Friday, July 24, 2009

Free groceries and other worlds

Today I got a call from someone who stopped and looked at the sailboat a few days ago. I didn't really expect to hear from this guy, since i refused to write something up saying he could return the boat for a refund if it didn't float. (do I look like walmart to you????) He told me he has a friend with a truck and would be over after 4:00. Sure enough, he calls later and comes to get it, cash in hand. No whining, no questions, no asking for a freakin' return policy. I got cash, he got a boat, and that was that.

Now, anyone who regularly reads this knows I have been off work for over 5 months. Money is tight, and our food stock is getting low. We decided to take this entire $250 and head to the store. Other than some fruit and cheese, everything we purchased was to return some to the shrinking pantry stock. 25lb bags of flour, 2 gallons of oil, 4 gallons of vinegar, etc. It didn't return the pantry stock to what it was 6 months ago, but it sure helped. So, thanks for Lisa's work for telling me to take that old sailboat and toss it in a dumpster, you just restocked my pantry. (almost)

Now for the "other worlds" part of this entry. Lisa works for an orthodontist office ran by three brothers. For the sake of privacy, I won't mention the name, or the 3 doctors (who are also brothers) names. To keep it simple, I'll call them Dr cool huntin' guy, Dr fashion, and Dr jackasss. These little names describe each one to a T. Dr c.h.g. goes out west pheasant hunting, lives in a large cabin home, and even got chickens after Lisa talked about ours so much. Dr Fashion has to have the latest in mens trendy wear, and the latest cool convertable sports car. Dr jackass....well....thats him in a nutshell. This is the guy who tells Lisa "things are tough all over" when she asked for a few hours of overtime when I was layed off....of course it isn't tough in HIS world, since he's taken 2 vacations already this year to Florida and golfs every Thursday at some uptight snooty country club. Yep doc, tough all over....jackass.

Anywhoooooo........while cleaning a bit more out of their office basement today, I found a misc box of books and papers that they wanted thrown away. Lisa and I are kinda picking through it all to see if there is anything worth keeping, (or selling), and she finds this little journal. It was written by the sister of one of the doctors in 1979. She was a senior in college at the time, and her little journal tells the trials and tribulations of their family life.

Oh........did I mention that these trials and tribulations were while they were on a family vacation to Europe? Yea...England, Scotland, and Ireland. The way she talks (or should I say writes) makes her sound like the long lost sister of Frasure and Niles. Uptight, snooty, and so articulate it's annoying. She details every part of the trip in outrageous detail, and describes every single meal as if she were a food critic for the NY Times. WOW.

This is what I meant by "other worlds" in the title of this post. Not a one of these people ever had to do without. Every one of them had their college education paid for by mom and dad. The 3 that I know are so used to having what they want, they have no idea what it's like for the rest of us. In her vacation journal, Dr Jackass was one of the family members that went along. She talks about him visiting numerous Irish pubs, and all of these things most of us will never see.

This guy has no idead what the rest of deal with on a daily basis. Late bills, shutoff notices, juggling bills like you're in the Barnum & Bailey Circus, trying to decide between milk and that prescription, things we have all dealt with at some point in time, he is clueless about. At times it sickens me.

Now before anyone thinks I am jealous, or just plain hate rich people, I have to explain this little rant. His statement of "things are tough all over" was a big slap in the face to Lisa, and to myself. He gave the same speech to another co-worker not long ago, nearly word for word. (hiya fidget) Now, I don't expect them to pay Lisa some outrageous amount of money just because they can, but I expect a little understanding from time to time . She didn't ask for a handout, she asked for some extra hours. 4-6 hours a week would be a big help,but Dr Jackass said no, of course as he is listing out his beachwear list for Florida vacation #2. There was no understanding at all, and I assume in his head, that few extra hours a week for Lisa might just cut into his golf budget.

