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Thursday, July 31, 2014

And, We Bought a Car

Okay, exbf bought the car.


But, I was there "helping" him. Details later. He had financing at his credit union. They are doing the car fax which the dealer also ran.

Later. We are going out to dinner at Jim N Nicks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Great Bargains: One penny

one cent each

At Office Max there are good deals. The spiral notebooks with 70 sheets are one cent ($0.01) when you purchase $5 worth of anything else. However, I went to WM and used the price-match to get them for the low price of one penny for each spiral notebook. I bought an unopened box of 24 for $0.24. If you do this, take a loose notebook so the checker can scan it. Otherwise, they open your box and it opens around the middle. grrrr  These notebooks are $0.25 each at the Walmart price. I took the picture on the WM cutting table and the box is still in the trunk.

LAST DAY OF SALE AT OFFICE MAX IS SATURDAY! Hurry~~~~~
 

a quarter at Walmart with price-match from Office Max
 
 
 The notebook paper is $.75 at Walmart but price-matched at WM makes it $0.25. The WM here accepts prices from about 50-60 miles away. Try this at your WM even if there is no Office Max in your town. By the way, Office Max and Office Depot are one company now. So, look at the Office Depot and Office Max ads on the internet.


leftovers from the church dinner tonight
 
 
Actually, we had some sort of pasta and sauce with chicken in it. I only had two bites, so not great. The menu--greens, red beans, pasta and chicken, cornbread. I left my beans and cornbread. Other people contributed to the chicken's plate above. A little kid came with his own chicken nuggets and fries, so he gave me his leftovers.
 
The picture is not clear, but I forgot I could not set the plate on the ground and bend and stay steady. oh well

 
dinner is served


See how the two little ones grabbed a piece of cornbread from the plate and ran to a safe place so they would not get pecked every thirty seconds?

Your turn
How is one cent for a notebook? I use these for chronicling what ATT tells me so I can repeat it with name of agent, date, time of day, and what was said. I make grocery lists, take down numbers from voice mail, generally, using one for everything. Ten cents is the least I have ever paid until now. Don't the hens look happy? Well, you did not see the rush and gobbling and running.




Grocery Ads This Week and Savings

Part of the haul this week
still on the counter at WM

 
This is the last night of the ad prices for this week. So, with the AT&T refund money, I went shopping. In parentheses are the regular prices.

1 pint cherry tomatoes--$0.99 (4.38)

Vidalia onions--$0.68/lb. ($1.28/lb)

Bell peppers--$0.50 each (no idea)

Cherries--$1.95/lb. ($2.49)

bananas--$0.44/lb. ($.57)

Total for everything in the picture--$10.53+$0.95 tax=$11.48

Last week and using the same ads, I bought:

cherries--$1.95/lb.

bell peppers--2/$1.00

pineapples--$.99/each

white grapes--$0.99/lb.

Milk was $2.78, priced matched from Aldo.

All in all, I was pleased with the prices. The new ads come out on Wednesday, today. Since I bought 3 lbs. of cherries, I plan to freeze most of them. I hope removing the seeds is not difficult. Now, I must get the dehydrator cranked up for the onions, bell peppers, and maybe the cherries.

The Vidalia onions are huge. Those four weighed 4.4 lbs.!

Your turn
Do your ads have great prices? What kind of produce are you growing or buying for eating, canning, and dehydrating. Since I never pickle or ferment, I forget about those means of "putting up" food.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Surprise Monetary Benefits of Dumping AT&T



First of all, the MagicJack and outside antenna replaced the home line and television UVerse. Those are two bills I don't have to pay each month. I think the savings is about $80/month. I forgot what I figured the savings would be. That's great, anyway.

However, last week I received a check for about $33 for a refund on the home phone service, something I paid and they are returning it. Then, Monday I received a check for $133 on UVerse service. I have no idea why I am getting these checks, but AT&T won't get any argument from me.

Since the MagicJack was about $40 and the antenna was $99 for a total of $139+tax=$152, and the two refund checks were $160. It appears my two devices are paid for by the refunds, and I am not out any money at all. That is $8 I have left over. Ooops. I spent $6 on a phone for MagicJack and $4 for a loooong phone cord. It appears I have only spent about $2 over the refunds. Sweet!

The whole ordeal of getting rid of AT&T has been traumatic. The people are really abusive when they really understand I am over AT&T, and I am actually leaving. However, I have found someone who has the power and is making this easier after such traumatic encounters with some of the agents. I take their name, write down the date and time. They still have the recordings.

Having to spend extra money for the two devices to free myself was just killing me. Now, it has all smoothed out for me. Whew. I think I will take my last $2 I have in my purse and go buy a vanilla ice cream cone from McD since I can cash this $133 check tomorrow and pay a bill. I just wish I could go in my nightgown to get ice cream!

When I was married, I could go out in a nightgown and robe because I knew husband would come get me if the car broke down. Now? Well, I would just be embarrassed!

Your turn
Have you ever had surprise refunds that saved the day for you? Have you had trouble getting rid of AT&T or another business with whom you could not extract yourself? Have you or do you go out in a nightgown?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Groundhog


just looking around
 

 While I have seen this groundhog in my yard several times this summer, this is the first time I have had my camera. It does not fear me. I drove up as it was crunching on something. I could hear it. Acorns?

I always see the groundhog late in the evening. Today was no different. It is almost dark.  The picture does not look like dusk on the east side of the house, in the shadow of the house and many trees because I used the "enhance" function.

"maybe I should just leave"
 
 At one point, the groundhog dropped down and looked back toward the house. However, it was not time to leave.

"not time to retire for the night"
 
Still facing away from the house where it eventually retires, this ground hog is just hanging out.
 
 


"No, maybe there is something near the road?
 

After ten minutes of showing absolutely no alarm at my presence and several moves toward going closer to the tree and road, he finally turned around and scurried under the house. Only when I moved toward the house did he leave.
 
If I had a garden of any sort, I am quite sure he would dine there each night.
 
