Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Wahl's MS diet did not work well for me.

Oh, I did get SOME benefit, but it appeared to be mostly from the Kale. I have no idea why the kale should help me but it does!

Well, it was worth it because now I know to eat kale every day.

A lot of people have reported wonderfull results in reducing their MS, and I wish them well! People report leaving their wheelchairs and canes behind! But, I think it is time for me to set the Wahl's diet aside and do more on-line research for new things to try.

What *HAS* helped my MS is kale, L-carnitine, and capsules of turmeric and cumin. (cumin is the spice that makes like chili taste like chili, and you can get either spice in any grocery store). I get the empty capsules on-line.


On the GREAT side, my daughter has gotten a job at Ace hardware! She starts on Monday!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Fall!

It is cold and rainy here! It was 70 when I got up and I went to the hardware store without a sweater: I *DO* know better this time of year! I half froze when I got out of the pickup! It was 45 degrees out when I got back with the pear tree that I got on sale: It cost just $15! I will have one of the kids plant it this weekend. The ground should be nice and soft after the rain.

I always go over my budget during the fall sales: This week I also got some half-priced daffodil bulbs. I got 250 bulbs for perhaps $20, and who can resist a deal like that??????? Most of them are yellow but about 1/5 of them are white. I have a weakness for that color scheme! Which is good because most of what was left was yellow. That is fine: as I have said I am very fond of the color scheme! I am VERY pleased!

The dog is sleeping next to me on the sofa on my sweater: he has spent most of the last 3 days outside but it is too cold and wet for him today! He does hate the rain!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Food is really expensive!

As a middle aged woman, I have ways to reduce my food bill. Not everybody can, and I think about paying full price and I shudder!

Every Tuesday bananas at my favorite store are on sale, and since I decided to shop today I bought a fair amount! And, because I have apples from my own tree I decided to make fruit salad tonight and so I bought a bag of little oranges: 3 pounds for $4! And, the peels were thick which means that the oranges were really quite SMALL!

The dish was affordable because I had the apples from the tree and the bananas were on sale: it would have been terribly expensive otherwise!

Speaking of apples, while I only put the best-looking apples in the fridge there is no guarentee that there will not be worms. in them: not every worm hole shows! Home raised apples are best sliced before eating! Of course that is no problem if making fruit salad as the apples are sliced anyways! But, that was not a problem today as the three apples that I cut up used showed no sign of having anything in them excepting good, healthy apple.

An apple still warm from the sun tastes far better than supermarket apples! Though, if you look at the BOTTOM of the supermarket apples they will soon reveal which are fresh and which are not! If the tendrils at the bottom, where the core is, are still green then the apple is VERY fresh! It will be juicy and aromatic! If, however, the tendrils are brown then it will be just another dull supermarket apple, possibly soft and mealy, and in my opinion better for cooking than for eating fresh!!!!!!!

I still have better than 5 pounds of apples from my tree: the fridge will keep them good for months but they will be eaten before too long. Last year I did not have apples on the trees because of a late frost, and so I bought a LOT! of apples from the supermarket at 88 cents  pound. I was lucky: some of those apples had totally green tendrils at the bottom of the core so I knew they had just been picked! I bought those, and they lasted us well into February. They were soft, of course, by then instead of crackling and juicy. They were still excellent for cooking, though! If properly stored apples will last for a very long time..

Friday, September 28, 2012

The summer heat has broken, and I am BUSY-BUSY-BUSY!

I am pretty much doing what I can outside, before the winter weather hits!

The new grass is up, and it might not ned watering any onger! I will watch the weather.

DS and I planted 8 peonys in the back yard, and we laid a strip of weed barrier down so that nobody has to keep it weeded. I planted a Barzilla (Yellow), Henry Sass (white), Shawnee Chief (red), Gay Paree ((2-toned pink), Katharine (white), and a pink and a white from a local nursery:I forget those names!

And, in the front yard we planted 2 small peonies called "Merry Sunshine" next to the mail box.

Also, DD burned the dead limbs this week, so now the yard will soon be tidy. She left a couple of charcol logs, which I will get to shortly.

AND, I saw a neater way to fasten weed barrier down with: the local nursery is using heavy metal stakes with washers! So today I bought 25 spikes with washers: soon the wood that I weigh te weed barrier down with will be back on the weed pile!

And, tomorrow we plan on putting the skin on the greenhouse.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To live like you were dying.

No, I am *NOT* dying, but now might be the only time for the fun that DH and I had always planned on doing. We had a pretty good time, just the two of us,  before we adopted the kids and we always figured on having fun when they had moved out also.

So, I tagged along when DH was sent to a conferance in California. We ate out in restaurants, and when the conferance was over we went to Disneyland and then we drove up the coast. A hotel with a view of Morro rock, Clam chowder on a deck overlooking the beach...... it was fun! DH says he does not want to go back to work!

Meanwhile, the kids were dealing with life without Mom to help. The cat got bit and so DD took him in to the vets and they treated him, DD then got sick, and so forth. Since they are 18 and 19 this might have been  a good dry run for adulthood.

Speaking of adulthood, DD is working fewer hours for me, is only taking one college class, and has not turned in a job application in weeks that I know of. Now that we are back from the trip, I have given her *DIRE WARNINGS* of charging her $35 a week room and board if she does not get a job. She is 19: she does not get to kick back! She has a car to save up for, an apartment to pick out, and an adult life to live. She does not get to act like a kid!

And, lastly, I am having an MS day. Every now and then the MS flares up and BITES be, and it is doing so today! I had been meaning to give gluten-free, milk- free, and egg-free a try: perhaps today is when I should do it. Half of the anti-inflamatory diet is eating more greens and the other hald is cutting out the above foods: I have done the adding foods part-seaweed and all- perhaps now would be the time to stop eating the foods that I am not supposed to be eating.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No-work onions: how they turned out.

I had mixed results with the onions, but I noticed something. Last Fall I missed a couple of tiny onions, and this spring they grew early and gave me nice fat onions. But, the onion sets that I planted this spring stayed small and hot. So, I think that I have only gotten little onions because I have been planting them too late in the year.

This is a problem because in my area onion sets are not available until March, and that is apparently just too late.

So, this fall, instead of harvesting my little onions to put in a stew or a stir-fry I will leave them alone and harvest them next year. Hopefully they will be nice and big and mild!!!!!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the onions are being grown in perlite in a shallow raised bed. There is weed barrier below the onions. They were origionally grown with strawberries but it was so hot that I could not keep everything watered: the onions responded by bulbing up but the strawberries they were planted with did die.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Water Company Wants Hundreds of Dollars to Just Give an Estimate!!!!!!

