Sunday, July 3, 2016

Doomed I Tell Ya...

Well...What is there to say about Summer in the Carolina's that hasn't been said before.

It's hot.
It's humid.
We need rain.

The garden is chugging along thanks to the occasional random thunderstorm and (if rain is in short supply) my valiant efforts with the garden hose, which keeps things alive but doesn't do much for production.

At this point in the game we have had a bang up year in terms of summer squash and spring planted carrots.

The zinnias are doing their thing as usual...

But I got a late start on the beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe and cucumbers.  

The plants are looking good so far but what's that I see?  

Temperatures hovering between 95 and 100 for the foreseeable future.  Makes me want to move to Minnesota...(HA!  MP)

The most fun I've had this past month has been watching my grey lady, Sweet Ginny Girl, recover from her stroke.  

It's been 2 months and her appetite is back, she trots when we go out for a walk, and she doesn't pee her bed anymore.  What more could I ask?

Casey Pig is happy enough to be out this morning.  Little do they know that they will both be in the bathtub later.  Scrub a dub-dub.  Stinky Pig in the tub!

And I've been happy enough to sit out on our back porch and watch the birds eat our seed and hear the SNAP of the rat-trap I've set with peanut butter to kill all the field mice that have moved into our area.  

We have 4 homes that share a back ditch area and I've noticed a big ole pile of brush build-up.  Add to that the tasty yummies that grow in the garden and the birdseed...Well, we've seen the little bastards running through the garden and I've managed to kill over 20.  

Probably the biggest news for me is that (I hope) to be on the back end of a really nasty case of poison ivy.  It's been an itch fest around here the past 3 weeks.  I really didn't want to get on Prednisone.  Thought I'd suck it up instead.

I look like a kid with chicken-pox. 
So disgusting with the scabs and welts.
Oh well.  This too shall pass.

Didn't I say that about The Menopause?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Shady Side Of The Street

Today we have a bit of a rainy day forecast.  

It seems that there is a tropical depression forming off the coast of the Carolina's that is pushing a bit of light rain our way along with that moist humid air that makes the dogs pant and makes me run for the splendor of air conditioning.

SM remarked the other day how glorious it was to feel the heat of Summer.  I agree with him to a certain extent.  When the humidity is low and I poke my pasty white legs out into a sunny patch it does feel good.  But if I stick anything else out into the sun I get overheated too easily.

It seems that as I've gotten older, I've become allergic to direct sunlight. Even in the Winter, it heats me up too fast and makes me feel weird.

So I've come to appreciate days that are partly to mostly cloudy.  I can get a lot more outside work done on those days.  The Carolina's are blue sky country for sure.  In the Summer, I try to get all my outside work done before 10 am.  After that I head for the shade either under the porch roof or under the trees.

When we moved here it was nothing but hard concrete dirt.  Not a single tree or shrub.  We were told that this part of our subdivision was built on a farmers field.  Maybe he grazed cattle.  If he grew soybeans or corn then that might explain the depleted soil.

On a day like today when the rain emphasizes the "lushness" of my yard and garden, I've come to appreciate just how far we've come in the 18 years we have owned this property.  

Every bush, tree and flower has been bought and planted with intention.

We do have a cool line-up of naturally germinated Maples that we are allowing to grow.  It makes me happy to think that one day my backyard will be mostly shady.  I envision myself sitting out back with a book and an easy chair listening to the birds sing.

I'll still have plenty of sunny patches that will feel like an inferno within the month.

Still, it's kinda neat to think just how far we've come with this property.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Start Of Summer

One of the radio shows I listen to on the morning drive in said something about how "Memorial Weekend is the start of Summer because of our weather.  Other parts of the country are still in Spring mode, but in the Carolina's Summer is already here."

We've lived here 18 years now and I guess it's true.  
The garden definitely thinks so.  

Our peas needed to be pulled.  They did good this year but the field mice that moved in under the compost pile decided to take more that their fair share.  I've seen mice in the garden over the years and have taken a "live and let live" attitude in the past.  

