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Showing posts from June, 2012

June 30 - Friend

A good day

Apologies to you lucky readers who don't live in the United States and who currently enjoy universal healthcare. This post is all about justice prevailing here in America.

I tried not to get all caught up in the hype yesterday morning, waiting for the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I posted on Facebook that it felt like watching the "Buckwheat Dead" sketch from Saturday Night Live, oh so many years ago.

And both of you know I'm not really happy with ACA anyway. Removing the public option weakened the bill considerably and left insurance companies in the mix. It's a fact that Medicare's administrative costs are 3 to 5 percent, while commercial insurance companies spend 30 percent just to process (or, more likely, deny) claims. Single-payer (Medicare for all) is the most economical, humane, just, fair way to deliver healthcare to everyone. Period.

So while I was a disappointed Democrat after ACA was signed in 2…

June 29 - Soft

June 28 - On the shelf

Giddy gardener

This is my fourth year of serious gardening, and I'm still not over it. And if othergardeningbloggers I read are any indication, you never do get over it. In fact, I don't even think our Amish neighbors ever get over it. Whenever I stop by there for milk, the conversation turns to gardening: How are your tomatoes? Did you get many strawberries? My rhubarb is out of control! Have you seen the hibiscus/butterfly bush/hydrangeas this year?

We had the last of the lettuce in a salad last night, to which I added homegrown onions. The dressing was laced with homegrown garlic and homegrown cilantro (which is out of control, I've never had this much cilantro before. I'm rich with cilantro!) I don't think we're going to get a June tomato (other than cherry-sized), but there's still two days left and it's going to be hot-hot-hot, so you never know.

I'm not trying to grow enough food to feed my husband and me for a year. I'm pretty sure I'll have enough…

June 27 - Bathroom

Three hours

I was in the tomato patch yesterday from noon to 3 and didn't even get hot. It was a glorious day for pruning and staking tomatoes. Many of the Amish pastes are just beginning to go from green to yellow, and I had enough ripe cherry tomatoes to chop and add to our omelettes last night. Also picked the first zucchini.

Do you think I'll ever get over the delight of the first crop of the season? I hope not!

I also finished the bulk of a design project, 25 booklets of love letters from a friend's multiple-great grandfather to his betrothed. All that's left to do is assembly, the printing is done, done, done.

So. A productive day, all in all.

My brother, who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida reported this morning that the downtown streets in his town have three to four feet of water coursing through them. No one has lost power in his immediate area, thank goodness, but he ran out of texts on his phone and had to wait until he could get to work to e-mail me. (He is home com…

June 26 - Where you shop

Today's the day …

to work in the garden.

Definitely not Friday.

Today, though, is starting off as the most perfect June day. (I feel really, really bad for those of you affected by Tropical Storm Debby. Which isn't me, by the way, I spell my name with an "i," not a "y.")

Low humidity, cool temperatures, no rain in sight. I had previously tied the tomatoes two to a stake, which is working for some plants, but not all of them. My husband brought home a dozen new stakes yesterday.

So I'll be restaking, weeding and pruning the tomatoes today. It's one of those strike-while-the-iron-is-hot, make-hay-while-the-sun-shines kind of days.

If you need me today, I'll be in the garden.

June 25 - Something cute (also post #1111)

Well, I gotta spend the next 38 months doing something, right?

I recorded my weight at FatSecret a minute or so ago and got this message:

My Weigh in Report
You lost 1.0 lb (0.5 %) since you last weighed in on Monday 28 May 2012.
At that rate it will take you about 38 months to get to your goal weight.

What's 38 more months, in the whole scheme of things? Heh.

I woke up really early this morning thinking about the coal industry in West Virginia. Wikipedia has been somewhat helpful in answering some questions, but not entirely. And all the answers lead to more questions, the biggest one (so far) being this:
If the healthcare industry employs more workers than the coal mining industry does, and if healthcare workers are treating people who have gotten sick from coal mining (directly or indirectly), then wouldn't we be hurting the healthcare sector by reducing the impact of mining? I also had a great idea, maybe I should run for statewide office. Before the first fracking incident happens in West Virginia (it's probably too late, I haven&#…

June 24 - On my mind

Pesto season

You may think it's summer vacation season, or baseball season, or mosquito season or, if you're in the southern hemisphere it could be the freezin' season. But here in southern West Virginia, thanks to nearly perfect growing conditions lately, it's pesto season.

