Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We Aren't That Thrifty!

OK, I meant "cheap." We aren't that cheap!

Living remotely has caused us to be more sustainable in our daily life. Neither of us is always happy with that, but we manage. At least for the time being.

My cleaning girl disappeared from the face of the Earth after she told me she was pregnant. She came once after we returned from vacation last spring, and then never showed up again. Nor did she phone to say she couldn't come back. My neighbor warned me that I shouldn't expect much. Maybe I should have listened so I would not have been so disappointed.

But the last four days I have cleaned our house. No applause. I saved some money and got a good workout in the deal. And for the time being a clean house. (Downstairs, anyway!)

Then there was the kitchen faucet story. Last week I phoned several plumbers after we received our Amazon order of a new faucet. Some never picked up their phone. One said he was "backed up" and didn't know when he could "come out" (minimum cost $75). The answering machine for still another plumber said, "Our mailbox is full. Please hang up." 

But one company said they were busy for a couple of days, but they would call first before coming out. That was one week ago. I did call back on Friday to remind them we were still waiting. (They charge $70 an hour beginning when they leave their business--35 minutes distance from here.) Their dispatcher said, "Maybe Tuesday? And you live where? Oh, that might be difficult."

So over the weekend my dear Hub got out the tools, put on his headlamp, and crawled under the farmhouse sink to dismantle the old and set in the new faucet. YouTube said it was EASY. 

Long story short, it wasn't easy. The water hoses from the new faucet were too short (trip into town yesterday for parts), he had to add a piece of wood underneath the cabinet to get a snugger installment, and then accidentally disconnected the worn plastic drainpipe to the sink. We just stopped that side of the sink up with the drain stopper.

The faucet works! The drainpipe leaks, but that can be fixed with a new rubber ring. 

So what did we save this week? 

Our own sanity and a lot of headaches dealing with people who do not want to work!

 (Update: When I called the plumber just now to check to see if she had received my cancellation call message from last night, she thanked me for calling to cancel. Am I missing something here?)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Herbs and Grapevines--My Corner of the World

This summer the usual porch plants were so expensive that I settled for herbs to fill our galvanized pots and other containers. Our beagle and our neighbor's pups enjoy the lovely smells, too. What you see in the photo above is sage, Thai basil, thyme, oregano, and stevia.

Thai basil

Lemon thyme with the baby palm

New grape for the other end of the porch. That is a hummingbird bush just starting to flower to the left.

We have enjoyed sitting out here this summer. Mostly just for coffee and only for a few minutes at a time. And the rains have kept everything green and growing so far. I haven't had to water anything extra.

Even the pond is filling up again slowly.

Summer isn't over here until September, so who knows what is still to come here at Wetcreek.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Windowbox Cukes--Shelfie #7

If you can't find any cheap plants to grow in your windowboxes, try cukes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

So Sorry for Your Loss

Yesterday was a dark day for many people in the world, but especially for the loved ones and family and friends of the passengers of the downed Malaysian Airlines plane in the Ukraine.

How do you pay your condolences in such a situation? 

According to Marianne in her blog Like a Sponge

"In English there isn’t one single word that can do the job of gecondoleerd. You can’t just say sorry because it’s not weighty enough, so you have to fumble around and come up with something like ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ or ‘my condolences’ but you don’t have one kant en klare phrase-length word that will do the job."

So gecondoleered to the families and friends of the 193 Dutch citizens who lost their lives in the horrible crash. And my condolences for every person who died in that catastrophe. 

May They Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No Animals on the Beach!

Remember that family wedding we attended on July 3?

Well, Flip attended, too. He was a perfect, well-behaved doggie on and off the beach that forbade animals. 

I learned a long time ago that you do not ask for permission. You just ask for forgiveness after the f(act).

Don't think anyone really cared.

(Thanks, photographer, for including Flip in the group photo.)

What's in your Fridge? -Shelfie #6

No before photos on this one. Cleaning out the fridge was waaaay overdue. I am not a great housekeeper, but I can't stand a dirty refrigerator with jars and containers of mysterious contents. 

So yesterday I sorted out the keep from the dump items, scoured the shelves, and here is Shelfie #6:

What will you always find on my fridge shelves?

Milk (mostly fat-free)
Eggs (free range)
Butter (both salted and unsalted)
Yoghurt (homemade Greek)
Cheese (white cheddar)
Bacon (thick sliced)
Mayo (Blue Plate)
Mustard (yellow and others)
Parmesan Cheese (anything cheap)
Ranch Dressing ( sometimes homemade)
Salsa (Pace)
Ketchup (anything cheap)
Hot Sauce (Tabasco, what else?)
Soy Sauce ( all tastes the same to me-- Salty!)
Pickles (relish, sweet, dill, kosher, you name it)
Jam (my favorites-strawberry and fig)
Cornmeal (keep there out of weevil harm and keep my flour and cereal in the freezer!)
Bottled water (San Pellegrino, of course!)

What are your fridge staples?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Family at the Beach

Just over a week ago we attended our niece's wedding on the Florida beach. Attire for the wedding was quite appropriate for the bride and groom as well as all who attended.

Since it is beach time for most of our family, I thought I would share how our Dutch family dressed when they visited the Scheveningen beach 100 years ago. (Correction in the bottom photo: The photo is of Opa and Oma and the oldest aunt W. Probably in the summer of 1910 or 1911. More than 100 years ago. After some research about smiling in photos, I discovered that most adults began grinning in photographs when cameras had faster shutter snaps around  the 1920's and 1930's.)

The photo above is of my hub's paternal grandfather, grandmother, and two aunts while visiting with friends at Scheveningen beach  in July 1916 (4 months before my FIL's birth in November 1916). That explains Oma's huge white coat.

This photo is of the same Opa and Oma and (we think) the youngest aunt at the same beach in Scheveningen, The Netherlands in July 1914.