Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What You Learn

I was sitting in the car yesterday while Mac was getting our propane tank filled (for the barbeque) and I was bored, but the only thing in the car to read was a manual that came with my new stove.  It was in the car because we'd had to get parts to convert the stove to propane and took the manual with us so we'd have the right model number.  And because we never read these manuals we'd forgotten to take it out of the car. So there it was, my only reading material, so I read it, and I actually learned a couple of things.  For instance, though my stove is propane the ignitor is electric and if you have your oven on and the electricity goes out you need to turn the oven off for if you don't, when the electricity comes back on the ignitor will come on and attempt to light the oven while it's already on.  That'd be nice, an electric spark to add to my gas flame.
Figuring I'd actually learned something I read on and found this little gem of wisdom: Don't use flame to check for gas leak.  Now I've known some gentle souls in my time who weren't the brightest colors in the box, but I'd hate to think you had to tell people not to use flame to check for a gas leak.  Mac says they have to put stuff like that in to cover  themselves in case of lawsuits, people are so litigious here.
When we got home I brought the manuel back in the house, obviously a valuable piece of literature.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Well That Will Teach Me a Lesson

And what lesson is that you ask, well, the lesson is, when plugging in an iron with an extra long cord it might be a good idea to hang onto the iron because the cord is probably tangled up and won't reach as far as you think and so you'll tip the iron over, and because your back is turned you won't see it go.  You'll know nothing until it lands on your toes.  Thank goodness I was wearing shoes so they're bruised but ok.
I don't do a lot of ironing, I think I've mentioned that before, but I'd finished embroidering a dish towel and I wanted to press it before I put it away and started lunch, so obviously too many things on a mind that can only deal with one thought at a time.
I don't know why my iron has about a 9 foot cord or why it feels it has to tangle up, but by golly, the next time I'm silly enough to use it I'll hang onto it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Afternoon


It's Sunday afternoon and we're waiting to see if the thunderstorms they've been predicting will come.
 The weather has been very warm here, well up in the 80's, and the front going through has a cold front behind it so we'll probably get something.  After having weeks of warm weather it's only supposed to be in the lower 60's tomorrow, that ought to be a shock to the system.
I was in the family room looking through the dusty window and the garden was so pretty that I decided to ignore the condition of the window and  take a picture of it anyway.  The wisteria is almost finished, but it looks so pretty hanging over the fence.  The snowball plant is doing really well this year, I've had it for around 5 years and this is only the second year it has bloomed.  Sitting on the table is my heavenly bamboo that has come out of the greenhouse and the big plant just starting to leaf out is my Confederate Rose.  In the tubs are potatoes and onions.  Here's hoping we don't have any late frosts!
The picture at the top of the page is of some of my  white roses, the name of the rose is lost in the dawn of time, but they're  from my climbing rose.
I got trapped outside today, I went out to cut some carnations to put in a vase and when I came back to the door in the garage there was a wasp there.  Once upon a time I would have just brushed it away or swung at it with a fly swatter, but since my allergic reaction to my last sting I'm very leery of wasps and had to wait for Mac to come and dispose of it.  He sprays all the doors, but the wasps keep coming back in search of spiders who hang out there.  I have a feeling it's going to be a long spring and summer.
Well I've  promised Mac some Chicken Cacciatore for lunch so I guess I need to get going.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

St. Augustine

Breakfast on the porch of our Inn
We went down to St. Augustine, Florida this week and it was beautiful, and hot!  It's only about 2 and 1/2 hours south of here and I don't know why we haven't gone before, I'm  pretty sure  it's been more than 25 years since we've been there, but I'm pretty sure a return trip will be made sooner than that this time.
Our Balcony
 We stayed in a B and B on the waterfront named Casablanca Inn.  Our room was lovely and included a balcony overlooking one of the streets in old town where we sat in the evening and Mac played guitar, people probably thought he was part of the local scene.