As much as my mouth (still) hurts (so bad I can barely eat), I can ignore the pain when I'm cooking. So far today I've made lotsa pesto and an apple cobbler, and there's a dish of fresh corn pudding in the oven. I suppose anything – knitting, cardmaking, reading, weeding, fill-in-the-blank – would distract me, but today I was in a cooking mood.

Good thing, too, since the basil plants were beginning to flower, I'd already harvested the apples and a neighbor dropped off four ears of corn yesterday.

What's that? You've never made pesto? As condiments go, it's pretty easy-peasy. It's best (as always) to have all the ingredients ready to go before you get started. You'll need a foo…

June 23 - Movement

June 22 - From a high angle

I tried …

to get a little video to post of the lovely rain we're having.

Do either of you know how FREAKING hard it is to film falling rain? It's FREAKING HARD!

But it's lovely rain, and we certainly need it. I wish my brother had had time to fix the gutters before he went back to Florida. Or maybe I just need to put a couple more buckets out on the patio. That's the lazy woman's way of fixing gutter leaks.

Yesterday I mowed and mowed and mowed, after I watered the garden. We've had rain in the forecast for several days, but the tomatos in the garden were looking a little droopy. Wrestling with the hose (or washing the car) is as good as a rain dance, I swear.

It's easier to water the little Sweet 'n' Neat cherry tomatoes in the planter on the patio table. And I do believe we'll be eating tomatoes in June this year. See?

June 21 - Where you slept

Antibiotics are a beautiful thing

I'm just sayin'.

I took it easy yesterday afternoon, after working at the garden center in the morning. The temperature soared to 90 degrees and the humidity wasn't much lower. There's always a threat of afternoon thunderstorms this time of year, but even when they come through (they didn't), they leave the atmosphere feeling even more tropical. If that's possible.

The morning was nice, though. The garden center is shaded most of the morning and my job was to water the plants. I almost finished, only the fruit trees remained unwatered when my co-worker arrived at noon to relieve me. Three hours of watering, punctuated by two or three customers. It took my mind off my mouth, and that's a beautiful thing, too.

I planted some sweet potato slips yesterday in the former garlic bed. I'm not sure what to expect, I've never grown sweet potatoes before. My soil isn't especially sandy, which Farmer Google says is ideal, so we'll just have to see what …

June 20 - Fave photo you've ever taken

The party's over …

I have to work this morning, so my husband is driving my brother to the airport. I sure wish I was going, too. He seemed to have a good time, mostly relaxing and enjoying the quiet time. Unless he was fixing something. We now have a screen door that doesn't admit flies and insects, a dryer vent that doesn't admit mice and a ceiling fan that doesn't make so much racket we've never used it as a fan, only as a light fixture. Oh, and a previously broken-into window that is now closed and locked, never to be reopened, a brake light on the truck, etc., etc., etc. That boy can fix anything!

The ice cream social last Saturday was a success, and I'm sure our retiring Delegate was pleased and felt very much appreciated. I do believe life can return to normal. Sort of.

Monday started early – my husband, brother and I left here at 6 a.m. We picked up my sister, who quite possibly lives more in the Middle of Nowhere than I do and then drove another hour and a half to a cemetery…

June 19 - Imperfect

Well, I missed posting yesterday, which is imperfect in and of itself. But I was in a car, on the road for most of the entire day, which I'll write more about tomorrow. The last few hours of the drive home I was in excruciating pain because of what's pictured below.

June 17 - In your bag

June 16 - Out + about

June 15 - Yellow

I took ANOTHER walk!

Wow, when you don't have to work and you don't have a mile-long list of Things To Do, there are a lot more hours in the day for things like, um, exercise. Heh.

My gym membership runs out next week, but I haven't been there regularly since I started working in April. I tried, but I had a lot of trouble justifying the 25-mile round-trip on days I didn't have to drive anywhere. I think I'll do another six-month membership beginning in October and in the meantime just keep walking.

My brother went with me for a two-miler yesterday. He is a non-exerciser who works at a desk job and I was very proud of him for making the effort, and then amazed that he actually went the distance. He's already informed me he's very sore this morning. As anyone would be, I keep reminding him.

And although I said yesterday (in my photo post) how nice it is not to have to do or be or accomplish anything, we've accomplished a LOT with his help. My husband and I are, um, limited in…

June 14 - TIme

So very nice to relax and enjoy this visit with my brother. I feel no pressure to do or be or accomplish anything.

