Thursday, June 02, 2016

Cherry Bomb

 Well, once again I did not mean to stay away so long from posting but things have just been a little bit of a struggle lately.  I'm making a little progress on the allergy front but not much at all on the arthritis part.  Still a lot of pain.  I did go for a week or so with very little brain fog so that was nice; I was very excited about that.  Then we went on a short vacation down to Mobile to see some of Jack's family and the trip down and back was pretty hard.  Lots of driving which means lots of sitting.  By the time we got home I was pretty much toast and have had much trouble recovering from it.  Basically I've just been a blob.  A foggy, hurting blob.

 On some good news though...the garden is doing great!  We even had enough cherries off the tree this year for me to make a small cobbler with.  Wooo doggies!  It was good.  The chickens really love the cherries too and fortunately the tree is actually in the garden where they cannot get to it.  I suspect I would find them up in it otherwise.  I give them the fruits that the birds have picked on and they just go nuts! Even going so far as to physically knock each other down to get to the cherries first.  They are so funny.

 The peas are doing well although at this point they are kinda on the downhill side.  Being a cooler weather crop they are not lasting long in this hotter weather.  That's fine though.  I've frozen plenty and I'll pull these up and plant green beans in their place I think.

 The cauliflower and broccoli did real well also.  Jack did his first day at the local Farmer's Market and sold out of broccoli rather quickly.  We had enough to freeze some also.  I'm slowly pulling up the spent stalks to give to the chickens and am not sure what I want to plant there next.

I didn't realize until I went to do this post that I haven't really taken much of any photos lately; especially of the garden so ya'll are just getting a few scraps, so to speak.  I'll try to get out there and get some new pics soon.

And I had promised ya'll a photo or two of the new art work I am working here is one new piece.  I've actually been doing a series of these and have one more I want to do.  My new direction is not going very well though, although I am very pleased with how my new work is coming out.  I've been turned down by absolutely every show I've entered this year; photography, sculpture.... everything.  But I will not get discouraged.  I like my new work.  Hell, with the setbacks I've faced over the past few years, this is nothing.  I do need to transition to something that is going to make money on a regular basis but I will keep on with the sculpture too.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cinderblock Garden

 Our garden this year is off to a great start due to the early spring and my actually getting off my butt this year and starting quite a lot of things from seed, rather than waiting on the local stores to get stuff out.  Seems they are always late.  Plus, they don't have the greatest variety of plants.  This is my first year growing radishes and I am stoked!  They came out so beautiful and SO tasty.  I've been making a radish/ cucumber salad that is to die for.  I mean seriously good.

 Jack wanted to experiment with more raised bed gardening so we are slowly transitioning over to large concrete block beds.  We get the blocks from a local concrete company as seconds (although I can't see much wrong with them) so it's much more affordable than buying new block.  Not the most attractive things in the world but you can make them look okay.  Beautiful plants like thins growing in them makes them much more attractive!

 This is the old strawberry bed that never produced a whole lot and was terrorized by moles and wild violets.  Jack dug the whole thing out, laid mole barrier in the bottom, refilled it with enriched soil and now it's got a bumper crop of broccoli and cauliflower in it.  We have a local farm that sells the best strawberries ever, so I'd just as soon buy from them.  They are reasonable and organic.

 Seems we'll also have a bumper crop of blueberries this year too.  This is especially great because blueberries are very anti-histamine and I've found a recipe for a coconut milk, blueberry, mango smoothie that is wonderful!  I have one several times a week now so I'll be freezing quarts and quarts of these these beauties this year.  Not so much jam but that's okay.

 Jack was attempting to till up the okra space but the girls commandeered it for bathing.  They thought it mighty kind of him to make that bath space just for them.  They have all been through their spring worming and are laying pretty good right now so they deserve a few treats!

 One view of the new raised bed area.  I've planted most everything that you see in those starter pots and it's all well on it's way at this point.  Still have not finished planting the main garden but we are getting close.

