Monday, June 27, 2011

111 Vintage Dress Patterns = Maria Hit the Jackpot

I stopped by a church rummage sale Saturday morning. They're the best. The greatest stuff, the best prices AND they want to clear out everything, so are usually making deals right and left.

When I arrived, everything was already half the marked price.

I picked up two big boxes of old dressmaker patterns for one dollar (they were originally a dollar a box). I grabbed them so fast and rushed them out to the car before anyone could snatch them out of my greedy paws. I did not even look through them till I got home.

Here they are. Try not to faint. Again, these were a DOLLAR. FOR ALL OF THEM.

And the rest, since Photobucket has a limit of 100 images per slideshow:

I'm going to put them all on eBay without pulling any. It was enough to get to look through them all, and I really need the money. This lot was a Godsend, for sure.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Monument fire

This was shot by a firefighter fighting the Arizona wildfires. He has become something of a cyber friend of mine.

Look how quickly the flames move.

Just sickening.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23rd, the anniversary of Z-Poc

If you are a follower of Adrian's Undead Diary, then you already know that June 23rd was the day the Zombie Apocalypse began, so this is a pretty important anniversary.

If you are not a follower of Adrian's Undead Diary, then why not?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baby robins update

I was working this evening and suddenly had an urge to check on the robin family. We had quite a storm last night. When I approached their tree, I found one of the little robins on the ground below the nest. They still have no feathers, just mostly invisible fluff, and their eyes are not yet open. I ran back to the house to grab a tissue (just in case, yes I know you are supposed to be able to touch them without wrecking anything but I wanted to be certain) and scooped him up. He was still quite lively, saw/heard me coming and opened his beak wide to be fed, and he was warm and quite vigorous. I climbed with him up to the nest, to find it sopping wet and tipped on its side. And empty.

I wedged the nest back into the tree as best I could and put Robin Baby back in it, then searched for the other chick. I could not find it.

I prayed for the little feller and then went inside to watch, and as soon as I was out of sight, Papa Robin appeared, and looked for his child on the ground where he had fallen, then cocked his head up to hear his child's voice back in the tree. I think they are now reunited. I just wish I had checked earlier, when there were still two little robins to rescue.

New compost bins made out of wood pallets

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Berry Picking

This morning my friend Karen and our daughters, the lovely Miss C and Lil Miss A, all went strawberry picking just outside La Crescent, Minnesota, at Kathan's farm. The season only opened yesterday so the pickin' was really good. The berries were plentiful and beautiful, though not as sweet as one might hope (though, strangely, by the time I got mine home, they seemed sweeter). After we picked, we went out to lunch at Fayze's Restaurant in La Crosse.

Now I'm home. I pitted and sliced some berries for dehydrating and some for the freezer. I'm telling the family to eat all they can manage now while the berries are at their best. I'm also going to can some peaches that I bought at the market.

Here are my Strawberry Tips for 2011:

  1. Wear strawberry-juice-colored clothing.
  2. Use a paper clip to pit the strawberries. Unbend the center bend, so you have the two bent ends to work with.
  3. Slice ripe strawberries with an egg slicer.
Quote from Lil Miss A, helping to shuck the skins off the peaches: "Why does the skin always stick in the butt crack?"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baby robins

This is my favorite, with the evening light.

This was with a flash. They thought the camera was their mama, come to feed them.

Forget it. Not Mama.

Look! Teeny robin feetsies!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saw my first cedar waxwing.

What a striking bird! This one was hanging out on one of our corkscrew willows.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A natural mistake.

ISR: He has originally the natural tendency...
Dictated: He is originally from Nashville, Tennessee...

I used to have one of those tics...

ISR: "This is a 45-year-old woman with a history of baby monitor tic."

It was really something completely different. Cannot figure where ISR got this. But anyway.

Another resident.

Maybe she doesn't know what "incredibly" means.

"... as well as a history of polio when she was incredibly young."

This resident is DRIVING ME CRAZY.

She has a strange speech habit (maybe she cannot help it) where she never says the combination of the K and S sound. So, like every time she says the number 6, it's "sits." And I never noticed how many times the number 6 can show up in a discharge summary. "Infection" is "infetsin." "Antibiotics" are "antibiotits." Grrr.

I just want to SHAKE HER.

Edited: Hmmm. She seems to have trouble with the K and T sounds together as well. I never noticed that before. "Multifactorial" is "multifattorial."

New Term of the Day: Feline esophagus

And it's on people!

"Fine, transverse folds crossing the entire lumen of the esophagus have been termed the “feline esophagus” because their radiographic appearance mimics the appearance of folds in the distal esophagus of the cat."

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

My new term for today: Karl Storz SUPRALOOP for supracervical hysterectomy.

An interesting tool used laparoscopically to cauterize the cervicovaginal junction, allowing in vivo morcellation of the ligated uterus for removal.

If turtles go extinct, you can blame us

Stolen photo from a turtle center
Barry was digging in the back yard a few minutes ago, and realized too late that he had just taken out a turtle nest with a swipe of his shovel. Poor mama turtle walked so far to lay her eggs, and now they are ruined (all but one that did not get broken which I grabbed away and reburied elsewhere). He grumbled, "It's probably a snapper anyway." Britta said, "He'll be just like Nemo!"

The turtles come marching up into town at this time of year and dig out shallow nests in sandy dirt, lay their eggs, and scoop the dirt back over top of them. A few days later, the little turtlets hatch out, dig their way free, and are immediately 1) eaten by predators, 2) smashed flat by a car on the road or 3) caught in a lawnmower. Only a tiny number make it to the river wetlands where who knows what happens.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Walk on the Army Road

The "Army Road" is a gravel road built and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers that runs out from town about 2 miles through marshlands and water meadows to a place to launch boats or go fishing. I forget it's there most of the time, which is really sad, because it's such a beautiful part of our area.

