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More Gardening and Thinking About a Perm

May 21st, 2019 at 09:42 pm

I got the ends of the new garden bed painted turquoise this afternoon. I needed to wait and see how it dried as to see whether or not it would need another coat of paint. It doesn't, so I'm happy with that. It was very hot so it didn't take too long to dry at all. Now I just need DH to move them (they are heavy!) and put out the side boards for me so that I can prime them tomorrow and then paint them. It's not supposed to rain for the next two days, so getting this done before it does is big on my agenda.

I got another 24 square feet of onions weeded and ringed all the plants in that section. I have 48 square feet left to do. I will probably do half tomorrow while waiting for the paint to dry and then half the next day. One bed is about what my back wants to do in a day and I am not going to push it.

We planted 100 seeds of corn today and the butternut squash. I need to make one more hill so I can plant the sweetmeat squash. Both are very long keepers. I want to do some acorn squash also, which keep quite a while, but not as long as the other two. Sweetmeat is my favorite, but it is so large it is hard to get through one without processing a lot of it and freezing. It is bigger than a sugar pumpkin, but not quite as big as a medium sized pumpkin. Unfortunately you cannot can squash due to it having an inconsistent density or I'd can the heck out of it.

My back is doing so much better. I am still having issues with my left hip, but not as bad as before we rotated the mattress.

I am thinking about getting a perm in my hair. My hair is 3/4 loosely curly as it is, but the area from my ears forward and my bangs are straight. It is weird. I would like all of it to curl. I haven't had a perm since college and my hair was super long then and I got one of those spiral perms. I am not sure I would want to do that, especially with my hair being so much shorter now, but I want something smaller than a barrel curl.

I want something easier so I don't have to mess with it too much during the summer and can just take a spray bottle to it to tame it or put some curl cream in it, scrunch it, and go. What I don't want is to end up looking like a poodle like in 6th grade. Also, I don't want to have little old lady hair, either. So I need something in between those two things. I don't sleep well in curling things of any sort or I'd just do that. They get in the way of the C-pap, so not a good option for night time.

It's a tough decision. I dithered for months over getting my hair cut this short and then was so happy I did so afterwards. So maybe I should just bite the bullet and get it done. I have enough money in my allowance envelope to cover it, since there is next to nothing in personal care at the moment and won't be anymore going in until the 14th of June. I don't spend my money on much of anything so it would be a good thing to use it on.

Odds and Ends

May 20th, 2019 at 11:19 pm

Well, I got some of the stuff done that I wanted to get done over the weekend, but nowhere near what I had hoped for. Mostly because MIL went into the ER for several hours and DH had to go be with her. But it turned out just to be an inner ear infection. She had never had one before, so didn't have a clue on the symptoms, and it was pretty severe and she had lost all sense of balance. This after they did an EKG and an MRI and ran a ton of tests. It can be pretty disconcerting the first time you have one of those infections. And then the next day DH wanted to go out and spend time with her.

I didn't have a ton of energy on Saturday anyway. On Sunday I did work in the garden for a couple of hours. I weeded 40 square feet of the onion beds and ringed those ones. I have 72 more square feet to do. I also planted basil (purple and sweet green) and broccoli and made up a hanging basket with nasturtiums.

I avoid planting nasturtiums in the ground or the beds at all costs and it will spread like crazy and take over. It is about as bad as morning glory for taking over, but it is not pernicious, in that when you pull it out it does not come back. Still, it crowds out other plants so confining it to a hanging basket where it can trail as much as it wants to without touching the ground and rooting is the way to go.

Mom roto-tilled the area for the corn and green beans and then this morning she planted the corn and made the hills for me to put the squash in. I haven't planted it yet, but I have the plants. Tomorrow she wants to plant the beans and I will work on painting the garden bed ends so we can get it moved off the table so I can start working on the sides. I want this bed built this coming weekend and I have 3 days of no rain to prime and paint in.

We rotated the mattress 90° last night as it was developing quite a dip on the side I sleep on and I thought it might be contributing to the pain in my hip. So now the head is the side, which is okay because it is a king size bed and it only takes a couple of inches off the end. It did make a big difference in how I felt when I woke up. I figure we'll have to rotate it again before this side breaks down, which is why I didn't just do 180° this time.

I need to sit down and make up my meal plan for the week. Usually I do that on Monday morning, but I slept in really late this morning and haven't got to it yet. I usually sleep in hard after working in the garden. It will only take me a few minutes, so I best hop to it.

Started Planting the Garden

April 29th, 2019 at 09:31 pm

This morning I was down to 18 pounds lost. Woohoo. It's all the gardening and little sugar, I'm sure. On Saturday I worked 5 hours in the garden and on Sunday I worked 4 hours. Today I worked about an hour.