Not for the house, of course! We HAVE water for the house! I was wanting an estimate for the 5 acres of land that we own outside of town. It was SUPPOSED to be my farm, but I got sick before we could do anything with it. But, I have never had the heart to sell it: it is not that easy to sell a dream! Alter it, maybe......

I am thinking of growing perrenials. I have a few established right now, but for a really cool set-up I need to be able to water. Back before I got sick I had intended to use the creek, but the darnned thing is 25  feet below where I intend to plant! There was a time when I would have bought a foot pump and used it to fill a holding tank, but, now I lack the strength. So, City water is probably what we need. DH would like city water anyways, as he looks on the land as an investment instead of as a farm, and the water would make the land worth more. So, perhaps half of the cost from the household account, and the other half from me?

At any rate, I explained to the lady at the Water Company that I was not intending to have water put in any time soon: I was just looking for a savings account to aim for before I asked for an estimate. She said she just COULDN'T give even a rough estimate over the phone, but when I asked if my savings account should be closer to $1,000 or $10,000, she allowed that often $6,000 would be safer than $1,000. You have to really love helpfull phone operators: she both avoided giving an estimate while simultaneously giving me an idea of what the cost was going to be! She did me a favor, and I am well aware of it!

Over the last few years I have managed to save up $2000. Some of it was from having my blood drawn at an MS research place, some of it was from selling a few articles, and some of it was from any unspent pocket money: the kids got allowances and I eventually figured out that I should also! So, I set aside anything I did not spend on sodas and such when I was in town.

I would not spend that money this year regardless, because I do  not know which way the economy is going to bounce. Right now that money is only for emergencies: I can pay the mortgage and feed us for 2 months of time with  that money, and, regardless of what Washington intends to do I intend to feed us! But, hopefully, in 2-3 years time things will have settled down enough for me to turn that land into a hobby farm. That is actually what that money was always intended to do when I started the account: I was going use it to turn that land into a berry and honey farm! Well, if my DH can hold his job in these troubling times, perhaps it can be turned into something beautifull instead. At any rate I would never spend it while the economy is so uncertain, but I am hoping to know what the economy will be doing in a couple of years.

In the mean time, I can get serious about saving for water. If I can put $50 per month into savings for 2.5 years then I should have added about $1300 to that account. DH is willing to spend some household money on getting water in it as it will make the value of the land appreciate.

I have been doing on-line surveys and playing computer games at Swagbucks during the time that I have to sit down and rest, and I am clearing about $28 dollars a month from that. And, if I put half of my pocket money into the kitty as well instead of spending it on sodas and such....... I can DO! it!

And, if I try and fail, then the account will have more money in it, and money is always usefull!

I think that I would like a line of daffodils along side of the road: I can get those in before the irrigation goes in as they do not need watering. Behind that, safely outside of the right-of-way for the road, I would like a row of peonys. I lADMIRE peonys, and they come in all sorts of colors! They would have to wait until the irrigation water was in, though. They are not as tough as daffodils are.

Behind that I am not sure: I have NEVER had an eye for form and color! I would like more bulbs, including some lilys, some field corn for my chickens, and I would like to expand the existing asparagus patch near the creek. To the east of this would be my fruit trees, which would be grown in a rough-looking thicket. That area of land is too steep for me to mow and I refuse to try! However, I can pop in a few more trees.

That will pretty much fill in the open land between the road and the creek.

There is a good deal of land on the far side of the creek, but I rarely go there now as I only have a foot bridge of a few pressure-treated planks. It has gotten hard for me to walk on that bridge, and it needs to be ajusted a couple of times a year as high water shifts it. The planks cannot be washed away because I drilled holes in the boards, ran a chain through them, and chained them to two trees but high water does shift it some. And, the bank is steep on the other side. To be totally safe from high water the bridge would have to be 30 feet long and I cannot DO that, so, I make do with planks that stay ALMOST always dry! I did use that bridge for maybe 3 years but it is getting harder for me, now.

It is lovely to have a goal again!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Today my daughter leaves with her boyfriend to go on vacation in Arkansas for the weekend.

She told me a few months ago that she was glad that I was OK with her sleeping with her boyfriend. She said that it meant a lot to her. I replied calmly "Oh, I am not, but you are an adult and you will make your own decisions". Not being blind I had already guessed that they were "together", if you know what I mean!

Her boyfriend is a fine young man. I could tell when she was 16 which way the wind was blowing, but we just reminded her that she was not allowed to date adults. He is somewhat older than she is. They both accepted that they could not date at that time. It might have helped that they did not live in the same city: they met at an anime' convention and mostly talked on the phone and on-line.

 Then she turned 18 and they started dating, because then they were both adults.

She is now 19, and if they are still an item next year I suspect that they will get married. I am just guessing, of course, but then again I am not blind. She is not ready to get married yet: she only got her first real job! But, give it a bit. Young women do grow up!

He is a fine young man, and a couple of years ago he warned us that she was having mood swings but covering them up. She was indeed, and we got her medications changed. There is a fair amount of common sense in that young man!

(I do not recall if I had mentioned this, but my daughter is bipolar. A lot of criminals CLAIM to be biplar to get lighter sentences, but they lie. My daughter has never been in trouble with the law: is the real thing. She gets large mood swings, and if they are neglected she CAN hallucinate. So, the LAST things she should be doing is to "tough out" any major mood swings. Because he was an adult he realized this: because she was only 16 she convinced herself that she could tough it out and hid the symptoms from us, but not from her peer group. So, he called us.)

Oh, about my daughters new job! She has been doing a good deal of the housework around here, because she needed the money and I needed the help, and she wangled that into a housekeeping job! It is only part time, but in a recession jobs first-time are hard to get, and she is very excited about it! She will work with a team, and she very much enjoyed her first few days at work!

So, now I am teaching my son the ropes: he is 18 and unemployed. He is, as I write this, carrying the laundry down the stairs to put into the washing machine. After both kids move out, I think that I will need a small washer and dryer upstairs, but for now my son is doing the laundry as part of his housekeeping job. And, DD is giving me 2 hours of work a week to cover her room and board.

I have told them both that adults work for their livings, and they both have accepted this. So, they both pitch in a couple of hours a week because they are adults, and they work more (at $5 an hour) for their pocket money.

When DD applied for the housekeeping job, she said that she was working for 12 hours a week at $5 an hour as a housekeeper for her handicapped Mother, which was accurate enough! When the lady asked if her getting a different job would put her Mother in a bind, she replied "No, now my brother is being taught how". Yes, young women *DO* grow up!