We are also experimenting in planting in double size concrete block.  Seems to be going okay at this point.  This is an old photo and these sugar peas are well over the top of the fence now and making little peas!  If we have enough stuff we are also going to try selling at the local farmer's market this spring.  This was another one of Jack's ideas!  I'm all for it though, if we can produce enough stuff!  I think we'll have some different things, more heirloom veggies and stuff but whether that appeals to anyone in this area remains to be seen.  Anyway, we'll have lots of fresh veggies and fruits and it's very gratifying to grow so much tasty food!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sorta Silent Sunday

 Just a few scenes from this beautiful spring we are having here.  I hope the weather is nice where you are.

 I am trying to get together a post on more of my allergy findings and treatment.  The past few days I've been dealing with one of my headaches it's going a little slow.  I am making progress with the allergies but there is a lot of backing up and punting going on as I learn!

 I'm very excited about some new sculpture I've been doing and I'll show ya'll soon.

 I'm also trying to get over the idea that I have to post a long, drawn out literary work every time I want to put something up here.  I think that's why so many bloggers get drawn away from blogging and over to Facebook.  A few photos here with no text is just fine too.

A favorite spring delight!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mind Over Matter

 Gertie was enjoying her sun bathing until Marlena flopped down on her head.

 Just a few random photos for ya'll to let you know I'm still here.  Most of this past week we had the most gorgeous spring weather and it was very much enjoyed by everyone.  We've been very busy with the garden and such and I've been busy trying to get set up to do sculpture now instead of pottery.

 It is just a complete struggle for me to come up with anything to post about though.  I fear that I have totally lost my mojo in that department along with several others.  I was doing pretty good but have slowed back down to a crawl lately. Not sure why.  I just don't seem to have much enthusiasm for anything anymore.

 I still see the beauty in things around me though.  I exercise every day that I can.  I'm trying to find new outlets for my art.

I love to sit out with the girls on sunny days.  They make me happy with their chatter and one or two always want a hug and petting for a while.  I guess their attention to me makes me happy.  Funny how even a little critter can make you feel loved.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hangin' On

 You still here??

 Hey folks!  Those few of you still dropping by.  I'm still hangin' in and working on stuff.  Thought I'd at least put up a few photos of things around here.  We've been pretty busy with lots of stuff and making progress on many things.  As soon as the weather gets better and I can get some decent photos I'll show ya'll some of that.

 We've ha a lot of rain since Christmas.  In fact, we had one of the worst rain storms I've seen here on Christmas Day.  Finally got over all that and had another bad storm come through last night.  Nothing was messed up thankfully.  Just soppy wet everywhere.

I've been making some progress on my allergies also and I'll describe that in detail later, in case anyone is interested.  Unfortunately, even though I've made some progress on that, the pain in my hips and butt has not gotten better and, in fact, has spread to my right hip!  That has been truly aggravating and it's made driving or riding in a vehicle a real test of nerves and endurance.  Anything over about 30 minutes and I'm about at my limit.  When Jack is driving I can lay down at least and that's the only way I'm able to go much anywhere except short trips here and there.

I finally finished a pottery order that I've been working on for a couple of months now.  Well, I still have to glaze fire it but that should go okay.  I may do a little pottery now and again but for the most part I think I'm done with that.  I think getting away from all that is one of the reasons I've been feeling better.  I told ya'll I was thinking about doing some slip cast stuff but I think I'm just burnt out on all pottery and want to get away from it.  It does not excite me anymore and that's a bad thing in art.
I recently did a little metal sculpture for an auction though and the piece was a big hit AND I really enjoyed doing it.  I think that'll be my next direction as for as art.  I'll show ya'll some photos of that too.

I've been trying hard to keep up my exercising and have added some strength training for my legs and hips in an effort to try to stabilize my hips and SI joint.  I've read that weakness in those areas can lead to your SI joint being too loose and moving too much, which can cause the pain of the bones grinding on each other.  I'm about ready to try anything at this point but it kinda makes sense to me.  And, when I did a few of the exercises designed to strengthen those areas...I'm embarrassed to say, I could barely do 5 or 6 reps because those muscles were so weak.  So, there may be something to that.

