Saturday, July 30, 2016

Letter from home ...

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been a busier than usual week for me. So far, I have about 4.5 - 5 gallon of blueberries in the freezer. Very hard for me to fathom, as Uncle Jimmy got quite a few. #3 son - not so much. I made my blueberry pie yesterday afternoon and finished it off this morning for breakfast. I am satisfied now. Going to prune the daylights out of them this winter so there is not such a glut next summer and they will be bigger. (less picking) There are quite a few out there, but I'm done for this year.

Meanwhile, my little blueberry cuttings are doing well. Maybe in a couple of years they will be a small source of income for somebody. 

Son #4 sent me this picture and others. He's taking sailing instructions and seems to enjoy the ocean as much as I. Wish I could go there. The temperatures are much more pleasant there than here.
At Oceanside
I'm still reading Poldark. I always read fast, to find out what happens. I did a No No, I read some of the last book. I know that it's not the way, but I wanted to slow down and try to figure out more about the battles. I will have to read some history later, to see how accurate the research was in the book. In the book(s) the times then are so much like they are now without the ability to blow the world to kingdom come. I'm in book 8 now. Poverty seems the same now as then and so do politics. People will never learn.

I'm trying to cook a little more, spending a lot of time on the chair in the kitchen. My back doesn't like it when I stand. I noticed a lot of little flies in the kitchen, DH sprayed the other day and I was in bed the next, unable to breathe. Spraying was a bad idea. Thursday, I took out the vacuum cleaner and tried to suck the little bleeps up. Cleaning the sink and trash container hasn't helped a bit and they just keep coming. Have never seen the likes of it. Have those fly strips all over in there, two of them don't have a fly on. Sounds pretty gross, doesn't it? It is.

Had a huge flock of birds come and land in our trees. DH had never seen so many. I imagine they were starlings. I would hope it was that and not birds gathering to migrate. I did hear geese the other day, we are not in the flyway. I searched the horizon and sure enough there was a huge flock of them. Gee, it isn't even August!

Speaking of August, it's the day after tomorrow. What the bleep is happening to summer? It seems to be going the way of all things already. I remember summer taking a lot more time than this! We still haven't had our first watermelon yet.

We'll have to dig up what we can find of my Naked Ladies (lilies) and get them moved. I only had a couple show up. I'm sure it is because they are so crowded and the ground was so hard and dry from the heat and no rain this summer. I hope they are still viable. A couple of years ago they were lush. Last year sparse. Guess we should have taken care of them then. Sigh.

The mockingbirds have their nest in one of the figs. I sincerely hope that Tacky doesn't get at the babies. The birds picked a bad spot. There is a lot of noise when someone gets close. The swallows have their nests out in the lean-to on the garage. They keep the bug and mosquito population down. The sparrows and cardinals are busy at the feeder again. What would I do without my birds?

All for now, I hope you are enjoying the fruits and joys of the summer! I have pot roast going in the crock pot, if you can make it for supper, give me a call. We eat at six.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Where did it go?

Hey! It rained for a bit this morning! Promises for more tonight, but often the weatherman is full of ...empty promises. It's a shade cooler and I appreciate that.

Tomorrow is my youngest son's 27th birthday, sigh. He's in California now, hopefully enjoying better weather than we. I started looking at the old pictures and became a little misty. Why did the time have to fly by so quickly?
Just 7 hours old, looks like Daddy.

With his 'Best Friend' - Rough.

Helping decorate his birthday cake.
 He's grown into a fine man now, but to me - he'll always be my little boy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Old lady excitement

I knew my project was supposed to work, but I am always ready for that disappointment of an experiment gone awry. I guess you could say I am a pessimist as far as growing things go. Usually, it all dies as if I have a poison thumb. I was greatly surprised last night when I checked my cuttings. It's been a while since I did them. Maybe 2 weeks? I looked and I had new green growth on one of them! This morning, I went to take a picture and - Ta Da - it's a little bigger and there is another one showing new growth! The instructions say that new growth means the roots are starting! This must be how God felt. Wow. Way better than seeds! The starters are both blueberry. Nothing on the flowering almond yet. The crab was as I expected - dead, dried up ...
Ceres must be proud, eh?

Alive, but suffering from heat exhaustion.

The Morning Glory vines are also suffering - I have yet to cut them out of the flowerbed. Once they get in, they are hard to get out. I like them though, so I am undecided about their future.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

DIY Nova Garage

We started this yesterday (in the heat) and finished it this morning. I would not recommend it. The instructions were minimal and in assorted languages. It was very confusing. Between the two of us, we managed to get it put together without bloodshed. He's better with words and I'm better with diagrams, though the instructions were not helpful either way.

 There is enough room for me to store some of my plant stuff or whatever I want to keep out of the elements. We put the little "Garage" right off the back steps. It will mean a little more walking, but that's a good thing. Right?

