Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Beautiful Day

Went out in the backyard today with Mac, what a gorgeous day.  Not the warmest, but awfully nice in the sun.  He fed the fish and then we just sat and soaked it in, woodpecker working on a dead tree, a bluejay trilling, little peepies picking up breadcrumbs, even think we heard a honey bee.    It actually looked  and sounded like spring out there.  Mac has his garden ready for planting his Fava Beans.  We'll see how February goes before he puts them in.  No pictures, forgot to take a camera out and too lazy to go back in and get one.
Working on my cross-stitch, the end end is in sight.  Mac's  busy painting as always.    Have to share one he just finished, it's so cute.

Is that not adorable!


Feeling a bit British today, it will be Fish and Chips for lunch.  Wish my chips tasted like theirs do.  I probably gain 5 pounds every time we go to England because of the chips.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Protection

Overnight lows around 60º--that would be last Sunday night--overnight lows around 30º--that would be tonight.  My daffodils are blooming and I asked Mac to cut them and bring them in so they don't have to freeze.  I fear that February is going to be as cold as January and that's after they predicted we'd have a warmer than normal winter down here--HA!
Breakfast for dinner today, Ham, Eggs and Potatoes, I'm not feeling very creative.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Kitchen Smells So Good!

It really does.  First thing this morning I made a big pot of Chile, part for tomorrow's lunch and part to freeze.  When that was done I started work on Lamb Shanks, they'll be today's lunch.  Braise the shanks, remove, cook carrots, onions and garlic, put the shanks back in, add chicken stock, red wine, rosemary and thyme.  Then let it bubble for a couple of hours before you serve it over mashed potatoes.  You can smell it all over the house.
Washed the slipcover for the couch and realized I couldn't throw it in the dryer, it's line dry only and because it's going to rain off and on all day I can't hang it outside, so Mac took it upstairs to hang in the attic, probably take 2 days there.  Which means we'll probably destroy the couch while it's gone.
Skyped with our daughter this morning, always look forward to our Sunday morning chats.  Except for the fact that Miss Kitty crawls all over my desk and rubs up against the computer, knock things in the floor, gnaws on my hand--gently of course--and anything else she can think of to distract me.  She hates for me to Skype or talk on the phone.  She tolerates the computer, sitting her fine, furry rear on on router, but doesn't appreciate other forms of communication.  We usually end up throwing her out of the room.
Tried to watch Despicable Me 3 this weekend, it was bad, bad, bad and we didn't finish it.  Loved the first one, was ok with the 2nd, but the 3rd says it's time to end the franchise.
We're really enjoying the 3rd series of The Detectorists, watching it slowly because Mackenzie Crook says there'll be no more.  Mac has been investigating places in England where you can spend a couple of day metal detecting, wouldn't that be great.
Hope you're having a good weekend.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What's Cooking?

Why it's Bean and Bacon Soup and it smells so good.  What I need are some plastic containers to store and freeze my soups in so I can pull them out as needed.  As long as the weather stays chilly I'll be making soup and next up is Chile.

They came out today to fill up our propane tank.  We use propane for cooking and in our fireplaces and with as cold as it's been, and in an effort to keep our electric bill reasonable, we've been using the fireplace a lot.  I called them last week and paid for what I thought we'd need, but it's 3-5 business days before they deliver the propane and in the mean time we burned up a bit more so I called the company to pay the rest of the bill.  The lady I talked with said I'm the first person EVER who'd called in to pay for the extra, that they usually have to track them down to get them to pay.  She thanked me profusely.

Played piano for a while this morning, I have a book of Puccini's Operas for the piano, simplified for my level.  They're just so darn beautiful even with me whacking at them.  My favorite it the one known as Musetta's Waltz.  You may know it as Don't You Know by various artists.





Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday in the Swamp

I haven't had a lot to blog about except the weather and that gets a bit boring after a while.  Monday was an absolutely gorgeous day, hit 77º and we worked in the garden.  It looks really bad, between my neglect and the snow it needs a lot of work.
My Daffodils are coming up and they even have buds on them.  We've covered them on the cold nights and are hoping for the best.
I need to do some more decluttering, I went through the dishes and there's a stack sitting here, some will go on eBay and some will go to Goodwill.  Also need to get rid of a bunch of stemware, we never use it.  Probably to Goodwill as trying to mail it to someone would be cost prohibitive.  Postage is getting so expensive.
I need to go through my closet too. I've got to stop thinking, well I might wear that someday.  Ha, if I haven't worn it in a year (dresses excepted because I only wear them on special occasions) I'm not going to wear it.  It may look pretty hanging in the closet, but it isn't getting worn any time soon.  So they need to go.
Lots of soups being eaten and today it's shrimp and rice, perfect for the weather.
Lots of reading and not much else, I keep telling myself to finish my cross-stitch, but I get bored and go back to reading.  I am so easily distracted, except when I'm reading, and flit from one thing to another.  I know a lot of people listen to audio books, but I'd forget I'm listening and get going on something else.  I'm definitely not an auditory person.  Don't give me oral directions for anything, write it down.
Changed my header, a painting Mac painted for me a year or so ago.  Right now he's busy wrapping a painting that's going out today. One lady has bought 5 paintings from him, she really likes his work.   I'm so proud of him
Hope you're having a good January.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Tiring Experience

Spent the day running around yesterday trying to get a tire fixed.    Some how or another we picked up a nail in one of my back tires and it caused a slow leak. My car has less than 17,000 miles on it so this tire should have been good for many more miles. Thank goodness our daughter had given us her old tire pump when she was here at Christmas.  You just hook it up to the car cigarette lighter and to the tire, it pumps up automatically.  So that kept us going.
The first place we went to said it'd be over an hour before they could even look at it.  So we went else where to Savannah Tire.  Knew they'd be more expensive, but would get it done quickly.  And they did.  Of course, as it turned out the tire couldn't be repaired so we'd have to buy a new one.  I have really good tires on my car, a set of them runs a bit over a $1,000.  So after just putting in a new heating unit you know we weren't putting that expensive a tire on the car, plus they'd have to order one and that it would be some time that afternoon before it got there.  Nope, we got a less expensive, notice I didn't say cheap because it wasn't, alternative.  They had us out in under an hour.  An expensive visit, but relatively quick.
Got to find a cheaper way to continue this year.  
My less expensive Falken Tire
The more expensive Yokahoma  Tire.  

I think the Falken looks every bit as good.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday in the Swamp

Doesn't look like much of a swamp here today.  Quite cold,  yes, yes I know it's really cold up north, but really, we're a 100 miles from Florida, it's not supposed to feel like this.  Out running around, hit the Dollar Store, went to the bank, renewed my library card (don't understand that one, I haven't moved or changed a thing) and went to breakfast.  We have such a nice family run cafe near here, love going there, they treat you like they're actually glad to see you.
Going down to the lower 20's tonight and tomorrow night, then we warm up.  This is getting real old.
Time to retire to my couch and do something productive.  Mac's dusting my blinds for me, love that man!
Stay warm.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Done So Quickly

They worked quietly, cleaned up after themselves and had our heat pump up and running in a bit more than 4 hours.  I'm very impressed.  It's going to be a cold week with lows in the lower 20's by the end of the week so I'm very happy to have my heat restored.
Isn't it nice when things go just as they were promised.  We kept waiting for them to have a glitch, find out they couldn't use our ducting, that the outside part wouldn't fit on the stand with the upstairs unit. But no, none of that happened.  They just worked away, finished up, showed us how to use it, gave us the paperwork and took our check.  Job well done.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Good Start to the Week