Yesterday, I got two portions of the demonstration food that the hens ate before. The hens were happy. but the little ones came to me for food. If little chickens are abused long enough by the big ones, hegemony keeps the little ones in line....sigh. (You no longer have to beat them with the chain, just rattle it.) A look is all it takes.
 
Your turn
Are there any downsides to having this critter around? Any benefits? Do people eat these? 








Sunday, July 27, 2014

Desperate and Delusional: Me

just a remote


I have been wanting chocolate for hours. All of a sudden, I saw one right on the towels I folded earlier. My heart leapt up. But, it was just my remote.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Since I only have $3 to my name until the 1st and that is Friday, I am in conflict about spending $0.75 on candy + the gas to get there. The gauge is almost on empty. I just searched all my coin places where I might find something. Since Saturday, I have not lost or dropped anything.

Do * Not * Try* To * Talk * Me * Down.

Your turn
Maybe if I closed my eyes and just ate the remote? Seriously, out of your peripheral vision and in a not well lighted place, it could be a Hershey bar, right? What was your most desperate want or delusion?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Backyard Report

Nope, no pics. Exbf and I went car shopping. I had not slept all night. So, it was a trial for me. We found nothing to buy.

We were so hot, broke for lunch, came home, and had a hot dog. We went out again and returned. Nothing. I had a nap. He had things to do. He allowed me to sleep three hours like I asked. He has lost the part on the weed eater, so that did not get done. But, he did get my mangled greenhouse upright. And, I am going to go to bed as soon as I finish telling you what he said the hens were doing.

He said the little ones were lying on their sides, just lying in the cool grass, stretched out in the shade, the deepest shade in the yard. He said they looked dead. Patsy Cline was lying on her side, but he said she had her wing pulled up like we would raise and arm over our face and lie sleeping. I suppose she is not just holding her wings out and down, but pulled that one up for more ventilation.

It is only about 5:30, but they are in the pen with oats, scraps of spinach, kale, and tomatoes, chicken from exbf's salad and some of his corn. He had changed their boxes with new pine straw. Last week, I gave exbf two chicken breasts and corn I had cut off the cob. He brought most of it back for their breakfast because he took it out of the refrigerator, fixed a meal, and forgot to return the rest to the refrigerator. So, they ate well this morning, spent 8.5 hours foraging, and cooling themselves.

Night, night. The ac will be blowing right on me, how I will stay cool for the rest of the day/night.

Your turn
How are your animals cooling themselves?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stealing Sonya's Fence

 
 
Wood Fence | Asian Decor | Bamboo Fence | Asian Yard | Landscape Design
 
There is  new blogger on my block. Sonya Ann  from A Mom, Money, and More  just posted an Internet picture of a fence from m{pression that she likes. This looks like just what I could afford and make. Mine would not look this great, but with free bamboo and a few hundred brown UV resistant zip ties, this fence could be reality at my house.
 
I could enlist someone with skills and tools beyond my tools, skills, and physical capabilities to put together the frame that would not be as sturdy as this. Dogs from the rent houses come into my yard. The owners only let them out after the Animal Control officer leaves work at 4 pm. Thankfully, the people there now don't allow this kind of behavior. But, since a woman who just got rid of an abusive boyfriend lives there, she cannot afford the rent. sigh
 
My yard is 10 feet deeper than the yard next door. So, there is ten feet unfenced that allows passage. Behind me, those neighbors did not fence all their yard. The renters there do not tend to the unseen part of their yard, so I do. Otherwise, I have privets and scuppernong, and the dreaded wisteria in my yard and tearing up my chain link fence that does keep dogs out. Let me go take a picture of the corner and show you its condition.
 
See?
Back fence to corner at left
 

Can you see above the fence post in the top right quadrant of the picture? To the right is a six-foot fence. The people who put the fence up only fenced in the yard and not the shed. Can you see the shed? All the foliage is from their side of the fence but intrudes onto my fence. The privets and wisteria have deformed my 4 foot chain link fence that extends from the left to the other side of my yard. I have a dog barrier, but this week, I will use an herbicide for the first time in my life. If it accidentally gets on their yard, oh well. Of course, over where they actually take care of the yard beyond the fence post and right of that, I will be ultra-careful.
 
Nasty?
 

From fence to beyond the telephone pole--no fence
 
 
Actually, there is a two-foot ancient, decorative fence that does not go all the way across and certainly will not keep a dog out of the yard. This section where my yard is deeper is where the dogs from rent house get into my yard. THIS is were the bamboo fence will be great. NO, I will not grow bamboo on the property line.
 
People have free bamboo to give away all the time around here. Now, I just have to advertise. This fence won't be lovely or match anything. But, it beats chicken wire fencing, which I have on hand. It won't involve much labor that I cannot perform. I know zip ties would look tacky, but the right color will never be seen from a distance. Let's hope bamboo is free and plentiful as it usually is in this area.
 
Your turn
Do you think the bamboo fence at the top is great? Can anyone see a downside other than it will not hold a bull out of the yard or is different from the other fencing?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Free Food for Chickens and Me


All for me; none for hens...lol.
 
 At the dinner, some people I have known of forever, gave me produce from their garden. Part of the bell pepper will go into the steak tomorrow. Their son was a friend of my son throughout school. I cannot remember meeting her, but she was a nurse who may not have been at all school and social functions.  However, she remembered me, just not my name. When I told her my name, she knew my son's name. We will have tomatoes with the steak tomorrow. (I talk about it below.)

Ugh, now I must snap beans!

I had not dumped the produce out until the picture. You cannot see how deep the beans or tomatoes are in this picture. I actually have more than a mess of beans, four bell peppers, and a quart of grape tomatoes. sigh  This is enough produce for a week.

free spiral cut tool
Can you see the stainless steel tool below the box?
 
 

demonstration scraps
Thursday
 
 At my favorite store was a demonstration of a mandolin. The guy gave me the demonstration scraps. Apple, cabbage and tomatoes were hen food for me.

