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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

About the Church Dinners and Free Meals


Church #1
The dinners at the one church are an outreach, and of course, meant to draw attention and members. However, the church ostensibly started the dinners on each Thursday night as a way to do something good for the community. They advertised the dinner for their own church members and anyone else who wanted to come: mothers who were too tired to cook because of a hard day, anyone who had been Christmas shopping and wanted a meal that was not fast food and did not have time to cook; those alone or lonely who needed a bit of fellowship; people who were poor and really needed food; people who had company and wanted a reprieve from the kitchen...you get it.

The workers explained that they were there to serve the food, drinks, and seconds. We did not have to go get anything. They would be waiters.

At first, the meals were really good, not spectacular. Then, over the months the workers just threw out a twice-heated hotdog, all shriveled and hard from the trip through the microwave, a cookie or two, and a tiny bag of chips. They were rude and just stood in a huddle with frowns, trying not to look at us. No, this was the impression of many people. As I struggled to my feet and hobbled to the table up front for more tea, they turned their heads away from me.

Finally, I decided that driving two miles for that kind of food and attitude was demoralizing. Plus, the food had no redeeming nutritional value so that I could ignore attitudes. When we did not have hotdogs, we had fish or chicken patties that tasted nothing like fish or chicken. Or, we had shriveled up tvp patties that were masquerading as hamburgers. I quit going. So did most people. The very poorest people returned each week.

Then, they announced a new day, new time, and new and better menus. The hour was moved up thirty minutes; the day was changed to Wednesdays so members would not be attending Wed night Bible study  one night and cooking and serving the next night. Plus, they figured more church members would attend the dinner. They did. Before, they had five teams that rotated through the weeks, now they have three.

The people I sat with before were just more old women like me who were okay, but they were jealous and gossipy and particularly disliked me. When people sit at a table week after week, things are discussed. They asked me where I worked/had worked. Then, when they learned I had an education, things changed. One could not read above a second grade level; another just learned to write her name, one who is 80+,  just got her first job ever through a program and had never finished hs. Another woman and I had a lot in common, so we talked and laughed, but never left anyone out. "Just learned to write her name" thought this woman was her best friend and I was an interloper.

Two couples and I finally filled that table and the others sat elsewhere, leaving two spaces for others. One husband committed suicide. The woman who just learned to write her name let me come three weeks in a row and ask about my friend and the friend's husband for two weeks, not telling me what happened as the guy lay dying from an attempted suicide and then was buried. His wife had asked this woman to tell me several times what happened and my friend was hurt that I never contacted her. See the spitefulness? The wife in the other couple broke her hip and ended up in a nursing home--forever.

So, now that table of crazy women tells everyone I am taking the guy away from his wife. He is drop-dead gorgeous, but I am totally not interested in anything but friendship. You really know I have affairs with married men and meet them at church dinners! That's my style, yessiree.

He has health issues as does everyone there. So, he got sick of driving about 10 miles each way to this fiasco called a dinner and made him queasy. When people asked why we did not come and said they missed all of us, we cited our health as why we did not come eat and waste our time and gas. I told at last of the bullying where I was the target, at the church and in the community. (No, haven't related all that.) That is when the church members and the preacher, having heard about the poor quality of food and other reasons people quit coming, had a meeting about the quality of the food and service. I think less than one dozen came to eat toward the end.

Yes, some very poor people come to the dinner. Wednesday night, I sat with the man whose wife is in the nursing home, a man whose wife died one year ago, and the minister.  Sometimes, exbf goes with me so I won't have to cook dinner. His lunch that day is always a salad or other vegetables and meat so he will have one good meal if the dinner is not so hot.

Yes, I mostly sit with men. There are a few church women who sit with me some nights, ones I have known for years. The women who were the bullies and critics do not come near me because I have had a word with the church and each of them in private. I am not one to verbally fight or make a scene. It takes a lot of pushing me for me to even approach the offenders or complain. So far, I tackled three and told them to stop. The rest now leave me alone. Okay, it is more like a snub, but that does not offend me at all.

They were pointing and laughing at me, calling me names, and one night covered all the places and screamed for other women to hurry up, "She's coming." They were frantically urging women who were sitting at other tables to move so I could not sit down. It was like a scene from a school bus where people do not allow a person to sit down.  After that night, I sat alone by choice. If I had to do that for peace, so be it. A friend of mine, a guy, sat with them and asked who I was. They told him the things I had heard they said. He related to me, "Mainly that you are always causing trouble and chasing the woman who just learned to spell her name, trying to hit her.  You are having an affair with some man whose wife has cp and in a nursing home. " 

Besides, I heard the woman who just learned to write her name yelling and fist-pumping that they had the best table when two toothless guys sat with her table and I sat alone. There were fist pumps all around that table as she encouraged the group and looked triumphantly at me.  I don't try to sit with men because I sit and they come sit with me for some good conversation and laughter.  One, with wife in nursing home has these women beg him to come and sit at their table said that beyond talk about the weather, they have nothing in common and when he starts a conversation about anything, they just look at him or talk about something else.

Oh, I forgot about the 80+ year older woman. I offered her some eggs back when I had four hens. She reluctantly said she would take them. I gave them to her the next week and received no "thank you." Whatever. These people don't have many manners. Two weeks after I gave the eggs to her, I asked her if she wanted some more. She turned up her nose and made a sour face and said my eggs did not taste right, there was something wrong with them, that her neighbor gave her good eggs. !!! I turned away and never spoke another word to the woman. Okay, so she never looks at me and walks away if I am near. If she is going to avoid me, I will just not speak...lol.

