OTF Chitchat -- March 10 until whenever

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someone starts a new one . . . since we aren't sticking with the weekly thing anymore.

I have been very busy and out of town for the weekend. Yes, Rockford again. But I'm back now.

My cousin and her son are coming over for about ten days starting on Friday (they live in Hawaii). They'll be down in Rockford with her mom mostly, but we plan on getting together a few days. They're lucking out -- it's supposed to be in the 50's by then. Right now, it's 9*F. Yech. I thought winter was supposed to be over early this year! Fire that groundhog!

I acquired another pet -- a female mousie. She was a dumpee at the Humane Society. She is fairly tame. I know she won't live long, so I wanted her to have a good life for what is left of it. I guess the mousie record is seven years, but those I've had never lasted more than a couple of years. Her name is Tatiana, and she's living in the bird room to remain safe from canine and feline attentions. The parrots seem to think she's interesting, the cockatiels think she might be dangerous.

This coming Saturday, I am taking a class entitled "I Can't Believe It's a Sweatshirt!", making a jacket or vest from a sweatshirt. I'm going to make a jacket. You buy a sweatshirt of at least 50% cotton, two sizes larger than you usually wear. You cut it apart, sew blocks of harmonizing fabrics onto it, then some more, then wash and dry it on hot to shrink the fabrics and fray the edges of the fabric, then you sew it back together. I'm quite sure I could do this WITHOUT the class, but I wanted to do the class for the camraderie with other sewers (sewists?) and to get any "tips" from the woman teaching it. I suspect I will make several of these. They look nice enough to wear for nearly all but the more dressy occasions. I'll try to get my friend with the digital camera to take pictures so that I can show you.

That's about all that I'm up to, other than the usual recurring stuff that I would rather not do and certainly don't want to write about! ;-)

-- Anonymous, March 10, 2003

Answers

I SAW A ROBIN TODAY!!! Wonder how those poor little birdies get those worms from under the snow.

-- Anonymous, March 10, 2003

Hi all,

I got a new peecee, and wrote the p_wd for getting in here wrong. Yikes. Kept getting blown out. I sure missed you all!

Mr. S. is still awaiting surgery...his date is St. Paddy's Day! The luck of the Swedish, I guess. 8-) It could be that his heart valve needs repair only, NOT a whole new valve. That would be a blessing!

I have no idea what anyone else is up to since I haven't been here for weeks. I can't wait to get caught up, now that I've figured out how to get back in here.

Warm tonight. Almost 60! I gardened in the perennial garden for about two hours this weekend. I'm slightly sore. Guess I need to start working out or something. I'm not taking on anything new until after Mr. S. gets his surgery over with and on the mend. No need for additional pressures.

Is it spring anywhere else yet?

Lots of love,

-- Anonymous, March 10, 2003


I saw more than a DOZEN ROBINS this morning, all happily roaming the backyard.

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2003

This winter has gone on record as being the coldest winter here in my part of Maine for the past six years...and yet I (and several other folks I've talked to) have been seeing robins off and on ALL winter!!! What's going on here??

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2003

I think the robins are really terrorist spys for Iraq. Better call the Office of Homeland Security right away! :-P

Same old stuff around here. Still working on getting the house ready to put on the market. Keith's dad came down on Sunday, so after 4 hours and 3 trips to the hardware store we once again have a working ceiling fan/light in the living room. The old light had something wrong in the wiring and it would get so hot that it actually melted a light bulb! We still need to pull out all of the carpeting and replace it. We decided to go with an oak laminate floor in the living room and dining room instead of carpeting. It should be much easier to keep clean, especially since the medication our oldest cat has to take makes her vomit on almost a daily basis.

My grandpa's health has taken a serious turn for the worse these past couple of weeks. He's in hospice care and his doctor says it's probably only a matter of days now. He told my sister Kelly that he's ready to go, some of the family is having a hard time accepting it though.

Joy I think I've seen those jackets you're talking about. They're cute, be sure to post the pictures when you're done. I used to take quilting classes and it is fun to work in a group once in a while. My friends Liz and Jeani are trying to convince me that I need a spinning wheel so I can feed their fiber addiction but so far I've successfully resisted. Maybe after we move.....

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2003



Living down here, I'm probably one of the first groups of folks to watch the north migration on their way. Waiting for the school bus to pick up my son, I get to watch part of the morning 'come alive'. Part of it is watching the flocks of birds wake up and continue their migration. Lots of grackles / blackbirds / robins and other 'tweeties'. Better warn the bugs - their days are numbered.

