Saturday, June 22, 2013

The postman ...

... is actually a postwoman. She and I talk flowers a lot and gardening of all kinds. I purchased a different mailbox at a rummage sale last summer. It opens in the front and the back. I love that. I've put it right by my front porch and I can just reach in and get the mail without having to leave my porch. Perfect for me. But ... for the past year, the mailbox has been propped up with two cinderblocks. What an eyesore. I've had this plan for it since I purchased it but just hadn't gotten to it. Finally, the whiskey barrel I mentioned in an earlier post found its new home. So, with sweat tickling my head (I HATE that feeling when my hair gets sweaty), I marked that task from my to-do list. It was terribly hot and humid yesterday. I'm not complaining at all because I do love hot weather. Most of the time, when I have something physically demanding to do, I try to do it during the morning or evening hours.

There is a bright green sweet potato vine on the left, the lavender color is the bloom of a small double bloom petunia, the yellow and orange blooms are small zinnias. In front of the zinnias, a momma and baby bird figurine that I've had for many years and just behind the birdhouse, to the right, you can barely see the black knight sweet potato vine. Hopefully, it will look nice in three weeks or so. I have the intent to change it with the seasons. We'll see ...

As you can see by the bare spot in the grass (caused by the 2 cu ft bag of garden soil I had laying there for a week before I got to it) and the bit under the porch, I still have lots to do. It's gotten more difficult as I get older and I've had to accept that it will probably never been what I'd like. The only one to do it is me and I'm not moving so fast anymore. ha My shoulders and back scream in protest but I've found they scream in protest when I lounge on the couch too. ha

Enjoy your day as best as you can ...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Random 5 Friday

It's Friday. Summer's first day. I'm participating in Nancy's Random 5 Friday at A Rural Journal. Come join us!

1. I was awake when summer solstice of 2013 arrived at 1:04 AM. What a beautiful arrival it was! The moon was so bright, crisp and clear, a porch light wasn't even needed to see while outdoors. There were actually shadows from the moon beams.

2.  I've made a conscious decision to enjoy each day of this summer as much as I possibly can. Hopefully, I won't forget that decision. I have so much to do with home and land upkeep, as everyone does, it seems I'm in a perpetual state of sweat and dirt. I'd like to go to East Tennessee (where I've felt a belonging since I was a child) or just take my dog for a walk.

3. Today, I am planting flowers for a friend at her house. She and her husband help me out once in a while, and I like to return the favor if possible. Then I will finish cutting the grass and hopefully power wash my aunt's porch.

4. I love listening to Spring peepers. Their call, which sounds almost like a baby chic but much louder, makes me smile. And watching lightening bugs.

5. I drink an average of 40 16.9-ounce bottles of water a week. Yes. I recycle.

Wishing you a bright and cheery summer!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's cooler ...

... Inside and out! It's been a nice 75 degrees today. The sun is beautiful and the sky is as blue as it can be with just a few fluffy clouds passing by.

The A/C man came near noon. A part with a "contact" burned out. I wondered for a bit about how much this would cost but then I thought ... doesn't really matter ... what is worrying going to help? ha My windows are still open. The breeze is so nice and every once in a while, I get a whiff of the last of the honeysuckle blooming nearby. When it's 100 degrees out there, I won't care how much that part costs as long as it's "contacting" and I'm not sweltering.

My Evening Primrose, aka 9 o'clocks, are blooming. Nature is amazing. You can almost set your watch by these flowers. They open at precisely 9 o'clock each evening. I also have mirabilis jalapas aka marvel of Peru, more commonly known as 4 o'clocks. They've not yet bloomed. The early Spring was so chilly and damp my flowers didn't sprout until very late this year. I'm hoping they have time to bloom for a while. My chrysanthemums are very late this year. They're only about 6" tall.

This bee was having a ball jumping from bloom to bloom. He likes flowers as much as I!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rainy days and woes ...

I went out on Sunday to purchase a whiskey barrel planter. I looked online but the ones I liked were either out of stock or not big enough. The only one within 75 miles of my home was in Ohio at Tractor Supply. The sales associate said he'd hold it for me until I got there, so off I went. When I got home, my air conditioner was blowing warm air. I had the same problem last summer. I cleaned the unit like the repair man showed me to do every 6 months or so. That, unfortunately, isn't the issue. It's clean as a whistle and still blowin' warm. Ugh. Yesterday was 89 degrees in my house. I can't hear anything other than fans circulating hot air.

Today, although it's only 10:37 AM, is fairly cool. It's raining. I hope it rains all day but it's not predicted. I'm on the schedule of the air conditioning repair company. Wednesday is possible; Thursday is probable. My furry friends and I are having an uncomfortable time. I'd prefer to just sit around and do nothing all day. Peruse blogland. But I won't do that. After each task, I stop for a swig or two of water and spend a few minutes drying in the wind of the tornado fans. I am fortunate we're not in a heat wave right now. And I close my eyes and remember the chill of this day ...

Enjoy your day ...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Another peaceful morning ...

