Saturday, September 29, 2012

Since you asked...

I had a request for the recipe for laundry detergent that I found on Pinterest.  Here you go, Country Girl, Barb:

  • 4lb.12oz. box of Borax
  • 3lb. 7oz. box of washing soda
  • 3lb. container of oxy cleaner
  • 2 bars of Zote soap, grated
  • 2lb. box of baking soda
There was a powdered fabric softener in the recipe, I do not use fabric softener so I left that out. The two loads of laundry I have done using this concoction have been satisfyingly clean with a very mild scent. I am thinking throwing in a box of Deft or maybe Ivory Snow would save the grating of 2 bars of soap. It would add to the cost but up the convenience factor. It really does take very little to do a full load of laundry—1 or 2 tablespoons. The batch I mixed up will last a very long time at that rate.
Fair warning:  this does not suds up but I have been happy with how it cleans.  I have used it with hot, warm and cold water.

I have also seen the recipe calling for Fels Naptha or Ivory soap.  I like the mild scent of the Zote, but I haven't found it in Vermont.  I can buy it at SavAlot in Florida and have used just that for hand washables since I discovered it a few years ago.

Rian had asked why I don't use fabric softener.  We have very soft water and fabric softener seems unnecessary and I have an adversion to really strong scents because they make me sneeze like crazy.

Fiftyodd asked if Mike was an accountant.  That made me laugh.  He had wicked math phobia as a student.  I am sure that is a career path he never even considered.  However, as I thought about it, yes, it really does fit in so many ways.  He actually had his own small business (with a partner who later bought him out and thus enabled his retirement) which was/is Harbor Vintage Motor Company. He was an American picker, scouring old barns through the countryside for parts and restoring old Harley and Indian motorcycles. Ahead of his time.  He could have been on TV!  Well actually, he was once, but it was a one time thing, not a whole series.  Mostly the show about American pickers bores him.

At one time he had seven old motorcycles that he had restored for himself in the garage.  Now he he has none--except for some toys similar to that above.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Safe Trip


We had an uneventful trip south.  The traffic was light and the weather was good.  Still, it was a long trip and it is good to be at our Florida home.

After a good night’s sleep we took a walk on the beach and found it pretty chewed up from recent storms.  On the other hand, our lawn looks great—lush and green.  I did a bit of garden work, planting a small area and cleaning away some errant branches.  We will need to have the tree guy over sometime soon.  There is pruning to be done.  Remember the jacaranda tree we had cut down last spring?



It’s back!  There are branches shooting out all around the stump that was left.  I would say they are about ten feet high.  I see now that we will be playing battle of the tree for some time to come.  It has a definite will to be there.

It looks kind of pretty now, but it is so fast growing and so boundless in its growth that it is completely unsuited to the small yard here.


There are many large puddles and the ditches are filled with water all around town.  There was a flock of ducks in a nearby puddle.  Mike wondered, with all the ponds around, what was the attraction of a puddle.  My guess is no alligators or large snapping turtles to grab their little webbed feet.


We have had trouble again with the dishwasher.  Mike has ordered a new motor for it.  In the process of taking it apart we had a water leak so now we have someone coming to check out the insulation and water vapor underneath the kitchen.  Isn’t it always something?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Time on my hands…

I admit it.  I am one of those people who cannot stop picking up rocks and shells.  These round ones came from the beach in Jerusalem, Rhode Island.  What can I say.  They make me happy.  Some of us are easily amused.

I was doing laundry today.  I have written before about my homemade laundry detergent.  It does a great cleaning job.  I have not used bleach all summer and my white sneaker socks are still white.  I do still have a half gallon bottle of bleach left over though.

So, while I was in the laundry room I decided to fill my compost bucket with warm water and add some bleach as it was getting moldy around the edges.  I thought I was exceptionally careful, but of course there are two big bleach spots on my dark shirt.  I hate that.  Not amused at all. 

Tomorrow is packing up day and we will leave for a month in Florida on Saturday morning.  We are taking so little with us this time that Mike has not even done a “practice packing” of the car.  Do others do that?  Practice packing the car?  Of course the last two trips down were so loaded that the packing did require something close to completing a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle and Mike did it without giving up the ability to use the rear view mirror so I do give him credit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vermont Fall Garden Chores

Even though it has not felt much like fall, there is no denying that it is on the way.  It still feels warm in the sunshine, but I can feel how much weaker the sun really is now.  The warmth does not penetrate the shade.  The sun is setting earlier and further south each evening. 

