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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Improvising and a Naked Lady

Naked Lady or Resurrection Lily
seven blossoms on one stem
The Naked Lady gets her name from her growth habit. There is lovely green foliage in the spring which dies back, turning brown and ugly, finally like tissue paper until it disappears. About two months later, a single green stem comes up from the bare dirt. Then, the lily blossoms at the top with five to seven separate blossoms at a time.
There were about twenty bulbs in this particular flower bed until the hens got into the bed and scratched and kicked the bulbs about ten feet into the yard. I replanted the bulbs about a dozen times, but they did not all survive. The bulbs are protected now, but they may never recover even though there was plenty of foliage this year from over two dozen bulbs left.
The greenery is wisteria gone wild.
I have the nine-tray Excalibur Dehydrator. I love everything about the dehydrator  but one thing--cleaning the mesh trays. They don't fit well in the sink. I cannot bend to wash them in the tub. It is just a mess cleaning them. If I dehydrate bananas right after taking bananas out, I will not wash the trays. But, when I switch to something different, they have to be washed. Or, if I don't use them or wash them for a week or more (Yes, I sometimes must procrastinate.) (Don't argue with me. I MUST procrastinate.)
The black hard tray is 15"x 15". The mesh that sits on the black, hard tray is 14"x 14". The box is 20"x 20". I really wish I had the 16"x16" cake pan....sigh. I have my eye on it.
There were many options to use to wash these. 1) Get some sort of oil drain pan, take off the top and use it for washing. 2) Get a pan that goes under a water heater. 3) buy a 16" square cake pan. Option #3 is my choice, but they cost $32 on Amazon. I needed a cheaper option.

Passing by some boxes in a store, I saw the perfect option for my wallet. A box.

The box is inside a trash bag, making a waterproof bath for the mesh trays. 

Nine trays and Dawn

After a strong stream from the hose, there are plenty of suds. Then, I left it all in the yard to soak.
After about a half hour, maybe an hour, I came back with a brush and quickly cleaned all nine mesh trays and stacked them on a towel on a lawn chair. Rinsing all nine one after another was soooo easy. Before, I took me hours to do all nine mesh trays.
Okay, so it is not exciting. But, it cost me nothing. I hung the plastic bag on the line to dry. It will go in the trash can in the kitchen tonight when I take the trash to the road. The still dry box is in the house to use another time.
Let the dehydrating begin.
Your turn
What was the last cheap hack or best cheap hack you used?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And, so it begins...medical tests

I just returned from a doctor's visit, a gastroenterologist. He agreed to do ONLY the endoscopy--tube going down my throat without the colonoscopy. He was slightly amused at my reluctance to have the colonoscopy until I figured out what was wrong in mid area. But, when I told him this pain in my side had been there on and off for thirty plus years, his eyebrows went up. As I told him, over the years it hurts worse and for longer, happens more frequently and is now accompanied by extreme nausea that causes me to not want to eat.

He seemed eager to see tests from the rheumatologist (for fibromyalgia) and wanted to see the CT scan results from the urologist. I handed him the first and the second set of test results is being faxed over right now.

Thirty years ago, several times I was told it was just a pulled muscle.

Ten years ago, on my first visit to a doctor, he declared after five minutes that I just needed psychiatric help. I guess you can tell a woman is nuts when she is bent in pain.

Last fall, a snip of a doctor would not listen to anything of my condition (fibromyalgia, last vertebrae sitting on bone, two herniated discs, L5 out of place, and torn meniscus and torn rotator cuff) when he demanded, yes demanded, I walk twenty minutes a day and lose 15 lbs. before I returned in two months.  He became angry because I refused to take high blood pressure medicine. My blood pressure was 198/140...forgot the lower number, actually, but it was also high. I insisted that I had walked too far, gone in the wrong building, was at a new doctor, and hurried so I would not be late. I asked several times for him to take my blood pressure again. He refused like a petulant child.  The nurse took my blood pressure without asking him and it was something like 135/72. I have never gone back.

The gastro nurse took my blood pressure today and said it was "very good." Today, my blood pressure was 135/70?--also declared "excellent."  Yes, for an old, fat woman, it is good.

Tomorrow, I will have an ultrasound of my gall bladder. Then, the down-the-throat test in another week or two, depending when I can get someone to go with me and when the lab can schedule me.

And, so it begins--my quest to finally figure out what is happening and take appropriate steps to "fix" it. I really think my esophagus has narrowed. The CT scan from the urologist showed I had a "very small hiatal hernia."  We will see. This is a very nice doctor. Oh, the urologist was a friend before I first went to him for care in 1982.

