Saturday, July 9, 2016

Oh, Honey!

It's probably time I start looking for recipes to use up my honey supply.  My last purchase of honey was from Costco, and given the events of the last two and a half years, that purchase was most likely made before February 2014!  Honey never spoils.  But it does darken...and crystallize. Being one who hates wasting anything still good, I set about to return it to liquid honey.

Crystallized jug of honey.
Once it crystallizes, it is impossible to get out of that plastic jug with the very narrow spout.  I wasn't comfortable putting the jug directly into a pan over a flame, so used the steamer pan.
Dirty steamer pan with hard-water evaporation line.
The steamer pan didn't provide much depth, but I'd hoped it would still work.  It didn't help much.
Partially liquefied.
You may be able to see in the above photo, there's a lower level that appears to have liquefied while the upper portion is still very much crystallized.  I tried to stick a long-bladed sharp knife in through the spout but that proved fruitless.  All I could get out was that little bit in the jar.
Ready to cut.
 The solution!  Said sharp knife is very good at slicing through that plastic.
The top of the jug and the knife!
Crystallized honey.
The honey was very crystallized.  I dug out large spoon and scooped it into a pan.

I set the pan of crystallized honey on the diffuser over a low flame, keeping it uncovered as I didn't want any water from steam to drip into it.  I discovered burner flame doesn't show up in photos.  Weird, huh?
After quite awhile, and stirring to make sure all the crystals had dissolved, and letting it cool off, I took some pint jars and their lids, sterilized them and poured the now liquid honey into them.  Now, even if the honey should crystallize again, which it likely will, it will be easy to get out of the jars to be used.  I would also feel more comfortable setting a glass jar directly into a pan of water than the plastic jug, or it can go into the microwave to liquefy.

Does anyone else find it odd that liquid is spelled with two i's, but liquefy, changes the second into an e ?  The English language!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

Hah! No, I'm not really wandering anywhere outside of my own house, at least not yet.

Having spent several weeks in the wet land up north back in April, I haven't been looking forward to going back up as much as I normally would.  It's more the aspect of the drive, and the time away from home, than being around family up there.  I'd love to be around them more.  

There are a lot of timing issues that came up that needed to be worked around.  Some of the items that came up, yes, I could pass off and let Marty handle, but I've already missed a lot of those things in the past couple years.  They have to do with Nick's school year and now Senior pictures, and picking up his registration packet and getting registered for this year.  This is the last time I'll be helping much with any part of his high school education - throughout the year that is - and I'm tired of missing it.  

In light of that, my trip north will be for only two weeks, which also means once again, I'll miss seeing some of the folks up there that I haven't seen much of during the last couple years events.  Back in April, I decided not to go to quilt camp this year; maybe I'll resume next year, or maybe I'll go up and be part of the one they have in spring, though it's shorter than the one that takes place during the same time as the Sisters Quilt Show.  

Nick will travel north with me this time - the first time since summer of 2013.  He hasn't found a summer job and doesn't appear to be giving that a 100% effort.  He can help me drive, which already is making me feel better about that long drive.  This may be his last opportunity for a very long time to see his relatives he used to see every summer.

We're planning to leave around 7/21 and be back home about 8/5.  He starts school on 8/11, which is even earlier than last year.  It seems the summers get shorter and shorter for the kids - perhaps not a bad thing given local child labor laws/regulations and the difficulty even at 17 of finding a summer job.  

In other in-home wanderings, it's the endless household chores (I'm still a slacker).  The last couple days have required dealing with ants.  Nick cleaned out and rearranged his bedroom, leaving me to figure out what to do with all the stuff he no longer wants and which is still right in the areas of the house where he left them.  I'm more "emotionally" attached to his stuff than he is (good for him/bad for me).  I've still been working on genealogy, but for two or three days have been side-tracked with sorting through pictures attempting to cull out what I don't want - I've saved them ALL including duplicates over the decades, from a lot of singles activities at church, vacations and other outings.  I'd like to pass some of them on to some of the folks in the photos, but I've no idea where they live any more having lost touch over the years.  Many aren't on social media.  

That's the news from here.  Not much exciting, but that's my normal....and it's ok :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Heat Wave

Our area is expecting an unusually hot heat wave over the next few days.  By Monday, our temps are expected to reach 109º F.  After that, the 10-day forecast is nothing less than 95º for any given day.  I'm guessing it won't be much cooler now until October or November.  I hope I'm wrong.

