Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Not Christmas Decor

This post should be sharing my Christmas decor, but it's not, because I can't seem to get my Christmas on.

I don't know what's wrong....well, likely a combination of things: my Dad's not in good health, family changing plans last minute, a certain tv channel playing the same two or three Christmas movies over and over and over and over and....
There's a million Christmas movies! Why play the same two or three every day? Why not play a week's worth, then start over?

I'm trying. I work a little at it most days.
I got the Thanksgiving decor put away, and brought out a few Christmas things...but didn't do anything with them.

I did put a Christmas-plaid tablecloth on, and hung some wreaths on the front windows. Downstairs. I don't know how they look, it was raining so I didn't go out into the yard to see. I'm going to imagine they look great.

Ah well, maybe it'll kick in soon.

In the meanwhile, I got some pictures from our cruise in November posted at my Family Travel Blog: Paradise Cruise,
we went on a small hike/adventure this weekend: Bear Creek Trail - Gennett Poplar.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Good Thanksgiving morning! I'm up early this morning - nope, not cooking - Sent my young'un off to work on the ambulance today.
The ol' man is also working today, leaving the firehouse this morning to go get on the ambulance, too. (Same company, but they don't work in the same County.)

Me & Kev will be headed out here in a little bit to spend the day with Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and other assorted relatives.

While I'm waiting for my Uncle to arrive here to ride with us, thought I'd post my Thanksgiving decor I almost didn't get put out this time.

We went on our cruise November 12th. My oldest son came to house sit and take care of my chickens while we were away, so I had left the Halloween decor up for him to enjoy. 

When I got back and was busy with unpacking and laundry and this and that, while packing away the Halloween decor I thought I would just skip Thanksgiving decorating this time, and go ahead and get started putting out the Christmas decor, figuring I could use the extra time.

These two said, No way, hozo. 

I opened the buffet drawer to put some things in/get some things out, and there these two sat, looking at me like, What up? Why are we still in this drawer, here it is the week of Thanksgiving? Aren't you Thankful or whut?

I am Thankful. And, semi-self-disciplined. No Christmas decor before Dec. 1st is my personal rule.

I know I often say "Rules are meant to be broken", but that's only other people's rules, not my own.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How Dry I Am

Today is October 27th...it hasn't rained a drop here since we got a little less than 1/2-inch on September 23rd.

Before that, I think but can't exactly remember if we got any rain here the same time we went to Pigeon Forge/Dollywood, August 21st.
I remember it rained on us up there, but I don't know if I know it rained here, or I just assumed it did because it rained on us up there.

Before that, I remember thinking it had been at least 3 weeks since it'd rained last.

Needless to say, we're in the EXCEPTIONAL drought area.

Now I know what a fish out of water feels like. It feels like I'm suffercating.
I've had to break out our old humidifier for my naggy cough and bleedy nose.

I was telling the boys the other day they need to remember what everything looks like right now...one day they'll be telling their grand-younguns how it used to look around here before we turned into a desert and renamed us Georgi-zona.

Of course, it's Fall.
Leaves fall in the Fall.
In the South, people burn leaves in the Fall, that's what we do.

Except, you know, during an EXCEPTIONAL drought.

Except being in an EXCEPTIONAL drought doesn't hinder some dumb heads.

John's been running numerous illegal burns at work in his county, and Ryan has gone on 8 or 9 fire calls over just the past few days around here.
One person burning leaves caught their garage on fire and burned it down. Another's fire got out and almost burned down the neighbor's house.

There's been several brush/woods/forest fires.

There was a forest fire across town a couple of days ago,  we could see the heavy smoke from our driveway. It was way out in the middle of the forest, fire trucks couldn't even get to it, Forestry had to go in with dozers. Not sure how that one started, certainly wasn't lightning.

I was outside in the morning watering my flowers and inhaled...the smell of smoke. I thought, "Ahh, smells like Fall....", then it occurred to me, "Oh wait, that's not a good thing right now!"

There's been a lot of forest fires to the north of us, and this one started in the west side of our county the other afternoon and spanned 3 counties.

There were multiple fires along the highway so they thought someone had intentionally set them, but later said they believed chains dragging on the road likely sparked the fires.

We've had droughts before, but for some reason I don't recall them being this rough. I guess they were, though, since, in 2007, our Governor, on the Capital steps, Prayed for rain.

Besides being so stifling, being so dry isn't all bad.  We haven't had to mow the grass in months. No mud. The chicken coops don't smell like hog pens. We're able to work on outdoor projects. I can leave paint projects or things out in the yard or on the porch and it not get wet. No leaking new roof.

