Monday, July 24, 2017


Just because I am retired doesn't mean that I don't need a vacation now and then.  I seem to have hit a brick wall when it comes to writing.  So I am taking time away from the computer to relax and refresh.  I am not going anywhere, but daydreams put me on a sunny beach with a fruity, paper umbrella enhanced drink in one hand and a good mystery novel in the other.  I truly appreciate those of you who stop by this silly little blog.  I will be back in a week or two.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dog Days of Summer

"The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere." - Wikipedia

That seems to describe the mood here in my little Home Sweet Apartment.  Except that our weather hasn't been all that hot, with temps in the 80's during daylight hours and the humidity at mid-range.  Of all the descriptive words used above, I think that 'lethargy' best describes it.  My 'get-up-and-go' seems to have 'got-up-and-went.'

I have been doing just enough of the housekeeping chores to keep my apartment from reaching pig-sty status.  Otherwise it has been naps and reading and naps and entering data into my genealogy program and naps.  I think this might just continue over the weekend and with any kind of luck I may acquire some energy by Monday.  I have several projects waiting for me to wake up enough to do them.  Until that happens, those folks listed in the sidebar are leading lives much more exciting than mine at the moment.  Go visit them and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Some mornings...

are better than others.  This morning is one of those.

Beautiful sunrise.
Cool enough yet to have my windows open.
Birds singing their little hearts out in the tree outside my window.
Slight breeze bringing fresh air into my apartment.
Rain shower helping to keep the heat at bay, at least for now.
Good cup or two of coffee.
Bacon and eggs for breakfast.

The rest of the day is a crap shoot what with storms and heat predicted, but for now it is a good morning just to be alive.

Monday, July 17, 2017


There are several YouTube channels I like to watch on a regular basis.  Some are about artsy craftsy stuff.  Others are about quilting.  And some fall into the category of homesteading.  They include everything from gardening to raising small livestock to food preservation to frugal living and a self-sustaining lifestyle.

One of my favorites is called 'Deep South Homestead'  and is done by a couple living in southern Mississippi.  I have learned much from watching their videos.  At present they are doing a series about financial freedom.  Unlike many videos with similar topics, they do not give tips on money management, but rather show how experiences from childhood and beyond can influence the way an adult manages their finances to be debt free.

As I watched their video this morning, it got me to thinking about how the way I was raised was similar in many ways to the things they spoke of and how different things were then from the way they are today.

As a child, the rule was that nobody played until the work was done.  That meant that at suppertime, the table was properly set and the family sat down together for the meal.  After supper the dishes were cleared, washed, dried and put away.  Only then were we free to relax and pursue whatever was of interest to us.

I was 15 years old before our family had a television.  Before that, we listened to the serial programs on the radio like Dragnet or Abbot and Costello or Amos 'n Andy.  Sometimes we could get musical shows, mostly country or western, my Dad's favorites.  Whether it was radio or television, mother believed it was a sin to just sit and watch or listen, so I always was doing something at those times.  Maybe it was knitting a scarf or hemming a skirt or embroidering a dish towel, but my hands were never idle.  I have continued along those lines to this day.

If a person kept animals of any kind, their needs came first.  No matter if it was raining or if there was a blizzard raging, the animals had to be fed, watered and their living areas had to be kept clean.  Only when these tasks were accomplished could a person even think about their own needs.

Gardens were more than just a hobby.  The produce grown was essential to keeping the family fed over the winter months and until the garden of the following year began producing.  Early mornings would find us weeding.  That was also the time of day when vegetables were picked, cleaned and made ready for either freezing or canning.  When the vegetables were in the freezer or in jars cooling on the counter, then and only then were we free to do what we wanted to do.

Saturday mornings were not for watching cartoons, but were for cleaning the house 'just in case we get company.'  Wooden and tile floors were scrubbed, rugs were vacuumed, bed linens were changed, furniture was dusted and bathrooms were made to sparkle.  After that there were cakes or cookies to bake to make sure there were treats to go with coffee should any neighbor or relative drop by.

Another thing we were taught that I find sadly lacking today were manners.  It didn't matter whether or not we liked an adult, they were treated with respect.  'Yes, Ma'am' and 'No, Sir' was the correct way to respond.  We never, ever called an adult by their first names.  It was always Miss, Mrs. or Mr.  I suppose it might have been easier then because we were clear about gender rolls.  The only time first names were acceptable were when addressing Aunt Emily or Uncle Oscar.

I think the whole thing boils down to being taught responsibility.  Making sure the garden was well kept insured that we would eat over the winter.  Working before playing instilled in us a work ethic that would last a lifetime.  And good manners combined with respect for others is what separated us from the savages.  All of these things, even those learned as children, went a long way to attaining responsibility in all areas, including financial.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I Am Tired...

I am tired of hearing about the Russians.

I am tired of listening to celebrities telling me how they think I should live while they are paid millions to pretend to be somebody else.

I am tired of all the reports of people being beaten to a bloody pulp for the crime of wearing a Trump cap.

I am tired of Congress spending so much time trying to get rid of Trump and so little time on doing what we elected them to do.

I am just plain tired of Black Lives Matter for dozens of reasons.

I am particularly tired of California Representative Maxine Waters and her ilk screaming impeachment at every turn.

And I am tired of news articles like the one that set me off on this rant today.  It seems that two black ministers are suing Coca Cola because they believe too many persons of color drink too many sodas that cause them to become obese.  It's because Coca Cola advertises their products, don't you see.

