Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Today I worked for a while weeding one of the flower beds. The weather was sunny and warm. It was a pleasure to be outside with something to do.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Insurance Annoyance

The insurance I have is good, but at the start of the New Year, they stopped doing things correctly. So I called the insurance company. They blamed the pharmacy. I changed pharmacies. Same problem. This drug store blamed Medicare. I called Medicare. They said the problem was the insurance company. These phone calls aren't fast. Hold with awful music should could as elder abuse. So I called the insurance company again. They said they sent the reimbursement the 23rd and I should be receiving it soon. I asked if they have changed their procedure and was I going to be faced with this problem in the future. She said it should be solved. It's almost April. I hope it's fixed.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

More Leaves

I raked up several barrels of leaves and dumped them in one of the areas Larry will plant. He'll till the leaves in. We keep trying to improve the clay we are blessed with.
Then I put down more newspaper and mulch. I don't know if I'll ever finish, but the point is I'm doing something outside. I wish I had been able to keep my hair out of my eyes.
The disposable diapers I used to help hold moisture in the tire towers only got about a third done. After that I watered all of them and put my toys away.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

House Call

Larry went to the dermatologist on Thursday. The doctor said not to shower or change the dressing on his hand until Friday night. So when he unwrapped his hand, all the stitches had popped loose. He called the doctor last night to ask if he needed to come back or should we just dress the places and let them heal.
She called back this morning and said she didn't think the stitches would hold on the back of his hand. We could just clean it and change the dressing each night.
I like it that she has a lab right there so if additional work is indicated by the lab results, she can go ahead and do it. I also like it that she calls and returns calls.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chicken Soup

I boiled four large chicken thighs for about half an hour. I put a bay leaf, salt and pepper in it. 
Then I removed the thighs and added two tsp. of low-carb thickener. I let that simmer and added several carrots. When the thighs were cool, I pulled the meat from the bones and removed the skin. I put a can of green chilies, the meat, one package of dried chicken noodle soup, a cup of dreamfields pasta, and a bag of frozen brussel sprouts.
I stirred it until the soup was dissolved and put a lid on it and let it simmer for about ten minutes.
Larry almost never eats chicken thighs. Even he liked this soup.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Today I saw a big fat slug halfway between the carport and my greenhouse. I picked it off and stepped on it. Then I put a wide layer of diatomaceous earth at the door to the greenhouse. I've been carefully watching my seedlings in the greenhouse because the slugs will eat the primary leaves and just leave the little stems. I've sprinkled the dirt with diatomaceous earth. A friend said she used slug bait and shoveled dead slugs. But most of the slug bait says not to use it near food plants. So I'm limited in where I can use it. I have copper somewhere that I got last year. I have to try to find it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another Basket

This little basket was in the gift shop. My colors don't show up too well, but the basket is light mint green. I carved five eggs for it. The red one doesn't show up...it's under the handle. Tomorrow I'm going to take the basket and eggs to the hospital to put in our Easter display. The tray with eggs that I had in the display sold.

More Blooms

 Hyacinths are blooming now. They are mostly scattered around. The grape hyacinths are blooming, too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Raised Beds

It has been sunny with a breeze for several days. The raised beds are drying out quickly. Yesterday I  carried a small watering can back and forth, watering fifteen of the tire towers. Today I used the gator and a five gallon bucket to speed up the process. I wish I had used the moisture control potting soil in the raised beds. I really didn't realize they would dry out so quickly.

Dorothy Dunnett

Dorothy Dunnett is one of my favorite authors. I'm going back through the House of Nicolo series. The first one is Nicolo Rising. It is mainly set in Bruge. We have visited Bruge several times and I enjoy the book for the characters and plot, but also the setting.
The second book is Spring of the Ram. It mentions people and places in Florence. The setting changes but it remains interesting.

The Only Couple

We went to the doctor for the follow-up to our lab work. The doctor looked at it and said we were the only ones whose numbers improved through those cold, snowy, icy, months. He said he thought everybody else had stayed inside and eaten.
It was really nice that both of us had good lab results.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Some of my seeds have already sprouted. I am watching them closely to see if I need to treat for slugs. So far I haven't seen them this year. 