But this year's pea annihilation got me mad enough to go buy a snap trap before everything else got cranking.  The thought of loosing squash and tomatoes to those little buggers was more than I could take.  Within hours I had my first mouse.  

In other news, Ginny continues to heal from her stroke.  It's been a slow process.  Just when she was getting better and could almost trot, she regressed.  SM came home to find her collapsed on the floor unable to get get back up.  We went back to complete bed rest for several days.  She's back up again, pacing the house as I write this but I don't think she's strong enough yet to attempt walking around outside.  When we take her out for bathroom breaks it's mostly standing around.  Poor Kid.  

Her best days may be behind her.

SM and I on the other hand are chugging along.  Annual physicals at the Dr's office are lined up and we are both aware that we need our butts smacked.  His appointment is next week, but I went in yesterday and got read the riot act over my weight gain and borderline cholesterol levels.  

"Are you making any effort to watch your diet?"  Dr Mc asked. 
"Nooooo....."  I replied breaking out into a sweat.  

Florescent lights, paper gowns...Ah, the humiliation of being a pasty white, middle aged, overweight menopausal woman.

I went home and promptly polished off half a carton of ice cream while I contemplated my sins. 

Eat, drink and be merry is my motto. 
Will I change my evil ways?
Pffft...Probably not.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gosh And Golly Gee...

I find it hard to believe that it's been a month since my last posting.  

It's either been that nothing is happening...Or that it's been so busy that I haven't had time.

As usual, I think it's a bit of both.  
And I also think that I've been in a bit of a funk.  
Still am if I'm honest.

I think my "funk" began when we lost Scooter back in March.

Fortunately, he was fine one day and gone the next, so we didn't have a long drawn out illness.  For all that he was a pain in my tuckas, I miss the ornery little guy.

The garden was slow to start which was weird considering March and April were warm months.  I'm just now getting peas on the vine.

I wandered around the fruit trees yesterday.  Peaches were zapped by frost and while there are a few apples to be found, it's a disappointing year again in the apple department.

SM was remarking on the fact that the grapes have never really come through.  I told him I think it's a maturity thing and we have moved them which messes with their mojo.

I find that I'm moving more and more into flowers here in the garden.  I've got three flower patches going and I'm looking to plant a hydrangea patch in the shady part of the garden.

I'm not wasting time and effort on vegetables that don't produce well here.  This year I'm sticking with the tried and true...Lettuce, carrots, summer-winter squashes, beans and tomatoes.  

SM wanted me to order some strawberry plants but from a time management perspective (as in I've got none) I think it's easier to buy a gallon here and there from our local strawberry shack and fix them up that way.

I took my annual "staycation" here the last week of April and worked on repainting the house exterior.  It was a beautiful week and I got the front of the house and the sides completed.  

I also worked on creating a web page for SM's business.  I enjoy that sort of stuff and SM felt that it was past time that he "validated" his business online.  Funny how we used to go to the Yellow Pages to find the things we needed.  Now, it's all about a Google search.

So my week flew by pretty quickly.
And then Ginny collapsed on my last day of vacation.  

A few days at the ER Vet and the Neuro Vet (Yes, we saw a specialist) and he said it was something called an FCE - Which is basically a spinal stroke.  Quite common I guess.  She lost use 3 of her legs and bladder function but the Vet said that most dogs regain normal function given time.

He was right.  

The first 3 days were downright miserable (and sad) but then on the 4th day she stood up all on her own.  She needed to pee and was tired of doing it in her bed.  SM and I carried her outside and she squatted all on her own.  Did you hear us shouting?  Boy, was that a happy moment.

Since she is 55 lbs I knew I needed some kind of harness to help us to move her around.  The best I could find at the pet store was a life jacket for dogs in the water.  It's worked out well and I'm happy to say that at 1 week post-stroke Ginny is walking around the block and moving through the house normally.  Stairs are still an issue so we strap on the life jacket to help her up and down.  Her right front leg drags a bit but that may get better with time.

