Sunday, August 30, 2009

Change in the air

There is a noticeable change in the air these days, and the leaves have started falling in little bursts. I don't think summer is completely over itself, but this is a nice respite. I haven't really had anything much to say these days (have you noticed?) But I have been working outside a bit. So, let's clear away a few of the cobwebs, shall we?

A couple of days ago, I took the tractor down to Stud Muffin's favorite field to clear some undergrowth out and enlarge the field a bit.

The first time I ever mowed down here, and was carving a perimeter around the field, I drove right into a dirt hill hidden under the shrubs. I decided that the dirt would be better used to fill in some of the lower spots in the field and save my aching back as I lurch around mowing!

I cleared a bit of hillside while I was here too.

This field has the prettiest view, with gentle breezes and would be a perfect homestead for a daughter, if they wanted it! I'm just saying, is all!

This morning, I continued the annual "tossing of the compost." I moved semi-composted material from one bin to the other,

and screened some of the finished back gold into the cart to add to the raised beds I am clearing out. It is a physical job, so it takes me a number of days to finish!

As I looked around, I realized that the wind was up and some of the pears were dropping off the trees.

Think there are enough pears on this one tree?

Time to harvest, me thinks! So, I stopped playing with the compost, got the baskets, and with the help of my fruit eating dogs, picked all the fruit!

Almost all of the fruit has "Spotty Blotch" which is a fungal discoloration of the skin, but doesn't affect the quality of the fruit itself. We had such hard rains this spring and summer, that the soil-borne spores got kicked up into the trees and landed on the growing fruit. Not a problem for me, but I couldn't sell the fruit if I wanted to, looking like this! It reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi, when she sang,

"Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT
I don't care about spots on my apples,
Leave me the birds and the bees - please"

So now, I am trying to figure out what to do with all these pears!

I only got a few apples this year, but the one I ate was sweet and crisp. I forced Studly top take a small bite, and even he liked it. I doubt he will eat a whole apple by himself, though. Kind of like my bread baking, he's not too interested in eating what I grow! More for me!!

Okay, not much more in the apple department! Definitely eating these fresh. Not enough to fill a canning jar!

So there you have it! School has now started... well, at least half of the classes have. One of my classes hasn't been updated since last semester, so there is no content listed and all of the due dates have long since past! Hope they figure it out soon, otherwise my first contact with the professor will be to complain! Not a good start!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And so it goes...

or begins, or something!

I got most of my schoolbooks in the mail the other day. That must mean that the semester is about to begin.

I decided this semester to take an easy course load... NOT! So I have Anatomy & Physiology II (must get an A to get into my program!), Chemistry, Math, and Psychology. Anyone want to help me?? No?

The Psychology is a funny thing. You see, I already have an entire degree in Psych, but the powers that be can't agree that somewhere in my 18 or so Psych classes, I have taken the equivalent to their General Psychology II. Rather than hunt for 30 year old course descriptions of every class I have taken, and try to get the Dean of Students to see my point of view, I am just going to take their stinkin' class and call it done! Having said that, I will either breeze through this particular course, or they will kill me with papers and reports!!

In other news, this has been the week of garden tool repair. I mentioned last time that I replaced the chain on the chain saw. I have neither the talent or the tools to actually sharpen the old, beat-up chain, so I opted for replacement. Someday, in my spare time, I will learn to sharpen it myself. The saw works great now!!

I have also been wrestling with the zero-turn lawn mower. The deck seems out of balance, or maybe we bent one of the cutting blades, so that the grass gets scalped on one side. I have adjusted the deck from front to back, and tried to adjust it from side-to-side. But that particular maneuver requires that I be able to see the blades while the machine is sitting on the level concrete, and I have yet to be able to peer under the mower from a 3 inch space on the ground.

But! I did find out that the mower is still under warrantee, so tomorrow the fix-it man will come out and do it all for me! He, of course, has a hoist to haul the entire gazillion pound machine into the air and reach all the inaccessible spots!

Stud Muffin is working on adjusting the idle on the weed whacker so it will keep running smoothly. He's the whacker expert, if you pardon the term, since my arms get very tired using the thing. Oh, never mind, this explanation isn't going well at all! My mind is going down a rabbit hole that has absolutely nothing to do with garden tools!! We'll just leave it, okay?