I had him scrape the onions and French-fry cut demonstrations into another bag. They look clean. If I were not going to heat them, I would not eat them. There is an on-sale round steak waiting, marinating for tomorrow. I will cook it in a cooking bag like a roast, along with the potato and onions. I'll add a bag of baby carrots gotten for $0.39. This will make six meals for less than $5. The meal will be fewer potatoes and more carrots.


yum
eating demonstration scraps Thursday
 

I usually put their food in the pen just because I want them to learn to come and eat so I can trap them for the night. That way, there is a peaceful end to the day instead of my fretting, chasing and herding and sweating. However, I did not want to dump this is in the dirt today. I put it outside the pen, about 6 feet before I reached the pen. They were going nuts inside the pen and watching me dump the food.
 
However, no one remembered this. I opened the door and they all came flying out. When I went into the pen to collect an egg, they followed me back in, tripping me and generally impeding my progress. I had to walk all the way back to the food before they saw it! Then, they went crazy, eating and running. Well, the little two run away with food. Thelma and Louise just stay with the food and have no anxiety or fear.
 
 
gyro sandwiches
Yes, they looked like subs.
Tuesday night
 
These scraps were from the Tuesday lunch at a church. I gave the hens very little bread, mainly just turkey, ham, and roast beef with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. You can see the tail of a little one bottom right. They run so fast with their food, it's impossible to get all four in one picture.
 
 
                                                                  Wednesday chicken food
                                                                     no picture

 

Obviously, I took no picture, but last night at the Wednesday night dinner, we had white rice with a hamburger patty and gravy on top and green beans on the side. The gravy was delicious, but I only ate half the rice or less. So, hens had the same thing for dinner, but I must not have taken a picture.
 
Between the two free meals for me, plus the produce at the top will feed me for a week. Besides, I have plenty of other on-sale produce that I have gotten with a price match. This feels good. I just need to find more free food for hens and me.
 
Your turn
Where do you get free food? Your own garden (okay, not exactly free), parents/friends, gleaning, scrounging?
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trembling Enchantment of Green

"He who keeps a garden still his Eden keeps."


Don't get me wrong. I never wear green. Nothing in my house is green--no walls or furnishings. Green of nature enthralls me every year as though I had never seen it before. As I grow older (almost 63 now) (edit: almost 68 now), it seems I appreciate it more....not sure why. The life I see in green is something Thoreau would appreciate. Nothing else seems to hold the peace and promise of green trees, foliage of yard plants, and the grass. Maybe it's just me. My St. Augustine grass has a depth to its green that is lacking in other grasses that I have observed. By no means have I experienced all the greens and grasses of the earth.

As I drove the back way from Huntsville, south to my home, avoiding the interstate, about 6:30 pm last Saturday, I was struck by the majesty of the land around me. There were few houses, a little mountain foothills  range, and absolute quiet. People must be at home eating, tending the last bit of their garden, or getting ready to go out on Saturday night, I thought. This road normally has many cars. Not so when I drove the 30+ miles home this evening.

Since I had the radio off, the drive seemed especially serene. From now on the radio will be off so the noise won't interfere with the green experience. Ordinarily, I could not see green for the cacophony of my favorite music (60s and easy listening).

I passed the old barn right beside the road with the little stand for selling produce. No one has sold produce there for the last 25 years. The old man died. His widow insisted on raising and selling gourds. Maybe that is produce. Her son raised gourds just for her and filled a 6' x 6' x 4' high lattice bin, made just for her and her gourds. The bin has a nice roof and overhang for shoppers and gourds to stay dry and shaded.

One summer day, I saw her, bent and walking slowly. She wore a faded, printed cotton house dress, topped by a faded apron. She had a bonnet on her head and old knee socks scrunched around her legs. For years there was never anyone at the stand. The one sighting of her and a later conversation with a very young, respectful relative were the only means of communication except for the locked money box in which to deposit money to pay for gourds. Laughing gently, the relative said the old woman had the only key and checked it regularly.

Now, there are only very old gourds in the bin. It does not look like they raise gourds any longer. The young relative had pointed them out to me, up on the hill near the woods. Did she die? I wonder. Everything was too quiet and green to stop and inquire.

Even the dogs seemed to honor the peace of the green afternoon, soon to be dusk. All their masters must have mowed the lawns because every lawn was freshly cut. The scene was not marred by a jarring note. Mowers were gone. No cars were in sight in the yards and few were on the road. Nature, even subdued by a lawnmower, seemed to be in charge. For one moment, I wondered if it were this quiet a hundred years ago. Home awaits me.

Late Spring has given us over a week of rain which seems to have added another dimension to the green world. As I stood in the backyard today, hanging clothes on the line, I was struck by the fact that I could see only green as I gazed round me. Only the clothes, the chicks and part of the back of my house broke the green spell. The sky was blue with clouds. The 6 foot back fence was obscured by scuppernong vines and wisteria. Even the trunks of the trees were gone, hidden by privets that reached up toward the branches of the hickory nut trees and bowed to the ground, touching the grass. The low-growing limbs of the tree hid my car and the house next door.

The diffuse, trembling green of Nature seemed at her best. Green must be female, tantalizing us each day to play with her, to interact. Green has many agendas and roles--nurturing, playing, birthing, tending, feeding, burying, cleaning, listening, hiding. Green is there to discover as I increasingly have the last few days.

It all seemed too perfect, punctuated by two bright petunia plants, rescued from brown doom at Lowe's. I nurtured them back to their green and pink state. The old-fashioned roses on the back fence have faded, and I won't cut the vines until I see hips. Maybe I will have hips.

For a moment, I felt as if I were in a secret garden, seeing nothing and hearing only the birds and chicks. Sometimes, it is hard to tell them apart just by listening.

I had no horizon, only walls of green on four sides and a blue ceiling. The house is there, but from where I stood, I could not really see it. The blaze of the sun, though blinding, kept me focused on the green. Weeds grown up over my rock garden hid even the heat of the rocks so nothing emanated. It was all green, just green.

