WARNING I am NOT politically correct! I believe I can also honestly say that I am NOT PREJUDICED against any nationality. There are, however, numerous behaviors that just plain piss me off! When those behaviors come to the forefront of my attention I will probably rant about them here in this blog. I'm an American citizen, and entitled to voice my opinions. I do not intentionally mean to offend any individual or group. I respect your right to have a different opinion. |
|Well, this year is off to a great start! I was baking chicken on a cookie sheet in the oven the other day. When I tried to turn the pan I managed to spill the chicken juice all over the oven floor. WHEW! Naturally it immediately exploded into a fog bank of smoke. Since I don't have a stove fan or hood, the smoke poured out into the kitchen and nearly choked us to death. The oven was too hot to try to wipe up the spill, so I had no choice but to let the juices continue to smoke until the spill had exhausted itself. It didn't matter that it was literally freezing outside...I had to open two doors and put a fan in the window at the end of my pantry to blow the smoke outside.
We ate the chicken, and after only a couple of hours managed to clear the smoke out of the air. But of course the next day I had to CLEAN the oven..... I figured with a mess like that, I'd be better off to use the 'warm oven' method.
This time it wasn't so much smoke, but rather obnoxious fumes that filled the house. More open doors, more fans in the window, and three or four hours of scrubbing and gooey mess all over the kitchen. YUCK! After I finished the scrubbing part, I wiped down the inside of the oven FIVE times with cloths dipped in clean water trying to rinse the oven cleaner residue out of the oven. Yeah, right! Once it appeared that I'd gotten all the residue wiped out I started the oven to dry it out. Even at 175 degrees, the residue bellowed those obnoxious odors out into the house again.
Oh well...it's been a few days, and I'm happy to say that I can actually stay in the kitchen while the oven is on, so I guess all's well that ends well...
A day or two later I decided I should go outside and start the car just to charge the battery. The weatherman was predicting temps near zero, and I hadn't used the car for a couple of weeks or more. I thought I was being smart by trying to get ahead of the cold snap. NOPE! When I went to turn the key in the ignition I got this pitiful ehk ehk ehk.... The battery was already deader than a door nail! So much for trying to get ahead!
The following day my brother hooked up the battery cables and charged the battery on my car for a half an hour or so.... but to be honest, I haven't tried starting it since. Let's HOPE it held the charge..... not that I have anywhere to go, but....
We're now a full seven days into the new year, and I guess if that's the worst that has happened so far there's still hopes for the rest of 2012..
|Wow! My memory doesn't go back to the beginning of 2011, so I'll just have to list what highlights I can recall:
This was the first summer of the 'vegetable stand'. Dawn brought home an old boat trailer that had outlived it's road-worthiness, and transformed it into a portable vegetable stand. He constructed a tilted display platform (to keep any rain from accumulating, and to help show off the produce to passersby) A white tarp canopy provides some protection from the sun and rain. Large chalkboards on either end allow me to advertise the produce of the day, eliminating my previous method of trying to print out signs that invariably got ruined by a quick summer shower.
My stepson Chris salvaged a number of styrofoam trays that allow me to separate the various veggies and keep things neat and tide for display. Presentation is everything! (OK... under-pricing the competition helps, also) I have tried to maintain fairly high standards for the veggie stand. Only FRESH, PRIME veggies are put out for sale. NO produce is offered for sale once it has been picked for more than 48 hours.
It's really the first year of trying to sell veggies. I doubt that my few customers have had time to appreciate my high standards. And the fact that I grow primarily for my pantry allowed me only spotty offerings for the stand, and I'm sure that doesn't help my marketing efforts. Several people stopped by simply to tell me how lovely my garden looks. While it might not put money in the coffers, at least it made me feel like I was accomplishing something!
My two most promising crops were the "Sweet Success" cucumbers that grow to be 12" to 16" in length, and are well over 2 1/2" in diameter. There was one gentleman who would buy every cucumber that I could grow. And the "Serendipty" corn, although a very late variety, was a huge success. The corn produces 8" to 10" ears that are full and extremely sweet and tender. And the ears stay well on the stalks without getting starchy or tough. We only planted 6 rows, and I had to stop offering the corn for sale because I hadn't put any into MY freezer yet. Two customers stopped by just to tell me it was the best corn they'd had all year. We'll be planting more corn for the 2012 season.
I had way too many tomatoes this year. I canned 32 quarts, used a mess to make stuffed green peppers, and shared some of the excess with my nephew, but still had tons left over. So I picked them all and put them out on the veggie stand for FREE! I couldn't stand to see them go to waste, and I figured it MIGHT be a good will gesture that customers will remember next year... or maybe they'll just wait to see if there's more freebies next year.... time will tell.
The freezers and the pantry cupboards are FULL, so I'd say that, although there were some crops that didn't do very well, overall it was a successful gardening season.
THE RUN-IN (GARDEN) SHED:
Another memorable event this year was the demise of our run-in shed. It was originally constructed to be shelter for my stepson's cows back in 2004(?) It was a heavily constructed 12' x 20' three-sided building with a steeply slanted roof that rose 12' in the front and 8' in the back. It housed two different crops of cows before my stepson decided that ranching wasn't for him. Then we used to building to shelter the gardening and lawn care equipment.
Along came hurricane Irene, and flipped that building completely upside down! It landed squarely on the metal roof! Even though it was constructed with heavy beams it wasn't designed to play tiddly-winks. Amazingly, in preparation for the storm, we had put all the equipment under cover in that shed... and when it flipped.... not ONE SINGLE ITEM sheltered in the shed got damaged! But the shed itself was basically totalled! It landed on the veggie stand that had been parked behind it to shelter it from the strong winds. The tongue of the trailer was bent slightly, but there was virtually no real damage to the stand. It did demolish two cattle gates that we were using as support fences for my Brussels Sprouts. Naturally it smashed the three or four plants that were actually producing...
