Contact Me

Monday, September 30, 2013

Grumpy Monday: CocoaVia Rant and A Dumb Sign

I am not sure what is happening, but surely CocoaVia has read the research that engendered my
post about why chocolate is good for you. To reiterate succinctly--chocolate processed with alkali (Dutch Chocolate or Dutched) does not have the abundance of flavanols as chocolate processed other ways.

Is this just a glitch? Do you think the CocoaVia manufacturers just have not heard about alkali-processed chocolate? NO and NO

Since I don't know the standards, I don't know if 250 mg is high or low.

And, what is with this ingredient list and warning:

Other Ingredients: Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), Maltodextrin, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, Salt, Soy Lecithin.
Contains Soy. May contain Peanut. Made in a facility that processes Wheat, Egg, and Dairy. Do not use if pregnant or lactating. Consult a physician prior to use if you have a condition or are taking any medications. Not for use by children.

My Hershey's  box of cocoa ingredient list:


That's all.

Chocolate is near and dear to my heart, so I get annoyed when I see ads that seem to deceive.

UPDATE From Sue:

This comment deserves a special place:

Hi, Linda. Having never heard of CocoaVia I found an article about it on the Harvard Medical site. Here's an excerpt from the article.

"Eating plant sterols can lower cholesterol, and flavanols may keep healthy arteries flexible. But you must eat two portions of CocoaVia every day to get the amounts necessary to do this. That means a daily dose of sterols and flavanols comes with an extra 200 calories and 36% of the daily recommended limit for saturated fat. If you don’t cut back 200 calories somewhere else — or walk an extra 45 minutes — that would translate into a 20- pound weight gain over the course of a year. That’s more than enough to counteract any benefits from sterols and flavanols."

Food for thought

Now for the sign

I unplugged it.

I rode in an electric cart, parked it, went to another store, and went back to the first store on the way home. This sign greeted me as I was going to ride in the same cart again. What do you think I did? You are absolutely correct. I did not hesitate as I unplugged it and drove around, looking for what I wanted. Two women at the Customer Service Desk looked annoyed. This hand-lettered sign was put here in the space of 30 minutes.
How long should I have stood there waiting for the electric cart to finish charging? How would I have known when it finished charging? By the way, it was their only cart! And, the store is maybe 50,000 sq. ft., maybe more.
My point: every cart that is plugged up everywhere is charging. No one ever checks the charge and unplugs them for customers convenience. No, they just stay plugged up if they are ever plugged up at all. That would be fodder for another rant.
Your turn
Maybe I should rename today as Grumpy Monday. Okay, I did it. Do things like these make you shake your head? Have you run into dumb signs lately?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Small Economies: Greeting Cards

I found graduation cards at 8 cards for $0.10. I love those baskets with reduced goods. The cards were originally $4.97 for the pack of 8 cards. Yes, they were reduced, on sale, my kind of price, definitely my kind of price, cheap, almost free. One set of the cards has 2013 on it, but that can be overcome and still be useful. I am thinking a seal/ribbon/??? of some sort could be affixed in the middle where 2013 is now. or, a little grandchild can cut it up for crafts.
When I taught GED, I had many graduates. Other teachers did not feel obligated to send a card. Actually, neither did I, but I did because the gesture only cost me a stamp. Somewhere, most likely in a yard sale or thrift store, I found cards in the shape of a black mortarboard. They cost me less than a penny each, and I am still using them. My grandson received one when he graduated this spring.
My son and two daughters will each get a package of the eight graduation cards and I will have another for myself. All three are very careful with their money but do  spend on outrageous cards....well, rarely. All these will be appreciated and used.  For instance, my dil sent me a thank-you card that was meant for baby showers. Her baby is six-years-old. The little grandson sent me a thank-you note on a Christmas thank-you note.
As I have stated before, I have not bought a card at full price for over ten cents in over twenty years. These are my latest acquisitions. I do have some for Thanksgiving (for little grandchildren) and for Christmas, all acquired the same way.
Your turn
Do you ever find greeting cards reduced and snap them up for your use? Will you look for reduced cards in the future? These are not as spectacular as some, but they get the job done. Would you send more cards if they were all this cheap? Or, do you just go ahead and spend what you must on full-price cards?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Maybe I Need to Get a Life

Another variety of hibiscus

The beauty of this $1 hibiscus stunned me. My price--cheap. This almost-free plant bloomed for the first time since I got it two weeks ago. The bloom is just as the woman described it. It is pink with darker pink in the center. It's my new favorite. Plus, the bloom is about 8" across.
If I could afford to go to a movie, I would. Instead, I will just sit here and rhapsodize aloud/in type about this beauty that bloomed this afternoon for the first time at my house.
This plant almost got to stay at the nursery. It looks like something sat on it. The main two branches stick out to one side, making it wider than it is tall. The woman who helped me by moving the plants so I could see them and loaded on a cart and into the car just insisted that I should get this one.
She described it and said I could propagate more from this mangled plant. For a dollar, why not? You can see the top six inches is new growth. And, my chicken keeps falling over!
Okay, there is obviously nothing on my mind tonight.
Just now, at 6:50 and five minutes from total darkness, Thelma was making a racket, sounding like an egg song. I rushed out. She jumped from the table and rushed to the fence. Patsy Cline came from the nest box. Both were dying to get out, trying to force the gate open with their thoughts and anxious little bodies.
I could see nothing. Maybe a raccoon that I heard earlier was out there. They are safe.
So, I will just wash dishes, maybe. It is such a blah Saturday night here, actually like most my
Your turn
It is sort of late for "first" blossoms. Have you had any late surprises flower-wise? 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Overnight: Beauty and the Beast and Moolah

spider lilies
Lycoris radiata
These always spring up overnight.

