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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Purge and Picky Recipients

leftover craft paints and supplies


The last time I used these paints was about six years ago. SIX YEARS! Why have I kept it? I, too, wonder. However, these things happen when I plan to use them again. Plus, I have not seen fit to get rid of them until now. Oh, there is a package of feathers that seems to have had bugs.
 
Now, I am bumfuzzled as what to do with these paints. No, I have not examined them to see if they are still good. They are slow moving.
 
If I toss them out, I will feel guilt and wonder forever if they were still good to use.
 
However, giving them away will be difficult in my world. I have no intentions of driving them around and offering them to people who will turn up their collective noses.
 
Example: I cleaned scrap from my sewing room and sewing supply room. I had enough tiny scraps, many just strings attached to pieces the size of a washcloth. No one would come here and pick them up. "Just load them in your trunk and drop by. I will see if I want them. "  HELL NO!
 
I smiled and left the place I had just happened to stop on my way home. If I called someone, I got a grilling as to the size, fabric content, size of largest piece, size of smallest, colors, etc. My answer remained the same: I don't have time or energy or motivation to do an inventory. Let me know if you want to drop by. Everything will be on the curb on Thursday and remain until the garbage runs next Thursday.
 
Giving things away can be exhausting.
 
One woman came by with her husband to find pieces of fabric for the kindergarten in their church school. They took a bit and thanked me. I pressed them to take more but they said they wanted to leave some for others. After I assured them no one else I called was interested, the took lots. There was enough to fill a full-sized pickup bed AND mounded up. The couple took about two cubic yards in their van.
 
There is a bookcase on the curb that I told friends about, but they want me to work for them when I don't feel like doing what they want.
What color is it?
Solid wood or pressed wood?
What kind of wood?
Painted or stained?
Exact measurements? They want me to take a tape out!
Can I change the shelves or are they nailed in place?
Is it dirty?
 
All the questions exhaust me because all the decision as to whether they will take it or not rests on me. Plus, I will have to go to the bookcase, get out, measure, write it down, make decisions and report back..
 
These craft paints and fabric paints go in the trash unless you can tell me a way to get out of it that does not involve me answering innumerable questions, driving, or trying to convince someone to open up the bottles independently from me or my being in on the decision as to whether the paints will be okay for crafts. I do NOT want to hear later that someone ruined a craft or had a disappointed child. I do not think they are sellable at a thrift store. Someone needs to experiment with them.
 
Do you ever have trouble getting anyone to consider  a freebie? There are very few freebies I can guarantee when I know I will hear from the person if the freebie disappoints.  The feathers with a larva in it is in the trash.
 
Your turn
Have you ever had anyone put all the decision on you when you offered something free? A thousand and one questions when you make it clear it is just on the curb?
 

 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thelma Got Her Groove Back

I will wash it when I use it.
It did snow yesterday.

It has been seven weeks since Thelma laid an egg. On Friday, I was surprised by the discovery of an egg in her nest as she stood up. I had quit going in and looking in the nest.  I know this will not continue, but I am rejoicing because I will have a good egg for breakfast. I bought eggs at the store, but just won't eat them.

She is three-years-old and it is cold and darker. In the summer I was getting about five eggs each week from her. Lucy is too young to lay and Louise has retired.

Your turn
Have your chickens stopped laying for the winter and surprised you with an egg? Other than light and sufficient protein, do you have any ideas for improving production? How about a good talk for hens? I can line them up and give a pep talk.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Small Economies for a Quarter


6 new Tupperware lids, never used-for two quarters
 
I only have divided, dinner dishes with these expensive, vented lids. I do have bowls to fit these. I have a tall "pitcher" and two bowls that the small lid will fit. I have Tupperware from the mid 60s, so these will be useful.



picture hangers and yarn
both for a quarter
 
Very little of the yarn is missing. It cost $0.78 at Walmart back when they used green discount stickers. If I can find my one and only crochet hook, this will be a doll blanket for the little g-daughter. The old packages of acrylic are soft. Now, they yarn is hard to work with, not cuddly when finished, and hurts my fingers to crochet it. Have you found a difference in the hand/feel of old and new yarn? Does anyone know why the old stuff is soft and the new has a hard feel to work?
 
The package of 8 Bulldog hooks that are rated for 20-lbs has 7 of the hooks and nails still in the package.  For $0.12 how could I resist? I have never found these in a yard sale. Have you?
 
Since I now only stop at a yard sale I am passing, I am limited in the number of yard sales I attend. Plus, I do not need to add anything more to my house right now. I don't need more stuff right now, but these are the type storable items, things you put in a cabinet to use later, perfectl for stashing away, unlike a new set of dishes or glasses that will lived boxed up forever. Get it?
 
Everything in this post cost me $0.75--three quarters.
 
Your turn
Have you found any good deals for a quarter? Okay, just share your good deal.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Surprise RED Christmas Gift




shadows from sun
 
On the weekend before Christmas, I was riding along in an electric cart in a store. Suddenly, an employee with whom I talk was frantically trying to stop me. She said for me to come "right over here." Another employee who is especially nice ran and was digging around under the cash register area.

She emerged with something RED and lumpy, a scarf, and proceeded to wrap it around me. She said I looked so good in RED, that RED was just my color and she wanted me to have the RED scarf, that it would keep me warm. They were working the Christmas rush, so they rushed to me. I was a little shocked by all the suddenness of their movements, thinking there was an emergency..
 
As I tried to figure out why I suddenly received this gift out of the blue, we all three arranged it.  The woman who was digging under the counter said she saw how red was my color and was struck by me in the color. She continued to gush about how RED was my color. I caught both the women three separate times that day and Christmas Eve, asking them again in different ways--WHY?
 
Their answers never changed.
 
I could not take a picture of me in the scarf. It hangs almost a foot beyond the part in the photo. Let me tell you about the scarf. It is made of thread that is several subtle shades of red and several shades of off white/wheat. There is a silver fleck running through it, a silver thread that shows up as a fleck.
 
When the women saw me, I was wearing my RED, silk, twin sweater set (expensive) for mood. Over that, I had on a RED, fleece coat I made. On top of it all was an fairly expensive RED coat--one layer of rain jacket material. However, the styling on the jacket is pretty cool and not utilitarian at all. As a matter of fact, this jacket repels wind, but I might as well be wearing toilet paper for all the water it repels.
 
The RED, silk twin set has a duster sweater and was very expensive many years ago. My friend gave me a Christmas gift that was horrendous except for the gift receipt which I used for the twin set. The fleece coat was very inexpensive (cheap) but looks so classy because of the styling and color. The "rain" jacket repels wind only and is useful over layers. The RED, knit scarf which you can see in the picture was found at a yard sale for $.50 or $1, forgot which. Yes, I had on RED gloves!
 
I wear the lacy, new, surprise scarf over the yard sale scarf. I needed the knit scarf for neck warmth and the new, lacy one is tied lower, so that the knot on the lacy one is below. It has been frigid with a fierce wind here in Alabama.
 