I have had some great doctors in the past, not many doctors at all, but some were just plain incompetent, mean, and uninterested in listening. I have used the same urologist for 32 years and ob/gyn for 35 years until he retired and now see his son in the same offices for the last 3 years. I don't go from doctor to doctor, looking for someone to agree with me, but I refuse to accept abuse and disrespect.

About Patsy Cline
Since I have had to carry her to bed for two weeks, she seems less terrified of me when I go out to feed them. I suppose that it was good to hold her close, pet her head and neck and talk sweetly to her as I carried her along. She is actually becoming more like Fancy, seeking me out and talking to me all the time I am out. She following me to the car yesterday. I wonder if she would have jumped in if I had showed her popcorn.

It is 10:30 pm and I never heard from the doctor's office since I went to sleep at 2 pm and took a I will just get up in the morning and call to see when the test is scheduled.

Thelma and Patsy Cline put themselves to bed in their pen tonight instead of on the porch rail.  Yay girls!

My friend says that I am a hypochondriac because I am not actually having a gall bladder attack that is putting me in the ER. I don't want an emergency on my hands. It would be nice to control when if I do need surgery. She has a cadre of specialists that she sees regularly visits.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stevia Plant

Bought in June

I bought the last plant in June. I have excuses as to why I let it deteriorate: sinus infection for two weeks, rain forever, and Charlie took it out of the pot I had it in! Why!!!!!! 

End of July

Today, I finally repotted it, severely pruning it to get rid of dead parts. I could not put it in a good spot to photograph because I would be shooting into the sunset. My back had a good three minutes and then I was in severe pain. So, this picture is it. After this picture I watered it well with tap water. Catching rain water or ac water for watering because of chlorine and fluoride in tap water is the next step.
One day, I took a leaf and chewed it. The leaf was weirdly sweet with a real bite. Exbf spit his out immediately and with great disgust.
Now, I have to figure out how to feed it and what to do next. I have read a lot on the Internet, but need anyone's personal experiences.
Your turn
Have you ever raised stevia? Successfully? Any tidbits of advice?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Happiness

10 inserts from two papers

I usually buy the Birmingham News for the coupon inserts, paying $2 for one copy. Today, I decided to buy the hometown newspaper for $1.50 to compare the inserts. I was pleasantly surprised to find both newspapers had 5 inserts in each paper.
Now, I have no idea if this happens each week--both having the same number of inserts. If the number of inserts are the same each week, I could just buy the local, cheaper paper. The other odd thing was the Red Plum, for instance, was different in each paper. This will be interesting. When exbf brings me a stack of inserts this week, it should really be a heavy bag of inserts.
There is some coupon clipping in my future. I can see it without a soothsayer.  
Your turn
Do lots of inserts make you happy? 

So Cheap!

I had coupons for Ball Fruit Pectin. I got this almost free. I originally had 12 coupons for Ball lids and another 12 coupons for pectin. Let's just talk pectin for now.

Walmart had this little jar for $4.99. My grocery store had it for $4.39. Kmart had it on sale for $3.99. I used two coupons for $1 off on two jars of Ball pectin. Then, I had a store credit where I returned something to Kmart. My total for $10 worth of pectin was $1.47. That is for two jars, making one jar $0.74. Good deal?

From their website:
Ball's classic pectin has been reformulated for improved flavor and performance. This larger flex batch container (4.7 oz.) is equivalent to 3-4 boxes of pectin. Use only the amount needed with scalable recipe converter to make from 1 to 10 jars of jam per batch.

Has anyone used this new formula?

This made my

Your turn
Did you use the coupons for Ball pectin or fruit fresh? Have you used this brand pectin or the new formula?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Chicken Greeters

Today, Charlie had to be in town, so he arranged to come by here and do some things for me. I have items he wants, so we trade his work for my stuff. It is hard to pin him down to a time. Today I got a hankering for soft serve ice cream for fifty-cents from Burger King.

He was here, waiting for me, sitting in the back yard in a chair. I stood and talked and notice Thelma and Patsy Cline were about 15 feet further back in the yard. I asked him if he had been visiting my hens. I was just teasing him. He said, as a matter of fact, he had. I was surprised and asked him, "Oh?"

It seems he sat down and they came around in front of him, stood around and "made noises." Exbf and I have sat there and fed them peanuts or other treats. I am surprised they approached a stranger for treats. I just had never thought to tell them not to talk to strangers. Patsy Cline obviously is taking her cues from Thelma. At least I have friendly, polite chickens, who can entertain company until I come home.

