General updates

Posted October 27, 2016 By Ruth

I may be, finally, done with the whole sinus infection thing for the season.  Cross your fingers for me!

Work…..well, the Department Supervisor I was previously griping about has moved along.  Which is cool.  But it meant they had to find a new one.  Three people within the company applied, two from my store and a 3rd from another nearby store.  1-guy with previous department head experience, ran the receiving dept like a champ, doesn’t take shit, GETS THINGS DONE, but also can be abrasive to deal with as a fellow employee (though every customer interaction I’ve seen him deal with he was always polite).  2-woman currently working in the paint department, has previously worked in the garden department, zero department head experience, occasionally a bit of a flake.  3-current MET team member from a nearby store (not going to try to explain that, but it means he hasn’t actually worked in an actual store department in 8 or 9 years but technically has some department head “privileges”), previous garden department experience from before he joined MET, no actual department head experience.  My vote was candidate 1.  They hired candidate 3.  On first impression he seems like a nice enough guy……and if he makes it TO next summer, much less THROUGH next summer, I’ll be very surprised.  Yay.

In addition, one of the full time employees in the department is having some personal issues that have devolved into legal issues, and I knew from personal conversation with her that it was coming to a head this week and that management had approved her taking the week off on short notice.  I don’t have a problem with that and I’m crossing my fingers for luck and doing my best to offer friend support during the whole mess.  However as a department employee I’d expect management to have done SOMETHING to inform the department (at bare minimum our new department head) that we’re going to be short a person all week.  They don’t have to explain anything, “personal emergency” covers it just fine.  I had forgotten that her whole mess was this week, till Monday afternoon at work when I couldn’t find her, and the dept head didn’t know if she’d come in, and I paged her, and got a call back from management telling me that “she’s out sick”.  I asked said manager if she’d let the dept know we were short a person?  “Well no, but she was sick…..”(no she wasn’t, but really? can’t you at least take the 30 seconds to call the dept and let us know we’re going to be short a person?? Arg.  I managed to not actually SAY that…..).  This particular assistant manager is new to this store (as of this summer) but this sort of thing is standard to most of the managers in this store.  Only one is good about letting the department know that she just took a call out call.

Yesterday at work I was having a bit of day myself.  On top of being short a body in the department I managed to whack my head on a ladder about an hour into my shift.  I’m fine, and knew I was fine then, but went in search of an ice pack in hopes of stemming the goose bump.  The Store Manager caught me with it and freaked out cause I’d hit my head at work.  I managed to convince her I was fine, but promised to not drive the forklifts for the day (not that I’d planned to, having the forks in the air and discovering I was dizzy after all would have been a bad thing).  On an interesting note, the fact that I’d bumped my head and therefor might not be 100% managed to circulate through-out every member of management and dept head in the store within the hour.  Unlike when someone calls out…..

Have I mentioned that working retail sucks?

We finally got cold enough that the garden is done except for the broccoli that I tried to plant in the spring and just bolted instead due to the heat.  I’m leaving it alone for the moment, I want to see how tall it gets.  I actually got potatoes, I wasn’t sure I would since the plants almost all blighted fairly early in the season.  Course, most of them are tiny, and the ones that aren’t are either buggy or sprouting already…..I need to finish digging them up, and then I might just replant the sprouting ones to see what happens.

I found a hair dye that advertises to dye brunette hair purple (or blue depending on which box you buy) without needing to bleach first.  Its supposed to be a more subtle color, of course, than if you bleach first, but I’ve always  kinda wanted to dye my hair blue or purple……a check of the dress code at work shows that it doesn’t actually mention hair color…..I might have to see if I can get them to freak at me…….

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I’ll admit I’m a bit of a Cracked fan anyway, they’re usually vulgar, often funny, and not infrequently on point when it comes to their topic of choice.

I debated trying to post this on my Facebook page, I have A LOT of FB friends who are incredibly anti-Trump, to the extreme of posting (regularly) those memes that basically state that “if you’re voting for Trump, just unfriend me now”.  And this is by far one of the best explanations for why I see people voting for Trump (yes, there’s more to it than this, but as a basic explanation?  It’s pretty darn good.).  But in the end, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort, and I’ve put a lot of work into keeping my FB feed non-political.  Other than the occasional anti-both party meme’s I don’t post ANYTHING political.  Among other things I was raised to believe that screaming arguments over politics in public are impolite.  And this election in particular has brought out the screaming arguments!

