Again, It Coulda Been Worse

Last night around midnight I heard the sounds I had only heard about on television. On television they were saying, "If you hear the sound of a loud train coming through your neighborhood, seek shelter on the lowest floor of your house, or a closet". An', that's just what I did. I quickly got into a closet. It was a tornado and it was thunderous and rumbling; I thought it was going to come right through the walls of the house at any millisecond. Boy, was I praying!!!When it got 'right here', I was shouting my prayers in that blackened closet! The dogs were barking, but I could hardly hear them in all the loud noise. I was praying for our neighbors the loudest. The tornado didn't actually touch down in our neighborhood, but skipped over the field and took out a couple of trailors, but apparently no-one, thank God, was home. I was glued to the tv as much as I could be, when it would stay on (we have satellite). Chief meteorologist Margaret Orr on Channel 6 was very concerned about obvious tornadic activity north of Lake Ponchartrain, so that's where her main point of concentration was. When she looked at our area, where the storm had just passed, she said, surprised, "Oh...that area is showing some spinning going on there". Uh yeahhhh! Hellloooo. This morning, a smart-mouthed, wise-guy weatherman, that Cappy isn't all that fond of, said that he doubted it was a tornado, because looking at his computer stuff, it hadn't even shown up. He shoulda been watching Margaret's computers then.

Sonia, who lives across the street, was out picking up downed limbs and foam insulation from who knows where, when a gentleman, driving through, had her stop and talk over the happenings around town. He said there was also storm damage down along the main drag of town.I'll have to go out later and take a look. Once't again, our patio is trashed. As it was, it wasn't in all that good a shape; I'd taken out the kitchen table and boxes of stuff to be tossed to the road. But it got stirred around prittee good, and when I looked out the back door this morning, it reminded me of how it looked when I came home from running away from the last hurricane.

I always call this neighbor's yard, "Ol' Man Kelsey's Pond". (from Ernest T. Bass on the Andy Griffeth Show) If it's been dry for awhile, it's Ol' Man Kelsey's Crick. Now last night after the ton of rain we got, I looked over there and it was , Ol' Man Kelsey's Ocean. The storm went right thataway, skipped over that sugar cane field, and took out those two trailors, over there a bit beyond the trees. Now Ol' Man Kelsey (not my neighbor's real name) has a bunch of stuff to clean up around his 'pond'.

I have somebody's roof shingles to pick up. Not ours, though. I just now stepped out back and took this picture of two of the houses right next door and across the street from them, whose roofs are still sporting the bright blue tarps, from the last major hurricane, which blew through here last September.

Cappy called and said they'd had a very rough night out there on the boat. It was windy, raining, and hailing to beat the band. This morning, schools are closed in Houma, and the people in his company's office couldn't get to work because of flooding. One of the guys told him that the water is up to his windows and that his and other streets in town are full of water. He told Cappy, laughing, "Come and get me!"
Well, here it is noon and I'm still staggering around all groggy, from lack of sleep last night. The weather radio kept going off with it's loud alarm, keeping me up on all the storms in the area. I shared the bed with a bunch of hangered clothes that I had hurridly taken out of the closet. (No need to rush to put them back, tonight promises to have more thunderstorms, and maybe a replay of last night's adventures.) This morning the dogs woke me up barking furiously at somebody outside. Ohhhh...the granite guy for the kitchen countertops, I thought. I answered the door in the rumpled clothes I was still wearing from yesterday, having been told to sleep in your clothes during bad weather down here, cuz ya never know, but it was a couple of guys who were politely asking if they could forage from my pile of stuff in the yard, that Darryl and Ren had taken down last Sunday. I told them GLADLY they could take as much as they wanted. The garbage guys didn't take one splinter of it. Now I gotta figger out what to do with what they didn't take, which is still a lot, and how to do it, afore Cappy comes home....next Thursday, and I'm still washing coffee cups and pans in the bathroom sink! Keith the cabinet guy still hasn't come back, or let me know about his electrician. The inside of the house looks or feels as bad as the outside. Man. Ahhh, well...it could be worse. For now, anyhow, I still have a roof over my head, a sink, and a pot to...uh...cook in.


