Sunday, June 30, 2013

Who Eats Spaghetti with Saltine Crackers?

Where in the world did eating saltine crackers with spaghetti come from?

Last night my hub and I had a really soupy kind of tuna macaroni and cheese casserole. Since the weather is still so hot, I try to avoid turning on the oven. So after I assembled the macaroni and cheese dinner, tuna, and can of mushroom soup, I just zapped it in the microwave for a couple of minutes until it was good and hot.

Then we sat down to eat the casserole with a yummy veggie salad with cukes and squashes out of our garden and store bought lettuce, kale, and tomatoes. (Our tomatoes are still green on the kitchen table.)

Something reminded me that back in the day my mom used to serve this kind of dinner with saltine crackers. So I dived into the freezer remembering that I had a bag of crackers hiding there on the top shelf. When I put this bag on the dinner table, my hub looked a little bewildered. In our 33 years of blissful married life, I had never served saltine crackers with noodles. He wasn't too fond of the salt, so this was not a hit with him. I probably will serve garlic bread the next time.

But back to the saltines with spaghetti. My mom usually put a box of those on our family dinner table when she served her family famous meatballs and spaghetti. Were the crackers her idea as a substitute for bread, or did someone before her come up with this "delicacy"?

Whatever. I like it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Birds and (What Happened to?) the Bees

Don't get too excited. This is about my veggie garden. Pure and simple.

What happened to the bees? Our lovely cucumber, tomato, bell pepper,squash, okra, and eggplant plants are luscious and loaded with blooms. So technically we should have enough vegetables for our entire village.

But there is not a bee in sight! And not much produce either!

We do not spray anything. We probably grow more organically than most folks around here. 

But where are the bees to pollinate these beautiful plants?

Maybe that is the reason our fruit trees, grapevines, and olive trees do not bare.

Any idea where you can buy a few pollinators, or will we have to do that by hand with a tiny paintbrush?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Old People at the Doctor's Office

No, Mom, I am not writing about you this time. I am writing about us, my hub and me.

Our outings lately have been "old people" outings. Yes, we are still the people who do our own yard work, clean our own house, plant our own veggie garden, cook our own meals, etc. and etc. But it seems that lately we have spent too much time going, coming, and sitting in doctors' offices.

Don't get me wrong, neither of us is ill. We just need a little "tweeking."

First off, my teeth situation has not been the best lately. From root canal to chipped teeth to lost fillings, I have spent way too much time with my dentist and his lovely assistant. When we told them farewell on Monday, we trusted they will have a great rest of the summer without seeing us.

Then the eye doctor is another story. Yesterday I had a "re-exam" just to make sure the doc got my eyeglass prescription right. Then we sat down with the technician to order my glasses for the fourth time in three months. And to think that I only went to the eye doctor in March to make sure I had no debilitating eye ailments and to get new frames. My old lenses are great!

While we were in the examining room, I told the doctor that Hub could also not see properly out of his new glasses. So now we have ordered his third pair of glasses!

A couple of years ago, my mom and I went "North" to visit her family. When her sister-in-law was not at home, my mom said to her younger sister, "oh, they are probably at the doctor." We all laughed about old folks and doctors appointments.

But, folks, it ain't funny anymore. Especially when you live out in the country and have to drive over an hour to just get to the doctor's office. And then comes the long wait and the actual visit. 

This part of "old" I do not like!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Full Strawberry Moon on Dad's 90th Birthday

According to the Old Farmers' Almanac, "The month of June's full Moon's name is the Full Strawberry Moon. June's Full Strawberry Moon got its name because the Algonquin tribes knew it as a signal to gather ripening fruit."

For the moon to be closer to the earth and look about 12% larger on June 23, 2013 (my dad's 90th birthday) seems appropriate to me. Since my father's death in 1998, I feel closest to him when the moon is at its fullest.  Here is the reason why:

When we were notified by my dear brother that our father had passed on 3 October 1998, my hub and I quickly organized our flight from Amsterdam to Houston. The following morning the three of us were on the plane and headed to be with my mother and the rest of the family. 

Our flight was uneventful, and we arrived on time as expected. With a four hour drive ahead of us, we wasted no time renting a car and getting started. Along the way, we stopped at a giant shopping center and purchased a respectable jacket and pants for our 14 year old son to wear to his Pappaw's funeral. 

