April’s About Done

It’s been a busy month. Little Bear took some super photos of critters the two weekends he was out camping. (the second weekend he was hunting) and I’ll try to add those in. This infernal machine is still driving me nuts, but I’ll have to manage. Must admit, when I was out shopping for plants, I went a tad mad since I was frustrated. They are all tucked into their garden beds to grow or not grow as they will and I’m still unimpressed with Chromebooks. 

The most annoying thing I learned, garden wise, was that lily of the valley are invasive in (as far as I understand) Eastern Oregon, thus many places don’t sell them. Out of the many bulbs..no, they are pips, I think…Anyway, many have been planted in the yard over the years and noticed this spring there are 6 pairs of green leaves and ONE stalk with three bells. Apparently they are invasive everywhere except where I put them. So, found many other plants to put my cash on. The planned list was a bit ignored, but all in all, it was a great deal of fun. There were at least three that should have been discounted, but weren’t. The little things were scrawny and had been frosted earlier. My rescuing heart took them in at the price asked anyway! I rarely buy spring ‘bagged’ bulbs or plants because they often are icky when you open the bags. 

So, the ones on the list that were purchased included a pink phlox that was super tiny (hope it survives!), two daisy plants that were not Alaska Shasta ones, but will do until the seeds eventually come up and bloom on their own (Mayhap the different types will mingle and make a stronger variety!), a bleeding heart (one of the puny plants, must have bled out!), and two parsley starts (rabbits love parsley and at 1.49 a bunch for treats, it seemed logical to try to grow some.). The other plants I found were a purple columbine, an herb called bee balm (wanted one that spread and trailed, this one gets tall, but after looking at it and putting it back more than once, figured I should buy it.), a creeping white and green leaved variegated plant called red Nancy (just because!), a super fun little thing that is considered a ‘steppable’ or a plant you can walk on called ‘lipstick strawberry’ (between you and me, stepping on a strawberry is not a good idea!), and one I saw and had to buy because it has always intrigued me. It is called a Lenten Rose and is often spendy. They were on sale (probably because Lent was over) and so, it is now in the yard. The plants have kind of an ivy looking leaf and thick stems and pale green full flowers. Also purchased cucumber and a spindly pink geranium (must have been in a pink mood…although, it was near the April full moon and that is called a pink moon…), those plants will need to wait a bit to go outside. The days have been super warm and yesterday was in the 80s, but not going to risk it yet. A week ago we were still dropping into the 30’s at night. 

Inside Kris. Well, she’s going to pay more attention to the beauty that is in front of her instead of wishing for the gorgeous moon. In fact, while watching the full moon clear the horizon, thought about exactly that. The black branches of a tree were obscuring the bright globe, but yet, those branches were also lovely and a heck of a lot closer. I still very much want the moon, can moon dream, but know that moon isn’t in my foreseeable future. (And now I want to cry! Silly.)

Probably

Good news? Recently had a mammogram and it was determined an ultrasound was needed. The testing was done and the information was immediately sent to the radiologist, who said it looked good and to come back in 6 months. Well, when the report got to me via the mail, it read, and this is a final quote from the bits of diagnostic info sent on, “Impression: Probably benign. Recommend unilateral right mammogram in 6 months.” Probably. Seriously, after ages of schooling, one might anticipate a more decisive response!! So, for the next few months I will dance through the days, hoping the probability is really negative! 

The lasagna gardens were a success. So was the rabbit litter under the cages! You can see one of the gardens has a lot of grass. (of the two, only one had litter added to it) It is, probably, barley, and elsewhere is a cut green for the bunnies. Except, since this is in a garden with daffodils, which are toxic, we are not taking any from this area. Just in case a stem is sliced and the juices end up on the cutters or in the rest of the greens. They like the tulips, but we don’t want to risk the buns getting something that might probably poison them. 

March is often the month of chills and shine, but this year it appears April is more apt for that weather. No April showers, just night temps of 19 degrees F and cool windy days of mostly sunshine. The first night it dropped, leaving many flowers sprawled in the beds. A bit like tipped over well dressed drunks. Usually, the daffodils have a lot of juice in their stems. A thick clear liquid that drips from the hollow stalks when cut. After the freeze, it almost seemed like the daffodil stems were hollow. A few perked up when the sun came out, thankfully. The rest, well, they were picked up gently and removed from the gardens. My kitchen is now full of vases filled with April gold and a smidge of reds. Should have picked the hyacinth, too. Those resemble  something that could probably be found in the extreme back of the crisper bin of the fridge after several months. EWWWWW! Not looking forward to culling those from the garden. Slimy stalks are not fun, but they will return to the earth and add to the soil as mulch. Turns out the juice in the stems evaporates when they get super cold (science stuff) and the heavier stems can’t lift up as easily when they warm during the day, so they look ‘tired‘.

