Wednesday, October 30, 2013


After a couple of months holding down the couch, and a couple more in physical therapy, the doctors finally released me to return to work.  Saturday morning, I showed up at the large corporate retail store where I have been working, ready to start my first day back at work.  It took a little time, but they did manage to decide where they wanted me working for the time being, though I still don't have an actual schedule.

With my leave of absence properly applied for and approved, my employer was required to hold my position for up to twelve weeks.  Unfortunately, I was off much longer than twelve weeks.  My position has, as is standard procedure, been opened and filled, leaving me with a job at the company, but not the SAME job.  What this means in the real world of the vast here and now is simple.  I am working again, but at a lower wage, at least until I can transfer back into a higher level position.

Four months off work, especially in the summer, could have been a wonderful and productive event here on Dave's farm, had I been able to work during that time.  As it turned out, very little work was accomplished here on the farm (at least until the past couple of weeks).  At this point, I am back at the corporate grind at a lower pay scale, which leaves little time (especially with the shorter days of fall and winter) or money to make progress on the farm.

At the end of the day, I must honestly say that I am truly grateful to be physically able to work again.  The situation could have ended much less favorably.  My time off work has been quite an ordeal, but it is now time to start moving forward again, working to pay the bills and building toward mine and Anna's self sufficient life together, a life eventually free from the need for a paycheck from the  corporate world.


From Our Garden

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - - !mpromptu Picnic

Yes, I know, this is just a little late, but I am really trying to get caught back up on here, so I am going to post it anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I were out and about town running errands. As always, we ended up running around much longer than we had anticipated and had not packed a lunch. We just don't have the funds right now to eat out, and, to be honest, we just don't care much for eating out. It kinda scares us.

It was an  unusually beautiful Fall day and we were right around the corner from our local park. We were at the grocery store getting a few groceries and really needed to get back home, but the thought of taking a little extra time to enjoy ourselves at the park for a bit was just too big of a temptation.

We chose some of our groceries accordingly so that we could make a picnic dinner out of them. We decided on Roast Beef roll-ups.  Here is what all we came up with. It looks like a lot, but it really isn't, as we had quite a bit left to eat on well into the week.

The bag of apples was (I think) about $2.59. The veggie chips were $1. They didn't make it to the end of the day, lol. Mayo packets. a nickel each (we only needed 3). Whole wheat tortillas - 10 in the package was $1. The lettuce was 78 cents for a 3-pack of Romaine. A jar of sandwich pickles was just over a $1. And that bag of snack mix candy (our dessert that day and snack two more times) was 75 cents. The most expensive part was the deli roast beef at around $3. We both had water with us to drink, so we didn't need to get drinks.

If you add up just what we used at our meal, it was far less than the price of what it would have cost for just one of us to have eaten at a restaurant! And we knew what we were
eating (for the most part).

The weather was absolutely perfect!  We couldn't have asked for a better day for our impromptu picnic. And some relaxed, kick back time like this, together, was long overdue!

We made roll-up sandwiches, and I do believe they were much better than any burger we could have gotten in the area. Course, everything does seem to taste much better when you are eating outside on such a beautiful day!

 We saved so much money, and this great, spur-of-the-moment outing will brightly stick in our memories far longer (forever) than any quick run to a burger joint. Even if one is financially strapped,  it certainly should never stop anyone from having some enjoyable, carefree time together. And it doesn't take a lot of creativity, just a little thought.

The view from our table was serene and gorgeous, too! You certainly don't get a dining view like that from any restaurant (fast food nor fancy) around here! We were so glad we weren't able to go "grab a bite" at some restaurant on this beautiful day! We would have really missed out on a very memorable and enjoyable outing, and some much needed quality time together.  We can hardly wait to make some time to do it again!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

(D♥A) WE Dodged the Frost Again! :)

It's Fall and it feels it! We adore Fall and its breath of fresh, crisp air! After the heat of summer, any garden that survived (and that usually isn't much) puts out the best quality produce of the season. All the veggies seem to be bigger, much nicer looking, and definitely much better flavored. Don't get me wrong, all of the veggies all through the summer were great, but those fall veggies just can't be beat!

And then there is the beautiful, rich color of Fall! Not only do the trees begin to turn their mix of gorgeous Autumn colors, but the 'weeds' do as well. Kinda makes it worth not getting rid of all of them. Actually, it makes it a lot worth it! I'm not sure what it is, but one of those weeds turns such a deep crimson that I have to take time from my day and just stand there for a spell and admire its beauty.  We really should do things like that more often, you know.

