Saturday, February 28, 2015

Today's Update - 28 Feb 2015

Florida is one of only two states here in the US that isn't experiencing snow of some amount.  I'm not bragging, just stating a fact.  On the other hand we've had more than our share of rain in several places and one of those places as been our house.  I swear I am beginning to think my feet are turning to flippers they are so water logged.  I shouldn't complain because as sure as I do there will be a drought.

The weather outlook finally looks like it is drying out and warming up which will be a blessing.  We need to get this doggone driveway sealed so I don't have to trek forever to bring in anything from the vehicles.  We've rescheduled to start sealing on Monday but a lot will depend on how much things dry out and warm up tomorrow. 

I played duck and did all my errands in the rain today.  Running one child to a service project at an assisted living facility.  Hitting Big Lots, feed depot, wallyworld, and SAMs to knock some of the entries off my to-do list.  Wallyworld was for HDMI cables; seems everything needs those these days.  Feed Depot was salt for the water softener.  At Big Lots I found Hamburger Helper (brand) for a dollar a box which is a real steal.  There were a few flavors of Chicken Helper as well but I have enough of my own homemade version.  Didn't get as much as I wanted to at SAMs because it was raining and mostly what I needed was paper products.  Did pick up some Hawaiian Punch in cans to see if that suited me better than tea.  The tannin in the tea I have been drinking to replace the coke upset my stomach.  LOL.  I don't know why I don't just pick water and stick with it.  Might as well at this point but sometimes I just want something sweet to tickle my taste buds with.

Georgie is posted up to Chapter 16.  I'm trying hard to get it finished by Monday evening but it might roll over until Tuesday.  We'll have to see.  As I was editing I've had to break a couple of chapters in half to make them make more sense and have a better flow.  Either way things are winding down and working out.


I truly appreciate the patience and grace everyone is giving me to get things caught up.  As soon as Georgie is knocked out I'll go on to another story but rather than picking one out of a hat I'll pick the one that catches my fancy.  Things move faster that way.

Today's first video is from a series I really enjoy called "Eat the Weeds".  My loquat tree and its fruit weren't as damaged by the freeze as I feared.  The large oak tree near by and the house itself protected most of the fruit.  I did lose some but not nearly as much as I worried about.  For those of you unfamiliar with loquats I present the following vids for your viewing pleasure.  LOL



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today's Update - 26 Feb 2015

Oh my aching wallet.  Started the restocking today and good gravy Miss Daisy, my poor wallet almost needed CPR after the shock it had.  Normally I can pinch Ol' Copper Abe until he cries for mercy but it was me who was crying for mercy first this time.  I bought a case of tuna fish - I like how all those little cans stack up on my pantry shelves - and was not a happy camper when I found they cost 89 cents each.  Definitely going to have to keep my eyes open for a sale and some coupons.  That's not all I bought that but had the biggest sticker shock since it had been so long since I'd bought any. 

And just to give myself another ulcer I looked in my hygiene product stash.  Yep.  The kids doth strike again.  Even the toothpaste was running low but that's ok because I had a new project that I wanted to try.  I've made homemade toothpowder in the past but the enamel on my teeth is a little soft after a childhood all jacked up on antibiotics and other medications so I have to be careful of how abrasive some of the homemade recipes can be.  What will polish one person's teeth will sandblast mine.  So I decided to try the coconut oil toothpaste recipe that I spotted on Honeyville Farm's blog.

Coconut Oil Toothpaste

I'm not a huge fan of coconut.  In fact more than just a little bit will turn my stomach inside out.  I'm not exactly allergic to the stuff but I am sensitive to it.  I can taste coconut in things that most people can't tell it is there so I went into the whole process armed against the possibility that I wouldn't be able to stand the stuff.

Well, it is a very simple process as you can see by the link I posted above.  And five out of six positive votes isn't anything to sneeze at.  But it was too much coconut for me.  I could even taste it beneath the generous addition of mint extract.  Hubby really liked it so I'll probably keep making it for him at the very least and then tomorrow make a run to the dollar store for a couple of dozen tubes of commercial brand toothpaste to refill that hole.

