Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Following my garden theme of yesterday, I have to admit that I sort of stole some of Martha's seed last year and am cultivating my own Mexican Daisy patch. I confess.

Last evening as dusk fell, these characters were observed trespassing. I had the sprinklers on the not so grassy area I have been trying to cultivate. I think they may have been thirsty.

They looked at me a couple of times as I took pictures. No flash, I didn't want to scare them.

They did not appear to feel threatened by me or my camera.

Then they kicked up their heels and dashed off into the woods.

I wonder if they stayed overnight ......... they owe me $20 if they did!

I had a visit from the DNR today. That is Department of Natural Resources, not Do Not Resuscitate. Do not resuscitate is looking good at this point. Fines and permits are never good news.

My skin rash seems to grow in proportion to just how many things I can worry about. Seems that people I once considered to be my friends, never really were. It would seem that, not only do they not wish me well, but would be happy to destroy me. They might even succeed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gardens and Naysayers

 As I was tooling around the park this morning spreading water and joy to the the plant kingdom, I made a discovery. It was in Nan's happy little garden.

At the beginning of Spring she planted a clematis vine. It has looked like this all Summer. All shriveled and brown. An occasional sign of life with a green little leaf every now and again. I planted some Hostas and day lilies nearby and included the clematis in the inner circle of the garden bed. When I got through, it all looked like a bunch of plants in need of life support. They were all in shock at being unceremoniously dug from their former location and planted in the shade of the circle of trees. You would think they would all have thanked me for removing them from the barren wasteland in the direct rays of the sun.

Even Nan looked at them suspiciously. I know she thought I was giving her a garden of dying plants. I assured her that they would survive and thrive with a little love from the water hose and mulch.

And look!! I have been vindicated! The clematis has bloomed. It still has some dead wood in place, but just you wait and see. Next year this plant will be full of happy little blooms!

I am betting the vine will take over one side of this garden.

The hostas will guard the front and day lilies will fill in.

Nan will be needing life size gnomes!!

Miss Martha's Mexican daisies have crossed the border! These are thriving in gravel!

I suppose this plant is drought tolerant!

Martha wanted some shade. I dug and covered and hauled what seemed like tons of mulch. I hunted rocks and even sacrificed some of my own from my garden. I planted Tiger Lilies and Iris. Worked my fingers to the bone, I did!

Planted 4 Maples and 1 Sycamore tree. Spring came and the Iris refused to produce blooms, the Tiger Lillies were stingy, too. The trees looked pathetic. Martha didn't say much about the garden and I knew she was disappointed. I told her to be patient, that I knew the trees looked like brown sticks, but could still survive. She disagreed. I think if I had offered to have he who loves loud equipment plow the whole thing up and plant grass she would have been happier.

I was patient. I carefully checked on the trees for signs of life daily. I sang to them and begged them to live. Not so much for Martha's shade, but to not embarrass me in front of others. I carefully transplanted some scraggly looking Marigolds, knowing they would grow into shrub-like rounded plants. I could still see the doubt in Martha's eyes. She began to complain about the weeds that kept popping up. I pulled and yanked and often replaced the weed holes with seedlings.

Vindicated once again. Look at the Sycamore tree! It was so tiny when I put it in the ground. Maybe 8" tall and now it is waist-high! I am not one to say "I told you so ........" Wait ....... Yes I am!

Okay, okay. This one is dead. This Maple did not make it ........ but, the other 3 did!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Remember Math?

My job is fairly simple. Or, maybe I should say one of my jobs, since the whole is a bunch of smaller pieces. Fractions is what we called them when I was but a child in school. I also learned to add, subtract, multiply and divide. All without the assistance of a calculator. I find that I put this knowledge to use daily. In almost everything I do. Cooking, gardening, sewing, and, of course, settling manners of money.

I am astonished regularly by those who have not a clue about basic math skills. How do they survive? Even the use of a calculator calls for a minimal knowledge.

