Saturday, May 31, 2014

One Accomplishment Today

Some days I get a lot done.  Some days I think if I get my 10,000 steps in on my fitbit, I'll consider it a win. So, today that was my win. 

Early Spring Is Over

 The first flush of early spring flowers is over. Magnolia blooms are starting to open.
 Two of my three clematis plants have started to bloom. I worried about them because I transplanted them last year. They survived the fire and awful winter and have started their showy display. The lower right shows daisies blooming.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sonic Facial Cleaner

I read the reviews on the Conair Sonic Facial Cleaner and decided it would be a good way to clean my face. I had noticed that my washcloths get grimy and they don't really come clean in the wash, even with hot water and clorox. That makes it sound as if my face is getting clean, but i could tell the pores were not clean.
I've only been using this for about a week and am very pleased with flaky spots, no blackhaeds, no grimy wash cloths.

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

I like the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.  I just finished listening to the Skin Game. The series just gets better and better. Sometimes they don't. Mostly I listen to the same stories over and over so it is a real treat to get a new book that I haven't read or listened to before.
The characters are interestingly portrayed, the plot is always good, and the settings are good. It's fantasy, so I don't get all depressed with reality. But sometimes fiction is as true as reality.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


We picked cherries today. The birds had gotten some, but I think this may be the most we've gotten. I put a few strawberries in the containers because I hadn't taken another container, but it wasn't a lot. Larry said we have one sweet cherry tree and one sour.  I said I thought both are sour.  He said they taste the same but one is sweet and one is sour. I know for sure they aren't both sweet.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


 Larry loves amaryllis. This one is from WalMart.
The red and white one is from his mother via Aunt Annie. The orange ones are from his cousin. In the fall he cuts them back and puts them in the cellar.

Friends Visit

I love it when friends visit.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler

I have the blackberries on the stove with sugar and cornstarch to thicken it. Then I'll pour the crust over it and bake it. We haven't had enough blackberries in several years for a cobbler.  We didn't this year, either. These came from Paul and Ruth's bushes. I'm still scratched up from it, but it was worth it:)

Odd Neighbors

One of our neighbors cuts the grass in the nude. Another partially filled his mailbox with cement. Both of those called the law on another neighbor's college kid who was firing a gun at a target on his own property. Streaker claimed he was disturbing the peace. Cement Mailbox Guy called the law and claimed bullets were flying around at his place. He also went over and attempted to intimidate the young man, waving his finger at him and poking him.
The law officer checked the target's location and noted that the bullets didn't even penetrate the plywood fully. He told the young man to charge them with harassment if they turned him in again, continue to be careful that there is a backdrop behind his target, and charge the guy with trespassing if he comes back onto his property...put up "no trespassing" signs.
Then the young man went and bought fireworks.
I liked it that the officer upheld the young man's right to safely target practice on his own property.
I liked it that the officer checked the allegations.
I didn't like it that Mailbox Guy took it on himself to evaluate the situation. He cut a tree down that was on our property. He wasn't too concerned about that. Streaker ought to decide to live and let live if he's going to continue to cut the grass in the nude.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Side Benefits

 Fruit and vegetables are coming in already in south Alabama. These were picked on Larry's cousins' farm.

 Gardenias are blooming there.  Ours died in the winter cold.
This is a shrimp po-boy. The bread is obscured by the filling. It was sooooo good! We ate seafood at a restaurant once, but we had the po-boy twice.

