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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Past

This picture startled me with its beauty when I took it several years ago. (No, don't steal it.) The funky candlestick was $1 at yard sale. The candles were in a $1 box that said "dripless candles." Ummm, don't think so. At least they dripped spectacularly!

Front yard graveyard two years ago. I made the tombstones with sheets of cast off foam that came from appliances. The paint was a $3/gal mis-tint at Lowe's. A painted brick sits behind and two in front for stability. A tea light in front of each tombstone adds an eerie aspect.
My Halloween candy for the kids is always free, bought at Office Max with my MaxPerks points earned from recycling ink cartridges. This year, I did not buy candy, so that opportunity to spend $40 is still in place at OM.
Since it is going to rain, I won't be out tonight. Since I am still running a fever, I will not decorate with the graveyard. I'm hiding from Trick or Treaters and staying off the streets so I don't hit a kid.
You turn
What are you doing for Halloween? What is your costume? Parties? Hiding?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chicken Burritos (not a recipe)

confetti that fell out of my Halloween card

Jan has washed her hens and wrapped them up like burritos. You can see them here.  Fancy like being wrapped up when I bathed her just before she died. My little chick certainly did not mind being bundled up in a towel, burrowing down further when I tried to see if she were okay.

after a chick bath
and before going to bed with me
You can see the rest of the chick bathing here.

I am so ill and wanting KFC gravy!
I have wanted to share Jan's chicken burritos with everyone!
Your turn
Do you love the chicken burritos? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Smiles in the Mail

"Rattle your bones
and shake your vines.
May your Pumpkin Day
be a scary good time."

Sent to me by a good Internet friend.
Thanks. You made me smile.
Then, I gasped as the card fell apart.
Okay, so it was Halloween confetti.

It arrived so soon!
I ordered it on 10/18 and it arrived on 10/29. So many times, things arrive so late that right before Christmas I am in a cold sweat wondering, worrying that the item might not arrive in time for a Christmas gift. Do you ever have that experience before Christmas when you are expecting something delivered so you can give it for a Christmas gift?
Notice that one side of the card is clear. I have never seen a card with a clear portion!
There was a fear in me that there was a catch to the deal. But, it appears to be true! I got it.
There is $5 on the card. I may put another $5 on it before mailing. Have you gone to to earn a few rewards?
Your turn
Would these two make you smile if you received them in the mail? What smiles have been delivered to your house lately?

Sonya Ann's Giveaway

Sonya Ann is giving away money--$25. You can read about it here.  I can use $25 free. How about you?

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Use for Turkey Baster

This man used it to save an infant's life. This would certainly be a good thing to remember if someone is choking and all else fails. Or, use his method first. Tears came to my eyes.

Do not quote me or take my word for the efficacy of the turkey baster to save a life. In other words, use at your own discretion.

Your turn
What other uses do you have for a turkey baster? I know about putting water in a battery.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Courthouse Step in My Front Yard

a step from the old courthouse
 My neighbor died when she was ninety-four-years-old. I went over almost every day of the week for about ten years. She told me one day that the things I did for her kept her out of the nursing home. Actually, on the days I went to school, I could only go over for ten minutes or so. But, that was enough to change a blown light bulb that left her in the dark, drag her garbage to the road, or get a cheese sandwich.

She kept sliced cheese and white bread. I know eating that all the time helped me put on a few pounds. She taught me how to cook sweet potatoes so they were delicious. She taught me which varieties of sweet potato were the tastiest.

When she died, my heart broke. I was lonely. She depended on me, and I depended on her needing me.

She had a stone bench that her daughter allowed me to have after her mother's death. The front yard corner holds it now. After I put a bench under an oak tree, the other corner neighbors near me put a bench on their corners, too.

The courthouse-step bench is one of three benches that grace my yard and allow me to sit in various places to enjoy the yard or rest when my back and knee hurt.

Charlie on Saturday took a 20' iron pipe, used it as a lever and pushed the step back where it was once again centered. A friend's truck had pushed it off center while she was driving my generator to its place in the yard after a tornado left me with no electricity for five days.

Benches within my sight

directly across the street

two doors down
I have never seen a soul sit on either of these benches! These are more expensive and landscaped, but I like mine better. And, I and my friends use my bench.

Your turn
Do you find that the older you get, the more you need to sit when you are in the yard? I do. Do you have a bench anywhere in your yard? More than one? Does your bench have a history? Do you actually use your bench?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Charlie Came By Today and Did a Few Chores

new pine straw to scratch in

Charlie raked four Rubbermaid bins of pine straw for their pen. Since my pine straw under my one pine tree is at least six inches deep, this was two swipes with the rake for each bin, not hard work or time consuming at all. Patsy Cline loves finding her corn in the pine straw. Thelma? You mean you are locking me up this early? "Yes, I am tired, Thelma! Go eat before Patsy Cline eats all the corn."

The hosta was crowded, so I had Charlie dig some up and put dirt in my pots. Then, I stuck the hosta in and he filled around it. I watered them well. 

The two Hostas above were also dug up this spring. They were as sparse as the two I just planted. Two months later, both are really filled out. What is the weed growing around the Hosta?
Then, I had him dig up the spider lilies. The chunk above is full of bulbs--all volunteers, 27 of them.

Above is another view of the same 27 bulbs. I will have spider lilies galore next year.