Charlie scrubbed my tub and scrubbed the bathroom floor. Yay! I feel human. I hurt myself trying to sweep it and get up all the crud. Charlie got on hands and knees and scrubbed the floor with a brush. It was shamefully filthy. Then, he drilled holes in all the vinegar bottles and one five-gallon bucket so I can plant. Yep, I have planted nothing.  He carried a huge box for me and brought in my garbage cans.

Once again, tonight I had to carry them to their pen. I am starting to think they enjoy the snuggle and ride. Tonight, Patsy Cline started sliding out of the towel as I carried them both. I was mostly carrying her by her neck when I realized it and grabbed her to hold her from underneath.

Your turn
Do your chickens come to greet people? Any of your animals greet people? Looking for treats?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Free Tshirt Rag Shag Rug

free tshirts in shades of pink and green
There are more that I do not want to get out--
three shades of pink and two shades of green.
Last year, I wanted a rug that was made with a base of burlap. The price of burlap was a stopper for me. I wanted to do this more cheaply--maybe free. I just knew that somewhere in the universe there existed burlap cheaper than I found it at the store, maybe even free.  In the meantime, I was collecting tshirts, all free, all never worn, never washed.
I am positive that I told exbf to be on the lookout for burlap and he assured me he never found those kinds of things. Voila!

free burlap

On Wednesday, the exbf was here, helping me. As I walked to the car, still talking to him, he pulled out this burlap "bag," asking me if I had a use for it. He had found it tossed on the top of the trash at work. I shrieked. As I said, if I recall, I had asked him to be on the lookout for burlap. So, now I have the makings of a rug.
The burlap is the beginning of a bag, it appears, with one long piece folded over and a seam run on each side. Then, the top is just turned under four inches. The whole piece as you see it, seamed and the top folded down is about 18" x 18".  This will be a small rug and a good learners project.
Getting free raw materials is great. Now, to find directions and answers to questions: do I have to pull a thread to get this where the warp and weft are on the square? Or, just cut it? I think it has to be squared.
Oh, snap! There is a punch tool I need. It seems that I heard/seen directions to taper and round a toothbrush handle to use after the head of the toothbrush is cut off. So, I need to fashion the punch from something. As you can see, I have a ways to go in figuring out how to do this. I will look at Walmart for the punch so I will know what I am looking at if I see it in a thrift store or yard sale. (Or, is it a hook I need?) Well, I will get it figured out now that I have materials.
Your turn
Have you ever made a rug like this? It seems easy. Is it?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Two-headed Chicken

friends after five days

I checked on them every night for about a week to make sure they were both okay. Thelma was still injured and limping horribly. Patsy Cline is on the front. See the orange band on her leg. It was there when we adopted her.
This was a sweet picture to me. For a moment as I used a very weak flashlight, I could not figure out who was who.
Health update
Today, I called my gastro-enterologist. Well, I saw him once and never called to have the endoscopy and up the behind test done. (Colonoscopy! Thanks Stephy and others.) I cannot think of the name of the test. After talking to the receptionist, I was much more hopeful. 
Yesterday, I mentioned to my urologist that I needed to return for the tests but did not want to kill my liver with the stuff I would have to take, that I only wanted to find out why I keep having trouble swallowing beyond eating too quickly. If I did eat too quickly, I would just stop it.
Yesterday, my urologist became animated and told me the name of the person to go see. As it turns out, that is my doctor!, the gastro guy.  So, next Tuesday, I will talk to him and get the test done as soon as it can be scheduled. I am really excited even though I did not sleep enough last night and did too much today.
This is a garbled post, not in order. But, it is 6:30 pm, my bedtime tonight.
Plus, I had three fast food mystery shops to perform. Exbf was here to help me, so we went and he ate first lunch and I ate the second. The third is in the refrigerator. My meal made me queasy. The hens may get the third meal for breakfast.  So, I made a bit of money today and had lunch.  Thankfully, I don't do these but every three months.
Just talk to me, please.


The Doctor is Wrong

Granted, I went to a specialist, but my problem is not his specialty. This appointment has been scheduled for two months. Maybe I should repeat what he said, "There is no evidence that there is anything wrong with your kidney, liver, pancreas, or gall bladder, according to the test."  According to the test....I was put in one of the doughnut things--CT Scan? Oh, he did say that I had a minor bit of fatty liver infiltration, much less than most people, and should not be causing me a problem. My lymph nodes in the mesentery are hazy. I am not sure what that means? How should they be?