SM and I are SO grateful.  I think loosing Scooter and Ginny within a month of each other would have broken me.

SM and I reflect on how we are starting to "slow down" ourselves.  I turned 54 in April and SM will be 58 this Fall.  

We are having conversations more and more about how we hope our "retirement" will look.  This is our favorite time of the year so I think we both like to indulge in fantasies of "I don't need to work" and what we would do with our day.  Still way to early for us to quit work (need the $ and the insurance) but it is interesting having these conversations.

Sorry for the long post but I thought it was a good thing to play catch up since I feel like writing.

Who knows when that will happen again!  
Soon I hope ;) 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

El Zappo

March was an astonishing lovely month here but, like always, Mother Nature has a way of reminding us that we are on her time table not our own.

Last night we had our first hard frost in over a month.

I noticed as I walked the dogs that many folks had covered their tender vittles and early annuals with sheets and blankets making it look a bit like Halloween out there.

I didn't bother. 
I didn't have any annuals planted yet. 
I knew it was going to frost and just shrugged my shoulders and emitted a slight "Meh" to the universe.  

I must really be getting mellow about gardening. 
They recover.  
They always do.

The only thing hanging out in the garden right now are the peas, which can take it, and a minor showing of lettuce and carrots that I planted last month on a whim.  I don't mind loosing any of that.  It was a poor germination anyway.

I can't do anything about the grapes or the crepe myrtles.  I learned long ago that all you have to do is lean in and whisper "Brrrr" around them and they instantly drop all their leaves.


I was actually thinking Pu$$y$ but you never know who you're going to offend anymore.


Technically our last frost date is April 15th and since that is right around the corner, I eyeballed this weeks forecast and we are in a frost free zone for the rest of this week.

Wa-Hoo.  I'm hoping to get my housework done early this chilly am and spend and few delightful hours weeding, raking and planting seeds this afternoon.

It's supposed to rain on Tuesday.  Perfect.  Let Mamma Nature do some of my work for me.

Another month and I'll be fresh eating and cutting zinnias again!

Can't wait!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Big Bang

Our climate changed in a big way this week.  Everything popped.

I have never seen our peach so beautiful.  Notice the lack of bees on the blooms.

We have bees, it's just that they are prioritizing right now and clearly the peach is at the bottom rung.

I caught Casey (The Pig) enjoying the fresh spring grass.

And then SM mowed it all.

It looks wonderful out there doesn't it?  But there's a price to be paid for such beauty.

I never had allergies until we moved here.  (Common complaint.  Everybody says it.)

This year, I got the double whammy of a hard hit with pollen and a nasty head cold that SM passed along to me.  I was wondering why my allergy meds weren't working when it occurred to me that I might be sick too.

So I'm inside this weekend in the safe, sanitized environment of the histime sensitive.  

But I'm OK with that.  Bring it on.  

Get the big BANG over with so I can get out and enjoy another gardening season.

Friday, March 11, 2016

She's Done Gone Crazy

Spring Fever has struck the Carolina's in a BIG way Ya'll.

I see flip flops and shorts.
Hair up in ponytails.
Lawns are being mowed.
Some fool even planted their garden.

Uh wait...That fool is me!

Look REALLY closely and you'll see PEAS!
Last week, SM showed me the long term forecast and seeing that we're having warm (as in 80 degrees) temps for the foreseeable future, this Mama went out and sprinkled lettuce and carrot seeds in one raised bed.  In the other bed I punched snow and sugar peas into the soft, warm dirt.

Bhwaa Haa Ha.  ( Insert evil laughing and eye twitching here.)

Climate change?  El Nino?  Who cares?

Peach blooms about to POP!
The 2016 Spring Gardening Season has begun!

Wouldn't it be lovely if I could get a lettuce crop a whole month earlier than usual?  

I can usually harvest wonderful salads from May until mid to late June when the heat makes the lettuce bolt.