This feeling comes over me every year. Today pulled all the green I feel from the depths of me. I never told anyone before.

"He who loves a garden still his Eden keeps."  (sign in my yard)
A. Bronson Alcott

(Written on June 22, 2009, ten days after I had no TV)


(Note: June 22, 2011: I still have no TV. I can tell the chicks (now hens) from the birds chirping in the trees. Neighbors cut lots of green privets and put up a fence which the wisteria is starting to cover again. I will be 65 (edit: will be 68) in two months. Today is the same green month and day as when I wrote this. )

Your turn
Does the green of nature touch you deeply? Does green, lush foilage renew you as it does me?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July

And, these were free
These have been something I have wanted for a long time--Olympic mittens. However, they were something like $40 on eBay, not in my price range at all. Then, I went to www.mycokerewards  and signed into my account. I could not believe my eyes. I could not believe my good luck. The mittens were offered for Coke points! They cost 160 points, but I only had 119 points or something like that. My hands were shaking. I broke out in a sweat because this was a "limited time offer." You know it could run out any minute.

I searched high and low for Coke caps and cardboard codes. I looked in my purse, in the seat cushions, and under my chair, the window sill, the counter, and in my car. I even dumped a 24-pack onto the sofa so I could get the Coke code off the box. Finally, I found enough for 170 points. Yay me! I had to calm down and enter them correctly the first time. Maybe the offer would end before I could get my points entered.

Success! I ordered and got the message that they would be on the way soon. These came in quickly, maybe two weeks. The weather was too warm, so I looked at them often without wearing them. It felt like Christmas Day. The tag on these has a price of $14....hmmm.

Then, there was last Thursday. The high temperature here was 68 degrees F. At night it was downright cold. How cold was it? It was so cold I pulled the wool blanket over me. That pressed the cold sheet onto my skin since I had a short summer nightgown on. So, I put the wool blanket next to my skin and the sheet over that...much better and cuddly. Yes, it felt like Christmas would be here soon. Thursday was the day I stumbled across the gloves I had set aside to show you all.

These would make a nice Christmas gift for my g-daughter. My daughter said she looses gloves all the time, even a nice pair I bought my daughter. So, I have a decision to make.

(Look at the tiny American flags. So cute)

Your turn
Are you getting things with Coke points? Do you ever get in your head you want some trivial thing and cannot shake the "want" you feel?  What was the low temp in your area last week? Oh, and tell me your general area along with the temperature.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Awww! Group Cuddle

all four in the box
Up until Saturday night I had only seen the little ones on the table on which this Rubbermaid box sits. Tonight, I went out to shut up their pen when it was barely light. All four hens came pouring from the box to eat the bit I brought. It is a sure bet they will want food at any time!

So, I went out at midnight to take a picture. Thelma was hanging out of the box and complaining. That's why you cannot see her head. Patsy Cline was moving around. I took six pictures and this is the best. You can see the little ones are relegated to the back of the box.

On Saturday the big ones were pecking the little young ones. Obviously, they put all disagreement behind them at bedtime.

Your turn
Do your chickens have times they peck and times they are friends? Or, do  any of your animals have a peace treaty for some times and all out war at other times?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Highly Recommended for Savings

Not perfect, but free TV
50+ mile range
Two years ago, I ordered UVerse TV from AT&T. I got the cheap rate at first, and then they extended that. Since last September it seems I have been getting ill, getting well, and then bcoming ill again. So, getting this done was difficult, especially without sufficient funds.

As you may know, I now have MagicJack for the home phone. I paid $39+ and will never pay another phone bill. In six month, I have to renew for a year. One At&T service was gone and I pay about $3/month for that. We went to WM and he used his cc to get MJ, and I handed him the cash.

I was on a roll. Exbf lent me $100 to buy this antenna. Actually, I had him use his credit card to assure I had I had no problem returning it.  He does not have tools, and really knows little about this kind of stuff. But, he finally got the antenna and mounting bracket assembled. Well, he did part of it one day and we decided it needed mounting outdoors. He had to wait until later as it was time for him to leave.

I am free of about $90 in monthly bills and can easily repay him over a few months.

I cannot get the station I want, Ch 13, WVTM in Birmingham. But, I have hopes. FOX is all I get besides church and stuff I never watch, 17 channels of junk. ugh.  However, exbf refuses to mount it where I can get more. I had him mount it on a pole to move around on the outside of the house. My house is not set squarely on the lot. He refuses to believe where West is. The sun was setting not perpendicular to the rear of the house, but off at one corner. So, he has it all wrong.

We had a loud fight. I told him he did not know what he was talking about. He told me the same thing. I have watched the sun track over my house here for 33 years. I know where the cardinal directions are better than he!  While he stood here, angry with me, I called AT&T and told them to disconnect the TV service. Sooo, I will never have to pay for that again.

However, I have plans to call and get some free, expert help! I know this antenna can work better than it does right now. If not, I am okay with the situation.

The customer service department for Clearstream said that Channel 13 was too far away, 35 miles. Nooo, it sits 200 ft or less from Channel 6, the channel I am now watching. Both are on top of Red Mountain, 35 miles from me. She said I had to buy a $100 extender or something. I don't think so. Every time that I reminded her the box said 50+ miles, she just ignored me.

Next week, I will have internet disconnected as soon as I get new service. I am in the process of making a list with prices and speed and mgb/sec. Or something...sigh.

That will leave cell service with AT&T. As soon as my contract runs out, I quit. However, AT&T told me to pack up their equipment and take it to UPS. I am going to tell them they delivered it and poor reception, so they can pick it up or I will charge them for storage. Do you think that will make them come get their own stuff?

My life feels freer now that I am saving money and don't have to deal with AT&T and their screwed up system where they don't get things right. AT&T, go sue me for talking about you! Remember that they cut off home and cell phone because they lost the check they cashed and removed money from my bank account.