Haven’t gotten my new laptop/chromebook up and running yet. It isn’t looking as easy to use as this older technology. Older technology that is probably about ready to give up the ghost! This post is being written up in google docs, which I have never used before. It is definitely different. Have been trying to transfer documents from word to google docs and sheesh! Not only do people have trouble getting along in our world, but technology is just as snooty. The one thing I’m looking forward to with the new laptop is checking emails. This machine often skips and deletes something other than the one slated to be deleted or opens other messages than desired or freezes, so haven’t been there in a while. 

Managed to squeeze in a haircut Monday last. It was not done quite like I wanted, but it will probably be ok. Thankfully, hair usually grows. My CGM is being wonky. The company is sending me a new sensor, but even the tech help thinks the problem might be in the monitor. Haven’t heard from Strider in a few days, but he’s got chicks and a GF and both of those take up a lot of time. (plus his house that almost caught fire last month and was torn up by the inspector and now needs repairs) Moses isn’t looking good. He’s a frail, deaf, unkempt aged kitty cat who sleeps a lot. Am taking a lot of photos of the orange kitty…

However, I found a western swallowtail chrysalis that is now inside waiting to emerge. (hopefully!) Planted the common milkweed seeds in hopes of growth and western monarchs and am in the midst of getting the laundry completed for this extra long week in the middle of April. PHEW!

A New Season

Spring is officially here. The crocus are done, mostly because after they were in their last bloom it commenced raining. Crocus in the rain become purple mush. (must remember next fall to purchase crocus of different colors!) The daffs are up and the first golden trumpets are shining out the glory of spring, the double daffs and the narcissus will follow with their own responses. There are buds of green on the lilac and the rose bushes and violets are springing up all over the yard with tiny golden buttons of dandelions. So do love these months! Even the rain is grand, you can imagine it soaking into the soil where waiting bulbs and perennials and seeds are able to soak in the nourishment of moisture and when the sunshine and warmth comes back. Oh! Spring is such a well-dressed, busy time of year!

With the onset of March, illness has ran rampant in the household. Started with steroids, though. The doctor had me lined up for x-rays for my sore lower back and arm/shoulder and gave me a run of steroids to help keep me from all the ibuprofen I swallow. Well, the x-rays showed there really isn’t any reason for pain, but the steroids have absolutely helped. Not sure how long they stay in one’s system, but I’ve only had a smidge of pain now and then. So lovely! The taste, however, was beyond nasty. I wrapped them in bits of Jr. Mints to make them more palatable. (odd, shrank these photos a LOT and they look HUGE on my screen.)

While those were being taken, what seemed to be allergies were attacking. The Craftsman was so sick, he took two days off of work and the doctor gave him sinus infection meds. This gal was sicker than a dog, but had so many errands the first week of March, it was ridiculous. Most days I never leave the house and if I do, it is for one or two errands in a single day and then nothing for weeks. However, this month I had appointments and meds to pick up and discovered my ODL was expired (opted to get the Oregon Real ID and the card is so pretty and shiny. My photo looks like a mug shot, but the card makes up for it!). Since Friday the 12th have not gone or done much of anything til this weekend. Hae barely even been online. Did email my physician and she told me to get a covid test. Although, she told me that last Friday and this weekend has been a complete change from the last few weeks. Taste and scent have returned for the most part and I don’t have a serious tummy ache. What I do have is worse. Intense itching and a rash all over my body. Reminds me of chicken pox without the blisters. Wore socks on my hands to sleep to keep myself from itching at night. Appears it might be a reaction to an antidepressant I’m supposed to take twice a day and only take once. Did tell the physician, but information on the drug suggests it will go away in a few weeks when my body is used to taking it. The drug has some good side effects, though. Am not as tired and have lost weight!!! (although, that could also be from not eating many carbs while I was sick. Half cups of dry cheerios was my main nibble snack in a day.) Oddly, the drug also causes some of the same symptoms as covid, so there you go! Crazy. The kid was sick for a short while, too. He may have escaped most of what his parents had, hoping so!

Baked Sunday, for the first time this month. Making meals has been about all I could handle. Will need to pay better attention. The brownies had to be taken from the oven a bit after being popped in, had to add another 1/3 a cup of flour to the mixture.  (writing was small. Didn’t realise it was 1 2/3 a cup!) The end result looked unusual, but covered it all with homemade chocolate frosting and was told they are very good.

