Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Out of the Mouth of Babes; HOLDENISM and A Little Bit of This and That


Out of the Mouth of Babes

July 1982, a month before I went to nursing school. Busch Gardens.

In my lifetime I have had the privilege of spending time with 3 small children during their toddler years.
Two of those children were my own of course and the third is my grandson Holden.
As a mom we all realize that we don't always spend as much time listening to our little ones when there is work to do, and if we work out of our home even more time is lost with them.
I suppose if I thought hard enough I might be able to remember some of the cute things my children said, but in reality, I remember the actual things they did more than the things they told me.
That saddens me. I look back on those years and it was most definitely the happiest time of my life. I was so blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom right up until the day my youngest started kindergarten and I started my first day of nursing school.
That year was the most difficult. I spent that entire year studying. My children discovered there was no Santa. They found unwrapped Christmas presents because both my husband and I didn't have the time to wrap them yet. The clothes got washed but most times they were still in the clothes dryer and not in the closet or drawers where they should be. My husband bought us our first microwave. The kids ate a lot of nuked food like hot dogs. The three of them went all kinds of places without me. I was left behind sitting at the kitchen table with my nose in school books on nutrition, anatomy, fundamentals in nursing, pharmacology, and the books that described laws and nursing practice. There were drug cards to do and nursing care plans to write out.....and there were always 1-2, maybe 3, tests the next day, so what do you study first? I basically neglected my family. Had it not been for my husband cheering me on I would have quit, plain and simple. I wondered just what the hell I had gotten myself into that first day as I carried the huge box of books down a long flight of steps to my car. What fresh hell had I gotten myself into anyways?

Then years passed and my children grew up. They went to college. Then came marriage. And as time went by we finally got our first grandchild, a boy.
I spend a lot of time chatting with this child and he chats back to me. He is a joy and he is funny. I should have written down some of those things that have made me laugh and have vowed to do just that from here on in. So, from time to time I will share those funny little things he says to me or anyone else in the family.
Face it, little children are truthful, humble and most of all innocent. Keep in mind he turned 3 in March.

Last week he and I are watching cartoons. A commercial comes on for all things but Fungi Nail medication for toe nail fungus:

Holden: "Mamaw, do you have toe nail fungus?"
Me: "No Holden, I do not have toe nail fungus."
Holden: " I bet that would hurt."
Me: "Yes Holden, I'm sure it would."

Earlier that week his mommy is spraying weed killer on a patch of stones where they had 3 pine trees removed. He was made to stand away from the spray out in the yard:

Holden: "Mommy, what are you doing?"
Mommy: "I am spraying weed killer to kill these weeds."
Holden: "Mommy you shouldn't do that. You shouldn't kill things God made."

This past week my mother returned to the nursing home by ambulance from Toledo.
The orthopedic surgeon there managed to pop her new hip back in place without doing surgery. They kept her for a couple days just to make sure everything was going to be okay.
She came back with 2 different devices to prevent her from moving that hip causing further damage. Basically they are both considered immobilizers, one made of thick foam that rests between the legs and is fastened to the legs with velcro straps. That one is for bedtime. The other is a more hard copy actual brace for the left leg that has a bar and a heavy plastic plate that rests against the stomach. That one is to be worn during the day and when she is up. She does not like them. Face it, none of us would want either one of those contraptions. She asked me how she got in such shape in the first place. I reminded her that she got that way, and to quote her because her words verbatim, " I am very careful." that is what you said mom. In reality she was just the opposite, she refused to use either walker or cane when she was at home (she has both). Picture, Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down, well this Weeble fell down. It was only a matter of time. She refused a Life Alert to be worn around her neck in case she fell. She refused her $6,000 hearing aides. She refuses to answer her phone. She refuses to eat nutritious foods. Her foods of choice were junk and sweets. She complains about her bottom being sore, and there is a bit of skin breakdown that a wound nurse is attending to. She is restless and up and down constantly. I sometimes wonder if her lack of appetite is because she is starving herself to die. For anyone who doesn't know, the #1 way the elderly commit suicide is by refusing to eat. Her Living Will clearly states, "No feeding tubes."
Then this week my good friend Barb (and her family) in Fort Myers are dealing with Hospice being called in for her husband. Her husband and mine were in Vietnam together and that is how she and I became friends. Both our men were exposed to Agent Orange along with the other thousands of troops. Her husband got sick about 10 months after mine was diagnosed with the cancer. It has been a hard time for them because they were well under way building a new home when they found out he was sick. They had also just moved back to Florida after selling another home they built in North Carolina. I know what she is going through. I have walked that same path, wearing those same shoes and it is so hard to watch a strong man reduced to what cancer does to the body and spirit. My prayers are not enough to bring a miracle, but maybe God can bring comfort to this family and peace to their loved one.

