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Friday, March 31, 2017

Learning New Things

Today, Thursday, we had none of the storms predicted with words like "tornado," "straight line winds." "high winds." However, I have not heard what happened to MS, TN,  and the rest of AL.

J came to help me today and got the counters finished. She was cleaning the stove and took out the electric eyes and drip pans. She called me and with a look of disgust showed me the area under one eye. I raised the top of the stove and she was about to gag by the look on her face. Then, I explained: All the white stuff was baking soda poured onto bean or pasta water that had boiled over and burned underneath. She was relieved to hear what the gunk was. I had her scrape it and vacuum up the loose stuff. Cleaning it right under the stove top will wait for another day. My stove has not been so clean in a long time. She was not aware the stove top lifted, so she learned something new about stoves!

Today, all the junk on the window sill was removed--odd vases, the petrified wood. All was dusty and sitting in dust. I want to clean the wood window parts myself so that the paint is not damaged or the paint scrubbed off with the wrong cleaner. LOC is what I like for this job and cleaning walls, but I have none.

She has seen me put toothpicks in sweet potatoes to get slips. She almost threw away my potatoes set to chit on a paper plate. Today, she was fascinated by the carrot tops in a saucer. I explained I would not get carrots, just a few tops to put in soup, dehydrate, or put in a salad. I think she was underwhelmed by the mention of eating carrot tops.

J is not into gardening and just did not want to grow anything in a bucket. She hates tomatoes. I asked her what was her favorite vegetable to eat.  Cucumbers. She was sincerely happy when I told her I would help her grow cucumbers! So, today, I supervised and instructed her how to use grow pellets to germinate cucumber seeds. She proudly took home a sandwich bag with four pellets that have eight seeds set to germinate and strict instructions about what to do with them. Tonight, I will use another 4 pellets for 8 seeds in case the five cats or the ac at her house disrupts the germination process.

When we went to get cigarettes for her, I mused that I needed pallets. She said we should go behind stores, so we did. She stuffed the one huge one we found into my trunk and she tied it down with the plastic string I keep in the trunk. I drove home about 20mph and avoided the main streets and only had to cross the highway, really busy. She brought it to the back yard and put it approximately in the place it will be for my bucket garden. The pallet was beside the dumpster, so I hope it was abandoned to the trash. I need one more or maybe two more.

Thursday was windy, so clothes on the line dried in record time! I only have one line, but the rest of the wash can be put on the line tomorrow.

The next thing for me to do is locate my drill and for us to drill holes in five-gallon buckets and wash them with Clorox. Of course, the seeds need to be transplanted into larger pots as soon as they get two true leaves. Well, that is what I do.

It is debatable as to whether the aloe is surviving or slowly dying. I cannot tell.

She commented as we left the house and several times before, "I learn so much from you." I will keep her in cucumbers if that is what it takes for her to keep cleaning and lifting things that are not really heavy. And, I cannot pay her!

Did your area have bad weather today, The day here was very pleasant, sort of windy for an hour with no rain!

Your turn
Do you teach anyone simple things about plant propagation?  Well, she is sort of a captive audience. How was the weather at your place--stormy or quiet? Do you have a place you can find pallets?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Another Free Lunch Tuesday

I really enjoyed the company at the lunch Tuesday. However, although the spaghetti smelled wonderful, it is something I should not have. I'm not sure if it was beef or tvp in the sauce. Either way, I don't need either. I did eat a bit and spent a long time in the bathroom that night. TMI? Whatever.

The slaw had way too much mayonnaise for me, so I brought it to Dominique. The chocolate cake and tiny pecan pie were wonderful. I did collect a plateful of scraps from others for her.

J went with me and enjoyed her lunch except she could see onions and bell peppers in the spaghetti. She may have taken two bites. The cabbage was cut too large for her. I don't think she even tried the slaw. I laughed. She brought most of her meal back to Dominique.

Afterward, she helped me in the kitchen with clutter, stuff and grime on counters. J came back Wednesday to finish the counters and move the dehydrator since I side-tracked her with something more important on Tuesday.  Wednesday, the main chore was moving the dehydrator since I cannot and cleaning underneath. I cleaned the outside while she cleaned the counter. The door and shelves need to be washed, still.

All the pretty glass containers were just too much. I gave her the largest, an amphora-shaped jar with a domed lid. It has no seal. The other two have glass lids with the plastic/rubber lid covers that make the lid fit like a stopper. Except the lid covers cover the bottom of the top and make the lid fit more or less airtight. Got that?

A half-gallon Ball jar of oats will stay on the counter. Dominique and I both eat those Maybe a little glass sugar bowl will stay. My terra cotta bunny stays. We will see what else. Right now, I am enjoying the blinding expanse of my lemon yellow counters that I so love.

Monday night, I put a frozen hen in the crock pot. It weighed 6 pounds! Tuesday, I removed it and cooked potatoes in the broth. So, I know what I will eat for a few days. Friday, exbf comes here. I think we will have BBQ chicken, cole slaw, and green beans. I put the broth in the refrigerator to chill so I can remove the fat. Chicken and dumplings sound scrumptious right now. I have everything I need for both those meals. Plus, I can have chicken on a salad or in a sandwich.