I wore the new scarf for three days when I went out and received more compliments and smiles than I can count. Yes, RED becomes me. But, more than that, I have loved RED since I was a tiny girl, well before I knew about flattering colors.
 
As you can see, I was decked in RED, all RED. (with black pants and shoes and purse.) In the picture you can see the red coat to the left of the picture, the red yardsale scarf at my neck and to the right. See, they all go together.
 
The yarn came from Michael's and is something like "sashay." The clerk digging under the register knitted the scarf. I am sure she wore it to work that day and gave it up for me. Cooool!
 
Your turn
Have you ever gotten a surprise gift from people who have just no reason from people you barely knew? Raise your hand if you love RED. What color flatters you?
 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Feast

As usual,
Thelma has started pecking away while
Louise is making sure that
Lucy gets nothing.
Lucy keeps darting in, but
Louise is vigilant.
 
Can you see the difference in the sizes of Thelma and Louise? Louise gets larger while Thelma seems to be shrinking.

I just thought they deserved a treat, so they got some of my broccoli, not wilted, just right. Apple and broccoli looked festive, fitting right in with the season.
 
Merry Christmas from the girls!
 
 
Your turn
Did you do something special for your hens? Do your old hens get ornery? Do other old hens shrink?

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Grandchildren


my grandchildren

Actually, these are my son's children. My daughter has an older boy and girl.
 
The little grandson (7)looks just like my son and me. The little granddaughter (5) looks exactly like her mother and nothing like my family. They are a beautiful family.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tidbits

Not Cella Chocolate Covered Cherries

 
I just wanted Cella Chocolate Covered Cherries, that's all. I was slightly obsessed after I could not find them at Walmart this week. Besides that, I wanted a black knit scarf for my cold little neck and one I would like does not exist. So, I set off to stop at every store in town. I found a houndstooth scarf that I have been searching for, but could not afford two scarves.
 
This is another problem. I only buy scarves on sale. Scarves priced $40 were marked to $3 several years ago, so I bought a half dozen. Christmas was covered for both daughters that year. Now, I cannot find mine...boo hoo. As a matter of fact, I own three blacks scarves and cannot find one! So, buying a scarf at full price is going to hurt. It would hurt if I had the money to buy a new black scarf and could force myself to pay full price, something that will not happen in my parsimonious life.
 
CVS was on my radar, so I scanned my card and received four coupons. Usually, there is nothing I need. Not so this time. There was a coupon for $1.50 that I used on deodorant that was marked $2.49. The same deodorant is $1.74 at WM. It is a teeny size just like the WM size$1.74 size, but it was only $0.99. The 10  interdental brushes were $3.99; the coupon I used was for $3. I do know that $.99 is an excellent price. I was thrilled to pay $2.16 for my two purchases.

Thursday, I received $3.15 for cans and a table base from a yard table. I now have a table top to go with the table legs from a table with a ruined top. Yay for free tables.
 
A friend did not know you can scan your own card in CVS and the little machine spits out coupons. The best part is you go to the CVS machine in front of the store instead of going though the line to the register. Did you know that?
 
Devil dog did not come around Thursday since exbf was here to catch him. I had put the hens up at 3:30 on Friday so they would not have to deal with his chasing them around. Saturday, devil dog was here, frightening them so the would not leave their nests to eat. I wondered why they did not respond to me. Then, I saw devil dog about 30 feet behind me, out of my sight but well withing the hens' sight.
 
Moving boxes on Thursday, I found where the rat had been gnawing on something. I still have not figured out what he gnawed on. I had moved the boxes elsewhere and came back to see the gnawings later. Nasty!

Sunday, the hens would not leave their nest to eat because the dog is hanging about the yard. Finally, I let them out about 1 pm.

Your turn

Lately, have you found good deals? Have you been able to salvage parts of one item to use with another salvaged item to make a whole new useful item? Got any devil dogs? Do you take advantage of CVS kiosk coupons?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chicken Chasing Is Not A Sport!

The hens stayed in their pen for two days, and they were not happy campers. They were still terrified for several days, depressed and not eating. Then, they became eager to be free. Yes, free to be chased, killed.

Today, I gave them their freedom, and they were very leery of me when I went to lure them with oats...heh heh...and lock them up. My doctor's appointment was at 2:20 pm, so I figured I would not be home before 4:00 pm, the hour the devil dog always comes around. This group of doctors has a rule sort of like a university class full of freshman. You do not miss the first appointment. If you do, you are in trouble. So, off I went, leaving the hens vulnerable.

At 4:00 pm, I pulled into the driveway. Over motor noise, the radio playing, and with the windows up, I could hear it. My blood ran cold. My face was aflame with anger. Thelma was cackling for all she was worth, over and over. As I went to the backyard, I could see her standing on the 4 ft chain link fence. The neighbors put a wood fence right up against my fence that was here when I moved here. It would take little for her to be in Blackie's yard.

I went back to rescue her and calm her down, wading through bare wisteria vines. As I reached her and took her off the fence, she exploded in feathers and cackling. I had to drop her because she was getting her wings caught in the thick wisteria vines. She rushed back to the top of the fence. I looked down and the dog was at my feet. No wonder she tried to escape so frantically!I reached down to get devil dog's collar, and he stood still and smiled at me. There was no collar, so I got him by the scruff of his neck and he cried out something awful. So, I let him go and got Thelma.

The devil dog was in their pen when Thelma and I approached but left when I arrived. I put Thelma in and latched the door. Back around the front of the house, Lucy was sitting on the falling down front porch, right up against the door. Louise was nowhere to be seen. Even though I was sad at not finding them, I left in the car to track devil dog.

People in yards were looking at me going 2 mph, so I asked them who the dog belonged to, and no one had ever seen it before. After four blocks I lost devil dog and went home.

Back at the house, Lucy and Louise were waiting to go in the pen. I opened the door and waited until Lucy found her way in. She finally decided that she could get through none of the openings in the chain link and just used the door.

Tomorrow at 4 pm, devil dog and I are going to have a "come to Jesus meeting."

Your turn
Would I be mean to take this dog to the dog pound? Returning him to the owner is difficult when I do not know where he lives.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crocheted Stocking and Holly

original pattern


I started in the late 1970s, crocheting these stockings from a pattern I just made up. I cannot follow a pattern even though I can read them perfectly. I know I used a G crochet hook because that is the only one I own. Everything I make calls for G because that is the only hook I own.
 
Maybe this is how I did this: crochet about 7 or 8 chain stitches. Turn around and crochet one double crochet in each stitch. Then, keep going around until you have crocheted up the other side of the chain of 7. Close the toe. Start crocheting around the opening maybe 7 double crochet stitches. Make two rows of red. Do the same with a row of white. Then, make a loop by tying it of a crocheterly manner...lol. All weird leftover strings fit inside the stocking.  Finished, the stocking is 2 inches long.
 
Don't ask me what kind of yarn. It's fuzzy. It's soft. Now, the fuzzy acrylic hurts my fingers. I think maybe it is Orlon or polyester. Do you know?
 