Marty left this morning by car, headed to Arizona.  He'll spend tonight at his 90-year old dad's (he'd been evacuated for a day due to a wild fire in his area), then Sunday afternoon he'll head to Phoenix for a 3-day business trip and drive home on Thursday.  The highs in Phoenix for the next 5-10 days are all in the 110s+.  How do people live in Phoenix?  Certainly not without air-conditioning.  

I'm thinking I might look for a retirement home on the coast of Oregon!  I stand the heat less and less as I add on the years, and weight.  I was recently reading some old letters written by my grandmother.  She lived on the Oregon coast because she couldn't tolerate the heat.  I was chuckling as I read what she wrote, more than once, that it was too warm that day....and it had reached only 74º.  I don't think I'm that bad yet, but I'm getting there.

If you're in a hot zone, stay safe, cool and hydrated!  If you're in a cool zone wishing for heat...head to the southwest - we have plenty to spare!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

20-20

15 June: Marty and I are marking 20 years of marriage.  20 years!!! Those years have flown by SO very fast.  

I'm very bad at figuring out gifts, and we've not done much more than go out to dinner to celebrate in past years.  

I was thinking I could come up with something 'small' that I could get 20 of that Marty would like, but for the life of me, aside from flowers, or candy bars, my ideas have hit a brick wall.  I went out today and at least got a card.  He never mentions things he needs, or likes, and his only hobby is photography - now digital, so no getting canisters of film.  He has a plethora of lens filters - replacing as he damages them.  So, I guess it'll once again be 'just a card'.  He's not at all sentimental, so the card will end up in the trash in a short time.

After walking through Party City - thought maybe 20 balloons but nixed that idea - I discovered, that "20" must not be that big of a deal in the world of anniversaries.  A fair amount of stuff for 25, and all the decade levels beyond that, but nada for 20.

On our 13th, we went to a mountain resort town about four hours away for an overnight trip.  That's the last, and only, time we celebrated away from home.  Our anniversary hits mid-week and Marty's working and he's leaving Saturday and will visit his dad in Arizona in advance of a work-related trip to Phoenix Monday through Wednesday.  
Lee, Marty and my daughter Victoria
 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Work, Work, Work

The work of keeping a home never ends.  In my book, that's not a good thing.  I've often thought that I should have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth in order to have plenty of hired help - especially for housekeeping and yard work.  I could probably bring in a housekeeping agency once or twice a month, but I'd have to clean before letting them in, {grin}.
 
A couple days ago, Nick and I were talking while we were in the car, and I almost started a lecture on him and his dad and their lack of consideration in helping out and actually adding to my work load by that inconsideration.  He's out of school for the summer, and has yet to find a summer job (I'm not holding my breath).  I was telling him how it would really help me, both physically and emotionally/mentally, if they'd just be more attentive to things, like when they spill something...clean it up, or even if they think a chore is my job, they can help, clean the litter box, pick up a broom and sweep the floor, grab the vacuum cleaner, empty the dishwasher.  Small things add up!  I've covered the laundry issue here before, so won't belabor it again, but I told him it would be nice if they'd get their dirty laundry to the washer on a daily basis.  

After this conversation, I picked up a good-sized white board, at Nick's suggestion, wrote a list of things on it that could be done daily, or any time.  No comments, no action :/

Here's what HAS happened though.  Nick decided to start making more space in his room.  He says, "I don't want it to be so cluttered.".  His room is bigger than my Creation Station.  He has a double bed, his corner desk for his computers/monitors which doesn't sit in the corner because he built a huge 'box' to house his tower which is liquid-cooled but very noisy, so this was his creative attempt to cut the noise and include additional fans to cool it all contained within a sound-proofing wooden 'box'.  He has a dresser and an old oak student desk, along with a side table/dresser that resides in his closet, plus a myriad of 'just stuff'.
He started emptying part of the closet.  His plan is to move the side table/dresser out and put his bigger dresser in.  It'll fit, but he has to clear the space.  I told him that anything he absolutely, positively did not want now or think he'd want in the future, to set out into the hallway and I'd determine what to do with it.  Last week, he packed up his bowling trophies and stored them up in the garage 'attic' space.
These are a few items that had been floating around in his room.  He hadn't even unwrapped that pyramid puzzle from the plastic.  He had another box with three of those wooden puzzles he'd never opened either.  Maybe I'll re-gift them to my almost 6-year old grandson.
 Oh my, will you look at the dust in that bin that he kept his Hot Wheels track in!  He had has a bunch of the H.W. special sets which at one time, I cleaned up and put away in their respective boxes making sure all the parts were still there, then sealed them up.  He still has those in his closet.  I think he should keep the extra track with them if he plans to keep them.
And then there was laundry, and pillows...uh, THOSE pillows are going in the trash!  Time to replace them anyway.
And more laundry!  He hasn't finished in his room, more will likely come out for me to decide where it goes.  Dust is easily an inch thick, especially in the closet.  Before he can finish, I need to re-clear the space in the guest room for the oak desk, so guess where I'll be for the next however long...yep, the guest room.