Your turn
Does anyone remember my lemon yellow counters from pictures? Maybe they were garish to you or just knocked your eyes out or blinded you? I love them so I don't care if you don't care for them. Do you have lots of things sitting out on your counters? It used to work for me, but not so much anymore.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Aloe Transplant

So, this is the way it went down.  I bought a $5 aloe vera plant and put it on a plastic lid and onto the kitchen window sill. From the bottom of the pot to the bottom of the pot, it was about six-inches high. I was happy, ready for the next burn. For years I have meant to purchase one or get a baby from someone.

In the doctor's office on Thursday, I asked the receptionist if that was an aloe plant beside her. She said, no, it was a succulent. (I know.) Then, she started telling me how they all divided a huge plant a doctor had left behind when he retired. She said her plant was huge now. I asked her if it had babies. She volunteered to bring me some on Friday. I picked it up.

Finally, Saturday, about 24 hours later, I took it out of the foil and wet paper towel. It had lots of roots. I had potting soil and water. However, none of the pretty, ceramic pots have holes in the bottom for drainage. So, I used fat plastic cups and cut holes in those. One of the long leaves was all pinched, so I broke it off and put it in another cup. The plastic cups with holes now sit in the pretty  pots without holes. I put a broken plastic knife in the bottom of the pot so the cup with holes would not be sitting in water if they drain.

After I potted the plant and the leaf, I decided to read about how to grow the leaf. It appears I should not have stuck the leaf in the dirt. But, it's done!

I did water the dirt, but it seemed rather dry when I poked a hole for the plant and the leaf. So, if aloe like dryness, maybe this is okay.

Saturday night, I returned the purchased plant to Walmart and got my $5+tax back.

The juice is supposed to be good to stop itching from mosquito bites, I read. Exbf gets bitten dozens of times just getting into the house because he is so slow on two canes and cannot swat them away and hurry inside. It may take more than one plant to help him stop the itching.

On the internet are many descriptions of the proper way to plant the broken off leaf. I just don't know which way is correct.

Tuesday night and the aloe still looks okay.

Your turn
Has anyone successfully had a broken leaf live by sticking it in dirt? Do you have an aloe plant? How much do you break off to use on a burn? Is it possible to start a new plant from the piece used to treat a burn? What else have you used aloe to cure?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fresh Eggs and Fear

When I went out Sunday to feed Dominique and collect an egg, hopefully, there was one egg. I brought it into the house and immediately scrambled it along with the egg from Saturday. Now, that is my idea of fresh eggs, not the store bought ones that proclaim "fresh" on the carton. I just wish I had cooked bacon, too.

I have two store eggs and another fresh egg that will go into a pound cake. I don't know why, but I have the urge for pound cake so I can put strawberries or peaches over it. It's box mix, so I don't know how it will turn out. Plus, I bought frozen strawberries last month, and the peaches are canned and from the store.

My mother would need eggs for whatever she was cooking and would send me out to gather eggs. Now, I was a teen when this happened. I would whine and beg and plead and cry trying to get out of the chore. There were other big kids and teens who were not so terrified of chickens. Maybe she meant to "cure" me of my fear. It did not work at all!

Since my pet rooster and only chicken brutally attacked me when I was four, I was still terrified of all chickens.

I just knew the hens would peck me to death and in my eyes as I tried to get an egg from under a setting hen. Their nests were about waist high, but I still had to get close to get an egg. She would be shocked I keep chickens now, really shocked since I kept my distance from chickens and the chicken yard.

Even when I bought day-old chicks and raised them by hand, I was not "cured" of my fear. And, I only keep hens.

Still, I never turn my back on a rooster. I do have a fear of roosters that is unabated even now.

Your turn
Do you ever have the chance to eat or bake with an egg freshly gathered?  What fear or trauma have others tried to "cure" in you? My "cure" further traumatized me! Did the "cure" work for you?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Put A Fork In It

Jelly doesn't last long around here if I put it in the cabinet. Well, it stays there so long it starts to mold. So, I keep it in the refrigerator. It is so firm after refrigeration that it is not spreadable.

Since there is just me around here, and I don't eat jelly every day, jelly must be kept in the refrigerator. Exbf eats his peanut butter plain, but he only has one every month or so. I am not fond of cold jelly since the taste is not the same as jelly kept on the shelf. Only because it molds over time do I refrigerate jelly now.

I got sick and tired of rolling around a ball of jelly on bread and eventually ripping a hole in the bread to spread the jelly. If I wanted lots of jelly, I could just make the whole sandwich full of large lumps of jelly. A thin layer is what I like, not getting a chunk of jelly in my mouth and none with the next bite.

One day, I decided to use a fork to get the jelly out of the jar, thinking a fork might shred it a bit. That worked.  It is not necessarily more spreadable, but the fork is easier to use to spread jelly. The fork breaks up the ball of jelly into little lines of jelly. It is in smaller pieces after using the fork. It works for me!

Your turn
Do you keep jelly in the refrigerator or on the shelf? Do you find it molds on the shelf? Maybe you have more people at your house who are eating jelly? Have you ever used a fork to dip or spread jelly in order to make spreading easier?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sweet Potato Slips Plans

This Sunday morning, I decided to start sweet potato slips. I cut two sweet potatoes in half and stuck three toothpicks in each half in order to suspend them over a glass or jar of water. They are in the kitchen window so I will not forget to add water each day to keep the cut end under water.

