Poor Greta

She’s our longhair cat.  Unfortunately, she hates being brushed, to the point at which she will claw and bite, if I persist.  So, every year during summer shedding season, she gets a few mats in her coat.  This morning, my other half noticed a raw patch on her skin about the size of a dime, where a mat had been.  By the time we got her into the vet an hour later, it had grown to the size of a dime store turtle.  We had to leave her there for sedation and stitches.

The good news is the people who work at this veterinarian are excellent, and their fees are quite reasonable.  A father and son team own the practice, and I think most of the other vets who work for them split their time between there, and another practice elsewhere.

Greta was also probably due for her annual checkup, and distemper/rhino/etc. combo shot, although I hadn’t gotten a postcard in the mail yet.  She passed her checkup, but that injury does need treatment.   Fortunately, this vet accepts personal checks, and VISA (but not Amex), because I probably don’t have enough cash on hand to fork over a handful of Jacksons.  I generally don’t pay greenbacks if the bill reaches three figures, anyway.

Having to run over to the vet first thing in the morning while I was still undercaffeinated and hadn’t taken a shower yet wasn’t much fun, but it had to be done.  We should have her back by dinner time.

Veggies for Mom

My mom stopped cooking anything, probably close to two decades ago.  Still, she loves it when we bring over some freshly harvested produce from our own veggie garden.  She’s up for two heirloom tomatoes, a cucumber, and a cantaloupe.  Butchering and ingesting those only invloves a knife, fork, and spoon.

As far as the growing season is going, we have at least another two dozen melons on the way, most of which are a Tuscan type, some cukes, a boatload of tomatoes, pole beans, bush beans, peppers, and tomatillos.  Most of it’s doing fine.  The tomatillo harvest is a bit of bust this year.  With all the rain, half the big slicer tomatoes are cracking, and scarring over, at the stem end.  Nothing we can do about that, other than pick them when they first start to turn, and let them bench ripen.  I’m amazed the melons didn’t rot.  OTOH, as good as the melon harvest is, they’re not as sweet this year as they would have been with less rain.

We got not one eggplant from any of the three we planted.  The jalapeño and cayenne harvest is so-so.  The mini-sweet peppers are coming in fast and furious, but they aren’t starting to ripen yet.

My next door neighbors no longer keep chickens.  We traded them five or six trailer loads of wood mulch in Spring for a load of sheep dung compost from their farm down the road.  We also loaned them both our big and small trailers to move around their big tractor, and the stuff we sort of swapped  He has his own big trailer, but it’s non-op; ours works, right down to the tail lights and brakes, and he has the truck to pull it.

Last week, I gave them a sampler of our organic produce.  I would never give away anything that had any blemishes; most organic produce does have some.  It was just a small sampler:  one of each of four different things, along with four jalapeños.  It was like giving them a flight instead of a half gallon growler, so to speak.  They let us go grab whatever peaches we wanted off their trees.  Not many were left; It’s a fair deal, I think.

Sunscreen

For the life of me, I couldn’t find any sunscreen in any grocery store that had an SPF of less than 30.  I already had some of that, and anything with a higher SPF is a marketing gimmick.  I wanted SPF 4, because the old stuff I had of that caliber was so old that it came out of the squeeze bottle like milk instead of lotion.  I don’t need anything more than 8, even in late Spring, when the sun first emerges in earnest.  I tan like crazy, as a rule, and haven’t gotten sunburned in over 30 years — not even on the golf course.  Nobody wants to fry in the sun, but getting enough to kick up your vitamin D production, so you can metabolize calcium properly is not a bad thing.

Soooooooo, I ordered some Banana Boat SPF4 waterproof spray online.  It arrived today.  Yesterday, my other half, who knew I wanted some, came home with a squeeze bottle of Hawaiian Tropic SPF4 lotion.  He found it at WalMart, of all places, when he went to find an oil filter.  I paid him back for it, as he does me, when I pick up something only he’s going to use.

Suddenly, I’m up to my eyeballs in SPF4 sunscreen.  Oh, well.  At least I’ll have enough to last for the next decade, or more.  The creamy lotion version is good for maybe five years before the thickener breaks down, and the spray version doesn’t really die, kinda like 1960s conventional hard contact lenses.

I probably can get away with no sunscreen for half an hour hunting and picking through our veggie garden, but I sure do need it poolside, whether I’m adjusting chemicals, vacuuming the bottom, or floating around on a lounge chair with a cool beverage in the holder.  I wouldn’t be doing any of that if it wasn’t sunny.

Now I Remember

… why I hated this pair of 28″W x 32″L Levi’s.  Other than the copper rivets, they’re all cotton, with no stretch unless they’re wet.  They’re the ones I grabbed to put on to go grocery shopping this evening.  They are so baggy in the butt, and in the thighs.  I must have bought them in the early ’90s.  The ones I still have from the ’70s are cut straighter, which works better for me.

As much as I love jeans for their durability, they can be the bane of my existence.

Rusty to the Rescue

My other half saw something he wanted to get in the Harbor Freight catalog that arrived yesterday.  He figured he’d go down and run his errand before heading to the office.  Fine, except that 45 minute later, I got a call saying he’d locked his key in the truck.  Great.  He didn’t want to call the cops to see if they could slim jim it open for him.  I had to find his spare key, hop in my car and drive down there to deliver it.  The damn GPS sent me on a circuitous route that probably added 20 miles to the trip.  Oddly enough, the easiest part of the way down was that 17 mile stretch of I-95 it directed me to use.  It took me 75 minute to get there, and then I had to call him to say that I was probably within spitting distance of him, but was lost in a maze of shopping centers.  Fortunately, I was only a block away.

