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ctw1949
Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

Life in general
Here we are in August already! This summer has been a blend of hot, oppressive weeks punctuated with two or three delightful days. The work at Syd's gardens continues with the help of Sam, who is just indispensable. He has a great work ethic, so seldom found these days. We have completed renovating the garden on the east side of the house. Now, I am going to work on designing the layout of the bed using the plants that we have removed and finding some other favorites that Syd has requested.

I did discover the identity of the mystery bulbs that were clustered together in two places in this garden bed. They are
Lycoris squamigera or Magic Lily. They haven't bloomed because they are so overcrowded and in need of dividing. There are so many bulbs, I don't think we can replant all of them! They bloom in mid-summer and are great for cutting. I am so thrilled to discover what they are!

The apartment complex seems to have another (continuing) outbreak of bed bugs!!! I am still keeping them at bay. At the residents meeting yesterday,  we were told the hallways and other common areas cannot be sprayed for bedbugs due to people & pets walking on the sprayed areas. I wonder if these areas could be sprayed during the night? Of course, the management denied an outbreak, but I know who has had them on my floor. There are others we don't know about. The conversation was abrupt and went away quickly. I spray carts, left out for residents, with Zodiac carpet and upholstery spray which will kill bedbugs as well as fleas.

I just got a call from a neighbor and she is coming over to talk...so bye for now.
Life in general

Well, after six weeks of no internet, I am back online. I have signed onto Pcsforpeople, an internet service for low income folks. They are a non-profit group and offer WiFi hot spots. One must buy the hot spot, then pay a subscription. I really can't say much for their customer service, it is lacking...I could go on about this, but it is a waste of my time.

Where I live, there are few choices for internet, either the local cable group or Verizion. The monthly charge for either is very high...and I feel there is a monopoly on internet in our city. An anti-trust issue if you ask me. But no one asks. And these companies remain the "big providers" in the area. As a matter of fact, I was told Verizion is not available in this apartment complex.

I have been working on many projects to clear up the items from my storage unit. All have been moved out of storage and into my apartment. So, things are a bit out of sorts in my bedroom, which is really a storage space right now. But I have shelves and most of the items are off the floor and neatly on the shelves. I am sleeping in the living room and like it this way for now.

I have finished one chest of drawers and it now contains my clothing and my shoes. It came out very nice, considering it needed two new drawer bottoms and a new back. I sanded off the old, brown finish, put a coat of Penetrol to feed the old, dry pine wood, two coats of polyurethane finished the project. I have sanded down two small, wood trunks, two coats of poly inside and out to seal the wood. Now, two new bottoms will finish them and I can add handles and use them for storage. There are two more trunks to be cleaned up and finished and the four trunks will be done.

I have cleaned up the chair I got off Craig's List last late fall. It is 1979 Mary Webb Wood chair, typical wing-backed chair. The upholstery has embroidery on it in the form of the Tree of Life. At least that is what I think it is. The chair needed to be cleaned for there had been a bad coffee or tea spill on the cushion and onto the arm. I managed to get most of the stain off with my Bissell Green Machine. There are some stains that won't come out, but overall, it is a beautiful chair and I am enjoying it.

I have a small garden space at the apartment complex. I have been growing from seed...two different kinds of cukes, kale, lettuce, Borage, Basil, Scarlet Runner Beans and Johnny-Jump Ups. I bought in some organic hot peppers, lavender & parsley. Early in spring, I planted some horseradish root. Right away, the squirrels dig up one of the roots for a taste. Guess it was too hot, for I found the root, a bit chewed off...right next to the hole where it was planted. I laughed at the thought of the squirrel's shock when eating the root! The squirrels can be a problem...as well as the cats who live across the street (they like my garden as their toilet) but I have thwarted both with a sprinkle of Cayenne pepper over the ground in the garden. I had to fence off the catnip plant once the cats discovered it and tried to kill it with eating all the top growth and rolling in the plant. It survives nicely now.

There are many soil-borne insects in the garden soil, so I removed 5" of the top soil last fall and added new organic soil this spring. Unfortunately, the added soil had a lot of not-composted wood pieces in it and since there are termites in the wood sides of the raised bed, the termites have been eating the stems of the basil, right below the soil level!!! I have done several soil-drenches to try to eradicate all the grubs and other bad insects below the ground, but the termites seem to be invincible! This fall, I will add a topping of manure & seaweed for extra organic matter that the termites might not like.

I have been working at my friend's gardens & yard in Rochester but the heat has been oppressive...the heat index was 107 ten days ago and may reach that again in the next few days. So, I work inside...BB the dog needs a clip job, I need to address paper work and get that sent out. I just love my central AC!!