The Process of Progress

I went to bed last night, fully expecting to blissfully sleep in, for a change, but this morning the phone woke me up. It was Keith, the guy from Southern Cabinets wanting to come right out and begin installing the new kitchen stuffsus!!! He asked if we had gotten the old stuff taken out, and I said, "Yes! Just yesterday!" A little while later, he pulled in with a truckload of butter colored (I call it 'sun-washed') boxes. He had to make a couple of trips, but he and a Mr. Ricky began installing them. They had this cool gadget I'd never seen. It is a 360 degree laser level. I hope the beam shows up...my flash insisted on catching it, even when I didn't want it to flash. I guess you'd have to click on the picture to see it; but only if you want to...heck, to you it might be 'old hat'. For me, I just thought it was downright coolness.They still have more to do, like put on the doors, and the 'jewelry' for the doors, that being the pulls and handles. I had spent a lot of time in the stores and online looking for the perfect style. I had just about given up, when I began to more closely inspect the handles that were on the existing old cabinets. Although they had been washed about a billion times over the twenty years they had been on there, they had taken on a 'patina'. They had become almost the same color of the dark wood to which they were attached. Since they were going to be tossed to the road anyhow, I unscrewed them, put them in a sink with vinegar and other elixers and let them soak. When I took a toothbrush to them, I was amazed at the beautiful bronze color that appeared, and immediately fell in love with them. Wow! No wonder the owner had picked them out in the first place. My quest was over! I found my treasure; my kitchen jewelry; I found my booty with my own two hands! Whoo Hoo.

It's all starting to come together nicely. Mr. Tim, the floor tile guy has been called and will be stopping by to put down some more tile where the divider cabinets had been. Mr. Chris Z., the carpenter is scheduled to help Keith with the over the stove fan installment, moving the fridge, etc. An electrician has still to be found.
Hey, Cappy and I are getting excited!

One thing, tho'. Between Keith's trips, apparently something had happened. As he was installing one of the cabinets, he said, "One of your dogs put paw prints in this one and got it dirty". I wonder how that happened.


They Trashed Our Kitchen & Laughed About It.

Before all the problems with the country's financial upheaval, last Fall, we contracted our cabinet guy to build us new kitchen cupboards because we are sadly lacking in storage space. So we were committed. Right now, tonight, the dogs are worried that their Mom might have to be. Their world is all upside down here in the house. As usual, I was getting in the workers' way with the camera, wanting to document the whole thing for ya.
Every time I get the camera out SparkyBear thinks he has to have his face in the picture. I always show him his picture on the computer when I take it, so the he knows what the camera is, believe it or not. I just intended to show the demolition process, but the minute the camera came out, he kept whining & jumping and getting in the way of the camera, until I said, "Oh, alright". When I say that, he sits quietly and poses. So alright, there he is. (Brat.)

Cappy's sister, Maria's husband, Darryl and their son, Ren came over to do the 'de-construction' of the kitchen today.

They came in and got right busy on it.

Ok, Here's the drill. I think it was Ren's first time at handling an electric screwdriver, but once he caught on, he did very well.

It wasn't easy, but they kept right at it, til they were finished. They only stopped for lunch, which I had made. I had some chicken in the oven and a pot of white beans on the stove, which, in hindsight, wasn't all that good an idea, as they were working all around the stove. I was afraid they might get burned or the pot might get knocked over, which would be the usual likely thing to have happen, as most of 'yall' know from my stories in the past, but not today. Anytime I thought one of them got too close, I ran and grabbed the pot and relegated it for safe keeping in the other room. When I thought it was safe, I ran and put it back to cook some more. It turned out ok. (Yow! Who is that Masked Man?) They worked great as a team, finished the job, and unlike most workers...PROFESSIONAL workers who come in, they brought the shop vac and cleaned up after themselves. wow. The pros could take a lesson from these guys.

Hi Ho, 'Slivers' and away they went, a job well done.

