Thursday, October 31, 2013

Screw Driver

Unusual screwdriver found in my art room


I spent a lot of the day cleaning my art room.  Moving furniture, washing window sills, floors, windows, polishing furniture all seemed appropriate for Halloween.  I found a screwdriver I've never seen before.  I wonder whose it is.   I not only haven't seen the screwdriver, I've never seen one like it. But the art room is clean now.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hickory and Dogwood

 Fall is really colorful some years.  Apparently this is one of those years.  Hickory trees are a lovely golden yellow.  In this picture it is more brown than in some lights.
The red of the dogwood trees ranges between very red and burgundy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Orange Lady Bugs

I've had orange ladybugs in the fall for the last couple of years.  I thought they were coming in with some of the plants we brought into the house about the time of the first frost of the season.  This year we didn't bring those plants into the house but I've vacuumed a couple of dozen orange ladybugs in my sun room today. I looked them up and it said they don't bite but sometimes pinch exposed skin.  I thought they bit because it felt like it.  They are apparently beneficial but annoying in the house.  I agree with the annoying part.

Hearing Test?

A man at the hospital said I don't hear well.  I know why he said it.  I kept asking him to repeat himself.  But it wasn't because I didn't hear him, I didn't understand him.  For example, he said he used to have hair as red as mine.  Since my hair isn't red, I wondered if he didn't have red hair, either.  Our conversation just went on from there.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Free Cell

My longest winning streak up until today was 52.  Today it is on 92 and I haven't lost yet.  I have to admit I hit "undo" a lot. But I had a game that if I took it all the way back to the beginning it didn't count as a loss and gave me a different set-up next time I opened the game.  This one keeps giving me the same set-up until I win or give up and admit a loss.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fitbit Skydiver Badge

Ha! Today I got a fitbit badge for climbing 1,000 flights of stairs:)

Killing Frost

We had our first killing frost yesterday so I've spent time getting rid of the burned, tender annuals.  I finished that today and started putting mulch out.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

That Was Really Good!

 My husband said I just throw stuff together and call it food.  That is right a lot of the time. But this is really good.  It is almost from this link:
The differences are: I had some Marinara sauce that was reasonably low-carb and instead of using Almond flour, I used a fourth of a cup of bread crumbs and 3/4 cup of sesame seeds.  Instead of cooking it in a skillet, I cooked it in our turkey fryer.
This was the meal...1/2 baked sweet potato (from our garden), turnip and mustard greens from our freezer, and the Chicken Parmesan.
We didn't eat at the same time.  When Larry ate his, he came out to the greenhouse and told me it was really good....worth a detour.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Log House Restaurant

Tonight we ate at the Log House Restaurant.  While we were waiting for our fish (but the hushpuppies were there), Larry reminded me of the time Daddy got so tickled tears were running down his face and he couldn't finish his story.  None of us, including Mama, had ever seen him that tickled.  Good memory.

Small Gourds

 I wanted to grow egg gourds but I just got a lot of weird small gourds.  I found some egg gourds at a pumpkin place today.  They aren't dry yet so I have them outside. I hope they dry rather than rot.
These are the ones that grew from the seeds I planted.  Some of them are already pretty dry but they are from this season so they get more drying time.  I think some of them will make ornaments when cleaned and decorated.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ender's Game - Audio Book

I've read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card a couple of times over the years.  But I decided to listen to the audio book this's as moving as the book. The first time I read it, I didn't see reality coming.  But even after that first time when I knew it wasn't a game, it was still powerful. It isn't one of those books that depends on the plot for its grip. The character development is superb.

Three Days in a Row

We've had the repairman out here three days in a row because the thermostat on our gas fireplace wasn't working.  Today (again) the repairman said it is fixed.  Today he said he thought it was a wireless channel that was interfering with the signal on the fireplace. He said his was messed up for about a year.  He could turn it on or off manually, but the thermostat and remote wouldn't work.  He eventually used a scanner and discovered the interference was coming from across the road from him.  I hope he fixed ours.  I'll bet he hopes so, too.