Maybe someone can write a better set of instructions for me?
 
My children were thrilled to take sets of a dozen to teachers for teacher gifts. My family received less along with a gift. Sometimes, I put one on top of a gift. Would your children be thrilled to give these to a teacher? Friends said back then that their children did not want a homemade gift for the teacher. Mine even thought a half-pint of muscadine jelly was a really good gift. I must have raised them right or done something right.
 
The holly is my lovely, lethal holly bush, one of many that I have used for decorations in the house over the years. I also cut "bouquets" of these for anyplace I go  to celebrate during the holidays. I go out in leather gloves with sharp scissors to cut these oh-so-prickly beauties.
For those who asked about my surgeries .

Your turn
Do you have limited stitches, one crochet hook, and lots of things you can make by crocheting? If you crochet one of these and photograph one or more, I will put it on my blog. I will love you forever if you can formulate a better pattern and let me share it with my friends.

When I Will Have Surgery and Why I Have Not Have Had Surgery

People have written me and asked why I don't have surgery. Others email and ask when I am having surgery. There were and are problems.

I solved the first problem--chickens. I had to bring them in each night and finally got chicken security completed. For a whole month, they will have to live in the pen 24/7. That is completed though not paid for completely.

As I was considering how I would be able to live without help, someone to help me after surgery, I tried doing things as though I had had surgery and was here convalescing. Some of you may not know they type surgery I need. 1--repair torn rotator cuff. 2--repair torn meniscus. 3--repair spine.

Spine problems--last vertebra sits on bone; two herniated discs; L5 is out of place. My legs and feet are going numb and affecting my safety when I walk.

Let's talk about the spine surgery. I will be in the hospital for 7-10 days. The rehab nursing home will be 3 weeks. So, I will be gone from here for a month. I have exbf who can come once a week and clean their pen, change leaves and pine straw on the ground and in sleeping box and nest box. My neighbor, Tony, will feed them once each day. That will have to do. So, I must amass enough food for that. Boxes of oats, cans of whole kernel corn, and something else will form the core. He will not have access to my house, so exbf will have to bring food to him. Or, I can figure out what else to store at Tony's house for the remainder of their food. Tony may not have scraps enough for them. I may scramble enough eggs and store in snack bags in a freezer bag for their protein. I usually give them produce that I do not expect Tony to go and get. Lots to think about, for sure.

I pretended I had my left arm secured to my chest like it will be for five weeks, according to the nurse. I cannot rise from the chair with back and knee problem using only my right arm and hand. I told the doctor's nurse who talks with me. She said I needed a motorized recliner. She told me to get one that reclined fully because I would need to sleep there. Whew, that's good because I cannot get out of bed with only one arm. Remember, I have back and knee problem. The back problem affects ability to use my legs.

I pretended that I had to keep left knee straight for a week, just like I did when I had meniscus repaired on right knee, and I tried to rise from my chair and then from my bed. I cannot do so because of back and shoulder problem. sigh  The same doctor who operates on my shoulder will operate on the knee. A different orthopedic surgeon will operate on the back.

A prescription for a walker (knee) and a recliner with motor was sent to me. When I priced a recliner for someone as tall as I am and one that would be comfortable to sleep in, I had a bit of sticker shock--$800. No, Medicare will not pay for it. Yes, it has to be a recliner that will stand me up with a motor.

My friend suggested I buy one from Craig's list like she did for her mother. I doubt any individual  will hold  a chair while I pay for it, making payments. Plus, the time it would take to find a recliner that lies flat might take a long time once I saved my money. Then, if a cat or dog has been on it, my allergies will bother me.

If I have back surgery first, I am afraid that the knee and arm that need surgery would hinder me from being able to go through the physical therapy needed to recover the ability to walk. When I have surgery, I will not be able to walk before I go to the nursing home. So, I need the arm and leg to function.

I cannot lift a gallon of milk with one hand because I also injured both hands in two separate accidents, neither of which was my fault! So, I will have to switch to more expensive half gallons. I cannot get the lid off the peanut butter with one hand. I can open jelly and a loaf of bread. I feel like I am drowning and my life is flashing before my eyes.

Further worries. I have no one to help me. One friend told me that a nurse would come help me. This friend no longer talks to me because she is afraid I will need her. So be it.  I cannot get my pants down and back up with only one hand. No, I cannot just wear a nightgown because I would freeze to death. And, I cannot wait to pee until the nurse comes. Exbf is too far away. Charlie would not come here even if I begged him to. He cannot afford to miss work. Besides, that is 75 miles for exbf and 50 for Charlie. Besides, I don't know Charlie that well. There is no place in my house for anyone to spend the night, honest.

Children are 1000 miles away with children and jobs. No, do not suggest one would come. not happening. Women friends are over 50 miles from here. "Friend" from here are practically non-existent. The several who might help have disabilities or kids in trouble. I fear anyone knowing I will be gone for a month. This is a safe neighborhood, but you never know. And, I will be totally incapacitated for the back surgery for a whole month.

I need a few decent night gowns ad panties, just Walmart quality for the hospital. Plus, I have to pay for the physical rehab nursing home to do my laundry. That will never happen because the detergent would either make me have an itchy rash or cause my allergies to make me stuffy. Therefore, I will wash my nightgowns and panties myself in the sink if need be.

If I had a social support system in this town and sufficient funds for the recliner, I would have had all three surgeries 18 months ago. I do not want to lose the ability to walk. Really, it all boils down to money. There are no programs. I tried.

Oh, I forgot about the car. The driver door lost the ability to stay open with a huge POP. I have to fight to get out now. I am not sure how I will manage to fight my way out of the car. I must be a sight now.

There is a church that delivers meals once a week. They refuse to bring me a dinner. Meals on wheels has boxed potatoes, TPV meat, and white bread. No thanks.

I don't have any of the "old people diseases" --diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. But, my joints are falling apart. Some people tell me that I don't need surgery, just prayer. Another told me a massage would cure me. it is too late for Glucosamine Chondroitin to help. Someone save me from people who deny I actually need surgery.  I am sorry I feel so lost, confused about this issue of what to do to regain my mobility.

UPDATE: I thought I made it clear--I will have surgery when I can afford the chair that will enable me to get up--the recliner that will lift me up.

I had my eyes dilated today, so this looking at the screen is killing me. Grammar and sentence structure are suffering, and I cannot be trusted to even improve this.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Crying Is Expensive

Last Friday, I did not hear of the shootings at the elementary school until about 4:30. Tears came. I felt depressed all evening. I was exhausted from Charlie and Tommy being here, my not getting rest during the day, following them around and putting out fires, chickens being chased, chickens being frightened, tracking and catching chickens. The last thing I needed was to cry.

My grandson is in first grade. His mother and his father, my son, are school teachers, junior high and high school, respectively. One daughter is a first grade teacher. The other daughter has a child in elementary school and another in high school. I could not help but imagine losing one of these adults or children and the pain it would cause me. I cried for all the lonely siblings and shattered parents. I did not cry for me, just for the pain I vaguely and acutely knew they were suffering.