I think we will both agree, one of our favorite gifts from Fall is the abundant variety of apples and pears! There are just so many of them and they are all so delicious we want to try all of them. We can hardly wait until we have a big crop of pears and apples of our own. We have planted a few times, with many set backs. Last summers drought and extreme heat pretty much wiped out all that we had going. We look so forward to starting our new Orchard together next Spring! They won't be ready for next Fall, but they will be before we know it. And maybe by us growing them together this time, it will somehow bring better growth to the trees.

But Old Man Winter keeps trying to sneak in and kiss our much loved Fall away! We have had several nights now, down near freezing, and two of the nights in particular just barely missed by a degree or two! That was just too close! We still have some garden left growing that we are just not ready to give up, yet! We have most (not all) of what we are eating harvested, but we still have our "seed" veggies growing. I finally got most of the seed squash picked, but the Okra, Tomatoes and some Peppers aren't near ready, yet. And we really want those seeds for next year's garden! Having to re-buy what we can grow ourselves just really, really hurts! So we are really hoping for a couple more good weeks above the freezing mark.

One veggie, though, that is just now beginning to ripen and desperately needs a couple more weeks before harvesting is our Tabasco peppers. I don't know about Dave, but these are the best, and most beautiful Tabasco peppers I have EVER grown!!! I never knew Pepper plants could get that tall, nor have that wide of a span! It is really taller than it looks in this pic because it kind of blends into the Fig Tree. If you look on the right side of the pic, you can see that the one 'branch' of the pepper plant is as tall as my eyes! And are they ever loaded!!! We have about 6 of these plants and they are all this loaded.

Please ignore my grubby look and focus on the pepper. I had been out working in the yard all day.
It will look like a Christmas Pepper when they all get ripe!
That tallest pepper limb comes all the way up to Dave's shoulder!
Yep, we are going to enjoy LOTS of homemade hot pepper sauce in our beans this winter! We can hardly wait!

Friday, October 25, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Spearmint to Calm Nerve Pain

  As many of you know, I live with a lot of pain. I honestly can't remember the last, completely pain free day I have had, not for as far back as I can possibly think, and the areas of pain just seem to keep popping up in new places, nearly taking over my entire body at times.

My newest pain is actually a burning, seemingly brought on with changes in weather, especially cold and rain. Usually it is in my legs and feet, but sometimes it also creeps into my back and arms. Sometimes, it feels like I am literally on fire, just below my skin level. And let me tell you, this is far more difficult to deal with than basic joint pain!

Adding Cayenne pepper to my foods and drinks seems to help quite a bit, but I have been looking for something additional (natural of course) for even more relief. I have done some extensive researching over the past few weeks and what I came up with was Spearmint - oil or tea! I think I have some Spearmint tea tucked away in the back of my cabinet. Time to get it out and try it. We have a great arsenal of essential oils, but regretfully, we do not have this one. We will be getting some just as soon as we can to try in a rub-on liniment because it looks so promising!

Spearmint is a 'Nervine'. A nervine is a substance that affects our nerves, either by stimulating them or by calming them. Spearmint is often used as a calming nervine, although, ironically, its aroma also is used to stimulate a tired mind.. Not only does it appear to calm our emotional nerves, but our physical nerves, as well. It has been reported that Spearmint is great to reduce swelling and pain of our nerves, both by ingestion and topical application.

You may be sitting there thinking, "Peppermint does nearly all of that, too." But in the case of using essential oils (or teas), Spearmint Essential Oil has far less menthol than peppermint, by comparison (Peppermint essential oil is high in menthol) and is much easier on sensitive skin and tummies.

Not to stray off of the topic too far, but for a little added info, Spearmint also is great to release urine retention. Urine retention can cause swelling, which in turn, causes pain. Plus, stored up urine can build up toxins in the body, which, again, causes more pain. Using Spearmint to rid the body of excess urine can also further reduce pain.

As I sit here and type this, my lower back, legs, feet, and upper arms are, once again, moderately burning as the threat of more storms and rain approaches. I do like being able to predict the weather, but I DON'T like all this pain! I will be hunting down my box of Spearmint tea and give it a try throughout this bad weather spell that is predicted to last for several days. I am holding on to strong hope that it will bring me great relief. I will let you know how it works. We welcome any additional info you might have on the subject! 