Well, enough for now! This is not a very homesteady (letter? writing? article?), but, I have not had time to homestead this week. Last night I picked 3 tomatos and another small melon: that has been about it for homesteading this week!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hime Kansen watermelons are doing a wonderfull job

I am picking 2 of the little watermelons a week, from 6-odd plants, and the raccoons look like they are getting as many! 2 melons are a little more than my family eats at one sitting, so we eat our fill of watermelons once a week, and there are leftovers.

It is over 103 several times a week, I water them twice a week, and the plants just keep making more melons.

I got them from Kitazawa seeds in California. I am just loving this!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dr. Wahls' MS diet.

I hab been on it for about a week.

Starting on day 2 I felt better, but now I am not. I did some thinking about the differences in diet, and there are a few. For one thing, we are supposed to eat liver weekly and seaweed weekly, and I started out eating that aswell as a can of spinach,  and then I stopped for a week.That is what the diet said to do.

I might need to eat it more often than that. So, today I ate some seaweed,and also a can of spinach. The seaweed is strips of dried nori, which is meant to make sushi with I just tear off a piece, tear it into bits, and swallow it.

The Wahl diet is almost the same as the Caveman diet, with an exception or two. The reason that MS cripples is because the fatty myelin covering over the nerves is destroyed. Dr. Wahls' diet calls for the consumption of a lot of nutrients that are used to build myelin. To build myelin we consume vitamins B1, B9, B12, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Iodine. Much of this we are to get from the food that we eat.  To increase activity across the synapses (and give us more energy) we are to eat more sulfer and B6.

My short-lived improvement is enccouraging: I will tweek my diet some more. She said to eat seaweed and organ meats weekly, and I ate them on day 1 of the diet. I might eat them more often than that: it is possible that they did me a lot of good..

I do not have all of the info nailed down yet, but we are to eat a lot of dark colored vegetables as well as vegetables for the cabbage family. So, I make a large mixing bowl full of, basically, coleslaw and I eat it at every meal. She recommends large amounts of red cabbage, kale (a type of dark green cabbage), carrots, and so forth. With a little vinegar it does taste a lot like cole slaw, though,I need to brush my teeth AFTER breakfast instead of before it because vinegar after sweet toothpaste is not too pleasant!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

An update on the handicapped garden!

As I mentioned last spring, I am somewhat handicapped but I love to garden. I am seeking out an easier way. Here are the results so far:

How the large plants did: Corn, okra, watermelon, broccolli, sunflowers, 3 patches of mustard greens, and peppers.

As I mentioned last spring, I had my son help me roll out woven greenhouse flooring and I punched holes every 3 feet. This was not its intended purpose as I am not using it in a greenhouse, but in my outside garden.
More than one seed was put in each hole. It is working very well: only the pepprs are doing badly and that might be the record breaking heat. It might also be because the peppers are at the edge of the garden: they might be getting watered less.

The okra is doing exceptionally well: there are 4 holes of okra planted, with 1-3 plants in each. We are getting more okra than my family of 4 can eat. The mineature watermelons (Hime Kansen variety, from Kitazawa seeds) have been picked twice, and the plants look healthy enough to set more melons.
Tomatos and potatos.

I have gotten mixed results from the potatos, so I am not sure what to say. I will give an update this fall.

Tomatos are doing very well. Every now and then I take string with me when I care for the chickens, and I tie up a couple of branches. This is AMOST enough:not quite. However, the tomatos are delicious and I am not losing many to rot as very few are toucing the ground. The kids are snacking on the tomatos, and I am also cutting them into the salads. We are pretty much keeping them eaten. HOWEVER, the heat is hurting the pollination of the current crop of flowers: in a few weeks we might be low on tomatos! That is a problem for the future, however.

The small plants that must be weeded did:
As I had said in an earier post, an assortment of small plants were put in a raised bed with weed barrier below, perlite above, and a little fertilizer. Those plants did not come on as quickly as they would have if I had planted them in the dirt, but they are producing. The wind did bring weed seeds and it was hard to get them out wthout injuring the roots of the vegetables. My yield was about 3/4 of what I would have gotten if I had planted them in the ground, but if I had had to plan them into the ground I might not have gotten any harvest as I can no longer dig the roots up! I have harvested quite a few salad greens, and some raw carrots to munch on while I am outside. There are good looking beets in there, but as I do not cook beets very well I am using the greens for salads.

I also have flowers: California poppys are doing wonderfully well and they are still blooming, and I also got anenomes.


3/4 of my garden is weed free. I got a little grass when the wind blew seeds onto the top of the woven greenhouse flooring and the grass got some roots through when it rained, but I pulled the few weeds out when they were small and they have not come back. Unfortunately, where I did not get them when they were small, I now have long grass in about 1/4 of the garden. I am smothering that out, with reasonable success.

That is my vegetable garden so far.

I have planted the garden, watered it, and I have picked: that is all the work I have done. other than pullin a few weeds int he spring that is almost all that I have done, and the garden is doing wonderfully well. The rest of the work was just little things like tying up the tomatos as they grow. I had to weed a little as the grass seed was blown onto the top of the woven greenhouse flooring, but I did not get all of it and so I am smothering out some long grass with scraps of carpet, which does work. On the whole I am pleased with my no work garden. It has not really turned out to be NO work, but since I have not particularly had to weed it sure seems like it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Drought in he Midwest is Getting worse

We have not had rain for weeks,  and todays rain showers only added up to less than a inch. The plants might have gotten enoug moisture okeep them alive for the next 4-odd days, but then it will be gone and there is no more rain in theforcast.

The corn field around me ate starting to show yellow leaves. If we do not get rain soon, the corn in this part of Kansas may well be lost.

The winter wheat has already been harvested and it looked excellent, but if everybody looses their corn crop then the price of livestock feed will be very high!

The kids and I were SORT of able to keep my vegetable garden watered, even though it has hit 107 repeatdly It is yielding pretty well. I am getting more okra from my 6 plants then I got a few years ago from one and a half rows of okra! Okra LOVES! the heat!

It is cooler now, with highs in the 90's, so last night I went out at sunset, settled down onto the ground, and picked tomatos. It was lovely!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pergo flooring does not belong in the kitchen!

Mine looks wonderfull, of course! Alas, my daughter spilled a little flour, which sifted between the cracks.

I immediately hit it with the vacuum, which, after some time, got up the little white line that was so very obvious....

I am lucky: my kids are teens. If I had a novice cook, thee WOULD be considerable spills and I would not be able to keep it looking nice!

And, it DOES look nice! But, flour shows up so terribly, and you cannot run a kitchen without flour!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Update on the no-work potatos!

I picked some potatos yesterday. I simply picked them off of the ground like they were pebbles.

These no-work potatos were the first ones that I had put in, and instead of burying the potatos I just covered them with newspaper. Well, we had a spell of bad weather this week and the paper shifted due to the wind, exposing the spuds. So, I picked the exposed potatos up.

