Friday, July 31, 2015

Fall seven times, stand up eight

Y'all know the struggle I've had growing squash this summer.  My first plants were planted and grown organically, with no pesticides and they were promptly gobbled up by the squash vine borer, a devil I knew nothing about.  I cried a little bit and then I pulled myself up by my bootstraps (and my dead squash babies up by their roots) and I learned.  I studied.  I researched and I tried again.  I tried everything this time.  I used Diatomaceous Earth, I wrapped panty hose around the stems, I set yellow bowl traps of water to drown the mamas, I tried everything that I read about.  Surely they wouldn't get me this time!  

They did, though.  They got me.   And I got mad.  I got me some Sevin Dust and for a few minutes looked just like Joan Crawford with her can of Comet.

I threw that stuff everywhere. The heck with organic.  The heck with natural.  I wanted to grow squash, by whatever means necessary.  It was that serious, y'all.  

My war on the squash borer had taken a bad, bad turn.

Larry thinks I'm insane.  He thinks I should have given up and just gotten squash at the produce stand, at Kroger even, for goodness' sake.  But it's not about having squash.  It's about growing squash.  I wanted my own.  I wanted some like my daddy grew every summer of my life.  And I'm a middle-aged Southern woman.  That's what we do in the summertime, right?  We dig in the dirt and we grow stuff.

I was able to catch the new infestation early but it took work.  It took meticulously checking every single leaf every single day, pulling gobs of new eggs off the undersides ('cause these heifers are sneaky), alternating DE or Sevin after I watered everything in the evenings, even catching a Mama Squash Borer in the freakin' act one day, right there IN FRONT OF ME, and smooshing her right then and there.  And praying.  I prayed a lot over these squash.  I did lose one plant but after my Sevin/Comet hissy fit, the only actual borers I saw (they look like grub worms) were dead ones.  

I've had my eye on this one for several days now.  It has rained and then been really sunny and rained again every day so the weather has been perfect for growing squash, for growing anything for that matter.  My tomatoes have been doing great (except for the six beautiful red juicy ones that a mouse got but that's a whole 'nother story), the cucumbers are still going strong and we've got more peppers than we can eat.

This one was ready today.  In all its beautiful golden, plump glory. 

I wonder if anybody's ever called a taxidermist to stuff a squash before. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

On the fence

We have this fabulous idea to decorate our backyard fence!  We started on it today.  We see things all the time at estate sales and yard sales that would be perfect.  We want to decorate it to reflect us, our personalities, our story, our life.  I want a window and shutters up there, a mermaid and a big rooster.  Larry wants a piece of stained glass. 

It all started with a big turquoise cross we got at a yard sale a few weeks ago.  We brought it home and when we talked about where we were going to put it, I said, "the fence".  And so that's where we put it.

Here's a little of what we did today!

 Larry painted this adorable little bird!!

And added a stem and leaves to my sunflower.

He made an arrow out of license plates we've collected and wrote "My Sunshine" with rope.  Awwww!  (We have no idea why some slats in our fence are painted red.  We have a plan to fix that, too.)

This was our work table!

Larry found a couple of huge rocks and we painted those, too!

But our masterpiece was this fish planter that we got at a yard sale last summer.  I love how he turned out!!

