Monday, August 3, 2015

Hanging Basket Rescue

The birds drive me crazy -- always pulling out bits of the "grass" and outer layer of our hanging baskets.  Ours had gotten really ratty looking.  I had replaced them but the set I picked up was a bit small.  With the birds tugging on it all of the time, it was not looking good either.  There are so many birds living in the foreclosure house that they are all competing to find material for their nests.
My solution was to have TBG pull out the plants and their shell.  I put in  burlap (denim blue colored) and then lined that with landscaping fabric.  We put the plants, soil and basket liners back in and then folded the surplus fabric over and stapled it down. If the staples don't hold up, I'll just do some light stitching. 

These baskets look great with the blue of the garage and the newly positioned Adirondack chairs.  This required two yards of fabric and that set me back about seven bucks.  Not sure what TBG paid for the landscape fabric. I could imagine using newspaper instead.  You'd have to pick a large page to have enough, but I suspect it could be done.

If this holds up, I'm going to try burlap and other things like it to line my baskets.  The next test is to see how it looks after it rains.  We'll know tonight!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Like Yacht Racing...

Yet another reason I should have been born rich!  Actually, my father's family was supposedly quite wealthy until the stock market crashed and the Great Depression hit. But that doesn't help me much now!

We were highly entertained by the Lake Yacht Racing Association's annual regatta which took place on Lake Ontario this year.  Our camp site had a perfect view of the racing and it was mesmerizing.  There are regattas every year but nothing like this -- the most prestigious race of its kind.  There were entrants from around the world -- even Olympic teams.  While we are sure to be at camp when the yearly Sodus Bay Yacht Club regatta takes place, this race was a whole other level.  There were all sorts of boats -- including big Spinnakers with gloriously large sails.

Some of the sailors rented spots at our RV park and we invited a few to join our camp fire last night.  It was a rough day -- the morning was so windy that the waves were six feet high.  They told us it was absolutely grueling.  Grueling though it may have been, it was fascinating to watch.  And best of all, it was free!

One of the guys explained that you actually don't have to be rich to race.  There is a handicap system in place so that smaller boats can compete with larger ones so that skill is the determining factor.  You can join a yacht club and take classes.  There were eight on the team we met and just the one boat.  I know a guy who does sail and does compete but does so on a friend's boat.

The yacht club in Sodus gives sailing classes and their membership fees are not exorbitant.  I have been told they are a friendly and down to earth club and teams love to come to the bay and this end of the lake to race.  So, now I know one of the things I'm going to do when I retire!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Another Seating Solution

The Adirondack chairs I got from Home Depot and stained did not hold up well at all.  They could not take TBGs weight and were also falling apart from Teddy bumping into them.  I was pissed because it took some time to stain them.

They have been replaced with these PVC benches from QVC.  These were not cheap but they can hold 800lbs each and I didn't have to stain or paint them.  Nothing I saw in wood could hold that much and still be movable for me.  There is also on not much to choose from from a retail perspective.
The back of these benches can be pulled forward and if you put two together, you have a picnic table.  We can fit two people on each bench so that means we have more seating room around the fire.  These should also hold up better when it rains.

The first one was a pain to assemble but once that was done and we understood how they fit together, the rest went really fast.
 I moved two to the front of the house for ornamentation -- they can't be used for seating and as I was carrying them, they were coming apart.
The other two can still be used for seating -- by anyone who doesn't weigh very much.  These are going to be kept in front of the garage.

I am disappointed to have made such a bad purchase and am hoping the benches serve us better!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Good Girl

There are some people who think if you raw feed a dog, they'll want to start killing things "because they have tasted blood."  There are some people who believe if you feed a dog "human food" they will start stealing your food, raiding the garbage, etc.  All of that is crap.  Good behaviors and bad behaviors may be inherent to some dogs, but training is what makes for good behavior.  Bad behaviors that provide no reward, often disappear because there is no pay off.  It's the same with humans.  Basically, it's the theory of Operant Conditioning.

