Over the Fence Chat 10/22-10-28

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Well I can't believe no one has started this so I guess I will...

We must have hit that politically incorrect "Indian Summer" (Native American Summer? what do they want us to call it now?) Anyway it is supposed to be up to 80 (yes folks you heard right) today. Of course they say down in the 20's by this weekend, which is just a sample of our lovely weather here in Illinois if you are not familiar with it.

My son turned 8 this weekend so I am still recovering from the mentally taxing dreaded Birthday Party (complete with relatives who are convinced I am not normal for my life choices--they might be right--and the seven small children under the age of 8) Picture me on the couch with my feet up and a cool refreshing beverage in my hand.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2001


Thanks for starting this Cass. I kept thinking maybe I should and then I would get busy and not do it. We are finally about at the end of our food preserving. I have a few little potatoes to can, some applesauce and apple pie filling to do, and a few odd peppers to chop and freeze. When I am done we will have about 650 jars and freezer containers full as well as squash, potatoes, onions, carrots and beets in the root cellar. I think for the first time in my life I have reached my goal to have the ability to live totally off the "pantry" for the winter.

I allowed myself to play this afternoon. I went over across the creek and cut a trail almost to the back end of our property. I have been wanting a foot path over there for a long time and just never get to it. It amazes me how much the trees are growing each year. So often I get so wrapped up in the gardens, goats, canning etc. that I miss things in the woods.

Our leaves here are really falling rapidly. There are still some trees like sugar maples and oaks that are hanging on to their leaves, but most are letting go. I love fall, the crispness etc., but sure hate to see the leaves go.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2001

Aaak!!! The ladybugs are invading in full force now, the 70 degree temperatures have brought them out, I guess they realize that it is to snow (yes, it's that dreaded S word!!!) by this weekend, and are desperate to get inside where it is warm!

The poor pitiful dead morning glories and black skeletony dead tomatoe plants are especially sorry looking when the weather has been so wonderfully nice lately, they were killed the first weekend of October when it got down to 24 at night twice in a row, and of course, it hasn't been really frosty since then! There has been many years we haven't gotten a killing frost until Thanksgiving, and one year, until after Christmas, so this is a rude awakening for me!

Oh well, it has been so beautiful lately, it is like Mother Nature is making up for Her cold earlier, so I'll quit whining for now!

You all have a great "last fling of fading Fall" week.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2001

Hello everyone. Sorry, I wasn't trying to be cryptic on the Gurney's thread. I had a weenie roast on the 13th while Sharon was over visiting, and Cass and her Mama, and Phyllis, Michael, Maranda and Justin all braved the floods to come over to it; along with a bunch of my kin. We had had over 5 inches of rain already when we got ready to have it, and it rained all day that day, and off and on through the evening. Couldn't rain enough to dampen our spirits though! Pop and Uncle Ivan cleared out space in the shed so we could get inside out of the weather and then set up the fire pit (a tractor tire rim) right ouside the shed so we could stand under the canopy to roast our dogs. I still don't know how they managed to get the fire going! We had more food that you could shake a stick at - was it you that brought those peanut butter cookies Cass? Pop says thanks!! Lots of good talking and laughing over the roar of the rain on the tin roof of the shed. Then Pop and Uncle Ivan and second cousins twice or thrice removed Jim and Charley brought out the guitars, mandolin and banjo and we had us some mountain music. I've taken a vow never to sing in public but will admit to tapping my foot and humming along. Aunt 'Retta was trying to talk me into dancing with her - like either one of use would last more than a minute! Cousin Julie showed up with a big bouquet of fall flowers and I'm still enjoying them on my table. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and I know that Sharon enjoyed meeting the other Countrysiders and putting faces to names.

