Saturday, October 13, 2018

Into The Oven It Goes

With a refrigerator and pantry filled with yummy ingredients for some cooking and baking I have to start cooking today so my fresh food does not "Go Bad On Me".  So, this nostalgic Bean Pot is the first recipe I prepared .  The recipe is from a cookbook that I worked on as a Fundraiser when I was an Active Master Gardener in 1996.  I was asked to be the editor which turned into a much larger job then just editing. 
Many of my recipes are in the book as well as many, many, many other Master Gardener's recipes .  It was a lot of "Blood, Sweat and Tears" but it turned out great and was a BIG fundraiser .
My Master Gardener friend who asked me to work on the cookbook is an Artist and the book is quite lovely with her beautiful professional art contributions .  Many long hours were spent getting it ready to go to press, mostly by the two of us .  Thankfully, we had lots of help when the time came for assembly of the cookbook .
This is the cover and each chapter has a great illustration along with many little illustrations throughout the book .  I wish you could see it .  I have often thought about blogging about the project and I will try to do that.  I already have a lot of photos to show you -  that will give you an idea of the magnitude of the project .
And, this next photo is of the Big Bean Pot as it came out of the oven .
Through the years I had made this more times than I can count .  And, I always get a hunger for it when the season turns to Autumn and the cooler days are upon us .

Next, I prepared a new recipe to me .  It is quick to make and is called Bacon and Mushroom Skillet Chicken .



It really tastes good and I will make some wide egg noodles to serve it on .

A couple days ago, I prepared White Chicken Enchiladas that turned out very good, also .  So,  I think you can tell that my freezer is getting stocked with yummy food .  I have a pile of recipes that sound good to me and I want to make them .

I have been working very hard in the garden as well as my house .  Finally, I have been getting some help with heavy duty work outside. I am so grateful !  Along with all of the activity I have been having a lot of severe pain in my back .  For many years, I have also had scoliosis and it is getting worse and causing a lot of pain in my upper left back as the curvature is increasing .  More days than not I am having to take small dosage of pain pills and my heating pad has become a constant companion at the end of the day .  It could be worse !

Happy Weekend .

Mary

Sunday, October 7, 2018

One Thousand Dollar - Water Bill


No.   Not Me.    But, My Neighbor .

(google image)

I know it is not the least bit funny but maybe this is the way my neighbor feels about it .  

About ten years ago my neighbors bought the property next door with the intent of remodeling the little house that was build in the mid 1800's .  The property is quite large and there are also some small out buildings .  They did a fantastic job of making the property a lovely improvement along with retaining the ambience of time gone by. It is their vacation retreat and they spend a lot of time here with their grandchildren and families . Their primary residence is about a three hour drive which makes their travels very manageable.  OK , you got it .  They are not always here

This little blip in their life all started when they received a phone call from the Water Company telling them that the dial on their water meter was Spinning .  Come to find out - the waterline  UNDER THEIR HOUSE had broken !!!  And, of course that started a lot of activity on many fronts to get their home back in order .  When the little house was remodeled they spared no activity and lovely hardwood floors were installed .

The only way the broken waterline could be repaired was to cut a large hole in the floor to get access !  But, there is usually "a little silver lining" if we look for it.  It so happens that the broken pipe was under the floor of the utility room (home of the washer/dryer) which has a tile floor and NOT a hardwood floor !

Because of the excessive amount of surface water which doesn't drain well with our clay/rock soil , it took days of the use of a large fan to aid in minimizing the water .  And, luckily we had some warm (not hot) but warm days that helped a lot .  The most significant issue  other than the water bill is the prevention of an environment for GROWTH OF MOLD !

