Over the Fence Chat for June 22nd to 28th, 2003

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Well, here I sit at 0400 in the morning, unable to sleep. I got off work at my hospital job at 0730 yesterday morning; took a nap, then went in for what was supposed to be an 8 hour shift at the nursing home at 2pm. Somehow, it had changed into a 12 hour shift when I got there; and then ended up being 13. And then I look at the schedule, and I'm down for days that I told them I definately couldn't work - kinda difficult to work 19 to 0730, be at the nursing home from 06-1430 (an hour and a half before I even get off work, and let's not take into consideration the commute and maybe a shower...), and back at the hospital for another 19-0730. Cloning, maybe? And THEN, at midnight, one of the day shift nurses called in, and they wanted me to stay and do the 0600 med pass. Ummm - no. Think not. 25 out of 32 hours is more than enough, thank you very much! I got laundry to do, after all!! So now, I'm sitting here totally wired from the coffee I drank at 10pm in a desperate attempt to stay awake; and which didn't hit me 'til now....

I gotta admit; it was kind of nice to pull in the drive, get out of the car and look up at all the stars while listening to the bullfrog chorus on the neighbor's pond. I could have done without the up-close and personal look at the deer a few feet in front of my bumper a couple of miles from home, tho! All I could think of was "Oh man, I'm too damn tired to WALK home from here!" Luckily, they all cleared the car - good thing it's a nice short Neon!

I went down for my nap today to the sound of tractors running in the field garden outside my bedroom window. Uncle Ivan was down, tilling the sweet corn and other things he planted; then got on the big tractor to do some cultivating. Hubs was mowing with the IH 100, so Pop got on the little tractor and did the berries. They know that I want to take some photos of the garden because Jessie offered to make me a photo page, so they're helping me get it into decent enough shape to take photos of. I've still got some weeding to do; and some late summer plants to seed, but I might actually get it done this week!

Strawberries are pretty well done. I did pick a couple dozen to put in a big fruit salad - strawberries, peaches, black grapes, apricots, nectarine, bananas, oranges - all cut up and then concentrated (frozen but thawed) oj used as a dressing - mmmm! Mr. Moffat brought me a bag of new potatoes from his garden, plus 2 more heads of cabbage and a big bag of green beans; so I made up a pot of beans and new potatoes, cooked up with some bacon ends and pieces for flavoring. Hubs had some left over steak with his, but I was happy with just my veggies and a big chunk of corn bread! I think I'll make the cabbage into freezer slaw, but I'll have to go mooch a pepper somewhere before I can do that!

I discovered something new at the grocery store - Pop really likes the Minute Maid lemonade that comes in a carton like milk, so I was picking him up a couple when I happened to notice that they had Limeade too. Not too bad of stuff!! So when I went out on my dinner break this evening to put gas in my car (since most places aren't open at 3 am here in Podunk), I was standing there at the pump, looking at the liquor store across the street and remembering how I wasn't going to get my annual margarita to celebrate the first day of summer this year....5 minutes later, I was stuffing a bottle of Bacardi lime rum under the seat of the car (to keep the kids I work with from filching it!) I got me some plans for tomorrow that include laundry, garden work, a hammock and booze!!

I've got to find some time to run up and see my Aunt 'Retta this week; maybe make up another batch of that fruit salad and see if that will tempt her to eat a bite or two. On the way home, I need to stop at the Amish Bulk food store and pick Hubs up another 5 pounds of oatmeal - he eats 2/3 cup of it every day for breakfast. Might check my cookie tin cash stash and see if there's enough moola in there that I can get me a couple cases of those 1/2 gallon jars I saw the last time I was up there.... Gotta get my laundry all done up first tho, so Hubs can take my rollers off my wringer, so I can stop by the Amish pump shop and see if they can order me some new ones - some with a bit more give to them. And while I'm in Arthur, I'll have to stop by and see Unc's new baby chickies, and show Aunt Susan this nifty buttoned bonnet I bought at a junk store. And speaking of junk stores....while I was at that auction the other day, I bought a flat pan strainer from a fellow out of a box of assorted stuff; and he just happened to mention that he and his wife run a little junk shop up in - yep, you guessed it - Arthur, of all places! Ya think maybe I ought to drive the farm truck???