I tell you I am easily thrilled, easily pleased. Cheap thrills, that's me, a cheap date. Free works for me.

fire ants on the bottom step
I noticed the fire ants are going into a crack and spreading up the steps. So, I can get fire ants in the house--just what I need. NOT.

$5 check for my first place showing
It is hard to say which of these three was the most surprising. Of course, flowers from nowhere, seemingly, is wonderful. I am trying not to step in the fire ants. I had to get fire ant killer and hope to cover it so the chickens won't eat the poison. They won't eat any ant, but the poison will probably taste good!  The mail box held one piece of mail. I had less than $1 when this arrived!
Some days, "a nickel looks as big as a wagon wheel." My neighbor used this phrase to describe her life during the Great Depression.  Have you ever felt that way?
Your turn
Do you love a cheap thrill? What cheap thrills have come into your life?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Blue Ribbon at the Fair

two pounds dehydrated carrots
in a half-pint jelly jar
(one cup)

No ribbons

First, let's discuss the losers or not-winners.The red clover jelly was not as clear as it should be, and I knew it was not ribbon-winning quality. My banana-pineapple jam without a label definitely was a mystery to everyone. As I was checking in, people guessed it was kraut, squash and other things. I imagine the judges could not guess what the bits were. No one was allowed to label their jars with the name of the produce inside. bummer. Of course, our names were hidden.
Now to the carrots. I took two store-bought, one-pound, frozen bags of crinkle cut carrots and dehydrated them. The result was a cupful of dehydrated carrots. I will have to remember not to throw the whole amount into the first soup I make. I think 1/4 cup would be right, one-half pound of carrots. `
Since I was eight-years-old, I have been winning ribbons, mostly blue. In 2009 I won several ribbons in this same fair.
Your turn
Did you enter anything in the fair this year or any year? Did you win any ribbons? I know some of you have canned lots this year. Or, maybe you entered something else, like the birdhouse I built that earned me a red ribbon. Now is the time to tell me of all of your wins. We are listening. Brag away. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Victor, The Rodent Expert

Victor knows the rodent business!

I thought I heard a mouse or rat in the room next to me. It was so loud, I decided it was a rat. As I shuffled around some paper and got the remote to mute the TV, the rodent continued to scuffle around. As the TV went silent, so did the rodent, which by this time I figured must me a rat because it seemed so loud.

Later, as I was attempting to empty the dishwasher, I turned and saw him running from under the table into the room I heard it in originally. This is so creepy.
Then, I could hear it then in the corner sort of behind my chair about six feet from me. If I had a shotgun, I would blast this place to pieces! Lucky rat. I saw it run from one room to another. That really shocked me and made me gasp and squeal a little bit. I am not afraid of it since I am not down and unable to Just the shock of seeing the long, black monster and really knowing it was here instead of just hearing caused a visceral reaction.
I slapped a sticky rat trap down in the doorway and waited for it to step onto it. I waited. I heard it the next night and the next. That night, I heard a scuffle and screaming and crying. It seemed like a half dozen somethings. A raccoon baby? That really frightened me. I rushed to the sticky rat trap.
There it was, about 6 inches long, excluding the tail. It was stuck by its back feet and legs to the trap. It was straining to go through the door, behind the door and into the next room.
Take a deep breath, Linda.  A plastic coat hanger was the thing I got to beat him to death. Nope, I am not hitting him hard enough. The more he struggles and pulls, the less of his feet are stuck. He is getting loose.
Now, the next part is sort of stupid. I wanted to catch him with black Duct Tape, Alligator Brand. So, i got a square butter box and affixed the duct tape to it on one side. Then, I cut a little slit in the other side and stuck a metal pants hanger in it and tried to stick it to the rat. S%#t! It won't stick to his hair. He bites a lot and I give up and see he is barely stuck to the glue trap. I ran to get renuzit to spray him. Nope, not lethal enough!
Next to the Renuzit was coil cleaner left over from exbf spraying it on the ac. I sprayed that on him and he screamed horribly and seemed to try to cover his face with his front paws. Unmercifully, I sprayed him until he was soaked and his face was full of the coil cleaner. But, he was moving and I was afraid I would be bitten.
I jumped in the car and was going to Walmart at two in the morning to buy something to stick to him, more sticky rat traps. Halfway there, I thought the coil cleaner probably loosened the sticky! Now, that was dumb!
When I got home, he was gone. The next night when I came in the door, the stench was unbearable. It still is. The dead rat is behind something that I cannot move. Exbf will be here Friday.
The next day, I went to Tractor Supply and told the man my story.  (He sold me Patsy Cline.)  He had put two huge wooden and metal rat traps in my cart. When I told him about the disintegration of my home and numerous entries now for rats, he grabbed the electric rat killer, placed it in the cart and solemnly said, "This is what you need." It has been here since Tuesday and there were two rats cavorting in there. Now, nothing.. But, I feel better. Tonight, I have heard nothing, nothing.
The guy said I needed a dog when I lamented I did not have a cat and asked him if he knew someone with a good mouser. He did not. And, no I won't have a cat in the house. 

