Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The mystery of the disappearing me

Simple really.
Lack of sleep.
Brain shut down.
Time change &
weather change
generally do this to me.

Spent 3-4 days in a row in zombie state,
eyes glazed, shuffling blindly around the house, bumping into things, mouth agape, moaning...
You get the picture.

Another 3 days trying to catch up,
and then
Lost another night to staring at the ceiling
and now it seems to have settled itself down.

Hope I didn't just jinx it by saying that. (sigh)

So, back on track,
Catching up desk work today,
including editing and formatting the next pattern.
Jude did such a great job on this one testing it for me!!

I can't wait to share it with you.

Just want to make sure fingers and brain are connected
before I release it.

I need to hurry! She's almost finished testing the next one!!



Friday, November 13, 2015

Staring into my soup

Over dinner last night I sat staring into my soup. It was quarter to seven p.m. and I was struggling to stay awake.

Thank you time change, once again.
I know I'll have this fight until the end of December when I'll finally adjust.

The good part is I'm waking up early again, before birdsong, and getting good writing done again.
It's non-fiction, and mostly editing, but it's writing.

I've been having a lot of problems with my feelings about this blog ever since I decided to try to do the 30 gratefuls in November thingy.

It went good the first two days. The third was a trial and after that it became a chore, and not something I really wanted to do but felt stuck.

The thing is, I'm grateful all year round. And I'm not shy about posting here or on other social media sites, when I'm grateful for something. So why did I think I needed to put a strait jacket on it and march my gratefulness down the halls of THE LIST! ??

It had the opposite effect on me. I was not feeling grateful. I was feeling stressed and constrained and forced. I was not grateful for the grateful. :)

I know why I started the idea. I had gotten out of the habit of blogging again ever since I got back from my trip and hit the ground running. I wasn't making the time to blog, and thought if I did the GRATEFUL LIST thingy I would have something to say for 30 days and get back into the habit of blogging.

Instead, I've wanted to stomp on the computer.

"It was staring at me, officer. I couldn't help it!"


So last night I sat at the table eating dinner.

I try to have one day a week my meals don't contain meat or fish. Eggs and cheese are okay.
AND I'm sensitive to gluten, so sandwiches and pasta take a bit more effort than slap and boil.

It's a fun challenge and one I win more often than not.
Sometimes I fudge things a bit, like the soup last night, and it's not 100% Vegetarian.
But it's close enough for me.

Last night I had part of a steamed sweet potato, leftover rice, and a bowl of soup.

The soup has a story.

(Don't nearly all of my blog posts have one? I can't tell you how often I say, "Well, now, there's a story behind that." in the course of talking to folks. Comes from living in a conventional society while trying to be true to my unruly slightly Bohus ways.)

ANYWAY, back to the soup.

Back when I first started living on my own I didn't have much money. Most of what I had went to fixed expenses like rent and utilities. And like most folks just starting out, my bills were often higher than my income.

So I did what I could to reduce utilities, and mostly got them to below the level of the base rate. I opened and closed the curtains to control the temperature, piled on or took off clothes to adjust my own, kept the thermostat at barely alive temps to keep things from freezing, and used shade and a hand fan to cool off. I never used all the water I was allowed under the base, and same with electricity.

For a long time I didn't have a phone. Couldn't afford one. They wanted $60 just to come hook it up and the  base rate for that was another $35 I didn't have. So I said no. If someone wanted to talk to me they could just come by.

A car? HAHA Forgetaboutit. Had none. Couldn't have afforded the gas & oil to run one even if I had a car, much less maintenance. Nope. Shanks mare. These foots know how to walk. Miles? No problem. Second hand shoes are cheap.

The soup, the soup. I know. I get distracted.

After doing all I could to reduce the needful expenses, I still needed to eat. And feed a baby, too. I couldn't get her to breastfeed, and she was allergic to regular formula so she had to have the expensive stuff. So that came first off the grocery money.

After that came toilet paper, and dish soap, because, well...

Some weeks that meant $20 left for the week.

Milk was my main protein, because it was cheap. Just under a dollar a gallon back then.
Eggs were cheap, and so was block cheese. Flour, spaghetti, tomatoes, celery, onions, potatoes... they were the least expensive foods available, and I just about lived on them.

I'd hunt the produce aisles to find the best price on what was in season, and if that happened to be something I didn't know how to cook I'd ask the produce guy and he'd give me lots of ideas.

I remember discovering rutabagas for the first time one very tight winter and eating them and beans and rice for 30 days straight!

Meat of any kind was a splurge, and only bought once or twice a month. I could stretch a pound of ground beef like you wouldn't believe! And a whole chicken? Never stood a chance. That thing would feed me six ways to sunday for an entire month!

But back to the soup.

Even as careful as I was, there were days when there wasn't anything left but a bit of stale dry vegetable leftovers in the fridge or freezer, and nothing at all in the cupboards. I didn't know about food banks, and was too proud to go to the welfare office, at least not yet. That did come later, but not for a long long while.


One of the ways I learned to stretch past those lean days was to not waste a single solitary thing!