Most of the potatos had a little green on them, but the spuds were tasty enough once I had removed all of the green area. Apparently the newspaper was not heavy enough to keep ALL of the light out! (For beginning potato growers, I will mention that if light hits a growing potato it will turn that spot green, and green spots on potatos are bitter).

I will DEFINATELY save some newspaper for next spring! Now that this method shows such promise, I believe that next year I will make an entire row of delicious potatos with newspaper over them! Though, I will make the layer of newspaper heavier. And, perhaps I will also lay in a supply of rocks to weigh the newspapers down as the wind in Kansas can be fierce!

Tonight I ate potato salad made with home grown potatos, eggs from my chickens, mayo, celery,  relish, and a little salt. It was delicious!

All the neurologist offered was vitamins and a consultation with a sleep study specialist


On the good side, the folic acid and the vitamin B12 has me feeling better already, so apparently he was correct when he said that MS patients were often low on both.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I see my neurologist, tomorrow. It is a strangely depressing thought, that.

Perhaps because I want to ask him a few hard questions? I both hope that he can help and I am afraid that he cannot.

I stopped by the raised bed on the way to shut the chickens in tonight, and I pulled a baby carrot. It was only one bite's worth, but it made me feel better, somehow. A carrot from the works of my hands.... perhaps it makes me feel less helpless?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Diabetic Diet made Easy

So, you just came home after being the diabetic diet. You have pamphlets, a book, booklets, and handouts to read. The trouble is, you are hungry NOW! And, you haven'thad a chance to read the book yet!

BTDT, got the T-shirt. Below is a down-and-dirty way to get started towards a healthy diabetic diet. It isn't very PRECISE, but it is pretty darned close!!!!!

LUNCH: Any thick, meaty sandwich will do, preferably with either a side salad or put lettuce and tomato on the sandwich. A peanut butter sandwich will also do. If you like, a few pieces of onion would be excellent!

And, while I am NOT talking about the subway footlong, as that is 2 sandwiches instead of one, the 6 inch Subway sandwiches fit nicely into the diet plan. If you are at home, a tuna fish sandwch or a peanut butter sandwich will do. Preferably with non-starchy vegetables like lettuce and celery.

DINNER: Meat the size of one or two decks of cards, either a potato or a grain product the size of a small womans fist, and salad.

You might be worried about the amount of salad dressing you can use, but until you have read the materials don't! This is close enough to get you started!

Milk or sugar-free iced tea to drink: I keep  a pitcher of tea in the fridge.

BREAKFAST: An egg and a piece of toast will do if you are as small as I am. Or, 2 eggs and a piece of toast if you are larger than 5'2", which I am NOT!

SNACKS: Eat at LEAST 3 snacks a day: I sometimes eat 4 when I am active. An easy snack is a fistfull of saltine  crackers. I eat 5 crackers but I am short. OR, a whole graham cracker. OR, a piece of fruit  (A half a banana counts as a piece of fruit). Pretzels. Or Jerky or cheese or nuts.  Or, leftovers. When I wanted another piece of chicken or whatever at a meal but it was not on my diet I used to set it aside for my next snack. It made it easier to stay on my diet!

Snacks are important and the diet will NOT work unless you eat your snacks! The body of a diabetic person does not slowly absorb nutrients, it dumps everything into your blood stream all at once, which makes your blood sugar go up too high, but then it drops too low and you run on empty long before your next meal. Don't run out of gas: eat your SNACKS! If your intake of food (fuel) is slow and steady, your blood sugar will even out.


You will no longer feel tired and a little stupid after eating. We all have lives to live, and it is a torment to feel like taking a nap just when your full attention is needed! That kind of fatigue happens when your blood sugar is bouncing up and down! You will feel better once you are stable.

Your blood pressure will go down. Mine went WAAY down and I went off of my blood pressure pills, with my doctors approval, for 10-odd years. I am back on them now but then I am much older than I was.

You will not be nearly as hungry. Aside from a few STRONG bursts of appetite at the very beginning, I am far less hungry. I sit down with an appetite, yes, but I no longer feel like I am shaking with hunger at mealtime. And, if I get hungry too soon, I tide myself over until dinner with a couple of crackers. And, because you *ARE* less hungry, you will loose weight.

This is not intended to be the entire diabetic diet, this is just to get you started. It is INTENDED to help you, when you are in the middle of the literature, to decide what's for dinner tonight!

You will need a scale to weigh things for a few months to check your portion size, and to check your memory for portion size now and then.

Now that my blood sugar is stable, I no longer feel like somethng the cat vomited up. It is worth following the diet just for that!

Live long and prosper!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Pets are Good for Depression!

I did better today: I was busy but I was working in a tidy living room. The kids even vacuumed.

While I was not bouncy and happy today, I was not depressed either until this evening, and then it set in.

 So, I gave my litle dog a rawhide bone at the same time I gave him his dinner! Oh, the DECISIONS he had to make! Whether to leave his food unattended and chew his bone-and we have 3 cats for him to be suspicious of- or whether to put off the pleasure of chewing his rawhide bone in order to eat his dinner!

Silly dog!

First he picked up his new toy and walked into the living room with me. Then he went back to his dinner, set the bone down, ate the dinner and took his bone back to the living room and he took it under the furniture. Where he hid it.

He must be too full of dinner to want to chew it this moment, but he WILL get back to it, LOL!

An update on my weed-free vegetable bed.

There is rather more grass than I expected, as the wind brings in some seeds. Just because you use weed free medium does not make it weed-free for ever. Still, I am VERY pleased with it! A casual pull of just a little grass whenever I harvest greens is enough to keep the weeds under control. The vegetable leaves are now touching each other, and so the grass seedlngs are gettng very little light. The vegetables are simply out-competing the grass and weeds.

The carrots are just starting to get thicker roots, which is a little later than when they are planted in our good clay soil but the plants are healthy and they will get there. I only got a few beets  from all the seeds I scattered but those beets look VERY good! I would pull them to cook beets if  had more of them: as it is I am getting HUGE beet leaves to add to my salads! I would rather enjoy weeks of big leaves than one meal of beet roots! I have let the lettuce go to seed so that I will get volenteer lettuce this fall, and the green onions are the star attraction of the garden at this time. They really are good, and every onion set appears to have taken.

The days wll be getting longer soon, and so the onions will soon bulb up. I doubt they will get very big, as right now they are still just an excellent size for green onions. No matter. If they get big I will make onion rings to DIE for, and if they are small I will cut them up for stir-fries. Both are good.

My chicks are now little red hens, and they might start laying the first of July. And, right on cue, my kids have stopped eating eggs! That is the thing with kids: first they cannot get enough of a food and then they do not want any for MONTHS! I had thought that that would stop because both of them have stopped growing, but apparently not!

