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Ashfall

August 22nd, 2018 at 01:55 am

The ashfall is getting pretty awful here. I feel like we are living near an active volcano or something. I had to go out to the garden today and wash off all the plants so they didn't starve. They were coated in grey brown ash. I wore a bandanna over my mouth and nose. I have given up on the green beans because I can't stay outside long enough to pick them. I will keep up with the tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers while I can. They are quick picks and I can get them and get back inside within 5 minutes.

It is still so hot here and it is awful because we can't open the windows. My asthma has really kicked up and I have to use my inhaler about every 4 hours or so. I've got a persistent cough, scratchy throat, and feel like my bronchials are affected. I have to use eye drops frequently, and nasal spray because my nose keeps blocking up. I thought last year was bad, but this doesn't compare. I am going to call the doctor tomorrow and ask for something stronger as an inhaler.

We have rain in the forecast for Sunday and Monday and I just hope it doesn't change. We need to be drenched to wash this garbage out of the air and maybe have a shot at putting out the fires. And someone in B.C. needs to get on the ball and start figuring out how to manage their forests properly. If they would slash and burn during the rainy season this would not be happening now, but the environmentalists had to push past the point of logic and now they don't do it right. I think people who have no clue about timber country should not be allowed to push their policies on the rest of the PNW.

I have been trying to keep the car sprayed off each day, but it just accumulates more. I don't want it to damage the paint, but I'm about to give up at this point.

It is all just so very frustrating. I want to be able to breathe and to go spend time outside without it hurting. I am going stir-crazy. Having the blogs down for 3 days did not help.

Stuff and Other Stuff

July 23rd, 2018 at 09:02 pm

I managed to pick green beans on Saturday night and then took a hot bath and then iced my back after that and used some Valerian root as a muscle relaxant. That really helped. I had to pick them again today and will again in a couple more days. The combo of a hot soak followed by ice seems to be keeping things at bay. I got a belt that I can wrap around my body that holds two ice packs so I can get them in the correct place and not just have to lay on them so that is very helpful. I've also gotten decent sleep the last couple of days so I am feeling more positive.

Tomorrow is DD's appointment with the endocrinologist. I am really hoping we come out of this with some proper treatment so she can get her life back. I tend to be quite hesitant with trusting doctors because so many of them have been so lackadaisical about trying to get a proper diagnosis. Not just for her, but I've gone through it for decades myself, first with the endometriosis, then with the tumors, then with the gall bladder dying, then with the RA. It has been very frustrating to watch my daughter go through many of the same issues.

I will try not to bring an attitude of skepticism or despair in with me, because based on what little interaction we've had, this doctor appears to think there is something wrong and based on her test results we know that there is. Still, it is hard to be hopeful when meeting any new doctor and it is hard to take at face value that they actually want to help when we've both been jerked around for so many years.

Once things get settled (if they do), I want to have my own cortisol levels tested. I have some of the same symptoms as my daughter, though not to the degree. Enough, though, that I want mine checked.

I finally made it to the grocery store today, but I am too tired to do a grocery tracking post. I went to Trader Joe's and I did buy some convenience items because I am just too strung out. I think I may have a sinus infection and it is draining me, but I can't even think about going to the doctor until I get through this week's current appointments.

After DD's appointment tomorrow I need to can the green beans. Fortunately green beans have a fairly short processing time and it won't take all day to do them. I hope to get some more planted this week for a second crop as well. I did finally get the cilantro out of the pots and into the garden. I hope it makes it. That leaves the celery and the onions to transplant. It is probably too late for them to do well, but I ought to get a little something.

Bits and Pieces

May 7th, 2018 at 04:07 pm

I got down to the doctor's office today only for them to tell me I'm a week off. Oh, my gosh, I thought it was the fourteenth. I know this year is going by fast, but how'd I jump forward a week? Total glitch in the matrix moment. So, since I didn't have to save the money in checking for the appointment after all, I went ahead and paid the AMEX card off. That was $155.95. Then since the garbage bill arrived and I still had enough left in checking to pay it, I did. That was $70.69. I have $56.75 left in checking.

That leaves me 3 more paychecks this month out of which will come three tithe checks, a $108 or so MC bill, one co-pay, and one full pay at the doctors, and then the Citi which is what we charge gas and groceries and storage on. If we are really careful, I may have some extra money to put into the EF this month. DH isn't getting any overtime at all right now, so it is much harder, but I just have to stick to my guns and not get take out or eat out this month.

I did have to make some clothing purchases. I bought a new skillet, two pairs of shorts, two tank tops, a six-pack of socks, and then a nice blouse and pair of linen slacks for my nephew's upcoming wedding. All of my dressy clothes are warm and this is an outdoor June wedding.

