Gift Guide: Gardeners




Every week, I’ll target a different interest. Today, let’s do gardeners. Whether they live in the city or country, if you know someone who loves to putter in the dirt, you can’t go wrong with any of these gifts.


Anyone who’s been gardening for a while will have a lot of the basic tools, so your choice will be either to get them a better quality tool, or something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. And if you still can’t decide, you can’t go wrong with buying them bulbs, or seeds. Trust me. Gardeners always find room for one more plant.

Click on the picture or the link to take you to the actual page.

Ohuhu Garden Kneeler and Seat with Bonus Tool Pouch
Perfect for older gardeners and those who have trouble getting up and down.



Heirloom Vegetable Garden Seeds. It’s a cheap gift and will be warmly welcomed by any vegetable gardener.



Mixed Dutch Iris Bulbs.
Irises are deer resistant too!


                                                              Garden Gnome Statue

Hummingbird Feeder








Bronze Resin Birdbath


If you want to buy the gardener in your life an extra special gift this year, I’ll bet he doesn’t have an indoor herb garden. Pricey, but nice.



Finally, I’m adding this for the most avid gardener in your life. I’ve always wanted one of these worm factories, but I’m making my own this year. (If it doesn’t work, it’ll be back on my wish list next year.) This one is actually a pretty good price. They were more expensive last year.


There you have it. Regardless whether your recipient loves practical or fanciful things, there’s something on this list for everyone.

Think beyond the trowel and poinsettias. Look for the beautiful and unique. You’re bound to find the perfect gift.

Are there any other gardening gifts you can suggest?


Homestead and Blog Updatery


On the Homestead: We sold our two bachelor bucks last week. They went pretty fast, but people hammer you for the first few hours after the ad comes out, asking the very same questions I already answered inside the ad.

We had intended on holding back “Freezer Meat” for the freezer, but Greg might go deer hunting this year and I want to make sure there’s enough room in the freezer. With my luck, he’ll change his mind at the last minute. At least I’ll have clean freezers.

A few of my neighbors are deer hunters. I hope they nab the gang of thugs that have been eating my garden.




I’ve resorted to barricading each individual raised bed. The lettuces and chards are prisoners in their own garden.

The deer leave the tomatoes and peppers alone, but greens are like cocaine to them. This is my third time replanting. The fencing seems to be working so I hope that will be the end of their rampage. It’s expensive and inconvenient to put up individual fenced beds, but I think a big fence all around the garden would be an eyesore.

My chickens have all but stopped laying. I get a few eggs a week, barely enough for all the baking I foresee next month. I’ve been coveting what few eggs I get.

Ironically, I should be drowning in eggs next summer. I’ve got a lot of future layers waiting in the wings (pun intended).

The Blog: Starting this week, I’m going to take one day a week and do a gift guide by interests. I’ll tag those posts “Gift Guides” so you can see them all in one group.

I’d like to think I’m pretty good at choosing gifts so I hope I can give you some ideas to kick start your Christmas shopping. The nice thing about gift guides is that they’re like fuel. If the item you see isn’t exactly what you want, it might be the catalyst to finding the right gift.

I’ve already started my shopping because, well, I have a border collie mentality. I never do tomorrow what I can get done yesterday. 🙂 That and I hate trying to figure out what to buy at the last minute.

Speaking of blogging, there has been a tremendous jump in visits for a couple of my posts. My post about Dog Alley at Canton Trade Days was (the last time I checked) at the top of Google’s search page under Dog Alley. I’ve never been at the top of any search. I actually thought it was a mistake!

If you have a blog, do you know which post brings you the most visitors?

Has the weather cooled down for you yet? Or warmed up if you’re down under? It’s still pretty hot but they say we might get some relief later in the week.


