Friday, August 31, 2018

The Kittens

After doing some research, one of the kittens we rescued is a Snowshoe cat. This photo isn't the actual kitten as he's hard to get a photo of right now.His coat is very white and I think he's handsome,
Sbowshoe's are a genetic varient of Siamese cats and are now recognized  as an actual breed.  Kittens go for around $500 and up.We are fortunate to get one for free.They've been around since around 1960.

I hope to get a photo of ours so you can see the handsome guy. HIs face is so distinctive and now as a kitten, he gets into trouble on a daily basis. But he's so loving and cute, you can't get very angry with him.

His sister is also Siamese, very light coloring....much like this cat

I think she's prettier than this photo and she has piercing blue eyes. I call her Sky. She's taken to me and wants to sit on my lap most of the time if she could. Our older cats get a little jealous of her..She's sweet and affectionate, almost dainty.

The one tht gets into the most trouble doesn't look like these too at all. He looks like an all American short hair. His coat is greyblue and we call him Blue. He has four white feet and is very curious. He's gotten himself into some silly situations, like climbing in the dishwasher and into cabinets.

here is a photo a found with the exact color of his coat, The only differenct is his four white feet/

            This ia a Russian blue kitten but he does look alot like our Blue.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

More Yard News and a Recipe

We're still working away on the yard. Its taking alot of time as its been so hot. Most days are in the 100 + temperatures. As I type this, its 106 outside. It seems like the heat bothers me worse now that I
am getting older. I can only take about 15 minutes before I need to go inside. Alan feels the same so that's what we do.
During the week, our son works so we do what we can. I get up early so to do the work before it warms up too much,

Alan and a worker removed all the agave cactus from along the fence line. Alan broke out on his right forearm from the juices of these plants and doing research found out they are toxic to humans,
I' m glad we're getting rid of them for all our sakes. They look like this:

What anyone would plant these in a backyard is a puzzle. But they are gone now which is a relief.
The area where they were still needs some work. We're going to rebuild the shed there.

You can see pieces of the cacti which we are getting rid of. We got rid of 6 50 gallons bags of cacti so far.  The shed we're building is large and will cover most of this area. This yard has been a huge job, our most challenging ever but very satisfying to see things falling into place however slowly.

I've been learning how to cook with a electric oven. One thing I like is that it doesn't get the kitchen hot while baking. Nice in the summer time! I baked this Blueberry Coffee Cake this morning.

Ita tasty and nice for a summer breakfast. Easy to make too and our grandson (7) loves it.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup plus 1 T. sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 t. salt
Mix all together and then

Stir together 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup melted butter (cooled)
and 1/2 cup milk. I've found I need a little more milk when mixing.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry. Then add 2 cups of blueberries. I used frozen ones which work well.
Put in to a 9 by 9 square pan. and bake at 400 for about 22 to 24 minutes. I made a little streusel for the top of this one. Just mix 1 T. soft butter, 1 t. of cinnamon, 1 T. brown sugar, and a little flour, Mix well and drizzle it across the top.

I've baked this several times and everyone likes it. I make it sugar free for my husband as he's diabetic. Just substitue any diabetic sweetner instead of the sugar.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

House Pics Before

As I said yesterday, here are some photos of the backyard. Not very pretty and a real mess. All overgrown and negelected for years. Trees wee ;planted right next to the chain link so the trees grew into the fence.

We removed all the trees except the far left one as its  not too close fence, The entire fence leaned over from the weight of the trees. With the escavator, our son pushed the fence up to where it should be which really make a difference. Now we just have to figure out how to get the wood out of the fence. It might be iinpossible  In that case, its new chain link.. We're also considering a retraining wall as the property behind us is higher. The former owners also planted ivy which wss really taking over both our yard but our neighbors. We're removing it, of course. WE have removed some of it.

In the left corner of the property, was a huge agave and other assorted plants.

Our son tried to chop it out but found out he's allergic to agave juice!. He broke out on his arms so he used the excavator and dug this all out. We're going to put in a new rebuilt shed.