Sheepish, I hope your husband's surgery goes well. Please keep us informed - he's in our prayers for a quick recovery.

Lots of people are sick around here too, Joy. Makes me paranoid enough to wonder if Al Qaida is involved, :^). I was sick enough a couple of weeks ago to be without voice for two weeks, the last one on doctor's orders. Said if I spoke out loud, ran the risk of forming some type of nodules on my vocal cords - surgery following that. So I played 'silent sam' for a bit, wishing Harpo Marx was around to let me use that horn of his.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2003


I was so sick this winter and for so long that I too began to wonder what was being used on the local population....except that I figured Al and his friends wouldn't even have a clue of the existance of a bunch of pallid northern snowbunnies or that they'd bother to waste their biologicals on us (if we all died up here, who'd notice?). So then I became convinced that it was our own government that was testing THEIR biologicals on us before using it on some other poor shmucks (if we're snowbunnies, does that make then sandbunnies?). (After all, if we all died up here, who'd notice? That argument seems to work both ways)

Well, I survived it anyway, but everyone else seems to be sick with ongoing Flu/Crud. I'm wondering if it is because the weather was too nice early on and people were going out too much and getting exposed to all the yucky things floating around out there. NOW it has been getting unseasonably cold around here (not the coldest on record tho. I think that was in '96) -- now they say that for the weekend it's supposed to get into the 50's. That should start everything flooding nicely, since the grounds (and septics) are still frozen up.

The dopey Chickadees around here have been singing their spring songs -- almost all winter. They're very confused. I've seen skunks and raccoons out already, but that was during the cold weather, making me wonder what is up with that. I have seen an influx of Bald Eagles lately, eating the road kills that are thawing out of the snowbanks and what not (seem like a whole lot less roadkills this year since they could get over the snowbanks and didn't get stuck on the roads), and I saw one the other day carrying what looked like a branch in his foot.

Apparently he is either building a nest to attract a mate, or the pair are adding to it. I don't know if this is early for them or not.

Since spring is reluctant about putting in an appearance, I've been working on cleaning out the garage (since it is semi-heated and attached to the house), or at least getting the growing tide of things that need attention out there under control.

I am getting antsy looking at spring catalogues with all the pictures of fine plants growing. Not a prayer of that around here!!! I'm once again battling the late winter/early spring invasion of insects in my greenhouse (where do they spontaneously generate from? They weren't here earlier in the year.) so I'm being cautious about starting anything in there. Not to mention that it is just too early to think about it here.

I did try planting radishes in a window box, but they have not been doing much of anything, just sort of languishing there. I'm scratching my head as to what kind of nitrogen fertilizer I can give them that'll be safe for feeding the greens to the pigs (assuming that they'll take off and grow then).

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2003


Will the last person out of the forum please turn out the lights? :(

I spent the weekend painting the downstairs bathroom and laundry room chambray blue. I accidentally stepped on the lid of the paint can so my left foot looked like it was ready to join William Wallace in fighting the English. :)

Keith's mom was in a car accident on Friday. She broke her arm and banged up her head and her knee. She's going to be OK though. Still no change with my grandpa.

Looks like the war is getting ready to start. Since football season is over and baseball hasn't started yet I guess we need a new national pastime to keep the masses amused.

-- Anonymous, March 17, 2003


Getting kinda lonely around here...isn't it folks?! But I've been thinking (sometimes difficult for me!), I know that I'm personally quite upset about what seems to be inevitable now in Iraq and I'm sure that most all of you are. So I know that's been on everyone's mind. Hard to talk about gardening and whatever...I suppose. I went to Bangor this past weekend and did my part in trying to stop it. Even though I know it was a lost cause...it was both exhilerating and emotional at the same time. Kinda "fun" to be on the streets protesting again :-)!! Don't know what the future holds for this country, though.....:-(!

We're still puttering around the house here trying to get the upstairs carpentry done...without going into debt. We might have sold our other boat (the 21 ft.) and right now we're waiting for the couple to come up with the money. If they do...that will finish our upstairs for us!!

Harry and Mike have spent most of the past week or so revamping our automotive business. We're doing a major mid-life change here and are getting out of the "complete" auto repair business. From now on we'll only specialize in struts, shocks, exhaust, brakes, tuneups and oil changes. And we'll expand the auto restoration aspect. Today's car's motors and transmissions are a B**** to work on with all the computer stuff, but some things will never change.