My Warm Nest

Today I'm going to change my "outside" porch spot to my greenhouse spot. The repairman came yesterday and cleaned the rust out of the pilot light in the heater and got it working.  I have several things to do to make that space comfortable.  I need to retrieve my small table from the tire garden and put it back in the greenhouse. I want to take my electronic "extras" to my art room and get that space set up so all I'll need to do is take my air-card over and I'll have internet on my laptop.  When I come back inside for the night, I'll bring my air-card back and use my desktop. My Kindle Fire will work wherever the air-card is.
If I get all that arranged, I'll hunt up some cold-weather clothes.  I've found some but I don't have much choice until I find the rest and swap out shorts for polar tec.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It Smells Wonderful

I don't know how the wine is going to taste when we're finished with it, but it smells wonderful all through the house. I was worried about how it was going to smell because our neighbor said it smells bad.  When we tasted their blackberry wine, it was alcoholic but had no blackberry flavor at all.
So far this has a rose look to it and smells delightful.  I wonder if our neighbor used something to kill the wild yeast present on the grapes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gift Shop Display Window

Our Display Window at the gift shop in the hospital looks wonderful. The knitted baby hats are gorgeous and display nicely.  The flowers are arranged by one of the volunteers and used to be the most eyecatching things in the gift shop.  But the knitted baby things are over-the-top!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wine Making?

I'm several days into the home wine-making process (as I understand it, anyway).  I am seriously unhappy with the fruit flies that are feasting on the splashes I'd managed to neglect to clean away.  I have my fruit slurry safely covered with a clean towel. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Wonder if I Can Fix It

Somehow I've managed to change the language for my blog on my Kindle.  What I put in is still in English, but all the prompts and blog language is French.  Hmm. 
Note: I checked where "Language" is on my desktop (since it was still in English).  When I went back to my Kindle to fix the language problem, it had fixed itself.  I don't know why it decided to take a short French vacation, but it's back in English now.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Convenient Dustpan and Short Sweeper

I have one like this I got in Germany.  This is the first time I've seen one in the States.  Today Larry found it in Bed, Bath, and of my favorite stores both for products and service. They are connected and stand without having to lean against anything.  They are easy to disconnect to use and then stick back together.  I hope it is as durable as the one I have from Germany.

Cool German Stuff

 Spiced Cookies
 Larry's favorite tea
Striped Esprit socks

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grape Squeezing

Squeezing grapes started today.  The red color is the juice from the grapes.  The peelings and pulp are still inside the mesh bag.  We are supposed to squeeze it for another day or two and then press to get all the juice out.  It is supposed to sit in the juice to make red wine.  It hasn't started to ferment so it just smells like really nice grape juice so far.

Work-Associated Discounts

Discontinuing a work-associated discount upon retirement isn't all that smart.  The discount was given to get the business of a group of people.  To tell someone who already has an account with a company that now they are retired it is going to cost more is silly.  They should have a cheaper rate for retired people if they want our business.  We are a pretty large demographic and they should be scrambling to get a bit of it, not telling us now that we have time to look for a better deal, we should:)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Guessed Wrong

A friend said she had been invited to a Gender Reveal party.  I should have just tried to fish more information out of her, but no...I said, "So you go to a party and reveal your privates?"  She really looked taken aback.
This was not a wonderful day for me...I left my fitbit on its charger and walked my legs off volunteering.  I didn't close my travel mug before putting it in my bag. My knitting smells like coffee but it's finally dry and it didn't look any different. I read aloud to somebody who probably should have been alone. She should have said.
OK.  The upside is I didn't have a car wreck.  I didn't get a ticket.  I'm not sick.
 I got a lovely batch of little knitted hats to take to the gift shop...nd a beautiful bit of lace yarn to knit. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fun Harvest

This is half of one of the small pineapples Larry grew from the top of one he planted a couple of years ago.  It doesn't look as beautiful in the picture as it did in the bowl.  It didn't have a brown cast to the fruit!
We picked a bucket of sweet potatoes and a bucket of apples.  This isn't awful because the buckets are about five gallons so it isn't like picking a whole tree's output.
I also worked in the greenhouse a little while so I've started cuttings for next year.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I'm tired of negativity.  I'm tired of the media.  I'm tired of government screw-ups.  I'm tired of hearing about government screw-ups.  Am I happy about them?  No.  Can I do anything about it?  No.
I wish people would all be sensible and nice, but mainly, I try not to be with the mess.  I think 24-hour news stations are a mistake.
Why are people going to places that are supposed to be closed?  Do I think it helps save money to "shutdown" the government?  I can't tell.  People still have to be paid.  It inconveniences people.  If the government just wants to annoy everybody, they could shut down the interstate highways.  I guess the preppers would still eat.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ketogenic Diet

