Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Week 2015

  It's Christmas week here at Honeysuckle Hill.  The decorations (minimal as they are) are up, the few gifts we buy are bought, and the both of us are down with  the crud. lol Here's Santa at the dining room table, overseeing the festivities. This table cloth will be  changed out soon for the holiday one and the candles will be it for Christmas supper. I've been digging out the holiday music cd's too.

 We're appreciating all the blessings as we wind down another year together. We've made new friends and  lost old friends as they transitioned from this place to the next. We are blessed to have lots of love at our house and all our needs are met well enough.

 The gifting stags are in their place of honor at the front door in front of the great mirror on the antique book trough table.  The little tree is up and the holiday linens are out. I am baking cookies and breads and making gift baskets. 

The Santas have collected at the top of the entertainment center, which is covered in a soft red and green plaid wool scarf with strands of gold through it. 

In short, except for deciding what exactly I making for Christmas supper, I am as ready as I will ever be to usher out the old year and in the new one soon enough. And for now, I will sit around looking at the baubles-each with it's own special memory- listening to my favorite cd of Christmas songs by Nat King Cole, and generally basking in the love and warmth of the season. I still get Christmas cards from a few people, even though I have not sent them out myself for a few years now.  And it's all so lovely, isn't it ?

Happiest of Holidays to you all...whatever you celebrate.  And all of life should be a celebration, don't you think ??


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around: Something is lost and needs to be found!!"

  After an emotional and traumatic Friday morning of having to put our little angel to sleep, I somehow managed to lose my car keys. Well, they weren't actually lost until Monday, because I had no intention of going anywhere all weekend.  I was feeling punky and oh-so-sad plan was to just lay low and rest.  After all, I had a big party coming up on the 22nd. And my house is a mess. Blah blah blah  Anyway Monday morning came and I decided to go grocery shopping and then come home and make that gorgeous pot pie for the potluck.  Got dressed, got my coat on and... couldn't find my car keys. I drove home from the veterinary hospital, so I knew I had them here. I turned this place upside sown, after completely emptying my purse. Twice. I looked on the pockets of every coat and pair of pants that I own. I looked under cabinets, under sofas and chairs and tables. I looked under the refrigerator.  I traced my path back to the car and looked all around outside it and then inside it.  I looked in the fridge. I looked in the oven. I looked in both bathrooms. I walked out to the burn pit and then to Caylees's grave. 

  No keys. Nada. Zip. Nuttin'.

  Thinking that when I hit big roadblocks, I change where I'm going...I went in the bedroom and changed clothes and thought, well...I'll make something different for the potluck out of whatever I have in the pantry. I'll start some house cleaning. Surely they'll show up...they have to be here somewhere.

  I took a rake to the burn may remember that a few years ago I hauled the Irishman's truck keys out in a handful of paper and advertisers and burned them up. The replacement cost was...more  than I care to spend, shall we say. So I was really afraid I had done that again. There was no sign of them.

  Might I mention here that, when I couldn't find them at first, I thought I'll just get the spare key that I keep hidden in the sewing machine table/altar in my office. The spare key is not there either. I ALWAYS keep it there. So, I called husbandman to ask him if he  A) had taken my keys accidently and B) had he used the spare key and not put it back...when I was in the hospital maybe?  As the phone started to ring, I could hear it in the living room.  Grrr...

  Several people told me to pray to St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. I'm not always a big fan of the saints, but hey...well, he must have been on vacation on Monday, because the day came and went and no keys.

  Tuesday morning came and went. Most of Tuesday afternoon. I took a long nap, really not feeling good today. Have decided to cancel the party because we are sick and don't want to spread this bug around.  :(   When I woke up from my nap, one more time I said

"Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around:
Something is lost and needs to be found!!"

  I went into my closet where the last pair of jeans I had on Friday was laying across the back of a chair. I had checked the pants and had the thought about what a mess the closet was. Then I wondered if the keys could have fallen out of the pocket when I tossed them on the chair and voila ! there were my keys. Hiding and cozy in the floor. Behind the chair. 