The animal kingdom here has been modified. Moses is enjoying spring, Mittens is annoyed she cannot go outside, and the rabbit kits have been culled. They were fighting and one of the males ended up in quarantine with the nickname ‘Scarface O’Harelip” because his face had been rearranged. Another had been mis sexed and gotten of the girls he was cohabitating with pregnant! At 14 weeks!!! No matter, Little Bear is hoping for two more litters from adult females. There is a squirrel family chasing around the trees and bushes, red wing blackbirds are visiting the feeder with the finches, sparrows, and juncos, and I’ve discovered a few lady bugs!!! Little Bear also brought me a chrysalis of what is probably an angle shade moth. (I’ll put it outside again!)

Turning my back on the lovely end of winter. Looking forward to what the new season has to offer!

Before

This weekend, most of the weather reports have forecast a wintry mix. I’m a huge fan of winter (in case no one noticed),  but with so much starting to bloom, I’m good with snow waiting a few months. This last week I’ve discovered that, in spite of the calendar and the forecast, the season is now summery. I wanted to buy slippers. I have a pair in Alaska and the ones in Oregon were wearing out. I was hoping to wait til I got home (Alaska) to retrieve them from the closet. However, when I went upstairs on Monday, I tripped. Hard. As I stumbled upright, I realised I’d be better off getting new slippers now and not breaking something before I got my other ones. (then again, travel might not happen anyway!) So, I went shopping for an item that is apparently seasonal. I, and the lady behind me in line, were both startled. Eventually, I did find a pair on a discount rack and they finally are stretched enough to fit comfortably! I tossed my duct taped pair away. (remembering mum kept things like this!!)

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My daffodil beds have more flowers each day, the snow will take out the rest of the crocus, but they are almost done anyway.  (I liked the ones with the leaf, there is so much promise in that picture!) I was writing a few St. Patrick Day cards this afternoon and realised I needed to take photos of a lovely tree up the road. (reminding me of a blogging friend!)  It is some sort of fruit tree, I can’t remember which one. I think the fruit is small and hard and orange, but I could be quite wrong!! (I’ve not been here for so long, I am not sure..) The blossoms won’t survive the cold and as I stood under it and photographed branches and flowers, I could hear it buzzing. Such an awesome sound when  you aren’t sitting down with a book in wasp territory!! There are already blossoms on the ground, a scattered snow of petals.

In the craziness around, it is good to remember seasons exist. The solstice will soon occur and spring will take off for real. It is a matter of time, if we can wait for it.

Germs among us

I have friends in areas where the Coronavirus originated. I have followed their stories and felt for their quarantines. (I have laughed a bit about my friends in Shanghai. The cats are loving full time laps, even if the two leggers are getting bored.) I have watched the WHO reports and know it is not as scary as most Americans are making it. It is something to be aware of and not a hoax as our POTUS has inferred. I have followed the CDC information and tried to stay away from internet hype.

However, today, I admit to nervous thoughts. There is a nearby Casino, which was closed indefinitely after an employee was discovered to have this disease. They also attended a sporting event in one of the schools by this house and live in this area. The person is now hospitalized in the next larger town over.

I’m pretty much a recluse, I reckon being a bit of an introvert is a good thing right now! Yet, my family is out and about. Little Bear was going shopping tonight and already people in this part of Oregon are flocking to purchase canned goods and disinfecting items. (is that closing the barn door after the horse leaves? I had my guys laughing a bit at me when I took hand wipes to the casino theatre complex when we saw the last Star Wars movie. And that was for the flu strain that was running amok!)

Yet, the thing I’m concerned about is my family bringing this home through work (The Craftsman did say there are many cars he works on and wears gloves while inside the vehicle because of the filth) or me getting stuck in the Seattle airport (I had that happen once when the boys were younger. It was horrible!). Then, I could get stuck in AK (not that I’d mind, unless the house was already sold and I’d end up living with my sister….YIKES!).

person washing his hand

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I reckon the most important thing to remember right now is to wash hands, stay cheerful, and do what I can to keep my family and myself well. Oh, and to partake in Read an EBook week (March 2-8)!!! I’m not a fan of ebooks, they are so much slower to read than a paper one. However, I have some there I don’t have in paper! I’m also not as keen with hanging out at the library at the moment. (they changed their policy for late books and now there are no fines, so even if the book is due, it really isn’t. Not having a deadline, I just keep them and then feel guilty and then I don’t read them….Odd!) OH! Emagazines are just as cool as books, here is a fun one I subscribe to. InD-tale.