Didn't get much else accomplished today besides that, the shopping, and some business tasks.  Tomorrow, assuming the weather cooperates, we start putting the first coat of sealer on the driveway pavers.  The reason why we are opting for the extra expense is because I don't want to spend the remainder of my life picking all the grass and weeds that might want to grow up between the pavers.  After we seal the driveway we will move on to re-sanding and then sealing the lanai.  That's going to be a real project right there as well.  Wish we would have done it when we put it in ... but saving a penny back then is costing us two today so you live and learn.  We won't make that mistake again.

Geogie is posted up to Chapter 10 thus far.  I will be posting at least one more chapter tonight assuming no catastrophes happen that I need to address. 


Today's two vids are about strawberries.  Yep, while it snows, sleets, and does lots of other nasty stuff up north, this is the time of year for strawberries here in my area of Florida.  In fact, the Strawberry Festival had its opening day today out in Plant City.  Every year they introduce some weird, new way to defile strawberries.  LOL.  And this year one of the new food offerings is called a Strawberry Jam Burger where you have a burger topped with strawberry jam and a couple of other things that I don't know that I could stomach.  Can't be any worse than the Peanut Brittle Burger I read about.  [shudder]

First up is dehydrating strawberries, pretty straight forward and useful.

Strawberry Syrup which can be used multiple ways, including making your own fresh soda with.  It is also great for making strawberry lemonade which is a real favorite of mine.

I know I kind of moved along fast in today's blog but I still have groceries to put away, laundry to fold, and hopefully another chapter to get posted.  Darth Molly's nails also need some attention or she is going start taking my skin off.  So enjoy and I'll see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Today's Update - 25 Feb 2015

This has to be as bad as trying to kick drinking coffee or smoking cigs.  What is "this" you ask?  After far too many years I am trying to finally and completely kick drinking soda.  Oh my aching head.  I picked a lousy time to try and get healthy but I don't know if there is ever a "good" time to try and kick a bad habit ... of course there's never a bad time to do it either.  Or so they say. All I know is my time is right now.  It needs to be so therefore it has been put into the life plan. 

I'm not really jonesing for a soda so much as the caffeine and sugar.  I'm definitely wanting the sun to come out so I can start making solar tea once again ... a nice chamomile or mint or lemon verbena.  Mmmmm.  That's the ticket.  If I can fool my brain into thinking it is getting its craving satisfied then hopefully the headaches will taper off sooner rather than later.  I know my teeth will certainly appreciate it.  Soda will really tear up your tooth enamel.

And I've been tearing through my To Do list.  Feeling a little more accomplished than I have but have a long road ahead of me to catch up to where I want - actually need - to be.  Tomorrow after doing some work for our business I plan to take a trip to Aldi.  That will be about all the restocking I'm going to have time for because not only do I have to bring the cans home, I have to put them away.  The putting away is what takes the most effort especially as I have to add them to the inventory as I go.

Two more chapters are up for Georgie; that takes it up to Chapter 8.  I'll try and add one or two more chapters tonight but the internet connection has been flickering in the neighborhood because the wind is really whipping.


Today's first vid is from where I am exploring some of my "alternative" cooking methods.  This one doesn't even qualify as cooking since it is from the Raw Food Diet world.  I am not fanatical one way or the other and use a multitude of cooking/un-cooking methods.  During the summer when it is so hot and humid I incorporate a lot of raw foods into our diet but I've also used this method to address power outages, etc.  Raw is also supposed to be very good for your health.  I'm moderate on it as I have to be careful of the amount of sugars in our diet since we have diabetes on both sides.  But it is also a fun technique. Now this video is a bit much to take in places.  LOL.  Very, very Californian and tough for some of us that don't have a lot of exposure to that culture so ignore what you can and absorb what it useful.  The recipe is actually delicious.  So, here is the vid for Apple Ravioli.  The only ingredients are apples (need a mandolin for thin slices), pecans, a sweetener of your choice, cinnamon, and coconut oil. 

If you are allergic to nuts I've also filled the ravioli with homemade cheese ... farmer's style as well as homemade cream cheese.  That's even richer than the pecan filling so I would make them in smaller portions.

