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Showing posts from April, 2012

April 30 - Something that makes you sad

This was such a hard photo prompt to interpret. I'm not a sad person, and I don't go around looking for sad. I'm not trying to be Pollyanna or anything, but everything that happens has a reason and a lesson. Why be sad about that?

At any rate, because I didn't want to break my streak (can't believe I've done a photo a day every day this year! Thanks, Chantelle!), here's my attempt. It makes me sad that all the people in those pictures (we call it the grandchildren's gallery) live so far away from me.


Dedicated to Anna and Mark

When I had the falling out with my face-to-face gardening mentors last year, I turned to Farmer Google for much of the food production knowledge I needed. Two of the best resources I found were Anna and Mark. Mark is actually the nephew of a good friend, so I knew about the blog long ago and occasionally looked at it. But within the last year I've begun reading it regularly and have learned so much from them.

They live even more in the middle of nowhere than I do, and have thus learned to be extremely resourceful. I thought of Mark yesterday when I was on the ground trying to fix my lawnmower. Because I don't have a workbench and am not much of a fixer, I had to scrounge around in every closet in the house before I found ONE wire coat hanger. Like duct tape, coat hangers (or any other kind of heavy-duty wire) are indispensable in the toolbox. I was able to elevate and tie up the rod which had come loose and finish mowing the front yard, making only left turns (the rod is bent …

April 29 - Circle

April 28 - 1 p.m.

I was late … didn't remember to take a picture until 2-ish.



Not even CLOSE to a flood

Thank goodness.

The Greenbrier River was raging yesterday, but managed to stay within its boundaries and not creep up into the garden center's space. A central pavilion sits amidst the outdoor displays and greenhouses. When the water creeps up to the concrete pad upon which the pavilion is built, then we start to get worried.


Yesterday was a lovely day to work. It was cool enough to keep a sweatshirt on most of the day, but sunny and pleasant. Working outdoors is lots of fun as long as Mother Nature cooperates. It sucks when it's hot or rainy or too cold. Nice crisp days like we had yesterday are perfect.

I lost count of how many baby tomato plants I moved into peat pots. We're offering several heirloom varieties this year, and I'm sure a couple of each will land in my garden. IF I ever find time to plant it!

I believe I mentioned I'm having trouble managing my time now that I'm working a regular three-day-a-week schedule? Well, I'm getting a little better.…

April 27 - Somewhere you went

And the rains came

And came, and came again. And with the rain came flood warnings for low-lying areas. I'm anxious to see where the river flowing behind the garden center topped off. Pictures tomorrow …

There have been two "hundred-year" floods in our area since I moved to West Virginia 15 years ago. I believe they happened seven or eight years apart. But that climate change theory, that's a myth and don't you forget it! A hoax, I tell you, a hoax!

What all this recent rain means is that the garden isn't planted yet and the grass is getting pretty tall. Which is fine, really, because I have more time later in the summer for preserving produce. The later I plant, the later the harvest, obviously.

As for the grass, the longer the grass the more of it there is to rake and deposit on the compost pile. I'm tempted to get a bagger attachment for the mower. I could collect a LOT of grass clippings if I bagged them. But I wouldn't get nearly as much exercise as I get raking th…

Almost four years to the day …

I've been blogging for a long time. I started posting my drivel in 2006 at Ye Olde Shrinking Knitter. Life got a little complicated in the spring of 2008. I stopped writing regularly in February that year, but MISSED YOU GUYS SO MUCH that I started again, here, in May, 2008.

1000 posts ago.
If it hadn't been for that darned NaBloPoMo, I could have stretched things out and had #1000 land on May 14, 2012. Heh. I'd like to think I'm not so OCD that that doesn't bother me just a little bit, but that bothers me just a little bit.

I'd also like to think that after writing about weight loss for six years I might have lost some weight, but it turns out that hasn't happened. I haven't really been writing about weight LOSS. I've been writing about weight-loss STRUGGLE.