Over the weekend, I would just become weepy and try to hold it back. As the tears came, I tried to think of something else. Nothing worked. Besides, not crying stuffs my sinuses, too. My sister said the same thing happens to her.

Why is crying expensive?  My sinuses fill and do not drain; Eustachian tubes cause me problems and make my throat sore. Ears hurt; ears throb. Then, my chest becomes congested. Now, I have a fever.  am taking OTC drugs in order to "fix" me. Chicken noodle soup was on the menu. Hall's Mentholyptus is dessert. I hope the Mucinex works soon. I may hit the horseradish next. This is definitely a night for putting Vick's Vaporub on the soles of my feet to stop the coughing. Yes, I wear socks over my feet. Hopefully, I will clear this up and not need antibiotics.

My usual limited productivity is further curtailed. My joints ache from the elevated temperature. I feel very detached. I have had to drive very carefully because I am distracted. I need to sleep.

But, I have my children and grandchildren. I feel gratitude.

Your turn
Does crying ever cause you to eventually run a fever? Have sinus problems? Earaches? Does holding back tears do the same thing?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blow Dryer and Electric Fan Save

Once upon a time, my handheld, hair blowdryer quit. I was very sad because I could not afford another. Remembering how overheating might make it cut off and waiting for it to cool down might make it return to life, I was hopeful. I waited.
 
Then, I examined the fan, waiting for it to cool and restart. As I held the fan, put it down, picked it up, I saw something amiss. Looking at the opposite end of where the air blows out, the air intake, I noticed the mesh screen over the intake was matted with dust. Aha!
 
Armed with tweezers, toothpicks, a toothbrush,  several Q-tips, and a vacuum cleaner, I set to work. CAREFULLY. I cleaned the screen of lint. You might say I detailed the fan and all that is attached.
 
I revived a box fan in the same manner, removing the large grills over the back and front. The fan blade and all was  nasty with dust, hair, and just plain gunk. Since it did not work, I figured I had nothing to lose. I cleaned and cleaned and pulled hair. (My hair is long.) I had little fear of ruining it since it did not work, anyway. But, it survived to run for many more years before I gave it away.
 
For several years I rescued fans on the curb, cleaned them of lint and dust, washed the grill, and put them back together. Anytime I heard anyone say their fan gave out and another one was not in the budget, I gave away a Rescue Fan. I know what it is like not to be able to afford a fan under $20 or a hair dryer that is under $10.  I just hate to buy anything I can repair. Have I said that?


Because I don't believe in throwing away anything that can be repaired, It's been great to have this knowledge for many years of happy hairdryer and fan repair.
After the initial cleaning of my hair dryer, I regularly clean the lint screen. The hair dryer never overheats since then, and I have saved the expense of a new hair dryer.  My hairdryer is probably 20-years-old. How old is yours?

Your turn
Do you perform preventive maintenance on your hairdryer to lengthen its life?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Damned Dog Scattered My Chickens


Devil Dog
Dustmop
Evil Devil
Okay, Thursday about 4 pm is when the dog frightened my hens. Ethel never came to the pen. She was killed Friday morning.  The other three were in shock.

Friday morning, no one would eat. Their food from Thursday was still in the pen as was Friday morning food. Friday about 4 pm, the dog came back and I heard chickens terrified all over the yard. I rushed out and only the dog remained. I could hear a chicken in the neighbor's yard. Ethel, who had slept alone on Thursday night, was in her nest box.

I drove around the block because I cannot walk that far. There was Thelma in the yard of old Blackie chicken, out front, not in the neighbor's  6' fence. I stopped and called her. She knew it was me and reacted, confused but excited, looking around for me. However, she was not about to be cajoled or caught.

Finally, I asked Lena to come over and help me. She did. While she was on the way, I opened and set up an empty box in the car. I told Lena to just be visible, a human barrier, not to lunge at her. So, Thelma was not about to be caught this time, either. She decided she wanted to get up on the porch into a corner. Fine with me...heh heh heh. I will have her cornered. She just sat on the second step and waited for me to pick her up--no struggle.

At home, I had Lena carry a flashlight for me and look under bushes as we went back to the pen. She got to the backyard and said, "Well, there is a chicken right here. " "Where?" "Right on the porch."

Lena carried Thelma in the box and I went up and picked up Louise who was not happy and flapped me in the face. I suppose she decided to just sit there and sleep there since the pen was closed. I got them all settled and fed them. Still, no one is eating. No one has eaten since Wednesday night.

I am allowing the dog to stay around here until Charlie or Tommy helps me catch it and deliver it to the pound. The dog comes and goes. But, that dog will never come back again once he is caught! People do not like to have to pay $50 to get their dog  back.

When a dog shows up only after about 3:30 pm, I know that kids let it out of the house after school. I doubt I will see the dog again this weekend. The hens are way too skittish to be allowed in the yard. Besides, Thelma probably did not know she could fly over a 6' fence. Hopefully, her little chicken brain will forget. Maybe she did not fly over the tall fence. Maybe she flew over the 2' fence.

So, today, Saturday, the food was still there from Thursday and two feedings on Saturday. I fed them again. They will not be let out until they calm down. I am so lucky I found Louise and Thelma.

I have told you that Louise and Thelma slept  together in one box and Lucy and Ethel slept in the lower box. Thursday night, Lucy slept alone, looking so little and cold. When I went out this morning, Thelma had decided to sleep with Lucy. Louise was all alone. I was happy for Lucy but unhappy for Louise. Since she has been pecking everyone, I suppose she deserves not to have a warm companion.

Am I overly involved in chicken lives?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday Almost Killed Me!

I had two helpers, both capable, but annoying. I needed both of them, but not at once. I thought I could handle it, but I am not that strong...lol.

First helper--9:30 a.m.
Exbf brought all the Cokes into the house--4 12-packs from yesterday and the 24-pack from two days before. I won't need Cokes until the Fourth of July.

He emptied two produce boxes that held little but was produce for the hens. When it rots or gets stinky, they don't get it.

Then, he brought from the  road the trash can and recycling bin, putting in more trash that I set on the porch.

I save my plastic vinegar jugs, so he took two more down to join the several dozen. I made a loop in some string to hook onto a nail up high on the basement column that is a support. When I empty another jug, he threads another plastic jug onto the string and then winds the free end on the nail.

The pink 4x4 foot box that has turnips growing needed an adaptation. The turnips were growing through the chicken wire laying down in the box. He put some boards into the corners of the box and then put poles in the corners. The boards raise the chicken wire, and the poles through the chicken wire to keep it from collapsing. It's still not pretty or a cute garden, but it will work.  I forgot to put a sheet over it. That is how it will be for a long time so the turnips will be warm enough in the daytime to grow. This spot gets few hours of sun in the winter, but it is the sunniest place in the yard.