Happy 100th

These signs were put up all over town. The celebration was held at the Baptist church and was filled with friends and relatives.
This picture was taken on Friday, which was actually her birthday. We ate pound cake she had baked the night before. The celebration was held on Saturday. Her 93 year old sister wasn't able to attend because they had just put in a pace maker. Letters of recognition from the governor and the state legislature were read. 
Aunt Annie is one of Larry's mother's two remaining sisters.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Now I Remember

I'm listening to Exodus. It's as good as I remember, the reader is good. But it is a seriously depressing book. Now I remember why I got tired of historical fiction. It isn't very upbeat.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I either didn't sleep much last night or I dreamed I was awake listening to my self-hypnosis tape. Hard to decide.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Borer Bee

This pile of sawdust is from a borer bee. I sprayed it with poison and ended up with a couple of wormy-looking things...dead.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Leon Uris

Leon Uris was one of my favorite authors a long time ago. He wrote historical fiction that I thought was excellent. I'd checked on audible to see if Exodus was available. It wasn't. But now it is. I've downloaded it and am anxious to see if it is as good as I remember.
Historical fiction isn't a favorite category for me any more. I like science fiction a lot, now. But I'm going to try an old favorite. I hope I love it...still...again...


Today I got three of the fitbit categories green: 5 miles, over 10,000 steps, and 30 active minutes. I've done it by accident before, but I really wasn't paying attention to the colors until today. I didn't get the calorie expenditure green, but it was close.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Firefly Lightshow

I like fireflies, but usually they hover close to the ground. Tonight they were in the trees, in the spaces between the trees, right in front of me, everywhere. It looked as if the stars were blinking off and on, like the trees were decorated with blinking white lights...everywhere I looked there were bright, blinking lights! It helped that there were no streetlights or other lights....just bright, blinking, moving lights.

Lab Report Consult Today

I had lab work done last Thursday. Today we went to the doctor to hear his verdict. He said my numbers are good. He was pretty pleased with Larry's numbers, too. I think my plan for the next four months is to not eat any crackers.  He said 6.1 is within the "good" range for a diabetic. I pointed out that my line graph is headed upward so I wasn't as pleased with it. All my other numbers were better than last time. I really don't see how my triglycerides can go down and my A1C up but I'm pretty sure crackers aren't good for me even if they are really good. Getting a cracker that isn't as good doesn't make my numbers any better.
But pineapple is pretty high on the carb count because of the sugar but at least it has the value of fiber. Crackers don't have any redeeming characteristics.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shopping Experience

I went to get a new data card for my camera. I went to Best Buy. I've had good luck there before and helpful people. Yesterday I knew to insist that I try the card before leaving as some of the cards look right but don't work in my camera. Well.  They insisted it would work, and said I had to pay for it before I could try it.  That had happened in the past, too, but the card worked that time. This time it didn't and I had to stand in line a really long time to get my refund. They don't carry data cards there except for the hd type which my camera is too old to use. But I bought the camera there and think they should support products they've sold.
I went to Bed Bath and Beyond next to get diet root beer flavoring for my Soda Stream. They were out but they went online and ordered it, applying the coupon I hadn't taken with me, and assured me it would arrive with no postage:)
When we left, Larry said he liked going to Bed Bath and Beyond better than sporting goods stores. That is certainly my take, but I was surprised he feels that way, too!

My Row of Peonies

There are five peonies in a row here...all in full bloom:) This is the best showing we've had. I have two others in a different place. The green towers are clematis. One of them has buds beginning to open.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Deadheading and Weeding

There's a downside to loving flowers. The deadheading and weeding take more time than just mowing grass and weedwhacking edges. But even the deadheading and weeding aren't too bad since I'm out there with the flowers:)
I also used wire cutters to cut a rectangle out of hardware cloth to scoop up my mulch and filter the big stuff out. When I got the edges snipped, it was really rough on the cut wires so I bent them under with the wire cutters and hammered them down.  It helped.  I haven't used the wire yet, but I'm trying to keep my little pile turned.  I don't know how long it will take to turn it into something good for plants instead of dirty garbage.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Groundhogs Under My Greenhouse/Art Room

Today I finally saw where the groundhogs I've been seeing live. I've seen the large holes going under the greenhouse/art room  but didn't know for sure what was using them. I really hate the tunnels they dig. When it rains, it collapses the tunnels and then provides a small ditch for water to run through, rapidly increasing in size. The tunnels mess up a yard, provide tricky footing for people trying to walk through the yard, and I've found snakes in the tunnels, too.
I know for sure there were four groundhogs, but there may be more.