As most of you know, I'm a recovering alcoholic with more than 21 years of sobriety. When I hear newly sober people talk about how they know it's going to be hard to not drink for the r…

April 26 - black+white

April 25 - Looking Down

I should probably keep better records

I have no idea how much garlic I actually planted in the fall of 2010. I bought a pound to plant (from Seed Savers Exchange), but I'm pretty sure it didn't all go in the ground. And how many heads are in a pound, anyway? I don't remember. Some of the cloves were too little to plant, and I might have needed some for the kitchen. At any rate, I know I ended up with one very full braid come harvest time.

I use a bit of garlic nearly every day, so my hope is that I planted enough last fall to get us through to the next harvest. I'm certainly going to come up short this year, with just that one remaining head.

There are more than 40 plants forming heads out in the garden now. That should give me plenty to eat, plenty to plant and even some to share.

Garlic is one of the easiest foods to grow. Here in Zone 6b (southern West Virginia), it's planted in the fall. And since the garden is done producing in October (well, mine is, anyway), there's plenty of room to prepare…

April 24 - Something You're Grateful For

If it's Tuesday …

I stayed the same again this week, no surprise considering that I've indulged in more than a few servings of snack-sized York peppermint patties since the last weigh-in. Making thanks-for-your-commit'mint' bags was a good(ie) idea, but I should have given everyone two – or three! – bags instead of bringing the leftovers home. Every last one of them is going into the freezer today. The freezer IN THE GARAGE. The one where you have to think about what the HELL you're doing while you're walking over there to raid it.

York peppermint patties don't taste fattening at all, in case you've never had one. They're light and refreshing and 70% LESS FAT, proclaimed loudly on the label. So right off the bat your tricky little mind thinks you can have 70% more of them. Right? Heh.

PastaQueen used to update her progress photos every 10 pounds, and that makes more sense than once a month. Even gym workouts don't produce much of a visible difference when one stays th…

April 23 - Vegetable [x2]

Oh, the weather outside is frightful …

It's snowing. And cold. And it's snowing. AND DID I MENTION IT'S SNOWING?!?!?

I put a sideways-oriented video on my Facebook page, because I'm stupid about cell phone camcorders. (And then I fixed it so it shows up properly! Woo hoo!) Not sure if you have to be a FB friend to see the video or not. If you're not my FB friend, feel free to click the little button in the sidebar and I'll add you right away.

I'm feeling a little emotionally manic this morning, I guess falling snow will do that to you me. I'd love to be feeling physically manic, as well, but I was up for a couple hours in the dark, early hours, right after 1 a.m., and my energy level is running on empty.

But since I got a call last night saying don't bother to come in to work today, I think I'll somehow manage to get through the day. I might even mop my floors, which desperately need attention. The garden center is having a snow day! Yay!

They were open yesterday, but my schedule has…

April 22 - Last Thing You Bought

Gardening delay

Looks like I'll be planting most of the garden later rather than earlier. The snow peas and onions I just put in will be fine, but I'd hate to throw beans or edamame or even cucumbers in there and have them freeze next week!

And, of course, I work on Mondays. Outside. All afternoon. Brrr! I'll have to find something Very Important to do in one of the greenhouses.

April 20 - Something You Drew

Look out, look out!

The spammers are coming!

Actually it was only one, but s/he left comments on two different posts. People like that should get a life.

So last night was pretty fun. Because I have a life! Heh. I went to the monthly meeting of our local county Democratic women's group. I'm the Democratic woman in charge of the group, and I'd invited a woman I met six years ago during a Congressional campaign to come talk with us about the upcoming Presidential race. She has a calm, even manner and has lots of experience with phone-banking and canvassing and registering voters. She actually QUIT HER JOB to work for Obama during his first campaign. She really inspired our group.

Members who have sent new-member post card invitations all got little treat bags like this one:


I was busy most of yesterday getting things ready for the meeting, and thus skipped the walk I usually take on Thursdays. But being busy means I'm not bored, and I eat more when I'm bored than when I'm busy. Exce…

April 19 - Orange

A hot shower and a couple Aleve

You've probably seen the Aleve commercials, which promise, "Just two Aleve have the strength to relieve pain all day."

