Friday, March 30, 2012


Sorry for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks. Truth is, I've been in a real bad mood, and didn't care to spread the love.

We've had a fairly productive past couple of weeks. Not nearly what I'd like it to be, but better than nothing I reckon.

Thing is, our youngest son is turning 18 on May 23rd, and graduating high school May 25th, which means we'll be having a lot of family and friends up for a birthday/graduation party, and I have about a million things I want to get done around the house before we have company.

I need J to do a lot of these things, and he and I aren't seeing eye-to-eye on what we each think needs to be done.

Oh well.

Previously I had wondered if the newspaper seedling pots were sucking the water out of the soil, and causing my sprouts to not sprout, or the already-sprouted tomatoes to not grow.
Several days ago, me and R were cleaning out from under the carport and had stacked a stack of newspaper on the cement floor.  Even though the floor was dry, when we picked up the newspapers, we saw they had sucked out an even drier spot in the cement!

So, yeah, I'm thinking the newspaper seed pots were a bust.
Well, as far as the tomatoes at least. Maybe the peppers and onions, but I don't know if they were ever going to sprout or not.  My lima beans, sunflowers, and squash still did okay in the newspaper pots. Maybe they don't need as much water? I don't know.

I decided to take some of the tomatoes out of the newspaper pots and put them in paper/wax-coated Coke cups and see if that makes any difference in their growth.

My lima beans plants are growing right along, but haven't even got them in the ground yet and something is already eating on them!  I'm afraid pests are going to be bad this year, on account of the mild winter we had.

We got the garden area cleared out and J mowed and plowed it. We might have planted yesterday, but my car tore up and him and Ryan were working on it all day. I probably could have done the planting, but I know J, it would have freaked him out. He'd have been down there "helping" me rather than working on my car.

While I was out front yesterday filling the water jug from the rain barrel, I saw my dogwood trees have bloomed out really pretty, and my first rose of the year.

I don't know what kind/name of these roses are. They were here when we moved in 12 years ago, and you can see them all over town in nearly everyone's yard.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

The other day I posted about our new Aldi store, and that I had gotten strawberrys for 50¢ a pack. I'm not a great big fan of strawberrys, but I do love strawberry shortcake so I thought I'd experiment with these berrys and see if I could make my own strawberry shortcake dessert topping.

I had a recipe in my handwritten cookbook from some years ago where (probably) one of my Grannie's told me to "cut up fresh fruit, add sugar and water, boil".  That's the way my Grannie's cooked, they just eyeballed and added stuff and created what they wanted. That don't always work out so well with me.
This time, it did!

First I washed and (de-hulled? pulled off the stem) then sliced the strawberrys.

Put the berrys in a pot and I added 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup of water and boiled. It's pretty sweet which is the way I like it, but otherwise you might want to cut back on the sugar to 1/4 cup.

I stored mine in a canning jar because it was clean and handy. I didn't "can" it.  I had Sarah Lee pound cake and Cool Whip in my freezer from some past Publix or Food Lion sale.

I like to cube my pound cake, spoon on the strawberry dessert topping, and top with Cool Whip. Yum!

*No, it's not Gluten-free, Yes, I am cheatering. Luckily it won't kill me too much.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drop Cloth Curtains

Awhile back I started a project, attempting to make drop cloth curtains for my new blue livingroom.

I found the canvas painters drop cloths at a local discount store for cheap ($2.69 as opposed to $9.99 at the home improvement store) and bought four and some dark brown RIT dye. I wanted to dye the drop cloths a dark chocolate brown.
I only used one bottle of dye and knew they weren't as dark as I'd wanted, but before I tried to dye them more I thought I'd see how the "chocolate ice cream" color would look. Maybe it would work okay.

I don't really like it. But worse, where other people can use drop cloths and make very nice looking curtains, mine look like dyed drop cloths. Not only that but I don't think they are long enough.

Neither of us seem to know where the rod is supposed to hang in reference to the trim - right across it? Right above it? A couple inches above it?

Where J is holding the rod here, the "curtains" just touch the floor. If we raise it up any, they won't reach the floor like they're supposed to.
So I'm thinking, even if I relegate these drop cloths to the back porch like I said I could if they didn't work out for the livvyroom and buy real curtains, I don't know if they are even going to reach the floor.


*ETA:  Drop Cloth Curtain Post Update

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PBJ and Clearance Jackpot

Team Mom: "So can you help out and bring something to the game Tuesday night?"
Me: "Sure, what do you need?"
Her: "Eighty-five peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches."
Me: (*Gasp!*Choke!*) "Sure, not a problem!"

I didn't really have a good concept of exactly how many eighty-five sandwiches were. I bought (5) loaves of bread, my anti-mathematical mind thinking, 20 pieces per loaf, that'll make 85 sandwiches. Uh, yeah, half sandwiches! Duh! LOL.

So I had to run to Walmart for more bread, and happened across the clearance deal of a lifetime. Both me and my son's GF have been wanting some of these "rocker shoes" for exercising while walking, but didn't want to pay the cost of them. She was looking at $100+ Skechers, these Dr. Scholl's were originally $30.00, which is still way too high for me. I buy all my shoes at Goodwill or a thrift store and never pay more than about $6 bucks.

These were clearanced for $5.00!!
As the dude in Key West would say, "Fie dollah! Fie dollah!"
(Last cruise we went on, we stopped in Key West and they had a few $5 stores, where everything was $5.00. Guys would stand out on the sidewalk and walk around inside the store hollering, "Five dollars! Everything five dollars!" One guy sounded like he was saying "Fie dollah!" and we liked him, so now anytime we see anything that costs $5.00 or have an occasion to say "five dollars", we'll call out "fie dollah!".)
(Man, I loved Key West. I need to go back there. Really, I need to live there.)

