Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rainy days are the best...

  Hello there. I've been missing in action the past couple of months, I know.  I'm starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf, so I won't even say that I'm going to do better, or get motivated or any of that. lol   It just is what it is. And today it's rainy -- a soft rain, thankfully --  and I have a touch of a cold,. so I am more than happy to stay indoors and putter.  I'll probably be lying around a bit and maybe even sleeping some.  I'm not real sick, and I'd just as soon not get that way. I started drinking Golden Milk when the first sore throat symptoms appeared 3 days ago.  It's a mixture of almond or coconut milk with turmeric, ginger, black pepper and honey. A great immune booster. An anti-inflammatory. Anti-oxidant.  So not only are the cold symptoms relieved, but my joints aren't hurting either.  The osteoarthritis has been one giant flare this summer and fall.  It's been a strange year...

  The garden wasn't much to speak of this year. Very little canning have I done, except for a few green beans and lots of pickled beets.  I have plans to can pinto and Great Northern beans in the near future. I have canned chicken breast too, about 10- 1.5 pint jars. Somebody has some beef roast on sale this week and I might buy some of that and can it too.  I have been dehydrating and freezing some mushrooms. In fact the dehydrator is full of the first of the years chicken of the woods right now and I need to jar that up. The dryer is stopped so there are clothes to fold. Something about today reminds me of that wonderful song by Carrie Newcomer, Holy As A Day Is Spent:

Holy is the dish and drain
The soap and sink, and the cup and plate
And the warm wool socks, and the cold white tile

Shower heads and good dry towels
And frying eggs sound like psalms
With bits of salt measured in my palm
It's all a part of a sacrament
As holy as a day is spent

Holy is the busy street
And cars that boom with passion's beat
And the check out girl, counting change
And the hands that shook my hands today

And hymns of geese fly overhead
And spread their wings like their parents did
Blessed be the dog that runs in her sleep
To chase some wild and elusive thing

Holy is the familiar room
And quiet moments in the afternoon
And folding sheets like folding hands
To pray as only laundry can

I'm letting go of all my fear
Like autumn leaves made of earth and air
For the summer came and the summer went
As holy as a day is spent

Holy is the place I stand
To give whatever small good I can
And the empty page, and the open book
Redemption everywhere I look

Unknowingly we slow our pace
In the shade of unexpected grace
And with grateful smiles and sad lament
As holy as a day is spent

And morning light sings 'providence'
As holy as a day is spent


   And so it goes...this life on Honeysuckle Hill. The laundry room ceiling collapsed a couple of months ago and yesterday was the final day of getting the roof replaced.  It has been a mess (still is out there, although I spent a part of the morning  picking up shingles and boards and plastic  from all over the yard) but now it won't leak (I pray) and the hammering and sawing has stopped. I didn't realize just how much I value the peace and quiet of my life. It has been stressful and expensive and daunting.   And now it is finished. The gutters still have to go back up, but the rest of it is done.

  So, feels like a soup day, with temp highs in the 60's.  Not sure what kind, but something. I made a Tuscan Tortellini soup last week and it was excellent. One of the many reasons I love this time of year.   Soup.   Yum.  

...Good to be back.  


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A hot summer's day...

 Not so hot really...mid eighties.  But the humidity is through the roof and the sun is shining brightly. 

  I've been busy all morning and trying to do about 3 things at once, which is always a sort of kerfluffle.  I'm dehydrating and cutting up watermelon. I'm cleaning up the mess in our bedroom and trying to get things ready before the carpet cleaners come next week. (Happy Mothers Day to me from my boyo).  I'm doing all the little day to day things that need doing (or at least thinking about doing them). The dogs go out, come in, go out and come back in.  lol  The chickens are crazy about the watermelon rinds, so I have made 3 trips out to the coop. 2 trips to the mailbox down at the end of the road (putting Netflix movies in to send back and retrieving the mail a couple of hours later. Junk mail, I might add-hardly worth the trip).   I am also getting ready to pulverize a bunch of the dried tomatoes I have in the pantry into powder, to use as a spice ingredient and as an addition to soups and stews, and get ready for this years tomato crop. I think I am going to have a bonanza--lots of them out there. I picked 3 bell peppers earlier, thinking I would make chicken fajitas for supper, but it turns out I have no small bags of chicken breasts...only one with about 6 breasts in it. I could make a giant batch, but I hate to do that, although the Irishman will always eat it in his lunch. Unless I can break them apart...hmmm...

