Misc catch-up

I sort of fell off the map for a few weeks.  Oopsie.  I’ve been trying to keep up with reading everybody’s blogs but have failed at that too for the most part.  Sorry.  ❤

L has been working a swing shift and in an effort to see him, I’ve gone completely wonky.  Turns out trying to stay awake when on those migraine meds put me right back into dopey land.  I don’t recommend it.  I had one of my famous 5 day migraines due to a storm system -before- he went on swing shift, so that accounts for the first missing week.

So to update for the missing time while I was being slightly crazy again and not curled up into bed with a never-ending migraine.  You’ll have to dig to find the tag you’re interested in.  Most have photos for easy scrolling and skipping around!  🙂

I went back to my dermatologist; there was a scheduling issue at the office and they had to change my appointment and I had to see a different doctor, which I wasn’t too happy about.  I panic enough with doctors as it is and the reason I go is a progressive thing that the new doctor had no clue what the situation was now versus where it had started.  She was nice enough, though.  She prescribed a new medication for me to try and if it doesn’t work, she wants to try to fight my insurance to try to get some sort of twice a week light therapy.  Thankfully, we have pretty good insurance but we still haven’t met our high deductible yet…somehow.  Even after the insurance knocked down the pharmacy’s price, this still makes me cringe….and note it’s for a 15 day supply.  *cries*


It could be worse, I know, but I’m used to my medications being free or much, much cheaper.  I guess morphea isn’t life threatening (though mine is painful due to its location and how thick it is, which is why the doctors are aggressively treating it), so they don’t much care to cover the costs more than telling the pharmacy to knock the price down from 400.99 to 289.70.  Lucky me, guess that savings will cover my dermatology office visit.

As a bit of a fun twist, some of our friends actually came up to visit us.

One flew up from North Carolina, while two others drove up from Maryland and Connecticut.  It was a miserably cold, rainy weekend that we had planned several months ago.  We had hoped to go camping in the Adirondacks (before I sprained my ankle), so I guess I’m glad the weather was awful so I didn’t have to get left behind.

Instead, we went to an aquarium and then saw Beauty and the Beast (finally!!!)

Fun fact: I think the Beauty and the Beast cartoon was the first movie I ever saw in a theater.  I seem to remember my Uncle Vince taking me?  Not sure if I’m remembering that correctly or not.

We also drove down to Howe’s Caverns and did a lantern tour.

The Caverns themselves weren’t the most impressive or interesting that I’ve been to (though the winding way in and out was a ton of fun and unique) but the lantern portion of it made it well worth the trip.  I’m not sure if every group gets to walk back on their own, without the guide and armed only with their own little candles or if we were lucky because we were a small group and there were no other tours, but it was AWESOME to get to wander around alone in a dark cave.  I’d highly recommend doing a lantern tour there if it’s always like that.

The caverns before the guide turned off all the lights and left us alone:


Since our friends have left, I’ve spent most of my time outside working in the gardens.

I feel a bit like a Disney princess out there lately.

The birds are completely unafraid and after the initial shock of having a human out there with them, they’ll happily come to within just a few feet of me.  One little chickadee in particular will even hop up to me if I’m sitting and chirp at me when I say hello.

So far this spring in our yard (that I’ve noticed at our feeders), we’ve had black-capped chickadees, blue jays, tufted titmouse, red-bellied woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, american robins, american goldfinch, white-breasted nuthatches, dark-eyed junco, chipping sparrows, northern cardinals, common grackles, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and even a pileated woodpecker that scared my husband half to death because he didn’t realize just how large they were.  If we go to the common fields we own with our hippy-dippy neighborhood, there are some nesting canada geese, a flock of turkeys, eastern bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, and tree swallows from just a quick glance.  I saw the guy that does the egg count there at the nest boxes over the weekend, so look forward to seeing the official counts.  🙂  I’ve never been much of a birder but it’s hard not to take an interest when there is so much variety in your own backyard.

We’ve been cleaning several of our garden beds this spring — a few of which we haven’t touched since we moved here.  They were infested with saplings and (unfortunately for L) poison ivy.

