Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hotter Than H**l

I was going to sew, I was going to exercise, I was going to make the world safe for ..... Well  you get the picture, but we went from having temperatures in the 70's and 80's (we even broke records for lows this week) to being over a 100, with a heat index of 118.
So we did a really short walk, sweat, sweat, melt, melt, went to the store for to get vittles  for the 4th of July and turned on the air conditioning way too early, but it was already 87 in the house and worse outside.  We try to get by with ceiling fans as much as we can, but there's being thrifty and there's being foolish.
So I've played the piano and I getting ready to go for a swim.  My cat, Miss Kitty, has been laying under the fan in the computer room all day.  She knows when to lay low and we'd be wise to emulate her.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obsession

German Chair
Well maybe not quite an obsession, but definitely an utter fascination with chairs.  I've been collecting them for years.  One of my first buys was this German one with the cane back and seat.  We bought in Germany back in the late 60's.  The seat needed caning then and it needs it now, though laying on the seat is a caning set that Mac gave me for Christmas a few years ago, so who knows, it might get caned someday.
Entryway Chair



The next chair  is English and is in fact one of a pair that sit in my entry way.  They have cane seats (in good repair thank goodness) and I believe the style is called balloon back.


In the dining room sits this American chair with an upholstered seat.  Mac gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago.  I wish I had a pair of them.




Dining Room Chair
The next two chairs are English again, balloon back, but with upholstered seats.  If I could find a cheap way to ship these from England I'd have these all over the house.








Upholstered Balloon Back













The last two are really sweet little chairs.  The first is English, I actually managed to fit this in a suitcase----don't ask what happened to my clothes--and was brought home from one of my favorite antique shops in Broadway Fenwick and Fenwick.   It was sold as an 1850's Oxford style child's armchair made of elm.

The other is an American Bentwood child's chair, I recovered the seat.
Children's chairs are always disproportionately more expensive than regular chairs, just too sweet.
American Chair

English Chair













So that's one of my obsessions, what's yours?





Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Can You Clean Too Much?

I talked about this on Facebook, but thought I'd expand on it.  I never thought of myself as a heavy duty cleaner.  I do a little bit each day, targeting something different each day, doing the bathrooms, cleaning blinds, vacuuming, cleaning woodwork, etc.  In the Fall and Spring I do the heavier cleaning catching up on anything I've let slide over the months.
Earlier this week I started painting doors and Mac did the trim for me, they really needed it.    I've painted 2 doors so far and have way too many left to do.  I had to paint them because I've worn the paint off of them cleaning them.
 Then I noticed that I've done the same thing to a lot of the baseboards.  I've cleaned the paint off of them and now I'm going to have to repaint them.
That got me to thinking about what else I might have over cleaned and I remembered that one of the reasons I got rid of my old stove was that I'd literally worn out the fire proof paint on it cleaning it.
Maybe it's a good thing I don't dust very often, otherwise I'd have worn the finish off most of my furniture.
So I'm through with housework for the day and maybe longer,  think I'll pretend I'm a cat and just lay around the rest of the day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jane Austen

I follow a number of Jane Austen blog sites and was really excited when I ran across the story of a portrait of Jane Austen as a young girl.  It's known as the Rice portrait and has been passed down through that family.  For years experts have found fault with the portrait, claiming it could not be Jane Austen.  But after 40 years it has been authenticated.  I enclose the following excerpt that comes from Mrs. Anne Rice and Mr. Robin Roberts:
We are so very delighted to announce that on Saturday, The Guardian Newspaper published the proof that the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen by Ozias Humphry RA is an authentic likeness of her. It has taken my late husband Henry, my son, myself and my brother Robin Roberts over forty years to overturn the decision made in the early 1940s by the National Portrait Gallery, that our picture was not of Jane Austen the novelist, but of some other sitter. It has been a long process, but at last new evidence has come to light which vindicates the Rice family of misleading the world, and exonerates all the other players in this long story. This final proof has been provided by two glass plates (or negatives) of photographs taken at Dane Court (the Rice family home) in Kent in 1910 by Emery Walker. These plates have been in the Heinz Library, part of the National Portrait Gallery, since 1950. We were unaware of their existence, but when Edmund Butler, a journalist friend of ours discovered them, it was a breakthrough. Robin Francis, the curator of the Heinz library, who has been consistently kind and helpful to us, allowed us to photograph these plates and we then put the results up on this website. Robin had his own team of photographers verify and re-photograph the plates, which yielded same excellent results. Next, a reader of our website, whom I will refer to as ‘The Beagle’, as he wishes to remain anonymous, contacted us out of the blue to tell us that he had found the name ‘Jane Austen’ clearly written on the black and white images taken from the 1910 plates on the website, and had also found the artists’ name, ‘Ozias Humphry RA, 1789, Pinxt’. He asked us ‘if we were aware of this? He then sent us the pictures, which were then reproduced in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday June 9th. 

