Friday, August 14, 2015

Fighting Grime

While we have been sick, dirt has accumulated. With two labs, dirt collects anyway let alone not having the energy to clean.
The doctor my husband went to see at the walk-in said, "oh its just allergies, viruses don't keep coming back..."
Well, that's news to us, as everyone we know must then have the same severe allergies!
However, dirt, mold, bacteria etc doesn't help...so I started thinking, rethinking my cleaning....
Certainly chemicals aren't much better either, right?? and if there is a great way to clean I'm interested...
Well, last week we went to the Fair for a couple of hours...(it about did us in with all the crowds etc....), I wanted to see the quilts and home crafts and he wanted to see the commercial building.
In the commercial building was a guy selling steam cleaners....most intriguing. I've thought about them for years...but never did anything....but at the fair I was ready!
However, paying the big price tag didn't appeal....
So, I did what I often do now, I went home and shopped online. Amazon is my store of choice I have to say. I study the reviews and look for the attachments etc that I want.
I found what I think is comparable to the Fair one, for less.....yup, I did.

Meet my new maid! The Haan Slim & Light....it has an attachment to steam carpet too, which was one thing I wanted for rugs....
It is so light! It doesn't swivel to get between our toilets and wall, but it is effortless cleaning! I thought there is no way it can clean with just water! But, by golly, it did! The floor has that wonderful feel on barefeet just like when it was new! It got most of the grout thoroughly clean, which without scrubbing amazes me! I even used it on the shower floor! The shower has lots of little square tiles, which means it has lots of grout....it got it clean! Without getting on my hands and knees!
Now, granted, it did not get into the corners...which had yucky stuff. However, I got another steamer, a hand held one, for the corners, walls, the microsuede couch...and all the other spots this one doesn't reach.

This little dynamo really gets what the big one might miss or can't do because it is for floors.....
This little thing got dirt I didn't know I had! Wow, and it did all the work! The only drawback to it is the holding tank holds a cup of water...but what it does with that is amazing!
So, with the two cleaners I have two clean bathroom floors, shower floor, walls, and the hooked rug in the bathroom also got cleaned!
YUp, my new maid.....
The Haan was $97 from Amazon and the Pyle was $35.....
With bad backs and knees....you betcha! And cleans without chemicals! The directions say you can use tap water, but fine print recommends for longevity of the machines to use distilled water....Makes sense to me. So, tomorrow I plan to use them to get those other areas that need deep cleaning....
Have a great healthy and clean weekend!
Nancy
PS...I am not being compensated in any way for this endorsement...I've had the machines for a day or two...and am impressed and wanted to share....

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fall is coming

It may be August, but Fall is coming.
The tomatoes show it and many plants do too.
Time to clear out and plant the Fall crops.
I've noticed the change in birds, or lack thereof. Most have left.
The weather has been mild all summer here....though I know September is usually a hot month.
We have had an unusual amount of little thunderstorms rolls through due to the record breaking collection of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Pacific. All due to El Nino. The forecasters are calling this El Nino "Super El Nino" and are forecasting heavy rains and flooding to come....
One of my tasks in the days to come is to recheck the Emergency cupboard....Do you have an emergency cupboard??
What do you keep in it??
Nancy

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Child's Play!

While waiting for this virus to go away.....I decided to sit and paint the crate that the "kids" gave me for Mother's Day. It is a wood crate that you can get at Target and Michael's and probably JoAnn's too.
I had been wanting a toy box for the toys I had accumulated for Royce (and any other future babies).
So, it was time to paint it. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen and decided not to use any wax at all, since babies have a tendency to put everything in their mouths.

I did paint inside and out and only one coat.
Originally I was going to put casters on, but decided since he isn't walking that casters will come later when he is older...for now I put felt glides on the bottom.
It fits nicely under the coffee table too!
Does Royce like it??

Yup! Sheer joy!
Now, we have to teach him to put everything back!
Have a great day!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sick with a Bug

Well, I've been incredibly heathy for the last two years. Hardly a sore throat even. I used my XClear and avoided those bugs. But this one, it is unstoppable! (Yes, they tell me it is just a virus and must ride it thru)
My Sister and her daughter do those essential oils from DoTerra and even those haven't helped!
I've thrown every "tool" at it and it keeps coming.
I have sore stomach muscles from coughing.
I have thrown my neck out or maybe that was due to the tower of pillows to hold me upright so could get some sleep. Sleep, what's that?
I've been running a low grade temp for three days....up and then down, but always a temp.
I see slight glimpses that show I'm getting better...but they are so slight....almost apparitions in the night.
So, forgive me for not writing....I'll be back when I'm really better.
Nancy

