Friday, October 31, 2008

Dumb Squirrel

Squirrels are not the smartest animal on the block. Hubby feeds the birds. We have tried different kinds of bird feeders to thwart the squirrels. We used to have the kind that had a circular perch that would spin if anything heavy (like a squirrel or 3 purple grackles) landed on it. It worked but we had to be careful not to put it too high off the ground because it was not our intent to maim the squirrels. It also splayed seeds all over the ground. We sold it at the Lion's garage sale and bought the kind that is shaped like a little house and has a door that closes if anything too heavy gets on the perch. We also use a squirrel baffle and that keeps the squirrels out and the door keeps the purple grackles out. We have the new feeder mounted inside a half barrel that catches the seed shells. It has a wide mesh screen across the top so that we are not feeding chipmunks although if we do not keep the hibiscus trimmed they will go out on the end of a branch to dip down and reach the feeder. The old feeder was on a narrow PVC pipe hanging from a branch in the tree because it needed to support the weight of the feeder. The new feeder is on a pole up from the ground. We have many other feeders, a thistle feeder, a ball type feeder that the chickadees go inside to eat the shelled safflower seeds, a hummingbird feeder, an oriole feeder and a wire cage feeder that we filled with peanuts for the woodpeckers and nuthatches. Most of the feeders are on thin wires but since the PVC pipe was already hanging out there, Hubby used it for the peanut cage. We have been having trouble with a squirrel coming down the pipe and eating the peanuts and destroying the feeder by pulling the wires apart. Today Hubby took down the hummingbird feeder and moved the peanuts to a wire. While I was looking out the window I saw a squirrel come down the PVC pipe as he had been accustomed to doing only there was nothing hanging on the pipe. He was definitely confused and he tried to go back up the pipe but there was nothing on the end for him to get his footing. He hung on for a while before he dropped to the ground. I wonder if he will try it again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dundee, Michigan

Last week Hubby and I went to Cabelas in Dundee, Michigan. What a fascinating place. It was huge! All along the ceiling they had trophy heads of dear and bison and whatever. They had a display of taxidermied lions attacking wildebeests and an elephant. In another area they had a mountain with mountain goats, deer moose, elk, coyotes, wolfs and other North American animals. They had a stream with otters, raccoons and muskrats. In the fishing section they had lots of different fishes mounted and then they had a huge aquarium of North American fish. They had another display of stuffed ducks. We will certainly take the grandchildren there when they visit. We also found out that there is a Russell Stover outlet on the same corner. After that it wasn't just the animals who were stuffed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home by Myself

Today my brother called Hubby to say they could use him at the auto dealership where my brother works. My brother drives cars between the dealerships. Hubby was unusually excited at the prospect of "working." He said he really enjoyed the day. For me, it was a day to do as I pleased, which I usually do, but it was without the guilt factor. When I felt like it, I played a computer game. I did my needlework with no need for excuses. I even cooked dinner. I told Hubby, when he got home, that from now on he had to disappear one day a week. He said that on Wednesdays when I go to my Mom's he usually takes an extra nap, guilt free. I guess we are still learning about how to be retired.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Saturday, Mary was up here and she, Martha, Grandma and I went out to lunch. It was lots of fun. Then we went to the Gardenridge store. If you don't have one near you it is a big box store with tons of Christmas ornaments (this time of year) . It also has lamps, pillow, mirrors, pictures etc. It is sort of like a down scale Pier One or Cost Plus Marketplace. One of the things they have are nice gift boxes, perfect for cookies and quite inexpensive. Anyway we all bought lots of stuff. My mother has always loved to shop and so she is fun to go to the store with and it is nice to have daughters to shop with as well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Last Sunday Hubby took me to the hospital for my cat scratch. When the nurse came in to give me my tetanus shot , he also asked me some questions. "Do you smoke?" "No." "Do you drink?" And just that fast Hubby said "Like a fish." I could have died laughing. My friend Carol said her husband did a number on her. They bought a new mattress and were donating the old one to a charity. The charity called to pick up the mattress one day and she said "Oh no! come tomorrow!" (The new mattress wasn't delivered yet) The next morning her husband got up for work and called Carol from the driveway to say he was Gardner-White and they were in the driveway to deliver the new mattress. Unfortunately he knew Carol was still in bed. She started hollering, "you were supposed to call before you came." Finally her husband said "Carol, Carol, it's me." I think men have a strange sense of humor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It All Depends on the Weather

Mary and I were going to participate in another 5K race walk. This one was in Flint and was a U of M/MSU Tailgate Challenge. U of M people walked in one direction and the MSU people in the opposite direction. As you passed there was the opportunity to heckle. Mary had attended U of M, and Hubby is a U of M grad. Both Hubby and I are Master Gardeners through MSU. However I would most likely walk with Mary, that is until the weather report last night which said "rain and a HIGH of 53 degrees." Neither Mary nor I had registered yet so we figured - maybe not.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Invalid