Snow is melting REALLY fast here! We've had beautiful weather...mostly...for the past couple of weeks or so. Daytime temps have been in the forties and fifties. One of these days I'll get my greenhouse built so I can get a jump on the growing season!!!!

I've decided to sell all my goat kids and only breed each milker every other year. Hopefully, my wrists wont protest as much if I only have to milk one doe per day. All we need is enough milk for ourselves and Mike's family anyways. One milk doe seems to be enough. Both of mine give 12 lbs. per day. I made my first batch of Monterey Jack cheese last week. Right now it's all waxed and aging in my cellar!! It has to age for one to three months...wonder if I can wait that long??!! Cheddar is next on my "to-do" list!

Sherri...glad Keith's mom was okay!! My stepfather is going through just what your grampa is. It's so much harder on the people who are watching the deterioration :-(! Don't they say that luck (good or bad) comes in threes?? In your case...I certainly hope not!!! I'll be sending good thoughts to you from Maine!

That's about it from Maine. Hopefully, other folks will find the time to check in...just to say hi. But I certainly understand if some just don't feel like "talking". The world situation is so damn depressing....

-- Anonymous, March 17, 2003


0900:

Hey y'all!! I finally made it back here to the site - woo hoo!!

Sheepish - healing thoughts are going out to Mr. S; and calming thoughts to you as well. Give him an extra hug from us, and tell him that he has folks wishing him well!

Sherri, my condolences regarding your Grandpa; itís never easy to let someone you love go. Hope Keithís mom heals fast!

We've decided Pop is a jinx when it comes to hospitals - or maybe just one certain hospital! Pop's overnight stay in the hospital for his stent graft repair turned into 2 surgeries - the second one to fix an artery they nicked during the first surgery - and a seven day stay. In a hospital that served only Pepsi products, yet - and no internet access. Pop is doing okay, but lost all of the progress that he had made after the stroke; in fact, his left arm is even worse, since that's where they did the 2nd op. But we got him back home a week ago, and he is now able to climb the stairs again and is agitating for his TV to be moved back into his lair (me too!) He still swears that he isn't going to be able to help in the garden this year, but Uncle Ivan and I are taking bets on how long that idea lasts! We had a really nice day weatherwise last week when Unc was down and he and I tried to talk Pop into coming out on to the porch to sit for a bit - no dice. So Unc and I went out so I could brag about my garden being accessible (love them wood chip pathways!!) and we were looking to see if the rhubarb was coming up (it is) and checked the asparagus as well (it isn't!)...when one of us noticed the window curtain moving a bit. Well, then we moseyed on out to the berry patch and were down poking around under the straw when we heard the front door open - Yep, ol' Pop couldn't stand it that we were out messing in the dirt without him; he had to come out and take charge! He sat on the porch glider and pointed out all the tulip sprouts coming up; and directed the pruning of the pink climbing rose from hell; then got off the porch onto the sidewalk and was using his mushroom hunting walking stick to push away the leaf mulch that we heaped in the perennial bed last year to show Ivan the mum sprouts and other flowers coming up. Then we got our cups of coffee and sat around the porch table and argued about where we are going to plant the new fruit trees and raspberries, and whether we needed bucket calves or not, and what Unc could use for nest boxes for his banties, and whether or not we ought to have John pull the box trailor down to Missouri when we go next month and.....well, you all get the picture, right?!

Looks like Hubs and my Anniversary trip down to Missouri and the Baker Creek Seed Co Spring Planting Festival might turn into a family affair!! I was showing Aunts Susan and Loretta my information about the B&B we plan to stay at (a converted barn) and then told them about the festival and how folks bring in their instruments and play bluegrass music and how it was only 20 miles or so from cousin Charley and Fern's house.....seems that Charley and Fern have been agitating for them to come down for a visit and to go to dinner at this restaurant where everyone brings their fiddles and whatnot and plays after supper....so now we're checking to see if that would be a good weekend for the MO bunch and may just take a convoy down! Poor B&B won't know what hit 'em!

I'm hoping to bring home some a bunch of plants from the festival and have planned my overtime schedule at work accordingly! I wouldn't mind to bring home some critters as well, but we will have to see how that goes (hence, the box trailor!) I'm still not having much luck with planning my gardens this year - not enough extra brain cells with all I've got on my mind, I reckon! Or just not enough brain cells to begin with! I'm wanting to do herbs and flowers in the front section; and move the back section (shhh - don't tell Pop!) up to just east of the current front section; or make new beds for that area and put the back section beds just north of them - that would leave me a 30'x 60' area for my fruit trees that I've got coming; and an area just north of them for the raspberries....or maybe the raspberries in front and then the fruit trees....ain't no way the guys are even going to consider moving the clothesline....hee hee!!

