Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sidetracked

I am afraid I am one of those who is easily sidetracked.  I have in mind a chore I want to accomplish and before I know it, I am off doing something else.  I call it my "Oh, look.  Squirrel!" syndrome.

I know I have been talking about canning cranberries from my freezer.  I had really good intentions.  But they are still in the freezer and I am busy with other things.  Squirrel.

Last summer I tried growing some herbs in pots on my windowsills.  I don't know what happened, but I managed to kill them all.  In frustration, I took the pots, dirt, dead plants and all, stuffed the whole shebang into a trash bag and tossed the bag into the back of my closet.  Well yesterday I found them.

I cleaned the dead foliage from the pots, stirred up the soil, watered it down and planted some seeds.  I now have pots with peas, yellow snap beans, cucumbers, sweet green peppers, cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe and zucchini.  I have no idea if the seeds will even grow, but I thought it would be fun to try.  I have no expectations of harvesting anything, but at least I may end up with some greenery growing on my windowsills.

So this morning I thought I would can cranberries, but squirrel.

Now that the weather is warmer, I want to get out to the fabric store.  I need fabric for the backs of several quilts and batting.  So I was digging through the tubs that hold the quilt tops - both finished and partially finished - to see what I needed to finish them all.  And in the process I found two bags containing partially crocheted afghans.  I had started them to use up yarn left over from other projects, knowing I would need more yarn to finish them.  So I took some pictures to remind myself of the colors I need.  The fabric store carries yarn as well, so I will get some when I go to buy fabric.




I love crocheted afghans.  My grandmother had a couple of them in this same 'granny square' pattern that I remember from my childhood as being soft and warm and comfy.  The pattern is easy to do and is something I can work on in the evenings while watching a movie.

So as long as there is no canning going on today, I think I will finish my afternoon doing those piddly household chores that never seem to go away - mop the kitchen floor, vacuum, straighten up my pantry, etc.  And I may have to find a cage for that pesky squirrel that keeps diverting my attention.  :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

This and That

It is a lovely day here in the north country.  Temperatures have risen enough so I could shut off the heat in my apartment and crack open a couple of windows.   Spent the morning getting caught up on the household stuff that the latest arthritis flare up prevented me from doing.  Dishes are washed, laundry is folded and put away and a pan of cornbread muffins are in the oven.

Duane and Lori were here this morning.  Duane wanted to borrow my large roaster pan for a beef roast he is cooking for supper.  He raided my shelves for a couple pints of baby carrots to go with the beef.  I am glad when my kids raid the shelves.  That's what all those jars of food are for.  And he will bring me a plate of food for my supper.  Pretty good trade, I'd say.  :)

I was reading the website for one of our local news sources when I saw this headline:
'An Undocumented Future:  Fear in The Immigrant Community.'
Basically the article tells of those illegals who are worried about deportation now that we have a president who seems to believe that laws should be enforced.  I can't really blame many of these people, especially those who have families here.  They were told for eight years that there would be no consequences for breaking our immigration laws.  I suspect they counted on the coronation of Hillary to continue that practice.  Well, surprise, surprise.  Now many are heading for Canada to avoid deportation here.  What a mess Obama created by refusing to enforce those laws.  And how terribly wrong he was to mess with the lives of those who believed him.

So I have goofed off long enough.  I am off to the kitchen to rid the freezer of a few more gallon bags of cranberries that, with any kind of luck, will be cranberry sauce and cranberry juice.  I am almost afraid to see what is lurking underneath all those berries.  :)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Green Fuzzy Blanket Kind of Day

It is cold.  It is breezy.  It is wet.  It will stay like this for the next three or four days.  Arthritis in my joints is protesting.  It is easy to let depression settle over us under these conditions.

But I won't let it.

There is a recliner and a Kindle and some music on the radio and a green fuzzy blanket, all calling my name.

Right after I have a slice of chocolate cake and another cup of coffee.