I also bought a dress for my daughter for the same wedding. She also needs shoes. And I'll need new insoles for my dress shoes or I'll be in horrible pain all day. DS and DH will each need a short-sleeved dress shirt, plus DH needs a few more for work. All of his long-sleeved dress shirts are getting too hot to wear now. I've got money in the clothing budget and will add some, so we should be able to do that between now and June.

I stopped in at Good Will and found a nice casserole dish without the lid, but I have a lid to the same shaped casserole dish that I broke a long time ago, some garden twine, some garden clips for attaching plants to stakes, and some planting bags. I'm going to put my peppers in the planting bags. I am going to be growing zucchini and cucumbers vertically so the twine and clips were a great find. I spent a little over $200 at both stores.

I met my goal of writing 10,000 words last week and have set the same goal for this week. That's four chapters. I am so happy with how this is going. I'm really enjoying my characters, although I have one twelve-year-old little brother who likes to make his role in the book bigger than it probably should be. But what are you going to do? When you get a character that writes itself, I've found its best to just follow where they lead.

I've also set a goal of blogging at least three times a week. This will be my fourth this month, so I think I am on track for that. I'd like to make it daily again, but who knows? There is a lot to do in the garden. Speaking of which, the sun is behind the big tree now, so this is the perfect time to work in the garden, in the shade, so I'm off to do that. I've got a lot of seeds to get in the ground today.

This and That

May 2nd, 2018 at 02:47 pm

I haven't posted since the 22nd. A lot has been going on. My son had his wisdom teeth out and it really knocked him for a loop. Everyone had to pick up the slack and it was a lot of slack as that kid does a ton around the place. It cost $1250.20. They gave us a 12% discount since we had no dental insurance.

We finished transferring soil into the garden beds that need it. About 2/3 of the bee balm we transplanted made it. I've got my tomatoes planted now. I've finished my garden plan and have decided I am going to plant bush beans this year instead of pole beans. I've been having trouble with my shoulders, so picking above my head will hurt. By putting them in 2 foot tall raised beds, I can just pull up a chair to pick them instead of kneeling on the ground.

Normally I prefer pole beans because they go a lot longer, but if I plant now, I can get two crops of bush beans in this summer. I went with Provider green beans. They are a high yield bean and they had organic seeds available locally. If I had to order it would have been a toss up between Providers and Contenders, since they have the highest yields. With pole beans I usually do Blue Lake or Kentucky Wonder. Or blue coco for fun. It is a purple string bean that turns green when you cook it. I'm mostly going for yield this year, though, because I need to can a lot.

I am going to grow my zucchini and cucumbers vertically on stakes instead of letting them sprawl all over the place. There is a place in the front yard that gets good sun on the edge of the deck. I just have to keep tying them up as they grow. This gets the plant off the ground, making it less susceptible to powdery mildew. It also allows for something that usually takes up a huge amount of space to be grown in a more compact area.

I'm not sure I'll be able to grow any potatoes this year. The ground is just not prepared for it and it is more work than I can do on my own. Maybe if I grew them in barrels or grow bags. We'll see. We have 3 old water barrels that could be cut in half. But I can buy potatoes fairly cheaply from the no spray garden when it is time to can them, so if I can't plant any, that'll do.

My big goals for the garden are to can enough green beans and tomatoes for the year. Maybe even enough tomatoes for two years, which I've done before. I picked good, local producers this year, so as long as we don't have a cruddy growing season this year (last year's was awful), I should make it just fine with what I planted.

I've been writing. I've written 5000 words in the last two nights, so I think the writer's block is over. It would be nice to get this novel finished. I have a much better idea of where it is going now. It's like a veil has been lifted. I haven't finished a novel in four years, so I am very happy with myself that it seems to suddenly be going so well again.

I know I haven't done any payday updates in a while. I'll start again on Friday. I just don't have the energy to go back and write everything up. No big deal. It's just for my benefit anyway. I doubt anyone is really just itching to see the state of my budget every week! Smile Today is the first no spend day in ages.

Well, I've got a free hour before I need to get back in the garden again, so I am going to work some more on my novel. My goal is to write 10,000 words this week and 45,000 by the end of the month. If I keep up the rate I'm going at that should be easily doable.

Moved the Bee Balm

April 22nd, 2018 at 10:23 pm

It took some doing, but we got all ten feet of the bee balm (also known as monarda and bergamot) dug out of the raised bed and transplanted to the front yard flower bed. Even if only a little bit of it makes it, it will spread and fill in. And if all of it makes it, it will be one tremendous display on one side of the front deck. The other side is covered in yellow, bright pink, and faded pink/white roses. I can imagine it will be rather spectacular come June or July.