I own a dog that probably doesn't have three brain cells to rub together.  Maybe it's her simplicity that keeps her from some bad behaviors, but I suspect most of it is time, attention and training.  Here she is hanging out around three raw hamburgers ready to go on the grill.  They are the ones stuffed with cheese that we enjoyed this weekend.  She didn't even sniff them.  I walked away from the plate once and she followed me.
Here she is sitting next to an unwrapped s'more made with chocolate chip cookies.  She didn't even sniff it.  Teddy knows that our food is off limits to her.  In fact, any food that is on a plate, in a  bowl other than hers, on a counter or anywhere other than in her bowl is something she is not entitled to.  She is allowed to eat anything that drops on the floor -- unless we verbally forbid it before she gets it.  If we tell her "no," "stop," or "leave it," she lets it go.   We also let her lick the coffee table clean once we are done eating on it.  The dining room table or any raised surface is off limits.  These are things she just understands because we have never indulged her otherwise.  Dogs are good like that.  They learn what you let then learn.  Never give them a chance to learn something "bad" and keep them distracted so the act doesn't get their attention -- and it will be off the radar.
One thing she is always looking for, is love.  That's free, safe and never off limits!  The dog is certainly my guilty pleasure.  She takes up a lot of time and energy and she was an investment.  But this was one investment that was worth it.   She's a small money pit with a stomach, four legs a tail and a furry belly.  If we couldn't afford to own a dog, we wouldn't have one.  But since we can, we want to get our money's worth out of her and make her the best possible dog we can.   I do hope we get to have another nine years with her.  If we take good care of her now, it is my hope that her senior years won't be difficult.  However, we only have the time, energy and budget for one dog.  That's why we want to get the most out of the one we've got!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Investing in Sleep

TBG got me an air conditioner for the room I sleep in.  I've just not been able to sleep well and with no return vents upstairs, the Central AC is not cutting it.

Since the  coolest spot in our house is the basement, I slept there for two nights just to be sure that menopause and night sweats were not my problem.  Other than the air mattress being uncomfortable, the exercise proved that my body was not causing the temperature issues.

We had thought about putting in a separate "Split" unit upstairs -- which would be pricey.  It would involve the added expense of wiring and professional installation.  Instead, a unit like this was $147 because he gets them at a discount.  They normally sell for about $200.

Now I am off to get a good night's sleep.  Bon soir!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Keep it Going

 I picked 30 pears off our tree yesterday.  They aren't very big, but they came off easily when I twisted them.  They still need to ripen.  I suspect they will taste good.  Now I just have to give half of them away.  I plan to check the fruit every couple of days.  Our fruit is grown without pesticides with a natural source of soil acidity -- dog pee.  It's close to the back door so in the depths of winter, on a rainy day, or when she is in a hurry... that's where she stops to pee.  It works for me!
After I dealt with the fruit, I cut up the chicken.  At 99 cents per pound, it really is a good deal.  I can get two or three meals for the dog out of it and plenty of stuff for us.  I don't do a professional job but as long as I get the back and neck off, cut off any extra flaps and toss in the gizzard sack (which has the rest of the neck in it), I am in business.  I am thankful for my kitchen shears -- the work horse of my kitchen!
We grilled the quarters along with potatoes -- making extra up for TBG to have with hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  That salad I spent a long time chopping up was a nice side.  It was so nice to eat outside.

We had cheese ravioli for dinner tonight using sauce with chicken sausage from last week, chicken bits from this bird, mushrooms and more stock.  We have enough for us each to have for lunch tomorrow (plus salad).  The rest of the bird will go into chicken tacos (tomorrow), and something curry-based over jasmine rice on Wednesday.  That means I only have to come up with something for Thursday and we are done for the week!

My weeks is mostly about stretching meals, getting lunches made in advance, swimming with the dog, keeping up the house and yard (the house part suffers a bit in the summer) and trying to fit in time for friends at home and camp.  It can be a challenge to keep it going, but we are keeping up!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Chop Chop!!!

I spend a lot of  time chopping.  Today, I had two fruit/veggie goals:

1.  Make enough salad to have for dinner
       a. A lot more for lunches
2.  Make veggie slop for pup

The two oblong containers will be for both TBG and myself to bring to work.  He gets the bigger portion.  Dressing is on the side:  Balsamic Vinaigrette with fresh basil from our garden, red onion, and feta cheese.  I squeezed half a fresh lemon on the fruit/veggie mix to help it stay fresh.  The mix is made up of watermelon, radish, cucumber, cabbage, kale, shredded carrot, celery, grapes, and red peppers.  The dressing is on the side so the salad won't get soggy.  If we don't finish the salad ourselves in a few days, it can be made into a fruit/veggie smoothie.  There was enough liquid and a spare quantity that wouldn't fit into the containers, so we've already had one smoothie.

TBG had odds and ends from it all.  We had a lot of cabbage to share and she got all of the watermelon rinds.  In addition, there were strawberry hulls and asparagus ends from this past week.  This made four large sauce jars of slop so she is well set for the next few weeks.  For those who worry about dogs eating "human" food, she did not get any grapes!

I can tell you that all the chopping for us, then more chopping and grinding for her, was a real hassle.  And it makes for quite a mess.  Doing it all today means I save time during the week.  I have enough extra pancakes from today's breakfast to be set for each morning this week.  Now I have salad for every lunch too.  I'll still have to make a sandwich or something to go with it each day, but whatever I mix up tomorrow morning will last for a few days or more.

We could save a lot of time by buying our lunches at work and feeding Teddy "pet food."  However, I think fresh food is healthier and it's also more economical.  It sure does take a lot of work. But then again, it delivers a lot of yum!