SO - This all started with the deer hunter from the down the road getting annoyed because David runs the dogs in the field next door - we have permission from the owner but that's not good enough apparently. And this guy is insisting on defending - someone else's property. He thinks the dogs are scaring off the deer (I wish they would scare them out of my garden!) which is silly because we're nowhere near hunting season and the deer are always wandering around here, eyeballing my zucchini. Whatever - until the owner says we can't, we will. This lead to a discussion as we have 5 acres of our own, but most of it's not cleared making it unusable. So David started clearing out some of the underbrush the other morning and ran into a nest of yellow jackets. He called me at work to demand to know why I didn't keep benedryl for him - I pointed out that he had not asked for benedryl for 53 years so it was hard for me to know he would have needed it 53 years later - so he scrounged some from the neighbor and I said I would pick up some more on the way home. Then he called to tell me Pearl's medication was in so I took an hour of personal time since he was all hopped up on benedryl. The medication for Pearl is the one that will block the blood flow to the tumors - $82 a dose, but it's once a month and we want her to be comfortable for whatever time she has left. I got home and David's right hand was awful - it was HUGE. I asked why he didn't go to the doctor and he was like well, I tried to call you and you didn't answer your phone. I had turned the ringer off during our weekly meeting at work and had forgotten to turn it back on. I yelled at David("you didn't go to the doctor because I didn't answer my phone???") and sent him off, then donned gloves to give Pearl her pills. You could give Pearl lead pellets if you wrap it in bologna and have Reuben nearby looking like he will want to eat it. David got home later - with orders to take more benedryl and everyone tried to sleep. Around 3 am Pearl woke me whining, I figured the new medication was affecting her so we went out, Reuben on a leash since he darts around in the dark where I can't see himand Pearl leading the way because she is the boss. I had forgotten the flashlight but we were just on a Pee - mission.........then Pearl BOLTED for the back deck, howling and barking - Reuben hung back as he is trying to live a long and uneventful life. I yelled at Pearl to stop and ran to make her stop - it was not the neighbor's cat that we occasionally enjoy doing battle with. It was a skunk. It was a stressed out skunk that did not appreciate us and well, it did what skunks do when you surprise them - it sprayed us. Thank You Pearl. Since it was so early we were stuck for it - I showered and showered but still smelled. Pearl smelled but she didn't care. I went out around 7:30am to buy tomato juice, peroxide and baking soda. It was a wasted effort because nothing was open. I went home and had another cup of coffee, stinky me. I finally got my witches brew - Pearl got her bath first. We soaked her down in tomato juice - she looked like a murder victim, but then we rinsed and I washed her down with the baking soda peroxide mixture - success!! I had my own bath to content with - it took a couple attempts but I am un-skunkified. Pearl seems unaffected by the whole thing and I think she would do it again if I gave her the chance - but I will definitely NOT be forgetting my flash light again!
Anyone who is a vegan or vegetarian has been acquainted at some point with seiten. Also know as Soy Chicken, Wheat loaf, etc.. I bought some last month and is it good? It's super good. Is is it expensive? $3.99 for 6 ounces - up there with T-bone. And given the main ingredient is vital wheat gluten (looks like flour) that's a little insulting. So I decided to make it myself - I looked through the online recipes and found one that sounded workable. It was workable but super Blah. And it came out rubbery too - I reviewed the recipe and I didn't see where I'd skipped anything but it certainly didn't come anywhere close to the store bought version. I had all the correct ingredients, simmered it for the correct time, kneaded, etc. So today was Attempt Number Two. Instead of picking out another recipe I You Tubed it - and stumbled across my new favorite Vegan Zombie. I watched him make No killy Philly cheese steak once, then brought the laptop down to the kitchen. The next ten minutes was stop and start as I collected ingredients, pots, boiled and chopped. And it was way different then my first attempt -he adds a laundry list of spices and sauces, he kneads it for 15 minutes and lets it rest for another 20 and he doesn't simmer it at all - instead a hot broth is poured over (after simmering that with onions and bay leaves, etc it's covered in a casserole and goes in the oven for two hours, not 40 minutes) And it came out GREAT. Hell, it came out Super Great! I didn't finish it up as cheese steaks, instead it was barbecued with pineapples and zucchini (that I grew myself! Yes I did. Did too. Shut up). I know it sounds like a lot of work but you can make enough for two or three meals and it's freezable. Anyhow, as you can see from the pictures it was a lovely day, we mowed the lawn and strutted amongst my crops - I am getting THREE more zucchini - quail at my feet mere mortals! Pearl and Reuben were busy Patrolling The Premises just hoping some errant ground hog would cross their path giving them a chance to show off their Chasing Things Around Skills. We are suspecting a skunk has moved in under the little deck outside or was vacationing there we hope. Pearl is starting on her new medication on Monday as it hadn't arrived on Friday. She's OK as I've said, she no longer wears a collar as we think it bothers her, she spends her days running naked and it does look a bit odd. I spent most of the weekend reading and knitting, not much. My back is out, during the thunderstorms the other day I didn't realize Pearl followed me down to the basement and I tripped over her, totally throwing my back out. Yay me. I'm OK but there was no walk this weekend and activities were a low roar. Nothing a little Tylenol, heating pad and ice can't cure. So all and all, not a bad weekend. Back to work on Monday to bide my time until I win the lottery.
