What a summer/what a bummer and what’s for dinner? (part 1 -long post)


This has been one for the books. So let’s jump right into the whingeing, shall I?


So I’ve spent a fair bit of time this summer being sick and recovering from being sick. The only reason I’ve time to write today is because I have a cold and I don’t wanna give it to others, so I can’t go and do things, but I’m not so sick I’m gonna stay in bed all day. Studmuffin has had this cold far worse than I – I think I’ll be fine by Friday.


feeling yucky….

No, the mostest, worstest sickness I got was for about the first 2 weeks of August. High fever, then mega-chills, all over aches – I mean even my eyelashes hurt when I blinked. And I could not sleep for more than 30 mins to a hour at a time for nearly 2 weeks. I even went to the doctor, knowing that he probably could not help – it was a virus I was certain- but if it was one of the ‘named’ viruses*, I could be at least a public health statistic. But no dice – no help and an un-named virus, but he still took my co-pay (which has gone up about 30%) and suggested I come back in a few days if I was still sick. HAH!  I really considered going to the hospital, but then I remembered 2 things: I never get any rest in the hospital -someone always wants to ask you something or stick a needle into you the moment you’ve dropped off to sleep, and hospital stays are very expensive.

A friend from the next town over was in the process of dying, and I had previously promised his wife that I would sing at his funeral. He passed away & I was too sick to even go to the funeral, much less sing.  This is something I will regret for the rest of my life. Though I am very thankful that Studmuffin went in my place. No, he did not sing.

I lost 15 lbs. in 12 days I was so sick. I cannot ever remember feeling worse….and I was sick for all 9 months of my last pregnancy!


*Zika, Swine, H1N1,Bird, Spanish,Influenza and so on



The gardening groove is back!

vintage seed catalogWhen the seed catalogs start arriving in December, I start dreaming of my garden. I pore over the new offerings again & again – all those gorgeous photos! – and think back to what went well the previous year and begin my scheming. At least, that’s how it has been for the last 20 years or so…….until this winter.  The seed catalogs came in as usual with all their promises and blandishments, and I remained unmoved.  By the time March rolled around, I was seriously beginning to wonder at myself – what was WRONG with me?  I’d not spent any time at all planning the garden and coming up with a budget, much less actually setting foot inside the space, except to deliver kitchen scraps to the compost. It had been on my “To Do’ list for 4 months. This is so unlike me….

Friends and neighbors, I had lost my gardening groove. My well had gone dry. Heck, I didn’t even get excited when the crimson clover we planted as green manure bloomed.

This is not my photo or my crimson clover, but it does look just like this. So pretty!

This is not my photo or my crimson clover, but it does look just like this when in bloom. So pretty!

Still I knew without a doubt that come July, I was absolutely gonna want to eat homegrown tomatoes and a whole lot of them, so gardening had to take place. In a weird way, Facebook came to the rescue.

For those few who don’t know, Facebook will often remind you of something you posted in years past; they’re called Facebook memories.  I kind of like them as they remind me of how quickly time is passing, and not to waste it…. spending loads of time on Facebook in particular! Just before Mother’s Day a few weeks ago, Facebook reminded me of a post I had written about how I’d gotten all my tomatoes in the ground on that day in 2015. UH-oh!  I needed to get it in gear.

On Mother’s Day, I went to my favorite plant nursery (as did dozens of other folks). Such a lovely sunshiny day – really very cool temperature wise for Alabama in May (which truly freaks me out, but I’ll save that rant for later). I wandered on over to where the veggie plants were and BAM!  The switch was flipped – do plants give off fumes along with fragrance? – and Garden 2016 was ON!

I only bought 10 plants that day, but I knew that I had come back to my senses.

I’m doing things a bit differently.  Last year, I had 2 keyhole gardens, and that was a lot. I decided this year that I’d do just a few plants in the front of the house and 1 keyhole garden in the back since I still have mobility issues. For the unplanted keyhole I will continue to collect more “browns and greens” for it and maybe plant cool weather stuff there. I know, I know, I *say* I’m gonna do that every year but by the time I get to the end of August, I am tired of gardening!  But my dear friend Ellen had me chock full of garden envy last fall when she showed photo after photo of fall gardening success – I’m truly inspired. I’m dreaming of heads of lettuce and cabbage, and onions and peas and carrots….

As if to egg me on, the Nigella out front bloomed right after and was its usual spectacular & freaky self.

Nigella alba, aka "love-in-a-Mist"

Nigella alba, aka “love-in-a-Mist”


This lengthy blog pause has been brought to you by…..

….a whole bunch of things – let’s call it a life tsunami..perhaps tsunami is too big, the wrong scale for what’s been happening, but I’ve been really SWAMPED and overwhelmed.the-wave

I’ve been missing y’all though. So even though my darling readers (both of you) really deserve an extensive update, I’ve not got it in me.  Still, going with the idea that something is better than nothing here’s what I can give tonight: BULLETS.

  • My mobility from the end of February to early August was next to nothing – lots of pain & very hard to get around at all. That, coupled with increasing incontinence (I know – TMI!- but hey….), made gardening this season a joke – even with 2 beautiful keyhole gardens. That’s why no gardening speak on de blog. Sorry ’bout that. I hope to talk some about the garden in the next month, including the story of what happens If You Ask an Engineer to Design a Bean Trellis….
  • Modern medicine to the rescue -I got a steroid shot in the right ankle & another pill to take (vastly decreasing the incontinence(!) at the end of July and therefore was able to go on the first One Human Family Workshop Choir Harvest Tour – the first one in 9 years by my count. The ankle is still going pretty good and I no longer have to carry a towel and a spare set of clothes with everywhere I go…..


