Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tough titties Tuesday!!!

 Well, let's see....7 out of 9 ain't bad...can't jump for ANYTHING with this bum knee and there has been NO rain to dance in. LOL

  Home from a trip to Litchfield...picked up 160 pounds of assorted and sundry critter food and some black pepper.  Then I went by my favorite Head Start thrift store there as well...got 3 tops and a pair of pants  for me and 2 pairs of really nice new-ish bluejeans for the Irishman for under 12 dollars.  I stopped and had breakfast too, french toast and eggs and tomato juice at Denny's. It was okay...not as good as mine, except that I like being waited on and cooked for from time to time, so that part of it was AWESOME. Then stopped on the way home and supported an older couples little roadside produce place and got a couple of white onions (3), a few bell peppers (6) and a bag of collard greens for my chickens...about 5 bucks all of it together.CAme home and unloaded the bags of critter feed and it nearly wore me out. At the feed store I declined help putting the bags in my car, and a young man came over to my car (another customer) and asked if I needed some help. I politely said, no thanks, I've got it. He said--Are you sure??

  WTH...do I look like some helpless little old lady these days?? I won't be 60 until JANUARY, people!!!!!

   It's good to know there are nice people out there. Don't get me wrong.  But...I don't want to be this little old lady that can't do anything for herself, dammit. It scares me.


     It's almost a hundred out there, if it hasn't reached it already. This needs to stop.

    My electric bill came yesterday. Up from 217 last month to 325 this month..OMG.  I knew we were gonna take a hit, but now it's in black and white. YIKES!  We have a small rural electric cooperative out here. Sometimes it's a blessing and sometimes it's not. I'm sure everyone's gonna get it this summer because of this ridiculous heat--it's not just us.  Can't wait to see the water bill.  *snork


  We had to go out a knock a young possum out of our peach tree last night. The dogs had him treed and were going berserk...went out to see what the ruckus was and there he was, up there looking terrified. The Irishman finally got him onto the ground after we brought the pooches in (much to their dismay) and he scampered off into the woods. He probably heard through the grapevine how well our fruit trees have been doing, and came by for a late night snack. 

  The lady at the produce place I stopped said that at about 3 AM she was outside running coons off her porch, they were tearing things up. Must have been the moon....

   My plans for the rest of the afternoon include a loaf or two of artisan whole grain bread, granola,  spaghetti and salad for supper, and at least one batch of jalapeno jelly, maybe two. The Irishman is hinting around about some homemade bagels, and I might be doing that Thursday--not happening today.It'll be a wonder if I get the things on my list already done.

  AND--needless to say, I'll not be getting any of it done if I don't step away from this computer. I've cleaned the hen house this morning and taken care of all the critters this morning aropund 7 AM, so I really don't have to go out again if I don't want to.

Sitting here, cooling down, and getting a couple of glasses of water in me for now though...I will be over at my neighbors most of tomorrow, as she is taking her goddaughter for an MRI...so I'll be getting nothing done around here tomorrow.

 Me and all my lot, except maybe 2 of the 8 cats, are here in the house, in the coolness. Hoping the AC hangs in there today, it's had a couple of little quirks, but mostly it's been okay.

  I'm sure ready to be done with this heat--we can't even plant our fall seeds, as the seedlings will incinerate the minute they break ground--just too dang hot.  My lovely crop of bell peppers is starting to look a little stressed...I hope they make it.

 The chickens are stressed by this heat too..I go out in the middle of the afternoon when it's like this and turn the hose on shower and let them play in the "rain" until they stop panting and gasping. And then I hose down the ground, the walls of the coop, the little roof...anything to cool down the whole area.  For now I've got some nice collard greens soaking in cold water I'm going to take out there--they'll be pleased.  I gathered 3 eggs this morning...so they are not so stressed they aren't laying, at least.  


  Alrighty then. My water glass needs refilling. My bread dough needs making and I hear some chickens calling my name.  Guess I'd better get moving.

   Happy Tuesday, all y'all.....


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stalling on a Sunday...

  Oy vey.

   We had about 5 minutes of sprinkly rain...really hoped for some real stuff, but we take what comes.  Not real hot yesterday, comparatively.  Not terrible today, although still over 90.  I've had dehydrators going like crazy--drying mushrooms and squash and onions and carrots and okra and tomatoes and fennel and green peppers.  The peaches are ready to pick again.  Potatoes are about ready to dig, and we pulled onions yesterday. They are all lined up on a table and hardening off a bit.  Not very big, but they never are. We need to study up on soil requirements, etc. where they are concerned, I think. The edamame plants are getting close to harvest, maybe another week or two. Looks like a good harvest this year, thank goodness. They are such an awesome addition to our winter diet. The tomatoes are still producing and I'm picking a few every day, coming on in spurts. That's okay.