Oh, there is a kidney stone way back in the kidney, not moving in the last 15 years. The report said something about the lymph nodes show up as hazy...???

There must be a reason I feel nauseous within three to fifteen minutes of eating some things. I become so ill, feeling like I am going to throw up. So far, I have been able to make a partial list--cheese, glass of milk, Miracle Whip, butter, olive oil dressing, ice cream, greasy hamburger or not greasy hamburger, and other things. What do they all have in common? Oil, fat, grease--however you want to put it.

Sometimes, I am bent double with pain in my right side under my ribs. My daughter who had her gall bladder removed assured me it was my gall bladder. Lots of people think the same. Eating fruits and vegetables has no affect, does not cause me pain. I do not want it to be something serious. I don't want to go from doctor to doctor and be labeled a hypochondriac! I cannot lie on my right side much at all because of worsening pain.

I went through the same thing with my thyroid. Since I had 30 days of insurance left, I insisted, pressured, quoted my daughter's high concern, quoted a fellow teacher who had a doctor for a cousin, and I prevailed. The tests showed a small lump behind one side of my thyroid. "Let's watch it." No, now I have 27 days of insurance left. I have said, "No, thank" you to major surgery, three times, including a Cesarean. The small lump behind my thyroid turned out to be a 1" sphere, not tiny, a type of growth that eventually becomes cancerous.

This is something I am determined to see through. It is not natural to have an organ hurt. If someone puts an arm around me at a certain place, I experience severe pain. It feels like a rock is in my side as I sit here.

This is all stuff I have said before. I just have to embolden myself to keep up this quest.  Okay, I took a deep breath and caused a sharp pain. I am in pain when I sneeze or cough. This is maddening.

Repeating myself? Absolutely.

Jane of Virginia can repeat what she told me in my last post self-centered post--interesting comment.

Some people think that because my father died of pancreatic cancer at 77, that I am overly frightened and hyper vigilant. Not really. But, I do not eat many processed meats because of the nitrates/nitrites.

The only reason I am revisiting this is because I had the doctor's appointment today. My doctor is a gem, so I don't blame him. To expect him to go outside his specialty would be like asking my gynecologist to operate on my toe or treat me for my sinuses.

It's on my mind and I don't know where to turn. The gastro-enterologist is due a visit. So, my doctor said he would know all about this as a part of his specialty. HUH?

And, I need to go to a dermatologist because a dark place has been on my lip for the last six months, at least.

Getting old is not for sissies!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Finding a New Use

silver ??? necklace stored away
I stored this away about ten years ago and often wondered where in my dresser drawer it was located.  I bought this from my friend who lived in Yemen for several years. I value this. So, I stored it where it would not touch other items.

hard eyeglass case
I think this was mine.
Maybe bought at a yard sale because it is hard.

Now, it all comes back to I used an eyeglass case to protect it. There was a time I got a free case with my glasses and more than one if I asked. Now, not so much.

I may use this case for a first aid kit for my grandson to use in his dorm room at college. Maybe not.

Your turn
Do you have eyeglass cases that are just waiting to be used? Do you ever store things in them rather than discard the eyeglass case?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Cannot Be Trusted!

Patsy Cline heard me coming out the back door and turned to look at me.
See how close to the door facing Thelma is?

Patsy Cline turns around to make her getaway.
"What is that woman doing with that red thing
that makes light?"
Thelma wonders, too.
I had kept them in the pen for five days solid. Now that I am allowing them out a portion of the day, they are wary of me. They no longer trust me. Their trust was always misplaced, but they fell for food and I could close the pen. Now, they decide to just ignore me. They do not respond to food so I can lock them up.
I went out for a bit today, and when I returned, they were sitting on the porch out of the pouring rain. I needed a nap so was highly encouraging them to come to the pen. Okay, I was luring them with food so I could lock them up. That did not work, so I brought out a huge bath towel, secure in my ability to scoop both up.

Here they are--trapped!
They are carried gently and like royalty.
I am holding them both and taking a picture. I don't mind picking them up with my bare hands, but they are wet and I am clean, ready for bed. Plus, I am allergic to feathers. Since I am already ill, I don't need to irritate my allergies.
How do I regain trust? Food by the back door works. Patsy Cline does not know about that since I have only fed her and Thelma in the pen since she arrived.
I am going to bed, I think. When I go to bed at 8 pm, my friends know I am ill.
Your turn
Do your animals become wary of you after being confined or otherwise disrupting the schedule they trust you to keep?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Take Naps

I have been sleeping from 8 to 5 hours each night and taking 7 or 8 hour naps during the day. Yes, I am sick, very sick. Kymber needs a nap? Well, I am taking them. I lie down in hopes of a 2 hour nap. Nope, I lay down at 11 am for a nap and awoke at 7:15 pm. !!!

