Saturday, May 4, 2013

Not a fan of the Cleavers

We're not talking about Ward, June, Wally and The Beaver, but rather cleavers-- the weed.  Today is gardening day.  I have taken to weeding the worst area of the garden first.  It involved field grass (how the heck did that get in there) and cleavers.  Last year I tried to avoid the cleavers.  I didn't know what they were.

They set seed.

The seed got all over me.

They were like little velcro balls.

They were not fun.

The cleavers themselves also stuck straight to my skin.  Ouch.

So I dealt with the cleavers this year a bit earlier.  I also pulled the field grass, guild over the ground (that's what Hubs calls it, but I didn't find it on a search), Pennsylvania Bitter Cress, dandelions (in the beds and not in the yard), pulled the ivy away from the house and trimmed it back, trimmed back the attack bramble-type berry thing that the neighbor really wants to be rid of (with his blessing), trimmed back the butterfly bushes (one was over 10' tall) and hauled all of that to the tree lawn and discovered that the butterfly weed that I purchased last year for not-so-terribly-cheap did NOT come back.


K and I made a gallon of environmentally friendly weed killer that I had pinned to my Gardening Goodness board.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and though it is listed as organic, it doesn't specifically use organic ingredients.  I used the following:

1 gallon of white vinegar
2 cups of epsom salts
1/4 cup of Murphy's Oil Soap (They called for dish soap, but Murphy's is vegetable based and 98% naturally derived ingredients.  I thought it would be better than Dawn.)

We mixed it directly in the hand pump sprayer/applicator that I have.  K wanted to apply it and since it wasn't something that would make her grow another beautiful green eye, I let her have at it.  Though it has only been about 9 hours, I can tell you that the weeds have started dying out.  The particularly deep-rooted guys, she felt like she should hit one more time.  We'll give a report of how it went.

I went on my chemical-free feeding and applied coffee grounds, epsom salts and baking soda to the beds.  (Baking soda applied to the areas where the tomatoes will be planted.)

I climbed the ladder and tried the best I could to trim the deadness off of the crab apple.  I truly do need a taller ladder.  The drought was particularly hard on the aged tree and she's beginning to show it.

In between church and the soccer field, I'll be seeing how much more I can get done in the gardens tomorrow.  I'd like to get the collards planted for Spike.  He loves them.  He'll be happy to have them once again.

I have a feeling that I'll be having a difficult time moving tomorrow.  Advil-- take me away!  :)

Have a great night!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The street name discussion.

I went to the lovely locally owned jewelry store to pick up my newly re-sized wedding band.  She asked my address so that she could enter us into their system and she was giggling about my street name.  It's a good one, I promise!  I told her that I was somewhat of a street name snob.  I told her that there were certain streets around here that I wouldn't even consider looking for a house because without a major snicker. I couldn't get the street name out.

Turns out, my street name thing isn't just me.  Check this out for some funny street names.  A funny for your day!

Have a good day!  May the nice street names be with you!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cheater Pumpkin Eater?

Rachael and I had a text discussion today.  Since she is/was a teacher, I go to her for her opinion on educational items that I find might be a bit weird.  I should add that I went to my friend Kay.  She has children that go to the same school and have had K's same teacher.

The children were to choose an animal for two-part project.  Part one is to write a fictional story about your animal.  Part two is to research your animal and to write a paper about it.  The entire thing is being done in class, including research.  I did have K work on research over spring break since she does get pulled out of class for math tutoring.  Since I don't know what time she would miss, I wanted to make sure that she didn't go in unprepared.  She has 50 facts listed that she found and wrote down herself.

For second grade, the children were to do a habitat project.  K did a project on bats. She had two weeks to create the project, which was given a fairly detailed rubric to follow and a presentation that she was to give.

We've taught K that if she has two weeks to do a project, she has two weeks to use.

We've taught K that if it lists "the minimum requirements are . . . " that means that in order to get a C, you must get these basic things handled.  The more details you provide, the higher your grade could potentially be.

K loves bats.  She researched and read until her eyes were ready to fall out.  Truly, the child did a grand job.  She drew three different examples of habitats for them.  She wrote a "paper" telling the different details that she compiled.  Her things weren't glued down completely straight.  Her lettering was a hair wonky.  I would have spaced it differently, but it looked very good.  She was in second grade and where I helped to guide her more on the previous two projects she had last year, I let her ride the bat project largely on her own.

Most of the habitat projects I saw looked as if they were thrown together the evening before and only had the very minimum requirements met.

I am happy to say that K received an A on her bat project.

Fast forward again to this year.  I cannot tell you how many children are dusting off the habitat project from last year and just re-doing the same animal.  K came home and explained that this one and that one were doing what they did last year.  We had a discussion about how doing a project for class was giving her a learning opportunity.  I asked her to do what I asked of her last year.  I asked her to choose an animal from our area.  At this age, I'd like her to learn as much about the area as possible.  Maybe I shouldn't have given her those parameters, but her dad is a park naturalist, so he agreed with my request.  K thought about it for a day or two and chose beavers.  She had been to a few beaver programs that her dad did and she felt confident about having them be the subject of a two-part, long haul project.

My neighbor's daughter is doing her project on the Arctic Fox-- again.

When discussing it at the bus stop I told her that K basically exhausted all she could learn about bats last year and that I was sure that there was more that E could learn about the Arctic Fox.  (I saw her project last year.  It wasn't terribly detailed.)  I wasn't snotty about it.  She was giggling when she said, "Well, she's doing what she did last year-- the Arctic Fox."

