Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July has certainly slipped away on me!

Our garden has started to wind down, for the most part. Aside from the roughly 80 Quadrillion peppers that are going gangbusters on the 13 plants. (4 jalapeno, 4 bell, 2 banana, 2 chili, and 1 ghost), we have a few tomatoes still straggling along, despite the blight. We are discussing doing a small fall garden; perhaps spinach, lettuce, and some different varieties of squash.
I made 5 pint-and-and-a-half jars of spaghetti sauce this past week. Froze the last of the fresh squash into a casserole.
 I have bell peppers and tomatoes I have to do something with this afternoon- likely freezing the peppers in portions for fajitas. The tomatoes, possibly some more fresh salsa or just plain canned tomatoes for chili this winter.

Tom and I have our 30th anniversary this weekend. Every idea for any sort of doing anything at all has been shot down. (Oh well, why should 30 years be any different than the previous years?)

Daniel and Sam are preparing for going on Trek with the Zesch Home Church group next month. They are already weighing packs and planning meals.
Tommy prepares to head back to Christ for The Nations International in another week.
Benjamin has started the paramedic training portion of his firefighter training.
Paula is doing so very well on the Gluten Free diet- her kidney issues appear to be under control.
Tyrel just had his 7th! birthday.
Kimber, Dakota, Jasher, and Grace are all growing like weeds.
I am assuming Nickole and Gavin are preparing to head back to school. Nickole will be in Kindergarten; Gavin will be in 2nd grade, I think.
Connor and Alana have had a busy summer. I am hoping they will get to stay a few days before school starts back, but here it is the tail end of Summer before school starts again, so I don't know if we have time.

This past weekend, I got the living room re-arranged and deep cleaned. (Well, except I missed dusting the ceiling fans and washing the light sconces on said fans.) The re-do on the living room involved swiping a bookshelf from my bedroom, which led to minor re-arrangements in there. Plus, I finally hung the twinkle lights up to 'frame' a headboard. It is really pretty. I still would like to find a sheer fabric to drape over the lights.

I can't figure out how to turn the photo!
Guess that's all for today. Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Still in full bore summer mode...

First of all, Tom's Mom's surgery was a success. Arlene came home from the hospital this afternoon.
Thank you for your prayers!
Next, Today is Ralph's 80th birthday... Happy Birthday to him!
It is also my Favorite Son in Law, Stephen's birthday. Happy Birthday, Sven!
The twins made their static line jump this past Saturday, July 5th. Here is my post to a group of friends regarding it.
As I mentioned, my 'babies' turned 18 a couple of weeks ago. They used their birthday money and windfall from an unexpectedly well paying job to go to 'ground school' in preparation for a static line jump from an aircraft. Static line is the one where you jump- no instructor with you, and a line deploys your chute on exit of the plane. This fun little venture involves climbing out of a plane and hanging from the wing struts before dropping from 4,500 feet in the sky. Even with my glasses on, that is too high to see even the CHUTE for several minutes.

The diver is equipped with a two way radio, by which an instructor on the ground gives steering instructions and advice. In event of a radio failure, the diver is to look for "the ground arrow" and follow the directions given by the instructor communicated through this gigantic (about 12 foot long) arrow mounted on a pivot. The diver is to signal he realizes his radio is malfunctioning through a specific series of maneuvers with his chute.

So, Sam, my last born... exited the plane first. The pilot had dropped him much too far to the north of the landing zone, but the ground instructor was able to relay through the radio what Sam was to do. Sam had been apprehensive about the jump, to the point that Mr C told me he was concerned about Sam jumping at all.

The instructor allowed us a special *treat*... we were allowed onto the landing zone, not far from the "ground arrow" to watch the boys descents. Mr C and I, my former DIL Jennifer- mother of my eldest two grandkids, and said grands, Connor and Alana. (Jennifer has known the twins from birth and babysat them long before my DS#1 married her.)

So Sam's chute appears, bright orange and yellow in the partly cloudy blue sky. He follows the instructions and does a PERFECT feather light landing on his feet. We had been told that every diver is instructed to roll on landing... but if he doesn't NEED to roll, he will know it. The instructor helped Sam gather his chute, and he comes over to stand with us while we wait Daniel's jump. Sam said it was fun, but he isn't sure he EVER wants to do it again.

Look, up in the sky! Not one diver, but TWO. The air instructor had also jumped just after Daniel, but had done a freefall, so she was well below him.
Daniel was not responding to radio instructions from the ground instructor.
The jump school personnel all began to gather out on the field. The ground guy starts spinning the ground arrow, Dan's signal to respond with the specific "I see and understand" chute actions.
Dan is not responding.
I can sense the growing apprehension among the school personnel. They are scattering across the landing zone.
Dan's chute is a cloud white and hazy sky blue... it is difficult to see the chute against the sky and clouds.

Dan never gave the "see and understand" signal, but the ground instructor began using the ground arrow to send directional signals. Our family was huddled in our designated area, hands clasped in prayer. I was praying aloud and had tears running down my face. Sam stood with his chute clutched, in tense anticipation, telling Dan what to do... though of course Dan couldn't hear him other than the psychic connection!