I've never done this before. When the slips form, they will be planted in containers, so I need to round up the five-gallon buckets. I won't wash them until they day before I use them.

Last December, rather late for me, I went to the sweet potato farm and only purchased forty-pounds of sweet potatoes--one box. Remember, one year I bought 160 pounds and did not have too many and had little waste. Well, this past year, they were starting to go bad the day I brought them home. I think only four were ever baked, maybe six. The rest were soon tossed.

The other day, I found a canvas bag with about eight sweet potatoes. Today, I used two and tossed the rest, all rotten in the bag. One was stuck to the bag, so I will have to soak it outdoors before washing it. Gross! That would have been smelly in a bit as the weather warms.

I just wish I knew how to post pictures using This week is the week I learn.

My aunt, Nell, had a sweet potato vine in her kitchen that covered most of a wall. It must have been twenty-feet long. We were not allowed near it for fear one of us would break it. I was about eleven the last time I saw it as we moved away. She even managed to move it successfully to another house without breaking the plant vines.

Nell did not want us to call her "Aunt Nell," so she is the only aunt that did not have the title before her name. It seemed normal when I was very small, but then I wondered about it by the time I went to school. She was my mother's only sister.

Dominique is out there, CROWING! She is not very good at it and not very loud or she would have to go.

Your turn
Have you ever grown your own slips to grow sweet potatoes? Or, did you purchase them? Has anyone ever grown a sweet potato vine in the kitchen? Nell grew hers in the dining room. Did you have a relative that did not want a title in front of the first name?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Storms Dissipated and Scary Dog

Today has been a pleasant but cloudy and drizzly day. Since winds of 60 mph were forecast, what's a dreary day? The line of red on the radar headed this way gave way to a green band of showers before it arrived. Red is bad, stormy weather; green is a bit of gentle rain. So, going out to feed Dominique got me a bit wet. Since I was taking a nap, I am not aware of winds happening. There was nothing in the yard to indicate the weather was rough. I had the window ac on, so heard nothing.

There was a dog in the side yard and coming from the backyard, scary looking, when I wanted to feed Dominique. The dog had a huge head and no ears. It refused to move when I yelled and waved my arms. It just stared. I was afraid to go out to Dominique, so called Animal Control. I have already had two different dogs charge me in my own yard, so dogs get a report!

It came from the back yard and was by the side door. So, I know Dominique was frightened. We have leash laws! People have been bitten in this neighborhood by all sorts of dogs. Besides, I step in dog gifts and do not like that.

Dominique grabbed the KFC chicken breast and shook it to get a bite. She was frantically working on it when I left. She loves KFC. Actually, she just loves chicken to eat. Ooops, forgot to give her green stuff. So, another trip in the drizzle. She had safflower, oats, and banana, so she will appreciate greens. And, I forgot to give her fresh water. She has water, but it needs to be changed.

Last night, my back hurt so that I just lay down after one swipe on the counter next to the stove. So, I suppose I should get back at it. Plus, the crock pot is dirty still, and there is a huge chicken that needs to go into it tonight. Maybe I will cook apples, dip out the apples, and cook the chicken in the apple juice like I did last time, then add more food as I take some out. I foresee a five day cooking marathon with the crock pot going the whole time.

I really need a pellet pistol! I would wear it at my waist!

BTW, we had a dog that roamed, but there were no laws. Besides, she never barked at anyone who was not in our yard or walking in front of our yard. I know, I know.

Not much happening here. But, I killed a mosquito that landed on my arm.

Some of you may be in the line of storms. How did it go at your place? Bad weather or drizzle? Wind?  Do you have dogs come into your yard and try to bite you? How do you handle that? I cannot shoot anything more than a pellet gun in the city. Who wants chicken cooked in the fresh apple juice that has cinnamon in it?

Friday, March 24, 2017

No Free Dinner, Just Cheap and Major Cleanup

Friday, J came and started the cleaning off the counters. She became ill like she was going to throw up so left early. Since the kitchen is half done and in rough shape, I did not want to shuffle things to cook. I am ill and didn't feel like thinking or looking in the refrigerator! After searching my purse, I found a coupon for $10 at KFC. Now, I had to pay $6 for this, so not such a great deal.

Remember, KFC gravy always makes me feel better, so off I went, since I am sooo sick...all since last night. For $6 spent last year for the coupon, I got chicken breast, green beans, slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, extra gravy, biscuit, plus senior tea. Usually, I cannot eat all this if I get the extra stuff. Today, I did! Well, I did bring the biscuit home. I suppose that will be dessert later. Tomorrow, Dominique will get the bones with some meat and all the skin.

Weeks ago, I bought a box of Chocolate Malt-O-Meal...think that is the name. Well, it appealed to me because it was chocolate. Finally, it did not look good to me. I wanted to give it to neighbor who carries out trash to road. But, I would hate to open the box and offer him an opened box. The plan was to open it while he watched, make the cereal, try it and give him the box if I did not like it.

Bad plan. He never would want to hang around that long. And, I would hate to love it and tell him he could not have it. Today, I mentioned the plan to J. She said for us to try it now. So, we did with a half glass of milk. She loved it and I hated it, so she got to take it home.