Before our four hour drive was over, night had come. The last hour of our ride we seemed to have a guide. A most beautiful full moon hung right before us over the country road.  Having had such a long, tiring trip, we were glad to have some help guiding us along. I guess that full moon was our GPS. 

Since that time, I have felt that full moons are something special. Special to me anyway, since I feel that my father is looking over me.

Happy Birthday, Daddy

By the way, when we traveled those southwest Louisiana country roads on Monday, October 5, 1998, there was a Full Moon. Thanks to 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Who Needs a Swimming Pool?

Who needs a swimming pool, when you have your own pond? 

That must be what our beagle Flip thinks every morning about this time of the day (8:30 a.m.). I watched him wading along the side of the pond and realized that now I know why he is a muddy mess every morning. 

Thank goodness for garden hoses and big towels. Otherwise this "inside dog" would be an "outside dog."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Trapezoid Vision and Reduced Height

I finally picked up my new eyeglasses today. 

If you have been following my blog, you know that this is the redone, redone version of the glasses I ordered back in early March. Version 1 was not a success. I could read nothing! Version 2 wasn't much better with double vision.

The ones today (Version 3) are far prettier than my old ones. (The gold foil on the old frames is disappearing bit by bit. Now they scrape my ears when I wear them. Ouch!) With the new ones, they slide right through my hair and over my ears. Yes! 

But, and there is a but. 

I have trapezoid vision! When I look at my rectangular iPad screen, I see a trapezoid with the top wider than the bottom. 

What next? I have notified the dispenser of the glasses and asked that same question. According to what I have read on the Internet today, I need to wear the spectacles for a few days and give my eyes and brain some time to adjust.

In the meantime, I swear I am shorter than I was before I put on these new glasses at 1:30 p.m. today. And the ground seems closer to my nose than it was around lunchtime today.

Trapezoid computer screens and reverting to a munchkin was not my plan for new, pretty eyeglasses.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Flip, the Ice Cube

We are freezing this doggie! 

Our downstairs air conditioner is out of order (and the part is difficult to find on short notice), so my hub has the upstairs one going full blast so that we will be cool enough to sleep in our downstairs bedroom at night. He also keeps the temp in the house cool, since I am doing a major inside house cleaning. Who likes to perspire while you are knee deep in dust? 

Everyone is happy with the COOL temps except for Flip. He jumps outside every single time I go out to shake out a rug, dust cloth, or whatever. 

Right now he is lying at my feet on the front porch, since I have stopped cleaning for the day. 

A picture of satisfaction. 

When he goes back inside, he will surely look for a clean, warm rug just out of the clothes dryer. 

Funny dog!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Living Proof and A Dozen Eggs

Yes, it is that time in my life. I must prove that I am alive and kicking. 

Since I turn 65 next week, it is time for me to notify my pension companies that I am ready to start drawing what I have paid into them. So we took my paper work by the notary public and came out with a signed and stamped document and a dozen free range eggs. Gratis free range eggs! 

If I am not mistaken, we came out way ahead on this deal. Have you priced organic, free range eggs lately?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How To Keep Cool

Our youngest Dutch great-nephew has the right idea. Isn't he the "coolest" little fellow? For American readers, he is cooling off in the fridge. Or is that the freezer?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

You Know It Is Hot When ....

You know it is hot when you come inside into the car garage from outside in the garden and think the garage is cool.

Actually it is. When the temperature in the garage hits 82F (28C), the airco turns on automatically. Even Flip gets to eat his dinner meal in comfort in there. And most days when we drive somewhere we don't know the real outside temperature until we reach our destination.

That happened today when we went to check on the progress of our eyeglasses about 45 miles from here. We scurried from the cool pickup to a couple of shops to keep from broiling in the 90F (35C) temps.

When we got back home, Flip was snoozing on the shaded front porch and felt as cool as a cucumber. He was ready for his dinner meal and about 8 tennis ball retrievals. Now he is back to a cool nap in the foyer until our late evening (8:00 p.m.) walk around the pond.

That is when you know it is hot. When even the dogs lie low.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Impulse Gardener

After a good thunderstorm this afternoon and 1 inch of rain, I went out to my veggie garden to harvest a few squash babies for a salad. I found the plants in a bit of a disarray, but most look like they will survive.