Well, I'm starting to yawn pretty big; and I did tell Hubs to wake me up before he left for work this morning, so I reckon I'd better send this and flop down and try to get some rest. You folks all take care this week, enjoy these long, lovely days!

-- Anonymous, June 23, 2003


Well, the power of little girls :^).

My wife called me a few minutes ago that has me pretty happy - the chicken tractor (for now) is a go. My wife went to the city hall to find out when the next scheduled meeting was so that we could present our case. She was able to meet someone in charge (don't know who) but has jurisdiction over animals in the city. My wife stressed that our city lot is much too small to comply with the ordinance, but that the anticipated number of chickens (6 max.), constant moving the pen about (chicken tractor) and no rooster (no crowing) would minimize any problems with smells or noise.

She also let them know we have a tiller to put the manure into the ground (which is why want the chickens in the first place - building up the soil). Having my 16 month old daughter didn't hurt the cause either - she charms every man I know (is this something to worry about? lol) and sealed the deal. He told my wife he has no problems with our plans, as long as the neighbors aren't complaining. If so, the chickens will be picked up.

Fair enough. So I can finish the pen and continue our plan. Cool.

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2003

That's wonderful, JR! Childhood just ain't right without chickens in the yard! :)

Gettin a chuckle out of imaginin' Polly lounging in a hammock (yah right!) sippin on lime bacardi! Maybe could picture it better if she wuz out in the garden holdin a glass in one hand and pullin weeds with the other! Or doin a Graham Kerr thingy: sippin on a margarita while cooking an 18 course dinner!

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2003

Thats so great the kids can have their chickens!! I have a 13 year old and she loves hers. Feed the animals is one chore we don't have to fuss to get her to do!!

Sherri Sorry to answer you on here but the name of the group that sings "Under A Violet Moon" is Blackmore's Night. They sing at a lot of ren faires according to there web site. The lead singer Rich Blackmore sang with Deep Purple. The have a cool web site.

I went and had my hair done today and was I ever so happy!! I've been trying to grow it out. It is mid back lenght with lots of layers and lots of curls from h*ll.My hair stylist thought it would be cool to grow all the layers oout and grow my bangs out also. Ha Ha it looked so bad I couldn't stand it anymore,it was turning straight from the weight of all one lenght and I sure couldn't stand no curls at all!!! SO we layered it up and cut my bangs and I feel like a new woman now!!! LOL LOL Look like me not one of my old aunts!!LOL LOL LOL LOL

Polly that lime rum sounds pretty good right now but I'm not drinking since we are going to start trying again in several months and I don't want anything to get in the way!!! But look out when we do have one!!! Oh yeah Polly could you post your recipe for freezer slaw??

Have a good week!!! Sandy

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2003

Wooee!! Wanta talk about sweaty?! Itís 9pm and still about 86* out; added to 88% humidity. Hubs and I have been outside since we got done with supper (the Colonel cooked tonight), moving wood chips. Not as bad as it sounds, since Neighbor Mike loaned us his small tractor and scoop. We have a scoop on one of the Mís, but it is too big to get in to the garden, so getting to use Mikeís tractor was a big help. Hubs was toting the chips and I was leveling them out with a hand rake; but we gave up and came in when the skeeters started getting bad. Pop and I are going to go out in the early morning before it gets too hot, and finish up with what chips we have; and then I reckon Iíll have to find time to go get another load - maybe Monday, if Hubs gets the tailgate to my farm truck fixed on the weekend. Or maybe tomorrow, since heís threatening not to go in to work if it gets as hot as itís supposed to - the shop part of the motorcycle shop isnít air conditioned, doesnít even have a fan, in fact. Heís telling me this and Iím saying ďOkay, Honey, if thatís what you want to doĒ but something in my face must have given away the fact that I was writing a honey-do list in my headÖ.

Sandy, here are two different recipes for freezer slaw. I like the first one better, but some folks donít think the celery freezes well.