Bedbug patrol needs doing every few days, vacuuming and re-applying DE to the baseboards on a rotational basis. The clutter on my table abates, then somehow finds it's way back!!!

I have made a few good friends her and I am grateful for that.

Thanks for reading...time to take BB the dog out for his walk and look at the garden on our way back in to beat the heat!
Life in general
The days fly by now, still trying to clear out my Summer Street storage garage. On Friday, Bonnie and I were again there, moving the few things out to the camper. I am not going to sell my small apartment size dryer, so this coming week, I hope to get it into the Volvo and take it to the recycling place. I will get little $$ for it, but it must go.

The owner of the storage property has not managed to move the tenant's dead car out of the driveway or at least back further to ease my moving. The walk from the storage garage to the car is almost 100 feet, carrying items to the car has driven inflammation into my hip bone and I am in bed, resting for the past two days. I will attempt to move the boxes that need to be recycled out and vacuum the space tomorrow. Then I will need to find someone who can help me carry the dryer to the car. That will finish up my work there.

Last week I took the chest of drawers outside to the courtyard and put the first coat of polyurethane on. I cut the poly 50% with Penetrol and it looks good. Now, for a low-humidity day to take it outside, sand and put on the finish coat. I need to buy some dark green spray paint for the knobs. They are wood by still have the brown stain. I could spend hours trying to sand off the brown stain, but the results would be less than satisfactory. Green paint will do the trick.

I went to the Urgent Care clinic May 24 b/c I had two ticks bites. I was given a Rx for two Doxicyclene for a preventative against Lyme Disease. I had to be careful for several days after taking it since it makes me photosensitive. The bites healed much faster than the bites I got earlier this spring.

BB still needs a clip job, I think I shall knuckle down and get that done today. It is a job and my back always aches from doing it, so I have been procrastinating. But he gets hot with too much hair, so best get down to it.

Weather here is still foggy & rain comes and goes. I am happy for the cool weather, it is easier to manage all the moving when it isn't 80 or 90 degrees!

Thanks for reading this blog!
Life in general
May has been interesting and busy! Over the past few weeks, I have been working on the chest of drawers, put a sealer coat of Penetrol on the newly sanded surface to feed & seal the old pine.

Sam and I have been to Syd's to work in her yard, so much to do but we are making a dent. Syd is always happy with what we get done, even if it isn't on the list of things to do.

Last week, I spent several hours at Summer Street storage, organizing, re-labeling boxes and sorting out what needed to be moved where. The week before, Bonnie & I were at my camper to clean and get it ready for storage from Summer Street.  Bonnie and I went over to Summer Street storage last weekend and moved almost everything out. Some went into my apartment (overflow!!!) and the rest into the camper. What is left are a few of large things and my electric dryer. I have posted the dryer on Craig's list, but no takers...it needs a heating element. Guess it will go to the metal recycling center. There are many damaged (from termites) cardboard boxes to remove and take to recycling, but nothing I can't handle.

The overflow into my apartment really has cluttered up the apartment, but I am sticking with my efforts to get things under control. I spent time taking pix of items to sell on eBay but have yet posted them.

Last Tuesday, I walked out of my apartment, down the hall and helped my neighbor with some things that she couldn't seem to figure out. One was a fan that her friend Al couldn't put together. I got that done, then helped her with figuring out her Hoover Carpet Cleaner. No owners manual, so I downloaded and printed out the manual off the Hoover website. A problem with their website offered one manual in English, TWO in Portuguese! I ended up with about 70 pages of printed work!!!

Meanwhile, I had left rice on the stove, burner on high. We heard the fire alarm, but it went off only one time on the second floor, so we figured it was a fire downstairs. It didn't register that I had left the rice on the stove. BB was in the apartment, alone. It was awhile later, after we had figured out how to make her carpet shampooer work that the light bulb went on over my head and I realized my error. By the time I got back to my apartment, the fire department had cleared all the smoke out of my apartment, taken BB out and gave him oxygen and taken him for a walk outside. Talk about embarrassed!!! The rice was charcoal, the apartment had the aroma of scorched rice, the pan was completely coated with black. I went down to the office and profusely apologized to all for my oversight and thanked them for taking such good care of BB the dog. Now, I check the stove every time I leave. If I had a brain, I'd be dangerous!!!

I still haven't changed the tires on my car from winter to summer and need to get that done soon. I am in violation of Mass RMV rules for studded tires after April 30. I hope to get that done this coming week.

The anniversary of my mom's death came and went...I can't seem to remember exactly what day she died on. That's sad, to say the least.