  I'm pooped.

  Have friends coming for supper tonight, so I'm trying to get a little housekeeping done. Nothing fancy or great, believe me. I thought (for half a minute) about running the carpet cleaner, but that's probably not going to happen, unless I just do some spot cleaning. Whatever I decide, I'd better get on it.  lol  But..I'll clean off the dining room table and clear all the canning jars off the island in the kitchen and wash some dishes.  And dust.  Because I have more onions to do for the dehydrators. About another 8 pounds I think.  I found a nice whole chicken in the freezer, so I'll rotisserie that in my new little oven and have the Irishman dig some red potatoes and cook up the green beans in the vegetable drawer.  I have some frozen peaches out from last year thawing, I'll make a peach crisp for dessert and run up to the market for some vanilla ice cream to go on top. Iced tea to drink. A good old midwestern summer Sunday supper. Assuming I can pull it off.  LOL


  Had an altercation with my sister yesterday over the phone ..about something silly (to me) and apparently not silly to her. She is furious with me. And I am heavy hearted over it, but not willing to give in to her because she's being outrageous and trying to tell me who I can and cannot talk to and have out to my house. (Her son's on again off again girlfriend.)  And when I said--you don't get to tell me who I can or cannot have at my house, she blew up. And said not to invite her to my house if I do have the other one there, because she will never come to my house again. So I hung up on her.  lol  And it isn't funny...I love her, she's my sister. But...this is not acceptable to me on any level, from any person. And I've tried examining it from all sides, I know it is about loyalty and betrayal to her somehow...but that isn't true at all and I refuse to be bullied by her because she's emotional about something. Oh well. It will work itself out one way or another, I am sure.
It's not easy being a big sister...


  On that note, I really do need to run the vacuum and get that chicken in some cold water to thaw.  The sun is back out now, so I guess our chance for real rain has once again passed. sigh...this drought stricken state is in big trouble...

  Hope everyone has a beautiful Sunday.  I'm gonna put a spiff on my abode and sit back and enjoy a day of no gardening, and no canning and some good friends and conversation.

  Off I go...


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Weary Wednesday...

 ..and the day has only just started.  lol   Well, sort of.  [This a picture of the very first pullet egg. It was taken on the 21st...4 days ago.  I now have 5 pullet eggs in the fridge.  They're so tiny and adorable at this stage of the game, and seem like such a miracle of nature.]

   Yesterday was a marathon of peaches.   I started working on them at 10 AM, and finally cleaned up the kitchen at 10:30 PM.  And I didn't even get anything made out of them, I just froze them. I froze them in quarts, which is approximately the amount needed to make a batch of jam or salsa.  All that time (with breaks, naturally, because otherwise I'd just be DEAD)  and all I managed to do was peel, pit and slice about a bushel and a half of peaches.  I had a tall stool there at the sink, so I could alternate sitting and standing. And after supper (I took about an hour break there and made yummy potatoes and eggs and toast for supper), the Irishman helped and we finally got them all done.  By the time he went to bed and I got everything cleaned up and came in here to get on the computer and relax a little...my ankles and feet were swollen.  My right hand, around my thumb, has a flaring up case of tendonitis.  My neck and back hurt.  My wrists hurt.  Like Leonard Cohen says in The Tower Of Song..."I ache in the places where I used to play..." lol

  So, it's understandable that I am balking and stalling at getting in there and starting those tomatoes. Part of me wants to get in the car and go to Aldi's, because they have some produce on sale that I need to grab for drying, notably mushrooms for .69 package and a couple of other things that I can't remember right now, but will know when I see them.  lol  And it will get me out of the house for a minute.

  I did get to sleep in until 7...and then I got outside and got my morning chores done...watering, chicken maintenance, flowers and critters.  It takes about 2 hours to water because I water with a hose, at the root of the plants. I have 9 garden beds. And assorted flowers. And I said some prayers for rain while I was out there, and said some prayers of gratitude to the plants themselves for holding up so well and doing their part of the bargain.   SO--I've really only been in here stalling for about an hour, and part of that time, I heard my gut hollering for some yogurt and granola, so I ate.

  I have to make a decision here soon though...time's a wasting...