Get real doc. If it weren't for employees like Lisa and little Viagra Pixiestix you wouldn't have that fancy car or that country club membership. Sure, you're the one who spent years in college to learn this career, but you wouldn't have it without all of those around you. Without an office manager, assistants, lab techs, financial people, and the rest, it would be you in a building full of shiney-mouthed teenagers all by yourself. Think about it. Try looking over that nose of yours instead of down it. We all didn't take treks across Europe with mommy and daddy. Some of us went to Kmart and A&W.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Something I found funny

I found this while, of all things, doing some research on growing herbs. I thought it was pretty funny, especially since it covers almost everything I love to bitch about regarding people and their "lawns". I hope ya enjoy it as much as I did!

GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it -- sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bail it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No, Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go! out and buy, something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about ....

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Font yard ideas and other random babble

Last night while Lisa spent some time in her sewing room, and I sat here and did a bit of research. As I mentioned in my last entry, we are looking at things to do with the front yard. We're doing our first farmers market this Friday since last week was rained out. We talked about "cash crops" for small gardens, and thats what I was researching. As far as vegetables, the usual things came up-tomatos, garlic, onions, cabbage, etc. Then I started looking around at herbs.

More and more people are cooking with fresh ingredients now, the local fresh and farmers markets are really showing that. Most are vegetables, but few are herbs. I think this may be the route we are going with on this unused space. While looking around, I found a list of the top 12 commonly used culinary herbs-parsley, basil (was the biggest seller), mints, dill,chives,rosemary,french tarragon,oregeno,sage,thyme,marjoram and french sorrel. Lisa already grows most of these for our own use, so why not try producing more for sale? It's worth a shot. I don't wanna be the couple at the market with the same old things as everyone else, this may be what makes us different.

Besides culinary herbs, we're also looking at some medicinal herbs, as well as "majick" herbs. (remember Lisa is pagan) Lisa swares by some of her home-grown herbal teas, and after my horrible bee attack incident, I'm a big believer in using yarrow. We're taking the time and energy to grow and raise our own food, make others from scratch, make homemade cleaners, soaps, etc, so growing our own herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes is just another step.

The local markets that specialize in organic/health food/alternative medicine are booming, and herbs are a big part of their business. There are also 3 local pagan/wiccan stores around that sell the majickal herbs,( yes that"s how it is actually spelled), and I'm sure they would be happy to find a local grower that can keep them stocked. SOME herbs used in majick are highly poisonous if mishandled, and those we will avoid completely, but the others I will be happy to grow. No, we won't make our fortune on growing herbs in the front yard, but making more for us to use and making a few extra bucks on the side won't hurt a bit.

I saw an herb garden on someones blog that I'll use for a basic design. Hers is 12x12, octagon shaped. I'll make Lisa's a bit bigger, lol, using railroad ties or landscape timbers to form an octagon like this one. I'll use 2 on each side, so that means I'll need 16 of them to form the basic shape, and another 8 to make the center a path to go around the rose of sharon and rhotodendran (i know thats not spelled right lol) that are already in the center of the area that I plan to use. I'd like to make her a flagstone path in them, but until I start burping $50's, thats not gonna happen. All in good time....

Other than that, we need rain around here. The forecast has called for rain since Sunday, and all we have gotten was about a half hour of really light sprinkles. Again, it called for thunderstorms today, but now the sun is shining and the sky is blue. UGH, gotta love Ohio weather. Like we've always said, if you don't like the weather here, just wait 10 minutes. Hopefully we get it, but hopefully it changes by the weekend. I have a friend getting married on Saturday...outdoor wedding and outdoor reception, and the forecast says storms and rain all day. I sure hope not! This is his 3rd, but it's her first, and at 38, she's been waiting her whole life for this day.

As I'm sitting her typing away, Austin comes in to get a drink. (the bloodhound) Sometimes this dog just makes me laugh. He is VERY much a creature of habit. He walks one path and one path only when he is outside, it's actually worn from years of him doing this. He always lays in the same spot. He knows exactly when it's suppertime. If we rearrange the living room, we have to make sure his dish will be in the same spot or he gets confused. Now, sitting here and watching him drink, he reminds me of all this. He drinks in threes. Most dogs just stand there and lap up water, but not Austin. It's always the same when he drinks, one two three, one two three, one two three, lol. What a goof.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


There hasn't been a lot going on here the past week that's really blog worthy. The garden is looking great, but still not a lot to pick quite yet. The potato's are starting to wither, so it won't be long till they are ready. The corn is barely 5 feet tall and tassling already. The tomato plants are HUGE, and covered in small 'maters. I've managed to pick a few hot hugarian peppers, but the greens and jalepenos are still tiny. Both rows of beans are exactly the same size and covered in tiny beans, you can't tell at all that we planted the rows 2 weeks apart. I imagine things will all come on at once, and we'll be canning like mad for 2 weeks straight.