At any rate, the dinner is not just for the poor or hungry even though there are the desperately poor who still manage to smoke, go to movies, and admit to drinking every weekend. I suppose background makes a difference in priorities.  I do see them smoking outside and smell it on their clothing. I have heard their conversations about going to movies and buying video games. Aren't those games sort of expensive?


Church #2
Now, for the once-a-month Tuesday lunch. It is always delicious and nutritious, always a salad. We stand in line inside the church and go through to a window where our preferences are plated for us. We pick up our tea and head to the tables where dessert is behind the plates. Ha, get there early and swap desserts is the name of that game.

The people who attend this lunch are policemen, detectives, vendors from the farmer's market in the summer, office workers, social workers, clients (battered women) of those social workers, politicians before voting times, retired professionals, psychologist friend, business owners, and very few really poor people. It is an entirely different atmosphere with four times the number in attendance. There is a group of people from the church who play stringed instruments and sing church songs and sound like Peter, Paul, and Mary.

I forgot to say that this church has three built-in gas grills on the outside of the dining hall. Some days, we have grilled whole chicken breasts!

I have never had a problem with anyone there. Well, this long-time, well-heeled, retired friend kept asking me to get up and leave the table where we both landed because she had friends show up and wanted them to sit with her. I was in the middle of my meal and sitting with someone. I pointed out the table next to me and said there was plenty of room over there for her friends. "I am happy right here and am in the middle of my meal." I also laughed and asked her if I were not a friend. She is sooo nice to me now and just sits somewhere else and two of the three guys from the Wednesday dinner sit with me when they are present. Then, there are strangers who sit there with me. Or, other random friends who show up occasionally. I found out she is suffering from dementia, so I just am thankful I am of sound mind (I think)...knock on wood.

At both places, I usually bring home enough food for the girls to have two to seven meals. So, it is someplace to go and talk to others and a place for a free meal and hen meals. The company and conversation are more important than the food. Okay, maybe not?

Maybe Church #3
 I can go to a church on Sunday night that requires listening to a sermon. No, thank you. I cannot be bribed...lol. Actually, I forget. I would try it once.

Place #4
Plus, I can go to the Senior Center and play games and eat lunch for $1.25. The meals are pretty gross, lots of tvp and powdered mashed potatoes and no fresh vegetables. So far, there are fresh salads at both the other places. Plus, they want you there at 8 am to play chicken foot or listen to gospel singing until lunch. Nooo....

Now, you know. I don't go because I am hungry for food. I cannot meet elsewhere and talk with the friend whose wife is in the nursing home, also has CP and will never get out. We do talk over the phone, meet in passing at the grocery. There is too much talk now about our relationship! Exbf never talks during meals out or at my house or even when he goes to the two meals I attend at the churches. I do enjoy conversation and laughter with a meal, don't I slugmama?

If I were gainfully employed or had plenty of money, I would still go to these dinners.

Definitely NOT Church #5
There is a church two blocks from me that advertised on a crude cardboard sign a once each week "Soup Kitchen." Mostly, the poor went there. The workers poured giant cans of soup into several electric cauldrons on wheels, the long vats for food. There were regular saltines and nasty cookies plus bottled water and sweet tea. I went there maybe a dozen times. Oh, at first, they had spaghetti every week along with one vat of canned chicken noodle soup. When they quit having spaghetti, I quit going. Only the very poor went there, no problem except I had to try to follow the talk of mental patients. I can do that! Okay, canned soup was the real problem...lol.

For about six weeks, I picked up crackers, nasty cookies, and a bottle of water and went my way. When I figured out the spaghetti was not coming back, I never went back. They finally closed the doors for lack of attendance. Even the poorest of them could eat canned soup at home.

I tried to explain to a man of about thirty-years, one of the church members,  what a "soup kitchen" was during the Depression. He was stumped and had never heard of it. I told him the sign turned people away, people who were older and had heard of soup kitchens, the last resort for the hungry who had no other options.


Once a year Church #5
There is another dinner where I do pay for a dinner that has a silent auction. The purpose of the dinner and auction is to raise money for their food bank. I do donate items to their silent auction as well as paying for the dinner. The first one I went to was a luau and so much fun, well worth six dollars and a 30-mile+ drive. The friend who runs it was shocked I had items to donate and assured me it was not necessary. It was all stuff that was newish and some things that were on the antique side. I was getting rid of it anyway!

So, that's the deal on church dinners. It is not because I am poor or need food. It is good food and free and I can meet friends there for a conversation and laughter. The three guys who sit with me at #1 all said it was not the food, it was something to do--fellowship. No, there are not three guys all the time. Who does not enjoy free and good food and friends new and old? Plus, my hens like the food I bring them.

Your turn
So, I think some of you misunderstood, right? I don't go to eat free, solely. This is all part of improving my social life, seeing people! I have met one guy who seems to like me as much as I like him. We will see. Does your town have anything like these first two shindigs? Do you attend? Or, are the dinners strictly targeted toward the poor like the Soup Kitchen was?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Feline Transplants Tomatoes



a helper
 
As I gathered potting materials, this cat bounded up to help me. Here, he/she knows what to do first: get the potting mix. When she finished rubbing all over the bag, she wound her way in and out of my legs. No matter what I did, she would not stop. I am highly allergic to cats. I talk nice to them, but have to keep my distance.
 
 
injury?
 