The chicken's sleeping boxes and nest boxes (now converted to sleeping boxes by Lucy and Ethel0 got a good cleaning and new leaves and pine straw. He gave them fresh water as he always does.

When he comes here, he does all the feeding of the four girls. It did not take them long to learn to like him...lol.

He helped me move some boxes from the house, a real chore for me.

I had baked six huge chicken breasts Wednesday night, so we had chicken sandwiches for lunch. Thursday, I made Stovetop Stuffing, cooked a pot of Navy beans, and baked 9 sweet potatoes, all that were left in the basket in the kitchen. I just was in no mood to fill the basket again. Okay, it was not my mood holding me back. It was my left knee and my back! Okay, maybe that makes me moody. Or, maybe it is excruciating pain.

He took home a peanut butter jar full of Navy beans, a huge chicken breast, 8 sweet potatoes, and a sour cream container of Stovetop Stuffing. I just forgot to make the cole slaw because of my second helper. He did not leave one sweet potato for me! Oh well.

Second Helper--3 p.m.
Charlie came last week and fixed my electric problem. This week, he came and put in the 10"x10" pane of glass. That huge hole was freezing me. He caulked all the rest of the windows ready to fall out. Except the ladder was only 10' and the job needed a taller one. He fixed all the bottom panes in a double window. I have to figure out where to get a taller ladder so he can do the top of both windows.

Maybe it is not warmer in here, but I don't feel so pitiful. I feel hopeful.

He changed a washer in a faucet.

Per my suggestion, he put a patch of hardware cloth over the hole where the rat was coming in. I could tell he came in there because the rag stuck up in the basement ceiling was hanging down. Now,  the hole is rat proof, I hope! The rag stuffed in there will keep breezes from up here in the house. I am grateful.

The reason Charlie agreed to come here was bribery. I gave him lots of things I was throwing out. He collects these for a thrift store or something. He came for food, too. I gave him canned food, rice, prunes, and assorted items. He does not need this, just helps other people. Okay, he can have it to eat for all I care. He will use the tomato sauce, tomatoes, and spaghetti sauce.

 Exbf and I fed and locked the hens in, all except Ethel. A little dust mop dog frightened my hens by chasing them IN MY YARD! I went back out at 10 p.m. She is nowhere to be seen, but a yellow cat was stalking and sniffing the bush where she was last hiding. I am so afraid for her.

Thelma and Louise were all cuddled up in the top box. Lucy looked cold, all alone without Ethel.
I cannot find Ethel!


The three of us--5 p.m.
At the end of the day, all three of us went to the church dinner.  

Exbf took home enough for two dinners. The church dinner was horrid and very unhealthful for all of us. He may eat some of the food before he goes to bed. He has to eat something and take insulin.

After the dinner
Charlie went with me to do a few things, carrying items I could not pick up. Then, he got a refund for me when I knew there would  be a problem. He and I both went in to get another refund. At another store, he failed...oh well.

We came back and he did the sorting of food. Knocked over stuff. This is one of the times I told him to be careful, that he was a like a bull in a China shop! He ignores me.

We talked and he tried to figure out what was wrong with my laptop. He did not know what it was doing, but at least now he sees what I was trying to describe.

When he left about 10:30, I went outdoors with a flashlight, searching for Ethel. You know the rest of that.

Another One Bites the Dust

If you are squeamish, this picture is graphic. My heart was heavy. I could not find Ethel when it was time to put them up for the night. A dog had chased them. Charlie and exbf did nothing for the hens. I always try to go and talk to them. The guys just, well, I have no idea what they did. I have no idea where Ethel spent the night. (writing about the adventure with Charlie and Tommy.)

When I went out about 10 o'clock this morning, the other three hens were in their nests, not greeting me, running about, waiting for their food. After I opened the pen, they just looked at me. When I put the food down, they just sat and looked about, still in their boxes. I knew they were frightened.

I kept encouraging them to get their food. Finally, one at a time they all flew down. Usually they attack their food, especially corn. Today, they just walked around, looking beyond their pen. They walked slowly and cautiously, head up and moving slowly. They were still frightened.

As I slowly made my way back around to the door, I looked everywhere. Walking past the door to the front yard, I looked under the big bushes where they like to hang out. Not a chicken in sight. No Ethel. Finally, I sat on the bench in the front yard. The day was pleasant, new, and sort of warm, even under the coolness of the trees.

Walking down the side yard where I rarely go, I made my way to the hen's pen. There she was, lying on her side. I put the picture last so that you don't have to look at it if you don't want to.

Ethel 12-14-12
Ethel joins Chessie and Fancy and Pepper
 
It's all my fault. I should have searched for her even though my back and knee were just killing me. She was heading back to the pen, so I know the other hens witnessed her massacre. Do your chickens seem to get depressed when they witness another die?
 
She was bitten above her tail and her head was bitten off. I suspect this was NOT a raccoon. Poor little thing. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shopping Bargains--12-12-12 Was Good For Me

Cokes and bananas

Cokes were $11 for three 12-packs and get one free with $15 purchase.  A 12-pack is usually $4.49. There was a coupon in the store ad. I got Barq's Diet Root Beer for exbf when he comes. He now has a three-month supply.  For 24 cans I usually pay $6.98 for 24 cans. Paying $11.00 for the 4 x12 equals $5.50 for 24 cans. I am set for months.
 
Bananas were $0.39/lb. They are regularly $0.69/lb. The stems are cut off to fit them on the Styrofoam, so there is even more savings because there is less to weigh and pay for. 
 
navy beans, tangerines, sausage, Miracle Whip

Camellia navy beans were normally $2.49 for the one-lb bag. They were marked $0.99 for a bag. I bought three bags, three lbs.
 
 
With two store coupons that are only on the Internet, I got 1 lb free sausage. Plus,the 5-lb box of tangerines was regularly  $4.98 and $1.98 with the other coupon.
 
Miracle Whip was marked down to $3.48. That is not the best of deals, but it is $2.50  less than the regular price.


 
hens

See the yellow sticker--"Hot Price!" These stickers were $4 off stickers. Tomorrow is the last day for them, so they are reduced. There must have been 10 more that I left behind.
 
Total weight for two hens: 9.70. Unit price: $1.69. Regular price: $16.40. Minus 2x$4 coupons. New price: $8.40. New unit price: $0.87/lb. 


chicken breast, boneless, skinless

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts also had the Hot Price stickers with $4 off stickers. I bought 3 packages. I will just give the total weights again.
 
Weight: 9.69 lbs. Unit price: $2.69/lb.  Regular price: $26.06. Minus 3x$4 coupons. New price: $14.06. New unit price: $1.45. nice....
 
This was a very good confluence of deals. I always go on Wednesday so that I can get my senior discount--5%, not much, but I am not missing it. Tonight, it was a whole $2.40. Every little bit helps. Do you have grocery stores that have a Senior Citizens discount?
 
Most weeks, I only buy milk on Wednesday and get milk a bit cheaper. Tonight, I actually found things I do use.
 