For breakfast, I had a banana and water. Lunch was 1/4 cup of chocolate M-O-M and milk. So, no wonder I could eat all I did at KFC. It's 10:30 pm, biscuit time. I love them plain!

Four days of food talk is just about enough! I have things to do tomorrow, so I need to feel better. At this point, I am calling the kitchen counter clean up a success. I need to clean off the dustiness and then clean the little stains. Things were put up high even though I cannot reach them without a stool. She took home an unopened box of salt and about a dozen other foods.

On the counters I have had pretty decorative glass jars with pastas, rice, peas, and other foods. I dumped the brown rice and gave J the penne pasta. Since it was sealed in a glass jar, I am quite sure it is fine. I think I might get rid of storage on the counter. Maybe I will just put several of the jars on a tray so it looks more contained. At the present I am unhappy with my food in jars on the counter.

All the decorative glass containers came from a very nice thrift store in Huntsville. They were cheap enough, like a quarter or a dollar. I'm not sure that I want to get rid of the pretty jars even if they don't stay on the counter. Such a dilemma!

Several years ago, I posted the organization and cleanout of the cabinet next to the stove. Well, it is a mess again. All this I can handle by myself. If not, she will be enlisted only after I clean out stuff from the whole kitchen, including the table. When I hurt, I just put things on the table. That will end!

Your turn
Have you ever had chocolate Malt O Meal? Do you like it? Do you keep foodstuff on the counter in their containers or in a decorative container? Have you ever gotten the kitchen counters in such a state that you could not stand the clutter anymore? This is only a lately happening for me.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Free Dinner Wednesday

On Wednesday, I had to go to the orthopedist in Huntsville. When I got through, I met up with a friend who gave me a meal in a go-box to take with me.

Baked chicken breast, one medium roasted red potato, salad, a croissant, and a small square of chocolate cake that was mostly chocolate icing. There are no complaints about the frosting/icing since I would take all icing if offered. If I can keep this going with the free meals, I may never have to cook again.

Of course, Dominique gets the leftovers. There is plenty of meat left on the bones, plus the skin. Some salad got underneath the chicken. She gets grass and weeds, too, along with her staple--a serving of oats.

I don't know if I said so, but on Tuesday, Dominique got a huge plate from the Tuesday free lunch. I ate everything but the bone and fat from the pork chop and skin from the sweet potato. J left most of her meal. Since she left so much, I did not have to ask other people for scraps.

It is now time for dinner on Thursday evening, and there is no free dinner forthcoming. Have I been spoiled? Next Tuesday, there will be another delicious lunch!

This morning, Thursday, I baked 13 chicken legs in a turkey bag. These are for exbf.  They are frozen and ready for him to take home when he comes.  While I wanted to cook them on the grill, I did not want to cook on the grill. Legs are so greasy. After they baked, I took off the skin and set the legs in a colander to get a bit more fat off them. He will appreciate that little touch.

I uncovered a bag of cooked, frozen chicken breasts while I put the legs away. So, one of those will be part of my dinner. Maybe a salad, too. It will be wonderful to get all the food from the freezer eaten. I think the uncooked chunks of beef and lamb are gone. There is only ground pork and ground beef, I think.

Your turn
Do like the frosting or the cake better? When I was losing weight, I just ate frosting off my piece of cake. I figured I would just eat what I really loved, not everything in front of me in order to not gain and still enjoy chocolate.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Free Medical OTC Supplies

While we were at the free lunch on Tuesday, J asked me, "what are those people doing?" I looked. We went to the three tables. At the first was information on nutrition and meal planning. I graciously accepted what the woman gave me, even though I probably know all of it. She also gave us a nice, sturdy tote bag and two snack bars.

At the next table, the free clinic was taking blood pressure, pulse, testing for blood sugar, and something else. I skipped that table. J took information for herself for the free clinic.

The last and third table gave me full-sized OTCs:
*Zyrtec children's allergy grape syrup, 4 ounces. Adults can use it, too. I do use the Zyrtec tablets.
* Bandaid bandages, box of 20, two sizes, decorative. Yes, Bandaid brand!
*Imodium, 24 caplets. I hope not to need this.
*Enema, saline, one bottle, 4.5 ounces. I will avoid this.
*Tylenol adults, cold and mucus severe, liquid 8 ounces.
*Hydrogen peroxide, 3%, 8 ounces.

When I told them I did not need the free clinic, so I could just give these back, they insisted the things were for anyone. J does need the free clinic! Even though this free lunch is not for just the disadvantaged, I have noticed many more attend. But, so do the church members attend in greater numbers than before.

So, yesterday was doubly free--two meals and all of the above.

Your turn
Does your church ever allow clinics to come to educate people about nutrition, free clinic, and give out free OTC? Isn't this a great program?

Tuesday--Free Lunch, Free Dinner, Free Snacks!

Today, J and I went to a church dinner. We got there a bit early and she painted her nails with some polish I gave her since she had none. We talked and noticed nothing around the car as we sat.

When it was time to go in, I was shocked. Not one soul or car was there. She checked her calendar and found we were there on the wrong day. I drove away and suddenly remembered another church had a lunch today. We turned around and went to the other church.