I must have taken a dozen pictures of this cat to get this shot of the shaved skin. She moved fast, so I threw down the cup so I could be aiming at the right spot when she investigated. She still moved too fast. I wonder what happened. The round hole makes me think she had something in a hole, like a parasite that was removed. My cat had one of those holes long ago, and I could see something moving in it. Oh, yuck. I hope I did not make you sick as this is making me. So, let's move on to the seedlings I germinated.
 
six baggies of 3 pellets in each baggie
 
I put Homestead Tomato seeds in pellets on April 6 and they germinated about a week later. My rate of germination was excellent.
 
 Did I tell you? One night I let the whole basket above of tiny seedlings in the pellets fall from the car. The sandwich bags of pellets and seedlings rolled all over the yard in the dark. I sort of put them in straight and brought them in  along with groceries or something. I think they were permanently damaged because I did not upright them until hours later....sigh.
 
 
first sandwich bag on end of basket
 
You can tell these suffered from being on the end and getting colder, being left too long before transplanting and falling upside down!
 




in better shape
 
These look healthier. This was a sandwich bag from the middle of the basket. Two seeds germinated in all three of these. 
 
 
assortment of "pots"
 
Buying the pellets at ten cents apiece is as far as I will go spending money. So, I have all sorts of containers: yogurt, cookie container, used pink cups, one frosting container, old storage dish, Hand Candy cup (grape tomato container), and the bottom from a soft ice cream exbf ate. My antique ice pick made a great tool for poking drainage holes.
 
I have a huge, deep plastic container with a clear lid that I bought just for plants last fall and never used it. However, I could not find it even though I practically touched it each time I searched. Yes, I found it just as I finished up the box below.
 
 

large shoebox size box
 
One of the large shoe boxes I bought 25 years ago for my sewing thread ended up being the greenhouse for right now. However, the large pink cups won't fit inside. The container is full, plus it is too short.
 
gallon bag greenhouse
 
Unfortunately, the gallon bag only held two of the three cups. The solution means I wasted this gallon freezer bag. Fortunately, I only paid about a nickel for it after Christmas last year on clearance and using a coupon. 
 


 
final seedling
 
I reused one of the germination bags over the last seedling. It is sitting under the lamp on top of the shoebox of seedlings. My only problem with this arrangement is the fact that the shoebox has a white lid instead of a clear lid. Monday, the shoebox and lone cup will go back to the car. They don't need light on them all night, but they don't need to be too cool. I just did not feel like taking it to the car on Sunday night. Or, maybe I will put the shoebox in the picture window where it is light and not to hot. First, I must use a spray bottle on the plants. 

Hopefully, dropping them and the delay in repotting them will not hurt them too much. Maybe they will all grow a bit straighter! That won't matter much to me. I want to plant them when they are about a foot tall and leggy because I intend to plant them up to their top leaves.  Tomorrow, I will regularly brush my hands across the tomato seedling to make them strong. Maybe it is not too late!

Tonight, I should be germinating the basil and peppers, but obviously that is not getting done.

Some of the pellets actually had three seeds. In one pellet the seed just mildewed. In about 6 of the bags, all three pellets had one or two successful seeds. One pellet had a horribly deformed seedling. The surprise was a tomato plant growing from the bottom of the pellet as I lifted it up from the sandwich bag. It appears I must have dropped a seed and it sprouted as it stuck to the bottom side of the pellet.

I thinned the seedling from two or three to one seedling in most of the pellets. I wonder if the extra seedlings with their perfect little roots would have survived it I had transplanted them to potting medium. I am a genius with germinating, but a slug with transplanting.

Your turn
How is your germinating working out? Do your cats help? How many seedlings are you germinating this year? Any ingenious solutions that are cheap?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Metal Detector Treasure

caught my eye
 
As I was driving along on Saturday morning, this rig he had caught my eye. His metal detector is attached to the belt and then to his headphones. The bag on his left thigh was full of things he had found. 
 

digging for treasure
 
He uses a large knife to dig for what he hears. Then, he started poking around with something that looked like a radio, the thing lying there by his left leg.
 
 

 
another detector
 
When I asked, he showed me the thing in his hand. He said that once he finds something is in the ground and digs with his knife, he uses this and probes to more accurately find his "treasure." Notice the knife with the yellow end, stabbed into the ground. That is what he used to dig when I was there. 
 

Gold and diamonds
 

This ring must have been a men's size 12 or so. Yes, it is real gold. I am betting the five stones are diamonds. That is a neat haul for one day.
 
I have always wanted a metal detector. When my son was about 11, Santa brought him a metal detector. Santa always brought my children things they never thought of getting. And, I never suggested or mentioned the item beforehand. No, I did not feel them out as to whether they would like the item. He was thrilled beyond belief. I don't think he ever found anything more than a nail, but the possibility was there for him. He enthusiastically tried.
 
Now, I think a metal detector would be difficult for me to manage....sigh. I imagine there are many things to be found in this yard.
 
Your turn
Do you have a metal detector? Do you or did you want one? What have you ever found? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chicken Fabric

brownish tones
 

greenish background that is supposed to be a pastel
 
Both of these came from Walmart. The brownish-reddish tones are actually much richer. The corners of the fabric picture actually is better than the center of the picture. The pastel green on the lower one is prettier than the picture. I suppose the discrepancy in the actual colors and what I captured could be the fluorescent lighting--not sure.
 
