Just a Few Little Things to Show

This is the biggest news. Every since I’ve lived here, I had CATTLE gates. Yuck. So one day I asked my contractor if he would be able to build gates and a partial fence. I just loved this round gate that I found on the internet, and he also built a trellis in front of it so I can get some climbing roses and put them there. I want to get Queen Elizabeth roses, but the climbing ones are hard to find. Anyway, I love the fence so much that I am going to put the fence all the way around my yard eventually. Also, there is welded wire on the outside of the fence so Sophie can’t get out and skunks can’t get in! You can also see the little patio that I had built. Sadly, I haven’t used it much yet.

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I hardly ever remember to take a picture of Noah right after he has his bath. Isn’t he a handsome dog. He’s going to be 10 years old in a couple of weeks!

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This is just Chloe and Sophie trying to get me to feed them. They were barking at me, but I didn’t get that shot.

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And my new baby chickens are just about grown up. I have four blue laced red wyandottes, 2 Black Astralorps, and 2 Barnvelders.

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The babies are still afraid of most of the chickens, so I was surprised when I saw this picture of one of my Dominique chickens up there with the babies.

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And that’s about all the news that’s fit to print.

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Applying for Medicare

I Know! Its hard to believe I’m this old. But I will be 65 in December, and so I had to start making preparations. It made me very nervous. But there is a guy at the UC Center that has helped me with health care over the years, and he told me last year to call him in September.

In fact, I had already received my Medicare card, and I didn’t even know it because I was a little afraid to look at that piece of mail.

Anyway, this guy told me exactly what to do. Turns out my supplemental insurance from the UC system will only cost me $40 instead of the $340 I was paying! And he did advise me to sign up for part D (medicine.) I was pretty sure I wanted to do that, because my mom did not sign up for it, and now she has to pay $50 extra every month…

So I got a little confused about how to do that, but then I saw you could sign up online. Oh, and let me advise you—READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT YOUR PASSWORD. I about gave up on getting a password until I looked over and saw there were MORE instructions about the password. So then I tried signing up for the basic medicine (part D) which said it was $12.90. But then I filled out the whole questionnaire, and at the end it said I had EnvisionRxPlus, and it did not say how much that cost! I tried calling them, but I did not have the number they wanted so that didn’t work. The next morning, I tried live chatting with medicare, but they also couldn’t help me. Then I finally saw that they had a website. Went on there, and sure enough, the cost was $12.90…

Anyway, looks like I am set, and I will have more choices than ever, according to the UC guy. I also found this interesting article talking about if you even need supplemental insurance with Medicare.

Thoughts

The day after Christmas, I started seriously working on a hooked rug. I had started it the previous year at my Anaheim rug retreat, and I was hoping to finish it before I went to Anaheim the first week of February. I worked almost every single day on that rug for hours. I called it the cow rug, and somehow I got scared of hooking the cattle. (My idea was to use cattle from all over the world, and the hills are from a picture I took of the hills in my area.) So one by one, I would make a goal to finish a cow. And the hills took a long time. Its a large rug, 42″ X 51″. Finally the cows and hills were done, and only the sky remained. I googled sky images, and chose one with a pale sunset. I finished the rug on a Friday night at 5pm, just a day before I was leaving for Anaheim!

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Here’s a thought I’ve had for a while. I found this article about “body acceptance begins with grieving.” Now even if you don’t believe in Health at Any Size (which I don’t completely agree with) still the grieving part is something that many people experience. I don’t think they actually realize it is grieving.

I got tired of dieting after doing it for fourteen years. And I started eating a little more. Most days I eat 1300-1500 calories. That’s enough for me to gain weight. I am still proud that I am keeping 55 pounds off. And I do still pay a great deal of attention to eating and exercising for health. But I’m probably never going to be that thin person that I wish I was. That’s where the grieving comes in. (Although both my mom and dad lost weight after they turned 80–haha, there’s still hope for me 🙂 )

Altra shoes. They are my favorite now. Before my knee was repaired, their zero-drop heels made my knee hurt too much. But now they’re perfect. Especially because of their roomy “toe box.” Wonderful. So I started looking online, and found a pair that were brand new on eBay, and in a pretty color. I got them and they fit just as good as the last pair.

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So, during the last week before I left for Anaheim, my neighbor came over and split a bunch of pine for me. So the only exercise I did that week was moving a bunch of oak into the woodshed, and then stacking up all that pine. I’m not that good at stacking wood, but I don’t mind doing it.

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So, my trip to Anaheim was wonderful, except for driving in the rain coming and going. I was so nervous about coming home, because snow was predicted! We’ve had such a mild winter that no thoughts of snow had occurred to me. Anyway, I got up early on Saturday morning, and drove straight home. I got groceries and picked up Noah, and headed home. All was well until it started snowing in the middle of the night and the electricity went out!

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Two days without electricity. Not that much fun. But I tell you, when it comes back on, its like magic! So thrilling to be able to wash dishes and my hair and wash clothes and just do all kinds of fun stuff!

So, I guess there weren’t too many thoughts in there, but that’s what I’ve been doing this past month.