Take that, arthritis and depression.  You can't begin to compete with chocolate cake and coffee.  Nor can you compete with the jar of home canned ham and beans I'm having for supper tonight, along with a pan of cornbread.

Comfort food and a murder mystery.  And a green fuzzy blanket.  Chases the blues away every time.  :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What If...

What if EBT cards were unavailable to illegal aliens.

What if welfare payments were not given to illegal aliens.

What if illegal aliens had to pay for their own medical care.

What if housing was not provided for illegal aliens.

What if drivers licenses and identity cards were not available to illegal aliens.

What if jobs were not given to illegal aliens.

What if the laws now on the books concerning entering the United States illegally were actually enforced.

What if each member of Congress who is in favor of allowing illegal immigration were required to take several illegal aliens into their own homes.

Probably wouldn't need that wall.  Or it would be up by now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

More Canning

I need to empty my chest freezer.  There are Farmer's Market vendors that sell beef and pork by the half or quarter.  Duane and I have decided to order a little later this year and split the meat and the cost.  Having done the math, I find it is cheaper to buy in bulk than it is to buy from the grocery.  And by buying directly from the farmer, we know what we are getting.  So far, in addition to the asparagus, I have canned peas and sweet corn.  Today I am canning ground beef.  Tomorrow it is cranberry sauce, whole cranberries and cranberry juice.  I will be back when I am a little bit closer to seeing the bottom of my freezer.  :)

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Lovely Weekend

As any Mom will tell you, any Mother's Day where you hear from all of your kids is a good day.

My youngest daughter phoned to wish me a Happy Mother's Day.  She is home recovering from knee replacement surgery.  My stairs are not on her list of doable things at present, but I am glad that she is healing and the surgery seems to have been successful.  Her adult kids will spend time with her, as it should be.

Oldest daughter Jill stopped in with a gift.  A little background information here.  I have cellulitis which causes my lower legs and feet to swell.  As a result, it is necessary for me to wear Ace bandages from knees to toes on both legs, 24 - 7 to try to keep the swelling down.  I can not wear regular shoes because of this.  I have a pair of those less than fashionable, Velcro adjustable boot-like things with hard soles to wear outside.  Inside I have been wearing those socks with the gripper soles over the bandages to keep them clean.  So when Jill showed up with a cute pair of house shoes that are made of a knitted, stretchy fabric with a gripper sole and will fit over the bandages, I was thrilled.  When you have probably the ugliest legs and feet in the State of Minnesota, being able to wear something on your feet that looks normal is a great boost to your morale.

The ever practical Duane made a Farmer's Market run and brought me four bundles of asparagus.  I love asparagus.  I cut it into one inch lengths and this morning filled 16 half pint jars that are happily cooking away in my pressure canner.  There is enough left over for at least two meals.  Fresh asparagus is spendy, which is why I don't include it in my grocery order.  Now I will have enough canned so I can treat myself now and then.  I woke from an afternoon nap to find a Mother's Day card next to me from Duane and Lori.  Lori had called me earlier from Colorado where she is visiting relatives.  Made me feel good that she did that.

David, Staci and my three youngest grands came over here on Saturday.  They brought lunch.  And they brought the dog, who puked three times on the way here due to the motion sickness she still has.  I asked David why they didn't wait until she could ride without getting sick and he said that they all wanted me to meet my new Grandpuppy.  Oreo is adorable and so well behaved for a pup.  She obviously adores the kids and they, her.  So I got to pet and love on a puppy again.  It was great!  If she ever grows into those long legs of hers, she will be a good-sized dog.