I have spots with blooming daffodils all over. They are a cheerful reminder of spring even when the day is gloomy...which today isn't.

Decorated for Easter

Decorated for Easter:)

Preparing my Flower Boxes

I bought two large bags of moisture control potting soil. They were heavy so I left them in the trunk where the man at the store had placed them. I decided to open them there and unload them one container at a time.

I filled all the flower boxes. I won't be able to put plants in them until mid April, but at least they're ready.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dreary Day

Today I went through more stuff to discard. That isn't one of my favorite activities, but living amid rubble isn't nice, either. So I raked more dead leaves from flower beds, separated out stuff I can throw away (and put it in the large trash container), and stuff that needs to be burned. I found some of what I've been looking for, packaged up some stuff I've been gathering to mail it off...basically, I made good use of the lousy weather.
I also have been having trouble getting my hair combed after washing it. I've used conditioner but it wasn't helping. So I used vinegar and rinsed it out. I was able to get a pick through my hair without agony.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

5 Redbud Trees

Today we planted five redbud trees, that makes twelve we've planted in all this year. I put out several carts of mulch in my tire garden center. We rode out to the field to see if the wild grape hyacinths are blooming yet. They are blooming in our yard and flower beds. The only way we can really be sure we're digging up grape hyacinths and not wild onions, is for them to be blooming. So, not yet for the grape hyacinths.
A lot of our little bushes are leafing out and putting out buds. It really is a nice time of year. The trees aren't leafing out yet, but the maples are covered with little red seeds.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Handsprings of Joy

Well, if I could do handsprings I would. Sometimes feeling good doesn't depend on anything in particular, it's just there. I woke up this morning with no morning grumpiness, just pleasure in being alive. I wish it happened more often.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Greenhouse Efforts

Today I planted more seeds. Finding a spot to put them where the sun can get to them is proving a challenge as the cuttings I took in the fall are already in place. I still have more to do, but today was a good start.
I carefully marked the seeds so maybe this year I'll have a clue what I have. I recognize tomato and pepper seedlings (although not which kind of peppers) as well as marigolds. But I always have stuff I don't recognize sprout. Even marking the seedlings isn't a great deal of help because planting them in the flower bed allows me to forget what they are. But I'm trying to figure out something.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shambling Wreck

A friend said she is retiring at the end of this school year. I said, "Good. You aren't waiting until you're a shambling wreck. You'll be able to enjoy yourself!"
So I immediately started trying to talk her into volunteering:)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Busy, Busy

After volunteering this morning, I bought two two-liter bags of moisture control potting soil to mix in my tires with the top soil. After taking care of dragging it around, mixing it up, and planting strawberry plants, I put out some newspaper and put several cartloads of mulch over the newspaper. It looks pretty patchy so far. I need to rake dead leaves out of the daylilies that are just putting up this year's growth, and then put down more newspaper and mulch.
I didn't water the strawberries in because we're supposed to have rain over the next several days.
It wasn't as warm today but it was still too warm for a sweater while I was dragging dirt and mulch around.
The raised bed that has strawberries in it has also developed an ant bed starting on the ground outside the raised bed (about two feet in width) and continuing on the inside of the raised bed. I've been putting instant grits on the ant hills. It seems to be working but needs more work (more grits). I have some weeds in the strawberries in the raised bed, but until I've dealt successfully with the ants, I'm not doing much about the weeds.

Shoe Rack

 This shoe rack isn't finished. It is just like the one below except the front slanted board is four inches tall. It isn't stained or varnished yet, and the back isn't on it.
This is the finished shoe rack and the front slanted board is only two inches tall.

Monday, March 16, 2015


I made arrangements for the pest control people to come and spray for wasps outside and set off a wasp bomb inside my art room. They said he would call when he was coming. So I took a lot of stuff out of my art room that might be damaged and decided to sit on the porch by a phone. After sitting there a while, I cleaned out the front flower bed of dead leaves, and vines, etc. He didn't come until late, so I got a lot done. He was afraid of wasps, so it was kind of funny watching him spray and run.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The greenery is somewhat burned from the ice, but the buds weren't open so they are undamaged and just beginning to open.