Today I really took it easy. I couldn't do any dishes and I spent a lot of time soaking my thumb as per doctor's instructions. I found it difficult to sew and even to turn pages when I read, so I studied my spanish and played a lot of computer solitaire. Such a hard life.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Emergency Room

I did something really dumb tonight. Hubby had shut Cleo in the basement and Fervor was running around upstairs. I went out to the garage with the trash and forgot to close the basement door. Immediately Fervor ran downstairs to attack Cleo. Martha saw Fervor go downstairs and we both ran down but it was too late. Fervor was already attacking Cleo. Like a dummy I reached down and grabbed Cleo. She scratched my thumb very deeply before she realized I had saved her. Fervor attacked my leg for having picked up Cleo. At the emergency room they had a lot of trouble stopping the bleeding in my thumb but didn't want to put stitches in for fear of infection on an animal scratch. I now have a splint on my thumb as the scratch is deep and a good inch and a half to two inches long. It is glued together with tape strips. I have to take an antibiotic, got a tetanus shot and have to see the doctor in 48 hours. I have a large bruise and scrape on my leg as well. Hubby says if the cats fight again we will use a broom or a shotgun.(which we don't have, - the shotgun that is)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Get Rid of it!

A couple of weeks ago I went to the dermatologist and told him I had a bump on the side of my nose that I didn't like and I wanted it off. Now it was not a big bump. Some of my kids never noticed it and others thought it was just a pimple, but I didn't like it. The doctor removed it. The kids were surprised because I didn't have him remove the large mole in the center of my chin. That mole looks just like the one all the Halloween witches have on their chins. When I taught piano, students invariably asked what it was and when my son John was five he asked me if that was where my babies came out. It is not exactly hidden. However I have had that mole as long as I can remember. This bump on my nose was quite new. Anyway the path report came back as basal cell cancer. Now this is nothing to worry about but I feel quite justified in being so adamant about getting rid of it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Tonight Hubby and I went to a Tollgate Garden Society meeting. The topic was "chocolate." The speaker was a pastry chef who made a raspberry chocolate mouse for us and gave us lots of samples of different kinds of chocolate. He answered tons of questions for us on the different brands of chocolate and on chocolate standards and how to cook with chocolate. European countries have chocolate standards that we don't have in this country. He talked about making your own chocolates but said the Wilton chocolate pieces that they sell at Michael's are only good enough for plastering your walls. He said good white chocolate has cocoa butter in it but much of the white chocolate that you get has no chocolate in it at all. Mary once gave me a box of Vosage's chocolates from Chicago and he said they were some of the best chocolates but very expensive. During the talk tonight while the chef was mixing up his recipes and passing out samples, one of the members of the audience asked if he could mix in a little insulin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Club Report

The family book club almost collapsed until my son in law suggested the story Tortilla Flat by Steinbeck and interested the group again. I got the book out of the library but I haven't started it. The books chosen by the family covered a wide range of topics some of which I never would have thought to read like The Tipping Point or Nickel & Dimed on (Not) getting by in America. They are fascinating non fiction. Of course I loved Memoirs of a Geisha and Water for Elephants as well. The ladies book club has really had a more difficult time choosing books. This month we are reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which I had never read even though my children all did. It is a wonderful story and I am really enjoying it. I usually read at night as my father always had a fit when I would read in the daytime instead of doing something more active. When I was younger and we would go camping I would sit and read all day now I find that I read during the day when I am on a cruise.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Craft Room is a Mess

It has been a long standing joke about Hubby spending time cleaning up his cubical. ( That is what we call the bedroom that has been converted to his office because he put in gray carpeting and gray cubical furniture.) Hubby is always cleaning it but it never seems to get cleaner mostly because he gets distracted by the things he finds in it. My craft room, however has in the past been very neat and organized. Not any more! I have too many projects and nowhere to put all the boxes of stuff. I brought in my two large wax begonias from outside and they are dropping flower petals all over the floor and not helping one bit. It seems that for every piece of cloth I use, I buy three others that I haven't used. I made an excel spreadsheet of all my projects with a color coded scheme of green, in process and yellow complete but the list now has 87 projects, 21 completed and 10 in process. On Mondays I work on my Spanish lesson mostly at the computer which is located in the closet of my craft room. I brought a lingerie chest into the room but it just makes the room more crowded. So now my craft room matches Hubby's cubical for being downright messy.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautiful Fall