The dinner was spectacular and dinner will be, too. I brought home a go-plate. We had pork chops that were so tender and tasty. Sweet potatoes were baked in foil. I believe they were my favorite variety--Beauregard. Corn and a slice of bread with garlic butter finished the meal. They always have cookies in a snack bag for dessert. Unsweetened tea makes me happy every time.

We went to WM where I had one thing to get. Then, she went with me to Belk to bring shoes to me. I tried on lots of shoes and found nothing. Then, we went to purses where I did find something with her help, just not what I wanted. She does not have a purse at all. Since she will be helping me, I offered to buy here a $20 purse and she could work it off. I was not being mean, but that was the price of mine after several markdowns. It is not leather but looks better than my raggedy purse which was free and new a few years ago.

We came back here, sat and watched Dominique and enjoyed the warm weather with a gentle breeze. Since I had promised J Southern Living magazines, we came inside. Well, I thought the stack was 8 inches high. No, there were four stacks that were each a foot high. She only took about 1/3 of the magazines. When she is through with them, we will haul them to a food bank, a doctor's office, and various places. I only kept about 6, one of which belongs to my son. I had magazines of all sorts that I had forgotten about. They were out of sight in a closet, not cluttering my living space.

I wish I had the money I spent on magazines. Of course, they were cheaper than movies and more uplifting than going out--what friends did. By the way, I got rid of ten years of Victoria about fifteen years ago and never bought another one. This is just about the fifth time I have gotten rid of magazines. I want to keep them until a few years pass and all of a sudden, I don't want them, then I get rid of more.

Now, it is time to heat the take-out dinner and enjoy that once again. Snacks were cookies. Since I have had a banana, I will have strawberries, and an apple to round out my meal and snack later on tonight. Maybe I will have kale with the meal, too.

Dominique gave me two eggs today. Yesterday, she obviously laid one late. Then, there was today's egg.

My free things to do happened today. Two meals. Wow, and I did not mess up a dish. We had a very pleasant, low key, inexpensive girl's day out.

Your turn
Do you have too many magazines? Do you get rid of them often? Was the weather beautiful so you could sit outdoors in sandals and a short sleeve? Anyone get a free lunch today or lately?

Monday, March 20, 2017


Finally, I bought an aloe plant. Did I overpay at $5? It seems that at WM and Lowe's aloe go fast.  I don't know anyone with an aloe to share a bit so I can have my own plant. Hopefully, I won't be allergic to it. Before I burn myself, I will apply a bit to skin that is not burned. The last thing I need is a burn with something I am allergic to applied to the burn!

Your turn

Is there anything special I need to know to keep it alive? I have googled the care of aloe, but need info from someone who has successfully kept an aloe alive. Can I put it in a window where it will get full sun some days, full but at an oblique angle?

Dehydrating Preparations

DQ info below this post.

Since I feel like I can commence dehydrating once more, I have to prep for the job. Saturday, I had J remove the stack of clutter on one side of the dehydrator. Some was trash. Some was food. Other things needed to be put in the correct place. All this was leaning on the dehydrator. I think the dehydrator needs to have space around it to function properly. I could not handle that little bit by myself. The counter on that side of the dehydrator is only about two feet wide.

When she finished carrying extraneous items to their homes, I told her I could clean the dust and such from the counter. I am not totally useless. Tomorrow, I will wash all the dehydrator trays so I can start dehydrating on Monday. Well, that is the plan. Or Tuesday. Some celery is going south, so if it survives, I will have at least a half-pint of celery for cooking. Maybe Dominique will get it. When I finish salvaging food, I need to start on new carrots and celery for a friend that is long overdue.

THEN, I must wash the racks and trays they sit on and the whole inside of the dehydrator. Ugh! That's my least favorite part of all this.

Dominique gave me an egg today. Good girl. Now, I can have scrambled eggs for breakfast. I still will not purchase eggs from the store.

When I regularly give her green stuff to eat, she gives me eggs with golden yolks, almost orange. Those yolks are rich in Omega 3. That stuff is used to prevent heart disease and treat heart disease.

Has anyone ever dehydrated store-bought dehydrated dates? They are so sticky I doubt they will ever dehydrate more. Any opinions? I need to get those into glass jars.

On the first day of Spring, Monday, March 20, Dairy Queen will give a free cone to each customer. Of course, this in participating locations only. I will be there to get mine.

Your turn
What is your favorite thing to dehydrate if you dehydrate? If you don't dehydrate food, what would you most like to have on hand instead of going out to buy it each time you need it? Onions and bananas fill that need for me.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Free things to Do

Exbf comes here once a week. This last week, I forgot to send home my taxes with him so he can do them for me.

He will take me to lunch or dinner if I ask, but that is a rare occurrence because I rarely ever ask since I am very aware of saving money by eating at home.

Two weeks ago, I decided I would find something free to do each week. When there is a senior event, a customer appreciation day, or the free lunches, he is sometimes present. More often than not, he is not here.

He can get a certain day off if he asks ahead of time. I never ask him to change his day off for anything but to take me to a medical appointment where I will be sedated or for checkups with the oncologist.

Now, I will alert him when I find something free to do instead of just hoping he will be off that day. That way, we can do something interesting when he is here. He is very much agreeable with this plan.

Since both of us have trouble walking, the choices might be limited.