  Some time back, I bought some shampoo at the Green Earth grocers...it is a brand called nature's gate. I have bought this particular shampoo and conditioner off and on for over 30 years..first found it when I moved to California and got it by the GALLON, lol, because I loved the smell of it and the way it did my hair (which was down past my hips in those days)  Then, in about 1976, a gallon of it cost about 10 or 12 dollars. Now, of course, 16 oz of it costs almost 10 dollars.  But it has this really unique smell, and I have always loved it, the herbal one. The conditioner looks almost like mud. The shampoo they've cleaned up a little.  But I'm telling you...I had to open one last night when I showered because I finished the aloe vera one  I bought at the same time (big sale-50% off) and wanted to try something different.  The minute I put that stuff on my hair, I was transported into the past...a flood of olfactory induced memories hit me  and it almost knocked me over.  And this morning, I can still smell it in my hair, and I am just so amazed at the power of those kinds of memories.

  Have you had that experience?   I'm trying to find out if I can order it by the gallon and have it again at a reasonable price, but it's not looking good. It's up to  about 40 dollars a gallon and up...I haven't given up yet...


  Alright.   I've made a decision.  I'm going to the market, stopping and taking myself to lunch and then coming home and doing the tomatoes. They won't be nearly as labor intensive as the peaches were, my plan is to just dice them and can them in quarts. (Because I have lots of regular mouth quart jars out there. lol)

  So I have to go...wishing each of you a day of blissful living....


Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday again...and it starts all over...

 Yesterday I went to the garden and dug these red potatoes (about 4 pounds or more)  to make potato salad to go with the fresh catfish the boy caught earlier in the morning.  We cooked some corn on the cob and called it supper.  I cooked the big fillets with lemon and onion, fennel, baby carrots and a little butter, salt and pepper...folded up in foil in a baking dish. It was outstanding...and some of the sweetest, cleanest catfish I have ever eaten. We had a wonderful supper and it was a good day, all in all. The boy did his laundry and hung it outside to dry, went into town and picked up a few things, and got ready to leave early this morning to go to a job up in Peoria. He'll stay up there all week, because it's about 3 hours from here, a little less.

  SO..I'm home, the Irishman's at work, and all is well with the world.

 I've been busy already, trying to get some outside stuff done before it gets too hot, as it's headed for 105 today.  By 9 AM, I had watered the gardens, watered the flowers on the deck and a few others in the yard, picked tomatoes, fed and watered all manner of critters, cleaned the coop, and put new pine shavings in the floor and extra straw on top of that. The pine shavings really help keep the odor controlled, especially in this hot weather. I also fixed up a new nesting box and put it in the corner where I keep finding the pullet eggs. (OK--I've only gotten 2 so far...but STILL!!) lol  Hopefully they'll use it to lay in and not just kick out all the straw and poop there, which is what they've been doing...so I took it out for a couple of weeks. I weeded the garden a little and put the beautiful greens in for the chickens...and they were delighted. They also got a few small tomatoes that had blossom end rot, and they were squabbling over those too.  By now I was sweating profusely, came in the house, turned on the computer and poured a big glass of ice water...and saw that it was already 91 degrees.  I have the drapes all pulled and am trying to keep the house closed up as much as possible...yesterday the darn condenser line froze up again...I hope we can make it through the rest of the summer.  When that happens, I just shut down the AC and pray that it will thaw quickly.  lol

    I have a bushel of peaches to do today.  Saturday I did 20 pints of beautiful salsa.  All the ingredients grown right here at Honeysuckle Hill, except the cilantro that I got at the farmers Market. I cannot grow cilantro to save my life. Here a picture of the finished product:

  So...today I'll do the peaches...make another batch of peach salsa, dry some peaches and make some more jam. There's probably another bushel and a half at least still on the tree out there. I almost have enough okra for a batch of pickled okra too.  And enough tomatoes to can diced...I'm on the fence about whether I';m going to peel them first or not...Any step I can skip, I do. But the skins do sometimes get tough and stringy in the jars of diced tomatoes, and I don't like that either. I never peel them for  salsa, though. Never ever. It's so much more nutritious to leave the skins on...

  I have my tomato canning workshop out at La Vista a week from this next Saturday. That will be fun...I just hope we can still get tomatoes. They were crazy expensive (I thought) at the Farmers Market at 1.50-2.50 per pound. And I'm sure it's going to get worse as the whole coming week is going to be in the triple digits, and folks' gardens are burning like Rome in the time of Nero.