This Week’s Menu, October 16, 2016

Modern studio background, sepia look

Menu for the week of October 16, 2016

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs
Lunch: Chicken sandwiches
Dinner: Salmon

Breakfast: Skipping breakfast
Lunch: Lunch out
Dinner: Pot roast

Breakfast: Toasted bagels
Lunch: Fair food! Hopefully, we’ll make it this time.
Dinner: Potluck with whatever’s in the fridge

Breakfast: Spicy ground beef scrambled with eggs
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Leftover pot roast sandwiches

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Soup
Dinner: Skillet lasagna with bow tie pasta

Breakfast: Homemade egg McMuffin
Lunch: Last of the pot roast
Dinner: Nacho plate

Breakfast: Breakfast out since we’ll be hitting garage sales this week
Lunch: Corn dogs
Dinner:  Pork chops


We didn’t make it to the Fair last Thursday. The weatherman predicted rain, but it hardly sprinkled. I’m a little hesitant to go to the fair. My knees have been killing me of late, and the fair requires a lot of walking.

I’m hoping if I take it easy for the next couple of days it’ll give my joints some time to recuperate. I’ve been up and down ladders, cleaning every nook and cranny, and weeding gardens, but I see a little bit of respite in my future.

Cheap Trick: Magic Eraser Substitute

I have to admit, Magic Eraser works. When I read what it was, I dug deeper and discovered it was nothing more than melamine foam. This is the stuff they use in big sheets for insulation and sound proofing. Here the Wiki link on melamine.


It didn’t take long for other vendors to undersell Magic Eraser by a huge margin.

As of this posting, Magic Eraser sells for $10.75 for a box of eight.

Yet a generic brand of the same material sells for $7.95 for a box of One Hundred.

Obviously, I know which one I’ll be buying next. And this includes FREE shipping.

To buy, click any of the pictures or product links on my blog.


It took me a long time to try Magic Eraser, but I’m hooked on it now. Although they wear out quickly, they do the job of cleaning beautifully without any odor or residue. Have you ever tried it?




The Year of the Deer


We’re in the middle of a deer population explosion. Worse yet, they’re so used to seeing people, they don’t even have the decency to run when they see humans. They know we can’t catch them.

They’ve decimated my garden. I tried netting and that thwarted them for a couple of nights, but they still managed to pull my lettuces and chards out by the roots. I had tried another stand of sunflowers just to feed the stalks to the goats, but the deer wouldn’t let them get bigger than a foot before they gorged themselves.

Hunting season will be here in a few weeks. It’ll probably be too late to save my garden, but maybe it’ll thin the herds.

When friends visit, they’re awestruck when they see deer watching them from the woods, thinking it’s so noble and all Mother Nature-y, but deer are bullies. Gluttonous bullies.

The coyotes used to keep them in check but I think too many of the neighbors have killed them out of fear. I’ve seen fox, but very few coyotes this year. Deer bring ticks too, something I despise more than their hosts because ticks can kill or seriously threaten your immune system.

It’s all about balance.

I like seeing wild animals on my property. I don’t even mind losing some of my plants, but deer graze in packs. They’re thugs, deer gangs with brown leather coats and big brown eyes.

Bambi, my Aunt Fannie. Don’t let their soft expression fool you. They’re vegetarian desperadoes.


41st Wedding Anniversary and a Poll


I still can’t wrap my head around that number. It doesn’t seem possible that that many years have passed. When we passed 30 years I felt like we were part of the old timers’ club, the kind where we give knowing looks to one another because we survived being married to one person without an injunction.

After we hit the 40 year mark, we were not quite part of the noble gang of the 50+ marrieds, but we had a good chance of getting there, so they cut us some slack.

This year is number 41. I sometimes wonder why Greg hasn’t traded me in for a younger model, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because he enjoys comfortable and familiar surroundings. A younger woman wouldn’t understand half his jokes. Besides, she could never keep up with what I do all day. 🙂

That brings me to the bone I have to pick with Greg. Please tell me if you recognize this scenario or if it only happens to me.

Why is it I can empty the garbage a hundred times and not expect one iota of recognition, but Greg does it ONE time and he has to make sure to mention it so I can commend him on it?


Why? Why, I ask you?

It’s like that scene in the movie, Kate & Leopold where Kate’s brother gives Leopold stellar advice. He shows him how to load the dishwasher, but tells him to wait to turn it on, so that she SEES him doing it.

Men! I think it’s just men anyway. I’ve never heard of a woman doing this.