I planted cilantro, English thyme, dill, chives, and tricolor sage in bed one. I planted a San Marzano roma tomato plant, patty pan squash, and gold rush zucchini in bed 2. In bed 3 I planted a Lemon Boy yellow tomato plant and pickling cucumbers. There should be enough room for basil plants once they are available.

In bed seven I planted 6 celery plants, 6 Romanescu broccoli, and 12 green kolhrabi plants. That is half the bed. I meant to get more broccoli, but I totally forgot when I discovered they had cucumbers and summer squashes. I'll pick up broccoli and cauliflower on Friday. Maybe a nasturtium plant, too, but that will go in a hanging basket as it can easily take over an entire raised bed.

I plan on making salsa and pickles this year and canning them. Of course I will also be canning potatoes and green beans. Maybe carrots. I don't have to can pears this year as we still have a ton. There are five Italian plum trees coming up in the backyard. We already have one that is four years old. I don't know if we will keep all of them, but one of them is really well formed so I think we might keep it.

If we get grapes this year we will make grape jelly. We'll have to do something to protect them from squirrels and rats, though. The one year we had grapes they stripped the vines before the grapes were ripe. It was devastating since it has been loaded. We don't have rats anymore but we do have lots of squirrels.

We have a mated pair of cottontail rabbits that have been hanging out in our yard and our next door neighbor's yard. They are very friendly and you can walk up to about a foot from them before they decide to move and even then they just go a couple of feet and then look to see if you are following them.

Yesterday we got the duck coop halfway down. Hopefully we can get the rest of it down before the weekend, but DH worked late tonight so I don't know. I want to get the turkey pen down, too, so we can plant potatoes there.

Fred Meyer has chicken on sale for 88 cents a pound, so I think I will be shopping there come Friday. The best price I have been able to get otherwise is 99 cents a pound. I will get a bunch of thighs to skin and debone so I can have boneless/skinless at a much cheaper price than I could find otherwise.

I then take the bones with that little bit of meat left on them and make chicken meat stock. Although I did see another idea on what to do with the bones, since there is meat on them. You cook them like wings and put barbecue sauce on and then it is a cheap wing substitute since wings are so expensive now. I could do half and half, and just leave a little more meat on the bones. And then with the skins, you can season them and fry them up like bacon. It's really good. Or if you have a dog, you can dehydrate the skins for treats. It's a great way to save some money and not have any wasted food.

Stuff and Things

April 26th, 2019 at 08:12 pm

Yesterday was the first day all week I didn't have to run for a doctor or dental appointment and today we are back on it, taking my daughter to the neurologist because of suspected petit mal seizures, or what they now call absence seizures. Also her migraines have increased.

Anyway, DS and I worked in the garden for 2.5 hours sifting dirt to pick out the morning glory roots. I hope we got it all. I used the sifted dirt to top off two of the 8 x 2 foot beds. If we didn't get it all, I've contaminated everything, but it really appears as if we did. I now have 3 8 x 2 beds I can plant into.

I am going to plant two tomato plants this year, into the end of two of those beds and then on the other end will go cucumbers in one and gold rush zucchini into the other. The third one I have already transplanted my rosemary into and will add the rescued yarrow, calendula, and oregano. I also want to put in a few thyme plants and then some basil when it gets warm enough. With the echinacea in barrels, there is room for all the herbs in an 8 x 2 bed, although I may have to tuck the basil elsewhere if the other herbs have expanded too much by the time it is warm enough to put the basil in.

Today after DH gets home from work, around four, we'll go to the industrial area and look for free pallets. There is always a ton on Fridays. I want to stack three or four pallets and then put an old duck wading pool on top to plant my strawberries in. We have two pools so we can do this twice. I want to put 12 plants in per pool. One of the pools is slightly smaller, so I'll put the ones who have less of a runner habit in that one.

I need DH to pull all the hoses out of the garden and check them for cracks. They didn't get put up last winter and at least one of them is badly cracked. I think one of them is good, but I don't know about the other two.

We'll continue to sift dirt so we can fill up one of the 8 x 4 foot beds that is pretty low and then we'll have to start dumping it on a tarp so we can get it out of the way. Once the bed is empty and we can lift it up out of the way, we can get the last of the morning glory that grew underneath the bed out. Then when we put it back, I can move it over about a foot. That will give us more room to maneuver the wheelbarrow in the future.