I kept a plastic bowl in the freezer.
In there went the last bit of potato in the pan, the bite of broccoli or carrot that wasn't eaten. I threw in the bits of scrambled egg that stuck to the pan and the drops of butter that edged the pans' rim.

Vegetable peelings went in. Even egg shells.

I'd throw in at least one bite of nearly everything I cooked. Nothing sweet, but everything plain or savory.

On the rare times I had meat, into the bowl would go the fat and gristle trimmings and the not too well chewed bones.

Chicken months were the best because into the bowl would go the giblets and skin and so many lovely bones, with their knobby knuckles!

I'd even scrape the leftover fat and drippings from the pans after each meal, adding a bit of water to scrape up every last bit of flavor.

And if I roasted that chicken? Every glutinous drop left in the pan went into that bowl!

And when the food was gone and the month wasn't, I'd take that bowl out of the freezer and put it in a large pan of water and thaw it out. I'd boil it for hours, adding in anything from the fridge that was borderline, wilted carrots or celery, dried cabbage leaves or broccoli flowers that had fallen to the bottom of the crisper drawer. I'd add the last 1/8 cup of rice, the 1/4 cup of dried beans, a handful of old fashioned oats.

After it had cooked until I couldn't stand it anymore, I'd taste it and add salt, pepper, ketchup for flavor, and skim out the bones. The gristle and skin would have mostly melted away by then. The bones had given up all they had and the vegetables were pretty much not recognizable by then.

A handful of cheap saltines in the bottom of a soup bowl, a ladle of the concoction and a topping of grated cheese and it was enough to keep body and soul on speaking terms.

It was never the same twice. It changed as the meals and leftovers changed; changed with the seasons and finances.

In the summer when produce was cheap, it was thick with fresh vegetables and a bit more meat. If it was winter and the baby needed a new pair of boots, well, the soup got to be a bit thin on bones.

I called it Mystery Soup, because I never knew how it would turn out, but I'd eat it anyway. It was that or nothing.

Later, when I had a family and more pleasing leftovers, we kept in the habit of having it in the fall and wintertimes. And the name changed to Whatchamacallit Soup.

Yesterday the wind was out of the north with a bit of bite to the air. So I got my bowl out of the freezer, the same one that had been given a bit of this and that and pan scrapings and leftovers for the past two-three months, and put it on the stove with some water.

Habits don't always change, but I don't have to worry about my grocery bill anymore.

So I put in the bit of zucchini that was threatening to wilt, and a rib of celery from the stalk I keep growing in a jar of water on the windowsill, a half onion, a handful of this or that frozen vegetable from the freezer, a container of pan drippings from a roast of beef I had in September, and the trimmings of gristle and fat from the same roast.

And it simmered while I went out and did yard work, and simmered when I came in to do desk work, and burbled on low when I went out to the dentist, and came back to a wonderful aroma.

I microwave-steamed a sweet potato.

I scooped the bones out of the broth, and put a handful of leftover rice in a bowl.

I tasted and added a bit of salt and pepper to the brew.

I ladled the boiling stuff over the cold rice and brought it and half of the potato to the table.

And waited for it to cool enough to eat.

I sat staring at it, thinking about having to stay awake because of the time change, and thinking about this blog and the grateful challenge I'd dropped.

No posts for the past week, I thought.
Some grateful I am, I thought.

And looked at that dinner of Mystery Soup, leftovers and seasonal vegetables.

I thought about how eating this way was a choice.

And not a need.

I thought about all those times I went through, and how grateful I am that times aren't that rough anymore.

And here it gets a bit weird, because, I thought about how grateful I was to have gone through those times.

How it taught me so much.
How I learned to appreciate so many little things.
How many wonderful people I met along that road who helped even when they didn't know they were helping.

I realized I didn't need to do grateful blog posts.

I lived it.


And that was enough.

Friday, November 6, 2015

a blessing and a curse

Today I'm grateful for
6. my creative temperament, that allows artistic things to come into being out of the foggy wool that is my brain.

It's a blessing, to me, to have a number of safe outlets for it, and to others, who get to create things they haven't thought of making before.

It's been the source of blessing others who help me with the testing and business side of things, that wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't let that part of me out once again.

It hasn't always been a blessing.

The creative part of my brain is self centered and unruly and hates rules and strictures of any kind.

It's not disciplined at all, and is often scattered and off zinging around after the merest whims.
It likes to burst into full flower in the middle of the night, disrupting sleep for me and anyone around me.
It's taken lots of outside help to find ways to be creative and still be somewhat sane.

I'm blessed there, too.

Thanks Dan.
Thanks Judy.

Thanks Dee and Sue for being an example of a saner creative.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Read any good books lately?

It's raining, dark and gloomy today.
Rain's forecast for the next three days.

And I'm glad for that.

I have lots of inside things to do;
many have been on the To Do list since I got back from my camping trips.
Lots of sorting, cleaning, designing, crocheting and knitting to do.
And when those are all done, there are saved episodes of Castle to watch.

But my favorite thing to do on rainy dark gloomy days is to curl up in my favorite chair with a good book.

5. Books

I'm grateful for books because they keep me company, entertain and enlighten me.
They've been my silent, patient teachers since I learned to read at age four.
I've learned more from reading books about how to be a good person than I ever learned from my parents.
And still today, I continue to learn life lessons from the books I read, both nonfiction and fiction.