  This Thursday, we have a vegetarian potluck at our discussion group at La Vista--not sure what I'll take, but can't wait, as there's always so much good food that people bring. YUM!!

  Okay...I guess I've stalled about as long as I can.   I have to get going on those peaches...did I tell you I went to Walcrap and got a package of rubber fatigue mats for exercise equipment?? They interlock and were only 19 dollars. I am using only 2 of the 6 that came in the package as a mat in front of my sink...when I am standing there for hours on end peeling and chopping, my legs and feet hurt so bad from the wood floors. I used them doing the 25 pounds of tomatoes for salsa and I think it really helped.  (It was the boy's idea...apparently they had purchased them before for their family room).

  Ok-Ok...I'm going.  Have a great day, stay cool and drink lots of water.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

ZzzzzziiiiPPP! Thursday

 My little garden Faerie...she's retired from the grounds to the deck. lol

     This was a gift to me by a bunch of friends that came to stay at my house in North Carolina...from England, Scotland, Canada..and all over the US.  We had a big weekend gathering and party and had a great time. She holds a very dear place in my heart and gardens...I'll never forget all the fun and laughs trying to put her wings on...the wings are gone, broken in a fall during a windstorm. But she's still beautiful to me.


  The hot temperatures have been back, and I am gambling by not watering this morning as we have a 40% chance of rain. We actually got 27 drops yesterday, all on my car windshield as I was driving down the hill to my house. I could smell it. But it never made it to the ground. sigh...

  Today's predicted high is 104 with a heat index of 110. Sweet lord.  Yesterday was 103. And I don't even WANT to know what the heat index was.  It's brutal. The demise of the crops is all over the news and they are predicting very high prices on everything this coming year. SO stock your pantries friends, while you can. I suspect it's gonna get rough...rougher than it already is. They had a news segment yesterday that showed a farmer digging down about 2 feet into the  crumbling dirt on the edge of his field and it was dry as  a bone. This will impact the price of all meat, dairy, you name it...I'm going to invest in a couple of extra boxes of powdered milk, a case or two of  canned evaporated milk (I really don't use a lot of dairy products anyway) but every now and then I need some for a recipe.   I'm thinking a case of canned salmon or tuna wouldn't be a bad thing either, even though we're not eating meat at home. Peanut butter is another good protein source, as long as you make sure to buy the natural stuff without all the shortening and sugar in it.   And dried beans are a mainstay. And rice. And things you can make a hundred meals out of if you have to.

 [ Here--help me down off this soapbox. My joints are a little creaky today...]  LOL


   So, I'm gong next door in a bit to sit with my neighbors husband and try to keep him from wanting to go out in the heat.  It's gonna be a scorcher. Then when I am finished I will come home and can tomatoes and make jalapeno jelly.  The peaches out front are not as ready as I thought, although this weekend they should be. I'm going out back now and make a quick run through the tomatoes and feed the chickens some of the bolting lettuce, and then I'll be off to the neighbors house.

  Maybe I'll come back to this later this afternoon....so I'm going to leave it in the draft box...C YA!!!!


  I'm Baaaaaccckkkkk!!!!!!!   lol

  Well, got neither tomatoes nor jelly done. Was at neighbors longer than I expected and by the time I got home it was time to start supper almost.  I ran the vacuum real quick and cleaned up a little and then made big plates of chicken nachos for supper. I used up quite a few tomatoes making fresh salsa to top the nachos.As we ate, and for a while afterwards, we watched The Forbidden Planet, a film made in 1956 that was my favorite movie as a kid. It was a hoot watching it tonight--all the special effects (that won awards back then) were so hokey and the whole thing--well, we laughed all the way through it. It starred Robby the Robot. 

  Himself is going on a Boy Scout camping trip for an overnight with his buddy, who has been asked to come because he is an NRA certified  something or other--I don't even want to know. But they will camp down in southern Missouri somewhere, and I'm sure they will have a ball. This is the guy he hikes with alot. So I'll have some time to myself this weekend...at least 24 hours. lol   I think they are leaving Friday afternoon and coming back sometime Saturday evening.

  I will get lots done this weekend I hope.  I broke down and bought another 2 cases of wide mouth pint jars the other day, and I need to buy some more lids. I had also found pectin (both liquid and powdered) on sale, so I stocked up on that. At some point, I plan to get last years blackberries out of the freezer and make jelly out of them.  I also want to make some more peach pit jelly this year. I am having a hard time finding jelly jars though and most of mine are in use.  I am also going to dehydrate some watermelon slices...that should be interesting. I have some in the fridge that isn't getting used fast enough. 