Anyway, I love my shadow. He might not anticipate my every need, but he’s there when I need him most. And he even made dinner last night!

Happy anniversary, hubby. Here’s to 41 more.


This is a picture of our wedding bands. We haven’t worn them in a long time. We did at first, but then Greg nearly ripped his finger off when it caught as he jumped off a metal platform at work. I kept taking my rings off (and constantly misplacing them) because I painted in oils. Finally, we stopped wearing them all together.

As it happens they no longer fit anyway. Between arthritis and weight gain, my fingers are no longer that tiny size of 4 ½. We still have them though along with both engagement rings. (Yes. I gave Greg an engagement ring too.) I’d like to trade them in for something else, but Greg’s sentimental, so back in the box they go.

If you’re married, do you still wear your wedding band? Are we atypical for not wearing ours?

This Week’s Menu, October 9, 2016

Modern studio background, sepia look

Menu for the week of October 9, 2016

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs
Lunch: Chili
Dinner: Grilled chicken

Breakfast: Toasted bagels
Lunch: Kielbasa sandwiches
Dinner: Roast beef and baked potatoes (anniversary dinner)

Breakfast: Leftover steak and eggs
Lunch: Leftover chicken
Dinner: Anniversary dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant!

Breakfast: French toast
Lunch: Sausage on a bun
Dinner: Leftovers from restaurant meal. We never finish everything so I expect we’ll have enough for a second meal.

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: FAIR food!
Dinner:  Potluck from whatever is leftover in the fridge. I doubt we’ll want to eat much after the fair.

Breakfast: Bagels
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwiches
Dinner: Beef short ribs

Breakfast: Breakfast out since we’ll be hitting garage sales this week
Lunch: Leftover short rib sandwiches
Dinner: Spaghetti with homemade sauce


This is a special week! Monday is our 41st wedding anniversary. Thursday, if the weather is good, we’ll be going to the State Fair of Texas.

About Monday and why we’re staying home on our anniversary: Did you know that Sunday and Monday are the worst days to have seafood out? I heard this once and looked it up. Apparently, the last fish delivery for the week at most restaurants is Friday. Unless it makes a brisk business everyday, you run the risk of not getting the freshest fish until after the Monday deliveries.

Since we spend big $$$ on birthdays and anniversaries we want the best, so we’ll eat at home on Monday and celebrate at a restaurant on Tuesday.

Thursday, weather permitting, we’ll go to the fair. I try not to eat a lot of fair foods because that stuff is a heart attack on a stick, but one day of living dangerously shouldn’t hurt.

Do you have a yearly fair where you live? Do you ever go? Do you indulge in ‘fair food’?

In Monday’s post I plan to pick on Greg but I’m also running an informal poll about husbands in general.

Ode to the Compost Bin


We cleared the woods and put you upcompost-bins-clearing-land-sm.
From rotting leaves you gave us good earth.

But now your sides are gray and worn.
And chickens scratch the dirt.

We put our compost bins up in 2009. We cleared a big swath of land near the garden. Today you can barely tell what we’d cleared. The trees have come back and next to the compost, the asparagus bed is in full foliage.



We’re letting the chicks free range in the hopes they might be able to rid me of the little worms and crickets that have devastated my peas and beans. In the meantime, they thought they’d find good pickings over at the compost bin too.







Life on the farm.



Do You Like Your Gifts Practical or Fanciful?



With Christmas coming up I’ve been in full radar mode trying to find the perfect gifts for the friends and family on my list. I generally divide people by whether they prefer practical or fanciful gifts. It helps to narrow down my choices for each person.

One of my all time favorite gifts was a kitchen compost bin. Yes. A compost bin. I was bowled over because I had never told anyone I wanted one. I used to eye them wistfully on my Amazon wish list.

I know. It doesn’t take much to excite me. 😀

No one believes me, but I really do prefer practical gifts, and for really practical reasons. If I can use it, it’ll never be a wasted gift.

Greg is my polar opposite. Give him toys any day of the week, especially expensive big boy toys. (Please note huge groan of aggravation.) At least it’s easy to buy for him–if I can afford it.