I'm hoping the garbage guys will pick this all up. If they don't I might have to pick up a few things each garbage day, stuff it into the garbage cans and have them take it away a little at a time. They come twice a week.
I can tell that the dogs don't understand the improvement. Tonight MarkyBear was barking at the wall where the sink 'usta was', and Sparky keeps pacing around the kitchen snooping at everything thats not there. (?)
I was told that Keith and his crew would be here no later than the middle of the week to put in the new kitchen. It's Sunday right now...Monday, Tuesday...Wednesday <:-s I still have that bean pot to wash, so Cappy told me to wash it in the bathtub. He's always laughingly calling us "Delightfully trashy", but I dunno, the bathtub???
(Wednesday...sighhhh...I'll letcha know.)


A 'Day' Late And a...Mardi Gras Video...Finally.

This pretty girl is Melinda!

Well, I realize Mardi Gras has been over for almost a month now, and I shoulda had pictures and this video up awhile back. My decisions of late have been based on the theory, "Should I stop the rush I'm rushing to do this next rush, or rush the rush I'm rushing now?" Aww, it's ok, I know everybody's life is like that right now, isn't it? Anyway, I wish I knew which video/slideshow maker was a pansy. One that I could easily pin to the ground in hand-to-key combat. I always have a DELL of a time fighting with the video movie makers; and we have three of them! (on our Dell computer)They each want a piece of me, so I put on my game face and try bullying my way around them, then pick the one that's in the better mood to try to reason with. HAH! I struggled with it, and got it completed after it froze the computer seven times, rebooting, and starting all over. (no exaggeration...7...count 'em; seven times.)Like my Grandpa used to say, "It's like carving stone with a butter-knife". Then after I finally did finish it, I viewed it. I winced; I banged my head on the keyboard as I watched the final, completed project, which you have here. Ok, so enough whining already. Soooo nowwwww, whatcha got here, is a slideshow entitled, "Dan's 2009 Mardi Gras Visit". Dan and Jennifer brought most of the kids down and had a great time. They brought "Mr. D." the puppet from Jennifer's office, who has 'traveled' all over the world with people from her work. They took him a lot of places, but we need to get pictures from them. Cappy and I got to squish and cuddle Chase, the baby a whole lot, while the rest of the crew went to New Orleans for the big parades. I should have gotten more pictures of him, mostly climbing up on Grandpa Cappy's lap, which he loved doing an whole lot. One of Cappy's Godson's, Patrick, a Marine(!) from Houston came over to attend his very first Mardi Gras with us. Our friends David and Ginger's son. We were truly honored to have him over and hope he makes a habit of coming to visit, now that he drives and has a cool car. (He's the handsome tall drink of water with the black jacket.)On Saturday we went to Lafayette to meet up with Cappy's relatives and party all day, watching a couple of parades. I didn't get any pictures of the night parade, but took plenty of the Childrens' Parade. I hope you get the feel of being at the party, even tho you might not recognize folks, but come on along and watch the parade with us.
(You might know it. I see it still wants to fight. When the play thingy is pushed, it goes to "buffering", whatever That means. I left it doing it's 'thang' and went in the other room. When it thought I wasn't looking, I heard it start playing, so came in and started watching it again...til it caught me and started the buffering business again. If you don't mind all that, and are more patient than I am, ya just might see the family stuff and parade. Then again, it might work just great for you, as long as it knows I'm not around :-)