 Sigh... the spare key is still on the lam. But I can drive again. Tomorrow I will go out and pick up some groceries and come back home, because tonight I really feel crappy. But there are some good sales going on and I need a few basics.

  Feeling bad about cancelling the party, but I'm sure that the WHO and the CDC would applaud my actions. lol  I was really looking forward to it.

   And now I'm tired and the bed is calling me and I think I will  be able to get some sleep.  Hope you all stay well. I'm blaming the coumadin  that won't let me eat any green vegetables because they contain Vitamin K which plays a major role in clotting.  Vitamin K is also essential for a healthy immune system. Grrr...

  Blessings and love to you all...tomorrow will be a brighter day. 


Monday, December 14, 2015

Dance of the Ladybug Faeries...

...and here we have one of about 200 gazillion ladybugs that have chosen to infest my house this spring-like winter.Yesterday I must have vacuumed up about a hundred, and soon as I put the cannister vac with the closed bag system (yes--I learned an important lesson the year I used the wand on the bagless and emptied it into the garbage only to have them all crawling up out of the garbage can like a Wes Craven film and re-infesting my entire house) away, 20 more came out of nowhere.
Our first encounter with this seasonal phenomenon came the second year we lived here and the Irishman was getting the kerosene heater out of storage in the garage and found almost 5 pounds of the little beggars inside it around the wick.  since then  it's a battle we fight almost every late fall and winter. They drive me crazy, they stink and I feel like they're crawling on me all the time. Little terrorists.

 So I am on countdown to the party. Cleaning and de-cluttering (as much as I can). And now I have to get beets today and try to fit that in to everything else. Had an opportunity to get a bunch of small beets that I will can whole, mostly pickled, some plain. Can't pass it up. My pantry is so

  I have a daily list of things to do, and in between I have things like tonight's holiday potluck with the La Vista gang. Was thinking of making the roasted vegetable pot pie (remember the one with the little biscuit angels dancing on the crust ?

 Then I thought maybe a pasta dish would be easier...a porcini mushroom tortellini with a pumpkin butternut squash sauce. Not entirely home made stuff, but even I can only do so much... I am feeling better, but still running a little slow. Woke up to rain that has been going on all night and yesterday, but supposed to stop. And now it has and the sun is out and streaming through the window. Thank goodness. Got the chickens loosed and fed and the critters all taken care of.  Have a grocery list made and will head to town in a bit.. Yesterday the Irishman helped me take down all the light fixtures and clean them and put them back up (he's much better on a ladder than I am).  They were all full of ladybugs and dust. I got more napkin rings made, but only a few. I put a couple of small pork tenderloins in the crockpot with some taters and carrots and that cooked while we cleaned, napped and watched a couple of movies. He slept on the couch for over 2 hours about an hour after we got up (late) and I think it made him feel a little better, although last night he was a coughing fool again...

  Alright. I have a grocery trip on my  Monday list, then back home to clean the spare room and get it ready for potential guests from out of town. That and the aquarium are on today's list. That's probably all I can manage. We'll see.  lol

  Have a wonderful Monday. The weather is cooling off here starting today (last few days have been in the high 60's) and I am hoping it will stay sunny at least. And maybe dry up some of the mud. 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

ZZZZZzzzzzzzzziiiiiiipppppp...and it's 2 weeks til Christmas

 As you can see...I have done some minimalist decorating. I have the little fiber optic tree on the side table in the living room and some wreaths and what-not. The Gifting Stags are in their place of honor.  The other day I was at Goodwill (looking for work sweatshirts for my honey who runs a burn table and tears up clothes like you wouldn't believe) and they were having 50% off all housewares. I got a beautiful never used table cloth that will fit my big table with the leaf in it and 8 napkins for about 6 dollars. It's a Christmas cloth with poinsettias and holly and is just gorgeous.  I have washed it and will put it on the table the day of the party. 