I have planted six. Here are 21 divided and on the ground.


Spider lilies I posted a few weeks as they sprung up surprising me.

Spider lilies  transplanted late this afternoon

Five bulbs made it into a pot. I am going to take the central one out and plants another bulb that will bloom in the spring. In the spring, I intend to plant a short ground cover that will last from spring through fall. I already have the seeds. Don't ask me what the flower is. Do you have a suggestion for a low plant for the whole top of this pot?

My garden guru told me to just put all the bulbs in a plastic bag of water. The bag above is now almost full of warm water and sitting in the sink. Somehow, I feel like this is all wrong, and I am drowning bulbs. What do you think?
He did more, but that can wait for another day because I did not take pictures. Some of these pictures were taken at night.
Your turn
Is it okay to cover these bulbs all night with water? Do you have a suggestion as to what short plant to grow from seed in these pots that will have spring bulbs and fall bulbs? I am thinking maybe allysium or something like that. 

The Dollar Hollering Homemaker Giveaway

If you want to win Green Giant items, go to . The Dollar Hollering Homemaker to enter. I did!

Friday, October 25, 2013

U.S.N. Blanket--$1 and Navy Questions for You

middle of blanket

I bought a blanket at a yard sale for $1 that looked warm but did not look worn at all. The woman looked at some black places and reduced the price from $2 to $1. I used it last night and it is definitely warm.
The "U.S.N." is definitely "United States Navy." But, there are other worn letters that I cannot decipher. I have searched the Internet, using all sorts of search terms with no results that pertained to this blanket.

head and foot of blanket
actual color
I folded the blanket so both would show. It appears that the same thing is printed on both, but what?
Does anyone know what is stamped on the head and foot of the U.S.N. blanket? It appears there is "W R," but what does that stand for? The blanket picture above is the actual color of the blanket.
The black places are where the ink from the stamp went through to the other side of the blanket. The first blanket I picked up and did purchase was $2.
Childhood use of Army blanket 
When I was a child (age 4-5), I loved to sleep under a green WWII Army blanket from Mama's WAC service during WWII. My siblings hated it because it was scratchy. HA! I knew it was warmest and if it did not touch my skin was the best and warmest of the blankets. I had about three blankets on me to keep me warm in our frigid house.
Mama tucked me in and folded the sheet back over the blankets, so the scratchy Army blanket did not touch my face. That habit carried over. To this day, I have to have the sheet folded over even a soft blanket. I cannot stand to have edges of anything touching my face.
The new one is not scratchy at all and very warm, especially since it was only $1. The price was right. My $3 worth of blankets are enough but for the coldest of nights.

Your turn
Can anyone tell me what this blanket has stamped on it? Was your childhood as cold as mine?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Snake Hole?

Is this a snake hole?

This is a burning question! When I was a child, we called these "snake holes." We did not have technology to entertain us, and this was free amusement.

This was a perfectly round hole until I stomped on it to see what damage I could do. There is another by the hens' pen. I don't really think these are snake holes any longer. But, what are they?--perfectly round holes in the ground.

Surely, someone out there knows. Just picture it round.

Your turn
What do you think made the round holes? Did you call them snake holes when you were a child?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Flu Vaccines/Heart Health and Web-Savvy Seniors

My goal is to spend less money and energy on health problems. I am not cheap. My first goal is to protect my health! However, being healthy costs less than being ill. Cancer, heart disease, orthopedic problems, can be devastating.  I also believe in vaccines.

You may have your own reasons for not have the flu vaccine. I probably don't agree with you. But, in a new study, it appears that a vaccine can protect against heart attacks.

I don't think I have ever had the flu, but with increasing age, I decided maybe getting the vaccine might be prudent.

Web-Savvy Seniors are more likely to exercise more, to eat fruits and vegetables, and have vital testing done.

My gastroenterologist just diagnosed a strange condition that needs further testing. That will be another story.

Your turn
Have you gotten your flu vaccine? Will you? Maybe you will encourage elderly parents or friends to be vaccinated. Do you use the Internet, reading about preventative measures and necessary tests?  Does your Internet usage encourage you to pay more attention to your health?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free With Rebate

If it's free, it's for me!

At Walmart these Bic FlameDisks are $3.97 + tax. I bought several since I have several people whose name I can put on the coupon. See the coupon in the upper-right corner? Make sure the package has the peelie. The Bic product could be great for a picnic or an emergency.  I think CVS had these one year, but I don't know about the rebate.

Update: You need a separate receipt, upc code, and the little  Try Me Free peelie for each rebate. So, if you get more than one Bic FlameDisk, have it rung up separately.

Your turn
Have you ever used a Bic FlameDisk?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Rockpile: Spiders, Ants, Chickens

What do you want?

Long ago, I had a hickory nut tree cut. I could not afford to have the stump removed. So, it sat, not unattractive at all, cut just above the ground. Eventually, grass grew over the stump. The tree was hollow in the middle, destroyed by ants and then healed over after we killed the ants. Grass growing over the tree stump obscured the danger in the hollow tree and eventually obscuring the hollow places and rotting tree trees stump holes.

In order to keep me and others safe, I moved huge rocks, given to me from my elderly neighbor's yard by her daughter. Yes, I moved those stones myself up a hill and around a corner to my house.

