September 30, 2021

Another September passed

This September has been a busy month for me. I'm technically still employed although I work from home quite a bit. But September is budget-setting time so I've been in my town office more than I like these past few weeks. It didn't make me jump for joy but it was necessary. My employer has bent over backward for me so I can bend a bit, too. 

There are still good places to work out there. My best advice to you is to find one and prove yourself worthy of loyalty. Anyway...

September. I cleaned up my garden corral and planted another packet of radishes, which are doing quite well. The strawberries finally look good. Apple canning went splendidly. I said to hell with worrying about the pandemic and went back to the bowling league. I pondered my place in the universe far too many evenings, I read a lot of smutty books, and I didn't write or blog nearly enough. And come Saturday, I'm hosting a Cousin's Lunch. 

I'm suddenly the "middle child" between my two surviving first cousins, both guys. The older one called me a bit ago to tell me his wife was bringing an apple cake. I'd planned to make an apple cobbler or crisp, and I still may. He's also bringing his baked beans made with apples and root beer. Oh, yeah...

I'd report in on the younger cousin but they went RVing so who knows what mischief they got into, right? 

We also spent some time at our little shooting range this month. It's fun as long as we stop after a few magazines and/or cylinders. Too much is just too much and ammo isn't cheap these days. Deuce doesn't like being left inside when we're outside, either. He howls. 

It feels like the month sped past me with barely a break. I hope October will have a slower pace as the leaves begin to turn in earnest. Our showiest maple already has a few bright orange leaves and I hope it puts on a show this year. There's always the chance I won't live to see it show its colors another season, so I want to savor it, and October, the best month of the year. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)

September 27, 2021

Dehydrating frozen strawberries

Cheesecake! Yum! Yum! 

We're hosting the Cousin's Lunch this coming Saturday, and I thought I might make a cheesecake. It's that or an apple crisp. Maybe both. The future is unwritten and who knows where the spirit may lead?  Or maybe dessert will be a good, old-fashioned apple cobbler and I'll keep the cheesecake for us. 

Last winter we ordered two dozen strawberry plants from Burpees, a very well-known company. The plants arrived a little late for planting in my area (strike one), and because of that, only nine of the plants lived. That's not a good margin of success. I doubt I'll order roots from Burpees again. A local nursery seems a much better option if I go for blackberries. 

Several of the stronger plants did produce a berry or two which was enough to pick and eat on the spot but nothing more. Those stronger plants have also sent out runners and the sets seem to be taking hold. The plan is to move them into the greenhouse this winter since they are in containers and not yet the ground. I hope to get a harvest in 2022. 

With cheesecake on my mind, I pulled a bag of sliced strawberries out of the freezer and spread them out on the dehydrator trays. Once they've dried to a light crisp, I'll put them in the coffee grinder and turn them into a powder to add to the cheesecake batter. It will only take a tablespoon or three of powder to intensify the strawberry flavor. Powders are a great way to take the flavor to the next level. Beyond that, green powders can add nutrition to soups and other dishes. Himself hates spinach but doesn't balk at a tablespoon of spinach powder added to some dishes. The trick is to only add to the point where it may become detectable and stop. 

Another perk of dehydrating strawberries is that the house will smell of delicious strawberries for several days. The man of the manor is correct in one thing. Spinach doesn't add a thing to the air. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)

September 14, 2021

Did you grow?

Being introspective by nature, every so often I become aware I'm in a period of self-examination. I question why I'm doing what I'm doing and what I hope to gain or achieve with it. For example, I've been doing a lot of food preservation this summer. Why? Do I really think it's going to be a difficult winter or is it just a fad to fill the hours emptied of people by the Covid-19 pandemic? Am I doing the work because I want to or because someone influenced me to do it?  Or is it a bit of both with a dash of "I enjoy it" tossed into the mix? 

Lately, my thoughts have also been dwelling on the nature of friendship. I know a lot of people. Social media has extended everyone's circle but those closest to me are still those I've had a flesh, blood, and bone relationship with since my youth. There is time and distance between some of us now, but we can pick up the conversation like that space never exists. My writer friend in Alabama is a prime example of that. Just thinking about her makes me want to charge up the phone and call her. We haven't chatted for far too long, and sometimes an email isn't enough. I want to hear her laughter. 

What troubles me these days is the nature of the social media relationship with mental health and the effect it has on friendships. I see social media in its many forms as a valuable tool. As a writer, it helps me promote my books and gives me insight into what people with vastly different perspectives think. (Yes, that gets scary.) The Internet has brought a group of friends to me, people I never would have gotten to know otherwise. I value my modern-day pen pals. 

