Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sleeping With Buddha ( re-worked post)

   Have recently re-connected with a primary school friend and am re-posting this for her (and for you to enjoy if you haven't read it before.)

  This is what Buddha looked like when he first came to us:

You can see how his left rear leg is bandaged, to hold it in place. Now, however, he is happy, sassy, and knows how to keep warm! 




Baby Geraldo


   That title looks so, well, wrong up there...but in my defence, he came with the name Buddha. For those who haven't followed the blog long; Buddha is our rescued brindle Boston terrier. We also have Lily the Goldendoodle of Wonder and Abby, the rescued fawn pit bull...a dainty wee girl. Oh, and lest we forget, there's also our cat: Connolly (as in Billy Connolly)  and our newest: San Geraldo Mitchell (Geraldo, or 'Rocket Man').

   We brought Buddha home about three years ago, on July 5th, and even though I was excited I also wondered how he would integrate into our rather lively household, given that he had been abused and badly injured in his prior life. Pfeh, after being skittish the first few days (especially if someone made a sudden movement) Buddha realised he had us wrapped around his little hairy paw and has been living the high life! Still, even after three years he gets incredibly excited and dances every time we feed the pups.

   Buddha has been sleeping in my room from the first day, and since he figured out he was allowed on/in the bed he is a hoot! First thing he does is flip the edge of the down blanket up and dive underneath, then he tunnels around under the covers until he finds the perfect spot and winds around and around until he has as much of the blanket wrapped around him as I'll give up. Once he is comfortably ensconced he grumbles and does a growly 'purr' (also known as a snore) as he falls asleep, often with his front paws wrapped around my ankle or wrist...methinks he doesn't want me slipping off without him! He has fit himself in well with the whole family (he'd known Abby previously since he'd been rescued by the same lovely lady who'd cared for her) and egregiously cuddles with any and all. It brings me such joy to see him gaining weight, using his leg more and more...the muscles are filling out and I do massage on it daily....and learning to trust the humans in his new home. 

   After three years of regular meals, massages, playing, etc... you can scarcely tell that his leg was ever injured, even the withered muscle has mostly filled in, and it only slows him down on damp, cool days. It's believed he was either thrown from a car (he was found wandering along a road, injured) or kicked hard with something like a steel-toed boot; he also had a bit of a fearful/aggressive reaction when first introduced to our home... that lasted all of about three days, and was never serious. 

It's amazing, after all the mistreatment he received in his earlier years, ( I could go on and on about that, but won't) how loving and trusting he is now. When I pick him up he flops over on his back in my arms, closes his eyes and does his happy 'Darth Vader' breathing; he bestows kisses, and just generally makes everyone's day a bit better. Yup, I adore my wee Buddha boy, and always will.

Oh, and looks like Blogger has stopped limiting  the number of photos I can post!

(My song for Buddha.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Back In The Saddle

But first: for those of you who follow Hootin' Anni's Chronicles her husband posted a very short while ago that Anni had a massive heart attack on Saturday and had three stents put in. She's doing better now but I'm sure that encouragement, warm thoughts and prayers would be welcome.

As you can see, the computer is up and running although there are a few bugs to work out, mainly with photos. Since the Great Scot is the tech genius in the family,(and a work emergency is requiring 12 hour days - and possibly 7 days a week for a while) it may be a while before those bugs are worked out. That's okay, we've dealt with these things before, haven't we dear readers!

Speaking of bugs, Blogger still isn't allowing me to upload more than two photos per post, so I'll just have to stretch out sharing my seed and plant picks.(All plant seeds are from Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds seeds, an excellent source of organic, non-gmo and non-hybrid seeds.)

First are Golden beets. I'm not a big fan of red beets but these are delicious and don't make a huge mess. We've roasted them and they are heavenly, but very expensive at the store... so, we'll grow them ourselves. As a bonus, the young leaves make tasty greens and they are an early producer at 55 days!

These are Parisienne carrots... fairly early maturing, productive even in heavy clay... or rocky... soils, and great for eating fresh or cooking lightly. Oh, and they're also super for freezing!

Did a lot of baking over the weekend: rye bread with garlic and dill, oatmeal cookies, and raspberry/blackberry pie; yum! With the temperatures dropping again, I think a pot of chili is in order... what do you like to make when it's cold outside?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Short Break

                              It's a Lily with a cow toy!

Taking a short break whilst we switch over to a new computer, be back in 2-3 days. Be well, stay well, and get up to a bit of mischief!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Gardeners Live In Hope

   (Blogger is doing funky stuff to my feed, etc... again, please forgive me if I missed commenting on your blog.)

Gardeners do live in hope.

Hope that there will be enough rain, but not too much, and enough sun... but not enough to burn their plants. We hope the seeds will germinate, and the bugs and diseases will pass them by; that the season will last long enough to allow our crops to ripen. 