Now I can work on building that bed back up with some of the compost from the back yard. DS will have to do a lot for me this week, but we are doing something of a botany/agricultural unit for his home school. I am teaching him about plants, organic gardening using the French biointensive and lasagna styles, soil make up and the best soil combos for large raised beds, and composting. We are also identifying the worm types, the caterpillars, bugs, and snails, and will do the various butterflies and bees when they appear. I think knowing how to grow your own food is a good life skill.

I've only seen one bee type so far, a carpenter bee. They are usually the first to show, followed by bumble bees, mason bees, and on rare occasions, honeybees. Most of our pollinators tend to be butterflies, as I've made large swathes of the yard butterfly habitat. We've also got a lot of ladybugs every year and some dragonflies and hummingbirds. I wish someone nearby had a honeybee hive, but my garden does seem to thrive without them.

I did not get around to doing the budget. Nothing is due until the 1st, so I don't feel a huge rush to do it, so am kind of being lazy about it. Maybe tomorrow. Today was a no spend day. The first in a while. Tomorrow won't be, though. I am taking DS to a consult and x-ray about his wisdom teeth. I am sure they will need to come out as he is 18 now and is probably already a year overdue, but they aren't poking through, so who knows? His sister only had two, so maybe he will, also. That would cost less.

I Can Feel it in My Abs

April 20th, 2018 at 06:30 pm

Gardening is good exercise. I have been able to be out in the garden 3 days running. So far I have weeded 10 out of 11 beds in the last week or so. The tenth one was accomplished today. I pulled out 25 snails from one strawberry bed. I had some happy ducks. I am glad I found so many or I would not have much of a strawberry harvest. I got all the dead leaves off and snipped all the runner vines so that the daughter plants aren't sapping the energy from the mother plants. There are a ton of flower buds and even some blossoms already.

So far I have planted two types of lettuce, purple kohlrabi, dinosaur kale, bright lights chard, broccoli, and banner green bunching onions. I did buy a variety of peppers and tomatoes, but I won't plant them for another week to 10 days. Right now I am leaving them outside during the day but bringing them in at night. If the forecast looks good at night in about a week, I will try leaving them outside overnight.

I have gotten my steps in every day since getting the fitbit. My goal is still not that high, just 2000 steps a day, but I hit 3000, 3500, and 4000 during this week, but some days were just slightly over 2000. I had a couple of bad days because of my hip and knees being inflamed, probably because I am walking more than ever. I will likely bump my goal to 3000 on Monday. Slow and steady. I can't mess myself up by going too quickly with this. I am just happy to be doing as well as I am.

The diet has been a bit up and down. I do wish we could afford to get our gym membership back, but we just don't have the money for it right now. Swimming always helps with losing weight, plus it seemed easier to eat right when I swam consistently DH is not getting the amount of overtime he was, either. I don't think he got any last week and only a couple hours this week. And of course this coming week is his jury duty so he won't get a full week's pay, there, either, let alone any overtime. We can't even think about things like gym memberships.

I did want to mention that if anyone is interested in trying out Thrive Life, right now they are having their semi-annual sale. I believe it goes through the 23rd. This is the cheapest it ever is during the year, even better than their fall sale. The link to my website is in the side bar under sites I enjoy. I recommend starting with the chopped onions and see if that just doesn't change your cooking life. That and the yogurt bites.

Anyway, I haven't done the budget yet for this payday or last even though I have paid a couple bills. I will try to get that figured out and posted tomorrow. I don't think I posted a payday report last week at all, so I will probably do a double one in one post.

DH and I have been watching some movies on Netflix this week. No spoilers. We watched Odd Thomas, which was really good. It was delightful in places and scary in others and then it made me laugh and cry in others. Quite an emotional roller coaster. It was the best of the three movies we watched. I kind of wished they'd have made it into a TV series.

The Cloverfield Paradox was a great sci-fi thriller, though so distantly related to Cloverfield that it was almost ridiculous to have it in the name, similar to that other Cloverfield movie with John Goodman, no real relation, just capitalizing on the name in a blink and you miss it similarity. I really liked it, though. It was set on a space station where the crew was trying to find a stable form of power that would save the Earth from a major energy crisis and of course stuff goes wildly wrong.

The third movie was The Call Up, which is about some people that get asked to play this reality video game and whoever wins get a $100,000 prize, but they can actually end up getting killed in the game, which they are unaware of, so making it to the end is quite a feat. I liked it, but it was a little predictable. Still the characters were great. I think the ending was supposed to come as a big shocker, but I figured it out. If I hadn't, I'd have probably put this one in second place. But all of the movies were really good and I'd recommend them if you like supernatural and sci-fi movies.

There is not much else going on around here, lately. I did some grocery shopping, but that's about it.