In true form, he in turn always bought me expensive gifts that he felt any woman of taste might like. It took a few years before he realized that jewelry and clothes were not my personal delights. Although he can never go wrong with a new dog! It’s my Achilles heel, though we both know that whatever pets we get now may be our last ones, so we’re more careful about choosing a candidate.

My mother used to load us down with decorative items that she loved, thinking I would love them too. We do not have the same tastes in decor. Far from it. Eventually I was able to convince her not to buy us gifts.

Taste is very subjective. I can only think of two good friends whose tastes are impeccable. I love going to their homes. Their decor is elegant without being ostentatious. My tastes run on the traditional side with a slight bend to the eclectic. If either of these two friends bought me something decorative I know it would be something I would love.

But on the flip side I would be hesitant to buy anything decorative for someone else. I would hate to buy something that would go unloved, or worse, regifted. I don’t mind spending money on gifts my friends and family would love, but I’d hate to think it was wasted on something that will end up in their closets.

Although Greg and I don’t exchange Christmas gifts anymore, we still give each other gifts for no reason at all. It’s kind of fun to give something when nothing is expected.

What about you? Do you prefer practical or fun gifts? What do you like to give to your significant other? Is there anything on your wish list this year?

This Week’s Menu, October 2, 2016

Modern studio background, sepia look

Menu for the week of October 2, 2016

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Salmon with asparagus

Breakfast: Homemade egg McMuffin
Lunch: BLT
Dinner: Taco night

Breakfast: Leftover pancakes
Lunch: Asparagus soup
Dinner: Pork ribs with bbq beans

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs
Lunch: Tuna fish sandwiches
Dinner: Pork stir fry with leftover meat from ribs

Breakfast: Breakfast quesadillas
Lunch: Asparagus soup leftovers
Dinner:  Baked chicken

Breakfast: Bagels
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwiches
Dinner: Burgers

Breakfast: Breakfast out since we’ll be hitting garage sales this week
Lunch: Sushi with egg rolls
Dinner: Steak and mashed potatoes, with garlic bread


We spent FIVE hours at Canton Trade Days Saturday. That’s five hours of walking. I think I’ve had my cardio for the week. This time we didn’t go to the animal side of Trade Days but to where they keep the crafts and antiques. This side of Trade Days is way bigger than Dog Alley.

There were only two things I liked. One was a bench made from real tree trunks and branches. The other was a dog print. It had more damage than I would’ve liked, otherwise I would’ve bought it. I’m on the hunt for dog paintings, preferably old paintings, but I’ll settle for prints if it has a vintage look to it.

My friend, Mel, who came with us, did the most shopping. That girl can always find bargains! She’s my shopping idol!

Today we plan to take it easy but we might hit a local antique shop since I’m in the mood to keep looking for paintings, and a bauble for my mother.

What’s your plan for Sunday? What’s the longest you’ve ever walked/shopped?

I’m in a Throwing Away Mood


Emptying my entire kitchen and then restoring everything has put me in a serious throwing away mood. I can’t believe the things I’ve kept. In the “junk” drawers alone, this is what I tossed:

• Pens that don’t work.
• Obsolete USB cords
• Buttons
• Pins and other promotional paraphernalia from my old job
• Rubber fittings to who-knows-what
• Brass fittings to who-knows-what
• Keys for who-knows-what
• Credit cards I’ve never used
• Business cards for businesses that no longer exist
• Rabies tags and ID tags for fur babies no longer with us

Of all the things in the above list we still couldn’t bring ourselves to toss the ID tags. Greg is keeping one as a key fob, and the other as a bookmark.

We found money too! Hidden underneath a stack of envelopes and scratch pads was $200! I also collected almost $25 in coins that had been tossed in there for the past eight years. Obviously, I need to clean junk drawers more often.

My drawers are now perfectly clean and organized. I have a set of three on one side of the kitchen. One holds all my office supplies like my address book, a business card folder, stamps, writing tools, stapler, tape, magnifying glass and scissors. The second is for medical supplies like bandages, syringes (for goats and dogs), and more scissors. The third drawer is my emergency drawer. I keep matches, lighters, flashlights, folding knives, and trash bags. It’s nearest the pass way so if power goes out, I can find a flashlight in the dark.