I feel lighter and freer, sort of like when I paid off car and house in same month. MagicJack and Clearstream antenna go with me, so no connecting services ever again.

Your turn
Have you ever used Clearstream TV antenna? Does it work in rain and storms? Do feel a load off your shoulders when you get rid of a monthly bill?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Let There Be Light (Incandescent)

added to the stash
 
No, I won't give up my incandescent bulbs. This makes 20 to add to the 68 (I think) that I bought earlier. I still know where there are more. At the rate I use 60 watt bulbs, I have enough to last for years. The guy said these were $0.38/bulb. That may not be right, but cost + tax was about $8.

CFL bulbs emit UV rays, so I say "No, thank you." to cancer. LED bulbs emit light that is too harsh. Plus, the bulbs are way too expensive yet. CFL are still fluorescent and cause me problems like all fluorescent bulbs do.

I have never heard of this brand, so I am trusting they will last.

The only bulbs I can use are 130V. Our electricity in this town is supposed to be delivered at 120V, but since the power company does not regulate it, sometimes there are surges that burn out 120V bulbs, sometimes weekly, often monthly. After an electrician told me to switch to 130V, I rarely blow a bulb, maybe once a year or less in each fixture.

There are only about ten bulbs in the house that I use for more than 3-15 minutes. So, the cost is negligible to me. Yes, I do know there are other costs to be counted other than my utility bill.

I do have a CFL spotlight outdoors. Spotlights only come in CFL! At this point, I am switching all my flashlights to LED. Plus, I have some LED tea light candles. When I sent my daughter a six pack of those, her daughter used one for the light on a train she made for school. So, there is no telling if she still has them in one place. sigh But, I don't really mind her using them for whatever she needs.

Yes, I know incandescent bulbs produce heat. In the winter that is a good thing in this house. In the summer, days have more hours of sunlight, so I am not using fixtures in an attempt to create light.

Your turn
Do you still use incandescent bulbs or have you switched to CFL or LED? Do your bulbs burn out too often? Have you tried using 130V bulbs to fix that problem? Does it worry you that CFL bulbs emit UV rays? Do you like melanoma?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Woodchuck, Other Animals, and Naked Ladies

Naked Ladies amongst the Nandina and Wisteria


I was sitting in the car finishing a conversation before I took the church dinner leftovers to the hens for their dinner and locked them up for the night. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it--a woodchuck. I suppose that is what it was. For several weeks I had seen something go under the side of the house in tall grass as I walked inside in the evening or at night. Now, I could see it in the front yard about 6:15, and I did not have time to get a picture. It sat up and a cat, Sophia, tried to catch it.

Still, I sat there talking. Something bumped my car hard enough to startle me. Then, I heard the plaintive voice of a cat. I opened the door to find Sophia sitting there, just looking at me.

Finally, I got out of the car, headed up the driveway and past the house with a plate of lasagna, salad, tomatoes, bread, and a bit of cake. I never call "Delilah" until I get to the back corner of the house.

As I rounded the corner to the back of the house, Thelma and Patsy Cline headed toward me at a dead run. The little ones were being chased and swatted by Sophia! That is not the cat I thought had eaten my little one. Quickly, I got them all in the pen, dumped food, and locked them up for the night.

The Naked Ladies/Surprise Lilies/Resurrection Lilies caught me by surprise. Yesterday, there were  buds. Today, these plus another dozen had bloomed. That is a coaxial cable hanging down, ready to affix the antenna to the house.

Sorry about the naked ladies, coffeypot.

Your turn
How would you dissuade a cat who wants to kill my little chickens? Aren't those delicate, beautiful blossoms?

A Nice, Little Homebody Hen

Thelma
last year

Thelma is five years old. She is a huge hen. (Ask Slugmama.) Patsy Cline is a year-old, smaller hen, but not a banty. The two little ones are almost four months old. Thelma is part of the group of four that I trained to stay in the yard. Patsy Cline came from a place where she could just roam at will with no fences or boundaries. The little ones are being trained by the older two.

That is not working out since Patsy Cline leads them all astray. Isn't that always the way? The juvenile delinquent leads more kids than the good kid? You remember the trials of my searches? However, in the month or more I could not post, I had to go find hens many more times than I posted!

Today, I heard a ruckus from a hen, hard to hear with the window ac running. I ran out with a bagel to find out what was going on. Once again, a horrid squawking sound and I hurried to the back yard faster. After the attack and loss the other night, I am more vigilant and frightened for my hens. Thelma was standing in the back yard in the great expanse of green that is there, looking all around. She would let out a squawk and turn to look. She had lost the rest of the chickens. She does this quite often when they all go away. Then, she calls out to them. Patsy Cline will call for the others, too.

The bagel torn into two pieces, thrown in the shade near the pen calmed her down. I talked to her a bit and she seemed fine. Soooo, now I am wondering if I must chase chickens and search this block to see where they are. I was really too ill to handle the thought. Oh well. In my nightgown I went to the mailbox. I decided to call "Delilah" to see if they were around or might return to the yard. The other three were in front of the oak in the middle of the yard.

Oh, how they ran. So, I called again and started back to Thelma, not going to the mailbox. They jumped on the half of bagel she was eating. Thelma just walked away as they crowded her out. I am not sure if she is patient or getting old and bullied. Of course, she gives all three a sharp peck if they get in her way...usually. So, I showed her the other half of the bagel and she pecked it all by herself.

Her looking for the others amazes me. Her calling for them amazes me. There is a definite query in her voice.

Your turn
Do you ever see a lone hen calling for her friends? Have you learned to differentiate your hens or chicks sounds?



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And, Then There Were Two



Sunday night, I did not get out to shut up the chickens. Monday morning at 5:30 am, I went out to feed them and close them up until I finished sleeping. There was a pile of yellow chicken feathers in the far corner of the pen, right by the table where they sleep. Outside the pen, the little one must have made an escape because there is another pile of the delicate yellow feathers.