This surely is a small world when folks come together. I introduced Sharon to my Aunt Shady as my friend from Kentucky, and she told Sharon that she had been born over there and still had kin who lived there. When Sharon asked where, it turned out to be the town she lives just outside of! Sharon and I did have a wonderful visit - Pop said "Did you dang women even stop talking long enough to sleep?!" We walked around the farm, ate at an Amish restaurant, went to a huge used bookstore and raided the perennial garden at the hospital where I work. We played Secret Squirrel and gathered up hickory nuts at the edge of the timber on a whim - she had to hold her britches up with both hands as her pockets were full; and I had my sweatshirt folded up into a pouch. She brought over some heirloom seeds that she had saved so I am set for most things for next year. She gave me lots of good advice on my herb and perennial beds, and showed me how to gather and save some seeds from my plants (and those at the hospital garden - shhh!) too. Wish she lived closer, as we wear ourselves out running when we visit each other!

I'm sure glad it was raining and dark when everyone got here as that way they couldn't see my messy garden! We've had over 8 inches of rain in the past two weeks, and it's raining again today. I managed to get a lot of the garden area cleaned up, but there is still plenty left to do. We got a frost that took care of most of the garden, and it stayed cool for a few days, but now we're back to warmer weather. The ladybug invasion has started, but luckily they don't get out in the rain much. Can't stand the smell of those things!

I'm back on the overtime treadmill at work - seems strange to be working so many hours when places all around are closing down or laying off workers. We are still short on nurses on the med/surg floor and other areas in the hospital also, so I have been picking up extra hours off the psych ward. I had considered applying for a job with the Public Health department in my county, working with the WIC program, but given the current economic situation, I'm not eager to change jobs, especially for a lower paying one.

The pantry is slowly getting full. I have a bum left knee and don't like to try to carry in groceries on snow or ice, so I always try to stock up before bad weather hits and then let John do the milk run in the winter time. Sort of hard to know what to stock up on, as you want to have stuff on hand that you actually use on a day to day basis; but also want stuff "just in case". I've limited my "just in case" stock up to beans, rice and dry milk mostly; plus some comfort or luxury items - coffee, cocoa powder, extra sugar, flavorings and spices. I'm still trying to get my upright freezer moved in to the house, when I do, I'll be stocking up on a few more things as well.

It's kind of grey and gloomy outside today - rain and sort of chilly in spite of a 60+* temperature. Jessie is bringing some friends over for supper tonight - she asked for "Thanksgiving" food, so I will be putting a turkey breast on the rotisserie, and baking some hot rolls, dressing and pumpkin pies. I'll make up some noodles, and mashed potatoes to go with, of course; and some yams from the pantry and corn from the freezer. I'm thankful everyday for the gifts I've been given - a close, loving family, plenty to eat and a warm house and clothing, and for my friends, as well.

You all take care.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2001

The leaves are rapidly falling here, too. Strangely, though, most of the oaks are still green. The ashes and poplar are absolutely naked! When the hackmatack change color, they'll turn a brilliant yellow. Been really nice fall weather...no rain yet. Folks around here are still worrying about their "dug" wells. We have a drilled artesian so hopefully we wont go dry.

Picked the Brussels sprouts last Sunday and finally got around to freezing them today. From 10 plants we got 8 lbs. of sprouts. Not alot, but how often can you eat Brussels sprouts??!!

Also picked up our side of beef Sunday. It weighed 254 lbs. Price went up this year 'cause it cost the slaughterhouse more to get the guts hauled off (because of the mad cow thing!) All costs totalled, we paid $1.94/lb. Last year it was $1.82! Now I have just enough room in my freezer for the two turkeys awaiting their "date" with the chopping block!!

Had some ground and gravel work done the other day. We're putting an addition on our garage business so we can separate the mechanical work from the restoration work. We'll be pouring the concrete this week and starting on the building next week when the lumber is delivered. It's kinda scary jumping in on this expansion project at our age, but gradually we hope to get out of the mechanical work and just do restoration work...easier on hubby's back and knees!! Now he has another project...a 1948 Chevrolet! Oh well, keeps him out from underfoot :-)!!

Going outside now to remove the windows screens for the winter. They just get all crusted up with ice and snow anyways. Then I have to wash the insides of the windows...my windows always seem to acquire lots of kitty "nose prints"!! Wonder why?

Stay happy, everyone!