We are really trying to get a jump on spring this year and have started lots of seedlings.  Jack built a really cool seed starting set-up in the basement and it's working great.  I'm really, really anxious for warm weather, I'll tell you.  I've been so thankful that this winter has been very mild for us but would not be surprised if we still get a snow storm next month.  That is not unheard of in the south.

On a sad note, a hawk got little WingNut a few weeks ago.  Well, she wasn't so little anymore but she was a sweet little hen, unlike her sister who is a bit of a turd.  It was a rainy day and we were not outside much when it happened, so no free-ranging anymore on rainy days.  I've always been fearful of letting them out on rainy days for that very reason but they squawk so to go out.  Well, no more.  I just hate that it took loosing one to convince me not to do that.  They have a big run, two actually, that they can go between on days they need to stay in.  The hawks have been really bad this year too.  I think all the young 'uns that the older, resident hawk couple has raised over the years have come into their own and are still in the area.  The other day we had about 5 or 6 circling the girls at one time!  Even with us out there yelling at them.  They are brazen.  The girls finally got so nervous they voluntarily ran back into their covered runs.  One hawk got so low over the yard that Chigger took off after it after it, jumping up and snapping at it!  I think that convinced it to go elsewhere.  Chigger is a good girl and fierce protector of Callie Cat too.

So, I'll try to be back soon.  We are supposed to get some real pretty weather in the next few days so I should be able to get some decent photos.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nothing To Sneeze At

 Since not a lot has been going on around here you all know that you are going to get either bird or chicken pictures!  Ha!  Actually, a fair amount has been going on around here but I don't think ya'll are really that interested in seeing my organized bookshelves, clean bathroom or piles of stuff going to a flea mall, E-bay, the recycling center or Goodwill.  As I mentioned in the last post, I have been feeling somewhat better and my little bit of new energy has been going towards cleaning, purging and organizing.  January is always good for that sort of thing.  And, it's the only thing I know to do when my future is uncertain and I don't know what my next steps are going to be.  By this I mean my job, or what I'm going to do now that I can't do pottery anymore.

I am considering trying my hand at slip-cast pottery because you can better control the growth of mold in slip and drastically reduce your exposure to such things.  I have been playing around with it some but so far I'm not real enthused.  I think I need to make some molds of my own work and then it might be a bit more interesting to me.  Slip cast work can be just as durable/ usable as any stoneware, as long as it's made of stoneware slip and fired correctly.  So, the quality is there.  I mean, after all, all the CorningWare you buy is slip cast.  Heck, even toilets are liquid clay to start with!

 So for now I am selling a bunch of stuff through E-bay and Allen has gotten into the flea mall scene, so I'm sharing a booth with him selling collectibles and some handmade crafts and such.  I've been lugging around boxes and boxes of stuff for 20-something years that belonged to my brother and an aunt and something needs to be done with it.  Fortunately, my brother had excellent, expensive taste and I've made a fair amount off some of that stuff.  In case that sounds kinda harsh, I have kept a few things that were his.  Mainly I just wanted his photos and things of that nature.  None of my other family was interested in keeping his china or such and he had a huge sci-fi collection of books and all sorts of things that didn't really interest anyone either.  So, whadya do? 
It's also a good way to get rid of some of my pottery I consider seconds and make a few bucks.  This particular flea mall we are in has very high traffic and I've been selling a decent amount of old books, tableware and other collectibles I had from my first marriage that I have no interest in anymore.  I always feel better after I clean and get rid of stuff!  Even better if I make a little money!

Jack and I are also gearing up for spring and gardening again.  He thinks he may want to do a little selling at the local farmer's market this year and I think that would be fun too.  I have sold all my show stuff (tent etc.) and sold my big clay slab roller back to the guy I bought it from, so that gave us room to build some shelves in the basement for starting seeds with grow lights and such.  I have never really been satisfied with the veggie starts I buy at the local co-op or whatever and this way we can start the exact types we want here.  Because of my allergies now I am having to eat a little bit of a different diet, one that includes many, many fresh plants and not so much meat, so expanding on my own gardening is about a necessity.  For example, I cannot really eat red tomatoes but I may be able to eat white or green tomatoes.  And yes, there is such a thing as white tomatoes.!  I also need to eat a more diverse selection of greens and herbs and about the only way to do this sort of thing is to grow it yourself.
So, it's all a lot of change- out with the old and in with the new!!  But all you can do is just go with it and try to make it into something interesting and fun.

