Enjoy your day and take a moment to look around and appreciate nature!
Visitors to the Asylum
Enjoy your day and take a moment to look around and appreciate nature!
I was looking through my Blog Photo Folder shaking my head at all the photos I have collected and not used. Yeah, I know. I haven’t been posting. So today I’m going to share some of my favorite yard-critter photos.
Hope you enjoyed the critter pics! Night!
Remember all the Preying Mantis egg cases my son got out of the butterfly bushes? They’ve hatched! I’ve been finding baby Mantis’s all over the place. Even on my couch! But nobody would hold still long enough for a picture – till today! I found one while I was working outside and yelled and yelled until someone heard me and brought me the camera. Until then I played corral the baby Mantis.
And I also collected a small handful of Serviceberries from my baby tree. (Damn late frosts!)
May has been a crazy month. (I don’t even have my May Box out yet!) Saver of Bugs graduated from college last weekend (and all that entails). In addition, for the past three years she has been taking stuff to school without bringing anything back (she spent the summers at school doing research). Weekend before last, I went up and brought a van load back (turns out it was cheaper for me to make multiple trips rather than rent a truck). And after graduation, we loaded our van AND my mother’s smallish van/SUV/sport vehicle(?). Now it’s time for sort, sort, sort, pack, pack, pack. She’ll be moving to Philly the first week of June (pretty sure). And she’s disappearing for 5 days to meet up with schoolmates for a last group LARP (small GRRRR). Someone just shoot me, K?
My poor garden is now a garden of knee-high weeds. But there were some survivors of the harsh winter. So I’m taking my pleasure where I can get it.
Wish me luck on keeping my sanity over the next couple of weeks. If life would just pause long enough for me to handle moving crap only!
The past week and a half has been one of sleep deprivation. Life has not been cooperating. It has felt as though the sleep gremlins have been conspiring against me. I do not function well without sleep. I can lose whole days to the haze. I won’t bore you with a litany of all the fun I’ve had. I’ll just give you the top three: 1) Weird dream. I spent an entire night in a kayak on a creek that wound through houses and trees and restaurants. The really weird part was a strange guy who appeared on the back of the kayak and kept falling asleep and falling forward to lean on me. I was exhausted by the time I woke up. 2) Frustration. Going to the bathroom at ten till four am and seeing my cat shooting out of my room away from me. I turned my flashlight on to see what was going on and found that the cat had puked all over the bed. Lights! Action! My rushing to strip the heavily winter dressed bed before the puke made it to the mattress didn’t do much for the rest of the sleeping household. Later that morning after washing the sheets and pad I went in to make the bed back up and found someone had puked on the blankets while I ate breakfast. And 3) Anger. Somehow, without heavy lifting or slipping or falling I have managed to hurt my back. I’m sucking on the Motrin bottle, popping muscle relaxants, and walking around with my Tens unit stuck to my back. If there is no improvement by Monday I’ll be heading back to the doctor’s office. ARGH!
As I was sorting through a pile of papers I found this quote from my calendar and it just struck a note. “Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.” — Henry Miller It has just seemed totally topsy-turvy around here.
I decided to take a look at Henry Miller as I’m not very familiar with his work. I found many useful quotes but this one just fit in with what I’m trying to do this year (attitude adjustment). And after basically losing a week and a half doing nothing more than just barely what needed done I needed the reminder.
“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” — Henry Miller
Now if I could just get some sleep!
My son has set up a folder of beautiful pictures he thinks I will like and has set them up to rotate every so many hours as my background on the computer. When I finished reading my blogs this morning and shut down the internet, this bright and beautiful flower plus bees popped up. It made me smile and feel good for the first time in days. I live for summer. And I haven’t planted sunflowers in years. I think they need to go on my ‘to do’ list for the garden.
Life At Our House
I had to take Saver back to school back on the 13th. You’ll just have to take my word for it when I say her room was a mess and that we did eventually find her floor. (shaking head) She wouldn’t let me take pictures of her room so I’ll give you pictures of our trip out instead. It got interesting for a little while.
Note: Saver took these pictures. I was driving. Actually she took about 76 of them which I weeded down to about 20ish. I’m giving you 8.
Fur Babies and Other Friends
My son took this picture around Thanksgiving I think. This is my little food thief.
I managed to get a picture or two of my Hermies hanging together. An almost large Hermie with a smalll Hermie. Ignore the reflections of Christmas tree lights.
Out in the Yard
In keeping with the sunflower, I went in and found some summer pics I hadn’t used.
I’m going to leave you with the…
Mug of the Day
Note: In keeping with this screwed up week and a half, I have had to edit this post I think 4 times now. Pictures were added from my media file (WTF?) that I didn’t choose and words/sentences/paragraphs/titles/pictures were randomly being eaten (how many times do I have to put this mug back in?). Sooooo, let’s try this again. (Dammit I have to be up at 6 am!!!)
Le Tour de France. The toughest bike race in the world. Twenty-one days of racing, 22 teams, 198 riders risking their lives every day, 4-6 hours every day, averaging 23 – 54 kph (14.3-33.6 mph) depending on terrain, 2,173 miles (3,496.9 Km) total, and just 2 rest days.