People refer to this as a rock garden. I think of a rock garden as having plantings. Do you? It is not really a pile of rocks, It just looks like it because some are sinking as the roots are decaying. It was a nice even, rounded mound of rocks.

I believe there are hornet under the rocks, but they leave me alone. I just don't know anyone brave enough to kill hornets. Hornets do live under rocks? Right?

jewels in the rocks

The other day, at around noon I found a spider web with dew making the web shine like many diamonds. I left them alone. The spider web I found last week going from the clothes line to the wisteria hit me right in the face. I could hear a ripping sound. That was weird. Have you found jewels on spider webs?

fire ants
As I straightened up, I glanced to the right. Fire ants! Those I will kill. The mound is over a foot long.
view from the side porch
I took this picture because of the hens. They are just digging up the yard for their own pleasure and food. They are very busy. Most of the junk in the yard is gone now.
The rocks don't show as sharply as they would if I gotten all the stuff that was destroyed with a weed eater from the top of the rocks.
Let's look closer.

Are you still here?
Thelma has been bathing. See the dirt? She took turns digging and  and bathing. Finally, after all this, there was a hole in the yard!

I am ignoring you. See my behind?
I love her fuzzy/feathery behind! I cannot believe the guy that clipped all his hens feathered behinds in order to get clean eggs. Poor hens. The picture looks funny, but her legs were in motion as she scratched furiously.
They have managed to destroy a large area.
This summer, I had an experiment going on that was never completed. So, there were foot tall grasses of all sorts here. I asked exbf to weed eat it, finally, deciding the experiment will be saved for next year. He never edges anything down to a level. He digs up the dirt and leaves areas bare. He has done this for over six years, so I doubt he will ever stop. . . .sigh. So, the chickens take advantage of the visible dirt and just rip up the whole area and beyond. When they started, there were only about three inches of dirt showing by the rocks!
 Your turn
Do your hens just dig until they have caused so much destruction? Got any fuzzy butt chickens? Thelma has always had the most beautiful feathers on her behind.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Free Christmas Gift

Arch Card

Mc Donald's Arch Card
My quest for free or cheap Christmas gifts continues. I use My Coke Rewards to record points from Coke caps or from the 12 or 24 can packs of Cokes. I keep the Coke caps and printed codes from the cartons in an old Miracle Whip jar until I get ready to enter them on the website.
Thursday night, I decided to enter a few coke codess. Well, what I had was about twenty caps and three printed cokes from cartons. But, before I could even put in codes, a screen popped up that offered me a free $5 McDonald's Arch Card. I jumped at that even though I figured there was a catch. Not at all. It's on the way.
This will probably go to my grandson who is away at college. First, I will determine if there is a McD in the tiny college town.
Tonight, I entered more Coke codes. I have been getting Wired for him, or sending my daughter a coupon for a 12-pack of Coke in cans. In my cursory look at rewards I cannot find Wired or Cokes this time. Bummer. Every day, I will look to see what free thing is offered. I forgot what free thing is there tonight.
You might not want to use the McD card for yourself, but surely at Christmas you know someone who would like a $5 Arch card that is reloadable. You could load more money on it if you think $5 is not enough.

I am not averse to getting caps from the trash or the side of the road. Okay, the side of the road find was two empty 24-packs sticking out of a dumpster. When I stop for gas, I only get the bottles right in the top of the trash can. I never dig. You might get friends or relatives to help you find these. Maybe not.
Your turn
Do you collect codes of Coke can packages or bottled Cokes? What have you gotten? 

Socks and Me

Most every day I put on socks, there is a sock crisis. I am the Princess and the Pea but with socks instead of a mattress. Nothing feels right on my feet most days. Before I can walk, I have to take off my shoes a half dozen times to straighten my socks so they feel right. Finally, I gave up on cute socks. I buy bags of white socks and bags of black socks. So, there are two colors--no pink. But, I cannot put on a pair unless the right sock goes on the right foot and the left sock on the left foot. I can tell by looking which sock went on which foot even after wearing for the first time and washing a pair.

You know I cannot tell right from left, so those terms never enter my mind. But, I can tell which toe is longest on each foot and can see the big bump on the sock and which side it is on.

Then, at the same time, I have to put a worn right sock with a worn left sock--a holey right sock with a holey left sock, a newish right sock with a newish left sock. There are also socks with slightly grayish bottoms where I went barefoot on the porch or dirty floor. Some socks from the same bag are different at the top. The quarter inch "band" sock must go with the other quarter inch "band" sock. Some bands are not 1/4 inch but more like 5/16 inch. Others are nearer 3/16.  Some of the bands in the same bag have a slightly wider rib. I do this extreme sorting after doing laundry so the socks will be okay when I start to put a pair on.

Honest, my feet can tell the difference. Can yours?

I am not that particular, but my feet are. Plus, I cannot bear to discard a sock with just  a few holes. I am not hoarding it. It has just gotten to the point it feels realllly good. Socks and I have a complicated relationship. And, this is not OCD. It is a foot-feel thing.

One day, I was sitting here, taking my socks and shoes off and on one at a time, changing socks from one foot to the other, slipping on my shoe, pulling off the shoe, pulling out the toe of my sock and twisting the foot of the sock a bit...over and over. . I would make a sound very time---"uh," in a little voice, just like a kid. All this time I was chatting with exbf. He was sitting on the sofa opposite me, watching me. Finally, he said, "What are you doing?" I collapsed in gales of laughter at my own silliness and dilemma. I did not know he did not know. My face was warming as a blush surely spread. Except, I never blush, just feel warmth spread over my face.