I've just finished a book I picked up in Ohio in my travels about Dr. Elton Lehman, Country Doctor of the Year. It's called

House Calls and Hitching Posts, stories from Dr. Lehman's career among the Amish, 

Available from, and Evergreen Park RV.
It cost me $11.95 and was very very enjoyable.
It taught me quite a bit about the Amish mindset and beliefs,
and gave me lots to contemplate in my own life. The sign of a good book, in my mind.

How about you? What do books mean to you? Read any good ones lately? Ones that made you take a step back and think about how you live your life? Or just ones that made you think? Those are my favorites.

I wouldn't be the person I am today without books; they've had a very good influence over the years.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dry North Air

4. I'm thankful for the spell of warm, drier air that came to visit between drenching downpours. The dog seems to distrust the dry, north breezes, standing and sniffing for the longest time before getting down to business and doing her outside 'chores'. Sometimes, not. She'll go for the longest time rather than pee in a north wind. Dunno why. Can't ask her. But I'm grateful for the less humid air to do the fall chores that have to be done before winter...weeding flower beds, edging sidewalks and driveway, pruning up the crepe myrtle and smaller trees. (The big Live Oaks have to have a tree service...they're much too tall and big for little ol' me. :)

More rain in the forecast. I can't be unhappy about it. The edging acts as drainage, and each time it rains I get a better handle on what to do for the minor ponding I get in major rainfalls. Today I deepened a few, and extended one of the driveway edges. I think that will help keep the others from filling in with silt so badly. I need to buy some fill dirt for one of the issues, but it's really the only bad one left. At least I think so. The next rain tonight, tomorrow, the next day and next should say for sure.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


HA! Bet you didn't expect to see me back again so soon. :) I know, I know. I did say I'd try to do 30 in a row. But you know how those things go around here. Best intentions don't always get the job done.

3. Today I'm grateful for this mystery mixed breed mutt that came into my life just over a year ago and disrupted it all to hell.

Unruly, untrained, high energy, she almost went back to the rescue shelter a number of times.

But something told me I needed her, and even when I tried to give her back, had the appointment and everything, I broke down crying so hard I couldn't see to drive.

That was the point I decided that I needed to stick it through and do the best I could with her.

I found ways to keep her from jumping fence and running away.

We worked on training and worked on training and worked on training, and still, I was sure she'd get loose when I went on my loooong camping trip this past year and not come when she was called, and either get lost or get hit by a car.

Instead, in the close confines of the camper, by maintaining our routine and training, she actually made progress and became the dog I hoped she'd become.

She's learned to wag her tail and enjoy having her ears scratched.
She's learned to play fetch and actually bring the ball back instead of playing keep away.
She's learned to walk on a leash without pulling (most of the time).

Most important, she's learned to come when she's called! That's huge.

She can go out in the fenced yard now without being tied out, and without climbing over the fence to get to the other side.

She's even gotten so she can play with soft toys without destroying them. Tennis balls, now that's a whole 'nother story,... :)

I'm grateful she came into my life.
I'm grateful she wormed her way into my heart.
I'm grateful I went the distance, and gave her patience and the time she needed to become a really wonderful companion.

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's been a long time

It really has been a long time.

But since this is one of the things that has kept me from blogging when I can, I just have to accept that this is the way it will be if I keep a blog.

If you want to follow my blog, you'll need to accept that there will be long periods of white noise in between spates of posts.

Sorry. But that's just the way my life works.

So, plant a stake, put your back to it, and move forward...The future lies there.

I've decided to join the 30 days of Gratefulness. And since I'm behind, I'll do two today.

1. I'm thankful for good friends that are there for me when I need them, and there for me when they don't. I'm blessed with friends that have known me for years and years and years, and amazingly enough, still like me enough to stay in touch, and even put up with me visiting for days and days. :)
I'm grateful for the kindness they show me, and the stability they give my unstable life. Thank you.

2. I'm grateful that the bad situation with my local dentist seems to have resolved itself in such a way that I get my money back to put towards a new dentist. I'm grateful that the new dentist is highly recommended. I'm grateful that the new dentist is less than an hour drive away. I'm grateful that they take new patients. I'm grateful to whomever cancelled their appointment today with them, allowing me to be seen today! And I'm grateful that, even though they do have to send the work out, they don't send them to the same place as my local dentist. Fingers crossed, but the signs are good!

And I'm grateful that even though I go through radio silence now and then, some of you are still interested enough in my hum drum life to stick around and join me in this rollercoaster I call life.

Thank you.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Finally finished getting my little camper ready to go up north, all except the final packing.

I have the seat/table/bed finished.

Table stowed and ready for travel or sleeping:

Raise up to get the seat cushions from underneath:

Seat storage for food, clothes and blankets:

Table up and ready to use:

and I finished my travel clothes drying rack, too. Nice what can happen with pvc pipe and bunji cords:

Finishing up getting the apartment ready for the renter. She'll arrive on Monday. I just need to give it a quick clean and freshen up the sheets and towels, make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are spotless.