My next video is just because I feel like it.  Who remembers The Archies?  ROFL.  Their song Sugar Sugar just hits my silly spot tonight.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Today's Update - 24 Feb 2015

You ever just had one of those periods in life where it seemed that no matter how much you wanted to get someplace, for every step forward you'd wind up sliding back two or three?  That's been my life for that last several weeks. 

I had goals dog gone it.  I had a timeline.  I had a plan that was going to get me from point A to point B to point "goal completion."  Really. I did.  Don't you dare laugh 'cause it isn't funny Kaij ... though I could have definitely used some of your really weird graphics to make me laugh. 

Well, life's little gremlins heard about my goals and the plans I had to reach them and decided to pay a little extra attention to me.  Wonderful.  Lovely.  It has left me feeling like a dog that is chasing its tail only to find it doesn't have one.  So I've decided I just have to go with the flow for a while.  If I get a chance to eviscerate a few gremlins along the way all the better but I'm not counting on it.  Gremlins are like hydras and dust bunnies ... no matter how many you knock off, they multiply as soon as you lop off their heads. 

One good thing is that my parents' health is improving.  Slow but steady.  Although apparently my dad's gall bladder is now acting up.  Geez, if it isn't one thing it is another.  Hubby and I have vowed that we are going to take better care of ourselves rather than wind up with the health problems of our parents' generation.  Hmmm.  Better find some wood to knock on or that vow could come back and bite me some place painful.

My real life has kept me pretty busy but some good stuff has come out of it, I've just had to commit to finding it.  We did some land clearing at our "retirement home" and my parents will have plenty of hardwood firewood for the coming year.  By selectively clearing some areas the large, sprawling live oaks will grow even larger and be healthier for it.  We are re-seeding areas that have become matted with leaves, decaying acorns, and oak sprouts.  The mast is pretty thick in places and the wild life has been thinned out the last couple of years with all the hunting so we are a little worried about fires.  To address this we cleared some trees back away from the house that were closing in after ten years and we widened our fire break, as well as the road in a couple of places so the tractor and bush hog could get down it safely.  And when I say cleared I mean we got rid of a lot of stumps and root balls along with the above ground trees.  Borrowed a root rake to do the job right as well.

Next project for up there is to bring something in that will help with the erosion and "pudding" that the road turns into by our gulley.  The gulley is the narrowest part of the road in and there is no way around it.  It is fine when it is dry but when it is wet I had to drive on it.  We are trying to decide between more lime rock which would be better for the bush hog and mowing or gravel which would be better at preventing erosion - maybe - but bad for mowing.  The base of the road is clay and lime rock so there isn't a permanent fix no matter what we do.  We didn't have a problem until the property next to ours repurposed a bit of their land into an ATV track.  Now water runs a different way and winds up pushed into the base material of our road.  A clay bed prevents it from draining down faster than it gets wicked up.  Basically a mess that didn't have to be, especially now that the neighbor has abandoned the ATV track but decided it was too much work to level the ground back out.  Oh the joys of sharing a property line.

Here at our primary location we had drive way issues as well.  It has taken almost a month but we have finally finished installing a new driveway made out of thick pavers.  No more roller coaster when driving up to the house.  We had to use almost 30 tons of base material ... about 6 tons more than we expected to ... but we had to dig out a lot where we cut back the roots on some trees and the dip down at the road took some careful crafting.  Now we have to seal it.  And the weather is not cooperating.  We can't even drive on it for at least another week.  That means parking outside the gate in the right of way.  It's a haul to get groceries to the door I can tell you that.  Picture isn't the greatest but it should show some of the scope of what we've been doing.  That's Darth Molly.  She isn't sure she likes the new driveway or not yet.

All of these projects and unexpected life happenings (the gremlins) has led to an unwelcome result in one area.  My pantry has ginormous holes in it.  Oh, I have a lot of LTS foods that could keep us going and my freezer is about three-quarter full (of stuff that needs to be canned naturally) but the mid-range convenience foods like commercially canned meats and veggies have taken a beating from an inventory standpoint.  For the first time in roughly ten years I don't have a stack of tuna cans that could be turned into a child size fort.  That's not the only thing I am short on and it will take a lot of playing with the budget numbers to get things back up to my preferred stock level.  I could blame a lot of things but the buck stops at my desk and I let my house managing duties slide too much as I attended to others things.  Lesson learned.