Here are a few great places to read additional info on the subject. As you will see, Spearmint also has many other terrific, feel better uses:
   Spearmint Capsules
   More Great Spearmint Info
   Reduces Nerve Swelling
   Spearmint Info

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Fall has arrived and with it, lower temperatures.  no frost yet but it won't hold off much longer. Soon it will be time for a nice warm fire in the wood stove (I don't normally build a fire until after the first freeze).

My intentions were to finish clearing the fence row for the new goat pasture during the spring.  The firewood cut during the clearing process would have been well seasoned by now and more than sufficient for this winter.  By now, the goats would also be happily in their new pasture.

With the months of delay caused by my injury, illness and subsequent recovery, these things just did not happen.  Finally able to use the chainsaw for a couple of hours at a time (though very slowly),  I have begun the process of clearing the fence row and cutting some firewood.

The firewood is green, the clearing is slow and the whole process is frustrating.  Though these and many other projects are months behind, there IS a somewhat comforting up side.  Being a true tightwad, I believe saving time is as important as saving money, so doing the work of one project and making progress on two projects is like a two for one sale.  COOL HUH???

Monday, October 14, 2013

(DF) FALL GARDEN? Ok, so it's a little late

Like a lot of people, I grew up with garden planting time being in the early spring and again in the fall.  Well, not really fall, but more like summer (early to mid August) for a fall crop.  Based on how things were done when I was a kid and how things worked with the climate here, I have continued that practice all of my adult life.  So why am I planting in October?
There are a couple of reasons.  The first, and less logical reason is that I have been unable to work in the garden all summer and simply couldn't stand not having something growing.  Lets face it, the ground needs worked up in order to get a handle on the grass anyway.  It is hard for me to have nicely worked garden soil in warm weather and not plant something in it.  The second, and more logical reason is the simple (or more complex, depending on how you look at it) fact that the climate here is not at all like it was when I was growing up.  There is now no way of honestly considering when the first hard freeze will be, or the rainy and dry seasons either, for that matter.  My memories of seasonal change in the past are certainly not what we are living today.  In recent years, I have seen some strange things, like picking vine ripe tomatoes for Thanksgiving salad.

I will reserve the memories of past climate for another post, but with the erratic climate in mind , it makes some kind of twisted sense to keep planting as late as possible.  No I am not planting corn, green beans and okra this time of year, but things like turnips and beets can take a lot of cold without much damage.  I did plant a few blackeyed peas a couple of weeks ago (though I doubt they will have time to make) simply because they are good for the soil and if they freeze, I can till them under.
Yes, it seems late even for turnips, but if the extreme weather holds off a bit, a good mess of turnip greens is always food on a cold evening.  And who knows, they may even make turnips.  As for the main garden, It is not tilled up yet but hopefully will be in time for planting a LATE cover crop of rye or winter peas.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

(AF) Yep, It's Saturday night in the Boonies!

Awwww.... The quiet of the country ..... NOT!!!

Once upon a time, a long time ago, it was peaceful and quiet on Saturday nights out here in the Boonies. Anyone wanting to cause a rukus went into town where 'the action was.' Those that stayed at home, kicked back and relaxed to the simple sounds of nature. Although I will admit, those frogs can get pretty darned noisy during the rainy seasons!! But even so, it was enjoyable, not a stressful noise.

Over the years, the aire, feel and attitudes out here have drastically changed! People aren't near so friendly and helpful. No one waves in passing, they are all too busy on their cell phones. A person under attack could scream their lungs out all day (and/or night) and no one would even consider coming to their aid, or check to see what was wrong. And those trouble-making thugs high spirited kids & young adults that used to go in to town to do all of their destruction partying, must not be able to afford the gas to get to town any more, because they seem to all be walking the roads out here after dark and causing all kinds of commotion.

   One of their favorite things to do is to tease my dogs. Now, teasing 7 grown Boxers just isn't one of the brightest things to do! No matter how tightly  you secure your dogs, an angry dog, on occasion, is going to find a way to get loose. And can these moronic idiots young people not figure out that this is going to happen and the dogs are going to jump them?! Can they not figure out that if they continually antagonize my dogs, the dogs are going to feel a threat to our property and protect it, and me, any way they can?!  Sheesh!!! But no!

The more I try to stop these spoiled brats neighbors kids (some now grown with their own little ones and including them in their games) from harassing my dogs, the more determined they are to harass, tease and antagonize them. Even bringing authorities into the picture doesn't stop them. They just get sneakier about it, so they think. And now, it seems to have become their Saturday night game. As I type, my dogs are barking like there was no tomorrow, at something going on at the front of my property, just outside the gate at the road. I  keep hearing young male voices, but it is really dark down there and with my tiny flashlight, I just can't see what is going on. Oh, how I want more than anything to just go down there, open up the gate, let a few of my sweet babies loose, and problem be solved! 