And I keep trying to keep up with the lawn care during heat indexes of over 100 and frequent rain storms. It's really tiring mowing in that kind of heat and humidity, but it doesn't do itself. Would that it would!

AND I purchased and installed a rain barrel, and have about 35 gallons inside, prior to this weekend's forecast storms:

And yet another mystery flower:

Next week I'll finish packing and sorting and then I'll be ready to head out, right after the noisy 4th.

Hopefully I'll do a better job of sharing pictures on this trip while it's happening. :)

I haven't forgotten the pictures I took in Arizona. I'm hoping to be able to do another picture post early next week.

And that's it from me today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

More camping photos

The dog has her own car seat cover I made from two thick towels:

They give her feet some traction on the slippery seats, keep most of the dog hair and mess contained and lets the seatbelt be connected.  Her travel harness fits over the seatbelt and allows her to sit up and lay down but keeps her from roaming the whole car.

She travels really well, as you can see:

At the New Mexico-Arizona border I stopped at a rest stop and took this shot:

The dog was not impressed:

And once I got to my campground in Arizona, my camp looked like this:

Monday, June 22, 2015

two more campsites

These are some of the pictures I took on my little trip this past spring.

They are of two campsites on the way out, Texas and New Mexico, and how the dog managed with the cold night temps.

We had night temps as low as 38 and day temps as high as 90.


New Mexico:

She stayed under those blankets until after I'd gotten my coffee and the sun was well up. 
After that last night, though, I bought a small ceramic space heater for the mini camper and got some of my blankets back. LOL

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Oh, Bill...

Tropical Storm Bill is draggin' it's soggy butt across my part of the world and stealing my brain in the process. Nothing like joint pain and fever and trouble concentrating to wear out a person, not to mention the backspace key.

But there are good things to share today, too. I found out the mystery plant in my garden is a cantaloupe, so I'm looking forward to eating at least two of those nearly free melons sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.

Ordered me up some rain barrels to help control the ponding and have soft, free, nitrogen rich water for the plants. They won't be here in time to catch some of TS Bill's bounty but I'm working things anyway. I dragged the dog's wading pool over to one downspout and managed to harvest 20 gallons just this morning. We've got another 3-5 inches over the next 24-36 hours to play with so I'm sure I'll have plenty to fill it up again plus the wheelbarrow.

The rain and storm has brought the temperatures down 15 degrees, and I am loving that! Couldn't be any more humid than it was, so no change there, but cool and damp I can handle a whole lot better than 95-100 and 100% humid, let me tell you.

The second nest of baby birds will be gone in a day or two. I caught one of them on the edge of the nest this afternoon and it flew into the tree while I watched. Later I saw out the window it had come back. Not quite ready to leave just yet. I'm glad with these storms passing by. It's at least a bit sheltered in the eaves of the porch. Time enough later this week to fly off and get all independent.

Tornado watch until midnight tonight and flood watch through Thursday, so I'll be online quite a bit keeping an eye on radar and ready to unplug from the wall when I hear the rumbles start. I don't expect it to keep me awake tonight, though. I've got the warnings set up on my phone just in case, and that will wake me if I need to move to the storm room. It's all prepped with food, water and battery light as well as the rest of the FEMA emergency kit I've got set up. A place to sit, an ebook, I'm good to go if I have to skedaddle in a hurry. :)

Hope the creek doesn't get too high. I've got another dentist appointment Thursday morning and it's the other side of the river. Guess that would be a valid excuse, though, if I need to cancel, eh? :)

Okay, that's all from me for now. Maybe a few more pictures of my little trip in a day or two. I've got campground pictures and one 'on the way' shot to share. Soon.

Off I go...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Inside the little camper

This is the way I had things set up for my little camping trip in April to Arizona.
I'm making a few minor changes for my next trip, but this will give you some idea of how I have things inside for my trip.

Looking in the door, to the right, and then around counter clockwise:

The head of my bed, and also where I sit during the day when I cook, eat, read or work on the computer. Plastic bins act as headboard and nightstand and drawers contain toiletries (top) and coffee/cooking supplies (bottom).

Shelf above A/C unit for thermometer, kleenex, dog supplies, level, battery light, hat and shawl, and clothespin for umbrella. Below umbrella is a small electric/DC cooler. No melting ice to deal with!
Also, nasal rinse bottle for allergies, soda crackers, eyeglass cloth, and a nice place to put hangers out of the way when I'm wearing the clothes. Silver things are water bottles; red thing is battery light. Squat silver is battery/electric projector alarm clock (I come wide awake in the night and know I should go back to sleep or not). Black bag holds rechargeable batteries and charger. White rectangle is battery LED light.

Bed lifts up to reveal storage underneath for computer, journal, extra clothes, breakfast food, dishes and cleaning supplies. Curtains are homemade (still needing hems!!), and attached with cup hooks. Yarn keeper and crocheted blanket (full size, so fits only folded in half). Extra blankets and pillow at foot of bed. Bed measures 24 by 78, and sits 10 inches from the floor. Sheets are a combo of cotton and flannel so I can use whatever is needed during my trip and the other side works as light blankets or folds under the 4-inch foam mattress. 'L' brackets and framing you see is a floating framework so I can attach things without putting holes in the actual camper walls. Ceiling is dark grey felt.