I said it before, I’ll say it again. Bike racing is the toughest, most grueling sport around. I love it.
The race first started in 1903. A couple of nasty wars got in the way so this is only the 99th edition. It runs from June 30 to July 22 this year. I could write a novella on what’s happened so far this year, but I’ll leave it to you if you’re interested to read about it here http://www.cyclingnews.com/ . Go down to Races and Results and under Tour de France you can click on whatever stage you’re interested in. Want short video Stage Wrap-ups? Go here: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/42363489/ns/sports-cycling/ Just scroll down to the videos. And if for some reason you missed signing up to watch the stages live online or at your leisure, there is still time to fork out your $29.95 here: http://tourdefrance.nbcsports.com/stages/ Just click on ‘Get Access’ in the video square. You can watch every stage anytime for the next year.
Fun Fact: There is a Caravan of advertisers that precedes the race start by 2 hours. Think Macy’s Parade. It costs 150,000 Euros for 3 vehicles. There can be up to 250 vehicles in groups of five roughly covering 20-24 km (12.4 to 14.9 miles) along with 600 caravaners, 12 gendarmes, 4 traffic motos, and 3 medical vehicles. They estimate that the advertisers put out about 11 – 16 million pieces of merchandise a year, roughly 3,000 to 5,000 a day, each. Investment by advertisers can cost 200,ooo to 500,000 Euros. One total kept by a 1994 advertiser: 170,000 caps, 80,000 badges, 60,000 plastic bags, and 535,ooo copies of their race newspaper.
But what’s really fun? These vehicles have to be stripped down to street legal every day for the road trip to the next day’s start and then reassembled. So, too, all the media booths, awards stages, advertising booths, and staging areas for the race. Every single day. It’s a small army moving around the country of France for 3 weeks every year.
Life At Our House
Not much to tell here. Did some shopping and found out that they have all the school supplies out already. This year I will shop early, I swear! And I took Spider Bait’s clarinet in to be repaired and cleaned and about passed out when I heard the cost. Credit card/savings account time! Yeesh…
Fur Babies and Other Critters
In an effort to keep my lizard from bankrupting me (this is what I get for assuming things…), I am raising crickets. I’ve had the tub set up for a week or so, but no one was obviously laying eggs in the egg tub. So I decided to put a ‘ladder’ (toilet paper tube) on the egg tub. Now the females are fighting each other for good ‘spots’. I watched one female watch another female dig her hole and when she was done the first female knocked the digger out of the hole and took it herself. A few more days of egg laying and I’ll move that Cool Whip container into a tub by itself so when the babies hatch the parents won’t eat them. And, of course, put a new container in for more eggs.
Out In The Yard
Our header today is a rose that was here when we moved into this house. (Ignore the blasted date. It is my camera’s default setting. Argh.)
I spotted a Preying Mantis hunting on my window screen over the sink at night but the pictures sucked. Then, presto!, there it was (or maybe another smart one) on the window at lunchtime.
One of the fun things that happened to me while the boys were away at Boy Scout camp was I fell down the basement steps. No, I don’t know from how far up. See, I was carrying boxes of cereal and snacks and stuff down to the pantry, using my chin to balance the load, and my mind was fussing and chewing over other things. (I really need to stay out of my own head sometimes.) The next thing I knew, lumpity bumpity, the world was spinning and there’s pain and, bam!, I’m on the floor looking up at the light. I think I overshot a step and slipped on the edge, ’cause the last three toes on my left foot felt like I curled them up and jumped up and down on them. The balls of both feet were unhappy and the joint below my pinky toe on my right foot was really unhappy. And I must have been an idiot and tried to hold on to the boxes ’cause I had edge bruises on my arms and a deep bruise under my jaw up into my mouth, like maybe a box corner got me, so talking and certain tones of voice were interesting. But the good news? I landed on my hip and nothing broke! So all these years of iffy health haven’t trashed my bones into a bad zone.
Anyway, no walking for awhile. I was going to try going out today, but was told ‘no’. Somebody threw up in my shoes. My one and only pair for walking/running. *sigh* I hope the sun is out tomorrow so I can wash them. It’s too humid to let them dry without help.
Mug of the Day
Another by Marjolein Bastin. And it’s midnight, so I’m off!
Wow. Amazing how fast time can pass when you’re not having fun. My monthly friend came along like 3 all at once and I felt like I got run over by a 100 car coal train. (TMI?) My days and nights are now screwed as I was getting up every 2 to 3 hours. Thus my eating has been hit and miss and I’m down to 122 lbs. which is Bad. As soon as I hit 120 or below I start getting sick. So got to start piling on the calories. Cranky and tired are the words for the day.
I did make it out to our local Farmer’s Market and bought myself some comfort food – Butter Toffee Peanuts. I deserve them. I sucked down half the bag on the trip home. 🙂 (Oh, and I also bought ‘real’ food, kohlrabi, tomatoes, plums, mmmm – just picked raspberries.)