Ah well.
Weather happenings are interesting. I wonder what will happen next.
(Pretty sure I'm not supposed to ask that question....)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Halloween Decorating

I didn't really have a plan when I started dragging the Halloween decor out, but in general, I had torn some paper strips to do some paper mache-ing, and stuck the extras into one of the plastic pumpkins to keep safe from Kitty.

I sat that pumpkin on top of another pumpkin, and next thing I knew I had two stacks "totems" of jack-o-lanterns.

At first I had put the two "gravestones" in the fireplace, but I didn't feel like the little bit of "scary" went too well with all the smiling, cheerful Jacks.

So I decided to make the top part of the mantel more scary.

The white ceramic vase made by my Grannie back in the 1960's. Kitty knocked it off the buffet and broke it to pieces last Christmas. I couldn't bear to toss it out, so I glued it back together. Badly :(
Turns out it looks pretty suitable for a Halloween decor all cracked up like that.

Haunted "ancestor" portrait.

Other haunted "ancestor" portrait.

Repping my EMTs.

For the buffet area I hung black/striped plastic tablecloths from the Dollar Tree over that torn out wall we still never have gotten around to working on, and an old window frame with the glass panes broken out.

The two-headed clown is a Spirits decanter - not meant to be a Halloween decoration - came from my mother-in-law's house. I don't have any other information about it, I wish I'd asked her where it came from or anything, but I didn't think about it back then.

The hand is a ring-holder from Dollar Tree years ago. Picked up the glass at Goodwill for 77¢ last week.

This chandelier I rescued from cousin Joe's scrap pile and spray painted it black and glued on battery-powered candles, that I also spray painted black.
Added web and spider.

"The Gathering of Crows: One Crow for Sorrow, Two Crows for Joy, Three Crows for a Girl, Four for a Boy. Five Crows for Silver, Six Crows for Gold, Seven Crows for a Secret Never to be Told."

Cat, bat, Witch, candy corner.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Political Post, 4 Years Later

Back in 2012, I posted about how I left the Republican party I wasn't really a member of, and became a "Ron Paul Republican", aka Libertarian.

 Now, I guess I will have to find a new Party. The Libertarian Party is on the same road to ruin as the Democrat and Republican Parties took.

Back in 2012, I agreed with what I read on Gary Johnson's website, but as I really preferred Ron Paul, I didn't delve too much more into Johnson.

Following the RNC's blatant cheating in 2012, and this election year's fiascos - the biased and ridiculous Republican "Debates", the rigged DNC, the nomination of Hillary after all she's done, the nomination of the Clinton's good pal, Donald Trump - I had to give Gary Johnson a more serious look-at.

So I read some things, which sounded good, but then I heard him speak, and No.
Someone else is apparently writing the things on his website, but if they are telling him what to say in interviews, he's not listening.

I was for Rand Paul originally (Republican, but his Party didn't matter, I like him personally). I didn't agree with him about everything, but those were things I could agree to disagree about, like the controversy of the Confederate flag and, well, I forget what else exactly, but nothing serious.

I wanted to like Johnson, I really, really did. I tried. I told myself, well, those aren't really Big Issues....but you know what? If someone screws up so bad on the little issues, how can they possibly be any better dealing with the larger issues?

The Libertarian Candidates had a Debate, and Gary Johnson said  - to sum up - he believed some people should be forced to bake other people cakes.

Most people are like, blah, who cares, but that's actually a Biggie for Libertarians. We don't believe in Government force. That might mean some people can discriminate, but we believe the Free Market will work it out.

He took a lot of heat for saying that, and then wrote a statement defending his position, which you can read at his facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/govgaryjohnson/posts/10153109454754364.

Where he absolutely and completely lost me was with this statement: "I responded to that question in the legal context of whether a public business has the right to refuse to serve a member of the public, as distasteful as it might be."

I'm sorry but I just can not get behind someone that doesn't even know the difference between a private and a public business.

That is a big, big deal to me.
If I use my money, put my skill, my time and effort into opening my own business, then it's my private business, and I should be able to decide who, what, how, or when I want to do business with.

Next they'll tell me who I have to let into my own home.
Yes, it is the same thing. Sometimes I allow people that don't live here to come into my house for various reasons, that doesn't make it a "public house".

After that he's just made one stupid comment after another that makes us all look stupid.

"After his speech, Johnson wandered around the convention greeting voters and conducted a round of interviews. One reporter asked him about the lack of diversity in the Libertarian Party, which, as some people remember from college dorm-room discussions, tends to attract a disproportionate number of young white males. Johnson said that there was no diversity problem, and that the Party would do better in nonwhite communities as he became better known. A few minutes later, an aide directed him to a room in the convention center that was named for Harriet Tubman. “Who’s Harriet Tubman?” Johnson asked. (After the aide reminded him who Tubman was, Johnson recalled that she will appear on a new twenty-dollar bill.)" Via Via

"What is Allepo?" Via

"I'm just grateful that nobody got hurt." Via

As if all that weren't bad enough, some of my Ultra Liberal family members/friends has come out in support of Gary Johnson.