Well, I'm here to tell you they're WRONG, dammit, WRONG! I took two Aleve (normal dosage is one every 12 hours) at 5 p.m. and my painful shoulder/hip/ankle/lower back/you-name-it-it-hurts woke me at 3 a.m. Fortunately, I was able to go back to sleep, blessed sleep.

Maybe I need opioids. (KIDDING! And I REALLY shouldn't be joking about that, considering how much damage they've done to people who think popping an Oxy when for a headache is a good idea.)

Yesterday was my long day at work and it was, indeed, a long day. The good thing is it rained, so we didn't have to drag the hoses around watering a couple acres of trees, shrubs and flowers. But it was a cold rain. Not a hard rain. Steady, light, not enough to feel like I needed an umbrella, even. But six hours of it left me chilled to the bone. Every week I think I should be getting us…

April 18 - Hair

Fur is hair, right?

Gardening IS a workout, right?

It's unusual for me to come home from work without something new for the garden. Groundworks has lots o'plants – trees, shrubs, fruit, herbs and flowers – and I can almost always find something on a table or bench that I need to stuff in my lawn.

So far this year, the "something" has included creeping phlox, garden phlox, three rhubarbs, two kinds of petunias, some allysum, a baptisia and a blue salvia to replace ones that didn't overwinter, a couple liatris and five lamium. Oh, and a papyrus which will overwinter as a house plant.

Yesterday was a perfect gardening day. I'd planned to take a walk, but according to LoseIt! I burned more calories tilling, digging, weeding and planting than I would have by taking a stroll. The sun was mostly hidden behind thin clouds, and the temperature stayed in the low 60s. I started working outside at around 10 a.m. and didn't quit until 3:30, except for a PB&J at noon.

(Gardening is one of those intentional activiti…

April 17 - Something You Don't Like

HAH! Y'all thought I was going to post a photo of a bathroom scale when you saw that subject line, didn't you?


The beauty of a food log

I actually did get on the scale this morning, and my one-pound gain (when I thought it was going to be four or five!) was a relief. I then went back and looked at my previous history, most of which is from FatSecret, and it's certainly normal (whatever that is) for me to have a slight gain after a losing week. It's also normal for me to average losing less than a pound a week, which is discouraging, but IT'S STILL LOSING.

I created a calorie deficit five days out of seven last week, and the deficit days more than made up for the two days I went slightly over my calorie budget. I exercised every day. I logged every bite of food every day.

I did not find it tedious or horrible or boring or frustrating or a Real Drag to do so, either.

The one issue I have with all the electronic food logs I've used is that they're based so very much on name-brand or restaurant-prepared foods. FatSecret frequently had an option for "homemade" – for stews and soups, mostly. Lo…

April 16 - Flower

Skipping the scale this week

My weekly weigh-in is coming up tomorrow, but I'm not participating. And here's part of the reason why:

One should not reward oneself with a bowl of ice cream after a five-mile walk.One should resist the lure of the 10 for $10 Utz Pretzels display.One should not let a pulled bicep keep one from going to the gym for an entire week.
The rest of the reason, of course, is that I'm not going to see the right number, based on what I saw yesterday. When I see the 'wrong' number (it's so hard to convince myself it's just information), I can respond in various ways:

Buckle down, add activity, eat reasonably.Totally cave, what's the use, give up, have some chocolate. And ice cream.Starve myself, double the daily diuretic, work out like a maniac.
Let's just say I could have done better.

Today is Monday, and I'm sure both of you know what that means in the dieter's life: Fresh Starts! New Beginnings! Today is the first day of the rest of your life my diet…

April 15 - Sunset

April 14 - How You Feel Today

Sleepin' 9 to 5

Well, I didn't go to the movie after all. Even working a half day did me in. But I will get used to this, I will, I will, I WILL!