In sickness and in health

We had quite a weekend!  I got a call at noon Friday from an EMT telling me he had Larry in the ambulance and that they were taking him to the Medical Center in Macon because he was having chest pains.  He told me that Larry was awake and that his vitals were good.  Trying not to freak the hell right on out, I asked him to let me speak to Larry.  He had been working in the woods building a fence and was stung by something, from behind on his shoulder so he didn't get a look at it.  Shortly after that, he started having pains in the center of his chest and he called 911.  Once I heard his voice and was positive that he was alert and awake, I tearfully told him I'd meet him at the hospital.  I told my supervisor and I took off.  I called Rhiana, Mama and Ami on the way.  I didn't know what I would find when I got there, how he would be, but I wanted them to know what was going on.  I asked for prayers on Facebook.  I believe in the power of prayer, I believe God works in our lives and I believe that He has lots more still for Larry to do in this old world.  I was worried but I wasn't worried.  Does that make sense?  I got there and he'd already had an EKG in the ambulance and he said nothing showed up.  That was good.  They also put a nitroglycerin patch on him and it didn't help with his pain.  That was also good.  I know from our experience with Mama that nitro helps when you have a heart problem and when it doesn't, it's usually something else.  So I was relieved to hear that.  But then the hospital does their own EKG and they detect some "abnormality" and decide that he has to be admitted and have a stress test done in the morning.  Ami and Brian came to see us and so did our pastor, Andy Cook.  I was glad for the company!  Once they decided to admit Larry, I came home to get us some clothes together, check on Tabbie Hoffman and Banjo and get a shower.  On the way back, I stopped and got us some supper because I remembered that neither one of us had eaten all day!  I got back to the hospital at 9:30 and they had already moved Larry up to the heart tower.  We spent the night there, a miserable night as y'all know if you've ever spent the night in a hospital.  The Luce Heart Institute is a swanky $85 million dollar heart specialty hospital (the "heart tower", they call it) and the rooms and bathrooms are really nice but the beds are teeny tiny.  I slept on the sofa bed with my own pillow I brought from home and a cotton blanket a sweet nurse brought me.  

This was us Saturday morning, snuggled up in Larry's tiny little hospital bed.

Here's Larry having his 4th EKG Saturday morning.

They never did pinpoint what this "abnormality" was they kept seeing but since everything turned out fine, I'm thinking it was most likely something the bug bite caused.  Larry passed the stress test with flying colors, exceeding the goal they set for him and never even breaking a sweat.  His pain stopped Friday night and he was his old self again before we even went to sleep.  We left Saturday afternoon and was told today that the stress test was normal, no heart problems were detected at all.  He may have just developed a slight allergic reaction to the bug venom and after it passed through his system, he was fine again.  Dangest thing I've ever seen!  But I wouldn't expect anything else from Larry.  He's the strongest, most pulled-together person I've ever known.  He just flat refused to let anything be wrong with his heart.  

There's not.  I've had that heart for 27 years and I've never seen a thing wrong with it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Adventures of Myrtle

Larry rescued this little box turtle from some dogs today and he brought her home, knowing I'd know what to do with her, being from the country and all.  :)  I have rescued turtles most of my life and I'll still stop and move one across the road if I see it.  I'll never forget the time I moved one as big around as a manhole cover.  She was heavy!

This is Myrtle and she spent the afternoon with us!

She hung out on the rug in the mudroom.

She met Tabbie Hoffman.  And Banjo.  But Banjo was scared of her and wouldn't get too close.

She loved the warm water of the newly painted birdbath!

She showed us her best alligator impersonation.

She frolicked in the grass.

And she spent the rest of the afternoon under the magnolia tree, in the cool water of Banjo's pool.

At dusk, we took her to a nearby lake and set her free.

Have a good life, Myrtle!  It was nice meeting you.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

My pink dahlia bowl

I found a vintage 1946 Multi Products faux wooden bowl at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago for $2 and even though it was speckled with paint, I got it, thinking I could get the paint off of it and fix it.  Well, that proved to be harder than I thought and it ended up worse off than it was when I bought it.  :(

So I decided I would paint it and give it a new life.  I've never been crafty in my entire life.  Ami got all that talent in our family.  But since I painted the tiny picnic table we have and most recently, the birdbath, I built up some confidence to try to paint this bowl, too.

I wish I'd taken a before picture but since I didn't, I found this one on Etsy instead.  This is what the bowl looked like before somebody speckled it with red, green and yellow paint and dropped it off at the Goodwill on 96.  It really was a beautiful bowl!  And for the Multi Products company to produce a faux wooden (plastic) bowl in 1946 is just amazing to me.  They had no idea the evil that plastic would become and I didn't even realize that plastic was being used back then.

During my research, I found out that the flower in the middle is a dahlia and I chose to paint it pink, since that's my favorite color.  I painted the bowl white to start with and let it dry several days and this morning, I filled in the rest.  I think it turned out really pretty!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More summer tea cart!

