Wednesday, April 30, 2008
OK. That's kinda sucky. I'm not proud that all I could come up with was 49 countries of the world in 5 minutes. I mean, please!!!! My sis even gave me a heads-up that Britain would be listed as the United Kingdom, so not to waste time trying to get the thing to take any other option for that country.
Give it a try!!! Let's see how YOU do!
Have a Blessed Day!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Proactive, instead of reactive!
This is a brief summary of the points which may (must) be picked from as you decide what your action of the day will be (including a couple added in the comments section by some fellow readers of Sharon's blog).
1) Plant Something
2) Harvest Something
3) Tend Something (commenter addition)
4) Preserve Something
5) Make Preparations (She called it "prep. something" but "Make Preparations gives me a better idea on my little cheat-sheet of what I'm supposed to do in regards to this item.)
6) Cook Something (from what you grow & harvest, preferably, but certainly from scratch)
7) Manage Your Reserves
8) Work On/Toward Local Food Systems
9) Compost Something (another commenter addition)
10) Learn New Skill (or brush up on an under-utilized skill; another commenter addition)
Think about it.... If you feel this challenge is for you, go leave a comment that you're going to give it a try. (Hell, even if you DON'T think this challenge is for you, read the post because it's a good one!)
Have a Blessed Day!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
That's a green, bead lariat around the vase. I don't know if Mom planned that, but I love green. So that just seemed extra appropriate. *grin*
Anyway, just wanted to share my pictures of my pretty flowers with my friends.
Thank you for all the encouragement yesterday. Yeah, Ashley, Tay's actually 10-1/2. She hit puberty early and it's hitting back hard. There are definite times when it's possible to just hug away the angst. Yesterday, though.... That was a breaking point. Her attitude with her sports is one of all-or-nothing. And I've gotten so fed up with her nastiness towards myself and the hubby following any practice or game that she feels didn't go well..... Well, as much as I love to watch her play, I won't be going any more. I'm on the receiving end of her bad attitude 90% of the time, and I can't keep doing that. And I told her as much yesterday.
Thank you for all the support. It does kind of help to know that other folks have gone or are going through the same kind of torment with their children. Unfortunately there's also the thought that she's only 10 and this could last another 10, 15 years..... *big sigh* How will I manage to NOT strangle her?? And homeschooling, as we've decided to do?!?!?! What the hell have I signed us up for?!?!?!?!
Anyway.... Gotta get around to everybody's blogs, so I'll go ahead and sign off now.
Have a Blessed Day!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Anyway, Mom sent me a pretty spring bouquet of flowers to brighten my day. And it sure did. I just wish I could get my darned camera to post them. For some reason the computer's side of the program keeps claiming that no pictures exist on "that device". *sigh* I KNOW the exist. I just took them. Ah well.... They're there somewhere, maybe I'll get to post them in a couple of days.
They are VERY pretty and I really wanna share that with y'all.
We woke up yesterday morning to more snow & wind. We knew it was gonna happen, but dang.... The forcasters always seem to be wrong about the nice weather we're supposed to get, why can't they be wrong when predicting yucky weather?!?!?!
What's keeping me sane (besides the pretty bouquet on my kitchen table) is the mantra "It is STILL April in Alaska." That and the thought that the geese are already arriving. If the geese thought it'd stay cold & dreary for a good long while, they wouldn't have already come up. Their weather-sense is better than ours and if they think it's going to be nice enough to start bearing their chicks soon, then they come up. If it'll be too cold yet for a while, they wouldn't be arriving already.
Oh, and Wednesday as I was getting over to my father-in-law's house, I got to stop on the bridge as I crossed into his "neighbourhood" and watch 4 trumpeter swans bathing in the slough. (And eatting, judging from the view of one of the swans with his butt in the air and the rest of him under water. *grin*) I pulled up onto the bridge and saw this odd object (the "half" swan who was feeding) so I had to stop. I sat there grinning at the swans and saw a movement closer than the swans were and realized that there was another woman sitting on the edge of the bridge watching the swans as well. We grinned at each other then turned back to the swans, till I realized that I had somebody else waiting behind me to cross the bridge as well. Ooops. *wink* Anyway, the geese & swans are here. That means that SURELY spring must be close behind.
So, my friend and I got to go see "Nim's Island" the other night. That was fun. There were several laugh-out-loud moments. Jodie Foster continues to be a fantastic actress. Gerard Butler is a hottie, with or without the Scottish accent. And Abigail Breslin did a good job portraying the character, Nim. The trailers are somewhat misleading, but it's hard to describe how, without giving the movie away. It was kinda funny watching Gerard Butler trying to play two different characters in the movie, one of whom had the scottish accent, while the other did not. He did a decently good job of adapting to a common American accent, except for moments where a bit of the Scots accent would creep out. But he'd quickly get it under wraps and didn't let on that he was having a difficult time of it. And, Jodie Foster DID strike me as a very nice person, once again. I've always loved her acting, and the fact that she's not an "in-your-face" hollywood personality. But, to watch her portray this character was great. The woman had a lot of issues and Jodie Foster played them up (there was some rather physical humor, as well as dry verbal humor) and seemed to come across as oh-so-real. And while she'll never be a beautiful hollywood starlette, she's got a prettiness all her own. Maybe it's because she seems so real and yet when she smiles..... You see how pretty she is, even for being so "plain". It was a lot of fun. Not high theater, but fun. I definitely think most of my friends here would enjoy it.
I won't be attending any more of Tay's hockey games. And I've told her that if 0ther are games that her Dad can't take her to, she can plan on staying home. I just cannot take the verbal abuse any more. She climbed off ice today in a horrible mood, yet again, and took it out on Scott and I. It's not that she played poorly, but she was being a poor sport about the fact that she ended up playing a defensive position most of the time in both of the games. I thought she was playing defense on purpose, to try to support the kid who was playing goalie today. (Our smallest, fasted kid who's got a nice little slap-shot wanted to give goalie a try. So Scott went along with it, figuring that this is all for fun and if the kid wants to try goalie and his parents are amiable, then he should get to try goalie.) Turns out that Tay had NO intention of playing defense (and the other boy who plays goalie half the time absolutely refused to be a defenseman for his goalie today), but she kept getting left by the net. She did a fabulous job of it, though, and when she came off ice I attempted to tell her so. She got all pissy, though, and started screaming at me about how she had NO intention of playing defense and she hated the game.
I'm so sick & tired of her attitude. 9 out of 10 games, after the game I'll approach her with accolades, and she'll scream in my face or push me away with complaints about how she hates this game and she thinks everything sucks in general. I just can't take it any more. I really, really did not want her to play Spring League because I was afraid she was getting burnt out after the regular season, but she and Scott insisted. Well.... I'll tell you what..... I cannot take it any more. I can't handle the verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse. I'm going to be staying at home from now on. And I'm really thinking that this is probably going to be the case not just for the rest of the Spring League games, but for the next regular season as well. Scott will often remark that she doesn't throw fits nearly as often, following games I don't attend. I guess it's just me that she doesn't want watching her. And I'm sick of it. So I won't be going any more. At least for the duration of Spring League, maybe for good. I'm just too sick of it. I LOVE watching her play hockey, and she's good at it. But the abuse is getting to me too badly.
Ok. Scott just came home with a movie for us to watch. (No, Tay is NOT allowed, thanks to her earlier behavior. She's now grounded.) So, I better go. Hopefully I'll get a pic of my flowers loaded up tomorrow.
Have a Blessed Day!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I got over there and we talked about (and decided to do so) buying a small greenhouse for FIL's place. He's got the room for it. He even gave Scott all the cash needed to go pick one up this weekend. There's a 10x10 plastic-tarp greenhouse at Sam's Club for only about $189. We figure that this'll give us enough room (for now, anyway) for most of the tomatoes, the cukes, the peppers, and the eggplant. The irony is.... FIL and MIL have never TRIED eggplant. So we may end up with LOADS & LOADS more than any of us want to eat. (The seed I bought was "Applegreen Eggplant" and they look like apple green colored over-sized eggs. *wry smile*) I told him that once we got some eggplant off of them, I'll make him & MIL some Eggplant Parmesan, and hopefully they'll like it. Otherwise we're gonna have a crap-load more eggplant than just _I_ can eat.