I have found some free time in the evening to knit. This was my next to last project. A stash buster scarf of all colors left in the RH stash. Some rows were more rows than others, no definite color scheme. The pattern was cast on 20 stitches on size 6 knitting needles, then knit 2 rows then the next 2 rows were knit 2, purl 2 across. Repeat those 4 rows for entire scarf pattern in length desired. 

I still have the ends to weave in and no, I did not use all the yarn up yet.

I made up a quick diagonal stitch baby blanket because I wanted to use up a skein of worsted weight pink. As my luck would have it I ran out and had to make a trip to Joann's to get more. I will donate this. I have one project, another skull cap, on my circular knitting needle. It is my on-the-go-project. I have packed the rest of my yarn away and do not plan to get it out again until maybe well into this winter. I want to play around with my stash of fabric and finish up some of my sewing projects I have started. I am burned out on the yarn.

It is that time of year again. I stopped at the fruit market last Friday with the prime intention to get a few salad veggies and ran across a lug of Roma tomatoes. That led to buying 3 pounds of onions and some banana peppers. I had garlic bulbs at home. I have made my own spaghetti sauce for almost 43 years. The recipe can be found on my September 3, 2012 post. I got 13 quarts total. 

The sweet corn was just too pretty to pass up so I bought a dozen ears. I blanched them and put 10 ears in the freezer. I figure you can guess what happened to the other 2 ears. 

I never thought the time would come when I would be saying I miss the garden my husband use to put out every year. It was so easy to walk out there and pick fresh veggies right off the plants. When I saw the price of that lug of tomatoes was $20 I about flipped. When I got done doing my shopping I had spent close to $40. When we had our children at home I use to can and freeze everything I could get my hands on. Nothing in the garden went to waste because we both came from parents who had made it through WW2 and the Depression. We heard about people starving and waste not, want not. One year I had a goal to fill every canning jar and every freezer container we had, and I did exactly that. We always bought a 1/4 of a beef and half a hog for the freezer too. We hardly went out to eat. When you are married to a meat and potatoes guy you better learn to cook. Life is so different now. Cooking for one person is a whole new ball game. I hardly cook at all.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Organizing/Removing All the Clutter & Trixie Belle

I love this dog, my little Trixie Belle. She will be 10 years old on September 4th. We all know what that age would be in dog years, 60 years, little old lady. I took this picture of her some years ago. She is grayer now, especially around the muzzle. She is slower too, of course. I have to take all that into consideration when I let her in and out. My dogs are not allowed down in the yard. They get treated for heart worm but last year Chewy came in with a tick. They have never had fleas. I have the medication to treat them but do not like applying it. I have an aversion to chemicals. Giving them the heart worm medication is bad enough, mosquitoes fly, they can still get at my dogs. We went all the way to the other side of Indiana to get her. She was about the size of your fist. She had a bit of a cough and came with a bottle of medicine. I fussed over her like a mom would her small child. I still do. The life span of these dogs can be 14-15 years. 