I added a couple of things to my summer tea cart.

I found this adorable vintage Florida souvenir creamer on eBay for $3.50 and after not getting it for two weeks and getting my money back, it came in the mail yesterday!  I love it when stuff like that happens!  We sent the money right back to them.  It was only right and I was so happy to have it!!

Larry and I went to a very disorganized yard sale Saturday.  Lord, I hate those!  They make me nervous.  I cannot stand to have to dig through boxes and bags.  Ugh.  Just keep yo' stuff.  But sometimes you find a treasure when you dig through a box.  I found a mint 1966 Empire Santa blow mold that way once.  And got it for fifty cents.  This time, I found this old Kodak Instamatic camera and when Larry told me he used to have one just like it, I grabbed it.  And got it for two dollars.  So it goes on the summer tea cart 'cause everybody knows you take lots of pictures in the summer!

Monday, July 13, 2015

10,000 steps

One more again, I am attempting to lose weight.  I have been overweight for as long as I can remember.  I came into this world just as the Summer of Love was kicking off, 9 pounds 6 ounces of bouncing baby girl, at 6:03 in the evening, just in time for supper.  Supper is still my favorite time of day.  :)  I've dieted, I've lost weight (lots of weight!) and I've gained weight.  Twenty years ago, I lost 60 pounds and gained back 80 and then most recently, I lost 50 and gained back 30.  Enough of this roller coaster.  I turned 48 last month and I really, really don't want all of the health problems that come with growing older AND being fat.  Growing older is bad enough.  I'm healthy as I can be right now but diabetes and heart disease run in my family.  I'd rather they not run all over me if I can help it, thank you very much.

So I'm under a doctor's care now and I'm losing weight, ever so slowly this time.  I've lost fourteen pounds since the end of May.  That's turtle-crawling-on-pancake-syrup slow for me.  I've lost 14 pounds in two weeks before.  But guess what?  Every one of 'em came back and brought friends with them.  Friends with cake.

I bought a pedometer in May (and let me tell you, this is the BEST pedometer out there.  This little thing has been washed in the washer, dried in the dryer, hung out on the line all day long in the hot sun, dropped a few hundred times out on the flight line, it's been sat on, had all kinds of stuff piled on it down in my tote bag, it's been LOST (twice) and it's been the best little companion I could have had in my journey to better health and a slimmer me.  I have no desire to be skinny.  I only want to lose 60 pounds total and I'm going to do it the right way this time.

My doctor suggested that I walk 10,000 steps a day.  That's five miles.  I have tried so hard to do that but always end up right around 8,000.  I did much better before it got so blasted hot, though.  My job gives me lots of opportunities to walk but ain't one thing funny about being fat and hot so my walking has slowed down, along with everything else in this sweltering Georgia summertime we're living in.

But today, tho.  Today I made it!!  Never mind that the last 60 steps were in our living room with Larry asleep already.  I made it.  :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Painted birdbath

We picked up a concrete birdbath last summer at an estate sale and I have been constantly trying to keep it clean.  It developed some kind of rust on the bottom and I have scrubbed with baking soda and every kind of natural cleaner I had, avoiding bleach because (1) I hate bleach and try not to use it and (2) I didn't want to hurt the birds who bathe in there.  Larry had this great idea to paint it!  With concrete paint!  So I did today!

I started with painting the bowl a real pretty blue.  You can see how ugly that rust was in this picture.  Yuck.  I wouldn't want to take a bath in that.

Then I painted a yellow center and accent marks on the petals.  We're making a flower!

Yay!!  A clean and pretty birdbath!

Where the wild things grow

Larry calls this my hippie flower pot.  Where the wild things grow, he said.  It was just a terracotta pot with some potting soil in it and I just watered it when I watered all the rest of them.  Pretty soon, things started sprouting.  Weeds, I know, but they are kinda pretty.  There's even a little bit of clover in there.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Garden update!