 Am having my annual Winter Soup Party on Friday, starting at 6.  So far, 24 people have rsvp'd they're coming. Holy crowds, Batman !!  With spouses that will be 48 people.  Oh well...I can handle it.  And they won't all show anyway.  Right ?  ****  lol   Have decided that this year will be all eco-groovy, using no disposables. Will be hitting the thrift stores for a few extra bowls and spoons and if need be, use pint canning jars for extra glasses.  All cloth napkins ( have a million of them).  In my moment of insanity, I started making festive napkin rings...

I save the rolls from paper towels and toilet paper for starting seedlings in. I just cut them to size and wrapped in glitter tape and put a mini bow on. Both from Dollar General. Unfortunately, the bows won't stick to the glitter. I have to get glue sticks for my gun tomorrow and attach them with that. I have gold and silver glitter tape and multi-color bows. And there is glitter everywhere, including all over my face. lol

  All the invitees will bring everything except the soups and coffee and spiced cider and hot chocolate. And I have a new friend who's in culinary school who has offered to bring her black bean soup. I might just let her.  lol  All the soups I make will be made with stuff that's in my pantry. I may put out some pickled items for snacks too. But maybe not. We'll see.

  The tentative menu is  Cream of Potato Soup (with an array of toppings on the side)
                                        Indian Spiced Lentil Soup  (made with coconut milk)
                                        Vegetable Beef Soup made from all dehydrated and grown here vegetables
                                        Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

 What do you think ? If Caylee brings her black bean soup, that should feed the multitudes...with people bringing breads and cookies and crackers of all sorts and who knows what else, I think we'll be set.


  I'm especially grateful to be so busy with all keep my mind off things a little.  We had to euthanize our beloved pup Caylee this week...she had a malignant tumor that had filled her belly. She couldn't eat, barely drink and was basically starving to death.  You know me and my has been really hard, and the other two dogs are going around to all her favorite places to sleep and looking for her. We are all laden with grief at this loss, and though it was the kindest thing to do, it was extremely difficult to let go of my best buddy of 7 years. 


  Are you all ready for the holidays ? I am lucky--don't buy much in the way of gifts, though I did find a couple of really good deals for a couple of things for the boy and the Irishman.  And I never do much shopping usually til the week of Christmas.  Will have a nice dinner that day...not sure what yet, but something spectacular  (Hah! Cornish Game hens maybe)  Will do a little baking this week as well... 

 And with that, I am signing off and heading for bed. The dreaded nasty cold that has been making the rounds has hit me too the past few days, but today I felt better.  Hopeful that is a good omen...not a good time to be sick.

  Blessings of love and Peace, from our house on Honeysuckle Hill to yours....


Friday, November 27, 2015

...and let the games begin...

All the little towns around here have put up their Christmas decorations this past week.  Lots of yards are decorated with grizzly ropes of lights and inflatable santas and reindeer and Disney characters. (All of which look particularly gruesome in the daytime when nothing is lit and the inflatables  become partially deflatables.) Today is the craziest shopping day of the year I understand, although I have never once in my 62 years on the planet taken part in it. Today will be no different.

I don't have to buy a lot of gifts anyway, so generally any shopping I do is around 2-3 days before the big day itself.  There might be a couple of things I buy online before that, but not much. I love to cook around the holidays (of course I do) and we usually host a big party at our house sometime in the middle of the month for all the misfits like me who are members of the same tribe. I should probably start planning that soon. God--I am the queen of the last minute planners...