About ten years ago I hurt/strained my back somehow (not what I have now) and had to be helped on and off the bed for about three days. The friend who was helping me had to put socks on me because my feet needed socks, and I could not reach my feet. He pulled the socks too tight. The pain in my back was so bad, I could not form a sentence.

NOW, my toes were being strangled and they screamed in my head. I was gasping for breath to talk, but all I could say because of back pain was "toes." He kept yanking my socks tighter against my toes, while I just tried to shriek. No sounds came out. I gasped, "Toes." and he yanked harder. I thought I had made a face that would clue him in that the toes hurting were the problem.  My toes kept screaming in pain as they were forcibly bent. Once again, I tried to communicate and he tried to help me. Finally, in anger and desperation, I managed to gasp and wail, "Toes hurt." Then, "Loosen!"

He laughed a whole lot more than necessary that day. He could barely pull my socks off my toes for laughing. He said he liked his socks pulled tight, but he could not understand how I could stand them so tight. Well, I couldn't.

My daughter NOW knows I don't like tight socks on my toes. When I go into the nursing home, she can make sure I have loose socks on my feet.

Before I told her about my relationship with socks, she was saying it takes her teen son forever to get his socks and shoes on where they feel right every morning before school. They looked fine to her.  I begged her to be patient and told her my sock dilemma. She thought it was pretty funny and strange. So, he inherited my toes. Thankfully, I don't wear the size shoe he does--13. Do you have a child with particular feet?

Now that it is getting cold, I have to think about socks...sigh. There are still a couple of months of sandal weather out there, thankfully!

Your turn
Do you find that socks cause problems for your feet and toes? Does a wrinkle drive you crazy like it does me? How do like your socks to fit your toes--snug or a little floppy? I know that I like mine "just right" but floppy is better than tight. How about you?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Office Max Rewards for the Quarter

I have $40.99  in quarterly rewards/credit for free merchandise. My parsimonious heart is going pitty-pat. Frugal me is dancing. Broke me is rejoicing. Cheap me is smiling. This will work for Halloween candy if I wish or for Christmas gifts. Such decisions I must make. Oh, I need an umbrella desperately!

Office Max has programs for individuals, office/work, or teachers. I get credit for recycling ink cartridges or toner. I get credit for purchases I make. Believe me, I have purchased very little this year other than with the MaxPerks credits I earned. But, it all adds up. I was able to purchase school supplies for grandchildren, only items for a quarter or penny, but using the MaxPerks rewards. Hopefully, I will find an umbrella I like and maybe on sale.

I can use this reward to buy a case of copy paper when OM gives MaxPerks credit for a case of paper purchased. If I pay $32 for a case of copy paper, then I will have credit on the next MaxPerks reward. . . or something like that. It works for me.

Home-school parents DO qualify for this card as a teacher. Benefits are better for teachers.

My friend has a home business as an accountant. I gave her one of my MaxPerk cards and she used it, earning lots of reward $$$ for me. That was last year, not this year. This is all my work.

This program also works for Internet orders.

Do not throw away cartridges or toner. Collect them from friends and family who will not recycle. There is a limit to how many can be recycled in a certain length of time. Read the rules.

Update: Staples and Office Depot have the same programs, just a little different. OM is here in this town.
Your turn
Do you recycle your cartridges or toner? I also get credit for purchases.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vegetable Broth and a Vow

easy, delicious, cheap

Parsimony when cooking involves not just the cost of the food, but also the cost of the cooking. I am cheap! The potatoes were free at the grocery due to savvy shopping. Carrots were frozen ones that I had for dehydrating--half a bag. Vidalia onion was bought cheaply this summer and stored. The cabbage was expensive. However, figuring it was huge and has made 14 servings over one week, the cost is okay--$3.. 

All this went into one pot. First, the water was put on to boil as I washed and trimmed the eyes from the unpeeled, red potatoes. About five minutes later frozen carrots went in. Fifteen minutes later I had the cabbage ready and then sliced the onions and added them. About five minutes later, I turned off the eye and put on a lid just before I took the smoked turkey leftover from the oven.
Yes, I boiled cabbage. Wait until you hear the rest. 
With this I served the last of the smoked turkey from last week. I baked it for an hour before serving.
From this huge pot I got two servings (one each) for exbf and I on the day he was here. He took home two servings (maybe more) and I ate another two and have three servings left. So, that is at least 9 servings from the one $3 pot of vegetables. The smoked turkey was only $10 last winter. We got many more meals than 9 from the turkey, maybe 20+ servings. 
serving of turkey=$0.50 or less
serving of vegetables=$0.33
one meal=$.83 or less
water he drank=free
my glass of tea=negligible
My servings are generous!
Yes, I boiled it all and forgot to put the one pat of butter in. One pat is enough. The only other addition was about 1/4 tsp. of salt.
The result of boiling is a "broth" that is delicious. Some may be horrified as it is rather bland and has bits of vegetables, lots of mushed up potatoes . But, the nutrition will not be wasted. I have nothing else to use it for, and I just don't have room in my tiny refrigerator-freezer right now. Besides, I am looking forward to drinking it! I have not taken a picture, but the broth is murky with bits of vegetables small enough to swallow and too small to scoop out.
I will never pour out even one bit of liquid from cooking any vegetable. From here out, I will freeze it...just as soon as I drink the pint of liquid saved from my one-dish vegetables.