Nothing I take is intended for sleep except Melatonin. No med I take makes me sleepy.  So, it is just me. If it were not for my sinuses and allergies, I would be the healthiest person on earth. 

Right now, I am using Vicks Salve, Hall's Mentholyptus cough drops, chicken broth, Ruffles, pseudofed generic , guaifenisin generic, and hot washcloths on my face. The sinus problem has migrated from forehead to ears to throat to chest. And, I am running a fever. And, ever joint hurts and my body feels numb and heavy.

I finally started letting Patsy Cline and Thelma out of the pen after 5 days of being locked in every day. Both can walk better.  NOW, they insist on roosting on the metal rail as close to the house door, as close as they can. So, I have to carry them to the pen EVERY night. Patsy Cline has quit struggling. Thelma just complains more in a little trilling voice I have never heard before.

As usual, I want KFC gravy and cannot afford it! Gravy would cure me.

Just shoot me!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Crafting an Oil Lamp from Tin Cans

One of my very best friends, Barbara, was a Fulbright Scholar in Yemen in the early 1990s. She brought gifts to me that reflected her frugal nature and lack of money, my frugal nature and pleasure with handmade gifts, and the frugality of the Yemeni people because of their lack of money.
Please do not think of your displeasure with the Yemen government while looking at this object as I explain the oil lamp. I am not opposed to your views at all.
This lamp is crafted from at least two cans unless this were a very tall bean can. You will notice there is a funnel on top for filling the can, a holder for the wick, and a handle. Oh, I pulled the wick out and cannot get it all the way back in with only a half inch showing like it should be. Does anyone know how to push the wick back in?
My friend told me in response to my questions, that this was not a tourist item. This is what the people use who do not have electricity in Sana'a. She did have electricity, but many did not or used lamps to avoid using electricity.
There's more to see.

 Look inside the little attached funnel. Besides the bean can used, obviously a BP can of some sort was used for the funnel.

Curious as to how this was assembled, I have turned the oil lamp every way I could. Look at the right side of the picture under the rim. The top was assembled, it appears, by turning the top edge of the can outward so a tiny rim is horizontal to the bottom of the can, flat in other words.  Then, the lid that is obviously about a quarter of an inch larger than the diameter of the can is laid on top of the can. It appears the round "lid" is crimped about an eighth of an inch or a bit more over and under the can piece bent horizontal to the can bottom. Am I correct about that? By the way, the little oil funnel and the wick holder were affixed to the lid of the lamp before the lid was attached to the bean can that holds the oil.

BP can strip used for a handle
The seam was welded at the factory as was the bottom. The handle is soldered/welded. The only part that is not soldered/soldered is the lid. Of course, the funnel for filling and the little chimney that holds the wick appear to be soldered, too.

See in English
On the can:
Net weight 390 gm
Ingredients:,Broad Bean, Water, Salt.

Healthy, right? And, the cans have been recycled.

While I am not sure I can handle the labor involved....can you?
This is one of my treasures.

Your turn
Are you as intrigued with the construction of this used item made from canjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj ...
(to be continued)
I went to sleep typing. (continuing) I am?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thank You

Thank you, Janet. Until the last few years, I made cakes from scratch. I still do unless I am given a boxed cake mix. Mostly, I give box mixes away to someone who can use them.

Cake Boss is the name of the show I saw, not Cake Doctor.

I will keep you posted on what I make, including the recipe on my blog. Is that legal? She will get the credit.

Right now, a fresh peach sounds just about right.

Your turn
Have you ever made any cake from the recipe book, The Cake Doctor? If so, what was your favorite cake?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What is This Plant/s in the Persimmon Pot

#1 mystery
#2 mystery
plant in question is bottom right,
growing in another persimmon tree pot.
#3 Is this plantain?
It lies very flat when it grows in every path in the yard. However, it grows multiple layers of leaves if it is over near an untrod place. And, it stands more upright. The one above is very flat. This withstands walking on every day. I can supply more pictures if you like.

This is going to be so embarrassing if the first two are useless weeds. However, I need to know the truth even if it turns out I have been nurturing something noxious.
Thank you!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Taser/Stun Gun in the Face: Yard Sale Danger

As I sat in a chair, waiting for my merchandise to be bagged, I noticed something in a little pouch on one of the display tables. I picked the whole thing up to look at it. As I took the little squarish black item from the pouch, I wondered what the buttons were for and what they did. So, I punched one of the buttons. There were lights, so I looked into what appeared to be the business end of the device. I kept punching buttons and looking at the strange lights. Finally, I just put it down. When the homeowner came back, I asked her what it was, that I could see light but nothing happened.