We've been having lovely weather here this past week; sunshine and in the 60's - darn near 70* yesterday! But, since this is Illinois after all, I'm expecting snowballs to be bopping me in the butt by the weekend at the latest! Whoever said April was the cruelest month surely didn't live in Illinois! I think Pop's even getting spring fever - he just now asked me if didn't I have lettuce and radishes to plant?! We've got to go to town today; a Dr. appointment for him, then attend my Uncle Red's funeral; so he'll need some cheering up after that - I'm thinking maybe a trip to the Rural King will be in order; some onion sets and seed potatoes maybe, since the moon will run full tomorrow??? Neighbor Mike wants to come pick up Pop and take him over to see the new pond he had built (they've been arguing fish stocking the past week!) so maybe he can do that while I'm doing a bit of house cleaning this afternoon (yeah, right!). Or maybe I'll just blow off the cleaning and go see the pond too!

Tonight, we're going to move Pop's TV upstairs; and also two chairs from the living room up to his den area so visitors will have somewhere to sit. Then the couch is going down to the sewing room/library - aka Jessie's old room; and the recliner will be moving down to the family room as well. I bought the ex hubbys couch and chair from him (new girlfriend doesn't like green, it seems) and will pick them up Tuesday night; so that will give me part of a day to get the living room all cleaned up and ready before it comes. Poor, poor Hubs (in more ways than one - aggravation AND pocketbook!) - I bet he'll be glad when I get back into my overtime groove at work and am too tired to think up all this stuff for him to do! His honey-do list is beginning to run to pages, lately!! Let's see...move furniture, rebuild master cylinder on farm truck, figure out how to hook up new/used water tank (swapped Neighbor Mike for some berry plants and use of the planter!) to the shed downspouts and figure out some way to pipe it to the washer, pick up the old wringer washer Aunt Shady said she'd give me and fix the wringer on it (or just buy a hand crank wringer from Lehman's), bring the old sign from the orchard we used to have in and hang it on the wall at the cathedral ceiling end of the living room, put my new cupboard together....lots and lots to do before the busy garden season and before the family all comes in for Easter dinner!!

Tomorrow, we have to drive back up to Springfield to see the doctor up there at noon (the one that screwed up the artery); it's an 80 mile drive, so that sort of shoots the best part of the day, but I should at least have time to spring clean the living room - especially since there won't be any furniture to clean around except for the bookshelf of garden books! Ahhh, the smell of vinegar in the spring time (to wash the windows with)!

1930:

Whoops! The afternoon didnít quite pan out the way I plannedÖyísee, we were late getting out of the doctorís and then we had to go get Popís lab work done. After that, we had some lunch; and then dropped off his scripts. They were going to take a while to fill, so we went across the street to Big Lots - one new garden cultivator ($1.99!), a goofy looking chicken yard ornament, and a quilt for the guest room laterÖ.. We had just gotten to Rural King when Lisa called and asked us to pick Bailey up at school on the way home, so we had about a half hour to kill in there. Pop wouldnít let me bring home any baby duckies or chickies, but I did make it out the door with a grape vine to replace the one that died last year, 2 packs of sweet peas for the hog panel arches in the garden, one bunch of yellow onion sets and one bunch of white ones, 18 broccoli, 9 purple cabbage, 18 assorted lettuce plants, 9 pansies and 50# of red Pontiac seed potatoes! I came home and said to heck with the furniture moving and headed for the garden! Itís supposed to rain every day until Saturday, so I decided to get some of my stuff in while I could! Planted the broccoli, cabbage and lettuce in a 9x3 bed, tucked the grape in the west corner of the arbor and plopped the pansies in the planter on the porch. Iíve got the sweet pea seed soaking in water so I can poke them in the ground tomorrow; and may just plant some sugar snap peas while Iím at it! Iím just going to cut the potatoes and lay them on top of the ground out in the field where the extra tomatoes and green beans were last year; then cover them over with straw. Pop is still hollering radishes; and I have some already glued to towels, so if the rain holds off Iíll be able to get them planted early in the morning, maybe.