One pot is all I washed!
Your turn
Do you save vegetable broth? What do you do with it? Do you ever drink it?

Bear Grylls Bracelet Prize Arrived

The Bear Grylls Survival Bracelet by Gerber from my giveaway finally arrived. I have no idea how long it had been sitting on the front porch, an unused and unusable porch, when I found it on Saturday. FEDEX has a standing order to place items on the side porch!

The packaging says it is a $24.95 value. Okay....

Maybe this would make a good Christmas present or could be used for another giveaway.

Paula, the winner, received hers, too. Yay for Paula.

Your turn
Have you ever had a bracelet made from paracord? Do you even have any paracord?  I do now.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Beauty Where I Find It

stone wall

I told you I am a cheap date, easily amused.

There is more of this wall, much more. Since it is in the country, I was afraid to get out of the car...dogs, you know. So, I sit in the car and take pictures. By the way, turn off the motor so the picture won't be fuzzy from motor vibrations.
It may be a great fault of mine, but I find beauty where others do not. I muse about who built this. Who was he? How old was he? Was stonemason his official occupation? Did he have help from sons, daughters, workmen? Did his wife help? How proud were they when this beautiful wall was complete? How old is the wall? Did they know how special and beautiful it was, a work of art, or was it just utilitarian, holding back the bank?
 corner of my basement
My basement wall of my home is of similar construction on my home built in 1902. So, has the stone wall in the country stood for over 100 years?
One day, I will venture up this driveway and ask about the wall, its history and builder. There are many stone walls, basements, home, and other structures in this town. I suppose this indicates we have an abundance of raw materials, probably all once in fields to be plowed.
Your turn
Do you find cheap pleasures in pondering old things, old stone walls? Are you a stonemason? I suppose that is the term. Do you know a stonemason? 


You May Hate Me

It is mine.
 Pasta costs money.
 I bought it cheaply.
 But, this was originally expensive.
 I will protect what is mine.

So, if your conscience has a problem with protecting what is yours,

If you are eating or squeamish, maybe you should leave.
You have been warned.

Graphic photo ahead
written on Sunday

Tonight, I was talking to a friend. I mused that tonight is the night I get rid of the rat that has been in my house. Two nights ago, the rodent decided the kitchen was his, too.

I got up and went to the kitchen and heard him to my left. When I started picking things up, I was kicking a box to scare him away. Really, I have no desire to pick up a rat. Then, I heard scritches to my right. Then, as my skin crawled, and my breathing came more rapidly, I heard mighty scratching to my right. I kicked the box to my right.

More scritches  then cries came each time I kicked the box.  My adrenaline flowed. I was puzzled. Why didn't the rat run?
Why was he screaming?
My kicking of the box could not hurt him!

I lifted a box sitting on the box and saw the sticky trap lying on its side, just like I had wedged it into a space between boxes, a natural route since all the other boxes were too close. Plus, I had seen the rat run in that direction. My idea worked days later!

The rat was stuck on the sticky trap. I ran for the kitchen garbage can, empty and very tall. The tongs were at hand, so I grabbed those from the drawer since the last rat caught on a sticky trap tried to bite the box I put near him.

Then, I ran out the door with the screaming rat in the garbage can.

The strangest thing happened. Six squirrels ran over the fence and up the trees as I emerged with the screaming rodent. They knew a distressed fellow rodent. Grabbing the bucket that the ac drips into, I dumped the rat and sticky trap. He only struggled for thirty seconds. I assure you it was a swift death with his little lungs. I do not feel one bit guilty.


At one point this evening, I thought there were two rats. Now, I have not heard one for hours, so I got the only one. The problem now is to keep others from entering. I am on it.

Sure, I could make it my job to protect the pasta. But, the one last package was still not in rodent-proof packaging. It is now.

For the last week or two, I have stored everything in upper cabinets, the microwave, the oven, in or on top of the refrigerator. But, there are germs that I don't want to live with, not just a gnawing rat. I am not sure what has been destroyed in the way of food. Last time, he ate into a one-pound bag of rice. I did not lose much, except peace of mind.

The expensive rat trap sits untouched....sigh.

About 20-years ago in my ninth grade English class, I stomped a mouse that ran from a closet. The teacher must take the The next day I told the guys sitting near it to stomp the next one since I could not make it to that side of the room. A kid in work boots stomped it as hard as he could, literally scattering the mouse to all parts of the room. Most of these were country kids with no tender feelings for a mouse. Some girls wanted to catch the mice and put them outdoors. The other kids told her what would happen. I told them of the health consequences. The school exterminated them.

The garbage can is washed. Rat and trap are disposed of. Tongs will be sterilized.
My heart is still pounding.

Okay, I just heard another rat!

Your turn
Are you a bloodthirsty rat killer?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Senior Citizen Discounts List

another view of the garden folly/greenhouse

The list of senior discounts came to a north Alabama site I read, sent to a member via Florida. You might want to check these before you arrive, expecting a discount. Notice there are varying ages to qualify as a senior. Who makes up this arbitrary line in the sand? For me, right now it does not matter. It appears I am well-qualified, age-wise, for everything on here.