And the @#%& flies are finding their way back into the house.
DSCN0048It was time to start a bit of fall clean up. 
Can you see all the milkweed in the field?  If I had a picture of the opposite end of the field, you might think we lived on a cotton plantation…except the seeds blow around much more easily.
Also part of the fall clean up routine is putting away the garden tchotchkes and neatening up the shed.  Mike’s job in this is to clean and sharpen all the garden tools so I will be good to go in the spring.
DSCN0052I sweep the shed out about once a year.  The spiders have full reign the rest of the time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Busy Day Ahead

We will be taking off for a month in Florida, leaving this coming Saturday.  This will be our first trip without having to pack every square inch of the car with clothes and other supplies. 

I have started some garden clean up and I will work on that during the week.  It is kind of interesting that so much is still growing and blooming though.  We have not had a frost.
DSCN0046The tomato plants want to reach to the roof.
DSCN0049Peppers are still going strong.DSCN0055There are even blooms on the pepper plant.  Talk about optimism!

All the annuals are looking pretty colorful amidst the faded perennials.
DSCN0045The green shoots are grape hyacinths.
the only perennial that has not completely given up, although the rudbeckia put up a valiant fight.

I am quite sure there will be some serious weeding to do once we get to Venice as well.  Last winter we concentrated on getting the house furnished and decorated inside.  This year I want to spend more effort on the outside, but it will be interesting to see how long months of neglect affected the plants already in the yard.  I am not especially fond of the cactus in the front of the FL house, but maybe that is what grows best there.  It will be a whole new learning curve.

DSCN0047The sage plant actually sputtered all summer and now it looks quite healthy.
DSCN0057The lambs’ ears that were dug up by dogs are recovering nicely.

There is no doubt that fall is on the way.  The field in back is filled with milkweed bursting open.DSCN0056

SO…I need to get outside and working this morning.  This afternoon, I am expecting a visit from Comcast.  Something is wrong with either my cable box or the remote.  I do remember the days when one had to actually get up out of a chair and cross the room to change the channel, but: a.) there were only two channels available back then and b.) not everything about the good old days was all that good.  This means that I will be waiting between 1 and 3 p.m. and, since this is an intermittent problem, I am sure it will work perfectly while the service guy is here.

This service call will cut into my volunteer time at the library, too.  There are a couple of projects I had hoped to clean up, but really that place is so busy lately that it is seemingly impossible to catch up.  Already one of my friends calls the library my second home and Mike keeps asking me why I retired if I wanted to work so much.  Maybe that is why I am looking forward to a month’s ‘vacation.’

Then it will be back to the library after supper for the writers’ group.

It will be a busy day and here I sit at the time sucking machine…must…pull myself…away.  Pinterest…nooooooooooooooooo…………….

Friday, September 14, 2012


This has been a warm (breaking the record for #of days with temps in the 80s) and very dry summer in Vermont.

I really cannot remember a prolonged rain this past season.  When there were severe storm warnings, they all seemed to pass around us.  It was almost like little Jericho Center was sitting in a donut hole.  Hmm.  Maybe the storms followed cell service because we are in a no man’s land hole for that too.

We did have the occasional down pour.  This one lasted about as long as these videos:


Oh, well, never mind.  Apparently my computer does not want to download a video or two right now.  Maybe I just don’t know how to do it although it seems straight forward enough.


Anyway, it rained pretty hard and then:

rain 005


rain 009

Monday, September 10, 2012


My grand son has completed his first week of school.  This is the picture as he headed out on the first day of all-day kindergarten.

I understand that he has returned each day completely exhausted.  Well, he is still a baby!!  Okay, he  would hate to hear me say that.  He is a big boy now, but, good grief, they grow up so fast.

My grand daughter has started sixth grade.  Honestly, it seems like last year that she was startling kindergarten.

I stole these pictured from Facebook.  They are just too cute not to share.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Birthday Boy

Virgos are meticulous about their appearance, have refined palates & would benefit from weekly yoga classes.
I read that a while ago in the newspaper horoscopes.  I read it to Mike and his comment was, “Yeah, weekly yoga—that’s important to me.”
“It says would benefit from.  I guess they forgot stubborn and set in their ways.”
What does one get for the man who has everything he wants?  Here is what he mentioned prominently when I asked for birthday gift suggestions:
gifts 003Plastic shower rings.  It seems the scraping noise made by our metal shower curtain rings irritates him greatly and this is something that would make his life more pleasant.  Seriously, how exciting is our life?