This is where Mr. Rat enters.
There are three electric plates for him to step on, powered by 4 C batteries.  I keep wanting to try it and see how hard the jolt is. I won't/

The back
The directions say to put peanut butter inside one of these holes. I did.

Sounds vicious, doesn't it?
I installed the batteries. A green light blinks once to show the trap is set and working. A green light blinks continuously when a rat has been electrocuted. The light turns red when the trap needs a new battery. This unit says it will kill 50 + rats. Oh, goody! He assured me it did work.
Now, I am $60 poorer. I know, a rat trap or two would be $10. But, I tried and cannot pull the killing bar back to cock the trap. The guy was concerned I would break a finger. My fingers are little. He said he almost broke a thumb. His hands and fingers were really huge. If it hurt him, it would break me!
Everyone recommended rat bait. The problem with that is, my chickens might come across a poisoned rat. Then they would die.
This makes it hard to pay bills since I had to not pay a bill to buy a rat trap. The rat rattles my nerves. It rattles my nerves because I just know it is in something I love, chewing it up, making a nest!
Your turn
Got any rodent stories? Have you ever used one of these electric rat killers? Know anyone who has used the device? Is it any good?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why Chocolate is Good for You--Hallelujah

natural cocoa powder

When I read that chocolate is good for weight loss, I rejoiced. Actually, years ago I lost 46 pounds in three months, AND I ate a Hershey bar every day.

There is one caveat I would add: Don't eat chocolate processed with alkali if you can help it. Your brain health and cardiovascular health are at stake.

Here are four reasons why chocolate is good for you and below why you should avoid Dutch Processed, made with alkali.

"Cocoa is a food ingredient that is important for the contribution of flavor to foods but is also associated with potential health benefits. The chemistry thought to be responsible for its cardiovascular health benefits is the flavanol (flavan-3-ol) antioxidants. Evidence from the literature indicates that natural cocoas are high in flavanols, but when the cocoa is processed with alkali, also known as Dutch processing or Dutching, the flavanols are substantially reduced." You can read the rest of the study here.

I started buying cocoa that is not processed with alkali. While I have not tried it in a recipe, I am quite sure I will love it because I just love chocolate. You might want to read this about baking with the two kinds of chocolate or cocoa. Even "natural" chocolate has been processed but not with alkali.

Don't get me wrong, I will continue to eat chocolate in small amounts that has been processed with alkali. I like a Hershey bar and cannot afford to eat Lindt.  Besides the cost, I rarely find Lindt in small portions.

Your turn
Do you have a relationship with chocolate as I do? Do you try to avoid the "Dutch processed" chocolate?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ready for Banana Bread

15 lbs. of bananas
My parsimonious self is pleased with this latest food project. These jars represent $3 of bananas.

I dehydrated 15 pounds of bananas for about 48 hours because I want them so dry they snap when bent. For my efforts, I now have three quarts and one pint of dehydrated bananas. There was about a cup of dehydrated bananas that I used as a snack on Saturday. No, I did not eat the whole cup of banana chips. The rest are in the car for snacking later.

Since I paid $0.20 per pound for the bananas, I am supremely happy with the results.

The quart jars were on sale for 20% off at the store going out of business. The blue pint is a new one.

Since I will want to reused the lids, I quit writing on them. For years, I wrote on the lid and had to try to re-label for the next storage event. I quit using tape that required working up a sweat to remove it. This is blue painter's tape and a sharpie, used to make a not-so-pretty but effective label. The writing will be easy to see and the label comes right off. Okay, since these are going to be on a shelf over my head, I labeled the front in the same manner, just a piece of painter's tape. That way, I can see which are bananas from the first of the year.  But, I am too tired to go take a picture. Use your imagination just this once.

Of course, these jars of food will be stored in the dark so that the nutritional value will not be destroyed.  Some people like to store canned/dehydrated food as a part of their décor. Some people store canned/dehydrated food in rooms with windows. Both storage ideas drain the nutritional value from the food. Light should be managed! Keep your home-canned food in the dark.

It will be good to have bananas to rehydrate for banana bread. Yes, these are for snacking, too.

Your turn
Are you a banana lover like I am?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Food Deals

Some weeks there are absolutely no bargains I want in the grocery store. No coupons fit the sales. The last week there were such good deals. I did not even need a coupon to score.

White Vinegar--gallon normally $2.38, now$2.00/gal.
I use 2 gallons each month. I only bought five gallons. This strained my storage space. But, if I could have afforded more, I would have bought more and figured out where to store.

French's Pepper--$1.99(4 oz.) is normally $4.79. It was marked down to 2.99, but on the front was a coupon for $1.

Red Delicious Apples--$0.99, regularly $1.99
I buy a few every week to have absolutely fresh ones. Even putting them out on a counter that is not cooled starts the aging process.  Oh, I prefer Red Delicious.

Green grapes--$0.99, Normally $1.99 if not higher
I bought 10 lbs. of grapes. I intend to eat many and freeze many.

Cabbage--$0.35 normally higher
I only bought one head. I may go back and get more to dehydrate.

Ready for Banana Pineapple Mango Rum Jam
This is part of fifteen pounds I bought.

Vidalia onions--$0.99
Tonight, I will see how many I want for dehydrating. This time of year, this is a good price.

I bought 8 huge heads for the dehydrator. I will make tuna salad and potato salad before I dehydrate since they will only be good for cooking.

Then, this week it went down to $0.68. so I got three more.