I still haven’t decided what to do about apportioning time for the blog (here I am at 10 pm again!), I’ve been brain fried for the last week. And I still have to do bills! I’m also currently wrangling my husband to get him to decide what in the heck he wants to do for Father’s Day and his Birthday (the 20th). He is being uncooperative. *Sigh* (with a slight growl)
Sitting in the grass late yesterday with my baby lizard, I was eating and looking at life in the grass and realized that in our hustle and bustle we forget how much goes on around us unnoticed. It made me think of this quote and it’s one I need to put up somewhere where I can see it regularly.
“The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.” — Veronique Vienne
Life at Our House
We had a pop-up thunderstorm that made me smile. It was over our house pouring down the rain and in the back part of our yard the sun was shining.
School is out and Spider Bait is now home for the summer. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be working his butt off helping his mother get Shtuff done.
Okay, Saver of Bugs, here is the sourdough bread recipe leaving out proofing times and temps, just doing it the way I do it at home.
Mix the 1/2 cup of sourdough with 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup of water. Cover bowl and sit on top of the refrigerator. Do this right before you go to bed. (Note: In the summer it should be warm enough in your room that you don’t have to do this downstairs. Out of curiosity, you should check the temps on your dorm fridge every 15 min. for about an hour and a half. You might be able to raise the loaves on it.)
When you get up, add 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup water and mix well. Cover and put up on the fridge (or in your room – you’re looking for min. 72 degrees, no more than 85). Let it work no less than 4 hours. Depending on how warm your room is or on top of the fridge, the culture will start to go down at about 8 hrs. At 12 hours it is flat. I generally like to set up the loaves at about 6 hours. But I’ve done it all along the time frame at one time or another.
Bread time. Grease both bread pans and make sure you have enough space to knead bread. Get your small saucepan out and toss 2 tbsp butter in it at medium heat. With my old nasty pans, you should probably do it at a notch or so below medium. When the butter is melted, put in the 1 cup milk and heat till lukewarm. Remove from heat and add 2 tsp. salt and 2 tbsp. sugar and mix till dissolved. Pour into sourdough mixture and mix well. Begin adding flour 1 cup at a time till it gets too hard to stir well. This is usually at about 5 cups for me. Dust kneading surface with flour and tip sourdough out of bowl and start kneading and adding the rest of the flour. Knead till smooth and elastic. Depending on how humid it is and how dry the flour, you may need less than the 6 cups or more. This is the part you learn to do by feel. You want the dough as moist as possible and still workable and elastic. Not gummy gooey. Not stiff as a brick.
Divide the dough into 2 loaves, knead into shape and drop into the pans. As wide as those bread pans are moosh the dough to cover the bottom. Cover and let raise in a warm spot till the tops are just barely below the top of the pans. About 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. If you forget and the dough gets above the pan sides, use a fork or the tip of a knife to burst the bubbles or the top of the crust will come off when you cut it. Spray or brush with water and cut the tops of the loaves. Bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from pans and cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
(You are feeding your sourdough at least once a week – riiiight?)
Fur Babies and Other Friends
This poor baby deer, just out of his spots, was apparently hit by a car. That front leg is barely moveable. And it clearly didn’t learn much from the experience, ’cause my husband almost hit him the next night coming home!
Will someone please explain to me how in the heck this is comfortable? He didn’t even wake up when I turned the light on to take the picture!
Out In The Yard
Our header for today is one of my daughter’s Dianthus.
My lizard with no name* is also part of the yard stuff today, or should I say – last night. They need sun to manufacture Vit D to process calcium and I don’t have a UV bulb up yet so I take him outside. While sitting there, I started watching life in the grass. It was sooo relaxing. There is so much going on right beneath our feet. I managed to get a couple of pictures of my lizard and a couple of the lawn’s occupants living their lives around my feet.
(*What to name this lizard? I keep calling him Squirt, but he won’t be a Squirt forever. More on that in my next post. I kinda liked Willow but everyone’s running away screaming on that one. Then Cooper kinda hit me, but Spider Bait sneered at that one too. And apparently my hair dresser says it has to have a lizardish name or a dragon name. [Spider Bait got his haircut today and was discussing my lizard.] Suggestions?)
Also while I was miserable this past week, I had problems with my right knee. A reminder that I need to find my ankle weights and start back on my old knee exercises. Horseback riding in the number of hours that I was putting in back in the day plus running created a muscle imbalance that will always be with me. When I was working and running it wasn’t so much a problem because I was also doing weight work to keep my body evened up. It was during the off-season when the muscles began to atrophy that my knees would give me the most trouble. At one point the imbalance pulled my kneecaps sideways, which was less than fun and had one doctor wanting to cut the muscles off the sides of my kneecaps. Well, you know that ain’t happening. I eventually found a doctor and runner who realized what was going on and gave me exercises to do to save my knees and keep me moving. The catch? It will always be there and require exercises to keep my parts where they belong. So gotta get back to it.
Things did straighten up enough that I started walking again yesterday. NO sore muscles! I’m excited. I’ll walk a couple more times and if I still have no soreness I’m going to go from 20 min. to 25 min. and see what happens. Squee!
Mug of the Day
I really need to bake some homemade ones. Mmmmm…