Chckens are very good for a handicaped homesteader. They produce every day, and everything is light and easy to carry. They only need 5 minutes of care a day.

I get the kids to carry in the big feed sacks. Older folk with no kids simply ask for it to be placed in the car for them. Then, when they get home, they open the bag while it is still in the car and they unload it one small bucket full at a time. Since 4 chickens only need one bag of feed a month, a small flock of layers are not much work, and 4 hens will give almost 4 dozen eggs a month, if they are well-bred birds.

I had started a few patches of alfalfa to give high-protien snacks for the hens, and now I am glad that they are spaced out! Something-possibly slugs- has eaten half of the alfalfa patches! There are some bare patches and there are a few skeletenized leaves, and I have lot half of the alfalfa.

The other half, however, is strong and so I might plant more before it gets hot. Maybe. We will see!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I feel stupid, lately, and lethargic. It is the MS doing it.

To rev me up a bit I went out to mow on the riding mower. I always feel good after I have enjoyed the sun and fresh air!

I got half of the front lawn mowed and the mower quit on me! I suspect the fuel filter and so does my husband. He says it cannot be cleaned, it will have to be replaced. So I guess it is out until Monday at the earliest.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I think that I will stay home from church and have the kids pick up the clutter. It ALSO lifts my mood when the kids have taken care of all of their stuff and vacuumed as well! And, yes, some of it is my stuff as well, so we will all be working. I think an hour of work should do it.

The MS DOES cause depression at times, but a tidy place to sit helps me to beat the blues. And, I have a library book and the makings for popcorn and ice tea. All of these things are remedies for depression, and I have found that it works on MS depression as well.

Good night!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It took them 3 days to install the floor, and it was exhausting!!!

It was only suspposed to take one or two days, and I was on pins and needles the entire time! I don't know why.

The floor was installed, the furniture moved in (After pads were attached to the bottom of the table and  chair legs), and the clutter is 80% gone. WHEW!

A problem has already show itself. A small spill of flour occured, and I was left with a thin white line where the boards joined. I was able to vaccum it up, but it is a warning that we will have to be VERY carefull when we cook, or there will be thin white lines all over the floor!

It looks wonderfull however!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

DD graduated on Friday, and DS graduated on Saturday.

I need to totally rethink my life!!!!!!!

Raising 2 kids with health problems has been totally absorbing! First they get sick, which makes for school trouble, then they get caught up, then they get sick AGAIN which makes for more school problems, then they get burned out from school, then.....

You get the picture! Between getting them well again and getting them caught up in school again, I haven't been able to focus on much of anything else. Last months trip to Bennet Springs was a much welcome break from being on a get-them-well-then-help-them-with-school-repeat-as-needed treadmill!

Well, as of now they have both graduated from high school. Check.

Both are healthy. In fact, DD was taken off of her meds last week on a trial basis. So, possibly no more health problems (maybe, anyways) Check.

Both are of legal age. Check.

That means that if I dream a dream, that there might be no emergency to take me away from it. If I want to do something more for myself, I can.

Decisions, decisions!

I might try writing articles again. I haven't sent in a magazine article in years, and while I have a Squidoo account I have never published anything on it. Yet. (Squidoo publishes articles for folks to find on-line  during google searches.)

The house is in poor shape and I REALLY want to fix that! It was a lovely house when we bought it, and now it looks SO shabby! The kitchen floor was the most obvious thing, and once that is done perhaps I will find the ambition to put in more sweat equity.

Lastly, the finances need attention. We were actually in the black until 2 years ago, when everything broke at the same time and my BIL died and DS had his second surgery, and then my MIL died last June. The finances most CERTAINLY need more attention!!!!!! I have been neglecting them, and the credit card statements are showing it! Well, I am good at paying them off, but it DOES take time and attention!

So, I cannot throw very much money at the house. I *CAN* afford to pay the kids $5 an hour to help, buy paint, and.... I wonder if I can buy carpeting next winter? This carpeting came with the house, and it was new 25 years ago. It was GOOD carpeting, but now it looks old and, well, SHABBY!

That is all I am going to post today, as we are going out to dinner tonight to celebrate my youngest son's graduation.  We MEANT to go out last night after grduation, but ice cream was desired and nobody was very hungry. Also, I wa REALLY tired!!!!!!!!!!!! We ate at a place of DD's choosing on Friday, and now it is DS's turn. He wants to eat at a buffet, so off we will go!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My No-Weed Strawberry Bed.

Hey, this thing just might work!

I made a long, narrow bed (1 foot wide) by the East side of the greenhouse. There is weed barrier below and perlite as a filler. I lay strawberry plants flat on the bottom before the filler went in, and then I poked onion sets into the top of the filler. The bed is only 3-4 inches deeps.

It appears to be working! The onion sets are now tall and strong, and the strawberry plants are just starting to break the surface! The idea was for the onions to get the light that they needed by growing above the strawberries, which would spread and cover the perlite in a solid mass.

It ALMOST did not come off, as strawberry plants were hard to find! Everybody had individually potted plants at a few dollars each, instead of the bundles!

I eventually bought bare root plants off of the shelf in the hardware store right next to the gladioulus bulbs. They failed. I THEN was able to get real, live plants from The Grass Pad.... the day before we left for our trip!!!!! 

I thought that they would be fine in the fridge in their paper bag but they were not: they dried up something terrible!

I planted them anyways, and 3 plants have just broken the surface. I expect more in the next few days. Even if no more plants grow I can propagate these!

This success helps to balance out my no-dig spuds, which appear to be failing. In previous years the potatos would grow long sprouts while waiting to be planted, and I figured that I would throw woven weed barrior on top of them with just the tips poking out. I figured that potatos would form all along the sprouts.

Alas, the potatos have short, stubby sprouts this year and it is not working at ALL! I am going to plant them today as they are trying to spoil. I have no idea who will end up digging the spuds: probably whoever needs pocket money. More on that in another post.......

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I have been playing hooky from the blog!!!!!!!!

I also  had a good bit of fun!

We started out by renting a cabin at Bennet Springs. And, for a REAL treat, we left the kids at home to take care of the critters. A good time was had by all!

Bennet Springs is noted for its trout fishing, but the trout did not bite. I got one and some pan fish. Mind, there is a trout hatchery there and they release trout daily, but fish are sensitive to weather and there were tornado warnings out south of us....... There were only a few showers during he day but the night time storms were wild!

We usually camp when we decide to enjoy the great outdoors, but since DH had wanted a cabin we ate hoot fod at a table while it stormed outside. It had been a very long time since we took a weekend just for fun, and I feel SO much better! I hadn't realized how discouraged I was getting.