People from all over come to this Walmart for its selection of fabrics. I know this because I hear the conversations and griping about other Walmarts in the area. One day, I met a fellow crafter that I had not seen in 25 years. She had just arrived in Birmingham from a craft show in Texas and drove another 50 miles to here to get fabric she could find nowhere else.                                                                                
 
I rarely purchase fabric anymore. There is plenty here, but probably not what I need if I ever can sew again. Even before, I bought fabric wholesale and had it delivered in boxes I could not lift or even drag/shove in the front door.
 
Your turn
Do you purchase chicken fabric to make things for your own use or for sale? 

Easter

Easter card from Janet

Thanks. This card made my day. Okay, maybe it was the Easter M&Ms that gave me that high.
 
 
 

Easter baskets at a church
 
This congregation had these prepared for the children on Easter. I did not dig around in the baskets and surrepititiously took this picture. There is a chocolate cross, an Easter sticker book about Ruth, and the Rejoice and He is Risen books that I assume were coloring books. The church obviously has no problem with mixing secular and religious themes. This is in no way a criticism.
 
The candy is my nod to Easter because I don't want to cook and cannot afford to eat out. I have the food, just not the energy or will right now.
 
Your turn
What did you do to celebrate Easter, secular or religious?


Friday, April 18, 2014

Gone and other yard stuff

bye, bye dogwood

The woman who said she would take the free pink dogwood came today and got it. For about 8 months I have offered it. People accept and never come to get it. I was so thrilled that she came less than 24 hours after she said she wanted it. I am so happy that little tree can reach its full potential and bloom pink blooms like it should. It pained me that they tree did not thrive where it was.
 
Her husband dug it and put all the soil on the tarp I supplied. I just hate having dirt piles or dirt on my grass, not that there is much grass in that area. He filled in the huge hole left after the tree was removed.
 
He has had the top of one lung removed and two ribs because of cancer, and could barely breathe, becoming winded often. So, it took a bit longer, but he and his wife got it out of the ground. I hated it was so hard, but they just accepted he had to rest a lot and he started again. 
 
 

 
dirt
 
The hole holds about two or more five-gallon buckets of soil, very dark, rich soil. I am going to rob this hole to use the soil for my tomatoes. As it is, there will be a depression in the yard. However, my plan was to keep breaking pencil-sized sticks from limbs and throw them in the depression. Right now, I have to go sprinkle red pepper on this soil to discourage the cats. 

carport
 
There is gravel here with lots of grass and weeds that grow there since I no longer use it. Last year, this become overgrown because of lack of mowing. Then, the "weeds" intrigued me since I thought they were useful. It turns out, I have a carport of Rose of Sharon. I want to move one to the back corner of the yard to block the view into the other yard and their view into my yard. This is not a very good picture to show you the 3' high trees aka weeds...lol.
 
I will also leave some on the inside of the carport but left of the little low wall you can see. It will be pretty and no expense.
 
At the end of the path there are three pots of hosta, one on the left and two on the right. Those are some of the ones I divided last year. I took parts of the ones in the ground and put them in pots. I may try digging through the gravel in the carport and plant some there. The carport is a pain to mow. While I don't mow it, I can tell it is difficult when anyone does mow it because of the small size. That's a lot of back and forth or round and round. Besides I like hosta and would like to have a yard with little mowing necessary.
 
See that water hose? There is a story there. That story will be for another day.
 
Your turn
Have you ever had a plant that was not thriving and had to be moved? 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Or, I can cut it down with a hacksaw




soon to go

I bought two pink dogwoods years ago when such a purchase was not such a hardship as it would be now. I planted one in the back yard to soon shade the kitchen window. I planted the other under the oak tree in the front yard. After all, it is an understory tree! This little tree did not grow for 15 years. It just stayed the same height with only one or two flowers to delight me. I think the hundred-year oak takes all the nutrients.
 
About 5 feet tall now, barely any blossoms
 
The straight up part is the original tree. The branch/trunk to the right started growing at that angle about five years ago. Strange!
 
Two years ago, I decided to have someone cut it off at the ground. Then, last year a guy from a church told me he would be back in two weeks to finish cleaning up my yard. I offered him the little pink dogwood. He would be back next week and finish the yard and dig up the tree. Well, the yard is still a mess and the tree is still there.
 
I think the tree was eavesdropping. It has grown two feet in two years, AND has about a dozen blossoms. Today, I offered it to many people as I shopped for things to get this weekend. An employee in Lowe's was thrilled and plans to bring her husband to dig it up tomorrow.
 
I had decided that if I could not give this pink dogwood away, I would sell it in free advertising in the paper and on the internet. The idea--it would be more desirable if for sale than if it were free.
 
The pink dogwood in the back yard is at least 30 feet tall. Unfortunately, the blossoms all reverted to white. It's such a disappointment, but I won't cut it down or replace it.
 
 
scared me
 
 
I came home late and was walking to the hens' pen. They came to meet me and walked so slowly back to the pen. I was watching them so I would not walk on them. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something walking slowly on the wood fence. Raccoon! Albino! When I finally focused my cataract-afflicted eyes, I saw it was a yellow cat. It went and sat on this fence post.
 
The image was jumping around in the camera window. Since I dropped the camera last week, it just does not work right. No problem because this is okay. Now, blogger is controlling the image and justification.
 
This yellow cat is always very wary of me, not friendly like the other cats around here. Well, they ignore me and are not afraid of me. I have pondered as to what made this cat so afraid of me.
 
 
same cat?
 
If so, I understand why it is frightened of me. This picture was taken in daylight and the one of the cat on the fence was taken at almost dark, so the other one seems to be a paler yellow, but it's not. 
 