Yup, itís spring. At least until Saturday, when the temps are supposed to go below freezing again! Apparently, all I needed was to get some dirt under my nails, Ďcause now Iím ready to sit down with pencil and graph paper and get to work! After all, I can move furniture and clean house when itís raining outside, right?! Looks like Iíll still have plenty of time to garden. I lasted three whole weeks on day shift (counting the week that I called in two days because I was up at the hospital with Pop!) before swapping shifts with a co-worker and heading back for night shift. Guess some folks are just born vampires! Iíll be working a Wed/Fri/Sat shift every week, so Iíll only need someone with Pop on Saturday mornings until Hubs gets home from work; and I guess that I can always hit up the perennial garden at work to sneak those cuttings on my way home on Sunday mornings! Plus this way, Iíll be able to buy plants and get them home and planted before Hubs sees them! ďWhat, those plants? No honey, those have always been thereÖ.Ē And my nose wonít have those weird dots on it anymore like it did on Sunday - from being mashed against the security screens at work while I was looking outside and moaning and groaning because it was sooo nice outside and and I was stuck inside!

Well folks, it sure is nice to visit with you all again; you all take care and have a good weekÖ



-- Anonymous, March 17, 2003



Grandpa passed away about an hour ago. I'll be off-line the rest of the week while I'm in Michigan for the funeral. Talk to you later.

-- Anonymous, March 18, 2003

Sherri, my condolences to you. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandpa. Individually, it's so painful. Collectively, we've lost another elder. Take care and prayers for you and your family.

-- Anonymous, March 18, 2003

Sheepish, hope Mr. S is doing well. Sherri, I'm sorry about your Grandpa. Did I miss any others?

Well, I've not been around much . . .

I've been having jaw pain for several weeks. I thought first it was sinus pain, then I thought I was clenching my jaw at night. I finally got in to see the dentist and found out that it was in fact a lower wisdom tooth going bad. It came out today.

In the mean time, I've had a LOT of pain this last week -- took way too much Advil. It seemed to escalate right after I saw the dentist. Went on antibiotics Friday, but it didn't do much, so perhaps there wasn't an infection. Yesterday, I couldn't stand it any longer and asked for a pain prescription. They gave me Vicodan (hydrocodone). Sheesh! It killed the pain, for awhile, but I didn't like it's other effects. Was supposed to make me feel euphoric -- didn't happen. Supposed to make me feel "drowsy" -- knocked me out! I lost all of last evening -- but at least I got some sleep. I don't know why anyone would take that stuff "recreationally" though -- I felt like crap on it, almost like I had the flu, except it did make the pain go away for awhile.

So now I have a big hole in my mouth and can only eat soft stuff and have to be careful not to dislodge the clot. So far, it isn't hurting, although I did take some more Advil. They suggested I take another Vicodan tonight -- haven't decided yet. I started taking arnica a few days prior to surgery and will keep on taking it, so I'm hoping that I'll heal up fast.

Despite being in pain all weekend, I went to my sewing class on Saturday. It was fun! But I didn't get nearly as far along as I had thought. Not hard, just time consuming. I worked on it some at home too -- take my mind off the pain! So now I have the sleeves both done. Just have to do the front and the back.

I also got together with some friends on Sunday night. We went to the UW Campus in Madison and marched in the candlelight vigil -- up State Street, around the Capitol, and on to the City-County building. Lovely weather, in the upper 50's -- quite a change from one week before!

Ducks and geese are back, some passing through. Robins and cardinals are starting their courting. Snow is gone except in the heaped up spots. The ground was starting to dry out, but then we got rain today, so it's back to being soggy.

It's amazing how much energy was going into just being in pain. Now maybe I can get some stuff done! :-)

-- Anonymous, March 18, 2003


Our condolences down here for the loss of your grandfather, Sherri C.. Also hope that Keith's mom is recovering from her accident. Hope your week improves.

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2003

Joy, OUCH!

That sounds nasty. But you can join the Vicoden club with Mr. S. He's taking it around the clock (as necessary amounts as he can manage). He really needs pain meds to help him breathe deep and get around, but he doesn't like them either. In the hospital, they had him on Dilaudid, which is really awful for him. Both of you need speedy healing so you can get back to normal pain (like reading the headlines in the newspapers!). Okay, not...no such thing as normal anymore.

It's nice being home, even as caretaker. I'm watching weeds grow in my garden, etc. But that's okay. Different perspective, eh?

Any of you folk experience that storm that blew through the midwest last night? A friend from Denver called last evening and said it was massive!

