Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's Offically Summer

   It must be summer because look who's back up on his bike in our flower box!  Uncle Sam's making his annual appearance a little faded (good gosh, he must be at least 20 years old...and that's old for a whirl-a-jig!) and held together with electrical tape (it matches the black plastic sticks) but those wheels still go round!  He welcomed a lot of family and friends to camp during that time and enjoyed a lot of good times.  He's been guarding the garden boxes the last few years since we sold camp.  Wonder if he knows the difference?  I've still got to get my old geranium outside but it's on the other side of the parlor, behind the rest of the 'garden waiting to be transplanted' and I can't get to it until Jeff gets those plants outside.   Soon.

    The bean tower is planted with tomatoes and peppers...and 2 whirl-a-jigs...and the 2 side boxes are planted with corn and I can't wait until it starts peaking thru those holes in the landscape fabric!

   Here's one of the hanging baskets with  Million Bells that the hummingbirds like so well.  And the other one that's hanging in the backdoor of the greenhouse with regular petunias.

    The lawn is about 90% mowed.  The only part I couldn't do is in front of the greenhouse where Jeff has parts of the old greenhouse stored waiting to be dismantled.  Once he does that, I can get that mowed.  Maybe later this week.  Jeff had an MRI on his back today and for some reason the radio waves cause his
back muscles to spasm.  He could barely walk from the machine back to the dressing room.  Even the technician knew he was in pain! 
   I think I'll spend this afternoon knitting hats.  I'm out of baseball hats in the shop and I'm working on Sunday so I have enough time to make 6 or so.  Gotta stock up for the 4th of July!  Just call me the Mad Hatter!

Monday, June 20, 2016

What a far!

      Jeff started epidural steroid injections again today with a procedure on his right shoulder.  Luckily, Dr. DeSantis now does the procedures at the Herkimer Health Center so we didn't have to travel to the Bassett Health Center in Hartwick Seminary.  But the appointment was for 8am so our house was up and moving by 6am.  Lovely.  Next week, she'll be working on him at a more reasonable time of 9:30am.  We know the procedures work...but the steroids screw up Jeff's blood sugar so we have to be extra careful with his diet for awhile.
   We left Fanny home this morning because we weren't sure how long the procedure would take or how warm it would get in the car.  I emptied all the wastebaskets (didn't leave her anything to investigate) and garbage pail in the kitchen.  I found a dead mouse next to the computer table (mama from the nest in the yarn box who visited several times after being evicted??) and had Jeff get rid
of it.  I guess the house was rather boring to Fanny because when we got home I found an empty bread bag which had held half a loaf of French bread empty on my bed.  I thought the bread was safely out of her reach on the counter in front of the micro but she managed to get it anyway! (That counter top is 38" high and the bread was 6-8" back from the edge!)  I think Fanny was getting even because I did not get her a granola chewstick like I usually do when we leave her alone.
   Yesterday I finished by 3-sweater order and took them up to Judy's so she can ship the order with other things from the shop.  The Black Sheep hoodie was a snap to do...I've done so many, I swear I can do one in my sleep...but the other 2 were more difficult.  The Train hoodie has a fair amount of embroidery to finish it and the Red Bird sweater is worked with a lot of small balls of yarn so when the knitting is done there are many ends to be worked in.  Then the bead eyes have to be sewn on and the embroidery trim to be finished.  All the sweaters had buttons (and the hoodies had zippers) to be sewn on and as I was sewing the last pearl button on the Red Bird sweater, I dropped it. Do you think I could find it? Everything else I dropped landed in the chair between my legs but not that pearl!  I looked on   the floor, moved furniture and my yarn basket.     Jeff was even crawling around, reaching under the   couch to see if he could feel the button!  I wanted   to cry.  I decided to wait till morning and stop at Walmart on my way to Judy's, hoping that they might have the same buttons.  Otherwise I'd just get 8 different buttons and sew them on at Judy's. 
   Sunday morning I was cleaning up the TV room
a little.  I picked up 2 skeins of yarn that had rolled out of the yarn basket and a couple of paper sleeves from other skeins that needed to be thrown away when I found the button on the floor!  I don't know if it had gotten tangled in a skein of yarn or what but I quickly sewed it in place. (And said a thank you prayer to Sts. Anthony and Joseph for answering   my know, 'St Anthony and St Joseph please come around, something is lost and must be found'.  Hey, it works!!)
   After we got home from Bassett this morning     Jeff went back to mixing dirt and wishing for a cement mixer to do it for him and I mowed some lawn.  The hill around the bean tower is done and most of the west side of the house. But I had to coil up the water hose that's over there before I mowed!  There's plenty of tall weeds that still need  to be cut so I did the patch that was under the  parlor window.  Maybe now I can trim the forsythia that's there.  After supper I'll attack another section of weeds.  Maybe.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How Jeff's Gardens Grow