  • Sang way too many low notes on tour ( I spent a good deal of time singing BASS – can you say ‘stoopid’? – & then talked my face off til 2 and 3 and nearly 4 am most nights…so the voice was TOAST when I got back home.  Then I got summer bronchitis….still coughing up nasty stuff 3 weeks after the course of antibiotics and do not have my high notes back yet…..
  • Celebrated TWENTY YEARS of NOT SMOKING on Labor Day weekend. Thank you God so much.
  • I’m still knitting on my Shaelyn shawl…which I’m thinking I will give to a dear friend instead of it being for me.  I had to tink back about 8 or 9 rows because of some really stoopid mistakes, but all is well and if I really knit on it every day I’ll have the knitting done in 5 to 7 days.
  • I’m most of the way thru the foot of a sock in a retina searingly bright neon sock yarn ( I just realized I have not even put a project page in Ravelry for this yet….aack!) and gonna try out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel on this pair.
  • I’m on a hat kick…again.  I’ve made 8 hats since January – here’s a few:      .. . . …. I’ve got one on the needles right now in lovely squishy Brioche stitch and gonna make AT LEAST 5 more pretty soon.  More & better pictures will happen…at some point. STOP LAUGHING!
  • Number One Son is supposed to move from NYC to Northern Virginia soon.  I hope all goes well.
  • The Duke of Curl was supposed to start college this fall as a computer science major, but decided at the absolute very last minute NOT to take on the $10,000 debt( and not allow us to take it on either) that would’ve been necessary for that to happen.  SO he will start at community college in January and is currently looking for work and generally being a sweet fella to be around.
  • The Force of Nature is focused on going into the Coast Guard after graduation from HS in a couple of years – more specifically the Coast Guard Academy and has been visibly doing HOMEWORK and has started running for actual exercise 3 days a week; she informed me today that she is on the A/B honor roll.  We are beginning to think some kind of alien abduction/ switcheroo kind of thing took place while we were in the bathroom probably…..
  • Studmuffin is still sticking with most of my dietary changes and so has lost about 25 pounds.  He has also discovered a deep and voracious love for grapes. Eating about 5 lbs. per week with little help from the rest of us.  I’m not complaining – just a bit amused.
  • The last 3 weekends I was off doing singing things – that’s an unusually high ratio even for me. I will write about 2 of the weekends for sure and soon.
  • The pets are endlessly amusing and every one of them sheds a bunch.  I am sick and TIRED of hair control….. Still, they continue to be charming. Currently, the are two cats surrounding the keyboard, the younger one keeps tryna lick my fingers and then licks the older cat’s head…..weird.
  • My potential career as a 911 dispatcher was cut short by my inability to type 35 wpm (I got 34 wpm) ::::sigh:::::  Need to find some employment – orthodontics aren’t cheap and neither is college tuition.  Plus, we need a new roof and well, you get the idea.
  • Work on the book is ongoing but slow. I am determined to get a first draft completed by the end of December!!!  Of 2014!!!
  • I’ve been flirting with sewing clothing again.  I’ve bought fabric and patterns at least….very little sewing has occurred.
  • Been practicing the piano most days for a good bit of time ( guess what? If you practice, you get better! who knew?)and have the opportunity to do a couple of house concerts too. We’ll see…….
  • I have been horrified at the killing of unarmed black people by the police for some time – I really became aware of Driving While Black about 20-25 years ago and started learning a lot from there on in. This summer has been truly remarkable (and mostly not in a good way) for the 1) wealth of information about white police officers killing/tasering black people with impunity, 2) the staggering naivete/ignorance/apathy of most white people about how different life is for black people in the US especially when it comes to law enforcement, and yes, I am gonna write about it here too.      albert einstein                                 I’ve been sharing a lot on Facebook about it and some people close to me really do not like it but I cannot be silent about it!  Even on my knitting blog. I encourage absolutely every person on the planet to investigate what is happening for themselves – do not take “the media’s” word, do not take the police’s word, do not take my word for it – learn about it for yourself. The truth will set us all free and then justice can take place and then unity will appear.

So much for brevity.  How’s by you?


  • Hadn’t realized it has been so long since I’ve posted.  SORRY!
  • Have not received any pictures or video from the David Wilcox happening.  I so wish I had!
  • Almost through month 11 of 24 month Yarn Diet – have only bought 7 skeins of yarn: 6 skeins for things I’m knitting for the Force of Nature & 1 skein for a swap.  Studmuffin said that yarn bought for our kids’ needs/wants doesn’t count, and I feel oogy about giving stash as part of a swap package……
  • Working on the book in fits & starts
  • Been seriously in the pit of depression since August, with a couple of weeks reprieve sprinkled through October & November, enhanced by difficulty sleeping most nights.  I think I need a different antidepressant……..Am afraid to change because of side effects.  :::sigh:::  All I want to do is go hide in bed.
  • Still eating tomatoes from the garden!  I definitely wanna write a serious post about the garden successes and failures, but it’ll have to wait.
  • Knitting is happening.  Photos of knitting are happening.  Blogging about knitting – not happening, obviously.  I have plenty of more yarn crimes to post but I got so few comments on the last one, I’m kinda thinking I’ll abandon the yarn crimes posts……
  • Got diagnosed with high blood pressure last week.  Both parents & both brothers on BP meds I found out this summer, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Hope the hed I got is the right one for me.
  • Duke of Curl is mostly laying about playing video games.  Force of Nature a royal pain in the tuchis but she’s 15 so what else is new?
  • Really have to find a job – seriously do not want to. Many reasons – mostly too personal and/or specific to post here, but I’m praying on it.
  • Working on my French again in hopes of becoming somewhat proficient & keeping the brain sufficiently stimulated…..
  • My friend Shannan R. has beaten cancer!! She got a clean scan
  • Working out has seriously stalled.  Please pray for me!

I’m also asking for prayers for friends: Cindy T., Tangela S., Cheryl P., Vicki C., Tracy B., Hayden L., James G., Marge W., Grace S., Malulinka H.

So how’s by you?

Ze garden so far

Time for an update!  Thanks to the Force of Nature for all the pictures taken just a few minutes ago.


looking West to East, roses in the foreground – I wished I’d gotten some pics of them 3 weeks ago when they looked AWESOME.


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The bed closest to the gate (bed 1)

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Other end of bed 1.

I’ve had serious slug challenges – replanted beans, peas & cukes 3 times……


Another view of bed 1 – this was our original garden bed.


Keyhole garden view 1  Yes, the tomato is *taller* than the corn!  I planted dwarf corn so I wouldn’t have to climb a ladder to harvest it.  Next year though, I’ll plant full size corn in the keyhole!  I may make a corn & cucumber only KG……


Keyhole garden view 2 (to the left of view 1)


Keyhole garden view 3 (to the right of view 1)


I think Studmuffin thought this wasn’t gonna work at all.  Perhaps next year, I’ll combine 2 cages to make a bigger tower…or maybe some kind of KG….

Bed 2 (no picture) has just a few volunteer garlic plants – sweet potato slips should get planted this week along with companion tomato plants.  Bed 3 (no picture) is planted with cukes, canteloupes & a couple of watermelons.  I still need to plant some pumpkins…..

I love organic gardening.  And I love GARRETT JUICE.  I think it has made a big difference.  I need to spray some tonight as I was gone this past weekend. There will be more pictures (hopefully this week) of the front gardens soon.  How’s your garden growing?

Keyhole gardening resources

I am loving my keyhole garden (KG)!
Back in April.  Note the bird deterrent hanging there.  Don't laugh too hard - it works!

Back in April. Note the bird deterrent hanging there. Don’t laugh too hard – it works!

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing; I had a big slug problem but now I have food-grade diatomaceous earth & that has helped. The extremely unusual weather patterns have meant that I’ve not had good luck in direct seeding my KG but I will overcome that.
I know now that in building my KG my layers were too thick since the top of the garden had dropped about eighteen inches already, but I have plans to build two more which I’m collecting cardboard for.  One of the new ones will be my permanent asparagus bed!  I promise to take some more photos very soon. I also hope we can build one at the Baha’i Center here.
My parents were here for a few days and are now interested in building their own KG. Yay! I pray that the “KG infection” spreads! I sent them an email with a bunch of links & I hope others will find it useful too. My dream is to see these popping up in backyards (or any yards!) all over the place.
My parents will need to do something like this to keep the critters out!

My parents will need to do something like this to keep the critters out!

Here are some good links for websites:

This was the first website I ever saw about keyhole gardens:
(Watch the videos too)
An article about them & Dr. Tolman:
Dr. Deb Tolman’s DVD on how to:
An overview of keyholes at Dave’s Garden:
These guys sell kits which look really good!:
About halfway down this page, there’s a very good photo of an intensively planted keyhole garden:
(However, this guy has NOT sloped the planting area, nor filled the garden to the top, but I’m being picky….)