 Beagle’s results have been observed, replicated and verified by experts in handwriting, and digital computer technology. They say that the words discovered by him are there and, that they would be willing to testify to this in a court of law. Ozias Humphry RA, a miniaturist before being forced by a head injury to paint ‘in large’, wrote in miniature letters on many of his commissions, both large and small.
 The Beagle, also sent us another astounding piece of new evidence that he had discovered on examining the photographs that we took of the restored picture in Eva Schwann's studio. This piece of evidence is now undergoing the same rigorous procedures to authenticate it, as the 'Jane Austen and the 'Ozias Humphry' signatures. We are looking forward to revealing this in the media and on this website. We have faced bewildering opposition to this portrait for many years, and are deeply grateful to our many steadfast supporters. At last, the fascinating and brilliant little face in our portrait is proven beyond doubt to be that of Jane Austen. I hope that she is as thrilled as her descendants by this outcome, hereafter the world will know that this is a true portrayal of the child genius who became England’s greatest female novelist.



I think this is wonderful and I'm anxious to find out what else they have learned.
I read this originally at janeaustensequels.blogspot.com

Monday, June 25, 2012

It Never Fails

You know, we watered the garden, put water in the pool, thought about washing the car.  And what happened.  Well Tropical Storm Debby is what happened.  Instead of turning completely around and heading west to Texas it has stalled in the Gulf of Mexico and is flooding Florida and soaking us.  We've had over an inch of rain since last night.  She's supposed to hang around until Wednesday.  That is unless a butterfly flaps its wing and the whole weather pattern is changed.
The worst of this is that I said the next time it rained I was going to paint doors, even bought paint, so I guess that's how I'll be spending the next couple of days.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Workmen Cometh

That's what this week was, a week of waiting for workmen, and I must say they were really good about showing up on time or calling and saying they were coming earlier.
The termite folks had to drill holes through a concrete block wall and treat the mound of dirt inside, termites are a real problem here in the south and we have to have the house checked regularly.  But they got the job done.
Then the Directv man was scheduled to come between 8 and 12, called at 8 and said he'd be there by 11, then called and said he'd be even sooner.  He checked everything out, decided we needed a new cable ( they bring the signal from the dish outside into the house), dug the old one up, laid a new one, gave us new cables to hook up to the receiver inside and was done in no time.
On Friday my piano tuner called to say he'd be out sooner than planned, came, made the hair on my cat's back stand straight up, made my piano sound mellow again and now I can play Mozart without cringing.
Last night we went out dancing for the first time in a while, had a great time, but boy am I tired today.  I plan some quality time on my couch this afternoon, we call it Happy Hour, others call it a nap.  Need to make more tomato sauce, but I have a feeling that might not happen till tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yummy Peach Jam and a Minor Rant