 Jeff's been busy outside.  The greenhouse has the gutter pipes set up on both sides now and most of the holes are full.  He bought some tomato plants at Massaro's and we have TOMATOES!
Now if they just get bigger and ripen.  Jeff says the chance of blight is low with the gutter system so maybe we'll actually pick tomatoes this year.  I'm going to keep my eye on this one.
The peppers are doing well, too, and have started to blossom.  The giant marigolds are attracting bees and pollination has happened.
A couple of small leaks developed in the hoses.
but he's got them all fixed.  Now he just has 
to keep the water barrel full. 
   The blackberries have
started to from fruit.  Jeff thinks the frame of the greenhouse...cattle panels...are keeping the birds out.  They find it intimidating.  Let's hope so.  Now how do we keep the chipmunks out? 
   And Fanny has discovered the unused holes on the gutter pipes and has started visiting the greenhouse for a drink of water.  UCK!

   There are now 8 Rubbermaid-type boxes in the raised boxes in-front of the house that are
planted with potatoes, peppers and a tomato or two.  Here are some potatoes that are ready for hilling.  They got pretty bushy in a week. huh? (see the blog entry for 6/8 for their 1st photo.) The boxes all have drainage holes in their bottoms that lead into the dirt in the raised beds.  The raised beds are weeded and spaded before the Rubbermaid boxes are planted in them.  Jeff used all of the yard of top soil he bought and mixed with peat moss and perlite filling them. This way he can adjust the pH in each box according to what he's planted   in it.  It's also easier to weed because the weeding surface is now waist high!   Jeff's going to 'plant' 
the last 2 Rubbermaid-type boxes and maybe, then some pails. The raised boxes were made from pallets and are not pressure-treated so they have started to rot.  Jeff's planning on rebuilding them...
starting with the corner 3-tiered boxes...this summer.
    Jeff decided this year that instead of replacing the dirt in the bean tower's boxes he'd just change what
he planted in them. So,
this year, he put peppers and tomatoes in 2 of the boxes (and used landscape fabric in an attempt to control weeds).  Jeff' still got 2 boxes left to clean and plant.  We'll just have to wait and see what he decides to put in them.  Hey, where are the beans???
    We went to Utica yesterday.  I needed to get buttons at Walmart (Walmart in Herkimer had almost nothing I could use in their 'winter' display that they put out this week) and Jeff's sister had an odd job for him(assemble and put up her TV antenna).  We came home with my buttons, netty cups that Jeff got at the hydroponics store in Yorkville, some DVD's that Sherry got for Jeff and the pails and netty cups that were in Sherry's garden last year(she doesn't want to do it again).  We also got the Rubbermaid-type box...complete with faucet...was Sherry's water source.  I think that means Jeff will be putting a gutter-style garden beside the raised boxes out front.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Our Week for Doctors

   It seems that this week is our week for doctors.  I had to do a self-INR test on Monday and after a little trouble getting started ended up with a score of 2.7 which I called in.  My nurse at Bassett called me back and told me to keep my Warfarin dose the same and test again next Monday.  Lovely.  I do not like self-testing. 
   Then Jeff had an appointment with the pain specialist that afternoon and she decided to try the radiological surgery and steroid injections again beginning with his shoulder next Monday.  On Tuesday he had an upper GI done at Little Falls Hospital that took all morning. 
   Today Fanny went to the vet and got 3 booster shots (rabies, distemper, and Lyme's disease),ear cytology (her ears checked)with erythromycin ointment for infection in both, a vetalog injection to cut down on her scratching, her nails clipped and weighed (87lbs, down a couple of pounds from last year.)  Fanny's total bill was $195.00 but she's good until next year.  She did not like being at the vet's, hiding under the chairs in the waiting room and

pooping on the exam table.  She didn't mind getting the nails on her back paws clipped but definitely did not like the vet touching her front feet!  She even managed to wiggle out of the

muzzle but Jeff got it back on before she could bite anyone!  And she definitely did not like all the shots!  But we went to McD's before heading home and she got an ice cream cone, so I think that may have made up for the unpleasant experiences.  It was a stressful day for her and right now she's napping on the chair behind me and Jeff's napping on the bed.

oh...Jeff found the lost handset/phone yesterday while playing catch with Fanny in the TV was in a corner under a chair.  Haven't the foggiest idea how it got there but...a night on the charger and it's working again!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

There's a mouse in the yarn closet....

