Advent: Dec. 17 Cold, cats and iPad games

Roger checking out Gummy Drop

Roger checking out Gummy Drop

I woke this morning about 4 a.m., why I am not sure, maybe because my hand was cold from sticking out of the covers or maybe it was that I needed a bathroom break, not sure. Actually Roger was part of the blame. She was nagging to get into the bathroom and eat. I have to keep her food there so Sophia doesn’t get into it because of her thyroid issues. I finally turned off the television and decided it was a good idea to tuck back into bed, but only after a little time with Gummy Drop on the iPad. Roger usually snuggles in with me and often likes to watch the movement on the iPad while I am playing games or reading news stories. I fell back asleep and finally got up at 7:30 a.m. CST. James was still in bed amazingly. I can’t believe he wasn’t already running around asking what the plans were for the day.

It was pretty cold in the house and obviously much worse outside. I believe it was about -4 degrees F. Now at 1:30 p.m. it is -9 and going down. By evening it will be sub -20 and dropping. The wind chill should not be much of a factor outside of our door at the time because the sun is shinning and it looks like an absolutely beautiful day. James did go downstairs to the furnace to see why it wasn’t kicking in as often as we thought it should. While there he changed the filter just to be sure it was clean. I suspect it is because we have the little village all crowded around the thermostat and so the temperature doesn’t really register as cold on the thermostat as it is in the rest of the house.

Later this morning, I ventured out to the garage to dig in the freezer for some items to cook. Our garage  is actually part of the house since our master bedroom is over the top of it. While out there  I nearly ended up with frost bite on my fingers. Next trip out there this weekend will be with gloves and a coat. I managed to pull a bag of frozen zucchini and some ham into the house. We had ham and cheese sandwiches with some chicken and rice soup from a can.

I browned up a container of stew meat and we will have stew with dumplings for supper. I found a recipe in my Taste of Home cookbook for some baking powder dumplings, and I actually can’t wait to get going on making that when I am finished here. I think I will only put carrots in with the meat and boil the potatoes up for a kettle of mashed to go with the stew. We never have anything fun to eat, so being home all day and not having to prepare a message for tomorrow, I could take some time to do some cooking and baking. I plan to use up the last of the apples that were in the fridge to make some apple dumplings, but I won’t make those with a full apple as it called for in the recipe. I plan to cut them up a bit and make smaller portions.

Aloe Vera that needs the little ones taken out.

Aloe Vera that needs the little ones taken out.

I did get a couple of loads of clothes washed and watered all the indoor plants. I want to take the new shoots off this aloe vera in the very near future because I am planning to use at least one as a gift. I also have a few items to wrap from our trip on Thursday night. This year James and I decided not to try to guess what the other one wanted. We each picked out our own items, things we needed to get anyway like new jeans and a couple of shirts for him and a pair of winter pj’s for me. I also picked up a Christmas CD. We will put them in Christmas bags that we are reusing, then when we open gifts we will have something from each other. HAHA.

Well, I am off, phone just rang, we have a funeral in church on the 23rd. A woman who reached the great age of 102 has passed on to eternal rest. Seems just when I am about to wonder about the reality of it all, I am reminded of what our life is really about. God’s Blessings to all of you and yours, and stay warm!! That is an order.

Indoor plants

Just wanted to get out of the sickness theme and post some pictures of what the house plants have been up to as of late.

Amaryliss

Amaryllis

This crazy thing has been hanging around for about three years doing nothing. I seriously think it has only bloomed once since my mother died, now it is blooming in May. The funniest part is that it had about three leaves, they all fell off then if grew new leaves and a stem with a flower all at the same time. It will be very nice when it opens.

Christmas cactus

Christmas cactus

This is my orange Christmas cactus, and though it did bloom last winter, I seriously thought I had it out of the light enough to left it go dormant. I think I must have rearranged and not paid attention to where it was setting and now here we have blooms out of season. Yikes.