Kraft Cheese--$1.49
Usually, it is from $2.58 (lowest) to $3.59
One store has it for $1.49 if you buy 5 packages. I did.

Minute Maid Orange Juice--$2.49
Usually this is $3.98 to $3.58
I only drink a half gallon every two weeks. I know oranges are better, but I love orange juice with my scrambled eggs, bacon, and milk when I have it in the mornings. Two weeks ago, I found a clearance because it had two days left on "best by" date, marked down to $1.50.

At Belle Foods, they are giving 20% off their store brand. On Wednesdays, I get another 5% off since I am a senior citizen. I bought seven large canisters of their store brand of old-fashioned oats. The receipt is missing, but I figured I paid 50% of the regular price of oats.

Milk I have gotten 20% off on their store brand of milk.  I have three gallons stuffed in my refrigerator with all the celery.

Of course, these are grocery store deals. The cabbage was so fresh. I know the grapes come from CA and the Vidalia onions from Georgia. However, they are fresh. Remember,only onions from certain counties in GA can be Vidalia. 

Your turn
Have you found, as I have, that their are many sales the past 10 days? I know none of this is from a farm stand, but I cannot walk to even shop at 20 booths. Besides, some of these foods are not available at outdoor farmers markets. What have been your best food sales or buys lately?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bananas Everywhere

seven dehydrator trays of bananas

Food World (Belle Foods) will close for good on Saturday night. Today, employees were packaging bananas and tagging them at $0.20/lb. I bought 15 lbs. (4 tray packs) and have slaved over them in order to dehydrate them before they go bad. Seven out of nine trays have been filled. Since I put them on the tray one plate of sliced bananas at a time, the top bananas have started turning brown and shrinking a bit.
All the bananas were very firm and a bit under-ripe tasting. They sweeten as they dehydrate. Only one banana had any sort of blemish in the center. I cut out that huge bruise. Out of 15 lbs. of bananas, I only had about 1/4 cup of flesh trimmed. These bananas had not developed those nasty strings that I hate to eat. Only a half-dozen had strings. Some had the little black, hard places on the blossom ends. The hens get those. I ate the point on the stem end.

This is the last package, but Blogger decided it should be here.
Notice the stems have been cut right off. The produce people cut the stems so the banana fits on the black, Styrofoam tray and can be shrink-wrapped with cellophane. No stems=more savings. Since they are sold by the pound, I am in favor of getting rid of excess weight.

There is one more tray that was not pictured.
Bananas not quite ripe are best when dehydrated. Somehow, they get sweeter. Maybe it is the heat. As you can see, I fortified myself with candy corn from a Harvest Mix. The bag of peels will go to the hens in the morning when they get dry oats. I have to drive 39 miles for a mystery shopper gig, so they will be inside with something to peck at.
I have so much produce to dehydrate!
To answer a question, I do not treat with lemon juice or anything else. The first bananas I ever dehydrated, I treated half with lemon juice and half I treated with nothing. I could see no difference in the color of the final products. Treating with lemon juice is supposed to keep the banana sliceds white. It does not.
Your turn
There are many sales around town this week. Found anything outstanding? What are you canning or dehydrating?

I Wonder Why...Me? Naked?

This post could be about parsimony, but it's not. I saw this and could not resist showing it to all of you.

Week two of Slugmama's Boring Box Giveaway is open.  Go there to try to win this fabulous box. Hey, it can be a gift if you don't need it yourself. I had her mail the box I won directly to my daughter since her children could use the items and needed them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Went to My Family Reunion

And, no one else was there. Bummer. I know that there is a reunion on the third Sunday in September.....always....for ages...."just come." That is what my mother's cousin said last time I went which was four years ago.

As it turns out, cousin M died. Her sister died five years ago, and the other sister never comes. So, as someone  told me, "Everyone died." Well, there were 30 or so people last time I was there. More on this later.

We drove 170 miles from 8:45 to 11:45. Well, I drove. Exbf came with me. He never wanted to come after he did not want to date me. I was so sad and asked him to go, pleeeease. He agreed to. He put gas in my car and air in the tires on Sunday morning.

all my relatives are buried here but not my parents

I prepared to eat/snack in the car as we drove--Coke for me, Pepsi for him; pimiento and cheese sandwich for me, pb sandwich for him (both on whole wheat bread; Frito Lay pb crackers for both; banana for me, apple for the both of us (he hates bananas); bottle of water for each, refilled at my faucet and refrigerated the night before; a bowl of grapes to share. So, we are set.

Since I did not want to bake and did not want to carry a dish that far and did not want to buy something to take, I took a bowl of grapes--about 4 pounds. Grapes of all kinds were $0.99/lb this last week, so I carried white grapes and purple/black grapes, both seedless. I did that once before and it was a hit as people waited for dinner to begin, during the talking/visiting part of the reunion.

As soon as I saw the empty churchyard, I just knew something was wrong. I am very astute. I took a couple of pictures, laughed at the predicament and we left. This was a long, long drive back into the countryside. The drive out of the countryside was going to be long, too. As we left and were going to make another left a few miles from the church, I saw a church up the road to the right and drove there since there were a few cars.

In the parking lot a guy leaving said he drove 30 miles to church each week, so knew no one, and took me inside. He interrupted a meeting with the preacher and two other people. The minister knew the grand-daughter of my cousin M AND her phone number that he had not dialed in 20 years. A postal carrier was the other man at the meeting--good source of information.