Applebee's: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Ben & Jerry's: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan's: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob's Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee ( 55+)
Chili's: 10% off ( 55+)
CiCi's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny's: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members ( 55 +)
Dunkin' Donuts: 10% off or free coffee ( 55+)
Einstein's Bagels: 10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker's: 10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gatti's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee's: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off ( 55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off ( 55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal ( 55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off ( 50+)
Long John Silver's: various discounts at locations ( 55+)
McDonald's: discounts on coffee everyday ( 55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney's: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak 'n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday ( 50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off ( 55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off ( 50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Whataburger: 10% off (62+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+) This is for me ... if I ever see one again.

Banana Republic: 30% off ( 50 +)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month ( 50 +)
Belk's: 15% off first Tuesday of every month ( 55 +)
Big Lots: 30% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days ( 55 +)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 20% off ( 55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 40% off (Wednesdays only) ( 50+)
Kohl's: 15% off (60+)Modell's Sporting Goods: 30% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday ( 55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off ( 55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month ( 55 +)

Big Lots 30% Why did I not know this. I buy little there, but this is worth looking into. A 10% discount at Rite Aid would bring me in faster. Belk's? Since when?  I am learning places to ask about the discount.

Your turn
Do you have any places to add, local or national? If it is local, include the location. If you find any discrepancies, let me know that, if you will. Can you confirm any of these? Do you go to any of these places?


Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Accidental Pineapple Plant

I found it surviving without dirt, just decomposing leaves.

Okay, I meant to grow a pineapple plant, but just left it to its own devices to grow. Other than whacking off the top and tossing it out to deal with later, I had nothing to do with the six month life of the plant above.

I had two pineapple tops. One was on the counter and the other got tossed to the porch. The one I tossed on the porch was thrown into a terra cotta pot with a terra cotta saucer inside. I did nothing to the top, just put the whole thing out because fruit flies were living and thriving in it.

 Months later, I noticed the outdoor pineapple was growing new inner leaves while the older, bottom leaves were just brown. Water from rain blowing had watered the center even though I never did. Okay, maybe a few times at first until I just gave up on the effort. That pineapple, above, was not even sitting in soil, just a bare terra cotta saucer. Then, I put it in a pot with dirt. it looked better out of dirt!

Some leaf dying!

But, it will survive since there is new growth in the center.

When it rained for six weeks, it thrived. Now, not so much thriving as maybe dying. Everyday now, I water it a bit in the center. I am learning my lesson. Then, I started turning the hose fine spray on it for a few seconds and actually put it in dirt. We will see. Next spring, I may give it a larger pot home.

Now, for this one:

indoor plant got plenty of light but no water

indoor pineapple
Even though I worked hard (HA! I tell myself lies) on the indoor plant, I realized that there was no more green.  I did water it, putting water in the bowl. I knew the water went into the center, but for some reason, I was more concerned it sit in water. There is no hope since the whole thing is just falling apart. sigh... It is in the back of the flower bed, now composting.

Can I get one of these to grow?
I know it will be 2 years before I get a pineapple if I get a pineapple. I will just continue planting pineapple tops until I get a whole field of

Your turn
Have you ever grown a pineapple plant and actually gotten a pineapple?  I know all about the scraping of the pineapple to get the fruit off the bottom and watering the top, but is there anything else I need to know from here on out. I have read and heard lots, but could use your experience.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ethanol in Gasoline and 100% Gasoline

This station is 22 miles from my house.

Difference in prices
It seems that ethanol with ruin small engines. I did buy 100% gas for my lawnmower until the only station that carried it disappeared. I will have to ask a motorcycle shop or a rider at my regular gas station. It is around somewhere, just a new location. Motorcycles will be ruined also, or so I have been told.
Do cars really get better gas mileage?
Your turn
Have you turned, returned, to no-ethanol gasoline? Have you had a lawn machine ruined by ethanol? Or, do you have lots of stations from which to buy 100% gas? What do the motorcycle owners think about the damage from ethanol?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Old Tools

Old tools, good tools, favorite tools

I bought the shovel in 1975 for my children. It was very expensive. I bought a short one because my son was six and my daughter was four. A long shovel in the hands of small children who have never handled a real shovel just seemed foolish. Besides, they often mishandled their toy shovels and rakes. I carry the shovel in the trunk of my car along with plastic bags, ready to dig up anything I come upon that is fair game. A good friend said I reminded her of her Aunt Doris who carried a shovel and plastic bags all the time. .
The garden fork cost $1 at a yard sale. It comes in handy for stirring up the dirt when I cannot dig with a shovel. I can just lean and twist best I can. I think it would be a good

Nowadays, I have to have tools that are easily handled and light. These do not fit that description, so I just struggle to use them. I have never gotten rid of a tool that was usable for something "better."

These are just a few of my tools. Most are from yard sales; many are from estate sales. I suppose no one in the family wants them.