That tells me all I need to know about Gary Johnson.
Libertarianism is - supposed to be - the complete opposite of Socialism, even so-called "Democratic Socialism".
That Liberals like Gary Johnson tells me - although I had already determined it myself - he's not Libertarian. 

It also tells me it's the beginning of the demise of the Libertarian Party as we know (knew) it.
It's going to be just one more thing the Liberals take and muck up and change from what it was, to something completely different, kind of like they did with "Liberal" (not Liberal), "tolerant" (not tolerant), and "Socialism" (it's not Socialism, it's Democratic Socialism). Ugh. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rustic (Rusty) Mason Jar Canning Ring Pumpkins

Another Pinteresting idea. I had seen this idea awhile back - who knows how long - and had been saving rusty-ish rings here and there. Over the Summer, my neighbor came into a large stockpile of canned foods cleaned out of a lady that had passed away 's house. She brought them to me to feed the contents to my chickens, and we share the jars. The jars had obviously been put from water bath to box, with water trapped under the ring, which caused them to rust. Re-using rusty rings can cause your lids to not seal during water bathing or pressure cooking, so it's a good idea to not re-use them in canning, if you don't want to risk losing your hard work. 

I used 24 of the regular (not wide mouth) sized rings, facing the same direction, strung them onto a string. I used jute, you can pretty much use whatever will work.

Tied the ends of the jute/string together as tight as I could get it and knotted.

Organized the ring into a nice round circle.

I glued a used wide-mouth canning lid on the bottom to stable/sturdy it/give it a base.

I went outside to the burn pile and found a stick and cut it with a handsaw at an angle to resemble a pumpkin stem. You could also use a pumpkin stem, if you have one, or cinnamon sticks.

I had some old fake flowers I pulled the leaves from, and glued them on. You can also add ribbon, raffia, moss, etc.

I liked the rustic (rusty) look, but you could also spray paint the rings orange or white, or any color you wanted, before tying them up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fall Decor v1

 I am running a bit behind here lately, but I managed to shovel out my dining room in time to be able to start my early Fall decorating; Fall Decor v1.

I usually decorate mostly with pumpkins, I love pumpkins, but as I was clearing out my over-filled china cabinet and saw these little red apples, it occurred to me that I was waiting for apple harvesting time from my Dad's apple trees. Apples are actually more relevant to me than pumpkins (I planted pumpkins in July, but couldn't keep the plants watered enough so they shriveled up and died), so why wasn't I using more apples in my Fall decor?

Apples in a lime green Pyrex pie dish
My kitchen was decorated in apple decor when we first moved here, and since I hardly get rid of anything, most of it is in a bin in the attic.

I had this little apple lamp shade, the wicker apples, the metal apple cookie canister, the apple candles in the galvanized bucket, and apple baskets.

The old picture with fruit I picked up a few months ago at the Goodwill Outlet while visiting family in Florida. My sister found me the vintage rooster figurine also at the GWO.

Apple baskets, waiting to be filled with real apples soon

The Pyrex mixing bowls just kind of go along with the 'apples to make a pie in the Pyrex pie dish' theme. Mostly I decided to display them because they've been hidden away in my china cabinet.

The buffet area:

I hung orange plastic tablecloths from Dollar Tree to trim out my wall sheet covering the torn out wall we still never have gotten fixed.

The chandelier I pulled out of Cousin Joe's scrap pile and spray painted it black and glued on battery operated candles. I'm planning to add more decor to it to make it more Halloween-ish.

End of Summer Vacay

Earlier in the year, I forget when exactly, in the Spring sometime, I had caught a bad cold (sinus/respiratory infection), and was piled up on the couch in the livingroom where I could prop up so I could breathe, and watch tv between naps, and generally not bug J trying to sleep in the bedroom.

The Hallmark channel is one of the channels I watch mostly, what little I watch tv, and it was on and they were filming at, or kept advertising, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

We'd been to Pigeon Forge before, it's been quite a few years, but we didn't go to Dollywood then. I didn't think the cost of the ticket would be worth it since two of the boys wouldn't ride any of the "good" rides.

They kept talking about Dollywood over and over again until I thought, "We need to go to Dollywood".

We were already booked for a cruise on my birthday week in November, so I thought the week of J's birthday near the end of August sounded good for going to Pigeon Forge.