 
 
6 lbs. of corn just removed from the car
 
The new guy at the dinner gave me this for my chickens. There is no date on the bottom, just a code. Plus, there is a smidgen of rust where it sat on a shelf. Tonight, I will open the can and empty it--half for freezer and half for them to eat from for a bit. They love whole kernel corn more than they do Whole Grain Oats.
 
Your turn
Would you go to dig up a pink dogwood that was free? Do your cats, dogs, or chickens love whole kernel corn? A friend said he had to put corn under the cat food and on top to get his cat to eat. 




Free Meals on Wednesday and Other Savings

Food for hens and me

I went to the dinner that the church has on Wednesday. They served baked potato with dressings, sour cream, shredded cheese, and chopped green onions. There was a portion of pork with no bbq sauce, but bbq sauce on the table. The side salad had grape tomatoes in it. and there were several dressing to choose from. Plus, there was a banana cream cheese cake with lots of whipped cream on top--homemade. Unsweetened tea and sweetened tea are the choices of drink except for water. Of course, I drank unsweetened tea. Since I had had nothing to eat on Wednesday but about 2/3 lb. ($0.49/lb.) of cooked carrots and a glass of milk today, this one meal at the church finished off the nutrients I needed except for the banana, apple, and mango as a snack later. Oops, I will have about a dozen pistachios. I ration those so they last.

Oh, the church people were offering everyone the extra baked potatoes. I got one of those for lunch tomorrow. At home I have sour cream, 1/2 price shredded cheese, and free real bacon bits here to fill it up.

For the hens I brought home leftovers. They went crazy for the meat that someone left. Plus, they jumped right on the potato skin with lots of potato left and remnants of sour cream. In the chicken pen, I carefully laid it out flat so they could get to the insides, the part they like, I have one more identical meal left for them.

A guy I have been sitting with offered me a #10 can of whole kernel corn for my hens. He said he did not know how old it was. I didn't care. Of course, I took it. I gave him about 20 coupon inserts from the paper. None had been cut. Since he had just told me his daughter uses coupons, I was going to give them to him anyway. Hopefully, he will be inclined to offer more excess food to me. Win/win for both of us.

The money saved on that meal and the nutritious meal for tomorrow was a great saving in money. And, I don't have to cook it. Plus, hen food is always a budget bonus. So, that was two meals for me, two for the hens, and a heaping cup of goodwill in the coupon offering. Oh, the #10 can of whole kernel corn will last at least two weeks. I will freeze half the can tomorrow. I will give coupons to the guy every week he is there even if he does not offer me anything.

Gasoline
I went nowhere else all day. But, tonight I will go to Walmart to price match things from other stores that I need. I have not made the list yet. That will be a maximum of ten miles driving.

Utilities
Neither the ac nor heat has been turned on today.

Your turn
How did you save money today?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Solar-Powered Traffic Signal

 
Solar traffic signal

Every time I see these signals on a state highway, I am thoroughly intrigued, wondering about them. I wonder how much each costs, wonder if one of these would be helpful in heating northern greenhouses that cannot keep things warm enough in the winter. Mostly, I wonder if one would help to keep my hens' water from freezing.
 
That reminds me. I must get rechargeable solar batteries for my three outdoor yard lights that I bought during the 2011 tornado. They served very well to keep me from stumbling around my house or using candles and chancing a fire.
 
Maybe everyone else sees these solar-powered signals regularly. I have never seen them on the interstates. Have you?
 
Your turn
Do you ever see these solar operated signals? Are they common? Does anyone have a ballpark figure as to the cost of such a system?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Picnic Tree

Picnic Tree

Once in a while, for a cheap, quick lunch, exbf will buy us a burger with a coupon. It's my idea for the coupon. We eat whatever we like that is the cheapest deal. I always carry a cold Coke for us, diet for him, and Diet Caffeine Free for me. Remember the cokes that cost me $0.04 each? Well, we are just cheap enough not to need to go sit inside. The car works. I am usually driving my car. So, I head for shade in the summer,  especially. In the winter we park facing some evergreens in another location.
 
He exclaimed one day that other people were doing the same thing. Let me tell you, this is a popular place in late Spring, all Summer, and early Fall. See the shadow that is cast? See the tree just beyond this tree? There is room for four cars, two under each tree. Some days, when a person is hogging the shadow, I have been known to get right on their bumper and ask with a wave of my hand for them to move up. Yes, they do. The tree and its greenness and shadow are calming.
 
My front yard has deep shade, not just one small tree, but three huge trees make it cool in summer. One oak tree is in the middle of the front yard, another oak is on the other side of the driveway, and the Hickory Nut tree is barely in the back yard. The other side of the yard has pines and various trees that cool the front yard just by virtue of being cooler in the side yard.
 
Some days, I come home and there is a car parked in front of my house. Just to make my presence known, and to let anyone know I care, I go toward them and ask if I can help them. So far, everyone is just resting in the shade while they eat lunch and I know it. I assure them it is okay to be there. (Really, the curb out in the road is not my business.)
 
As the year turns from Spring to Summer, a picnic tree for shade becomes a luxury. The tree above  is in the back of a shopping center, and behind four fast food places. When we get an ice cream cone from Burger King, we go to our picnic tree. A few times, we have driven to the park with a lake and ducks to sit and eat. The experience is calming and renews our spirits.
 