One other note:  JO, sorry if it looked like I skipped your comment in the reply section and that it took me so long to post it.  For some reason, a very few of ya'lls comments do not show up in my email and I don't know that a comment has been left unless I check either the blog or the blog dashboard, which I forget about and don't do a lot.  Trust me, I really appreciate ALL comments left here and don't mean to ever skip or overlook anyone.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Something To Talk About

 First, a big thanks to all of you that left a comment on my last couple of posts.  I appreciate hearing from you and I do want to revive my posting a bit.  I don't think I'm through with this blog by any means.  Maybe just taking a breather.  I am feeling a bit better.  I think I have made some important discoveries in my health issues and I'll tell ya'll all about that.  I'm still learning and experimenting though and sometimes stuff backfires on me and I end up feeling like crap for a few days, so I still have that to contend with.

I'll also admit I just got kinda fed up with a few things here that I have not mentioned..  Social media can be a great way to make friends and connect with people and it can also astound you with people's pettiness and hateful attitudes.  After my post in October I had a couple people send me some fairly smarmy, sarcastic emails as if they knew anything about what was going on in my life.  Then this other "acquaintance" was reading my blog posts and then running back to her Facebook page to post lengthy ramblings about how my post was totally stupid and wrong.  Didn't have the backbone to disagree with me on my blog.  And the subject matter and timing was so specific it was not coincidence or such.  I'll admit that being in pain every day shortens your temper and patience quite a lot and that was part of the reason I just said "f**k it" for a while.  Plus, I just did not seem to be contributing anything constructive with complaining about how bad I felt all the time.  Long time readers who also disappeared seemed to back that up.  Who wants to hang out with a crank all the time?

 We also lost about 6 of our girls this year.  Some of that has made me very sad.  You may remember in one of my last posts that Little Red had been injured badly by a rooster we had and I was trying to nurse her back to health.  Well, it just wasn't meant to be; she wasn't going to be able to walk again and had stopped eating so I had to put her down.  We had a couple more die just suddenly (not sure why) and the rooster got taken off to another farm.  Then, one of my favorites, Susie, finally lost her battle with some kind of internal issues she had been having for over a year.  The medicine just seemed to stop working and she died.  She was one that loved to sit in my lap and be petted.  Jack found her down early one morning and held her and petted her until she passed away, so she wasn't alone. 

 So, we have about 15 hens left and thankfully they all seem real healthy.  The two little Silkies we adopted are doing great and are fitting in real well with the big girls.

This past year was very hard to say the least.  A lot of bad emotions and hard times but I am leaving it all behind and looking forward to a much better year.  I'm trying out some new stuff as far as making a living and art and I'll tell ya'll more about that soon.  And, I will post some more about my health discoveries and how I've been feeling better.

You may have also noticed that I put up a link to the new 2016 calendar I made this year.  I'm not sure why I make those things other than I like to use them and my Mom always gets a kick out of the one I give her! is one of the only sales pitches you'll ever see me post or allow on this blog:  if you have enjoyed my blog for some time and have the money I would certainly appreciate any purchases.  I don't allow ads here or ask for tips like a lot of bloggers do (which is fine) but I'll be honest, writing this blog over the years has taken a lot of time, especially with the photos, and it would be a help to me if you could purchase a calendar or two.  They are very reasonably priced and very well made.  Just like the kind you would buy in a book store.  In fact, they are printed nicely on thick card stock and many of the photos would be suitable for framing later.  For those that just can't afford it though, I completely understand.

I've heard a number of folks say last year was pretty crappy and I hope we all enjoy a better year in 2016!!
So what have ya'll been up too?  Any big changes?