I talked to her and then, to my dismay, I learned cousin M had died in June. The grand-daughter told me "they all died." Somehow, they don't have the concept that a family reunion continues even after the 90-year-old people die. There were people there in their seventies last time I was there! They really mean that generation is gone. So, now, I have my cousin Linda's phone number.

Someone, maybe slugmama can tell me how this works and the exact term for our relationships.
My g-grandfather (and Mama's grandfather) is the brother of M's grandfather. (Mama and M shared a g-grandfather.) Actually, this was the Thomas Crouse side; I am on the Eli Crouse side. Cousin M said she and my mother were cousins. Their grandfathers were brothers. So, were they second cousins? What is my term the relation of cousin M? What is it for her daughter, Linda, and Linda's daughter to me?

No wonder no one answered at cousin M's house! I had been calling for about two months. I was sad because I figured something happened, hoping it was just a nursing home. However, since Linda lived there, too, I hoped she would answer the call. Cousin M had said over and over, "Just come because we will always be having it the same time every year" So I did. They didn't.

The preacher gave us Coke over ice--refreshing. He tried to give us doughnuts and asked about our salvation and insisted on praying over us.

The drive home was more leisurely. I drove the speed limit on the way over. Exbf was in charge of telling me when the speed limit changed so I would not speed and would always stay up to the limit to make good time. I drove much slower on the way back when we were off the four-lane, divided highway.

On the way home, Exbf showed me the interesting things he had pointed out on the way over, things I did not see because of his not telling me fast enough for me to look as I drove. .

                                      I suppose we can all imagine how this road was named.

He is handing me mine.
Okay. the waffle cone is not as large as it looks in comparison with his little cup of ice cream. Since I was driving, I had to have a cone. The regular cone was so tiny that I just ordered the larger waffle cone, and it really was large. That woman kept skimming off cream and stuffing it into the cone. If she had gotten solid scoops, I would have gotten half as much ice cream. My cone would have been an $8 cone in the mall with half as much ice cream. My cone cost $2.79. It was delicious. I had to eat it quickly because the woman cracked the cone about three inches down the side, and ice cream was seeping from the gash. The cone was full of still-firm cream to within an inch and a half of the bottom. Of course, I got the cone to eat when the most treacherous part of the journey was coming up. It's scary to drive up hills and down into hollows while also going around curves with no shoulder AND holding a cone in one hand.

my find and featured in yesterday's post
Confederate Rose
That was a 340 mile drive in the country from Alabama to Mississippi and back. Okay, we drove on a 4-lane, divided highway part of the time. Part of the trip was on just a four-lane with access to businesses. Most of the trip was on two-lane roads with nothing but trees. Even the state highway was solidly enclosed in trees. We were amazed because the state highway was lined with evergreen trees planted so thickly.

We both were astounded at no reunion. I was disappointed, but as you can see it was a beautiful, brilliant day with only the high wispy clouds and a light breeze where there was wind at all. Neither of us were upset. We had lots of conversation about things we have never talked about and laughed at our stories. We arrived back here about 3:45 and he had a 65 mile drive to his house.
Oh, I forgot. We left here with no directions. I had been here three times with someone else driving. All directions had been tossed since I wrote them on a scrap that was discarded after each trip. When we were at one point looking for the road to the church, I told exbf that I knew this was as far as I had gone before, so it was about time to find someone or turn around. Within a half mile, I saw the road. Mostly, I have pretty good feeling for distance and when I am off track. It worked out. But, now I am putting a file of directions on my computer and making a notebook of hard copies!
Your turn
Have you ever gone to a reunion that did not happen? Any occasion that was just not going to happen? 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Confederate Rose

Confederate Rose
Hibiscus mutabilis
or, cotton rosemallow

I plucked this from a bush/tree about 15 feet high and very wide. Hopefully, I will have free plants if I can propagate this.  This branch/flower is going limp. Today, I will try and root various parts of this.
The flowers are white in the morning, pink at midday, and dark pink at night. This flower is between the light pink and dark pink flowers that covered the tree.
I am in love.
Huge tree/bush
Blogger is just not cooperating this morning with font size of text placement! After I took a picture, I ripped off a low branch to take with me. This was on the side of the road and the old service station was not open for me to ask permission.
The wind started blowing, so the picture is not clear, and the flowers closed when they blew. You cannot really see how large they were on the plant.
Your turn
Has anyone had experience with this plant? I know it is a cross between hibiscus and something else.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

S%it Southern Women Say, Part 1

Now, I must say, all this sounds sooo familiar. I do say some of this, not all by any means. And, I do not have such a Southern accent. But, I can drawl if you like. So, y'all might like to watch S%it Southern Women Say, Part 1.

And, there is more.

How Southern Women Talk, Part 2

How Southern Women Talk, Part 3

I have never in my life said, "Raise the window down. "

Most of the other things I have heard all my life even if I do not say them.

However, it is true--you can never have too many cake stands! Even though it is true, I have never said it.

To show you how little Southern accent I have, people say to me, "You're not from around here, are you?"

Entertain me

Are you from the South or not? If you are not from the South, what do you think of Southern accents? What are any of your  regional experiences that include the South.

Friday, September 13, 2013

What Money Is Worth Today: Inflation Calculator

As I was reading my great-great-grandfather's will, written in 1864, I wondered how much in today's money was he willing to people.

Soon, I was wondering how much he actually had. I turned to an inflation calculator to determine what his gifts were worth, what he was leaving to his children and grandchildren. One of his children was my great-grandfather and received the will to his land and the buildings.

