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I Am An Ant, NOT a Grasshopper!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Ah, Mother Nature is showing us that she is changing her clothing to that of much brighter and more colorful. I love the new looks she is sneaking into her wardrobe.

Do you remember the story about the ant and the grasshopper? The ant was busy all summer long, gathering its food for winter while the grasshopper wanted to just jump around, sing and play.

The grasshoppers all made fun of the ant, but the ant kept on working. She carried her food to the Ant Pantry, and stored it up and up and up until the pantry was full. THEN she rested.

By this time, the weather was changing, and the temperatures were dropping. The grasshoppers weren't having quite so much fun any more.

Their muscles and bones were getting soft because of the lesser amount of food available. Their songs were not so loud, and their laughter at the ant was decreasing.

They saw the ant was strong and fit from all its' working to harvest enough food to last the winter. The ant's body shined with good health, and its' physical endurance was tremendous.

Then came the REAL cold weather. No alive grasshoppers were to be seen, but there were lots of dead ones on the ground, all shriveled up from malnurishment and lack of exercise and planning.

The grasshoppers had made no plans for the future, and they withered away.

The ant, content in its warm underground home, enjoyed knowing its health was in good shape due to the exercising, and that there was plenty of nutrition to last the winter and into spring.

I feel like I am an ANT. I have been working in the garden all summer, growing food that is healthful and nourishing. Now I am harvesting that food, including herbs.

Today is herb drying day again. I have dehydrated pineapple sage, oregano, coriander, thyme, parsley, and basil. I have them in baggies that I put in the freezer. I will have more than enough to get through the winter.

These are from our little community garden, and as I pack up the dried herbs, I separate them into three baggies so we all get the same amount. We shouldn't have to buy ANY of these expensive herbs over the winter. That stuff is SO expensive.

I am also drying lavender for sachets to put in my drawers and closets. Did you know that insects do NOT come around lavender? There are a ton of culinary uses for lavender too, and it makes a terrific bathroom deodorizer, amoung a zillion other uses.

In between all this gardening I have been doing a lot of hand sanding on antique furniture. Man! THAT is a lot of work on my upper body, which I have a tendancy to ignore. My arms are looking much better, even though the sanding sure tires them out!

Yes, I am planning on Winter happening this year. I am getting my body strong and healthy so I won't catch any flu bugs, and will be strong and fit if I have to shovel snow.

Besides, my old jeans (the ones that I grew out of) are getting a bit loose, and I like the way I look.

SO! I am all signed up for the Fall Challenge, and will no doubt get in some Autumn hikes into the Olympics. My camera already has new batteries in it.

The future is coming! Why not get ready for it TODAY??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNFLOWERGAL40 9/4/2011 4:31PM

    emoticon blog! I need to work more on my ant skills.

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    WOOOHOOO You little old ANT YOU !!!! I am SOO HAPPY your ALSO A DOGGIE !! OH YEAH and AGAIN in the FALL !! that makes us HAPPY CAMPERS !! OH YEAH !! Welcome !

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AMYJEAN911 9/3/2011 10:25PM

    You never cease to amaze!!! emoticon emoticon

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4DOGNIGHT 9/3/2011 9:49PM

    You are a busy lady! emoticon

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GRANDMA1951 9/3/2011 9:08PM

    Wow, what a busy little beaver you've been. I didn't know insects didn't like lavender. Will they get rid of my spiders???? Hope you get all your veggies and herbs in before the weather turns cold.

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    ... but I like being a grasshopper :(

nah! just kidding - I'm not only an "ant" but I am a gramma too!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

I know - I'm just crazy tonight!

great blog!!

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TYBEWALLACE 9/3/2011 8:02PM

    You are one smart cookie.... hopefully your words will give a boost to those who are grasshoppers....
I'm glad to know you are coming back for the fall challenge, I will look forward to seeing your hiking pics....Sheryl

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GRAMMAMARY 9/3/2011 4:31PM

    Great blog and very appropriate. I think we all should be more like ants and less like grasshoppers. I look forward to seeing you again in the fall challenge.

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THESHELBSTER 9/3/2011 3:06PM

    I really needed to read this. I am taking an 18 hour course load this year. 18 hours on campus and 18 hours student teaching. My tendency to procrastinate is not going to work for me anymore. But I have found myself doing just that. Putting off my housecleaning because I am too tired. Putting off my assignments because they are not due yet. And I have a Pell Grant riding on my grades this year. When my life gets in chaos that is when I have am an easy target to make bad food choices. This just really put things in perspective for me, and I am really grateful tyo have read it. Thank you for sharing. I want to be an ant. Not a grasshopper!

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Zucchini Bread and refinishing furniture

Friday, September 02, 2011

Mary, Mary, QUITE contrary, how does my garden grow???