Anyway, I planted 9 each of both variety of cucumbers and 9 each of both variety of melon. I should have planted more onion, though. I'm kicking myself now for not doing so last night. Maybe I'll call the FIL this afternoon and ask if he'd mind planting at least another 9 of the onions. I think we'll wind up being able to use at LEAST 18..... Considerably more, really. Onions are something _I_ use a lot of, and I think that the FIL and MIL do as well. Of course, he may have planted his own onion seeds as well as the 9 of mine. Either way.... I'm going to need more onion than just 9.
Oh, and FIL was joking (well, KINDA joking) that he's considering planting his own damn barley & hops so he can brew his own beer, since the cost of that is going up by a few dollars by the end of this week. (And, FIL drinks enough of the stuff that this is actually a somewhat major concern of his!) That got us discussing the limiting of grain purchases at Sam's club. He said (which I already knew, thanks to Casaubon's Book blog) that they're limiting not only the amout of rice purchased per person, per week, but the amout of flour and every other grain as well.
Besides just gardening.... We were talking about the price of fuel and heating our homes and everything. My FIL may not believe in Peak Oil as in the oil is not going to be reachable.... But he's certainly of the opinion that the price isn't coming back down which is putting everybody in a very hard spot. (He's of the opinion that if more refineries were built then we wouldn't be in such a hard spot as we are now and are facing. And, living next door to a refinery as I do..... I personally don't see the issue so many folks have with the Not In My Back Yard syndrome. It's not ideal to be burning oil & coal, but it's also not the extreme eyesore & close-proximity-air-pollution that a lot of people assume it is.) Anyway, he's got two woodstoves that we COULD use if we want, but as I pointed out to him (and he agrees) wood is getting expensive, and it's also a finite resource if EVERYBODY is using it. Trees don't grow fast enough to necessarily replenish in time for yearly cutting. We're REALLY gonna have to go solar or wind or hydro-electric if we want to keep our houses warm (and cook our meals) in the harsh Alaskan winters, without also completely depleating what trees we've got left. We were discussing all this yesterday. And the FIL commented that he really feels bad for Scott and I and Tay, and the nephews, because the world we're all facing is a lot harsher than the world FIL has had the pleasure of growing older in. He even said (without prompting from me) that the fuel shortages of the 70's are NOTHING as compared to what Scott and I are looking at now.
We discussed (only minimally, but the thought is out there) how we're going to preserve our harvest, if we manage to get one this year. Of course canning is an option. So is drying and freezing (at least for now, and at least for winter). I'd like to further discuss and plan for root cellaring, but I'm not sure how doable an option that is here in the Fairbanks area. (Mind you, every winter our ground freezes to several feet down. I mean.... We cannot have burials in January here because the ground is frozen at least to 5 feet down, making it impossible for the grave-diggers to do their job even WITH heavy machinery. In that case, the bodies are frozen till spring/summer when the burial finally takes place. So, I really am somewhat skeptical about how well root-cellaring would work here.)
Anyway..... I'm feeling considerably better about the gardening and everything, knowing that my FIL is also thinking along similar lines (even if he doesn't understand the importance of getting away from GMO seed) and is considering how to work our lives around the hardships facing us.
At the same time, though..... I'm a worrier. I worry about my Mom, my Dad, my sisters..... None of the 4 of them have really given this too much thought. (Sorry Mom & Shelli!!! But from what I can see, even as we talk about this between ourselves, as far as I know neither of you is actually taking any action to produce more of your own food, for example. Though, maybe I'm wrong about that with you, Shelli. And I do know that you're moving closer to work, Mom.) And the number of friends I've got on here who are really unprepared..... I wish I could gather you all close (Robin, Whim) and help y'all get through this. And I wish the same for my coworker CM, who's got a dead-beat hubby and two darling little boys. She lives right close to our workplace, but she's in a small apartment without any means of gardening at this point. (Though, if it comes down to it, gardening on the grounds outside the apartment may be an option, but then she'd have to deal with the deadbeats who live in the apatments around her taking the food she's grown for her family.) I don't know..... It just seems that every time we get one aspect thought through and less of a concern, I realize that there are many matters over which I will still worry.
On a lighter note, I'm going to see "Nim's Island" tonight with one of my coworkers. She's working not only her job at the library (10 hours a week), but also her job as a house cleaner, AND an extern-ship at a local chiropractor's office. She needs a break from all that seriousness, so we're going to go see "Nim's Island" after I get off work tonight. Providing, that is, we don't miss each other in the parking lot. *grin*
I was out planting more flower seeds yesterday. I planted a good number of iris seeds along the bottom of the yard. And in the one flower bed out front (the one that I'm going to KEEP flowers, for now at least) I planted more poppy, deliphiniums, hollyhocks, baby's breath, forget-me-nots, voilas (also known as Johnny-Jump-Ups) and a couple of Sunflowers on the corner of the house. I need to find my snap-dragon seeds so I can throw those out there as well.
BUT!!! We're getting forcasts of rain & snow for the next couple of days. Now, being the end of April and the geese are arriving, I know the snow & rain won't be a major issue, but it may stunt or kill some of the seeds. *sigh* Go figure. We'll see whether it happens or not. This morning the temp was in the 50's and felt lovely as I was letting the dogs out. The sun's coming up higher in the sky, so it's getting warmer as the day goes on.
One odd thing we've been dealing with for the last several days is the haze. Mind you, it's too warm right now for a temperature inversion, so the haze we're getting is not from local pollution. Besides, even though you can SEE how hazy it is, it doesn't smell. Not smoky, not fuelish, nothing. Smells like fresh air. Turns out that there are some major fires going in Siberia and the smoke is blowing our way. At the same time, there've been some nasty sand-storms in the Gobi, and that sand is ALSO blowing our way. And the sand, mixed with the smoke, is making for hazy days & nights. BUT, as it's got so far to blow, we're not getting any of the smoky SMELL from the fires in Siberia. Just weird!!!
Ok. I've gotta get something to eat for breakfast.
Have a Blessed Day!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I pointed out specifically what and where I want to plant my tomato & cucumbers this summer, though with so much water in the back yard, I wasn't able to really SHOW him exactly what I want in regards to the little tiered bed I hope to plant alongside the shed. I also need to get my sugar-snap seeds back from him. If he went ahead & bought GMO seeds, I'm gonna keep my heirloom sugar-snaps for myself and plant half the pkg over here this summer. That's ONE plant that I'm pretty sure I can actually save the seeds from, this year. *grin*
I'm actually pretty worried about saving seeds from most of the plants though, now that I've read the backs of a great many of the pkts. It seems that similar varieties have got to be seperated by as little (in some cases) as 500 feet to avoid cross pollination, and as much as 1 mile (in other cases). I don't have even 500 feet of space to put between my varieties of beans, much less the one mile required space between my choice of broccoli and my choice of cabbage. *sigh* So much for me planning on seed-saving.
Last but not least, my concern is that my FIL is going to waste the whole pkgs of seed by just dumping them into the ground, without consideration that these seed pkgs actually contain a guaranteed number of seeds, and these seeds are much more likely to produce than are GMO seeds swept off a mass-production factory-seed-farm. So, if he goes generously sprinkling the lettuce seed across the row, wasting it, we won't have more for next year when I really think we could actually get 2 seasons of plantings from most of these pkgs.
I just feel like I've lost control of what I wanted to do, and somebody else has taken it over. I left a message on the FIL's answering machine just now saying that I'll be over to plant my seedlings on Wednesday (tomorrow), so hopefully he doesn't go planting more than I want of my order of seeds.
Of course, the fact that our back yard is still so full of water also means that I haven't yet got my compost bins set up either. That bucket with my compostables is starting to stink. Oh, and does anybody know if shredded newspaper will suffice in place of grass clippings, while we wait for the first chance to mow the front yard???? I'm kinda thinking shredded newspaper WOULD be an ok option, but I'm wondering if anybody can give me a sure nod or negative head-shake as to that.
Tay's tummy-bug didn't last long at all. She was bright eyed & bushy-tailed the next morning. She never DID puke, but she wound up napping off & on all day on the couch. *sigh* Whatever.
On the subject of home schooling..... We just need to get our butt's in gear and get figured out what we want to do as far as the program.
