Wednesday, December 21, 2022


I was whipping up some cream cheese frosting and decided to compare my usual recipe with the online favorites. The only difference was I use 1.5 c of powdered sugar compared to 3 or 4 c in all the others. So I tried it with 3 c... yuck! I couldn't taste the cream cheese at all (so what's the point?) I ended up adding another block of cream cheese and that worked fine. Although I now have a LOT of frosting. Ha.

One of my front doorstep plants shows appreciation for moving inside for the winter.

The first geranium from seed is flaunting pretty colors.

Needlepoint framed and ready to hang.

Sunday, November 20, 2022


Because everyone needs a little chaos in their lives, I adopted these two farm kittens, Solo on the left and Fury. You know that thing about cats being independent? These two always want to be in the same room as me. 2:00 a.m. play session has to be on my bed.

Fury has issues with being picked up. He goes full tornado mode, claws and teeth. No, the nape of the neck doesn't work on him. So, I don't pick him up, but I am slowly subverting him and he climbed into my lap for the first time yesterday!

These are my outside plants, brightening up the basement for the winter.

I read an interesting BBC article on the effects of cooler houses on people. Basically, anything below 64F and the body starts to work to protect the internal organs. They took it down to 50F since that's what UK houses would settle at without heating on average.

At that point blood flow to the brain is down 20%, blood pressure, breathing rate and heart rate go up. It's why there are more strokes and heart attacks in winter. 

Of course, living here not having heating would be a lot worse than 50F. Normally, I aim for high 50s, but this winter I'm going to up that to a 64F minimum.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

New to me

I had a visitor on my garage a couple days ago. I've never seen one here before so pretty exciting. 

Today I see she left behind another generation. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Paying Attention

I was just comparing syrup brands and wondering why one was so much more expensive. Looked at the ingredients and there the answer is: only ingredient was maple syrup. The cheaper brands were all based on corn syrup, if not high fructose corn syrup. 

Lesson learned: all syrups are not created equal. Ha! I tend to eat a lot of scrambled eggs breakfasts because it's easy, cheap and diabetic friendly, but it can get boring. I've begun eating them with syrup instead of ketchup and just that little change was enough to make them palatable again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Garden Update

 So, I have an ongoing issue with the black walnut trees using chemical warfare against my garden beds; getting worse in hot, dry weather. Last year 2/3rds of the length of these beds were stunted down to unproductive because of that. This year I was determined to find a solution...on a budget.

It may look a little crazy, but check out the peas! Also, how cool is it that all the marigolds are volunteer seeds? They are being added to my list of plants to let go to seed, along with lettuce and dill.

I am so happy I finally got the south bed filled. It's going to be a powerhouse. I've gone heavy on mulching and use soaker hoses to alleviate what is looking like a bad drought year. 

Amusing anecdote: Opened the back door and a baby garden snake made a dash inside for the basement stairs. Cats were instantly interested. I grabbed it and put it back outside. Later, I saw it hanging out nearby still so I brought a saucer of water. Protect and cherish snakes!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The big blow

Pictures from my parents' farm after the big storm that went through in May. It still looks naked without the two old trees in front of the house and it always hurts when an apple tree is damaged.

 It was a strange storm that blew up very fast and seemed hardest on evergreen trees. All the cemeteries lost mature trees. I'm still doing double-takes when I pass a park and see how many are gone now. 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Oh, my...rain!

Wow, my rain barrel is full! In fact, there is only one partial sunny day in the 10-day forecast. We might even have real spring weather.

I put up a new bird feeder pole with multiple hooks and different feeders; one of which is a wire tube for peanuts. Annoyingly the wide space to allow the birds to remove the peanuts also made it difficult to fill without spilling everything out. My work-around was to put the peanuts into a mesh saucer instead and repurpose the feeder. I slathered a corncob with peanut butter (which I can't eat anyway, thanks, intolerance) and rolled it in the birdseed. I just now filled it again and looked out the window, there's already a woodpecker on it. Yay!

Onto a cautionary tale: very nice youtube couple recently went to the city for a weekend getaway. He became quite ill afterwards. The following week he is recovering but she is now sick. It's obvious from the video that she is quite sick, but they go to a crowded outdoor market and out to eat. I wanted to thump my head on the desk. Have we learned nothing in the last two years? If you have any contagious illness, stay home!

Closing my eyes, breath deeply, listen to birds singing, bring blood pressure down.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Good Hooman

My cat has me trained. When I hear rapid pawsteps behind me, I freeze. She likes to be in front and will either sideswipe me or dash between my legs. I'll take the delay instead of the off-balance feeling.

Happy news: RAIN! With a few snowflakes mixed in, but so wonderful to have moisture. Slight downside is clouds and wind which makes me feel cold even inside. So I'm wearing a hat to increase the cozy. It will be so worth it when the grass greens up though.

Friday, April 1, 2022

A Mystery in One Act

Scene: late evening, me reading (and avoiding the last of the dirty dishes), one cat sleeping on my legs, other cat sleeping on HER chair.