I really hope I don't have to resort to poison on the morning glory. I have had a chemical free garden for nearly a decade here. I would hate to change it, but it might end up being the only way. It would be at ground level, though, and the raised beds are two feet high, so it likely would not get into the food at all. Plus I'd put down a thick layer of cardboard before putting the dirt back in the bed. I think it would be okay.

I am just so glad I am feeling good enough to do all this garden work. I am still doing really well with the Enbrel. And the scale is moving again, which coincides with me not eating two chocolate chip cookies at every dinner for a week. Go figure. LOL The more I lose of my stomach fat the easier it is to garden and the longer I can go without a break. I went down a pant size so I am very happy about that. I sure hope it continues.

A Bunch of Gardening and a Chicken Meat Sale

April 20th, 2019 at 10:57 pm

So last weekend DS and I planted 250 onion plants, turned the compost bin, and topped off 3 garden beds with finished compost.

Today we worked on pulling Morning Glory, which involved digging down two feet in the beds in some cases just to get at the root system. I despise this stuff and I still have great disgust for the neighbor who planted it and allowed it to invade at least six other properties. It has invaded 3 of the raised beds and it is going to be a major pain to dig it all out, but we have to. If we leave it in it will take over any vegetables we plant.

After that I pulled the old strawberry plants out of two of the strawberry beds. I will be planting a tomato in each one and then cucumbers in one and gold rush zucchini in the other. I still have one more strawberry bed to pull.

I did buy 24 new strawberry plants, 12 Sweet Sunrise and 12 Seaside. Both are supposed to be very sweet. Anything will beat the varieties I am pulling, which are Quinalt and Tri-Star. Those are big berries, but they are not very sweet at all. I think they were bred to be stable in shipping, not to taste good. If they are good I will allow them to make runners and propagate new plants. I wasn't going to plant any this year, because I didn't want to take up bed space.

I won't be planting them in the third strawberry bed, but instead we are going to put down 3 or 4 pallets and then put the wading pool we had for the ducks on top of it and use that to grow the strawberries, that way it will be high enough for me to harvest without having to get down on the ground. DH will drill some holes in it. It already has a few small one inch cracks in the bottom, but it needs more drainage than that.

First the weeds in the area need to be pulled. We already pulled about 3 wheelbarrow loads today. It looks so much better already. I think I am going to have to pull everything out of the herb bed. It is one that has Morning Glory in it and a ton of grass. Plus I need to take out the Echinacea and divide it. Also I want to harvest some of the root for making tinctures.

We did pick a quart jar of dandelion flowers which I dehydrated. It is easier to pull the petals out when it is dehydrated. I am then going to use those petals to make dandelion jelly, which if you have never had it, tastes like a lighter version of honey. All you do is make a tea by pouring boiling water over the petals, strain it, add the proper amounts of sugar and pectin, and make the jelly. Much easier than fruit jelly. It is very good and is one of my favorite jellies. So that is on the agenda for later this week, probably when it is raining.

Tomorrow I hope to at least get through the one bed with the Morning Glory. We'll have to get DH to help, too. It's a big job for just two people to muddle through. I'd like to get it done this weekend and the other two done within the next week. May will be here before we know it and I will need to use those beds to plant the warmer weather veggies, especially since I am growing peppers this year.

I just feel a real urgency to grow, can, and freeze as much of my own produce as possible this year. I am expecting grocery prices to skyrocket because of all the flooding and the loss of farm animals in the middle states.

Speaking of skyrocketing grocery prices, I am doing my best to take advantage of meat sales right now, so I can put the meat in food saver bags and freeze for future use. Winco had chicken on sale, both legs and thighs, for 98 cents a pound. I bought 4 packs of thighs and 1 pack of legs. The thighs had 10 pieces in each pack, so I was able to divide them up into 5 bags of 8 thighs, and then the legs had 12 pieces, so I just did one bag for that. Usually I need 8 legs for dinner, but when I go to use this one, I will take four of the legs to make I really hearty chicken meat stock.

Chicken was the only meat I was really low on, so I was quite happy to see this sale. I may go back and get another 5 packs. I wanted to get 10, but didn't have the fridge space to store it until I could get it divided and frozen. But under $25 for 6 meals worth of chicken, plus what will be 4 quarts of chicken broth and some meat for wraps or sandwiches, is hard to beat.

I just really wish wings would go on sale. I still remember when you could buy wings for 29 cents a pound, but now they are ridiculously priced for what used to be considered an item only good for making soup. I blame the BBQ chicken wing industry for the increase in price. I will just have to make BBQ chicken legs when I am craving wings instead.