Rubber tree

Rubber tree

I am enjoying the growth in this plant. Last winter leaves were dropping after turning yellow. Now it is kicking out new leaves like crazy. I should repot it and brace it a bit. Oh well. at least I haven’t killed it yet. Enough for now. I will share more outside, but not at this moment. I need a short nap before message time.

Dead seedlings

Good Grief, I am going to complain a bit before I start. I just had an entire paragraph disappear because the palm of my hand hit the built in mouse on this lap top. I think it is time for a different computer. So, I will try to remember what I wrote, which is never the easiest thing for me to do.

I feel a bit like the time I killed the calla lily that our family received at my mother’s funeral. It was so pretty, and it grew and grew, and one day it was limp and dying and I couldn’t do anything to save it. Today when I looked at the tomato plants in the seedling flat, it was nearly the same story. There were about half of the giant beefsteak looking like a piece of yarn that had been shredded by a flock of birds. It is a good thing that I purchase packets that have lots of seeds. At any rate, I pretty much know what I am doing tomorrow.

The Roma plants on the left are fine, but half the Giant Beefsteak on the right are fried.

The Roma plants on the left are fine, but half the Giant Beefsteak on the right are fried.

The Heirloom Beefsteak will be ok, too. To the right of them, the peppers are starting to sprout.

The Heirloom Beefsteak will be ok, too. To the far right of them, the peppers are starting to sprout.

Seedlings are up!

On day two of Spring, it is very cold and windy outside, so I will keep my focus inside. I checked on the seedlings. Every e flat of tomatoes has seedlings coming up. The Roma flat (seen below) has the most sprouting and that is good. I didn’t plant them last year, and I really feel the soup and the spaghetti sauce suffered flavor without them. Never again will I NOT plant Roma tomatoes.

Roma tomatoes are up.

Roma tomatoes are up.

Tomato seeds are pretty easy to get to germinate. Peppers are a different issue. They want warmth. I had them all in the east window in the small bathroom, and nothing was happening. Well, as I said tomato seeds are easy and some of them were up. They were, however, quite scraggly looking. I finally moved them all to my south window, but I had to do something to keep them off the wood as the oak is being ruined by the water dripping on occasion. I ended up putting them on the top of big plastic tubs to keep the water off the wood. It looks horrible, but I am not going for the house of the year award, I am after seedlings sprouting.

Anyway, it wasn’t until Paulina and I needed to block the light that the peppers got their heat. I hung a dark sheet over the window area to block the light, and wham! The flats were bathed in sunshine and the temperature jumped in the area. Now we have a couple of peppers up to prove their point. I am hoping that the sun keeps shining and warming the area. The temperature has dropped outside, but hopefully the sun through the windows is still warm in the little area.

Two peppers have poked through.

Two peppers have poked through.

Labels on the peppers. The ones that came up are on the far right.

Labels on the peppers. The ones that came up are on the far right.

Large as Roger is, she has to sneak into this area to relax.

Large as Roger is, she has to sneak into this area to relax.

Another batch of tomato seedlings. This saved cake carrier makes a great greenhouse.

Another batch of tomato seedlings. This saved cake carrier makes a great greenhouse.

Here is another idea for anyone not wanting to spend big $$$ on starting their garden. Save those plastic containers that cakes or cheese or meat trays or such come in. You don’t even have to buy them. If you work in a place where people are likely to bring items or order items in there is often one of those plastic containers left to throw away. Rescue it and take it home. They are great green houses for the first couple of weeks. If you really want to be green, find one of those sites that shows you how to make seed starters out of folded newspapers. My husband hates the clutter around the house, and I am getting a bit tired of some of it, but when I am able to save a few cents and make use of something, it is like winning the lottery. OK, so not quite, but I think you understand. One last picture. Here is a plant that has loved its winter home so well, I am not sure it will be happy to head outside. Happy Gardening!!

Asparagus Fern loves the east door area.

Asparagus Fern loves the east door area.

Too big for the pot

We got home to find a little bit of a mess in the bedroom. We might want to blame the cats, but it really was all my fault. I watered the plants last night and I moved things around a bit to get better access to some of the snake plants. In that effort, I took away some of the braces for the big aloe vera plant. It is huge. I have it in one of the pots that we received a plant at my mother’s funeral. Well, I think it has outgrown the pot.