We must pay sales tax on food.Bummer. 9.5% That figure is not included in the percent saved figure. However, it is in the total.
 
Cost:$82.45
Paid: $49.88
Savings: $36.89
Percent saved: 45%
 
I just now took two of the packages of chicken breasts from the oven. The chicken smells wonderful and tastes delicious. In the morning, I will put sweet potatoes in the oven, put on a pot of navy beans,  and make cole slaw. These six chicken breasts will feed Charlie and exbf tomorrow when both come to help me with a few things. The rest will be mine. See, I will have dinner for 5 days. Hmmm, I think I will also fix some Stovetop Stuffing.
 
And, I just ate part of one breast. Salt, pepper, celery, onions, and bell pepper seasons it just right.
 
Your turn
What kind of bargains have you found lately?
 
 
 




 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Batteries and Tampons: What Do They Have in Common?



Not a lot. However, I posed the question with one thing in mind. No, it is not a joke. I am serious.

Tampon cases hold batteries safely.

Closed securely


I store batteries in tampon cases. Over the years, I managed to collect a few OB Tampon cases, but no longer use tampons. The cute cases are perfect for storing four AAA or two AA batteries, keeping them safe from clanging against change, keys, or anything in a pocket or purse, and ruining the batteries.
toothbrush holder re-imagined
I have had this toothbrush travel/purse cover for years. But, over the years, toothbrushes became crooked instead of straight. The toothbrush protector became obsolete, but I was loathe to put it in a landfill. While I was cleaning out the bathroom cabinets a few years ago, I really hated to throw the toothbrush cover out. One day, I was trying to use AAA batteries and carry some with me. The toothbrush cover came to mind. So, now it joins the tampon cases for battery storage.

Beware the open end.

Be sure to cover the hole for the toothbrush handle. Otherwise, the toothbrush case will not keep the ends of the batteries save. I am going to shove a piece of cardboard down in the case.
 
 
Capacities:
Blue case: three AA, four AAA
white case: two AA, four AAA
toothbrush case: two AAA
 
And, I have immortalized some lint in these pictures, besides finding a new use for these small plastics instead of sending them to the landfill. .
 
 
Your turn
Have you discovered another use for OB tampon cases if you have these or your wife does? What else have you found that holds batteries safely? 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Catastrophe Averted

On November 30, just last week, I was truly crushed by circumstances. I have a 220 heater that I cannot use in my bedroom because I cannot sleep in a hot room. (When it is really cold, it is useless.) I did have to plug it in so that the room would be warm enough for the dehumidifier to function.

It takes an extension cord in order to use the heater and not have it in the part of the bedroom where the pouring rain or sprinkles come into my bedroom. Yes, it is gross. Anyway, I unplugged the extension cord from the wall and just happened to glance at the plug. It had burned a huge chunk of the plastic/rubber plug. The portion was gone and I could see wires. Later, it was all green, corroded for some reason. Never mind that! I took it back to Lowe's and got my money back. First of all, it was the wrong gauge wire. Second, they assured me it would work. They were right; it did work...until it failed.

I was muddling around, feeling lost because I just knew my house was going to burn down, OR it would cost me a small fortune for an electrician to replace the 220 wire to the breaker box. OR, my heater was broken, and I would not have heat. OR, I would have to spend hundreds of dollars for a 220 heater. This is not a 110 kind of room--19' x 17" and 10" ceilings. Let me tell you, I was feeling very low.

An hour later, I realized that it was time to turn on lights as it was early evening and I could barely see. So, I pulled the little cord over the sink to have that light while I used the bathroom. No dice. TWO bulbs burning out at once? I tried to turn on the ceiling fan...over and over and over again. It was in disbelief. I wandered into the kitchen, wondering what had gone wrong AND found the ceiling fan and light would not work, either. Catastrophe! I yanked the refrigerator open and was relieved. The stove works. The light over the sink works! Yippie!  The 110 outlet where I plug hairdryer, curling iron and a 110 heater (not all at once) was not working either. In the bathroom that's no heat, light, or small appliance use.

The TV and laptop and lamp by my chair worked. No other lamp worked where I sit and do things. Since the light in the room next to me was once on and now off, I realized I had a widespread power problem, but an intermittent problem. A light that stays on in the front room was off. The porch light and two other outdoor lights worked. The washer and dryer worked but it was pitch dark in there.

This was a problem I could not live with. Dim light is not conducive to functioning with cataracts.

After grabbing a flashlight, I headed out doors to brave the scary stairs into the basement. I checked and rechecked, yes, the breaker for that heater was thrown. No, no other breakers were thrown.

I was ashamed of myself for not being able to prevent catastrophe. I was ashamed I could not take care of myself. Yes, I was in a low, hurting place.

I was afraid, very afraid of fire breaking out. Fire is a phobia of mine since I stood and watched my house burn down when I was four-years-old. Some things scar a person forever.

I talked with Charlie every day and he would come "some day.". He was dragging his feet. He was just trying to be annoying. Then, I had an epiphany. I also have a fuse box in the hall closet. Aha! Of course, if the box burned out, that was bad news. But, if it were just a fuse, Charlie could fix that and the curious problem of some things working and some not would be solved.

The fuse box has been here for at least 100 years. It is a wooden, homemade box fitted with a flat ceramic plate, sort of like sink material. The fuses are screwed into the ceramic.

Finally, on Thursday he came here, examined the 220 outlet, looked over the breaker box. We set off for the electric supply place. He was yelling about not calling first, but since he did not get here until 3 pm, we had to hurry to get to the electric supply place before they closed. If they did not have what he needed to make a 220 extension cord, we were still across the street from the other electric supply and on the way to Lowe's. I buy from the two local electrical supply places when I can.

The material to make the extension cord was $44, total when we left with with new outlet and a box of 20 volt and a box of 30 volt fuses was $58...steep for me. He made the extension cord, put in a new outlet, and the 220 heater worked.

As it turned out, the one blown fuse was the only fuse that has blown in this house since I moved here in 1977. I feel lucky. The whole house fuse blew in 1985, so I have been very lucky. Well, it was one of the two main fuses. The whole house was weirdly dim (1985 still), so I got a whole house fuse in the middle of the night from an electrician who said he would leave it on the bumper of his truck, to call him the next day. Yes, it was about 10 pm and he was asleep.

I did save some money, so that catastrophe was averted. But, I did spend money that I had to borrow. Now, I have heat so the dehumidifier will work, but that heater cannot be used when it rains in the bedroom. No, I am never warm or dry in that room.

Charlie replaced the 220 outlet while he had daylight to augment his headlamp. Then, he replaced the fuse and turned on the 220 breaker downstairs in the basement. Then, as he sat in the bedroom floor, I was basking in bathroom light, curling my hair, teasing the crown and looking in the mirror to see the back of my hair. I glanced down and saw the 110 heater in the bathroom was on and thought how it did not need to be on.