  It's been a busy summer so far, with one thing and another. The weather has been strange as ever...extremely high temps and no rain for weeks...or deluges day after day. It has now dropped into the mid to high 80's, which is rather odd for the middle of July around these parts. But it is welcome.  I haven't done a bit of canning yet. Normally I would have been at least canning green beans since the last part of June, but not this year. The plants look great out there and are loaded with flowers, but still no beans.  Curiouser and curiouser. And so it goes...

 I feel like there's not much to talk about. I finally got my car road ready and a bearing went out ion the front hub. Getting it repaired next week.  It's still driveable, but makes a hell of a racket. I am ordering the AC control panel tonight and hopefully that will fix the AC problem. Everything considered, I am still happy with the purchase. Trying to stay on the sunny side of the street, lol.  

  I have a pot of partially cooked beets on the stove that I need to attend to...a gift from some friends...too much to eat and not enough to mess with canning, so I'll figure something out. lol  Trying to watch the sales as it's about time to restock the freezer with meat. I'm down to a few  packages of pork chops and some chicken. One store near me (that has a GREAT meat department) is having a sale on some beef, which I rarely buy, but just might look into this time. I think I have some canned pork in the pantry still too...I could fix bbq pork sandwiches for supper, couldn't I ? With a nice side salad and some Harvard beets. Ooooo...there's an idea.  I would barely have to cook if I do that.  With a nice ripe bowl of watermelon for dessert. 

  I love summer meals...


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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

   Somedays it feels as though I am in a tunnel, rushing forward through time...Dip, dodge, duck and dive. Life flying at me from all directions. And then, suddenly, it stops. Dead still. Unmoving.

 The shock from that is enough to throw a girl off her feed.I'm trying to think of anything that's happened the last few months that was so earth shattering that I'd stop blogging. But I can't. There wasn't anything really. I've spent the last months healing, recovering, and being a slow and contemplative kind of person. Sort of.  I've been laying low and hiding out some. I've been dealing with some other issues. My car blew the engine.(240K miles. It was bound to happen sooner or later).  It took me a whole month to get another car, because I wanted something I could buy outright and not have a car payment. Still trying to dig our way out from under the massive medical bills from the last 3 years. My choice to get this older used car...just tired of having to pinch every penny to make it through the month. So--reduced insurance bill and no car payment--works for me. lol

  My son's step brother had a 1997 Chevy malibu that he would sell me for 1100 dollars. Has had lots of work done on it and he wanted to do some other work too *brakes, water pump, etc) to make sure it was a good car for me. I appreciate that. But it took them a MONTH to get everything done.So I was stuck out here (more or less) in the sticks with no transportation to speak of. Amazingly enough--I didn't die. lol  I also didn't do much of anything else. Still recovering from February's knee replacement. Having some other health issues of late.  Some old stuff resurfacing, some new and exciting stuff (not).  Feeling face to face some days with being in my 60's. For instance, in about an hour I have a chiropractor appointment to try to deal with this damned occipital neuralgia that has been killing me for over a week now.  Had an appt last Wed too, and it didn't help much. I have dealt with this for years and usually it's a 2 or 3 day thing. Never lasts this long. My fear is that the degenerative discs in my neck are teetering on oblivion. Let's hope not. I am SO not up for another surgery right yet. And I have always said I would NEVER let them cut my neck, but this pain is pretty rough.  Blah.

 On a bright note, here is my new car...

That's $1100.oo car. Well, 1500.00 now, with the work I've had done in the past 2 days. But still... beats the heck out of 5 years of car payments. AND my insurance went down 5 dollars. lol Winner winner chicken dinner !!

 So, the day is winding down and the chiropractor is either killing me or curing me and right now I'm not sure which it is.  It still hurts, and he said it might for 24 hours. Seems the C-2 vertebrae and the C-1 vertebrae are twisted in different directions, causing the base of my skull to pinch the nerve. The pain is a little less intense than it was, I think. Ugh..

  I made a lovely vegetarian Pad Thai with peanuts and fresh basil for supper.  We ate and watched some Firefly and then took a little drive. When we came back, we walked into the backyard and watched the fireflies decorating the treetops like Xmas lights--it was breathtaking. Our little drive through the country saw lots of them in the fields and trees, as well as a Song Dog (coyote) trotting through the soybeans.  It was hot today and muggy and the garden is overgrown with weeds (well, the tomatoes anyway--everything else that got put in is mulched). The yard needs mowing and the house needs cleaning and some days it's so overwhelming I just want to stay in bed.  But...I don't.  I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, trying to outwit Mother nature and keep my basic needs met.