I took a much more direct route home, but it still took me just shy of an hour, because I kept hitting every light red.  Let’s hope I never have to do that again, although if I do, I’ll know to countermand the GPS at the beginning to take the shorter route.

For that, I think he owes me dinner.  Maybe half price wings & Yuengs tomorrow at our favorite pub.

Bad Kitty, Bad!

My other half made some bacon this morning, and left me a rasher.  Unfortunately, he left it on the cutting board on a paper towel.  We know our dog didn’t steal it, because he would have eaten the greasy paper towel, too.  The paper towel was intact, so we knew it was Bad Kitty.  She’s our shorthair black cat.

The girl isn’t evil; she’s just sneaky.  Although she may feel proud of her achievement, she’s not getting any cat treats for a week, and she may even get docked a little on her dinner tonight.  It took us several months to shave her obesity off her.  A beer barrel body on a pinhead with dainty small paws is not a good look for any cat.

Even Better …

We thought we might get a case of beer for the loan of our trailer.  Nope.  We’re getting a gift certificate to the restaurant in which our neighbor owns an interest.  We’ve been there a couple of times before to see April Mae and the June Bugs play in the pub section.  It’s on the expensive side.  It also takes half an hour to get there.

They have the best bison burgers and lamb burgers.  I refuse to cook lamb, mostly because I was served way too much of it as a kid, and it smells really funky for hours after it’s done cooking.  Bison, otoh … yum!

Free Case, Maybe

We’re letting our neighbor borrow our big trailer to transport his big tractor back and forth between his other house and the one next to ours.  He has one of his own, but it’s still non-op for whatever reason.  We use our small trailer much more often the large one, and he’s got the truck to pull it.  He also borrowed our small trailer to haul away five loads of mulch from our huge pile that we offered him back in April, and deliver a load of sheep shit compost, because it’s outfitted with 2″x4″ side paneling, so stuff doesn’t fall out of it all over the road.  It diminishes the load volume, and cargo weight, but it gets the job done.

Anyway, he texted my other half to ask what kind of beer we liked.  My other half replied “Yuengling Lager.”  I wish he had replied “Yard’s Tavern Ale,” but Yueng doesn’t clash with anything, so it’s fine if that’s what we end up with.  The thing is, he could have borrowed the trailer without offering anything in return.  We could not ask for better neighbors than he and his wife.

They’re not raising chickens anymore, so they no longer drop off any spare free range eggs.  I miss their Rhodie, Barred Rock, and Ameraucana hens, but I do not miss that Rhodie rooster.  He started getting a little too aggressive; instead of herding the girls under the trees when a hawk flew overhead, he started flupping me on the back of my knees with his wings.  Evidently, he did that to his owner, too, so when he went missing one day, his owner said “Good.  Saves me the trouble.”

Hobnobs, Never Gyp the Wait Staff, and Veggie Garden

We visited mom today, and took her grocery shopping after the thunderstorms broke.  She had her list.  I also wanted to get a few items while I was there that we can find around here, but not at Aldi, so in order to get them, we would have had to make a separate trip.  Might as well get them while we were there.  I found a sleeve of McVitie’s Hobnobs.  Although I almost never buy cookies, because most that I like, with the exception of Florentines, are so easy to make from scratch.  I’ll make an exception for Florentines, and Hobnobs, as a rare treat; I could not bake either one at home.

 

Although we haven’t done this in a while, we used to go out to our favorite pub for dinner after visiting mom.  We did so tonight.  Didn’t get our favorite waitress, who has been there since the beginning, but we got a really good one who had waited our table before.  Here’s my viewpoint on tipping, in the NE United States, anyway.  If the total cost of the meal isn’t that much ($24, for a huge plate of nachos and four draft beers is fairly typical for us), tip at least $3/person; if it’s an expensive meal at a really chi-chi place, stick closer to the 15% norm.  That way, if you want to become “regulars,” nobody is going to groan that you got seated at their table, or give you crappy service.

Tonight, we ordered an inexpensive meal, and I really wanted the two pint glasses in which we were served our brewskis, so I asked our waitress if I could buy them.  They were from River Horse Brewery in Ewing, NJ, and had an angry looking hippo for a logo.  This particular pub will sell the pint glasses, if a customer asks.  Some will; some won’t.  The cost may vary.  This time, we were charged $1 apiece, which she added to our bill.  If you order pint glasses directly from whatever brewery, the going rate is $5 apiece, plus shipping.  Our waitress even offered to go fetch us two clean ones, but I told her there’s no need; we’ll rinse them out when we get home, and run them through the dishwasher.  We would have left her the same good tip if the answer had been “No, I’m sorry we can’t sell them.”  Ask, and you might get; don’t ask, and you won’t get.  Right?

Pubs get cases of logo pint glasses for free from breweries, as promotions.  As long as more promotional glasses come in, they have nothing to lose by selling a few to customers, even if it’s for a paltry amount.  We’ve built up quite a large collection of pint glasses this way, plus added some Stella Artois gold rimmed glasses, and a few pilsener glasses via either free promos, or buy a 12-pack, and get one promos.

On to the veggie garden!  We’re getting jalapeños, cayennes, yellow straightneck squash, zucchinis, Kentucky Wonder pole beans, and Blue Lake bush beans, all ready for the picking.  What’s coming in big and strong, but are not yet ready for the picking are tomatoes, hard squash, and Tuscan-type hybrid melons.  The heirloom varieties look really good this year — so far.  Fingers crossed.