The weather is going to be ugly later in the day. Supposed to rain for the next three days. My back yard needs mowed terribly. It's the only part of the almost-three acres I mow weekly that I put off. I'm really regretting that now. I should have just gotten it all done on one day but that humidity was zapping me of energy. On a lighter note: this is a beautiful morning with a cool, mild breeze.
I pulled some radishes while I was outside. I don't like them when they're too big. These are quite hot. I don't remember them being that way before but I like spicy hot.
Wishing you a beautiful Lord's day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Random 5 Friday

A random view while enjoying coffee on the deck this morning ...

I'm joining Nancy at A Rural Journal. Take a moment and visit her; join in on the Random 5 Friday. She's got a great blog.
1. I'm looking for a different vehicle. It's getting too laborious to hoist my hinny up into the Blazer. It's difficult finding a vehicle that suits me and I can also put my wheelchair in. Most always people suggest a van, which would be fine, but the cost of the installation of a wheelchair lift is a few thousand dollars and I cannot financially nor do I want to do that. As long as I'm able, I'll take the 'chair apart and pick it up. A friend test drove a Chevrolet HHR with me the other day. I like it a lot but that one had too many miles for me; 2009 with 105,000 miles. My 1999 Blazer has 110,000. haha
2. I'm not much for daytime TV although I do like to watch court trials. My dream was to be a lawyer. CourtTV (now TruTV) has stopped airing live trials. They've left that responsibility to HLN but in my opinion, they've dropped the ball. I have recently turned off the TV during the daytime hours and listen to whatever is going on outside. Usually a variety of birds. I enjoy the quietness of the morning hours.
3. I'm sick of the news. The White House, CIA, NSA, FBI, data-mining ... good grief. I'm sick because I know if they're watching me, they're literally getting paid to do nothing but be bored out of their minds. And if they're watching me ... why in the heck haven't they sent someone to help me out? You can tell by the picture above that I'm behind on the grass cutting because of the rains! :-)
4. I got my hair cut. When I was young and cute, I'd sit in that beautician's chair for hours every month. Now, if I get there once in 6 months, it's been a good year. I wanted my hair cut just above my shoulders. The beautician spoke with me seriously about the difference in length because my hair was well past my waist. I told her I am 50 years old; I am smart enough to know it will grow back and I'll have to do it all again. Before she could cut my hair, I had to sign a paper stating I realized I was asking to have more than 8 inches of my hair cut and I was releasing the Regis company of liability. I laughed out loud. Never has the thought of a law suit entered my mind over a bad hair cut.
5.  I have too much stuff. I need at least 2,500 sq ft to live comfortably but I have only 1,000. So, I've decided since my house will not grow easily, I am going to get rid of things. I'm somewhat of a pack rat I guess. I have two rooms I can barely enter because of the "stuff." As soon as I finish the grass this morning, I'll be spending the day indoors sorting through "stuff". I wish I could say it won't take that long but I'm realistic and hope I'll be finished by Labor Day. Some of it I will sell but most I'll donate to a woman I know who has built an autistic school in Haiti. She has rummage sales as long as the weather cooperates to raise money for the school.
I hope you enjoy your weekend and you're safe from all this crazy weather.
Don't forget to visit Nancy and join Random 5 Friday!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Miss Cleo

This is Miss Cleo.

 In April 2002, I began working at a property I owned in the country. The house I grew up in was still standing ... somewhat. It had been empty for quite a few years. The result of a tragic family story. I had just retired from my job the previous October. I couldn't find any logic in paying rent in the city when I had property I could live on. I started the process myself of emptying out the 2,800 square foot house. I piled what could be burned in the middle of the driveway and burned papers, old clothing and furniture for weeks. In the midst of all this chaos, I'd decided I wanted a kitten. Something I could love and that would hopefully love me back. I bought a food and water dish, food, toys, etc, in anticipation of getting one. As quickly as I'd decided I wanted a kitten, I realized there was no way I could care properly for another animal. I already had a Quaker parrot. I was in the middle of this demolition and it had a much bigger effect on me than I thought it would. Physically I was exhausted; mentally I was a wreck. It was like digging up a grave and sifting through the bones. I fell into a terrible state. I hid it well but I was in a very dark place. (There was a volunteer group from a church that helped people in need if they had no financial means to get the job done. It took six weeks, but the house was finally razed thanks to those wonderful young people.) I gathered the items I'd purchased for my future kitty and gave them to my aunt who had way too many kitties for one household.

One particularly peaceful July morning, I parked my car in a corner of the yard of my future home. I opened the door and there looking up at me was a tiny black and white kitty with a little beauty mark by her mouth. I said, "who are you and where did you come from?" It was as though she'd fallen from the sky. I asked the neighbors but no one had ever seen her. I said to her, "you must be some kind of psychic! How'd you know I needed you? Did Miss Cleo send you?!" At that time, the television was swamped with commercials of a Jamaican woman who called herself Miss Cleo and claimed to be a psychic. That, as crazy as it is, is how she got her name. haha I'd first thought of Marilyn, because of the beauty mark, but decided Miss Cleo was more fitting.
I was wrong. Miss Cleo was not too much for me to care for. She was just what I needed. She was barely a month old. I noticed she panted like a dog, drank a lot of water and was rather puny. I took her to the vet and discovered she had a terrible infection. The vet said she'd most likely have been dead within a week had I not gotten her help when I did. I had to give her medications every four hours for five days. That's even throughout the night. ha So, I set my alarm to ring every four hours and made sure she never missed a dose. She's been healthy and happy ever since. She's brought me lots of laughs and smiles and I've never regretted her finding me.