David's family had another surprise for me.  Knowing I would have to buy a walker soon, I had been researching them to find which one would work best for me.  I don't need to research any longer, for they brought me a walker that fits all of my needs.  It has wheels and brakes.  It has a seat so I can rest when I need to.  It folds up making it easy to carry up and down stairs.  David said he was sorry there was no cup holder.  I had been joking that when I got my walker it had to have a cup holder, an Ooga horn (remember those?), and those handlebar streamers that kids used to attach to their bikes.  Sometimes when faced with the fact that your life has changed and you need help with something as simple as walking, making jokes helps to deal with it.  We  have stormy weather moving in today, but maybe by the end of the week I can be outdoors, terrorizing the neighborhood.  :)

It was a lovely weekend.  It wasn't all about the gifts, though I am pleased by and appreciative of each one.  It was about my kids and grands who are my heart.  I do so love each and every one.  Thank you, God, for blessing me so richly.

Friday, May 12, 2017

News Blackout

I think I need to take a break from the news.

Every morning I pour a cup of coffee, sit down at my computer and check out the various news websites.  This morning I came to the realization that the news headlines are the same old crap - just a different day.

Politically, the left mocks whatever the right is doing and vice versa.  The Democrats will never, ever get over the fact that Hillary lost.  Donald will continue to Tweet stupid things.  And the pundits will continue to pontificate whether they have any actual knowledge or not.  Congress continues to fight among themselves like spoiled children.  And pass laws that are not helpful but mostly harmful to all but the elite.  The Constitution has become an afterthought.  The laws of our land seem to be optional.

Around the world sabers continue to be rattled.  Threats continue to be made.  If we lived in a peaceful world, where would the attention getting soundbites come from.  If world leaders didn't have constant turmoil and strife to keep their populations riled up about, someone might actually figure out that these leaders are mostly ego maniacal blowhards who care little about the general population and a lot about money and power.

Here in the States we have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime.  Special snowflakes need their safe spaces so they need not hear anything that might upset them.  Social Justice Warriors have decided that I need to apologize for being born white.  If I were a white male I would be expected to apologize and then fall upon my sword.  I am expected to accept every perversion known to man as 'the new normal.'  And if I object or openly declare my faith in God, I am racist.  Or guilty of 'hate speech.'

College students dictate to school administrators what should be taught in classrooms, none of which prepares students for the real world.  And the administrators let them get away with it.  Tension between the races is at an all time high.  Peaceful demonstrations turn into window breaking, car burning, rock throwing riots.  Police are told to stand down and let it happen.  Those who are speaking against the thuggery are shouted down or are silenced with just the threat of riots should the speakers exercise their right of free speech.

We have become a lawless nation.  People are welcomed into our country who have broken the law just by coming in through the back door.  We may be accepting some on humanitarian grounds, but the majority of the illegal aliens are here to do more harm than good.  Our taxes pay for their food, housing and medical care and our Vets go without proper care.  Some of those crossing our borders have vowed to kill all who do not convert to Islam.  Many expect US citizens to accommodate their way of life and their beliefs, but have no intention of  accepting ours.  And yet many in Congress fight against securing our borders.

Gangs of thugs block our freeways shouting slogans about killing cops, but few arrests are made.  A friend who is a retired cop tells me the police have their hands tied by the politicians.  I can pretty much guarantee that if I were standing in the middle of a road blocking traffic, I would find myself explaining to a judge why I would do something that stupid.  People are being harassed and even assaulted simply because of who they voted for in the last election.  Some are being abused just to see how many 'likes' the perpetrators can get on their social media live stream.  And some are being hurt just because the thugs think it is funny.

I wish I could change it.  I wish I could just wave a magic wand and turn the world, or at least my country, into Mayberry.  I know there are still good people here.  I know many of them.  I read their blogs and their comments.  I am proud to be related to some of them.  Problem is that the politically correct crowd is larger and stronger and louder and more vicious.  It is like Pandora's box has been opened and has released it's demons among us.

I have no earthly idea where it will all end.  I am not well versed enough in the scriptures to quote any of God's promises or solutions.  And I am not arrogant enough to think I know the mind of God.  What I do know is that we as a nation desperately need to get back to the principals of our founding fathers.  We need to hold true to our core beliefs without worrying about offending those who have differing opinions.  And we need to stand firm against those who seek to destroy us.