It does not matter if it is cold or raining or blazing hot, eating in the car is fine if there is a view. Of course, as you can tell, the view from the picnic tree is not idea. That bank across the street provides a green place for our eyes. The green canopy over our heads sometimes brushes the car, making it cozy inside the car and inside the tree's embrace.
 
If we are at my house, we sometimes take our lunch to my picnic table. But, everyone needs a picnic tree for eating an ice cream cone, don't you think?
 
Your turn
Do you ever seek out a place to eat a sandwich brought from home, fast food, or a full meal? Do you get a calm feeling from an impromptu al fresco meal? Does eating outdoors with a plan or no previous plan make you smile?

Lonely Chick Cheep

The chicks were chirping, wanting something. What? Oh, yes, just what they always want--food and water. All of a sudden, the timbre of the chirp changed. It sounded lonely. Oh my gosh? How did it escape? How will I get it from under the claw foot tub?

Nope, the one lonely sounding chick was sitting on the top of the box on a towel on the edge of the box. I have one box inside another for the insulating effect. It's cold here!

 At TSC some of the chicks were jumping out of the boxes, tall boxes in which they were placed as people bought the chicks.  I should have rejected those chicks, probably boys.

I put him back in, and closed up both boxes. Ahhh, silence.

It would have been a perfect photo if I had my camera. I wish it would cheep for me.

Your turn
Can you tell by the chirp that one of the chicks has escaped or is somehow isolated?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Suicidal Chicks and Then There Were Four

I raised ten cheap chicks, bought from a farmer for $1 each. They thrived. But, I have gotten chicks and older chickens, paid more money, and they just don't live. For $1.99 these should live!

Tonight, there was major cheeping. Finally, I went in to see how much pine shavings they had kicked into their water. They do that. Then, they cannot drink and let me know about it. Yes, they are babies who know what they want.

When I went into the bathroom where they live, I was so shocked to find a baby stuck in the food dish, a pimiento jar. Its head, wings and feet were up and it was folded into the dish. I screamed so the neighbors probably heard and yanked the baby out. It was alive, very much alive. But, it died.

Don't fuss about the food bowl. Chicks get in the little feeders and get stuck all the time. There is just no foolproof way to keep them from getting stuck somewhere. I would have sooner thought that one would drown even though I keep very little water in the dish. I need to go get a rock to put in there. But, then they would just stand on the rock and poop in the water!

These chicks are so funny. They peck me when I put my hand in their box.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

POO- POURRI--So Funny

This commercial is soooo funny. There are other commercials like this, including a special guy commercial somewhere.

 Go HERE and tell me what you think.  Up on the left corner is a button for different scents. At the bottom of the page are more funny videos. There are more of these commercials on You Tube.

Lost a Chick

Saturday morning, I checked on the six chicks the first thing. They were milling about in one corner. Was this the warmest corner? Since I don't regulate the heat as well or to as high a temperature as mandated, I never know. But, all chicks in one place under the light indicates they are trying to get warm. I counted three times and got five chicks each time. I looked all around the box and could not find it.

Finally, I shoved all the chicks from the corner and found the one chick. It was flat! How shocking. With a paper towel I picked it up and was looking at it, feeling sad. THEN, it opened its mouth and eyes. No cheep came out and the eyes were covered with a membrane. I wrapped it more securely and held a drop of water to its beak. The baby seemed to rally. The eye was fully open without the membrane. Thereafter, it seemed to welcome the drop of water. Sometimes, it shook its head as though it knew the water did not go into the beak, just down the side of its head. I wiped that off so it would not get cold.

But, I had to go somewhere. I wrapped it in two more paper towels and put it in a plastic sandwich bag to hold in its body warmth. In the car it went on the seat beside me. The car was very warm so I did not worry about a chill.

I made one stop, took my purse in my lap and took my change purse. When, I returned to the car, I grabbed my purse and put the change purse back in and did not move my purse for a half hour.

When I got home, I looked for the chick. The sandwich bag was gone! NO, it was not. It was under the several pounds purse. The sandwich bag was flat. I was stunned. I zipped the bag and dropped into the trash before I came inside.

I didn't lose it. I killed it. I felt a little numb for a while. The chick may have died before I placed my purse on it, but I will never know for sure. It may not have survived under my best care. But, I will never know.

Your turn
Have you ever felt responsible for killing a pet or animal in your charge?

Germinated Tomatoes and Lost Money

I put the Homestead Tomato seeds in the pellets and placed them in sandwich bags on April, 6. They have lived in the car since then. On Saturday, April 11, the seeds germinated. However, my camera is AWOL so I cannot show you.

Speaking of lost things~~~~

Somewhere, I mentioned I lost a bank envelope, the kind they put your money in at the drive-up teller window. I knew how much it had in the beginning and sort of how much I spent. So, I figured I had misplaced almost $100 in cash. I searched high and low, dug around in the box in the passenger seat next to me. Finally, I resigned myself to have lost a large chunk of money. I have never lost that much money before. Mostly, I just think that I should have $5 more and know that I really spent it.

About five days later, I went to the passenger side of the car to remove the box. I had been removing a thing or two at a time from the box until I knew I could lift the box. There, right against the side of the box next to where I sat in the driver's seat was the envelope with $86 inside. Whew!

Okay, this is more exciting to me than to you. lol Really, I am sure my heart stopped when  I first "lost" it. Then, I searched in a cold sweat for days.