I also found the sweet puffy coat for $5.00! It's fleece lined and cuddly and warm! (I know it's up near 80* this week, but winter will be back soon enough, and some one will be glad I thought ahead and bought this baby.)  It's a size Small, so I was hoping I would be the lucky recipient, but when I put it on, it swallowed me whole. Fits Ryan, who normally wears a size Large great, so I guess he ended up the Lucky Ducky.

They also had some nice, thick ski-gloves clearanced for $1.00, but we have a good many gloves already, I didn't think we needed more.
They also had some nice leather work gloves for $3.00 & $5.00, but I'll let J go pick his own of those (he's so picky!).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sunny Spring Saturday

It's pretty and Spring-like here today, sunny and 66*.

Recently someone (not naming names) (John) caused an explosion in the microwave. He was supposed to clean it out, but somehow never got around to it.
So, I figured today would be good day to open the windows and do it.

I read about where you add 50/50 water and vinegar to a bowl, or just vinegar, and bring it to a boil in the microwave. Then you either just wipe the crap out, or maybe you wait 15 minutes then wipe the crap out, depending on which helpful hint website/blog you're reading.

Well, it kind of worked, eventually. I had to boil the vinegar-water several times before it started loosening the stuff up, then I had to scrub with the scrubby side of my sponge. Then I boiled more vinegar-water (more vinegar than water now) and scrubbed some more. I did it as soon as I opened it while it was still steamy, I waited 15 +/- minutes to give it time to work.

In the end I still sprayed cleaner with bleach, and it's still not all that great looking.

I wonder what would happen if I boiled a bowl of bleach in it?

Gardening update:

A week ago I had one sunflower sprout, and two just about sprouting. Now I have twelve good sunflower sprouts up.

My Lima Beans are also coming along really well!

Otherwise, not so great.
My Beefeater tomatoes didn't sprout at all. I don't know if they were bad/old seeds, or maybe they needed the greenhouse effect, or - ?

Also my peppers haven't come up. One cup of the bell peppers came up with something, but since I only planted three seeds per pot, I'm guessing those aren't bell pepper plants:

That's one of my problems with using compost soil for sprouting, I'm thinking. The reason I sprout the plants before putting them in the garden, rather than just sewing the seed right into the garden, is because I can't tell the different between a veggie plant and a weed. I've been known to weed out our veggie sprouts out of the garden!
Turns out I get grass and other things growing in my seedling pots from the compost soil that I don't know what it is. The only reason I was able to recognize that some of it wasn't my seeds sprouting was because the same little plant sprouted in every cup. Since I could see some of them obviously weren't what was supposed to be growing there, like the lime beans and sunflowers, I knew the alien little growth didn't belong in any of them.
Or, at least, I hope not, since I plucked it out of all of them!

As far as the newspaper seedling pots, they are still holding up to watering, not disintegrating or coming apart.
I do have to water a lot. I'm not sure if the newspaper is actually sucking the water out of the soil and drying them out.

Anyway, I think my verdict on the experiment is that I'll sprout my seeds like I originally used to, in the little peat pods/ greenhouse thing.  Then when they sprout, the time I would have transplanted them into a larger little plastic pot to give them room to grow and "hearty" before planting them in the garden is when I'll use the little newspaper cups instead.

These are all Black Russian tomatoes J and his partner sprouted at the station:

We lost several of the original couple dozen J brought home because one night last week we had a freeze warning so I brought them in set them in the laundry room floor, and Kitty had a salad for dinner. Silly Kitty!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

It was just over a week ago I posted about getting started on sprouting seeds for our garden this Spring.

This past Friday, J brought home a couple dozen of the Black Russian tomato sprouts he and his partner at the station have already sprouted using the little peat pellets, and re-potted them in some of my newspaper seed pots.
He didn't actually re-pot, but just dug a hole and added the entire peat pellet, sprout and all. When they get bigger, heartier, and the weather is right, we'll dig a hole in the garden and add the entire newspaper pot, plant and all.

During the past week when we've had temps of 70's/50's, I've left the trays of plants out in the backyard to be able to get some sunshine.
It was rainy Thursday evening so I tucked them up under the back porch to keep them from getting drowned.
When I pulled them out Friday morning, I was seeing a little bit of activity already. At least one Sunflower had sprouted, and one Bell Pepper, along with a couple of the Lima Beans.

I watered them, then went to help J with re-potting his tomato sprouts. When I came back a little later, I had even more sprouts! Just that quick.
Before, only the top left sunflower had sprouted. After watering and some sunshine, the top center and bottom left pots had sprouting!

I have even more Lima Beans sprouting, which makes me happy, I love Lima Beans! J says "Meh" to Lima Beans.

After Friday nights' terrible storms, temps dropped again, and we're under a few days of Freeze Warnings, so I'm back to bringing them back in at nights.

Speaking of storms, we had a really close call here Friday night, an F3 tornado passing within just a couple of miles of us.

(Not a tornado)
Ryan was with his volunteer fire station(s) that night (only one of them had a call, a house struck by lightning). He got to go in on his first interior attack. He was so excited, but poor thing sucked all his air out of his SCBA too fast and had to exit.

J was working on the ambulance that night. He was having to run calls after the tornado went through, and ran into problems such as...

Me and Kev held down the fort here at home. I think I was actually more worried about the rest of that tree falling on that stupid fence, than I was a tornado hitting the house!
We called a tree service guy we like to come take down the rest of the tree, but apparently he's been so busy this week, we haven't heard from him yet.

It's so windy outside today, I'm afraid it's going to do what a tornado didn't. That tree is going to give me (even more) wrinkles.

Thursday, March 01, 2012