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Bit of This And That

Yesterday, though I was fighting a bug of some sort with swollen glands etc., I still needed to get some things done. I had purchased the day before some huge and delightful apricots, to turn them into jam. Not wanting the expensive purchase to rot...I got up and made jam and canned it. Yeah, I did!
But before you picture me a slave to the stove, remember, I have help.
 Here is the Ball Jam/Jelly maker...still loving this machine! It pretty much just makes the jam or jelly for you. Which is good....I could sit while that was going on.
 Then, into the canner to make shelf stable jam to store away. This canner is a hybrid and does all the work with only about two cups of water!
Well, I canned four jars of jam, but I had two more that I put in the fridge. I noticed this morning that the jam was a little loose. My bad. I didn't measure the fruit....they were really large apricots, not the usual size, so always remember to measure. No harm though. Most of the time I like apricot jam for a finishing sauce or on pancakes anyway....This would be the first time it didn't set completely. And over time it could still set a bit more. In any case, I now have jam in the little extra pantry I made in the craft room closet. At this moment I need a bigger part of that closet! LOL.....

Oh, and this week, I made a table runner top. Yup, I did manage to get some things done. Before I got sick, I made a good long runner for a gift...
Isn't it cute?? It is a pattern by the Missouri Star Co. and it uses their template and a layer cake of fabric.  One layer cake will easily make two or three runners depending on how long you want them. The idea is when it is on the table, everyone is looking at a tree right side up. Its a simple pattern and really takes little time....There is even a video of her making one....that's what got me hooked...I ordered their template and a layer cake and it was here in three days...awesome....
Anyway, time to take some Advil and rest.
Have a great day.
Nancy

Sunday, July 12, 2015

We're Back!

Well, we've been gone....bet you noticed...
We left before the 4th of July for a family reunion....small though it turned out to be.
We had a great time, even though the temperatures outside were around 110 degrees!
Yeah, air conditioning was our friend!
On the 4th we were at my niece's house where they cooked up hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken and then everyone brought yummy salads and munchies......
The next day we met with our other niece and her family and went to Whiskeytown lake. One of the only lakes in California that has no trouble with drought! It is spring fed and simply wonderful!

Then, after leaving Redding, CA, we journeyed to our main vacation spot....Sunriver, Oregon!
It was our first time here and I have to say....WOW!!
We rented a house for the two of us and it was so well equipped! All we had to add was food.
What a wonderful way to vacation!
 This is the view from the Sunriver Lodge....across the golf course and out to Mt. Bachelor.
 This is the stable....they have trail rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter....
 This is the wonderful "cabin" we rented.....
 An early morning visitor....
 This is the Deschutes river....there is some kayaking, canoeing, rafting and of course fishing....
 Hubby went out with a guide to his first ever fly fishing experience on another river....he came home triumphant with two lovely rainbow trout that we had late...oh that was tasty!!

I pan fried it in coconut oil (my favorite now for frying fish...makes it crispy without a coconuty flavor).
We had a great time, wonderful place.....and all too short...5 days went too quickly with all the Sunriver resort has to offer!
Well, I'm back. Laundry calls....
Nancy


Monday, June 29, 2015

Garden Harvest

Our limited watering is definitely hurting plants.
I am loosing the blueberries, and soon I will be pulling those out and saving the pots.
My little cherry trees have some bacterial thing that seems to be killing them.
The tomatoes are wilting faster, but not without giving their all.
So, the other day I harvested 8 lbs. of tomatoes from out front.
I gave a few to a friend and we are quickly consuming the rest. Yummy.....
Shown here are Big Rainbow, Cherokee Purple, and Mortgage lifter....
Then the next day I harvested a big basket full of Casady's Folly....a plum variety that is so pretty and prolific, but they have thick skins....so they really have to be skinned.
So, I pierced their skins and dunked them in hot boiling water and then when they cooled a bit I was able to peel the skins off...they went into the freezer for future sauce....
I also put some in the dehydrator....but I didn't skin those....They will be quite chewy when hydrated in a sauce....
I also harvested a bunch of peppers. This year I dedicated an entire raised bed to peppers, jalapenos and sweet peppers so I would have enough to make my family's favorite pepper jelly. These too have done extremely well...and I harvested a bunch to chop and freeze.
Then, I found some beans that were ready, and blanched them and froze them. Not many, but enough for a meal....later.
Our weather has gotten quite warm due to monsoonal moisture. It's early this year, and it will be time to dine outside tonight.
I fear that with the drought I will lose more plants. I have also lost my lavenders...both those not in sprinkler proximity and those in sprinklers. Can't figure out why. Anyone know why my lavender is dying? Some in the ground, some in pots, there is no common answer. Is there a virus that attacks lavender??
Anyway....take care...stay cool.
Nancy