We went to Bridgeport today - for a change of pace I suppose. We're quickly surging into August, also known as The Most Boring Month Of The Year. When the kids are young, it's one month too many of vacation, the weeks of I'm Bored and There's Nothing To Do. Now that the kids are gone I'm the one that's bored. My vacation is used up, its too hot to hike, even the garden is starting to lose its glamor. Even with the SIX zucchinis, two watermelons, TWO beets, pea pods and a dozen - or so - sunflowers. I went to the Nest today, my other favorite yarn shop and bought a couple a skeins of yarn, a sock yarn and a lace weight yarn - even the yarn is boring me. Well, sort of - it's actually that I don't need any more yarn, who would have ever thought that day would come? But I don't - right now if I wanted to knit a purple, orange and yellow shawl with a pink and green border -I could. I could knit green socks, a blue sweater, an afghan that would make a parrot go blind. I have a host of projects lined up - I just need to do them. And then there's the ereader - which I still love with a wild abandon usually reserved for untamed men or piles of gold. I'm not even sure what I like better - reading the books I've bought or shopping for them. I especially love being able to buy books in a bundle, I just bought Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series and I'm finishing up a science fiction series right now. I never thought I would like it so much, but I do. I especially love when I'm done with a book I can just scroll through for the next one I want to read. I use it a lot when I take the dogs out, they bother the rabbits and deer, I read my head off. We have toads now too - they're so cute! One got in the house the other day and freaked out Rueben, he has issues with that sort of stuff. He kept jumping and whining and I couldn't figure out what the problem was. There was a very tiny baby toad sitting next to his food bowl, doing a tiny little freak out of it's own. I showed it the door and everything was right in the world again. If it's nice and we can get out early I may take Pearl to the park. Eventually Rueben should go but for now it's Pearl's thing to do with no one else to steal the spotlight. I am going to the Mannington Fair in a couple of weeks, I'm entering three of my shawls in the arts and crafts display. I asked Susan what the prize was and she thinks it's a ribbon so I guess I can stop planning my retirement.
