I was checking on my containers this evening and found a Ladybug on the Dianthus, and I quickly picked her up and took her to the tomato plants. To my delight she wandered around for a while and then started chowing down on the aphids like a starving man at an all you can eat buffet. I love Mother Nature!
Okay technically they are Bluebells but they were a gift to me from my dear friend Toots from the HGTV gardening boards. Several years ago I expressed how much I loved them and she graciously dug some up from her garden and sent them to me. They always make me smile and think of her whenever they are in bloom.
My surprise early Christmas present from my husband.
She is a seven-week old Brindle Boxer pup. I have no idea where the name Flossie came from but when I first set eyes on her she just looked like a Flossie to me. She is a waggy-tail, kissy-face bundle of joy and I haven’t stopped smiling since he handed her to me today. She has already figured out that when not with me the spot to be is with Daddy on the recliner. Of course now comes the task of potty training but I have to say that when she woke up from a nap this afternoon and I took her outside she promptly followed me, chased my slippers for a while and then went potty. So far so good.
In addition to her we added three kittens to the family just prior to Mum’s visit (yes I know, I need to get Treacle fixed so this is her first and last litter). They are (from left to right) Harry Potter, Sooty and Tigger.
So I have a house full of babies. The kittens have already discovered the cat door and are venturing out into the back garden to play in the fallen leaves. In fact this weekend they ventured up a ladder which is stored between the house and the garage and made it up to the garage roof (with the encouragement of their mother). Of course there then was the whole “getting down” part of the equation but they managed it. I have no doubt that they will spend many a mild winter day up there basking in the sun.
Most of all there is a dog in the house. It feels like home again.
I have a 8-5 job five days a week. When I get home on the evenings I potter about taking care of my cats and cooking my husband dinner. I tend to spend most of my time on the computer, checking out my favorite sites and following stuff on twitter. TV for the most part is MSNBC checking out the latest in politics. Then comes the weekend and I turn into a reality tv junky.
On Saturday morning I wake early, as usual, and shuffle out to the living room in my “do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup” t-shirt and settle myself into the recliner for a love fest of reality tv on demand, where I can fast forward all of the annoying ads that get in the way. With my bucket sized cup of hot tea I turn first to Storage Wars which I find fascinating. Despite having my illusions shattered by tales of the show being rigged by the producers “seeding” the storage units with unique finds, I still love it. When my husband and I were first furnishing our house we turned to storage auctions for many of our items, and in fact our first tv unit that we bought from a storage auction now sits in our garage and serves as a storage area for the lawn mower gas cans.
From Storage Wars I turn next to “Chasing UFOs” another subject with which I am fascinated. While I find it strange and silly that the “investigators” insist on going out into wildlife infested jungles in the middle of the night and then are shocked, shocked I tell you that they encounter large amounts of wild life I am non the less fascinated by their antics, despite the fact that they invariably fail to find anything.
My next show is “Destination Truth” which has Ryder from “Chasing UFOs” as a member of its team. Yet again these investigative teams appear to insist on doing everything by “going green” and doing everything under the cover of darkness, and going into jungles and caves when any right minded person would thing that getting evidence under the bright light of day would be preferable.
Jack Osborne’s show “Haunted Highway” is my next stop, right now Jack is on hiatus, having been diagnosed with MS, so his other team, also a part of “Fact or Fiction” are on the case. I have to say that their most recent foray, the “Silver City” investigation where Jayel got trapped in the “isolation room” was truly scarey. The “Fact or Fiction” crew are hilariously funny thanks to their “bug across the camera lens test in 3, 2, 1….. ” seriously, we do not need a count down for you to take a picture, it is fairly obvious when you are going to hit the shutter button.
“Haunted Collector” is a particular favorite seeing as for the most part, the owner of the home, or the manager of the haunted place tells the “investigators” of the thing prior to them even doing their investigation, it seems that it always ends up that the “thing” that the person had pointed out turns out to be the “thing” that was causing the problems. I mean seriously who finds a gold tooth on a lake’s beach and brings it into their house and then cannot figure out why there is strange activity?
Once I have gone through all of the above shows I am then lost for entertainment, that is when I find myself turning to “Craft Wars” the most horrible premise for a show that I think I have ever seen, yet I cannot look away. While I fast forward through most of the show, seeing I do not really need to know why someone thinks that hot gluing popsicle sticks to a bird house has vision, I am still fascinated by the judges reasoning, and the fact that someone wins $10,000.00. What can I say, my Saturday morning is mine and no one will take it from me.
I LOVE these shows, I love them because it allows me to turn my mind off on a Saturday morning and totally lose myself in silliness. I have one of those brains that never turns itself off, I am always thinking about something that has to be done at work, or a particular problem that I need to solve, or an issue I need to deal with. On a Saturday morning I can turn on the “on demand” channel and completely immerse myself with inanity and turn off my brain. That is a good thing I think.
There are many things that I miss about Britain, not least of which is the food. I am delighted that I can now buy many things here at various specialty stores that other wise would cost me an inordinate amount of money to import. Other things, like for instance, Bisto Chip Shop Curry instant granuls my mother brings to me on her yearly visits, and she brings them in such quantities that it sustains me through the year. Every now and then, like this evening I make myself a plate full of chips (french fries) and pour over a jug full of Bisto Chip Shop Curry sauce and indulge, immediately I am transported back to another moment in time.