The shed is now in pieces and we're working on moving the gate back about 10 ft, so his truck will fit.

so you can see  how busy its been ,;plus its been about 100 degrees every day.
Our plans are to have some raised beds for vegetables and we did ;plant a orange tree already. We're going to redo the patio also. The slab is cracked in several pieces but that's a future project.

and finally,

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Good Morning!

Good Sunday morning!
 Wow! we've been really busy. So sorry I've neglected posting.
The house and grounds have really been a challenge for us old folks and our son too. He's really careful to do things as he can afford them. Smart young man as he's not going to get into credit card debt.
As I said before, we put in new floors and painted the inside. It made a big difference.
Then Alan and I have been doing what we can on the outside. He cut down two trees that were in bad places and half dead. The other three, he trimmed them  back, got rid of any bad limbs and they look much better. None of the trees had been watered for a long time and were barely surviving with our hot temperatures.

Yesterday Son brought in a excavator and did some heavy work. He's preparing the side of the house to park his truck. That side had a large wooden shed attached to the house. It was in terrible shape. So Alan took alot of it apart and saved all the good wood in it. He and our son will be rebuilding it in a different location, using as much of the original wood as they can. They did manage to save one window too. Alan found alot of rat droppings, dust and dirt.

Its all a work in progress.

This is the side of the house with the shed almost apart. This is before the excavator. It will be a good place to park his big truck.

Here is the excavator, He rented it from Home Depot.
Here "was" the wood pile. Yes, we do have a nice brick fireplace. We had a  chimney sweep service come out and make sure it was safe. It passed inspection and they cleaned it just to make sure.
After the excavator it's in a huge pile which we'll go through for the best wood and get rid of the rest.

 Everything here is a little funky as we said in the 60s. But with TLC, its getting better. All the fencing here is chain link for some reason.
I'll show you more pics tomorrow.

Oh, I forgot to say I guess we're keeping the kittens. They've grown alot and are in to everyting. Happy and healthy.

Monday, May 28, 2018

More house news

I haven't posted for some time as we've been moving. Its all done now but was a bit of a job. Hard for us to do it ourselves but having done it. It is possible. Our son and friend helped move all the big stuff, bookcase, bed and such which helped alot. We took car loads day after day and were so tired every night.
We've been here about a week and are slowly getting things together. Being a 60s house has some good things and some bad things. The kitchen has limited storage which I'm used to having been in the condo for  a year. But the house does have several large linen closets at each end of the houe which are nice.  Cooking electric hasn't been a problem as long as you keep an eye on the cooking. Our son ddidn't while cooking bacon, result, burned bacon which the dog enjoyed.

One of the best things we worked on was replacing the old worn and very dirty carpeting. We and our son went  to Lowes and found this pretty gray flooring that looks like wood. Its very durable and much better with all the pets in the house.

It wasn't difficult to put down and didn't take too long. The hard part was removing all the old tile that was underneath the carpeting. Once done, installing the flooring was a snap!

There is still some painting to be done, mainly in the dining room and kitchen. That will probably be done this week. Light gray, Here is the china cabinet in the dining room. Alan built it years ago and I just love it.

while Son was working in the backyard, trying to remove a large cactus, he noticed some kittens hiding among the leaves....evidently they had been abandoned and it took several days to lure them out but he's rescued them as they were starving and thirsty. They were only about 4 weeks old and should have been still nursing from their mom but she never appeared.

After a time, they came out to eat and he was able to get them inside. They sure appreciated the milk and love we've been giving them.  I learned a long time ago to feed kittens diluted evaporated milk.They are eating solid food now and use the litter box.

Our grandson wants to keep one who he's called Fluffy, she's a little girl and the one in the dish. So I guess our cats will have to adjust not only to a new home but a new little friend. That takes time, and care. So far, they stay in our bedroom much of the day, venturing out at night into the house.