Something like this can sure ruin a person's day ! 😧

And, the WATER BILL is yet to be determined ?  He wrote a letter and called .  But, no response as of yet.
A Little Update -  I am feeling a lot better, thank goodness . Some major events like updating my Estate Planning - - - fancy name for end of life documents, are now in order .   And, there are a lot of legal documents ! Far more than in the past by law. Even though I have had a Will and Living Trust for many years with several updates, dealing with attorneys and legalize became extremely difficult for me because of lack of family involvement and selection of available trustworthy people (when you have outlived your close friends) for Medical, Personal and Financial decisions . 

My To Do list still has more for me to do as soon as I can . But, the tasks are not as stressful or out of the ordinary of routine living.  For the most part they are tasks related to major house maintenance like roof and exterior painting .  Oh, and the ongoing "sorting and purging" deep house and garage cleaning !!!   I sure don't want to be feathered on the TV show, "Buried Alive" - do I ?

It is such a good feeling to be out of that "high stress feeling" that is so unhealthy and difficult to live with.  It sure challenges "Mind, Body, Spirit" living !

I hope you are enjoying your day.

Mary

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Some Weeks Are Just Tough

And, this past week was one of those weeks .     Not one specific thing ,  just life .
But, to give you a little glimpse .  It started last Saturday evening .  The power went off about 7:30 following the sound of a large BOOM .  As it was starting to get dark, I decided to light my Aladdin kerosene lamp .  Usually super easy but not this time .  About the time I finally got it all sorted out, the power went back on but not the cable TV, computer, phone , etc.  After trying to reset the router more than once I decided to forget about any activity that involved anything to do with cable/electronics.  I figured it would be working by morning and it was.

Instead , I decided I would lay on the sofa and read a book I had just gotten .  I opened the window behind the sofa to enjoy the slight evening breeze .  I am just starting to figure out who some of the characters are in the storyline when I noticed a strong pungent (and I mean VERY pungent) unpleasant smell .
IT WAS A SKUNK !  After closing the window I continued to try and read but the horrific odor was so disturbing that I decided to take half a sleeping medication (which I frequently do because of back pain) and went to bed early !

The week was filled with issues I did not want to deal with that caused an unhealthy level of stress .

But wait , hang on , I had a very nice Birthday lunch with a great lady !  There always is a blessing some where !

That's all Folks.

Mary

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Happy First Day Of Fall

Not much new around here.  But, I just had to get that Tomato Hornworm off the opening page !  Our weather is fantastic and I hope to spend some time outdoors in the garden today .

How about a little flashback  photo of my dining room looking very simple and fall-like .
The fully lined drapery was a sewing project years ago .  They turned out quite nice .  It would be so nice to have the energy and "get-up-and-go" of yesteryear.  Next Wednesday I will be having a Birthday . I guess I am doing pretty good for an about to be 79 year old !  I am having a very difficult time believing THAT number !

I am still trying to find help to assist me in the garden and the house .

I wish you a Beautiful Day and Great Weekend .

Mary 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How Could I Be So Wrong

I am quite sure that I owe my neighborhood DEER a BIG APOLOGY .

Look at this huge, fat, 4 inch long pest who is a voracious eater ! 
I believe it is a Tomato Hornworm based on its markings and red horn .  You have no idea how shocked I was when I was walking in the garden this morning and saw two of these very large Hornworms on the tomato plants !  Of all my years of having tomato plants I never have seen any of these quite disgusting looking pests .

Additionally, I had no idea how fast they can destroy such a large amount of vegetation .  I had not seen any evidence of them or any dark green droppings left from the larvae feasting on the leaves .  However I did see wilted leaves .  But, I thought that was because of the high summer temperatures we were having .  As much as I am always checking my garden especially since I water everyday,  the sight of these was quite startling .
I really thought THE DEER  were visiting my garden .  How wrong I was .  And, I had no idea that the Tomato Hornworms ate the tomatoes as well as foliage !  Live and learn !
Once you see one of these I don't think you ever forget what they look like !

I trimmed back the plants and disposed of the pests in some detergent water .  Like I said yesterday,  I'm glad they didn't arrive earlier in the season and I was able to enjoy lots of yummy home grown tomatoes .