Last evening was spent at the ER. Mom fell at the nursing home and dislocated her new hip. They tried to pop it back in but was unsuccessful. Her surgeon was out of town, his associates were unavailable, so they shipped her by ambulance to Toledo. They got the hip back in place without doing surgery. She will remain there for 24 hours and then back to the nursing home. Those who thought she would be safe to go home or to an assisted living are seeing things a bit more clearly now. I have thought all along she was not safe to go home and way past appropriate for assisted living environment. Things do not look so good for her. She does not follow instructions and I am sure her comprehension is at a low point. She does not want to eat the wholesome healthy foods for her nutrition, but prefers the sweets. At this rate she will not get stronger. 

I mentioned in my post heading that I am doing some organizing and removing the clutter. On and off I work on my sewing/craft room. I'm sure you are thinking, "when will she ever get that done?" Well, since I have been basically pecking away at this little by little, I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. The room is small, there is not a whole lot of places to store stuff and I am still relying on totes. There is a closet that is jam packed with all sorts of things, and more totes. Getting to a bottom tote requires moving the ones on top and what a headache that can be. That is where I often get myself into trouble especially if I am in a hurry and don't put everything back the way it was. Heck, I have to snap a pic just to see how I had it all in there at the start. The clutter removal, well, I ran into 2 more blogs that were made private and so I removed them promptly. That brings the total to 3 so far. I refuse to clutter up my sidebar with useless stuff. 

That is how things are going for me on this Sunday. I did so little yesterday that I considered that my Sabbath, plus I spent 4 hours at the ER with mom, my one brother and his wife. I got home late and got to bed at 3am. I was up by 7:30 this morning. I will be wrapping it up soon in my sewing room and I think I will give Trixie a good brushing. I will have to pen Chewy up because he gets all rowdy because it always has to be about him. He can be a royal pain in the butt.

Happy Blessed Sunday to all of you.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

PBS Television, Oh Yeah!

I don't normally discuss what I am watching on television, but PBS Masterpiece is one of my favorite programs.
Recently I watched Season 1, the first 7 or 8 episodes (forgive me, I lost count) of Poldark.
I love anything British, Scottish or Irish, especially those movies that are historical in nature.
 Actually they can be just about any time period, I'm not fussy. This is the first part of a series of historical novels written in 1945-1953 by Winston Graham. 
Aiden Turner, who is actually from Ireland, plays the handsome Ross Poldark.
Swoon ladies, he is 32 years old (oh to be young again, *sigh*).
The lovely gal who plays Demelza, his kitchen maid, is Eleanor Tomlinson. I will not spoil the story for anyone who might like to watch the programs. There is more coming months from now in 2016 and I can hardly wait. Of course you can purchase Season 1 and also the 12 novels that comprise the series. Have any of you seen the program? and what did you think?

Other programs I have loved to watch are the Sherlock Holmes episodes and Downton Abby. I broke down and treated myself to some of those DVD's. 
I have some catching up to do on Netflix.
The spin off "Better Call Saul" from "Breaking Bad" is another one I got hooked on in the past several months. I started watching Breaking Bad one winter night when flipping through channels on DISH. As usual, 500 channels and nothing good to watch, and plenty of re-runs. I happened upon it mid-season and had ignored all the people who claimed it was good. When Better Call Saul started I made sure to faithfully record the show.
I also love to read, I just never have the time to do it. Reading has always put me to sleep. When I was younger I would fall asleep and then wake up hours later with the bed light still on and the book under my hand. Nothing better than a good book to read. Back in the 70's when "The Thorn Birds" came out we belonged to a book club. Anyone who ever belonged to one knows how that works, they send a card, you opt to accept or reject the book of the month. If you neglect to send in the card the book will come automatically and you can be bothered to send it back or be lazy and keep it. I got the book, yes, I was lazy. I glanced through it and after reading the dust cover/jacket I was convinced that this book was going to be a boring story set in Australia. I started reading and was glued to the pages, my book came up missing and I was having fits hunting for it. It turned up at the bottom of my clean laundry basket under a pile of clothes that needing folded. My husband!!!
Good books and movies will do that to you. They hook you in and you just can't put them down or stop watching. Oh, by the way, I named my youngest daughter Meghan after the female character in that book,
as did a friend who read the book too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What Next?