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2001

Snow in the mountains here....very, very early if you ask me. We had high winds and rain in the lowlands, but you know it's funny....still green beans in the garden (huge in the pods, though...I think I had better pick them for seed before they start to rot!) and carrots are ready, as are kohrabi, spinach, chard, radishes, etc. Not sure yet about the beets. Cabbage should start up again early in the spring, so hopefully we'll have some big heads by late spring. I think the broccoli and brussels sprouts might be a lost cause. I should have planted in July, contrary to everything I read. We just don't get that much sunlight in the fall and it's usually not that hot to bolt everything anyway even if we plant when it's "hot."

Apples, apples, apples. We are still picking and pressing. Right now we have 5 carboys sitting on my tiny kitchen counter....Christmas spiced cider is in the process of becoming.

Got a 1/4 beef coming next week or so. It took us well over a year to eat a 1/2 so this is probably a better size. Hopefully, it won't be too much more expensive than the prices I read above.

We are having company tomorrow night. I haven't felt particularly sociable for a while, but now it's time for all of us to come inside and have some good coversation.

Gotta run...time to cook up a bunch of chicken and rice. Hope you are all well and doing fine as frog's hair...

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2001

Cold here, and really windy! I almost froze to death. The dog loved it, acted completely goofy. Don't know what that was all about. So far the cold doesn't seem to bother her.

Trying to get ready for a big Halloween party this weekend. Still don't know what I'm going as, but I'm sewing something for a friend. Should get back to it too!

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2001

Well I'm gonna do a BMW here. It's snowing out. A LOT. It's about three inches deep right now, blowing to beat the band, and generally unpleasant and nasty. I am trying to put faith in The Weather Channel which says up to 50 F by Sunday and maybe that will put paid to this unprintable expletive deleted stuff. It's a month early. Not that it hasn't happened before that we had this kind of an unpleasant event and it stayed, happened one Halloween, and boy, that was the rottenest trick I'd ever had to put up with.

I've got leaves to shred, somewhere under all that. Of course they're soaked now and that's not going to be easy to deal with. I've got work to do to put the garden to bed for the winter too. I've got fence posts that need to be put in the ground yet. Bother. I'm sure the horses aren't going to be liking this turn of events, esp. not the two greys who seem to suffer more from the weather than any of the others.

Happily, I did see 13 evening grosbeaks at the feeder today. I used to have a flock of 60-70 that would come around, but they disappeared and I have only seen one lone female flocking with goldfinches for the last few years. Then I had flocks of a couple hundred goldfinches that would come and now it is reduced to only a few dozen. Sure makes you wonder what is going on -- although we did lose a lot of purple finches last couple of years to salmonella from people who don't clean their feeders. I got out the electric waterer and plugged it in today. It's supposed to be even colder tomorrow.

I've been bagging up candy and bat-rings for trick or treaters. I'm not sure HOW many will show up this year, what with the cold weather. Other people worry about anthrax in the candy (uhh....), I worry that I won't be able to unload it all if the weather stays cold and kids won't come out. I usually average around 80 or so kids. The extremes have been over 120 (I was scrambling for quarters and bananas to give out that year), and 40 another year when we had snow and blowing sleet like this. I suppose I can do what I do every year tho with excess candy and dump it into a bowl out at the stable for all and sundry to pillage.

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2001

Wow...Julie! Eighty is alot of trick-or-treaters. We're lucky to get one or two, outside of family! Usually I don't have a problem with what to do with our excess candy...we eat most of it :-)! It's about the only time of year we eat sweets. Although I broke a tooth a few days ago, so that will slow me down a little. I'm a real COWARD when it comes to the dentist, so I'm gonna have to deal with this tooth til I can't stand it anymore!! Sheepish...How fine IS a frog's hair?? I've never heard that expression before. Cute!!

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001

What's a BMW? By My Word?

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001

I don't know what BMW is, either -- a car, I thought! ;-)

Marcia, our hometown is caught in a sort of time warp -- Small town, everyone feels safe, AND kids come over from the next small town. I don't know what they do in their town, but ours actually has several streets in a grid, and makes for easy walking around. The people not right in town never get as many T-or-T'ers. Plus . . . . Mom and Julie have a "certain reputation" -- they make their houses SCARY! In Mom's case, that dates back to our childhood.