Wendy, I just cannot see myself, Scott or Tay doing the unschooling thing. Not that I think there's anything WRONG with Unschooling, but none of the three of us is very highly self-motivating. I attended a school, through 4th grade, that had a learn-at-your-own-pace curriculum, but no teachers. It may have been different if there were teachers, but I spent the entire 3 years (second through fourth grades) being such a day-dreamer that Mom would have to tutor me through my lessons every night. If we did unschooling with Tay, I'm afraid she'd NEVER bother to learn any of the stuff that DOES need learning. I'm not going to necessarily push her through everything as quickly as the public schools do (mainly because I think it's a better idea to cover one subject or math idea thoroughly before moving onto the next), but we definitely need a BIT of a push, anyway.
Also, when I say I cannot quit my job, it is not PURELY for financial reasons that I say that. There have definitely been times that it has been financially stupid for me to be working in town. But, for my sanity.... That's what keeps me sane. I LOVE my job, and until such time as I can get a Lib. Assistant position out here at the local branch, I'm not going to quit my job in town to homeschool my kiddo. And I can't reduce my hours at the library in town because then I'd lose my benefits. (And, my medical benefits kick butt, while the benefits available to us through DH's company suck horribly! That IS the only financial area that keeps me from reducing my hours back to "casual" instead of the "part time" hours I work now.) So, I won't be quitting to homeschool the kiddo. We'll have to work her homeschooling around our jobs. That's all there is to it.
There's a local homeschooling program that we've heard of a lot of success with. Several of our friends homeschool their kids through IDEA and have always raved about what a great program it is. Evidently, I'd have to take Tay into town one day a week to take her tests, then the rest of the instruction is done at home with Scott and I, or through online lessons. Again, the folks who've used this program seem to love it. So at this point, that's where we're leaning.
I'm starting to get a bit overwhelmed when I think about how very much needs to be done around this place.
- Our back yard is such a water-world right now that there's no possible way to actually plant yet. Much less to make the planters. We can't even park in our car-ports right now because they're filled with water. One of the first things we're going to have to do is get SOMETHING in the back yard to bring the soil level up a bit. Rather than trying to grow grass when we know we can't just stay off of it, we're seriously considering having some truck-loads of gravel (large-rock gravel) brought in. We'll layer it through-out the back yard. It won't be as pleasant under foot as grass, but it'll provide better drainage, and in the case of the dog's kennel, it'll make it easier to shovel their mess. Besides, we won't have to stay off of it while grass grows. Gravel just seems the better option all around for such a high-traffic area of our property.
- We need (MUST DO!) to get a new door framed in for the front of the house. This is something that there simply is no arguement about. If nothing else gets done around this place this summer, this is the one thing that MUST get done. Our door is nearly impossible to shut during the winter, and once it is shut, it's nearly impossible to open. And there are such gaps around the door that the drafts are horrible. So, that's the only TRUE necessity that we've got this year.
- Scott's going to need to put another layer of sealant on the deck before we get much further into summer.
- We would LIKE to reframe the back entry and get a new solid-core door there as well. As well as screen doors on both front & back.
- We want to put laminate (well, I'd rather have true hard-wood floor panelling, but...) flooring in the livingroom and both bedrooms, and the computer room. That'll cut down on the amount of vacuuming. *grin & wink*
- I'd love a new oven-range. Mine came with the house and was put in back in '96, which means it's only 12 years old. But, the elements are all starting to go, and the oven is getting much harder to estimate the temperature on. Of course the ideal would be a wood cook-stove, seeing as peak-oil is meaning higher & higher electric costs, and I'm not comfortable cooking with propane. But, it'll remain electric. Again, though, this is going to be at least a $400 expense, if I get one at all.
- We need to get new blinds for Tay's bedroom window. Her old blinds are broken beyond repair. And because we can't open them, her window stays covered at all times, which makes for a really dark room. This is really another necessity. (I'd go with JUST curtains, but that means that it's really light in her room all summer, if there aren't blinds to darken things at night.)
- Last but not least.... The hubby's pressuring me to let him get a new TV. Mind you, our current TV is in good shape, but it's several years old, and it doesn't have digital capabilities. Of course we COULD simply get a couple of the digital boxes (one for livingroom, one for computer room), but that's just not good enough for the hubby. He wants a new TV in the livingroom. *sigh* I'll probably cave on this one, just to get his help in my gardening endeavors.
I saw Geese yesterday!!!!! *BWG* I was letting Jenny & Puck outside for one last potty-break before I left for work, and I heard the honking several minutes before I finally saw the geese. And it was just 4 of them. But there they were!!!! YIPPEEEEE!!!! And then, as my coworker CM and I were standing around outside last night chatting after work, we heard more honking and looked up and saw about 30 of our beautiful "Canadian" Geese heading North. Oooooh, it's LOVELY to see them again!!! That means spring is most definitely here. (Though, FWIW, my dad said that the forcast is predicting nice weather all THIS week, but it's supposed to cool down drastically again next week. *sigh* That will suck if it's true!!!)
Ok, I think that pretty well covers it for today.
Have a Blessed Day!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
While I was at the store, I ran into a friend of mine from my school days. Tia was one of my best friends back then. One of our core little group, in middle school. Into high school we all kinda split off, but still remained friends for the most part. But, Tia and Amber joined band, Becky left state when her parents moved, Melissa joined drama but hung out with a group of gamers & "losers", Alisha was a stoner, and I tended to hang out with Melissa and her friends more often than not. (For lack of others to hang out with, as I didn't belong to band and therefore wasn't really "in the loop" and certainly didn't want to sit with the stoners all lunch and breath their foul cig. odors.) Still.... Occasionally you'd find us all sitting at the table together at one of the lunches we had together, hanging out as if nothing had ever changed (except for Becky leaving, which was obvious and irreperable).
Anyway, Tia is up from Wasilla with her hubby and kids for this weekend's "Outdoors Show" at the Carlson Center (one of the rinks where Tay practices/plays hockey, and where the UAF Nanooks play their hockey games when they're in town). Her hubby is assisting a friend of his in demonstrations of some product or another. It was neat catching up with her for a few minutes.
Tonight is another "Farmgirl Get-together", this time at my "friend" Sarah's house. Sarah and her daughter actually babysat Tay a few years ago. And before that, they adopted a cat from us when we realized Tay was too young & wild to treat a kitten appropriately.
(Tay was all of 4 when I found this litter of feral kittens crossing the road without their mama and climbing the small hill across the street atop which sat a little sewer & water pump-station shack. There were 5 of them, Mama had been taken by her owners when they PCS'd, unknowingly leaving this litter of kittens behind. They weren't more than 6 weeks old. I caught them and adopted them out to folks at church. We'd intended to keep one, a pretty little blue-eyed himalayan-siamese mix, for ourselves. But, as I said, Tay was too rough with the poor thing, so we decided to give her to another fam. from church that expressed an interest in adopting "Hola" if we decided we couldn't keep her. That's how Sarah and her fam. wound up with her.)
Anyway, tonight at Sarah's house we're going to learn a recipe for some reputedly fantastic rolls (one lady's "world famous" recipe), then see a "demonstration" of how to make an apron. Supposedly one of us will "win" the apron as a door prize at the end of the evening. *sigh* Oh well.... I don't honestly care if Mary and Sarah want to have these theme nights or not. I just enjoy getting together with a bunch of women who are interested in handicrafting and gardening and cooking real foods, and chatting. What I enjoy most, though, is that Mary and another of the women, Bonita, were school mates of mine. Bonita and I were decently good friends toward the end of our high school career, so it's neat having a chance to catch up with her once a month, without kiddo's tugging at us, or hubbies wondering when we'll be done chatting. Mary and I weren't really friends, though we didn't hate each other either. And while we've got some differences now (she's fundamentalist christian, I'm distinctly NOT anymore), it's still neat getting to catch up with her and Bonita once in a while. I feel like I can talk to them and relate to them a lot better than I have been able to with most anybody in a very long time. I've even been able to be somewhat open about my spiritual life with them both, which is something I talk about with very few people. I know Mary wishes I would "come back to the fold" christianity wise, but she doesn't get in my face about it as others would, if I outted myself. (Though, that said, I did ask both of them to not relate my spiritual leanings to others. It's still a small town and my dad still lives locally and I don't need him harassing me about my leanings or sicing his pastor on me.)