When I was a young gal we had a next door neighbor who had a tractor tire-sized fenced in area where she planted nasturtiums. 

If you glanced over toward her back yard it was hard to miss the sight of bright orange, yellow and red blooms. 

They required a lot of watering, especially when the weather was dry.

They bloomed profusely. She tended her little flower garden with much love and care.

It seems like forever that I have wanted to plant some of these flowers.
So weeks ago I did 4 flower pots that would be easy to maintain.

I don't know if it was not enough water or too much that caused the brown patches on the leaves.

I did some leaf removal.

Now I wait for the bright red ones to bloom.

Do you know you can eat the blooms?
The pickled flower buds contain oxalic acid and should not be eaten in large quantities. 
The blooms are pretty on cakes and some people add them to salads.
I had really hoped that my plants would have more of a trailing vine. Why do I remember the neighbor's plants as being that way?

My front stoop geraniums look good, my poor concrete porch does not. 
Look where it is chipping away on the right front corner and towards the middle. 

My goose is naked even though I have several outfits to dress it in. 
Most are faded from the sun and need replacing. 
The shrubs are still an issue and this week I have researched more people who do that kind of work.
I have a call in to another one. Hope I get some action going with them.

Since I have finished with the scarves I am at a loss of what to do next. 
I have plenty of things I could do, but finding something that keeps my attention will be the real test. Sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat.
Hope this week is going good for all of you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scarves, Patterns

The scarf count has reached 24 with one more to make. I am debating if I should actually make the last one or just get it from some made and packed away, the ones I made ages ago for gifts. Am I that ambitious? I have enough stash yarn to make another.

Julia asked about the patterns and I will try to do my best with answering that. First off I will say I did not add any edging borders or fringes. Of course you can do what you want. I just did basic patterns with no frills. All my instructions are US terms. I used knitting worsted weight yarn for all the scarves and either a J crochet hook or size 8 straight knitting needles depending on pattern. I followed no gauge so you can do whatever works best for you. A regular skein of RH (7oz.) will yield about 2 scarves. I used crocheted V Stitch for the ones in the above pic, mainly because these yarns (Home Spun) were so bulky that trying to knit them was a headache. You can go here for stitch instructions. I tried to get all foundations as close to 20 stitches as possible. The lengths varied because of how much yarn I had on hand to make them up, but I wanted all the widths to be as close as possible.

Crocheted Shell Stitch. 
Fast pattern. Just a variation of the V stitch only you make the shell with 2dc, ch1, 2dc, all other directions are the same as the V stitch.

Moss or Rice Stitch. 
Knitted, cast on multiple of 2 stitches.
K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this pattern all rows.
If row ends with K then the next row will begin with K or vice versa.
I'm adding some more info here, from what I researched this can also be called seed stitch.
I just know that whatever you did on the first row, that you do the very opposite for the next row.
You will knit in what was a purl stitch in the previous row and purl in what was a knit stitch in the previous row. That will give a small overall bumpy appearance to the scarf. I don't mean to make this sound harder than it is. It is basically one of the easiest knit patterns.

Garter stitch. 
Cast on 20 stitches.
Knit all rows.

Oh I loved finding this knitted pattern on Pinterest. There was no name.
Cast on 20.
Row 1 & 2: K across row.
Row 3 & 4: K2, P2 across row.
Continue by repeating these 4 rows until desired length. Scarf pattern is reversible. 
Edge at beginning will be different than at the opposite side. 
No worry, it is suppose to turn out like that (see below for close up).

In this close up you can see the pattern design just by repeating these 4 rows. 
I warn you though, I had to keep a piece of paper handy to keep track of what row I was on and more than once I had to back track because I messed up. 