Filing a home-owner's claim was a first for me. Fortunately my neighbor is in the construction business, and has dealt with a number of customers who have had the misfortune to need their home-owner's insurance, so he walked me through gathering the info that my claims adjuster would need. To make a long story short, the insurance company came through with enough money for us to build a NEW... four walls and a roof.. genuine storage shed!
I'm fairly certain that I hadn't even completed filing the paperwork for the shed when the tree crashed onto the house. There's never a dull moment in this household! The neighbor was having all the trees cut down along the property line between our lots. It broke my heart to see all those trees gone. But there was an 80' pine near the corner of my house (technically on the neighbor's property) that leaned toward my house. The tree guy had refused to cut it for a good many years.... not wanting to get involved in the risk of taking down such an awkward tree... Because it was part of the 'property line' project, against his better judgement, he finally agreed to take down that pine.
Well, despite taking all the proper precautions, good projects go bad. The tree slipped from the harvester clamps and spun around and toppled directly onto my house. It shattered the window at the end of my pantry, shattered the bathroom window (tiny shards of glass all over the place!) broke 5 rafters in the roof over my entryway, ripped the vinyl siding in two different spots, and destroyed 3 panels of metal roofing on the entryway and 2 more panels on the main house. The good news is.... nobody got hurt. The bad news is...the poor tree guy had to pay for the repairs...
So we lived with the traditional blue tarps for a month or two... The repairs eventually got done, and all is well...
THE REPLACEMENT SHED:
As I said, the insurance money pretty much paid for the materials to rebuild the garden shed. Dawn had researched and found plans on line for a nice little shed that should suit us to a "T". Because we had to wait for the final results of the claim, the project got started a little later than we had hoped. But Dawn and Mark dug and set the sauna tubes for the foundation, and construction began. Our old boss Brad came up and helped Dawn put in some of the floor joists, and Mark helped (whenever he could) to construct the walls. Mark put in a few nearly full days helping to put up the roof and get it shingled. As for me.... I did a little painting and a lot of 'fetch this' and 'hold that'... and even managed to cut a few 2x4's so Dawn wouldn't have to come down off the ladder.
Not to make light of the help from others (it was invaluable and very much appreciated) I have to say that Dawn built that shed pretty alone. How he managed to stand up walls by himself...erect trusses...enclose soffets... and so many other things... simply amazes me! It was a mad rush to get the building finished before winter set it, but he did it! (OK, we can't count the Halloween snowstorm! Those several inches of snow didn't last more than a week or so)
The end result: We now have a cute little 12' x 20' garden shed that easily stores all of our garden equipment! Granted, in the spring it will need a second coat of paint, and the irrigation control system will have to be configured and installed, but right now the shed is up - totally enclosed - looks good - and is keeping all the equipment protected from the weather. It has a windowed entry door, two small windows, an overhead door on one end, and two 'barn' type doors on the other end. I can't believe how much storage space there is inside! Perhaps this winter Dawn will get bored enough to try to build some shutters for the windows. And maybe I can con him into building a couple of window boxes for those windows!
I'm sure there are other events that I should have documented for 2011, but those were the highlights. At least I got those written down. And if I think of others, well.... there's always room for EDITING!
|OK... It's that time of year again. I just renewed my WDC membership for another year, and once again I'm trying to convince myself to make a more concerted effort to do some writing.
I started this blog three years ago. In three years I made a total of 15 entries! Is that pathetic or what? And I just spent the best part of an hour going through the blog and transferring those entries into my word processor so that I can burn them onto a disk for 'posterity'. Actually, most of the entries were documenting the remodeling progress of my home, and I wanted to keep those notes for my own records. And there were a couple of posts relating to my pets. I don't really need those entries to remind me... my pets are my family... but I kept them anyway, just because.
What surprised me, however, were the entries (rants) pertaining to politics. I don't consider myself a particularly "political" individual. I'm a registered Independent, and don't get involved in politics other than to TRY to inform myself enough to make an educated vote at election time. I guess that's why I was astonished to find that nearly half of those entries were rants about the things going on in Washington D.C.
I came to the realization that I watch too much TV. I'm at home pretty much 24/7...and the TV at least offers enough background noise to distract me from chatting with my two cats constantly. Personally, I prefer to watch reruns of the old game shows during the day, or perhaps some sit-coms. I guess I hold to the theory that television is supposed to take our minds off our daily troubles. And...at least during the day....it works for me!
The problem is that my brother lives here with me, and HE controls the remote during the evening hours. And he is a NEWS JUNKY! Actually, it's not just the evening news. The day starts at 5:00 a.m. with the local news. Then it continues on with the national news. By the time my brother leaves for work I'm usually involved in feeding the cats and puttering around the kitchen, so the TV often stays on some sort of news program until my game shows start at 11:00. While I might not have been actually 'watching' those programs for that six hour period, at least SOME of that crap has filtered its way into my brain. And then in the evening it's another two to four hours of more news. That's TEN HOURS A DAY of having that insanity floating around my ears.
Obviously I do, on occasion, get to the OVERLOAD point, and that's when the rants appear in my blog. I think I'd be better off chatting with the cats. After all, who doesn't find a 'crazy old cat lady' much more charming than a witch on a political soap box?
2011 is nearly gone, and I probably won't post many more entries this year. But 2012 is going to be, at best, at CHAOTIC year. I'd like to think that most of my entries for 2012 will be boring dissertations about the house, the cats, perhaps the family, and maybe even just some foolish thoughts about life in general.
I guess it will all depend on just how much TV I watch in the coming year. PRAY FOR ME!