I made a batch of "Golden Caramel Bars" to take with me tonight for sharing. We all tend to bring something yummy to share between ourselves, for supper. The rolls tonight will be part of that.
Golden Caramel Bars (from a Betty Crocker Snack Lovers' Cookbook)
3/4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c butter or margarine, softened (butter!)
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 c granola (any flavor)
3-1/4 c packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Heat oven to 350 deg. F. Mix powdered sugar and butter in large bowl; stir in 1-1/2 c flour. Press mixture evenly into ungreased rectangular 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Bake until light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Mix remaining ingredients; spread over baked layer. Bake until edges are brown, 18 to 20 minutes; cool. Cut into bars, about 3x1 inch. Makes approx. 36 bars.
Speaking of recipes, I DID try one from that "Depression Cookbook" that I keep meaning to share. Mind you I tried this recipe while I was sick, so I only wound up eatting one bite of it. Just enough to decide it tasted good, not enough to actually have eatten the stuff. *grin* But, the hubby and kiddo agree it's something to be made again. I also added a couple of ingredients not called for, left something out, and changed the proportions in a major component.
Spaghetti with Chicken
1 cup spaghetti (I used more like 3 cups, cooked.)
1 cooked chicken, boned and diced (I boiled up 4 chicken breasts, instead, and chopped the meat once cooked)
3/4 cup diced celery
1 small onion, chopped
6 pitted olives (I didn't use these as I did not want to open a whole can of olives JUST for 6 of them for the recipe.)
4 Tbsp grated cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 can water (This is my addition to the recipe, was NOT part of the origional recipe.)
Boil spaghetti in salted water for 10 minutes. Dice chicken. Put 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add chicken, celery, olives and onion. Shake over med. heat till brown. Layer spaghetti noodles in bottom of greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Add chicken mixture. Pour blended soup & water over top. Then sprinkle with grated cheese. Pop pan into 350 deg. F. oven and bake till bubbly and heated through. Should not take long as all ingredients are already cooked. (Oh, and I reworded this a little bit since the other directions were a little more vague than I like them when I'm typing up a recipe.)
As I said, the general consensus was that this is a keeper recipe. *grin*
We woke to more snow, yesterday. Another 2 inches of thick, heavy, wet snow. By mid afternoon it had mostly melted on the roads. By evening most of it had melted off the roof again. I spent a good 15 minutes outside last night trying to keep the water from puddling up against the side of the house. The down-spout on the back of our house (right below the kitchen window) was frozen down under the snow from the last couple of weeks, and so the water from the down-spout was backing up to the nearest joint in the downspout, and was overflowing the joint, right down onto the siding and flashing at the bottom of the house. Had a nice little pond going there. I had to chip some of the snow & ice away from the bottom of the downspout so that the water could flow further out into the yard. I did a sufficient enough job that by the time I was done, it was draining further out. Unfortunately, one of these days that snow-pack is going to thaw, meaning that Scott or Tay or I will step off the deck onto what appears to be a solid pack of snow, only to break through to a pond of water underneath. Oh well.... Not much I can do to fix that. I just didn't want the water seeping down into the crawl-space underneath the house and causing water damage in the foundation of our house.
The weather forcasters are predicting that it's going to reach the low 50's today, and by tomorrow it'll be up into the high 50's and that yesterday's snow should be the last we see for the season. *snort* Wishful thinking. We could get snow well into May, if past snowfalls are any indication. I won't be counting out winter until Mid May. Oh, I'm hoping spring comes before then, mind you, but I'm not counting on it.
I know that a lot of people are noticing the prices of food going up. If you're paying attention to the news you may also notice that there are food riots happening in poor countries of the world. Recently some fellow bloggers have started posting about how a few select big companies are speculating on the hard times coming our way, and buying up stocks of food with plans to hold onto that food until the prices rise, then selling it off for higher profits to those hungry enough to pay what's being asked. It's criminal that these corporations (from what I gather, one of which has had some pretty crooked business dealings in the Iraq war and is not above making a quick buck or 10-billion off the suffering of others) are using the hunger of world citizens to increase the profits of their CEO and stock holders.
Greenpa, who I've only very recently started reading, and Sharon at Casaubon's Book blog have both posted more info about this than I can understand. If you're so inclined, read them, and maybe even write your legislators and senators in support of laws criminalizing the corporate profiteering from the hunger of world citizens.
Please.... Whatever else you do, pass this information on to others who give a rat's behind, and grow yourself some food.
Whether it's a hanging pot of cherry tomatoes or a chive plant in your kitchen window, or a full on garden. Do SOMETHING to experience growing food for yourself and your loved ones. And to protest the actions of those who'd make feeding ourselves impossible but for their gain.
AND, educate yourself and those around you as to what these big corporations are doing to profit off the pain of others in the most obvious way yet. Write your senators. One of the commentors on Greenpa's post regarding this, actually wrote up a form letter for those who aren't quite sure how to word the issue themselves. I'll be reading the form-letter in it's entirety today, and forwarding with my name signed to it, if there isn't anything I need to change (regarding my own opinion) first.
Anyway..... Just.... Do SOMETHING. I know that Dirk_Star seems to have stopped blogging, but one of the last things he said was to stop just talking about it and to actually DO something. I'm repeating what he said because it needs to be said again, and again, and again. DO SOMETHING. Please.
Ok. I've got to get some laundry started, and a load of dishes run. So I'll end this now. (As if it's not long enough already, huh???)
Oh, I forgot to mention, I hit my 300th blog-post about 5 posts back. Cool, huh??? Wierd to think I've posted over 300 times now.
Have a Blessed Day!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
BUT, the teacher made a comment that he'd see what he couldn't do to get her a better grade based on how hard she tries, instead of only test & paper scores. *sigh* That completely misses the point!!!! I totally appreciate how hard Tay has been trying to "get" her math. I appreciate it even more when I consider that it's been Scott tutoring her (as much as he can) through this math. And, considering he doesn't understand a lot of it..... Well.... He's doing excellent. Whenever _I_ try to explain something to her, she completely shuts down. He explains it, she gets it. (Of course, somewhat frequently he's got to get me to explain it to HIM first, or one of his friends at work who's got a degree in engineering. THEN he explains it to Tay.) So, it's not that I don't want to see her succeed.
But, should it REALLY be this much of a struggle?!?!? And, as it's been this much of a struggle EVERY year, should we continue to put her into the next grade and hope she'll catch up???? At what point do we say "enough"!?!?! I personally think that point should have been last year. I don't think she should have been put ahead into 4th grade when she didn't even understand the basics she'd learned in first, second and third grades. But..... Well.... This stupid "No Child Left Behind" doesn't help those kids who aren't being "left behind" but should be "held back" so that they can blossom in their own time.
Grade levels are an aberant concept. Our 10 year old sons & daughters don't ALL have the same levels of learning, and shouldn't all be EXPECTED to learn everything at the same pace. And yet, that's what we're doing. And, rather than holding back those who could use an extra year, we're pushing them on into the next grade and expecting them to catch up.
Combine all that with the fact that I learnt, Monday night, about another Lock Down that was had at the middle school last week.... And, well.... I'm rather ready to say "screw it all" and homeschool Tay next year. (And yet, I know that homeschooling will likely result in a lot of gray hair on my part -which I have been lucky to avoid completely to this point- and notions of strangulation.)
Turns out, 3 of the little girls (all 6th graders) in my neighbourhood were mentioned as shooting targets in an online statement made by one of their classmates. One little girl in particular, C., was the main target. The two other targets are friends of C's. One of them is the older sis of Tay's best friend. The other is the older sis of one of Tay's classmates. Both of these girls were targeted because they're friends of C's. (For what it's worth, C. is not a child we allow Tay to hang out with. To put it very nicely, she's completely lacking in manners and her parents are completely lacking in any sense of authority over their child's upbringing and seem completely happy with their children's behavior.)