I rebuilt a collapsed retaining wall over the weekend while L worked on weeding a bed of daffodils we planted last fall; it’s still hard for me to crawl around on the ground with my ankle stabilized.  We planted the daffodils pretty far apart so we could execute our plan of planting strawberries between the bulbs this spring so we could have a useful bed all through the year.  The strawberry plants, 75 of them, arrived over the weekend, so we’ve been planting like crazy.  We’re not quite done yet since the weather keeps dumping rain on us, but we’re getting close!

One of the beds, we’re completely redoing.  I started prying out the years of junk that the previous owners had left in it — broken bricks, tiles, assorted rocks — in preparation for tilling.  Poor L.  He started helping and moved a brick and freaked out.  He thought he found a nest of baby snakes.  Nope.


I thought he was going to have a heart-attack when I rushed in and scooped the little guys up (there were three of them) to move them.  He’ll eat a berry I pick out in the forest but doesn’t trust me to know what I can and can’t pick up critter-wise…  I know the salamanders (northern redbacks as far as I can tell) would have burrowed back into the soil, but since we were getting ready to till the area, I didn’t want them to get hurt and I know of an area in the side yard where a few hang out, so I hope they’ll be okay there.  Better than chopped up by tiller blades?

Once the bed is fully prepped, I’m putting a pink lemonade blueberry bush in that garden and calling it a done deal….and then building a sloped wall behind it and grading out that part of the yard to help with some of the drainage.  We’ve also planted a dwarf plum for L.  He loves plums and has decided since I proved I can grow white peaches in a zone 5 that I can grow plums for him as well.  I need to learn a way to preserve them that he’ll eat — he doesn’t eat jams or jellies…so lots of Chinese plum sauce? 😛

I think after the flower bed rehab, I might move our raised garden and break it down to more of a square foot gardening type of thing for ease.  It’s pretty large and unwieldy right now and L is getting more into gardening, so I think he may become more invested and active if he has his own little gardens to grow his favorite vegetables versus having to put up with whatever it is I plant.  L REALLY wants to build a CNC type of robot to manage the one we have now.  I think gardening is relaxing and rewarding, so square-foot gardening may seem more manageable to him.  He’s the type of person that hates to stop in the middle of a task, so it would be smaller tasks….and less yard to mow in the part of the yard that I dislike mowing the most. 😀

…and crafting.  My favorite thing of all!

I’ve been knitting a little on my RPG scarf — there aren’t many things to keep me tied to my computer and that’s really the only place I knit, so it has been slow going.


I’ve started rewatching one of my favorite old animes, Bleach, while cross-stitching.  It’s weird watching it in English but I wouldn’t be able to stitch if I had to read subtitles so I’m having to adjust to the dubbed voiced actors.  I miss Renji’s Japanese voice. 😦  Bonus is that I can skip the filler arcs!  They do a decent job integrating them and I enjoyed them enough when I was back in college waiting for each one to come out weekly, but it’s nice just getting to watch main arc this time through.  I never actually finished the show because the fillers NEVER seemed to end.  It’s finally time to do so.

…which means cross-stitch progress!  I’m past 1,000 stitches now and even more since this last photo.  I’m still enjoying stitching, which is good.  Probably bad though because I don’t want to do anything else except garden…and I have sooo much I need to do!


…and last of all, since it was Mother’s Day:

Image (11)

Mom and I when I was probably about 3 or 4.  I’m still just as sour and grumpy.

…and because you can’t have a mom without a grandparents somewhere, here are my Granny Boo (Mom’s mother) and Grandmother (Dad’s mom) at my high school graduation forever ago.


Last year, Mom asked for photographs of flowers and animals from our yard since we have so much diversity and I inherited (yay) the green thumbs (Mom did not), so I spent all of last year taking pictures and then had a book made and sent it to her.   🙂  Thankfully, Mom loved it and immediately understood all of little references that I slipped in there that L didn’t recognize.

Yard and a bit of reminiscing

I finally had to cave and get a brace for my ankle.  😦

Two weeks later and it’s still swelling and hurting, so I’m not quite sure what to do with it.  I’ve never injured my ankles before — they’re usually quite faithfully loyal — so this has been quite a pain, very literally.