We certainly can spend money, just prefer to find coupons or deals instead of paying full price. Cheap movies are always fun and he is all for that.  Sonic had 50 cent corn dogs. That is close enough to free since I rarely have a corn dog!

The first free "thing" we did was going to the local tornado shelters, newly built, and getting a tour of the facility. For a year I had passed them by and wondered what they were like inside. Now, we know. I have pictures of that I will share. This last week, we went to another.

Old minds that are still active do enjoy and need new things to consider and discuss. Since neither of us had seen a public tornado shelter, we learned lots. We added to our store of knowledge.

There are events published in the papers all the time. Writing them down will help to get us organized.

The local junior college never has free events unless it is for students, unlike state universities. Besides, those buildings involve many steps to get inside!

In the Spring there are more activities, so we will try to do something every week. Before I had so much trouble with my back and knees, I went to festivals and all sorts of events, but I cut back.

Your turn
Do you look for free or really, really cheap events in your town? What have you found or heard of to do that does not cost too much?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Nothing but food today

Friday, exbf came up. I gave him a can of soup for lunch. That is a first for me. Usually, I give him something I cooked or smeared on bread, like peanut butter...maybe sliced cheese. Some days, I feed him better or we go get fast food. I hate getting fast food, hence the peanut butter sandwich. Since I gave him the choice, he had Progresso soup. It had so much liquid, I drained that off and he still had an overflowing bowl of vegetables in plenty of liquid. All the liquid certainly called for cornbread but I made none.

I have not made homemade spaghetti in years. But, today, I came close. I used two cans of spaghetti and a can of tomato sauce. I added garlic, olive oil, cinnamon, bay leaf, and three seasonings I dehydrated: celery, onion, and bell pepper. Then I added dehydrated zucchini. Today, I had pasta with spaghetti for the first time in a year or more. Since I am out of bread, I figured the pasta was not so bad.

Today, I put a bit of ground pork into the spaghetti. When I don't use pasta, I add lots of zucchini I dehydrated last summer. It adds nothing to the taste, but it gives a mouth feel and it's not like I just eat spaghetti sauce!

As I added all this to the crock pot, I realized I could have just made spaghetti with tomatoes. I only left out about a dozen ingredients from my mother's spaghetti recipe.

Why did I eat so much spaghetti? I ate three more helpings and am so disgusted with myself. Maybe this is why I rarely eat spaghetti even though it is a favorite food.

Two scrambled eggs for breakfast with milk held me all day. Well, when I went into the bank at 11 am, I had three cookies. At any rate, I was not hungry until after 5 pm.

Now, I want vanilla ice cream with hot maple syrup. I read a blog where they ate this and had pictures. Pictures do me in. Even if I cannot have what is in the picture or do not want to bake/cook/mix it, I will find something else in which to indulge!

Tonight, I will put dates in pint jars. You would think this would be easy. It's not! When you dump them in the jar, their stickiness just causes them to cling to the jars and leave lots of air in the bottom of the jar. By using the back of a spatula, I can arrange the dates so I can get a pound of dates in a wide-mouth canning jars, save 3 figs. I really only want to eat one fig, so tonight I will try to snug them in a bit more.  It will be a fun Friday night at my house. I do know how to have fun!

Did you know you can freeze cole slaw? I sent my question to Ask Jackie and they published my question and the answer in the magazine she represents. Yes, you can freeze cole slaw. On Sunday, I will shop and buy many cabbages at $0.69 for each head. Now, that is a great deal. I will freeze cole slaw in half pints, pushing it down. One half pint packed tightly will feed exbf and me. There will not be lots, but a pint is too much.

Your turn
Have you ever frozen cole slaw? Eaten it? Do you make spaghetti from scratch from a favorite recipe? Or, are you like me, settling for a jar of spaghetti?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Road Trip and Dominique

Did you read about the teen who found a 7.44 carat diamond.? Road trip?  Who is with me? Arkansas is very close! Who am I kidding since I can barely bend to do anything! He says he is going to keep it as a souvenir. What?

This is one of the places I have on my bucket list along with the garnet mine near Asheville, North Carolina. I may replace these aspirations with something more doable.

Dominique came through for me Thursday. I have two eggs and needed one more. I want two for my breakfast and one to put in meatballs for exbf tomorrow. The pork I am cooking will go into spaghetti, and the ground round that is still thawing will be meatballs for him to take home. YAY! The freezer is getting cleaned out by cooking up what I have. I cook the beef, feed some to him, freeze some for a time when he is here and I don't want to cook. The rest goes home with him. He likes meatballs.

Friday, and I just had my two scrambled eggs with a glass of milk. I will not be in the least hungry for at least four hours.

Hopefully, Dominique will soon give the 4-6 eggs each week like she gave me last year. When I had three hens and 18 eggs a week, I never had to ration my use of eggs or keep my fingers crossed for an egg!

Your turn
Have you ever been to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas?  The garnet mine in North Carolina? Are you a Rock Hound?

If you have hens, are they starting to lay well since spring is about here?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What was that sound?

Tuesday night, about 8 pm I was lying with the laptop's front edge on my ribs, typing. I did not realize my phone was up under my chin on my collarbone. The remote was on my chest, too. I lie here, typing with everything on top of me.