Anyway, it sounds like the cops and school officials ended any possibility of violence before the violence actually occured, but this is the second time in LESS than a year that the middle school has been locked down in prevention of a shooting plot. Last year's plot included about twelve 6th and 7th graders who had concocted a very elaborate plan to commit a lock-down & shooting rampage of their own, even down to the plans to cut the phone wires leading into the school, and to target the front office first. It's scary that this school that's well within walking distance of our house has twice now seen violence proposed against the children that attend. (Neither the high school nor the elem. school, also both a quick walk from my house, have seen any hint of this violence.) Suffice it to say.... Neither Scott nor I are very comfortable with the thought of sending Tay into that environment in another year's time.
(There IS a small charter school -for 7th and 8th grades- just on the outskirts of my small town that is an option we're considering for a couple of years from now, but at the same time, we're reluctant to let Tay into 5th grade at this point when it's clear she's not entirely grasping the concepts required in 4th grade yet. This charter school focuses on kids who need more intensive teacher-student ratios, but aren't "Resource" or "Special Ed." kids, either. The UNFORTUNATE part of this, for Tay, is that the floor plan of the school is literally an open floor plan, allowing noise from one side of the small building to reach the students on the other side. For Tay, that would be a major distraction. There is also the fact that they only take about 24 kids per year. No guarantee of Tay being one of those lucky 24.)
*sigh* So..... All this adds up to the fact that we really do wish we could homeschool Tay, and yet we're very unsure of how we would accomplish that. I'm not willing to quit my job, and yet I know that Tay isn't ready to be home alone and concentrating on her own school work, completely unsupervised for several hours per day. Scott also isn't in a position to quit his job. Our main hope is that I get the next available opening out here at NPB Lib. so I can quit driving to town, therefore cutting out 10 hours of driving time AND having a work schedual of only 20 hours per week instead of my current 30 hour work-week. That would allow me to work, while also homeschooling Tay. Then we would only have to figure out how to instruct her in the necessary subjects without losing our sanity. *wink* And, as neither Scott nor I are truly scholars.... You see our dilema?!?!
(Oh, and private school is NOT an option. I've been to 2 of the 5 private schools in town, and they're all very strictly christian schools. 4 of the 5 are fundamentalist baptist church-schools. The fifth is the only option I'd remotely consider, and that's the catholic school. But, that school is also on the complete other side of fairbanks. It'd be a LONG drive taking Tay in every day. And with fuel prices being what they are..... Well.... That isn't really an option either. *sigh*)
It seems we're stuck between that proverbial rock and hard place. We know that our options aren't great, and yet we don't have a clear path to navigate between all the options. What I really wish is that co-op schooling was an option.... Ya know, I provide the English & Reading instruction 2 days a week, somebody else does Math, somebody else does Science. We get the 5 or 6 kids involved outside for a couple rounds of tag or a good long nature walk every day..... Between it all, the kids get a complete education without any one parent having to commit to providing EVERYTHING for their child(ren). It doesn't seem possible, providing a truly complete education for one's child, the same way that being truly self-sufficient doesn't seem possible to me. I know that in life we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and I know that this carries over to our understanding and ability to explain educational subjects as well. I know that neither Scott nor I are (am?) very good at math. (Oh Hell, my English skills are slipping as well, apparently.) Would that we could combine our academic skills (Scott's good at natural science and phys ed., my strong points have always been English, Reading, and History) with those of other parents, and thus provide our children with a good foundation upon which to build their lives. That would also allow for the teaching of handi-crafts, musical instruments, and phys. ed. geared toward the abilities of individual children. *sigh* Such frustrations!!!
Speaking of ill-mannered children..... I had the occasion yesterday to wish I could slap a small group of 6th grade girls. (They were all 3 between 10 and 12 years of age, so I'm not exactly sure of their grade-level, but that's an approximate.) One of my coworkers is a physically and possibly mentally disabled woman. She's got a very awkward walking style and her speach is somewhat brutally stilted as well. Anyway, evidently one of these three little girls had evidently conversed with Helen in the past, because I overheard her stage-whisper to her friends "Watch this....." before she approached Helen and asked for directions to the "science section". Helen told her "The science books are in the Q section of the non-fiction." To which the little girl asked Ellie to repeat herself because the little girl didn't understand. Helen did, and the little girl still claimed to be unable to understand. This happened at least 3, maybe four times before the little girl and her friends were laughing too hysterically to continue tormenting Helen.
Next thing I knew, another one of the girls asked Helen to SHOW them where the science books are, and they all took off after Helen, mimicing her awkward walking style and pointing and laughing and thinking they're all brilliant because they know how to make fun of a somewhat elderly woman with obvious physical handicaps.
*sigh* I was putting CDs away, as all this was going on, and was only a matter of feet from where Helen was attempting to tell this girl the information the girl claimed she needed, but being as we're all adults and it is a professional workplace, I didn't know what my boundaries are as far as stepping in and telling these brats to knock it off. I approached Dan, our security guard, a bit later and asked his opinion on what could be done. He said that as annoying as it is to see behavior like this, it's not OUR place to give these brats proper instruction on manners and respect for others. However, he also said he'd make it pointedly clear to all 3 of the brats that their presence was no longer wanted in the library if they were going to treat library staff in such a manner. *wicked grin* All three girls left very shortly thereafter. *wink*
The sun is back out today, and the skies are clear. But it's also windy and cold. So, the snow that we got the other day is not melting as fast as one might think it should, this time of year.
Puck escaped from his kennel again on Monday. This time without any indication of how he got out. One of our neighbours across the street noticed Puck, called Scott at work to verify that it was indeed Puck, then put Puck back inside the house for us. Scott's Dad suggested that we use the chicken wire bought for my compost & potato bins to make a higher upper edge on the outside of Puck's outside kennel. So, that's what's going to happen. *sigh* Scott plans on doing so tonight. There goes my thing of chicken wire...... I guess Scott's gonna have to get me another next weekend. Sooner or later the sun will warm things up enough that I can plant, and I don't want to be caught without the means to do so.
In that same line of thought..... I may not get to put a veggie garden in the front yard this year, but I'm going to get to put a small strawberry patch out there. The "Soroptimist" foundation (or, whatever they call it) has a strawberry sale every spring where they offer a dozen strawberry plants for only $10. I went ahead and ordered my dozen strawberry plants yesterday. I figured that a nice, small raised-bed strawberry patch in the front yard would be acceptible to Scott, and I was right. He just about jumped when I asked him if he'd have a problem with that and actually asked how much it would cost and was I sure I only wanted one dozen plants. *grin* So, I may not be planting beans and radishes in the front yard this year, but I WILL be planting strawberry plants. And, that'll take up only a small area in one upper corner, so Scott will have his "lawn" for one more summer anyway.
I think that pretty well covers it for today.
Have a Blessed Day!
Monday, April 14, 2008
What is unfortunate is that you can't see how heavy it's snowing in that pic. (Oh, wait!!!! Click on the pic and you can get some idea of the thickness of the snow!!!) By the time I got back into the house, my glasses were impossible to see out of, not because of the fogged lenses (which, they weren't) but because of all the water. I needed a pair of personal-size windshield wipers. The snow is supposed to let up sometime about 6 this evening. *shrug* We'll see.
And, as far as I'm concerned, the guy from the AFB wasn't wrong!
Next pic. My poor mutts are so bored. There's little or nothing for them to do lately, for which I feel horrible. Of course, Puck's been making his own fun by escaping his kennel and taking off for parts unknown. But, poor Jenny's been cooped up and she knows it, and I know it, and I feel badly about it. But at the same time I just haven't felt well enough to take her out to play fetch, not that the weather's cooperative anyway. Needless to say, they're getting lots of lovin' while they're cooped up inside.
These next two pics are of the afghan I just finished. It's hard to see, but it's a double-crochet ripple-stitch afghan done with camoflouge yarn, edged with 5 rounds of single crochet.
This afghan is, potentially, for the younger nephew. I haven't yet decided for sure, though. But I sure don't have anybody else in mind to receive it.
This is just a close-up of one corner, so hopefully the stitching is a little more visable. I think it'll make a nice blanket for a little boy. He can pretend it's a hunting blind, or a camping tent, or camoflouge while he hides under the bed from his older bro.... *wink* I just hope older bro doesn't go cutting any holes in it. Tay told me that the older nephew is purposefully destructive of anything he can get his hands on, around their house. (This, after she spent several hours over there yesterday for the younger nephew's 4th birthday party and got to see the two boys in their natural habitat. *wry smile*)
Ok. I think that pretty well covers it for now. I've gotta get offline and get heading to work early. That snow's gonna make it a **tch to drive to town. And evidently some of the stop-lights in town have been out so far this morning. So, leaving early is just smart driving practice.
