Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Little Outing

Yesterday I decided to take a short trip up the road to get away for a few hours. I tend to work myself to death around here, as there is a never-ending list of things that need to be taken care of.

I wanted to get some DMC floss and some Patio Paint to make more painted stepping stones, and then go somewhere for a nice lunch. Well, I got those things taken care of and had a very yummy lunch at Moe's.

After that, I headed to a place that could transfer the old VCR tape of my house being built to a DVD for safe keeping. On the way, the A/C in the car just wouldn't cool down at all. It's been so horribly hot here for weeks now, so it wasn't surprising. I often will glance down at the gages on the dashboard of the car and was almost sick when I saw the temperature gage going up, up, up very quickly. Within seconds the gage was at the top and almost into the red zone. I immediately pulled into a parking lot and turned the engine off. There wasn't any steam or that bad smell, so I thought maybe I just needed additional coolant.

To make a long story short, I had to have a new radiator installed. Oh, yipee - another unexpected expense. At first, I couldn't find anybody to take care of it for me and couldn't even get a ride home - I don't live in a convenient location. Anyway, a new radiator was installed and I was able to get back home by 7 p.m. Not exactly what I had planned for my day off :( Oh well, what are you gonna do?

We finally had a storm move through and I drove home in pouring rain. I was so happy for that rain! I took care of all the animals, took a nice shower and sat down to make a new mini embroidery that Jenny has shared with us. Have you seen it? She is so talented and generous!

Oh, I forgot to update about the Penn State wall hanging I'm making for my wonderful vet. I didn't get it completed yet, but all I have to do now is the binding. I decided to echo quilt around the design; nothing else seemed to work. I'll be able to take it to her next week.

It's off to Lowes for me today to work toward getting insurance. I hope this works out till I can find a "real" job that isn't in a sweat shop. The hours are gruelling standing on my feet all day, but as long as I know it's a temporary situation, I can handle it.

I hope you all have a good day today. I so enjoy visiting blogs and getting inspired!

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Appliances

Finally! I got my new washer hooked up today thanks to my great neighbors. They had to come over to help me get it into the house. I had to run a metal dryer vent under the house, as the plastic one I had can't be used with the new dryer. What a creepy job going under my house. I had my neighbors stand outside the opening while I was under there...just as a security measure. It's just so creepy under there and there is no way to get out fast. I hate bumping into snake skins; I'd rather see a live snake.

Here is my new washer and dryer...nothing fancy but they will get the job done!

The opening to the crawl space...

Going in...

Under the house - yuk!

The new vent...

Speaking of snakes, I was very sad to discover that I had created a death trap for my friends, the black snakes, behind the barn. There was an old piece of deer netting tangled behind some boards under some honeysuckle. I knew I had smelled a dead critter and suspected it was a black snake but couldn't find it. Well, something caught my eye day before yesterday and upon examination I found not one, but three large snakes, all dead. Poor things were trying to make their way inside the barn where I welcome them for keeping copperheads away and taking care of some of the million tiny field mice in there.

I had the very unpleasant task of cleaning up the tangled netting and snakes, but managed to take care of it by holding my breath a lot and getting it all stuffed into a big plastic bag. I'll seal it up really well and take it to the dump tomorrow so nothing else gets tangled. This is the fourth incident I've had with snakes getting tangled in the netting, so I won't be using anymore of it.

I'm exhausted but home today taking care of some minor repairs around the house, thanks to Blair. She ripped off part of the molding and new tiles in my recently repaired laundry room. Plus, she ripped off part of the molding in the master bedroom, so I'll have to fix that before next week too. My mom and sis are coming for a visit and this is giving me the incentive to finally get those things taken care of. Plus, I want to finish the Penn State wall hanging so I can give it to my vet tomorrow.