The Diagonal Stitch.
It starts out by chaining 6, then you dc1 into 4th chain from hook and then dc in the 2 remaining chains. 
Then comes the tricky part so I will send you here. 
This gal has an excellent picture tutorial on this stitch. 
It works up fast. 
Below is a closeup of how it should look.

Look at my photo bomber. We are in the kitchen.
He is on high alert for anything that remotely sounds or looks like food.
Even with the hair covering his eye he still sees everything. 

This pretty much sums up the scarfs. 
This endeavor has warmed my heart.
The entire time I was doing these I kept thinking I should have made some caps too. 
Maybe next time. This is by far one of the things I have done that was not a chore.
If it helps to keep someone warmer this winter then it was well worth the time and effort. We can all be loving people who practice random acts of kindness for those less fortunate.
I do not expect, nor do I want anyone to feel they have to repay me.
I just ask that they thank God for His goodness to them.
The thought came to me one day out of the blue.
I take no credit. God whispers do this.
Everything belongs to Him, He has provided and I am just the vehicle. 
I have been blessed to be able to have hands that are able to be productive.
Blessing are given not to keep, but to share.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Wild Back Yard 2015

I am someone who loves a manicured yard, but one has to admit there can be some charm in an unkempt spot that has suffered some from neglect. Hard as I try I just can't keep up. 
The geraniums in these terra cotta pots did add a splash of color on the back porch. There are some I planted in blue pots on the front stoop (mental note to get a pic of those) and about 4 still in the original pots from the garden center. There was a time when my decks were dressed in as many as 14 pots of various colors. I am lucky now to manage a few.

Who doesn't love snapdragons? Even I was surprised to see the humming birds investigating them. The flower bed is weedy. Every time I come across a toad I stick them in the beds. I figure they are my little helpers, eating what bugs them and me. They were nice and standing straight before the last rain.

Same with my half dozen tomato plants. They are all in wire cages but out grew them and became top heavy. The heavy rains did help to make them grow and bend them over.

When my daughter Meghan had her hot dog party (did I blog about that?), she had some neat things going on, one was to have giveaways and I won this blue bowl that had in it all kinds of stuff for a little herb garden. I got a slow start with planting it. I will leave it outside as long as the weather permits. I could transplant everything to my big herb garden bed but look what an over grown disaster it has become.....

The chives are way out of control, just look at them! The original bird bath got broken (was it a racoon?) and so I found this galvanized serving tray at Walmart and placed a brick in the center before filling with water. The small concrete bath is not even where it should be. There is a terra cotta toad abode situated in the forest between the two. The basil, sage, parsley, oregano and mint have taken over, and I have taken leave of my senses. Mint, heavens, don't even plant it in your herb garden. If you have it and love it for various things keep it in the pot. It will send out under ground runners and the root system sends it all over the place. I ripped some up 2 summers ago and threw it on my compost pile in the middle of the old garden spot. Needless to say I have mint growing out there. Every time I run over it with the lawn mower I get a whiff of it.

The base of the birdbath needs adjusted, I had to put the pan off center. It needs cleaning out. See how the mint has left the bed and the roots have sprouted more between the bed and fence?

Look at my bittersweet vine. It is 4 years old and doing well, so well that it has decided to climb on the lower branches of the sugar maple tree. It had a rough first winter. The rabbits decided to gnaw at the base and chewed trough several shoots at the base. Last fall it lost its leaves and was loaded with bright orange berries. So pretty, I love it.

 I find feathers from time to time, not surprised one bit since I feed the birds all year long. There is a hawk in the area and when he comes around the little birds hide from him. They warn each other. They are so smart. They often see what I do not.

 My over grown flower garden. This is what I see when I look from the herb garden toward the one side of the back yard. The open gate leads to the outer yard. Can you believe I have pulled weeds in this spot twice this summer? It does need re-mulching and I have 40 bags just waiting in the garage. 