And actually, though the point of the article was Trump, this does a pretty good explanation of why Hillary is as popular as she is too……

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General update

Posted October 12, 2016 By Ruth

I’ve spent the last few weeks dealing with sinus infections.  The first one wasn’t bad, I never even had to call out of work, and the antibiotic seemed to the job right quick.  Except I was constantly stuffy.  Which I didn’t immediately worry about, I do have allergies, then last week, wednesday, I suddenly had a bad sore throat.  Back to the doctor, on Thursday, by which time I had massive post nasal drip, sinus pain, and an elevated temperature not quite high enough to call a fever.  I’ve been calling out of work since.  Well, Monday I tried to go into work, I didn’t even make it through two hours before giving up.  Trying again today, wish me luck.

Monday night they were predicting a full frost, and infact we had freeze warnings for us and surrounding counties, so after a nap (after coming home from my aborted attempt to work) I went out and picked the large majority of hot peppers.


There was just one or two.  That’s 99% of the remaining Jalapenos, and probably 90% each of the Habaneros and the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers.  I only picked the ripest of the Buena Mulatas though.  I had to then take one more of the garden before the frost hit:


And one to document one more time the giant heights the Chocolate Habanero plants hit:


I was also amused to discover that the watermelon plants were trying to revive themselves and even had a couple fist sized fruit on them.  I debated pulling out the frost blankets and trying to save them, but I doubt we REALLY have enough time left in the season to get those fruit grown and ripe, so I didn’t bother.

And we did indeed get a solid frost:


At 8am, when that picture was taken, it hadn’t even burned off in the sunny spots.  The tomatoes and the watermelon did indeed not survive it.  However the hot peppers are all still going strong.  I’ve found that for what’s supposed to be a hot climate plant hot peppers in general have an incredible frost resistance.

I did find two more hibiscus plants (which I forgot to take a picture of, my excuse is I’ve been sick), both with flowers that are solid dark pink.  I planted them right with the planting of two of the bi-color hibiscus I planted previously.  The solid pink ought to set off the bi-color nicely.

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Posted October 6, 2016 By Ruth


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Dog law in Montreal Canada, more than BSL

Posted September 29, 2016 By Ruth

Montreal Canada has just passed a new dog law that is getting a fair amount of attention in the dog world.

The large majority of the attention is due to the Breed Specific Legislation portions of the law.  And don’t get me wrong, BSL is fucking stupid.  And before someone trots out the “but pit bulls cause the most dog bites!!” trope do some serious fact checking.  What’s actually true is that the MEDIA says that pit bulls cause the most dog bites.  Which is like saying that the media says that all mass shootings are done with AK-47s.  And BSL is like trying to ban evil black guns cause of it.  Just like with every other breed and mix of dog (and “pit bull” isn’t a breed anyway) there are good dogs and bad dogs and dogs who attack other dogs and dogs who attack humans.  And thats without taking into account the number of dogs who are mis-identified as “pit bulls” under such laws.

Anyway, back on topic.

What’s getting overlooked in the fuss over the BSL is the rest of the law and how it’ll affect the rest of the dog owners in the area.  In a way I’m glad the folks who fight BSL were pay attention to this law cause otherwise it probably would have flown under the radar.

Text of the law.

But a quick summary of the rest of the law:

Authorities can enter your property without a warrant to seize your dog.  If you can’t fix whatever the problem was (and it looks like “fixing” means “paying lots of money to fines”) within 72 hours they’ll euthanize your dog.

If your dog kills an animal on their list (which includes rabbits, rodents, frogs, and toads) your dog can be euthanized.

If your dog is over 20kg in weight you have to walk your dog using either a harness or a head halter, you cannot walk your dog using only a collar.

Dogs cannot be walked by someone under the age of 18.

You cannot walk more than two dogs at one time without a special license, and you must have that license on you to be provided to authorities at their request any time you are out with the dogs.

You cannot OWN more than two dogs without a special license, and then the max limit is 3 dogs.

You cannot OWN more than 4 animals within a single household period.

You cannot allow your dog to drink or swim in public fountains or ponds.

The law requires mandatory sterilization of all cats and dogs.

The law requires mandatory microchipping of all cats and dogs.

Your dog or cat can be convicted of being a nuisance (and then euthanized) for barking or meowing at all.

If your dog gets into the trash (and the law does NOT specify that this is only in public, so in theory if your dog gets into your household trash this would apply) its considered a nuisance.

Feeding your dog, or playing with your dog with a toy (even a stick) in a public dog run while another dog is present is illegal (yes, its a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean that dogs should be euthanized for it).


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General update

Posted September 26, 2016 By Ruth

We came within a couple degrees of a frost over the weekend, but got lucky, so the garden still grows.