Snapping Turtle

The bottom picture has a soda can to the right to give an idea of size. The top picture is clearer. The turtle is large enough we could see it from the porch, across the yard, field, and fence.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pebble Isle

The Blue Heron Grill at Pebble Isle Marina opened yesterday. We went for lunch today. The waitress took our orders. I wanted a hot dog. She looked at me and asked if I wanted the bun. I told her were were celebrating good lab results and would have the bun. The buns are sourdough, buttered and lightly browned on the grill. As a treat, it was kind of nice. I only ate half of it. The treat I really wanted was the hot fudge cake:) We sat inside since it was drizzling, and watched the water birds through the window. I think we saw a turtle's head, too.

Pi Day

That is such a disappointment. 3.14 isn't nearly as interesting to me as a day devoted to pastry with filling.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Good Lab Results

We had our lab work done yesterday and got the results in the mail today. Both of us did well:) Our diet is working well.

Left-Handed People

We went for lab work yesterday. A man sitting opposite me commented, "Left-handed people aren't as intelligent as others."
I said, "I think that's usually phrased as, 'Left-handed people are more creative than others.'"
The lab tech turned, put her hands on hips and exclaimed, "Thank you!"
"Well, it's probably from making up all those answers."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Where Do I Put the Roses?

I knew Larry was making me a present. I thought it was a rose arbor. I had the catalog out picking out which running roses I would get. I was so taken aback that I was so wrong, I had trouble being as pleased as the lovely piece deserved.

You Don't Care about That

I was giving out the newspapers today. A woman picked one up, looked at it and had an emotional outburst. She went on for quite a while, gathering an audience as she went. Finally she looked at me and said, "You don't care about any of this. You don't even know the people."
I said, "Verbal processing is good for you. I'm not the point. It makes your heart lighter. Keep processing until you can stand it. It isn't easy, but it's better than keeping it in."
I hope she will.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dirt Poor

Daddy used to say somebody was "Land Poor." It didn't mean the person didn't have any land, it meant the person didn't have any money because all of it was tied up in land.
Today I had mulch delivered. The only place the guy was able to dump it was in one of the driveway offshoots. Everywhere else was either boggy or too sharp a turn, or not level enough.
I am pretty anxious to get weather nice enough to start putting out the mulch. I was surprised they delivered it today because it was so drizzly. But I'm glad to have it.

Vacation in my Mind

A woman was telling me how stressed she is taking sick relatives around and how worried she is. I told her she needs to do a craft or hobby. She looked pretty horrified that I thought she should do more than she was already doing.
I said, "Doing what you are doing is wearing. If you do a craft, you can't worry or think about things you absolutely have no control over. So it's like a little vacation from your worries. You're there if they need you, but your mind is free from worry when you're painting, knitting, or whatever. Actually going on vacation isn't practical...you have responsibilities. But freedom from worry for a bit, it good for you. You don't have to be good at the craft although you might be.
You just need to get your mind off your worries.
I also gave her paperwork for volunteering. I told her to tell all her relatives to leave Thursday morning off their schedule of doctors' visits. She took the paper and escaped.
People shouldn't tell me their troubles if they don't want my take on how to handle them.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Lazy Day

Today is my birthday and it has been a really nice, lazy day. I've gotten birthday calls:), facebook birthday wishes, chocolate covered doughnuts, nice easy-going day.

Free Trees

The Agricultural Department in our county gives out free trees every year. I first became aware of it when they sent a bunch to school to give to the students. I had given everybody multiple trees until I only had one left and three kids who wanted them (they already had several each). I told them I'd like to take that one home to my husband. They were satisfied with that.
It turned out Larry was very pleased. Ever since then he's gotten some. This year he got five cyprus trees and ten redbuds. They give out different kinds different years. There's not much point in planting dogwood trees, we already have them growing wild. They give out pecan trees, too, but they are the tiniest seedling pecans I've ever seen.
I've very excited about the redbuds.
They are trying to prevent erosion this way.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Today was warm enough to walk around without worrying about slipping. Almost all the ice is gone. I counted how many bags of soil I need to refresh my tires. I think ten more bags with a nice layer of newspaper under it will get it high enough to put potting soil on top and then the strawberries. I didn't buy a load of mulch last year, but I think I'll get one this year.
It's sprinkling now, but the temperature is comfortingly high enough that I don't think we'll have to worry about ice.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lovely Dinner