Some of you might know that we joined a community garden with my quilting friend, Sharon and her daughter Tawny and family. It's at Sharon's because she has the flattest property.

So we plotted, schemed, got the rototilling done, put in a fence including a swinging gate, and built a small greenhouse. Then we all kind of went off on our own and got vegetables to plant.

EVERYBODY bought zucchini, crook neck squash, and tomatoes. Some of us bought watermelon, green beans, corn, beets, onions, cauliflower, carrots, thyme, oregano, sage, cilantro, rosemary and artichokes. We got some peas, too. And strawberries. I forgot to mention cucumbers and peppers. And lettuce of several varieties. You get the idea.

Anyway, we planted to our heart's content, including all the squashes. Now they grew and grew and GREW! We have enough squash to feed the city of Sequim.

At first, it was really exciting. We each took "our" day to work in the garden, and had such fun thrilling over the little plants peaking their leaves above soil. Then the weeds started to grow, too.

At first, we pulled weeds by hand. That was enough for me. So I brought over an adjustable rake and a hula hoe. That took less time to get those darned weeds out than it took to hand weed around the zucchini.

Then another brain storm hit me. I laid down those fabric sheets that won't let the weeds grow. Ah, it looked so nice and tidy!

The strawberries were the first to produce, and tasted oh so sweet and fresh! Then they got a little difficult to keep up with. Strawberry soup, strawberry short cake, blackened chicken with strawberry salad, strawberries on vanilla ice cream.......we all scrambled to not waste the strawberries. We were getting a little tired of strawberries, and no one misses them now that they are finished.

But the zucchini and crook neck squash continued growing.

Slugs appeared. Ugly critters, those! I didn't waste any time getting to Home Depot and coming back with the slug and snail bait! That is the only chemical we allow in our garden. I MEAN, after all, we are FARMERS and have CROPS growing!!

Well, maybe not exactly FARMERS, but we do have a little garden.

The tomatoes didn't do much because it is a bit too cool for them here in the Olympic Peninsula, but now they are in the little greenhouse, so perhaps they will actually ripen.

God help us if they do! We will no doubt have a BOATLOAD of tomatoes, along with the zucchini and crook neck squash.

When the first zucchini was ready to pick, I brought some home and lightly steamed it. Add salt and pepper, and it was FABULOUS. I didn't know they had so much flavor!! Gobble Gobble.

Then the green beans started to show up, and they, too, were wonderful. Rich in flavor, another feast.

The carrots didn't do so well. They were misshapened and only about 3 inches long. Sharon decided to pull them up so we could plant brocolli.

She also had a child't wading pool, so she dumped some dirt in and planted potatoes. I have my doubts about those producing much. But what the heck? Why not try, right?

The zucchini continued to grow, and was now producing at a much faster rate. The crook neck got into the game, too.

The lettuces were doing nicely, and I am especially fond of the butter lettuce. I can just TASTE the good vitamins and flavor bursting through my body, getting me all nice and healthy.

We began asking each other if they were eating ANY zucchini, because it seemed like we were getting most of it thrown our way. No, everyone felt the same.

I tried to give it away, but it seems like everyone around us is growing the stuff too. I suspect my neighbors are all avoiding me. I KNOW some of my friends are!!

They look at me............no, actually they look at my HANDS to see if I am carrying squash. If I am, they don't answer the door or act like they don't see me at all.

They do the same when it is time to harvest the apples and pears, so if they think I don't catch on, they're wrong!

The other day DH said he couldn't take another bowl of zucchini, but it is still growing like a sci-fi "being" that has it's plan of taking over the world.

Have you ever looked for new recipe for zucchini??? They're all the same old tired stuff from our great-grandmother's day.

So zucchini bread popped into my head. I haven't made that or had it for years. I had forgottn how good it actually is. Even DH likes it! And it freezes well, too.

Hmmmmmmmm.......maybe I have just come up with a nice idea for Christmas presents!?

So while the zucchini continues to grow and produce monstrous amounts of itself, I tackled an old small table that has been in the family since approximately 1850.

It was a rather ugly little thing, painted a sickly green.

I get out the Jasco, thinking this wouldn't take all that long to refinish it. Wrong!!!

I begin removing the bilious oil based green and now see oil based black paint. Remove the many layers of black and it shows up blue. Off comes the blue, ans now shows metallic silver! Under the layers of silver comes white. Scrape the sheets of white and find yellow. Under the yellow is another blue. Beneath this blue is varnish. I can finally can see wood. I get rid of the varnish to find burled black walnut!!

My hands are wrecked and swollen, and really hurt.

But I have zucchini, green tomatoes and a beautiful burled black walnut table.