I woke up to a rainy day here on the prairie. It was supposed to rain yesterday, but didn't. The cloud cover kept last night's temperatures warm and the furnace hasn't kicked on for quite a while.  I was gone about half the day yesterday (maybe not quite that much). Came home and laid around and read and then had supper with my son. It was nice and we watched a movie and I  was amazed at how much I enjoyed the solitude after he left. The Irishman is in Wisconsin visiting his father, so all the dogs and half the cats are sleeping with me at night.  The youngest dog, Bella, keeps sitting on the couch looking out the window waiting for him to come home from work. lol He'll be back on Sunday. He called yesterday and said he had just come back from a walk in the snow.  Most of his siblings didn't come for the dinner and he was a little saddened that he might not get the chance to see them too. Our Thanksgiving here was a little fractured and unusual as well. We didn't get together as a family. Sister-in-law too ill to tolerate a lot of noise and chaos, baby sister's kids both with their in-laws (they are having a family dinner today--I might stop by since I'll be down that way for PT this afternoon).  I spent the noon meal with a group of sober alcoholics at a club where they always put on a big Thanksgiving meal for the people who have nowhere to go. It was fun. I took a crockpot corn dish and a pumpkin crunch dessert. Stayed for the meeting afterwards and then came home and hit the couch and heating pad. My right shoulder/neck is hurting...not sure if I slept crooked or pulled something, but it's a bugger. I may just skip PT ... it is really hurting. Last night I put alternating ice and heat on it, used my TENS unit on it and even slathered it with Cryoderm (like Biofreeze). It still hurts this morning...maybe not quite as bad as last night. 

I do need some coffee.  I made the last pot of my Starbucks Sumatran beans this morning, but there is no way I am going to brave the rain and traffic to go to the college town 20 miles from here to get some. lol I'll have some leftover in the morning and drink it cold...and will go pick beans up tomorrow.  lol

I never put out my Christmas decorations until the second week of  December. And by decorations, I mean all the mish mash of stuff I have that does NOT include outside lights or inflatable Santas. I do have evergreens that hang on my front porch railings and a few pieces of outside wooden art that people have given me over the years. I do have a collection of porcelain  Santas,  shelf size and one big one. I have several pieces of  Odd other culture decorations ...I have my beloved Gifting Stags,,,lots of greenery and pinecones and bird nests and sea shells --you know--nature stuff.  Winter Solstice stuff.  One older Nativity set.   And of course, my little fiber optic tree that cats can't climb on and tear down and break ornaments. That reminds me of a lava lamp. lol

Just went out and loosed the chickens. They had 3 eggs for me. We have a heat lamp in the coop that is on a thermal cube, so that when the weather gets cold it comes on. It's too warm today (damp and chilly, but not heat lamp chilly). lol So it's really dark and gloomy out there. Especially inside the coop.  I have a leak in my front bathroom where the exhaust fan never was...there's a new leak in my bedroom closet, but it isn't too bad. We need a new roof but can't afford it, so we patch and re-patch and hope for the best. And keep small tubs and pails under the drips. Such is life...

 Alright ... I am going to a meeting at noon (unless I change my mind) and will spend some time with a friend later today then I'm home and into my snuggle fleece pants and sweatshirt to hunker down for the evening. I started re-reading A Yellow Raft on Blue Water by Micheal Dorris last night. He was such a talented man and wrote several pieces and a book on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He was married to author  Louise Erdrich and they even co-wrote a couple of books. 

**Michael Dorris graduated from Georgetown University in 1967 and earned a Masters Degree in anthropology from Yale. His Native American ancestry (he was part Modoc Indian) led him to found a Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College, where he began teaching in 1972. He also adopted three Native American children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). He later married novelist Louise Erdrich and had three biological children. He published 14 books, including 'A Yellow Raft in Blue Water' (1987) and 'The Broken Cord' (1989). The latter book was an account of the family's struggles with FAS, and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dorris won great respect for having adopted three FAS children; at that time, little was known about the condition, or what to expect when parenting a FAS child, and Dorris' work put FAS on the map. However, Dorris suffered from severe depression, and he and Erdrich separated in 1996. In 1997, he committed suicide.**

Off into the day I go...time for breakfast.


Friday, November 20, 2015

There once was a girl from Nantuckett...

(Well...there probably was, but it wasn't me...)