I copied and pasted the following from wikipedia:

Groundhogs are excellent burrowers, using burrows for sleeping, rearing young, and hibernating. The average groundhog has been estimated to move approximately 1 m3 (35 cu ft), or 2,500 kg (5,500 lb), of soil when digging a burrow. Though groundhogs are the most solitary of the marmots, several individuals may occupy the same burrow. Groundhog burrows usually have two to five entrances, providing groundhogs their primary means of escape from predators. Burrows are particularly large, with up to 14 metres (46 ft) of tunnels buried up to 1.5 metres (5 ft) underground, and can pose a serious threat to agricultural and residential development by damaging farm machinery and even undermining building foundations.

I realize other people may be fine with wildlife living under their buildings. I had a student who told me that a mother skunk had had babies under their front porch. I ask what they did about it.  She said they fed them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Visibility was down today. The rain was so hard that only things up close had any color to them. I could see shapes of trees in the distance, but they were just dark shapes in the gray of the rain. I don't know how much we got because it was too wet to check the rain gauge. We got 0.8 inch last night.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Boxtops and Magazines

If you throw away packaging material with Boxtops for Education on them, consider tearing them off and giving them to a nearby school. They are worth a dime each and they are garbage if you toss them.
If you take magazines, when you're finished with them, consider donating them to a nearby hospital or school.
We offer donated magazines to patients who can't get around well. It's nice to be able to ask if they are interested in plants, recipes, outdoor life, golf...whatever we've had donated:) They don't all want them; some of the patients are really tired from physical therapy and just want to dose or watch television. But some are glad to get the magazines.  Sometimes it's the family members sitting with the patients who want to read the magazines.
Schools like to have magazines so the students can tear out pictures to go with alphabet letters they are learning, or whatever.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tire Garden

 My strawberries in the raised bed Larry built to replace the tires that burned are coming along nicely. A blackberry bush is in the background.
 Some grass and weeds are growing inside the day lily border.  The condition of the ground is good.  I've been able to stick my trowel in all the way to the hilt in the area where I put paper and mulch last year. But it is still filthy from the fire.

 I put down paper and mulch over the weeds.  I'm not finished.
The strawberries in the remaining tires are doing well, too. About three of the tire stacks have peppers in them again this year.

Rose Strip

 I have different plant projects. I call this one the Rose Strip. It runs approximately 93 yards parallel to the road. I paced it rather than measuring it, so it really is approximate. I'm enjoying the profusion of knock out roses and irises. The pink crepe myrtles I rooted are growing but not blooming yet. The day lilies aren't blooming yet, either. Larry cut the "grass" along the strip, finally, because he decided the daffodil greenery was ready to be cut. I am not wild about naturalized flowers because we have to not cut the grass until the greenery starts to die back.
 I took pictures of several different places along the strip because the irises are different.

The big mass of greenery to the right of the knock out rose in the foreground is day lilies. None of them are colors I don't like:)

Sunday, May 11, 2014


 The white ones are finished. The light pink one is going to have a couple of dozen but so far, just this one is open.
This is one of the new ones. I have four more I'm anxious to see when open. They all have lots of buds.

Wild Blackberries

We had wild blackberries the first couple of years we were here, but they got shaded out. These and another large clump appeared this year where a tree toppled over after a storm. I'm really pleased. I've planted blackberries, but I don't know how long it will take to get very many.  This and the other clump should be plenty.

Tea Roses

I love tea roses. I don't have a lot of success with them here in Tennessee, but I haven't given up. These are the only blooms I have right now. The knock out roses are further along.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

I've read most of the Stephanie Plum series and thought they were funny. So when I saw Janet Evanovich had teamed up with Lee Goldberg, the creator of Monk, it was interesting to me. I thought there would be quirky characters involved in amusing escapades. So I got Heist as an audio book, prepared to laugh as I tried to get my steps in. It was interesting, but more like It Takes a Thief than anything else. It was good enough that I'll get the second one in the series.