#1 - Sprinkle 4 cups of shredded cabbage with 1 tablespoon salt. Put cabbage and Ĺ cup grated carrots in a large bowl of ice water; chill one hour. In the meantime, make dressing. In a small saucepan, mix together 1 cup of sugar, Ĺ cup water, Ĺ cup vinegar and 1 teaspoon prepared mustard; bring to a boil and allow to boil 3 minutes; then let cool. Finely chop 1 cup of celery and Ĺ to 1 cup of green pepper. Drain ice water from veggies, add celery and peppers, and 1 teaspoon celery seed; cover with dressing. Let stand 5 minutes before packing in to freezer boxes. Makes 3 pints.

#2 - Shred 2 pounds of cabbage, 4 large carrots, 1 large green pepper and one large white or yellow onion (red will discolor slaw). Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, cover and let stand for 1 hour. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of sugar, Ĺ cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon dry mustard and 1 teaspoon celery seed; bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes; then allow to cool. Drain veggies of any accumulated juice, cover with dressing and allow to stand 5 minutes. Pack into freezer boxes. Makes about 5 pints.

Either of these will keep in the freezer for 3 months.

Sherri, are you all packed yet?! I was thinking about what you said about the guys not wanting to help that first weekend - sounded like the perfect time to carry out clothes and dishes and get them put in to place! Of course, Iím O/C about my clothes (not that you could tell it to look at me!), and I want my dishes in certain placesÖ. Those were the two things I HAD to have in to place first when I moved. We could sleep on the floor, but the dishes went in the cabinets first!

Iím thinking Marcia must be out on the ocean, and Joy was headed to Rockford the last I knew; but where are Julie and John and Sheepish? And whatever happened to that new lady? Iím sure there are other familiar faces missing tooÖcheck in folks, if youíre here and reading, say HI!

JR, thatís pretty neat about your chickens! Babies can get just about anything they want out of me too! What does your tractor look like? I just got a new issue of Mother Earth News in the mail today, and they had a pretty neat one pictured in there. I also saw a smaller one, suitable for 3 hens or so, in Countryside in the last year or so that was based on the same pattern. I just showed it to Hubs while whining ďWantĒ - donít know how far that will get me tho!!

I guess weíre going to try letting the guineas out to forage this weekend - while weíre here to watch and make sure they donít take off; and to make sure the dogs donít try to have them for lunch. They still havenít developed their adult voices - and thatís the only way I know to tell them apart; the males have a one note call and the females have a two note call. I think 3 of the 5 first bantys that hatched out are roosters - somebody out there is trying to crow; and boy, is it a pathetic attempt! I told Unc we had to eat two of the roosters and he said ďDonít invite me for supper!Ē Big old softy! The 2nd hatch are just now starting to develop combs, so I donĎt know how many roos are in there. The neighbor kids are wanting to sell me some hens, now; before the 4-H fair even. Iím working on talking Hubs into it - weíve only got three old hens left right now; and when I get into bake mode, he doesnít get eggs for breakfast. Hmmm, maybe I ought to go bake something tomorrow, ya think?!

Yesterday and today were both pretty good days - especially since I didnít have to go to work! I finally rolled out of bed at about 10 am Monday - Hubs swore I woke up enough to smooch him goodbye as he was leaving for work, but I sure donít remember it!! I got up and started right in on the laundry. I had been sorting through some stored clothes and had changed all the linens, so I ended up with 12 loads of wash to do. The washer ran pretty much all day! Iíd toss in a new load, then rinse and run the last ones through the wringer and head for the clothesline. On the way back, Iíd stop by the garden and pull a few weeds, or hoe for a bit; then off for a splashy hand wash in the stock tank and back for another load of laundry!