That is a pretty tall order.  I have no doubt that my parents and grandparents were equal to the task.  I wonder if we are.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Days Roll On

There is nothing special going on here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  Just the day to day routine of living.  And when I look at the news and see the chaos in our country, I find myself very grateful that I live such a quiet life.

Lori left yesterday for Colorado to spend time with her family and to see her daughter graduate from college.  We miss her but are really happy for her as this is something she has been looking forward to.  This means Duane is batching it this week.  He came over last evening as he does twice a week to help me with my leg bandages.  I fed him pork chops covered with dressing and baked in the oven.  I will be seeing him often as the landlord has sent workmen to fix the bathroom in Duane's apartment.  The contractor who remodeled the apartments several years ago did a lousy job there.  The shower had developed a large crack in the wall, the toilet had been leaking underneath the floor so the plywood flooring had rotted out and there were other issues.  By the time the work is finished, Duane and Lori will have  brand new bathroom.  Meantime, he is using mine.  Good thing we live so close.

Youngest son David called me yesterday to let me know that he would likely bring his family to see me on Saturday.  It is always fun to see the grands.  They might bring the new puppy.  Puppy still doesn't do car rides very well.  Motion sickness.  And given that puking puppies are not much fun to travel with, they may just wait on the pup's visit.

I am enjoying the spring breeze through my open windows in the afternoons when the outside temperature is warm enough.  I admit to having a slight case of Spring Fever which accounts for the need to tidy things up a bit after the long winter.  The few dust bunnies that have been found are now gone.  Cupboards have been straightened and shelves have been reorganized.  I'm waiting for my grocery order to be delivered today, after which I think I had better bake a couple batches of cookies.  To have a grandchild find an empty cookie jar is just, well, wrong.  :)

My days are peaceful for the most part.  I still am working on being prepared for whatever comes - canning and dehydrating as much as possible - adding to the other supplies - spending some time in the evenings learning skills that may be useful.  YouTube is a great resource for tutorials on most any subject.  So many of the skills that were second nature to our grandparents seem to have been all but lost.  Sometimes I long for the days before electronic gadgets took over our lives.  The days when we read real books and wrote letters in cursive using pen and paper and actually held conversations rather than texting.  I do admit to loving my computer, for it gives me the opportunity to connect to the outside world at a time when it is difficult for me to leave my apartment.  But I think I would give it up to be able to sit on the porch and listen to Grandpa tell stories about his childhood.  I treasure the memories of those conversations with my Dad in his later years.  Reading from a screen or watching a video just isn't the same.  I guess the older I become, the more I wish the world hadn't changed so much.  Sigh.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Spring Has Sprung...

the grass has riz,
I wonder where
the flowers is.

A direct quote from my Dad, who was known to recite that little ditty every spring, for the amusement of his progeny, while taking on the stance of a great orator.  Dad was funny.

I much prefer spring in the country to spring in the city, but even here the wonder of the change in seasons makes itself known.

My building has a communal deck attached to the back.  There is a table and a few chairs there and even though it overlooks the parking lot, it is still a nice place to sit on a sunny spring day, coffee cup and book in hand, for an afternoon of sunshine and mystery novel.

There is a bar located next door to my building, just across the alley, and another behind my building.  It is possible to near snippets of conversation as patrons walk from one to the other.

"Come on.  I'll buy you a drink."
"No, no, no.  But I will take the money."

"I'm going to have one for the road."
"OK.  And I will have one for the gutter."

"There's a reason you can't start that car."
"What's the reason."
"Because it's not your car,"
"Oh."

The downtown area where I live has old fashioned looking street lights.  Every spring the city hangs baskets of brightly colored petunias from hooks on the lamp poles.  There are also large flower boxes on every corner that are filled with more colorful petunias.  I expect to look out my window and see the flowers within a week or so, for Mother's Day is usually when they arrive, turning a drab city street cheerful and pretty.