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2003



Some people laugh when I say Wisconsin is part of the Midwest . . . but if you consider it so, no, we didn't get the big storm. Must have petered out before it got this far. It's 37*F right now, which is a lot colder than it was the past few days, but still a lot warmer than it was about 9 days ago (days were we topped out at 12*F).

I'm not doing too badly. The pain is controlled by Advil, so bye-bye to Vicodan! I took 1/2 Vicodan at bed time on the dentist's recommendation, but I don't think I really needed it, and I woke up with a headache. I wondered if that might be due to the Vicodan. Unless I get some horrible pain, no more for me! I'm bored already with the soft foods I can eat. That's my "worst problem", so that's not too bad! No swelling, no bruising -- probably because I was taking arnica beforehand.

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2003


Gee Sherri...I'm so sorry to hear about your Grampa!! It's hard when someone that you're really close to passes on. You should take comfort in the fact that he wasn't in any pain and that he was "ready" to go.

I can still remember (vividly) going to my grampa's funeral in 1982. He was lying in his casket and when I went up to view him, I placed a bag of M&M's in with him. When he was alive, he always had a candy dish filled with them in his home and us kids would beg for M&M's constantly!! Three days after the funeral, I had a dream about him coming to me and thanking me for the M&M's 'cause he'd forgotten to take some with him!! Really weird and I'm sure it was just a figment of my imagination, but it did help me through a very difficult time!

Anyways...just know that we're all thinking of you...!!

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2003


BTW...Joy. Hope your tooth feels better soon! I've been there when it comes to tooth pain!!! And wisdom teeth seem to be the worst. Take care....!!!!

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2003

Seems to be doing okay. I had the dentist look at it today because I thought I could see the bone, but it turns out that the scab/clot is white (something about the saliva bleaches it out). Would've been nice if they'd warned me about that . . . . :-{

-- Anonymous, March 21, 2003

Good morning, all! Iím sitting here at the computer listening to the thunder rumble in the distance - the sound makes me smile, as it hints of rain, and Iíve just finished planting my radishes. The weather has been lovely the past several days out here - sunny, warm and breezy - up in the 70ís on Sunday and nearly that yesterday. Today, weíve got clouds; but the soil, my water tank, and neighbor Mikeís new pond can use the rain; my house can use some picking up, and my correspondence needs caught up on, so Iíll not grumble at the clouds, but try to be grateful for the respite instead. Either that, or Iíll haul Pop up to Arthur and hit up the little Amish health food store - Hubs doesnít care much for grocery store oatmeal, it seems!

Pop is doing well; tho healing seems a long process to him. He (and his TV) are back upstairs now, and heís able to handle most of his ADLs himself; tho heís still grousing about being unable to help out in the garden. He did manage to come out and supervise Uncle Ivan and Hubs swapping out the tillers on the small tractor - from the split row tiller to the regular 42Ē wide one - so that we can load it up and go till some gardens for friends a bit later on in the year. Heís not able to get on the tractor or drive the 4 wheeler - canít balance to get on, or shift with his foot, or keep his left hand on the handlebar for any length of time - so Uncle Roger found him a used electric golf cart and is overhauling it. I think it will really brighten him up to be mobile again! The dear, sweet man has hired me a weekly cleaning lady - his way of making sure that the garden doesnít get ignored (like that would happen!) Saturday, and for the next couple of weeks, sheís doing my spring cleaning - and yes, she DOES do windows, including washing the frames and screens - sheís a wonder, she is! After that, it will just be the regular weekly buff Ďn fluff thing - but what a load off my back! I do have a lot of picking up to do before she can get going on the main floor tho - 4 big grocery sacks of books to the basement yesterday, some Christmas stuff still waiting to be sorted, and all that garden junk!