For the record, I keep a pair of scissors in almost every drawer in the kitchen. It drives me crazy if I need to cut something and can’t find them. I’m not naming name (Greg) but certain people sometimes don’t put things back after they’ve used them. This way bloodshed is kept to a minimum if I can find another pair quickly.

Despite the best intentions my cabinets didn’t get finished. Some of the doors were missing in the shipment. A couple were damaged, and one was too short. I have to wait for the manufacturer to build me new doors. I’ll post pictures once my kitchen is complete.

Still it’s finished enough to bring back all my supplies. The carpenter who redid my cabinets went above and beyond. I asked him if he could remove the built in microwave shelf and give me a full cabinet. He did, and then the company gave me the additional cabinet doors free. Then he gave me new shelving where there wasn’t any, and removed the wine glass racks that I never liked.

This gave me a HUGE amount of new cabinet space. There is so much space, I have entire cabinets with nothing in them! I went from bulging at the seams to light and airy space.

On top of this, Greg built me a pull out cabinet next to the refrigerator. I can’t wait to show you the pictures for that. This extra space is going to free up a big hunk of my pantry.

Whoever gets this house after us is going to think they died and went to cabinet heaven. It is that awesome.

It helps that I got rid of a lot of stuff. Aside from the things I tossed, we also hauled four big boxes of stuff that will either go to the next garage sale or got stored for the long term. Most of it is a mix of glassware, bowls, and duplicate pots and pans.

Emptying out the entire kitchen was not a pleasant task, but hey, I found $225, so I guess it was well worth it. As rarely as I clean out junk drawers, who knows when I would’ve found that money.

Have you ever found money by accident? Do you keep a coin jar for spare change? How often do you clean your junk drawers?


Good Money on Bad Food


Have you ever had a bad meal at a restaurant? Did you tough it out and eat it, or did you send it back?

We’ve been lucky in that most of our meals have been pretty good, though I have sent a few things back over the years. I have no qualms sending food back if it’s cold or off-tasting. My thinking is that we spent good money on this meal. Dining out is not cheap so why settle for mediocre?

I’m always very apologetic when I ask the waiter to bring me a new meal/drink/appetizer. It’s not his fault. Things move very fast in a professional kitchen. Sometimes orders get lost or instructions are unclear. I don’t blame anyone really. I just want my food to be worth the money.

It pays to speak up too. Sometimes to make up for the lapse in quality/service, I’ve been given free dessert, a bigger serving, or even a discount.

Once, and of all times it happened on my birthday dinner, the waiter was very new and he didn’t key in the order correctly on the computer. We waited for nearly an hour. Finally, the manager stepped in to see why we still didn’t have food and she discovered what the kid had done–or in this case, hadn’t done.

She got the order in and comped us for the entire thing. It was an expensive meal too since Greg never skimps on birthday dinners. 🙂

We left the young man a generous tip. You could see how upset he was when his manager explained what had happened. I’m willing to bet he never made that mistake again. Plus the restaurant didn’t lose our business by comping the meal.

Mistakes happen. If they keep happening at the same place, then it’s your own fault if you keep going back. But if it’s a fluke, just send the food back with no malice in your voice. A good restaurant will always treat you right if you ask politely.

Did you ever have a bad meal? Any snafus like the one I had? How did you handle it?

Dehydrating Food 101


You don’t have to grow your own food to dehydrate fruits and vegetables. I had a dehydrator for years before I started using it regularly. Part of me couldn’t believe that such a small amount of heat could make food edible let alone more delicious than before.

It’s true! Drying foods concentrates the flavors.


This is beef jerky halfway through the drying process.

My first foray into dehydrating was making beef jerky. But I’ve since dried tomatoes, okra, beans, peas, strawberries, and squash.

There are few rules to dehydrating.

• Always slice your meat, vegetables, or fruits the same thickness. If some are thinner than others place those on the top trays so they don’t dry out too quickly.

• For best results, freeze your meat until it’s firm (but not frozen through). It will make it so much easier to slice.