Heck, maybe I should stick some summer squash in.  Cucumbers anyone?

Remind me that I was acting all crazy when I'm out there cursing and covering up my precious babies NEXT month when we will undoubtedly crash back to normal with freezing cold temperatures.

But what the heck...My hoops are up and ready!  

I'll take a chance...You never know.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Snap, Crackle and POP

NC usually treats us pretty well over the Winter months.  50's for highs and 30's for lows.

Doesn't suck.

There are always a few weeks that zippity-doo-da down to the teens and we are having a visit of super cold (for us) weather here this weekend.

What that gives us is a LOT of static electricity, crocodile skin and dry coughs from lack of moisture in the air.

Image result for static electricity cartoon

Scooter is thrilled with the "shock" factor as he scuffs along the carpeting and then sticks his nose on the metal legs of our coffee table.  

SM and I fare less well as we inadvertently ZAP each other in passing.

Image result for static electricity cartoon

I have a pot of water on to boil to get some steam in the air but it's not helping much.

Everyone at work is complaining.  I told a patient yesterday that I now know why us old farts head for Florida or Arizona over the winter.  

My blood is thin Ya'll...

Image result for florida is for old people

Saturday, February 6, 2016

So What Happened In January?

Welcome back to live time blogging.  

So what interesting, blog-worthy things happened during the past month in real life?  Let's see...

Ginny tore a toenail off.  She slid along the deck boards and snagged it.  I guess it's one of the most common dog injuries according to the Vet.  We got the bleeding under control and she didn't seem too bothered by it, but we ended up taking her to the Vet for look see and a round of antibiotics.

SM bought a "new to us" 2009 Toyota Highlander.  SM drives a tremendous amount for his work and needed new wheels.  He'd been searching for over 6 months and finally found one (at the right price of course) at a dealership 2 hours away.  Highlights?

*Buying cars is such a time suck.  Getting everything arranged at our Credit Union took about 4 hours.  (Are you kidding me?) 
*Then we drove 2 hours in a hard, driving rain (during evening rush hour) to get the stupid thing.   
*The dealership made us "schedule" a closing appointment with the finance manager and when we get there, he's occupied closing another deal.  Whaaat?  
*This time my "Are you kidding me?" was verbalized in such a way that all the sales guys scattered.  SM and I stuck our heads together and had a good laugh over that.  I swear we had the fastest close they'd ever experienced.  The finance guy stopped trying to explain the paperwork as I zipped along initializing and signing everything. Hey...It ain't my first rodeo.  In and out in 30 minutes flat. 
*Then the 2 hour drive home in the dark in the pounding rain.  I'm plugging along at a safe 65 and folks are flying by me.  It always amazes me how people can speed along at 90 when the roads are literally ponding from all the rain.

In the end we got home safely and now SM and I are both set up with reliable transportation for the near future.  Of course having 2 car payments sucks but we went almost 5 years without one.  Eventually it all comes back around.

I suppose the most interesting thing is that SM and I ran to Fort Myers Beach over the last week in January.  

We have family in the Naples and West Palm Beach area but like to stay on the FtM Beach Island near SM's brother Ronnie who has had a 5 week timeshare there for 20+ years.  

SM and I rented a condo through VRBO.  SM has always been a hotel kinda guy but I pushed for a rental this time and I'm so glad I did.  This is the first time we've ever rented a place but I can tell you it won't be our last.  It was easy to do and the condo was wonderful.

The weather was 50/50.  We had 3 good days and 3 bad.  I guess January is usually the dry season in Florida but this year they had 13+ inches of rain.  

The upside of this is that the storms churned up the gulf floor and tossed TONS of sea shells (alive and dead) onto the beach.  Now typically you can get fined $100 per offense if you pick up live sea shells with critters in them.  The storms had tossed the sea shells so far up on the beach that no high tide would ever bring them down.  By the time we got there the locals were encouraging people to "shell" everything and anything because the sea life was dying and things were starting to stink.  Phew!