Dan gets low enough for the ground crew to all begin to converge, shouting at him. He was still a good 50' feet off the ground, and thought they were telling him to "flare" his chute- which collapses it. (They were shouting at him to bring his legs together into proper landing form.) So he flared his chute WAAAYYY too high. (Sam says it is VERY hard to gauge how high up you still are.)

Dan landed hard but went into the perfect roll.

He had not given the "see and understand" signal because he was too low when he realized his radio was malfunctioning. He couldn't FIND the ground arrow for a long time, and had relied solely on his training and instructions prior to boarding the aircraft, to get to the landing zone, where he did, finally see and respond to the ground arrow.

He had a grand old time. He can't wait to do it again.Eek!

I came home with a sick headache... too much sun and stress. I've had nightmares for two nights now, waking from hot flashes/ cold sweats and feeling pukish.

I hadn't even thought about Jennifer having kept the boys as babies while this was going on. She said yesterday she was a wreck! "

 The garden grows on. Yesterday and today, Sam helped me pick beans. We put up five QUARTS yesterday. Today, we set aside a big batch for supper, and put up another five pints. I got five or six squash from our five squash plants yesterday, and almost as many today. I failed to "deal with" the squash yesterday. This afternoon, I was putting together a squash casserole. I use disposable foil pans, as I generally cook these casseroles out on the grill. I was talking to Sam, and asked whether he thought the pan was about rightly sized for our meals. He agreed it was, but then asked me why I don't just make more than one at a time? I do have all this squash to work with. And I have the pans, as well as other ingredients.
It was an AH HA! moment. Much of the squash already frozen is destined for casseroles. As long as I am making one... how much more trouble is it to make two? (DOH!) Saves clean up later on, deals with the squash all at once.
I sure have smart kids.
And, if I failed to mention it lately, I believe I have KIND kids. THOUGHTFUL kids.
When in town, if one twin stops and buys himself a treat, he buys TWO, so that his brother may partake.
Outside of just the twins, I was thinking of Benjamin and Tommy "translating" thoughtless remarks. "I didn't like what you made for dinner".
Let me (Ben) translate that: "I appreciate you making dinner for us! It was a nice thing to do.  Next time you might try ______ (suggested improvements)." to a budding cook.

Becky and Stephen have been hard at work making improvements to their home. They came down to a choice: Buy a new GOOD vacuum to replace their latest broken 'disposable' (unfixable cheap) vacuum, or rip out the 1970's carpet and put down hard flooring. I didn't ask the price of the flooring, but I know a GOOD vacuum runs almost $350.  They went with the flooring! It is beautiful!

It has been a bit less than a week since the boys skydive, and I am still having nightmares. Maybe a wee bit of PTSD? I've been told I have PTSD from Bill's death, maybe this exacerbated it?

On my "pennies from Heaven"... the last two days I am finding dimes in the oddest places. I told "Bill", If you can drop dimes, maybe you should try leaving me $100 bills to find!!

That's all, thanks for reading!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Few minutes for an update...

The garden is still taking  much of my time outside of work. Today, after picking green beans, I decided I had enough to can a couple of jars, as we are about green beaned out on eating fresh cooked ones, and the fresh have surpassed more than we can eat at a time.
My "couple of jars" ended up being SIX pints, which are currently in the pressure canner.
The pea vines were pulled up last night, and the remainder of the peas, Sam shucked while I worked on the beans. I added one half-pint of peas into the lot of canned stuff. I have yet to deal with the squash from today and yesterday. I didn't pick any more blackberries today... I am just worn out, for some reason.
Hopefully I will have nice berry picking weather for my 'long weekend'! I need to freeze some more to make blackberry cobblers and such!
Yesterday, I dealt with the cucumbers a co-worker gave me, and made a batch of bread and butter pickles.  I have been either canning or freezing foods here on a daily basis for the last several weeks.

One day this last week, while I was the ONLY person at work, I was preparing to get started receiving merchandise. I heard a distinct "tink" and looked down to find a penny at my feet. Like it appeared from out of the sky! My first thought, "Penny from Heaven!" and either Bill or my brother, Roger. Then I realized I had stuck my box knife in my pocket, and the penny may of come from being wedged in its clasp.
Nevertheless, I took it as a sign my family was saying "Hello". I mentioned this to my boss today... He mentioned how he sees a cardinal bird as a Hello from his deceased family. He had never heard of Pennies from Heaven. It was a VERY short time later... I found another penny on the floor. Someplace no one was EVER likely to LOSE a penny. I said, "Hi, Bill!"

I don't have to work Saturday. HOORAY!
(At least, not on the paying job.)
I am quite sure garden produce will have me hopping!
Dan and Sam did their ground school for a static line jump from an aircraft last weekend, but conditions prevented their jumping. Not sure if that will happen this weekend or not.
And there is my timer on the beans. Have a blessed day/ weekend! Thanks for reading. PS prayers appreciated for 1) MIL having a surgery for a vein stent on Monday, non heart related. Also, a special request concerning something I have desired for YEARS, which must remain unspoken at the moment.