I saw a picture of somebody's plate of food on Google+ the other day and the guy said it was on his ketogenic diet.  I was curious because it looked like it would be on my Atkins diet, too.  So today I looked up information on ketogenic diets.  It is evidently helpful in controlling epilepsy and there were some claims that cancer cells feed on carbs and a ketogenic diet starves the cancer cells and they disappear.  I don't know how true that is because when I tried to check efficacy, it only showed information on epilepsy.  I guess if a person has cancer, it would be something easier to try than chemo. I wonder what the incidence of the development of cancer is in a person on a low-carb, high fat, high fiber, moderate to high protein compared to other types of diets.
There is a lot of information about particular diets controlling or curing various problems. 

Last Major Change

I usually make one major change per lab work period.  Trying to balance fiber intake with low carb intake led me to this change.
Steel cut oats
blueberries (from our bushes via our freezer)
half and half
(The coffee with half and half and splenda isn't a change)
The glycemic index for steel cut oats is 1.
My A1c dropped 0.4, putting me within the "normal" range.
My cholesterol numbers were in the normal range except my "good" (hdl) exceeded normal which is a good thing.
Oh, and I lost five pounds.
It isn't a waffle, but it is an excellent breakfast.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Reserving a Room

I very stupidly reserved a hotel room using Choose a Room.  It cost a lot more than it would have if I'd done it differently.  I paid $18 in taxes to the state of California because that was where the site was located.  It also said that I could cancel the reservation but would still have to pay the full amount.  I paid at least $20 more, and most of it was in California state tax.

It Wasn't Supposed to Be Mean

Let's see.  We are both on a low-carb diet, not because we want to be svelte but because of diabetes. A gift of homemade bread delighted the giver...she knew it was a wonderful gift and would be appreciated.  But seriously, to give a good gift, it is necessary to consider the recipient.  It is impossible to throw away a loaf of homemade yeast bread (I have thrown away a gift of a cake...sadly). But it is a gift that keeps on giving to a diabetic person.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Potting Soil

I didn't think my flower boxes and baskets did as well this year.  It was very disappointing as I did the same thing as in years past...except I used Bonnie's Pro Mix Potting Soil instead of Miracle Gro with moisture control.
I had about decided to plant something different next year when Larry pointed out I'd changed potting soil.  That may be it.  It makes better sense than the plants were tired of being there. They were spindly rather than lush and the color wasn't as deeply green.
I'm going to go back to Miracle Gro Potting Soil next spring and for my greenhouse this fall and winter.

Weighing Grapes

All the recipes seem to talk about the weight of grapes so I decided I should weigh some just to get a general idea what I'm going to be dealing with. I bought an antique balance scale with metric weights years ago. So I decided that would give me an exact weight no matter how small the amount to be measured at a time.  Then I converted it to pounds. It is the first time I've actually used the scales.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shopping for Wine-Making Supplies

I bought a wine making kit and book a while ago.  I wanted to find a place that sells supplies because everything I needed wasn't in the kit.  We went to Nashville and went to a place that advertised online and had good reviews.  I took the list of things in the kit and asked him to tell me what else we need.  I also bought two smaller carboys because I don't think we'll have enough juice for the six gallon carboy this year.  I bought two three gallon carboys and an assortment of other things.
Now I just need to get my nerve up to get started.
I liked the store, All Seasons Garden and Brewing Supplies.  The guy who helped us was personable as well as knowledgeable.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Two of our camellias are blooming now, a pink one and a white one.  We have encore azaleas, roses, and irises, still a few zinnias, etc., but mostly we're at the end of the blooming season for everything except the camellias.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Owner's Share

I just finished listening to Owner's Share by Nathan Lowell.  The development of the character through the series has been interesting. In this one, the main character dumps a lot of baggage.  It is possible he has thrown the baby out with the bath water, but I like the idea of starting fresh.  Too many smart people don't say, "I've gone down this road long enough and it doesn't seem to be going where I thought it would."
I'll be interested to see what he does next. Maybe he will figure out a way to have a good life as well as an interesting career.