And so, I sit here once again on a beautiful Saturday night, tensed up, repeatedly running out the door to try and figure out what is going on that has my dogs so stirred up, spending a little time just sitting outside in the shadows trying to catch the monsters lil darlin's in their act, trying to figure out if there is anything at all that is within the law that I can do to put a stop to all this foul play, and longing for those quiet, peaceful Saturday nights I remember oh, so well when I first moved out here nearly 2 decades ago!

Friday, October 11, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - My Accidental All Natural Diuretic

  Yes, I know Friday is nearly over, but it has been a rough 2 days,  yet I am determined that I am going to get Pharmacy Friday started back today!

This is one of those terrific things that I stumbled upon strictly by accident and I just have to share it with you all! It started out that I was going to write today about the diuretic properties of Cayenne Pepper, but as I dug deeper into my research, I made some fantastic discoveries and had to broaden this post. I also may embarrass myself a little, but since I think this could help so many people, I will push my pride aside.

For awhile, now, I have had 'spells' where I have to get up often during the night to go pee. Sometimes I only get up twice, but other times I am up nearly every hour. And I really hate that disruption in sleep! Then there are spells where I get a full nights sleep and don't have to totally rush in the morning to get to the bathroom. The other night, for the first time in a loooong time, I slept for 7 hours straight without ever having to get up to run to the bathroom. It was wonderful!!!

So... I decided to take an extra good look at my activity and diet to see if I could analyze what I might be doing differently from one time to the next. The one thing that was consistent with the nights that I wake up several times, barely able to 'hold it in' until I make the long trek to the bathroom, was my hot chocolate night cap. I have consistently noticed that on the nights I sleep all through the night, I haven't had my nightly not cocoa for a few nights. And oh, how do love to wind my day down with my hot chocolate as I check my messages and watch a show or two.

You might be wondering what could be so special about my hot chocolate that it could act as a strong diuretic. Well, I make my own hot chocolate, completely from scratch, AND, I have gotten totally addicted to putting several good sprinkles of powdered cayenne pepper into it. I had read somewhere, once, that adding it to hot chocolate would help with pain relief. I tried it and after a week, my nightly hip pain drastically eased up, but we will save that for another post. But even more, I loved the flavor!!!

So I was thinking, maybe Cayenne Pepper is also a diuretic. I did a little research and sure enough, it is a great diuretic! Turns out, it is a great diuretic (increasing urination), anti-inflammatory and helps to improve circulation, which would also help rid your body of excess fluid. There is some further great information on it HERE and HERE.

But I only put about 8 or 9 dashes of Cayenne powder in my hot cocoa, so I got to thinking that just that surely wasn't running the fluid off of me that well, so I decided to research each of the ingredients in my hot chocolate. Turns out, 3 of the other ingredients in my made-from-scratch hot chocolate also aid in eliminating excess fluid from the body!

Himalayan Salt - yes, the terrific flavor of hot chocolate is greatly enhanced by a dash of salt. And then, of course, there are those women like me that occasionally crave our salty chocolate (though I honestly do try and keep it at just a dash). Where commercially processed/created table salt makes your body's cells retain fluid and holds onto it, consuming natural, unprocessed salt (in a reasonable amount) actually regulates the fluids in your body's cells.

Next, we have Ceylon Cinnamon. No, I am not talking about the cheap stuff at the grocery store that we have come to believe is cinnamon but really isn't, but the actual, True Cinnamon. Lately I have also started adding a pinch of the Ceylon Cinnamon to my hot chocolate . . . kind of an Aztec Hot Cocoa. It is very good that way!!! I did a little digging on Ceylon Cinnamon and sure enough, it, too, is a powerful anit-inflammatory!!! Wow! You can read even more about it HERE.

And next we have our main ingredient, the one that makes my hot cocoa so yummy, Cocoa Powder. I don't mean that cheap, Dutch Cocoa powder stuff. I am talking the actual, 100% pure cocoa powder, such as Hershey's, the one loaded with natural antioxidants. This natural cocoa contains theobromine, which is a mild stimulant that has a great diuretic effect! Cocoa can be such a strong diuretic that if you aren't drinking enough water, you can dehydrate. Amazing! HERE is some more great reading on the subject.