Facebook page: – this is really good to look at to see the materials lots of other people have used, and many times Dr. Tolman will answer questions directly.

And some good links for videos:
Dr. Deb talking about her gardens:
Very sweet animated video about KG’s:
Keyhole Farm (the kit people) made this video:
This page has several lovely videos of keyholes in arid, rocky southern Africa:
Lots of resources here too:
This could be my favorite of all the videos:
(It’s unusual in that men are shown helping….and you can ignore the recommendations against tomatoes & corn!)
More Dr. Deb:

I encourage y’all to watch all of these ‘cos it will give you a good idea of how to make your garden. Go to Google images & search for “keyhole gardens” & it will show how people have used all different kinds of things for the walls.  I find it inspiring!

Even though hers aren't raised up the way mine will be, I like her layout!

Even though hers aren’t raised up the way mine will be, I like her layout and her enthusiasm!!

Climate change means WEIRD weather


Weather Nerdiness & RANT ahead!



When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.

-Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki tribe)

So last winter was quite warm, and this spring has been cold and wet and WEIRD. Last weekend, Friday thru Sunday, we got 6 & a half inches of RAIN.  That’s a LOT of rain!


Keyhole garden pictures

It’s a lovely day so this will be mostly pictures.  🙂

my homemade pea tower standing proudly

my homemade pea tower standing proudly

finished keyhole garden

finished keyhole garden – The reed fencing surrounding the garden was suggested by Studmuffin so that the neighbors would not think I was building a garbage dump.  The fencing cost about $25 and was by FAR the most expensive part of the process.

the Force of Nature's Strawberry plant

the Force of Nature’s Strawberry plant.  The sides are supported by old electrical conduit (here on the property when we bought the house) wire fencing tomato cages (extra stuff from when we made them 10+ years ago) and scavenged cardboard.  There are a few concrete blocks that I don’t know where they came from….maybe Studmuffin bought ’em? Maybe they were here when we moved in? I don’t know….. Oh yeah and zip ties.  I did buy those – like $4 for 150.

The "basket" - approx. 1' diameter composting/watering tube

The “basket” – approx. 1′ diameter composting/watering tube – all of our compostable kitchen scraps now go in here

A view from above thanks to the Duke of Curl

A view from above thanks to the Duke of Curl – oh yeah, the straw mulch – we bought that.  but we buy between 2 – 5 bales every year, so I didn’t figure that into the costs.

"Juliet" grape tomato - planted on April 6th.  It has DOUBLED in size in this week.  I'll try to take a picture today.....

“Juliet” grape tomato – planted on April 6th. It has DOUBLED in size in this week. I’ll try to take a picture today…..  I did take a few more pictures along the way which seemed to have gotten deleted by accident (grrrrrrrrrrr).  After  saying over & over & over that I need to take more pictures – I finally gave that up when I decided to use my limited energy to build it, rather than document it.

one of 2 'border' nasturtiums.  I have difficulty in growing these from seed. But I love them: they trail, they keep away bad bugs AND you can eat them in a salad.

one of 2 ‘border’ nasturtiums. I have difficulty in growing these from seed. But I love them: they trail, they keep away bad bugs AND you can eat them in a salad.

The caged tomato

The caged tomato – the strawberry plant is on the other side of the basket to the far right (not in picture)

The Force of Nature's foot.....ummm...yeah...tthe kids & I take foot pictures. We think it's funny.

The Force of Nature’s foot…..ummm…yeah…the kids & I take foot pictures. We think it’s funny.

Extreme marigold close up : marigold are a wonderful thing to plant I think.  I got these on sale, they help keep away bad bugs, and they reassure my husband that I'm actually gardening and not just hoarding cardboard.

Extreme marigold close up : marigold are a wonderful thing to plant I think. I got these on sale, they help keep away bad bugs, and they reassure my husband that I’m actually gardening and not just hoarding cardboard.

Marigold <3

Marigold ❤

This garden is chest high on me.  I planted a bunch of seeds: cucumbers, sunflowers, zucchini, summer squash and corn.  Some of the clever birds around her have already discovered the I have added a string tied from the side to the tomato cage with a dangly CD to scare them off.  Hope it works.

This garden is chest high on me. I planted a bunch of seeds too: cucumbers, sunflowers, zucchini, summer squash and corn. Some of the clever birds around here have already discovered the corn….so I have added a string tied from the side to the tomato cage with a dangly CD to scare them off. Hope it works –  it looks VERY trashy….  🙂

The Force of Nature - almost 15 years old: one of my 3 favoritest things I've grown EVER!!!

The Force of Nature – almost 15 years old: one of my 3 favoritest things I’ve grown EVER!!!

Yea the garden!

I’ve been digging and planting. I want to write a lot more…but the Duke of Curl is on my puter. So I’m doing this on my phone. Gorgeous weathertoday. With the help of the kids, I got the main structure of he keyhole garden put up today. Yay!

Alabama Fried Garden….not just yet (many pics)

WARNING: what follows is bunch of hoohah and flummery designed to produce laughter.  The plants are real, but the grandiose titles are NOT.

Right outside my back door is my plant nursery and green water station:

“Green” water station – the dripping condensate from the AC unit which I use to water plants with. Look out Sierra Club!

Plant “nursery” – a couple of Jiffy plant starters from Home Depot and a jelly jar with water & a sweet potato in it. The table was from my little girl’s playset (at least 10 yrs. old) that’s used for all kinds of things now.

This leggy looking thing is my lone gardenia bush. It isn’t pretty, but this year it has had more than 30 blooms on it, all smelling heavenly.

The herb garden. It’s a blooody mess. Also right outside the back door.A wonderfully smelly rose. French. Named after Napoleon's empress but cannot remember the actual name...

The Rose Garden – currently under-pruned, under-fed and overrun by morning glories.

The Force of Nature painted this sign for me last year. My favorite part of the garden by far!

Another lovely stinky rose – underfed underpruned yadda yadda yadda

The Squash Boudoir – looking very healthy – thank you rattail radish!

The Bean Trellis of Magnificence – Studmuffin laughed hard at the last one I made 2 years ago; said he’d build a good one for me. I’m still waiting. This one’s doing ok so far…..

Purple Vionfo Trioletto – supposed to have purple beans – seen the flowers, no beans as yet.

The cucumber plants will go here, once they are out of the “nursery” I’ve planted cukes 3 times so far this season with zero luck in getting actual plants.

Sweet pepper plants – they look MUCH healthier in the photo than they do in real life….

Last year I grew sweet potatoes for the first time….kinda by accident. This is a self-grown slip starting to flourish in the “back bed” that almost never gets fully planted. By the time I’d left AL, I’d planted 2 more slips and have 4 or five in the nursery. My family had better learn to like them; I love them!

Some of the 30+ tomato plants I bought/started this year interplanted with basil. So far, we’ve had just a couple from the “Frankenstein Black” plant.