But being in a time of introspection, I wonder if a few of them have become toxic. My life seems to have diverged from theirs. I like to think of myself as mature, but sometimes those ill-advised jabs tossed at me hurt and the sting doesn't lessen. I'm suddenly callused about what I now view as their insignificant concerns. To be truthful, I'm not one to forget a slur even after being tendered an apology. I can forgive because I understand the imperfections of human nature, jealousy being a prime candidate to toss nasty barbs at someone you call "friend."

Have I grown through having these Internet friendships? Perhaps. Would I have grown in the same manner without them? Perhaps. I still mourn the loss of my friend author Chris Grover, with whom I had daily email conversations. Would I have made different decisions and followed different paths without my Internet friends? I think that's unlikely. My feet are firmly planted on a path I laid out for myself decades ago and one I've never wavered from wanting. 

So why am I frequently troubled by the nature of some of these long-standing "friendships?" Perhaps it's because some of those barbs show a surprising lack of tolerance with my choice to delve deeper into the heritage of my country lifestyle. 

And perhaps it's all me. Maybe I have grown and they feel left behind, outstripped. That, too, is simply life. There is no going back, at least not for me.  

The Lady of The Hideaway

September 11, 2021

Famous #men words

How many times have I heard these words: "Yeah, set it there and I'll fix it." ????

It's almost a joke here on the manor. Yes, Himself is very handy to have around because there is very little he can't repair once he puts his mind to it. I like that in a man, I really do. But sometimes the time, and the inclination, get away from him and those "promised" repairs do not happen nor will they ever happen. 

After almost thirty years, I'm well aware of what will and what won't get fixed. 

Today we were in the shed preparing some spray to *murder death kill* any bug living near the patio, and we were discussing the need to tidy-up the implements hanging on the pegboard. The next thing I knew, I had a truckload of junk to take to the dumpster. 

I'm not sure how it happened, who said what or what started the de-cluttering, but I'm really glad it happened. 

Maybe next weekend it will happen again. #hopeful

The Lady of The Hideaway 


I could have blogged about the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States of America, but I truly have little to add that has not already been said. If you can't see that tragedy has been compounded by more tragedy, you don't want to know my opinion. If you do see the tragedy of the last eighteen months, then you know and I don't need to tell you what you already know. 

September 10, 2021

Back to living

I'm getting back to living. Tonight is bowling night and I will be there. 

I sat out the 2020 season because of the Covid=19 pandemic. Since then, lies have compounded lies and I'm tired of listening to them. I'm tired of being a cow in the herd. I have more reasons than ever to mistrust the government. 

I'm a lifelong bowler. I enjoy the sport and the camaraderie of my local bowling alley, my "house." I've known many of my fellow bowlers for decades. Those of us who have bowled together for so long have become akin to family. 

Yes, this is my first step back to the land of the living. 

I'm going to shake off being afraid and I'm going to do something that I enjoy - bowling.

I'm not utterly stupid, though. I'm not about to hug people or even give a "high five" for a strike. I won't be alone in that. We bowlers are a bit smarter than that. 

Some people will wear masks and I may be among them. If a member of the league tests positive for Covid-19, it would be prudent. 

That's my statement for today. 

The Lady of the Hideaway

September 9, 2021

Conform or be cast out

I've pretty much had it. I'm sick of theories with no grain of truth.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit and people died by the thousands. Why?

We're told the virus has mutated and is stronger, and yet fewer people die. We're told it's because of the vaccine. 

I wonder how many of those early deaths were caused by medical malpractice. 

We were told the vaccine would save us. We have breakthrough cases. 

I'd imagine by now almost everyone who has not contracted the virus knows someone who has. We know several dozen people who have/had Covid-19, and yet we remain without affliction. 

We're both vaccinated. It wasn't our first choice but we saw the writing on the wall. CONFORM OR BE CAST OUT. 

Cases are rising again. Government school systems are holding parent's emotions hostage. The government is mandating that people who work those posh government jobs are to get vaccinated or risk losing those jobs and benefits. Awww. 

Conform or be cast out. That's it in a nutshell, and I have a frightening theory as to why. 

Once "we" have all have several doses of the vaccine, what will be unleashed upon us? What if this vaccine is preparing us to be vulnerable to the next pathogen? 

We ARE being controlled but to what end?

These questions keep me awake at night. 

The Lady of The Hideaway