I cut a few baby yellow squashes, finger size zucchinis, garlic, and onion. While pulling up the garlic and onion, I noticed that the weeds came out easy, too. So in the slightly drizzling rain I started "wet"weeding. The onions and garlic are as ready as they will ever get, and if I leave them any longer in the wet soil they will surely boil in the hot summer temps. I had that happen a couple of years ago. Nothing worse than "cooked in the soil" onions. Those went straight to the compost heap. Hopefully I rescued these early enough.

While pulling the onions, I got right into weeding the entire bed. As I worked, the outside temperature increased and so did my body temperature. Stringy hair and all. When I got down to the cukes, I found some decent asparagus hiding amongst the vines. So those were added to the veggie collection.

Finally after about two hours of pulling grass and weeds from the mud and making four huge piles for the compost, I quit.

When I came inside, my hub said he thought I had been taking a nap. I am not that impulsive in the middle of the day. But maybe I should have been napping. This coughing thing still has me in its grips! 

Word to the wise: Do not try to be a master gardener when you are sick. The illness puts you way behind in your weeding. 

Hurricane Safe

It is hurricane season again. 

For the next six months, we are hurricane susceptible. As we live reasonably far enough inland, those big "breezies" rarely blow too hard around here. But you never can be sure. Just ask our neighbor who rode out a recent hurricane under his mother-in-law's bed holding onto his weapon collection. Think he will evacuate the next time they give the warning.

Yesterday we checked up on our hurricane supplies and set up a little metal shelf to house our meager paper products and food and water. We have a rollaway bed, blankets, porta-potty, a couple of folding chairs, and a wind-up radio ready. Just in case.

Especially at this time of year we keep our vehicles "tanked" up and ready to roll. The extra gas can also come in handy for our generator, in the event we decide to stay put during a storm.

Now to keep an eye on the storms and hope that this preparedness is just like carrying an umbrella. 

Most of the time you carry an umbrella, it never rains.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Missed Giveaway!

A few weeks ago we went to a family get together. 

I had organized a family "stuff" swap, but not one person there wanted to participate. My Jeep trunk was loaded with "giveaway" items from toys to sewing materials to heirloom jewelry. But not even one person asked where was my loot or when I would get it out. 

So I brought it all back home, boxed it up for another chance to give it away, and marked that up as a missed chance. Not missed for me, but for those who did not want to participate. I still have the "stuff." And I won't be too eager to give it away to those family members again.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hand-Me-Down Dresses

We had a visit from the cutest little Mennonite sisters today. The seven and eight year old girls were sweet enough to be pictured in a country magazine. 

Each had on a lovely colorful cotton print dress that touched the tops of their socks and covered their shoulders. Their long blond hair was braided in an intricate design that only a loving mother could do. 

When I took them on a tour of our "rummage" rooms upstairs, they giggled and said they had rooms like that at their house. When we were in my sewing room, they told me that their mother made their dresses. But they were most proud of the fact that they sometimes got hand-me-downs from an older cousin. And the older sister was proud that the seven year old sometimes wore her outgrown dresses.

I remember that happy feeling when my older cousins or neighbors passed on a brown paper bag full of new skirts and dresses to me. What a treasure that was! Opening that bag was like opening the doors of the most exquisite dress shop on earth. ;)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Ache

Well it is June, and I am "under the weather." 

My dear mom and I have been spending a lot of time together the last weeks, and I picked up her congestion problem. Her doctor calls it pertussis or whooping cough, but I call it "the pits." I have had a slight fever (on and off), wheezing chest, sore throat, drippy nose, and a dry, congested cough. 

"The Pits."

I am still up with Flip every morning at 7:00 a.m., and then I drag around the rest of the day. Yesterday I went outside after lunch to check out the weed situation with my veggie garden. As we were away last weekend, the warm rains have gotten ahead of me as far as weeds are concerned. My hub told me to "scoffel" the weeds before we went away, but I did not heed his warning. So yesterday I pulled up old arugula, lettuce, and weeds until the rows between my raised beds were covered with compost. Luckily my favorite yard guy (Hub) cleaned up my mess today.

My tomato plants are huge and lush. I waited too late to put on my tomato cages, but we forced the "buxom" beauties into the cages anyway late yesterday evening. The whole time that I was crying that we were ruining my plants, my hub was saying we were not. He was right. After last night's rain, they look wonderful and as perky as ever.  

My niece in Germany asked for photos of the garden, but she has to wait until I feel better and can spruce up the beds. Right now it looks like they need a "Master Gardener." ;)))