 It's a jazzy kind of Friday.  I'm doing laundry, and have a list of stuff to do because my brother and sister-in-law and niece are coming up tomorrow from southern Illinois for a visit.  I haven't seen them for a while, so that will be nice. My house, on the other hand, is still in various stages of recovery from not doing any housework for the past months when I was either a) in so much pain I couldn't walk) or b) recovering from a total knee replacement. Believe me...even though I have doing little things of late trying to find some kind of order in the can barely tell. I have to go out and sweep the front porch again because I vacuumed yesterday but the dogs (and their man) keep tracking so much back in every time they go out you can't tell.  Sigh...that's my life.  lol

  The weather is turning cooler and they are predicting snow on Saturday. Probably just too much milk and bread piling up on the store shelves. It is getting down to something crazy like 19 tonight, so I guess anythings possible. But 2 days ago it was 75. Go figure. Whatever happens, I don't care. The only reason I have to go out is to physical therapy and that will only be another week or so.

  The Irishman is going to spend Thanksgiving with his family in Wisconsin. I am staying home. My sister-in-law is feeling very badly and might be nearing the final stages of brain cancer. They are trying the last hurrah on her and have said that after this, there is nothing else to try. She cannot tolerate a lot of noise and chaos, so there won't be a big get together this year.  I'll probably stay home and have a nice quiet day with my son and we will eat until we die. lol  One of my nieces may come with her children, but that isn't a sure thing. Apparently "everyone hates her" and she isn't doing anything for the holidays. People hate me too, but that doesn't stop me. lol

   My friends husband died a couple of days ago of another cancer. I am so sad and relieved for her...she has lost the love of her life, but his suffering is finally over. This is how I will grieve with my brother too, when that time comes.  Cancer seems to be everywhere these days...

    Well, I have done some cleaning...different slipcovers for the chair and loveseat. Swept the porch (this is the only time of year I am not absolutely in love wth my yard and all the trees). Cleaned the windows behind the couch where the big dog leaves a mess with her nosiness., Got a couple of loads of laundry finished and one more to go. Started clearing up the island and getting ready to slice mushrooms for dehydrating. (Sonny boy brought me in a gorgeous 7 lb. half of a hen of the woods he found.) and we can't eat all of it quick enough, so I always dehydrate some to use in winter soups and stews.

  Gotta leave in about an hour for my reschedules physical therapy session. Try to get at least one more thing done before then...

  Hope your day is fun too !!  


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mid- November and the butterflies and small snakes are everywhere

 Today's temps were in the low seventies. Sunny and beautiful. Tonight the rains are coming in for a 2 day visit. The night time temps will stay in the low 50's.  Daytime temps around 60.  We are about to be swallowed up by all the leaves, I sweep and sweep and they come back like magic. The beautiful dance of falling leaves of gold and red and orange is something that never fails to enchant me. 

  I had 2 business meetings today, one that started at noon and the other at 2 that lasted until 4. So ready to retreat home to my sanctuary when it was over !  Before I left the house I had washed dried and put away one load of laundry, washed the second load and put in the dryer, and started the 3rd load. I also made a batch of granola bars for the Irishman's lunches, and got the bars all cut and wrapped. Felt like a productive day. Tomorrow I have to go early to the doc for my INR monitoring blood draw then come back home and start baking french bread (2 loaves) and soft garlic breadsticks (probably about 2 dozen). We are having a pasta potluck and I am also making a couple of pasta dishes. Gonna make a simple chili-mac because it's a local favorite and I just happen to have a lot of leftover chili (on purpose) in the fridge. Not sure about the other dish...either Aglio y Olio  OR  Porcini stuffed tortellini with a butternut squash sauce.  Or perhaps an Alfredo, but that is almost a little too rich. I'll decide once I start cooking. lol  A rainy day will be good cooking weather.

  My chickens have gone insane. If I didn't know better, I' think they were taking LSD.  They repeatedly kick over the waterer that sits inside the coop (it's a gallon size and very heavy when full) and make a complete mess of the floor. They kick all the straw out of the nesting box and insist on laying eggs  willy-nilly all over the place. Then they turn the box upside down . They will lay only one or two eggs a day for a week and suddenly lay 6 every day for 2 weeks. I am seriously considering therapy. For them or me--not sure. lol

  We are considering raising a pig next spring. It would be in a small enclosure back of the property near the pond (but not too near). It sounds like a good idea, but we'll see. 