Our Room














St. Augustine is a small town, only a little over 12,000 people live there (but I think there were at least that many tourists there), and it is the oldest continually inhabited town in America.  It was founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles  in 1565 where he established the Castillo.   The Spanish held Florida till 1763 when the British took it.  Then in 1783 the American government gave it back to the Spanish in repayment for their help in our War of Independence.  In 1821 Florida was given back to the Americans and it became the 27th state in 1845.
Castillo Canons
St. Augustine, and all of Florida in fact, retains its Spanish identity and character so going there is almost like visiting a foreign country.  My sister-in-law visited Miami a couple of years ago and complained that all she heard was Spanish.  And I told her that the only difference between Miami and Cancun , Mexico is that they speak English in Cancun.
Old Town St. Augustine
Well you don't hear that much Spanish in St. Augustine, but the architecture is definitely Spanish and many of the people are of Spanish descent or Cuban.
We ate in a Cuban restaurant called Habana Village Cafe and the meal was excellent.  Mac had Lechon Asado which is pork roasted Cuban style while I had Pollo a la Plancha which is grilled chicken.  Both meals came with black beans and rice and fried yucca.  We also had large salads with house dressing.  It was all so good, particularly the black beans which were cooked in an adobo sauce.  Cuban food is different from Mexican food, spicy, just not hot spicy, and more like Spanish food with a Caribbean twist.  We almost didn't eat there having walked by the front, seen their limited menu and passed on.  Then as we were walking down the street behind it we could smell the food cooking in the kitchen and knew it was the place for us and it did not disappoint!
The next day deciding to give the beach a miss because we go to the beach several times a year we instead headed to the zoo at Jacksonville, as did every school kid in northern Florida.  But once inside everyone spread out and it was lovely.  A warm, not hot, morning and we stayed till noon.  As before our favorite part was the amphibian/reptile house which is also home to the bats.  Mac is in love with the poison arrow frogs, they had red, blue, green and yellow ones.





Japanese Gardens at the Zoo
At noon we had a hot dog and headed home--always happy to go and even happier to come back.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friends

Miss Kitty says she and the John Deere farmer are just friends.  A  connoisseur of laps she says that she  needs a one that sits still, she gets frustrated with me because at least once an hour I feel the urge  to move my legs to keep the circulation going .  So she has  discovered that the farmer on the couch is a rather stedfast fellow and she can sleep on him all night and he never moves a muscle.
Wonder what they talk about.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Meeting Up With the Neighbors


Saw one of our neighbors for the first time this spring,  He was lounging in our other neighbor's yard and slid  into the lagoon when Mac went to take his picture.  I'm not sure where he spends his  winter, buried in the mud at a guess.  We usually don't see him until April, but like everything else he's early this year.  Yesterday was 85 degrees and today will be warmer so everything is active.
Mac has 2 small turtles he hatched from eggs (rescued because the raccoons here eat any turtle eggs they find) and today his pond turtle is moving around for the first time this spring so he's putting some cat food in their terrarium, the box turtle has already been moving around and eating.
One of our least favorite visitors, the evil mole, has been digging tunnels and tearing up my backyard.  I suspect he's going to meet an unhappy end.


Friday, March 18, 2011

So Pretty and So Bad For Me

My garden is beautiful, everything is starting to bloom, the Wisteria is gorgeous, the camellias are going strong, the azaleas are blooming  and all the plants I've put in are doing well.
The neighbors Dogwood trees look fantastic and my Tulip tree though no bigger than last year is covered in blooms.  I love Dogwoods, but our yard is where Dogwoods come to die, we've tried a couple and they never make it.
So all that's good, except my allergies are horrible and my eyes are swollen.  Mac closed the bedroom windows because though it is supposed to be in the 80's here today our night stands have a fine coating of pollen on them.
I went out and transplanted Balsalm that I'd seeded in the greenhouse and now I'm back in, admiring the garden from a far.  I think once the oak trees and pine trees get rid of their pollen I should do a little better.
My eye doctor gave me some new allergy drops for my eyes, we're trying to find one that doesn't dry them out so badly.
But as I said, the garden is beautiful.

Neighbor's Dogwoods

Carolina Jasmine Around the Pool

Wisteria

Azalea

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

One of Mac's paintings, not a leprechaun exactly
Savannah is in the middle of the nation's 2nd largest St. Patrick's Day celebration, New York City's is the largest, and the well mannered southern city of around 100,000 people will welcome nearly 400,000 visitors who have come to enjoy the parades, the bands, and of course, the drinking.
 We avoid Savannah around this time of year, hate crowds under the best of circumstances and drunken crowds are to be avoided at all costs.
Savannah has a large Irish population and has been holding St. Patrick's  Day celebrations since 1813.  Even today there are events for the family, Ceili bands, Celtic singing and Irish dancing, but that mostly happens earlier in the month or even in February.  From now through Sunday people will be in town to have a wild time, so we'll be else where.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Week, So Far