L noticed that the sprained one is swelling after I’ve been moving around and he’s totally oblivious, so if he’s noticing, it’s bad.  Frustration!  Good news is the brace seems to help stabilize everything and keep the swelling down.

To nurse my injured pride and sore ankle, I decided to spend the weekend in my favorite spot: my yard.

I conned L into digging a nice big hole and planted a beautiful mountain laurel.  I forget the exact cultivar — I’ll check and update when it’s daytime — but it should bloom a beautiful dark red instead of the normal white or pink.  I’m very excited.

Not much has came up yet, as it’s still pretty chilly here — our daffodils and hyacinths are still in full bloom, with just a few tulips (the ones the deer haven’t had a field day with yet) peeking up.

Like these “Little Beauty” tulips!


Our bird friends are also starting to show back up in force.  Notably, the goldfinches have changed colors at long last!


We have droves of them.  Our redbud was so full of them last year that it gleamed yellow instead of the bright pink it should have.  This year looks like we’ll have a similar turn out.  🙂

The redbud is probably one of my favorite things about our yard.  It’s right outside of our bedroom window, which means the birds singing at the crack of dawn wake me up…at the crack of dawn…which can be super annoying, but it provides lots of entertainment during the day.

There’s one specific knot in the tree that attracts the attention of my current favorite avian resident, the downy woodpecker.  Every day he takes a few of the sunflower seeds from our feeder and cracks them open in the same exact spot.  Awesomely enough, a few white-breasted nuthatches have begun to do the same.   …but the downy woodpecker is still cuter if you ask me.  :3


I didn’t actually do much yard work this weekend, just shuffled around and poked at things.

…except this guy, I didn’t poke him.  I just said hi and let him go back to being his cute little self.  🙂


One of my proudest finds was my white peach tree not only survived (suck on that nay-sayers!) but has produced its first bud!  I’ve heard nothing but negativity from a certain southern “relation” that lives in a state known for growing peaches about how I’ll NEVER have a peach tree survive here, much less produce anything.  I just want to show this to the world and rejoice.  Seriously, I love peaches.  This was a very, very exciting discovery.  I realize one blossom will not be enough to pollinate (it is a self-pollinating variety) or yield anything, but it’s a step in the right direction!  The tree is still young but it’s trying! ❤


The last and perhaps truly happiest discovery was, despite literally being mowed over (twice) last year, another of my trees survived.  It may be small, but it is mighty.


Happy dance!!!

This apple tree is super special to me.  One of my cousins brought it to me as a wee little twig and I planted it soon after we moved here. Somehow is has survived through all of the abuse so it must have a good root system at least.  It’s a whopping 2 inches tall at this point after the last mowing down.  I’m surrounding it with bricks now. >_>

This tree holds the secret of my childhood.  It’s a start from my Granny Boo’s apple tree.

It has the tiniest, pinkest fleshed apples I’ve ever seen.  They’re tart and sweet and perfect.

…and cows love them.

…and I loved to jump on rotten ones.

It makes the BEST apple sauce.

My Granny Boo died in 2003, two weeks before I started college.

When I was born, Grandmother said before anybody ever came out to tell the grandparents, Granny Boo hopped up and declared “I hear my baby!”….and then Dad came out to tell everybody that I had been born.  I was the 7th of Granny Boo’s grandchildren but the first she ever asked to keep….demanded, actually.  She told Mom to go back to work and they’d take care of me.

Mom likes to tell me that she did everything in her power to be nothing like her mother, then ended up having her as a daughter.  I’ll take that as a complement.  😛

She lived in the log cabin she was born in (which was old at that point).  You’d think, just by looking at her or talking to her, that she was a backwards hill woman from the Appalachians and that’s the image she loved to trick people into believing.  Truthfully, she’d been around the world as part of the WAAC/WAC in WWII — she was recruited because she worked at the telephone company and took French in high school, then became part of the MP.  If you got her drunk, she would try to teach you jujutsu.  She was intelligent, witty, and downright hilarious…in addition to being a relatively wicked mountain woman.


On the back of this photo, Granny Boo had written ” Apr. 16 Col Hobby  Apr. 17 President Roosevelt   I was all dressed up – ready to guard them from all danger”.

