Sunday, July 12, 2015

  Isn't this beautiful ?  I could have a spot like this, if it would ever stop raining and I had the energy to work this hard.  

  It actually didn't rain today. It wasn't supposed to rain yesterday either, but it did. We had days of rain and the temps were not getting past 70 degrees. IN MID JULY.  Today it hit 97. And the humidity was suffocating.  It is supposed to rain every day next week I think. We are drowning. The fields are looking weird and yellow, the corn already starting to look bad.  The bugs (mosquitoes and gnats) are horrific, because there is standing water everywhere.  I don't have much hope for my garden. We'll see. I am not giving up yet.

  I harvested a good sized mess of green beans yesterday between downpours. Enough for a big meal and a little leftovers. They are beautiful and there might be a lot of beans this year. If we ever get enough sun.  I sauteed them to a crispy crunch with olive oil, minced garlic and Himalayan sea salt and cracked black pepper. They were too good--first produce of the season always is. The lettuce and kale and chard are a sickly pale green. The carrots are spotty (and they usually do so well). Sigh...

  Today I baked an Italian Creme cake for a 22 year anniversary celebration.   The party was at 6, so we were home by 8, even though we hung around chatting. Always so good to celebrate sobriety. We got home and watched some episodes of Red Dwarf--one of the crazier scififantasy sitcoms I've ever seen. Last night we grilled steaks and had the green beans while we watched Young Frankenstein, Hysterical.  I had a bunch of chanterelles my son found, so I grilled onions and mushrooms to go on the steaks.  I love those mushrooms...this morning he came back in with another bag of beautiful chantrelles as well as quite a few hedgehog mushrooms that he is sure I will love. He says they're pretty rare, so I had to google them  lol  They are pretty and aromatic with a nutty taste.  I have quite a bit of mushrooms in my fridge and need to figure out something to use them in in the next day or so. Was thinking maybe a garlic, spinach and wild mushroom fritata . Or something. lol

  No eggs yet from the new chickens, but should be any time.  One of the hens turned out to be a rooster and the little bastard is pushing his luck. Crowing from 4 AM til midnight. Chasing me in the run.  I named him Earl, so I can sing "Earl's gotta die"  (Dixie Chicks) lol. He's not long for this world, the mean little sucker.  lol

  Guess I'm headed for bed soon as it's after midnight and I'm pooped.  Have a great week and hope everyone's garden is doing better than mine.  I know we all count on that food.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

There...and back again.

  Well, we survived the trip. It was hot and rainy, which had the humidity at roughly 400 %.  The event was spread out over 3-4 buildings (Georgia World Congress Center, The Georgia Dome, The CNN Building and the Omni Hotel). and the amount of walking was brutal.  This picture is from the Georgia Dome during the flag ceremony. 86 countries were represented.  As you can see, it was a LOT of people. Estimates are between 59-65,000 sober alcoholics, getting together for some fun.

  After being there the first 2 days, and walking, walking, walking, I spent Saturday in the motel room  with my legs elevated on pillows and ice packs on my knees. I couldn't get a wheel chair or a scooter because they were all reserved. And mostly because when I registered, I refused to label myself  "handicapped/special needs".  If  I get to go to Detroit in 2020, I will not make that mistake twice. My ego got it's ass kicked. I can still barely walk and am hobbling around like I'm 102.

  I had a great time, all in all. It was almost impossible to find people, tho we did run into a group of young women from here in the International Hospitality Suite.  And I got to see my 2 friends from California that I haven't seen in 20 + years--we had lunch on Sunday after the closing ceremony and before we left to head home.  Also caught up with my old pal Viv from NC--completely accidentally--she was volunteering at the registration table. She lives in GA now.

  It will take until 2020 to recuperate lol.  I'm still so tired it's unreal. Of course, we've kinda been on the run since we got back home. But I need a break and plan to stay home and chill tomorrow.

  Still raining here. And today the temps barely made it past 69 degrees. IN JULY !!!!!  The garden may be a bust. I have 2 ft tall tomato plants that have tomatoes the size of baseballs  on them ! Everything is over run with weeds. The lettuce looks really good though, lol  If we don't get some hot sunny days soon, we will be screwed. This weather is so crazy...

  I woke up tired this morning and am going to make it an early night. Hopefully I'll get caught up on my rest soon so I can manage to get something done. It's white clumps of dog hair season here. I cannot, I must not let it get out of control.  My friend fell and broke her foot/ankle (?) in  3 places last week.  Had to have surgery and had 11 pins put in. She will be in a wheelchair for 10 weeks. I'm going over with lunch Friday and we'll have a girls afternoon. Bless her heart...and they just bought a new house and are closing in 2 weeks. She can't even help pack.

