Nothing Much Archive

eeeewwww

Posted July 6, 2015 By Ruth

A couple months ago Husband and I got new cell phones.  Both of our previous phones were pushing 4yrs old, and both were well past the point of showing their age.

I was disappointed to find out that the slide out keyboard were no  longer available on pretty much any smart phone model.

However in browsing cell phones I found the Kyocera Brigadier

Reviewers were reasonably positive, the only consistent gripe was the camera, and since a cell phone isn’t my primary camera anyway that didn’t bother me.

The pluses were huge.  Its engineered to meet Military Spec 810G.  It’ll survive total immersion (up to 6ft of water) for 30 minutes.  Temperatures between -4 and 140F.  Repeated shocks, drops, high dust, high humidity, extreme low pressure……

I figured if I could make my old Droid 2 last for 4yrs without any of that I ought to be able to get at least 4ys out of this one, and it didn’t cost any more than my old Droid did.

Today I found a new plus about those features.  High temps were mid-80’s with insane humidity.  And of course I ended up working outside most of the day at work today.  My shorts were soaked with sweat when I got home, and no, thats not a good thing.  My phone was in my back pocket, and is cruddy with sweat and dried dirt.

It works fine.

Works for me!

 

(btw, if anyone else gets this phone via Verizon….be aware that the default voice mail handler is the “Visual Voicemail App”.  This is a PAID SUBSCRIPTION app, and it USES DATA, never mind the security hole that it is.  You’ll have to call Verizon tech support and have them turn it off and switch you back to regular voice mail.  Which is a PIA.  Just to warn you.)

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rheumatologist followup

Posted June 18, 2015 By Ruth

So, my followup with the rheumatologist was today.

The good news is my bloodwork all came back normal.

The bad news is twofold.  Via xrays my hands are showing signs of bone erosion in multiple joints, especially the first knuckle of each finger on both hands.  This is typical of rheumatoid type arthritis, though again, bloodwork was normal.  And second there are multiple small bone spurs forming in both ankles.  So yes, my ankles should be bothering me, and no, its not my imagination that my hands have been getting worse……

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General update

Posted June 1, 2015 By Ruth

Our weather has been decidedly screwy.  After a record breakingly cold winter we were all looking forward to spring.  Instead we got summer with the rare “cold spring” day tossed in as a sop.  Though we’re not breaking the high temp records we’re coming close to them.  And with 90% humidity no one’s happy about it.  To top it off it’s been incredibly dry.  Normally we spend the month of May barely able to mow the yard (and often unable to, in part or in all), due to the shear wetness of the ground.  This year I’ve been having to water my garden.

I discovered that my ankles really are screwed up, but also that wrapping them for the day at work makes a huge difference in my ability to cope.  This is a relief because…..

I’ve been attempting to teach myself to spin.  No, not on a bicycle, I already know how to ride a bike.  Fiber, on a spinning wheel, to create yarn.  Thanks to the generosity of several ladies, both local and several states away, I have both a spindle and a spinning wheel to learn on, as well as a fair bit of pre-processed fiber to play around with during my learning process.  I picked up the process of spinning on the spindle quite quickly.  But the spinning wheel requires me to peddle to keep the wheel turning.  And with my painful ankles that wasn’t happening.  This past week though, after keeping my ankles wrapped for the entire work day for over a week, the pain has been much less, and even almost non-existent, depending on the day.  So I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do some proper practice on the spinning wheel this week.

Of course, my body isn’t happy unless I’m in SOME sort of pain, or so it seems some days.  Friday, while at work, I knelt down to pull forward some stock on one of the very bottom shelves.  Only to feel as if I’d knelt on a needle the instant my right knee hit the ground.  Standing back up showed no needle, or splinters, or anything else that might cause the feeling, and my skin was un-broken.  However the painful feeling in that spot in that knee persisted.  My knee didn’t swell up at all.  And it hasn’t affected my ability to walk, kneel, or lift.  So I’m hoping that all that happened was that I knelt at a weird angle and so something was strained.  My concern is that I partially tore something.  I guess time will tell.  I did file an accident report at work, just in case it does turn out to be something.  But I hate going through worker’s comp for stuff…..