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22, 1943

Missing my brother and wishing he could be here for his 73rd birthday. Tom was an artist like my parents were. He worked in many mediums: lost wax bronze casting, acrylics, oils, and colored pencil. We lost a good one when he passed.

He liked his girls, I have a large framed one for the bedroom.
 He was a fun guy too. I have no idea who this kid is, he seemed to draw them like flies. Happy Birthday big brother!
 I received my final Poldark - the 1st season and I'm not waiting for the reruns. Hah! Finished the fourth book.

It's hot here in the Devil's armpit. I did, however, pick blueberries at 6 yesterday morning. Got another 3 pints. MMmmm! They are about done now, will be slimmer picking from now on, some are drying up. I hope y'all are staying cool or warm - whatever you need!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20, 1935

You'll have to forgive me here, it's a bad week in my memory files. I sometimes wish a few of the memories would fade like the ones where I don't remember if I ate or not or took my pills.
Gloria with Sookie

That was the day my sister was born. Gone but not forgotten. She would have been 81 today and would have hated it. In my dreams, Gloria is still 54, vibrant and fun. I still miss her.

The UPS fellow didn't show up until nearly 6:30. I was beginning to think he had a wreck and my Poldark books would never show up. I have started the 4th book in the series. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Dragging Sunday

I’m watching a mocking bird in the remains of Sparrow Hall. She has been eyeballing something. Maybe the cat is out there again. Yesterday, when DH came home from shopping, she was on the porch rail, giving Tacky Cat a scolding. Her nest must be close by. Mocking birds can be quite nasty and very territorial. Our old cat had a few pieces of her ears missing, thanks to a possessive mocking bird.

We had a good hard rain yesterday, good for the blueberries, ahem. I suppose good for everything that needed it. It hung on for a while, so I think it soaked in rather than just running off. Of course, the dogs hated it.

I had an idea for a new phone. On this phone, only the numbers you called could call you. If you called a number that you didn’t expect a call back on, like a restaurant for their closing time etc, you had the option of keeping the number or getting rid of it. Right then and there would be no more BS with telemarketers. I understand a company wouldn’t want this, but old fogies like myself would be so happy. I don’t know how my number got out there again, but the bleep phone woke me twice yesterday and bothered my concentration several times. I hate (yes, hate is a strong word) having the phone ring for bleep. I would shut the phone off, if it weren’t for calls from people I actually want to hear from! (There aren’t very many.)

In last night’s installment of Poldark, I waited and watched for the scene about the fish. It was so romantically written and I could just see it in my mind’s eye. Pfft! Masterpiece really blew it. Oh, it was good, if you hadn’t read it. I’m so glad I bought the books! I’m trying to hold off on reading the third book. It’s shorter. (344 pages) The rest won’t get here for over 48 hours and well, I can hardly wait. Tomorrow, I will have berry picking, but ..

Friday, July 15, 2016

No willpower, whatsoever ...

I finished the first Poldark in the series last night, and then I couldn't get to sleep, trying to figure out how I was going to validate ordering the rest of the series. It came to me in the wee hours.

"Thank you for the very early birthday gift, honey. Your shopping is already done!"

How's that for being industrious? That will work. I ordered the rest of them, in 4 separate orders to buy the cheapest ones. I suppose you think I'm daft. Maybe, but I don't care, I'm really liking the story and I will want to be able to continue after I finish the 3rd book I have here. They are supposed to come Tuesday, so I'll have to stretch these out, if I can.

So far, the book(s) are staying close to what I've seen on the TV. Oh, some things are truncated on the screen and one major part has been greatly changed and I'm sure it was for the audience's sake. I must say the book is always better than the film, but I'm sure you will agree.

It's time for me to eat, take pills, feed dogs, make out bills and walk down to the mail box. Then I have to water my petunia and impatiens, check on my cuttings, and check on the status of the blueberries. I'm hoping they aren't ready for picking yet. :-) I want to get on to Demelza and life in Cornwall.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Here I go - again!

I watch (listen, really) to quite a lot of PBS while I play on my computer. I discovered there was more to the programming when I happened upon Poldark a few weeks ago. Wow, I was impressed! It's in one hour segments and if you know me at all, you know I am not going to wait around all that long to see what happens next. I went on Amazon to find the books. Erp ... expensive or will be if I shoot for the whole series. There are 12 books! Some person has the whole set used for $149. I can just hear myself, trying to justify spending that kind of money on something I will most likely read once. Well, I ordered the first three - maybe if I bite off a little at a time, it won't go against the grain so bad. Maybe I can find the rest of them somewhere else. Bleep, I may not even like how they are written! (That would be a fine kettle of fish if I had spent that kind of $$$!)

PBS is rebroadcasting the first season now, before the second season comes out this fall. Glad I caught the reruns. The first three books arrived today, so I may be absent or inattentive for a while. Bombs can go off when I'm reading and nothing gets done.