There are a great many of my crocus up and quite a few daffodils, colorful bits of joy! No early iris yet, though. Much as I love winter and hope to see snow when I head north, I’m ready for spring here. I even spied a hummingbird moth (hawk moth or tomato worm moth) the other day!

 

 

Birdies

Lazuli Bunting

Little Bear called me from his Grandma’s to tell me there was a bird in the yard with a bright blue head. I had an idea of what it might be, but wanted photographic proof. I drove the camera up and left him. He eventually caught this male bunting. I’ve only seen one of these before, on the Oregon Coast. Little Bear said there were three. The females are, typically, boring and I’m pretty sure we’ll not find those. However, knowing there were three males, I’m hoping for a bunting boom!!!

Once more, Little Bear was outside doing something and spied a ‘different’ sort of hummingbird. I was almost positive I knew what it was, but as before, photos are best. So, the kid sat outside with my camera. The first one is a Roufus male. Feisty little guys. The second photo is North America’s smallest hummer, a Calliope. It was exciting to see one of these around. I’d love to visit Arizona some summer and see all of the hummingbirds they have!

It is almost time for these birds to start nesting again. I honestly do not know how they manage to raise their babies! These nests are in depressions on the ground and they can be anywhere. When Little Bear found this one, he almost stepped in it! He’d heard the parent and it was doing the wounded wing thing, but he wasn’t sure where the young were. Still in eggs, it turns out! These are killdeer and at first the sounds they made were neat. Now, they are annoying, you hear them all the time!! The cool thing about the babies is that as soon as they break shell, they know how to run! Nature has so many babies who do amazing things as soon as they are born.

I must be off to do chores, so I’ll catch you again soon!!!

Peace, love, and jellybeans

Some of my tulips! (See my peeps earrings? I love them!)

Just a short note to wish you all a perfectly hopping great Easter. I’m busy with cooking and cleaning. Yeah, it’s the same notes, just a different song! Little Bear suggested I make cheese cake, so I attempted the experiment. They didn’t then out like the picture and video, but we’ll see how they taste at Sunday’s dinner. I also made more cheese straws, mostly cuz the bunny buns I’m going to try before our Easter dinner might prove more difficult than they appear. I’ll share that on Monday!

I purchased the guys small solid Dove rabbits, with a couple of other things to go with them. We don’t do baskets anymore, they’ve been packed in boxes since 2012! I put their gifts on the table where they sit for meals. I also had The Craftsman get something for his mom. She’s also coming over for dinner. I didn’t get Strider’s box ready on Friday before the post left town. I’ll send it on Monday!

Thursday and Friday were super hot. I almost melted! About 70F. However, the fire department did their annual egg hunt on Saturday and it rained all night and morning. It tapered off about the time the hunt was over. The department boils and hides real eggs for several different age groups. I’m pretty sure Little Bear said they boil 120 dozen. I was floored, but they hide them all. Including 36 ugly eggs that are dropped into every color and are penned with the word ugly. Plus a spray painted silver and a spray painted gold one for each age group. The kids are babes to about 12. The hiding is pretty much put the egg in the grass, but the field for the older kids isn’t mowed. We used to hide eggs for the boys and when I was in school, my sister and I would take turns hiding and finding them. The poor eggs were pretty beat up by the time we were bored!

Did you hide eggs and were they real or plastic?

1972.

Outside Cat Nips

If the pull of the outside world is strong, there is also a pull towards the human. The cat may disappear on its own errands, but sooner or later, it returns once again for a little while, to greet us with its own type of love. ~Lloyd Alexander

Being outside is lovely in spring. The air is mostly warm and there are so many things rushing to put on their festive dress. The daffodils open golden trumpets to announce the season and there is so much to do!!!

For cats, it seems sleeping and hanging around in sunshine is their favorite thing. Although, I have discovered some cat antics I could do without!!! Maxwell T. Silverstone does not like a litter box. (Granted, Kila used to ambush him when he was in it and that must have been disconcerting! But, he didn’t like them before. Maybe because he was born in a barn?) At any rate, he prefers to go outside. On grass, in dirt, it doesn’t matter. EWWWW. One of my forays outside left me with a less than favorable feeling toward this aging feline! Weeding and digging in dirt is not fun with pet waste around.