And lest I forget there is a mound of dirty laundry that is beginning to take on a life of its own and I worry that it is going to creep out in the middle of the night and do foul things I wouldn't otherwise approve of my clothes being part of.  Looks like I'm going to have to keep the dryer running whether I want to or not because we are expecting a significant amount of ran for the next four or five days.  And if it isn't raining the sun definitely won't be shining leaving out using the clothes line.  

The rain also means I have to wait to clean up from the first freeze we've had in three or four years.  So far the only two things that really took a hit as far as I can tell is one of my papayas and one of my mangoes.  I'm pretty sure both will come back but they aren't pretty right now at all.  One of my carambolas (star fruit) also got nipped but the rain should actually help get it back up and growing.

The "gremlins" running amok have made writing difficult.  I just couldn't focus on the stories that I had meant to write on but for some reason "Georgie" was jumping up and down yelling, "Look at me!  Look at me!"  So I did and surprisingly enough the story finished out in just about a week and is novella length rather than a full epic as some of my stories have turned into.  LOL.  I am editing the chapters as quickly as I can and posting them.  The first four are already up.  I hope to get at least another one or two posted before I go to bed.  With luck and grace the whole thing will be up before a new week starts.   


I hope in the coming days to get some more chapters of the established stories up as well.  Let me get Georgie up and under the completed heading and then I'll get going on what really needs work.

Today's  vids are really a reminder to me on how to make Star Fruit Jam (aka Carambola Preserves).  You'll recognize the fruit right away because of its distinctive shape.  I'm hoping to get enough of my own to do this but if not I plan on getting them at the farmer's market when I can find them.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Quickie Post #2 ... Datburn Tree!

Posting from my phone so the formatting is going to be awful.  Rained most of today and neighbor's tree decided to take a slow keel over and took down the phone lines.  It cause a small fire where it pulled down neighbor's doghouse thingamajiggie on his roof where the electrical wires go in.  Fire Chief called to have electric and subsequently phone lines taken down as they were all stretched out and dangerous.  Someone in their infinite wisdom managed to turn the FiOS off for six of us on the street because the box thing was apparently was damaged as well and the Fire Chief had to be obeyed and put back in his happy zone.  Sigh.

They are supposed to be out here at bright and sassy A.M. and hopefully, barring further complications, I'll be able to get these stinking chapters up.  Am I cursed or what?!  Oh my goodness gracious.  Every time I turn around it has been one of those days.  Groan.

Ok, done whining.  Will be posting tomorrow.  Just didn't want anyone to think I had no intention to follow through.  Gotta tell you ... I think I've become overly dependent on the phone and 'net.  Making it very, very difficult to get work done.  Lesson for me.  It is worse for my two college students who are trying to study for exams tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Quickie Update - 8 Feb 2015

If you could see a picture of my consciousness it would look like the aftermath of a Cat 5 hurricane. Thank you for all the kind thoughts and comments on my parents' health.  Dad is better but not by much.  This flu really created a mess.  He's come close to pneumonia twice but had finally stepped back from that precipice but over all is still in need of healing.  He is better but definitely still has a way to go.  And all the coughing and forced bed rest really aggravated the arthritic spurs in his back.  Yesterday I find out that my mother has fallen multiple times recently and looks like someone has taken a bat to her.  Her medications just make everything that much worse because she bleeds easily and her skin is very fragile.  Ugh.

Taxes and a daughter turning sixteen (OMG, how could I have possibly forgotten either of those in my planning?!) have made things even more hectic.

Thank you for all of your forbearance.  I plan on starting the updates back up tomorrow.  I'm determined to.  They may be brief.  I might only get a couple of chapters posted in the beginning but I will be putting one foot in front of the other rather than flying around like a leaf in the wind.  Being a member of the Sandwich Generation is challenging at times like this.

For those that didn't notice I did make some additions to Dovie's and DeeDee's stories, just didn't have time to send a general note out about it.

Thanks again!