My sole canteloupe vine – it has 2 melons on it! In 20+ yrs. of gardening, I’ve never gotten canteloupes. I hope it pays off this year but hey! I’m a Red Sox fan: I know from “patience”

The Unknown tomato – I lost a few tags for some of the mail order plants. This one could be ‘Indian Stripe’……

This giant tomato cage holds 4 or 5 plants: Cherokee Purple, Red Grape, Beefsteak – all ones I was trying to ‘heel over’ til I could figure out what to do with all these extra. They decided to grow like gangbusters and so now there all in one big tomato cage.

Pretty purple bean flower. I better get some beans tho’

Trying to be arty here….

Part of my somewhat stitched-together watering “system”……The blue hose is the main one, but it isn’t quite long enough….blah blah blah

The Jardin de Chez Oney – from a different angle. The garden sign is on the right side of picture, and the ‘yellow mound’ is the back bed….know now as the Sweet Potato Corral

But wait! There’s MORE!

Out in front of Chez Oney:

On one side of the front door

On the other side of the front door

The front of the manse

I plant Zinnias for Boris – he likes to eat the leaves. This one was kind of amazing – it has like HUNDREDS of petals.

I was very careful to get varieties of zinnia & cosmos that would be interesting colors….but magenta is what lived.

I bought these hot peppers at Kroger. Pretty, but they are not gonna make it……

In each of the stumps, I planted ….GIANT pumpkins!

I sure do hope they make it!

The leaves are HUGE.

My hands aren’t really big hands, but here’s an idea of the size of the leaves. Looking forward to Hallowe’en.

My first harvest of the year!




You might notice in some of these pictures that our lawn is mostly GREEN despite days of super high temps and no rain. This is because of 3 things:

1. – we have a mulching mower

2. – We cut it long (or not at all when it’s dry)

3. – It is not all one kind of grass.

In the 15 years we have lived here we have never watered it, fed it or seeded it.  True, it doesn’t look like a putting green and it is occasionally shaggy, but it isn’t brown & dead looking like so many yards are and I fully expect this lawn to outlive me, however long I should live.  Take that Scotts & MiracleGro!

Coming soon….

YARN CRIMES! They’ve been building up for a while now…. your patience will be rewarded. :o)     Now I’m tired/sleepy and my sinuses are bothering me big time – neither of which contribute to comedy, so waiting is in order.

-I get to go to breakfast in the morning with one of my dearest friends, so that’s lovely.

-I’ve ordered all of  tomato starts for the garden – all grown organically and within a 2.5 hr. drive from here; 15 different varieties in all, I planted 32 pots of various things this week (including 2 giant pumpkins for the front yard), plus I fixed the hose the right way this time so now can properly water the cosmos & zinnia seed/seedlings in the front. More gardening happening this weekend…..

-No.1 Son got a part-time job yesterday. Thank you Lord.

-Oh YEAH!  Today is the third anniversary of my mitral valve heart surgery.  The wonderful old organ is bonging away just like it should, I remember to take my meds 99% of the time and life is good. Yep, I need to take more exercise and lose a whole lot of my excess “insulation” but I am grateful for ev’ry breath. All the glory be to God!

-The yarn came in to finish the baby blanket for Blythe and I can go to Pensacola to give it to her!  Here’s the link to the conference:

And there are 7 of us from New Jubilee who will be attending, so we will sing (i.e. take over) during one of the devotions. I am very glad!

-Bobby Aazami, who was so effin’ hilarious at the last conference, won’t be in attendance this time because he just got MARRIED!  I am so happy for him – I could really explode into fireworks and rainbows. Here’s a link to his & Fiona’s most beautiful day:

Can’t sleep…it must be time to write!

I have been shockingly neglectful of my wonderful readers as of late; I’m sorry.  I think of you daily, but opportunities to write have come rather seldom in the last two months.   Since my computer is in the kitchen/dining area, the modest peacefulness I need to get my thoughts together has been nearly impossible to find here at the zoo/ Chez Oney.

I woke up about 45 minutes ago – hot, hot, HOT!  It’s about 30% hormones, 20% the heat wasn’t turned down at bedtime like usual and 50% the cat sleeping on my head. I adore my cat and generally I like it that she has decided to sleep up on my pillow instead at my feet where I can alternately not move whilst falling asleep so I won’t disturb her or seriously disturb her by kicking her in my sleep. However, as the night deepens, she has a tendency to curl herself around the top of my head and I get overheated.  It’s a nice problem to have: she purrs, is very fluffy and still smells like soap. So I put on a little jazz and settle into the keyboard.

Some knitting content(pictures will be added in the next 24 hours):

  • A hat for the Duke of Curl’s best friend. His birthday was 12/2 – I finished this on 12/23.  I enjoyed doing this and I think I might make one for myself at some point.

Kali the cat shows her usual contempt for photos & knitting.

  • Lovers’ mittens for the newlyweds.  Still in progress; about 2/5 done.  The wedding was New Year’s Eve – I plan to get this done by the end on the month and mailed off

    It's further along than this...but you get the idea.


  • Hat for the Duke of Curl – he wants cables. I got it about 40% done, had him try it on – TOO TIGHT!  Had to frog back to the ribbing, then went up 3 needle sizes.
  • I had planned to make a bunch of mittens for nieces and nephews for Christmas; still haven’t made any.
  • Had started a few Bandana cowls for my best girlfriends in NH and VT.  Now I’m aiming for the end of February
  • My birthday is in December, so I got myself a few skeins in a Sundara “grab bag”; SO lovely.  And my friend brought me some Wollmeise from her business trip to Germany. Yay!

I messed around to try to get near the colors. FAIL.

  • I will be seeing my friend to whom I had promised the “Naval Knockoff”  sweater (for 11/11) in April, so I gotta get crackin’; I have only a tiny bit done ! She called me last night out of the blue – it was so good to hear her voice!
  • I am still planning on making: the Aran afghan for Chez Oney, mittens for No. 1 Son’s fiance, mittens & a cardigan sweater for me, a second “Naval Knockoff” for another friend, an afghan in yellow for another dear friend, mitts for dad, socks for Studmuffin……I already have yarn for all of these.
  • The Yarn Harlot made things all year long for people so that her Christmas knitting wasn’t so crazy; this is something I must try!
  • Completely lost my mojo for hexipuffs. Maybe during the summer……
  • I bought no yarn on our holiday travels though I did come close.  I was at a crafts supply store in Roanoke, VA and almost got some for a project I have planned for my dad. I decided not to get the yarn because it wasn’t anything I couldn’t get at home easily, which I did buy at Jo-Ann Fabrics this past week. (on sale y’all)

We’ve had a bit of a time with our cars – they are good and reliable but are aging and then one car was in a COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE ACCIDENT (I’m trying to let go of it – not very successfully I might add!) which was expen$ive in a BIG way for us.  So I’m back on the yarn diet and I hope to keep it for the ENTIRE YEAR . I don’t think that will be too painful now that I have access to the stash, plus a dear friend gave me a gift certificate to my LYS for my birthday, so if I get really itchy for new yarn, I can use that.

Am planning this spring/summer’s garden!  And am getting back into sewing. I may write a little about the sewing, and I will DEFINITELY write about the gardening.

My phone is charging right now so that’s why the delay on photos. Should have them up by 1/17 (up 1/18!).  Time to try to go back to sleep (I’m yawning right now. yay!).