My schedule is finally set again - itís now every Wed/Fri/Sat night, which is working out very well. I get to spend Sunday - Hubs only day off - with him; tho he might get tired of the honey-do chores before long! He really doesnít seem to mind - and I do have to take a nap when I get home from work in the morning, so it isnít like itís an all day thing! He accomplished quite a bit while I was sleeping Sunday - he had hauled home a ďMuleĒ (all terrain vehicle) crate bottom from work earlier in the week, so he used it to make a bridge across the creek in the bottom of our waterway. He also changed the oil in my car, cleaned Bunís hutch, and pulled the lawn mower around to his shop and did some spring maintenance on it. After I got up, we did some yard clean up, piddled in the garden a bit, took a nice long walk around the place (had to try out the new bridge, yíknow); then went to town and picked up a couch and chair that I had bought from the ex and got it home and carried in. Weíve started walking every day - I started out with a Ĺ mile a day, and he decided to join me. Weíve been lengthening it a bit everyday and are nearly up to a mile now (ďOh, címon; letís just walk to the crest of that next little hill before we turn back!Ē) Our road is a mile long, with, I think, 6 or 7 hills on it; so we will be up to a 2 mile walk by the time we make it to the end of it. We walk in the mornings on Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri and in the evenings on Thu/Sat/Sun - I canít walk in the mornings of the days I need to sleep, it wakes me up too much!

My spring garden is off to a good start this year - oh, how I love my raised beds! I can carefully harvest my lettuce now - one leaf at a time. Not enough for a salad, more for dipping daintily into the dressing and savoring. The broccoli and kale are getting sturdy and growing taller; and Iíve snuck a leaf or two from the red cabbage as well. Peas and chard, more lettuce, spinach and beets, yellow and white onion plants, sweet peas to climb the trellises and now my radishes are tucked into the ground as well; just waiting to grow. I need to transplant a few strawberry plants to my beds in the garden yet, before we till up the field. Iím wondering if Uncle Ivan will beat the rain - he wanted to come down today and knock down the old sunflower stalks. Heís decided to garden up here with us this year; and to cover crop his garden with some alfalfa or something that the roots grow deep on to bring up nutrients and break up the plow pan a bit. Weíve got a 50# bag of red seed potatoes to cut and plant - well, lay on top of the ground and cover over with straw - here soon; but I need to remind the guys to leave me a wide bed next to the road to strew my baggie of zinnia seed over.

Hubís co-worker Dave told him yesterday that heíd seen the food bank manager at church, and that he was wondering if weíd have any spare sweet corn this year; so I reckon weíll plant some extra again. Iíve about given up on succession planting after the weather the past few years. I found bicolor sweet corn with 70, 76 and 86 day maturation dates, so I think Iíll just get a couple of pounds of all three and plant them all at once! I think that Iím also going to plant some winter squash this year, rather than plain old pumpkins. We donít care that much for it, preferring sweet Ďtaters for our dark yellow veg, but the chickens love both the flesh and the seed, and it keeps their yolks a lovely yellow all winter long. Gotta keep the ladies happy so that theyíll keep us in eggs! I cleaned the weeds out of the front and west perennial beds yesterday - ended up with a 2 Ĺ gallon bucket stuffed full of mostly dandylions; didnít they - and Bun - love those!!

Well, itís getting on toward lunch time, so I reckon Iíd better put something on the table. Apple bratwurst from the little butcher shop in town, potato salad that I made earlier this morning, cottage cheese, canned tomatoes and some peaches for dessert - sounds like it will fit the bill! Weíll go in town to the MILís house for supper tonight to celebrate the SILís birthday, so I wonít have to cook then; but Iíll make a batch of veggie soup this afternoon, for Lisa to heat up for Pop tonight. I picked up some doggie bones when I got the brats and the roast, Jessie is supposed to bring Maraca puppy out later today - looks like weíll all be fat and happy with our dinner plates today!

You folks all take care, enjoy the sunshine while you canÖ

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2003


I caught a cold while I was out of town and I've been too tired to post, but I'm feeling better now. I drove back home to Michigan on Wednesday, it's a 370 mile trip and I did it in 5 hours, you do the math. :) The funeral home had calling on Wednesday evening and all day Thursday and then the funeral was Friday afternoon. Grandpa was pretty well-known and liked so there was a big turn-out, about 200 for the calling and another 100 at the funeral. The minister who did the eulogy grew up with my Aunt Linda so he had a lot of personal stories to tell. We had bagpipes playing as they loaded the casket into the hearse and at the cemetary. The piper was someone who had worked with Grandpa at the car dealership and at the end he got choked up and couldn't play anymore. It was a very nice service.

I had a strange experience on Thursday night. We had been at the funeral home all day and around 6pm my brother and I took Grandma back to her house for something to eat. I was feeling cruddy from the cold so I lay down on the couch for a nap. Just as I was dozing off I got the strange feeling that someone was watching me. I cracked my eyes open and saw Grandpa standing at the foot of the couch. He said "I just wanted one last look" and then he disappeared. Maybe it was just a cold-medicine induced hallucination, but who knows? :)

Joy I'm glad your tooth is feeling better. I had all 4 wisdom teeth taken out at once back in my 20's. I had a bit of nerve damage and I couldn't feel the left half of my bottom lip for about 6 months afterward!