Have a Blessed Day!!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Gardener Greg is a great person who deserves this award as well. He's got a lot of gratitude that he shares with the rest of us frequently. And he's got a lot of attitude about what he sees in the world that needs changing or addressing, which he ALSO shares with the rest of us frequently. Both of which are greatly appreciated!
Garnet deserves this award as well. Talk about some hard times, but this beautiful woman is handling it with grace and a nice hefty dose of attitude. She's not afraid to confront her fears head-on, and she does it with gratitude for the good, and attitude that she's not going to let it all beat her down.
So, let's see.... Friday, of course, I got the good news that my results came back negative.
I DID get to eat some of the lasagna yesterday. I found that if I THINK about it, the thought of eatting makes me sick. If I just try, though, without considering that I'm putting food in my mouth, I can eat. Still not much, but I CAN eat. I got to eat about 5 bites of lasagna, and a couple bites of garlic bread before I got full. Then I finished off the piece of garlic bread before bed last night.
Speaking of "over consuming"..... I got a pkg of cds in the mail yesterday. *grin* I try not to buy too much music, knowing that listening to the radio is generally ok by me. But, there are times I just need a new dose. And last week was one of those times. I ordered an old Richard Marx cd to replace the cassette tape I've had since I was in my early teens. I ordered the Now 27 cd (a LOT of songs on that one I like!!!, all but about 3). And I ordered one called "Ancient Mother" that I listened to as I dozed off last night that was fabulous.
Speaking of gardening, though.... One of the ladies at the baby shower yesterday evidently has a friend who's a higher up at the Air Force Base. She said that HE said that the military spouses have been warned in advance of a nasty winter storm that's supposed to blow in sometime tonight or tomorrow bringing us wind chills of -30 and a LOT of snow. I actually would believe it. I rather figure that our military may be better at predicting the weather than our civilian weather-man is. (And, that guy SUCKS!) The military will have a lot more invested in getting it right (and recieve a lot less pay if they don't!) than the local civilian weather-man does. So.... Here's hoping they're wrong, but once again it reaffirms in my mind the litany of "It IS STILL APRIL IN ALASKA!!!" *grin*
Puck's nose is doing ok, Whim. It really doesn't bother him too much. Though I noticed this morning that the skin seems to be cracking a little bit as it heals. I wonder if he'll let me put any salve on it. Probably not. (And, even if he held still, he'd probably promptly lick it off anyway.) Anyway, whatever. It doesn't bother him. Thanks for the concern, though!
Ok. I must get offline and get heading to work.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Long story as short as I can make it. My last period was extremely abnormal (and I've been paying close attention since I had my tubes tied 2 years ago, and went off hormonal birth control, so I'd know what "abnormal" is) and I was dealing with a lot of symptoms consistent with pregnancy. Now, the rate of pregnancy in post-tubal women is just less than 1 in 100, and very few of those pregnancies are viable pregnancies. IE: a pregnancy in a post-tubal woman is much more likely than not to be an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy that occurs OUTSIDE the womb. No two ways about it, an ectopic pregnancy is not a good thing. Under ANY circumstance. Needless to say, this has been weighing VERY heavily on my mind. I went through that tubal ligation so that I wouldn't ever have to worry about pregnancy again, and here I've been suffering from symptoms rather consistent with pregnancy.
I DID take a pregnancy test last saturday, but the home preg. tests aren't always accurate, esp. early on.
So, I decided the only way to know for sure is to get in for an exam and get a dr-run preg. test. That's what I had yesterday. I actually did NOT get my cholesterol checked, I'll have to have that done in the near future.
The exam itself went well. My weight is down to less than 200 lbs, fully dressed. (It's been about 6 years since that's been the case.) My bloodpressure, even as stressed as I was, was within the normal range. In fact, it was as normal as it's ever been. Except the still existent stomach pain, and the complete lack of appetite, and the fact that my period was wonky, everything else is great, so far as we know.
I haven't yet had an ultrasound to look at my innards. Based on the cyst that was removed when I had my tubes tied, the Dr. agreed that it's time to go ahead & have an ultrasound to check out my other ovary & make sure nothing is growing there that shouldn't be. At that point, we should also be able to get some idea if there's some abdominal obstruction (or, what have you) that's causing my stomach pains and lack of appetite.
But, we do know what it IS NOT! It is NOT an unplanned pregnancy. For which I am most eternally grateful!!!!
Thank you, THANK YOU ALL for your thoughts & prayers and comforting vibes. *sigh* Maybe I'll get to sleep decently tonight. (Well, I DID sleep decently last night, but not nearly long enough.)
Oh, and as for the bloodtest, they were able to do that with a finger-stick. The lab tech (who was so sweet that she almost made me cry, I was so stressed by the time I finally got to see her) said that all that is needed is two tiny vials full of blood. So, she poked my finger (twice, actually) and milked, and milked, and milked till she got 3-1/2 vials. 2 for the preg. test, the other 1-1/2 for the cholesterol check. Unfortunately, she let me know this morning that there wasn't enough for the cholesterol check, so I'm supposed to go back in at MY convenience to have that redone. That, I think I can handle. I DID have a panic attack yesterday, while getting the finger-stick done, but I think mainly because I hadn't had ANYTHING to eat at all, and it was already almost 1 pm by that time, and I'd been stressing so much....
By the time I finally had it done, I just sat back & talked to the tech while fading in & out of this panic attack. I recovered quickly and left under my own steam within 10 minutes, heading straight to work where I attempted to eat something before starting my now very-short workday. (Even when I feel hungry, which isn't much, lately, I just don't wind up wanting to actually eat anything. It's just not appetizing. And more than a few bites fills me up sufficiently that I feel sick if I try to eat more.)
(When I say panic attack, I don't mean I necessarily go nuts & start kicking & screaming & hitting and all. More often than not, it's like a silvery-gray curtain closing across my vision. My hearing goes all "spoken through a tunnel" sounding, and I get really clammy & sweaty and REALLY light-headed. It's not a pleasant sensation. Bloodtests, yeah.... Those result in a lot of whimpering & crying, even uncontrollably so. Finger-sticks, not-so-much.)
Let's see.... Something considerably lighter??? Yesterday, while dealing with all these personal medical traumas of mine, we were also seeing a mini-blizzard. We got approx. 6 inches of snow by mid-afternoon. It was wet, dense snow, coming down thick & fast, and sideways. The wind was blowing so badly that yes, the snow was actually falling sideways. The weather forcasters (who'd failed to see this coming) promptly got on the ball and predicted us 6 more days of similar weather. And, wouldn't you know it, we woke up to sunny blue skies this morning. Still somewhat breezy and cool, but not cloudy except in the distance. (Well, looking at those clouds now, they COULD drop on us yet!)
I would LOVE to be a weather forcaster. Who else do you know that gets paid THAT much to be THAT wrong?!?!?! *wink*
I got home from my grocery shopping today to find that Puck had escaped his outside kennel, and there was a good deal of blood on the snow INSIDE. *sigh* We have no idea what prompted the dumb-butt to successfully attempt this escape. Somehow, before running, he scraped the tip & top of his nose raw & bloody, which is where all that blood came from, but we've got no idea why. Anyway.... I finished hauling in groceries (bought only about 2/3 of the groceries I usually buy, mainly because the thought of food was making me so sick I had to "cut & run") and took Jenny out to do her "business" while calling for Puck. She assisted by howling in time to my yelling Puck's name, without success. So, I came back inside, called Scott to let him know, and then went BACK out for more yelling and caterwauling. (Me yelling, Jenny caterwauling.)
Whadyaknow?!?! Here came Puck, loping across the back yard from the street behind us, looking all chipper to get to be running the neighbourhood without supervision. Dummy!!!! Evidently he doesn't realize that this is a good way to wind up BACK in the pound, yet again! *shaking head* Anyway, he's home, safe & sound. (Or, relatively sound, as he does still have a scraped up nose. Though that doesn't seem to be bugging him now.)
