Lot’s of Vacancies

Here’s something that surprised me. I went out to check the greenhouse seedlings about noon and was amazed at just how warm it was inside. The outside temp was about 45 but inside it was more like 75 and all the seedlings looked just fine. I knew it would be warmer and totally protected from the strong NW winds but really only expected maybe a 10 degree rise. I’ve got 6 one gallon jugs of water set out in the sun that I’ll move into the greenhouse before sundown. I also have a 40 watt lamp burning inside so I’m feeling good about seedling outlook. I set out a bowl of water on the deck, not under any cover, and another inside the screen porch to see if there was any temp difference between the two areas. I checked about 6:30AM and the one on the deck had frozen solid whereas the one under the screen remained unfrozen. I also peaked in the green house and nothing looked stressed so I’m thinking it’s all ok. I plan to leave the garden and plants covered for the next three days until there’s no danger of frost at all.

So here’s the problem, it’s cold and windy. I can do cold ok but cold and windy, not so much. I’m breaking out my snowmobile suit and going out after spec’s – as soon as the wind stops.

When we moved to the lake in 2003, there were nine lived in dwellings on the lake in our cove; there are now only 4. One of the missing was a bankruptcy but the rest are vacant due to deaths. I think at this point, the average age of the remaining folks is probably 75. What’s nice about that is that the folks in the cove are not boaters in the sense that they don’t have big or noisy boats. This is the canoe, kayak, paddle boat, john boat end of the lake but that could all change with new owners. It’s rare to see anyone, other than moi, even fishing on the lake so I sure enjoy the privacy, peace and quiet. I think the place directly across from us, the double wide, is close to being sold and we were told that the person who bought it also bought the adjacent acreage. All I’ve seen over there are some older folks so fingers crossed that it’s another retiree.

Got a blood test and will see the doc next week to see if everything is behaving. I certainly feel ok but still don’t want to be too far from the potty.

Sure glad Iowa is over. I have to admit I was surprised to see Rick Santorem do so well there but it was a scruffy field to start with so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at any outcome. I don’t think any other state could have had Santorem and Ron Paul among the top 3. Until he opened his mouth, I was cheering for Rick Perry but he crashed and burned early on. I’m still hoping that the whole thing starts anew at the Convention in July and someone is drafted into service. With the current batch of candidates I’m afraid we lose no matter who ends up winning the election in November – be it Obama or Romney. I hate it that the Florida primary is coming up soon, as in a few weeks. All of a sudden we’re getting the political ad overload on TV. I’m tired of them already and still have weeks to go. At my advanced age, I think I’ve been through a dozen or so presidential elections (as a voter) and can honestly say the election coming up will be the first I can remember in which none of the candidates, either party, do it for me. Nothing but losers for the next 5 years unless something bizarre happens before the election.

Very, very, very cold

Started moving the last batch of winter plants from the green house to the garden. I have 40 to move as space permits including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and the flower sprouts. I have lettuce started that should make the big move towards the end of January. This batch of seedlings should take us through April. Believe it or not, I start seeds for tomatoes in a couple of weeks. Spending an hour a day or so memorizing the new round of seed catalogs. Except for one or two items, I really have enough seed on hand to get me through next season which would leave one to believe that I probably won’t be ordering any new seed. Don’t count on it.

We’re having winter this week. The dreaded “freeze warnings” have been posted and I’m organizing my defenses. They’re saying it will be a 3 day event. Usually we experience a windy, rainy storm late in the afternoon and then a freeze that night. I don’t see the storm in the forecast- just the cold – but I’m still going to cover up a day early while the weather is still fantastic. I’m usually trying to cover the crops in a gale but this time it’s going to be done in dead calm, a day in advance of the real need date. I had already gathered up most of the planters down by the dock and put them on the deck by the house so it should take me 5 minutes to bring them into the screen porch and then cover them with one or two covers. Speaking of covers, I was up in Nancy’s shed and spotted a large roll of something she calls batting. Looks like plant blanket to me. Wonder if I should bring the subject up or just go ahead and use it? I mean some of the plants that I’ll be covering are her plants, aren’t they? She did come up with what could be the winning idea of the season – use the smoker to warm the plants I brought in the screened porch. How much electricity could it use if I set it at 100 degrees, I think the lowest possible setting, and timed it on about 8PM for 10 hours?

Update – Hey, this really is a serious freeze – ie in the 20’s kind of freeze; pick all the remaining citrus kind of freeze; leave the water running in a faucet overnight to keep the pipes from freezing kind of freeze. We’ll have gallons of grapefruit/tangerine juice before the end of the day. It’s possible that even after covering the garden, there will be some damage, especially to the recently planted stuff. I wasn’t worried about a normal, just below freezing for an hour or so, kind of freeze but this one falls into the hard freeze category so all bets are off. Too bad mosquitoes. Will the cold weather trigger the spec’s?first-cover-up

New Year’s Cacciatore

Nancy is truly in hog heaven – nah, Angry Birds heaven. Not only did she get a new version, Angry Birds Seasons, but the two previously downloaded versions had major updates so she’s just birding her little heart out. Even though I downloaded all this the day after Christmas, I think it should count as part of the Christmas present package, don’t you?

Nancy’s bridge was cancelled for Friday and it unexpectedly turned into a honey do day. I think she badly needs a backup bridge club in case this ever happens again. It was the kind of honey do day that starts with a trip to Lowes, spending about $150, and then sustaining multiples blows to the head while trying to work upside down under the kitchen cabinets. That’s what it took to replace the under cabinet florescent lighting with LED lights. At my advanced age, working over my head while laying on the counters is a bit dizzying and much more wearing on the bod than working in the vertical mode. I never could remove the brackets for the old lights but we can live with that until someone with the requisite skills and tools shows up to finish the job. The next job involved getting in the bathtub, removing the drain plug and mechanism, and replacing it with a new one. How you break a drain plug is beyond me but Nancy figured out the way. The hard part of that job was removing the old one but I did, somehow, manage to get it out, screw in a new one, and get it properly caulked. Hopefully it won’t leak.

Nancy and I decided a few years back that exchanging Christmas presents didn’t make much sense because each of us pretty much buys whatever we want. So, for example, when we were in Costco early December they had a cast iron pot that would be perfect for making cacciatore. So Nancy said that we should buy it and I could wrap it up for her Christmas present. Made sense to me but it needed just something extra to personalize it. Turns out her favorite meal is the cacciatore I make; trouble is it’s really a big deal to make so it’s not something I want to jump into very often. When Chris was home, he helped and it was fun to do together but by myself, it’s a real chore. So to spice up the gift and complement the pan, I drew up a set of coupons entitling her to a cacciatore dinner each month. Each coupon had the month printed on it so you couldn’t save them up and if you passed a month – tough. I know she was totally surprised by the gift. Comes Jan 1, out comes the first coupon. Wow, that was quicker than I thought. This time I made Swiss Chard pasta – same as spinach pasta – and improved on the last batch by cutting the veggies a bit chunkier and using a more suitable type of tomatoes. I also cooked it all at a lower temp which eliminated the burned stuff on the bottom of the pan that happened last time. Knowing that I’m facing this job once a month, unless she loses the coupons, I have a few more mods in mind that will take it totally over the top.