Your turn
Have you ever been sure you lost money or anything important and found it later?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Front Yard Recovery

white wisteria and red nandina

In a few days the white wisteria will be at its peak. All the white wisteria is on the side of the house opposite the door. So, the side door is on one side of the house, and this is on the other side of the house. Did I make that clear? lol The wood swing is right next to this display. Do you love the smell of wisteria? 
 
 
 
looks like vinca to me
 
For years, I have either been too broke or too cheap to save my front yard. Grubs were eating the grass roots and my yard was getting bare. Of course, that led to weeds, lots of weeds. One year, the oak tree thought it was dying and threw off a bumper crop of acorns. There had to have been 100,000 tiny oak trees that took root that first winter. I have been fighting those for five years.
 
I went out to look at my stand of oak trees. Well, it appears the vinca I love has established itself really well. Now, I only have to worry about snakes living there.
 
My friend had vinca on one side of her house with only a path that she walked and crushed down. One day, a snake crossed in front of her. So, she had her workman mow a path about ten feet wide. So, now I expect snakes in the vinca.
 

 
How many things can he move and not put back?
 
When exbf was here, I had to take a nap, so he just did what I asked while I slept. He is good like that. Since I rarely sleep when he is here, he knew I needed sleep. When I got up and finally looked out the side door, this is what I found. I just want to know "Why?" Why did he pull all this out and leave it? sigh.... Okay, I really know. He hurts so when he helps me, needing two hip replacements.
 
This is the side yard where the door is located. And there is newspaper from the cage and a plastic bag blowing across the yard, right in the background. 
 
 
after the first night
 
I love the greenhouse and had nothing in it the first nights. The first two nights, I just leaned it on the wagon rather than have it blow over in the storms. Then, I set it up, leaning on the side of the porch stairs. Obviously, it does not take much to make it blow over.
 
See the greenery behind the greenhouse? That is the lush greenery from Naked Ladies aka Resurrection Lily. They will be lovely but bare of greenery, hence, the name "Naked Lady."
 
As I walked out to take the picture of the wisteria, I noticed the rock on the right was hiked up. Wondering why, I stopped to investigate. I placed these rocks to define the flower bed, so I pay attention. See the root that has lifted the rock? Now, I have to worry a lawnmower blade with hit the root and kill the tree.
 
The flower garden needs to be cleaned out. Maybe I will get around to it.
 
all the tulips bloomed
 
These are amazingly hardy tulips. They had to be to survive my abuse. I went out tonight to take their daily portrait.
 

Good Night, Moon
 
I had sat down to take the tulip's pictures. There was lots of light pollution, but I turned the camera up and snapped, getting this picture of the Waxing Gibbous Moon in spite of a cheap camera and adverse conditions.
 
Your turn
Do you ever just walk around your yard with the intent of seeing just what was happening?  


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Powdered Goat Milk

Evaporated goat milk and powdered goat milk

Both these products are new to me. Some people swear by goat milk for feeding infants who cannot, for whatever reason, nurse or take cow milk or formula.
 
Charlie volunteered that he liked goat milk better than cow milk. He was quite enthusiastic about drinking it.
 
Before I was in college, a group of us (some college students where I eventually attended) went to a home in MS, south of Memphis where we attended college. I was in the kitchen with the woman while the guys were with the guys. I mentioned I was thirsty, thinking I would get a glass of water. OH NO! She poured me a 12 ounce glass of  fresh, unpasteurized goat milk. To be polite, I took a sip. ACK! Now, I needed water to wash the taste from my mouth. Then, dinner time came. I was hoping for water or a glass of tea. NOPE, she took my goat milk and put it at my place.
 
Finally, I just unceremoniously and impolitely gulped it down to be rid of it. I was polite enough to wipe the milk from my face. She seized my glass and refilled it. I protested that some water would be just fine. She assured me that she had plenty of goat milk.
 
Just now, as I was writing this, I wondered if she were trying to fatten me up. I was 5' 7.5 inches and weighed 110 pounds.
 
At any rate, I gained no weight and learned a lesson: always ask for water when I am thirsty. Then, the person can offer other things. By the way, when I am thirsty, I do not want cow milk either. I want water.
 
When I was a child and young adult, thirst was quenched with water, not Coke, Milk, or some silly drink from the store. I love Sobe, but have not bought any in over 6 years.
 
Okay, back to goat milk. I took this picture at Walmart.
 
Your turn
Did you know there was evaporated goat milk or powdered goat milk on the market? Have you ever used it? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sexing Right in the Store

Buff Orphingtons in box from TSC
 Tuesday, I was drawn to TSC, wanting cheap and reliable chicks. Since the first ten I purchased from the Mennonite farmer five years ago were mostly huge birds, That is what I was looking for. Later, I got one pullet from the same place that was part banty. I kept it, thinking it was not full grown. It was. And, it had the banty profile as it stood and walked around.

Figuring I could not get chicks that were all pullets, so I decided to sex them myself since I had read about the procedure once and was sure I could do it myself. lol...and I am confident. Cockerels are a waste of money because I give them away.

The young woman gathering my chicks agreed to hand them to me one at a time and let me look in the vent and decide. People were stopping, some looking and laughing from afar. One guy had his head next to mine, sort of hanging on my shoulder so he could look for a penis, too.  I did not squeeze out their poop or handle them for long so they would not die.

There was lots, I mean lots of cheeping going on as I did this! The three-day-old chicks flopped lots and flapped their little wings. Soon, I could feel the fine feather fluff in my nose. The front of my shirt was full of allergens. I rushed home to clean out my nose and take allergy medicine and throw that shirt in the laundry.