  OK kiddos--- I am outta here. Sweet dreams...


Monday, June 29, 2015

Another Saturday in summer

 It's mid afternoon on a Saturday.One of those days that makes you stop and see and smell and fall into the wonder that is nature.  We have had extraordinary amounts of rain this year- good in some ways, not so much in others- and the outcome is one of the greenest, floweriest, lushest seasons I can remember.  After I got home this afternoon from a meeting and then lunch with my pals, I strolled down the driveway to check the mail. Along the way I saw a couple of the Siberian Irises that are still standing, Queen Anne's Lace, Elderberry flowers, honeysuckle (of course), hollyhocks, lilies and roses. The peonies are barely there too, and the grass needs mowing again. It will have to wait until tomorrow though...still too much to do today.

 The weather has cooled off, thankfully. We were having temps in the high 90's (and rain !) and now it's suddenly back down into the high 70's, low 80's.  That's pretty nice weather this time of year.

 Starting to make my packing lists for the trip to Atlanta...personal, general, necessaries. Things that are too easy to miss, like moving the first aid kit from our car into the rental car. Stuff that I cannot survive without (phone chargers, camera battery chargers). All that stuff--well, you know.  Trail mix, snacks, etc etc. Trying to efficiently pack as there are 3 of us going in a small car. That will be the biggest challenge. It will all be fine...

   We were talking today about shifts in perception, and how those shifts affect our lives. I was thinking that a trip like this is a perfect example of how different things can be for a person like me. There was a time when my experiences with things like a trip like this would have had me spinning and panicking and maybe even just totally cancelling the trip in the end. lol  Too many details to attend to. Too much minutiae. Too much fiscal responsibility.  In reality we have been planning this trip for a year, so it hasn't been so bad. But it gets tiresome. lol

 I started this post 2 days ago and thought I would get right back to it. But got busy, so here I am now. It occurred to me this morning that I only have another day left to post before we leave. I am not taking the computer with me. No ma'am. Taking my phone and my camera, but that's it.  I hope to post once more, maybe tomorrow night, but if I don't make it back, you'll know it's because of all the impending excitement.  lol

  Yesterday was a full day. I drove an hour south of here to see my pal get her coin for her 29th sober birthday and her sponsor too, who has 45 years sober. Man...what a deal, huh ? Might not seem like much to anyone who never had a problem with booze, but for people like me's a miracle.  Went out for lunch and then flew back north to hit the district meeting (made over half of it. lol)  I made a decision to take on another service position, that of a liaison  between the office where I volunteer and the district itself.  Not a big deal, one meeting a month with both sides and give a report. Easy Peasy. I have always done quite a bit of this kind of thing and have backed off the past couple of years. Just feels like time to jump in again.  Then when that was over, I drove across town to pick up a couple of lovely ladies to go to a late afternoon meeting. It was an awesome day all around.

  Today I am doing laundry, making some snacks to take along for the 9 hour drive to Atlanta, and hopefully hitting the library, as I just finished [what I think is] the newest Patricia Cornwell book. Published in 2014. I'll also drag out the suitcase and start my packing, fill my little traveling medicine box with all the anti-inflammatories, bp meds and god knows what all I take every day. Making a list for packing too so I don't forget anything (hair dryer, phone chargers, etc). I hate having to buy things I forgot to  Have to water plants in the house (still raining here), make a detailed feeding list for my son who's going to take care of all the critters. And probably a few more things I'm just not thinking of right now.  lol

 Okay--I think the laundry is ready to go in the dryer and then I'm running into town. 

  Have a great Monday, ya'll...


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Who buys a 2.5 quart jar of whole kosher dills ?

 It's that time of year. The bee balm is blooming. The lilies are out in full force, the clematis keeps trying to be beautiful, but the storms keep beating the hell out of it. Still some blooms though.

  I am eating the biggest kosher dill pickle I have ever seen, from a big jar I bought the other day. Bought it for the jar really. Am I the only one who does that ? lol

 I have not been writing since last March. Where've I been ?  Don't know really.  Nowhere. Here. Addressing some health issues. Trying to keep the world from flying out from under me. I've been kind of okay...nothing serious...although it hasn't always seemed like that. lol I am writing a garden/fresh food recipe column for a newsletter that comes out 4 times a year. But that's it. The muse has left the building. I have had no interest in writing or reading or anything else much.