• Wash fruits and vegetables, then pat dry.

• Never let your food touch each other. You want air to circulate freely on all sides.

• You can make fruit leathers if you blend fruit into a puree then pour (carefully) into liners on the dehydrator trays.

• Check for doneness. They should be flexible but not rock hard. You can dry them until hard if you plan to pulverize them.  Many people do this for onions and garlic, but also for tomatoes and celery. Heck, I’ve seen people dehydrate tomato skins alone and turn them into tomato powder.


For meat, you can add a dry rub from any number of prepared mixes from the store. I’m a purist. I prefer salt and pepper.

For veggies like green beans, I coat them in a little olive oil and toss with fresh ground salt. They are DELICIOUS! Greg and I polished off an entire batch in one sitting. (That ended up being our dinner.) They’re great snacks when you want something other than potato chips or popcorn.

I don’t season tomatoes at all. I dehydrate until semi soft and put them in the freezer. When I make soup, stew, pasta or pizza sauce, the dried tomatoes go in the pot and I let them reconstitute there. It will take your meal to an entirely new level of flavor. Every year I dehydrate tomatoes rather than can them now. They are that good!

Dehydrators come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very fancy, others are nothing more than a light bulb at the base of the machine.

If you have a big garden or a big family, go with a larger dehydrator, otherwise you’ll have that machine running for days at a time. This is the Excalibur 2900ECB. Within my circle of gardeners and cooks, this brand is the hand’s down favorite.

The one on the right is the same brand but about $50 more. It also has a 10 year warranty compared to the one above with a 5 year warranty. You can click on the pictures to take you to the Amazon page.

The dehydrator I currently have is pretty old. It doesn’t have the nicer trays or higher wattage of these newer models. When it finally dies on me I’ll probably opt for the Excalibur since all my gardening friends speak so highly about it.

If you don’t need something this big, try the Nesco Snackmaster. It’s just the right size for people who won’t do a ton of drying but still wants to do jerky or fruit leathers.

If you have teenagers, jerky and dried treats are way healthier for them. Better for junk-food eating husbands too. 😉

Oven drying: You can dry food in your oven but between you and me, it’s kind of a pain. Not only do you waste a lot more money on energy usage but it pretty much monopolizes your oven until the drying is done. I don’t recommend it unless you have no other choice.

Outdoor drying: There is one other option for you heartier, back-to-the-land folks, and that’s solar drying. If you live in a climate like mine where it’s hot and has relatively low humidity, you can dry your food outdoors. The reason I’ve never done it is because you have to make sure no insects can get inside your drying trays. I’m real touchy about this which is why I prefer to stick to the machine.


Oiled and salted. Ready for drying.


Same green beans, dried and ready for snacking.








Have you ever tried making jerky or dried fruits or vegetables? I always say I’m going to dehydrate snow peas, but somehow I never have enough left over. 🙂  The green beans were the real surprise though. "=D They were absolutely delicious. Greg wanted more but I only planted a few token green bean plants. Next year, I’m doing a big bed of them.



This Week’s Menu, September 25, 2016

Modern studio background, sepia look

Menu for the week of September 25, 2016

Breakfast: Cheese omelette
Lunch: Leftover chicken
Dinner: Steak and potatoes

Breakfast: Steak and eggs
Lunch: Crab salad with veggie dippers
Dinner: Taco night

Breakfast: Bagels with cream cheese
Lunch: Grilled veggie pita pockets
Dinner: Shrimp stir fry

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Sushi
Dinner: Baked chicken and macaroni

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs
Lunch: Tabouli
Dinner:  Burgers

Breakfast: Homemade egg McMuffin
Lunch: Leftover tabouli
Dinner: Bowtie casserole  (It’s like Hamburger Helper except homemade)

Breakfast: Kolaches
Lunch: Leftover casserole
Dinner: Spaghetti with garlic bread

Cabinets are in, but the job isn’t finished yet due to problems with materials. Also some cabinet doors didn’t come in or were the wrong size.

I should be able to move my stuff back this week, but it might be two more weeks before they can finish the job properly.