Apollo is finally properly shedding.  I’ve come to the decision that he is just a delayed shedder.  It seems like many of the other Tibetan Mastiff owners I’ve talked to have half naked dogs by now.  But not Apollo!  Back in mid-March his leg fluff started coming loose, and by mid-April or so his legs were naked and his shoulders were starting to come loose.  And there it stopped.  Just this past week though I’ve finally been able to get actual amounts of fur from his ruff and body.  And that’s been the pattern for him for previous years too.  So I guess this is his normal.  I’m saving the shed fluff again, this time in hopes of being able to spin it myself this year.  See above paragraph about learning to spin!

My seedlings are all in the garden.  Though of course mother nature couldn’t let us escape without a threatened late frost, just because.  Most everything seems to be growing fine despite that though.  The heat is good for somethings I guess!  Unfortunately its not good for the early “sow in the garden before last frost” crops though.  Half my radishes never formed bulbs, and three of them attempted to go to seed when I left them in the ground in hopes that the bulbs would form.  Despite planting lettuce seeds over a span of 3 weeks in hopes of having staggered harvests everything has shot up at once, and I’m picking the early maturing ones as fast as I can in hopes of being able to eat them before they go to seed.  I may go ahead and let some of them go though, since I’ve already harvested more than we’ll eat in the next week.  My Sugar Snap peas are barely a foot high, and have no buds.

Speaking of the garden, I did end up spending another $12 for additional dirt/compost to fill in the beds.

The crocosmia lilies my aunt sent me last year somehow survived our insane winter and have sprouted.  I’m thrilled as they were very pretty last year.  I had to send me some more when she thinned out her patch a couple weeks ago, and have planted them in more spots around the property.  I don’t care that they’ll spread out and fill in.  Infact, I want them to.  I have several corners that are frustrating to mow or otherwise keep trimmed, and I’ve been filling them with Daylilies, and mints, and other such in an attempt to not have to mow them as often, so the crocosmia lilies will fit right in!

The winter, and the dry spring, has definitely screwed with my flowers in general though.  Crocus bloomed on schedule, but the daffodils and tulips ran a solid month late.  And now, though it looks like all my iris sprouted, only half have produced buds.  And of those buds, the stalks are all only about half the height of normal, and many of the buds themselves are flat, as if empty.  I’ve been trying to keep them watered, but they’re in an awkward spot.  And it looks like the winter killed most of the butterfly bushes too.  Only one is showing green, and that only from new shoots from the roots.  The top is completely dead.  

We do appear to have a Bluebird pair nesting in one of the boxes this year.  I’m delighted to see them.  Since the House Sparrows killed the first pair a couple years ago we’ve only seen Bluebirds in passing.  I’ve been putting out mealworms for them, so hopefully they’ll stick around and tell off the Sparrows!

Speaking of birds…..as is usual I put out the hummingbird feeders when the ebird.org reports showed them as having been seen in northern PA.  And was rewarded as usual with hummingbird sightings myself within the next couple weeks.  Now, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, the only kind we normally get here, are aggressive, territorial, little snots.  Its not unusual for one bird (usually a male) to claim a feeder as HIS, and attempt to keep all other hummers away from it.  This only kinda works, since while he’s driving off one bird another is sneaking a sip.  And like many folks I put out multiple feeders around the property in order to give the rest of the locals a chance for a longer drink.  But the fights that result tend to be very short overall.  This year however a pair of males decided they had to fight to the death over feeder rights (and likely girl rights).  Well, I don’t actually know that it was “to the death” but thats sure what it looked like.  For three days straight, every time I looked out the window, this pair was fighting.  And although I can’t 100% swear it was the same two birds the entire time, it sure looked like it.  They were so engrossed in their fight that I was able to get within feet of the feeders to snap pictures.