She almost fainted. She told me it was a taser or a stun gun (forgot which), that it could hurt me. (I am almost positive she said it was a taser.) It seems the last woman got a buzzing noise but no light. That woman had been frightened by the noise, screamed and threw it back on the table. I was furious and told her so, saying that I was pretty sure it would have blinded me, that if I heard of anyone getting hurt at a yard sale with a taser/stun gun, that I would report what happened to me. Let me tell you--I was a very controlled livid. She just did not know. However, she did remove the taser from the table, putting it into her pocket and calling out to her husband.

Why I wrote this? Be careful what you  handle at yard sales!

Even now, I cannot help but think what the outcome could have been.

Update: The woman did look appropriately frightened and sounded horrified that I had it pointed toward my face. So, I assume the danger I felt was justified. I really do think she said taser.

Your turn
Have you ever had an experience that was dangerous or had the potential to be dangerous at a yard sale?  What damage could a taser do to my eyes  if deployed about three inches from my eyes? Let's assume it hit me in the eye! If it were a stun gun, I suppose I would never put it to my eyes, but what could it do to a tiny child fumbling around with it?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Good Snuggle with Patsy Cline

She came to live here on Thursday. That day, Thelma was agitated and on high alert. She hobbled around to make sure that Chrissy Patsy Cline...ah, much better...was aware of her presence. Thursday night, Thelma slept on the table while Patsy Cline chose to sleep in the Rubbermaid box with no leaves or pine straw.

On Friday morning, Thelma was still vigilant. Friday night, this is how I found them.

Who doesn't like a good snuggle?
It appears they are friend after about 28 hours, a record around here. Thelma is on the front and is lighter and larger.

Saturday morning
Thelma and Patsy Cline
They were lying close to one another. Patsy Cline jumped up and Thelma decided she would stand, too. I think they became friends quickly because each had no other friend. How do you like their chicken toy? I painted it orange and was going to put blue stripes on it to make it an Auburn ladder, but that never happened.

And, all's well with the world. There is no more "Lonely Street" around here. When I saw them snuggled, I knew all would be well, and none of us would have to endure weeks of bickering and stress.

And, Patsy laid her first egg here, a very small one. But, she is a small hen. I thought New Hampshire Reds  were larger birds.

Your turn
Does it seem a solitary animal will be friendlier when integrated into your that has only one other animal than if multiple animals are already present? How do you like her name?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chrissy, the $12 Hen

This is the best shot of Chrissy that I have, the brown hen near his foot. She knew she was being stalked. Now, she hides from me. This guy has lots of fowl. Below are shots I took as I walked around. He even has goats and peacocks.

He said all the fowl go to the proper cages at night. "They know where to go. They know where they sleep."

His wife built the structure in the background for goat fun.

Two ducks with birth defects live here, a male and female. The male cannot balance to do the deed. Thankfully, they do not reproduce, considering both might pass on undesirable traits. He does not destroy malformed animals that can survive. I thought that was really kind.

He said the peahen has laid and raised three sets? of eggs so far. She is on a huge mound in the middle of the yard that is not sheltered from sun or rain or predators. Can you see her?

Crape myrtle

While I was getting my new hen, I passed this crape myrtle, the darkest red I have ever seen. Exbf was as impressed as I.

The picture does not do it justice.  Those highlights on the flowers did not exist.

I felt guilty, but I took two small limbs from the bottom to try and grow my own. I have many small pieces from the two limbs I got. They are in a jar of water in the kitchen window. Now, I wonder if I should have shoved the limbs down into a bucket of dirt. ???

Your turn
Have you ever seen these really dark red crape myrtles? Do you have a name for the variety?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dress Like A Cow And Eat Free Chicken!

like this 

Thelma Has A New Friend

Let me tell you that she is not happy at all. It seems she can walk as fast as she can OUT of the pen even though she could not walk an hour before. New hen is Christy. More later.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cake Types

This may be preaching to the choir. A barter group publishes this message every month, and has done so for the last 5+ years. I am not sure I could have passed a test on this before I read this information. Most of it redundant, but maybe you can glean bits of heretofore unknown-to-you facts.