Last but not least, Alan found a old photo of my family. my dad and mom, brother and myself. This was probably around 1974 at their condo they bought. My brother was around 18 and I was 23. Now mom and dad are gone and both of us are grandparents. Time does fly, doesn't it?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Working On the New House

As you probably know, we're in the process of helping our son do some work on the new place before we all move in. Its been rather trying as we keep finding more and more wrong with it but slowly we're getting things ready.

My husband put new plugs in the all the outlets as they were from 1965 and a real mess. They all are fine now but would have been a fire hazard in the future the way they were. We also replaced all the old 53 year old locks with beautiful new Schlage ones.

That was just the very start. All the bedrooms had bad carpeting so that was all ripped out and the old tile taken up. New tile is now going to be installed soon. This weekend we will be tweaking the floors so they will be perfect for the new acrylic tile that looks like weathered wood floors.

The living room had dark roughed paneling on 2 walls so that was all taken off quickly. We have that room about ready to paint too. That room will have the same tile on the floor as in the hall, dining room and kitchen. A light gray.

I discovered that the cupboards in the kitchen are new! There is no sign that they've ever been used. There is also a new black dishwasher which matched the black oven. The electric cooktop is old but in good working condition so I was able to clean it fairly well. It looks much better. I found a tip on a youtube video for cleaning electric cooktops. First, cover the top with white vinegar and let it set for a few minutes. Clean it off and then sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface. Cover it with towels. and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wash that off and rinse with a damp sponge. It cleaned up fairly well but I think I'll go over it again for the third time after we move in. There was some corrison that is still there but the vast majority is gone. I think the vinegar did the best job as the top had that way for a number of years.

I did a similar thing to the stove in the condo we're leaving. I took the racks out and covered the bottom of the oven ( a few spills that happened in the year we have been here) Sprinkled the bottom with baking soda and sprayed clear water over it. put towels over the baking soda and left it overnight.
In the morning, I took the towels off and scrubbed it. All the spills and baking on stuff came off easily. It looks great now. Easy and inexpensive.

Our bedroom is the last to be fixed as we're moving in after the rest of the family.. The purple rug is gone thankfully. It will too have the wood look gray tile in there but our walls will be a pretty blue with white trim. I've always liked blue and white. My mothers collection of blue and white dishes will be hung in there too.

The painter is coming on Monday to paint all the bedrooms. I hope he's good. I've seen some painters do a poor job and go over switch plates and electrical outlets. We took off all the switch plates, etc. so hopefully that will work. Alan is so particular about painting as he was a painter for a hospital when he was younger. Painting is something he knows well and how to do it properly. Our son hired this painter.

I won't bore you with anything else but as you can see, its a big job. That's jsut the inside. The outside is even worse but that's for a different day.

I will say the neighborhood seems nice. A great park right across the street and its quiet much of the time. We have alot of traffic noise here and there is a firestaton right down the street. We saw alot of birds too which we love.

Wow, a long post with no photos....

Monday, April 16, 2018

Homemade Granola

My husband loves granola but all the packaged type has some sort of sugar in it. Honey, white sugar, brown sugar, etc. So in the past, I've made it myself. I have a very old cookbook, put out by the Mennonites with an entire chapter on granola and homemade cereal. I've adjust the recipes for diabetics and today made some.
Its easy to make and just takes a short time. It makes quite a bit too. You can adjust the recipe to suit your family. If you don't like cinnamon or vanilla, or whatever, leave it out. If there are certain dried fruit you prefer, put it in. The recipe is very flexible.
In the past, I've used agave syrup for the sweeting, as it has a low glycemic index. But today, I didn't have any so I used sugar free maple syrup that has sorbital in it. Not as good but ok. My husband can attest it doesn't make his blood sugar go up.

Simple Granola

6 c. rolled oats (old-fashioned kind)
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. coconut (if you can find the unsweet) if not leave it out)
1 c. wheat germ
Combine the above in a large mixing bowl.