Both of my kids will have their graduation ceremonies in the next couple of weeks. DD actually finished school almost a year ago but because of healh issues she finished late (and at another school, one with on-line high school classes)and so she did not walk down with her class.

One will graduate on the 18th and one on the 19th. I am terrified that I will somehow blow it! Arrive late, or spill something all across my front, or miss something......

I am nervous as a cat. So is DH, and for the same reason. The kids are nervous also. Oh, joy!!!!!!!

On a more homesteady tack, my kitchen floor is still plywood and the kitchen furniture is still in the living rom. See, first they did not order enough flooring and it also took 2 weeks to arrive. Then when they realized that it was short they ordered more and that took 2 weeks to arrive. Then there was minor damage done to two boxes (and also minor damage on the flooring inside the boxes) and so they are ordering more flooring. Which will arrive in.....

I am not holding my breath, here. I try not to let it get me down but I was so looking forward to hving a really good floor............

Those are the highlights, I will write more soon. I promise!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

They are coming today to give me an opinion of the floor.

Though it might take them a few days to let me know if I have done it well enough: the communication with the sales staff is good but the communication with the people who come out to give estimates is simply NOT! And, us hiring them is not guarenteed. We shall see!

As far as the garden goes, little and often! I watered what was up because we had 4-5 days of 90 degree or hotter weather, and I got some coleus seeds planted in a pot.

On the household front, I think it fairly obvious that my daughter will not be working for me much longer, as she is putting in fewer and fewer hours and calling in sick far too often. I have been encouraging her to put out her application for whatever job comes up. Because summer is almost here there really are several entry-level positions being advertized, and because she is a people person I think that she would be outstanding at them. She is falling into a rut, what with part time school and a job that she does not like, and life is too short for that.

She needs to get out there and do a job that challenges her: no woman who has barely turned 19 is excited by pushing a vacuum cleaner! Accept it, perhaps, but teenagers need more stimulation than that!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It was HOT today!

I was working in the sun, and I did not even notice that I was overheating until, of course, I WAS!

I went in and laid down for a bit, when I got up again I noticed that it was 87 degrees out. I had intended to spend the entire afternoon in the garden, because DH is off this weekend with the scouts and the kids are old enough to heat up leftovers.

Nope. I must have laid down for an hour or two before I felt better. It is obviously too hot outside for me!

My youngest wanted a ride to the library so we swapped favors: He got a ride and near sunset -at which time it was only 82 degrees! he helped me get the seeds into the ground.

Seasons do not WAIT! A lot of seeds need to go in during the relative cool of spring, and it is almost too late to be planting the cauliflowers and such!

Half of the garden is ready to be seeded and we got most of that done. I had INTENDED to make a SMALL garden this year, but I had a lot of half-used  packets of seeds that were just SITTING there and.....

They are planted.

DS got way too many seeds in each hill but I can thin them later. Most of those seed packets are empty, and he did not plant that many hills! He did maybe 20 odd hills, and he had 10 half-used  packets, most of which are now empty.

I will thin, and the garden will be glorious!

Friday, March 30, 2012

My kitcchen table is full of flowers in jars!

The floor might be stripped but the table is bright and cheerfull! I must have 50 daffodils there!

The store is going to send somebody out wednesday to see if i have stripped it well enough or not. If they say it isn't good enough thenmy husband wants to go with another company, which sounds good because I am out of patience with the floor!

The 4 new chicks are getting big and they are pleading to go out with the big birds, but I know better. Hens kill stray chicks: it is only the presence of the broody hen which protects them when they are hatched in the middle of  a flock.

They are at a particularly scruffy stage, LOL!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy but tired!!!!!!!!!!!

Today my order FINALLY arrived! I was afraid that it would not arrive until it had gotten hot out!!!!!!!

As soon as I could, I drafted my youngest and we planted the dwarf Liberty apple, the V for Victory rose, and the Saskatoon berry bush. Since the holes were already dug by my daughter I could have done it myself, resting between each plant, but I decided that I did not want to. Besides, my son had expressed an interest in earning money, and I pay $5 an hour.

I showed him how to look for the color change along the stem to know how deeply to plant it, how to gently press the soil around the roots while the holes were being filled, and how to keep the roots out of the sun for as long as possible.

Then I had him water them in and clear up the mess.

I only have one tree left to arrive, and I ordered that e-mail. Since I did not get a thank-you-for-your-order email I am nervous that the order might not have gone through: I will have to closely examine my credit card statement when it arrives.

In the greenhouse the beets and the carrots are up, and so is a very tasty lettuce that I only have one plant of. I wish I knew what variety it is! I might let it go to seed to so that I can have more of it!

The turnips are dead from the aphids: the only good thing about that is that most of the aphids died with them. There was too much room between the turnips and the other plants, and not that many of them make the trip!

My greenhouse flowers are blooming, but it does not look as pretty as I thought that they would! My flower design ability has never been that great. The bed with the windflowers and the pansy's are blooming well enough, but it mostly looks untidy. Colorfull, yes, but untidy! Still, it pleases me that they are healthy and blooming!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I might have overdone it.

I worked a little on the floor, took my youngest to town after he worked ont eh floor and stacked some wood, and then DD and i worked outside for probably 45 minutes. I felt fine.

THEN, I took a long, relaxing bath to clean up and soak the grime from under my nails., I am relaxed, all right: I am so relaxed I need my cane to walk inside the house, instead of just needing it when I walk on the grass. I hate it when my body flat out quits like this, but once in a while I do too much and it does.

If it was just me I would open a can of something for my dinner. I am a little bit of a prepper, and on days like this it sure comes in handy! There is canned meat and canned stew. But, it is Sunday and I feel like something a little more fancy than canned meat over rice.

I asked my daughter if she would like to run errands and be paid for it, and so I have sent her off to the store and she will pick up DS while she is at it. I will have the family cook, because when my body stops like this it takes several hours to recharge it.

If it were not for the kids I would not dare to do so much or push myself so hard.

I drafted my daughter again!

Last year I planted vining crops through holes in woven barrier. It left a lot of dead vines behind that needed to be cleared before I plant this year! Also, during the winter we folded back the plastic so that the right of way could be cleared for the Utility workmen who will be putting up new lines.

They appear to have chosen where they will be working, and it is well away from the garden so I had DD put two of the woven plastic strips back, and I weighed it down with bricks and with metal pins. We also cleared away the dead vines from last year and made everything tidy. There is now an 8 foot by 50 foot strip of garden waiting to be planted!

Because my feet and ankles are the most affected, I did the lower level work, crawling along the edges of the plastic on my hands and knees and re-inserting pins and placing bricks, My daughter used the rake to remove and take away the dead give me a clear field so that I could work.