Turned out it was a great time to go, because most of the kids around here (the South, I guess) had gone back to school and the place wasn't at all crowded. There was nearly NO waiting in lines for the rides.

We went to Dollywood, and to the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and shopping at Gatlinburg, and had dinner at the Dixie Stampede.

It was a great little vacation!

I posted pictures at my family travel blog here: Dollywood/Great Smoky Mountains Get Away.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

(That saying doesn't mean what I thought it meant...)

At any rate, it's still hot, and dry.

The forecast for this past week was for heavy, soaking rain, 3 to 6 inches, and much cooler temps, down in the 80's for the highs.

Yeah...no. Not even close.

Nope, no rain for you.

Heckuva storm right up the street. Not here, tho.

 I don't have a picture because I haven't even bothered going into the garden for several days, but I lost all my pumpkin plants. Couldn't keep them watered enough, I guess, or I don't know if the sun was right?
The jack-be-little pumpkins I planted last year, which ended up in the shade until around lunchtime or so did really well.
These pumpkins get/got sun from morning until later in the afternoon, 3 - 4 o'clock. The package said "full sun", but...I don't know.
Anyway. It was probably the lack of good, soaking rain waterings.

Corn and tomatoes.

Also don't have a picture - well, I do have video, but I won't post it - we're down 4 roosters.
Two went to dinner, the other two are at freezer camp.

Still have 4 roosters left. (Not counting the last four chicks, which I think at least two of are also roos.) Trying to sell 3 of them. Not having much luck, though.

The last babies, the 4-pack, are getting big. I still don't know what kind (breed) they are, but I'm pretty sure two are roosters and the other two are probably/possibly hens. 

I went up to visit my Mom and Dad a couple of weekends ago, and ended up getting roped into shucking and putting 150+ ears of corn in the freezer.  (By myself. They weren't home.)
After several hours, I determined that corn silk's only purpose is to make you work for your meal, or torture. (Actual reason.)

I brought home a box of peaches from my Dad's fruit orchard. They were really small this year, I think because of the drought, which affected them up there also. But they were still good tasting.

I canned some of them in a light syrup. This way they can be eaten right out of the jar, or used for pie or cobbler. 
I also made 3 quarts of peach pie filling, but I think just canning them in syrup is more versatile.

We've been (fairly) hard at working on the Ugly Stairwell this summer.
I'm not really sure how that happened exactly. We had to replace the ceiling awhile back, not much choice, it was falling down, but otherwise the stairs were way low on the list of House Stuff To Do.

I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with the space as far as how it should look. It's a really tall - 16 feet high - really narrow - about 3 feet wide - space.
I finally decided it'd just be best to stick with the plain old white drywall walls (any darker color would make it look even more closed in than it already is).

So we got one side drywalled and I started mudding it, but it just did not go well at all. It was bad. To the point I even contacted someone about hiring them to fix the mess.

(Not surprisingly with my history of managing to find the worst possible candidates for hiring to do anything around here, the person never got back to me. I didn't bother trying to find any one else. I figured with my luck I'd find one to charge me a fortune to not do any better of a job than I did. )

In the end I decided we'd go with the faux planking/shiplap and cover the whole thing with wood.

Found out pretty quickly why the drywall wasn't working out too well. The walls are badly warped and wavy and weird. 

The boys said they kinda liked the plain natural look, but it made the tiny space look even tinier and darker.

Painted, scaffolding removed, moving on to lower wall.
I have no idea what kind of decor/art work to use in this tiny space, but it needs something to distract from the bulges and uneven gaps and other bad looking places.

(It maybe (hopefully) doesn't look as bad as I feel like it does because I compare it to the work on Fixer Upper or Blogs where people have better conditions to work with, or their husbands actually care about doing a good job rather than the least they can get by with.)

We got rusty tin put on the lower ceiling to match the rusty tin on the upper ceiling.

I mentioned thinking the space needed a light, but my suggestion was ignored. 
I went online and found some battery operated, motion sensor ceiling lights. They're not very pretty but I have an idea for making it look like it maybe goes with the rusty tin, but I haven't worked on it yet because I'm afraid I'll mess it up.  

A light I did finally work on is one of the (two) old chandeliers I pulled out of Cousin Joe's scrap metal pile.

I had originally intended to find some solar lights I liked and make them into outdoor chandeliers, but then recently, I can't remember exactly how/when the idea came from...probably something I saw on Pinterest, I got the idea to fix it into a Halloween decoration.

It's not finished yet, but here's a peek of it in progress.

Welp, that's about it from here for now.
Hope everyone is enjoying their Summer. Or, well, Season of Back to School (that I am so thankfully finished with!).

"Goodby Amigos!" ~Cisco Kid
"See you soon, ha!" ~Pancho