Suddenly, there was a repetitive alarm sounding, sort of like the alarm on the tv for a weather alert. It seemed the sound was coming from my laptop.

As I was trembling, I was also sort of waving my hands around trying to figure out what it was, where it was. Well, it was my cell phone!--touching my neck, collarbone, and my chin! It had never made this sound before. I opened it and found an Amber Alert. I had never gotten an Amber Alert on my phone! Have you?

At any rate it was for a girl from Tennessee that was seen in a town about 25 miles north of me--a 16-year-girl who was in the company of a 51-year-old teacher from her school. It seems she left willingly.

Wednesday, I got all the ads for local stores. They come in a free paper in the mailbox. So, I made my grocery list.

Head of lettuce  $.99
head of cabbage  $.69
5 lbs. red potatoes  $1.49 Is that a good price?
Ragu $1.79
2 lb bag of carrots $.49

I may not get the potatoes. Oops, I forgot to look online for Kroger's and Sprouts. Hopefully, milk will be reduced somewhere! Oh well, later. I don't need anything right now, so I may shop on Sunday.  I will not buy anything that is regular price!

Monday is Free Cone Day at DQ.  You know where I will be? Wait! we have two DQs, hmmm

Your turn
Have you ever gotten an Amber Alert on your cell phone? Did the sound shock you as much as it did me?  What kind of  sales have you found this week?  Do you like cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and onion in the crock pot?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Look What I Did! and Disaster

Everyday, I take the same path from Dominique's pen door to the place where I put her food--under the table on which her Rubbermaid home sits. Some days, she is impatient and jumps and I lose my balance trying to dodge her or I spill her food. I don't fall down; I just stagger a step or two.

Tuesday was no different in the path I took for the seven feet to her food place. However, today she ran around me and jumped up on the table. Her food goes underneath the table. She almost hit me in the face as she jumped and I started to bend. She seemed intent on looking right at me instead of the food that was close enough to her to jump on as I held it.

I turned and talked to her. Beyond her, I could see her egg she laid today. I was so pleased. I have been complaining about not getting eggs since she started laying again. It seemed she wanted me to see the egg. She is a funny chicken. "Look what I did!"

Now, I have breakfast for Wednesday!

When I was in Walmart, a guy was putting groceries on the shelves. I saw he had many cans of peaches on a rack about chest high. Remember, I was riding in the electric cart.

Sometimes, the employees reset the shelves and remove items and reduce them. Hoping the cling peaches were being reduced, I asked him and reached for one. It was bent on the top rim. I turned it slightly to see if the pop top had been compromised.

As I did so, I could see the pop top was still intact. I could also see a stream of peach juice run over my shoulder and onto my chest. Yes, it was disturbing. What was more disturbing was that I had washed the coat the day before, hung it to dry, and put it on clean 30 minutes before I looked at the peaches....sigh.

The reason I mention this at all is because these easy-open tops with the pull-ring are easily damaged. Plus, they don't store well and sometimes come open after a month or two. Most of mine stay intact, but it takes only one to be very annoying. Maybe jostling a can top is the reason some come loose. We are accustomed to cans of food being able to take the jostling in a bag on the way from the grocery to shelf. It's a problem.

Your turn
Do your chickens or animals of any sort ever seem to want you to see something?  Have you ever had the easy-open cans open before you pulled on the ring?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


I can only remember some of the great deals I have gotten on groceries.  Most were purchased at Walmart with the price-match. Bold price is price at WM.

Starkist tuna $.50/ 5 oz can $.99
black beans, $.50 can          $1
green grapes $.99/lb            $2.98
Milk $.99/gal.                     $3.90
apples $.49/lb.                     $1.49
carrots $.49/2 lb bag           $1.49

Milk has been $.99/gallon since Christmas, it seems. One week, though, I had to pay $3.90. This week, for the first time, it is $1.99 at Kroger's. I certainly hope to see more of the $.99 gallons  of milk in the future!

I am really enjoying the grapes by the pound. When grapes are expensive and I want them, I usually pull off a little stem to purchase with maybe a dozen grapes. At this low price some of the grapes are frozen on a plate and then transferred to a freezer bag for future sweet, frozen goodness!

I bought ten cans of tuna and 8 cans of black beans. I have developed an affinity for black beans, especially in Mavis taco casserole.

Shopping at Publix is great if you mostly stick to their reduced section. Placemats made from the stuff people use to line drawers were $4 at Publix, reduced to $1. Well, it has the same look. I bought one yellow placemat and cut out four squares to use for jar openers. My rubbery ones for getting a grip on jars have all become hard and slick--no grip. However, the new ones in the store are expensive, so I refused to buy those and just made my own. Since I bought a yellow placemat, I already know I will never find the yellow squares if I place it on my yellow counter! Good deal, Linda, plan better.

Another bargain was getting my hair color with $2 coupons from the paper inserts. For a while there were hair color coupons every week. I am well-stocked! If I could have found it on sale, the savings would have been better.

For help with sleep, I take Melatonin, Natrol brand. I found it at a drugstore I have never been in before for less than I pay at CVS. Plus, they had Hefty cups in my favorite color--pink--and cheaper than I usually pay at WM.  Now, there are two bottles of Melatonin waiting for me when I run out of what I have open. The ad in our shopper's guide, a free paper that only carries ads and "for sale" items alerted me to that deal.