I'm going to the garden and cut some herbs and dehydrate them for winter. In the meantime, while they are drying, I am going to watch a baseball game.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOWHEE 9/3/2011 2:40PM

    I learned about zucchini when I was 25. My girlfriend and I had a garden plot at her church and we planted 9 zucchini plants. Even after the boys played in the vegetable patch after choir practice there was still tons of it. Now, I'm limited to 1 squash plant per season - this year it's crookneck and I just harvested my first squashes yesterday. Last year I took 30 pounds of crookneck to the food bank and 8 pounds to my WW meeting.

Now that you've uncovered the wood on your table how are you planning to finish it?

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NOLAZYBUTT110 9/3/2011 11:19AM

    Id say , "throw some zucchini my way". I did not get too many from my garden either. Must be a drought compared to last year? nI just thought I made the mistake of growing it in a shady area. They love sunshine I guess! And I did not put any potash in that area. All greens and tomateos love potash! I only got ten cukes but thats not bad when you think of all the plants I planted but only two plants survived. One under my Hostas and one near my tomato plants, but got 5 Italian and 10 pickle cukes. I got tons of HOT peppers and green peppers; enough to make two batches of stuffed peppers and salsa. Or 5 to freeze and eat later. Every year I learn something that helps me be a better gardener, the following year.
Hope yours is as successful as always! susan

Comment edited on: 9/3/2011 2:34:09 PM

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ILLINITEACHER52 9/2/2011 8:23PM

  Wish I lived closer

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GRANDMACOO 9/2/2011 6:25PM

    What I wouldn't GIVE for some of that zucchini. We had the same bumper crop last year, but this year, NOTHING! I couldn't GIVE it away fast enough a year ago. I don't know what was different from then until now, but I long for a taste of fresh squash out of the garden instead of the small 4" things in the grocery store they sell as zuchhini.

I loved your blog!

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4DOGNIGHT 9/2/2011 4:34PM

    Very refreshing story! I used to have a boatload of zucchini recipes, including chocolate zucchini bread. Now that was delicious! Friend had the same problem so the recipes came from his wife. The table sounds like it is much smaller than it used to be after all that scraping! We had a garden but the weeds got the best of us. Was great picking fresh green beans right off the vine to cook for dinner! Later.

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GETFIT2LIVE 9/2/2011 4:23PM

    Ah, my dear FBC, your story with zucchini sounds SO familiar (hence I am banned from planting more than ONE or TWO plants if any when I plant). I swear those things appear and go overnight from too small to pick to baseball bats. A friend of ours said it well: "Zucchini is the cockroach of the vegetable garden." Zucchini bread is a yummy way to use it, but it seems impossible to ever keep up with the volume that one measly plant can produce, no matter how many different recipes you find. Nice job on the table; you should share some pictures after all that work!!

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Sent off 20 pounds to Island of No Returns

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hey hey hey, Sportsfans!!

I weighed in today, and what a pleasant surprise. As of today, I have lost 20 pounds with SparkPeople.com and all the support, education and encouragement from wonderful people.

I look better, feel better, move better............in fact, I AM BETTER!!

Many thanks! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINKLOVESBEAR 9/12/2011 5:59PM

    Congratulations!! That is wonderful news!! emoticon

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KINSBAILE 9/2/2011 1:46PM

    NICE JOB!!!

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VAMACKGIRL 8/31/2011 6:41PM

    You go girl!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! I just hit 10 but its all good, I have been sidetracked a bit as you know!! Back on track!!

JANET emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NOTFATCAT 8/29/2011 8:46PM

    Congrats for your weight loss. I know you are thrilled.

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TARAHA 8/29/2011 3:51PM

    Good for YOU!!!!!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 8/28/2011 7:48PM

    AWESOME!I am jealous....wheres this place at! lol GREAT going! Susana

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LOULOUBELLE2 8/28/2011 7:05PM

    Oh how SPARKTASTIC. emoticonI need to send some pounds off to the island to. Betterstart working on it NOW.
emoticonand emoticonJob my Spark emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/28/2011 7:05:53 PM

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4DOGNIGHT 8/28/2011 4:04PM

    That is wonderful! I am so proud of you! I have done nothing but waffle up and down and back up. I am having these feelings of maybe I might be ready to attempt this. Thanks for the motivation.

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GETFIT2LIVE 8/28/2011 2:53PM

    WOO HOO! I like that, Island of No Returns--congratulations, that is wonderful news and a great accomplishment!

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ME_THE_REMAKE 8/28/2011 2:38PM

  That's fantastic, well done! I hope I can post a similar blog sometime soon-ish!


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MABTE52 8/28/2011 2:13PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Bonus Spins Not for Me

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I was eager to get those extra bonus spins and garner more points once I reached 25 points on my own.

But then it started to nag me a bit. It felt like I was cheating just to amass points.

So today, I clicked the area that says "Never show me this pop-up again". It feels good to have done so.