  Himself says the peaches will be ready to pick this weekend. Yay. 

  I saw a wonderful salad recipe on a cooking show today...it was fresh fava beans and fennel, in a lemon vinaigrette. It looked magnificent. I have to try it.

  Okay--I need to go to bed, I'm babbling.  Wanted to finish this up and get it posted. I'm pooped.  

  Happy Thursday, y'all. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Muggy Monday

Hello from the land of high humidity and burning sun! lol

  I am having a bit of a mental health day today it seems. Not doing too much, although I have picked beans and okra and tomatoes and blackberries, and not very much of any one of them.  And I did tend the chickens and clean out all 3 water bowls and throw some fresh straw into the little nesting area.  And I real;ly DO plan to do a little straightening up. But other than that, I finally finished the Iris Johansen book I was reading and have been chatting on the computer with about 5 different women. And eating.  lol

  Yesterday I did some cleaning and stuff, baked 3 loaves of whole wheat bread and one loaf of Martha Stewart's Zucchini bread recipe.  Then I made a nice supper of cheese raviolis with a vegetable laden marinara and a huge green salad , with slices of warm from the little oven (which did a great job, BTW) home made bread.  yum.  I also did laundry and all that good stuff. so...

 Today is [sort of]  my day off.  

  I did sneak out into the studio apartment and turn off the window air conditioner because it's running nonstop. I turned the ceiling fan on high and opened the french doors and slid the screen into place to air the place out some. It's already starting to smell like boy out there. LOL  It's a little musty from being closed up unused basically for a year...I did a tiny bit of cleaning and sprayed some disinfectant around.  I'll go back out there around 1 and see how it feels before turning the air back on if necessary. It's only about 90 today...

   I need to clean out my fridge...it's suddenly stuffed with...something...and there's barely room to even find anything. lol  Partly it's bags of beans waiting to have enough to can, lots of lettuce and chard...but I'm sure there are things that need to go away in there too...I do a pretty good job of using up leftovers, but from time to time something turns up that kept getting shoved to the back...I think I might bake some hamburger buns and have veggie burgers for supper,  with salad and corn on the cob.  Maybe. 

  Suddenly my day off sounds kinda busy, doesn't it?  It's tough...one of the bad things about retirement is that you don't go to work, so you don't have days off anymore. And if you're not careful that can turn into a constant string of days where all you do is work.

  I feel like taking a nap.  LOL

  Part of the problem is that when I sit down in front of this computer, I get sleepy.  Isn't that strange?  Doesn't matter what time of day it is either...so, I shall get up and away from here for now and figure out what to do. I have some odds and ends of peaches that need something done with--might be enough for another batch of peach salsa.  It will be only a few more days and we'll be picking peaches big time and then I'll be BUSY. The ones I have in there now were a few early ones and falls.

  My kitchen could use a little attention and if I mix up the dough for the buns that will be something too. I'm a hot mess right now and need a shower and looking at THAT list of things, I think I'll be busy until the Irishman gets home form work. lol




Saturday, July 14, 2012


My adolescent chickies...

  Dang--I am losing time faster than you can imagine. Not sure where it keeps going, except that I stay very busy this time of year.

  After spending all morning cleaning like crazy on Tuesday, my guests had to cancel due to illness. I spent the rest of the afternoon working on cleaning the siding and gutters on the outside of the house, as well as in the garden and flower beds.

  On Wednesday, I packed up my canner first thing in the morning and headed for my cousin's house to show her how to pressure can her green beans.  Turned out she had quite a lot, and I didn't get out of there until after 3 She made a nice salad for lunch and we got a lot of talking in there too. lol.and went to the market because they had cherries on sale.  I bought 10 pounds and headed home. Stopped for laundry detergent (have got to get back to making my own!!!)  and bleach  and then got home in time to make supper.

  On Thursday, I pitted and halved all the cherries and got them into the 2 dehydrators. The cherry juice stained my hands and nails so badly!!  And I can't get it off...I tried everything I could think of--lemon juice, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and a scrub brush. All to no avail.  It's finally starting to fade a little today...but my hands look like hell.  lol

  That afternoon, late, my countertop convection oven/rotisserie arrived and I spent a little time getting it set up and couldn't wait to bake something. It works like a charm, is extra large and will accommodate a 9x13 pan --2 of them, in fact. HOWEVER---not if it is a pan with handles that stick out. sigh...of course, that's exactly what all mine are. So, I'm going to have to invest in some straight edge pans as well as a couple of metal breadpans...mine are all glass, and the book says not to put glass in there.  hmmm...I wonder if it means baking glass pans??  I should call customer service...Anyway, I made oven baked french fries to go with veggie burgers for supper and it worked great.  yippee!!  I ordered it from Amazon and it was only 69.00--a Hamilton Beach.