Woke up a bit before 8 am this morning and Mac, bless his heart, got up to turn on the heat to start warming up the house.  He also checked the phone for missed calls and sure enough there was one.  He had trouble with the soft, southern voice and asked me to listen to it.  It was our heating contractor.  Mac called them back and we found out they'd had a cancellation and instead of coming out on Friday they could come today and put in our new heat pump.  Well yeah.  So a short while later they showed up and they've been merrily working away for nearly 2 hours.
Of course that means the heat had to be turned off and it's about 38º outside right now.  So we, and Miss Kitty, are huddled down in the computer room with a small space heater.
When I blogged about getting the new heat pump several bloggers mentioned they'd gone with the Rolls Royce option of $17,000.  Well  if we  planned on keeping this house for a long time we would have too, but we don't, will probably be selling in the next year of so.  Even the guy doing the estimates said it would not be cost effective for us to take the most expensive option, that it would take years to make our money back in saved energy costs.  So that's why we picked a less expensive option.
Watched a bit of football this weekend.  Boy was that Pittsburgh/Jacksonville game a bit of a shocker.
Not surprised by Atlanta losing, nor by New Orleans' loss to Minnesota.  Of course New England beat Tennessee, not much of a game.  All the good teams were in the NFC this year.
Looking forward to the Minnesota/Philadelphia game, the other game not so much.
Mac is busy wrapping paintings, he's sold 8 paintings since the beginning of January.  We thought things might slow down after Christmas.  Guess I'll have to chain him up to his easel again.
I'm finally nearing the end of my cross-stitch, if we can warm the family room up enough with just the fireplace I'll work on it today.
Hope you're staying warm wherever you are.

Friday, January 12, 2018

And Now For the Rest of the Story

Yes I told you about the snowstorm last week, yes I told you about how cold it was, but what I didn't tell you was that in the middle of the snowstorm our heater went out.  To be more precise, the fan on the heater went out and we didn't know if it was safe to run it without it.  Luckily our house has 2 heaters, one upstairs and one downstairs, it was the downstairs, the main one that went out, so we started running the upstairs one.  And even though hot air rises, eventually it does warm the house.  We also have 2 propane fireplaces, we were running the one in the family room when this happened so Mac fired up the even bigger one in the living room.
I knew I wouldn't be able to get anyone out here in the snowstorm, but first thing Thursday morning I called a local company who'd done work for us before and they managed to get someone out here that afternoon.  He said it was too dangerous to really check the unit which is elevated about 6 feet off the ground (this is the outside part, fan and compressor), but looking at it through the computer room window he said he thought it was frozen, it was covered in ice.  He said they'd send someone back out at soon as it was safe to give it a going over.  In the meantime we could run it without the fan using emergency heat.  The heater itself, and the air conditioner, are both located in the attic, I don't envy anyone having to go up there to work.
Saturday the ice was gone and the fan began working again, looked like the guy might be right.  But then it stopped again.  Monday they had a technician back out here and he gave us the bad news.  Our compressor had gone out and though it could be replaced for about $3,000 the rest of our heater was old enough that this wasn't really practical.  Our house was built in 2000, so the heater was going on 18 years old.
They promised to send someone out later in the week to go over it all and give us an estimate of what it would cost to replace the heater.
He came yesterday, really went over everything, measured the square footage of the house, we're near 3,000 sq, ft, and gave us an estimate on replacing both units (up and down) and giving us zone coverage for the house so we only ran it where we needed it.  That was the Rolls Royce option: $17,000.  We told him that was not what we wanted as the other unit is in great shape, we've used it very little.  So then he showed us all the options available and we picked one that will give us the same kind of unit we currently have.  They'll  use the ducting that's already in place, won't replace the upstairs unit and get it done in one day, plus a 6% discount if we paid cash.  It was a price we could live with.
Not how we wanted to start the New Year, but I'm grateful we have the money to get the work done, I know others aren't so lucky.  So fingers crossed they should be here next Friday right after our next round of subfreezing nights.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday in the Swamp