    Jeff's been telling me that there was a mouse in the yarn closet for days now but I kept saying it was just passing thru, besides there was D-con in the attic way and all the yarn was in Rubbermaid-like boxes.  Well, this morning I looked and somehow the tops of 2 of those boxes had come ajar so he pulled them out and we went thru them.  The wool yarn on top of the box was chewed and there was a nest at the bottom!  I screamed as a mouse jumped out and ran back into the closet!!  Then I got a contractor bag, held my breath and dumped the entire box of wool into it.  I did the same with the 2nd box but no nest.  The mama mouse just ran thru the closet again but the shelf is empty.  Sorry, mama, but the nest is gone and you're not welcome to build another.  Maybe some of Jeff's stuff in the parlor can fit

on that long as it's hard and not mouse friendly.
  The 2 empty boxes are going to become potato boxes.  Jeff found a site on U-tube where they grew potatoes in plastic tubs and boxes so he's trying it this year.  So far he's got 4 big plastic boxes sitting in the

raised boxes out front that are planted with
potatoes...and they seem to like it.  The plants have just broken thru the ground but hopefully they will continue to grow and
as they do and Jeff fills the box with dirt (the way to 'hilling potatoes' in boxes) the box will be filled in and covered with potato greens.  You're suppose to see the bulges
that are the potatoes thru the box sides.  Let's hope so!  Anyway, my 2 former yarn boxes will soon have potatoes planted in them.  By staggering the plantings the harvest is prolonged.  We enjoy Jeff's potatoes and went thru last year's harvest rather quickly.  You 
never realize that most of the produce in the stores is 
picked before it's ripe until you grow your own and notice that there is a taste difference.  Jeff's hoping for 10-15 lbs of potatoes from each box.  Now wouldn't that be nice.
   Mama mouse just ran thur again. I wish she'd just leave.  I don't know who feels worse...Jeff and the mouse for dumping the nest or me for dumping the yarn.  Ah, life in the country.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Knitting and Planting

      While Jeff's been busy outside in the greenhouse, I've been knitting.  I finished the first of 3 size 2 sweaters I got in an order from the shop.  It's a Black Sheep Hoodie and just needs the embroidered trim and 3 buttons sewed in the Henley neck.  I'm waiting for the woman to decide what color she wants the accent color to be so, last night I started another Crocus shawl.  This one is in Red Heart's 'with Love'  Iced Aqua and is worked on a US 10 1/2 needle.  'With Love' is a 100 % acrylic yarn that starts out soft and stays that way thru many washes.  The lace edge of the shawl shows up much better when worked on the larger needles.  I'll start the 2nd sweater...a size 2 Train Hoodie...this week.  I've got to get blue (for the sky) and white (for snow) yarn but the train will use up the odds and ends in my yarn basket for the different train cars and trees.  Evergreen trees will be embroidered behind the train but the only other trim for that sweater is the wheels of the train cars...and a couple of white puffs of smoke from the train's stack...all 4-whole flat buttons.

      Jeff moved the gutter pipes to the chipped side of the greenhouse and transferred all the pails he has already planted.  He had a leak in a pipe and had to take the set up apart in order to reseal it.  So far the

seal is holding and he'll set up the pipes again
after he gets more woodchips.  He even fixed a chair so he can sit inside and view his handiwork!  Jeff thinks a small load of chips will finish covering the
greenhouse floor but
they won't go to waste.  I'm sure he'll find someplace that will benefit from a covering of woodchips!  The water tubes run from the water barrel thru PVC pipe under the woodchips and
up to the ends of the gutter pipes.  This way the water tubes are protected and no one will trip over them.  And Jeff transplanted the blackberry plants I got last week.  They came with the flower buds on
and all this rain really helped them open up. 
The rain also kept them ...and all the petunias I had bought... alive coz I had put the flats out front and neither of us remembered they were there, so they didn't get watered!  Tomorrow I've got to get some begonias
for the attract the bees.  It's really looking like a working greenhouse! Stop by sometime when you're in the neighborhood and see for yourself.  Jeff will be happy to explain everything about it!

Monday, June 6, 2016


   I was scheduled to a self-test INR this morning so after breakfast I brought all my stuff...the meter,
lancets and test strips... to the kitchen table so Jeff could watch me screw up the test.  For some reason I have a very difficult time of it.  I've been trained twice...the last time was 2 weeks ago by my nurse at the Clinic...but I never seem to be able to get enough blood in the space on the test strip in time.  This morning I massaged my fingers under hot water then used one of the new disposable lancets to stick my finger.  Time was ticking but still I wasn't getting much blood.  I envisioned another series of failure as it just drippled on to the test strip!  I grabbed my finger and started to squeeze the finger between the knuckle and the next joint up for a couple of seconds and suddenly I found my 'ON' switch! SWISH!  I had blood bubbling down my finger tip and onto the test strip just as time expired.   And this time, when the meter beeped,  it said '3.7' instead of  'ERROR', my usual reading.  I called Alere, the self-testing company, to report my results and then the Clinic in Herkimer to cancel my appointment for this morning(my insurance incase I couldn't get a usable results).  I'll hear from my nurse later in the day when she calls to tell me if I have to adjust my Warfarin dose because the 3.7 is a little high for me...but I did it!.   I guess I just needed an audience to do the test.