 This is what I see when I stand in from of the flower bed where the snap dragons are planted. My hosta look great. They sure need a good thinning but that needs to be done in the spring when the plants are about 1 inch high. I have had a hummingbird feeder for many years but this was a first too, the hummers checking out the blooms on the stalks of the hosta. Those flower stalks are woody late in the season and easily pulled up. I usually snap them in smaller pieces and they can be used for kindling when starting a fire in the fire pit.

Between the over abundance of rain a couple weeks ago and the dry period afterward my flower pots look sad. I don't have the heart to be rid of them yet. 

How many of you have a favorite spot in your yard? For me it is this set of steps leading to the lower deck when coming from the wood shop. You have to walk under the red bud tree that is shady and cool. Look at the lattice work under the deck. Rabbits chewed the heck out of it and that patchwork of slats was the solution for the time. It stays shady most of the day and I would like to transplant hosta there come next spring if God willing and I am up to it.

See my feeders? I love to watch the birds. I get a large variety all day long. They sit on the fence, they hide in the trees and also the bitter sweet vine. See my compost bin to the right? It will tumble around if you want to hasten the breakdown of the peelings and weeds. Right now it needs to be emptied to make room for more. Amazing, the black compost you will get from all sorts of veggie peelings. It is proof positive that were are eating dirt. The plants come from the soil and so did we. Incomprehensible, amazing and so far beyond our understanding.

Let's take a walk out to the far back of my property to the apple trees shall we? Last summer there were no apples because I gave the trees a haircut. This spring a few blossoms showed up and there are maybe a dozen apples. Unfortunately something loves apples just as much as I do and has been pecking at them. Then come the ants and of course the bees and hornets will be next.

Three weeks ago Meghan was over to help me mow grass and do some clipping. She discovered this honeycomb on one of the apple trees. It had a bee working on it at the time. She motioned me over (I was on the riding mower) and sure enough how neat was this. It is know that bees do not take kindly to being disturbed by noise and I don't think he appreciated my showing up. As log as I kept my distance everything was okay.

Sadly in the past 2 weeks I have not seen one bee come back here. I blame myself. It was not worth disrupting a work of nature in progress just to have a hand's length view of this awesome undertaking. Look how perfect those little circles are, look how perfect the design. I could not even draw that on paper unless I had tools to do it yet the bee knows what it needs to do and even if it means abandoning a work in progress because it feels threatened. It has the overall shape of a tear drop. Sorry little bee, it seems all your hard work was for naught.

Meanwhile back on the deck I have been fretting over this. Some of you have mentioned trumpet vines and here is a prime example of their invading ability. As much as I hate using Roundup it has come down to that. The home made remedy fighting weeds, that Dawn Dish Soap, vinegar, salt solution works for about 2 weeks and then you are faced with the problem again. I keep the trumpet vine for the hummers. It grows rapidly. The seeds are contained in large long pods that dry up and then burst open. Many are located high up on the vine, far from reach. When they open the wind carries the seed and what happens next is just the nature of all seeds, they reseed  and you are left with a battle. Here they are coming up between the cracks of the lower deck. Oh I could crawl under the deck and pull them up but I am not crazy about snakes and other critters that like to hide under there. So far this summer we have trapped 3 ground hogs and a racoon that decided to take up residence under there. 

Now for my progress with the scarves for charity. I have decided on 25 being the number to make and send. I have about 20 done. I have added a couple more to the stock pile since taking this pic. This undertaking has put a nice dent in my stash of yarn and that makes me happy. The very idea of helping the less fortunate is a good feeling too. It is right to do for people who can not repay you in any way but happiness. I can be at peace knowing that. 

I'm gonna close this post out with what my oldest found this week while skimming her pool. It was huge and she thought at first it was just hairy, until she got it out of the pool and it jumped on the deck. It was carrying it's babies on it's back and they all scurried between the cracks of her deck, OH NO!!!!!!!!! It gives me the hebie jeebies just thinking about it, YUCK! 
Hope all of you had a good week and your weekend is coming along just fine.
Love you all. God Bless You and your loved ones.
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