  Friday I had to go to a noon mtg and give one of my sponslings her 19 year coin. After that I went to the market again, got another 10 pounds of cherries, came home and stemmed them and washed them and froze them whole.  About 6 quarts worth.  Then I whipped up a batch of granola and toasted it in the oven and got it all finished finally by late Friday night. By the time the day was over, my legs and feet hurt so bad that I could barely stand. My sweet husband gave me a foot and leg massage and suggested that I should quit doing all this barefoot or in my Crocs..that maybe I needed to start wearing my good lace up Avias. He said "I know you love those Crocs, but maybe try wearing real shoes and see if your legs don't feel better. "

  This morning I got up and got dressed and put on my real shoes. I wore them all day, and darn if he wasn't right...things feel much better today. I was up early, did some chores, went to a 10 AM meeting, went to lunch after with 2 friends, went to Edwardsville looking for a 20 pound bag of organic carrots to dehydrate and neither of the 2 places I can get them had any. DRAT!   Came back home, vacuumed up a couple of mountains of dog hair, did some laundry, straightened the living room and did some dishes. Went to dinner tonight and got home and watched about 3 hours of ALASKA: The Final Frontier...about a family that for 4 generations has homesteaded 600 acres up there. There's a deal for ya!!!  I'll never complain about the winters here again.

  No wonder time is slipping thru my fingers!!!!   lol

  Now I'm tired and ready for some sleep. It's coming up on midnight and I thought I was going to be asleep before now, lol.  Tomorrow himself will be gone a big chunk of the day again, and I have lots to do. It's time to can beans again, if I can put it off til Monday, I will. I have tomatoes to pick, and lettuces to harvest and gardens to water (NOPE--still no rain here, but at least the temps have dropped down to a little more normal).  I have one more wall to finish outside, a banana tree to plant, and 2 small beds to get ready for a second bean planting. Probably peaches need picking too...

  There is no rest for the wicked.  I must really have some back dues to pay !!!!!!  LOL

Nighty night.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday running along...

  Ahhhh....beginnings and endings.  Not sure what that has to do with my day, but pretty sure I'll find out.  lol

  Taking a break after vacuuming...got  a friend and her 83 year old aunt coming by this morning, so am trying to clean up a little.  Things aren't too bad...but haven't done much in here the last few days, so there's a little maintaining to do. Yesterday I worked outside all day--cleaned and re-arranged the back decks. Tended flowers. Scrubbed down the outside walls, gutters and doors with vinegar/water solution to remove the green mildew-y mossy stuff that grows every year.  It comes off easy enough with a scrub broom and an old sponge mop, but it takes time to get it done. I still have 2 more sides of the house to do... but the deck area looks awesome. I scrubbed the deck planking too...some places that stuff gets pretty thick and it gets slick in the rain.

  The housewarming party was nice. My friend Mary's new house is beautiful, even though it's in a neighborhood where everybody lives on top of each other. lol  Not my style for sure...but I live out in an old hippie-chic place in the country, so what do I know?  Most people could probably not imagine living like I do wither. Saw several friends I hadn't seen in a while, and that's always good. We didn't leave there until about 10:30.  I saw her yesterday too, she called needing a phone number for our local produce folks, and I drove over and met her there, because I wanted a couple of things too. Took a break from the scrubbing--I was a sight.  lol

  Got to pick beans and blackberries again today. The weather has finally taken a dive for more normal temperatures. Thank goodness. Tempers were flaring, grass was burning up and it was something else. We still haven't gotten any rain, sigh, but at least yesterdays high was only 91.

  The garden made it through okay...the butterbeans are flowering like crazy, the watermelon vine turned out to be cantaloupe, tomatoes are finally ripening and the edamame is making pods of beans.  I've been doing some dehydrating --summer squash and carrots, apples and peaches.  Hope to get into town today and pick up a 20 pound bag of organic carrots to dry.

  My son is gone for the week...working on a big job down in Cape Girardeau, MO.  I drove him down to get another truck to a place about 45 minutes from here that he was to drive down there and back--so I have my car back.  He seems to be finally making peace with the soon-to-be ex...he also cleaned up and moved into the studio apartment a few days ago. He'll have a lot more freedom and not feel like he's living at his mom's. lol  He'll also pay some rent to help offset the utilities, which will help me. win/win  He cut back all the berry brambles for me on Saturday...that was a big help--some of them have gotten so out of control. These were blocking the greenhouse entrance and interfering with my bell peppers too. They had to go!

