Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

Hubby and I had a busy but relaxing weekend. I tried to kill two birds with one stone this weekend. I felt like we BOTH could use a weekend away from the routine by OURSELVES, and the I knew the cabin needed attending to around the outside at least.

Hubby finishes up at the high school on Thursday, so basically he has been running to both jobs each day. He won't ever admit it, but I know he is tired. Baccalaureate is tonight and graduation on Thursday, so I think he will be out of there on Friday morning and only at his new job.

I worked on his new office a bit last week.

I on the other hand have been stretched mentally a bit with Mama. I really thought she would have bounced back by now, and to anyone who sees her they think she is just hunky dory... but friends she is not. She complains a ton! I love her, but she has got me worn out too. We go and get a colonoscopy at the end of June. That is the last think I can think of to take her to test. She says she never feels well. There is more..

Hubby and I got up Saturday morning and drove to the lake with a stop in Montgomery for lunch and a quick trip in J Jill. I bought a cute pair of white pants and a summery top.

Then off to the cabin where he fired up the weed eater, and I started washing all the linens. I try to give the cabin a real deep clean once a year around this time. It is amazingly tight in there so means it never gets too dusty. I cleaned floors, and he made sure he got it cut so I won't see any rattlesnakes. We have some friends staying next weekend, and I want to go midJune for some time away.

We headed into Auburn for supper with our really good friends. This time we ate at Live Oaks. It was good, but not close to the meal we had at Acre last visit.
 These friends used to live in FWB and Hubby went to junior high with the other Jeff. In fact, my Jeff has two best friends who are Jeffs and they all went to Auburn. Our gang of friends all called them by their last name. It was really hard for my to call Hubby by the name of Jeff when we stared dating. I still use his last name when we are around any of the Jeffs. I digress...the friends had to move to Tullahoma a few years ago. Their kids still think of FWB as home and never want to go to Tullahoma. The boys all went to Auburn, so they bought a second home in Auburn thinking they would see their kids more.

We had a nice time with them as always. Sunday morning we finished up a few chores and ate breakfast in Opelika while making a Home Depot run.

On the way home, we drove back by the farm via all the back roads. It took a while, but we had time on our hands. We got our first tomatoes and a few other veggies. I had pulled up zucchini earlier in the week, so that would be manageable. We shared with friends too.

On Monday, Hubby got up early and took Lemony to fish with him. He did not take Lucy who is not as calm on the fishing trips, so that meant she was standing on me mourning the fact quite early.
So much for the idea of sleeping in!

Lucy knew they were coming in. I think she either was jumping on me or looking out the window the whole time!

We headed to Mama's to put up some pegboard in her garage. Her HOA has had to hire a new company to do the yards at her place. Oh MYLANTA!!!!! There are quite a few old ladies in there and they do nothing but complain...fits in with Mother. She has complained about her yard which BTW looks great. Hubby had to go back to Lowe's for some different screws, and I thought any relaxation I had found over the weekend had taken legs and sprinted out the door while he was gone.

Bottom line...I have got to find a way to let the complaining not bother me!

I made homemade ice cream last night. I used to do it all the time on Memorial Day, so I thought it was time to bring back the tradition. It was so good. I said I wouldn't just eat any old dessert...only the good homemade ones. Y'all it was so good.
I will share the recipe tomorrow.

Homemade fudge topping too!

As for today, I have quite a few chores to do and other various things so I will busy the rest of the day.

I do hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend.

Praying for Mama because God is good!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Zucchini Anyone?

I am covered up in zucchini. I have learned after planting that it grows prolifically. Here is an great article on how and why it grows so prolifically!!!! You don't have to read it, but it was quite hilarious in light of what is going on in our garden and now my kitchen counter. This is just one part of the article.

Just One Plant Will Do

When adding zucchini to your garden, just one plant should do it. And in fact, if planted properly and well-cared for, one plant may even produce more than you can handle on your own.

Trust me when I tell you we have way more than one plant!!! In fact, one row of zucchini plants were thought to be yellow squash. that means we have twice as much zucchini planted than we planned and less yellow squash.
I have put up quite a bit. I researched how to put it up. I found that you can freeze it. Yep, I have put up all I think I will want this winter.

You boil it for 3 minutes, then put it in ice water for 3 minutes, then bag and freeze. The USDA says in a regular refrigerator freezer you can keep it for 6 months. In a deep freeze which gets colder you can store it for up to a year.
This brings me back to one of my most favorite memories of a children's book.
I discovered this book one year, and it became my all time favorite children's book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
I used it with my students for years with my class.
The book is Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles. The story is a great southern story of a child and her grandmother growing up in Mississippi. There are many things I could say about it, but that would be another post. 
The way it relates to this post is the mother of the main character was a county extension agent  (my dream job in an earlier day) in the book and interwoven as a side story were her columns for the newspaper. All of them had to do with zucchini. Obviously Deborah Wiles had some experience with the prolific growth of zucchini.
I have already tired of eating it as well. We have had it tons of ways. Tonight was Mexican zucchini boats from Pinterest. It was just fair. My favorite way to cook them is simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic salt and pepper.
Just ok, so no recipe to share.