Your turn
Do you have favorite tool? Old tools? Good Tools? Do you ever buy tools at yard sales? What is your best old tool buy?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Market and The Pig and Chicken News

trip to farmer's market
dappled sunlight caused these tomatoes to look strange

This was my first watermelon this year. I cannot handle a larger one and always forgot when exbf was here to pick one up. If these tomatoes are good, I may  go back on Thursday get enough to can some for soup this winter. Well, my bank account will have to be My scuppernong arbor is ruined and on the ground, so these are a treat.
This month, I am going to track carefully what I spend on food. So, putting this on my blog will help since I did not get three receipts for my shopping today. This is the last month for the market.
After I had the barium swallow and before I went to the market, I went to The Pig--Piggly Wiggly. It is very bright, clean, well-appointed. So, I got a sale paper and set about making decisions. I only wanted one thing on sale--Romaine--listed in the ad for $.99. While I was looking at the really wilted heads, the produce manager walked by. All the Romaine was wilted, even the heads he brought from the cooler. So, I got the leaf lettuce for $.99. So much for The Pig.
Unfortunately, I did a price match at Walmart and got the Romaine. I must eat more green, leafy vegetables. I have feta cheese bought half-price from Food World as it marked things down. Now, I have tomatoes. Plus, there is leftover chicken and turkey waiting.
My little pink bistro table is ruined. See it above. I had put plastic over it to paint. Someone moved it and got the plastic all around the legs. Sooo, I could not move the plastic. Wellll, I could, but I kept tripping over the plastic tarp. Now, my table has rust....grrrr. Where did I put that sandpaper?


Patsy Cline and Thelma were interested in my bringing produce from the car to yard. They are always interested in anything in my hands. It could be food for them. I dumped the produce on the table and ran inside to go to the bathroom. While I was in the house, I grabbed two pair of pants that needed to be hung on the line. As I stood at the clothesline with the black pants draped over my arm, the hens were sort of at the other end of the clothesline, not really paying attention. As I removed one pair of pants from my arm, that pair naturally became a little longer.

Well, panic ensued. When one hen startles, they all startle. Patsy Cline is skittish, so I am sure she was the one who started it all. Both hens simultaneously screeched, jumped and cackled as they ran in opposite directions. Actually, their actions sort of startled me, then amused me. Patsy Cline ran to the side fence and ran back and forth cackling. Thelma ran the length of the back yard, cackling.

I quickly hung the two pair of pants on the line and turned to look at Patsy Cline. She was still walking back and forth, looking at the top of the 6' privacy fence, considering flying up. By this time Thelma was settled down. Giving up and going into the house was the only thing I could think of doing.

Thelma has never been afraid of me. But, with Patsy Cline startling every time I bring food into their pen, Thelma rushes to get away from my approaching feet.

I found a quarter and a dime in The Pig's parking lot--$0.35.

Such was my Tuesday.

Your turn
Are produce markets in your area still going? Do you have hens that startle and start a cacophony of cackling, run about, and generally act like the sky is falling?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fighting October and Barium Swallow TMI UPDATE

October 1991 was costly for me. I was taking 15 Semester hours at UAB and driving 100+ miles four days each week; one week it was six days. I became very ill, dropped one class and failed another, took antibiotics for 25 days of October. One week I was taking two antibiotics. I believe my new glasses were part of the problem.

The optometrist became angry because I would not get my lenses made there. She wanted me to leave my present glasses for four days. Before the exam, she assured me she could have the glasses made while I waited or just drop them off and come back a few hours later. After the exam, she said, "Give me your glasses." I asked how long she would need them. "For three or four days." I could not afford not to read for four days. So, she took the prescription pad and gave me a second prescription and told me to use that one, not the first one she gave me. It took me a month to figure out that I had filled a prescription that was not what I needed. The stress made me susceptible to illness.

I struggled to read, to breathe, to swallow, not to cough. My allergies bothered me more than they ever had. My ears hurt. I could not hear lectures. My throat was so sore I could not talk in class. I struggled to drive and not have a wreck. Sleep did not come. I was feverish for about 27 days. My eyes felt hot and watery. My sinuses were so congested  that my teeth hurt.

The next October, I had more of the same, just not quite so bad. Every October since, I have started getting sick. This year is not a bit different! I intend to just self-medicate and stave it off best I can. Only one other October since the one recounted have I needed antibiotics. But, regularly for over 20 years, October has been a rotten month because I struggle with allergies and fighting off illness.

Falling leaves, mold, and the window spreading them about are the culprits. It does  not help that October is also the month where the world closes in on itself, becoming dark sooner, and the chill causes my allergies to bother me. Patsy Cline and Thelma were out of their pen up to 8 pm this summer. Now, at 4:30 p.m., they are ready to settle down for the night. So, that is almost a four-hour difference in the prevailing hen mood.

As the world folds up early, I feel the need for company. Yet, there is not much to do in this town. Not only is it difficult to go since my back and knee need surgery, I just don't want to be bothered most days or nights. October is not my favorite month.

I don't hate October. It is such a hard month for me to get through.

Back to my feeling unwell and what I am doing for it.
So far:
Chicken broth in a cup
Hall's Mentholyptus cough drops
hot cloth on my face (don't do steam)
Ruffles (crispy ridged potato chips)
one aspirin each day
Vicks salve on soles of my feet

If you are eating breakfast or have a weak stomach, STOP here.

Barium Swallow
Right now, I need something for my worsening sinus/ear/throat/chest condition, but I am fasting for a test at the hospital The endoscopy a few weeks ago showed no narrowing of my esophagus. Yet, I continue to have food not enter my stomach. Well, that is my perception. When I try to drink after something seems "stuck," I have whatever I am drinking come out my nose, go into my sinuses, and as I try to breathe, the liquid goes down the wrong way. It is horrendous because I feel as though I am drowning. Well, I cannot breathe. I tried to tell my friend on the phone what was happening, but I could not speak.