I've got to run to the drug store before it closes and get some more thyroid medicine for the cat, so I'll write more later. Thanks to all of you for your well-wishes. :)

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2003


Sherri...thanks for confirming to me that my "dream" about my grampa and the M&M's might not have been just a dream after all!!

Does anyone here follow John Edward and watch his shows???

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2003


Sherri, how wonderful that your grandpa visited you in that way! Hugs to you.

Cleaning out the garage this weekend I found some bottles of concentrated extracts to make homebrewed soda pop and some Mehu-Maija rubber bottle caps. We don't do sugar here anymore so I was wonderin if anyone would like them. There's a root beer, cream soda and a cola, each one makes 4 gallons. They're a couple of years old but I don't think that matters. If anyone's interested just let me know and I'll send em to ya.

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2003


Marcia I don't think the M&Ms are strange at all. When my Grandma C passed away we put 2 crossword puzzle books and a pen in the coffin with her. :)

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2003

My aunt was buried holding her favorite antique doll. And her "wake" was conducted by her friends -- everything was perfectly pulled together and color coordinated, just as if Aunt Shirl had done it herself. Her friends knew it was what she would want! :-)

EM, I'll pass on the concentrates. We had some root beer concentrate and tried making soda pop. Ewwwww, it was BAD! :-( Thought perhaps we just didn't do it right . . . .

-- Anonymous, March 27, 2003


Sorry to hear about your Grandpa, Sherri. But I think he really visited. How cool!

-- Anonymous, March 27, 2003

I must share this yummy low-carb mocha recipe! My chocolate cravings know no bounds, and this one satisfies with no guilt. Only 5 carbs per serving, and it's delish.

frozen mocha

-- Anonymous, March 27, 2003


Mocha is my absolutely favorite flavor, EM!! Especially mocha chip ice cream :-)! This recipe sounds great, especially since I have lots of fresh cream right now...but where do you get Xantham gum??

-- Anonymous, March 27, 2003

I get it at the coop/health food store.

-- Anonymous, March 27, 2003

Just wanted to touch base with you all!! It's been VERY hectic around here the past week or so. Lately, each time I sit down with the keyboard on my lap, I start falling asleep before I've finished reading my mail!! Tough to get old :-)!

I've been shoveling out my goat pen...in sections. What a major job! Usually Harry tries to help me, but he's been so busy working in his shop I didn't ask him. So, over the span of about four days, I cleaned it out right down to the concrete floor!! I think doing it in sections helped my back, also. Anyways, that's one big springtime job that's done! Til next fall I'll clean it out about every two weeks or so...and that usually only amounts to about two wheelbarrow loads.

My goat kids are leaving this weekend. Since I only had four...none of them "good" enough for registration, I'm sending them all for meat. I actually hit it right this year for the Easter ethnic market!! My milkers are still producing like crazy. Made a batch of cheddar last week and now that's hanging in my cellar aging alongside the Monterey jack. I have New England clam chowder simmering on the stove right now. That fresh milk really makes it delicious!!

Snow is all gone around here. Weather has been quite nice...some showers, but temps in the 50's and even hit 64 once!! My daylilies and daffodils are up, but not blooming yet. I even hung out my hammock!! Woke up this morning to SNOW!! Just got a dusting, though. In fact, I went out and stretched out in my hammock looking up at the falling snowflakes! Really pretty!! Picked up some of my seeds at the feed store. I find that some seeds are lots less expensive there. Other seeds I can only get by mail order. Hopefully, I'll be planting the first batch of Sugar Snap peas next weekend.

I've had to run new electric fencing this year. I've had the same electric tape for the past 5 yrs. or so. It's been patched here and there, so now it just isn't "conducting" the way it should be. My horse has taken over most of my pasture so I've been replacing the two strands needed for my goats with just one strand. He's very respectful of it!! Hope to have that project completed in a week or so!

So Joy...has the "hole" in your mouth healed?? I'm sure you can eat solid foods by now...although probably very carefully :-)!

Sherri...how are you holding up?? And Sheepish...is Mr. S. healing well? How long before you guys can chase each other around the house again :-O!!

Well, I see there are some new postings here that I need to read. Talk to you all later...

-- Anonymous, March 31, 2003


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