Their pattern went like this-

First both would come in for a drink at the same time, eyeing each other carefully over the feeder

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And then, to some unknown signal it would start!

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After a minute or so of fighting one or both would decide it was time for a breather and a drink, but woe betide the one who decided so when they other wasn’t ready

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And round and round they went, utilizing both feeders.  Every minute or two stopping for a drink and a breather before resuming their fight

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I must say it was fascinating to watch!

Dear Mother Nature (part 2)

Posted May 22, 2015 By Ruth

My last post was NOT a demand that you swing towards the other end of the record breaking spectrum…..

Dear Mother Nature….

Posted May 12, 2015 By Ruth

I promise I’m not complaining about the heat.

But really, we don’t need a record breaking summer to match our record breaking winter.  K?

 

Anyone have $1.5mil?

Posted April 27, 2015 By Ruth

Apparently the Hotchkiss Titan 1 ICBM Missile Base in Washington state is for sale…..

 

(while digging to look at it further I found several articles on the possible sale, but they were all from at least a few years ago, however the main page linked above says it was just updated this month, so pretty sure its still for sale!)

Well that was fun…..

Posted March 23, 2015 By Ruth

Two days ago I attempted my first try at making home-made velveeta cheese.  Turned out pretty decent though I’ll be rethinking my cheese choices for next time.  Had a couple slices with supper.  Yum.

Yesterday for (a very late) breakfast I had an egg & cheese sandwich.  The cheese was my home-made velveeta.  The egg was a duck egg from a farm down the road.  I’ve used duck eggs in baking before, but this was my first time just eating one.  In case anyone asks I really didn’t notice much flavor difference between it and chicken eggs.  Though I added salt, pepper, and garlic to it so that might have hidden any flavor differences.

About half an hour later I started to experience stomach upset.  A large quantity of gas mostly, though there was some bowel upset too.  I thought it was my acid reflex acting up, as I get gas and not acid burning when I get it.  Except that taking an acid reflux pill only helped a little.

About an hour later I’m still moving carefully to avoid upsetting my stomach further (hoping to avoid puking) and my husband suggested I take a Lactaid pill, on the theory that somehow the modifications made to the cheese were affecting me.  I figured even if that was the case it was probably too late, but hell, it won’t hurt.  Almost puked just getting it down, but once it was down it did seem to help a bit.  Not as much as I’d have liked, but I no longer felt like I was going to spew if I moved wrong at least.  About 3pm or so I took another Lactaid pill, on the theory that it can’t hurt.  And again, it helped some.  I was finally able to sip water without my stomach threatening to return it immediately.

By about 10pm I was actually starting to feel a little hungry, I grabbed a handfull of walnuts on the theory that they were fairly bland but reasonably healthy, and they stayed down with little fuss.  And this morning I’m back to normal, though I took a lactaid pill before eating or drinking anything.

I’ve had flair ups of what appear to be lactose intolerance before, but nothing like this.  This was excessively bad, even considering that I didn’t take a lactaid pill till way after the fact.  I’ve never had a reaction last more than a couple hours.  So was I reacting to the duck egg?  It was the first time I’ve ever just eaten one and not had it as part of a baked good.  Both maybe??  

I figure I’ll give my system a couple more days to recover and then eat some more of the cheese and see how that goes, and then maybe repeat the process with another duck egg…..

Its MELTING!!!!

Posted March 14, 2015 By Ruth

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The tracks are my snowshoe tracks from where I went back to (finally!) change out the batteries and card in the trail cam.  Not that it would have caught much this last month or so.  I saw one set of coyote tracks (probly from the previous day based on how they’d set in the crust), and that was pretty much it.  No deer tracks.  No sign the deer have been at the fruit trees, nothing.  Here’s to hoping SOME of them survived the winter!