It's Saturday and the temperature has finally gone up into the 40's.  The snow has started to melt, but it has been so cold at night everything just refreezes.  The lagoon has started to melt, but the pool is still frozen solid.
It's been a long week, we haven't been out of the house since last Monday, we haven't walked or anything.  With everything being so icy we decided to be careful and just stay in the house.  On Wednesday when it was snowing our doorbell rang, it was neighbors from down then street, Father and son, said they'd baked cookies and were sharing them with the neighbors.
I have to say, I do not know how people who go through this every winter, all winter long, and much colder than we've been do it.  I find the cold scary.  On Wednesday evening our electricity went out, still don't know why---ice on the lines, transformer blown, someone hit a power pole.  We're an all electric house and when the electricity goes we have no heat.  Thank goodness we have 2 propane fireplaces.  Mac hooked up our generator, plugged in a lamp and was getting ready to plug in the tv when the power came back on.  We have a great electric coop and they are always on the job.  I was sure glad to have the electricity back, that meant that we'd be able to use our electric blanket, couldn't make it without it.
I've been puttering and trying to stay warm and not think about how high our electric bill is going to be.  I've nearly finished the cross-stitch I've been working on since last summer, read, watched movies, saw the second Kingsman and an older James Bond, Casino Royale with Daniel Craig, baked cookies, made soup.
Now I'm looking forward to getting out of the house for a while, starting to get cabin fever.  Hope this is the end of cold weather for a while.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

We live in the sunny south or at least I thought we did.  It's 31º outside and about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground.  Unreal. I know other parts of the country get much colder and have much more snow, but geez Louise, we live 5 miles from the coast in Georgia, we're not supposed to get weather like this.
Take a look.

Front yard


House

Back deck, doesn't the pool look strange surrounded by snow?


Monday, January 1, 2018

End Of Year Round-Up, Sort of



Sort of because it's too blooming cold to think.  Our high today is 38º and it's struggling to stay that high.  We tried to walk this morning and I couldn't do it.  Just too cold.  This is a semi-tropical area, we're not use to temperatures like this.  Down to 22º tonight, brr, brr, brr.
But anyway, if I can ignore D.Trump and most of the time I can, 2017 was a good year for us.
We traveled:

February to New York City

March to Japan

May  to Montana to visit Yellowstone Park

October  to Spain

November back to New York City

New York is incredible, haven't gotten it out of my system yet so we'll probably be going back again

I read 154 books.  My Goodreads account says 151, but my book journal says 154, so I must have not logged some of the in.

Best of the year:

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  The Jesuits go to bring God to a faraway planet

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch. What's real and does our mind play tricks on us

The Broken Earth Trilogy
by N.K. Jemesin. Science fiction fantasy, the first 2 won Hugos and I'm sure the 3rd will too.  Hard to describe, but oh what a story.

The OathBringer Brandon Sanderson. Science fantasy The 3rd in his  Stormlight series and maybe the best one yet.


A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. Who wouldn't want to live in a town like Alice.

Kindred by Octavia Butler---oh she wrote so well and died too soon.  What happens if a modern day black women keeps traveling back in time to the  pre-Civil War south?

The discovery of the Joe Pickett books by C. J. Box.  Joe is a game warden in Wyoming and the books are so good.

We never watch much tv other than sports.  But we have started watching Young Sheldon, the story of Sheldon (from Big Bang series) as a 9 year old.  Pretty well done.  We like Big Bang and Young Sheldon is a good follow up to it.
For the last week we've been watching a marathon of MythBusters, a great science show (and great explosions) that ran for 14 years and it's been fun watching all the early shows.

Movies

Didn't go to the movies at all this year, just a mixture of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Acorn TV.
We like comedies, but strangely enough 2 of our favorites from last year were Passengers and Arrival, both science fiction.  To end the year we watched Kingmen: The Golden Circle.  Not as good as the first one, but quite entertaining.

Tomorrow I'll talk about our plans for 2018.


This  is Mac, I'm so sad to say that Janet passed away the 30th of May. Her heart and mind and attitude were strong, but her body could ...