Saturday, March 21, 2009

The sun is back!!

It really does not take a whole lot to make me happy, this morning the dogs have kept me laughing. What a couple of clowns, they are resting up for more mischief.

I wish Blogger would leave my pictures where I put them!! You are supposed to be able to drag the pictures and place them where you want. Not working this morning, shucks! Any hooo, while looking out the window I noticed more good news, the sun is moving. Well, actually we are moving, during the winter as I look out the sun raises more to the right. Now, as you can sort of see (not a good idea to take picture directly into sun) the sun is raising right in the middle. As the summer progresses it will come up to the left through our big Maple tress. That is one of my favorite views.

Another good thing, the trees are covered with buds, can you see all the bumps on the limbs? Soon these will be leaves and I will be even happier as it will mean we are finally thawed out.

I think I need to stop watching the news, I sit here hollering at the TV!! This AIG thing is just so awful, yes I know they are not the only ones and this is a symptom of how badly our businesses are being run. When you hear that these guys are making millions of dollars a year and doing an awful job, it is pitiful. On GMA they were interviewing an author (sorry, missed his name) and he made the comment that the bonuses were needed to keep the best and brightest I nearly went through the TV at him! The best and brightest, give me a break!! They ran the company into the ground and they are the best and brightest??? I am sure there are highly qualified people who would be happy to work for a reasonable salary and receive performance bonuses for a job well done. If nothing else maybe all this will bring sanity back to the work place. I do not know about you, but I never received a bonus just for showing up, mine have always been based on my job performance and to me that is how it should be.

There were good things in the news, one gentleman in Harlam has started a new program to educate Moms before their children are born. I went back to try and find his name and could not find it. He grew up in Harlam with a single Mom, she inspired him to get his education and he went on to receive a Masters. He came back to Harlam and has been trying to help the children break out of the rut of poverty and crime. He was having very little succes and could not understand why, until he read a report that stated that by the time children in better neighborhoods were 3? they had heard over 3 million words most of which were encouraging. The children of poverty had only heard 1 million and they were quite often harsh and discouraging. His program is teaching before the children are born, reading to the children planning for positive interaction after the child is born. The things that most of us have done without thinking and now it is showing good results, how super. I hope I got the numbers right, but if not at least you have an idea.

Another great thing came from the Minneapolis/St.Paul area. The local plumbers are having a volunteer day to help out Seniors with any plumbing problems they may be having. This is a tradition for the last two decades, what makes it even better is that many of these volunteers are out of work. I am seeing more reports of people out of work volunteering and I think this is so wonderful.

Kate Snow on GMA gave a report of an inexpensive vacation in Costa Rica, she did volunteer work while she was there. She lived in a cabin for $39.00 per night and only paid a couple of dollars for food, in return she helped paint houses. GMA is doing a series of inexpensive vacations, air fares are very low if you are going out of the country.

Mrs. Obama was on the news working with school children to plant a vegetable garden at the White house. Way to go!! showing things like this may help inspire people to grow more of their own food. One thing I think they are missing is letting people know they do not have to have a big yard in order to grow vegetables. I grew a huge cherry tomato plant in a pot last year, and also some heretige tomatoes in other pots. I have just planted some lettace seeds in one of the long window boxes. I have it on a sunny window in the dining room. I picked up a package of mixed lettace seeds, you only want to plant a few if you put the whole package in you will have a ton of plants! The plan is to plant a few, maybe 15 or so, try to space them out. You will be surprised to discover that most of them will come up, if you have any bare spots go back and put some more seeds in. Once the plants start to mature you pick off the outside leaves to use for your salads, the plant will continue to grow more leaves. You can grow cucumbers or squash in pots also, check out container growing on the web. With grow lights you could have fresh salad and tomatoes year round. You can also grow and dry your own herbs, so if you live in apartments or condos or just have a small yard, don't dispair you too can have fresh vegs.

Ok, enough for today.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It is Spring, Well sort of

The Robins arrived and are flying around and singing, so that is good.

The goats are frolicking.

The Geese are heading somewhere, North I guess.
We had several days of tempretures in the 50's, now they have dropped and it is raining and windy. Up where Jim is they are having almost a blizzard. Crazy weather.
Happy Spring all!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Did someone mention Spring?

My friend Shelley in Wisconsin sent a message that she had seen a Robin! I went to look and this is what I saw, not fair. In all fairness the days are getting longer and somewhat warmer. We have gotten up into the 40's and there are days I can skip a layer or two. In looking at the trees and lilac bushes I can see buds on them. I just want it all now!!

Last Monday I went to my first meeting of the local garden club. A nice group of ladies, all very welcoming which is nice. I am looking forward to more meetings and helping to pretty up the town. There are also classes to go to and much information to share. Most of my past gardening experience is in Florida and the vast majority of that was flowers. Attempts at growing vegetables in Florida was not a good experience, so many pests and diseases and then the heat. Being able to put in a garden last year and have things grow was a super experience. This morning I opened another jar of my strawberry jam and last Sunday used my tomato sauce on the pizza I made for Jim. I know that many people take all this type of thing for granted, for me it is mostly new. My Grandfather always grew vegetables and when I lived with them I always had fresh salads and vegetables. We seldom had meat, only at the holidays. Grampa was very much into fresh, natural and against use of pesticides, he baked bread and did so many things for us. He was a wonderful role model, one that I appreciate so much more the older I get.

We have finally found a tractor, this will be so super as it has a scoop on the front. I can use it to dig and move things and then next winter clear the drive by myself and not have to depend on the kindness of my neighbors. I will be able to return the favor to them I hope. I am planning to use it to clear out much of the downed wood, if I can pull it out of the woods Jim will be able to cut it up. We purchased a partially made log splitter, the guy was making it and then found a newer one and never finished this. So, for $35.00 we have the basics of it and Jim will be able to finish it off. Our neighbor Mel brought over the phone number for a man selling a tractor and Jim went to check it out. He made a deal with the man, we are going to be able to make payments on it, which helps a bunch. I saw Mel and his wife Terri up at the store and he was teasing me about being able to drive a tractor. I figure if I can learn the pickup and other stuff, with practice I will be able to drive the tractor also. I will let you know how it goes.

Well, that is about all that is new and exciting here for now. I need to finish some apple butter I am making, I needed to use up the last of the apples. Really super that they lasted this long, very little waste. I made myself some vegetable beef soup yesterday, so know what I am having for lunch. The more i put my mind to it, the more I am able to make from scratch and save more. Looking in the stores and seeing a small can of soup costing over a dollar, makes ya think. For little more then a dollar I made a large pot of soup which will last me for days, I could even freeze some if I wanted. All this makes the thought of being able to grow so much of what we will need for next year so much more exciting. I feel we have gotten so lazy, well maybe it is not all lazy, just not having the knowledge. Last year being able to can something was a huge mystery to me, thanks to my friend Ellen giving me the confidence I gave it a try. Now I am hooked!! I showed her a pressure canner I had purchased several years ago at a thrift shop. I was not sure if it was any good, she assured me it should be fine. So now I will be able to expand my skills and can so much more.
I really need to stop abusing these poor animals!

Best to you my friends.