One of my jobs is to check the e-mail daily for reservations. There is a reservation format in place on our website. Easy to use. I always respond to those and verify the reservation (unless the Internet powers conspire to thwart my efforts). Some users of the Internet prefer to e-mail a request to make a reservation. I am responsible for those, too. I respond with specific information, based on the information they provide. I tend to give lots of options in anticipation of questions. I always offer the phone number, too. You know, in case they might want to talk to a live person and have all their questions answered at once. Simplifies things.

I have been back and forth with a particular request all week. The latest question has me baffled. Okay, maybe a little annoyed, since the answer was right in front of them. The question was about reserving a tent site (or sites) for 11 people. Four children and seven adults. They wanted to know if I had sites available. I replied that I did. I went on to provide the rates (also on the web site they visited). Two sites at a base price of $20 per night per site for primitive camping and $22 per night with electricity. Each base price covers two adults and up to two children. Extra persons are $2 per person per night.

They replied with "How much will that be?"

I wanted to copy and paste my previous answer. I didn't. Carefully wording my response in the simplest terms, I tallied it up for them. I have a feeling I could have just done the math and given them an amount and they would have paid it, no questions asked. All they wanted was a total amount. I could have very well ripped them off. Instead I explained how I came up with the amount. I did two amounts. One with electric and one without ........ always anticipating the next question.

I did not add the tax to the total and I have a feeling they will show up with the exact amount in small denominations and then argue about the tax ......... After all, that will involve advanced math, being percentages and all that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lessons Learned

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I spent the morning planting wisteria vines that had been gifted to me from a friend. The big skies were blue and a gentle breeze blew. A hint of fall in the air. I gathered some flower seed and pulled some weeds.

I was procrastinating. Peaches needed attention. I have forced peaches on every camper passing through and they seem to be growing in number. I could not fit them in the refrigerator and they won't last at room temperature, so I had no choice but to tackle the chore and peel them and prepare them for the freezer. I have plenty of peaches in the freezer. This winter will include peaches with every meal.

As the sun warmed things up, I went inside to deal with the peaches. He who rescues stranded travelers was sitting in his favorite chair, laptop open and eyes closed. I set up my bowls on the table where I can see the door to the store and easily handle customers. I was sitting there, up to my elbows in peach juice when I saw the door to the store open. I asked he who was no longer napping to handle the customer as I continued to peel and slice. He stood at the half door and said that he saw no one. I told him that I saw the door open and the top of someone's head come in. I assumed it was a child. It was not. It was an adult. They were asking about tent sites. They wanted to go look first, then come back to the office. Not an unusual request, and off they went. I was still peeling away, determined to fill the container I was working on, despite the fact that my fingertips were pruning up and my arthritic thumb was aching. Fruit flies were swarming my bowl of pits and peels.

He who is wont to troll the kampground roads went out to do just that and noticed the couple looking at tent sites had pulled over at the bath house. He witnessed the female exiting the ladies room and upon driving off, they tossed a bag of trash onto the ground. Unhappy, he stopped and gathered it up to dispose of before going on in the direction they were headed.

He saw them coming out of a site occupied by seasonal campers and stopped them to ask what they were doing. "Oh, we thought this was one of the tent sites." He told them to be on their way, since they would not be staying in any event, due to the trash incident. "Oh, sorry about that."

All this was related to me as I was cleaning up my peach mess. He who delivers fuel to those who have none went on just such a call and I promptly forgot about the would-be tenters as I set about washing up my peachy mess.

We were looking forward to eating with our besties, Patrick and Julie. Never matters what we eat, it always includes lots of laughter. Julie was making a big pot of ham hocks and beans. I was in charge of the cornbread and was supposed to make rice. I had everything organized and ready to meet the timeline .......... then customers and the phone jumped in to ruin my plans. I forgot the rice entirely, which is just as well. I would probably have burned it. I did manage the cornbread. Also a nice little salad of cucumbers and tomatoes fresh from the garden. I used a dressing similar to the dressing used in three bean salad. Turned out to be quite tasty.