  Okay--I have to get back at it.

  Have a grand Tuesday y'all....


Thursday, July 5, 2012

A busy day on the old homestead...

[Peach salsa.] 

A busy couple of days, actually.  In fact--I DON 'T KNOW WHERE THIS WHOLE WEEK WENT !!!!!


Except I do, kinda.  lol
My kitchen island is full of peach jam, peach salsa and 21 quarts of green beans that I have canned over the past few days. And I still don't have my tomato handout done for the canning workshop August 4th.  And my house is a bit of a mess. And outside...well...outside it is hotter than heck..it was still 93 degrees at 10:30 tonight. The heat index today was 109, real temps at 102.  The garden is hanging on, despite the brutal sun and high temperatures. Some of my flowers are starting to look a little worse for the wear. The lawn is ...not dead yet, but not looking it's best.  My deck pots are still okay, because I'm watering them every day and keeping them in the shade as much as I can.

  Today it took me most of the day to get the beans picked and then with the ones in the fridge, to snap and stem them. I put the first canner load in at about 2 and the next 4 hours was all about that. I finally started supper at 6...and had a bunch of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash my brother had brought me, so it needed using. My brilliant idea was to make a summer squash parmesan. Like an eggplant parmesan, except made in my electric skillet since I have no oven. Wouldn't have wanted to turn an oven on today anyway--the ac can barely keep up on days like this, and with the canner, teakettle, and pan of water for boiling lids going, it kept getting warmer and warmer in here.  So the zucchini parmesan was a hit, but we didn't sit down to eat until almost 8 o'clock by the time I got all those damned rounds breaded and fried. Once that part was done, it was pretty quick. And it was AWESOME!  All I did was put a little marinara in the bottom of the skillet, a layer of squash and some more marinara and then top with parmesan cheese. Repeat and repeat until all in.  I had just enough green beans left over that didn't fit in the canner to make a nice side dish. I was going to make a big salad, but I was just too dang tired to do any more than I absolutely had to! So I threw the beans into my cast iron skillet with a couple of small onions and some garlic and salt and pepper.

  My carnivore son pronounced the meal really REALLY good.


My legs and feet hurt so bad tonight that I had to make a basin of hot water and Epsom salts and soak them for a while.  That really helps a lot. I need one of those thick fatigue mats for the floor in front of my sink. I think that would help a lot.  Mostly I just can't do so much time on my feet...a crushed pelvis screws that up, even after it's as healed as it's gonna get. lol  And lord--the heat this morning when I was picking beans almost killed me. It took me coming in the house to cool down twice before I was done. I was sweating so bad that bending over to pick the bush beans, the sweat was running onto the lenses of my glasses, making it nearly impossible to see what I was doing. So I came in and got a bandana and made a headband, and that helped some with that problem. But I'm telling you....it was hot. I may just begetting too old for all this,....


Tomorrow we have to go to the farm store and get critter feed again. Seems like I just did that, but we're out of cat food, low on dog food, and low on both scratch grains and layer crumbles. So...it's off to the feed store we go.  I also need to pick up a housewarming gift for my dear friend who has recently bought a new house. We are going there tomorrow night for a little party--causal and low key, just a few friends and some snacks.  It'll be fun and I haven't gotten to see the new digs yet.


I am way too tired to still be awake...maybe that's the deal. But I am starting to yawn and so there's hope. lol  I'm getting ready to mosey over that way soon...

  Goodnight, ya'all...I'm ready to drop.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

A quiet and relaxing Sunday....sort of....

These are garlic chives flowers...aren't they remarkable ?  If you click on the picture to biggify it, you can really get a glimpse of their beauty.

  I was up at zero dark thirty this morning, and I have to tell you...I feel like taking a nap right now. (It's 2:30 in the afternoon).  I keep leaning over on my hand and closing my eyes. lol  After I had put the dogs and the chickens out, I walked around the house...lord!  At 7 AM it was already 80 degrees and the humidity was through the roof.   I started watering after I picked another gallon of green beans. At about 9:30 I stopped and came in the house to cool down...made a couple of egg sandwiches for my son and myself and then went back out. I've been piddling around out there off and on ever since.