Besides holding anti-inflammatory and diuretic qualities, each of these ingredients also has may other terrific health benefits. With all these fluid relieving ingredients in my nightly hot cocoa, it's a wonder I don't end up sleeping in the bathroom!  My accidental concoction seems to work every bit as good (maybe even better) than the Lasix I am supposed to be taking. I am now greatly relieved, though, to know that all my potty trips aren't due to something being wrong with me, but in fact, are due to something completely natural that I am consuming and actually helping to improve my health.

Thank you for taking the time to read our post. I hope you will get some benefit from it!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


As you all know, I have not been able to be on here much for the past many months. Okay, about a year. And before that, I often had my hands full, computer was down, or various other things that periodically kept me away from this site for a brief spell from time to time.

When I was unable to get on here, one thing that really worried me was our Pharmacy Friday and our Tightwad Tuesday posts (and our Bread on Monday on our cooking blog). Well, I had the bright idea that when I got some time to spare (yes, that is rare), that I would go ahead and write them up, post them on here, then backdate them.

Yes, for those of you that have your own blogs, over there on the side of the compose page, where it says "Schedule" you can actually backdate your posts and put them into any year, any month, and on any day you want. I thought I would do this and fill in the gaps for those posts that were a series. But NO! That didn't exactly work as I had planned.

Yes, after I wrote up some posts, and backdated them under the Schedule, they did go just exactly where I wanted them to. BUT...... that wasn't all that happened. They went into people's blog reading list as though it has just been posted, which it had. And let me tell you posting about 3 Pharmacy Friday posts in a row on an odd day such as Monday, which all came up in the current feed (even though I had back dated them) looked pretty funny and got some raised eyebrows.  Yes, backdating them worked to get them all put exactly where I wanted them into our list of posts, in the correct order, but I could find no way to get them to not come up into the just posted posts at the same time.

So, until I figure a way around all that, there will just have to be some BIG gaps in our weekly series posts, darn it. Now that I am back on a better working computer, I would dearly love to go back and write up the posts for all those missing weeks, but I guess I will let it slide for now and pick up where we left off so we don't hear a lot of, "What in the world are they doing?!"

Monday, October 7, 2013


  YES!! After roughly a year, my desktop is finally fixed!!!! I had muddled along when I could on my rickety old laptop, but it had its share of problems, too, and now even the keyboard on it is fritzed. I'm still not ready to part with it. Hoping I can plug a new keyboard into it and still use it now and then. Each computer does a thing or two the other doesn't and it is nice to have the other one to use when I need it, too.

At this moment, I am fighting with one of my cats. I have had to erase and start over so many times just trying to type this far. She is insisting on sitting on my mouse pad and playing with my mouse (I know, that does sound kind of funny). Didn't have to worry about that with the old laptop.

So, what was wrong with my desktop computer?
Well, a year ago I went in to Staples and asked them about it. They said that they were certain that it was a virus and would cost at least $150 to $200 to fix. I just could not come up with that kind of money to get  it fixed, so .... it just sat here collecting dust for the past year. I did at least have a back up to use on occasion.

But then, Dave's computer finally met its end and he HAD to get a new one (and then he had to wait for ever to get his new Internet installed, but that is another story). With the new computer came a service card for the Geek squad. So, for no extra cost, I got to take my computer in to have it checked out and repaired. Turned out, it didn't have a virus in it at all!!! Well, in a way it did.

About 2 years ago, I had let the guy at Staples talk me into getting Norton virus protection (I know, I know. I just didn't know any better then). As it neared renewal time, I started getting reminders on my computer. About 2 weeks before it was to expire, I got a notice and it asked me if I wanted to renew. I clicked on 'no', or 'don't ask me again', or something along that line. Guess that was the wrong thing to do because as it turns out, THAT is what was wrong with my computer!!!

I had tried everything under the sun, that I could do, to fix it myself, including following the advice of a computer savvy friend... took it back in time, and tried to uninstall stuff. My clue should have been that there was no longer any way to uninstall Norton! It would no longer let me click on the uninstall button. Why? Norton was mad that I wouldn't renew! And to 'punish' me, it was blocking me from the Internet!!!

Yep, because I had refused to renew Norton Virus protection, Norton itself BLOCKED me from using my Internet! At the same time, it also blocked me from being able to uninstall Norton itself. Sheesh!!! The Geek squad had to use some special disk that they have to get it out of my computer. Once Norton was out, my computer worked like a dream!!! Yep, I was just a little bit more than mad at Norton and Staples. I am sure Staples knew what would happen and just figured they would make even more money when I brought it back in and tell me it was a virus or something.