The overflow of tomatoes has been turned into two batches of soup. An online search turned up a recipe that was quite simple, and yet had a delicious addition of 4 whole cloves to the mix. That really imparted some wonderful, yet not identifiable flavor to the whole thing.

As mentioned in a previous post, I have also dried some of the tomatoes, and some home-grown red onions.

I set the dehydrator on the back porch because the onions were pretty strong! Soon, it smelled like a hamburger stand out there! And speaking of hamburgers, I put together a BBQ for Studly earlier in the season, and now he's been grilling burgers for me! Tonight, we are going to grill marinated steak outside...yum!

So, that is what is happening around here. I have gotten over my blue funk, but chocolate is always happily accepted. If you were planning on sending some. I'm just saying, is all!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The waiting game

Photo by

(Edit: This post was drafted when I had a galloping case of PMS. I'm better now!)

It is official. I have wasted my entire summer. Doing nothing. Nothing important. Just stuff.

I've worked some in the yard and garden. Mowed, bush-hogged with the tractor, and today, I replaced the chain on the chain saw.

I planted a smaller-than-usual vegetable garden. The squash all rotted in the rain. I ate cucumbers until I wanted to start leaving them in unsuspecting people's cars. I even mailed some to Almost Grown!

The tomatoes are ripening and cover the kitchen counters. I watch them, then feed the spoiling ones to the dogs. I've dried some, roasted some, but they just keep coming. Relentlessly.

I have gone to Reno and Las Vegas and visited loved ones.

I have done a few small sewing projects in my studio. Nothing to write home about.

I have read a lot of books. Played a lot of computer games.

I am waiting. But for what?? I just don't know.

And so, like Tom Hanks' character in "The Terminal",

" I... wait."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The big 2 - 5

(Warning: Crappy scanned photos from the 80's)

Not my birthday, although that would be nice. Heck! My next birthday will be the second anniversary of me turning 25!

No, I'm talking about my 25th wedding anniversary! Yep! Stud Muffin and I have enjoyed a quarter of a century of wedded bliss!

Forgive the hairdo! It was 1984! In the background, the full windows overlooking the ocean in Hawaii.

Can you believe it?!? That's longer than his parents were married, or mine. In fact, we've been married longer than I was alive before I married him!

He informed me that in the twenty-first century, 25 is the "chocolate" anniversary. No useless jewels or precious metals, but really important commodities. He bought me two bags of Hershey's nuggets!

Actually, he said that anyone who could stay married to a boy for 25 years deserves chocolate! I won't disagree with him!!

So, 25 years requires a little celebration.

We did something very unusual for us, and went to an afternoon movie followed by dinner. We saw "The Proposal" which seemed appropriate, and enjoyed it very much. We talked about not remembering the last film we saw in a theater. It's been a very long time... and were getting old enough not to remember too good!

Me and sister Christina

For dinner, Studly had been dreaming of prime rib at the best steakhouse in town. So that's where we went.

My steak and potato dinner was wonderful. Studly wasn't so lucky. He ordered his prime rib cooked medium, and added a lobster tail just for good measure. The prime rib was dry and overcooked. He sent it back and started on his lobster while they got some more prime rib.

According to The Muffin, the lobster was cooked, but squishy... without any texture or flavor. Strike two!

The manager came over and fell all over himself apologizing that all of the prime rib was overcooked that night! He took the lobster back and Stud Muffin ordered a cheeseburger, cooked medium, instead. The manager also sent over some cheesecake for dessert, since I had already finished my entire dinner. Edit: Stud Muffin wants me to say that he was extremely good natured the entire time. And he was, too!

MYS, me, and Christina. Boy, were we young!

The cheeseburger arrived and, you guessed it... extra well done! Strike three!

By now, Stud Muffin was so grossed out he couldn't eat anything but a few bites of cheesecake. He said his stomach felt like "armadillo *ss." The manager came over again, gave us a $25 gift card and comp the entire dinner. We tried to pay for what I (happily) ate, but he wouldn't hear of it.

It isn't often that you go out to dinner and get paid for it! But it will be quite a while before we will be returning to that particular restaurant. Maybe for our 50th anniversary!!