  They are calling for a bit of a cool down...which means that today it is only getting to 99 instead of 103. Possibility of some isolated thunderstorms starting around 4 PM. We'll see.  I've become a skeptic around the idea of weather forecasts lately. lol  This heat wave has been brutal...and no rain.  The garden is hanging ion there, but some things are looking a little bedraggled from that heavenly halo beating down on them relentlessly.  The potatoes are looking the worst, and so this afternoon, I started mulching them some more. They should have been done last week, but I'm here to tell you that it is really hard to get motivated to handle straw and straw bales when the temps are in triple digits. Never mind, though...they are almost done now. I have maybe another 3 feet to finish up the bed. Had to stop because I was sweating so hard it was running into my eyes and I couldn't see.  Since I had finished up the bale, I decided to wait until this evening to finish. I came in and laid down on the couch a bit...and it was all over then.  lol

  It occurred to me that maybe I was hungry, since it's 3 o'clock and breakfast was at 9:30...duh...I'm now eating a bowl of leftovers..quinoa, red onions, fresh tomato slices and a bbq'd hamburger patty. All cut up nicely and peppered and with a little salt for the tomatoes. Why do I have leftover hamburgers, you ask ??  It's a long story...

  Yesterday my baby brother and his family came up from southern Illinois.  And then my brother and his wife that live about an hour from here, decided to come  too. They called and said they were going b y the meat locker and bringing burgers and brats and what else should they get? lol So I spent the better part of the morning super cleaning the house.  They started arriving around 1 and we spent the rest of the day laughing and cooking and eating.  The last of 'em left around 9 and I fell into an exhausted heap. lol

 And that is why I have leftovers of the meat persuasion in my fridge.  lol  I made a big jar of lemonade and am sipping it now...so beautiful with the lemon slices in it.

Just off the phone with the Irishman...says it's in the upper 80's there, near Rice Lake, Wisconsin. They are having a ball and the family reunion festivities were yesterday, with about 90 people in attendance. Am really glad he's having fun.

  SO, that's about the size of it here.  I will be canning green beans tomorrow, I have over 2 gallons in the fridge now and more to pick by tomorrow I'm sure.  I also need to get out front and pick peaches. Am thinking peach preserves might be the way to go. 

 Those babies are so sweet and juicy !!!!!!  I usually make jam, but...I guess I can do anything I want, huh?  lol  My brother and his wife brought me 2 big plastic bags of zucchini and yellow summer squash and some cucumbers from their garden down south. They said everything is pretty burned up down there...So, I guess I'd better figure out what to do with those too...I'm going to grill some of them for supper tonight. My son has been fishing and has quite a bit of fish in the fridge that he wants to grill tonight, so I'm thinking, grilled squashes, some leftover quinoa and grilled fish sounds a lot like heaven. He's with his dad's family today, his aunt from Washington is here and they are all gathering at the nursing home his grandma is in for a family get together.

 It's been a blessing having him here...he's done all kinds of trellis making and stuff for my garden and been a big help when he's not at work. The sad news the other day was about him, as you've probably guessed...he is heartbroken, as his wife has decided they need to be apart...and I am watching him go through the stages of grief at the demise of this 10 year relationship.  Trying to not say what I think any more than necessary...he hates that he has nowhere to go and is back staying with his mom, that things are the way they are for him right now, etc etc.  Time will heal things, but I think the damage may be done. I am just so grateful that I have a place he can stay (and he is too--just that his pride is balking, which I think is a healthy thing) and figure out what he's going to do next. I want him to be happy....life is way too short. He has already (IMHO) tried way too hard for way too long, and the best thing for him to do (IMHO) is to cut ties with her and let her do what she needs to do...but take care of himself. They have no children together,  and have pretty much kept separate lives financially, so that will make lots of things easier. But his heart is broken and he is suffering, and that is the worst thing for a mother to have to watch. When there is nothing you can do.

 Ah...life.  Tomorrow there are 2 memorial services/viewings for the people who passed and I really don't want to go to either one, but feel that I should. The truth is that I hate those things, and hate the way we handle death in our culture. Plus the fact that it stirs up all the old unresolved grief I have for the deaths of my own mom and dad, who died when I was 27 and 32 respectively.  I have processed most of it by now, don't get me wrong, but it triggers that old cell memory I guess.

  I may just stay home, say some prayers for transitioning souls, and can green beans.  No one will notice my absence, most likely, these things are always such a blur for the loved ones.  I'll see how it feels in the morning...

  Stay cool, you hotdoggers.  It's supposed to stay hot for another week at least.  yuck.