Cake Types Information
By: The Southern Living Cookbook, 1987,

Shortening Cakes:
There are two basic kinds of cakes. Most are classified as shortening or butter cakes; the others are sponge-type cakes, discussed later..

Shortening cakes are the type you probably bake most often. They include the basic white, yellow, and chocolate cakes, pound cakes, fruitcakes, and any others that are made with shortening, butter, or margarine (use only stick-type margarine, not whipped). They usually depend on baking powder or baking soda for leavening. Sometimes eggs are added whole; sometimes
they're separated and the whites beaten until fluffy before adding.
Unless the recipe specifies otherwise, use the standard mixing procedure.

Pound Cakes:
Pound cakes take their name from the original recipe -- a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Today's pound cakes include more ingredients than the original recipe, but the rich flavor still prevails.

Fruit and Nut Cakes:
Especially around holiday time, many Southerners look for those chunky
fruit and nut cakes that typify the season. The most popular kind of
holiday fruitcake, our version of which is called Light Fruitcake, can be baked up to three weeks in advance. Soak the cake in brandy to keep it moist and flavorful until its Christmas debut.

Start with a Mix:
Keep a few packages of cake mix on hand for occasions when you're short on time and ingredients. These recipes add just a few extras to the mix that will win you compliments every time. In fact you'll probably find yourself making these recipes even when you have enough time to bake from scratch.

Examine the label of the cake mix closely before you buy it. Different brands of the same flavor of cake mix can vary greatly, and it can make a big difference in the end product if you don't use the intended brand.
Make sure to choose the exact ounce size specified in the recipe, and check to see whether or not pudding is included in the mix.

Angel, Sponge, and Chiffon Cakes:
Often grouped together in food textbooks under the label of "foam" cakes, these desserts are noted for their lightness and delicacy. They all depend on beaten egg whites for their characteristic texture, while subtle differences distinguish the three types of cakes.

Angel food cakes are the purest. They contain no leavening, no egg yolks, and no shortening. Sponge cakes contain yolks as well as beaten whites, andsometimes leavening; they never contain shortening.

Sponge cake batters are often used for jelly roll-type cakes.
Chiffon cakes contain qualities of both foam and shortening cakes. Their lightness comes from beaten egg whites, but they do contain egg yolks, leavening, and shortening or oil.

Egg whites play an important role in foam cakes, so handle them so they'll yield the best volume. Separate the eggs as soon as they are removed  from the refrigerator, but allow the whites to come to room temperature before beating. Always beat the whites just before adding them to the batter; they'll lose volume even if beaten and set aside for a few minutes.

Foam cakes are commonly baked in tube pans, but make sure the pans are not greased. The batter will cling to the sides and rise higher in ungreased pans.

Cool foam cakes upside-down to prevent shrinking and falling. To cool, invert the hot cake pan. If the pan has feet, let it cool on the feet. If not, set the pan over the neck of a bottle so air can circulate beneath it.  When cool, gently loosen the sides with a knife.

Your turn
Anything helpful there?

Monday, July 8, 2013

How Soggy Is It?

It is so soggy that these crepe myrtle branches were bent down in my face instead of  being six feet over my head as usual. At this point we have had rain for a week. It is beyond humid--just soggy to the bone. In this picture you can see another crepe myrtle in the background.

The same crepe myrtle flowers are six feet higher since there was no rain last night.
However, there is a mist falling right now and predicted rain....sigh.

Update on Thelma
She is in shock and seems to have injured her left foot. She won't eat, neither last night nor this morning. She stands on one foot.

Your turn
How wet is it your neck of the woods? (Channeling Willard Scott, Today Show weatherman.)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tragedy: Lucy Attacked, Killed AND I Fell!