We are also stripping the floor of the old linoleum so that we can have a new floor. I was told that due to the age of the house that I would need to either have an asbestos test done or strip the old stuff ourselves. I thought, how hard could it be to remove the old linoleum? It was already cracked and broken in two spots!

HA! It is a BEAR! To make it worse, the kids lack patience with it and their attention keeps wandering. As a result, I am doing 80% of it. They help some, and I pay them for it, but if I keep them at it for TOO long they get not very productive. So I try to keep them motivated for an hour at a time and then release them to enjoy their spring break. I have the patience to keep coming back to it and so I have done most of it.

The kids WERE invaluable when it came to empty and move the refridgerator: they attacked the job  with energy and they did not stop until it was done. Teenagers just seem to do best when you give them an active job instead of a fiddly one. Patience seems to be a gift of middle aged people, just as energy and enthusiasm is a gift to teenagers.

I should have had the asbestos test done. It would have meant $35 and there is a fair-to-middling chance that it would have come back positive, but I really HATE sitting on the ground and scraping the old backing off that has been glued to the floor. Stripper helps and boiling water helps, but it is still a positively GRUESOME job!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Greenhouse update: The weed seeds are up but the carrots are not!

Oh, well, give it time! (Though patience is not my strong point)

On the down side there was a light brown scum on the underside of the plastic that covered the main bed. I looked at it more carefully: Yep. Aphids! I can only theorize that the increase in warmth and humidity at night made all of the eggs hatch. In the past I have thrown a few ladybugs in to keep them down, but I didn't see any this year.

I have an infestation of aphids of BIBLICAL proportions! Half of those lovely salad greens are gone, and even the tulips are damaged! I rinsed tonight's salad greens 6 times, after a 4 hour soak! And, I went over every leaf with a fine toothed comb. Bugs are part of the ecosystem but that does not mean that I have to eat them.

There is a second split in the plastic tonight: the Midwest is famous for its wind, and it has been howling all day today. Tomorrow when the drizzle stops I will go out with a roll of tape. The split is up too high for me to get all of it but the plastic only needs to last a few more weeks.

The plastic tarp cost me about $100, but there was enough for more than 2 covers. That will work out for $33-$50 a year, depending how much is left in the roll. That would buy a lot of vegetables, but the REAL purpose is recreation for the Mama! It gives me a break, and 9 months of a hobby might just be worth the $30 odd dollars.

 I have a little plastic step stool to sit on that I can pull up to a bed before I weed it, and make my plans for what to do in there next..This winter I often needed a light spring jacket while I worked in the greenhouse, but since it was well below freezing outside it was really very nice!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Greenhouse update: Just because it is warm during the day does not mean that one layer of plastic is enough!

With the temps outside in the 50s and 60s during the day, I have not been putting the cover over the beds. MISTAKE! The seeds have been planted for a couple of weeks, and not a single seed is up!

The ground acts as a heat sink, but it is still getting too cool in the greenhouse over night. Most seeds need the temperature to be in the 60's to germinate. So, I covered the beds with my lightest plastic layer, to trap the heat onto the bed.

It is possible that I am wrong, and the problem is that the high heat during the day-it must be 80 in there- is sucking the moisture out. If that is so then the moisture should condense on the plastic over the bed and drip on down again.

I hope to have seedlings up in 3 days!

On the GOOD side, the tulips and the windflowers are up. And, the few surviving turnips are putting out some lovely greens, which will be a good addition to the next salad that I make!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Today I planted 10 Martha Washington asparagus plants.

I already have asparagus, but the variety that I have has been a real dissapointment.

It is true that my existing asparagus is fat and yields well-just as promised- but it is also rather tough and fibrous. Also, each plant only sends up one spear at a time. That means that if you miss a day picking, the one spear will be too large, and until you remove it no other spears will start. Oh, a few will start a second spear: perhaps 20% at best? The spears LOOK spectacular, but for me it is all about the eating!

At any rate, I am going back to the older, more TENDER variety! The one that sends up shoots that are more slender but they are tender and there are more of them!

Now, there is a great deal of foolishness in print about how asparagus should be planted. The old method was to dig a trench 6 feet deep, plant the roots in the bottom, and fill it is slowly with composted horse manure. A truly intimidating task!

Modern directions say to spread out the roots and bury the crown under 6 inches of dirt. This, too, is unecessary.

I can tell you, it is not the method of planting that counts it is the quality of the roots! I have seen some really tiny, wilted, fairly pathetic roots out there: no wonder so many people fail with asparagus!

I simply dug a shallow hole, lay the asparagus side by side, and covered it entirely up. I firmed the earth down and I was done. The hole is from 3 to 6 inches deep,but my holes now are  however they come out, and I was pleased to be able to dig so well. The roots looked a little crowded, but I was pleased to have done as well as I did.

Asparagus is a heavy feeder, and it will want watering if the spring is dry, but the roots I found were largeish, fresh, and undamaged and so they should be fine. I expect them to set good seed and spread!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

No-dig potatos

I am not really able to dig any longer, my back and legs will NOT do it, and so I have not raised potatos for the past couple of years.

The LAST time I raised potatos I just dumped grass clipping on them so that I would not have to put a shovel into the ground, but that worked poorly: the grass clipping composted and many of the potatos turned green. It was an effort to dump the armfulls of grass clippings on top of the potatos, and because the plants grew so very well I simply could not SEE that the grass clippings needed topping off! Though, with the big plants I am not certain that I could have topped thm off anyways!

I have also tried to raise them in a raised bed with a loose soil medium so that I could simply stick my hand down and take the spuds: this worked but my yield was poor. I cannot manage a large garden-yet- and it would have taken up too much room to get a meal or three of potatos.

I now have a better idea!

I have some woven greenhouse flooring left over. If I presprout the potatos, and let them shoot up about 6 inches, then I can put the woven flooring over them and let just the tip of the plant peek out. Since potatos form ABOVE the seed potato, the potatos should form directly beneath the woven barrier. That means that to harvest them, I can peel back the woven barrier and I should be able to see most of the potatos. I can get them with a trowel or something similar. My arms work fairly well and so this sounds like something that might work out well for me.

To keep the weeds down, I can overlap the woven barrier with the barrier that is already down, and let the tip of the plants poke out between the layers. Hm. That means that I need more than 6 inches of sprout if I am going to get a good yeild: I had better keep the spuds inside until the sprouts are closer to a foot long!

There are now about 7 pounds of seed potatos in my kitchen: I hope that they sprout quickly! Spring is early here, and the soil will soon be warm! I will post in June? if this works or not!

Monday, January 23, 2012

He is a very old cat

We have owned him for just about 15 years, and we got him as an adult.