My perception--food "gets stuck" and will not leave my stomach. When it comes back up, there is no stomach bile. I don't throw up. I just bend over the commode and open my mouth and pretend I am throwing up and do. There is no finger down the throat, nothing.

The first time this happened, I was eating the remainders of a casserole that had chicken, rice, and mushroom soup. There was no chicken in the leftovers I was eating, just soup and rice.

The last time it happened, I was eating cheese and bread. I was not drinking as I knew I should. I had nothing at all even though I knew I should, and that is a recipe for disaster for me. When water just kept gurgling back up and out as I drank, I gave up. I do choke on the water returning!  I went to the bathroom and once again bent over the commode. Up came what appeared to be a long hot dog shape, at least five inches long and one-inch or more in diameter. It was just a mishmash of well-chewed bread and cheese. Five minutes later when I flushed the commode, the shape was still very firm.

My solution--drink copious amounts of water as I eat. In the past, if I didn't drink lots of water every two or three bites, I got hiccups. Well, that condition has changed. I don't get the hiccups, I get no food going into my stomach and horrid pain.

I finally was able to make the Nurse Practitioner understand that I had no problem getting the food past my throat, that it was just seemingly not entering my stomach. She just assumed it was my throat. It would help if medical professionals would listen to the last half of the sentence before making a diagnosis or scheduling tests.

And, I still have pain that doctors say is gall bladder, yet, once again, none of the tests show anything wrong...sigh.

Since I could not sleep last night, when I get home, I am letting the hens out and going to bed.

My best friend said I am a hypochondriac, that I stay up all night reading the Internet and googling symptoms. We do not talk at all. She threw away a 30 year friendship with that remark. I will not call her or talk to her if she calls. She won't.

It is 6:30 am and I have to be at the hospital at 7:30 am, so I need to get ready to go. I hope this barium is not nasty or minty. Is it ever chocolate?

Update: dismotility is the diagnosis. The doctor who administered the exam explained my esophagus is not as strong DUE TO AGE! Talk to my doctor about it. Kristine Barr, I will be in touch.

blankety blank! This is the second thing that is going wrong that is due to age. #1 thing--cataracts.

Your turn
Is October a downer month for you? Have you ever had this happen to you when food did not leave your esophagus?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Recipe: Uses Candy Corn

about 1/3 cup of candy corn, all I had left

the finished product
Since this looked like a plate of poop,
I decided to remove it from the leading position.
 Last year, Sue gave me a recipe to use with candy corn. I only had a bit of candy corn left, so I used it. This year, I bought Brach's Autumn Mix. Then, when I had almost finished the bag, I remembered the recipe. As you can see, it has some chocolate candy corn in the mix. The bags of only chocolate candy corn is called Indian Corn.

candy corn pumpkin

It has pumpkins in the mix besides the chocolate.  I did consider cutting the pumpkins in fourths so they would melt at the same rate as the corn. I forgot, and there was only one pumpkin which melted just fine. Since this is supposed to be like Butterfingers, I thought the chocolate candy corn would be okay.

There was only about 1/3 cup of candy corn. I did not want to dirty a cup and have to press the peanut butter to get an accurate measure, so I just spooned in what looked like 1/3 cup peanut butter.

microwaved for 60 seconds

I decided working in the deep, 2-cup measuring cup was not going to be good. The short, 6-inch wide Corning ware oven dish was the next choice. It worked. I microwaved the mixture for 30 seconds, stirred, and microwaved for another 30 seconds.

I did not wait for it to cool and started dipping the mixture when it was too hot to handle. Waxed paper on the counter makes this easy. Top right--original shape. Just underneath that, a molded-by-hand bar. I decided to make the drops. After all the pieces were on the waxed paper, I decided to mold them by hand--bars and drops. That worked. They, also were ragged looking until I molded them. The little bar on the right I a drop that I molded into a tiny bar. In the bottom right corner is a Coke cap to give perspective to the whole picture.
Thinking the mixture might cool too quickly, I started when it was way too hot to handle. But, I had waited three minutes! Waxed paper seemed to be the thing to use because I did not want these to stick. Take my word for it, these are way too oily from the peanut butter to stick!
Okay, taste test time....I think one minute was too long for this few. Last year, I do remember the candy being flaky. This year, for some reason the bars and drops seem tough. It has only been about fifteen minutes, so I will see if they get flaky like last year.
You are going to love this recipe. Not only is it simple, it is delicious!

Homemade Butterfingers from Sue at The Little Acre that Could

"Mix equal parts of peanut butter and candy corn.
Microwave on high for about 1 minute,
stirring until they are melted together.

Let it cool just a minute or so – enough so you can handle it.

Then form into bars or bite size pieces.

You can dip it into chocolate but you don’t have to.

The longer it sets and cools, the more it becomes flaky like Butterfinger candy bars."

One caveat: I think that I microwaved this bit of candy too long. Maybe if you use a cup of each, microwaving for a full minute will work. So, sitting longer did not help. Last year, sitting did help. Oh, I did not dip these in chocolate.

Thank You, Sue

Your turn
Have you ever made this substitute for Butterfingers? Will you?