Last year, we had several opportunities to teach K how to do a research project. She had a fire escape project that she had two weeks to complete.  She was the only one to turn it in on a poster.  For her president project, we had her present it to us for several evenings before she took it to school.  That way, she was prepared when she needed to present it to her class.  For her area brochure this year, I refused to let her do the local zoo.  I told her that she needed to choose a place we had never been before.  It was fresh information for her and taught her about Native American culture that was here in our area.  Though the option was given that the children could type it (we know that wouldn't happen and it would be parents), I had K hand write the brochure.  I went over her pencil with fine point Sharpie.  It was her project and it looked like her work.

We take opportunities with projects and have K learn as much as humanly (age wise) possible on the subject.  She is a reader and loves to learn.  I don't have to struggle with her on research.

Like Rachael said, so many parents want the easy way out (paraphrased and let me know if I got it wrong) and to go with laziness and bare minimum requirements.  I"m not saying that K will always get an A on a project that she has spent a lot of time on, but we look at projects now as a way of teaching K how to properly research for projects for her own schooling by herself later in time.

Cheater pumpkin eater isn't going to serve her well.


I'm never going to be 97 pounds again and I'm okay with that, but . . .

I was 97 pounds when Hubs and I married 16 years ago.  I ordered a size 3/4 dress and had to have it taken in 3" on each side.  I was in college and working two jobs.  Kent is  a campus with bus service, but I found that walking got me to places faster.  When I started college, I lost the freshman 15, I didn't gain it.

Fast forward 16 years.  I am not that 97 pounds.  I'm quite fine with that.  I am, er, many pounds more than that and it would be okay, but I am absolutely telling you that my metabolism is celebrating my milestone birthday a bit earlier than it should.

I think that my metabolism has stopped.  In fact, I dropped my wedding band off at the Mom and Pop jewelers to make my band 1/2 size larger.  I couldn't get it off for about a year and I gave up.  If it was a different ring, I would have cut it off.  Being my wedding band, I was a bit more sentimental.  I was able to get it off and my $20 wedding band cost me $35 to resize it.  Oh well.  I've needed to do it for some time.

I've started doing something I've never had to do-- I'm actually (out of curiosity) counting calories.  You see, before I could do a minor tweak, roll some walking in and voila!  An easy 5-7 pounds would roll off.  Not so now.  My metabolism laughs and adds on a few pounds just to mock me.


We've been walking nearly every night.  We walk about 2 1/2 miles and since glaciation is our friend here in these parts, it is absolutely up and down hill all the way.

I have skirts that are tighter than they were when I bought them.  I didn't buy them with room-to-grow, but they were a little loose.  So sad.  They aren't now.  Pants need pulled up not because they are falling down because of loss, but because they are shimmying because of force.

I'm not really delighted with these changes.

I've been busy taking a hard look at what I eat, how much I eat and when I eat.  Y'all, I spend a lot of time hungry.  My husband would tell me to make sure that I'm eating the right things because I don't want to cannibalize muscle.  I'm with him on that.  I've been paying close attention.

I've also dumped drinking pop (or soda or Coke-- whatever you call it.)  I miss it.  I've come to the conclusion that it is the bubbles, but I've found that my head doesn't have that spacey feel.  I was drinking the dreaded diet pop (or soda or Coke) and it wasn't doing good things for me.

Yesterday, my lunch bag was a little sparse.  :snicker in hunger:  Today I have leftovers of what I made myself for dinner-- whole wheat Israeli couscous with lentils, split peas and orzo, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and sweet red peppers.

I've been on the quest to make the waistline smaller.  I've got to change my efforts.  Hopefully, I'll figure it out.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It has served me well for 27 years.

I wrote a block post about my alarm clock.  It was an original wood grain finish Sanyo alarm clock that worked perfectly well until this morning.

Hubs and I were awake.  We were talking.  On Sunday, I don't set the alarm, but it went off at 6:58 AM.  Hmm.  I never set my clock for odd times.  It is a Sheldon syndrome issue.  It is always set to an even time.

I tried to turn it off, but the only time that it would turn off was when I set the switch to "alarm."  I came to the conclusion that I had to get a new clock.  Hubs, knowing the love that I have for good ole reliable said, "You are really getting a new clock?"  "This one can go to the studio.  I can shut the sound down so that when the alarm does go off, it won't be a problem.  I'm not completely getting rid of it, but I don't think that I can count on it to be used as an alarm any longer."

Credit to Hubs- He offered to try to take it apart and fix it.  He's very good with that sort of thing.  Talented actually.  I needed a clock.  Today.  We'll stick with the odd alarm issue, use it as just a clock and all will be okay.

Such sadness.  It is an ugly clock, but it has served me well for so many years.  I mean, how can you argue with 27 years of service?  They just don't build things like that any longer.

I went to the store and replaced my clock.  To replace it ended up costing me the same as what my mom paid when she purchased my alarm clock from Revco.  She paid $20.00.  I paid $20.50.

It has a huge display.  I think that the seniors two blocks away will see it.  More radio stations come in. It has a brightness control.  (The last one didn't and was red LED.)  It has two alarm settings.  The last one only had one.

A new alarm clock isn't that big of a deal to most people.  I had it from the time I was 12.  It took me through middle school, high school, 7 years of college and 16 years of marriage.  Not a life span!