A tinkling noise as if a small glass object had broken. All three of us lift our heads to look. "What was that? If you're both here..." I look at the usual suspects.

We search the house for the source to no avail, but I did finish the dishes.

Monday, March 28, 2022

I may be a fossil

I've been watching movies on VHS. Yes, I actually have one of those rare items, a working vcr. 

There are a number of movies I just held onto the tapes instead of replacing with dvds (or worse, digital). These are shows I enjoy, but can go 10+ years between viewing. Last night I watched Mr. Holland's Opus. Thoroughly enjoyable, but no need to see it frequently.

Regarding digital copies; I just like having something physical I own and can watch any time, even if my internet is down. I'm the same with books; if I really love it, I want a paper version in my library.

Side note: positive aspect of being an empty-nester is I can have a crabby day and not bother anyone else.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Not a genius chicken

There's a space between the back of my chicken pen and the pasture fence. Usually not a problem, but a hen was trapped there. Now I've noticed some chickens are amazing problem solvers and can work out their own rescues; then there are the others.

I made a makeshift ramp so she could get close to the top of the fence and hop over herself. She promptly went underneath and used it as a windbreak. Eventually, I took my net for catching chicks out and she dove headfirst in and kept trying to ram her way further in even though it was only big enough to hold half of her. At last, she is safely back inside the pen where she can tell the others about her grand adventure. Daft bird.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Today I learned...

Have you ever had to reassess your self-view? I've always thought of myself as quite bright, but maybe I'm really a bit dim in the practical aspects.

I was boiling eggs, forgot about them and the water spilled out onto the stove-top.  (This isn't a surprise, it's just normal and why I'm not a good cook.) What was a surprise was discovering that the knobs on the front of the stove come off. They literally pop off for easy cleaning!!! I'm in my 50s and had no idea; always assumed cleaning the front of the stove was a royal pain.

Now I'm wondering what other basic things are all around me that I have no idea about.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

People can be strange

The other day I was parked at a store, waiting for my curbside order, and people-watching. It was interesting to watch the ebbing and waning of mask usage during the last few months; I didn't see any at all that day.

What I did see was a woman who parked at the neighboring store; presumably because it wasn't as crowded as the one I waited at. So, after shopping in my store, she pushed her cart over a curb and up an embankment of rock to reach her car. Of course she didn't return the cart. 

I still haven't figured out how that was easier than walking a bit farther in the other parking lot. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The opposite of chicken thief

 A couple weeks ago I found a strange rooster in my chicken pen. Weird, but I do have a wild turkey so thought he might have been a runaway. Then I found another one. Then the hens started fighting and there are pullet eggs. It's become clear someone did a dump and run of their unwanted birds. 

Why this bothers me: bird flu is rearing its ugly head again and I know nothing about these chickens. Also, they've completely disrupted the peace of my flock. I already had two extra roosters I hadn't culled yet because they weren't causing problems. Adding two MORE roosters ended that tranquility and I had to do emergency butchering to protect my alpha rooster's life. Plus the hens had to reestablish the pecking order. It's a mess.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

What mysterious imp

I was pulling the bag out of the kitchen garbage can when I noticed how dirty the rails had gotten. While cleaning them it occurred to me that I can no longer blame this mess on my son because I live alone. Am I really so clumsy or careless to scatter crumbs all around the trash bag? Or is there an imp who places these little mishaps to give me something to do?

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Stacking deep

A winter storm is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Weatherman is guesstimating 6" of snow for my location; which means we get a dusting or dumped on. Either way I've been hauling in firewood so there is one less thing to think about. Inside stacks are full now but I might go for one more load that will stay in the bags until needed.

I went to the grain elevator this morning to stock up on chicken feed. Again, I'm the only person wearing a mask. The good news was the price of feed hasn't gone up yet. It's just a matter of time before it does though.

Clouds have moved in and my head is pounding, so some type of weather system has arrived. Stay safe and warm.

Cooper's Hawk

 Fortunately I have a large sparrow population if this fellow will be dropping in to dine.

Reading up on them, I don't expect any trouble with the chickens. This might be a predator, but not in the same weight class as my flock.

Friday, January 7, 2022


It's above 0°F. Of course, the wind chill is still in the minus range, but so much better than the -30s we've had. I knew it was going to be better when I saw Gru was back in his tree last night. He looks so funny when he roosts with the chickens. He has begun to sit in front of the little coop's pop door. I think he feels left out since he can't fit.

It would be nice to have warming up without sinus problems, though. Always a give and take.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022


It's much too early to be up, but a headache won't let me get back to sleep. It's been a roller coaster ride weather wise. Up to 40F yesterday before the wind switched to the North and down went the temperature. The wind chill is running about -28F now which makes me not look forward to doing chores. I have to chuckle at the news site's weather which says it's raining here. Oh, really?

Last night Gru, the wild turkey, actually made a wise choice and decided to sleep with the chickens instead of his normal roost in a tree. He hates it when I see him inside the coop though. Silly bird.

I need to dislodge the cat from my lap now and poke the fire. Not burning properly.