I would love to share my zucchini with all my blog friends, but for now I am trying to unload my counter. I am not wanting to go back to the garden to see how many more are there.
I have also harvested broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce in much more manageable amounts. The tomato plants are loaded. That I can handle. Besides the wonderful salsa, I will can them and use them this winter.
In other garden news, my roses I planted in pots downstairs are lovely.
Chrysler Imperial on the left and Oklahoma on the right.

I have already cut some for the house. I hope they continue to grow well. 

I guess if the apocalypse happens, I can count of zucchini.

Kind of sick of zucchini though,

Monday, May 16, 2016

May Days

I have enjoyed the days of May so much that I have written very little here. Time is ticking off very quickly. I think that much like I did this past October, I have found a month that I am absolutely discovering that I love so much. The first year of retirement was such a blur for so many reasons, but this second year I am soaking it up differently. I loved this past October and couldn't' get enough of the weather.

May is like that now. I have spent a ton of time outdoors. I have washed windows, though I still have some of those to do. I have worked in the yard and made a honey do list of repairs.  When teaching May was always so busy that you just couldn't wait for it to be over so you could get to summer. I have wished away far too many MAY DAYS.

I used the paddle board for the first time this spring. The temperatures have just been amazingly pleasant, still cool in the mornings. I have gone for long walks in the mornings.

That is where I have been. I have been very busy, but just didn't take the time to write it down. I will try and remedy that this week.

Random picture, but this is what I have also been doing with my time.

In other news, Hubby has taken on a big change in the job department. One that suits me oh so much.

He has been the principal of a large high school. I really almost cried when they started talking to him about that job a few years ago. He had worked at a high school for many years when our kids were still in school, so trust me when I say it is a very demanding job. He had made his way down to a middle school principal, which he said was a "Goldilocks" job. Just right!!!!

It wasn't only me that almost cried, but really the kids too. There is just so much these days. So many night time activities. It will suck the life right out of you and definitely zap your health.

While I am complaining, I will just go ahead and tell you that one look around at the news these days is good picture of how crazy a high school can be. Think of the nuttiest people you see on TV and then have to deal with them as parents who thing their children do no wrong...I hope you can get a picture.

I mean it when I tell you the stress of dealing with crazy parents is unbelievable these days. They ruin it for everyone...

I am not talking about parents who really need to advocate for their child. I talking about the nut cases out there.

Anyway, I am so happy that he is leaving the high school to take on a different role for the school district. The high school that he is leaving is a great school, so I am not downplaying that. It is just that the whole world is a bit nuttier than I remember it as a child.

Hubby is excited about his new role and that is good. He says he thinks he can do more good from the position. They will miss him immensely at the school, because he is an amazing principle. I am not just saying this because I am his wife either. I hear it all the time. 

The new job will be director of curriculum for elementary schools. He like me has done all levels, so this is not a new thing for him. It was a good time for him to leave as he has had two assistants just take on two elementary schools as principals. He will still be there boss! They are both excited about it...I promise.

The family minus the son-in-love. They always take pictures at the school board meetings with the superintendent. 

With that change, he is also going to see my new doctor on Thursday morning. My goal is to get him started on his detox the day after graduation. Yippie! He finally agreed to it. We are both going to be healthy.

I will try not to be absent this week.

Enjoying May,

*I had two pictures to go with this, but for some reason blogger is not letting me in to post them. I will try later.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Books and Blooms

My choice of reading this last month has been nonfiction for the most part. I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to reading. I definitely go for a blend of fiction and nonfiction. I haven't read nearly as much as I would like since retiring. Honestly, my brain was a bit frazzled dealing with my mother before the move and then definitely since moving her here. I find it harder to read if I am stressed. 

I started last month trying to settle down to reading something a little more regularity. I have read since retirement, but it was a sit down and read a book obsessively or nothing at all for months.

Here is what I have read this past month...

I read Susan Branch's Martha's Vineyard - Isle of Dreams. This is the second of her life story, but the last written. I had previously read the first book of her life, The Fairy Tale Girl. I love the format and the photos; the journal approach to these books. The format is so me. In the The Fairy Tale Girl, I was captivated by her story, but thought she had lingered in a not so good relationship for so long. I struggled with that thinking she wasted so many good years, but in the Isle of Dreams, she begins to put life back together. I really enjoyed it. I now will read the book she wrote first that is really number three in her life story. Did you understand all that? That book is A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside. I think it is worth reading if you like a journal life story of someone. Susan Branch is famous for her adorable illustrated recipe books.

From Martha's Vineyard - Isle of Dreams

Next up were two books that match my quirky personality... I am one that loves to read how to books. I can truly know all the stuff in them, but I am fascinated by other people's stories of how they look at daily life and do things. Maybe that is why I love blogs. The first was Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott. I found this book while checking out a Youtube video I think I shared a couple of weeks ago. I loved it. I don't recommend going out to purchase it if you aren't that weird person like me, but it was an interesting read for "how-to" lovers like me. I liked it so much, I read the next one by her called At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life. Some takeaways from my how-to books were: enjoy the quiet mundaneness of life, enjoy and use the good things you have (don't put off using them), routines are important (I am still working on that), and rethinking how much I spent on clothes.