The other night we hadn't seen Claw - which was unusual since it was raining and she never misses a meal - I thought perhaps she had died. She's about 16 or so now and has slowed down. David thought I was awful for saying that - but we did the Seven Stages Of Grief in about half an hour and moved on - then of course Claw came pottering across the front porch, came in and did her usual howling since I was not moving fast enough. We figure she'll outlive all of us - howling and hissing, being a general pain in the ass for years on end. She seemed to sense that I had been thinking adverse things about her and she spent the remainder of the evening perched on the end table, peering at me with narrowed eyes, such a wonderful creature. The rainstorms have continued with some rather spectacular thunder and lightening storms - we didn't lose electric this round but it was close on occasions - my garden has managed to pony 3 good sized zucchini and the watermelon is now the size of a hardball due to all the rain we've gotten. I think I am also going to have TWO beets - the corn is a lost cause. I have tons of either cantaloupe or watermelon plants but they're producing nothing but leaves. I am starting a compost pile I think. The grass is back to growing but it's nice to have a green yard again! I sit and read most evenings in my lawn chairs I have positioned about the yard so Pearl and Reuben can play outside. Pearl is still with us of course, we have decided to start her on a pill that cuts the blood flow to the tumors. No, it's not going to save the farm, but it will keep her comfortable for awhile longer. The pills are about $80 apiece but you only have to dose them once a month so I think we can do it for now. It's hard to give up the love of your life. I have to go to Weight Watchers and get weighed tomorrow or I lose my lifetime membership - I've been getting a bit lazy about attendance the weight is starting to creep back on. I am also getting a little bored so I might start a different food regime, maybe Forks Over Knives or something of that nature. I continue knitting on my lavender shawl, its slow going these days as I am on Repeat Number Four and I have two more to go before I get to Chart 2. I am a little concerned about the yarn, I did the calculations and should have enough to finish but if I don't I'm up a creek with no paddle in sight. I bought the skein at the Wool Festival and I doubt there's anymore in that dye lot even if I could get to it. I guess there's no reason to worry about something that hasn't happened. I have enough that HAS happened to worry about!
As I have been yammering for the past few months - I have a garden. This is my second attempt in the same season - first try was too early, second was late. Oh well. But since this is my first real effort I was not expecting too much, the main attraction is it gives me something to do when I'm out with the dogs in the morning. The dogs also like the garden - they romp, dig, roll and wrestle amongst what ever is making a valiant attempt at production. I chased them out for awhile but they just come around the other side. With all the rain we've been having I've actually had some success! I noticed a few days ago I had a tiny watermelon - at least I think it's a watermelon. I planted all over and threw out the packages so everything gets to be a surprise. I found another tinier watermelon so that makes a grand total of Two. I counted THREE zucchini, I picked my twelve pea pods and threw the result in my stir fry tonight. I also seem to be having great success with my sunflowers, they're huge and starting to bloom. I know that given the fact I've planted about $40 worth of seeds (and the second attempt the seeds were 50% off so that is a LOT of seeds) my results don't even rate as Good. But I'm weirdly proud of my vegetables - it gives me hope that I can have a garden. And the peas were delicious in my stir fry tonight - along with the ginkgo nuts I tossed in. I've never had ginkgo nuts but had picked them up when I went to the Asian market the other day. The problem with trying new ethnic food is it has a good chance of tasting like a wet sock - and it's not the food, it's usually knowing how to cook it. I do know for a fact that no matter how you cook it I HATE lotus root - it's salty and hard no matter what you do to it. But the ginkgo nuts were really good - no fat, low carbs, they cook up well so I will be buying them again.
Every year down in Mapletown is the big yard sale weekend. It's called the cabbage sale and everyone along the road has a yard sale - it runs a couple of miles and attracts hundreds of people. Since I'm in the market for a new table and chairs we went looking. And were disappointed. It's mainly clothing and small items but if you're into yardsaling it would be a fun day out. So we drove the strip - saw nothing and headed off to the Asian market downtown. I did go to the new one that opened a couple of weeks ago, never again. When I went to make rice last week I discovered some of the "rice" had grown up and was trying to crawl off. Eww. So I pitched it all and had to replace it of course. I bought my tofu while I was there, they make it fresh and if you have vegetarian leanings, the difference between packaged and fresh tofu is like the difference between canned and fresh fruit - you just can't beat it. After that we headed off to do the food shopping and while in Sam's Club I made David walk past the kitchen set I LOVE. Twice. But it's $600 which to me is a lot so we were still mulling it over. There's a similar set in Big Lots but it's only $100 cheaper and well, it's Big Lots, you do the math.If I'm buying it at Big Lots it needs to be way cheaper than that! But I digress. When we got to the back we peeked at the clearance section - they put returned things, items that are missing a piece, etc. and there was the dining room set on a cart! We could NOT believe the price - it had been reduced to $124 and then marked down again to $75. David grabbed an employee and she said she couldn't tell what was missing but knew you could order it easily. Sold! When we got home the missing part was a chair seat and since this set has eight chairs it was no big deal, especially since there are only two of us and we are not planning on having six dinner guests in the near future we can wait. I posted the yarn I bought at the sale the other day - isn't it great? It's sock yarn but I might have enough to do a small shawl. We'll have to see. I do want to do a sweater in between and I also bought a book on crocheting socks. Susan would like to learn so I'll teach myself and then teach her. We could You Tube it of course which is where I go if I don't know how to do anything. I learned how to make seitan, do a long tail cast on and how a cough assist works on You Tube. If you put a couple words to any song you heard on the radio You Tube will figure it out. It rained off and on all day today - we've been getting a lot of rain after such a long dry spell - I guess we need to catch up.
