Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Just a short post this morning to say I'm having the same blinkety-blank problem with my computer as when it was "fixed" (ha!) ten days ago, so if I drop out of sight soon, don't worry about me as I will be fine -- my computer may not be.

In the meantime, I'll keep on keeping on as we've all recently said we must!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Spare Time

Our days are busy and full around here.  Although Papa Pea and I are both home most of the time, we actually don't see a lot of each other during the day as we've both got our own separate responsibilities and chores on which to focus.

We have breakfast together to start the day, touch base at lunch time, and then again at dinner.  After that last meal, we're both off in different directions to tie up the ends of whatever we've been working on that day.

If all goes well, we end our day in the living room catching up on what's been happening and discussing the plan for the next day.  I'm settled on the couch with either some kind of handwork or a book (usually a novel), and you'll find Papa Pea most often going through old files of his, reading, tossing, or updating (doing this was a big goal for this past winter, but it seems to have seeped over into this summer, too) or reading.  He's a voracious reader in his quest to gather knowledge, learn and satisfy his innate curiosity.

It takes about fifteen minutes (sometimes considerably less) for one of us to start yawning (which, as you know, is highly contagious).  In my case, these huge, uncontrollable yawns cause my eyes to go blurry, then tears start running down my face with each succeeding jaw-cracking yawn.  (It's so bad I actually have to keep kleenex in my robe pocket for mopping up.)

Nine times out of ten, I'm the first one to say I cannot keep my eyes open one more minute, I say good night and shuffle on back to the bedroom.

I tell ya, it's an exciting life we lead around here.  And goes to prove that at least for us, once we stop moving, it's all over. ZZZZ-zzzz-zzz . . .

However, all that being said, I do have proof that a few minutes spent each night sometimes produces results.

This is a soft, soft, oh-so-soft knitted baby blanket I recently finished.  The yarn is machine washable (a must, I think, for a baby blanket that will be used).  It's that chenille-type yarn that's on the market now.  I knit it in a simple basket weave pattern and it turned out a bit larger than I had envisioned.  (But that's what happens when you don't have a pattern and wing it.)  It's more of a crib-size blanket, I think, measuring about 32" wide and 40" long.

So often when I give a baby quilt or blanket to a newborn, there's a two or three-year old sibling that I like to have something for so he/she doesn't feel left out.  I found a pattern for these little knit "kittens" that were fun to make.  Only about 7" tall, soft and easy for little hands to grasp.  I fiddled around with different embroidered yarn faces for them but couldn't come up with one I liked so decided they would be "Amish kittens" with blank faces!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Aging? Who's Aging?

Truth be told, like it or lump it, we all are.

Susan, at e-i-e-i-omg!, using her usual great sense of humor, wrote about the old age bugaboo in a recent post.  She hit the button right on the head and has inadvertently encouraged me to put forth my current feelings on the subject.

In our living room, we have a good-sized mirror over the couch.  The placement of this mirror was not intended for vanity purposes but rather in an effort to fool ourselves into thinking our tiny living room is bigger than it actually is. 

Nonetheless, every time I pass through this area, which is several times a day, I involuntarily find myself glancing in the mirror.  Bad idea.

"Arrrgh," I groan inwardly (and occasionally outwardly) each time my eyes are drawn to my passing image.  Unlike most women who find themselves looking more and more like their mother, I see my father's face looking back at me.  Even though my father was a good-looking man, the first person who says I'm beginning to look just like him may get decked.

Age . . . what is age?  I can easily remember many years ago sitting on my grandmother's lap and asking her how old she was. 

"I'm 56," she replied.  Good gosh, that seemed old.  EL-derly.  Ancient.

Personally, I was never bothered stating my chronological age . . . until I hit the big 7-0.  Now that just sounded old.  Still, I've been fortunate to be in super-duper physical shape and to not feel "old" as I hear many folks professing at the time they hit that milestone.

My mental age blissfully remains somewhere in my late 30s.  I only wish the appearance of my physical body would retain that message.

In the past year (I turned 70 plus 4 this past spring), I've noticed big changes in this temple of a body of mine.

My skin texture is changing.  (I've yet to delve into those ads for eradicating crepey-looking skin, but still.)  I'm beginning to fear this unsightly pooch of tummy fat is going to stick with me forever.  Are the knuckles on my hands growing bigger every day or is it just my imagination?  The aches I experience during the first two weeks of garden work every year have now expanded to two months . . . and counting.  Up until this past year, when I stood with my legs together, the tops of my thighs didn't touch each other.  Not anymore.  From where did that ugly flab come?

Maya Angelou once said (and I'm sure I'm paraphrasing here), "My breasts seem to be in a race to see which one can reach my waistline first.  So far the left one is winning."