 Had a terrible time getting the garden in this year. And there has been so much rain that it's washed out seeds and drowned some things. And of course the weeds are magnificent. They seem to thrive in this weather. Even though I lived in the Pacific Northwest for a long long time, all this rain has made me terribly depressed and I am sick of it.  Feels crazy saying that, since parts of the country are suffering terrible droughts. According to the experts, this is the 5th wettest June in history with almost 8 inches of rain so far. On a happier note, the berries are looking really good and we now have bird-spread red and black raspberries coming up EVERYWHERE. Which is good, since the road guys mowed down all my blackberries out front when I wasn't home.  ggrrrrr

  The chickens got moved outside finally and are growing nice and big. And one of my sweet little hens turned out to be a damn rooster. And he's trying to start crowing, but sounds like a strangled hedgehog.....they are so funny. The little shit is already trying to chase me out of the chicken run when I open the door in the mornings. I'd really like to keep a rooster, but I am not putting up with that crap again. I tried to reason with him, lol, but he doesn't want to listen. Hopefully I will be getting eggs within the next month or so...have you seen the price and availability of eggs at the store ?  Insane.

  My computer has been out again. My PC died and the super geek nephew tells me the power switch, the motherboard and the hard drive are all fried. Dammit all.  I am currently using a friend's laptop, and can't wait to have a regular pc again.  These little laptops are just not for me. The good news is that when I had NO computer for almost 2 weeks I started reading more again.  I've been going to our little local library and reading all the Patricia Cornwell I can get my hands on. lol  About 3 of them a week.  The librarian just raises her eyebrows at  me...

 I wound up in the hospital last month, them thinking I was having a heart attack. Me thinking they were wrong. But I went, because my blood pressure shot up to some vulgar number (210/140) and it scared me.  They put me into the chest pain ward and kept me overnight and ran all the cardiac tests on me they could think of. The good news is they said I have a very healthy heart, no blockages or restrictions of any kind. The bad news is, it cost about 15,000 dollars.  They finally decided that I was suffering from situational depression and stress, and put me on an anti-depressant. I guess when I was telling the doc that I was so overwhelmed...that I had had 8 people in my life die in 6 months, that my sister-in-laws brain cancer is back, that I feel like I cannot cope some days...they drew this unreasonable conclusion. BUT--this little episode has at least caused me to finally have all the tests doctors have been harping at me about for years, because of my family history of heart disease. Haha. I win. No heart disease.

  My knees are still in bad shape and I guess it will be time soon for replacements.  We have tried several different things and nothing works for long. Sigh....

 On a brighter note (maybe) my husband has decided that we are going to Atlanta, Georgia over the 4th of July to a giant International AA convention. A grand event, celebrating 80 years of Alcoholics Anonymous. In ATLANTA.  In JULY.  I am trying to not even think about it.  If you never hear from me again, it will be because I have died.  In ATLANTA.  In JULY.

 Alright. Seems that either I don't write at all, or I blather on like an idiot. Must be time to see about getting out there to weed the tomatoes and green beans....

  Namaste, y'all....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Come out, come out...wherever you are .....

 The new baby girls, 5 reading up on what's happening on Wall Street, the other 2 on the other end, keeping track of the sports scores. 

  I forget, from one time to the next, just how fast baby chicks grow. It's amazing.  I have been missing in action for a few weeks, I know.  It's been an interesting March.  I bought 8 chicks on St. Patrick's day. Husbandman (who's not the boss of me)  said 5.  I (the Queen of quite a lot) said 10.  So, I (ever the perfect wife) compromised and got 8.  Within 24 hours, 2 of them were dead.  I called the Rural King and they said bring them in and they would replace them. So I did.  I was keeping the tiny babes in a large cat carrier, (cleaned and sanitized, of course), until I could get the big cage cleaned and disinfected and moved into the office.  Husbandman (who is often wrong about things) said they could live in the garage, it would be warm enough with the heat lamp.  I gently disagreed (ever the perfect wife) and reminded him that we have had issues with raccoons getting into the garage, even with the door closed. And IT WOULD NOT BE WARM ENOUGH.  Usually we use the guestroom for the chicken pen, but, alas--it is occupied at this time. So, I generously suggested that we move them into my office and all would be well. He wasn't particularly happy about that.

