting TINY game: mice! They were surrounded by blueberries and cranberries (from what _I_ could tell, just watching the TV) and they didn't bother to pick any. They went fishing at a nearby pond or lake, and had access to some cattails (so-called "nature's grocery store" and at no other time of year as easy to identify as in the fall/early-winter) but didn't even give them a second look...... I'm guessing they may also have had easy access to such things as cottonwood (inner bark can be dried and ground and added to flour to extend supplies); monkey flower (according to my Alaska's Wild Plants book, the greens may even be found under ice in the winter, and still consumed); cloudberries; crowberry (tasteless, but edible!); labrador tea (gotta be kinda careful with this one, but with a couple of showings by an experienced survival guide, they could have identified this without problem); serviceberries; Chocolate Lily bulbs (reportedly best harvested in fall, bulbs can be ground and used as flour replacement or suppliment); Cow Parsnip (roots are celery substitute, best after frost); raspberries; rose hips; wild chive; shephards purse (seeds are a pepper substitute); lambsquarters (leaves are sometimes refered to as "wild spinach", and seeds are similar to quinoa and can be used as a starch in soups; Napoleon's troups evidently used ground Lambsquarter seeds to make a black bread); Dock (seeds also used as flour extender); Mare's tail (must be cautious not confuse with Horsetail; late-season "frosted" greens may be added to soups); Willow (inner bark is flour suppliment/substitute; spring leaves are higher in Vit. C than an orange). I also know that the group was walking through thick Alder thickets, and I wouldn't be suprised to find out that Alder is also in some way, shape or form usable as food.

And yet...... It was at the THIRD cabin (days 9 through 11) that the group FINALLY started even picking the lowbush cranberries and the blueberries around the cabin. I don't know if this is a fault on the part of the volunteers, for not making uses of the abundance of wild fruits & veggies in their paths; or if it was a tactic of the producers, telling these folks that they SHOULDN'T pick berries and greens because they might be toxic. Granted, a number of things do have similarly-shaped imposters that can be toxic, but with a bit of training, it's easy to identify the good from the bad. And at the VERY least, the cranberries and blueberries and lambsquarters and cattails could have been harvested a LOT sooner than they were. (Hell, the group still hasn't caught on to the lambsquarters! And the cattails were back at the first cabin, but haven't been seen since.) One of the things that the producers (the Narrorator at the opening of the show) say is that this group has been put down in one of the areas of Alaska with the GREATEST abundance of wildlife, both plant and animal, that their task is to see if they can survive the 60-day hike (with a couple of days rest-stop at each wilderness cabin along the way) by living off the land. So far, with the exception of a couple handfuls of berries each, and some peas and flour that they found at the second cabin, the group has "survived" on scanty rations of first ground-squirrel (other places it's similar to ground-hogs) then porcupine "stew". This scanty diet of meat-only stew hasn't provided NEARLY the calories that each member of the group needs. And a hand-full or two of blueberries isn't much better. But, a few minutes of shaking a lambsquarter stalk over one of their tarps, then moving on to another lambsquarter stalk, pulling leaves off as they go, as well..... That would provide the group with some DEFINITE starch and greens to add to their stew-pot, and would increase their rations significantly.

I'm just..... I'm finding it difficult to figure if they've been told NOT to harvest these wild-greens (despite the Narrorator's schpeal about how abundant things are in the area the volunteers are at), or if they're just too simple-minded to do so even after instruction. Scott and I sit watching the show and going "but, but, but..... You NEED some greens/starch!!!!" Even Scott has made comments like "weren't those cattails?!?!" or "was that some of that weed that we've got in our back-yard that you say is edible?!?!" Scott, who believes lambsquarters are weeds, recognised the blueberry and cranberry bushes at the same time I did, and was wondering why the group wasn't picking them. Granted they've got other things on their mind during their hikes, but rigging a belt-bucket and picking a hand-full here and there as they pass through the thickets..... It only makes sense!!! Then to see them starving themselves needlessly...... *shaking head* It'll be a wonder if ANY of the 9 (now 6, actually, as 3 have used their GPS units to call for the helicopter to lift them out, and have given up) make it out of there!!