Uncle Ivan was down, running the chopper around the edges of the field, so I ran out and got some fresh greens for my compost pile; but left the rest to dry and rake later. Pop hopped on the golf cart and went down to talk to Unc and came back to tell me that the wild raspberries were ripening; so I hightailed it in to the house for a pan and headed for the edges of the woods. I didnít even think to change clothes, so I had to laugh at myself while I was out there picking - I used to wonder how on earth my Grandma Julie picked berries in a dress, and there I was, out in the briar patch in a sleeveless dress and sneakers! I look like I went a few rounds with a wild cat - and lost!! I ended up with 4 cups, not quite enough for a pie; so I will go back out tomorrow and see if I can find another cup or two. I was wallowing around in poison ivy but didnít end up with any; and I only saw one snake. I did find a tiny little (palm size) land turtle or terrapin - about stepped on him! I felt bad for scaring him, so I dropped a few berries in front of his shell as I backed out of the patch. I looked around when I got back up to the house and didnít see anyone, so I hiked my dress tail up to my waist and stepped into the stock tank to wash the ivy oil off my legs and arms, so that I wouldnít have to stop and shower - BRRR! COLD! But it felt good, especially on the scratches! Good thing we live way out in the boonies!

I did get my limeade and lime rum drink, but I drank it flopped on the couch - I was too darn tired to put the hammock frame together yesterday evening! I still have a lot of weeds to pull before I can take photos - sigh! I did get out and work in the garden for a couple of hours this morning while Pop was in town; then when he came home, I came in and showered and we went up to see Aunt ĎRetta. She is to the point that she rarely wakes up, has difficulty talking and doesnít recognize people half the time; so we were pretty down on the way home. Then, we stopped by the hospital so I could pick up a check that they were supposed to cut for me because they shorted me on my double time shift, and first they didnít have it done; and then, when they finally handed it to me, it was short again - time and a half instead of double time; and she insisted that it was right! GRRR! No more double shifts for me! I wasnít in a very good mood with the hospital already because on Friday, we got a survey in the mail, addressed to Mama, asking questions about her April 28th, 2003 visit. Mamaís been dead for 13 years, so I really donít think she went to see the ENT a couple months ago. I looked in the computer when I got to work Friday night, and sure enough, sheís in there - her DOB, SSN, our addy and phone, etcÖ Only thing wrong was they had her listed as being 66; and she was 52 when she died. I know that there was a lady in a nearby town with the same name, but not with our addy and Mamaís statistics. Medicare fraud?? I donít know; but I do know that they werenít real happy to see me; and were even less happy when I left. And this is the hospital thatís in the running for that ď100 Best Places to Work in the USĒ magazine feature. Oh, give ME a survey, please!

I cheered up a little bit on the way home tho, because we drove home through Arthur. I didnít get to go to the junk store or the pump shop; but I did make it to the bulk food store - and yep, I got the half gallon jars; 2 cases of Ďem even! And I got some raw almonds and dried fruit and ham bouillon and dried onions and homemade whoopee pies and caramel pecan sweet rolls and small pie tins and oh yeah - the oatmeal that I went in for in the first place!! Pop was shaking his head as I pushed the cart out of the store, but he got out to help me load the stuff in the car, and then got to talking to an Amish gentleman who was just sure that he knew me from somewhere - turned out it was the fellow that Pop used to buy feeder pigs from when I was just a kid, and he was remembering Mama instead! And then we took the country roads most of the way home, and there were enough buggies and bicycles on the road that Pop had to drive really slow, so I got to ogle all the Amish gardens - and those folks know how to garden!! Iím not quite ready to don a bonnet yet, but I sure did see some horticulture to aspire to! Must be all those horse apples, ya think??

Well, itís getting late again - where does the time go!? Iíve got to work at the hospital Wed/Thur/Fri nights; so Iíve got to make the most of tomorrow morning; out in the garden. Itís supposed to rain Wed night and Thurs, so maybe Iíll get my weeding done and be ready to mulch after the rain - I can hope (dream!) anyway! You folks all take care, stay cool!

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2003

OK, I've been thinking. That sheep that was cloned in Scotland was named Dolly. Now doesn't the name Polly sound an awful lot like Dolly? I think that the superwoman Polly that posts here is really a clone, and the "real" Polly is sipping margaritas on the beach in Cancun with Juan the pool boy. I think that when they cloned Polly they mixed in some beaver genes, thats why she's always so busy. What do you think?

OK Sandy, I recognize the song now. I thought the title sounded familiar but I just couldn't place it. I think that might also be the name of one of their albums. I'm seriously trying to avoid buying any more CDs at the moment (well maybe I'll get the new Cheiftans CD but that's it!)