Today it will be in the 80's and very humid. I may take the chest of drawers outside and  put the first coat of polyurethane on and hope the finish dries in the humidity. I will cut the poly 50% with Penetrol. That will thin the first coat out nicely and hasten drying. The second coat will be thinned 20% Penetrol is a product used in oil based paints and as a food for wood. I have used it for many years, will thin the first primer coat 50% for best adhesion to old siding, always thin the second coat of primer 20%.

My finger is coming along but there is some scar tissue right over the knuckle. I am doing exercises & massage to help. There is some swelling after I have used my hand, wrapping it in Vet wrap helps keep the swelling down. My finger feels better than before the cyst was removed, but I have a way to go before it is back to pre-cyst function.

I had some blood work done in early May. Seems the results show I have "acid" blood. I am not sure exactly what that might indicate, I have another test scheduled for next week. Does anyone know if eating a lot of dark chocolate will make your blood "acid"?

It is Memorial Day weekend now, the official start of summer. I am not sure if I will fight the crowds to attend any services, but I will be thinking of our fallen soldiers.

Happy Memorial Day!
Life in general

The past ten days have been busy and interesting.  BB has healed from his wounds and his abscess. I gave him a partial clip job earlier this week, his body and muzzle are short. We were tired after all that clipping, so his feet (the hardest part to clip, he is ticklish) and top of his head still need to be done.

Saturday, May 4, I represented the Acushnet Conservation Commission and the pollinator garden at the Acushnet Grange. The Agriculture Commission (I was on that commission for three years and helped construct and get the RIGHT-TO-FARM by law passed) holds an Aggie Fair each spring at the local Grange.

The Conservation Agent is out of town on a family emergency, so all the details were left to me. I chose some pix from the pollinator garden, took them to Staples for printing, ordered the frames (I chose plastic, stand alone frames), typed captions for the pix and put all together for the fair. I selected pix that showed the stages of the Monarch, from caterpillar to butterfly.

I had harvested some seeds last summer from the pollinator garden, bought some small coin envelopes and packaged them & marked them for sale at the fair. A table was required, so I found my table, gathered all necessary things together, loaded them into my car along with BB the dog and we headed to the fair.

Since I knew the leader of the grange (and he knew of my disabilities), I parked close to the tent and unloading was easy. The flow of people was fair considering it was a cloudy day. Seed sales were good and there was much interest from kids who had never seen a Monarch caterpillar or chrysalis. At least it wasn't pouring rain like last year!

Earlier this week, I bought a 4x8" panel of luan plywood and went to see my friend Warren. Warren has a table and radial saws and he helped me cut new panels for the drawer bottoms and a new panel for the back of the chest of drawers I got for free several months ago. I brought the cut panels home and began to glue the drawers together. The chest of drawers had been exposed to a flood and a lot of moisture, causing a lot of damage to the bottoms of the drawers and the back panel. Some of the glue blocks were very stuck, so I soaked them in vinegar to dissolve the glue. In the process of trying to separate the glue block from the other wood (for reuse), I stabbed my thumb right to the bone (ouch!).

Manuka honey and a band aid helped with the pain and reduced any chance of infection. I wonder if the stabbed tendon will heal itself?

On Monday, May 6, I had my first OT for the finger where the cyst was removed. The session went well and I am doing the exercises several times a day. It is nice to be able to wash my hands whenever I wish...the entire hands, not just half of the right hand. There is some scar tissue where the incision was, but basically, it is healing well. I have no pain now since the cause of the pain has been removed.

I saw the back doctor on Tuesday. He left me with an "open appointment", which means I can call on him at any time. I will have to be dismissed by the hand doctor before I can resume PT for my back. Meanwhile, I will continue to do the back exercises I was shown how to do at PT.

My primary doctor rescheduled her August appointment to (are you ready for this?) January 2020! I made a check-up appointment with her for next week. I would like a full blood panel, maybe something will show up and tell me why I have days where all I want to do is sleep!

It seems a lot of my time has been spent seeing doctors and physical therapists and not enough time outside!

Yesterday I picked Bonnie up and we went to the camper to clean out and organize my camper so I can finish emptying my Summer Street storage. I have sold my Old Town Pathfinder canoe, my gas range and gas dryer. All that is left are boxes of stuff that now needs repacking, labeling and moving out of Summer Street into the camper. I hope to get that done next week.

I hope to start some Rosemary cuttings for new plants. I realize now I should have done this last fall, but I am going to give it a try anyway. I can't seem to locate any White Sage seeds through my normal seed companies, so it looks as if I will have to forgo that project this year.

I must go now, I need to hang my laundry (washed last night). I was just too tired to hang it on the line inside my apartment. Hope you all have a nice weekend!

Happy Mother's Day!