I did trade the neighbor the one 4 month old rooster of ours for his that was 6 months old. He went straight to the newly built chicken killin' station and into the freezer. We actually had him today in the dutch oven with some dumplings, and corn and cucumbers. Afterward we had a piece of vanilla cake, and sat around the fire till we decided to come inside and read. Yesterday the same guy called me from this dog/animal auction/swap he was at and wanted to know if I wanted some more free roosters. He said they were really young, and of course I said yes, just so there would be more to put in the freezer. He shows up an hour later with a box.....a box of month old chicks lol. Ah well....might as well raise em anyway. Free food is free food.

Today someone was supposed to come look at the boat I am trying to sell. His wife saw it last weekend at the yard sale and told him about it. He's called twice, and was supposed to be here today around 12-1:00. At 2:30 I gave up and put it back to the street, then of course they show up at 4. He looks the thing over, asks if I'll take $300 (I had it marked at 350) and I say yes. he decides that they will go to the laundromat, talk about it, and either come back or call.'s 9:41 and not a word. Guess I'll put it back to the road tomorrow and also back on Craigslist.

Earlier today I dug out some scrap pieces of plastic landscape edging, and rounded off the corners of Lisa's smaller herb bed. I made it from concrete parking lot bumpers, and it was just a PITA to mow around, so I marked out a nice gradual turn with the mower, then used that as a guide to dig out the sod and set down the edging. Both sides should give her another rough 80 square feet to plant her herbs. More production, less to mow. Right along with my motto, lol. We wanted to make a place for her to plant more lemon balm and decided on the whole north side of the garage, from the side door to the back corner. I'll dig that up when I get to it, but no rush since we only have one plant to start with for now. I think when that's done, I'll go ahead and extend the garden to around 2 feet from that, leaving just about a 2 foot wide path. Again....more food production-less to mow.

With those last 2 changes, the planned 4 foot extension of the garden to the north, the planned tripling of the strawberry bed, and my planned doubling the width of the blackberry patch, we're just about out of back yard. As of now, the front yard holds the 2 dwarf apple trees, the one new blueberry bush, the 48 feet of grapes, and the blackberries and raspberries I planted around the area we use for parking. That leaves an area roughly 150x 80 feet open that gets good sun. The rest of the front is trees, 1 mullberry, 5 pines, 3 oaks and 1 maple. We have been talking about what to do with the front yard, and are still undecided. More blackberries? More grapes? More raspberries? We still don't know what to do. We don't want to plant too much of something we use, and have waste and wasted space, but there is always the thought of selling produce. We've talked about it in the past, but it's never been something serious. Maybe we should consider it more? Maybe we can have more for this local market next year? We're going to have to have a good sit-down on this one and think it out together. I hate wasted space, and I hate the thought that we just have grass somewhere that could produce food. Any suggestions????????

Tomorrow I'm going to work with Lisa. I cut out the butt-ugly dead shrubs on the one side of the building Saturday morning, now I need to go back and dig/pull out the stumps and roots. They want to plant something different in there, but I'll have to get some topsoil hauled in since I discovered that it's mainly stones and sand. After that I'll be painting the faded trim on the front of the building, and a little on the side. After that, this building will be done, and hopefully they will have things at the other 3 offices to do. We need the money, and I need things to do since I am running out of things to do outside here. I'm bored, nervous about money issues, and have lately had an awful lack of self worth. It's almost 6 months now that I have been layed off. I stay home, feed the chickens, do yard work and laundry, while Lisa goes to work. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but thats not the way it's supposed to be. *I'm* supposed to be the one out there bustin' my ass while *she* gets to stay home. I hate this, I really do.

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