I have had to chuckle a bit as Wendy was just recently posting about a wilderness survival class she and her family have been taking. It was a bit of syncronicity, that she's posting about the survival class she's taking at the same time that I'm watching this show. Though personally it sounds like her survival class was a little stronger on the "feed yourself in a survival situation" than were the instructions the "OOTW:TAE" volunteers were given. I'm thinking their survival instructions were more to do with setting snares and crossing rivers. Not that those aren't useful skills, but it's not going to do you ANY good, to know how to cross a river, if you're not eatting enough to keep ya walking TO cross the river! Passing out from hunger, face-down in the river is kinda gonna negate any water-safety lessons you may have had.


One thing that both Wendy had pointed out, and that had been mentioned on the show, that _I_ needed to do, was to have on hand a source of fire, in an emergency. Yesterday, when I went to the hardware store to get myself a new pair of gardening gloves (lost my old ones, and they were so tattered it was time for a new pair anyway), I picked up one of those manganese (OOPS! Should be "Magnesium.") & flint fire-starter sticks. Backwoods Home Mag, this past issue, had an article on putting together a survival key-chain (the basics, on a key-chain, to be carried everywhere) and one of the things THEY also mentioned was one of these fire-starting sticks. (I already had the thumb-nail-sized LED flashlight and the mini-leatherman that were recommended, and carry them with me everywhere. But to combine them all together on a key-chain, hadn't quite thought that far ahead.) Anyway, so I picked up the fire-starter-stick and have put it on a key-ring to be combined with the others. The fire-stick is not heavy, but it IS bulky, and it's not something that is immediately necessary to my every-day activities. So for now, it's on a key-ring ready to be added to my larger key-ring as needed.) Sooner or later I'm going to add a GI-style can-opener and maybe a mini-pill-bottle (to be carried all the time) to my key-ring. But for now it's simply the leatherman & LED flashlight.

(I've got a neat Samsonite key-ring that has 5 or 6 different key-chains that hang off a central hub. With the press of a lever, I can remove any component from the key-ring by sliding the little nobbed attachement out of the channel in which they sit. So, most of the time I simply carry my LED light and leatherman. The manganese fire-stick is on a seperate individual key-ring that can be slid in as needed, but I don't expect I'll need to have it handy in my day-to-day. But, should I go camping this summer, I can add it to the key-ring and keep it handy with my other tools. In that case, I won't need my cell-phone and can leave that behind, but WILL need my fire-stick, which takes up a similar amount of room in my pants pocket.)


Ok..... On to other things. Here are a couple "New" recipes from this past week. Enjoy!

Maple Teriyaki Salmon Fillets

1/3 c apple juice (I used apple cider vinegar and a pre-made teriyaki, since I didn't have apple juice on hand.)
1/3 c maple syrup (I used a mix of maple syrup, for flavor, and honey, since maple syrup is very expensive in my area.)
3 Tbsp soy sauce (I think I upped this to 4 Tbsp.)
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves minced/pressed
(I also added a few drops oriental style chili oil for a bit of heat.)
4 salmon fillets (about 2 pounds)

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Remove 1/2 c for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large, resealable plastic bag (or covered dish). Add salmon, turning to coat (or seal bag then turn to coat). Refrigerate 1 to 3 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Broil salmon 4 inch from heat for 5 minutes. (Or grill!) Baste with reserved marinade. Broil (grill!) 10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting frequently. Yield: 4 servings.

(Some recipes direct to place a piece of foil on the grill, and place the salmon skin-side down, then half-way through you're supposed to carefully peel the meat of the salmon from the skin, which SHOULD stick to the foil, and flip the meat over, face ONTO the skin, to finish cooking. The hubby grilled the salmon this time without flipping and it turned out perfectly, and still the skin stuck to the foil so it didn't have to be cleaned off our plates, so all we had to do was fold the skin up in the foil to discard it, once it had cooled on the grill.)


No Fuss Pierogi

1/2 onion, diced (would use more, next time!)
1 Tbsp butter
16 oz pkg elbo macaroni, cooked & drained
16 oz container cottage cheese
salt and pepper to taste
(I also sprinkled it with paprika before serving.)

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter. Add macaroni, cottage cheese and salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, melting cheese into macaroni, or until heated through, stirring often. Makes 4 servings.

(For our personal preferences, I would DEFINITELY increase the amount of onion, and I might add chopped black olives next time. Otherwise, it was ok. Not fantastic, but a "new" side dish for when Scott grills steaks or something. Something other than the usual Stove-top stuffing or potatoes (baked, mashed, or french fried) or boxed pasta mix.)