He gave $100 to each of his twelve grandchildren and $800 to each of six living children,. To the grandchildren of his three dead daughters, he gave them their mother's share to divide. In today's money, accounting for inflation,, he gave the grandchildren $1,447. 64  each and to his children he gave $11,581.10 to each of his living children. After all his possessions were sold, anything left over was to be divided amongst his daughters or the children of dead daughters. In all, not counting his land and buildings, he left in cash $83,257.68 to his heirs. I think I remember that he owned 800 acres of land in North Carolina.

My husband, a college student in 1966, made $55 which is $358 in today's money. We lived on that and paid for tuition for both of us and rent and all the other expenses of life. He actually made more than any other student on campus. Oh, his was a part time job.

Back to my g-g-grandfather. He left his wife practically destitute--a bed and some blankets and she could live in the house for four years if she lived that long. ??? I can say times have changed for the better! Oh, and three hogs, some bushels of wheat and corn.

I hope you can have fun, learn something, and most of all waste as much time as I did with the inflation calculator.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It Is Hard to Resist: Restored Post

1953D, 1946, 1950
Wheat Pennies

It is hard to resist cleaning coins, isn't it? This is one of the strongest temptations I face. The value will be degraded. I want coins to be worth more, not less. However, I have never sold a coin. Have you?

(I recovered this blog post I deleted. Never again will I lose forever a post.)
Recently, I fished these out of my coin purse as I was paying for something. I saw the wheat back and quickly retrieved it, not for a purchase, but to hold in a separate place in my purse. That day, I checked each penny in my coin purse and found these three Wheat pennies.
wheat design on the back
The quality of the three coins impress me. I can even see the ear on two of the coins. Their value is from $0.15 to $3 and $4. So, potentially I have $11.00 (2x$4+1x$3)  in front of me. I have been grading coins on and off since I was eight-years-old. However, I am not sure how good I am since I have had no guidance. I must say I only have about three dozen coins even though I have been looking at coins for 60 years. Most are pennies with one Standing Liberty dime.
When I was eight-years-old, I desperately wanted a coin book. I suppose I was a strange child, not wanting a toy, just a book and not a story book but a reference book. As a fledgling numismatist I was passionate. The first coin I ever looked up was an Indian Head nickel. When my grandson was the same age, I gave it to him along with an up-to-date coin book. I don't think it took. Not one word has been spoken to me about coins, so I doubt he has any interest. Kids have their own interests. I tried! My original book still is in great condition. Did he keep his book?
Over the years, coins have disappeared. Did I accidentally spend them? I hope not. Give them away? Possibly! If a coin were only worth one-cent over face value, I probably spent it.
Do you collect coins in a major or minor way? I cannot afford to buy coins and do not want to do so. That is not an interest. Just rescuing coins from change is about all I care to do. But, as a child I was much more passionate about coin rescue.

Out of 25 pennies in my coin purse a few days ago, I found these three wheat pennies. My coin purse had $4 in coins, way too much weight for me.

When you find many in one fistful of change, do you wonder if someone became desperate for money and spent saved coins he knew were valuable? Do you wonder if someone took coins surreptitiously from someone and spent the coins? Oh, yes, that is called stealing!


I think I need another coin book. However, the  grading systems and pricing are online. It is more satisfying to sit with a book and a dish of coins. Okay, I don't really protect my coins like I should.

Is there a numismatist who knows how to clean coins an approved way? One guy put acid on a dime and penny of mine, ruining their value. Another suggested a good soak and scrub. Got a better idea?
Sorry I cannot get the print size right. 
Your turn
Do you collect coins in a major or minor way? Now, this might be revealing more than you want to reveal if you are into gold coins. However, robbing me might net $2 at face value and not a lot using numismatic prices.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Patsy Cline Is So Confused

 "Oats," says Patsy Cline (left). "Perfect."

She seems to be a sweet hen and catches on that she can follow me to the porch, mount the steps, and I will say, "Okay, okay, just a minute, just a minute, I will be right back." She goes to the grass and waits. I throw something to her and Thelma.

When Patsy Cline quit laying, I was stymied. Maybe she is not getting enough protein? Maybe there is something wrong with her?

Every morning, I give the two girls regular  Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats right from the same box I use for my breakfast. Plus, they get any kitchen scraps. For a few days I have been watching closely at what each eats when I go out in the morning. Thelma goes straight for meat scraps, while Patsy Cline devours the oats. Hmm...

This morning I decided to give them meat first and leave the oats until later in the morning, a few scraps of baked chicken with Mrs. Dash Chicken Spices on it while baking. I opened the pen gate and they eagerly came around my feet, looking up at the saucer in my hand. I sprinkled the pieces I had diced up for them. As the diced pieces landed, Thelma was pecking quickly. Patsy Cline went forward also, looked down at the chicken, looked around, looked back up to the saucer in my hand, looked at me, ran around frantically, and just seemed confused. Thelma ate all the chicken except for a few pieces when I just gave up.

A little disappointed that Patsy Cline got no protein, I left. She ran to the last tiny piece of chicken and just looked at it, looked around again. Suddenly, she darted out, following me, making little begging noises. I turned and looked at her. She stopped dead in her tracks and looked off into the distance as if to say, "I'm not following you." Each time I started walking, she did the same thing. Finally, I got dizzy from whirling around to catch her. Well, I did not whirl, just whipped my head around.