I walked yesterday!

Here's the beauty of a to-do list: When it's ta-done, you can go do something good for yourself. And yesterday was such a gorgeous, beautiful, perfect June day, I simply had to take advantage of it.

I got home from work about 12:30, ate a light lunch and headed out. It took a lot longer to do three miles yesterday than it usually does, because I stopped to chat with a neighbor and also stopped a couple times to take photos. But I wasn't timing myself.

I was taking a walk because I felt like walking, not because I was training or exercising or making up for something I ate or any of the other reasons I usually walk.

It felt great to be outside. It's been a while. If the humidity stays low, as it was yesterday, I think I'll be walking again today.

Our company arrived safely. My dad's widow will be going on to Ohio today to visit her family, but we'll see her again Monday when we go there as well, to bury my father's ashes. Finally.

In the meantime, it'…

June 13 - Art

I had hoped to take a photo of a very cool bumper sticker today, but the truck that sports it didn't show up at the garden center. Here's what it would have looked like (and I think I've posted a picture of it before, maybe on Facebook, a long time ago).

I'd better be done with that list …

because today's the day! My dad's widow and my brother are already on the road, driving up from Florida. She is dropping him off here and then traveling on to Ohio tomorrow to visit her children. My brother will be spending the week with us. We're going to Ohio Monday to inter my dad's ashes.

Only these few things remain to be done:

I'm hoping my brother can help me with the screen door. It was on the to-do list long before I knew he was coming, so the extra pair of handy hands will knock that one out in no time. (My husband is great with ideas, talk therapy and even surgery, but not so great at plumbing, gardening or screen door repair.)

I've staked some of the tomatoes, but that's an early-early-early morning job. You see, tomatoes need lots of sun in order to grow, and if you're out there staking them mid-day, well the sun is beating down on you and you'll quickly become exhausted and hot and cranky. My discomfort trumps my OCD-ness about unfinis…

June 12 - From a low angle



Mulch really is magical. I've been ready to plow the herb bed under and plant grass seed the past couple months because it was so ugly. But a few hours and many buckets full of mulch have transformed it. I'm so happy with it!

It's not strictly an herb bed. One section has rhubarb and one has horseradish and there are those volunteer tomatoes in there, too. I sowed fennel and basil in some of the blank spots yesterday.

I've always had trouble growing cilantro, but that section is doing great, better than any other, actually. Which makes me very happy, because I do love me some fresh cilantro. I garnished our curried lentil soup with a generous amount last night. Because I could. Heh.

Here's how the herb bed started.

And here it is now.

A correction from yesterday: The light-colored mulch is cocoa shell, not coconut shell, and I would use it on everything if I could afford it. [A truck bed full (Ford Ranger) was $30. Four 2 cu. ft. bags of cocoa shell was $24.] B…

That meeting again

On Sunday I wrote about a Saturday morning meeting with West Virginia's former governor Joe Manchin. The subject of racism in West Virginia came up, and he quickly shot it down. No, race isn't an issue here in the Mountain State. Our citizens want jobs. Oh, and Coal is King!

I'm linking to this article, which was published Saturday afternoon, so that I will always have it available. I've sent the link to former governor Manchin. Perhaps someone on his staff with an open mind will read it.

And weep for West Virginia.

June 11 - Door

Monday morning, coming down

I'm not really talking about me, although I'm certainly not quite as high up on that cloud of excitement and empowerment I was on Saturday after scolding a U.S. Senator.

My husband is still shaking his head over that one.

I'll post the photoadayJune picture (how serendipitous is it that today's prompt is "door"?) as soon as I publish this post so you can see what I'm talking about.

I came out into the living room this morning and noticed one of the sliding glass door panels was completely shattered. I looked for a brick or a rock on the patio, but found nothing. Then – of course! – I Googled and learned that spontaneous shattering of tempered glass sometimes just happens.

What a bitch.

As I sit here at my dining room table, the door is behind me and I can hear it. It's literally creaking. The spider-vein cracks are probably still spreading, although I can't see them do so, as when a car windshield cracks.

I've called the hardware store, gotten…

June 10 - Best part of your weekend

Democracy in action. Sorta.

Fair warning: Both of you will be bored out of your gourd if you're not politically inclined, so you can skip this if you like. You won't hurt my feelings. And it's kinda long. Ish. Here goes:

So the four of us – my husband, our friends (a married couple) who have recently moved from California, and me – trot off to the big city of Charleston, West Virginia, Friday afternoon to join hundreds of other loyal Democrats at the state convention. We were all first-time delegates in the quadrennial process of choosing national delegates and amending and adopting our state's party platform.