Yeah, I know they're old pictures. Whatever. We have been having huge downpours all week - I was up in Wheeling yesterday and it was like the sky just opened wide and buckets came down. You could barely see to drive - but then it stopped. And started. Repeat as needed. Of course after the past month or so of absolutely no rain it's hard to get any complaints up. My garden likes it just fine - I have two wee golf ball sized things that look like they may be watermelons - I'll keep you posted. That'll teach me for slinging seeds and throwing out the packets. Of course the deer are keeping a careful eye on it too, we'll see how gets dessert next month. I wouldn't mind it raining Saturday, I have not too much planned - Sunday if it's nice Pearl will be walking again in the park. Time is starting to close in, we no longer have a dog collar on her, just when she's going somewhere. David has a list of things that Dogs Are Not Supposed To Have, but fortunately Pearl has not read the list so it's fudge pops and cherries for now. She still has her good days - and she's comfortable so we're status quo for now. I went to a yarn sale at Bloomin Yarns this week - I got two skeins of Lobster Pot sock yarn in lettuce, I'll post it sometime this weekend. I also bought a new Addi cable needle - 47 inch cable with size 3 needles. And it super peeves me because I KNOW I have the same set - somewhere. I turned the place upside down the other day and turned up nothing. I'm assuming they'll appear now that I've bought a replacement set. I am about a third of the way through my latest project, this is the first time I've not had extra yarn to finish so I'm hoping I calculated right. It will super suck if I didn't! We're doing a Luau at work on Monday, should be interesting. LOL. Do I sound a bit sarcastic? We're short staffed and can barely keep up and we're having a party. The reason we're having a party is because we were told we need to loosen up. Hmm. Looking over that last couple of sentences that might be an accurate observation. I am looking forward to the weekend this week, it's been a hard week and I just want some time to knit, read and relax.
Jackson called today and wanted to know what was new - I said nothing much - and there really is nothing to report since I got off of vacation. The most exciting thing was Pearl and I went to the park this morning, just the two of us. We did the short trail which she did OK with, then I just let her go around the big fields, snuffling down holes and so forth. There's all sorts of wildlife sneaking about so she has a good time using her Professional Canine Skills in Tracking and Bothering Things. We had the whole place to ourselves and it was nice for her I think. She likes her friend Reuben but some days, enough is enough. David's off shooting as he does every Sunday - he occasionally talks about stopping to save money but I thought that was pointless. What's the reason for working if you can't have at least one thing you get to do that's fun? He makes a day of it, shoots at the West Virginia Gun Club, hangs out with Rich and who ever shows up, then stops by Cecil's or Tommy's on the way back. I spent part of the day cleaning, we pitched the rug in the kitchen this morning - we inherited it from house #2 and it was not in great shape then. Before we moved here we used it in the basement but the rug was just the right size for under the table so it got promoted to an upstairs position. It has hit Uber Yucky and was supposed to be temporary so out it went. We're looking for a new table and chair set, the set we have now is just too big for our little kitchen. The advantage it has is it takes up so much room if a robber broke in you could dart around it for hours to hold off an attack until help arrived. Otherwise it's just annoying, we circle it all morning getting the pets fed, getting coffee, lunch ready. And if anyone stops it jams up the whole traffic pattern. The set I want is expensive so David is Craig listing with no luck. We also stopped at an indoor flea market that they started a couple of months ago, aka Indoor Crap Festival, It had the usual offenders - battered purses, even more battered furniture, faded clothes and dusty books. A fun place to poke around but nothing came home with us. Anyhoo, I vacuumed, mopped and polished the floor so it looks nice, but without the rug it's a bit of an echo. So we need a new rug to go with the the new kitchen set when we get it. I'm also campaigning for new counters, we have the old laminate ones and I really would prefer granite or even fake granite. David is replacing the back door with a full glass one to let in some light and he'll be doing a sky light eventually. The in ground swimming pool is off the table for this year, not that I don't want one mind you but I think it's a good idea to let things settle down for a while. We did so many major renovations and just getting back in the swing of things around here was enough. The table, the counters, etc are small things - having the entire back yard torn up is a whole other ball game. My garden is still limping along, anything that manages to look like it might produce is snapped up by the bunnies and deer. I have so far produced a total of about 12 pea pods, hmm. Well, that's it so far. I had some plants that looked as if they might want to produce something edible, maybe peppers or something, but it got so far and then totally petered out. The sunflowers may come through but the zucchini and melon plants get blossoms and then get all tasty looking - something comes when I'm not around and eats the blossoms. Bastards. I'll do better next year.