Since I’ve already got 15 quarts of tomato sauce stored away I decided to smoke half the tomatoes to go into the next batch, I figure if we hate it we’ll still have plenty left of the normal kind.  I’ve basically stopped picking tomatoes, there’s going to be a million volunteer plants next year, but I managed to totally overwhelm myself with tomatoes this year…..

Hot peppers are still going strong.  The Buena Mulatas would make a very pretty decorative landscaping plant if anyone was so inclined.

I picked a total of 5 pumpkins this year.  I haven’t had a chance to process any of them yet, but a couple are pretty big.

My supervisor at work is on her way out, I forget when she said her last day is, but its only a couple weeks.  Now the wait to see who they put in her place.  I know who I’d like to see in the position, but only time will tell.

Arty has managed to get into something he’s allergic too, he’s got a nasty raw itchy spot on his belly.  I noticed a week or so ago that he was itchy, and gave him a bath.  Extra itchy isn’t unusual for him this time of year, he goes through a shed period now, but I was keeping an eye on him just in case.  The bath seemed to help a little, but not as much as I’d hoped.  Then yesterday he was rolling in something (dammit dog, do you want another bath!!) when I noticed the raw spot on his belly.  So we’re off to the vets in a bit to make sure its not bacterial or something.

Otherwise there’s not much going on here right now, normal fall-winter prep stuff.  We’ve managed to not have to kick on the furnace yet, but I’m not sure that’s going to last much longer.

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Jalapeno Jelly

Posted September 18, 2016 By Ruth

As asked, today’s batch of Jalapeno Jelly (with a couple Buena Mulata’s tossed in):

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As you can see I’m a bit lazy and don’t bother to remove the seeds, but then the point was the hot peppers.  I modified THIS recipe to make this.  I use Ball’s low sugar pectin, so it only requires 4.5 cups of sugar instead of 6 cups, and I always have to use extra pectin (the entire 4.7ounce jar, the recipe tells you to use about 3/4 of the jar anyways if you measure it out) or it doesn’t set up right.  And I replace the pound of green peppers with a pound of red ripe hot peppers.

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Posted September 7, 2016 By Ruth


That’s just about two pounds worth.  First batch of jalapeno pickles made last night.  The rest went into the freezer to make jelly out of later.

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Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations.

The decision, described by the Royal College of Surgeons as the “most severe the modern NHS has ever seen”, led to warnings that other trusts will soon be forced to follow suit and rationing will become the norm if the current funding crisis continues.

…..The decision by Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) comes amid increasing limits across the NHS on surgery for cataracts as well as hip and knee operations.

……The restrictions echo others made by health bosses in Hertfordshire, the North West and London in the past two years, where blanket referral bans were imposed on patients on the basis of their weight.


Sounds exactly like the sort of health care I want to have.  Not.  And that’s without considering the various problems with the BMI index to begin with!

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Garden Update

Posted September 3, 2016 By Ruth

I checked the paprika peppers, and then pulled up all the plants. Every single pepper was chewed on.  Despite repeated applications of caterpillar killer.  Maybe it wasn’t caterpillars.  It sure looked like ‘pillar damage, but I also never actually found one on the plants.  And whatever it was sure wasn’t bothered by the Bt.  I’ve never had such insect damage on my peppers.  Sure, last year I ended up tossing about half the peppers from the garden for bug damage.  But I also got to keep half that were fine.  This year I’ve tossed a couple habaneros, a few Buena Mulatas, and one or two Hungarian Hot Wax.  And already picked, to keep, more than twice what I’ve tossed.  And I’ve yet to find a damaged jalapeno at all.  But I’ve only picked TWO undamaged paprikas, and tossed many many many more than that.  Maybe they were just that attracted to the paprika?  No clue…..

I pulled up the cantaloupe vines as mentioned last time.  They were mostly dead anyway, which is odd cause half of them were planted way later than the first ones (deliberately).  I’m blaming the incredible hot summer.

I didn’t completely pull up the Blue Berries tomatoes.  But I did massively hack them back.  The shear amount of dropped fruit I found under them is huge.  I was indeed missing that many ripe fruit.

I also trimmed back the White Cherries, and some of the outlayer branches of the Black Plums.  It is now September, which means that we could get hit with a frost at any time now (and Mother Nature is suddenly remembering what weather is supposed to be like here), so I’d rather they put their energy into ripening the fruit already there.  Though the weather next week is supposed to get hot again our low last night was 48f, so fall is coming!

I pulled up all the volunteer vines.  I didn’t bother to save the squash from them, I thought about it, but I have a ton of zucchini AND the pumpkin vines from this year are also producing well, so I just don’t need them.

I’m keeping a close eye on the Melon Pear.  I’d really like to get some fruit from it, but so far none of it has even started to change color.


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