  That's a full time job, sometimes...


Sunday, April 17, 2016

These Glorious Days

This is my Montmorency Cherry tree in full bloom.  It's beautiful and fuller every year.

 The good news is--the tree is thriving. The bad news (for us) is that the birds are still smarter and faster than we are, so I don't get much in the way of cherries.  lol

 It's that glorious time of year when the world is waking up from it's long winter slumber.  The lilies are pushing up through the rich black midwest dirt. The lilacs are full of heavy budded limbs that will burst forth any minute with their symphony of smell. The Canadian geese are coming in and laying their eggs across the pond...every morning like clockwork they show up circling and honking and scaring the chickens with their big-ness.  And everywhere you look, the largess of Mother Nature abounds. And I, for one, feel so thoroughly gifted by her bestowal, as if these irises bloom just for me. That this lilac offers up the heady aromas, just for me.  That the new growth of blackberries and raspberries and asparagus in my garden are here, just for me. 

  It's a good day to be alive. 

I have been trying to get back to a little more organization in my life. It feels as though I have been on a massive landslide the past year and a half.  And now here I am, at the bottom, and as that miracle of survival always does, I feel energized and elated by the very fact of my survival.  I want to do everything. I want to do nothing. I want to read more and whine less. I want to cook--COOK !! And I want to get my garden going and have all kinds of free fresh organic foods to COOK! and eat. lol In a moment of desperation, the other night I made sweet buttermilk biscuits to cover with fresh cut and lightly sweetened strawberries and called it shortcake like grandma used to make.  It was delicious...not as delicious as it will be in a month or two when the strawberries don't have to be trucked in from Florida or Mexico or somewhere equally exotic. But it surely did taste good nonetheless. 

 I was able to mow my front yard (most of it) for the first time this week and I think it has been almost 2 years since I was able to do that.  It was wonderful. Lots of folks don't like mowing (my husband) but I love it. I love the smell of cut grass, I love a good looking yard. I love where I live, and in a month or so, my yard will look like a private park...completely surrounded by trees and honeysuckle hedges, blackberry brambles and sassafras.  And I will sit out there in the middle of it and wonder at the beauty and read my books and eat my lunch. Or have my morning coffee. Or pray. There are lots of areas not filled in quite yet in front, but the ones that are were getting high, so I pulled out the mower and went to it. I cut the old wisteria all back too. Here's where she stands right now...

Feeling grateful today for the little things in life... hens that are laying, family that cares and blue skies and sunshine.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016's sort of spring-ish...

The weather has been pretty up and down...beautifully sunny or bleak and rainy.  Warm as all get out or so cold the heater keeps kicking on. We were supposed to have a hard freeze last night, but it was really a light one with temps down a little under 30.  It's crazy, but probably typical for April. I feel lucky that I haven't put anything in the ground

 I have finally passed that healing point where my knee and leg are not hurting all the time. Thank was getting old.  It's only been a month and a half since the surgery. Saw the doc, he said I'm right on track and he's pleased.  That relieved a lot of my anxiety about the muscle pain and looking at the x-rays helped too. Both knees looks awesome.  yay me.  

  Today , through the thoughtfulness of a friend, the help of another friend and the generosity of a new friend... I got hooked up with a woman who is selling her mother's house (she passed away in January) and had a cellar full of canning jars.  She boxed them up, drove an hour and a half to meet us in the middle and sold me 16 dozen quart jars for 3 dollars a dozen and 13 dozen pint jars for 2 dollars a dozen. With lots of decent rings too. My friend from here drove me to St Louis in her SUV which we packed them all into...the 4 of us had lunch and then we came home and unloaded close to 350 jars into my garage.  What a deal.  What a day ! I feel so blessed by the love and friendship of the women in my life. 