Afterward, one guy bought eight or so and asked me to see what he had. The three he handed me looked like girls to me. He looked at those three, too, after I did.

lonely chick

When I came home, I put one on the ground and called Thelma and Patsy Cline. Thelma stayed about six feet away. Patsy Cline put her bill about three inches from the baby chick and would startle, withdrawing her head and neck. Then, she moved backward about two steps. The chicks stood absolutely still when Patsy Cline was near. They only moved when big chickens moved away.

Patsy Cline and Thelma running to me
 
Thelma, behind above, never came any closer than the daffodils she is approaching.

Patsy Cline investigates.
 
She acts as though she is afraid of the chick.

When I took the box of chicks into the house, both Thelma and Patsy Cline rushed up the steps and jumped onto the porch railing making "enemy" alarm calls. They decided to hang out on the porch, railing, and right around the back door, both making funny sounds. If it were warmer out or they had an actual house, I would slip a chick under them tonight. Thelma and Patsy Cline sleep right together, so one chick would be enough to maybe sacrifice to see what the reaction would be.

Have you ever sexed chicks before? Right in TSC?

Here are some sites I found after the fact. Maybe THIS ONE will help you. I wish I had seen it before I bought these chicks.

For a laugh:
Reminds me of an old “Dennis the Menace” cartoon.

 Dennis and his little friend Alice have some kittens and Dennis is holding one upside down and says to Alice, “Well, my dad can tell by looking at the bottom of their feet.”

What I did
I held them upside down and spread the vent. I did not expel their poop. If I saw poop, I just handed it back. I saw a process (penis) on two and gave them back. Two had their vents tight not allowing me to invade their privacy. I figured they were shy females or stubborn males, so I put those back. Three had the beginnings of pasty butt, so I told the employee and gave them back. We will see how well I did this the first time.

Alternate method
The young woman showed me how to dangle the chicks by their head. The pullets (girls) kick and draw their feet up like mad little chicks. The cockerels (boys) just let their legs dangle. That is another method for determining sex according to farmer lore. I don't know. But, the demonstration was interesting.

These are Buff Orphingtons, so I hope they are gentle and not flighty. I have heard they are good chickens.

Your turn
If you buy chicks that are straight run, do you get many girls compared to boys? Have you ever seen a chick process (penis)? Have you ever sexed chickens by any method other than watching and waiting for crowing or eggs?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Magic Jack Questions

In an attempt to lower my bills and keep services I want, I am seriously considering getting Magic Jack for my home phone.

My home phone was fried when I lost electricity in the April 27, 2011 tornado. So, my home phone is forwarded to my cell. I don't give my cell phone number to anyone at a doctor's office or put it on a check.  I want a home phone number for whatever silly reasons! So, let's not try to explore that. Okay? lol

My ATT $23 plan with all the taxes and fees ends up being a monthly $36.16! Magic Jack will be $2.50 for the thingamajig. That is a savings of $33.66 each month. I have been told the first year is free and $29.95 after that. Then, after the year is over and the attachment is paid for, my cost would be ~$2.25 each month.

I have many questions:

Can I keep my phone number?
Can I forward my Magic Jack to my cell?
What are the problems or quirks of Magic Jack?

Since I don't even know what I don't know to ask, give me information I need, if you will. There is no number for Magic Jack for me to call and ask questions. So, I depend on you, dear readers!

UPDATE: Does it work for you? Any problems with service? How about customer service?

Thanks.

Monday, April 7, 2014

UPDATE: Black Tulip Fail

It rained last night.
 
This afternoon, I went out to dig up the black tulip bulb. There was no bulb even after I turned up the dirt for about ten inches.
 

about five inches down
 
When I shook off the dirt from the "bulb," there was nothing. So, I dug down about ten inches. Nothing.
 

This is it!
 
Will this ever grow into a tulip? What happened to the bulb? Down further in the ground?
 
my solution
 
While I have lost nothing, I am perplexed as to where the bulb could be.
 
UPDATE
 
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I know better. The black tulip has been planted differently.
 

 
 
I was treating the long white underground part as though it were a bulb. I think the tulip leaf has a better chance of surviving this way. What do you think?
 

Your turn
Will this live in the pellet? What else can I do? Is the second picture better?
 

 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

For the Birds

 

nest material
 
Back in November, I made the holder for nest material from all free material. Before I put it out today,  I pulled thread out to give the birds the idea to collect it.
 
A picture from last year when I posed it in a tree
and brought it in until now.
 
 
view from the porch
not good

view from inside
Think I need to wash the picture window?
 
Since I want to get a picture of the birds helping themselves, I need it in a better place that is still safe for them and still where I can snap a picture.  I suppose I will play around with location this afternoon. There are plenty of places out of my view when in the house or this part of the yard.

black tulip
 
Several years ago, a black tulip emerged from the yard. I was fascinated, thinking maybe a bird deposited the seed. It came back another year. Since then, people have taken delight in the fact they were mowing it so it would never bloom.  It's about six inches tall right now. I will save it this year! I am on a tulip roll...lol.
 
Okay, maybe it is not black, but it is the darkest purple or eggplant that I have ever seen.
 

 
 
Today
April 6, 2014
5 out of six is good
 

 


 
The exbf fell on this, folding it in half. It has survived better than I thought it would.  I believe that there is another tray that fits inside, not sure. Now, to fill it up with pellets.
 
Your turn
Do you put out nesting material for birds? What do you offer them? What material do they just take from you? Have you ever seen a black tulip?