Britta worked 2nd shift at the nursing home, and then, when someone called in sick, stayed and did the night shift, too, and I picked her up at 6 this morning. That's when I usually get up, so it meant I had to be awake and alert enough to drive a little early this morning. But what a gift that early morning turned out to be. A 12-mile drive along the river road to Lansing, with mist on the marshes and birdsong everywhere, sparkling water, mama turtles hiking across the highway to find places to lay eggs, and deer. When we got home, I grabbed Bo's leash and we walked down to the Army Road and walked down it maybe a quarter mile, not far because Bo is old and tires easily *, but it was great. I am going to do it again and bring my camera this time. We saw many, many birds, heard lots of birds and frogs, and saw a muskrat swimming very close to the road. Bo learned lots of things by smelling everywhere. He's very tired now and ready for a nap.

Bo is our Keeshond whom we adopted from TurboKees Keeshond Rescue. He's 10-1/2 years old now and had neurological issues where he has lost proprioception in his back legs and feet, but he still loves a good walk.

* Yes, I know what you're thinking, that I am the one who is old and tires easily. Okay, we both do.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The time frame of your raising, and how it makes you who you are

I wrote this on a preparedness/survival message board in response to a question about how the time frame of one's raising might affect one's interest in preparedness. And now in rereading my answer, I see that I didn't do a very good job of answering the question. but I thought I'd share it here anyway.

I was born in 1962 to a schoolteacher mother who grew up on a small Kansas farm, and a physicist father who was helping design weapons guidance systems to fight the Cold War. Both were kids in the Great Depression and had a lot of thrifty habits that came out of that.

They went through a back-to-the-land thing when I was young, like through my mid teen years. They wanted to try organic gardening, buying milk from a farmer, buying organically raised beef on the hoof and having it butchered to order, and keeping us eating as few refined foods as possible. We rebelled and sabotaged their efforts at every turn, but some of it did soak in; I bake my own bread because my father baked the bread for the family for a couple of years, and I garden because they did, and I can sew because she could, and I am thrifty because they knew how to be. They also taught me important lessons such as a personal faith, being a member of a church, making giving a habit just like paying the mortgage, paying my debts, and sobriety. I owe all I am to their raising; however, I will not let anybody blame them for my faults.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


My dry-mesh open-air dehydrator is really working out well. It takes longer to dehydrate in it than it would in an electric one, at least in our climate (in the desert, it probably would not be much longer, if any), but it uses free solar and wind energy. So far we have dehydrated morel mushrooms, fresh parsley (I got it on clearance at the market), rhubarb, a lot of peaches, and now I have spinach leaves in it. I read an interesting piece on line about dehydrating spinach. You wash it, take the stems off, and dry the leaves until they are thoroughly crunchy-dry, then run them through the blender to make spinach flour, which you can then easily incorporate into soups and sauces or (and this is my favorite idea) into pasta dough to make spinach pastas.

Yesterday morning I picked through our row of spinach, taking every leaf big enough to pick, and it was decimated. All that went into the dehydrator. Lil Miss A commented that she wished she could have had one more spinach meal before I did that. I figured it was done for the year, because I was pretty brutal with my picking. But by evening time, the row had grown a whole bunch more spinach and it's ready to pick again. Amazing. And now Lil Miss A can have more fresh spinach for lunch.

The peach slices, by the way, are so delicious. The peaches when fresh were a little disappointing, picked early for shipment and so not very sweet when they finally did ripen. But when we (the girls and I) sliced them thin, dipped them in vinegar water anti-browning solution, then dehydrated them in the open air, all the sugar they contained was concentrated, and they are irresistible. I ate way more than I should straight out of the dehydrator.

Getting ready for church this morning... Today our family is providing the meal for fellowship hour after services. This year I made (surprise!) peach pies, 5 of them, to serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I panicked when I got the pies ready, thinking there might not be enough for everybody. You just never know what attendance will be like in the summertime. So I quickly made a big pan of strawberry rhubarb crisp to keep as a backup. If we don't need it, we can bring it home.

Lil Miss A leaves this afternoon for her week at Village Creek Bible Camp. She is very excited.

UPDATE: We didn't even touch one of the pies. :) We will be eating pie and crisp for a week.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A quick post

Lovely weather, finally. Birds nesting like crazy, things growing. My potatoes in their barrels are growing healthy and strong. I feel bad every time I bury them in dirt and make them grow again. Potato guilt.

I'm going to get back to work now after a fun supper cooked out at the fire pit: Johnsonville Turkey and Cheddar brats on buns, with toasted marshmallows for dessert. A neighbor gave us a bunch of wood scraps, mostly hardwood, from his carpentry work, and it made a small, hot, quick fire that was ready to cook on within minutes.

Found a baby bird dead in the grass by the pond this evening. Not sure what kind it is; it's big, quite a bit bigger than a robin of the same age. Poor little mite.

I thought having little children, toddlers, babies, preschoolers, was exhausting. I had no idea what life would be like with these wonderful teenagers those babies grew into. I'm perpetually exhausted, it seems. I can only look with wonder on their energy and try not to get left too far behind.

Oh, and I temporarily deactivated my Facebook account, on the very slim chance that anyone noticed. We limit the amount of time the kids spend on Facebook, and I realized I was not holding myself to the same standards. It's not permanent, it's just till I can be certain I am not abusing it.