I haven't started any packing yet because my Aunt Linda has been visiting from Florida. She was in town for the international Kiwanis convention and stayed at our house instead of a hotel (frugality runs in the family!). She has such an interesting life, I wish that we would have had more time to visit. She has backpacked through just about every foreign country short of Antartica, most of the time by herself. Her latest visit was to China. She said some of the villages she went to had never seen an American before (she's a 5'8" slender blonde, I think she looks like Christy Brinkley), and they all wanted their pictures taken with her. She'd be walking down the street and a family would come up to her and just shove their baby in her arms and take a picture. She also went to Beijing and visited Tianamin (sp?) Square. She met a lot of young people there who were eager to practice their English and to learn more about the outside world. Back in 1999 she was teaching school in Turkey when they had the big earthquake. Her school was closed for 6 weeks so she just took off and went to Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania. When she was in Transylvania she found out that her guidebook wasn't correct and the hotel she was planning on staying in at a certain little village didn't exist anymore. She ended up sleeping on the couch in the Mayor's house instead! :)

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2003

Aaackk!! She's on to me! Tho I always just thought it was a mutation, rather than gene splicing. Sumpin' to do with that there Starlink corn they planted across the road, maybe! And there was 5 of them black helicopters flew over t'other day...(okay, so they were probably dark green; kinda hard to tell when you're squinting in to the sun!) You mean all this time my Hubby John has actually been Juan the pool boy?! Hmmmm... Next time I go back to check on the beaver dam, I'll be sure to holler "Hey Sis!" and see if anyone swims over to see me...

And speaking of the sun; I think it has fried my brain. Or maybe dehydration has caused it to atrophy down to something the size of a pea. And maybe I'm being optomistic there... ;oP

I actually gave out before Pop did this morning. 'Course, he was on the tractor, and I was manning the rake, so that may have had something to do with it! The only thing that I'm planning to set foot outside (and away from the air conditioning) to do the rest of today is maybe refill the hummingbird feeders - I made sure all the critters and plants had plenty of fresh water before I headed in. Pop decided he needed to mow just east of the house and the north yard before he came in - took about 15 minutes; he musta been in road gear!

I'd like to meet your Aunt, Sherri; She sounds really neat! And brave, too! The only foreign countries I've been to are Mexico and Canada. Well, and California too - it sure seemed like a foreign country; but that's what you get when your Uncle lives in the slums of LA... I'm sure that I'd never be brave enough to take off on my own.

Well, I'm off to forage in the fridge for some lunch, and then a nice long nap under the ceiling fan will be the next thing on my agenda - and maybe the last, before I go to work! Take care, all...

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2003

Wow, I haven't heard Ritchie Blackmore's name mentioned in years. First, Ronnie James Dio (Blackmore's lead singer for his band 'Rainbow') goes Christian . . . now this. Pretty cool - I should check this out, as 'Machine Head' is one of my favorite old time albums / CD.

Polly, I am still under construction phase of building our chicken tractor. I sort of started the project before doing my homework - I have only one side of the framing started. Basically, it is just an 'A' pup tent shape, but has a solid wood siding egg laying box about 24" deep on one end. I am splitting it to make two compartments - that should be enough for 4 - hens (I think).

The middle 2'-0" panel has a partial siding roof on top, and hardware cloth on bottom. Hopefully, birds should be able to get cooled off and at same time be in shade. The remaining 4' length is hardware cloth full height.

The frame is all 2 x 2, except for 10' l. 2 x 4 ridge. I am reinforcing attachment points with those metal Simpson ties used for framing homes (hurricane ties) - the side I have done is pretty rigid. Except for the plywood floor for the nest boxs, the floor on the grade directly - no wire, as I want the chickens to be able to scratch up extra food from lawn.

That's the theory - practice will probably have some surprises. Will fill you in with any problems.

-- Anonymous, June 25, 2003

I'm still alive, and so is Julie. I don't know if she's tried lately, but for quite some time, she couldn't get into the site. Don't know why. Since the rest of us can, it must be something with her ISP.

My garden is looking good now that we finally got some rain. The hose just isn't the same as rain!

Hope to post more soon.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2003

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