We found Vincent the cat crouched down in the kitchen a few days ago, not moving. David gave him a nudge, nothing. It was then I noticed he had positioned himself directly in front of the air conditioning vent - this heat can be very hard on a little cat and I'm sure that cold air blowing across his back must've felt awfully good. The heat is unrelenting, the backyard has turned into a furnace by 8 am - I've started toting water out to my garden when I think of it, it's too far from the house to use the hose. Pearl and Reuben do their best to play but I've noticed horsing around only lasts a few minutes, even on Reuben's end. The grass is done for the year I think, it's burned and dry - everyone just darts from house to car to building, repeat as needed. I try to get out in the yard either very early or very late when the worst of the heat has passed and from what I can see on the weather we're in for the long haul, relief is nowhere near. I'm glad we got the central air put in. That was an ongoing debate as to whether we would need it or not but I think every one's glad we have it now. I'm currently using my little crock pot for the first time, I've never used one before but with the surplus of vegetables we have I thought I'd attempt an eggplant stew. And no - it's not from my garden, also known as the Wastelands. No, neighbors on both sides are enjoying a bountiful harvest and are sending the surplus over here. I did have to laugh as David cleared up the mystery of how the neighbors keeps the deer out of their garden. David stopped by and he was sitting in the hot tub - with a tripod and a 22. within reach. Nothing like a warning shot I suppose. I've got a few plants that might produce but I think next year I'll fertilize my garden and maybe have a smaller one nearer to the house. It would've been nice to have vegetables of my own, especially with the price of food going up so high! I've started a new shawl, the next project will either be an afghan or a sweater, but the shawl is doing well after attempt #2. That's why it pays to read the directions because had I read the directions as suggested I would have known I needed to repeat rows 19 -24 five times instead of going straight to chart #2 and bollixing it all up entirely which of course meant it was time to do a bit of frogging. Oh well, the second time around it comes out better anyhow. So we're currently sitting in the living room watching HGTV and we are NOT watching Love It Or List It because those people are so stupid. You would have thought after umpteen episodes they would have figured out how much everything cost but no, she's still forever not being able to give them a second bathroom or a kitchen because she is once again running short. Super annoying and I cannot watch it. I guess I'd better run the crew around the Depths Of Hell for a few minutes, I wish this heat would break.
