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It has been ages since I’ve blogged.  This winter every time I thought of it, it seemed as if all I could do was whine.  Who wants to read anything from a whiner?  Even the writer doesn’t.  So finally the winter is over, spring is here.  Our daffodils and tulips have bloomed and Bruce has planted the vegetable garden.

After the epic ice storm of February 2014, we spent a bundle on the tree removal — somebodies’ kid got a year of college on our nickel.  However, we hire the good guys — the ones who are bonded and insured, have the proper equipment and know-how, whose employees are wearing safety goggles and helmets, even though we had to wait a month for our turn.  They come on time, do the job right, and leave only after cleaning up.  We watched last year what happened to our neighbors who hired Joe Schmoe and his Stooges to do their tree removal.  They broke things on their property that have yet to be fixed.  I knew they were yo-yos when none of the workmen were wearing safety equipment.  If you’re so stupid to stand under a falling tree branch without putting on a hard hat, what other ignorant decisions are you making?  Obviously the owner is equally dumb and careless to even let his employees work under such conditions.  (He must like to play Russian roulette with workman’s compensation.)  I shudder to think. . . .

The deluge of yellow pollen, which is a rite of (pine tree) spring here, is on the way out.  Today it is raining hard and we’re praying that it washes away aaaallllll the pollen.  I’ve cleaned off the screened porch and will work on the flower pots on the deck this week.  I bought a new Boston fern and a new deep red geranium.  I haven’t yet looked for impatiens or petunias for the boxes hanging on the rails.  It is so pretty and relaxing out there, especially at the end of the day with a large glass of cold tea.  Heaven.  And if Bruce is grilling — aahh, a double dose of heaven.

Happy Spring, everyone, wherever you are!

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To Burn or Not

it is cold.  About as cold as it will get here in the winter.  

Not last winter, but prior to that we had fires several nights a week.  This year each night the fireplace stares at me.  Empty. Even of ashes.  

So what do we do?  It is clean without any ashes.  But it also isn’t warm on a cold windy night. Yesterday it was so cold and windy that we talked ourselves out of going out to the movie theatre.  We had NetFlix at home and colas and popcorn.  What we lacked was a fire to be ultimately cozy.  But then, neither would the theatre be super cozy, and we would have had to go out in the cold, to a cold car for the trip home.  I guess we still won.

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What to Save?

I purchased a new sewing machine recently.  I had spent too much money trying to repair the old one.  I sewed James’ layette on that old machine.  He is now 43 years old.  It was a long ago Christmas present from Mom and Dad.  I think I got their money’s worth.

Bruce had torn one of his everyday shirts he wears when working in the garden.  I was anxious to try the new machine and its mending stitch.  It was a good opportunity to check it out.  I was pleased with the results as I was worried he would tear it further before I got a chance to fix it.

With sewing chores on my mind, I decided to sort through my assorted and vast mess of sewing notions. They were in two under-the-bed storage boxes.  Wow!  What a discovery!  Stuff I had forgotten I had was also stashed in those boxes!  Bruce and I had a trip down memory lane when we re-discovered my Pet Rock from 1975.  With Bruce’s research we found out that had it been in an uncrushed box, it would have been worth $25.  It wasn’t.  We also found an old Big Ben wind-up clock that was worth $9 if it worked.  It didn’t.

What truly amazed me was the variety of stuff I chose to save.  A decorated tuna can with 7 year old Jim’s script saying “I love you” which was an apt gift for Mother’s Day long ago.  The boys’ last diaper pins; a necessary item back in the days of cloth diapers.  Some jewelry left over from my high school days.  That went in the zip-lock bag marked for the “We Buy Gold Here” shop.  A white size 10 blouse that was no longer white.  It hit the trash sack. I also found a bunch of material for some (now unknown) sewing projects.  I even found a pair of flannel pajamas I had cut out (but never sewed) for Baby Emily who is now in middle school.

Eventually I got the notions sorted out in one box and the stash of material in another.  Hopefully, next time I won’t wait so long to sift through the memories.

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Like most of the Southeast US we have been stuck in a rainy weather pattern for several weeks. We haven’t had rain every single day, but almost.   I hate to  complain because the alternative is drought and, heaven only knows, we’ve had plenty of that in the last few years.

Ginger, our ten-year old Beagle/Bassett mix, pants and pants during thunderstorms.  She hides under the desk or behind a chair — anywhere that she can find.  Annie, the young Terrier/Chow/Lab mix, will bark at each and every clap of thunder.  She chased the lightning flashes and barks at the thunder.  What pandemonium!  Bruce and I were exhausted dealing with the dogs on an almost daily basis.

I had seen the late night TV ads for the ThunderShirt, which claims to calm dogs from all that anxiety.  So I googled it.  Forty dollars??  Really?  For a dog shirt?  Come on. . . .

However, after weeks of storms, and all the drama, we got to the point where we’d probably pay more than that for some peace and quiet.  I ordered one.  We put it on Annie since she was the loud one.  It worked.  She was so relaxed she almost fell asleep wearing it!  We were amazed.  The only thing is to get it on her quickly as she hates to be “messed” with.  (Hence the muzzle at the vet’s office.)  But with two people and a handful of dog treats, we managed.  I don’t think she likes the ripping, tearing sound of the velcro if it has to be readjusted.

Old Ginger, on the other hand, now just rolls along.  She lets us put it on her since she is limp from nerves anyway.  So all is now well.  She is calm and Annie is silent.

Peace and quiet for us?  Priceless.

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Corny, Yes

Yesterday I ate the best corn on the cob I have ever had.  

We bought it at Fresh Market, an upscale grocery.  With that we also had hamburgers mixed with gouda, also purchased at Fresh Market, grilled outside.  The burgers too were delicious and different. What a delight to sit on the deck with the grill and the dogs.  After a hard day of work, we had a wonderful dinner.  A great holiday. 

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Tomatoes

Our tomato plants are huge.  I mean taller than Bruce who is over 6 feet.  We’ve had to stake them even though they’re in cages — stake them inside the cages because they’re growing so well.  Boy — what a problem to have!

The plants are loaded with ones turning red, lots of green ones, and plenty of blooms.  We’re eaten a couple already and hope to have so many we get tired of them and have to give them away.  I fixed Bruce two sandwiches for supper: boloney with lettuce and tomato and mayo.

A few weeks ago I pondered — when did I add Miracle-Gro?  Was it time to add more?  Then I remembered.  All we did was add a big double handful of  our compost to each deep hole for the plants.  We planted a variety, in case one type doesn’t do well, another might.  Hedge our bets, so to speak.  I’ve always done that.  We didn’t plant any yellow ones this year.  Bruce didn’t think they tasted as good as the red ones.  He’s right.  Last year they didn’t have a good flavor.  Once, years ago, I canned lots of tomatoes and layered them red, yellow, red, yellow in the jars.  Man — on a cold winter supper they sure looked, and tasted,  wonderful!  Our one variety to yet prove himself is “Mr. Stripey.”  It’s a version that is supposed to be both — stripes of red and stripes of yellow in one fruit.   I’ll tell you later if it performs at all.  Now those would look wonderful sliced on a plate.  Perhaps sprinkled with basil and olive oil?  Bruce the purist would prefer them plain.  Still — seems delicious either way.

Needless to say, we’re feverishly working on a new barrel of compost.  Pure gold.

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