This weekend has been an exceptionally beautiful fall weekend here in Michigan. Yesterday we went to an outdoor party to celebrate the recovery from breast cancer of a dear friend. It was lots of fun to sit outside and talk with every one. Today Hubby and I went and walked around Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. To any of you out of staters, Greenfield Village is a must on any Michigan tour. The trees were all decked in their fall color and there were carved pumpkins all over the main street area. Because we have a membership it is especially nice because we don't have to try and see everything at once. We go for an hour or two and walk around or go the the adjacent Ford museum for the current exhibit. On the way home we stopped at Starbucks for a mocha frappicino. They are too expensive to get often but a treat when we do. ( Especially now that our 401K has been reduced to a 101K)

Friday, October 10, 2008


Our city has updated the list of items it will take for recycling. It takes any kind of plastic or glass, even dishes and ceramics. It takes all newspapers, cardboard and even junk mail. It really makes you think when you throw something in the trash as to whether it goes there. Hubby and I really try to think green, even though we can't afford solar panels or a green roof. Maybe our next car will be a hybrid but that won't be for awhile. Mostly Hubby drives the Focus and I drive the Freestyle. Both get pretty good mileage. We have our compost pile and a mulching lawn mower. We were doing worm composting but we did something wrong and all the worms died.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Next Year - A Vegetable Garden

Hubby has been working on a new vegetable garden for next year. He put in a wall and 5 yards of black dirt with compost. It is located in the only sunny spot in our whole backyard. We are both excited about the prospect of fresh wax beans, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. We also plan for some beets, squash and turnips. We signed up for a garden plot at the senior center as well. That is where we will grow the things that don't have to be monitored every day. The last time I planted a vegetable garden, years ago, it looked like the Sahara. Even the weeds didn't grow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Mouse!

Yesterday I had been into the walk-in attic off of our bedroom and must have let a mouse into the room. At 3 AM I woke to hear Cleo howling in the bathroom and scratching at things. If it had been Arnold I would have just rolled over but Arnold was sleeping on top of my legs. I went into the bathroom and there was Cleo chasing a little gray mouse around the bathroom. Sometimes she batted it around but when the mouse stood up and batted at her and SQUEEKED she seemed to be confused. I watched for about a half hour and then called Hubby to get his camera. After about 15 min Hubby came running out to get his movie camera. Arnold was still snoozing. I picked him up and opened the bathroom door and threw him into the fray. Hubby got rid of the mouse after about an hour and this time Arnold slept through the rest of the night.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Frost Warning

We had our first frost warning Friday Night. Fortunately I had brought most of my houseplants back into the house already. I hate it when I get the warning and it is freezing cold and I am trying to stuff all the plants in the foyer so they are safe for the night. Today I put the pots of geraniums back outside. They can stay out a little longer. The wandering Jew is so hard to keep over the winter but is a beautiful hanging basket now. I think I will just take a few cuttings to start it again next year. Hubby went out and picked roses from the rose garden, so I had a beautiful bouquet and the fragrance was incredible ( Mostly from the Mr. Lincoln rose)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A 5K Race Walk

This morning Mary and I participated in a 5K race walk held in Wayne, Michigan. There were a lot of participants. We didn't place in the winners but we were not near the end either. It is fun to see the people who do the 10K run. They are real athletes, trim and muscular, not necessarily young. The first event was a 1K run for children. The 8 and 9 year olds were serious and had great fun. There was one 4 year old, Jimmy according to the signs his mother and baby brother carried. Jimmy was beautiful with big blond loopy curls and a huge grin as he waved to his supporters. Some of the little kids got about a tenth of the way and Mom had to carry them. The weather was a little nippy. Where ever there was a shadow on the grass, the grass was encased in ice. Afterwards we were all served hot dogs, cider, fruit and cookies. Mary and I had a good time.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Green Roofs

Last Night Hubby and I went to the meeting of the Master Gardeners Organization. They had a speaker on "Green Roofs". That is not the color green but roofs covered with plants. Hubby won a prize because he has seen two of them, Ford Motor Tractor Plant and the dog house at Tollgate Farm's Children's garden. I didn't expect the meeting to be that interesting because I thought you could only do green roofs on flat roofed buildings but that is not true, although the steeper the pitch the more you have to do. A green roof needs about 30 pounds per square foot more load tolerance than an ordinary roof. There were lots of examples of green roofs especially for sheds, bath houses and even carports or dumpster covers. We were each given catalogues of sedums and like plants to use. It was a really interesting meeting.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A New Sidewalk

Yesterday the sidewalk to the house was finished. The company who did this were wonderful. They gave us several designs to choose from, gave us an estimate and met it. They even fluffed up the grass where they had been working. We have some landscape plans but we will wait until spring to do them. The bank at the corner has a hedge of bush roses and we want to do the same
around the walk. We will put a bench on the walk and the roses will give a little privacy.