Porterhouse steak, baked potato with butter and sour cream, green salad...my very favorite meal:) Plus, Larry bought it and cooked it:)

Longer than Alive

Today is actually our anniversary. On our 21st anniversary I said, "We've been married longer than I've been alive." We married when I was 20. What I should have said was, "We've been married longer than I was single." But it was so funny that Larry says it every anniversary. It seems true sometimes.

Ripe Plantain

When I taught in Alabama, a Cuban lady volunteered for me in my classroom. I tutored her in English and she got to practice her English. I was introduced to some Cuban cuisine. The plantains, both green and ripe, were among our favorites. The green plantains are now available in WalMart. I've never seen ripe ones for sale there. It's possible that whoever is in charge of produce thinks they are no good...or people who know snap them up. 
They are ready to cook when the skin is black and the surface isn't hard as a rock.
I peel them (it takes a knife to do that), cut them in half, and slice them. Then I saute them in butter or oil.
They are pretty orange when cooked. I let them lightly brown. They are kind of like sweet potatoes, but denser  and sweeter. I like them with black beans. But this time I used pinto beans with tomatoes, peppers, and hot red sausages.
I don't think this is particularly low carb, but I guarantee there is plenty of fiber.
It used to be difficult to have ripe plantains because Larry is so enamored of green ones.
But now he likes ripe ones, too.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Next Project

This yarn is twisty like the brown neck warmer scarf but a vanilla with a little chocolate stirred in, rather than the darker brown. I am not very good at casting on so I had my diagrams out. I started over about six times before I decided it was good enough to go on with. Knitting is a nice thing to do when it's too cold to do anything outside besides get the mail.
In the last three weeks, the students have gotten to go to school two and a half days. I'm pretty sure they were happy about that for the first two weeks. Then they ran out of built-in weather days and the other days will come out of spring break. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring in my Mind

Spring is a season on the calendar, but it is really looked forward to starting for me when the daffodils shoot up their greenery and buds...February here. So it's March now and I've decided these baby yarn colors are a nice spring-like set of colors. It will still be cool, at least in the morning for a good while. I'm going to make a few round scarves in these Easter-egg colors. The one on the extreme right is a light, butter-yellow color, not the ivory color it appears to be in this picture.

Cardinals in the Snow

He planted the little gem magnolia trees on each side of the platform bird feeder so the birds would have perches while they wait their turns at the feeders.

Larry's Neck Warmer:)

That should keep his ears warm:) I spent a good while working the feathery ends of the yarn in with a crochet hook. When I made him try it on to see if it fit, the ends were dangling. He said he had weaves. Well, he doesn't now.

Round Scarf

I knitted this scarf longer than usual and crocheted the ends together. My plan is for Larry to wear a toboggan on his head and pull this over his head, twist it, and pull it over again. I don't know if he will actually wear it or not. He is very difficult to make something for as he then puts it away to drag out twenty years later to discover it no longer fits. He shouldn't outgrow this but I don't know about the twenty years part.
But he's the one who complains about the cold on his poor ear that has been operated on multiple times for skin cancers. He sometimes tells people I've notched his ear to show ownership.
Maybe I'll get a picture of him in the scarf (neck warmer?) on him today.

Good Morning!

This is a lovely soft snow (as opposed to the white coating of ice we got two weeks ago. It would probably go away pretty soon if we could manage to get warm temps. It will be several days before that happens.
But this snow is suitable for making snow cream:)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

15 Male Cardinals

In icy rain and sleet mix had started to accumulate in puddles and piles as the day became even grayer with evening. The platform bird feeder sported fifteen male cardinals and numerous other birds. They love black oil sunflower seeds.

Mirror Dance

I like Lois McMasters Bujold's Vorkosigan series, including the two about the parents. I've listened to them repeatedly. Evidently I'd skipped Mirror Dance for the last few times because it's almost like listening to it for the first time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

That's All You've Got?