 The pollen count around here is through the roof and something is killing me. I have not had allergies in my life, but every few years HERE something comes around that knocks me for a loop.  I cannot imagine people who have to live with this every year !!  My nose is runny, my eyes watery, my throat scratchy and I am sneezing like crazy.  My head feels like it's stuffed with cotton. I stopped at the Walgreens and picked up some allergy stuff and just took one.  Some of these things knock me out, but I only took one and I guess we'll see. lol If suddenly I'm not making sense, you'll know why.  :)

   I got to go to a book release party tonight for a young man I know and it was so cool...He's not very old, maybe 30...and you couldn't ask for a more humble nicer guy. The book is about the heroin epidemic and his life story in all that. Especially close to my heart since I had a great nephew die of an overdose a couple of years ago and another one (nephew) that may be dead any day because he thinks it will never happen to him. Kids are dying every day, all over this country...and I hope that his book does well and maybe even saves a life .  You never know.  It takes a lot of courage to recover from heroin addiction and even more to tell about it.  and talent enough to write it. He has also done a play about it all and it played once and will be presented again at the local junior college at the end of the month. I can't wait to see it.

  I am starting to get really excited about this years garden.  Lots of work to be done out there before planting, but still--it's early for us. Thankfully we have such a long growing season.  I have high hopes for a serious abundance of crops this year. 

  OK...I'm starting to feel drowsy...

  Time to finish up the odds and ends and head for bed. Hopefully (except for one small errand)  I will get to stay home all day tomorrow. I have 3 bd cakes in a row to bake this weekend Fri-Sat-Sun.  I will bake them with love. One is a pineapple upside down cake. One is a cheesecake, And one is a coffeecake.  Some kind of fun, huh ??  I have kinda been on the run this past couple of weeks and I am tired... time for some r&r...



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Quiet Moments

    Sometimes...for some people...quiet moments can be hard to find.  Even out here on Honeysuckle Hill there is noise. Hunters shooting guns in the distance, 4 wheelers screaming down the road. Dogs barking. Coyotes howling. Owls calling across the pastures for their mates. Not all the noise is bad. And most of it is not all the time, sometimes even rarely.  And sometimes I react differently than other times.

    I can always tell when I am out of balance. My reactions are way over the top. Little things make me big crazy. I am restless and irritable. I am discontent. My brain goes into overdrive and I cannot think clearly, sleep well or pray or meditate.  Nothing suits me. People aggravate me. Everything is extreme. 

    I am a recovering alcoholic. You may or may not know this. You may or may not care.  One thing I have learned in my years on this planet is that NO one thinks as much about me as I do.  I have a sign on my fridge that says: " I may not be much, but I'm all I think about."  And another next to it that is a Maxine cartoon that says "Don't believe everything you think." That about sums it up.  Being an alcoholic or an addict...recovered or very much about being  a person of extremes. Top of the world or a waste of space. Genius or idiot. Super model or troll.  There are no in-betweens for us. Learning to live in the world without the aid of substances that make living bearable for us is a long sometimes excruciating business that never ends. I say that only so that you will understand that I will never be free of the disease of alcoholism and that, because the world never stops changing,  I am on a life long journey of figuring out how to stay one step ahead of the sense I have that says that I will never be okay.  And some days, I am okay. And other days, I am on the lookout for the loony wagon. 

  Before you start thinking that it's all hopeless and that you feel sorry for me, you should know  that I am living a life beyond anything I ever imagined possible.  I am married to a really great guy and have a perfectly suitable house and a place for gardens. I have a Honda with 209,456 miles on it that still runs like a champ. I have animals and family and friends. Because I am disabled since 2001 when I was in an industrial accident, I have lots of time to do things I always wanted to do but never could because I was on that merry go round  of work work work that left me exhausted and stressed and too depleted for anything but sleeping and eating and working some more.  Which I had to do because we had a mortgage and 2 new cars and  blah blah blah. And I know lots of people who live that life.  It's kind of the norm.  So when I was crushed by this big machine which tore me all up and made it impossible for me to ever work in any kind of work environment (for reasons which I will spare you--tmi)  it turned out that the worst thing that had ever happened to me became the best thing that ever happened to me. I had time for creative things like music and art and writing and gardening. I had time for friends. And when the lawsuit over it all  got knocked  from quite  a bit of money to very little money (because the workers comp. insurance company declared bankruptcy)...that turned out to be a blessing as well. Maybe. 

  Experiences which humble us change us. As much as most of us dislike change, it is good.  The world changes, people change.  Change is growth.  Learning to adapt is evolution. Loving the journey- that is joy. That is hope.  Living long enough to see the  changes in yourself is something else.  I don't always see them. More like short  flashes of something that later on make sense. 