Try to stay cool - it's an impossibility here these days!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Night Sew In and An Evening Visitor

I'm posting my Sew In picture a little early. I actually finished the embroidery last night and won't have a chance to work on it again till at least Sunday. Now I just have to add the borders and sew it together. I've got the hardest part finished.

I think I'm going to make the borders blue with white squares in each corner and put a blue paw print in each of them. Then I think I'll just stipple quilt it.

I had the sweetest little visitor last evening. Just as I was closing the barn, I noticed a box turtle. How in the world she got into the pasture is beyond me because she's larger than the spaces in the fence. I was concerned that the chickens and geese would torment her so I carried her out of the pasture in the direction she was headed. Before I took her all the way over there, I gave her a very ripe banana that was destined for the compost bin, and also a little drink of water. She was very thirsty!

It's important to know that if you ever stop to help a turtle across a road to always put them in the direction they were headed. Several times I've passed a turtle on the road only to take the next exit, turn around and then head back up the road till I spot it. Then I'll put it in my car and drive up to the next exit and loop back to the oppossite side of the highway where it was headed.

If you don't do this, they will only try to cross the road again and probably get squished. I'm sad every time I see a squished turtle and always try to stop if at all possible.

It's been another scorcher here today and some of the customers at Lowes are so rude. I don't know if it's the heat or what. A lot of the customers are very nice though and for the most part I enjoy ringing them up. I especially like all the military that come through - Fort Bragg is just down the road about 30 minutes.

I bought my new washer tonight and have wrestled the old one out into the driveway. The new one is setting on my patio waiting for my neighbors to help me get it into place - hopefully tomorrow before I go back to Lowes.

I hope you have a nice day tomorrow. I can't wait to get home already and I haven't even left yet!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

She Came, She Saw, She Conquered!

Meet Ronnie, the yellow jacket destroyer!

Here she is all suited up and ready to go!

First she sprayed some aerosol stuff

Then she used a puffer and dusted the nest and bees really well. Boy, were they angry!

It only took her a few minutes to do what she needed to. She told me to stay away from the patio for a couple of days.

And if that wasn't enough excitement, my dryer died! Fortunately, I had enough cash saved from house cleaning and working for Gail to buy the cheapest one at Lowes. My washer and dryer are over 20 years old and I knew they wouldn't last much longer. I just told Gail yesterday while cleaning her house that my washer wasn't far behind and low and behold, it croaked last night with a load of dog towels in it. It looks like there is mud in it and the agitator won't work. Since it's $80 just to have a guy come and look at it, I'll figure out a way to buy a new washer as well. Goodness knows with a house full of critters that I can't be without a washer and dryer!!

I'm glad I know how to handle money as well as I do. I've been out of work for 16 months and have still managed to pay for an expesive air conditioner repair last summer, a major car maintenance bill and new tires, go to a quilt show and have some fun, and now buy two new appliances. Of course, I had to take some money from my retirement funds for little Princess' surgery so I can't count that one.

I am a survivor and should be more proud of myself for what I continue to do without a permanent, full time position.

It is blistering hot here today and Alissa is with me. We are going to paint some concrete stepping stones - in the house of course. We're not going out for anything today!!

Have a great day everybody!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Former Foster Critters

I was looking for an especially pretty picture of my Princess to put on my sidebar and came across several of my former foster critters. I've got tons of Princess pics, but they weren't taken with a digital camera. Once I ever get my scanner connected to the 'puter, I'll be able to share all kinds of pictures with you.

The hound in this picture is Chance. He's an American Foxhound and was my last foster dog. He was found starving in the mountains. His front teeth were ground down to nubs, probably from chewing on a chain link dog pen.

Chance really didn't want to do anything but eat and sleep and could care less about the other dogs and cats. If he saw a deer outside, he'd go beserk though. He went through training and became a certified therapy dog and is now living happily ever after!!

Leo was my last foster kitty and he and Topaz were best buds. He was another cat that my friend, Gail, trapped at the shopping center where her shop is. He was incredibly beautiful and I wanted to keep him but didn't. His coat was as soft as a bunny! He was adopted through Marley's Cat Tales.