Blend together separtely,
1/2 c. water
1 c. oil
1 c. agave or sugar free pancake syrup ( if you don't need sugarfree, use honey)
2 t. vanilla
1 t.salt

Add the blended liquid ingrediants to the dry and mix throughly.

Spread out on two greased cooky sheets (I use cake pans, less mess in the oven as you stir this often)
Bake about an hour or until its golden and dry. Cool and put in to a storage container.

Now I used a container of trail mix, which had nuts and grains in it. Plus some dried raisins, and apples.  I also added some cinnamon. I didn't have any coconut so that was left out. You can add , as I said any dried fruit you like. If you don't go sugar free, use dried cherries or cranberries would be really yummy.

I really have used this cookbook and its wearing out, sadly. Its out of print too so it will be difficult to find anywhere. Its called the More for Less Cookbook, I think it was published in the 70s but am not sure. The Front cover is gone and the front page is torn. That's how much I've used it. So many good and thrifty recipes in it. Very tasty ones too.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Everything is blooming and Another Piece of IronWood

We are definitely moving now into our sons house. Escrow will close either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. However, we won't move in until a month from now as our lease ends then. I took a few photos outside today. The above picture is of the cactus, Century Plants that are blooming. Those tall spikes are the flowers from the plant and are just full of bees now.  Unfortunately the effort of the blooms slowly kill the main plant. They're sure striking, aren't they? This is in the merdian of the road.

We also have a bottle brush tree which is blooming heavily. Bees here also/ Its a large tree, over 30 ft. high.

    Just covered with red blooms. No scent but surely beautiful.

We've been going to estate and garage sales and guess what we found? Another little piece of Iron wood and you know we collect it.

        A cute little Angel fish...and for only $3.00.
and now for a funny...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

House and Wildflowers

The escrow on the house looks like its going through. Its passed inspections and the bank appraisal. So escrow should close before the end of the month. Our lease ends the end of May so we won't be moving in until closer to that time.
I spoke with our landlady yesterday and of course, she wants a written 30 day notice. I found our rental agreement and it started on the 22nd of May last year so guess that's what we will put down. We can start moving out before that date so will start packing and cleaning this little place. In some ways, I will be sad as its been a haven for us in many ways. God has blest us here and its rather peaceful. Although I won't miss the heavy traffic and noise of the fire trucks that come from the fire station at the end of the street!

 We've had some rain so hope we get wildflowers like we had last year. The hills are green so its a possibility.

Here are a few photos of some beauties from last year.

                                     Californian Poppies

                                   Poppies, daisy's and lupine

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday Relaxing

We go out during the week to pick up our grandson. He's in first grade and doing good. The school has some open land across from it and views of the mountains. It also has a area where after rains a pond forms..Alan and I enjoy walking around it and watching all the birds who gather this time of year. We've noticed many species, right now its red winged black birds, Mallard ducks and an occasonal snowy egret.
Here are a few pics I took,

The pictures aren't the best, it was a gray day as a storm was coming in. We've had several this last week.

Here is the view across from the school

This was taken on a different trip, when there were blue skies and nice clouds. The area in the foreground is where parents park to pick up their kids. We like to park early and walk. I am trying to lose some weight and get some stress relief. Hearing the bird calls,  blue skies and quiet is very calming.

I had a yearly checkup this last week and the doctor asked me how I was dealing with all the stress and life changes. I said I liked to listen to relaxing music and walking. . She did put me on a mild anxiety medication which I started taking. She said it wouldn't really taken effect for a few weeks so we'll see. I'm also taken blood pressure meds so I'm trying to get my weight down. I really don't like taking pills. I've never taken much medicine.

Jesus says to give our anxiety to Him and I do often. I've prayed and felt He wanted me to get a check up. I was not a little surprised on my weight and think I packed on a few more pounds living in this tiny condo..our cats have gained weight too. I'm eliminating carbs and eating more vegetables and fresh fruit.  No sodas or candy or anything salty (BP)  Time will tell if it works.
If you're battling anxiety, get a check up and get some help. Some times your doctor is God's messenger.