Chad's Salsa Verde

The So-hot-it'll-kill-ya version

29 serano peppers, stem-ends cut off, but not halved OR seeded
1 good-sized tomato, cored but otherwise intact
1 fist-sized onion, peeled but not halved
enough water to cover in saucepan

Simmer all for 20 to 30 minutes or until skin peels from tomato and all ingredients are tender. Place all in blender and blend till almost pureed, adding a little of the simmering liquid if needed. (Not so much, though, that it's a completely liquid mix.) Serve with tortilla or corn chips.

The "Specially contrived for Kati-the-wimp" version

5 to 8 jalapeno peppers, stem ends cut off, halved and seeded (or, seed most of them, but leave the seeds in 1 or 2)
2 fist-sized tomatoes, cored but otherwise intact
1 fist-sized onion, peeled but not halved
enough water to cover in saucepan

Simmer and process as for first version. Much easier on the tastebuds for those of us who enjoy a BIT of heat, but don't enjoy getting knocked on our asses by it.

(Chad happens to be the future-son-in-law of our neighbours Jim & Theresa, whom I know I've mentioned here before. He's a chef at his family's resteraunt here in NP, where J & T's younger daughter Jamie is a waitress. J & T are the next-door-neighbours who have we've developed the closest relationship with. Good folks! They've taught me quite a bit about gardening, given me cuttings from their rhubarb and chive plants, AND my lilac bush! If something should happen to Scott and I both, they're the folks that we've picked to be Tay's legal guardians. They've lived in this neighbourhood almost as long as I've been alive.)


Quick & Easy, BEST EVER! Brownies (at least according to Scott and Jim)

1 box brownie mix (Ghiradelli mix, with walnuts included)
1 tub pillsbury or betty crocker frosting mix (Scott likes the coconut & pecan frosting that's used on german chocolate cakes. Tay prefers cream-cheese frosting.)

Mix brownie mix and bake as directed according to the box. Once mostly cooled, top with frosting. See how long you can go before you simply MUST cut into it. Try not to eat the whole pan at once.


So, I'm skipping work today. Last Sunday I woke up with a TOUCH of a sore throat. Except it wasn't really sore. More like a tickle. Monday was about the same, a little more noticable. Tuesday I started having a hard time breathing. Like I had a weight on my chest. Also started coughing a bit. Wednesday, the coughing and breathing hadn't improved. Maybe even had gotten a bit worse. Thursday, I was starting to cough so much that I was loosing bladder control. (Yeah, I know, TMI!) Also started sounding somewhat "froggy". Friday, yesterday (Saturday), Today..... VERY froggy sounding, coughing so hard I wind up having to run to the bathroom every 5 minutes or risk losing bladder control completely. It still hurts to breathe. I'm just NOW starting to cough up phlem, and not enough of it to clear out my chest. I'm putting off going to the Dr's office because I know they're going to tell me that I've "only got the creeping crud" and that there's nothing they can do about it. Once I've had it for a couple of weeks, and it's made it's way into my chest completely, then the Dr's will HAVE to do something (antibiotics, most like), but until then I'll just wind up sent home with advice to drink plenty of fluids and take the Robitussin that I'm already taking. [I'm probably ODing on Vit C. I'm also drinking about 6 (20-oz) jars of water a day. (Old spaghetti-sauce jars, I've got two that I use for drinking water. They've got ounce markings on the side that make it easy for me to keep track of how much I'm drinking.) I'm also adding echinacea tincture to just about every jar of water or mug of tea I make myself. That's along with the Robitussin. AND I found a bottle of Lortab that I have left from last year's bout with bronchitis that I took last night (3 am this morning when I woke up coughing and couldn't stop) and then again this morning once I let work know that I wouldn't be in. The lortab doesn't exactly do anything for the cough, but it kills the pain in my chest enough that I don't feel the NEED to cough as much. In the mean-time, though..... I'm starting to feel rather woozy and won't be much use for the rest of the day, once the Lortab kicks in well enough.

Oh, and FWIW, since I started writing that last paragraph, Scott told me he WANTS me to go to the Dr's office tomorrow. And NOT to First Care (which is who my insurance requires me to see first) but to ICHC (interior community health center, whom I've always had good luck with) to see the Dr about this damn cold. Said that I've been taking robitussin for a few days now (true enough, since Thursday) and that it's not done any good and I'm sounding WORSE, and it's become hard for me to do anything without becoming breathless and coughing. So, to hell with them telling me that I've only got the creeping crud, I'm TO go to the Dr's tomorrow and make sure I leave with antibiotics or SOMETHING to help me get past this. (And yeah..... I DO worry about the antibiotics being so overused that they become ineffectual, but at the same time.... I can't keep on this way, because it's hard for me to even get dinner made when I'm coughing so hard it gives me a nasty head-ache and racks my body AND makes me wet myself. I've gotta try SOMETHING. ANYTHING.)