Using absolutely luscious Georgia peaches 11 jars of jam were made yesterday.  It was sticky, steamy work (thank you Mac for your help), but so worth it.  The jam tastes delicious.
Now for my minor rant, I watched House Hunters last night, the regular one and the international one.  And though I frequently hoot at the silly people buying houses (it doesn't face east, those trees will have birds that will wake me up, oh I can't live with popcorn ceiling---you know what I mean), last night's episodes were particularly bad.
A young couple in Minneapolis bought their first home and had their new  address tatooed on them.  Were they afraid of getting lost, were they that silly?  I had to turn them off.
The international episode was bad in another way.  A young couple were moving from Kuala Lumpur  to Tokyo and they knew they would have to pay more for an apartment, but they were shocked by what was called "key money", that's basically a bribe you pay the landlord so he'll rent you an apartment, it's nonrefundable, and may equal up to 6 month's rent.
Why should you have to pay a bribe, when American companies operating in a foreign country pay a bribe (think Walmart, they paid some bribes in Mexio) they get into trouble, it's illegal.  Why doesn't our government step in and stop renters from having to pay a bribe in a foreign country?
Our daughter loves Japan and dreams of having a job there some day, I wonder if she knows about key money?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Turtle Tale

Box Turtle in the Garden
We have lots of turtles in our little swamp, Georgia pond turles  in the lagoon and eastern box turtles wandering the land, to say nothing of the big snapping turtles.   Every year they come and lay eggs in our yard, Mac tries to protect them and keep the raccoons and other critters from eating them, but he hardly ever saved any.  Until 2 years ago, when he found 2 eggs, one in the back yard and one in the front.  He brought them into the garage and put them in an aquarium.
Watering them enough to keep them moist he watched over them like a mother hen, I mean turtle.  Finally they hatched, first the pond turtle, who immediately buried itself in the leaves and dirt.  Then what turned out to be a box turtle.  For nearly 2 years he raised them.  Putting them in separate aquariums so the pond turtle could have water to swim in and the box turtle could have enough land to roam around in.
This year the pond turtle just got too big for his aquarium and Mac knew it was time to let him go.   So he took him to the lagoon and put him in.   Later in the spring he decided that it was time to let the box turtle go too, he was released into the garden where he spent several days, but has now disappeared.  Sad to see them go, but we know they had a good start in life.

Pond Turtle
The lagoon is teeming with fry and it's impossible to tell what kind of fish they are so now he's raising fish he scooped out of the lagoon, he wants to watch and see which turn out be bass and which are blue gill.  I sometimes feel like I'm living in a zoo, isn't this how Gerald Durrell got started?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Little House In The Swamp





Yes it's time to start putting up food for the rest of the year, and that always reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie books, but we don't live on a prairie, we live in a swamp.  The tomatoes are from the garden and I'm going to make it into tomato sauce and freeze it.  We have too many tomatoes to just eat even though I putting them into salads every day and slicing them up and eating them with feta cheese.  I thought about trying to can the tomatoes but decided freezing would be easier.  I'll be adding peppers, basil and oregano that are growing in our garden.
The peaches are  lovely Georgia peaches and I wish they came from my backyard, but they didn't, but they are local and that pleases me.  I'm making jam out of them and in about 2 weeks I'll make another load.  Love making my own jam, I know exactly what's in it and I can control how much sugar is in.
Now I need to get cooking.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

A Self-Portrait
Happy Father's Day to my husband Mac, you make everything special!  Hope that today and every day you know how much you mean to me.














Saturday, June 16, 2012

Well That'll Teach Me a Lesson!

While walking yesterday we met up with a neighbor and somehow or another the conversation came around to who provides our tv service.  We said we've had Directv for years, it had moved here with us from California.  She asked how good was it and we said great, few problems, reliable service. HA!  So today I turned the tv on downstairs and it said "Searching for satellite signal", but it never found it.   When we checked the tv upstairs the signal was fine.  So I called Directv and they walked us through all the things Mac had already checked and we still had no signal.  So they're coming out next Wednesday.
Good thing the tv upstairs is still working and good thing I have the internet or that dark hole that opened when our internet connection went down the other day would open even wider.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where Did My Week Go?