Sure, I like getting the points. But better than that, I like being proud of my accomplishments. By simply spinning the wheel to get more points, I accomplish nothing.

AND Ms. Smarmy showed up too, letting me know that she thinks I was cheating, and needed to look at myself and do an honesty inventory.

I tried to ignore her, but she doesn't go away quietly into the night. Oh no. She stands there, all smug and superior, and stares me down and gives me her mouth.

Most of the time I want to drop kick her into the next county.

Not this time. I must admit, she was right.

So I did the right thing FOR ME, and am not going to accept any points I have not worked for.

Some days just feel GOOD!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HELEN_BRU 8/24/2011 7:49AM

    I don't really mind (but may change my mind later - lol) because I like the remarks I get on the Friend Feed. I then know who is "around" and who isn't.

But I get what you mean!

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KKINNEA 8/22/2011 1:11PM

    I feel that way too! Maybe I should click the box too.

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GETFIT2LIVE 8/22/2011 1:06PM

    Being true to yourself is what matters . . . I enjoy the bonus spin because it gives me extra points for goodies to give away, but I can see your view, too. Glad they give us a choice here!!

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MARYANNGI 8/22/2011 9:16AM

    Sometimes that Ms. Smarmy makes sense. You must always follow what you believe to be right. You will be a happier person I think for following your heart. As for me, I am still straddling the fence. For members who have just joined SP, it's an incentive. For those of us like you and I, it's a choice. Hmmmm, will I jump to the right or to the left??? Only time will tell.LOL

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    Well I can see both sides of it. I can see ur side of it and yeah,, congrats for doing what it is your doing. :) Now me,,, I am SOOO LOW cos SP CHEATED me on NOT giving me my points when I got the new name,,and I WANTED My OLD points from my OLD name but that was NO GO so I'll SPIN TY very much ! OH YEAH ! you betcha ! Ill spin and last week,, I got 1,000 points (they don't count towards the level) but they DO COUNT so I can BUY things !) I went and BOUGHT A LOT OF goodies for those I could and HOW I SMILED ! That just FELT GOOD !

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MPENNE 8/21/2011 8:07PM

    It is always best to be true to yourself. I have to admit that I could also be guilty of the same thing. I'll need to take stock of things.

Thanks for sharing.

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Random Acts of Kindness

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This is certainly a busy time of year for a lot of us.

The weather is telling us we are headed toward the end of summer, and some of us will experience Indian Summer soon.

Kids are going back to school, and they have probably outgrown most of their clothes. Which means that ugly day of school clothes and supplies are upon the parents.

Summer jobs are coming to an end, and young adults are getting ready to go off to college. Moms will be tempted to "re-do" their abandoned bedrooms, but then feel guilty about it because the "Kids will be coming home for breaks".

New searches for lunch menus are going on, backpacks need to be checked for rips, holes and tears.

Hey! It's nearly cool enough to quilt too!! Have you noticed all the stores have their Autumn decorations up, the fabric shops are showing Christmas fabrics and patterns, and summer clothing is on sale everywhere.

I am even educating myself about putting in a winter garden of cauliflower, broccoli and the like. I have dusted off my dehydrater and gotten some of the summer produce and herbs dried and stored for winter, like a good squirrel should.

The summer mess in the garage is all cleaned up, and the car can actually fit with ease in there.

Life is GOOD.

For some of us.

Bossy Daughter went down to a town called Cordoba, Alabama to help with the hurrican victims. It is heartbreaking what she learned.

While our news is constantly doing political chatter, they ignore what is actually going on the the American people who are (yes, I said ARE) suffering so badly from the hurricane.

It seems that our wonderful government has forgotten these people. They are getting no aid at all.

The town was wiped out, people still do not have homes to live in, and they have no food.

There is much more than that to report, but I will wait to see if Bossy Daughter is going to post what she saw and learned. If she does not post, then I will.

But now I ask you to perform a Random Act of Kindness. I am doing so, and hopefully some of you will be able to as well.

These folks need donations for FOOD AND HOUSING. You can send money donations to Free Will Disaster Relief, 475 1st Street, Cordoba, AL 35550, Attention: Andrea Pate. Specify whether you want your donation to go to the Food Pantry or Housing.

Do NOT send packages at this time.

While no one is watching the store in Washington, D.C., because they all "need a vacation", we Americans must take care of ourselves and each other.

Please consider this random act of kindness, and let others know about the need.

You'll love yourself for doing so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIZZYDOC 8/21/2011 1:32AM

    Thank you for sharing and helping those in need. You are an shining example of the true American Spirit. emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 8/20/2011 10:52PM

    Thank you, my FBC--it is usually we the people who step up to help the most in the end.

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    Those POOR PEOPLE ! After ALL this time too ! NO REASON for this !

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TOWHEE 8/20/2011 2:31PM

    Thank you! emoticon

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