Let that sink in.

Seems to me that if you drink sodas and you are fat, one thing you could do is, oh I don't know, maybe stop drinking sodas?  Of course, that would require some personal responsibility.  Can't have that.  Being personally responsible means that you have to work on the problem yourself and stop blaming others for your actions.

I can't do anything about any of the above.  People are going to be mean and hateful no matter what I say.  And so far, I have found no way to fix Stupid.  I can't just stop checking the news reports because I think it is important to keep an eye on what is going on in the world.  That is part of the preparedness thing.

But I can spend far less time on the headlines and much more time doing what makes me and mine happy.  Sounds like a plan to me.

Kicking that well used soapbox back into the corner now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beat the Heat

I know that our temperatures here in Minnesota can't come close to those in the states west of us, but nonetheless, it is hot.  And muggy.  Staying indoors in my air conditioned apartment is the best possible option.  I don't do well with hot and muggy.

I have 10 lbs. of potatoes waiting to be dehydrated and beans ready to be canned up into pork and beans, but I believe they can just wait a while longer.   The central air in my building works fine as long as I keep the windows closed and don't run the dehydrators or the stove too much.  I am glad that I canned several varieties of soup earlier.  Lunches this week will be soup from a jar that I can microwave and maybe a sandwich.  The crockpot will be getting a workout this week as it throws off very little heat.  I thawed out some chicken legs and will add some broth, a jar of diced potatoes and carrots, some dehydrated onion and let it cook all day.  Dumplings added  about a half hour before suppertime will make a good meal.

My scrawny bean plants have a few more blossoms on them and so does the cantaloupe.  Looks like I should have blossoms opening up on the zucchini in a week or two.  So far I haven't killed off any of the plants in my little windowsill garden.  I thought for sure I would have murdered at least some of them by now.

Aside from a few minor housekeeping chores, I think it will be quiet here in my little corner of the world.  I have sewing projects and books to read and I need to make some entries in my genealogy program.  Lots to do without having to deal with the heat and humidity.

Life is good.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Never Too Old To Learn

So two or three months ago I bought half a dozen one pound bags of Great Northern beans.  Thought about taking them out of the original packaging, but got busy and just tossed them into an empty box in my pantry closet.  Well, that's not quite true.  There may have been some laziness involved.

My grocery order this week included five bags of the dry beans.  I brought the box of beans from my pantry out to the kitchen table with the intent of repackaging part of them and using some of the older ones to can up as pork and beans.

To my horror I found the original six bags crawling with little black bugs.  And so was the box they were in.  I double wrapped the whole shebang in trash bags, sealing the tops with tape.  Now they can live in the dumpster and not in my pantry.

So I learned that dry beans should be removed from the original plastic bags to be repackaged, the same as I do with anything I want to store that comes in cardboard packaging.  I know that bugs like to hide in cardboard.  I didn't know they also like plastic bags full of dry beans.

I opened the five bags I just bought, sorted them to remove any bad beans, put them into freezer bags and stacked them in the freezer where they will stay for a few days, just to make sure nothing is crawling around in them.

We are never too old to learn.  I am glad all that lesson cost me was a few bags of beans.

Friday, July 7, 2017

An Artist in the Family

Artistic talent has shown up from time to time in my Mother's side of the family.  My Aunt Margaret painted beautiful portraits.  I have no examples of her paintings, but I do have this pencil sketch she did of me when I was young.

Uncle Duane painted landscapes.  Here is an example of his work.

Sadly, the artistic gene bypassed me.  My attempts at drawing or painting looked like something done by a toddler.  Sigh.

So I was delighted when I learned of my granddaughter Maddie's interest in painting.  She sent me a card thanking me for the birthday money I had sent her and telling me she would use the gift to purchase art supplies.  I asked her Dad to take some pictures of her paintings for me.

I would like them even if I weren't her Grandma.  Her Dad tells me that she loves to paint.  I hope she continues.

Oh, and Maddie May - I'm pretty sure I could find a frame and a blank wall.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I Have Four...

count them - four actual, for real snap beans growing on my three leggy, raggedy looking snap bean plants in the window sill.  And I'm not for sure certain, but it looks like the cucumber and zucchini plants might be thinking about setting some blossoms.   What I think may be blossoms are tiny, so it will be a while before I know for sure.  Hope springs eternal.  :)

That's about all the excitement this old heart can stand.  The rest of my week and weekend is planned to be pretty quiet and has me dehydrating hash browns and more onions.  My grocery order this week includes several bags of Great Northern beans to replace those I have taken out of storage to can into pork and beans.  I am using a new recipe so I won't post it unless the finished product is really good.  I will do those maybe next week when the outdoor temps cool down a bit.  

I did have a nice phone call earlier this week.  Granddaughter Boston called to tell me she had passed the test and had received her learner's permit to drive.  She was so excited and I am glad she thought to share that excitement with me.  David, my youngest son and her Dad, called me a couple of days later and during our conversation remarked that he could barely make it in the door in the evening before Boston was right there asking, 'Can we go for a drive, Dad?  Let's go for a drive.'  I laughed.  I'm sorry.  Just couldn't help myself.  Especially when I think of the fact that this is the first to learn to drive and there are two more waiting in the wings.  I expect one day David will laugh about it, too.  But not just yet.  :)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Independence Day

I will be back after the holiday.  Until then, this is me...wishing all of you a safe and happy Independence Day, enjoying whatever family traditions you observe.