I had plans, lots of plans, I was going to sew my summer bag, make pillows and napkins.  What did I get done?  Well the bag is cut out and started, but that's about it.  Some how life always interferes.
Yesterday was eaten up by my dermatologist, who scanned, burned, cut and sent parts of me off to be biopsied.
Then today after dealing with my penance (that's what I call housework and today's penance was bathrooms and family room rug) I had planned on getting serious about the sewing, that is after I looked for a new vacuum cleaner online.
That's where today's sewing ended.  We were off line, I couldn't get us up, Mac couldn't get us up, the people at tech support couldn't get us up, they said to head into town and trade our old modem for a new one.  When we got to the internet office, they said that I was the 4th person in my area that tech had sent in for a new modem, so it was more than a modem problem.  The kindly lady at the help desk told tech to get it sorted, found a way to lower my monthly bill by $18 and gave me a new modem.  She said they like to keep their customers happy.
Well in less than an hour the internet was back up and I'm very happy, except I didn't get to sew, maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What to Do on a Rainy Day

It has rained and rained and rained, and it's getting ready to do it again.  I'm beginning to feel like I'm in England.  We won't even talk about the humidity, so I need to find some indoor activities.
I've been looking at summer bags, though I should probably be looking at umbrellas, but the ones I like are more than I want to pay.   So I went looking for a pattern to make one and  found a free pattern online to download.  Then I had to find some material, and for some reason I've been in a polka dot mood, have even bought several tops made of polka dot fabric.  On Etsy I found what I was looking forward so I ordered some polka dot fabric in different shades of blue.   Now that the material has gotten here I think I'll give it a go.  It'll have the dark blue with tiny white polka dots as the main part of the bag, and the lighter blue will go on the top and line it.
The flowery material will probably be made into pillows, the Fourth of July looking material is going to be made into napkins, the sunflower material will be a tablecloth and I'm not sure about the strawberry material.


So upstairs I go, air conditioning will definitely be in line.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gardening and Books

Each year we plant more and more veggies in our garden, and we do it for a variety of reasons.  We like gardening, we like the taste of home grown veggies and it saves money.  I'm a semi-locavore, a person who tries to eat that which is grown locally, and that bring us to a book I've just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.
She and her family move full time to their small farm in Kentucky and attempt to eat only that which is raised or grown within 100 miles of where they live.
They start their eating year in April when the first asperagus is ready for cutting  and work their way through the year, growing the own fruits and vegetables, raising chickens and turkeys (Oh Lord, the chapter on getting turkeys to breed is one of the funniest things I've ever read), using local farmer's markets and buying organic local products
  She explain the family's reasons for living a locavore year, and they are many: to not to contribute to pollution by buying trucked in produce, to support local farmers and organic gardening, to be able to eat food that hasn't been produced chemically.
I've read other books by this author (The Poisonwood Bible, a great book) and really like her writing style.  She doesn't preach, she's not trying to convert anyone, and she's very practical.  Each family member is given one thing that they can have that isn't produced locally.  Her husband writes from a more scientific point of view in footnotes throughout the book, and her teenage daughter gives her point of view and recipes.
A really interesting book for anyone who cares about what they eat.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fruits of the Garden

Our weather has been unusually cool and wet.  Not good for swimming, but the garden loves it!  We've been eating tomatoes for weeks now, having to pick them a bit green to keep critters from carrying them off though.
The flowers are also doing well too, the hydrangeas are spectacular and the day lilies and gladiolas are also having a good year.
I pulled 500 weeds today, yes I counted them, and hardly made a dent.  Rain or shine the weeds grow.
I'm hoping to get enough tomatoes to make some home made tomato sauce, the peppers and basil are both doing well so it would be completely home grown.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Home Again, Home Again




The River at Dawn


Small Rainbow Trout
Just back from our 4th trip of the year, definitely time to stay home for awhile.  We've been to Oklahoma to see my younger sister and for Mac to do some trout fishing.  We again rented a cabin on the Illinois River and it was fantastic.  Mac caught loads of trout, released them and fished again.  Also went to a small lake in Vian where he caught about  a 3lb catfish.
My sister fished some, but mostly we sat and talked and talked.  It was good to see her, but boy am I tired of being on planes.  No more trips for awhile.
Large Rainbow Trout
Early Morning Mist