Uncle Jimmy came for more blueberries on Sunday, DH said he picked about 2 gallon. I went out there a couple times today (with a long break to cool off - it was wicked out there today) and picked about 3 pints. It will be a few days before I need to pick again. My petunia is looking much happier and my cuttings are still alive and well. It's as good a time as any for be inside a book - or three.

See you on the other side!

Why I can't keep my bed made ...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Two (Twenty) Steps Back

You don't have to answer this, but how many of you married for a long time, have a spouse who actually listens to what you are saying? It seems I don't. 
He hit it with the lawn mower
Before I could stop him, he took out the remaining poke!
Needless to say, I am a bit bent about it, I had just been talking about the poke berries for the bluebirds a couple of days before, as I was anxious for them to fill out and ripen ... He thought he was cleaning out the figs for me ...

For being in the dog house. (It's a cupcake)

 Oh, yeah, and I got flowers ...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Leggy petunia

DH bought me this petunia and a couple of impatiens for the porch. The petunia has been residing at (shudder) Wal Mart since the season began and looks much the worse for wear. Hasn't been dead headed and it has become leggy and woe begone. I am going to have to cross my fingers and hope when I clean it up that I don't kill it in the process. It should have been marked down! Well, anyway, I will give it a shot ...

Friday, July 8, 2016

Well, I'll be!

It's common knowledge among my friends and followers that my fig trees froze out every winter except one since I planted them six years ago. I was pondering just ripping them out and putting in some flowering bushes, maybe a forsythia and maybe another hibiscus. The birds obviously like the fig trees (bushes, really) as it's their look-out spot in the yard. Okay, change of plans. I think I will let them be. I have a poke plant in with the one fig to feed the bluebirds. Bluebirds eat poke berries, they don't eat seeds.

Was very surprised to find 3 figs on one of the new stems this morning. I didn't think they would make fruit when they had to start all over! Fun surprise. Dora, Peppylady, mentioned she hadn't seen figs growing or a fig tree. I hadn't either before I put these in, so these pictures are for you, Dora! (Also anyone else who is curious.) The figs are only about half an inch across right now, they get considerably larger. (IF they don't fall off)

 A few days ago, I started some 'trimmings' or 'slips' in sand to propagate some blueberry plants and flowering almond. It's just an experiment, so no big loss if they die. I checked them this morning and they are doing just fine, I don't see any sign of wilting or dying. It gives me some hope. I want to start a few scuppernong to fill in empty spaces and maybe a couple of the concord grape, also hibiscus. If they survive, that's great, if not, no great expense has gone into it. 

I can't be outside long, that air out there is toxic when it heats up. My best time is before it gets ungodly hot, but after the humidity of the night lifts. It's a pretty short window of opportunity.

Have a great weekend, folks!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Not busy, distracted

The battery is dead on my camera, I forgot to charge it. Just words, or screen shots today. Since my amble in the back yard on Saturday, I have been thinking about maybe cleaning some of it up. Not me personally, of course, but hiring some student(s) to do my bidding. 

The old fashioned grapes are in such a sad state, but they are alive. I'm considering pruning them way back this winter. Some YoYo used barbed wire for the vine support. It's rusty and dangerous. The posts are rotten and falling apart. I believe that by remedying the mess, it will enhance the value of the property. May have to sacrifice the blackberries and persimmons, but it's all concentrated in a 3 foot strip along our property line.

Found a couple blueberry branches stripped of leaves - not sure what happened there. Moth larva? Also, may have had some animal in the berries. Monday they were fine - yesterday, one side of one of the bushes is practically without berries and numerous branches broken down. Deer? Raccoons? The dogs don't eat them ...

I will admit to a bit of puzzle-mania. This one's a doozie!
Found a super easy blackberry wine recipe that uses half gallon quart jars. I think I will try to adapt to blueberries and then make it less strong so I could possible enjoy it without getting stiff off the fumes. :-)

I tried taking some cuttings to make another blueberry bush from the one that makes the bigger berries. No idea if it is going to work at all, but giving it a shot. I have no idea what the names of each of the plants are and I would like at least one more like that one, not only to look neater in the yard (filling in the gap from one that didn't make it through Jill's puppyhood) and if I live long enough - to enjoy!

I am also going to try to make some more flowering almond and hibiscus. Nothing lost if they don't make it and I seem to have nothing but time. This stuff doesn't appear to take any effort. Something to do.

I hope you are all having a great week, continue on!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Country Living with a City Boy

This would be a great little family fruit farm, but ...
Blackberries - could have used some rain (or watering)

Bronze and Purple Scuppernong, just starting to set fruit.

Jill and Tacky Cat

Old Fashioned Grapes

This is one (1) out of hand muscadine with honeysuckle and elderberries growing in it.

The shy cat who adopted us this spring. He stays to eat ...

Some of the trumpet vines that took over the grapes and blackberries on the north side of the house.

This was a surprise wild plum, next to the apple tree that has no fruit this year.
 Everything needs to be pruned, cleaned up and straightened out. When the house goes on the market, the new owners will have their work cut out for them, don't you think?