A little over a year ago David and I once again packed up two cats, one dog, a pile of yarn and guns - all of our earthly belongings and drove 6 hours to Garards Fort PA. It was one of the smoothest moves we've ever made - more or less. The unexpected selling of the E. Stroudsburg house had us scrambling - the expected 2 month closing was suddenly a 25 day closing - but overall not a bad thing. A lot has happened in a year. I came back to Interim - how strange to start a new job with old friends! The house was - and still is - wonderful but we had the usual surprises. The furnace that worked for a good 45 minutes in a limping fashion, that developed a death rattle, coughed and went to the Other Side. The new stove with the little light that wouldn't go out - and the day of my first guests were coming for dinner the (new) repairman came to make it turn off and managed to explode the new stove. I mean it - whole thing was gone, smoke, sparks, the whole nine yards. And just as I suspected, it is really funny now. David restarted his renovation business after finishing the renovations on our house and has been going great guns since we got here. I joined Weight Watchers and managed to lose almost 40 lbs - and better yet keep it off. My knitting continues of course - David built me floor to ceiling shelves upstairs for my books with a storage area for yarn - it's one of the best things I've ever owned!! Our older son Adam left the Navy after almost 10 years and the younger son Jackson took a field trip to Afghanistan. And came back - better yet! Our cat Vincent went into kidney failure and weirdly enough - recovered. Claw remains the same nasty pile of fur and shows no signs of going anywhere near the Rainbow Bridge. We added a puppy to the mix 6 months ago, Reuben who appears to be constructed entirely of Trouble and Pee - but a lovely boy overall. Pearl who is glad to finally have a friend was diagnosed with lymphoma and is terminal, something I still cannot believe is happening to my sweet girl. We'll get through it - but I cannot even write these words without tearing up. Life is not fair we all know, but it's a fact we can't always deal with gracefully. However, it's a part of our existence, isn't it - and hopefully Pearl and I will meet again. David has taken a break with the house, there's still a few more things we'd like to do. Put a pool in, new counters in the kitchen, rugs at some point. But for the most part, we're done. The house is a perfect size for us now, the neighbors are great, we just love it here. There have been some ups and downs but looking back it's been a pretty good year and I have to say in closing - there really is no place like home.
We have not had a big storm in awhile - but Friday night the black clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. We didn't get hit as hard as those down in Morgantown or Preston county but it thundered and stormed, the trees whipped and the branches were flying. And then of course, the lights went out. I don't know about you but I HATE when the lights go out, the air conditioner gently went to sleep, the refrigerator went dark. Bastards. We started opening the windows and with all the wind whipping and the temps dropping, it was not too terrible downstairs. Upstairs is another story so I decided to sleep down in the guest room - David decided to join me, followed by the Chicken Dogs. Vincent the cat was wondering where everyone was - and since it's a full sized bed and the dogs themselves are full sized it quickly resembled a refugee camp. Pearl was freaking so there was no dissuading her and Reuben was staying if she was - David ended up volunteering to be voted off the island and headed back upstairs. Since the wind was picking up it was nice by then although he chose not to share this little fact since he had the whole bed to himself. The next morning found us still in the dark, but it was not a huge problem. The freezer was still frozen, the fridge was still cold. We have a burner on our BBQ so David pottered out with the tea kettle and we had hot coffee. We have street water (YAY!!) and the hot water was still hot. We had no TV or computer so we sat and talked which kept us occupied til about 7:30. I called the electric company - still no time for fixing it. Since we had no access to the TV we could not have known how extensive it was, that WV is declared in a state of emergency, that over 600,000 are without electric and that 11 people died as a result of those storms. We decided to go out and buy ice early - I hate that part, it's always such a mess. The ice starts to melt, you have to transfer all that sweating food, but it's a good time to clean out the fridge since you have to pick and choose what you'll keep. The temps were soaring by then which just made it all the more hot and miserable, David took the dogs out and soaked them down with the hose. Pearl enjoys it but Reuben always suspects he's on the dinner menu so he went limp as he does in an unsure situation - never sure if we should be annoyed or amused. By 4 pm still no lights so I called the company - the rep was nice and assured me the electric would be restored in less than two days (TWO DAYS??). She pointed out that some areas would not be seeing a working light for a week - or more - in other words no whining. David and I had looked for a generator but they were sold out early that morning so he headed to Walmarts for more ice, I started transferring all the food downstairs to the old chest freezer that came with the house. It's cooler down there and the old freezer holds the cold really well - I got everything covered with the remaining ice and as soon as I took the dogs out one last time and headed back for the house - the lights blazed. I honestly can't complain. We spent $40 on ice(David had bought 5 more bags at Walmart before I could get a hold of him and apparently ice is a non-returnable item) but in the grander scheme of things, we were only without for 24 hours, no one suffered (much) and we lost very little food. It was an interesting end to my vacation - I go back to work on Monday but Jackson is safely back in California, both boys are doing well, and I got to spend two weeks with my family. No complaints here.