 Another chick died.  I have never lost a chick before and this was starting to worry me. It occurred to me that perhaps the cat carrier was trapping too much ammonia for their delicate little bodies to process, even though it was ventilated...So, out to the garage I went and finished disinfecting the pen and with the help of my roommate, we two wild women carried the monster into the house and into the office and got them all set up. So...7 chicks, pullets, happy as clams.  The minute I set them down in the cage, they started running with joy, 'round and 'round, jumping over the little 2x2 divider that runs down the center. Such a fun thing to watch.  The cats are not particularly impressed by them. 2 of the dogs pretend they don't exist.  But Miss Molly McGee, the Jack Russell Terrorist---another story entirely. She is obsessed.  Tries to get in here every time the door opens. Sniffs around the bottom and sides of the pen. Stands there, staring, every muscle in her body quivering 50 mph.  I don't think she wants to eat them. Husbandman disagrees.  But she's never been a bird eater/killer.  I think she wants to mother them and when she hears them peeping and cheeping, she thinks they're in distress.  I let her come in and sit while I'm in here sometimes...constantly reminding her to "get back...back up"... until I can't take it anymore, then I have to put her out.  lol

   Since last I posted I have done some canning...chicken breasts at 1.69/lb.  Barbeque sauce.  Dehydrated 10 packages of celery (.69/package).  Made 5 dozen meatballs for the freezer.  My sister-in-law had surgery for her recurring brain cancer. I made lasagna and soft garlic breadsticks and a big salad and we went down and spent an evening with them. I have attended 3 funerals.  I am having some goofy issues with muscle weakness and visited the doc a couple of times. Started some dental work. 

 You know--the usual stuff.

  But I feel like I am coming out of my winter doldrums (I HOPE!!!!)  and things are looking up all the time. We had a few days of some incredible weather around here, but then it started yo yo-ing and this afternoon had some snow flurries.  I am so ready for warm weather.  But at least all the snow has finally melted and if it will stop raining a while, we might be able to get out into the garden beds and get some stuff done. I made a seed and potato order and the seeds came , but the spuds are back ordered and should be shipped mid-April. A little late, but we are always late planting anyway.  Did get the garden journal ready and made decisions about what to plant and what not to. Went through all the saved seed from last year, and we actually did alright. Yay !

   All in all, we have survived the winter and life is good at Honeysuckle Hill.  The grass is greening up, the lilies are about 3 inches tall--crocuses and daffodils are everywhere.  Can't wait to eat some yard salads--dandelions, violets, chickweed, plantain--yum.

  Trying to finish up laundry tonight, as I have a busy day tomorrow. Going out to the La Vista Ecological Learning Center at 4 for a movie, potluck and an evening under the stars for Earth Hour.  It will be a very nurturing event. Husbandman is leaving for Southern Illinois for an Area Assembly and will be back late Sunday night. 

  Sounds like the dryer has stopped.  My cue to say...


Monday, March 2, 2015

Ich habe schnee nicht gern.

 Not that I really hate it...but I am soooo ready for spring and green grass and garden work and warm weather,. (AND--not that I'm sure how rusty my high school German  We got some more snow since I posted last. We may have more coming in a few days.  Go ahead, winter...give us what you've got.  In a bit it will be the Spring Equinox and then  you will be on your way.



   It's been a rough few days...a friend lost her oldest son to a heroin overdose-services tomorrow. My heart hurts for her and for all the untreated addicts and alcoholics out there.  Once again I am shown how incredibly blessed I am to be walking around clean and sober.  Once again, I see the first hand anguish of an incredible loss that every mother fears...loss of a child. Because no matter if they are 10 or 17 or 37, they are always our child.  And once again I am so grateful that I have (so far) been spared that horror.  And my heart hurts for my friend in the face of this unspeakable incident.

  My youngest sister's husband is a twin, and this week his twin brother died after a battle with cancer. That battle was mostly won, but the treatment of it wreaked havoc on a liver already decimated by cirrhosis. He was 66 years old and we will have a memorial service this evening for him.  I cannot yet imagine the grief of the loss of a sibling, and I know it must be even worse when you are a twin.  My heart goes out to them all. And the only thing I can do is suit up and show up and be there, in whatever little ways I can.

 We (and when I say we, I mean I) feel our most helpless in the face of grief, I think...when there is nothing anyone can do to change what has happened. When all you can do is stand by and watch the pain and hurt of the people most deeply affected by the loss and  not even find the words to say that are not trite or empty or sounding foolish.  And yet...and yet... I will go and I will offer up my love and that's all there is.