I am just happy that when it tipped over it did not break up. I picked it up and had James find me something that it could go in until I can get it into a bigger more secure pot. About the only thing available was one of the old crocks. I am thinking it is a good fit and will likely stay there forever. This is the crock that I bought at my great uncle’s auction. Here is what it looks like now.

My mother of all Aloe plants

My mother of all Aloe plants

close up aloe

close up aloe

I also want to share one other little tiny plant that is growing in the kitchen. We put an apple seed in one of the cups just to see what would happen. It is a seed from one of our own trees. So we will see if I can get it going. Oh ya, Paulina planted it.

Future apple tree

Future apple tree

And just for the record, here are a couple of shots of the moon tonight. Today was my second to the last day of doing the sub thing. Boy will I miss that place, just hope I get to go back a few times in some room.

Full moon tonight

Full moon tonight

Closer view

Far out view

 

July 3, random stuff

So I have a few pictures to share. Last night after supper, I finally tackled that little garden with the one bridal spirea and an Echinacea plant. All the rest of what is in there is a weed, except maybe the one Shasta daisy. I went at it with the little cultivator, but didn’t get crazy. I was so afraid of hitting the concrete and breaking a tine.

In case any of you don’t remember what it looked like, I had it on the post before with a sort of weird angle, but it shows all of the weeds. I also took the little thing with the frogs floating in an inner tube out from behind the bush on the north side of the porch because I thought it would be cuter here.

Little garden area redone.

Little garden area redone. Those are salvia in the front right.

James was busy relaying these bricks this morning.

James was busy relaying these bricks this morning. The new caption should say “Before.”

Let’s see what else I have in terms of pictures. I am so tired today. I wish this project would be over in town so I wouldn’t have to think about laundry or cleaning houses. I never seem to get to my own place because I am exhausted by the time I get finished with those two houses. I remember doing one of them in an hour two years ago, now it takes all day.

The daisy patch, James took all of these bricks out today.

The daisy patch, James took all of these bricks out today.

Close up of the brick removal.

Close up of the brick removal.

The daisies have not come in well this year, so we are thinking that perhaps it is time to forget the whole thing and mow it down.

Here are a few other projects we cleaned up today. The final pictures are like the title says, just some random stuff. I am so looking forward to the weekend now that the houses are finished and the laundry is folded and ready to put away. No feeling of accomplishment like folding up a line full of clean laundry.

Clematis finally has more strings to crawl on.

Clematis finally has more strings to crawl on.

 

The last few pots of petunias for the year. I just had to purchase some red ones.

The last few pots of petunias for the year. I just had to purchase some red ones.

 

 

 

 

If this is big enough, you should see the asparagus in the middle. I can't wait until next year when we can finally harvest some.

If this is big enough, you should see the asparagus in the middle against the fence rail. It looks more like a shadow than a plant. I can’t wait until next year when we can finally harvest some.

Broken off clematis, hoping to make it grow.

Broken off clematis, hoping to make it grow.

 

 

 

Favorite petunias at this time. I just love that silky looking pink.

Favorite petunias at this time. I just love that silky looking pink.

 

And finally, no post would be complete without some cat antics. Here is Roger playing in the box this morning.

Peek-a-boo!

Peek-a-boo!

Help! Get me out of here!

Help! Get me out of here!

Plans to plant or planting plans

Today was a long day. I spent the morning in Eureka at the office and the ministerial meeting. This afternoon Paulina and I went to Bismarck where she is working on her lifeguard renewal. I had supper with Victoria and Jaxon at Applesauce as Jaxon calls it. He was showing off his new StarWars Legos. Well, tomorrow will be a longer day. I have, literally, a room full of dirty laundry. I also have this tilled up garden that is crying for seeds. It is supposed to get to 96 tomorrow and 97 the next day with possible showers so no better time to put them in. I will hold out the plants until the weekend so they don’t fry up. Enough for now, enjoy!

So much to do!

So much to do!

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