So how are you?  I LOVE getting comments. 🙂

Hey y’all-

I’ve been thinking LOADS about posting….but I haven’t had much that was POSITIVE to say.  I guess it might be better for me to say that there really have been many positive things going on, but there’s been some serious negativity goin’ on as well, and I’ve let it dominate my thinking.  Truly, I’m am working HARD on focusing on the positive stuff but I’m still not very good at it.

So the biggest burr under my saddle is Number One Son.  He asked to come and stay with us for the last week before he moves to “Wild Wonderful West Virginia” and I agreed after he swore UP & DOWN that he would obey my rules.  Studmuffin was in Cali on business and I was feeling under the weather (which has been glorious! the weather I mean…), but there have been a fairly LARGE number of thefts from his apartment and I took pity on him.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?????!!!!!!???

Almost immediately after he arrived, he was disobedient to the house rules and rude to me to boot.  Then after he’d been here for a few days – casting his thick miasma of negativity & disobedience all around Chez Oney – Ian and I had a stupid argument, which left Ian very angry….so he decided to vandalize several things of mine after I left the house, including my iPod.  This is VERY distressing behavior for him to exhibit; there had been another incident years ago but not nearly as focused or extensive.  Truly a massive overreaction and thus he has earned himself several sessions with the family therapist.

Please pray for us.  I’ve had several artistic disappointments as well  all clustered together along with this and the heart thing….it’s really bringing me down – making me wonder if I’m the big problem here.  Thanks.

On a positive note – the camera charger has been located!  It was in my van attached to the voltage inverter and wedged under a seat I think.  Studmuffin found it and I immediately charged it up and took some pictures outside .  I was hoping to get some of the kids before Number One left but today he had me so rattled…oh well perhaps when we go pick up the Force of Nature in WV in a few weeks.

So here they are:

Squash plant 1

This is the best looking bit of the garden. Front and center is a summer squash plant that *really* didn’t look like it was gonna make it there for a while;  it’s rather better now. On the right is parsley and a *volunteer* cypress vine.  To the left is a cucmber plant that I hope will start being productive VERY soon, and the lush backdrop to all this are the Kentucky Wonder beans….which have yet to flower (grrrr) so no beans so far.


All that ferny foliage is the cypress vine.  Then there’s the petunias and I’m sorry but you can barely see the pepper plants on the right.

Copy of DSCN1585_479

Here’s a few of the ‘maters.  These are all about the size of ping pong balls.  As soon as they get a little bigger and start ripening for real, this is what happens:

pecked tomatoes

The birds start pecking them.  I think it’s because it had been so dry.  I’ve never had this trouble before; so far I composted more tomatoes that had been pecked than I’ve harvested.  I though a birdbath might help, so I set one up:

cracker birdbath

How’s that for a Cracker birdbath?  I certainly was NOT gonna spend any $ on the flying pests…..  It’s hard to tell if it has had any effect as we’ve had more rain lately.

watermelon overview

Most of what you see here is watermelon vines. The white things are (mostly) the boundaries of the 4’x4′ little garden bed that I’ve tried to grow watermelons in for 3 years.  Now it’s really working!


You can see the next-to-biggest one here…along with the pecan sapling in the right foreground (grrr….).watermelon4

This one is growing upright because I put a couple empty tomato cages near the plants for the vines to ramble over.  I’ll be interested to see whether or not this one makes it to full size.


This is the smallest one and that’s my foot for comparison (I *do* have big feet).  I took this picture a couple of days ago, and this thing has almost doubled in size.


The midsize model….


These are the 2 largest.  I can hardle WAIT until they are ripe!  I adore watermelon. And there are more ityy bitty ones on the way…..

Now for more pics:


Her name is Gucci and she is the very friendly pit bull next door.  We reach over the fence to pet her – she is VERY big but lovable.  I think she lives to hear our garden gate latch lift. And to bark at the cat.  Speaking of which….

Bluto 1Bluto 2

Bluto the Fabulous is STILL with us.  These pictures make him look really good; in person he looks like he has mange.

Sunflower petunia

I planted some sunflowers to keep the sun off the cucumbers.  Not too many sunflowers actually came up, which may be a good thing because the cucumbers seem to adore the sun….

other squash plant

The other squash plant – this thing is huge! So far no squash vine borers have found this. YAY!

Lest you think everything looks great:

garden bed 2

This is bed #2  in a sad state of neglect…which will get worse before it gets better.  I have great intyentions for this bed – really I do.

Boris and the daisies

Boris is so pretty….here “smelling” the daisies.  He’s not reallly enjoying their scent – he’s deciding whether or not to eat them.  If they were zinnias, they’d be goners.

eyes shut Boris

I’ve taken lots of pictures of the dogs…hundreds probably, but never have I gotten one with their eyes shut – til now.  I think it’s kinda cute.  The Force of Nature is kinda cute too:

the force of nature silly

I hope to post more tomorrow.  G’night.

Sometimes I’m Up…and sometimes I’m just OK

  • harvested first yellow squash from the garden today:  UP
  • looks like we really and truly will have watermelons from our own garden soon – BIG ones! : UP
  • not many tomatoes at the moment – the birds are still pecking a lot : DOWN
  • didn’t get to go to North Carolina last weekend even though I’ve been looking forward to it for MONTHS. : DOWN
  • Because I didn’t go, at least 2 other people didn’t go:  DOWN
  • Studmuffin will get a $ bonus from his work soon:  UP
  • Studmuffin has work : UP
  • the awful tangle in my own personal finances after the PayPal hacking is resolved in my favor by the bank : UP
  • they learned EIGHT new songs in NC last weekend : DOWN
  • I signed up for the “50 Songs in 90 Days” :UP
  • I haven’t written a thing : DOWN
  • Studmuffin is in California ’til Friday : DOWN
  • Studmuffin is in California ’til Friday : UP
  • I’m going to Michigan soon with Tangela for almost a week : UP
  • Adrienne cannot go : DOWN
  • WAY behind on swaps still : DOWN
  • Got 2 done last week tho’ : up
  • Found out that the amazing singer at MJ’s funeral is named Judith Hill : UP
  • Been working out every day : UP
  • zero (net)weight loss in 3 months : down
  • I can knit : UP
  • I have lots of yarn and know how to get more : UP
  • I have amazingly wonderful terrific friends who love me : UP UP UP
  • my heart is beating and I am healed: UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP UP

Life is good.  : o)

How I love the Weekly World News….


I just realized that they have a website:

Some of the headlines this evening:





If your life is feeling too serious or heavy, cruise on over – yer bound to feel better after reading some of that….stuff.  I think my favorite part of the website is their subheading: The World’s Only Reliable News

Cracks me up.  :o)

So, ok, yeah, I promised a post by  last Thursday…but that was BEFORE.  “Before what?” you ask.  Well, take your pick:

A: Michael Jackson died

B: I fell on the treadmill at cardiac rehab


C: It got *so* hot that, in the words of one of the kids’ friends:  “My face is melting off.”