I graduated high school a year early and Granny Boo took great pride in telling everybody that she taught me everything I knew.  As it would turn out, she also graduated high school at the same age so felt the bragging rights were appropriate.

We were at Granny Boo’s playing cards — she had a fierce competitive spirit — the night she her aortic aneurysm ruptured.  She lost the hand of Skip Bo and we thought she was being a sore loser (an unfortunate trait I did inherit but have worked to overcome).  She had emergency surgery to repair the tear — the aneurysm was the size of a football — but they couldn’t get her off of the ventilator.

I ended up graduating college early as well, so I think that would have made Granny Boo proud.  I’ve not done much with the degree but it exists and I guess that’s what matters.

I still have a few jars of her apple sauce from our last canning season on my shelf downstairs.  The seals are good and they look as beautiful as the day they were made…but I dare not open them.

Someday, probably not for another 10 or 15 years, I hope my little apple tree will be big enough to make some apples so I can finally have some of that apple sauce again.  🙂

Amber and Granny Boo




Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away

I had two doctor appointments last week — one my annual and the other with the ophthalmologist.  Thankfully they both went well and I no longer have to have monthly appointments with the latter!  I do, however, get to have an ultrasound done on my eyes at my next visit in three months.  I didn’t know those were possible, but I also didn’t know what I looked like with fluorescent eyes until last week either.  I was pretty creepy.  @.@

A really bizarre thing happen after my eye appointment.  We’d taken our little Mini Schnauzer to be groomed and after we returned home from the doctor, the groomer called us and said our little gal was ready to be picked up.  Logan went to go get her and the whole place was shut down a good three to four hours before their closing time.  Somewhere along the line, our brat was over-looked and they closed the place with her still locked inside, running wild and free.  I, of course, had a series of panic attacks and feared for the worse for my minion.  L was just furious they wasted his time and filed a police report in case anything did happen to her, but the cop said there was nothing they could do otherwise.  The next morning we got a panicked call from the crying assistant who’d locked our dog inside.  The dog didn’t seem affected at all other than being hungry; she met the assistant at the door, barking her little head off.  She did take a really good nap once she got home though.


…and yes, the little brat put herself under the blanket.  She’s not rotten at all.

The weather here was gorgeous last week, to the point I didn’t spend much time inside at all…until today when all of the heat decided to hit at once.

L and I reworked a few of our flower beds; the yard is more gardens than grass, which I’ll never complain about.  I will, however, complain endlessly about spirea, poison ivy, and wild strawberries.  They’re all gone now, though!  Our big buddy wanted to help, but he’s not very useful unless it comes to digging for chipmunks.  He more or less just hangs out and ends up covered in strawberry runners.


Since I’ve been showing off my fur kids, I might as well include my side-kick.  She’s the last of the babies — we have two dogs and three cats — and she’s yet to make an appearance on this blog, though how I’m not sure.  I can’t go anywhere without her…she won’t even let me brush my teeth without a lookout.  🙂


She’s also my resident fabric inspector.  It all must be -so- comfortable before she approves it for use.


That fabric was for the gift project…


The photo is from when I was laying out the applique.  It’s probably crazy, but I always take a photo before I fuse anything down or sew a complicated project — it helps me spot mistakes by being able to see it all in one small glance.  Everything on the runner has been fused down now and awaiting a break in the heat so I can use my sewing room again.  🙂

Finally, because it’s been too hot to do much else but hide in the garage (and because they’re the last photos I have to share), I’ve been stripping paint off of a cabinet and seat that came with a Singer 66.  I converted the machine to a hand-crank since the wiring was totally shot and the motor needed more rehab than I cared to commit my time towards.  The poor set was painted a horrible green — and green is my favorite color, so it’s bad when I say it was horrible! — so I’ve started the process of refinishing it.

The photos may look really gross but it’s the Citristrip working its magic.  After about half an hour after application, the green paint sloughed right off with absolutely no effort. The wood underneath is gorgeous and looks like it will need minimal rehab before polishing it. Hooray!  I need to do a few touch ups to get some corners and then I get to tackle the cabinet in addition to the storage seat.  Exciting!