I mention the dressing to my salad for a specific reason. Julie is a character. When asked what she wanted to drink with our meal, she responded that she would just drink some of Patrick's ........ Like me, Julie considers the food on her husband's plate as theirs. We share. Julie really liked my salad and decided to put the dressing left into her bowl of beans with broken up cornbread. She liked it, but as she got full, she instructed Patrick to finish hers ......

He made a face and asked her what she had put in her bowl. All innocence, she says "cornbread", then half a beat later she remembers the "juice from the cucumbers". She informs Patrick that it is good and to just eat it. He did as instructed, then wondered how to remove the "sinkerator" tattoo that must be on his forehead.

See what I mean? Fun. After we ate, Julie and I took a ride around the park on her golf cart. While riding along we make an interesting discovery. In the road, on a back road, we see something. It is a pair of jeans and a car mat. We find it strange and I pick the items up and take them to he who is in charge of all things out of the ordinary. He looks puzzled and then asks if I used all the gas in the can he provided me with that morning. I was going to mow, but never got to it, so I had used none.

He then asked if I had moved the gas can. He had set it in the front porch, but found it at the bath house ........... empty. $12 worth of gas. Gone. At the bath house where the female partner in crime was seen exiting the ladies room where the bag of trash had been unceremoniously tossed to the ground ..... perhaps to slow down the man in the truck while they pulled off on a side road to take off the jeans that had been sloshed with gas from the full can stolen from my front porch. Setting said can on the floor mat, it sloshed again as they rode looking for a place to stop and pour it in their tank. They tossed the Tinker Bell floor mat, preferring not to smell gas as they made their escape.

Had they asked for help, we would have helped them and they could be eating some fine peaches. Now they have to wait for the payback they will get from this. Could be years from now, but they will get caught up with. And, I have learned a valuable lesson. I should always put the gas can away while peeling peaches.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crowing About Apples

See the crows? Eating my apples!

 They don't seem to care that I am approaching them. Eating my apples.

Taking their own sweet time walking away from the tree. Eating my apples.

Patriotic wind chimes. I had them in the peach tree and it helped. Now, let's see if the crows will return. And eat my apples.

A crow free apple tree. The apples are ripening fast. I usually don't have apples until September. I haven't finished with all the peaches. I keep giving them away, but I still have a bushel left. I made 4 cobblers this weekend and gave them all away. Then I made zuchinni pineapple muffins with my abundance of squash.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Green To Clean??

You will recall the pool malady we suffered and battled and ...... lost. This product, Green To Clean, is supposed to kill all manner of algae and is guaranteed to work. Guaranteed.

We have actually used this product before and it did work. This is why I ordered it as soon as I noticed the turquoise tint to the water and subsequently discovered the wonderful bouquet of flowers that had been steeping in the skimmer basket.

It didn't work. It is not cheap, this product, and I was careful to order from the vendor offering free overnight shipping. In addition to this killer of algae, you have to make sure the PH is at a proper level and add additional chlorine and shock. This is at a considerable cost also. We contacted the company offering the guarantee and were advised that a replacement shipment was on the way. 

In the meantime he who will take advice from any one with a voice was about the business of driving to town for remedies. Algaecide was dumped by the gallon. PH+ and PH-, depending on the advice of the day. Vacuum, sweep, beg, plead, and curse. I saw 9 gallons of Clorox go in. Shock and more shock. All I could see was $$$$$$$$ wasted. Looked like a huge vat of pea soup.

After 10 days of waiting for the miracle chemicals, more e-mails went and finally a company official called he who shouts on the phone. A promise of an overnight shipment was made. This was on a Friday. Fed-X and UPS deliver on Saturday and we were told to expect a delivery. It came the next Tuesday.

By then I had given up and was loathe to spend another penny on the green water. He who is ever optimistic, opened the package and proceeded with the instructions. He came in and told me the water looked better ........... I took a look and assured him it was not.

So, $1500 in chemicals later and untold loss of revenue, we had to have the drawback whatever thing tested on the well to determine  if we would risk depleting our water supply to refill the pool.

The well is fine, so we dumped 60,000 gallons of water with over $1500 worth of chemicals. We set up some PVC pipes with holes to work as a giant sprinkler to direct the water onto the parched grassy field and found the algae alive and well on the bottom of the pool. The picture was taken at dusk and you can't see the bright green algae in all it's glory.

Pool had to be power washed and all the equipment had to be cleaned.

Then the refilling process began. No, we did not fill the pool with a garden hose. We have a fire hose that we drag out for this purpose. Takes a couple of days to fill it. We have to keep the pressure down on the hose during peak hours or our campers have no water ..... not to mention me having no water. The irony is that since we have refilled the pool, the weather has turned cool.

So that now, the campers complain about the water being cold. Not to mention the nuggets of wisdom and advice I get. "Have you ever thought of using chlorine?" "I had a pool once and I think you should run the pumps." "I heard about some stuff called shock, have you tried that?"

I escape to my garden and wish I was frog on a log.

Or maybe in an old wheelbarrow tending flowers, as I smell chlorine wafting through the air and listen to sound of the skimmer pumps filtering the water ..............

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paying It Forward ....... With Peaches

I picked peaches yesterday. If you recall, I already picked the peaches of one tree. That was the smaller tree. This is the bigger tree's yield. Well, some of it. I would say I got close to 5 bushels from the big tree.

Some are spotty, but these are organic, no spraying of pesticides. Even with spots, they still look yummy.

Maybe not so yummy to me. I peeled these yesterday. I was sticky with peach juice up to my elbows.

This bucket was full to overflow ......... I decided to start handing out peaches to anyone who happened my way. The first bag went to some campers looking for the state park. They bought ice and left with directions and a bag of peaches. They already had reservations at the state park and you lose your deposit if you cancel. I assured them they did not have to stay here just because I gave them peaches. They thanked me over and over.

The next bag went to a man looking for some RV parts that I do not carry. I gave him directions to the closest place that would have what he needed and a bag of peaches. Since he was alone. I asked him if he would eat the peaches and he told me he wanted a couple and would give the rest to his boss for the boss's four children. He was quite smitten with Mr. Martha and asked to take some pictures of the cat. I agreed, after asking if he were a 'pet'ophile. I have managed to maintain my sense of humor, after all.

Next came the man to fill my big propane tank. He checked both tanks and came to let me know that I didn't need a fill while I was clipping dead branches on the tree. I gave him a handful of peaches straight from the tree. I left some for the birds to peck at. I couldn't reach them without a ladder anyway and am hoping they will leave the apple trees alone as they eat the peaches.

I gave out peaches all day. Not to worry, Nick, yours are safely tucked away in the freezer. I am trying to lure my son-in-law with peaches. I want to see them and am not above bribery. Really, there could be apples involved, too. I will make your favorite potato salad ........... I will brew green tea ........ I am your favorite mother-in-law and you might have competition soon, so .........

This is before the picking .........

This is after! Having birthed many children, I know just how relieved this tree is! Her limbs are bouyant now, no longer staggering under the weight of her fruit. I lost two small limbs and a few tiny ones, but she is looking better after the trim.

Back to the pay-out of peaches. I had no reservations last night, but got four campers in yesterday. The first three were all from Georgia and were not together, didn't know each other! I had two cancellations for Labor Day weekend, but got three reservations!

I am still sad to lose the seasonal campers and my heart is heavy when ever I look at the spots they occupied, but the pity party is over! I have my big girl britches on and I am ready to meet some new people. I don't know that I will open myself to friendship, though. I think I will maintain a little distance from now on. I think maybe I won't care so much about the new people. Maybe.

Monday, August 13, 2012


This is a tomato. I see a face, do you?

Looks like Popeye the Sailor Man, with a bulbous nose, his eye is closed and his pipe sticks out on the right. That is a jaw full of spinach on the left.

What's that you say? I need to get a life?

Corn triplets ..........

Three cobs ...... no kernels of corn.

Deformed potatoes ........ but edible.

I see nothing here, unlike my tomato.

A hippopotamus fetus?

Last, but not least. My tiger lily. All the tiger lilies have bloomed and withered. All the brown stalks and dead leaves have been cleaned up. Then this. Never seen a bloom on a leafy frond before ..... and not just one bloom, either.

It has been a strange summer. The intense heat has suddenly subsided and I have turned off the air conditioners. It feels like fall. The air is crisp and my tomato plants are acting like a freeze is imminent.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

I was going to post some pictures of my mutant vegetables today. I have some doozies. But, I am not feeling light hearted .......

Better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all ........ No, he who loves me has done nothing to stab my soul. He is being extra sweet to me today. I am speaking of the love you have for those friends you aquire.

 It has been a long week and next week can only be better. As I sit here in my office with the door locked in an effort to withdraw myself from any more slights today and lick my wounds, I am thinking about friendships past that have ended or simply faded. I always wonder what I may have done or not done in any situation that would have created the rift in the friendship. I am sure everyone of us do. In doing that, I tend to analyze every word I have ever spoken, or deed I have done. I never intend to slight anyone, but I know that words can easily be misinterpreted.

This particular weekend presented with a double whammy of rejection. I managed to take it in stride until today. Meaning I only cried in private. Today, though, my cup runneth over and I can't seem to stop. People I considered friends and held dear to my heart have decided to take their campers elsewhere. I harbor no ill will towards them and extended good wishes and told them I expected to see them whenever we had special events planned. I hate to lose the revenue, of course, but other campers will come ...... I hope.

I suppose I was wrong in thinking that these folks thought of me as a friend, because they have been here all weekend and won't even return my wave as they pass by. Yep, third time's a charm. I childishly told one them that he had hurt my feelings, threw my rake down and came in to lick my wounds.

I keep telling myself that this will only make me appreciate my true friends even more. And it will. But, today ............ today I just plain hurt. Tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Misery Loves To Complain

A cool wind blew my way. Lightning split the sky, and water fell to the ground!!! It rained! We slept with window open last night. I could smell the clean smell of rain meeting dry dirt. I thought I would sleep through the night.

I didn't. I continue to itch. When the itching subsides, after the application of Benadryl, my mind decides to entertain me with thoughts of doom and gloom. The night becomes a vicious cycle. I awake to itching, slather on the Benadryl gel, then lay there willing my mind to shut down.

I dragged my unwilling self from the bed this morning to take the canines I love out for a potty break. I was careful to look at my surrounding through half-open eyes to hang on to a thread of sleep, hoping to crawl back into the bed. We did and I dozed for a bit before getting up to start the day. This has been going on for weeks. Making me somewhat less than pleasant to be around.

The current outbreak of this insidious ailment is on my eyelids and neck. My torso has calmed down from the outbreak last week. He who loves me asked if I was absolutely certain I had not come into contact with any poison vines .......... I am quite certain that I did not come into direct or even indirect contact, as the outbreak was under my foundation garments. He does try to help, but that question was just annoying. Like I ran naked through some poison ivy and maybe rolled around in it.

I am sleep deprived, tired, irritable and just plain cranky. Not at all nice to be around. He who obtained hearing aids can now hear me mutter to myself about my lot in life. 

Green To Clean finally sent the replacement chemicals for the miracle it says it will perform on our green pool. We bought more chlorine and shock and have been diligently back washing and vacuuming the pool bottom, but it is still green. I am not optimistic.

So, you may be asking yourself why I am sharing my misery with you. I have no idea. Misery loves company?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Caller ID

"Hello, Kan-Do Kampground, how can I help you?"

Caller: "Where are you at?" I am so tempted to say I am at work, where are you? Instead I give driving instructions. Then she asks what time my pool closes. I explain the status of my green pool and tell her that the pool would normally be open until 7.

She calls back and asks if I have any camp spots for the weekend. I tell her that I do and she tells me that she will be here in an hour. I say okay. She hangs up.

And again, she calls to ask about the pool. Same person. Same number on caller ID. Once again I explain the status of my sick and crippled pool. She then wants to know if I know about any other pools. I refer her to my competition. "Do you know the number?" Actually, I do. But I am busy with a customer who is in front of me trying to give me money, so I tell her to look it up. After all, she found my number ......... three times.