  So...more snow. And deaths. And I am so tired of being cooped up and am ready for a little break in the weather, which we are getting today and tomorrow. And it will be good.

 I canned about 20 pints of boneless/skinless chicken breast last week.  2 jars broke, (one from the rim down) but I was able to save the chicken as the canner hadn't started yet. 2 jars didn't seal...after 75 minutes of pressure canning--never had that happen before either.  I suspect they are not making canning lids like they used to...I had several last year that buckled (they still sealed) and looked weird after canning. Another thing I hadn't seen before.  Ho Hum.  The older I get, the more new lessons surprise me.  lol

 I have been offered another writing opportunity-- writing a sustainable/local/healthy food article for a newsletter that goes out only twice a year. No pay for it, but it's a cause I am deeply involved in, so there's that.  It is the ministry connected to our local ecological society, the Mission for the Integrity and Justice of Creation ... the newsletter goes to over half the states in the country, and I thought it would be a good challenge for me to try to write a short article. lol   I am excited about doing it.


   Last night I made a Middle Eastern supper night...falafel, hummus, lots of fresh veggies to dip, pita chips and lettuce leaves to wrap the falafel in. It was seriously good finger food. Tonight I am making peanut butter chicken per my husbands will be served with basmati rice and steamed broccoli , and I need to get it started so that I will not be putting supper on the table too late. I don't plan to stay too long at the service today, so hopefully...Thing is, that Irishman comes home from work hungry as a bear. lol

  Alrighty. I have been very slow getting started this morning and am now seriously behind. lol  Need to get it up and running.  I pulled a muscle somehow in my back/shoulder/neck and couldn't sleep. When I finally did, I dreamed of gardens and 20 foot tall tomatoes and  incredible bounty. Hopefully that is a vision of the year to come...heaven knows we don't particularly need another year like 2014...


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter on Honeysuckle Hill

  We've had 14 inches of snow in the past week.  Not much, compared to some places.  Not much compared to how it was when I was a kid. Sometimes the snow would drift so high you couldn't open the downstairs doors to get out of the house.  That doesn't happen anymore.  But when you get old, some snow is too much snow. I didn't leave the house for about 7 days this time.  I maybe could have..but why would I ?  I had everything I needed and wasn't willing to risk going off the road and getting stuck and having to walk back home. Or worse yet, wrecking my car.  No thanks..I just snuggled in here at Honeysuckle Hill...and waited it out.

  I haven't been blogging much. I haven't been doing anything that I should. lol  This winter has pressed me into a state of dormancy it seems. I always have this whole list of things that all summer I think "As soon as things slow down, when the gardens and canning are all done...I'll do these then..."  Well--I haven't done any of them I don't think.

  Not sure if it's malaise, depression or what.  I rarely think of myself as a depressed kind of person, but...I'd rather think it's this blood pressure medication. That may not be true either, but every time I take it, I feel like I'm ready for a nap. I think it's starting to worry the Irishman a little.  Once I get going, I can get things done, but there's the rub. Getting going.  Anybody else feeling like this ?  (PLEASE tell me it's not just me.)  lol

 The chicks are already showing up at the farm store. Ridiculous !! We are getting new chicks, but have nowhere to put them. They don't usually come out til the middle/end of March. Even then it's too cold to put them in the coop, so they have to stay in the spare room in a pen. But that room is now inhabited by a friend staying with us until she gets on her feet, so I'm not sure where we can put them... I suppose it will all work out, one way or another, as things are wont to do.  My son and husband are going to renovate the's 10 years old and was built from all recycled materials, many of which now need to be replaced. The basic structure is solid, but the roof and some of the other stuff needs replacing.  I guess 10 years is not bad.

 The pantry is starting to look a little ...used up.  It's a good thing. It's the way it should be.  I have only 1 jar of carrots left, but plenty of green beans still. Because last year I upped the amount I canned by about 20 quarts, since I ran out in about March.  The tomatoes (whole and sauces) are holding up okay too, but the corn is about gone and there are no more plain broths left. Only jars with chicken and turkey in broth. Not a big deal, but next year--more plain broth.  It's a never ending constant learning process. But one I take great satisfaction in doing...

  Alright...I really need to go work on another MEN blog..I'm behind. They did some work on their site and now it's even harder to use. I started and finally gave up a couple of days ago, as it didn't want to give me editing privileges or something.  sigh...I'm going back in...wish me luck !