Instead, I stayed home and played Scrabble with my husband after we watched Jeopardy. We are SO old.  Thank goodness we don't feel old on the inside, even though we do old-people things. Like, we used to eat dinner at 6, but have gradually backed that up to 5 on most nights. We might as well live in Florida.

So bedtime was delayed until 9-ish. It was probably 9:30 before I fell asleep. And I didn't wake up until 5:05 this morning. If I can add one or two hours of awake time at the end of the day, I think I can overcome the early wakefulness at the beginning of the next.

Gingerzingi mentioned recent reports of "blue screen time" interfering with sleep cycles. Interestingly, when I work I'm not spending any time in front of a screen. When I'm home, I'm checking e-mail or cruising the web A LOT. And I watch very little televisi…

April 13 - Something You Found

On the other hand …

being awake so early means you get to see some lovely sunrises.


To sleep, perchance to dream …

I have not been sleeping well lately.

Actually, that's not true. I sleep well when I sleep, but once I wake up, I'm UP. As in wide awake, ready to go, bouncing off the walls UP.

For the past several days, UP time has been between 2:30 and 4:30 a.m. I realize that for both of you, 2:30 and 4:30 come once a day, when it's light outside. You might be having a mid-afternoon snack then, or you might be at work.

The other 2:30 and 4:30 come when it's pitch-black outside. Frost develops in the pre-dawn hours, preparing to wreak its havoc on strawberry blossoms and baby apples. There's not much traffic on our road, or anywhere else around here for that matter. Should the sheriff drive by, he might wonder if all is well, seeing my kitchen light on at such an unseemly hour.

Bedtime is early, usually by 9 p.m., so I'm not technically sleep-deprived, more like underslept. Five or six hours, and sometimes seven, is certainly enough to get by on, but getting UP so early-earl…

April 12 - Stairs

It's official: I'm old

No it's not some milestone birthday or impending hip surgery or even incontinence. I'm old because I came home from work yesterday and collapsed immediately after dinner. I got up again long enough to watch Jeopardy, after which I went back to bed and straight to sleep. Oh, after I took an Aleve.

Now if that doesn't define "old," I don't know what does.

I spent six hours at Groundworks yesterday, bundled in sweatpants and a t-shirt topped by a hooded sweatshirt topped by a fleece jacket. And I got to wear knitted things! My favorite wool hat (a lace pattern by Medrith Glover which I cannot find online for you to buy, but you can contact her here, if you're so inclined) and a pair of fingerless flip-top mittens completed my ensemble.

The only time I unlayered was in one of the greenhouses, which registered a balmy 62 degrees most of the day.

There was much lifting and carrying and toting and moving of plants in and out of warm places. We had to make sure e…

April 11 - Where You Ate Breakfast

Payback is hell

Here in southern West Virginia we're experiencing a c-c-c-COLD snap, with freeze warnings and threats of snow. (I just read a friend's Facebook status announcing it was snowing hard in Morgantown, which is almost as far away from me as you can get and still be in West Virginia, but still. SNOWING.)

I shoveled snow exactly twice this past winter, and probably could have gotten away without doing it at all, since the sun managed to melt it all away within a day. We had one of the warmest winters on record and spring has been busting out all over for a month now. Everything bloomed early and I'll admit I was a little hasty in moving my herbs from their former location to the new herb bed. They look pitiful this morning. So pitiful I'm not even going to show you a picture.

Because it's TOO COLD TO GO OUT AND TAKE ONE! Heh.

As "they" say, paybacks are hell, and I'm afraid the fruit trees will be the ones paying this spring for our lack of winter when winte…

One more thing about LoseIt

When I was training for the half-marathons I've done, I liked to add stars to the chart to show my progress. It felt great to look at that piece of paper and see those shiny little symbols adding up as I made my way through the weeks and weeks of hard, easy and long runs.
Well, LoseIt knows about people like me, and every once in a while they give you a badge, a little Attagirl, an additional pat on the back. I haven't figured out what I need to do to earn one, so it's not like I'm working for anything other than to continue being consistent with eating reasonable amounts of healthful foods and exercising. But it makes me smile when I get an e-mail announcing I've earned another badge.
It's kind of like Girl Scouts, except I'm doing the work for myself, not for the privilege of sewing patches on my sash and showing off to the other girls in my troop.