A Chicken and Garden Report

I am so happy. My plan is working. This year, I did not keep the lights on in the evening (so the chickens would keep laying eggs.) Of course, this means I only get 5-7 eggs a day from 22 chickens. BUT, I am happy because all of my chickens are starting to grow their feathers back. Here are some of them:

The white cochins:

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Both of the Black Copper Marans are in full feather:

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And they have finally started laying their dark brown eggs again:

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The Dominique:

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And one of the New Hampshire Reds:

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Both of the Speckled Sussex are coming back into full feather. They were really bald in the last chicken update I did.

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And the self-appointed queen of the yard. I don’t think she’s ever lost too many of her feathers. I’m not so sure she’s the queen. She might just be smart enough to stay away from the other chickens.

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Did I tell you that my apple tree grew ONE apple! I watched it for a long time, sure that the deer or the bear or birds might get it. But one day, it looked ripe enough and I ate it! Yumm!

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A while back, I bought a book on Monet’s garden. It was so interesting to read. And he just was determined to put flowers everywhere. So the next time Kevin came over, I kidded around and said I was going to add some planter beds here. He actually likes building these beds, so he did this for me. I’m very excited. I bought a bunch of spring bulbs from John Scheepers again, plus those specialty seeds that I bought, so I will be able to plant some of them here.

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Of course, all of the dogs have to explore anything new in the garden.

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Kevin came up with a great idea to add some beds to the front of the shade garden. We are going to save that project for next spring.

Merry Christmas to All!

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This year the word I seem to use most often is relaxing. I say to others, “I hope you have a wonderful relaxing Christmas!” I wish the same to all of you, my friends.

For unto us a child is born,

Unto us a son is given,

and the government shall be upon his shoulder.

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,

The Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

This ‘n’ That

I got lots to talk about. First, I thought I’d share a few more pictures of the trees changing color in my yard. It was a very short season of color, but I enjoyed every moment of it.

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Red Emperor with Lemon Lime in front:

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That’s the dogwood to the left. Even if it doesn’t bloom in the spring, it is always beautiful in the fall.

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Recipes and foodie ideas. Lately I’ve been trying out some new recipes. I saw an old picture on my computer which looked like I was trying to make some cranberry-pecan scones. I looked through my blogs, and apparently I never posted anything about it. So I did a google search for cranberry pecan scones and came upon this recipe. When I saw it was from Prevention magazine, I thought it might be slightly healthier than other recipes. It wasn’t as low cal as I usually try for, mostly because it had more nuts and cranberries than I would usually add. I LOVED this recipe. I realized at the end that it had absolutely no sugar in it, so I made a small amount of sugar glaze to put on it at the end. Of course I made a few substitutions. I actually didn’t have enough pecans, so I used walnuts. And I didn’t have whole wheat flour, so I ground some oats in my mini food processor and used that instead. I really like the way oats taste in baked goods.

Then a couple of weeks later, I wanted some real banana nut muffins. And I found this recipe.I liked it too! The title said they were healthy. Once again I ground oats to use as the flour. I did use about 1/4 cup of regular wheat flour. Oh, and I didn’t have maple syrup so I substituted honey. But I did make a note to myself that they were too sweet. So I will try again without the honey after I finish all of these.

I’m eating more eggs. I like them scrambled for dinner with some onions, potatoes, spinach, and sometimes a few bacon crumbles.

One day I wanted some salsa. And even though I haven’t made it for ages, I suddenly remembered how easy it was to make. I put two roma tomatoes and one slice of onion in the mini food processor. I added salt and pepper and some cilantro, and then just a bit of balsamic vinegar. YUMM!!!

Sunday I had my sister and her husband over for a pre-Christmas dinner. I get occasional emails from a dietician, Vincci Tsui. She has changed from a “diet” dietician to a HAES dietician, which is interesting. Anyway, one day she mentioned this gingerbread cake. It caught my eye because the recipe was from a famous quilter who used to be a food blogger. So I made the cake. It was moist and delicious. I did not make any substitutes for this recipe. I found a buttercream recipe and iced it with that.

Well, its Christmastime and for me that means baking a few things. I forget how much I enjoy baking. To keep things under control, I limit myself to making one kind of cookie and one candy (which is always my grandma’s cinnamon walnuts.) This year I found a recipe for traditional scottish shortbread, which seemed exactly the same as the one our grandma used to make. You have to work all the butter into the dough with your fingers. Which takes a long time. Anyway, they came out perfect. It was a fun gift for my sister–two of our grandma’s favorite confections. I also made my mom’s favorite fruitcake. I know. Nobody likes fruitcake. But honestly, if you saw the recipe (lots of butter) and smelled the house (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and brandy) you would like it too! Its not so filled with that stupid fruit. I only put some of the cherries, and dates and pecans in it. And then you put a little brandy on it every day for two weeks (or until you have to take it to your mom’s.)

The takeover. I have a small log holder next to my wood stove. But several years ago, the girls claimed it as the best most warmest spot in the house. So I made a pillow to fit in it for them. Bess usually occupies the spot (because Sophie would rather be on my lap) but occasionally Sophie gets first dibs. I couldn’t believe it when Bess very gingerly stepped up onto the throne in an attempt to takeover the spot. There was no fighting or carrying on. Just a gentle takeover.

 

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Well, that’s quite long enough for now. If I don’t post again, I hope you all have a Wonderful Peaceful Merry Christmas.