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Archive for July, 2010

Trees and Birthdays

Yesterday the pine tree that grew up through our deck got cut down.  Twenty six years ago it was rather cool to have a tree there.  The hole in the deck was roomy enough that the cats could climb up the tree from the ground and reach the deck, using it like their own personal escalator to come up one story.   Well, not anymore.  The 80 foot tree had to come down;  it had grown so much it was starting to split the deck rails.  Big Dog Tree Service is a local group that we’ve used before, in fact,  the first time they came, I could see then salivating — they knew we’d be repeat customers!  So the men and their equipment arrived bright and early.  Two of the three trees coming down were near the house so, of course, we wanted only experienced people who knew what they were doing.  They had a “cherry-picker” that went right up to the top where the man who could wield a chain saw one handed would hook the branch to a zipline and send it down to the ground.  Then a fella with a bulldozer-like tractor with a set of claws would come along and scoop up the branches and logs and dump them in the chipper.  Bruce couldn’t help but watch, as did our neighbor, who pulled up his chair and got comfy.  Within a few hours, the trees were down, the debris cleaned up  and the roof and deck blown off.  Whew — it’s difficult to watch others work that hard.  Just ask Bruce.  He was worn out.

Speaking of being worn out.  Today was Emily’s 8th birthday party.  (“Are you sure she’s eight?” asked Bruce.)  Jim and Marilyn’s house was rocking with about ten kids, their parents and a balloon man.  All the kids got balloon hats and balloon flowers — it was fun to watch the kids; he even taught them to make a wiener dog from a balloon.  When it was time to break the Sponge Bob pinata, Jim had to administer the “coup de grace” — tough guy old Sponge Bob.  Personally, the Starbursts were my favorite candy.  Cake, ice cream and pizza were good eats too. Missy Em got lots of nice gifts.  She is a big girl and now ready for third grade.  Whew — I’m beat too.

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One of our summer time projects is canning.   As in the two previous summers, we can and freeze.  Our small garden doesn’t produce enough at one time to make it possible to can so I place an order with my favorite lady at the local farmer’s market and she supplies us with green beans, summer squash and cucumbers.

We spent all day Friday and Saturday working in the kitchen.  However, the aching backs paid off.  Fifty six quart jars of green beans, 16 quarts of squash for the freezer and 26 pints of bread and butter pickles.  Last year we also put up pickle relish too, but with several jars of it left, we decided to skip it and concentrate on pickles.  Thanks to my cousin Linda, who suggested I buy a food processor, we were able to whiz through the slicing of the cucumbers and onions for the pickles.  Normally it’s a job that takes several hours.  With the food processor, it takes 10-15 minutes.  Last year I also bought a blanching basket for the squash prep.  That too was a good investment.

I’m still using the pressure canner my mom and dad bought for me many, many years ago.  It works just fine, thank you.  In fact, some things just get better with age and experience.

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Cast Away

Finally, the cast is off.  A hairy-gorilla leg popped out when the cast was broken open.  Wow, never had that leg been left unshaven for so long — at least not since the age of 12.  I almost wore out a razor scraping off that fur!

The most difficult part of being in a cast was the clown shoe — the nylon-velcro thing that covered the cast when I was outside.  It was always bigger that I thought so I had trouble allotting enough room for it.  It even got stuck under the table leg at a restaurant last week!

Waking up in the night I would momentarily wonder why I was wearing a “shoe” in bed.  Poor Bruce apparently got clobbered several times when I flung it while rolling over.  Well, now he is safe.

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Films and Feet

One of the benefits of being hobbled with a cast is the ability to feel justified for doing something I want to do anyway.  We’ve been busy watching films lately.   I’ve said repeatedly that I’m a movie junkie.  When I was working, one of my treats was to rush through my Saturday morning chores and dash off to an early afternoon showing.  Add a healthy (as in large) popcorn and diet coke lunch and –boy– was I set.

I’m a avowed anglophile — notice my handle on this blog?  What an easy way to “visit” England without the expense of a plane ticket!  So watching British television series on dvds is fun for me.  I’m especially fond of the detective shows.  I’ve even got Bruce hooked on them, such as The Last Detective series starring Peter Davidson — known to some as one of the actors who has played Doctor Who and also who played the brother, Tristan, from All Creatures Great and Small.  He is just bumbling enough to be endearing and astute enough to solve the crime.  We’re currently working on the Inspector Lynley series.  I’d read some of the books by Elizabeth George before it became a series.  We’ve already worked our way through Brother Caedfael — again from the books by Ellis Peters. The Midsomer Murders are on the Netflix queue too.  They’re nice to watch too because they are usually shorter than full length films — about an hour.

However, we saw two great films over the weekend.  One was Nothing but the Truth about a journalist and the extremes she exercised to protect her source for an inflammatory story.  The other was The Blind Side, which has been so popular, but we missed in the theater for one reason or another.  It was just as good as everyone said it was.  Both films were thought-provoking.   It’s good to enjoy a film and enjoy it even more by mulling it over the next day.   That’s really getting our money’s worth!

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Not So Hot

Yesterday was the first time in 31 days that the thermometer didn’t go past 90 degrees.  Add in high humidity and it’s been sweltering.  We would hurry and scurry around in the morning and dash back in to the air-conditioning.  Bruce, trying to do anything outside in the yard, would come in dripping wet.

We, my purple cast and I, were blessedly exempt from outside work.  My biggest contribution has been keeping the porch boxes watered daily.  I could hobble out and do that without too much risk to life and limb.  Pretty awful for June.

Now it’s July and the temperature and humidity have finally dropped.  Thanks heavens — since tonight is a GreenJackets game.  Tomorrow is the Peach Festival in Gilbert, SC after a visit to Scheley’s BBQ — our July 4th tradition.  Happy Independence Day!

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