Friday was pretty low-key. We registered, got our pictures made with a life-sized cutout of President Obama, had just about the worst dinner ever (sorry if anyone from the committee is reading this, but blech!), and were gladhanded and plastered with campaign stickers from officeholders (or wannabes) and candidates for national delegate.

I was a candidate for national delegate but, being a …

June 9 - Your view today

So much fun!

I just got back from our state Democratic convention. I was not chosen to go to Charlotte, but I truly didn't expect to be. Seems like those positions are rewards for many years of service to the party, and I've only been active since 2008. Lots of people said "next time, you'll get to go next time." Pretty heady stuff for a girl from the Middle of Nowhere.

I'm ready for the campaign, and right now I'm tired. Need to post the photo of the day and then I'm going to relax, relax, relax. I've been "on" for two days, something girls from the Middle of Nowhere aren't very often.

June 8 - 6:00

Ready, ready, ready (or nearly so) to …

1. Welcome my brother for a visit next week. My little brother [17 months younger than I] hasn't ever visited me. He lives in Florida, so I've seen him several times in the past few years as I traveled there to be with my dad. He's only been north of the Mason-Dixon line a handful of times since he moved to Florida 40 years ago. My father's widow is [finally] interring Dad's ashes, and my brother is driving up with her, staying with me for a few days and then flying back. She will be staying in Ohio with her children for a few weeks. There wasn't much to do to get ready for his visit – we just needed to dig out the guest room, which ends up being a repository for all the stuff we don't know what to do with. Which really means we have too much stuff. At any rate, I'm ready to see him and the house is ready for him to see. Heh. 2. Co-host an ice cream social honoring a state legislator. I've never done anything like this before. I've hosted p…

June 7 - Drink

The miracle of gardening

I am never not surprised when something I put into the ground actually sprouts and matures and gives me back food. To me – a relatively new gardener – it's a miracle, plain and simple, that I can pull produce from my back yard and use it to make meals.

I've learned a lot from many mentors, one of whom is the great and powerful Anna who, with her husband, Mark, writes from southeast Virginia. A couple days ago she wrote that she should have harvested her garlic a week ago, as the bulbs had begun splitting underground. Well, I'm a little behind in my blog reading and my garlic does kind of look like her photo. Sort of. It's hard to tell, but it was enough to send me out this morning to pull one of the hardnecks as a test.

Frankly, I think this one simple garlic bulb is as beautiful as that whole landscape bed I showed you yesterday.

I haven't pulled one of the softnecks yet, but I will as soon as I back away from this computer. They look smaller and I keep thinking t…

June 6 - Hat

Also …

remember a couple days ago when I said the reason I got the garage bathroom cleaned was because the washer overflowed? Way to put a positive spin on things, Debbi!

So yesterday I went to get laundry out of the dryer, only to find a lump of still-damp clothes an hour after I put them in. The dryer was tumbling and it was obviously heating. Google's Appliance Repair suggested a clogged vent, and that was, indeed, the problem. Until I was able to fix it, though, I was grateful for a clothesline, partly sunny skies and the opportunity for yet a little more physical activity.

Seriously, this is the only way I canNOT slide into the nervous breakdown. Heh.

Whittling down the list

My to-do list is getting slightly smaller. The only thing I crossed off yesterday was weeding the front flower bed, but that was a huge job and I was glad to finish it. Now I need to get some mulch. The herb bed hasn't been touched and is not nearly as  lovely as I'd imagined it would be. I'll post a picture after I tidy it up and mulch it, but it's still not what I'd envisioned.

In the meantime, here's a before-and-after comparison of the flower bed:

I'm beyond pleased with this project. I had no idea when we started how absolutely beautiful it would turn out to be. It's even prettier from the lawn side. Don't you agree?

This isn't much of a vegetable gardening year for me. The onions and garlic look great, and I put the tomato stakes out yesterday, although I haven't tied the plants up yet. I have 58 tomato plants, mostly Amish Paste but there are some other random varieties in there that we were going to get rid of at the garden center an…

June 5 - Sign

Two pix today. I went to town for groceries and looked and looked and LOOKED for something unusual, but ended up with pretty typical, Middle-of-Nowhere signs: