Skywatch Friday, May 31, 2013

Image

 

We enjoy a drive on a country road every now and then.  One Saturday, this location called Updike Farmstead was having an Open House to celebrate the reconstruction of an old Wind mill sponsored by the Princeton Historical Society.  

My first photo is of this barn painted white, the barren tree branches and the impending setting sun streaming through the barn’s upper window.

Restored Windmill at the Updike Farmstead

Restored Windmill at the Updike Farmstead

Updike farmstead

Updike farmstead

For more photos of the sky, Please visit, the blog:

http://www.skyley.blogspot.com/

http://www.skyley.blogspot.com/

My Day

May 15, 2013. My Day off goes like this.

I wake up to kiss Pat as he leaves for work. I lie in bed, hoping for another half hour of rest. The sun is shining very brightly this morning through the closed blinds and sheer floral curtains.
I think, I need to start my shower, however the Master bath needs removal and repair/re-grout of the floor and tiles; the contractor had suggested to refrain from using this bathroom. 
In the second (guest) bathroom inside the tub is Bulk toilet paper, a bag of Nina’s books,and Reader’s Digest.  Then, I decide that I need to start a load of laundry but first I’ll have a quick bowl of cereal. Another day, another time, there will be a chance to sit outside at the Patio table with my breakfast and enjoy the outdoor sounds. 
Once downstairs, as I approach the sink/counter, I see that the floor below still needs sweeping.  Monday started off with a busy work-week,including both an early morning Team Leader meeting and staff meeting followed by an eight-hour shift. 
Instead of reaching up in the cabinet for my bowl for cereal, I reach down to move the kitchen slice rug, and see spots on the floor. First I sweep, then get the Swiffer that needs refill sponges,so I dampen a paper towel add dish soap and gently stoop down and give it a scrub. There, that will do. I don’t want to overdo it and strain any muscles, I have a 12 hr shift tomorrow at both Parsippany and Muhlenberg. 
I look over to the rest of the kitchen. The cute card table has things on it, it was intended to sit and eat there, currently there’s a stack of cookbooks jam from Sussex County fair with pretty fabric covers,a bag of pistachios, orange cranberry chutney , a bag of jasmine rice (should be moved to the upper cabinet and place in a plastic bag.), a Betty Crocker’s
” new” Boys and Girls Club book from the late 1960s , a bag of dried blueberries trail mix with cashews cranberries and almonds, and a cookbook called healthy meals. It was 915 a.m.as I sat down to write this,  I did prepare my bowl of  half rice Chex cereal ,half Raisin Bran with vanilla Eating my cereal one spoonful at a time and sip my tea from one of my favorite mugs a Hawaiian theme that I got in the big Island in the 1998 trip with the CAC. I like to stir in A tsp of wildflower honey from the local Griggstown market. As I pause, I hear the ticking of the kitchen clock outside the home and rumble of the lawnmowers and the Weedwhacker’s of the landscape company. It’s a sunny day I ask myself if there’ time for a ten minute walk. Th e house after picking up/fish flounder and package of chicken drumsticks, Perdue , 5 La yogurts,  oatmeal, an organic plastic wrapped Zucchini. Yesterday morning before working evening shift at old Bridge I went to target store for Lysol spray bathroom cleaner with hydrogen peroxide three bottles were on sale plus Efferdent mint dentures tablets .  The  family were practically all out with two tabs left and they were breaking them in half and did not tell me nor did Mom buy any when she went shopping on her senior bus. When mom shops she thinks of meat and cake and pasta sauce and only allowed two grocery bags anyway.

It’s 9:45 AM I have to take a quick shower and at the same time start the lingerie on Coldwater wash. I’m still in my PJs. I have to quit right my bill for the car payment due the 19th and pack the car with the blue flowered tote bag  with file folders , bring the small red cooler with the chicken and fish and your perishables and look around and see what else. Alas, I want to cook something at least some pasta salad or an entrée for this evening for Pat and I. While busy at my mothers’ house, I must remember to be home before 7 PM there’s a webinar , Nurse.com,  I’d like to listen in. 
Well, it’s 9:46 PM exactly 12 hours later and I did not make it home in time for the 7 PM webinar. what I did accomplish at my mother’s house was to take her to her bank to deposit the monthly checks that came in on May 1 and today is May 15 and to take her down to the borough Hall  to write a check for her taxes that were due May 1 , late also.
Joan, the Visiting Angel was there from 11:15am to 3 :15 pm.  After I gathered the laundry and sheets off one bed, Joan started the laundry. Once I sorted through my sister’s books and magazines, and placed them in two new plastic containers, Joan did the vacuuming.   There was excess green salad from my mothers lunch, so while Joan suggested I take it home, I sat down to eat it. After all it was already 1:30 pm; I eat and talk with Joan. By this time, mom is in the spare room napping. 
Sister is laying down on her bed,since I had things on her rocker when she got home; then she had a big headache. Once Joan finished cooking dinner,neither was ready to eat.  Mom did not feel well this afternoon, mentioning diarrhea; I bring the soiled laundry downstairs and start a load, around 6pm. Three hours and neither has touched their plates of food on the kitchen counter.  Now, I package both meals up in plastic left-overs containers. Mom, is sipping Chamomile tea in her tea mug, When I first prepared it in the microwave since Joan was cooking at the stove, mom said it was too hot and added cold water to the mug. Later,after return from the bank and Boro Hall, she asked me to warm up the tea. 

It’s May, and the temps are forecast to drop to 30 degrees next week.

Well, today is May10 th, and I’ve got two “Early Girl” type Tomato plants already planted in the ground.  

According to the literature, May 15, is the date  to start planting your annual garden plants in the ground; called ” the last average frost date” 

Eek, I just read on a weather forecast through “Facebook “from Adam Joseph on the Philadelphia news page that a frost is impending on Monday coming; the temperature with drop from 80 degrees to 30 degrees.

What is the plan ? Protect those tomato plants.  Check all the resources ( on-line , of  course, Google is my BFF).

Steps to take when frost or freeze threaten tender plants:

    • Bring Indoors: Frost-tender plants in containers should be brought inside during cold weather. Dig up tender bulbs and store them in a cool dry place.

    • Protect Tender Sprouts: Cover tender plants overnight with an inverted bucket or flower pot, or with a layer of mulch. Be sure to uncover them in the morning when the temperature rises above freezing.
  • Cover Shrubs and Trees: Larger plants can be covered with fabric, old bed sheets, burlap, or commercial frost cloths (avoid using plastic). For best results, drape the cover over a frame to keep it from touching the foliage. Fabric covers help to trap heat from the soil, so make sure your cover drapes to the ground. Uncover them in the morning when the temperature rises above freezing.

http://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-protect-your-garden-from-frost-and-freeze/

Irrigate during the potential frost

Many

people claim that watering the frost off plants

prevents frost damage. This is partially true.

As mentioned above, watering plants helps

raise their temperature and the air around them

to that of the water. In addition, as water

freezes, heat is released; 80 calories for each

gram of water that freezes. Therefore,

watering plants before they are injured from

frost can help keep their internal temperature

above freezing. A single application at the

coldest part of the night (generally just before

sunrise) may be enough on 30- to 32-degree F

nights. On colder nights it may be necessary

to apply overhead irrigation for an extended

period of time, allowing actual ice formation on

the plants. In this case, irrigation must

continue until morning temperatures rise above

32 F and the ice melts. It is important to note

that once frost damage occurs, watering does

not help.

Resources:   Understanding Frost

From Cornell Cooperative Extension, Chemung County

eve of Cinco de Mayo, my Mexican hat

My Mexican hat!

My Mexican hat!