Interesting Compliment

An acquaintance visiting our place for the first time said it reminds her of Disney.  I was unable to see any resemblance (no long twisty lines, no large rodents).  She must have noticed my puzzlement as she explained it was all the flowers, etc. That was actually a nice compliment as I tend to think the individual spaces are nice but the whole leaves something to be grass in some of the bald spots!  Glad to know everybody doesn't see the flaws.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Paper Towels

I decided to cut severely back on my use of disposable materials such as paper towels.  I have old wash cloths that I've stacked in a closet to use as cleaning cloths.  I stashed some in a drawer beside the stove instead to use instead of putting a paper towel there to catch dribbles from spoons, etc., used in cooking. I've tried using a spoon rest but didn't like trying to keep it clean.  Throwing away a paper towel keeps it looking tidy.  Tossing the cloth in the wash won't significantly increase washing machine wear.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Houseplant Pineapples

 Larry cuts the tops off of pineapples as part of peeling them.  Then he puts the top aside for a couple of days to dry out some.  Then he puts it in a pot with dirt.  It grows into a pretty spectacular plant that looks a lot like a bromeliad.  After a while, it sends up a bloom spike and makes a new pineapple with a new top.  Ours don't get as large as the ones we've bought in stores, but I've heard they will will adequate water and fertilizer. 
As a houseplant it takes up a lot of space.  The top picture shows a ripe one.  The one on the left in the basket fell over so he went ahead and picked it.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Securing Plants for Cold Weather

I started putting plants in the greenhouse in September last year.  I guess I'd better get started.  I am not going to try to keep as many angelwing begonias this year.  I don't want to give up on saving them, but I don't want as many.  I think I want petunias, sweet allysum, and dichondra next year.

Tiburon Peppers

These are peppers I have planted for the last several years.  They are wonderful for poppers and grew well in my tire garden this year.  I use them fresh and freeze them in halves spread out on a cookie sheet.  When they are frozen in shape, I put them in a gallon ziplock freezer bag for use later.  Since they will be cooked anyway, they are fine for poppers from the freezer during the pepper off season.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Amazing Numbers

Yesterday we had our lab work done.  We got the results today.  I'm always very interested in the results because I'm trying to control type 2 diabetes and cholesterol with diet.  My numbers for those were in the normal range.  For the A1c it was the first time it has been in the normal range since 2004.  I've been gradually getting the number closer to "normal" a tenth of a point at a time.  Sometimes it went down a little, sometimes it stayed the same.  This time it went down four tenths of a point and put it within the normal range.
It is difficult to stay on a diet year after year.  I'm pretty excited with my new numbers.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Podcast Kindle

I can't listen to Owner's Share by Nathan Lowell on my iPod.  But I can listen to it on my Kindle Fire. If I just click on Listen it is jumpy.  It downloads pretty fast though and then the listening is smooth.  The earbuds plug into the Kindle just fine.


I've downloaded a podcast that shows up on my desktop computer but not on my iPod.  I've done it before, but it was easy and did it itself.  It isn't syncing by itself and I'm not seeing a way to do it! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reading Aloud

As a volunteer at the hospital, I have been tasked with offering to read aloud to the swing bed patients. Frequently they have somebody staying with them and they don't want me to read to them.  But yesterday I was reading aloud to a patient and it reminded me how much I enjoyed reading to students.  I always projected my voice so an entire class could hear me, and yesterday I read about that loud hoping the patient could hear me:)
Today I offered to read to the chaplain.  In my defense, he wasn't the chaplain I recognized.  However, he very pleasantly introduced himself and said I could read to him if I wanted to, but the patient was in therapy. Their idea of privacy means I know the room number of the patients I'm supposed to offer to read to, but not the names.  Since this means I just go in and offer to read, the nurse said she'd give me a list of names.  This would help a lot.

Arkansas Black

This is the first year this apple tree has produced.  The apples are large, firm, and taste good.  The leaves seem to be resistant to blight or rust.  I'm not a real fan of eating apples, but peeled and cooked in a pan with butter, splenda, and cinnamon, I can choke some down.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

As a Parent

I wanted my kids to have choices.  I am very happy when they do something they want to do.  I think too many people do things because they feel that is the only thing out there for them.  I'm aware every day isn't wonderful, but we all have times like that.  We don't always have times we're very pleased with.  That's what I want for my want to do something and then to do it.  Yea! Sometimes I feel very successful even though I didn't do a single thing...they are doing it:)