Fast Ball...From Piller to Post

This is a video that should have been posted a couple of months ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw4WFgJTi9s YouTube didn't put it in the best quality format, but it's still fun. It's Cappy's sister and his niece singing. (I did answer Blythe...I nodded my head yes..in case you wonder, in the beginning of the video)
AND...I really haven't forgotten to work on our Mardi Gras slideshows, honestly! Ever feel like the faster you go, the farther behind you get sometimes? Well, thas me. I got set back, by being a nursemaid to SparkyBear, making sure he got all his pills taken, usually disguised as a juicy bite of cheese, then trying not to neglect my own health, taking my own handful of vitamins, and taking Cappy's few meds out to him on the Boat. So anyhow, for the most part we got back on keel. When Dan and Jennifer and the kids came down it was a wonderful week of rushing and hugging and having a lot of fun, catching up with family, catching beads, plus over-eating. Well, when they left, Cappy got on the canning kick, which was also a lot of fun, but time consuming. During the whole time, I've been fully aware that our cabinet maker has already gotten our 'kitchen' rebuilt, painted, curing, probably the 'jewelry'...drawer pulls and handles put on them. I've been trying to assemble all the other accoutrements that go with it, and line up the guys who are going to install said accoutrements. For months and months, even, I've been looking online, letting my fingies do the walking, finding things...or trying to find things, anyhow. Only yesterday I found the 12" deep sink we want, so ordered it. Now it needs a faucet...am scouring reviews to find the least troublesome and a good deal, to boot. I got the wallpaper. I got a fancy-shmancy lamp...not too much on the shmancy side...Cappy does live here, too. I got the corbels for under the shiny black granite table, but couldn't find a danged post that looked nice to hold it up...all I needed was just one. I've walked through Lowe's over and over again, thinking I must have missed something. Home "Despot" the same. Online...oh sure...$75 for one post. Uh...not. I finally picked one up yesterday, and not for any stinkin' $75 plus postage either. That's at least one more thing I can cross off my "Get 'er Done Last Month" list.
The garden desperately needs my attention. The flower beds desperately need my attention. The patio desperately needs my attention. The fruit trees desperately need my attention. It all needs doing now. We gots more company coming when Cappy gets off the boat next time...oh migosh, the bedroom has to be spruced up and made ready. But I can't wait to see them...it's Mr. Ed and Miss Jean!!! we LOVE them!
Know how they say life comes at you fast? It sure does, doesn't it? Life is a blast...life is a ball, but it sure comes at you fast.


Something's Fishy

Oh my goodness...I'm so far behind in getting 'Yall' updated on all the news that it just aint not funny, is it? Because I can do this one today kinda/sorta quickly, I'll just do it. So many people have been asking about SparkyBear da Brat that I'd better let you know he's doing much better. Once in awhile he'll get to acting wild and crazy as usual with his brother, MarkyBear and then when he goes to jump up onto the couch, he's all sore again and whines for me to lift him up there along with one of his prized, raggedy toys that's hanging out of his mouth. But on the whole, he's his mischevious old self again. Remember our friend "Swag"...the lady with the most beautiful smile?Well, apparently her cat, Calliope is as sweet and as caring as her 'Mom'. She sent SparkyBear this get-well card and even signed her name! And for a cat, she sure has very pretty handwriting ;-P
Presently, SparkyBear and I are waiting for the groomer, Miss Christy, to call and let us know MarkyBear is all 'bathed and haircutted..."bzzzzz'd" and ready to come home. Both the boys got filthy last week rolling around in the yard, apparently having noticed the wonderfully yucky smell of crawfish in the soil of our yard, and had a ball digging at the 'entryways', then rolling all over them. P-U! (We may or may not have already told you about the high water-table, even in the yards in South Louisiana. Each Spring the crawfish aka "mudbugs", who live in the soggy dirt, do a little Spring cleaning, by 'spooning' up balls of old mud, with their tails, and depositing them in piles around the opening of their 'homes'. The end result is what is called 'crawfish chimneys' and can see seen by the hundreds everywhere down here).
So they got all stinky from frolicking in the crawfish dirt (they didn't give the poor crawfish any time to build their little chimney's, but rather mushed any fresh crawfish attempts to build anything. I can just see the bewilderd crawfish, all frustrated; "Dang dawgs...now how am I going to clean out my house?") We let the dogs stay messy because we were going to take them fishing. To make matters worse, each one took a dive into the bayou. SparkyBear thought he missed the boat while I waited for Cappy to park the SUV and trailor, so he swam out into the boat slip, where I frantically pulled him into the boat, fearing a gator would grab him. One of alligator's favorite meals are the big snowy white greater egrets. To my mind, Sparky, being white and thrashing around in the water might just attract an hungry ol' gator. But I got 'im. Then, MarkyBear dove in one of the back bayous, as another boat with a big yellow dog, who was barking and merely saying, "Hi!" to our dogs, but passed by too close, according to how Mark thinks. MarkyBear felt it was his duty, as family protector, to take off after him and flung himself off the back end of the boat. Now, Mark is a tank and he sank...but, it's a good thing he knows how to swim! It was an effort, but he paddled all the way around the back of the boat to where I could get ahold of him and grapple him in, and, too, all the while fearing a gator would get him, as well. But they were non the worse for wear. Bichons are durable little guys. Here's MarkyBear with his Dad, waiting for the fish to come.
And then there's SparkyBear, still sporting his Mardi Gras bandana, "guarding" the shrimp bait...having been told SEVERAL times to stay away from them. And, as you can see, he's back in fine form, intently looking at and pointing to a baby alligator sunning himself on a log, who was watching us right back. Both the alligator and SparkyBear were probably both thinking, "The one that got away".


