Friday, August 17, 2018

Monday August 13

We had guests today so nothing got done in the gardens. I will absolutely have to water tomorrow morning because it has gotten hot today.

Tuesday August 14

Supposed to be warm again today--another 90F day. I will water everything and then do inside tasks. Tomorrow they say we start a cooler and wetter pattern.

I did get the watering done--just in time since the sage and both rosemary plants were wilting. Otherwise everything looks good. I have a couple of peppers and tomatoes that will be ready in the next couple of days.

Discovered something new this morning: aseptic milk. One of the grocery ads listed it. According to the web it is actually "ultra high temperature" pasteurized milk that is shelf stable for four months without refrigeration after which it is good refrigerated for seven days. Now that I know what it is I will make sure I don't buy any,

Wednesday August 15

The temperature is supposed to moderate a bit--from 90F down to low 80s. And we might get some rain. The reports say scattered thundershowers which may or may not dump anything on us.

The kids are back in school. We saw our usual crowds Monday when we went out to get some snacks for our guests. We went out a bit later yesterday to do grocery shopping and saw the bus had already passed by. My step-niece's children started yesterday. It seems that the school year starts sooner, ends later each year.

Thursday August 16

I don't think we got any rain overnight and didn't get any yesterday. I will water early. Once upon a time the forecast we had for yesterday and today would have meant a very good probability of rain. Nowadays not so much.

Friday August 17

A heavy downpour woke me earlier. It is too dark yet to see if anything was damaged in the gardens.
Found several nice strawberries which are going to go with our ice cream tomorrow night. They will be joined by several more which should ripen by tomorrow morning.

Charles Hugh Smith has the right idea.

The Atlantic has this piece on a variety of corn that is host to nitrogen fixing bacteria which, in essence, self fertilizes. The only problem is the very long maturation time--8 months. The researchers are doing preliminary work on hybridizing that variety with our commercial ones.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Monday August 6

I think I will be lazy today. Yesterday was busy and I feel the effects in every muscle and joint. I finished the embroidery on another scarf and pulled the thread I need for another--and made a list of the colors I need to buy for it. It never fails. In spite of the collection of thread I have amassed over the decades I always find the pattern calls for colors I don't have. I finished the herbs in the dehydrator--meaning I chopped them and put them in their jars on my shelf. I cut others and they are waiting in the dehydrator and will wait until I feel like standing for enough time to finish them. I also decided it was time to get some of our frozen fruit finely chopped for yogurt so I did another long stint of standing while dealing with blueberries, cherries, apples, strawberries, and peaches. That is all in small tightly covered bowls in the freezer.

The weather everywhere is simply insane--case in point. Or this long piece in the New York Times. Naomi Klein posted this one at the Intercept which takes on another New York Times Magazine article.

Tuesday August 7

It will be another lazy day. Yesterday became a bit busier than I intended because we decided to take three boxes of books to the library and while we were out also went to Michaels for the embroidery floss I wanted and to Meijer for some small jelly jars I plan to use next time I need to chop fruit. We don't have any errands left til next week.

I spent a fair bit of time looking for a book of iron-on transfer patterns I knew I had but couldn't put my hand on right away. That always happens when you have reorganized in a major way. I knew I hadn't disposed of the book but where in this new arrangement I put it was a mystery. Thankfully "was" is the operative word. I finally found it. But just in case I found a couple of similar books at Barnes&Noble and ordered on-line.

Another reason to eliminate plastic from our lives--as much as possible.

Wednesday August 8

We have had rain today so no gardening. I did get a look at things and found the Lemon Boy
tomatoes ripening. they will be ready soon. The Ox Heart tomatoes are still green. The red bell peppers aren't ripe yet or showing signs of turning red.

We had to make a quick run out to the grocery store. I found only three cans of cat food on the shelf which wouldn't last us til our normal shopping day next week. Since the Cats must be fed we dis a quick run and got a couple of other items we might have run out of over the weekend.

This is a good piece from US News on climate change. The author focuses on the heatwave that, it seems, is everywhere across the globe this year. Our temperatures have moderated somewhat though the mid-80s can still be uncomfortable. We also have had sporadic rain which is very welcome considering how dry it has been lately. This article provides a snapshot of what is happening in Europe.

I started patio gardening here about 15 years ago. My sister gave Mom a potted tomato plant for Mothers' Day. I tended it and we both enjoyed the tomatoes. One year was so cold over the summer I actually looked at adding a cold tolerant tomato variety to our garden. I didn't because the warmth came back and our usual varieties did well. Until about three years ago I always had an abundance of tomatoes. We couldn't eat them fast enough or give them away fast enough. So I took up canning tomato sauce and whole tomatoes. The harvests have gone down since then and the temperatures have gone up. Last year I canned tomatoes we bought in bulk at our local farm market. We won't can any this year because we don't have either the time or energy. Our own tomatoes are not as prolific as they should be. A heatwave early in the season that gave us a week and a bit in the 90s (with a couple of days almost hitting 100) made sure those blossoms didn't set fruit. The plants recovered slowly and though we do have tomatoes ripening they are few. I don't think I will do tomatoes next year. I think I mentioned before that our patio acts like an oven and concentrates heat. The official temperature may be in the mid to high 80s but on the patio that translates to mid to high 90s.