Patsy Cline followed me all the way to the house! She sounded so pitiful. In about thirty minutes I went back with oats. I think I saw a chicken in ecstasy. She was so happy. Later, I threw frozen carrots out the back door that had been thawed. Thelma and Patsy Cline pecked at a few pieces and left them. Later, I threw the bruised half of a banana and the peel into the yard. They ate all the banana. Of course, when I closed their pen. I had to clean up the peel and two pieces of carrot from the ground by the steps.

Feeding her what she likes means she would just eat oats! This is toddler behavior. The only thing I can think of is to put half the food outside the pen while Louise comes out to get it and put the other half of the protein in the pen and lock Patsy Cline inside until she eats. They both eat out of boredom when locked in. Or, maybe they are just hungry and desperate.

The sight of her running after me, frantically begging will be with me forever. Thelma got a double ration of protein, so she will continue her giant egg habits.

The wisteria recovers the fence, unfortunately. sigh

Your turn
Have you ever had a chicken so wild about oats or one food that she just refused to eat unless she got her "regular" food, her favorite?

Monday, September 9, 2013

See a Chicken Lay an Egg

I really don't know how to put up a video, but you can go to this site to see a video of a chicken laying an egg. The view is from the business end of the hen.

When the egg is coming out, the egg tube descends and comes out first. This way, the egg never touches the outside opening where the poop comes down. The egg will not be contaminated by fecal matter. However, poop in the egg laying box might get on the egg.  There is never poop on my hen's feathers. An internal problem that causes diarrhea or dirty laying conditions would make the egg poopy. Occasionally I do have a bit of poop on and egg. Usually that is when the chicken has tracked in poop on dirty feet during a rainy period or I have been remiss in turning or replacing the pine straw.

My hen's boxes are filled with pine straw. They rarely poop in their egg box. Their is so much pine straw that it can be turned and fluffed to keep the straw dry and fresh. Notice that the chicken is standing, not sitting.

It seems totally unnecessary to trim a chickens butt feathers. Mine have huge fluffy butts and the eggs are mostly perfectly clean. This trimming is a practice that just seems wrong.

This whole post is left-justified in draft, but it is centered once published.....grrr.

Your turn
Okay, was that not jaw-dropping awesome? Have you ever seen a hen drop/lay an egg? Have your ever heard of trimming butt feathers???

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Shelf Life

We all want to know the shelf life of everything. This site has interesting information. I am not sure I agree with all the information. Do you find at the site anything that seems wrong to you?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hen Rescue in US and Slugmama's Giveaway

Instead of gassing old layers, the hens were rescued and flown to backyard homes.  While I think not gassing California hens and rescuing them is fine, could they not have found new homes closer than the East coast? Maybe fewer commercial layers will be killed in the future.

Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway is here again. I won the last giveaway she had.  Go on over.  Try your luck.

Your turn
Would you take old laying hens into your backyard? Why or why not? What do you think of this idea?  Good grief! I do sound like a school teacher, constructing an essay test question!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cowboy Church and Horse Steaks? I Took a Drive

Thursday, I had to make a drive for mystery shopping. I am a cheap date for As I drove along, this sign drew me to the side of the road. I took this picture looking up toward the sun. I didn't have much choice of where to aim. I did not get out of the car for any of the pictures I took Thursday.
It was a beautiful day, as you can see. The road I drove is the same one I took a hundred times with my children on the way to my mother's house in Memphis. The last time I drove it was to her funeral. It was a bittersweet drive.
I am sitting in the driveway of this church. On the other side of the driveway is a sign for a free rodeo. I have a sneaky feeling the huge metal building was the rodeo and that is when and where they hold their services. I suppose bronc riders do pray lots.


Just in the driveway but not inside the gate, this cowgirl and her dog are waiting. She and the dog are made of metal. On the other side of the driveway was a cowboy. I know I took his picture.

Further along, this cow, number 192, was very interested in me. There were others closer to me, but all but this one ignored me. No. 192 looked me in the eye. I think we made a connection. I really wanted to stay and talk to her.

Mel's Steakhouse has a cow and a horse. Now, that was a surprise. I thought maybe they served horse steak.

Then, I saw the buggy. Whew!

This was a very tall structure. It is right near where the giant chicken was located. Oh, the chicken is gone.
After driving 140 miles, feeding my hens and then putting them to bed (locking the pen), I saw this sunset with ripples in the clouds. The picture does not do the sight justice.

So, that was my Thursday, very pleasant and not at all exciting, just satisfying. I stopped at the Mennonite bakery and got $1.25 worth of candy. Delicious.

Did you ever enjoy a sort of doing nothing day? Tell me about a memorable one or the last doing nothing day that turned out to be full of surprises and pleasant.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Autumn Joy Sedum: Deer/Drought-Proof/Edible: Update

Sedum Autumn Joy
Check out the link under the picture if you are looking for deer- or drought-proof plants that are edible.  Sedum fills the bill for all three.

The rest below are ramblings of mine.

My sedum will look like this and even darker during the late fall and early winter. As I recall from ten years ago, it almost looks like a dark burgundy.

Autumn Joy Sedum
Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy'
I took a picture of this in the nursery.
I bought a Sedum Joy (what they called it in the nursery) about 13 years ago. It stayed in the yard near the bird bath, living for several  years, bringing me a great deal of joy. The year 2003 was not a good year for yard work or getting to the yard since I waited for six months waiting for workman's comp insurance to give me "permission" to have an MRI for my knee that had a torn meniscus. After that, I no longer remember this plant. Maybe it is growing in a thicket right now.
I have been told that sedum comes in different colors. One year, in my search for this pink variety, I found yellow. This is deer and drought proof, or so says the internet source under the picture above.  And, you can eat it. I will try it next year when, hopefully, the pesticides will be gone or less.