first sign--feathers ripped out

still more in the path and off to the right

on top of the box
this is where they choose to sleep

under the box and near the water and in front of the water

on the wall where the door is located
When I went out to feed them, I discovered all this mayhem. Thelma was sitting in the swing. She hesitated to come. When I called her, I could tell by her actions she was nervous. She did not want to come in the pen for food. Since I was leaving the house, I put her up for the day with food. Poor thing--all alone now--has no friend. She will go out of the yard more, I know, looking for something to be her friend. So, I am on the search for a new hen. One guy checked around and his contact has no young hens or pullets right now.
fingers point down....oweee
After I left and went out and arrived home, I was exhausted. However, I thought I might find Lucy's body. I go down one-half the length of the side of the house and across the back when I go to my hens, the shorter way. Getting out of the car, I decided to go across the front yard, down the other side of the yard and look around.
As I walked in the side yard, my toe caught on wisteria growing along the ground. I fell headlong, spilling my purse. I had a spray bottle of vinegar that accidentally was carried to the car. There were four bags. On bag had a jar of sweet pickle relish that rolled out ahead of me. I hit my head on that! Ouch! So, I am seeing stars and my hand hurts so much while I am lying amidst shopping items and my purse that has spilled!. I looked at my hand, thinking that I would have a stick and dirt in it. Nope. I think the huge cut in my palm with all the skin peeled back is from the handle on the spray bottle. No dirt in the wound was the bright spot in my day!
Plus, I think I can still shimmy! My shoulder blades hurt for some reason, but I am loosening them up with a little shimmying.
Amazingly, I did not hurt either knee. Since I was walking in foot deep pine straw, maybe that is why--cushioning. I leave pine straw for the hens to scratch in to their hearts' content.
Examining my right palm has revealed an inch and a half cut. only the center part of the cut is bleeding and has a nasty skin flap...ugh. I have too much to do to baby this! Right now, I am sitting here with a palm full of Neosporin.
Don't worry! I do not fall from old age. I fall because that is what I do/have done....all my life. Do you fall lots? I am a very graceful dancer and but not surefooted, it seems. Owee, it just hurts more now.   Yard work would eliminate this problem! I have a plan. Watch tomorrow!
My mother died from a fall. I know that is how I will go. I am okay with Mama's falling was from old age. I knew when I was in my twenties how I would go. Mama always just shook her head at my spills.
UPDATE: Thelma refused to go into her pen. She decided that roosting on a bench in the yard was okay. I had to carry her into the pen. She sort of whine the whole way. Once I put her down, she stood very still, refusing to even eat. sigh
Snowbrush, where are you?
Your turn
So, once again I killed a hen! Tell me I am bad. Do you have small and/or spectacular falls?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What A Deal!

zip ties galore

One day, about three years ago I found two 4'x8' pieces of dark green,  free plastic lattice on the side of the road in a junkpile. I pulled the Malibu over and fought the lattice from under trash. I got both pieces sort of stuck in the trunk of my car, put some thing like a gallon of antifreeze on top of it. That did not work! So, I put them on top of the car and held them on with one hand! Then, I drove about 4 mph home, three miles through city streets, downtown, and on two major highways. Yes, it was a busy time between the trash and home. I was rescuing $50 worth of lattice.

I have used various methods to try to attach it to the side of the hens' pen, a dog pen that has 10 foot wide sides that are 6 feet high. The lattice sags and I try again. Finally, I decided that zip ties held the answer.  I fancy that I am camouflaging the chain link, spiffing it up, adding a little class. I am oh, so deluded. But, I persevere in that mindset. Indulge me. It is pretty.

At Lowe's last week, I purchased 11" zip ties, 20 for about $3. That made 10 ties for each piece of lattice. The lattice needs to be secured all the way down because the wind blows it and leaves accumulate behind the lattice near the ground. The protruding lattice interferes with lawn care and might be broken by a lawn mower or rake. Overall, I had a good idea but executed it poorly. So, the day came when I purchased zip ties.

Several days later I was in Kmart. There on the shelf marked $2, was a container of various sizes of zip ties. Hooray for me!


There are about:
75 7.5-inch black ones,
75 4-inch blue,
75 4-inch green,
75 4-inch white,
75 4-inch red.
Also are a half dozen 7.5-inch white ones.
Then, 25 white, 7.5-inch ones did not make it into the photo.

According to the canister of nylon cable ties aka zip ties, there are 650 ties in the container:
400 assorted 4 inch cable ties (18 lbs. tensile strength);
150 lbs. natural 7.5 inch cable ties (50 lbs. tensile strength);
100 natural, 4-inch cable ties (18 lb. tensile strength).
I see no natural anything unless that is white.  Yes, white=natural. 

There are about 500 zip ties in the container.

On the canister is a sale sticker--$9.99. I looked on the Kmart site and the price there is $8.69. No matter--I got a good deal.

The canister zip ties seem not as thick as the more expensive ones. However, I doubt I will ever need these for anything that needs gorilla-strength holding power. The little ridges are on both sides of the cable and they are deeper than on the cheaper ones. Will that matter?
20 for $3

Lowe's will get these back and I will get a refund.

See what Kmart has reduced in your area. They just finished inventory last week, so they have various items on sale. Do you have a Kmart?

Your turn
Have you ever purchased an item at the going price and found something drastically reduced that will work? Do you take the more expensive item back to the store? Have you furnished your yard with curb shopping? What is the best yard find you have dragged home?