This is Jade, a beautiful American Staffordshire. He belonged to a friend's daughter but wasn't getting the exercise he needed so I brought him home with me. He got adopted almost immediately by a couple who adored him.

This is a poor dog I found chained to a tree, starving and with a bloody tail. I couldn't keep her and took her to my vet to be euthanized, but one of the technicians took her in as a foster. She has been named Lola and is still looking for a perfect home. I don't have an updated picture, but I can tell you she is unrecognizable now!!!

There was a story on the news yesterday about the Durham SPCA, which has more than 100 cats in their care now and the number is rising daily. They are only equipped to take care of about 60 cats and are now making the difficult decision of which innocent kitties will be euthanized. PLEASE spay/neuter your pet and encourage others to do so as well!!!. Pet overpopulation is a problem that can be prevented. I know it's expensive, but there are several programs to assist with the cost.

I hope you all have a good day today :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden Friends

I love these little guys - anole lizards. They are all around the house and are so pretty when they turn green. It's tough to get pictures of them though, as they run when they see me. I was able to snap this little guy while he was still brown. He's on one of my porch posts that needs replacing (pressure treated lumber that rotted!!).

I was sad to discover that the beautiful mockingbird eggs have been abandoned. I've got resident mockingbirds, so not sure what happened. I want so badly to blow out these lovely eggs but don't know if they are partially formed or what.

I've also got an abandoned wren nest with three eggs next to my patio. They have definitely partially formed because I can see a dark spot through the shells, which would be the eye of the baby bird. Likely dingbat Zoe killed the mama :(

But, I did discover another nest - one I've never had in the yard before. Do you see mama woodthrush?

If I get an opportunity, I'm going to take some pictures of her eggs and babies when they hatch. The nest is up a little high for me though and I don't want to upset her.

My Princess insists on being by my side at all times, even outside in the horrible heat. Flies pestered her all day and she was hot but would bark and bark when I put her inside. So as not to upset her, I let her stay with me all day. We didn't come in till after 8 o'clock last night. Poor baby is exhausted and stiff; her arthritis is really showing these days. (I know just how she feels!)

Bee update: I was able to destroy the yellow jacket nest by the driveway, since there wasn't a lot of foliage around it. I used two cans of Spectracide wasp and hornet spray and bombarded them. They are gone! But the other nest on the patio will be taken care of by an exterminator next Wednesday. She'll have to wear a bee suit and will be here at 7:30 a.m. before the little buggers start buzzing around. I'll try to get some pictures, from a safe distance of course.

A special thanks to Marnie who figured out what my picture loading issues were. Somehow my loading preferences changed and I just didn't think to check them. Thanks, Marnie!!

It's going to be another horribly humid and hot day here today. I'm so thankful for air conditioners!!! Have a good day everybody!

Another Wierd Bird Encounter...and Bees!

Did I mention last week that I heard what sounded like a baby bird in the garage? That prompted me to clean out the garage on my day off last week and I never did find it. So...I thought it must have been outside. Well I found it yesterday. It was all tangled up in a vine near the eave of the garage and had died. It was a little fledgling finch and I felt horrible. If only I had looked outside. Poor little baby.

I've been working hard on the yards trying to make them look as tidy as I want them to look. I don't know why I try because I'll never accomplish it - not with this much to take care of. Still, I worked outside all day Tuesday in 98 degree heat and got a lot done. I broke down (finally) and bought several bags of nice, dark mulch and got most of one bed done. What a difference it makes! I bought enough to finish the rest of this bed.

I'm very pleased with my crepe myrtle. I planted it two years ago (?) and it's grown really fast just like I had hoped. The sunflower was planted by a kind bird.

This is my chaste tree, which has also gotten really big.

Here are a few of my daylillies. I have quite a few varieties, most of which I brought with me when I moved 10 years ago.