 This month, Miss Cleo is celebrating her 11th birthday.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Random 5 Friday

This is a random photo of my doggie, Samson. I found him on December 9, 2003. He'd been hit by a vehicle and had broken hips and a few other injuries. My aunt told me he was dead because he'd been there a few days. When I saw him licking his paw, I called a friend to put him in my Blazer and off to the vet we went. He's been my constant companion since that day.
I've never been a "joiner" but I'm trying to make some positive changes in my life so I'll give this a try. I'm joining with A Rural Journal to participate in the Random 5 Friday posts. Baby steps, people. I'll get there. :-)

What I am to do with this Random 5 Friday  is to post five random facts about something in my life. Okay ... here goes:

1. A black cherry tree fell, landing across the stream by my house. With the heavy rains that's been happening lately, it's caused erosion. I had to have the tree cut out of the way today. It was covered with poison ivy BRANCHES! Did you know poison ivy grew that big? At first we thought it was tree branches but the leaves did not match the black cherry tree. The trunk of the poison ivy was bigger than my thigh. No joke.

2. I was hit by a drunk driver when I was 17 years old (1981). We were riding a motorcycle. The drunk thought we were someone else and came straight for us. My boyfriend died. I have been a hemi-pelvectomy amputee for 33 years now. I woke up one morning in April 1996 and my remaining foot was paralyzed. I've used a wheelchair since then.

3. I live alone and am 100% independent. I do everything that anyone else does from cutting grass to cooking to cleaning to complaining about grocery shopping.

4. I worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers for 18 years until I had to take disability retirement in October 2001 due to health reasons. Horrible day. I am always embarrassed to tell that because I feel useless. I loved my job as a cartographer.

5.  I hate grocery shopping. But I love to cook and eat so I have no choice.

Well, next time I'll have all happy randomness. ha I've decided to not hide anymore so I may as well get some things "out there."

Wishing you a great weekend.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Backyard Visitor

I looked out the kitchen door a few days ago and thought, "What is that?" I'd never seen a snapping turtle in my yard before. Better yet, I've never seen a snapping turtle this large anywhere! I grabbed my camera and headed out to introduce myself.

There had been a loud, heavy thunderstorm the night before. I don't know if that brought her out or she was just sightseeing. You can see some grass pieces and sludge on her. I always get excited when I see wildlife, although common, nearby. I went back into the house and got a few carrots, some spinach leaves and a few apple pieces from the fridge. I have a Quaker parrot, so I usually have prepared snacks for us on hand.


She found her way under a large fallen limb from the night before. Maybe she thought I couldn't see her? ha! I tossed her a carrot, which she totally ignored. I tossed the handful of goodies onto the ground, knowing something would devour it sooner or later.
Look at those claws. She could do some damage if she got a hold of you.


As I admired her beauty, I noticed her really large, strong tail. So of course, I needed a shot of that too. She didn't seem to mind.

I left her alone for while. When I returned, she'd dug herself into the soft ground with those huge claws under the hemlocks. I thought she may be looking for a spot to lay her eggs. This made me anxious, so I left her to herself. The blue jays had taken off with the apple pieces. Later I noticed a rabbit munching on the carrots and spinach. I wish the rabbits and blue jays would stop eating my strawberries!


I checked on her the next morning and she was gone.  Nothing but an empty hole. I've since seen her roaming around the yard. My dog goes crazy barking. Even if the turtle is 300 feet or so away, she stops as long as Samson barks. Somehow, she knows he sees her. They'll never meet if I can help it. That turtle would put a hurt on my doggie's nose for sure. I have a fenced area for Samson. I live too close to a country road where country drivers move way too fast. Almost all neighborhood pets end up killed if they get to the road.

Here is a photo of my peony (pronounced "PI-nee" in the country). I have always pronounced it "pee-OH-nee". My mother wanted us to pronounce words as Mr. Webster directed. ha No matter how you say it, it's a beautiful, soft, sweet smelling flower. Seems like they're always covered with ants. I guess because they are so sweet. You can see a bit of evidence of the rainstorm the night before on those pretty soft petals.

The red raspberries are growing very well. I pay a fellow to do the weed eating around my land. He got a little too close around the bushes last summer and cut all the new growth away. This year, I've had to blockade everything.


I'll hopefully be back before too long to say "hello" again. On top of everything else, I'm dog-sitting for a week for a friend who has gone to the beach. Somehow, that's my usual summer task: I dog-sit while others enjoy vacation. I'm going to make some changes in my life ... and I think that might be one ... ha ha.
Wishing you a blessed day ...