Ok. I think that pretty well covers it all for now.
Have a VERY Blessed Day!!!
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Just a couple more pics of the back deck, pretty much the same thing I showed in the two pics from this weekend, just now re-covered in snow. *sigh* Scott swept off the deck a couple of times, we're just trying to keep the hard-pack from reforming.
I guess, technically we could put some of our freezer-stuffs back in that cooler, since the weather has dropped again. *shrug* Oh well.... It's too much work to do so, and I don't feel like it today.
Toasty, I have to chuckle about your comments of "nudie in the back garden"..... It is definitely my intention of getting a fence built between the back of OUR yard, and our neighbour's yard-line. I don't have any intention of sunbathing nude, but even so, I'd love the privacy. And, I think that with my garden plans, a bit more privacy may be a good idea. My neighbours don't all need to know what I've got going on in my back yard. And, if it comes to the point of wanting to keep a couple of rabbits for meat, then I could do it without them (or the city) nosing around about me keeping "farm animals" in my back yard. That's supposedly a no-no in our neighbourhood.
I woke up feeling crappy this morning. I think I may have caught whatever was making Tay puke, last week. Suffice it to say, I'm not going in to work.
DIRK: I have to chuckle that you think I've got foodstuffs to feed everybody, just because I bought seeds. Not so, dude!!! *wink* Just because I HAVE the seeds, doesn't mean they're all going to be planted, MUCH less, grow!!! I'm quite a "trial & error" type gardener, and to date my plantings have illustrated that fact beautifully. Which means, we may NOT get anything to show for our efforts this year. *wry smile*
I DID go next door with a loaf of banana bread for my neighbour and appealed to him for his wisdom & expertise. He said that with one little 2-pound bag of seed potatoes, bought from a local farm & garden store (the one closest to my home, that I drive past every day going to & from work), they got over 4 milk-crates worth of eatting potatoes. I asked if it'd be possible to possibly get just 2 or 3 of those little potatoes from him, as I was not looking to plant a whole lot of them myself. (Growing them vertically instead of horizontally, I'll need less seed potato.) He said that may be an option. *grin* I'm guessing more gifts of fresh-baked bread & cookies will result in receiving a couple of seed potatoes from him. *wink*
In talking to one of my coworkers yesterday, she suggested that I pick up some chicken or rabbit-wire and simply build 2 or 3 round-wire "barrels" to grow the potatoes in, as well as my compost bins, since Scott doesn't seem to inclined to help me build actual wooden bins. That's not a bad idea. And, with a decent pair of wire snips & my Dad's help, I could probably build the damned things myself, without the hubby at all.
Last but not least, I've got an appointment on Thursday morning for a physical. It's been 2 years since I've even been in to see the Dr. for my annual "woman's" type exam, and the past week of concerns have prompted me to go ahead & make an appointment to have not only THAT exam done, but also a general physical. I haven't had a physical since Tay was born. *sigh*
I know that's not a good idea, given all the scary problems that can crop up when one is unawares, but with my fear of needles, I've been very, very reluctant to put myself in a position where a blood-test is part & parcel of the check-up. However, as the hubby said, if I don't get checked over now & find what's going wrong, matters could get MUCH worse. And that's something to be more scared of than a blood-test. (Though, I'm going to beg & plead for nitrious oxide before they try sticking me. And I'm going to tell them that under no conditions do I want them to dig for my veins, that they need to use a larger needle because it actually hurts less than a butterfly needle, and that my laying down is an absolute requirement for getting this done. *wry smile*) Ok. Enough needle talk. It's making me even more queasy than I already am this morning.
I think that pretty well covers it anyway.
Have a Blessed Day!
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Now, to the back yard. This is the right side of the back yard, from the door-step. I'm standing on the deck, here. This shows ya something of how our sheds fit together with the dog kennel (in the far-right bottom-half). There is about a 5 foot gap between the side-wall of Scott's car-port-shed and the metal shed. (The car-port-shed is actually MISSING that side-wall, because of the wind. The canvas for it is now tucked INSIDE the metal shed.) I'm planning to put my (still to be built) compost bins against the wall of the metal shed, tucked into that 5-foot space. The back of the sheds meet the back of our property line.
I'm sure you can also tell here just how much water we have yet to get rid of before any gardening is done. ALSO, there on the left side of the metal shed is where I'm hoping (and Scott IS in agreement with this one of my plans) to put a little terraced veggie bed. I want at least 2 steps high, and 1 foot deep for each bed. So, it won't be big at all, but it'll be big enough for a couple of zuke plants, and a small row of swiss-chard. There at the far-left is a glimpse of my lilac bush.
NEXT, again the left side of that smalle metal shed, and the rest of my back yard. Yes, this is as yet the remainder of the back yard. That portion which is not in use yet. Though it is hard to see, there is space about six feet back, and 10 feet over from that lilac bush in which to place my clothes-line tree this summer. Of course, some drastic improvements will need to be made in the early part of the summer in order to make the back yard work-able. We really need to get some more fill-dirt brought in, so that the yard doesn't sink in toward that hole in the back. As it stands now, it's just too wet to do anything till about mid-May.
And lastly. I just had to show this little bit of growing goodies. Folks who know, may recognize this as a rhubarb plant just starting to send up some shoots. Those little red nubs are maybe 1/2 inch out of the ground. And there are only 2 to 4 of them, as yet. But, should it ever stop snowing long enough, I'll have rhubarb. *grin* I was given a recipe for SERIOUSLY yummy rhubarb butter, the other day, that I'm looking forward to trying with some of my bounty this summer.
Though, obviously it's not a large enough picture to illustrate my plans, to the immediate left of this rhubarb plant, I'm going to place a big black half-barrel planter with a tomato plant inside. And I'm going to have the hubby place a cup-hook into the wall several feet above the planter, and we will drape the planter in clear, plastic tarping with an eyelet at the top. I'm hoping that draping the planter in such a manner will suffice for green-housing the tomato plant(s). There's a second planter that will go over to the right of my rhubarb by about 4 feet. I'm thinking to put a cucumber plant in that planter, though I may do a second tomato plant. We'll see. As this side of the house is south-facing, I think it will be the most likely place to plant my tomatoes & cucumbers for the best odds of getting produce from them.
I'll take more pictures when it clears, and hopefully dries up a bit. Maybe it'll be easier to illustrate my above plans when I've actually got a view of that side of my how in it's entirety.
I'm sitting here looking at my seed catalogs, and I think I've finally (yeah, FINALLY!) decided to order from SSE (seed savers exchange, that is) but I'm still not ENTIRELY sure of what I'm ordering. I mean, I know for tomatoes, I know for cucumbers and even peppers and melons. Those were actually simple. I just restricted myself to only the one or two variety that reputedly reports well in Northern Europe & Russia/Siberia. As I've said before, I figure if it'll grow well in Siberia or Northern Russia, it darned well should grow well in MY yard.
But, no, my problem is not with those type vegetables, ironically. My problem is with such mundane things as beans. I mean..... There are seemingly dozens of different kinds of beans. Which are best??? I've never even heard of a great many of them. And though I can understand the idea that having a supply of home-grown beans for soups & stews & such would be a great idea, I also wonder at the actuality of growing sufficent amounts to provide us with enough for more than 1 or 2 meals. It takes a LOT of beans to make a pot of chili! MUCH less a bowl of 15 bean soup! *wry smile*
But, here's what I've got so far. Keep in mind this is from SSE's 2008 catalog, and when I go to order here in a few minutes, they may actually be out of some of these very varieties I'm planning on purchasing.
*Charlevoix Dark Red Kidney beans (the type of bean that we use most often, in our family, except green-beans).
*Empress (large straight, green beans, will be very yummy pickled if it produces sufficiently)
*Painted Pony (looks to be good for both snap beans or soup beans, would probably use for soup beans)
*Bulls Blood beets
*Burpees Golden beets
*Romanesco broccoli (has this awesome spiral pattern to the florettes, also grows well in cool northern climates reputedly)
*Scarlet Nantes carrots
*Copenhage Market cabbage
*Mammoth Red Rock cabbage (maybe. I'm not terribly sure I need to grow two type of cabbage on my tiny lot, even if one is such a pretty red!)