There is still room for the 20 x 36-inch dog bed with room free in front of the door for a throw rug and room for feet when using the porta-potty. Spray bottle is for cleaning as needed.

There are two sets of cup hooks on each side of each window. The inside ones hold the curtain rod; the outside ones hold hanging clothes at night and a fly swatter as well as the dark brown towels I use as light blockers at night.

There you have it. 
All the comforts of home. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I don't like 'falling behind'

Part of the reason I stopped blogging before is I really dislike falling behind on posts.
I feel guilty.
And pressured.
And confused where to start to catch up.
And I really don't like to write posts that read like 'to do' lists, no matter if it's things I want to accomplish, or a list of things I've been doing lately.
All of which is in my own head, not coming from outside.
But there it is.
And all of that makes it even more difficult to write a blog.
I really want to just be in the moment on here, but it's hard when I don't keep this thing up like I aught.

Any suggestions?

I had promised more pictures, but the weather went through a rapid change and I'm trying to change tack from what I do during Spring to what I do in the Summer.

In the spring/fall I have all day to do outside work, so I do a bit here and there all day.

Once summer comes...
by Summer I mean Early Texas Summer, humid, over 90, and full of nasty bugs like chiggers, scorpions, snakes and centipedes, as well as large red hornets that are just plain mean. And with all the rain we had this Spring, we also are dealing with mosquitoes morning and evening.
Mid Summer means humid and over 100.

So I really need to keep the huge yard mowed, but the humidity makes it difficult to do it early in the morning, plus I have neighbors that I don't want to disturb too early. The dew dries off around 8:30 am. By 9:30 it's too hot to want to be outside. And I don't do evenings well at all, so it's morning or nothing.

So I have about an hour a day to mow an acre, trim the edges, water the garden, take the dog out for exercise, weed garden areas, trim trees, sweep the walks and porches, wash windows, or anything else that needs doing outside.

By the time I do the things outside that need doing daily I have about a half hour to mow before I'm miserable.

Because of the Lupus, I wear a hat, a long sleeved sun resistant shirt, and long pants with tall socks and boots (for the bigger biting pests). Very hot clothes for over 90 temps, especially with the high humidity. Sun screen makes me feel even hotter, though.

I end up mowing 2-3 times a week, a different section a day, and then fit the other things like gardening, trimming and cleaning outside in around those days.

And then I come in hot and dusty and covered in biting things so I run to the shower and splash off, and end up too pooped to want to do anything at all for the rest of the day.

Especially on mowing days. Whew!

So that's why no posts for the past few days. Today I go to town to get the things I need to finish off the Apartment, and tomorrow more mowing. Maybe pictures on Friday?

Friday, June 5, 2015


This is my little camper, a Navigator made by Runaway Trailers, and my set up on my first day using it.

It has a 110V 3-prong plug, and I use a 25 foot extension cord to connect to the campsite electric.

I get water from a spigot at the camp site into a cleaned empty plastic gallon milk jug (the one on the ground, at the camper tire), and put it through my small Brita filter, and collect it in a second empty plastic jug, this time a water jug, for use.

I have a strap that holds the door open; the wind wants to bang it around otherwise.

There are windows on either side with screens for lovely cross ventilation.

I use an empty plastic one gallon ice cream pail for my sink (at night the water jug fits snugly inside when not in use), and keep a dishpan outside on the picnic table to wash my hands as needed and to collect 'grey water' - used soapy water, mostly. I clip a microfiber cloth to the edge of the dishpan with a clothes pin to dry my hands afterwards. That keeps the wind from taking it.

I put a canvas tarp on the seat of the picnic table to keep paint and wood slivers from my clothes, a solar light on the table and a small trash can with a lid for garbage.

The dog is on a ten foot tie attached to the picnic table. Later I had to switch it to wrap around a car tire, instead, as she tried to pull the picnic table to get at a squirrel.

Her food and water is on a metal shelf near the back car tire.

The little camper is the same size inside as the inside of my car, so I can't stand up in it, but sitting is very comfortable.

It is only 4 foot wide, so when I'm driving I can't see it in my side mirrors, only the rear view mirror. That was a bit disconcerting at first. I kept getting quick panics thinking it had come unhooked and I'd lost it. But then checking the rear view mirror, no, there it was, safe and sound.

These pictures were taken the first two days of my trip. Lovely mild weather the first afternoon and night, windy, warmer and humid the second.

I only went 200-400 miles per day, and stayed for two nights each stop. It took longer that way, but I didn't get too tired to drive safely, or get sick from pushing too hard.

I'll post pictures of the inside of the camper, the way I have it set up, next time.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

change of plans

Headache today, so no trip to the wood store again.

Maybe I should just forget it and bring the double bed back downstairs. It's over 90, now, and no fun doing woodworking in that kind of heat.

Maybe I'll just spend June sitting on my butt watching Netflix.

I'll sort through my phone photos today instead and get some set up to post here this weekend.

Oh, and those things I don't know what they are in the garden? Might be cantaloupe. Got two mystery growths on the plants.

I might have to do this again next year, plant some kind of mystery food plant. It's kind of fun trying to figure out what I planted.