I flipped it off and gasped. The fan  had not been on. So, I flipped it on again. No, the fan was not on. I yelled to Charlie, asking if that was a problem. Yes! I flipped the heater on again and checked to see if the fan light were on. No. So, now I don't have a heater to use. That was the heater I sort of dragged from the bathroom to warm me in the den where I sit. No heater=new low. Charlie said that was what blew the fuse.

So, now I figure a fire catastrophe was averted, also. There still looms the problem of a heater....

My nerves are shot. So, that is that.

Mystic Mud Giveaway: Paracord Bracelets

Go on over to Mystic Mud and enter her contest. There are four chances to win--four bracelets.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Possible Food Waste--Beware

Larvae on the rim of a storage jar, horizontal in the glass threads.
white stringy stuff  on each side of one larvae-- pupae vacated.
No wasted food occurred here, but possibility without protection.
Can you see how they traveled round the threads and the flat lid
finally formed an impenetrable barrier?
Never use a peanut butter jar with plastic lid and no additional rubber barrier!


In the ongoing fight against pantry moths I have been cleaning as I could for months. It is slow, but I have found nothing in much of my food. On the contrary, I find the moths or larvae or pupa  in other places besides inside  foodstuffs. However, spilled food can be a lure. We may not be able to see the powdered milk on the rim of the jar, but the moths can detect food.

By the way, I put a plastic glass into the jar in order that the larvae show up better in the picture. The powdery stuff is powdered milk inside.

There was half a cup or less powdered milk in this half gallon Ball canning jar with a previously used lid. I use jars to protect all sorts of foods. I had not opened this jar in ages, so I decided to use the rest of the powdered milk for the hens' food in the morning and put pasta in the clean jar. I knew that any crevice, even under the labels on jars could be the place an adult moth would lay eggs. Still, I was surprised.
 
After I dumped the milk in a bowl, I examined the bit of powdered milk for larvae or pupa. None were in the milk. I took the jar, inverted it and put it under a fast stream of water in the sink. The larvae was stuck to the jar rim. As the water warmed, the larvae wiggled. Finally the larvae was washed away. It was a disgusting but enjoyable chore.
 
The Pantry Pest traps only target the males. A study said only one in eight males (think this was figure) who came near the trap, entered. That's discouraging.
 
Slowly, I am ridding myself of these horrors. Between the vacuum cleaner sucking them from the air and my electrified Bug Zapper, I am winning, but slowly. I am not capable of a whole kitchen cleaning right now or in the last year or so. I am sure I kill them in one place only to have them hatch someplace else and move to the cleaned place....sigh. Charlie is coming next week,; he will come and take away some foodstuffs and items from decluttering. Plus, he is going to repair things in the house. Everyone cross your fingers he comes. 

If you visit anyone with pantry moths, be very careful. I brought these home after a ten-day stay with someone who was storing bags of beans and rice in galvanized garbage cans in the kitchen. I opened the cans after seeing dozens of moths in the kitchen and far in the other rooms in the house. Hundreds flew out. ACK! My purse and luggage brought them to my home, despite my attempts and valiant efforts to shake thing out and launder them once I was home.

From now on, I will examine each canning jar used for dry storage, taking the lid off and examining the lid and ring, plus the glass threads. I really don't want to provide safe harbor for this pest.
 
Your turn
Have you fought pantry moths of any kind? Other than empty every cabinet and peel off the labels on cans, what methods did you use to get rid of these? Was emptying the cabinets your only recourse? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ten Reasons Why Everyone Should Store Oats

There is no reason for me to reinvent the wheel. American Prepper Network has a very good article. "10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Store Oats" on the subject of oats. Yes, I stole Stephanie's title, but I am giving her credit. Rolled oats with too much sugar is my favorite breakfast. (Okay, I have two favorite breakfasts--my hens' eggs, scrambled is the other favorite.)  A little salt, more butter, and raisins are best with oats. I must quit using so much sugar.

I only store oats when I find a good deal and don't want an attack of the pantry moths to spoil my stored oats. At the most, I have only had six months of oats on hand, not for prepping, but because it was a good deal. That was the only time I found oats on a really good sale. Oats on sale are rare. Since my hens get oats every day, I need lots of oats. At this point, I need a good sale to appear since I only have about two cups of oats.

I did share with Stephanie my method of storing brown rice that will last almost as long as white rice with much more nutrition in brown rice.

It is all about eating well for less with me. So, storing oats is my kind of thing even though I am no prepper. Right now, I have three small cannisters of Quakers Rolled Oats to put out into half-gallon Ball Canning jars. I just found them.

Buying on sale or in bulk and storing it safely can save money. You know that is what I am all about.

Your turn
What type oats do you eat? I know I should eat the steel cut oats, but have never even tried them.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saving Precious, Old Textile Memories

Janet's mother made this adorable quilt
before Janet was born.

I don't know how old Janet is, but this is precious to her. I don't blame her. I don't have anything my mother made me before I was born. I know she cherishes this memory in front of her. By following one little practice, the blanket will last longer. Some thing are irreplacable.

Can you see the creases horizontally and vertically on this sweet quilt?
 
One thing I would suggest is to roll this on a tube. However, that will not happen with my things. The next best thing is to take a towel and fold it about four or more times down the middle. Actually, a towel or sheet or any other flat fabric that will not bleed will work.
 
The reason I will not use a tube is that tubes used previously are of cardboard and will possibly eat through another fabric that I would use to protect my things. So, I will stay away from cardboard tubes. Instead, I will use another fabric, white fabric to store my textiles.
 
Use the folded fabric to roll/fold the quilt or other textile you wish to save. Fold/wrap the blanket around this piece of bulky fabric. By doing this, you will keep creases from forming. I plan to do that with my doll quilt Mama made me for Christmas when I was six. I noticed small creases were in the doll quilt and knew that in the very near future the fabric, stressed into creases would split. Yes, splits happen in old, folded textiles. Neither Janet or I would be happy if our quilts were damaged due to our mis-handling.
 
Another thing I would suggest is to handle old fabric with cloth gloves. I don't do this, but I should. An alternate practice would be to wash and handle as little as possible. If you show it to someone who strokes it, the person has deposited oils that will eat the fabric. Quite possibly, stroking the piece, especially if it has ornamentation will ruin the ornamentation or where it is attached. Seeing people thoughtlessly stroke items of mine really stresses me.
 
Never store fabric in plastic. Store it in a white sheet or cloth with no residue from hands, detergent or fabric softener. I suggest the storage sheet would be rinsed in vinegar.
 
Then, store the sheet-wrapped textile in an acid-free box or paper, preferably both.

Another thing I practice--carefully washing my baby clothing every year. Maybe the quilts can wait longer than that. Do not wash a quilt of anykind in a washing machine. Do not wash a ancient quilt at all! PLEASE! Just air them. And, do not hang them at all, ever.
 
Just a little thoughtful care will double the life of your memories in fabric.
 
Your turn
Do you have something folded that means the world to you? Do you need to take things out to launder or fold differently? 