I haven't had good luck at all with growing squash this year.  Those squash borers got me again.  All of that extra care, all of that precaution, they still got me.  BUT!  I think I caught it early and was able to take care of it before they killed all three of my new plants.  I lost one.  The other two are doing good and it's just a waiting game.  I don't know if those things are in the stem.  If they are, the plant will die.  But there have been no signs so there's hope.  Larry and I went and got some squash at a local produce stand and the lady there said this has been a bad year for squash.  It's been a bad year for MY squash, that's for sure.

But I do have squash.  Right now I do.  :)

The tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and banana peppers are doing great!  We're picking a couple just about every day now.  Everything grown organically with no chemicals or pesticides.  I'm so proud.


My delicious sweet lettuce turned bitter in this awful heat we've had so I'll try again in the fall.  Lettuce likes cooler weather.  I'm going to plant onions, spinach and lettuce in the fall and I've already started sweet potatoes that will be ready around then, too.  And I'll plant mammoth sunflowers, thanks to my friend, Terrie.  She left one of her sunflower heads on our porch (along with a very generous sampling from her garden that we enjoyed for days!) for me to dry and harvest the seeds so I could plant in late August.  I planted sunflowers by the fence in May and the first little flower is forming.  I was so excited when I saw it today!


My beautiful bougainvillea has bloomed like crazy ever since I put it in the backyard.


This is the first bloom in my pot of wildflowers that I grew from seed.  I can't wait to see what comes up!


And the white hydrangea in the backyard is just full of blooms.  They are sooooo beautiful.

Larry worked this morning so I went to an estate sale by myself and I got this little white metal rack that I thought would be perfect for the flower pots I've collected lately.

I got a lot of really cool stuff today on my own and then with Larry once he got off work but the best thing all week (maybe even all year!) was this 1960's (I've narrowed it down to 1962-1965) Broyhill Brasilia dining room table and chairs that I found at the Salvation Army.  I just happened to stop last Wednesday afternoon on my way home from work and I saw it.  I fell in love at first glance!!  And when I went over and looked at it, I knew I had to have it.  I love everything about it, its solid wood construction (it's very well made!), the cool vintage atomic-style chairs, it's the perfect size for us now with the kids coming to visit and it's OLD, my favorite thing!!  We love it.  Since it's 50+ years old, it has a few little problems and Larry and I are going to work on it.  Somebody PAINTED on it.  Ugh.  So we're going to strip it and refinish it with some satin poly and give it a new 60's-like finish.  It had been in storage and was covered in grime and spider webs.  It took a lot of cleaning before I would even let it in the house.  It's had a rough life, a long life and I'm so happy it's with us now.  

It looks just like it belongs with us.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Tea Cart


Now that the 4th has come and gone, I got started on a summertime tea cart.  This is what we've got so far.

A fishy, a little bit of blue, a pretty fluffy hydrangea, a starfish, pink flamingos, a sunflower, some oranges, seashells and a crab.  

It's a work in progress but I like how it's shaping up!

I think it needs a mermaid, though. 

This sweet little fish is actually a 1950's fish wall pocket.  I got him at an antique store for $5.  He's going on my bathroom wall when the fall tea cart goes up!  I just love that little face!!

I popped in at our local Salvation Army this afternoon and it's a good thing I did!  I found the most awesome 1960's dining room set with a huge table and six chairs for $90!  I loved it at first sight.  I loved the solid wood, the amazing quality you just don't find nowadays, the vintage atomic style of the chairs, every little thing about it.  I got home and googled it and found out it's a Broyhill Premier Emphasis set and it's selling for $650 right now on Etsy.  I am so excited to get it home tomorrow!!  It needs a good bath and some TLC and I am just the girl for the job.  I will have that thing sparkling by dark.  :)

While I was in there, I looked around and I found this vintage Disney World mug with Larry's name on it!!  I got it for 30 cents.  It's a little worse for the wear (probably dishwasher damage) but I had to have it.  It goes on the summer tea cart because you go to Disney World in the summertime!  You also get you a Florida Orange Bird bank if you go to Florida on vacation and you're a kid in the 1970's.  And I was and I did.  :)