Maybe dementia has an upside.

(no, it's not actual dementia, at least I don't think it is, but you have to admit it's kind of odd to have planted something in the garden and have no idea what I planted)

I'm in a bad, sad kind of mood so I'll keep this short today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hello summer

No slow transition from Spring to Summer for Texas. Temps are inching into the high 80's and 90's here. Normal temperatures, after months and months of odd weather.

Every place I've ever lived has one season I don't care for. Here it's summer.

I don't really mind the heat if it's a dry heat. But hot and humid make me feel ornery, sticky, easily tired.

I dislike the restrictions to activities. I have a few hours in the early morning when I'm comfortable doing anything outside, and that's pretty much it, and I have to fight the mosquitoes for that much.

I'm an early riser so I really can't wait to do anything in the evenings. It takes until 9 or 10 pm before it drops back into the low 80's here, sometimes not even until early morning again.

Knowing that, I'd planned on getting out of Dodge before Summer got here.

... Life had other plans for me this year.

And darned if I'm not having trouble being a good sport about it.

But I am trying.

My garden is pretty well finished for this year. Time to compost the remaining greens and get things set up to decompose over the hot summer, and prep a second bed for this coming Fall.

I don't use bug powder on my vegetables, and that's the only way I've found to grow food here in Summer. Takes all the fun out of it.

So I garden from October to May instead, and set black plastic over the raised beds to keep the weeds from sprouting until Fall.

I've some young onions to pull, slice and freeze sometime this week.

And the cucumbers to water, just in case it makes it.
Thought I'd planted green beans.
Must not have been paying very much attention that day, because they are definitely cucumber vines. :)

The back yard needs mowing again already. I'll do that on Friday.

Today I'll work inside on desk work in the morning, and then after the sun gives me some shade in the front, I'll drag out the hose and wash my car and camper. Maybe pull out the area rugs and shampoo them, too, and lay them out in the driveway to dry.

Still want to go to town to get wood. Maybe I can do that tomorrow.

I want to take some time today and go through the pictures on my phone and find the camping photos so I can share them with you. I got some lovely ones. I haven't made a picture post for a little while now. I guess I need to do that.

So, a new day. Off I go.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Fever today and stiff and sore. I guess I overdid it yesterday without realizing it.
So a day to rest, and watch Netflix tv shows, and maybe a movie, read a book, eat leftovers from the freezer.

Not what I wanted to do today, but I don't get to choose that.
I only get to choose if I'm going to take care of myself and do what my body is telling me I need to do, or if I'm going to push things further than I aught to and make it worse.

Well, that's a no brainer, then, isn't it, putting it that way.

I want to go to the store, and buy my wood list, and build my bed I've dreamed of making for years.
But it will need to wait a bit longer.

And really, if it's waited this long, a few more days to take care of myself probably won't make that much difference.

I'm getting older, and feeling the press of years. I know I haven't forever to keep putting off my dreams. We've all a finite amount of days, and each one feels shorter.

I made the decision nearly a quarter of a century ago to put most of my own dreams on hold and follow another. I thought I was just putting them off for a bit.

I don't want to find myself too old to do them at all.

Silly me. Isn't that a mess.
An achy day and I go all doom and maudlin.

Well, that's enough of that, then. Time for a cheery comedy and a milkshake.
That will get rid of the doom and gloom.

Off I go.

Monday, June 1, 2015

When the wind is from the north

Here in Central Texas, a southern breeze brings a welcome warmth in winter, and a north wind brings biting cold.

In spring, summer and fall, when the wind is from the south, it's sticky, hard to breathe humid, and too warm.

But when the temperatures rise into the low 80's and the air moves in from the north, it is wonderful to be outdoors.

Gentle breezes and low humidity make it a bit of heaven then.

Normally there are quite a few of those days from mid March through June.

This year, only three. Yesterday was one. Today is supposed to be another.

I spent quite a bit of time outside yesterday, clearing and burning brush.

The areas in the yard that were holding water have dried, and I'm forming plans for landscaping the ruined areas caused by the ponding.

Today I plan on clearing around the fence lines, and hanging out my sheets to dry on the line.

It's a good day to wash the car and I'll give the camper a bath, too. The weather's been too uncertain since I came back from my little camping trip to want to try to hook it up and pull it out of the safety of the garage.

A trip to the big town to get wood supplies was on my list for today, but I think tomorrow would be better. Mondays are always busy days for me. I take the weekend off of chores, so by Monday there are drifts of dog hair and cluttered surfaces that drive me distracted. It's also the day I change sheets, and do some desk work.

Trash goes out tonight, too, so I'm reminded to look around and see if there is anything outside to get rid of, or anything I want to declutter that can't be donated or recycled.

Tomorrow can be errand day. I need to go to the post office, too, and mail a couple of boxes overseas. I might do desk work tomorrow, too. I need to make some changes to my pattern sales system. Ravelry, who handles my pattern sales, has decided to collect and pay all associated VAT taxes required by the change in EURO tax law change at the start of the year. That means I can begin to sell to EURO countries again. Just a few website code changes should take care of it.