Working Away in the Garden Today

April 13th, 2019 at 11:54 pm

DS and I spent three and a half hours working outside today. I have been on antibiotics for 3 days (it was a sinus infection) and already I feel great improvement. So what we did was take all the unbroken down hay and straw off the top of two of the compost bins and combine that in to the freshest stuff in the third compost bin. Then we could get down to the really good compost underneath.

We did six wheelbarrow loads of compost and topped off the two long beds and then filled in the low end of one of the big beds. The two long beds are now all ready to go. The onion plants arrived in the mail today and I have their root ends soaking in water. We will plant them tomorrow, rain or shine. I'm hoping for shine.

We also got another large bed weeded and most of a second. There's a lot of morning glory runners and we were starting to lose light. I don't think I can plant in this bed with all the runners, so since this is the one where the side is coming off, we are just going to take off the side and we are going to sift all the dirt in it and take out the runners and roots. We have to get them out, since even the smallest piece of runner can generate a plant.

I am going to use a good portion of the sifted dirt to top up the other big beds and then we will rebuild that bed, this time with 2" x 4" boards and proper 4 x 4 corner posts. It will cost about $50 with wood and screws. Mom bought a bunch of soil and she isn't going to use it all, so we will use the extra to refill it. Gradually, I'd like to replace all the garden beds like this, but I think this is the only one we will do this summer. We might do another at the end of the growing season and do a third early next spring.

I also went through all the tomato cages and picked out the two best ones. I am only growing two tomato plants this year and I don't want to worry about a collapsing cage. These cages are quite old and some of them have broken rungs. I have repaired most of them over the years, but I really ought to invest in the really good extra tall tomato towers from Gardner's supply.

I also want to get their cucumber trellis, which is more of a priority. I can make do with my cages, but I don't have a cucumber trellis. I will be making pickles this year. Being able to grow cucumbers up means they will take up less real estate in the garden. Also it means they are more likely to be straight, which is better for making pickles. I want to do a gallon of half sours this year and you really have to get those at just the right size. Having them up off the ground means you are more likely to spot them before they get too big.

It has been really nice to be able to work in the garden again. I feel productive. I spent a fair amount of the last six months feeling pretty useless. Some days I was too sore to move and most other days I was too sick to do a thing. Enbrel has really changed my life for the better. It's only been three doses and look at me go.

Getting some sunlight has been great, too. I so hope this continues. I'd like to have a great garden season without petering out a couple months before I the garden does. Hopefully there will be no big fires this year, either that make it so I can't spend time outside during the hottest part of the year.

This garden season is going to be important. We will be canning and freezing a lot. Food prices may skyrocket due to all the flooding in the food producing states and we want to be able to grow and preserve as much as we can so we are less susceptible to those price increases. Being on the west coast it might not be as bad for us since WA, OR, and CA grow a lot of things that were hit hard, but if that food ends up getting diverted to the other states because the farmers can get better prices, then who knows?

Are you preparing for the upcoming increase in food prices? What are you doing to make sure your budget can handle it?

Gardening and Cheese Wraps

April 9th, 2019 at 11:58 pm

I am pretty tired out, but I am trying to post more often. While I'd like to post daily again, it seems to be more than I can do, but five days a week seems like a good goal to aim for.

Today DS and I worked in the garden We cleared one bed that is 24 feet by 2 feet and my mom had cleared the twin of this bed for about 8 feet this morning. I want to try to get the second one done tomorrow. I hope those two beds are enough for all the onions, but I may need to clear another bed for them.

My knees and ankles are pretty sore from being on them so much today, but my bank isn't too bad. I mean, I feel it, but it isn't tweaked out. Maybe because I only worked for an hour and paused often to stretch and do waist twists.

Yesterday we signed up for the gym membership. I think I'll go to family swim tomorrow and just do some pool walking and maybe a couple laps. I need to build up some strength. I will start off pretty easy. I don't want to overdo things. It will be nice to be in the water for a while and then use the hot tub. I think I miss the hot tub most of all. Maybe I'll use the sauna, too. It might just bake the last of this cold out of me.

Have any of you tried those cheese wraps from Costco? It's a tortilla-shaped wrap that is just made from cheese. I bought some a couple weeks ago and forgot about them. I am going to do some turkey and bell pepper roll ups for lunch tomorrow, and cut them into pinwheels, because I like my food to be fun sometimes. I had planned to do a stir-fry, but I think I will be too tired tomorrow.

I hope it is good, because then I could have a "tortilla" at a meal besides dinner. I only eat high carbs once a day. I don't know if these would warm up, though. I think they are meant to be eaten cold. But I could put fajitas in them and taco meat. And my chorizo con heuvoes.

Well, I best toddle off to bed before I turn into a pumpkin.