It is now 7:00. Even if the pool were not green, it is closed. A goofy looking man comes in with a ball cap on sideways. "We are here to swim!" I tell him that the pool is closed and that it has algae in it. He stares at me in disbelief. "What?" he says.

I look back at him and wonder about his drug usage. He has all his teeth, but maybe he is using something other than meth. He is clearly lacking in the brain cell department. I simply repeat that the pool is closed.

"Huh, well, do we at least get free sodas for driving all this way?" I laugh at him and am about to ask which drug he is on when I hear a familiar voice telling him that they are in the "wrong place". It is my phone caller.

Perhaps these could be the people who picked my flowers to put in my skimmer baskets ....... or relatives of the perpetrator of pool misdeeds?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"They Never Draw Blood"

The drought has not claimed everything. This sweet potato vine is from last year. It survived the winter and has grown, and grown. This is one plant. My secret? This is where I dump the mop bucket. I know I could pour that dirty water down the drain. Oscar, my resident old man of 12 pretty much refuses to go outside without me standing watch. I try to go in and take them out every few hours ........

"Come on, Oscar, lets go pee-pee." I try to entice him to the back door with promises of treats and toys and my presence. The other two will line up dutifully and follow me to the back door. Wall-E will sometimes balk at the heat and look up as if to say, "That's okay, Gramma, I can hold it til next trip." Oscar looks up from his throne (Emmy's old bed with both her pillow and his on top) and says, "No, I'm good. That puddle you just mopped up? Mine." And so, this is what I feed this plant. Water, bleach, Lysol ..... and dog pee.

My pictures are crooked, something has gone awry in the land of Kathy's blog. The morning glory feeds on the same diet as the sweet potato vine. Perhaps I have made a monumental gardening discovery! Who knew dog pee was good for plants? Just ornamental ones, not edible ones ..... I have standards!

What I was trying to get a shot of , was the branch that is looped over the tree. The main branch that this one shoots off of goes to the left. The winds are crazy strong and the weight of the peaches is holding this one over the tree.

I started picking today. I have two buckets so far. I have eaten 4 peaches while picking. I call it taste testing. They are really good and sweet this year. Just not very big. The wind chimes have kept the birds at bay. There are still a lot on the tree that are rock hard. I have to feel each one. If it has a little "give" when you squeeze it, it is ready. If not, you wait. How do I know this? Taste testing .....

Speaking of taste and food ....... He who is unable to administer his own meds and has just a general idea of what he takes had an appointment today for his 6 month check-up and RX refills. The man had a heart attack 12 years ago. He takes three different things for his cholesterol. So, I always make his appointments for mornings ....... so that he is fasting upon arrival and they can draw blood. Besides that he never eats breakfast. Okay, maybe on occasion, but it is rare that he will eat upon awakening.

I woke him at 10, his appointment was for 11. I did not say NOT to eat, because he should already know that they will need blood. I went back out to my garden and peach tree. I was happily on task and saw him drive his truck towards me to tell me he was leaving (I have mentioned before that he never walks anywhere that he could drive to, no matter how short the distance). I look up from my bean picking to say goodbye and see that he is CHEWING FOOD.

Admittedly, I was not diplomatic when I screeched "You are eating, you know they will need blood, WHY ARE YOU EATING!". Actually I was only exasperated at that point. I did not get MAD until he looked all innocent and informed me that "they never draw blood". "OH SWEET LORD! Of course they do! How else to measure the efficiency of the drugs you take, What is wrong with you?"

We have been going to this clinic for over two years now. They always draw blood when you go in and are out of prescriptions. True, the last time he went was for a pulled muscle in his back and there was no needle involved. And this was only because I MADE him go after he went to a chiropractor and the "adjustment" made his back hurt worse than before. I had already diagnosed the problem as a pulled muscle and told the man the only cure was heat and ice and rest. And, guess what? I was right.

I must go take my blood pressure meds now, and my serotonin uptake before he who drives hither and thither comes home. I gave him strict instructions to bring the written prescriptions to me and not get them filled like he did last time and screw up my money saving efforts! Last time, when they drew his blood!