It’s probably a rather complex interaction of the above three factors contributing to my lack of motivation to sit in front of the ‘puter and write.  Since I brought them up, I suppose I oughta comment on all three.  I will, but first a picture:


Homeschool Kid (clutching green pillow) went off to Boy Scout camp this morning for a week of mosquitoes, whipporwills calling all night long, tent w/o air conditioning and parent-free time.  It’s his 3rd year and he likes it.  We’re happy he likes to go. REALLY happy.  Unfortunately, the Force of Nature *quit* Girl Scouts a few months ago (“too girly and boring”, i.e. not enough camping, whittling and Greco-Roman wrestling)  and is *not* off to camp this week…though she’ll be off to the West Virginia Grandmother’s place for two weeks later in the summer.  As you can see, the camera battery charger has NOT magically re-appeared, so I’m “stuck” with the camera phone still.

So back to the comments: I’ll go in chronological order and begin with “C”.

It should come as NO surprise to anyone that it is HOT and MUGGY in Alabama in the summertime, because it is like that EVERY summer and I love it.  However, we have had, starting in May or was it April? – over 40 days of daily rain which then turned to high temperatures and NO rain.


As previously reported, our AC died and we went 3 weeks without AC, using only fans, but it started getting up to 99 degrees, plus add in the fact that we no longer have the three maple trees that used to shade the house, so it’s been WICKED HOT which means I’m only good for sitting in front of the fan eating popsicles spraying myself with icewater.


About a week and a half ago, we bought 4 AC window units that have made the interior of Chez Oney much more bearable, but I still am not generally wanting to sit in front of the ‘puter to write….because all I would write about is how HOT it is and how my garden is faring in the heat (fairly well right now, thanks for asking).

Fortunately, this afternoon a slightly cooler front has blown in. YAY! Maybe all the cucumber plants won’t die now.

As for “B”; this week marked the past halfway point for cardiac rehab, and I’ve been feeling pretty good about it.  I think of this fella every time I go, though (especially what he says at 1:42).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I was feeling good that I hadn’t yet fallen on the treadmill.  Pride goeth before a fall, and on Monday, I fell when I tripped over my own ginormous feet.  There were lots of folks around to see it too- an added bonus.  And the nurses were really concerned – it took a lot of explaining, with additional confirmation from Studmuffin, that I really AM a klutz and I wasn’t dizzy, and I didn’t blackout or have a stroke, etc. I scraped a good bit of skin off my left knee/leg, but it was my right hip that has had the most sustained pain since then.  So I’ve been pretty sore, especially depending on my activity level.  Really, I’m fine overall and it did not stop me from going back to rehab on Wednesday or Friday, but I am still feeling it.

Lastly, here’s “A”:  MJ died.

I’ve been a huge fan of his artistry over the years and I learned of his death just before I went on the air Thursday night*.  I *am* sad that he’s gone….but I’m glad his suffering is over; the Michael Jackson that I loved and admired so greatly has been “gone” for a looong time.

As another local dj said Friday morning, since he was about 5 years old, Michael Jackson never had a normal day in his life.  Even Elvis Presley, who got rather weird and died before he was 50, had a fairly regular upbringing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now: fame is NOT good for people. If you’ve not had any, trust me: for most of us, it does NOT enhance our character at all.  So that has been rather depressing and has not made me wanna write a whole bunch.  I feel very bad for his parents, siblings and his children.

Of course I have to share a few of my favorite songs of his…these are ONLY a FEW.


Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “A few MJ favorites – MP3 Music Stream…”, posted with vodpod


I’ll post something a little happier perhaps tomorrow. Nighty-nite,y’all


*  I host a weekly radio program, “Blues Classics” on WJAB, 90.9 FM, Thursday nights from 6:30 pm to 8 pm (Central Time).  You can listen on the Interwebs here:

Carrots and beets, sewing and knitting

How the stylish go gardening….

Gardening is in full swing here at Chez Crazie.  Plenty of weeds to pull,too hot to do it…y’all know how it is.  Yesterday I ate the 3 beets that came out of the garden (the birds ate most of the seeds this lvery wet spring).  The largest one was almost the size of my fist!.  Supa delish.  Plus we got carrots – about 25 actually edible carrots of some size.  Granted, I’d planted short carrots because of the overwhelming clay content of the soil but, I’ve never gotten carrots that one could really eat before since we moved here.  I’m basking in the little victories.  :o)  Pictures were taken, but they are the kind that need developing so good luck on ever seeing those babies……

The Force of Nature decided last week that there would be no more mucking about – she needed a charcoal grill of her very own.  She took about $50 from her savings account and went and bought herself a really nice grill which we as her parents are allowed to use occasionally.  Of course, since she’s 11, we must supervise her grilling attempts, but she wanted her own grill.  I *love* that girl!!  She has also informed us that, even though 2 months ago she swore up and down that she HATED and LOATHED summer camp last year, now she wants to go. Since I’ve not been sleeping well this past week, and my own ‘puter is still on the blink, I’ve not been able to research what I can do about this so late in the game.  Ahhhh- the capriciousness of youth…

Some sewing has taken place, altogether too slowly unfortunately.  The sewing area is in the garage which not only has no AC (but then again neither does the rest of Chez Crazie right now…and for the foreseeable future, heart surgery being rather expensive and all) but it has no insulation and no fans.  I’m still working on the toile for *the* summer dress I want to make about 5 times in different fabrics to wear a lot; it’s quite an easy pattern, but I am out of practice and then of course the wee bairns and the dog-a-boos all wanna be right in my lap while I work and asking 50 skidillion questions, which I as their mother must answer *immediately* or the sky will come crashing down….   Ummm, just for the record: the dog-a-boos ask no questions, but they do want to be petted right now and said petting continued until my arm falls off or they expire from old age.  After all, whatever could I be doing that could be more important than that?

Knitting is still a refuge though. Most everyone knows not to bother me overmuch whilst that is happening AND knows that they must wait until the end of the row unless blood or fire is involved.  Tonight I cast on a full size test swatch for the baby blanket I hope to make several times over for all the babies in the famdamily this October/November.  I’m using a new yarn for me – Caron’s Simply Soft  Eco.  Yes, it’s mostly acrylic (and so very washable; verra important) not terribly expensive and comes in some lovely colors.  It’s also got some post-consumer recycled plastic as part of the fiber content.  It’s a bit splitty, and I don’t have the actual pattern I want to use – I(‘d have to buy the whole book for 1 pattern which I may yet do if this proves at all challenging to recreate – but I think it’ll be nice enough.  We shall see.

Did I tell you about  my purse getting stolen and then returned?    It, like my super-gushy post about the handspun that Sarah gave me last week (Sarah, I take it out and pet it often; I showed it to the mailman…), will have to wait.  Oh yeah, and I’m WAY behind in my swaps…….but life is good.  My heart is STILL beating and I have a wonderful family and beyond fabulous friends and the possibility of musicking fairly soon and enough yarn & fabric to swim laps in if I wished to, plus the new Knitty is out  AND Norah Gaughan has done a bunch of AMAZING men’s sweaters so there’s plenty  for me to smile about.

Sorry for the blog silence….

My ‘puter is still on the blink, still have no air conditioning, and somebody from China hacked my Paypal account.  But let me say this:



They caught it and I didn’t lose any money.  But I do have to change ALL of my passwords, which bums me out just a little.  I can’t even remember what some of the places I’ve put that password are(various sites and all).