My in-laws, Gary and Yvonne, who live in West Palm came over and started shelling.  They planned on creating a "Shell Garden" at their house.  I tagged along thinking I might pick up a shell or two for myself.  

I ended up picking up a whole bag of dead shells without much effort.  Gary and Yvonne ended up with 2 tubs full of dead shells.  They estimated the weight at around 50 pounds.  Yvonne told me that it was "extraordinary" shelling.  That it might normally take 2 years just to get a 5 pound bucket of shells.

We left the stinky stuff on the beach.  Thousands of conch shells with snails in them and just as many nine-legged starfish.  People were walking off the beach with handfuls of starfish.  STINKY.  No thanks.  

Will I be creating a "shell garden" here in NC? 
I rather have the flowers. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Why February Is Like Tuna Noodle

** I am dedicating JANUARY 2016 as the month of the "rewind".  I'm going to highlight some of my personal favorite posts this month. Enjoy these Blasts From The Past. ***

February sucks.  There...I said it. 

As far back as I can remember I've never liked the month of February.  I find it to be the "hump day" of the calendar year.  It's the bridge between the excitement of the New Year that January brings and the hope and promise of March.  March shouts that Spring is right around the corner and soon enough the Winter will be a distant memory.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...there's Valentines Day, but if you were traumatized like I was at an early age, (no valentines in my shoebox) than you've always held a certain disdain for a holiday that tells you to buy chocolate, jewelery or the traditional Hallmark card to proclaim your love and devotion. 

So there's no Valentines Day celebrated in this house.  I subscribe to the Eight Days a Week philosophy of love.  A work in progress so to speak.  "I'll TRY to remember John!"  LOL...Just like a marriage.  Some days in perfect harmony, others...not so much.  (I love how PURE their voices are!)

So why is February like tuna noodle casserole?  (I'm sure you all clicked on this post just because of the title alone!) 

Well, last weekend found me with no inspiration in the food department.  What to make for the upcoming work week?  (I try to cook for SM on the weekends and let him do the leftover thing during the week.  I'm too tired once I get home to cook anything so SM is on his own during the week.) 

I had ZERO ideas so I asked SM if he had any cravings. 

"Nope.  None.  That's what's weird..." SM says  "I'm not hungry for ANYTHING."

"It's the winter blahs.  It's got me too." I observe.  "Well, try and think of something for me to cook or you'll be eating sandwiches and soup all week."

A few minutes later SM proclaims "I know.  How about tuna noodle casserole?"

"Sure.  I'm pretty sure I've got everything we need.  I can fry up those mushrooms you bought the other day and toss them in too."  I offer.

So away into the kitchen I go.  

I toss some egg noodles in the water, pull down a can of cream of mushroom soup, a couple of cans of tuna and fry up the mushrooms.  As I'm standing there stirring the shrooms, I'm thinking "This dish has nothing in it that I like." 

I don't do gluten.  Shrooms are right up there on my "nasty" list.  YUCK.  Even the color once it's all put together, it's a kind of beige, quivering mass, is unappetizing.  I wonder how to dress it up before I toss it into the oven to bake.  Oyster crackers!  More beige!!!

 I crunch some of them up on top to jazz it up and into the oven it goes.

While it's baking, I reflect on how tuna noodle was a staple on our family's menu growing up.  When you had 6 mouths to feed, variations of pasta or rice dishes were a constant every week.  Meat was ground beef so I suppose tuna was a kind of luxury.  Spanish rice, macaroni and cheese with hot dogs sliced on top, spaghetti...we ate those things all the time when I was growing up.

So to me, tuna noodle casserole is like the month of February.  It's beige, it's always there.  It's something to just get through.  There is something better on the other side.

Later that evening, after SM has eaten the days offering, I ask him how it was.

"You know, that was the best tuna noodle I ever had."  SM says.

Just goes to show you that tuna noodle, like the month of February, has some redeeming qualities after all.