The mornings and evenings are certainly cooler .  The Season is a changing !

Mary

Monday, September 17, 2018

Unexpected Visitor

Much to my surprise - - - THE DEER have come inside my fencing to explore and eat a little of this and that along the way ! I don't know how they breached the fencing.  I have checked the fence line and don't see any opening where they could enter. I guess they possibly jumped it and that would be a first .
(google source)
It was just a few days ago that I noticed some deer footprints nears the house and thought it was unusual and curious .  And, then three days ago I noticed the tomato plants which are at the other end of the property had been nibbled on .
I am very happy that the one and only near ripe Heirloom Cherokee Purple Tomato was spared . Yes, I picked it knowing the deer had already nibbled the stems at the top .  I hope the others get a chance to ripen .
And, this morning another plant was (hopefully) enjoyed by the deer last night.
It is such a nice blessing that this event is happening at the end of the season .  I have had enough great tasting tomatoes for some excellent tomato sandwiches and delicious tomatoes to add to my salads .
I think I will put some bird netting over the top of the tomato cages to deter further loss of the tomatoes since it appears as though this location in on their midnight route .
My Precious Ivy.
This is the first time that she has slept in this part of her Cat Condo.  The top is where she usually hangs out .  This was taken with a flash because the room was almost dark .  Ivy is still growing in her trust of me .  By no means is she a lap sitter but she will let me hold her and talk to her for a short time and then she wants down .  However, for the last few days she has been sitting at my feet and trying to tell me something .  So, I moved my computer/table over to the sofa and sat there and before long she jumped up and lay down beside me and went to sleep .  I was so happy because that was a first .  And, then last night she jumped up and sat on some papers I was working with and I tried to move her gently and that was not to her liking and she jumped down .  It is great that she is still progressing in her comfort level with me .

Take Care Everyone.

Mary

Sunday, September 16, 2018

On Record At The Hospital Patient Relations Office

All of the recent issues around procuring proper medical care has become very stressful for me .  So, on Friday morning I told myself that I must not procrastinate on addressing the issues .  I was starting to formulate a letter in my head when I changed my focus to determining who I was going to send it to .  I decided to call the Hospital operator and ask what department would be appropriate for me to discuss some concerns regarding medical care .  I am having a terrible time using the word - - -Complaint .  You know, like Complaint Department .  Perhaps that is because most of my life I  didn't feel that I had the right to complain - childhood stuff .  But that was then and this is now .

The operator transferred my call to the department of the MD that oversees the Medical Staff Doctors .  The person that answered said she would be happy to hear what I had to say and that the M.D would call me following the weekend .  Much to my delight she was exceptionally kind, patient and interested in everything I wanted to discuss .  She thanked me for contacting them .  I felt such relief . She even mentioned that a new Doctor (Internal Medicine Board Certified) had been working on contract and was going to be hired by the hospital as a full time physician .  She added that he has been getting great reviews from the patients.  I asked her a lot of questions about him especially because he is retirement age.  She said he had a large medical practice in San Jose, California and with the current economics of  that area he sold his practice and at his age he prefers to work as a salaried physician for a hospital.  I was very enthused about the possibility of finding a new primary care physician .  The fact that I was not going to have to write a letter was an added bonus .

About 3 hours later at 4 PM the hospital called and it was another person calling to ask me a few more questions .  She had the notes from the previous phone call .  She also was very kind, interested and supportive .  I was advised that the information would be reviewed by the supervising M.D and I would be contacted.  I mentioned the new doctor who was coming on staff and we discussed  who he was.  She said she would be happy to call and connect me with the scheduler to make a new patient appointment.  I have an appointment for October 25.