Blue Grass - 2 Colors

Two of my three colors of blue grass are blooming today. There's a bud on the third. It's supposed to by white, but it didn't bloom last year, so I'm not sure.

Another New Iris

When people give me irises that aren't blooming, I have no idea what they'll be. This is one.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Irises and Bluegrass

 The colors of the irises next to the bluegrass are surprisingly similar. I have two more clumps of bluegrass, but they aren't blooming yet.
I'm still finding different wonderful colors and combinations in the irises. It's interesting to me to try to plan what colors to put next to others.

King Snake

I took this picture straight down from the porch. It's over a yard long.

Two Years

I call this flower strip the "rose strip." There were twenty knock out roses but I had to take one out due to mosaic virus. The roses have grown beautifully but so have the irises, crepe myrtles, and day lilies.

The roses were only a few inches tall when I planted them in the spring of 2012. The grass can't be cut yet because the daffodil greenery is still busy storing energy in the bulb for next season's blooms.
When I planted all this stuff, I had an Amish boy helping me. I said it was going to be beautiful. He looked down the strip at the meager little plants and said it was already beautiful. I think about that often as I look at the profusion of colors.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Different Irises

 The color is about right on this one.
This one is way more orange than it shows up in the picture. To the left, the knock-out roses are about to bloom...the buds are coming along nicely. I planted 20 double pink knock out roses over the course of two years. Now I just have nineteen. One developed the mosaic virus and I had to dig it out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Peony

Wow! Twice in one year I've brought flowers inside. I thought the fragrance might be attractive but I didn't smell it. All I can enjoy about it is the lovely sight. Maybe several would be enough to perfume the air.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Today's Growing Stuff

 This is the first clump of peonies to open. They smell delightful.
 These pinkish irises are wonderful.
 This lovely color is one of my favorites.
 The apple tree is not even head high and is loaded with small apples.
This lilac is less than knee high and is loaded with lovely blooms.

Monday, May 5, 2014

diy Shampoo

I've been using the same shampoo and conditioner for a long time and was perfectly happy with it. But this past week my hair felt heavy and dirty even after washing it. So I decided that I needed to try a different one just to get whatever was sticking to my hair off. But I needed to wash it today and am going shopping tomorrow.
So I hit the diy site. Honestly, from the looks of it (1 T baking soda and 1 cup of water), I didn't think it was going to be great, but it couldn't be worse than what I was wearing on my head.
While I was at it, I used the linked diy rinse (1 T vinegar and 1 cup water). The hardest part of either was deciding what containers to use.
Washing my hair with baking soda and water wasn't a sensory pleasure. I didn't think it was doing anything. No suds. But I worked it through my hair and it was feeling better. I rinsed it and sprayed the vinegar and water onto it and rinsed it out. I am very tender-headed and ended up spraying some on and leaving it.
I don't smell like a pickle. My hair feels clean and light. I can't believe it. I will use it again. It's cheap and my hair is clean and feels good.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Larry's Project

 This thing is like a short cradle with wire between the slats. He intends it for washing vegetables from the garden. I can seriously see how useful it will be for sweet potatoes. They are covered with mud. He'll be able to use the hose to rinse the mud off, then tip it over to dump them out onto something clean.
He put a folded blanket in it to show it tips. It is a clever idea. He also thinks it will be handy for rinsing turnip greens, peas, anything that needs to be rinsed with the hose before going to the sink.


That brown thing that looks like a child's top is a bee's home. 
I asked at the nursery for plants that butterflies and bees like. I must have been successful. Unfortunately, all bees aren't nice. We have a lot of borer bees and other huge noisy bees...not cute little honey bees.
Larry wanted a picture of the bee's home. Then he knocked it loose. This is the summer kitchen, outside.


 We're have a nice slaw. I decided to have a small glass of wine while preparing it. The pickles are sugar free relish:)
 Larry is grilling ribs on the little porch of his summer kitchen.
We'll have strawberries with fresh pineapple (I'll have sour cream with mine).
The baked beans are the only thing that isn't on our diet, but at least they're high fiber.