Seems like we've had a busy week, don't know if that's really true.  Monday began at dawn, to me any time before 9 am is dawn, and we drove to the far side of forever, I mean Savannah, to see my retina specialist.  When I saw him in February he found that the pressure was up in one of my eyes and I had to put drops in for 3 weeks.  The good news is that the pressure is down, the bad news is that I have to keep putting the drops in---forever!-, and the worse news is that the prescription is out of formulary which means my co-pay is higher.  It's not seriously hight, just annoyingly high.
After that we were off to lunch, an early St. Paddy's Day lunch, a day we celebrate not because we're Irish, though I am a bit--had a Great-Great Grandfrather named Mickey Finn and a Grandfather named Richard Kennedy--, but rather because we met on St. Patrick's Day 48 years ago!  Does not seem possible, imagine, we were probably only about 2!  LOL!
We've both been craving Italian food, not Irish, I can have potatoes any time, and they both start with an I, so we went to The Olive Garden.  It's probably been 25 years since we've eaten in one, don't know why we've waited so long, though we have quite a nice little Italian place (The Upper Crust) here in town and that might be one of the reasons.  But anyway, the meal was pretty good.  Mac started with mussels in a citrus sauce and I had Sicilian Scampi  and they were both good, particularly the sauces.  And then because he'd been craving raviolis he had  Raviolis stuffed with Portobello mushrooms, good he said, but not great, too cheesy.  I had Chicken Breast done in an apricot/citrus sauce,  and fresh steamed asparagus and broccoli.  The veggies and the sauce were heavenly, the chicken was dry.  Then we shared a Dolcini a teeny, tiny  Amaretto Tiramisu Cookie Crumble.  All in all quite a good meal.  I didn't take any pix, but I " borrowed" these from Olive Garden's site.




Yesterday and today were all about the garden, will talk about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Sharks Are Circling

This isn't mine but it looks just like it, I'm just too lazy to go out
and take its picture
I need a new car, not today, not tomorrow but sometime in the next 8-10 months.  I love my old car, it's a Mazda MX3, and they don't make it any more.  It looks great, but it is now 17 years old and  has about 80,000 miles on it.  But unfortunately is has begun to do a Joe Cocker imitation when I start it up and then lug down the road like it's dragging an anchor behind it.  After awhile it settles down, but when I'm out in it alone I get worried.  We've had it tuned up recently, but  I just can't see the value into putting any more money into a vehicle that old.  Yes it has low mileage, but parts fatigue, I figure in dog years it's really a 149 years old.
So I decided to start looking at new cars.  Sunday I looked on-line and then yesterday coming back from the eye doctor we stopped and looked at a couple  more.  I'm looking for a small car, hatchback, manuel shift (yes I said manuel I have never driven an automatic) that I can use like a little truck.  I'm probably going to lease and then down the line decide if I want to keep it.
And because you've got to give information to get information a number of car dealers now have my telephone number and e-mail address.  Since Sunday I've received around 100 e-mails and more phone calls (starting around 8 in the morning, long before I get up) than I can keep track of.  I won't answer any of them but I will be keeping track of 3 cars:
Mazda 2
Honda Fit
Honda Fit
Hyundai Accent
I'm leaning towards the Mazda, but we'll see, as I said, I'm not in a hurry and we'll see who'll give me the best deal.
And then I'm donating my old car to whoever will take it.


Hyundai Accent









Mazda 2

Monday, March 14, 2011

They're Back!!!

Yes, they're back and they're biting.  What are they: They're Ceratopogondae, biting midges, sand flies, midgies or as they're better known here No-See-Ums.  They're tiny, about 1-4 mm in length, and they bite like h**l!  Being that small I figure they must be all mouth, for you don't see them, don't hear them flying and don't notice them  landing, just all of a sudden it feels like you're being attacked with a teeny, tiny  chain saw .  It stings like heck and may itch for a week.  They're starting early this year, not good.  I hate spraying myself with insect repellant, but I hate even more their biting, crawling up my nose, in my mouth, and in my ears and eyes.  You can wear long sleeves, but today was near 80 and the rest of the week will be up in the 70's and I love the feel of the spring sun on my skin.   He looks big in the picture, but I assure you he's been greatly enlarged, I never see them I just feel them.  They'll die back in a month or so, but boy howdy,  they're irritating right now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm an Indian, Finally

Sequoyah who invented the Cherokee Alphabet
I blogged before about my efforts to be added to the rolls of the Cherokee Nation, and my efforts have finally paid off, I am, officially, a Cherokee Indian.  But then I always was, I just didn't have the card to prove it, now I do.  It's an important card, not just because it makes my heritage formal, but it has benefits that come from the tribe.
The Cherokees are mainly in Eastern Oklahoma where they were moved, forceably in the 1800's.  They were given the whole state of what was to become Oklahoma, but like every other promise ever given an Indian tribe this was taken too, but they do own the northeastern corner of Oklahoma.  In the early 1900's the U.S. government decided that they wanted to do away with reservations and instead provide land for the Indians so the government wanted a list of all the Cherokees so that land could be apportioned for  them (my grandmother ended up with a 160 acre piece of land) so all the tribal members had their names put on what was to become known as the Dawe's Roll.  My grandmother Pearl and my Great Grandmother Lizzie are both on that list, I had chills the first time I saw the list with their names on it.  My Mother and sisters have had their tribal cards for years but I never got around to applying for mine until a couple of years ago, and it has taken the better part of 2 1/2 years to get it, but it came today, and I'm official.  Now I need to start work on having my daughter added to the rolls.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cloudy With A Chance...