Melt?

Posted March 4, 2015 By Ruth

Today’s predicted high was 40(F) as of a couple days ago.  Today’s forecast says we’re not actually going to see that, but might see 35 a bit later today.  Since it was above the freezing mark when I got up this morning I’m just thrilled.  The snow is melting!!  I can see where the garden containers are!  Ok, barely, but still…..

Course, the downside to that is that all the ice and snow thats been collecting on the roof is ALSO melting.  Unfortunately our attic space isn’t well sealed, insulated or vented (its on our list of things to fix).  Especially the space where the woodstove chimney goes up through.  We roof-rake, but apparently not as much as we should.  And we have ice dams close to a foot tall.  Or we did as of the weekend.  When temps finally hit above 20 for the first time in forever.  The leak over the vent in the 2nd bathroom was an easy fix.  But the ice caps over the water in the valleys where the living room addition attaches to the main structure were more difficult to deal with.  Monday we (me, my husband and my father-in-law) spent several hours on ladders hacking at ice, clearing the collected water, and creating channels for the melt water from the rest of the roof to go through.  But I think we’re going to have to pull down at least part of the ceiling in the living room and replace at least some of the insulation and drywall…..

Course, Thursday night-Friday morning temps are going to dip below 0 again…..

Snow!

Posted February 24, 2015 By Ruth

This is the first time since I moved to NY that my parents in MA have more snow on the ground than we do.  But that doesn’t mean we’re slacking here.  We’re just over average snowfall, and since we’ve not had a single (normal) thaw since the snowfall started its almost all still on the ground too.

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Looks so pretty and peaceful doesn’t it…..Well, here’s a photo, taken of the same spot, back on 2-2-15:

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Those orange things are the tops of 5gallon Home Depot buckets that mark out my garden patch there (so we can keep the dogs off it in the winter).  Now go back and look at the first picture again.

Yah.

There’s a reason all that snow is unbroken and smooth.  Its pushing 3ft deep.  Might even be over the 3ft mark at this point actually.  Its hard to be sure since the wind scours the surface constantly.  The drifts are insane.

And COLD.  Did I mention COLD??  Syracuse, the closest major city to me, has broken several cold temp records this winter.  Last Saturday morning the temperature between midnight and 1am dropped to -16(F) before windchill.  And oh yes, there was windchill.  Most days the windchill is dropping the “feels like” temperature at least 20 degrees, and we’ve had drops of up to 40 thanks to the “breeze”.  Its so bad that EVERYONE has ice dams and icicles on their houses this winter.  No matter how well its constructed or what its made of.  Even the steepest of metal roofs can’t shed their loads properly when its this cold.  The local stores can’t keep roof rakes and the Roof Melt tablets in stock, and folks are out on ladders with hammers and chisels trying to keep the ice on their roofs down.

Even Apollo thinks thats cold.  He still wants to go out in it mind, but instead of wanting to stay out he doesn’t argue when we tell him its time to come in either.

Which doesn’t stop him from lounging in the snow when we let him:

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Poor Arty disappears completely when he tries to hop into the snow, and I’m pretty sure he frostbit one of his feet last weekend (we’re keeping an eye on it).  I have booties for him, but they don’t fit well and he really doesn’t care for them, kicks them off almost as soon as he’s out the door.

The wildlife is suffering for it too.  Mind, I’m not complaining, to much, since it means that the insect and rodent populations shouldn’t be as bad come spring.  But the local birds are clearing my feeders (2 of which hold about 5lbs of seed apiece) in less than 2 days at this point.  We had an American Tree Sparrow strike a window and not pick up and recover like normal (considering it was barely above zero I’m surprised ANY of them pick up and recover honestly), so I took it down to the local wildlife rehabber, who said that she’s got lots like him that she’s waiting for a warm spell to release.  This winter has been hard on us all.

In slightly more cheerful news my tomatoes and jalapenos have all sprouted though!

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