Nearly at the end of weather that allows me to do woodworking unless I buy a window air conditioner for the garage. I might. Not sure. When the temps get over 90 it's not much fun to be in a hot boxy room with no air flow. And I don't like using a box fan when I'm doing woodwork. It blows the sawdust all over and in my eyes, hair, etc. I'm nearly done with the projects I wanted to get done this year, anyway, so if I hurry and get done, I can put that decision off until this fall. Or next year, even. :)

Well, the list doesn't do itself, so off I go.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Woke up early

Woke up a half hour earlier than my normal. Everything was hurting. Usually that means a thunderstorm is coming. Checked the radar and sure enough, a bit more rain coming this way.
I think I'll go buy some gopherwood.

Today is supposed to be the last day for a while. Sunday is supposed to be nice. Yay!

Been spending a good bit of time this week getting caught up on Dr. Who. I'm nearly at the end of what's available on Netflix. I'll miss it when I'm done, but I'll look forward to Season 8 this fall.

I've got my wood list ready for the home improvement store. I'll go on Monday. If I can get them to do the cutting it should be a fairly easy build. Fingers crossed.

That's all I've got today. Feeling a bit slow. Probably because of waking up that way. I think I'll go get a banana and oatmeal muffin and try to wake up.

So, off I go.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A bit o' rain

More heavy rain last night, and a bit of thunder.

That phrase, "We can always use the rain"? It's sounding a bit hollow.

The good thing is that the ponding in the front that had begun to recede is back this morning, just in time for the person who will give me an estimate for correcting the drainage issue. It's nice that they'll be able to see in person the problem, instead of relying on my phone photos.

The river that runs through my little town down the hill had crested at 6 inches over flood stage. That was before last night's rain, so I imagine it's up a bit more than that now. The bridge is well above the 100 year flood stage, so I don't expect it will come that high.
But every rainfall adds to that level. 
The ground's saturated; the rain has nowhere to go but into the rivers.

The good news it that the forecasters are saying this should be the last of the heavy storms for at least the next week, giving the ground a chance to recover. Oh, some spotty showers, but nothing like what we've seen here this month.

Last time I saw it rain this much was nearly 10 years ago, when the Belton Reservoir crested.

I don't imagine I helped things much. I managed to get my whole yard mowed before it came in again.
I'd done the edges with the hand mower on Wednesday. And did the rest with the riding mower yesterday.
Just was putting it away when the first rumbles sounded.
Good timing, eh?

It should be good for nearly a week, now.
First time I've been able to get the whole thing caught up since I got back from my little camping trip.

I opted to mow instead of driving to town ahead of the next wave of storms.
I'll have time next week to get the wood I need.
And this way I wasn't nervously watching the sky and creeks while racing back and forth.

Well, I've some cleaning to do, so off I go.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

good and not good

I'm not doing so good about keeping this thing up, am I.
Not sure what's going on, but I'll keep trying. Just for you, J. :)

Today I had another dentist appointment early. This time the fit was right, so off it goes to become permanent teeth. So, another month, more likely.

Too wet and too much rain to mow. Still can't do handwork without too much pain. So, reading, and movies. Catching up on Dr. Who. I like it. Especially the Christmas ones.

Tomorrow morning I have someone coming to give me an estimate on a drainage issue I have with heavier rains. Should be an easy fix, but it's outside my abilities.

Working on the list for the lumber store for my next building project. It's a bit unusual, but something I've been wanting to build for such a long time. Had to build up my skills to get to the point I could try it. I'm ready now. A bit nervous, but ready. Well, once I get the wood. Pictures when it's done.

Speaking of pictures, I'm afraid I didn't get one of the newest fawn in the back acre. Too fast. Momma deer got it down in the tall grass quicker than I could get my camera. So there will be at least one fawn to watch grow up this year. Yay!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Time to decide

I've been playing with different designs for my spare room bed,
the only bed downstairs, now,
and the one I use.

It's in the office, and I want to make it a combination:

dresser drawers,
fold out bed,
fold out desk,
standing desk,
and shelving that allows things to be put on it, and yet,
when the bed folds down, the shelf moves without tipping everything to the floor,
or having to be cleared off.

It's a tall order.
But I think I've gotten it figured out,
the design,
and the build.

I'll make it in three parts.
The drawer part below,
the folding bed, desk and shelf part,
and lastly the standing desk part.

I've been spending some of this rain time by searching the Internets for free plan sets.

I found plans for a murphy bed, but it's a tall, upright one, not a sideways job like I want to build.

I've looked it over and I think I can adapt the plans to work.

I just need a couple rain free, clear headed days to figure out the wood requirements.

I found ready made plans for the drawers. Perfect size for what I want, too. Yay!
And also the standing desk part.

So, I'll start with the drawers. Just need to make a list and go to the big town 45 minutes away.

Not tomorrow.
The bug guy comes then.
Good thing.
I'm getting water bugs between my screen door and outside door. Only a matter of time before they find a crack to get in.

I think I may have a way figured out to solve the heavy rain ponding by the front walk.
And I should be able to do it myself without having to call in a landscape company.

I wish I had a plumber friend that lived nearby. A snake, the plumbing kind, not the reptile variety, would come in pretty handy about now.