He has been my husbands good buddy: the cat actually LIKED! to rough house with my husband! They would tussel every night. He was a fierce little cat: the neighborhood dogs were all afraid of him. He was very good at catching mice, but the golphers in the lawn usually eluded hims

Ah, well.

The cat has been on pills of one sort or another for over a year, and now we have switched to comfort measures. The kids are upset: they each have a strong young pet of their very own but they do not remember before the old cat came into their lives.

The pain pills are working for now, though I am giving them in a higher dose than is correct. He is tolerating the dose well, but even if they sedated him I would give them. Nothing will make him live forever, but I can at least ease his pain.

He has been a very good cat.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter is Time for Inside Projects!

I have finished the table. Check.

I need to have the leaky dishwasher looked at and the kitchen floor replaced: The linoleum is cracked and broken. It should have been done a long time ago, but there were so MANY family emergencies that there was no Time to look into it! And, even though I felt badly about the appearance of my house I firmly told myself PEOPLE FIRST!

But now, please God, I hope to put my OWN house in order!!!

Between visits from the workmen, I intend to take a kitchen drawer in to Home Depot and match the stain. I can then scrub the kitchen cupboards and touch up the stain. DH wanted to replace them but we have one kid in college now, another to go into college in a year or two, and we are presently in debt. The debt comes because the car broke, the house broke, the car broke again, and the house broke again.... Life happens! To make things more amusing, both of our car windshields are badly cracked and I must get that taken care of again. I wonder if the insurance will help?????

I should call them.

First, though, I have a birthday this weekend that I will tend to! I will take the day off, actually! I am going to have DH cook ribs on the grill and open a can of baked beans. I am going to research a particularly fine nursery catalogue that I got in the mail yesterday: a couple of things interest me and so I will check the varieties out on-line. Since the power company is taking my apple trees I need to buy a couple more. Since the kids are almost grown I think that I will choose a dwarf tree or two that has 4 varieties grafted into it. It might yield less than my 9 individual trees, but the kids might be gone in a year or so, and then I will not need as many apples.

After 2 decades of trying to grow-more-more-more, for kids and for selling at the farmers market, I am now streamlining things down to the essentials for the two of us. The kids will elave and I no longer have the energy to sell at the Farmer's Market. This acre, which had looked rather SMALL for the last couple of years, is now looking much, MUCH larger!

I still want a milk cow, though, and I cannot have one. We are not zoned for cattle. Rats!

To compensate, perhaps I should bring a bee hive from the 5 acres we own outside of town: THAT I am allowed! I also considered a pen of pigeons- so bright and lovely- but I would not want to eat them, and so I would get no benefit from them. Instead, I just admire the pigeons while I am in town!

Well, it is time to put on my Mother hat: I need to shop for food, check the Emails, and do the sort of things that every parent does!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I got my first egg of the year!

When I went to shut the chickens in tonight, I noticed that my most reliable layer had more pink in her comb and wattles! I checked where the chickens sleep, and sure enough there was a nice brown egg in it! YES!

She is 3 years old and still laying well: I WOULD hatch out some eggs from her but my rooster is shooting blanks. He is sterile, pure and simple.

Eggs have a small disk on them that is slightly larger in fertile eggs, and none of my eggs show that. Just to be certain I let the banty set on some: she did a good job of it but after 25 days I knew it was hopeless so I removed the eggs. Ruby is one of the 2 best hens that I have ever owned, and I would LOVE to have her daughters in my laying flock! But the rooster is sterile.

This spring I will post a "free rooster" ad at the feed store: I have gotten rid of unwanted birds like that before. If I HAVE to I can kill a bird, but this rooster is not sick or mean and there is nothing wrong with him. He is simply useless.

More to the point, it only takes a few hens to keep my family in eggs, and if I tried to add another rooster the boys would fight all day. And, an angry rooster is sometimes mean to the hens. I simply have to get rid of
 this rooster before I get in a fertile one!

MinWax Polyshades works if you ignore the instructions!

The can  CLAIMS that it this polyurethane designed to be used right over the old finish, but this was a bust.

Every defect in the old finish resulted in the MinWax beading up to avoid the defect, and because the MinWax Polyshade was colored, this was BEYOND noticeable! It looked great going on, but after 10 minutes or so it gave the table a polka-dotted, rippled effect!

So, I stripped off the Minwax and the old finish, which took perhaps a half-dozen times with the stripper. I went from treating the entire table to treating spots of residual varnish, but it did take a good half-dozen treatments. I then stained it, and then I put on the thinnest layer of MinWax Polyshades that I could, and this time it worked.

The second coat is due around noon. The color settles out as the can sits, and this time I will use the clear upper part and not make the second coat something that is barely there. I want enough polyurethane on this table to last a few years!!!!!!! So the next coat will be a LITTLE heavier, and if I use the clear part any beading up will not be so noticeable. Though, since I was VERY carefull on applying the first coat there should be no defects in the base coat to cause beading.... I think!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I am beat, but the table looks GLORIOUS!

 I stained the table today, and it looks wonderful! I can see light areas where wear and tear damaged it, but they are faint and the wood is rich and lovely!

Tomorrow, after letting the stain dry for 8 hours, I will try again to put on the polyurethane coating. I will post more tomorrow!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I spent the week stripping the table.

I stripped it and I stripped it and I stripped it, but the stuff was caught in the grain and it would not come out.

I used the wash that they sell to remove any stripping residue: Nope. The sandpaper wasn't useful either!

The kitchen scrubbie DID help, but it means that I must go over every inch with a scrubbie. The one that works is a sponge with one rough side. I scrub, wipe, rinse the scrubbie. Then I go on the the next small area.

Know what? I WILL be stiff tomorrow!!!!!!

On the GOOD side, the kids and I got the brush in the back yard burned! Some limbs came down last summer during a storm, and there was a burn ban on. The limbs got cut up for firewood but that left a LOT! of twigs!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Greenhouse in Winter

Much to my surprise, the turnips are starting to make roots: I got 3 the size of quarters to sliver into the New Years Day Salad. And, while the leaves USED to be too harsh  to use, there have been a few frosts inside the greenhouse and the greens are now mild and very good.

I also got some 2 inch long lettuce leaves, pulled 5 radishes, and picked a few chives. When added to the store bought lettuce the salad is large indeed!

I am REALLY surprised that the turnips are starting to bulb up: Elliot Coleman writes that his turnips quit bulbing up when the day length falls to less than 8 hours. We got just a couple of small bulbs for Thanksgiving and then the turnips quit growing: that coincides with the daylength falling to less than 8 hours as Mr. Coleman said but we are STILL getting less than 8 hours of light! It is only January first!

By the way: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!