It was a cat, and I know which one. Only one cat has ever tried to catch one of my chickens. I saw it Saturday after it jumped the group of three little ones. Now that the cat has had one chicken, I suppose they will be on the radar and menu!

Since the raccoons are off at their summer home, I have not seen or heard anything from even one raccoon. I know it is the cat!

All the chickens were deliriously happy with the corn cobs this morning. There are enough for three more days, maybe four days of corn cobs.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Free or Cheap Groceries Last Week

15 ears of local corn--free

It is all shucked and in the refrigerator. I will cut it off the cob, blanch for 4 minutes and cool, and freeze. Maybe I will just cook it and freeze the water it cooks in. We will see. This will be easier than blanching the whole ear and cutting it off the cob. The ears are beautiful Peaches and Cream variety. If you don't know this variety, it is yellow with lots of white kernels intermixed.
 
One ear was tiny with under developed kernels and fit only for the chickens. Another had brown spots, and I needed an excuse to give them more corn. The five were so happy when I took it all out to them--shucks, corn bits, two ears, and the silks.
 
 
gallon of kernels cut off
 
 
About 1:30 am and well after putting up this post, I became ambitious. Okay, not really ambitious, but I knew I had to just keep plugging along with the corn. So, I cut it off the cob and ended up with a skimpy gallon of corn. Tomorrow, I will cook/blanch and freeze in one cup Ball jars--jelly jars.
 
Blogger approves of this formatting above....grrrr. 
 

1 lb package of Ronco spaghetti--$.79
usually--$1.28

Ronco is my favorite brand of spaghetti. I will eat some other brand that is free. Ronco is the spaghetti of my childhood, and I can tell the difference. The five packages are in a bug-proof container that will be frozen for a few days.

Huge Bell Peppers were $0.59, so I got a dozen, made stuffed peppers with four and will dehydrate the other eight for cooking/seasoning the rest of the year. Yes, I need more to last the year.

Pineapple was $0.99 but I only got one. I need to cut it tonight. One day, I will dehydrate fresh pineapple.

Bananas are $0.35/lb. I will get those later. Maybe I will dehydrate a few huge bunches.

Vidalia onions are $0.69/lb. I have ten lbs to dehydrate and will get more this week. The ads run through Tuesday, so I have to get lots dehydrated.

Blueberries are $1.29/pt., so I got only one to eat.

Strawberries are $1.29 for a quart box. I got one to eat but want more to dehydrate.

Steak to cook like a roast. It was marked down really low, forgot the price. Since I am allergic to beef, this will be just enough to enjoy and make me ill, but not so much I have to freeze it or give it away to exbf.

I have ten more lbs., thereabout, of boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($1.99/lb) to bake and freeze two breasts per package. Trying to cook when exbf is here is horrendous. So, I plan to cook meat on the day he is not here, and to have things canned or frozen to open. Maybe then I can bake him a pan of cornbread that he loves so. When I get that pack done, I will thaw another package and cook it. After cooking the breasts, they take up less room in my refrigerator freezer.

There was other produce on sale, but I got what I could handle without waste. And, what would fit into my refrigerator was a consideration as to quantity. I still have two days to get more. I really overbought by getting the last package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but they were from Kroger. Plus, I just never know when the price will go much higher. When I find them for around $1.59, I buy several packages, all I can afford.

I could go to the market if I could walk that much without pain. Maybe I will get out my walker and attempt it one day.

Your turn
Have you found food bargains or gotten free produce? Maybe you have a garden?


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dressed Like a Cow

exbf with his cow nose and ears
plus other stuff on his chest, some cow spots
Notice the two guys at the table behind.
 
"Turn to the side to show your ear and nose."
We taped the ears on our glasses.
 
The Chic-Fil-A site had five printable pages with ears, nose, tail, hair bows, two medalions for chest, spots, and other decorations for customers. Oh, we wore tails, too. 
 
cow apron and wearing a cow bell
Notice the two guys behind her, sitting with the guys above.

the whole cow and cow bell
painted shoes, apron
 
These two women are friends. They brought a cow print table cloth and proudly put it on the table.
 
 
 
cow flyswatter and cow fan they made


plus cow print napkins and plates

Lawton's mother taped the cow nose into a cup shape
 and taped it onto his pacifier.
Sooo cute!

ladies brought a cow candle

big cows hugged her
 
Do you see that turquoise book in front of her? That is a picture album. That woman has cow stuff all over her house! She handed me the book when I took a picture of her tablecloth. "I just love cows." I didn't even look at the whole thing and it was mind-boggling at the amount of cow items she has in her house, all the rooms, just crowded together. Management really fussed over these two women.
 
Friday, we received the full meal. I got the chicken sandwich and he got nuggets, both had waffle fries and drink. Watching the little children was fun  for us. Some were dressed in cute outfits and others were just in awe. All were mostly well-behaved.  They were in awe of the full cow costumes on the employees.  The little ones pointed and showed them to parents. We got a good seat for this.
 
There was a table of four guys who are in the first and third pictures. Go look at them. Back now? Those guys just came in to eat. I was facing them. Little by little, they became fascinated with the event. They pulled out their phones, started taking pictures and sending the pictures. Soon, they were paying more attention to cow-dressed customers than their meals.

The two women in the picture above, customers in the booth, tried to stay aloof from all the fun. I think they were afraid a cow spot might land on them if they looked happy or smiled at the children. They managed to keep a proper bored look on their faces the whole time.

We had a good time, ate, and I cooked chicken for dinner...sigh... and served with corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes. Exbf went home with two full chicken breasts for future meals. I still have a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts to cook today and freeze. ugh At least, I won't have to cook those meats/meals when he comes. I think there are six cooked breasts in the refrigerator for sandwiches, salads or other dishes.

Cow items to wear will be on my radar at yard sales now!

I am coughing too much to even proofread and edit.

There is a new roaming chicken post with pictures at my house just previous to this post. Yes, two posts in one day.