  I am doing a 21 day meditation exercise right now. It's an Oprah and Deepak Chopra series on Shedding the Weight. Physical, mental and spiritual. It's about balance. It came just when I needed it, as these things are wont to do.  I've done several of the ones they've offered over the past few years and I have always come away with  good stuff.  Today was day 7 of this one, so it's only just begun. I am feeling the centering that regular meditation always gives me.  I am realizing once again that I have a very bad habit of not doing things that I know are good for me.  Things that I KNOW make me a better person, woman, friend.  Things that I KNOW enrich my life and make it easier for me to live in the world. 

  Old dogs. New tricks.  sigh...It's after 1 AM and I need to be asleep.  I walked about a quarter mile today as part of my knee rehab program and it went pretty well. I did take a nap this afternoon late and that's why I'm still up.  Spring is in the air here finally...thank goodness. I am ready.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Life love and everything...

  Just a catchy title. lol  What do I know about life , love, or anything--for that matter ??   Not so much. Or quite enough.  

  We have passed a couple of milestones since my sister died...first Valentine's Day, her birthday. St Patrick's Day.  All things that she took great pleasure in and had loads of fun doing.  The loss is still so close and I guess that's how it always goes...for me at least. When I don't expect it, something will make me cry. Or a memory will make me laugh. And it's all so incongruous. But everyone soldiers on, especially in the face of the things that we have absolutely no control over or cannot do a single thing about.  Brave, aren't we ?  Human, aren't we ?

  We've had some beautiful spring days, with threats of rains that barely appeared and threats of light snow showers that never appeared. Last night, however, the temps dropped into the low 30's and there is some frost out there.  Looks like that may be the end of it, according to the extended forecasts. But one never knows. For our part, we have begun cleaning up the garden beds, which mostly means trying to knock back the blackberry and raspberries that try to take over our garden beds. They are incorrigible. The Irishman did a lot of work out there on Friday, and even got 2 of the smaller beds turned over. I might be able to get out there this week, if it warms up enough, and rake some of it and at least get some kale in. We haven't bought any seed potatoes or onion sets yet either and I need to look through my seeds and see what I have and what I need to get. We'll get the garden journal out and start making a plan this week probably. Things have been a little busy around here the past few weeks, but finally are starting to settle down.  As always in our life, there are still things going on all the time, but we are getting better at picking and choosing.  The older I get, the more I do whatever I want to do and not so much what everybody else wants me to do. Ah...more freedoms of old age.  Awesome, innit ?

   The knee is healing, the muscles are feeling the tiniest bit better every day. Last night was better.  I only got up once and took some Tylenol and went back to bed. I find that if  I march around a bit when I get up it helps.  Lying too long or sitting too long and the muscles start tightening up again and it hurts. Not a bone curdling hurt..just a whimpery kind of hurt that wakes you up and is annoying.  I just want to wake up and feel good and have this part done.  I am now 1 month and 4 days post-op.  For heavens sake--how long does this healing stuff take ???  Patience is NOT my strong suit. Perhaps this is where I learn some. (Not.)  

  My chickens are eating eggs like crazy. I don't know what to do about it. I go out there often to try to catch it before it happens but not much luck.  And now someone wants to give me 20 chickens  (all,supposedly) under 3 years of age) and I don't know if I want them. I really don't know if I have room for that many.  I have had this egg eating dilemma in the past a few times, but never so consistently. It's maddening. Not to mention the fact that I am feeding them and getting nothing in return. This cannot continue, as you know, and once the weather warms up we'll see what happens.  Never thought I'd say it, but I'm almost tired of having chickens and dealing with all this stuff. Someone is pecking the hell out of another one too, all about her head they have pecked her until she's bald.  Sigh.... chicken behavior is so strange sometimes. We have 6 sweet (snork) little hens..and they cannot behave themselves it seems. I gave them more calcium (thinking the egg eating was dietary).  Nope.  I buy them kale in the winter so they still get plenty of greens. Nope. I threaten them, I beg and cajole. I sing to them. Nothing works. 

  Well...the dryer has shut off (his work clothes). I have a bit of a full day today...20 pounds of chicken quarters has been cooking away in the roaster all night (Found it yesterday for 19 cents/lb) and I have to pull the meat off the bone and either can or freeze it.  making a chicken pot pie for supper with some of it too.  Have a potluck meeting tonight that I have to bake a cake for and make some kind of appetizer, Also am squeezing physical therapy in the middle there at 2 o'clock.  Guess I'd better get moving.   Haven't loosed the chooks yet either, but it's only 30 degrees out there even though it's looking sunny.

  Heigh HO---here we go.  Hope you day is a fun filled productive one !!