Thursday August 9

Finished off the chives, spearmint, peppermint, and sage in the dehydrator and loaded said machine with cinnamon basil, tarragon, and more spearmint. Then deadheaded several geraniums and took out the Vernissage tomato. We tried a couple and decided it wasn't worth keeping. The flavor is so-so and it has a very thick skin. The Lemon Boy is starting to ripen but the Ox Heart is still green. Mom insists: no fried green tomatoes this year. The rain we got was nice but the moisture didn't last very long. I plan on watering everything very well tomorrow morning.

Friday August 10

Well, I won't have to water. We got some rain late yesterday and overnight. I plan to finish off the herbs in the dehydrator but won't pick any more til tomorrow--when things will have dried out a bit.

So they have found a word for acquiring more books that you can possibly read. Sometime ago the needlework groups had a term for a similar accumulation of materials: SABLE--Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. I guess the bibliophile equivalent is BABLE--Books Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. I have both conditions.

So Repthuglicans propose shifting the money for new Coast Guard icebreakers to that piece of crap proposed wall on the border. We have ONE 42-year-old icebreaker that was reactivated in 2012 after $60million in repairs. Once upon a time we had six. Russia has...40+ according to the last report I saw. It seems to me they ask themselves which is the least useful and needful piece of "infrastructure" (and that is using the term very loosely applied to the wall) and choose to fund it first.

I hope the critics scuttle this plan. Again an unnecessary and wasteful #45-ego stroking exercise. Money that could be used to rebuild bridges, roads, etc., squandered on a redundant military expansion.

Saturday August 11

Should be a nice day to harvest some more herbs and get some clean-up I have been putting off done. I might even get some hemming on pieces I have finished the embroidery on but haven't quite finished entirely. I also have a couple that need a bit of pressing.

I wonder if the costs of lost land and revenue are calculated into the true "cost" of oil drilling. My guess--not on your life. The oil would be far too expensive to market. And the products too expensive for consumers to buy. And you can't eat oil so if enough good farming land is polluted we'll be too dead to buy petroleum products.

I picked two dehydrator trays of spearmint and four of lavender. I took out the purple bell--it simply isn't producing much and not worth the effort to keep it watered. I still have a red bell and a shishito. So far the shishito peppers are smaller than I expected based on past experience but there is a fair quantity of them. The red bell is a new variety for me and is producing a nice quantity of large peppers. Mom is in the process of freezing those and we will put the last of the purple bells in our chef salads for supper. I am taking a bit of a break before heading out to do some more cleaning.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Monday July 30

We keep hearing from the economic/political cheerleaders that the economy is roaring along nicely. Why do I keep reading stories like this one? Which do we need more: infrastructure that moves the economy or #45's Wall?

Ugo Bardi has a good piece on how and why "climate change" may fall off the public radar.

Tuesday July 31

Wednesday August 1

Welcome to August. The year is certainly going by rapidly. We were busy yesterday finishing the shopping we didn't get done Monday. The local store which has carried the yogurt we like didn't have it in stock--for the second week. If we had known that ahead of time we would have stopped at our alternate source yesterday when we visited my brother and sister-in-law. But the unexpected excursion gave us a chance to check out a farm store we have been talking about visiting. They advertise fresh eggs, milk, cheese and other locally produced products. It is a nice little store and we will probably be going back.

Mom keeps saying that politics is the best comedy show going. I would agree with her if the clowns didn't have the power to mess up our lives "bigly." Unfortunately, the top clown is incredibly clueless. Here speaks a man who hasn't had to buy his own groceries himself ever. After we stopped laughing we tried to think of the last time we needed a photo ID to buy food. We bought food at two places yesterday where we either haven't shopped before or rarely shop. Guess what--no ID required. The last time was several years ago when we purchased wine and beer and the cashier didn't know us. It is at least a dozen years since I had to show ID to pay by check. At least the media isn't giving him the same pass on idiocy they did during the election and his early days in office.

Thursday August 2

Making some progress with a couple of needlework projects. Finished the crochet trim on the table scarf I finished a couple of weeks ago. Have almost finished the embroidery on another and the blanket is almost finished. I also have another project pulled out of storage which will be a Christmas table scarf. I am still in the process of sorting and arranging things in the what-not room.

Cut some rosemary and catnip to soak in vodka for a while. Should finish the thyme and cut some more herbs for drying.

Found a nice lot of strawberries. Kept the best for a yogurt snack tonight. The rest are drying along with pineapple sage, spearmint, and lemon verbena.

Good post at Tomdispatch today.

John Beckett has a good post today. I read the article he refers to a couple of weeks ago. A couple of things about the article hit me. One, the sense of entitlement exhibited is mind blowing as though, somehow, money exempts the owner of that money from human made catastrophe. Second, that all that money makes them better than those with less money. If these guys are Christian they have neglected Christ's answer to the rich man who asked what he had to do to be saved. Third, they haven't learned the lesson the brighter members of the prepper community preach: survival requires a community because you can't do everything alone. And, if you are relying on bought loyalty it may not last long if things go really bad.