Your turn
Did you go today to get your meal? Have you ever seen so much cow paraphernalia?




Chickens Roaming



Riding on dashboard
 
These chickens are driving me crazy. It's all Patsy Cline's fault. She leads them to the neighbor's yard behind me. This is the neighbor to whom I complained about her chickens being in my yard. However, her black chickens were eating my chicken's food, pooping on my picnic table, ruining a tarp, and laying eggs in my egg box.
 
Now, my three little ones just peck around in the front yard behind me. But, I have to go get them. One night, I could not find one of the chicks, so it spent the night out. The next morning, I went to find it and it was just running along the road that runs beside our houses, seemingly like it knew exactly where home was.
 
The one on the dashboard is the second I transported home this way. Once I put them in the car and they settle in, I have to fight them to remove them from that spot. Crazy! No, they don't want out of the car into their own front yard. She just wanted to sit right there in the window. I took that picture after arriving in my front yard. I am shooting into the sun and through the windshield even though I only wanted the chick picture. 
 
Chicken on the lam
 
This is the road beside my house. All the overgrown stuff is on a retaining wall and hanging over. You probably cannot see it, but there is a little yellow spot near the end of the greenery that is a chick high-tailing it home. They know my car, so she ran for her life, like I was a threat. She was walking until she saw the car. I had caught two and the third one just ran home. 
 
Can you see the yellow spot now?
 
 

side yard where she ran to her pen

After running up beside the retaining wall, she ran into the yard and beside the house. The pen is right back there beyond the stone bench and trees. I can see her, but she is probably not visible to anyone else. I have to drive the car because the trek to the neighbor and street behind me is too much for me. I am still ill from lungs and head problems. Even on a good day, the back would not handle all this walking.

This was three days ago. Exbf was here today and checked on them often to make sure they were home. When he went out at 5 pm, two of the little ones were on the table where they sleep and the other was under the table. So, he shut them up. I don't understand why they roam some days and others just go in the pen three hours before sundown!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Got Information for Buying a Car?

Okay, exbf needs a vehicle. So, I am pre-shopping and doing the internet research. There have been a few floods around here and elsewhere, so we want to avoid a vehicle from a flood, wrecked car, totaled car, and other things.

He is not a haggler and just pays the price the vehicle first comes down to. He will not push for a better deal, EVER. You know he can do better than that.  I will have to be the badass and may have to hurt him, too. I am willing to do so to get him a good price. I am the haggler and really stubborn to get a good price. He just caves. I have seen this and want to cry. I fear he will beam when he finds the car he wants....ack.

So, what sites are there to find out about the history of a car? How about recalls? What else should I know? Is CarFax worth the cost? We will find the cars, come home and investigate them on the internet and go back out to buy one or maybe do so the next week. I am doing this because I have more time than he does and a better internet connection.

Amazingly, in 30 years I have never bought a used car that fooled me. I never have bought a car that tore up immediately with some problem I had not detected. Call me lucky or whatever. He just buys the cheapest thing he can that is 18-years-old and keeps buying expensive junkers. This time will be different.

Right now, the transmission is slipping, ac needs to be replaced, brakes going, motor has blown head gasket or something, coolant must be refilled daily, oil has bad leak, front seat on passenger side is broke and leans back, and it roars down the road. He cannot get into and out of a car easily because of his hips needing replacing. So, he had a Chevy S10 (I think that is right) that was the right height seat. He wants a small SUV or something comparable to the S10 he had. Any ideas of what to get or avoid in that type?

He is coming to town with a down payment and information on loan from his credit union and loan obtained, I think. So, we won't be popular with the finance department of car lots.

Give me your best sites and ideas, please. I may not reply to all comments or suggestions. I will just be implementing your suggestions. I do know how to buy a vehicle, but I have never used any of the sites that available, whatever and wherever they are. Thanks a bunch.

He does not mind sites that he must pay to get information.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dress Like a Cow=Eat Free

Once again, it is time to eat a free Chic-Fil-A Sandwich for your silliness. This Friday, July 11, 2014 is the day.

Some of the mothers have several children, themselves, and their husband dressed in cow apparel. They have painted tshirts along with shorts, pants, sweatpants or baby onesies. Some women in full regalia of cow printed material.  They do sell cow print fabric.

Some of the cows are white with black or brown spots, some are black with white spots. Are there black cows with white spots? That's me.

As for myself, I go low tech. I put on a black tshirt and black pants and scotch tape pieces of white tshirt material or white copy paper to it. I march in and get my sandwich, go to my Coke in the car and eat.

This Friday, exbf will be here. I was afraid he would not go along with this. He will. I have a ratty pair of black, faded pants I got free for him. He did not like them, so I said I would just keep them here for the day he needed them. I was thinking--forgot work clothes, got them wet or nasty. Well, wearing them for a sandwich is good enough reason the wear them. He has a nice polo shirt with a Scotland patch, so I will just put one of his cow spots over that.

Whew, now I don't even have to think about lunch. He didn't even object or hesitate. Sweet! The day I start painting cow spots on my clothes, stop me. The day I buy fabric for cow shirt and pants, stop me.

I don't care to hear if you hate CFA!

Your turn

Do you ever dress like a cow to get this free sandwich? Would you dress up to get free food if you could choose the food?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ants AGAIN!

dead ants

These dead tiniest of ants are the result of two weeks of dealing with them with Terro.  They are at the site of the poison. Thousands of others left with poison. Let me tell you, again, that Terro is the best ant killer around, just sugar and borax and water. However, the stream of ants up the wall was non-ending and five ants wide. There was another problem.
 
As usual, a vine was touching the house. The wisteria had would its way up the banister on one side of the side steps. It is an ANT SUPERHIGHWAY. Once I ripped the wisteria away, the two-week tide was stemmed. It took three days after that before the flow of ants stopped.
 
tiny box
 
 
 
I have tried to mix my own sugar-borax solution, but somehow, even with the recipes on the internet, I fail. So, this little bottle 4" bottle from Lowe's works for me.  
 