Last weekend, outwith taking photos of the snow, we also stopped by our local TSC to pick up some containers for our garden; something like these:

These aren't the exact ones, but you get the idea! We'll eventually have 3 of the larger tubs, and we have 6 buckets... the buckets are for growing peas; the tubs will be for tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, a lone eggplant, and carrots. The Great Scot will be growing hot peppers in pots, and other veggies will go in our raised beds.

Next week, if Blogger allows me to post more photos, I'll show you what we'll be planting.

In many ways, we are all gardeners... where hope lives there is a gardener; whether of the soil... the mind... the heart... or the human spirit.

Saluting us at 17, and since. No matter how long ago 17 was:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Exhibiting Inventive Cheapskatery (reworked post)

   There is a reason this blog is called Cheapskate Blethering... Blethering is Scottish slang for 'yakking', like the better - known 'blathering'; also, I'm a cheapskate, albeit an occasionally inventive one. As this re-post will no doubt demonstrate, along with my mad *ahem* 'genius' tendencies.

   This is the tale of the roach who drove me to murder:

                                          image source

 This is from a time I had to 'make do' with what was on hand, and for a far more urgent reason than wanting a tasty treat without having to go to the store!  Picture this: A few years ago 3M and I were looking for a place to rent (this was in the days before we became homeowners) and it was a matter of some urgency. We'd gone to look at a wee house in the country with a large yard, sufficient number of bedrooms, and a do-able, if not entirely reasonable, rent payment. We looked it over with the landlord during the day and decided to take it, not seeing any major problems in our daytime runthrough. BIG mistake, big, big, big, HUGE. The following weekend, after paying rent and various deposits, we started moving furniture and ended up spending our first night collapsed on a mattress on the living room floor....

   Besides being broke until next payday and having delightful surprises like lights switching themselves off and on repeatedly, as well as a doorknob randomly rolling itself across the floor to 3M's feet and back again....oh, and finding our lost cat inside a locked closet.....we awoke in the middle of an exhausted night's sleep to the sound of rustling. Having finally convinced a lamp, which had worked perfectly normally heretofore, that it really did want to stay on we glanced up at the walls and ceiling only to find them crawling with roaches. EW! ACK! BLERG!

   Like any other sane and reasonable person I hate and despise cockroaches, but we had no money to call in an exterminator for at least another 2 weeks so what could we do??? You guessed it, I was working in the kitchen and accidentally discovered the solution.

   Accidentally? Yes very quite; I had originally intended to make an organic pest control spray for critters that were attacking the peppers and tomatoes we'd hurriedly transplanted into our very wee first garden when an exceptionally bold roach lurched across the counter where I was working. I'm telling you that roach must have been snacking on brass because he turned around and looked at me like "well ducky, what d'ye think ye can do about it anyhoo?" Having filled a spray bottle with my homemade pest control solution, and suffering from a sudden abundance of self-righteous indignation, I took aim and began my crusade against all things roachly by giving him a snootful of liquid death. Oh yes, he flipped over on his back, waved his narsty limbs in the air twice and promptly died; I swear I heard him cough out " I coulda been a contendah...." before he went to roachy hell. 

                                                     image source
   Me? I stood there staring between the roach and the spray bottle before giving a war whoop and setting off on a search and destroy mission. When 3M got home from work that evening I was full of pride (okay, I was full of myself) and bragged on and on before the Great Scot uttered those fateful words: "I'll believe it when I see it." Now that the nasty critters knew death was in the air they'd scattered and it took me a while to corral one foolish enough not to be in hiding but when I did I called 3M over, administered the spray of doom, and watched in glee as 3M's mouth dropped open. Unfortunately it also meant I had to give up the bottle as 3M decided a roachie roundup was in order. 

   Still, as everyone knows, for every roach you see there are a hundred you don't so the spray alone, entertaining as it was, didn't completely eliminate the problem; it required a more comprehensive approach. Without further ado I am going to tell you how you can organically eliminate any roach problems you, or those you know, may encounter in the future:

1. Eliminate any and all sources of food; nab those crumbs, etc... as soon as you see them, store pet food in air-tight containers when your pet isn't eating, and so on.

2. Eliminate water sources. Roaches, like most living creatures, need to drink so fix any leaky pipes you may have and mop up any sources of standing water in, or near, your home.

3. Get rid of the eggs. As with fleas, borax sprinkled on carpets, in crevices of upholstered furniture, in cracks, and so on...then left for 2-3 hours....will desiccate the eggs. Vacuum thoroughly and immediately empty the bag/canister OUTSIDE. Just to be on the safe side, keep pets and small children from contact with the borax; unless they ingest large amounts it won't hurt them but who wants to take a chance they don't have to? Wash all fabrics that you can in hot water.