April 10 - Cold

A new low

Well, for this year, anyway.

It's official: I've ZOOMED past the 10-pounds-lost mark, all the way to 11 since 1/1/12.

As both of you know, my body doesn't much care for giving up lard. So what's the secret to my fabulous success? (Please imagine me smirking. Eleven pounds in 14 weeks is, um, WAY less-than-fabulous for most folks, but I must be happy about it or the scale gods will MAKE ME PAY.)

I was able to maintain a seven-pound loss on South Beach, but moving to Phase II stopped the losses. And, frankly, I like whole-grain bread and rice and pasta, so moving back to Phase One felt like being put in a corner for eating normal food. "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

Is that the kind of food relationship I want to nurture? I. Don't. Think. So.

While driving lately, I've been catching up on some of Jillian's recent podcasts. I heard something a couple weeks ago that we've all heard before. You may have dismissed it as I did, since there isn't…

April 9 - Younger You

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

And when you have a gallon of fresh milk, leftover ham and ripe asparagus, make
EASTERPIZZA!  I hope your Easter was happy and that you broke your no-chocolate-for-Lent fast with the most delicious dark chocolate bunny you could find. We debated about thawing the one-pound Reese's cup Santa brought, but ultimately decided the calories wouldn't be worth it.

Especially since we'd just finished our Easter pizza.

I worked from noon until 4 yesterday afternoon, so I needed to be able to come home, get cleaned up and put dinner together relatively quickly. I made the mozzarella Saturday. I made the dough Sunday morning and let it rise, then stuck it in the refrigerator for the rest of the day.

Business at the garden center was slow, so I got to leave a little early, giving me plenty of time to put it all together. Heck, I probably could have made a more traditional feast, but everything was ready for pizza, so pizza it was.

Now I've never had a ham-and-asparagus pizza, but ap…

April 8 - Inside Your Wallet

April 7 - Shadow

April 6 - Lunch

Having a camera at your fingertips doesn't mean squat if you forget to take a picture of your lunch – today's prompt – before you eat it all. Therefore, through the magic of Screen Capture, I give you … lunch!

About those apple blossoms …

We're under a freeze warning from 2 to 10 a.m. Saturday. I covered the trees the last time the temperature got way cold (28!), but since the forecast is for slightly above freezing – 33 degrees – I think I'm going to let nature take its course this time.

Also, I said I had three trees blooming, but only two look like they'll have any fruit. The honeycrisp doesn't have a single flower on it. =( Young apple trees yield very little fruit anyway, but it would be nice to have one or two eating apples later this year.

Clearly I have a lot to learn about orcharding. Heh.

'Tis Good Friday and for everyone who gave up chocolate for Lent, you only have to wait a couple more days. Since I'm no longer following South Beach and didn't give up chocolate for Lent, that hasn't stopped me from doing a little chocolate-filled stress eating this week. The good thing is the scale continues to be friendly. The bad thing is … well, there's nothing bad about chocolate, if…

April 5 - Tiny

I heart my job

I really do.

Growing up, I was not at all interested in gardening. My father always had a vegetable garden, and he loved growing weird things like kohlrabi and shoepeg corn. My grandmother loved getting her hands dirty; she grew beautiful roses and poppies.

One time as an adult I threw some pot seeds out the back door and ended up transplanting a pretty incredible plant into the basement under a grow light. They call it "weed" because that's how it grows – like a weed.

My third husband was a back-to-the-land wannbe, and we had several raised-bed gardens, but again – they were his, not mine.

I guess it took all this time to meet the right mentors and to be open to the possibility of me actually being a gardener. I started several years ago with perennial beds, and three years ago dug up a large area for vegetables. Two years ago I doubled that space. It's just the right size to provide almost a year's worth of tomatoes, garlic, pickles and green beans for my husba…