Between phone call with the hospital I did a google search on the new Doctor and I was very pleased with what I read .  To my surprise, his long tenure in San Jose, California was in the same Internal Medicine Office where I was a patient for years before moving here .  Additionally, I worked as a Nurse and lived in that area and I am very familiar with the medical community .  What an interesting "turn of events" .  I look forward to the next chapter in this important aspect of my life .

Let me leave you with some photos that I took this morning of what I like to call my waterfall White Clematis .  It thrills me, as it does every year at this time .  This is from the outside of my fence .


I was not able to get a photo of inside my garden because of the direction of the sun !

I hope you are having a Wonderful Weekend.

Mary

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Garden Is Getting Sleepy

And, there isn't very much activity.  But I am enjoying what is still awake as well as a couple flowers that are starting to wake up for their season.

New Dawn Climbing White Rose has been continually blooming and still going strong.
The Red Geraniums in their red planters are doing well especially after I terminated the eating activity of an unwanted worm !



I always enjoy the first sight of the tall Sedum when it starts to bloom mid summer  with large white flower heads that turn pink through the season .
The Sweet Autumn Clematis is a real show stopper cascading from the top of the fence behind the White Garden .  It's vigorous blooming along with the sweet fragrance  are welcome .  It is one that blooms later in the season than most Clematis .
Gerbera Daisies have been blooming for a long time .  They are such a good ol' faithful favorite .
The White Hydrangeas are starting to dry and change from white to light brown.

I am waiting in anticipation for the Yellow and Purple Chrysanthemums to starting blooming in the garden at the front of the house .

I am staying very busy with just taking care of all the things involved in owning a home along with all the paperwork that comes along with life .

MEDICAL UPDATE - - - I went to medical records at the hospital to pick up a copy of my medical report from the consultation that I recently had regarding my abdomen .  Please see more  information,  scroll down for a little background .  I was not totally surprised that the medical report was the MOST OUTRAGEOUS inaccurate report I have ever read .  Stating things like I had been to many hospitals and recently the Emergency Room and declined recommendations .  The report was a full page of nonsensical words . To give you an example, he reported that I have had rectal incontinence since I was a child .  WHAT !!!

It is my intention to write a letter to the hospital and perhaps others .  That will be a big job for me and certainly a first .  If we don't speak up about our less than satisfactory medical care how can we hope for any better care ?

I would much rather spend my time doing other things !  Feeling fortunate that I have many wonderful things in my life to focus on with thankfulness .

Sending strength and protection to all endangered by Hurricane Florence .  It seems like there is one environmental  tragedy after another .  A lot of fires are still burning here in California .

I hope you are enjoying your week.

Mary

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Moving About Like A Wirlwind

I have been getting a lot of hard work done this week and it sure makes me happy .

With a house that has a large canopy of trees above it like mine , there is a lot of moss and mildew that builds up on the cement patio and sidewalk around the house .  So, today I did some power washing . It has been a few years since I have done it .  It is hard work and I can only do it for a couple hours at a time .  I don't expect to finish all of it this year . But, it is important to do as much as I can  because it can get very slippery in the winter time as well as it looks terrible when it is so dirty .
My car has been so dirty for so long that I was feeling embarrassed to drive it.  Taking it to the drive through car wash (touchless because of canvas top) was not doing much more than putting a hose to it.  It was time to get out the heavy duty brush and get to it .  I had forgotten how nice it would look .  And, I really like to have a nice clean car .  The car is 20 years old and drives like a new car .  It has never required expensive repair work and it is fairly low mileage .  However, there are many small issues that are starting to need attention .  But, that is a lot better than having to replace the car . I am thankful and besides that, it is also a lot of fun to drive !
There has been an area in the garden that has been almost shouting at me .  And that is because I had not been able to get 6 plants in the ground that I purchased the first week of July .  So last evening I was determined to get them planted .  I was pleasantly surprised because the ground did not have the usual amount of stones because other plants had been planted there in the past . Unfortunately , I have not been able to find anyone to help in the garden and/or a handyman .
I am very pleased with how the plants look .  And, once they fill out and get bigger I think the texture of the wispy blades of the grass will be a nice contrast with the harshness of the rock .  In the forefront you can see the chrysanthemum beginning to put out some color on the other side of the pathway .
What a contrast from two and a half years ago ?
And, finally, I have forced myself to tackle some DEEP house cleaning!  Hard work but it will be worth it . I will have more time when the garden doesn't need as much attention .
Hope you are having an Enjoyable Weekend .
Mary