I must remember that with aging comes wisdom.  So as my physical body slides into slothdom, it surely means my brain cells are becoming sharp as ticks.

I mean tucks.

No, tacks.  Tacks!  Yes, that's the word I meant to say.

Friday, June 23, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

In my case, very slowly.  Our cool, wet June weather without much warmth or sunshine is keeping everything in the garden from taking off as I wish it would.

I hilled our potatoes for the first time yesterday, June 22nd.  Last year I hilled them for the second and last time on June 25th.  In the picture above, the row on the right is done, the one in the middle is half done, and the row on the left hasn't been worked on at all.

This is the third year of our asparagus which means we could harvest spears for a one month period which ended a week ago yesterday.  So now we're letting the spears go to ferns to feed the roots for next year.  We didn't have enough asparagus to freeze this year as we ate it nearly every day and shared some with others.  It was delish and enjoyed to the utmost.

You'd think our weather would be conducive to peas growing well, but it seems to me that neither the sugar snap peas (above on trellis) are as far along as they should be, nor are the shell peas (below).

These guys germinated really well, grew about five or six inches high . . . and are on hold at that point.

My Brussels sprouts are doing well.  Looking healthy, but not very tall yet.

The yellow and green beans are complaining it's been a little on the cool side for their liking.  Although they did germinate, they're not looking very healthy or vibrant right now.

Everyone warns to be careful where you plant mint as it will spread and take over your acreage.  I'd like it to just take over this bed.  But that's not happening with any speed.  It came up kinda spotty this year and you can see the far end of the bed had nothing in it until I put in two new plants.  Come on you little mint plants.  Purchasing a year's worth of peppermint for Papa Pea's daily morning mug of tea is expensive!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sawdust in My Shoes

We're into serious "putting up wood" mode around here these days.

Papa Pea put in many, many hours with his chainsaw cutting the remaining stack of 16' long lengths of hard maple wood into these chunks ready for splitting.  All the wood was solid and heavy with a capital "H."  What a job!

Our yearly goal is to have our heating wood cut, split and stacked in the shed by the end of April.  That may be slightly unrealistic as our wood working area is at the foot of a portion of our land that rises at a pretty good angle behind us and therefore remains damp (if not downright wet) sometimes well into spring. 

At any rate, we're late in getting the job done this year, but if we push along now and get the wood split and under cover, it will still be dried and in good shape for this coming heating season.

We won't know for certain until we work through all of this huge pile, but we're fairly confident it will amount to a lot more than we'll have to burn this coming winter.  And it's always a good feeling to be ahead of the game when it comes to wood put by.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

While I Was MIA . . .

Here's to share a couple of things that have been happening around our little homestead while I was unable to post.

On June 10th we had a swarm from one of our honey bee hives.  Swarms don't occur every year and this one was unusual in that it happened early in the season.  Papa Pea happened to be out in the yard when he saw the huge cluster of bees in the air in front of the hive right before they took off.

Lucky us, they landed in a small apple tree in the poultry yard where the attempted (and successful) capture could easily be engineered.

If you look closely, you can see the clump of bees in the tree above the stand set up to hold the hive box. 

Papa Pea getting ready to get the bees to drop into the readied box.

A good hard downward shake . . .

. . . and the clump dropped with most of the bees landing on the box.

Good job, Mr. Beekeeper!

So far, the bees seem very happy in their new home and are doing well.

The garden bed of mixed salad greens is coming on fast and strong.  (Radishes, too.)  This is a picture of the very first harvest.  They're oh-so-tasty and we're into our summer routine of a big salad nearly every day now.

On June 15th, another one of our Muscovy female ducks (who made her nest in a nest box in the chicken house) hatched out 10 little ducklings . . . and two chicks.

Here the ducklings are only a day old.

The chicks entered the world earlier than the ducklings (shorter incubation period) and were either kicked out of the nest by Mama Duck or jumped out.  These two have decided another broody hen (chicken) in the house is their mother and have been happily scampering around in the chicken house often seen snuggled on top of the expectant chicken mother who is still sitting on her clutch of eggs.  The hen seems to have adopted them even though she continues to wait for her own brood to hatch.

This newest duck family has been moved to their own little hut where they'll stay until the ducklings are a bit bigger and ready to be introduced to the great out-of-doors with their mother to guide them into the ways of the poultry yard.

Our June weather has still been very cool and wet.  Seems we get rained on at least twice a day even though we've not had any great accumulation.  