Friday August 3

Sunny now and all of the rain went south of us. I will have to water everything. I have the dried herbs to finish processing and several I should cut to put in the dehydrator. We found a real nice lavender/spearmint tea that I can make from what I grow adding only the green tea I don't grow. I started the edging on my crochet blanket so that is nearing completion.

Saturday August 4

Yesterday turned into a lazy day. Watered the gardens but didn't harvest anything. Will have to get things done early today because we expect temps in the mid 90s with heat index breaking 100.

Found this post at Gods and Radicals which pretty well sums up the problem with our environmental debates.

Finished the crochet blanket. It is now on my bed. The ottoman in which I keep current crochet projects is pretty empty now. I won't say I will never do another large project but I don't have much incentive to start another one. And I do have one still working--a stash buster Catherine wheel lap blanket.

I got everything watered but it was already heating up so didn't do anything else.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Friday July 27

We might get some showers today. I have lavender, chocolate mint, and oregano to chop for storing. If the predicted rain holds off or doesn't come at all I plan to cut peppermint, sage and lemon balm.

The peppermint and lemon balm filled the dehydrator so the sage was left for another day. So far the rain has bypassed us and I am considering watering.

Saturday July 28

Not much going on today. I watered the gardens early but put off any new harvesting and processing til tomorrow. I cleaned out the storage space in the ottoman and moved a lot of yarn upstairs. I have to find a permanent home for it now. Mom cleaned out the linen closet. We both came here with a large supply of embroidered table scarves, doilies, and pillow cases. Some of it has been put in a box for Goodwill. Some of the rest were washed to see how stained the items were. Most washed nicely and have been put back. Some of the crochet pieces need to be starched and stretched. When we first moved here we were still in the habit of leaving such items to be used for special "good" events. We don't do that any more. They were meant to be used and who better to use them than we who made them. Some will be repurposed and remade to serve new needs.

Sunday July 9

Got the lemon balm and peppermint finished and put thyme in the dehydrator. Gave the cat a bit of a tread and sprayed their scratching post with a bit of the alcohol that had catnip soaking in it. They loved it. Some of the spray also hit their cat beds--which they have ignored for the last several weeks--and they rolled around in them for a while. I will have to do that more often.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thursday July 25

My energy evaporated too quickly yesterday. We were cleaning up and recharging after our guests on Tuesday. I remember a number of Ronni Bennett's posts at her Time Goes By blog when she noted how exhausting even pleasant social events could become. We had a very good time with our guests but we needed to get things back to normal.

I put off processing the herbs in the dehydrator so I still have that to do. And I need to water everything well today since I put that off also. We'll see what else I get done.

I found this Dr. Bones piece on Gods and Radicals this morning. It is one of those posts where you read along and nod all the way through.

Tom Englehardt has another good post on Tomdispatch. A constellation of failures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Tuesday July 24

Started out gloomy but the sun has come out nicely. I have a dehydrator full of cinnamon basil with a few scattered strawberries. I will use both for tea over the winter.

We are expecting guests today so I probably won't get much else done.

Wednesday July 25

Well, I was right. I didn't get much done yesterday. Our guests stayed longer than I thought they would.

I hope to finish off the cinnamon basil today and harvest another load for the dehydrator.

This article says a lot of what we have already concluded.

I read stories like this and ask the "What if?" question. Situations in this country also rouse concerns.

Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By has been writing about all facets of aging for a long time now. She is going to depart from her usual policy of not covering politics unless it is connected to her major theme and, intermittently, discuss broader political challenges. Good!! Those issues, sooner or later (usually sooner), come back to bite us no matter our age. Some of us will simply have to live with the fallout longer.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sunday July 22

Quiet day today. Finished processing the herbs in the dehydrator. I could have collected more but the weather hadn't improved before my ambition disappeared. Instead I did some more sorting and rearranging in the What-not room. I found a lot of bits and pieces (crochet motifs, embroidered patches, cross-stitched squares) that I put aside for later use. I found a nice crib quilt top that I will finish and a quilt top I haven't finished and will take apart rather than finish. That last has some unpleasant emotional connections. I have at least two pieces that only need hemming and a crochet edge put on to finish. So much still needs to be sorted.

Monday July 23

Cloudy right now and should be mostly cloudy all day. But not much chance of rain so I should get another batch of herbs cut and drying. The cinnamon basil is next on the list. I probably wouldn't make a good farmer or market gardener--I prefer to stay inside and dry no matter what needs to  be done outside. I saw some of the black vernissage tomatoes on their way to ripeness. We will get a few ox heart and Lemon Boy tomatoes a bit later. I already harvested a couple of the purple bell peppers and one of the Shishito peppers. The red bell haven't ripened yet.

As someone (I can't remember who) said: the future is here: it just isn't evenly distributed. Take a look at what can only get worse.