At the food handout that is not dependent on your income, I got lots of vegetables--potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, apples, bananas. Some days, there is a jar of peanut butter or cans of food. Maybe there was more but I cannot remember. What is available each time is different except for the bag of beans and bag of rice. At this place, there is no sign-in. At the church during lunch, lots of people who have plenty talked about how they come by and get their bag of beans and rice and other foods.

Since J helped me clean out the freezer, it is reorganized, revealing meat I can eat--meat I need to eat. It has been hard, but I have not purchased meat, no matter the deal. As for cleaning out the freezer, it takes two people since one person needs to hold back the avalanche of frozen chunks of meat. They really hurt when they fall on my feet and toes. At this point, I can shuffle things about in the freezer without fear! So, no meat deals except for the deals I got in the past.

So....that is how food purchases have gone down here.

Your turn
Has anyone found fantastic milk prices? What kinds of great deals have you found lately? Do you find the items I listed and purchase them more cheaply, getting a better deal?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Okra Snack

I really hate okra. However, I dehydrated okra and Roma tomatoes to enter in the fair. I won a blue ribbon. That was two years ago. Still, I was stuck with the pint of okra and tomatoes since no one would take them. People were confused about the fact they were dehydrated or either hated okra. So, two years later, they were still here.

Finally, I took a piece and bit it to see if it was like chewing rocks. It crunched nicely and still tasted and smelled like the detestable seed pod it is. Since these are sliced like you would slice it for frying, the pieces are popcorn sized, just right for snacking.

One day, I asked exbf if he wanted to try it for a snack. I dumped the contents of the pint jar into a freezer bag and sent it home with him. After a month, he tasted it and gave me an opinion.

"It tastes delicious, just like fried okra!"

Now, I have something to do with okra offered to me rather than fry it for him. I am not sure if it gets slimy when chewed or not.

If you have a dehydrator and okra, you can make a snack that has no oil and no salt. I suppose if you don't like the taste, you can always put a seasoning that is not salty on the crunchy nuggets. Maybe without the slime, okra will be a new favorite snack at your house.

As for me, the taste and smell are inextricably tied to slime, so, no, I won't be eating any okra snacks. I spit out the one bite I took to feel the texture.

Maybe I will dehydrate another pint of okra and Roma tomatoes as a snack ready for anyone or ready to take to a gathering. By the way, I dehydrate the okra separate from the tomatoes and mix together. You could dehydrate them at the same time if you have them available at the same time.

Your turn
Do you think dehydrated okra might be a hit at your house? Do you like okra in any form?  Anyone growing okra?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dominique Needs a Friend or Six

Dominique is not a very good layer. She laid about 12 eggs in February and quit. I need more hens. Since I like to raise them from chicks, now is the time to get more babies.

I am torn between getting them from a local store or getting them from a farmer. My first ten were from the farmer. All those were mutts. The one from the local store are breeds.

Maybe I will wait until the warm up this next weekend. For sure, I have to get set up for them. When they start laying this fall, I may get rid of Dominique. Why?

She is not trained and does not know where she can go and where she cannot. Yes, you can train chickens to stay in the yard.

When chicks are little, I like to let them free range for 30 minutes and then lure them back to their pen with food. My high-pitched "Delilah" call means food. With Dominique out, she might lead them away or not obey the call to come into the pen.

They won't be put out when tiny, but sooner than usual.  I have not seen any chicken hawks around here, but in other parts of town I do. After they got three cats and my two hens, the pickings were slim around here!

Okay, so maybe she won't have friends for long.

I know older hens teach chicks what to do and how far they can go. However, Dominique has never been allowed to free range since she came here. I was too afraid of hawks and where she would go. I am not capable of chasing chickens around other people's yards.

Your turn
Do you like getting new chicks to add to your older chickens? Or, do you want to start over with all new chicks?  Do you have a routine that you want your new chicks to learn without them following an untrained hen? Maybe you can extrapolate these concepts to other animals you have.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Colder than I thought

When I got into my blog tonight, I stated it was low 50s. My friend who was helping me read what I wrote. He said he thought it must be low 30s. He was right. I was 35 F and raining. It's miserable after 70s this last week and using the ac. There could be snow just north of here. Just our luck, it will be knee-deep tomorrow.

This loaner computer has a very difficult left click key. I now have a Logitech wireless mouse--RED. I thought I was going to lose the use of my index fingers for a while. I had continual pain in that finger and my whole hand was aching all the time. After one day with a wireless mouse, the pain was subsiding. Now, there is no pain at all.

Since I lie down when I type, I just use the mouse on my chest. On a sweatshirt, that works great, but with a blouse or nightgown with buttons, gathers, or seams, I have to arrange the fabric so it lies flat.

My friend, Charlie, swears by his wireless mouse with his laptop. He hates the mousepad on a laptop. Now, I understand.

Your turn
Is it snowing at your place? Cold? Have you ever used a wireless mouse with your laptop?

Let's see if this works!

Okay, I think I am back on track. The guy who helped me last time by fixing it is meeting me here at McD. Hopefully, I solved this by myself.

After a week of 70 F, tonight it is soooo cold, low 50 F, I believe right now at 10 pm.
I am going to log off and see if I can get back in with this new password.