Click to see the Sea Gulls, Ahingas and one Pelican
Of not meatballs perhaps (if in doubt check Amazon), but if it doesn't cool off, we're well up in the 70's, then we're in for some rather nasty thunderstorms.  Louisiana has already been hit, Mississippi has had more than 7 inches of rain and a tornado in Mobile and we're under a severe thunderstorm watch.
We walked along the river today because I get nervous when it's very windy here because of all the trees.
There weren't as many boats at the marina as usual, I guess everyone is feeling the financial crunch.  We use to have a boat when we lived in California, a 32 footer, and it's absolutely true that the 2 happiest days of a boat owner's life are when they buy their boat and when they sell it.  As I looked at the boats I just thought, "Been there, done that, don't have to do that any more."
All the trees are blooming, so pretty, hope the wind doesn't blow too many of the blooms away.  We have only one flowering tree in our yard, a Tulip tree and it has blossoms but they haven't opened yet.  I love the Live Oaks that line the streets near the water.  The Live Oak is Georgia's state tree and deservedly so, they are magnifieant.  None in our yard, and on windy days I'm glad, but I love to see them.
Not doing much today, my sewing machine hates me, breaks my thread and laughs at me.  Wrestled with Amadeus (rewatched the movie the other night and thought I should play some of his easier "stuff") for a while but he definitely got the better of me , and tried  to crochet myself  a new hat, I seem to have lost mine.  Mac says that if I make a new one then the warm weather will stay, but that's ok.
Hope the bad weather misses us.
















Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How Do You Know That Spring is Coming?

When your eyes are almost swollen shut, when your nose is stuffed up, when everything is coated in yellow pollen, when Allegra becomes your drug of choice then you know that Spring is in the air.
Looking at my garden journal for the last couple of years I saw that most things didn't begin blooming here until about mid-March, but this year they started in mid-February.
The Carolina Jasmine is everywhere, my Camellias and Anemones are in full bloom, the Azaleas are covered in buds, and the Wisteria is just days away from being in full flower.  The temperatures stay in the high 60's and low 70's which is just ideal.
I added a  new Basil and a strawberry to my veggie bed and we've got more tomatoes sitting in the hot house waiting to be bedded out or put into upside down planters, we don't have a lot of luck with tomatoes here but we keep trying.  My potatoes are a couple of inches high and I'll need to thin my carrots soon, and I hate thinning plants I'd rather they fought it out for space than for me to pull them up.
Near the rose bed out front I've  put in a Lily, I think the colors are spectacular.   My red lilies are already 2-3 inches high and that's way ahead of schedule.  One of my neighbors said we'll probably get a late frost, but that's ok as long as it doesn't freeze.
In other news the stove has been converted to propane and all eyebrows are still intact.  We're "lucky" that the rest of our appliances , except for the fireplaces, are  electric, I put the lucky in parenthesis because with the cost of electricity I don't know how lucky we are.  But we're careful and there's just the 2 of us, and a cross-dressing cat who fills up the laundry, so it isn't too bad.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brand Spanking New!

Delivered this Saturday morning I now have a brand new gas stove with a grill down the middle.  Only problem is it's a natural gas stove and we have propane so we had to track down the parts to convert it.
It works, but the gas valves, nozzles, whatever the heck they are,  let in too much oxygen so while the flame is higher  it doesn't burn as hot, it burns more yellow than blue.    Propane has to be forced through a smaller hole.  I definitely don't remember Hank Hill mentioning that fact, and yes, we did call Strickland Propane trying to track down the part, they have a store in the next town over.  So after calling everybody and God, and then discovering an 800 number on the back of the paperwork for the stove we were directed to an appliance parts store located on the farside of forever and managed to get over there this morning.
We got  the part, it didn't cost and arm and a leg and Mac will get it all set up tomorrow, and he's even promised not to burn his eyebrows off.
As for the old stove though it would have been tempting to toss it down down the back steps we gave it to a friend who has a trailer park and is always having to replace appliances.  It was "fun" getting it down the stairs and up into his truck, but I was glad to see it go.  The burners never fit right and I'm sure they didn't go with that stove, and I've cleaned it so much, yes I know that's hard to believe, but parts of it were losing their finish.
So hello new stove, you are so pretty.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Surprises in the Mail



Well not exactly a surprise, but a fabulous gift!  A couple of weeks ago The Snail Garden ran a give-away and I WON!  So in the mail yesterday came a beautiful pink wrapped gift, with a pink crocheted J for Janet and inside my 3 beautiful critters, a rabbit, a squirrel and a bird.  Beautiful on their own and even prettier on my Spring time table.  Thank you so much Snail Garden.
If you haven't visited her Blog you should, she's in the middle of scrap booking her family trip to Florida and the pictures are gorgeous.