Note the outline of each petal with the burgundy color!

And this is my cart of begonias that sits to the right of the stairs going up my front porch. It's never looked as good as it does right now :)

I've been paying close attention to the bees. I've got tons of bumbles and I'm happy to report that I've also got several honeybees. There must be a hive somewhere nearby in the woods because they are always toward the back of my property.

I've gotten stung twice this week - two days in a row - by yellow jackets. I hate those things. They are down right MEAN! While watering, I discovered the hard way that there is a nest in one of the planters on the patio. I was watering and thought there was a horse fly buzzing around my head when all of a sudden there were several. One little b-----d landed right on my chest and stung me! They chased me in the house and were pounding on the storm door!

The night before that, I got a nasty sting near my waist while watering the bed next to the driveway. The venom from that creature has drifted across half my stomach and itches beyond bellief. I've been taking Benadryl and other antihistamines and it's easing up a bit, but I wake up several times a night scratching like crazy. Needless to say, I've called a professional exterminator who will be coming tomorrow to assess and destroy (I hope).

Once again my pictures are squished. Sharon, I tried loading the pics first but that didn't make a difference. I think I'll switch to the "new and improved" blogger editor for my next post. Hope I don't mess things up too much.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Can't Stop!

Gardening, that is. I've been a gardener since I was to plant and tend to my gardens. I've certainly created a monster here, but it is so pretty. The plants will all be fried in a few weeks due to the heat of summer, but I'm sure enjoying the fruits of my labor these days.

I've been using Liquid Fence to keep the deer off my hydrangeas and daylillies and it seems to be working really well, with a few exceptions. A lot of my daylillies have had their buds nipped off, so I won't be seeing them bloom this year.

And darned if they didn't eat two of my tomato plants! Last year, I only got two little tomatoes from four plants!

I've been steadily working on my All Dressed Up quilt blocks. I'm able to get one block appliqued each lunch/dinner break. I can't stand just sitting listening to other employees talk trash. At least this way, I feel like I'm using my time being productive with something I enjoy. It feeds my soul.

I've also started the thank you gift for my wonderful vet; this is as far as I've gotten. I cut the blue banner a tiny bit too short and will patch it up tonight or tomorrow. Then the hard part begins - making the lion's head.

I cleaned out my nasty garage while I was off and uncovered a little fountain I bought years ago. I thought the pump had died, but low and behold, it still works so I hooked it up and am now enjoing it on my front porch. I love the sound of trickling water.

I don't know why my words are squished against the pictures; everything is spaced correctly in my post. Oh well!

Standing on my feet in one spot for hours on end is already starting to bother my lower back. I bought some new (and better quality) tennis shoes with more support to try to help my feet more too. They work us crazy hours. I worked eight days in a row and then off for a couple. Now back today and I don't know what my schedule is for the coming days, but will find out soon enough. It's hard on the poor dogs when I'm gone from 1 - 11 p.m. but they are going to have to deal, just like me.

Gotta run...lots to do before heading to Lowes!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Freshly Mown

With all the rain we've been having the last couple of weeks, it's been hard to keep up with the mowing. I did get my front yard mowed last evening after work. Even though it's nothing more than field grass, it looks pretty right after I mow it. It's nice to look through pictures of my property and watch it go from an empty field to this.

My hydrangeas look better than they have in years :)

I have the prettiest bee balm this year and the bumble bees love it. I haven't seen a single honeybee anywhere on my property. The other night there was a documentary on PBS and they said that 90-95% of all wild honeybees have been wiped out. If we see any, they are likely from a farmer's hive somewhere.

A little while ago while watching a movie I rented, I saw a doe walk right by the window. I wish I had my camera ready because right by her heels was a tiny fawn - the first one I've seen of the season. It was so incredibly precious trotting along with her...a little unsure of its steps. I doubt it weighed 15 pounds! What a precious site it was to me.