Another part of our conversation, back in the car, was how I noticed something about myself and my own not-so-great cleaning habits (or lack thereof).  When I was an employee, I had someone for the most part telling me what to do - though some was self-starter stuff - and I had deadlines.  I knew what had to be done, and by when.  I was disciplined.  I had a start time and an end time.  I got a paycheck and annual reviews, read that as 'accolades for a job well-done' meriting a wage increase.  At home, neither of my guys have any expectations other than dinner and clean clothes.  There are occasional thank yous but they're few and far between, and over the years my cleaning habits have declined.  In our early years, at one point when I was apologizing to Marty about not keeping up with some of the housework (I was still working at the time, and before Nick came along), his comment to me was "you keep it cleaner than I would"...ok well then.  You know how that encouraged my self-discipline, hah!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Time Keeps Moving Along

It's been well over a month again since my last update.  What have I been doing in all that time?  Well, nothing exciting, that's for sure, and that's why there have been no posts!  And there's still been nothing of importance to really write about, but I thought I'd at least check in so you'd know I didn't kick the bucket or something!

I did get out to dinner with a couple of lady friends last night.  That was a pleasant couple of hours with pleasant company and good food.  I had had breakfast with one of them a month or so ago, but the other I hadn't seen since March so it was nice to catch up again.

Hubs and I will be "celebrating" our 20th anniversary next week.  Neither of us has mentioned it, so expect it'll come and go like every one of the last 19...just another day. 

Nick finished his junior year of high school, so we now have an official high school senior in the house.  He says he's looking for a summer job...we'll see how that goes.  He stays up late and then sleeps until noon.  


A mama hummingbird (the 2nd one) hatched babies a few days ago.  Sadly, today I noticed she wasn't gathering bugs in the air in the back yard like usual and hadn't come back to the nest, though she was at the feeder once.  I also noticed an ant trail on the branch to the nest - it's right outside my kitchen window!  I took a stool out and pulled the branch down a bit - it sits about 6' high - and no babies anymore - so something happened since late yesterday.  The first mama to build and use this nest was very skittish & I'd had to put a curtain over the window so she wouldn't fly away every time she saw activity in the kitchen.  That one's hatchlings seem to have suffered a similar fate while I was away in April.  This was a different mama - different markings - and she wasn't skittish at all.  At times, she would hover right outside the window and watch me. She also never flew off the nest when I went out to refill the feeder even though I'd walk right past the bush the nest is in.  Maybe in the days ahead it'll be "third times a charm" and we'll get chicks that survive to adulthood.

I've worked on my genealogy quite a bit over the last few weeks.  I switched to Legacy8 software from Family Tree Maker, and am going through a huge learning curve - not as easy as when I was younger.  I am getting there though, and in all fairness to myself, this software is so much more powerful which is what is making all the different elements a learning challenge.  An interesting tidbit I uncovered in my research was that the second wife of my paternal uncle, was in the same orphanage as my step-dad was at the same time - they were enumerated on the same page.  My step-dad had a different surname at that time, as did the aunt.  I asked him if he recalled her name, but he didn't, and while I still send Christmas cards to her, she never responds.  Neither she, nor my step-dad were truly orphans, but this was back in 1940 when an orphanage aka children's home was available to parents who for whatever reason were no longer, or temporarily unable, to care for their children.  She was there with two siblings.  I don't know how long they were there, but my step-dad was there for five years until a biological aunt adopted him...yet his bio-parents were both still living.

My dad had his lower back surgery.  Sounds like it went well, but he wasn't happy that they made him stay in the hospital for a couple extra days because he's so non-compliant.  Additionally, he spent a week or more at rehab/care facility for the same reason and so that he'd be forced-compliant.  He seems to be more inclined to comply now - I don't think he wants to be back in that same position again.  He'll be 83 in August and has never been compliant with much of anything in his life.

There's not been much else of interest lately.  For my quilting world activities - or lack thereof, I'll put a brief post over on Webs of Thread.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Home Again

I was away for just over three weeks.  It's good to be home!  Internet access was limited at my aunt's so I haven't kept up with you all here in blog-land.  In between laundry & house-cleaning over the next couple days, I will start peeking in and seeing what everyone's been up to, and think about/prepare a post or two myself.
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