Christmas Treats and Favors

favors/gifts at open house

At an antique shop Christmas Sale with reduced prices and a drawing and refreshments, I encountered these little glasses of treats. They are sitting on a glass display case, so you can see the wares underneath. The glasses, clear wrap, and the ribbons all sparkle under the lights.
 
She used very cheap plastic wine glasses and champagne flutes, filling them with a Chex mix. Actually, they had made several varieties. Naturally, I took a variety that seemed chocolate heavy. Over the top is a piece of plastic kitchen wrap. They are tied once with three strands--white curling ribbon, gold curling ribbon and brown string. The string helps the ribbons stay in place. All three strands were tied at once.
 
If I did this for guests, I might use old, cheap , mismatched wine glasses and champagne flutes. Both could be collected throughout the year for a dime each. However, these plastic, disposable ones are not liable to break if a child takes one.

Maybe you need something to round out your celebrations.
 
Your turn
Have you ever used this method of giving a favor or gift to go? Other ideas?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"If I Won the Lottery..."

Have you ever played this game? I did not buy a lottery ticket, but a friend who did not and I discussed what we would do with the money. I had very specific ideas. So did he.

My plans were moot since I have never  bought a lottery ticket. However, I always thought I would not end up poor afterwards if I won the last one.

I have categories--education, home/property, car, health/dental, literary pursuits, travel, fair weather friends, and charity.

Education
I would pay for a PhD for myself, an MA and PhD for son, daughter, and dil. For my daughter that quit college I would pay her to go to school and not work, paying also for at least the MA. I think that after being a poverty-stricken single mother after her divorce, she might just be willing now. I would make sure all four grandchildren had funds to attend school through the PhD. If exbf who has been such a help to me desired any school or classes, I would pay for those.

Home/Property
My home would be demolished and rebuilt after an architect drafted identical plans. There would be a garage, greenhouse, and little garden house. Before the house were built, I would buy the house behind me, the two houses beside those, the two houses next door. I like the two houses on the other end of the block.  I could expand my hen empire, have a house for company to stay in, and plenty of room for flowers and vegetable.

I would pay off my son's home or buy him a new one. Both my daughters would receive  homes and not excessive ones. Somehow, they would never have to sell either home if they marry and divorce.

Exbf would get a whole home remodel, anything he wants. He would also have a lawn service for whatever he needs.


Car
I would never invest in fancy cars, just basic ones. My son, his wife, my two daughters and the grandson would all get new cars. Oh, yes, I would get a new car and a Dodge truck and keep them for many years after they were paid for. None of us buy new cars every few years.  Yes, exbf would get a new car. Knowing him, he would keep it forever. He is frugal.

Health/Dental
All  my dental needs would not be a hardship or deferred. Although all my children and grandchildren are covered by medical and dental insurance, I would pick up any co pays or expenses they might need. Yes, exbf would get whatever he needs when he has his hip replaced.

I would have operations for vertebrae that is sitting on bone, two herniated discs, L5 that is out of place, torn meniscus, and torn rotator cuff. I can do this now with Medicaid, but I cannot afford help for the recovery periods.

Literary Pursuits
I would finish my book since stress would not occupy my thoughts. I would publish the fairy tales I helped translate from French with my friends Florica and Johan.

Travel
My children and grandchildren and I could stay in touch  more easily. Plus, we could travel anywhere on earth we wished,together or separately.

Fair Weather Friends
These would be at my door. You know this is true. My monetary favors would be few and far between for the leaches and insincere and users. However, I could resume having parties each month and always be assured I would have a great turnout.

Charity
Maybe this is crazy, but I prefer to give money to those I know that really need it. I "know" lots of deserving Internet "friends" that I believe truly need help. There are some I just like and would give a gift. Most of my charity would be anonymously given.  Enough said.

Update: I did not leave out the steps of financial planning and trusts. This was not meant to place any one area  over another in importance. Yes, calling an attorney would be my first move. I would want my children and grandchildren to know the joy of accomplishment, so, no, they would not be given everything. No, we would probably not travel so much, but it would be possible. New cars would be more about safety than glamour. I am not trying to make my loved ones targets. "Homes" does not mean mansion or extravagant fixtures. No, I have not worked out all the details since I have never bought a lottery ticket.

Your turn
What would you have done if you had won this last lottery?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Little Surprise Garden

                               
turnips, planted three weeks ago

I had been  planning to plant something for the winter, anything, just anything. I had planted nothing all spring or summer, so this was my last shot. All the stores had no seeds. Southern States had three kinds--turnips,  basil, and something else. 
I need to take off the leaves, I think. 
 
4' x 4' bed with layers of chicken wire

Exbf pulled a few weeds for this project. This is where I put kitchen compost and  leaves from the hen pen.  The hens hop in and scratch up soil and weeds, depositing fertilizer. About six months before planting time, I put a stack of chicken wire over it to keep them from making more deposits. It should be fertile.

I just threw handsful of the tiny turnip seeds into the box and misted it well with the hose.
 
Finally, I saw one minuscule leaf. Then, on Monday, exbf reported two leaves. Today, there are four. I suppose they are turnip plants.
 
When the plants get a little bigger, I will take the stack of wire off the box. Elevating one layer of chicken wire will keep the wire from squashing the plants, keep the cats off, protect the turnip greens from hens.  I put the wire on in a whole piece because I don't want to cut the chicken wire, but I will now. A free bedsheet can be used for frost protection. They all lived through 26 degree weather last week, so I am not sure how much cold turnips can take.

Tomorrow, I will find bare spots where the Hosta died back, bare spots in flower beds and pots and plant more turnip seed. I really want there to be enough for me and the hens. On rainy or icy days, I tend to keep them in the pen to protect myself from the mud and ice.

Any suggestions? I have never grown turnip greens.    

Your turn
What other seeds can I plant for the winter? How do your turnips fare in the cold? Is this futile? I plan to leave the sheet on some days, sort of mini-greenhouse. Thoughts on that?    Is it okay to plant turnips in the Hosta bed and planter?          

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas When I Was Six-Years-Old

61 years old, 17" x 17"

My mother made this for me when I was six-years-old. There is more to the story that I will tell later. The store-bought toys I got then are all gone, broken, destroyed, discarded.
 
I hung this on a cold, crisp, sunny day to air.
 
I love this little quilt. It has batting inside. The other side is identical. I allowed my two older children to see and feel this briefly at different times over the years during their childhoods. Forty-years ago, I thought this was too fragile to play with. Today, I think it would not last long. It won't stay in the sun long today.  The colors are as bright as they were the Christmas in 1952 when I received it from Santa.
 
Do you have "toys" made for you by your mother or friend or relative, toys that you cherish? Tell me the story, please.
 
I have many items made for me by both my parents.

Edit: My mother used a scrap for the quilt because even though you cannot see it, there is a seam in the quilt. She used what she had and bought nothing for this. Even though I did not have anything but joy and love for her, I now have a new emotion. I am eternally grateful for her efforts to make my life a joy even though she struggled to find ways to do so.
 
Your turn
It is your turn to share cherished hand-made, home-made items from your parent or someone you know.