At the same time, ants invaded the kitchen sink and counters. For about 10 days, I depended on the ant poison and then remembered these tiny ants come in on foliage touching the house. Cutting back leaves and branches touching the house were the cure of the influx, once again. But, I did not cut things immediately. You don't have to mutilate a bush or tree, just cut off what touches the house.
 
 
One warning
 
The bottle is tiny. The fluid is clear. The bottle is clear. The bottle above is the third I have bought in June. Put the bottle back into the box so you can find it. I can find the other two boxes, but since I did not put the bottle back, the bottle has disappeared. Of course, a lot of that is my vision and inability to bend a lot to search.
 
Right price
 
The bottle is about $2.50. A little pool the size of a dime is just about right. But, you can see I used more to accommodate all the ants. On the sinks, I place the poison directly on the sink. I also squirt it in cracks, too. The box comes with little circles to use, but Borax is relatively harmless to humans, so I just wipe it up with a dishcloth that goes into the wash where I use Borax without fear.
 My two-prong approach: use Terro and get greenery off the house. It works.

Yes, I need to clean beside the faucet, but there were ants there. I am a wimp, terrified by any ant since fire ants got on both legs. So, sue me for the sink cleaning.

Very few ants ever remain at the site of the poison. I suppose some don't want to share with the ants who stayed home. This is the most who ever died on the spot.

Your turn
I know I have posted about this before, but this recurring problem each summer led me to think that you, too, might need a reminder. Has anyone used the Terro and had success? Did you try to get even one leaf from touching your house?


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Little Chicks to Big Pen

cage for outdoors
 
This little cage is certainly no protection against predators. So, it keeps them safe from the big girls. I could leave the cage open and the little ones in while the big ones could roam.  Patsy Cline did not want them there. She did not want to leave the pen. She quit laying. This was a month ago, and I have seen about three eggs from her! Thelma, five years old has given me five eggs this past week. 
 
 

eating a Nooks and Crannies muffin
 
After I put them outdoors, I made them a little sleeping area in case they did not like the night air. Well, I sneaked out and they like sleeping on top of the box...sigh. I try so hard. After I had this all set up like this, exbf put in a bunch of leaves or pine straw and I put a water bowl in the pen. 

See the door in the box?
 
Look at the tail of the middle chick. See how it is damp looking? They all looked damp when in the house. Since then, they look dry like they should. I think I tried too hard to keep them warm when they were warm enough.
 
I kept them in this setup for about five days. I don't have the room and equipment to put anything larger in here and keep them dry. I do have a nice setup given to me, but have to provide a top/tarp to make it snug.
 
 
Your turn
Did you provide a safe place for your little ones when added to the big ones? 

Noisy, Stinky Chicks are Outdoors!

There always has to be one!

This made me suspect I have at least one rooster amongst the three remaining chicks. As soon as I heard the lone cheep,  I knew what happened. It could still see its siblings, but it was sad. The plaintive, forlorn lone chick tells me it is out of the box without me looking. All the others quit cheeping. Are they in awe and just stop their normal cheeps, wondering if they, too, can do this? Do they realize one is in distress? At any rate, I have had to go back and give a chick a little push. This time, he realized where he should be and started sliding on the slanted box lid, flapping like mad.
 
I had them in a plastic box. I kept wondering why the floor was wet. Well, it had a crack or three in the bottom. And, these chicks either turned over the bowl or scratched paper into it.  The first chicks were not so messy, even with ten. Even when I got a better plastic box, and a better bowl, the chicks always looked damp. I knew that would kill them. Before, I kept a towel over the box inside the plastic box. I have fewer chickens and did not use the double box this time--cardboard and plastic boxes. At any rate, the setup was too airtight.
 
Before, when I got ten chicks and raised them, I had the box by the back door. The noise was not right behind my back when I sat and watched TV. This time, they were right behind my back and half as far away. They heard me when I came to use the bathroom and when I went to bed. It seems like I set them off much more often. Plus, I put a dark shower curtain over their whole plastic box when the were near the back door.
 
This time, they stayed awake or alert because light came in the plastic box sides 24 hours each day. I leave the bathroom light on all night. I figured this out late and put cardboard boxes, broken down and leaned against three sides of the clear plastic box. I figured that out late in their house stay, unfortunately!.
 
Finally, it got warm enough I could use the lamp and a towel over this box. The bathroom is always cooler, so I feared they needed the lamp, just not so much moisture held in. There was a plastic garbage bag underneath for security from chicken water all over the floor, water with the smell of poop.
 
I think it was about the end of May when I put them outdoors in the big pen. They were born around April 1, 2014. I put a small pen out with the big hens so they big girls would become accustomed to them. I did not want them chased down and attacked by the big girls as soon as I walked away. .
 
More on their transition later. They have been outdoors almost two months.
 
Your turn
Do you love your chicks but cannot wait until they get big enough to leave your house? 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dollar General Gas Station

 
Dollar General Market with gas station
 
About two months ago, Dollar General in Hanceville, Alabama, opened the first fuel station in the nation. This particular station is about seven miles from me. Next time I go that way, I will compare gas prices with the other stations in the area.
 
Not only is this a Dollar General, it also has a Market. It was very difficult to get it all in one shot. However, over the gas pumps at the right, you can barely make out "Dollar General" in yellow and "Market" in green. "Dollar General" is right over the "Market" sign on the front of the building at the right.
 
better crop showing signs
 
Dollar General is giving Walmart a run for its money. Our Supercenter here has fuel pumps. Our Walmart Supercenter has a full grocery and car place that does different work.
 
As for fuel and car service, I do not use Walmart. No electric cart is required by me for buying fuel and getting car repairs.
 
I think the Dollar Generals with a Market are helping solve the problem of food deserts. Maybe not. I digress.
 
Your turn
Have the Dollar Generals in your area initiated the move to have a Market to offer fresh fruits and vegetables? Does your area have Supercenters with fuel stations? Grocery? Car Center?