My Mexican Hat   Stand by your principles.  I like to think that I am practicing Green Living.  One of the ways that we spend  ” free time”, is attending flea markets and White Elephant sales. Last fall, I arrived on day two of the sale by Princeton Medical Center’s Ladies Auxiliary  in the last 30 minutes. Walking quickly around the perimeter of the huge Airplane hanger, I spotted the area with hats and tote-bags. When the Sale came to an end, the volunteers announced that each person had five minutes to gather “Free items”.  I was nearby and ran over to the hat collection where I had spotted  a couple of Large sombreros’ , Eeeh, I said with glee, “I’ve got them !!!!”  Also, there was a decorative” bird-cage” that I had been viewing with discernment, during the sale; I liked it , but not willing to shell out bucks for it.

¡esto hay que celebrarlo!

Celebrate!

  Pollo con Calabacitas

Chicken with Squash and Corn

3  Tablespoons vegetable shortening or butter ( I use Canola oil)

1 chicken 2 1/1 pounds cut into serving pieces salt to taste ( prefer a salt substitute)

1 teaspoon cumin ( 0r cumin seed , crushed)

1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut into quarter-inch slices, (about 5 cups)

1 cup finely chopped onion 2 1/2 cups fresh corn “off the cob” , (scraped from about 4 ears) or two packages 10 ounces each frozen corn

2 small hot green peppers , chopped, optional

1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled and cored

1.  Heat the oil in a large casserole and add chicken.  Sprinkle with salt or salt substitute, and cook until chicken loses its raw look.  ( I use chicken herb seasoning).

2. Add the cumin, coarsely ground pepper. and minced garlic, and cook stirring occasionally  ten minutes.   Add the squash and onion.   If the corn is fresh off the cob, add it.   Do not add the frozen corn if used until later. Add the hot green peppers and tomatoes and cover. Do not add other liquid.; as the mixture stew it will add quite a bit of liquid.   Cook for one hour. 

3.  If frozen corn is used , add it now.  Either way, uncover the casserole  and cook 30 minutes longer. Serve with rice or boiled potatoes.

A , now it’s time for an authentic Mexican beverage!

Sangrita

3 ounces Tomato juice

1 teaspoon grenadine syrup

(or less to taste)

Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

1 ounce of orange juice

salt

Tabasco

1 1/2 ounces Tequila

Lime wedge ( my favorite part! I love the sour taste.)

1. In a Beverage shaker, Combine the tomato juice, grenadine, lime,and orange juices, and salt and Tabasco to taste.   Add ice cubes and shake rapidly.

2.  Strain the mixture into a glass and serve the Tequila on the side.   It is drunk in Mexico, by sipping the tomato mixture alternately with the Tequila.  Many non-Mexicans prefer to add the Tequila to the tomato mixture before shaking the cocktail.   Serve with the lime wedge and additional salt.

Note: Tabasco sauce is a Yankee addition to the recipe.    In Mexico, small , hot, chopped green Serrano chilies are used as the fiery seasoning.    A genuine sangrita is highly seasoned.  

Ole!!!

Note:

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Giving a shout -out to Mountain View , California! Hello Google!

Spring, and gardening

Last weekend , we bought two tomato plants from a close by gardening supply store, along with a container of Pansies in hues of purple. 

Monday started out as a rain filled day, so shortly after I arrived home in the evening,7:30 pm, my husband went outside in his yellow wind breaker jacket to plant the two tomato plants and the oregano plant as well.  That evening, I asked, is it easier to dig when the soil is still wet from the rain? Yes, he said. 

Surprise. Yesterday ( Tuesday ) ,was a beautiful sunny day, once my days’ appointments completed, I came outside in the early evening to enjoy some cool spring air while sitting at the patio table with dinner.  This is what I observed in my little garden beside the patio. The three silver metal tomato cages are evenly spaced in the ground , however, both of the tomatoe plants leaves are drooping; I will playPost it day by day, to see if somehow that they revive     .

We might have to start over with new plants.

Addition:

2013 appeared to be a bad year for tomato plants. Purchasing the greenhouse grown tomato plants from varied sellers, it was common, due to a wet and rainy early spring, that the plants failed to thrive.

In conversations with many people at work who are garden ers, that it was a poor production year for tomatoes.

I yielded one or 2 tomatoes per 3 plants.

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