When I got home from volunteering today, Larry asked how my day had gone. I said it was great. I had a woman come in that I'd tried to get to volunteer. I thought I'd frightened her because she offered to donate some really nice hand made items to the gift shop and I'd said, "No, I want you." I really thought I'd made it clear that I wanted her to volunteer but after thinking about it, I thought maybe she thought I was crazy and was just trying to get me to leave. I was really relieved when she came in. We got the application for her and her sister (she'd talked her sister into it). So that was good. I'd taken my little egg basket in and the three scarves. I think a couple of the people who drooled over the stuff will bring money tomorrow.
Larry said his day was way better. He'd talked to a guy who was the jailer in Memphis when James Earl Ray was in jail there for about four months. He said somebody had to be in the cell with him to make sure he didn't hurt himself. He personally went to the cafeteria for food, getting scoops of this and that for the workers and James Earl Ray randomly, locking the food into a box and carrying it up to the cell, handing it inside where it was unlocked and they chose their trays, again randomly. The guy said he took Ray's clothes home with him so his wife could wash the clothes and they would be sure nobody put poison on the clothes.
His morning was interesting, but really, mine was better. Mine was about the future, his about the past.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Craft Projects

The brown scarf I'm knitting is coming along. I've painted another wooden tray I'd saved from holding soap or something, I carved my first Easter egg of the year, and painted blue flowers on a wooden ornament I'd already base-coated with a crackle finish.
Tomorrow weather should not prevent me from volunteering. I'll take a wooden tray with three carved eggs on gift shred and three ruffly scarves I've knitted to add to our offerings at the hospital gift shop.
I'm not going to assume anyone will want the brown scarf. I seem to be the only person who likes coffee-colored stuff:) I plan to make it long enough to twist and knit together. It can be my "working outside" scarf. I have lovely, delicate scarves that I really can't stand to use when working outside because I don't want to mess them up. I don't think it will be possible to mess up this brown one. It's already dirt-colored.

Parents Who Eat Their Children

Being a parent is difficult because with the best of intentions, it is still possible to screw up. But sometimes parents don't seem to have the best of intentions. Once I was talking to a kid in a court mandated school. The girl was intelligent, hard-working, and nice looking. We were talking about money because the kids were high-school age and I had invited an investment guy to come and talk to them about the advantages of saving money on a regular basis. Interest would work with her money and she would have a nice bit put aside at some point. She said she never had any money. I said she was old enough to get a part-time job. She said she had three part-time jobs. I asked why she didn't have any money. She said her mother took it all. I thought that was absolutely horrible. All I could see was a child with no present and no future.
So then I thought maybe it was just some lower socio-economic groups that were that short-sighted. But I know that socio-economic status doesn't mean horrible. I know there are people who scrimp and save to put their kids through school.
I also know there are people with better houses and cars than mine who take their kids' money. But I don't know why they think they are worth more than their kids' educational foundation in life.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

This is my husband's favorite cake. Our anniversary is coming up so I bought pineapple slices so I could make it for him.
He complained because he said we had pineapple in the pantry. I pointed out that we had crushed and chunk pineapple but I wanted the slices to make him a pineapple upside down cake. 
That was Friday. Saturday he complained because I hadn't made it yet.
So today I made it. He was chowing down on it when I said, "Happy Anniversary!"
It's a little early.
Well, you complained that I didn't make it yesterday so I made it today. I didn't know if you could wait longer!
Notice that the cake isn't centered on the platter. I did try, but one corner was definitely off. We ate it first.


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

I am in favor of tolerance, but I agree with the above quote. I suppose it depends on one's definition of evil.


We've had an almond tree in its box positioned in the bedroom for a while. They are supposed to ship them when it's time to plant them. But this tree arrived when the ground was frozen. Yesterday, finally, the ground was thawed enough to dig a hole and pulverize the soil. We planted the tree and watered it in. The weather is very cooperatively keeping the soil moist.
In Germany we enjoyed the blooms of the almond trees. I'm looking forward to seeing it here.