More rain in the forecast for today and tonight, but then after that, even though the rain stays in the forecast, it is supposed to be spotty showers, pop up evening storms, and much more mild.

Good. I'm ready for some of that.

[All clear. Tornados missed me this time! Yay!]

I've got a few more pictures for you.

Mother's day brought a lovely 'Just because' from my lovely husband.

He knows I love a picket fence. :)

I got some pictures of my 3 mystery shrubs blooming.

There are yellow Iris blooming in the neighbor's cow pasture. Don't know if there was a house there sometime ago, or if the person who used to own this place planted them. It's anyone's guess, but they're nice.

a spot of color in the cow pasture

And a wild grass called 'blue-eyed grass', native to this area. Delicate and lovely.

It only grows in areas that aren't mowed in the spring.

So, what do you do when you're out shopping and can't find a mirror?
A selfie works just fine!
(nope, didn't buy it. Might still, though. It's kinda cute, eh?)

Just a bit Audrey Hepburn, don't you think?

Okay, that's it for me this time.
Off I go.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

still here

Two inches of rain overnight with more on the way today, 
and monday
and tuesday

Beginning to feel like that movie, Groundhog day.

But I'm still here.

Dug a ditch at the back of the driveway turnaround solved one flood prone area.

Still need to come up with a solution for the area near the front walk.

I think that might need professional help.

If it keeps on raining every day, I might too. :)

More pictures from earlier in the month tomorrow.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

a bit of rain

The mower came yesterday! Yay!

But we had thick fog and wet grass so no mowing.

This morning we have more rain. So, yeah, not today either.
At this rate, I'll need to hay, not mow. :)

But the rain helps the flowers.
The bluebonnets are nearly all done, but I'm leaving the seed pods to dry,
if it ever does,
so there'll be lots of seeds for next year's display.

The little yellow plant...not sure if it's a weed or a flower, but it's pretty,
so I'll just enjoy it and not worry about that sort of thing.

The rose loves the rain.

The daisy plant does too.

The yellow yarrow is drinking it up.

So is the Lantana, even though that's usually a dry climate, low maintenance plant.
The rain hasn't killed it yet, so I guess it likes the rain, too.

Flood watch for today and tomorrow. They say maybe 3 inches of rain in the next day and a half.

Sure wish I'd installed rain barrels when I moved in here.

I dug a short ditch around two corners of the driveway turnaround. It wasn't draining properly and I was getting standing water there every time it rained.

I guess I'll know by the end of Sunday if the ditch worked or if I need to do more to clear the problem.

It's a book and movie weekend. Not feeling up to even wood working today.

Maybe I'll get to town on Monday and get what I need to finish up the safety door and Apartment kitchen work bench.

The person who wants to rent it in July-August stopped by yesterday to see it. She seemed to like it, in spite of my half projects. I'm glad.

It will be nice to get it rented. And she seemed like a nice, level headed kid. Fingers crossed.

This morning I found what I think is a tarantula. Dead. Thank heavens. And outside.
Need to check google images to be sure.

And a couple of roaches, big water bug type. Also not living. Also outside.

Bug guys come again on Tuesday. Can't be too soon!

That's it. I've run out of nice for today.
So, off I go.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Another picture day

Had a bit of clearing yesterday, but wasn't feeling up to hand mowing.
That's alright. The riding mower should be here today and I'll get it all caught up.

I spent yesterday getting caught up on laundry instead, and watching a few back episodes of Doctor Who. My friend in Arizona introduced me to it, and I'm enjoying catching up on them by way of Netflix.

Speaking of catching up, a few more photos for you...

Besides the centipede, ... I did tell you about that, didn't I? Anyway, I had another couple of visitors the past few days.

This guy came early in the morning:

And these three in the afternoon:

The wind was from the wrong direction so I couldn't get a better shot of them.

Recognize them?

They're the momma deer and twin fawns from when I first moved in here, nearly a year ago.

They're all grown up now, and momma deer is wide with new life. I hope she uses the back acre as her nursery again this year. It's wonderful watching the fawns grow up.

Speaking of new life, this growing of new leaves is the only time this type of maple turns red. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow before they fall. Not a sugar maple. Some other kind.

I like the color on them.

And one mystery tree that bloomed pink blossoms earlier this spring had small fruit, so I'm guessing it's an ornamental cherry:

What do you think?

Most of the delphiniums are a purple blue, but there are also some pink ones in the volunteers:

I'm not much of a flower gardener, but the woman who lived here before was, so I'm enjoying the fruits of her labor. I've more flower pictures saved up. I'll share more of them tomorrow. It's supposed to rain then, and so it's a good use of inside time, catching you up on the pictures, right?

And we can always use the rain. 

Hard to believe, all the rain this past year and areas of Texas are still in drought.
Not nearly as bad, though. Most of the lakes are working on recovering, and with the ground saturated, all the new rain runs off into the watershed and then into the lakes.

Rain, here, is nearly always a good thing. 

I try very hard to remember that when the weather makes me uncomfortable. 
A land of extremes, this place.

But when it's good, it's very good here. 

I'm hanging on to that thought, too.

Right. So, that 's enough for today.
Off I go.