Sedum Joy turning from green to pink
This is the plant I own.
Isn't that a delicate pink? Eventually, the whole plant will turn pink, only pink. Then, during the fall it turns a deep burgundy, crimson you might call it. Every week it is a different and deeper shade of pink to burgundy. I just went out past the Sedum Joy and it is a delicate pink, not so evident in the picture.
After the Autumn color fades to burgundy it just remains as dead stalks. I leave it all winter because it is actually structurally pretty. Plus, I know where the sedum is located.  In the spring, the stalks are easily pulled up without disrupting the new growth.
I have looked for this every year but either never find it or find it in yellow. One plant is all I can afford, but I really enjoy the one I do have. Since it spreads, it really fills out a space with color for three seasons. However, it seems it is only sold in the Fall. It can grow 2' high and 2' wide. Of course, my plant is about 10" wide and not much taller.
Your turn
Some people have never heard of this plant. Others only know it by his name. And, some people act like it is common as grass. Where do you stand? Ever heard of this, planted it?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"You Need to Leave Now."

That's what he said. My daughter said she had spent two months solid thinking and figuring out she could afford what her son needed to go to college out of state, shopping and wearing herself out. He received scholarships, grants, help from family in the form of large graduation gifts, and did not work all summer. (He actually landed a job that ended up being fewer hours than they indicated until the last two weeks. I figure that a long-time employee left to go to school but not before he got all the hours and paychecks he could.)

I got all the deals I could for free or almost free school supplies and showed my daughter the best deals online for clothing (underwear and socks) since I have more time to spend online. She even drove to Long Island to get things not available where she is in Brooklyn. (Sandy destroyed places she shopped.) His sister has taken a backseat while everyone focused on getting him to the out-of-state school he only wanted to attend because his girlfriend is going there. His 12-year-old sister was very understanding.

It took two vehicles, my daughter, her bf D, her ex B, the girl's mother, and the girl's uncle riding a bus with luggage to get all the gear the two college students needed to the college four hours away. My daughter drove and arrived exhausted. She was quickly organizing his stuff in the room while he watched, got in the way, was a brat (she said), and did not help. The guys went to buy whatever they needed to hook up his brand-new tv (bought the day before by his father) by stringing all the wire up and around doors to reach the tv outlet across the room. Oh, he did hang up his shirts.

The grandson eventually said to his mother, "You need to leave now." "It's time for you to go." Finally, his girlfriend came to his room and told my daughter, "You can leave now." My daughter was crushed. She hugged her son with no joy, and left when she finished what she was doing.

Then, she had the grueling four-hour drive home. She had gotten up at 5 am and left by 6:15 pm to get him settled so she could drive home before dark. She cried lots because of his ingratitude, his dismissive attitude. She cried when she arrived home. She was still beyond exhausted when I talked to her Monday night.

She had planned they would all go out to eat lunch, decompress/relax, laugh a bit, say good-bye and depart in a good mood. The kids had other plans. There was some event on campus for incoming freshmen that they wanted to attend! Really, they should have just said so instead of telling her it was time for her to leave, dismissing her.

My advice to her: Drop him off at the curb next year. She agreed.
My advice: Let him take the bus home for visits. She already had told him that would be necessary because of the age of her vehicle. She does not expect him until Thanksgiving.

My daughter said her son called his father at 1 am and asked where his toiletries he himself had packed were located. His father had no idea: "look in your bins." LOL

This is a kid who has never given her a moment's worry, just had an attitude problem occasionally and a smart mouth occasionally. He attended school, did not do drugs, does not smoke or drink, won leading roles in high school musicals, played an instrument, played football one year and maintained very high grades except for his junior year. So, all this attitude was totally unexpected.

Since the mother of the girlfriend rode back with my daughter, they discussed the two they left behind. It seems that the girl acted the same way toward her mother, upsetting her as well. So, it was not just my daughter's son. The little girlfriend is an only child!

One good thing did come out of this. I told her I felt the same way she does when she does not call me back or says she is too busy to talk.  She sounded sorry as she sort of gasped and groaned and apologized. So, for two days, she has been responsive. No, I do not expect to talk to her every day.

And, so it goes...................

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Relish a Relish Deal

Add a can of tuna for a delicious sandwich.

This week at the grocery that doubles coupons, Mt. Olive 16 oz. pickles and relishes were 2/$3.00.  had two coupons. The 16 oz. relishes were regularly $2.45. I had a $.50 coupon.
I bought the larger sweet relish using a coupon. They allowed me to get two 8 oz. dill relishes since they were out.
The 32 ounces above (2/$3) were my purchases using coupons.
2 $.50 coupons were doubled to make 2 x $1=$2.
$3 minus $2= $1 for my purchase above.
Original price=$4.90 for 32 oz.
Sale price=$3 for 32 oz.
Savings: $3.90
My final price (for all three jars, 32 oz.)=$$1.09

$.94 - $.75 coupon=$.19
Toothpaste for $.19 cents is almost as good as free! Usually, toothpaste is free for me.
Your turn
Have you been able to use this relish coupon that was in a paper insert? What is your best deal lately?