Since we’ll be in the midst of moving back in I plan to keep meals simple this week. At least I have my stove back. It’s been a hassle cooking with only a toaster oven.

Despite the inconvenience, I got a lot done outside. I wish the kitchen job could’ve been finished in one go, but it wasn’t meant to be. At least they’re adamant about getting the job done correctly. I love conscientious workers.



Cheap Trick: Wash Your Produce


I watched a couple of little kids climbing the apple bin at a grocery store once. Their little hands had touched everything from snotty noses to picking stuff off the floor. A few seconds later, an old man had picked through the same apples. Someone else waited patiently until it was his turn to fondle the fruits.

In the end, I decided not to get apples that day.

Much to Greg’s annoyance, I wash EVERYTHING, even if it’s from my garden. Granted no human hands, other than mine ever touch the produce from my garden, but you can’t stop bugs or birds from landing on them. Not to mention, my new enemy, the deer.


Greg thinks I’m being overly cautious, but I say better safe than sorry. I even wipe the tops of any can I open.

How about you?


Is It Waste or Want?


How much time do you think you waste in a day?

I was reading an article about how much time we spend on the internet, tv, radio, streaming, email, using apps, and social media. In the US, we average an astounding 10 hours and 39 minutes a day doing all these activities.

Some people can listen to radio while they work so I don’t see this as a valid addition, but the other stuff? Yeah. I can see that. According to the study, we’re divided by age. The over-50 age bracket watches more tv than Millennials. And it comes as no surprise that younger people surf the net and use more apps than older people.

It can be argued that you’re not really wasting time if that’s how you decompress, but I think that’s kind of a cheat. The brain doesn’t rest if it’s constantly being stimulated. That’s why medical professionals tell you to turn off the tv and computer a couple of hours before bedtime.

On average we watch 2-3 hours of tv or streamed movies a night. Greg might watch a little more because I tend to get antsy when I know I have something to do.

I spend another two hours on the net in the morning usually reading and responding to emails, with intermittent breaks throughout the day poking into social media and blog reading. For the sake of argument, I’ll be generous and say I spend an additional two hours on the net for a total of four hours a day.

That means I spend 6-7 hours a day on the net or watching media. Some of that time is either work related or necessary viewing to stay abreast of current events, but the rest of it is entirely for folly.

Sometimes when I hear people say they have no time, I wonder if they take their “down time” into consideration. Do we really have no time to exercise, eat right, or play with the kids, or are we hiding behind Facebook and online games?

For years I refused to get the internet at home and at work. I know I speak blasphemy, but it’s true. I knew even back then it was a rabbit hole.

I prefer to be physically active only because I’m the fidgety type. The only time I actually enjoy sitting down and doing nothing is after I’ve worked my keester off. If I’m too tired to lift my arms, all I want to do is watch an old movie, something I’ve already seen so my brain doesn’t have to engage.

I’m old enough to remember pre-internet days. For some reason I don’t remember anyone back then saying they had no time. I’ve actually given this some serious thought. We were busy, but when the work was done we spent time with family or actual flesh and blood friends.

We read more. We savored every page of a newspaper. Meals were always sit-down and slower. And we took more Sunday drives to nowhere in particular. I miss the drives. We used to pick a new destination every week and discover our “back yard”. Going to the movies was date night. Eating out wasn’t just grabbing a bite. We actually had real conversations over dinner.

So what do you think? Do you know how much time you spend a day on media, social media, and the internet? If you’re old enough to remember pre-internet days, what did you do back in the day in your spare time?


All Hands to the Pump: The Demolition Begins


The cabinet people called Friday to schedule their crew and install my new kitchen cabinets. I was no where near ready. I had hoped they would give me a week’s notice, but no such luck.

All weekend, I rushed around emptying my cabinets and putting everything into boxes. –Didn’t think I’d be doing that again for a long time! Thankfully, the boxes only have to move into the next room.

I moved here almost eight years ago, yet I still managed to accumulate a ton of clutter. The kitchen seems to be a catch-all for anything coming into the house.