Mom had a floor length, long sleeved quilted robe that she would pad up and sit in a chair by the treats. She made a head from a paper bag, and drew a very scary face on it. She stuck an old (grey) string mop in the top of the head for hair, running the handle down into the robe body, with the end resting on the floor, concealed by the long robe. Then she tied a large scarf over the head to conceal the back of it.

The kids wanting a treat had to take one from the plate next to the "scary old lady". My brother, dressed as a cat, was curled up on the floor next to the old lady, and would reach over under the robe and gently turn the mop handle to turn the head. Scared the bejeezus out of the kids! When Julie was just a baby, she was terrified of the thing, and that year, Mom had to tear up the paper bag in front of her. Now Julie thinks up the ways to terrify the kids!

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001

Well, I guess that explains what happened to me as a child....

BMW...um, well, it's short for Bitch, Moan, & Whine. Which is about how I feel. Got up today and the sun was shining anyway, but that didn't last long, and it is snowing again. HEAVY, WET snow. It'd be perfect for rolling a snowman, if I had the energy left after shovelling the walks, paths, etc. And I still haven't undertaken the driveway as yet. I just went out and stuck a ruler into the snow to see how deep it was -- 9.5" so far. We were only supposed to have 3-4 inches maximum.

I just had a thought however, that I could try rolling snowmen to CLEAR the driveway. Get some of that heavy snow cleared out that way. The snowplows don't seem to be out and running. I don't suppose that they've got the blades on yet for the year. It's also hard to believe that they are predicting 50 F by Sunday. I'm not sure that will be enough to get rid of this.

Years past we've decorated up the house with things like spider webs, tombstones, yard ghosts, bats, scarey things in the bushes, and such, complete with sound track. It's kind of hard to be seasonal here when it's looking like Christmas out. I am toying with the idea of making an army of mutant snow goons for the front yard...too bad that the kids start in around 4 PM because it doesn't give me any time to really set things up the way I'd like. I guess the problem is that I'm just a frustrated set designer, who needs to find a haunted house to work at.

Someone sent me a rather fun and seasonal site, more for the young (at heart, anyway), which is a 4-5 story haunted mansion to explore. You can find all sorts of things by searching the rooms, such as links to educational sites to learn about mummies, a site where you can read 'Dracula' and 'Frankenstein' on line, sound files you can download to use, links to other appropriate sites (you can get to ones on making Halloween party treats and food from the kitchen for example -- once you FIND the kitchen!) as well as haunted house effects. It can be found at The Bone Garden (okay, I HOPE I did that right...we'll find out, I guess...)

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001

Crummy buttons. Okay, it's at http://www.bonegarden.com/

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001

That's really cool, Joy! Your mom reminds me of my grandfather. His holiday was Christmas and he'd go all out with the decorations!! Nothing in the house, except a small tree...but outside his whole front yard was filled with decorations of every kind. Can't even imagine what his electric bill was!! And for about three or four days before and after Christmas he'd wear his Santa costume---even to the store or post office! Sometimes I REALLY miss those days!

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001

Hee hee, Halloween gremlins are at it early, been rearranging things in your post, Julie!

That's a great idea for clearing the drive. I wonder why Mom & Dad didn't think of that when we were kids? Geez, we saw a few specks of snow in the wind and that was it.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2001

Well,I'm ready to show off my lil ol tatoo now! Heres a close-up; we did it on the scanner. Its actually on my forearm and about one by two inches. Took about 10 minutes for the actual tatoo; prep was about 15 more minutes. Felt like cat scratches! I'm way cool now....

-- Anonymous, October 27, 2001

Arrgghh....the geocities site ain't workin; here, I'll try another....

-- Anonymous, October 27, 2001

Ok, fine, so I'm a dope! :) Two of em is a bit too much! (impatience impatience..)

-- Anonymous, October 27, 2001

Way cool, Aunty Em! Looks like it's pretty well healed up, also.

-- Anonymous, October 27, 2001

I only see one! Geocities must be down again.

Nice design! In the rare moments that I have considered a tattoo, I am always stopped by thinking that with my luck, I would be allergic to some of the dyes . . .

-- Anonymous, October 27, 2001

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