*Parade cucumber (russian variety which are reputedly resistant to extreme weather conditions and have a quick growth time)
*Applegreen Eggplant (maybe. I'd like to try, anyway. reportedly does well even in cool, wet climates.)
*Bogatyr garlic (another Russian plant variety, stores well, reportedly)
*Baby Oakleaf lettuce
*Tango lettuce (maybe. Again, do I NEED 3 variety in my little yard?!?!)
*Red Russian Kale (another that I'm just not sure about. I know kale is good for us, but I don't know how well the hubby & kiddo would like it)
*Collective Farm Woman melon (ukrainian variety that reportedly grows well in central russian and even as far north as Moscow)
*Minnesota Midget (an extra-early variety from Minnesota, but again, do I NEED 2 variety of melon??)
*Australian Brown onion (seems to be just a general, good variety that stores well)
*Amish Snap (must be good, all the seed catalogs carry this variety, a good general sweet snap pea)
*Yukon Gold potato (though, having not yet talked to my neighbour about what kind of luck he had, I'm reluctant to even order potatoes. But I guess, once they get here it's gonna be "fish or cut bait" as far as getting Scott to help me plant them.)
*Black Hungarian peppers (med. heat, relatively quick growth time)
*Chervena Chushka (sweet, not hot, produces decently well in cold & wet summers)
*Early Scarlet Globe radish
*Plum Purple radish
*America spinach (heat & drought resistant, slow bolting variety)
*Purple Top White Globe turnip (again, know that root vegetables are good for a person, but don't know much about COOKING root veggies beyond potatoes & carrots. I'll give it a try.)
*Five Color Silverbeet swiss chard (we LOVE swiss chard, this came down to picking a variety that looks like fun, with all the different colors!)
*Sunset Runner beans (more beans, pretty flowers, relatively quick growing time)
*Anna Swartz Hubbard squash (keeps well)
*Black Beauty Zucchini (all I can pray is that this produces well enough to please me, but not so well that Scott finishes out the year hating zucchini in any form for the rest of his life.)
*Potimarron squash winter squash (has a nutty flavor, evidently, stores well)
*Wood's Prolific Bush Scallop (and WHY am I considering 4 variety of squash?? This one looks like fun, and unique to us, though. *shrug* I guess the seeds will store well for planting the next year, if I don't plant any this year.)
*Black from Tula tomato (russian heirloom described as "ugliest, most delicious tomato ever grown" by SSE member, good canning & slicing tomato)
*Siberian tomato (quick growth, "dwarf sprawling plants with very early sets of fruits")
*Stupice tomato (extremely early plant, produces well in Northern climates, again wondering at the sensability of ordering 3 type of tomato when I'm not sure of even getting produce from any one type)
*Cream of Saskatchewan watermelon (I think this one sounds interesting, and is a good cool-weather producing plant "brought to Saskatchewan by Russian immigrants", but the FIL is rather nervous about trying watermelon that's got a creamy green interior when RIPE. He seems to think the only watermelon worth eatting is the type that's red inside. We'll see if I can't change his mind.)
I think that pretty well covers it. As I said, though, I'm really wondering at the sense in ordering so many seeds when I'm only really sure about a handfull of them. But, no harm in trying and by giving myself plenty of options I guess I've got the best chance of having SOMETHING positive happen for me in the end. I mean, I won't know unless I try, will I?!?! And the hubby actually encouraged me (with his Dad's back-up) to get to it on ordering the seeds. I just hope I'm doing ok as far as the varieties I've picked. My FIL didn't really give me much imput (besides the ugliness of that black russian tomato, and his reservations about the creamy-green watermelon), so I don't know for sure that what I picked will be ok with him. Then again, I know that he'd just go down to the grocery store & pick up whatever mass-marketed, big-ag. seeds they sell in the twirly-racks, if left to his own devices. *sigh* I wish I was more sure. I really do.
Ok. Really better get to ordering, if it's gonna get done this weekend!
Have a Blessed Day!
EDITED TO ADD: Shelli, unfortunately it IS the case that almost anything grown in AZ (native to AZ, that is) is unlikely to grow here. *smile* Otherwise I'd love to have some stuff from AZ in my garden(s). Thank for the thought, though!
ALSO, I did NOT order potatoes or garlic. They were sold out of potatoes (all but two fingerling varieties, which are smaller than what we ever use) and the garlic wouldn't ship until Sept. *shaking head* I can't plant garlic here in Sept, it would freeze. (Unless of course, in my ignorance, I am missing that this is precisely the point. *shrug*) I also decided to forgo the Siberian tomatoes, and went only with the "Black from Tula" and the "Stupice". I also decided against the Kale, Red Cabbage, and Tango Lettuce. And the Minnesota Midget melon was also sold out. So, my order did not look exactly like I'd posted above, but I think I did ok.
The total was $105.25, with USPS shipping. It should be here in a week's time, which gives the ground a little more time for drying. I ordered only one pkg of all EXCEPT the various beans I purchased. For each of the bean types, I ordered 2 pkgs. The hubby seemed amazed, and yet when I told him that I did a bit of weeding of types, and only ordered one pkt each, except for beans, he said that he was ok with it. I think he's also somewhat relieved that I won't be planting potatoes out front, now. *grin* (Though, if I can find somebody locally to spare a couple yukon gold potatoes from their order, and get get a potato box or two built, I may yet be able to grow some. I'm gonna ask on Freecycle.)
Ok. I'm off to get ready for bed. It's been a LONG day!
Have a Blessed Day (again)!
Friday, April 04, 2008
Sian: by other standards, it's not terribly warm here. Today (as I'm writing this, at 2 pm, Alaska time) it is about 52 degrees F. outside. (According to the thermometer outside my kitchen window.) As I said, not terribly warm by the standards of other places & other people, but we're grateful. And it's sunny, and the snow is melting quickly..... *shrug* A barbeque on the back deck sounds great. We won't be eatting out there, but we'll probably stand around out there enjoying the late afternoon & evening sun while Scott (and likely his dad) barbeque the chicken. Oh, and his mom's coming over as well which means that I've got to get my kitchen cleaned up. Joy. *rolling eyes*
Tay came home from hockey again last night complaining of an upset stomach. She didn't vomit last night, but I think it was more through sheer force of will. She didn't want to miss todays post-testing celebretory movie & "pyjama day", and the pizza party that her class will have for lunch to reward them for raising the most money for "Pennies for Patients". *grin* She'll hold back "sick" for pizza!!! *wink* Actually, she did look drastically better this morning. Bounced in to wake me up (because I overslept my alarm again) with a smile on her face and an annoyingly bright "Aloha Lilo!" *rolling eyes* I don't know where she gets it. It sure isn't from me!!!!
Whim, actually I'm enjoying my morning alone. It feels great to occasionally have the excuse to not go anywhere or do anything more major than walking to the mailboxes at the end of the road. I haven't done much of anything today except have coffee with Dad (he came over with more "stuff" from his house) and watch "Serenity" finally. I did a couple of rows on an afghan, but I stopped when I realized I need to measure it to see if it's proportionally big enough to start putting the edging around it. *grin* I need to make some banana bread. I've got a great many bananas that are far too ripe to do anything else with. They've been languishing in my freezer for some weeks (months, in a couple of cases) now, and really must be turned into delicious banana bread finally. So, I am enjoying my day "stuck" at home. It's peaceful.
Speaking of "Serenity".... Ok. This is my shout out. If you HAVE NOT watched "Firefly" and "Serenity" yet.... DO! "Firefly" was a fantastic series that didn't run NEARLY as long as it should have, and yet the character developement is phenomenal, the plots rock, and the premise totally works! "Serenity" I am a little bit grumpy with, mainly because good characters die. I'm sorry, I know that in ALL battles between good & evil (even the fictional movie or book type), somebody must perish, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it when it happens. Still, FANTASTIC. DO watch!
I think that pretty well covers it for today. Thanks again for any positive vibes/thinking/prayers/sacrificed chickens you wanna send my way. (Well, REALLY, don't send the sacrificed chicken itself my way. Keep it to barbeque yourself. Just send me the positive vibes you feel are generated by sacrificing the chicken for my sake. *wink*)
Have a Blessed Day!