The no-see'ums are simply awful this year.  We have to suit up in our bug shirts each night when we go out to close up.  Even so, a couple of nights ago, I got 5 bites on my head and face.  I can only assume they somehow made their way up under my shirt to torment me.  Seems unlikely but it happened and I was not happy.  Oh well, could be worse.  We do have periods during the day when the vicious creatures seem to be napping (or planning their strategy for another attack), and it's possible to work outside without a full set of armor on for protection.  One of these days, their cycle will be over and we'll be free of them.  (Can I count on that?)

More catch-up to come in the next post.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Things I Learned While My Computer Was Hospitalized

~  I have been using the computer to procrastinate.  My daily list of Things To Do is long and (often seems) endless.  In the past, I've found that when I look at said list, and perhaps even after managing to cross one item off, the rest of the list looks so daunting that I don't have the oompf or enthusiasm or impetus to start another project.  So, in a moment (several times a day) of out-and-out avoidance, I tritz on back to my computer here in the bedroom "just to check" my e-mail or read someone's new blog post or look something up before starting another task of the day.  (Yeah, right.)

~  And as far as "looking something up" on the computer, during the past ten days when I've been computerless, I've been amazed at how often I do use the computer to check on a gardening question, find a recipe, look up info on a particular author, etc., etc.  Not at all a bad tool to have at one's fingertips.

~  These past mornings when I've not had my computer available, I have no desire for my morning latte. Nope, don't miss it and don't desire it at all.  Also, it's become quite evident that trying to "wake up" first thing in the morning in front of the computer with a cup of caffeine is not good for my system.  It keeps me in a state of semi-consciousness and encourages lethargy.  I'm much better off and have a better start to my day if I get up, move (!) and begin my day in a more active way.

~  I've missed documenting (keeping track of) our everyday activities, happenings, and events because of not being able to blog. 

~  Because I couldn't download them into my computer, I've not taken pictures I now wish I had taken.  (Not sure that makes much sense, but it is what it is.)

~  I have missed the encouraging and supportive connection to other like-minded folks out there in the world.  There aren't a lot of people living our type life or doing what we're doing in our area.

~  I have missed the convenience and simplicity of placing orders on the Internet.  I currently have a list here on my desk of "Things I Need to Order When I Have My Computer Back."

~  Perhaps most of all, I've found I really, really, really miss communicating with and reading blog postings of all you dear people who have become friends because of having a computer.


Monday, June 12, 2017


My computer has died a slow, painful death over the last several days.  At times I could get it to work for perhaps a 5 minute stint before it flopped onto its back with feet sticking straight up in the air with all functions frozen, and I had to do a "hard" shut down which my daughter said was not a good thing.

At the present time it is in computer hospital and, with luck, will return home (hopefully) in not too long a period and be back in working order.  (And please, please without too much of a repair bill, if that's at all possible.)

In the meantime, I am thinking of all of you but am unable to make new posts (daughter has me hooked up to a "foreign" machine to type this update), read your posts, comment on them or receive or answer any e-mails.

I'm having to sheepishly admit being unable to use my computer on a regular basis had caused me to wonder if it is a bad . . . or good thing.  For someone who thinks they don't spend much time on the computer, I've been made aware that I spend many short periods during a day's time with my fingers on the keyboard and eyes on the screen.

So have no fear I've passed out in the garden and the cucumber vines have nearly covered my prone form.  My absence is just one of those computer "problems" that we all experience from time to time. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Asparagus: Does Size Matter?

A blogging buddy recently commented that some homegrown asparagus she's seen doesn't look much like the slender, uniform sized bundles for sale in stores.  So, does asparagus grow in different sizes both in girth and length?

Yep, sure does.

The different sizes of spears may be hard to distinguish in this shot of one of the asparagus rows in my garden, but some spears are thin and slender, others are fat and thick. 

This is a thick spear before harvesting.

Here are a few spears of the batch of asparagus I just harvested.   There was a great variety of sizes and shapes, both in width and length.  (The longest one shown here measured 19" long.)

These three were the fattest or thickest.

Of the spears I've harvested this year, all of them (no matter size or shape) have been tender and delicious.

Before using a spear, I start at the cut end and press a sharp knife lightly into the spear as if to cut off a piece.  An inch or two (sometimes more) nearest the cut end will feel woody and tough.  I progress with my knife testing up the spear until I reach a spot where the knife blade easily starts to cut into the spear and that's the point from which I start taking the cut pieces to use.

So, no, when it comes to the thickness of the spears that may grow in your garden, size does not matter.

Having said all this, I have no idea where those uniformly sized bundles of asparagus for sale in stores come from.  Well, okay, they come from large, commercial asparagus patches.  But what happens to the bigger or smaller stalks, the misshapen ones?  Commercially prepared Cream of Asparagus soup, anyone?