4. Mix equal amounts of peanut butter, flour, and diatomaceous earth and form into small balls or pellets. Insert them into all the dark cracks, crevices, and spaces you can find; especially in and near the kitchen and bathroom (where most sources of food and/or water are found). Contrary to popular opinion, roaches aren't really all that fond of sweet stuff although they will take what they can get, so forget about using sugar. They will, however, go for the protein found in the peanut butter; the diatomaceous earth...which is formed of the skeletons of teeny-tiny creatures...will cut them up on the inside, and for the ones that doesn't eliminate, the flour will form a kind of concrete inside them. Talk about constipation, it's a killer! (For roaches at least.) You'll need to re-do this every 2-3 weeks until you are sure the roach problem is eliminated. Myself, I would do it once a month thereafter just so any visiting critters decide your house isn't meant to be their new home.

5. The Spray of Doom: If you have so many roaches you're watching them jitterbug across the ceiling with impunity you're going to want tosee something eliminate the nasty critters. This recipe will soothe those vengeful feelings quite nicely.

       Spray of Doom (doom-doom-doom) 

clean spray bottle, preferably with a variable nozzle
medium square of cheesecloth and twine to tie it closed
2 c. white vinegar, plus extra as needed
1/4 c. dishwashing liquid
1 head of garlic, lightly crushed
2 red cayenne peppers, coarsely chopped
1 heaping Tbsp. salt

   Tie garlic and peppers in cheesecloth, close tightly with twine. In medium saucepan bring 2 cups of white vinegar to a boil, drop cheesecloth with garlic and peppers into vinegar and reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 2 hours, adding vinegar as necessary to maintain 2 cups. Add salt to your simmering vinegar solution, stirring until it dissolves completely.

   After the hours are up remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once the concoction is cooled squeeze all liquid from the cheesecloth and carefully pour vinegar solution into your spray bottle. (A funnel will help; remember to wash all residue from your hands because pepper juice in your eyes or other tender places is a very not good thing.) Add water until the bottle is 3/4 full, then add dishwashing liquid. 
Now you are armed and ready, spray at will! Remember, however, not to spray people or pets in or near their face.

 This solution is also remarkably effective on a number of plant pests so you now have a twofer.

   You'd just love to see a picture of our yummy eggs from yesterday morning now, right?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Since Ms. A Asked...(And The Talking Phone)

   "Soooooo, where are the rest of the photos?" Here goes, more wintry pictures, as if the eastern side of the continent isn't heartily sick of the frigid season by now: (Most taken at Fowler Park, as the sun was going down... all photos taken with my cell phone; more about that phone later in the post.)

   The 'pioneer' village is on the other side of the lake.


   The sign reads 'Foot Traffic Only'... you can't see it well, but there are footprints of every size going over the wee hill. Braver souls than I!

  Weedy steps, and an abandoned garden tote looking forlorn; waiting for spring.

So, my adventures in staving off boredom took a new turn lately. Usually, when I'm terribly bored, I do relatively sane things to entertain myself... like dyeing the dog pink:

No worries, it was food grade dye... wouldn't hurt Lily, the Doodle of Wonder, for any amount of money. If you look really closely, you can see faint traces of pink still left on her coat.

Anyway, the phone. It's a really cool phone - says the woman who refused to give up the old fliptop until a couple of months ago - and according to my darling, it has Microsoft programming? Dunno if I even put that right; technologically impaired here!

My cool wee phone has a cool wee programme called Cortana, and Cortana talks to you. I love her software designers because they figured out, apparently, that really bored people will do really stupid stuff. People like me who, feeling both bored and snarky, and having read a story about excessively stupid politicians (are there any other kind?) brought up Cortana and said "Beam me up Scotty!", to which my smartass AI phone replied " We'rrre losin' powerrrr Captain!"

"Oooooo" I thought "wonder what else my robotically-voiced toy can say?!?" so I played, a lot. I thanked my newfound friend and she replied; sometimes with "you bet!", or "no problem", but when she said... in the most sarcastic robot voice possible... "It's an HONOUR" then it was on! Time to put the bionic brat in her place so I said "You B****!"

Did you know software programmes can be extremely patronising at times? Cortana came back with, in a scolding voice: "Well that's not going to get us anywhere."

From that moment, my new nemesis had the upper hand, even when I tried to suck up. I'd say 'you're the best!', and she volleyed back with "Awww, I'll put that on my resume." What?? So I hit back with the tried and true "I love you", to which the tiny tin tart replied "Um, I need my programming updated for that." She can even vary her answers, to up the snark levels. I've been upstaged by my cellphone!

Where is that old flip phone?

Monday, February 23, 2015

In The Distance


   In the distance, a round red barn with dark green roof; very festive in the azure twilight.

That hour, very blue,
chilly doorway to Other...
mayhap Summerland.

   Today was one of those rare days; snow on the ground, but warm enough to get out to take a few photos. Thank you, sweetheart, for driving me about!