On the heart/health tip, my cardiologist is happy with me, and I’m off the hated blood thinners.  Dr. “L” said that it was amazing that we even found what was wrong with me.  So I’m glad to be alive.  I still have a small hole in my side – the wound care clinic has been very kind to me, and daily naps are now optional rather than a necessity as they were before.

Can you say tomatoes?


Yup, I’ve got green tomatoes all over the place (I mean on my tomato plants!); I can hardly WAIT for them to ripen.  I’ve started harvesting the garlic, and am gonna get those effing peppers into the ground!  Ahhh gardening….

Just outside where I’m sitting, we have a covered patio and every year a few birds nest there.  This year we have a pair of  some kind of thrush that are raising their second batch of baby birds.

BabyBirdsScreaming(someone else’s picture; not “my” baby birds – the camera’s battery charger is still missing)

They make a LOT of noise!  But I enjoy hearing them anyway.  I think I’ve finally got Studmuffin trained to watch from a distance – we’ve had a couple of nesting pairs that abandoned their nests after he checked them out.  The pair of thrushes aren’t very big, but they’ve chased away several other nesting pairs of larger birds from nesting on our patio. It’s amazing to watch.

The blackberries and black raspberries are blooming, there’s grapes on the vine and OH!  I just heard some thunder, which hopefully means rain.

I’m still working on my toe-up Jaywalker socks.  There’s not much “give” in this stitch pattern so I have to make them much more fitted to my own feet than any other socks I’ve ever made.  I’ve finished one that will probably get frogged if the one I’m working on now fits better.  It’s kind of a fascinating experiment, and it’s a little too warm here at Chez Oney to work on anything larger.

And I actually cleaned up the stash a good bit and wonder of wonders!  made it possible to sew again.  I think I may cut out a pattern today – God willing and the creek don’t rise.  Anything to avoid fixing my computer…..

I received some FABULOUS handspun fron Sarah….but that deserves a post of its very own, so you’ll have to wait.  :o)

Sweat happens….

Our heat pump, which has never been very muscular in the cooling dept.  has pretty much decided NOT to cool the house and the heat of summer has arrived at last.  So, the house stays cool til’ about noon and then gets really HOT.  We are contemplating various strategies: yesterday we went to se “UP”  (please please please go see it….but NOT in 3d and bring yer hanky) and then we went to the Green Mountain Nature Trail ‘cos it was too early to go to dinner.

It turns 0ut that Studmuffin has *never* been to this place and it was just lovely.  But we walked the trail and I got all sweaty – and this was my day off from exercise.  Oh well.  On Saturday, we got up early, took the dogs and went to Wade Mountain greenway and walked almost 2 miles, so I was good on the exercise tip this weekend.

Today, I get to use a new-to-me piece of workout equipment at cardiac rehab.  Joy – I just hope I don’t hurt myself.  And Studmuffin is running late so we’ll meet there a little late, which is why I have time to post.  Tomorrow I’ve got several dr. visits and hopefully I can get off more of these meds.  I miss my vitamins……

The garden is coming along; I harvested some of the garlic yesterday.  It didn’t get huge, but we planted late anyhoo.  Now I can plant some beans and cukes.  All the tomato plants are looking good – gotta get the pepper plants in – maybe this afternoon.

And I wanna get a dress cut out, and I wanna do a meal plan, and I wanna go to knit night tonight, and…………………..I must be feeling better because the thought of all I need to/want to do isn’t making me want to go back to bed, and the last few days I haven’t required a nap.


Menu Plan Monday and ze gardening begins!

What a GORGEOUS weekend!  I got out into the garden and planted peas, beets, lettuce, parsley and carrots.  I haven’t tried carrots in years because our soil is so heavy (and then there was the potting soil experiment – YUCK!), but the soil was so good in one section of the bed where I was planting I decided to try it again with some fairly short carrots.


The garlic that we planted on the very last day of 2008 is coming up finally.  Studmuffin has been rather worried about it – it’s rather funny to me. And everyone is pretty much over their colds…and I did not get it!

Here’s the menu fer this week:

Mon – homemade pizza

Tues – Chicken of some kind

Wed – Spaghetti & Meatballs

Thurs – Breakfast for dinnenr

Fri – Chicken with spinach (I haven’t a recipe for that yet either)

Sat – Burgers

Sun – Shepherd’s Pie

Having a menu plan has been very good for us – I just have to remember what I need to take out of the freezer ahead of time…….

The weekend wrap up

Here are the headlines:

  • the DH is going out of town for a week
  • the lawnmower was STOLEN – yes, the NEW one
  • one of my dogs ate some yarn – yes, NEW yarn
  • I went into the red in not one but two checking accounts and am mystified as to what the money got spent on
  • the weather is gorgeous
  • ordered a whole mess of garlic to plant
  • have almost completely lost my gardening mojo
  • back to wheezing and not sleeping or taking the nasty medicines
  • figured out something on the ‘puter
  • got a new voice student
  • behind on a couple of swaps and a spamflash
  • various childrearing conundrums
  • knitting
The DH is going out of town for a week. This is good news/bad news.  It’s nice to have a break from each other (and the usual routine expectations that I routinely fail to live up to), and I still,  even after 20 years of marriage, sleep better by myself, but now I have to do all the kid to-ing and fro-ing and that’s rather a hassle. Plus, he’s been extra-sweet lately and I will miss him.  I’m counting it a blessing that he’ll be gone only a week – he was originally gonna be gone for two.  I have a fantasy that I’ll completely clean out and organize our bedroom before he gets back as a kind of gift for him.  Pray for me that I can accomplish it.
Have a wonderful time in San Diego, studmuffin.  By the way, he told me I’d better not blog about him EVER. Yah right – sure thing babe.
Our el cheapo lawnmower died about a month ago from a combination of old age, overuse and neglect.  Studmuffin took it apart to fix it and then got bored or busy with something else and it sits in the incredibly messy garage in pieces.  Finally waking up and smelling the reality, he said let’s go get a new one.  I was all for going back to our previous purveyor of el cheapo lawnmowers, but he said, “Nay, nay,” so off to the giant warehouse hardware store we went.  We found a reconditioned model that seemed to fit the bill ok and we got that.  It cost about twice as much as the previous model but it was Studmuffin’s money so….ok.  I wanted a self-propelling lawnmower,  (note to self – I do not like self-propelled lawnmowers) so that was what we got. We have been mowing the lawn at the Huntsville Baha’i Center this summer as well as our own, or rather Studmuffin, the non-Baha’i husband has been doing it for $ and I occaisionally help him.  We were getting ready to go do that on Saturday when we noticed we couldn’t find the new lawnmower…anywhere. 
Here’s the thing about crime – it makes you feel bad.  I feel worse about how Studmuffin feels about this event than I do about the actual loss of the mower. He was really upset and many bad words were said. It’s all just stuff to me.  Yes, it’s a hassle to replace but oh well.
 We’ve lived here for ten years and we’ve had 4 things stolen:  one bicycle (though that was across the street at the school), 2 lawnmowers and a pitchfork.  From what I hear from other people, I guess that’s not too bad….especially since every one of those things was stored outside someplace (and not in a shed either).  So perhaps next weekend, we’ll go back to the el cheapo purveyor of lawncare implements and get another el cheapo model….if they still have any.  The Christmas stuff may already have taken over.
Natasha, incredibly fierce dog that she is, failed to eviscerate the lawnmower thief (if only the thief had driven a UPS truck, because she’s ALL OVER THOSE).  So in her time of shame, what else is there to do but to get into my yarn bag, take out one of the brand new skeins of Hoobody Fibers’ What’s Cookin’ and chew on it?
She didn’t do any serious damage, but my goodness – what’s up with that?
So I’m not terrific with money and now I can’t remember anything.  As a result of this excellent combination, I managed to go into the negative on 2 checking accounts this week, which of course incurs the wrath of Studmuffin.  I was very upfront about the whole thing and we mostly acted like adults about it, but there was also the major sucking up that had to be done by me as well.  It could have been worse, but when I printed out a bank statement and he saw that it wasn’t because I had bought a gross lot of tchotchkes from Borneo (always his fear), things calmed down a bit. I feel really frustrated because 1)  I thought I was doing better at this and 2) I am trying to save for a trip to Africa early next year and this isn’t gonna help. Drat.
It feels like fall here and it is beyootiful.  I really do love Alabama weather.
A few years back, we ordered a bunch of seed garlic and grew it in our garden over the winter.  We learned a lot and ended up with a ton of garlic.  It confused some of the neighbors – they couldn’t figure out what the heck we were growing.  Studmuffin has been asking off and on about doing it again, so I showed him the website and we ordered it.  It isn’t hard to grow garlic – you just have to make sure it stays weeded.  Fresh garlic is really yummy too.  We do’t have huge garlic needs as a family if the truth be told; we gave away 90% of what we harvested last time.  Who knows why Studmuffin wants to grow garlic again?  Probably just to confuse the neighbors again.  He’ll be doing most of it alone this time, because……..(see below)
Usually when the weather is lovely like this, I want to be outside and messing with the yard….but I have no desire to.  Usually, even if there’s no desire, there’s usually some shame or at least a sense of duty to keep the grounds here at Chez Oney looking presentable.  All of that is completely lacking in me right now.  I am as interested in gardening at this point in time as I am in learning how to butcher a hog…which is to say: not at all.  What has happened to me?  This is so different…..   I may have to start wearing a tinfoil hat or something because I think it’s got to be aliens screwing with my mind.
So it’s like this:  if I take all the medicines the doc gave me for my allergic lungs filling up with fluid (which he says is NOT asthma) I sleep too much, feel weird all the time and my mouth tastes funny, or I don’t take all the medicines and I can’t sleep for all the lung bubbling and wheezing.  What to do?
 My beloved computer boots up slowly. Really slowly and getting worse.  So I decided to find out which programs I actually need when the ‘puter starts up and which ones are just slowing things down.  I searched around on the net, found a really good answer to my dilemma and put it into action.  It worked just like they said it would, but it didn’t speed up the booting enough.  :::sigh:::   Still, I’m grateful for a little bit.
A young man I know, Navid, is getting married.  I’m SO happy for him.  He’s such a sweet guy and I’ve often wondered what was wrong with the young women of today because he’s one of several terrific guys I know who aren’t married and would like to be.  SO it’s gonna happen for him at the end of November, and I’ma try to teach him to sing before then as a wedding gift.  He’d like to sing something at his own wedding.  It’s not much time – God willing he’ll be able to and that I’ll be able to help him.
It’s nice to have a student again – teaching people to sing is fun – if they are motivated and will practice.
While the studmuffin is away, I’ll be able to catch up on a couple of swaps.  He doesn’t like it – thinks it’s pointless, and so gets all passive-aggressive when I need time on the weekends to do swap stuff, which is why I’m behind right now.  AND I have not done a spamflash in 2 months.  My email is acting wonky as it does most of the time so I really need to come up with a better way of sending it so it isn’t such a hassle for me.  Still, it takes a couple of hours to just write the stupid thing……maybe this week.
Louisa’s a brat.  SHe’s just getting into the swing of puberty and it’s gonna be hell for everybody. Again, please pray for us.  Ian is good, but still not getting nearly as much writing done as he needs to to be ready for next year.  I don’t know what to do.  And the oldest boy has called twice in the past week, each time promising to call back with an actual mailing address so we can send him some stuff that he needs.  No, he still doesn’t have a job, he’s not in school, he’s sleeping on people’s couches and still blaming me for his troubles. No, we do not yet have a mailing address for him. Plus, I was horrified to hear what he told his brother:  he’s doing other people’s homework for food money. This is unethical on so many levels.  And his father said something asinine about how at least it shows initiative……  Oy!  Am I the only grownup here?
The knitting is going well.  Love the Shetland Triangle, love the yarn, and now I even love the colors.  I’ll try to put up pics tomorrow. 

A lack of gardening

So the weather is kind of unusually cool right now – 85 degrees and low humidity instead of the usual 95+ degrees and air like soup – and I’m feeling the need to garden.  Last year, my garden was SO pretty and beautiful it could have been on the cover of Organic Gardening magazine…that is until 20+ days 100 degree days hit.  My garden went from comely to crunchy, and I’m still not over it. 

I put in a few annuals out front (not nearly enough of them so it’s truly pathetic looking) and I bought a few plants – a couple of tomatoes, squash and  pepper plants – but I never got them into the ground so they’ve all died from neglect.  The cover crop of annual ryegrass that Bill planted last fall has made it all the way thru its growth cycle and is looking tacky as hell (“Welcome to the ‘White Trash Homestead’!”). However, a few  volunteer plants have sprung up: 4 cherry tomato plants and a watermelon vine.  I’ve done a little weeding and watering and maybe I’ll feed them and mulch them before we go away.  It would be nice to have a few home grown things….or I may do what I’ve said I’d do every year and have not – which is to plant cool season veggies in August and September.  There’s still time for them to mature and I hear they do better than in the spring.  I always want to do it, but since my gardening year begins in mid-February, I’m usually all “gardened out” by mid-July.  It could happen….just maybe.

And of course, the only serious pruning/de-vining thing I did in early spring was to do damage control on the poison oak on the giant pine trees in the back. It’s quite a job and I can never seem to completely eradicate it. I do my best to pull down the vines that have worked themselves way into the bark of the trees and get as much as I can out of the ground, as well as severing all the connections I can find between roots and vines. It worked rather well – I won’t have to do it next year maybe, but lots of other things need doing:  the vinca round the patio is tryna take over (wish my camera was working -it’s quite a sight), there are a number of weed trees that have sprouted up in various places that need grubbing out, there are vines growing over a couple of windows, and the maple tree in the back is almost dead and needs to be taken down.  The blackberry and black raspberry bushes are turning into quite a hedgerow along the back fence; heck, maybe we’ll even get to eat some this year.  I can’t hardly even see the Mock Orange bush that’s back there.

Who knows if I’ll even do any of it?  On days like today, it seems overwhelming.  Especially since I need to get ready to sing at a funeral later today.  I’m honored to be asked, but it is a sad task.