I also got him a copy of Linda Myers’ book, Return to Vietnam, and Snowflake Chocolates.  Of course, I made him a card.

I ordered lobster meat and I will make some Connecticut style lobster rolls—just the meat and butter served on a roll. That was his wish for a birthday dinner.  I have fresh tomatoes.  I am thinking I will pick up a cake instead of baking.  Hmm…what kind of wine?  I can splurge on the dinner because plastic shower curtain rings are pretty cheap.

I think the best present is that he is feeling so much better.  Last year he was having a cardio version on his birthday and it has seemed like all kinds of little things piled up after that.  He hobbled around all summer after his bird-rescue injury.  Finally, he has started to walk with a normal gait and seems to have a bit more pep.

Happy Birthday # 69, Mike!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Making It

gifts 005Ho! Ho! Ho!

To early for Christmas?  I spent last Thursday at my friend Ginnie’s house and we made a bunch of these gift tags using paper punches.  Interestingly, She did hers assembly line style: cutting out all the pieces. completing one step at a time on all the tags before going to the next step.  I did mine more piecemeal, willy-nilly.  Anyone who had worked with us would recognize it.  So typical, so her, so me.


And we went out to lunch—tuna melt with chips and a pickle, a long standing tradition from our working together days.


I have also been sewing.bluegreeninsideI love these colors.  (Sounders’ colors, Linda Reeder?)


shopping bagaI have made many similar bags over the past few years, but these are quilted, adding a whole new dimension.



And then, more making cards.  The card gang (sounds dangerous) has gotten together a couple of times and worked on an assortment of Christmas cards.

 Cards 001

I have decided to make the white trees on green to send out this year—stamp and emboss, no glitter involved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tomato Time

tomatoes (1)How many cherry tomatoes can two people eat in a day?

tomatoes (3)Mike has a few on his salads, but I can eat many more than a few.  I like them roasted with a splash of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar and a dash or two of sea salt and black pepper.  Smush them warm onto a crusty roll and add a piece of fresh mozzarella, some sweet pepper slices, and a leaf or two of basil.  Mmm-mm.  I can eat (actually, have eaten) this sandwich twice a day for days.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Book Store

I was reminded recently of just how much I love those independent book stores.  Really, browsing through a book store is a great afternoon’s entertainment as far as I am concerned.  They are getting harder and harder to find.  One opened in Burlington fairly recently, a companion of an independent store in nearby Essex, VT—the Phoenix Book Store.

This past summer, I went there with my sister to hear Richard Russo and his daughter talk about there new book.  He wrote the stories and she did art work to accompany them and they talked about their experience of getting the set published.  This past week, I went with two other members of the writer’s group to hear Daniel Lusk read poetry and David Huddle read from his new book, Nothing Can Make Me Do This.

You know, it did not used to be so hard to get out in the evening.

As a kid I sometimes had dreams about the candy store or castles made entirely of candy.  As a teenager it was clothing stores that had my obsessions.  In my twenties I got completely hooked on book stores and that has stayed with me.  At one point, my fantasy occupation was to own and run my own book shop.  Since I have retired, I spend a lot of time in my new version of the candy store—sometimes yarn shops but more lately—fabric stores and quilt shops.  Still, there is nothing like wandering through a cozy book store.

You might think that as much time as I spent at the local library this past summer, I would be done with books.  Not so, although, in truth, most of the fiction books that I read are from the library.  There is nothing quite like a new book store.  Everything is clean and attractively laid out for browsing.  There is the smell of new books (as opposed to dust) and you can still imagine that any given item has not been handled by a thousand other people.  You simply cannot get the sensation by shopping online.  I stop by Barnes and Noble sometimes, but it is hardly cozy much as they try to make it that way.  It is like shopping at Costco versus the small specialty market where the owner will suggest just the right bottle of wine to go with your tuna steak.

I always go to the new book display and staff picks.  Then I look over the cook books and the garden section.  Crafts, hobbies, home decorating, sewing, kids, blank journals—amazing how much time I can spend just on blank journals.  I almost always buy something if only to thank the store for being there, and I have my Christmas shopping started.
I am really quite sad that so many of the little independent book stores have closed.  Maybe I should make a plan to visit more of Vermont’s bookshops.