Ah, on to happier things. (DAMN, this post is getting long.)

Time for the first Food Independence Days Challenge (IDC from last year) post of the year.

Planted: Nothing BRAND new, but I did transplant 3 basil seedlings that a coworker gave me as a thank-you for the pepper seeds that I gave her. (Her pepper seeds also sprouted!!!) I also transplanted the 2 hyacinth bulbs I had that sprouted, but haven't yet flowered. They'd gotten pretty root-bound and hopefully this transplant will allow them to flower. (I'd love some hyacinth flowers!!!)

Harvested: nada

Tended: yep, my lettuce and pepper seedlings. Also cleared the leaf-mulch off my strawberry patch. I'm not sure yet if the strawberry plants survived the winter. But that's all besides what I mentioned above.

Preserved: nope

Make Preps: I bought myself that fire-starter stick. Told Scott that I want him to find me a pitchfork for here at the house, so I don't have to borrow the FIL's pitchfork every couple of weeks.

Cooked Something new/from scratch: the maple teriyaki, the pierogi stuff, the salsa.

Manage Reserves: still eatting potatoes from last year. Gotta get them all eatten, as the temps have warmed up enough that what're left are going to start going bad soon.

Work on/toward local food systems: gave some pepper seeds to a bunch of friends, and at least one of those friends has had success with the seeds. Got some basil seedlings back in exchange.

Compost/Manage-reduce waste: compost bin finally thawed out (and the water receeded from around it) enough that I could get over and turn it. Found out that last year's compost wasn't completely composted yet. Added in the willow leaves that I'd used as mulch-cover for my strawberry patch, as well as some birch leaves from our back-neighbour's tree. AND a (NASTY!) bucket of kitchen scraps that'd been sitting all winter and so-far into this spring. (Man, it thawed and liquified and was FLIPPIN' GROSS!!!!! But, once mixed into the semi-processed compost and the new leaf-mulch, didn't the small decreased enough that it's tolerable and should quit smelling altogether as soon as it starts "heating" and composting.)

Learned a new skill: nope.


As far as the weather is concerned..... Man, as much as I hate that phrase "____ is the new ___", I'm definitely thinking "May is the new June" in regards to our weather this year. The last week of April was INCREDIBLE!!!! Temps up in the mid 70's during the day, dropping down only to the low 40's at night when the sun goes down. By the last 2 days of April, the snow had decreased altogether except in very rare spots like the thin strip between our two car-sheds. And what there was even then, is now gone. So far, 3 days into May, the temps have been just as incredible. We're already working on tans, as we work and play out in the sun. However, the mosquitos are already NASTY! Huge, big, hungry suckers. Hunting season starts!!!! (But, WHO is the prey? US, or the mosquitos?!?!) I'm going to soak my Runner Bean seeds tonight, and plant them tomorrow before I head to the Dr's office. Because while there is still a slight chance of a cold-snap, I'm guessing it won't happen.

In 2 days, my birch tree has gone from barely-visible buds, to squirrel-ear leafs. In the next 3 or 4, we should see a greening of pretty much everything. Our yard is already starting to show some green. I've got fireweed sprouts showing up in my bean patch and my back-yard-bin. If I can get up the energy today, I really want to get out and turn over my flower bed the rest of the way so I can get the seeds sown for a hopeful abundance of flowers. (And, if I can get Scott to help.)

We've been outside more than we've been in, the past couple of weeks. The dogs have been taking daily walks, and loving it. (Ok, so I skipped last night's walk, and this morning's, as I'm feeling so under-the-weather, but other than that.)


OH!!!! Last but not least. I forgot to mention that little Aliya (the premature baby-girl of our friends Deet and Cindy) came home a week ago. The Dr's in Anchorage finally sent her home at 7 pounds 6 ounces. She is the size of a newborn, but has the physical appearance of a 2 or 3 month old baby. What little I got to see (as she was bundled and in her car-seat), she's the prettiest little thing you've ever seen. She was a bit fussy as Mom & Dad opened the car window (and it was chilly out that night) so that I could get a glimpse of her, and she didn't like the breeze. *grin*


I think that pretty well covers all that's going on in my corner of the world. For now anyway.

Have a Blessed Week!!!