Some of the clutter are duplicates or things that get tossed in a drawer for “safekeeping” then quickly forgotten, but some things are bulky items I might use only once or twice a year. There’s a punch bowl, a literal ton of cast iron cookware, Christmas serving pieces, and a large and odd collection of glassware.

There are the fancy water goblets that I’ve used maybe twice since I’ve been here. Then there are the pots and pans from Greg’s house. When mine wear out I’ll replace them with his. Until then, they’ll be stored in the attic. There were also entire drawer full of kitchen utensils that I use so rarely I’d forgotten I had them.

I have an insane amount of cookbooks. I didn’t realize I had that many. I’d hate to get rid of them, but I use maybe three or four–tops.


There are a lot of antiques in my clutter stash too. I found a gravy boat that I bought an antique auction decades ago. I never thought much of it. It was sold as part of a box lot. I looked it up and it’s worth $80 now. I think I spent five bucks for the whole box.

I’m sick of clutter, but I’m not ready to have another garage sale, so I’ll just store all this stuff for some other day. Before I put anything back in that kitchen, I plan to take a long hard look at what I’m putting back. If I don’t love it, or I haven’t used it in a year, it’s going in the attic.

Wish me luck this week. We’ll be without a working kitchen for at least 5-7 days. They’re supposed to put up plastic to keep the dust down in the rest of the house, but I suspect the entire house will need a thorough airing (and dusting) by the time they’re done. It’s bad enough our routine will be disrupted, but the poor dogs will be upset with strangers in the house too.

How are you with clutter? Do you sort out your junk drawers regularly? And if you don’t have a junk drawer, I don’t think we can be friends. LOL! You’re too perfect!


This Week’s Menu, September 18, 2016

Modern studio background, sepia look

Menu for the week of September 18, 2016

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Veggie platter with pimento cheese spread
Dinner: Burgers

Breakfast: Leftover pancakes
Lunch: Corndogs
Dinner: Enchilada supper (Freezer meal. All I have to do is pop it in the oven.)

Breakfast: Bagels with cream cheese
Lunch: Burritos
Dinner: Sausage and peppers sandwiches (Another freezer meal.)

Breakfast: Toast
Lunch: Egg rolls
Dinner: Lasagna (Premade freezer meal)

Breakfast: Orange Danish
Lunch: skip
Dinner:  Pizza (Frozen, not homemade this time.)

Breakfast: English muffins
Lunch: skip
Dinner: Chicken take out

Breakfast: Kolaches
Lunch: Cold sandwiches
Dinner: Chinese take out


This week features an atypical menu. My new cabinets have arrived, and we’ll be kicked out of the kitchen starting Monday. I’m told they’ll need at least 5-7 days to get the job done. Our stove will be out of commission, and of course, I still don’t have a microwave, so I’m left to make what meals I can with my toaster oven.

Dinners won’t be too bad. I have a lot of frozen meals already made up. All I have to do is stick them in the oven. But side dishes will be a bit trickier.  Breakfasts will be mostly toast or breakfast sandwiches I can cook in the toaster oven.

I’ll have a makeshift kitchen in my studio since I already have a sink there, but I’ll have no access to my real kitchen for a whole week. With a work crew in my house it also means someone needs to stay at home at all times. I might send Greg out for burgers or chicken if things get too chaotic.

It’ll be like home camping, but with more inconvenience. 🙂 I’ll have a better idea of how long I’ll be without my kitchen once the work crew gets here. Things would be a lot easier if I had a microwave or even a hot plate, but we’ll make do.


Red Snapper Ponchartrain
I made this dish last Sunday. I wish I had taken a picture of the finished meal but it was so labor intensive, all we wanted to do was eat! But I can report that this fish was absolutely scrumptious. The fish was flake-tender and the light and flavorful sauce was the perfect complement. You just wanted to savor every bite.

It was a lot of work because I had to make a shrimp stock to make the Madeira sauce for the fish, but you couldn’t ask for a more elegant and sublime meal. At one point I think I was using five of the six burners on the stove!

Fortunately, we didn’t use up all the sauce for the fish. I froze what was left over so we can have it again at some later date.

If you ever want to try a really delicious and fancy fish dinner, I highly recommend this recipe.