  The Irishman is going to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving again this year and I am staying here with my family.  Not sure what we are doing, but it may not include my sister in law. She is becoming increasingly sensitive to noise and chaos, and we are a big loud bunch. I have invited my brothers daughter and her kids to come here, as they are basically alone since my brother moved to Georgia. Add to that strained family relations and well...they are still my family and she seems so sad sometimes... There is lots of love to go around. May invite a couple of other friends that have no family nearby...we'll see.  Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner--I'd better get a move on !  I have lost track of this thing you call time...

  No matter what or who--I am cooking a turkey. and that is that.  lol

  The midnight hour beckons and I am tired. Sleeping earlier these days since the knee replacement I started going to bed around 10, but am slowly staying up later and later.Hmmm...good or bad ?  Who knows. 

  Sleep well dear ones...   Namaste.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lost in the woods...

  She's been lost in the labyrinthe of her crazy cockamamie world...  lol   But she's still the queen of Quite A Lot.

 I finally had the knee replacement surgery, for one thing.   I will be having the other one done too within the next 6 months sometime. Depends on the other stuff going on. I had some issues with blood clots  from the surgery, and am taking  Coumadin and trying to find the right dosage to get things leveled out and the numbers of the PT/INR where they are supposed to be. 

             [The prothrombin time (PT) is used, often along with a partial thromboplastin time (PTT), to help diagnose the cause of unexplained bleeding or inappropriate blood clots. The international normalized ratio (INR) is a calculation based on results of a PT and is used to monitor individuals who are being treated with the blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant) warfarin (Coumadin®).]

 It seems I  vacillate between clot city and hemophilia. lol  I had a pulmonary embolism while at the hospital. It was a small clot in my lung (never life threatening) and was addressed immediately. I spent a week at the most amazing hospital ...4 days longer than I was supposed to.  The knee replacement itself went exceptionally well and I am now at 6 weeks post-op and am walking without even a cane. The relief and lack of knee pain is so amazing I am begging them to hurry and do the other. lol  

  This is a pretty brutal surgery. They cut the femur bone in 2 places (above and below the knee), manipulate the muscles and tendons and out with the old and in with new. The pain from the surgery is pretty bad,--who knew cutting your bones in half would hurt so much ??  Those ladies at the circus make it look so easy when they are sawed in half...  

 Anyway I had home health for a few weeks because it was just too hard to get rides and to appts (exhausting) because I live out here on Honeysuckle Hill. I have to have that blood monitoring done weekly, so it was easier for them to come here and the physical therapist too. But now I am driving again and back in life. Have a few weeks of outpatient PT and then I'm finished with that. Very happy to have finally taken care of everyone said I would be.

  I have stopped writing everything for a while here.  No blogging, no magazine stuff, nothing. I wasn't even on the computer at all for days at a time. Been lots of other stuff going sister-in-law's brain cancer is in full progression it seems and we are all dealing with that.  Within a 6 month period 8 people I knew died, one of whom was a family member. The weather was a nightmare here this year and I had no garden to can. Imagine what THAT has done to me.  lol  I did buy some tomatoes and can some salsa. have canned some Cowboy Candy. Have frozen what few bell peppers made it. It was awful.  By next spring my pantry will be empty. Thank goodness I have canned so much the past 2 years when the gardens were bountiful.  One of my peach trees died. My apple and pear tree were hit by fire blight and are going to have to come down. The county sprayed and killed ALL the blackberries along the front of my property one day when I was guys working for them and didn't understand about the wrath of Annie (they do now).

  All in all--a very strange year indeed.

  Hopefully I will get back on track. I have missed you all so much. Missed writing. Missed reading your blogs. I feel like I am coming out of an intensive hibernation. On a bright note,  I did have 2 of my recipes PAID FOR and PUBLISHED !!!!!!!!  by Grit magazine in a special bread issue they put together. As soon as I can find one of my copies, I'll take some pics and show you.  Very proud !  lol  

  You can imagine the disarray of my house after several  months of not being able to do my householding chores. First because I could barely walk there at the end and then the recovery from surgery.  Slowly but surely I am making my way through it. lol



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 !