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Kitchen

An enjoyable blogger mentioned that she would like to see my home.  And, that is lovely .  But  - - - - my home/house is no way "put together" like my garden .  However, most of my life my home has been my sanctuary and a truly enjoyable ongoing work in progress .  Most of my fairly long life I have lived alone but even on a smallish budget I was always doing something in my home to improve it, even when I was a renter for many long years .  My home was really a passion and really still is.  However, I have had some pretty rough years in the fairly recent past which has meant that the inside of my house is far from what I like .  Once you lose control of your routine of maintenance it can be very difficult to recover especially as we get older and especially if we are on our own.  My garden has become my joy and in many ways - my therapy .
But, my kitchen (it's a small one) is presentable .
It is not only presentable but it is my Work-Of-Art that I thoroughly enjoyed making about ten years ago.  That was a time when I was doing a lot of work like interior painting along with major kitchen  and bathrooms updating of my little 1970's home that I bought in 1993 . Very hard work but so worth it . This is a photo of the  kitchen when I moved here.   I did not have a garbage disposal or a dishwasher and there was very little cupboard space.
The mosaic backsplash is made with broken dishes that I was able to buy at Marshalls.  They had several boxes with broken dishes at almost "give away price" .  I never planned on having a purple kitchen - - - but I do now!
Additional cupboards and open shelving was added at a right angle to the existing kitchen counter.  You can see a little of it at the right edge of the photo.  That gave room for a dishwasher, little cookbook niche and next to dishwasher is a pullout towel rack.
And, this is the opposite side of the galley kitchen.  The stove is now a black one.  The little cupboard to the right of the stove is a pull out spice rack . I installed  pull out shelves in the cupboard next to the stove.  And, they are so great and so helpful .  It was fun finding ways to incorporate the little added conveniences.
That certainly was a lot of painting. All of the inside of the cabinets are painted lavender .  I have done a lot of the work myself in this little house.  Small budget means - learn how to do it if you want to have it.  Last year or before I had to replace the garbage disposal and

This is what I posted then - - -
About six weeks ago, the dishwasher that has never given me a second of trouble started to leave the dishes unclean and I started to think, oh NOT that too. After some research I learned that the garbage disposal may be the issue associated with the plumbing network under the sink and interfering with the performance of the dishwasher.  Soooooo, after some more research I decided that I would (Yes, ME) install the garbage disposal myself! The new one is the same brand and model, so I thought that should make the job a little easier. Well, I am proud to say that I now have a nice functioning garbage disposal - and - dishwasher. Boy oh boy, I must be more tenacious than I realized. That was one of the hardest (they are heavy) and complicated (under the sink) repairs/installations that I have ever done. I will spare you the details.


 and I repaired my electric stove part 1 and electric stove part 2 .

Dealing with major back issues from a career in Nursing means all my activity is predicated on my physical ability and as the years go by, also my fatigue level .  I would tease about spending more time cleaning my paint brushes than putting paint on the walls because I have to pace myself based on my back pain .  I just move about like a little tortoise !  You have heard the story of Aesop's fable,  The Tortoise and The Hare , haven't you ?
I am hoping to get the inside of the house painted again (by a professional painter this time)  and do some redecorating.  That should push me to do a major clean out one way or another.  I miss having a house I can entertain in !

Well, this post certainly took me down memory lane .  My entire life has been one of hard work and I guess I'll go out that way - - - but, no time soon !

Wishing you Happy Days.

Mary

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