It is 11pm, I have just left “The Bop” (the club aboard any and all military establishments that I served at) and slightly woozy from the booze that I have imbibed I wander, as do all of its patrons to “The Oggie Wagon” a mobile food truck that has been enterprising enough to get a permit to set up outside the club to serve food to its patrons at closing time. It is freezing, the coat I wore to the club is no help to warm against the frigid nighttime temperatures. The menu on the wagon is scrawled on a white board attached to the side of the truck, cheeseburgers, bacon burgers, bacon sandwiches, and always my favorite curry and chips.
Hands stuffed in coat pockets we shuffled up the queue, shivering and waiting until we could order our food. Breath was visible as we stood in the queue, as we chatted about what had gone on in the club. “Did you see that X was dancing with Y Oh my god”.
“Curry and chips please” you ordered as you thankfully got to the front of the queue. You handed over the money and in return was handed a steaming and hot to the touch styrofoam container weighed down with freshly cut chips slathered in “chip shop curry” sauce. A sauce unto its own, “chip shop curry” sauce is unlike any other, it has a mild, curry like flavor, and it may, on a very rare occasion, contain the occasional rasin which gives it a modicum of authenticity, for the most part though it is a curry flavored gravy, which turns chips into soggy, curry flavoured morsels that are a delight.
I remember walking back to Wrens Quarters with my styrofoam container, shoveling fork fulls of curry smothered chips into my mouth and thinking that it was the best thing I have ever eaten. Ever. Because when you are slightly drunk, and starving at 11 oclock at night, whatever you are eating is the best thing you have ever eaten ever. I am sure that this is true for whatever people eat when they are thrown out of the club at whatever time of night it is, whatever they can find to eat at that time of night is the best thing they have ever eaten ever. But chip shop curry sauce over chips is still the best thing in the world.
Several years ago, in the depths of winter, our heat pump/air conditioning unit went out of commission. I weighed the options, I could spend yet another $1,500 to get it repaired to continue to heat and cool our three bedroom two story house and live with the $400.00 a month bills or I could spend a great deal less money in buying space heaters to heat the rooms we were actually living in. I chose the latter and I have never looked back since. Once I had tried the space heater route, and the window air conditioner route in the summer, I kicked myself at the amount of money I spent over the years to heat and cool the house.
Today it was 105 degrees here in Eastern North Carolina and my window a/c units in the living room and the bedroom kept the WHOLE HOUSE cool. I also have a window unit in the kitchen that I did not even need to turn on at all. My electric bill continues to run at about $100 a month (as opposed to the previous $400 a month during the hottest of the summer). The whole house is comfortable, not only during the heat of the summer but during the cold of the winter thanks to my space heaters. The heaters and window a/c units have paid for themselves several times over thanks to the savings in the electric bills and I feel good knowing that I am doing a little bit to help the environment not using electricity to heat and cool the ducts in my walls and the rooms that I only use one month a year.
I have heard more and more adverts on the local radio station about Fujistu mini-split a/c and heating systems that only heat or cool the room you are in. It is becoming more and more obvious that heating and cooling a huge empty house is simply madness and only heating and cooling the room you are using is the way to go. It is funny, because it takes me back to my childhood, when we used to do that exact thing. We would heat the room that we were in with a coal or a gas fire and not worry about the rest of the house, because when we went to bed we would be under the covers and not need to worry about it. I am more confident that people will make this switch, as they see how insane it is to heat and cool a big old empty box. We can do this.
To my delight, as it is always this time of year, I have black swallowtail caterpillars on my fennel (which of course is planted for this purpose).
I have also got lots of eggs, which just tickles me pink.
I bought two fennel plants at the Farmers Market this weekend and I am hoping that I can root them so that my boys have enough food to get them through their life cycle. This is very important to me. I feel that it is part of my life’s worth to raise Black Swallowtail caterpillars into full fledged butterflies. It is a tiny thing I can do, but if I can do it, I will.
Whatever it was that happened to Ellie Wyatt, and I profess to not knowing as no one would ever know, it has scared the treacle out of him. Since he came home from his surgery he has not moved more than a few feet in either direction of the dining room. In fact this evening I found him asleep in his cat carrier, no doubt he feels safest in there than anywhere. When the need takes him he will visit the litter box, or if he is feeling a little adventurous he will poke himself through the cat door and pee and poo right outside the kitchen door and then scoot right back through the cat door and take up his place either on my computer chair or the dining room table.
My husband was afraid that he would become the villain in the entire affair, it was he, after all, that took him to the vets. Quite the contrary, it would appear that while prior to the vet visit Ellie Wyatt treated him with a sort of quiet disdain, now he adores him. It occurs to me that Ellie now sees him as the nice man who took away the pain. He never fails to lift his head for a scritch whenever my husband goes through to the kitchen for a soda, and he actively seeks him out for lap time.
I cannot say that I am upset that Ellie has become a homebody, there are so many dangers in Eastern North Carolina for cats. Nevertheless, he is free to do what he feels is best, and right now he feels that his entire world consists of the dining room. I am cool with that.
Caladium are one of my favorite short lived bulbs for shady areas. They are truly unique in their ability to shine color and light into an area that is beset by shade. I have several spots in my garden that are in full shade and which I have no hope of planting anything that will bring color to the area. Caladium solves that problem and for the small amount of money I spend on them (because I always wait for the 75% off sale) they are well worth the money. Of course if you are smart and quick (of which I am neither) you can dig them up in the fall and over winter them in the garage. Alas, by the time I have got around to thinking of digging them up the leaves have died back and I have no earthly clue where I should begin digging to get them out of the ground.
I keep telling myself that I should do a better job of over wintering these babies but invariably I will fail. Nonetheless, if you have some seriously shady areas that need a pop of light and color, then you will not fail with Caladium. They are simply beautiful.