Whenever my windows are open I can hear the chitter chatter of sparrows and chickadees coming from the tree in front of my building.  Last spring a pair of sparrows built a nest in the small tree outside my living room window.  While the Mama bird sat on her eggs, the male was busy chasing away any and all threats to the nest.  I watched him go after birds several times his size.  The pair hatched out at least four babies and between two and three weeks later, the young birds were out on their own and the parents began a second family.   The nest was partially hidden from view, but I caught glimpses of the babies now and then.  I am easily amused.

Every spring the sky is filled with honking Canadian geese.  Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but I bet there are more if you include all the smaller ponds.  The geese have been nesting here for generations.  It is not unusual to have to stop your car and wait for mama goose to lead her gaggle of young across the road.  Every summer there is at least one golf course that tries to remove the geese from their pristine fairways.  And each attempt results in failure.  The geese were there first and they will remain, no matter what.

I like fall best of all because of the color, but spring runs a close second.  It means that the long winter is over and there is hope for summer breezes and sunshine.  In February we in the north wonder if we will ever see green grass and leaves again.  We do...thanks to spring.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Beautiful Day

The temperature is 61 degrees and rising.  There is sunshine and blue skies.  A soft breeze finds its way through my open windows.  After lunch I may go sit out on the deck and soak it all in.  Even the scenic view of the parking lot for the bar next door can't put a damper on such a lovely day.

Ah Spring.  You were worth the wait.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday Ramble

It is a quiet day in the neighborhood today.  I am occupied with the usual chores that keep my apartment livable - washing dishes - putting away yesterday's canned soup - vacuuming - etc.

It is finally looking like Spring.  The temperature reached 65 degrees this afternoon and the forecast is for more of the same.  Brown is no longer the predominate color.  Everywhere I look there is green grass and green leaves coming out on the trees.  We didn't have a bad winter.  But it just seemed to last so long.  Spring is very welcome.  Soon I will be able to open my windows and let that lovely spring breeze in.

I read an article the other day that made me laugh.  It seems that Harvard Law School has stopped the practice of charging a late fee for overdue library books.  The reason for this is that it is way too stressful for the precious snowflakes to have to worry about overdue library fees.  Really?  Overdue book fees are too stressful?  Good grief.  How in the name of all that is good and holy are those people going to handle the stress of everyday living.  Not to mention the stress that goes along with their chosen profession of Attorney at Law.   If I should ever need a good attorney, I'm pretty sure I would want one who wasn't stressed by overdue library fees.

So I am off to the kitchen to fix me a bit of supper.  I'm thinking some homemade chicken nuggets and a bowl of coleslaw.  With a dish of banana pudding for dessert.  Works for me!

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Good Day For Soup

I don't think the temperature got much over 36 degrees today.  And it has been raining off and on for a couple of days.  I won't complain.  The worst of the weather went around us and that included snow.  Any time the snow gives us a miss, I am happy.  But the chilly, wet weather is most definitely good soup making weather.

Friday before my dance watching marathon, I dug four ham bones out of the freezer, tossed them into my biggest stock pot, covered them with water and simmered them most of the day.  I picked the meat from the bones and strained the resulting broth.  There was enough good, rich ham broth to cook up three bags of split peas, which I did today.  I added some diced carrots from the freezer, a couple of handfuls of my dehydrated onions, some garlic powder and the ham pieces.  I let the soup simmer all afternoon and then ladled it into pint jars.  I got 16 pints of split pea and ham soup, with enough left over for supper.

I have about 20 lbs. of hamburger in the freezer, so tonight I will take that out to thaw and can it up tomorrow.  Seems like whenever I take something out of the freezer to can, I find more food underneath it that needs to be processed.  I still have cranberries that were under the hamburger, so dealing with them is my next project.  Maybe if I keep at it, I might actually find the bottom of my freezer.  Maybe.