Yes, I have been on a roll reading this past month and thus far into May. I am currently reading Brian Kilmeade's Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates. I am really liking this book, but you have to be a history buff to enjoy his books. He takes lesser known stories in history and brings them to life. I had read his other book last year called George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution. Both start out slow, because the background information has to be built. Read only if you love history.

I do have two very large stacks of books to read with some good beach reads in there or at least I hope they are. 

Now, that I have completely bored anyone with my reading list and you have seen how nerdy I am...I will share the latest happenings in the yard flowers.

Two of my favorite things to grow at home are roses and geraniums. I am essentially obsessed with both, one of which is so hard to grow at my present home. I have read, studied, and yes, read many how to books. Roses are my favorite flower, but yet they drive me insane. At our previous house, I had 13 hybrid teas and 1 grandiflora and had cut roses in spring and fall. Not so in my present home which BTW is just around the corner from my previous house.

Now back to books.... Books and Blooms remember...

One of favorite children's books is Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary. In this book, Otis is searching for bugs and climbs a trellis of roses... here is excerpt...

Yes, roses have names and that makes them all the more wonderful to grow! I don't have a President Hoover, but I do have "Oklahoma, Chrysler Imperial, Peace, and Queen Elizabeth...you get the picture. Obsession!

Some of them have done well this year while others are struggling which is driving me insane. I was out there yesterday morning with my Epsom Salts.

I have added two in pots in the back. I had two really tall pots that I pulled up out of the ground in the front. Hubby liked them and said thought they looked artistic. Well, he didn't say that, but that is how his mind works. I just plain hated them and just dug it up one day while he was at work and redid that front flower bed. It suits me better and since I am the one who tends it all, I think I should like it.

Back to the roses... I am hoping that I can grow these two in pots. An experiment it will be. If I don't have some success by next fall with them, I may just give up and move on. Maybe one day I can grow roses at the farm. There is one up there that is amazing which leads me to the conclusion that I can try and add fertilizer, Epsom Salts, manure and anything else and they are just not growing in this yard. 

This puny sight led me to Epsom Salts. Buds, but puny. They actually looked a little perkier this morning. 

When I removed the pots from the ground in the front, I replaced that area with some carpet roses. So far, I am LOVING these. They have lots and lots of blooms daily and grow low to the ground. I added one more daylily to the mix. It hasn't bloomed yet, but it is looking healthier by the day. I kind of rescued it from a pot that it didn't like.
I found an ad for the carpet roses in a magazine and found the ones at Lowe's.

This is from last week. They are filling in that corner well and have lots of fresh buds each day.

I also had to repot my geraniums on the top back deck. They were just pure puny. I think they had just been in the same dirt for too long. They are popping back to life thankfully. I was beginning to think I had lost it.

A view of my lover deck with the geraniums that are doing well. In fact all of them are doing great except the ones right outside my kitchen window.

I am slightly concerned that the geraniums I have grown upstairs right outside my kitchen window are not getting the same amount of sun that they used to get. The pine tree next door is getting bigger each year and may be blocking them. I may have to change up what I grow in that spot.

And last but not least to this very long post, is my caladium bulbs are sticking their little heads up to in the side yard. I am so excited about them. That side is all green in the summer. All of the things in there bloom in the early spring and are just green by summer, so the caladiums will hopefully give a bit of color there over the hot months.

That my friends is what is happening around here except for running around with Mother to doctor appointments. She seems to be having some back issues which I really think are leg issues where she broke the hip area three years ago. She got a shot about a year and half ago and it helped tremendously and was told she might need another one again, but being the stubborn one that she is we haven't made an appointment there yet. She is going to wait until she can't move, and then we will do that. ARGHHH.

Here's to good books and plentiful blooms,

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Cross-stitch Cottage

I have been a bit busy and almost forgot that I hadn't shared the cottage for May.
I  think it turned out to be one of my favorites thus far.

When I first looked at the photo on the pattern, I thought this might be one I would have to change the colors for. The picture looked blue instead of seafoam green/ aqua.

However, when I pulled out the colors for it, they were definitely not blue, but an aqua which I liked. Very different from the previous cottages. 

Definitely a good color choice for May.

My next statement is going to sound very school "teacherish".  I have three cottages left to cross-stitch. They are.........June, July, and August. 

I actually don't think teachers even use that phrase anymore as school times are so varied these days. My district has been in a back and forth for starting times for years now. We started late this year and don't get out to mid June. This coming year they are going back to early August for a start time.

Anyway, it doesn't matter to me----yippie.

I have really enjoyed these cottages. I have a list of things lined up to stitch after them, so this fall I guess I will have them all done and be on to other things.

Stitching up summer,