Then, on Tuesday morning, EARLY, I was confronted with another annoying response to warmer weather. It had sprinkled outside, but Moses left the house to wander the neighborhood. He arrived back in with a meowouthful. (Literally!) Whenever he finds prey, he announces it by talking with his mouth full. I tossed that damn, thankfully dead, rodent outside no less than 5 times before finally getting the pet door locked properly. He eventually devoured it in front of the door. He was going to commence his crunching and munchings on the mat in front of the door upstairs. I was happier it was outside the back door on the cement. (Much easier to clean than a rug!) I was so darn glad I was still awake. CATS!

Then, the critters do something sweet and are lovable all over again! Are not Mitten’s whiskers beautiful in this photo??? (She’s outside in the window box that was made for Kila.)

Life goes on

This last week my Gramps died. Gramps was my 4th dad’s step dad and a huge (even though I hadn’t seen him in more than 10 years) part of my life. I always knew he was around. I mentioned elsewhere that mum was immortal, Gramps and Dad were constant. I’ll totally take consistency over immortality. I decided to NOT wear my amethyst today and instead donned forget me not earrings with opal/diamond ones Gramps bought Grams. (Grams died when I was in college and I was given an opal set she loved.) I always think of Grams when I wear it, now I will remember Gramps, as well.

Spring is really truly on the way. My crocus (I looked at my plant photo calendar–I write and photograph when things appear/bloom so I have a record–and one year they didn’t bloom til mid March, so this week isn’t that far off!) are looking spectacular! I will need to pick dozens of them before it rains this weekend. Rain turns fragile dark purple crocus blooms into mashed up goo. I weeded one of the garden areas and accidentally pulled up my old fashioned peony. It is such a pretty, fun flower and I plumb forgot the ‘root’ is a carrot shaped thing. It takes three years for it to get going and last summer it had 3 blooms on it. (I think I just set it into cha cha mode….) The first photo is one I shared before. The second two are after. The peony is under the chair, the pot in the chair has petunias that appear to come back each year. Since The Craftsman likes petunias, I’ll put a bunch of those in the brick edged bed before I head north. He removed the netting I’d put up for sweet peas and nasturtiums. (The bed was full of grass). I’ll put another peony next to the green pot, it used to have hosts. The white ring has orange oriental poppies. The ‘fence’ holds them upright.

I’m glad to be in ‘my’ garden. That was something I wanted to do at mom’s and she resented it. It isn’t really mine, though. I plan and plant and dig and weed and then The Craftsman decides to cut something down or dig up something and recreate the UGS system. Oh well. I did discover a couple of interesting things. Honeysuckle will replace the hops plant in the yard. (Hops tend to go bonkers and a single plant will grow literally anywhere!) Strider suggested honeysuckle. I also inadvertently found an easy way to keep my hands clean. I am one of those who wears gloves just long enough to be driven nuts. Then, I dig in with bare hands. The other day I had rubbed almond oil on them and, later, washing off the dirt was easy peasy!!! Then, I learned from google that lily of the valley is probably more toxic than a daffodil. 😳😳😳(although, dead is dead. I guess it is just how much you ingest at a time. NOTE: Do not eat flowers unless you are darn sure they are edible!)

This, above, is entirely edible. I try different low fat sorts of ice creams and most of them are nasty. When I need to use a fork to eat ice cream just to pry it out of the container, that is silly. This product above has, as Gaz would say, an excellent mouth feel. (creamy, soft, smooth, decadent.) It also loks like it is made in the PNW, Portland. I laughed after I ate the whole pint, though. I thought the carb amount was for the pint instead of a serving. Really. Servings belong in larger containers. Pints are most assuredly a single serving!!! This company makes other flavors, but this is my favorite. I rarely buy it cuz it is freaking spendy. Usually, I end up with some other stuff that is ok, but not stellar. I generally need to ‘wash’ off my taste buds with something else after eating those. Like this sweet made with Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. (I think that company uses a special ingredient to make their treats so tempting!) You cut up canned cinnamon rolls, shake them in cinnamon sugar, put them in a greased pan, drizzle butter and brown sugar on top, bake, and eat and eat and eat and eat!!!!! Oh, I did put the ‘frosting’ on top, too. (But, not all of it!!) EVERYONE likes it.

I may see how many ways there are to make cinnamon sweets! Are any of you Americans old enough to remember Jolly Rancher Fire Stix?

Springtime Cat Nips

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.” W. Earl Hall

On the last day of winter Moses was moving from sun spot to sun spot. He has a favorite flowerpot he snoozed in for a little while, then he moved to my garden bench, under the bench, on the ground next to the flower pot, in my yard rocking chair, and under a tree. I finally caught up with him slumbering among the dead Japanese lanterns at the edge of the dry creek in my garden. The first day of spring, it was cloudy and chill. (Of course!) I went shopping and the cats slept inside!