Cappy Da Plummer

We planted our little plum trees the year before Katrina. In their short lives they have seen their share of misery. In the five years that they have been strugglinf for life in our in our yard, they have been battered, split and leaned over by 4 major hurricanes. Well, despite it all, they have grown and come into their own this year and are currently heavily weighted down by a bumper crop of fruit. Yep, them trees are plum loaded, and we are plum thrilled over their success. At risk of going plum crazy with plum puns, I grabbed a ladder and a dishpan and rounded up a big pan of the plentiful plums. After the success of our lemon jelly, we were in da canning mood and decided to try some plum jam. We perused several foodie blogs and found a nice article about loquat jam, took a few notes and went to jammin'. We decided to peel the plums after some debate, and I am glad we did. It was really easy to peel and pit them, and the end result was a beautiful golden concoction that tastes wonderfully sweet and plum delicious. I did goof by not adding enough pectin however, and it turned out to be a sweet canned liquid plum thing, kinda like what ya get in a can of peaches. Not jam like at all, but we learn through our mistakes. We plan to enjoy them on pancakes and corn fritters etc, and their are plenty more plums ripening for next hitch when I return home plum thrilled at the opportunity to go plummin' again.
P.S. I'd like to apologize to yall for Cappy's punny post. He does love a good pun and had to be restrained from adding several more plummish puns to this post.


Lemon Jelly

Like we said in the previous post; the lemon jelly was wonderful. So wonderful in fact, that we got up early this morning and made a few more batches for good measure. Friend Sam stopped by and visited with me while I squeezed da last batch. We made plans for a double date to go out and eat some BBQ tomorrow, and I'm sure we will tell yall all about the fun we gonna have. for the last batch of jelly, Peggy and I (always thinkin') decided to try something different and made a batch of lemon pepper jelly. I mean, what would you do if'n you were us, with a wheel-barrow full of lemons and a freezer full of cayenne peppers? It is stuff like this that makes life a joy for us. I squeezed, Peggy chopped, and next thing ya know we had a batch canned. Taking a hint from Amy, an exellent pepper jelly producer, we turned the jars up-side down to evenly distribute the chopped peppers throughout the jelly. Peggy always makes all our labels and cards & stuff, and I think she out-did herself on the jelly labels. In case the pepper jelly labels are hard to see here is a copy of the peppers she drew for it. I will not share the pepper jelly recipe on accounta we plan to tweek it more to our liking. Here is the lemon jelly recipe we used though. I include this for all the other folks down South here with a tree full of lemons to deal with.

Lemon Jelly
4 cups meyers lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 box(2- 3oz.pouches)Certo liquid pectin

Slowly bring sugar and lemon juice to a boil stirring constantly. Add the liquid pectin and bring back to a rolling boil continuing to stir. Boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat, skim off and discard the foam, then can immediately. Makes 8- 8oz. jelly jars. When canning, we sterilize our jars in bleach and dish detergent water, then park them in a 180 degree oven up-side down on a rack 'til needed. We also keep our rings and lids warm in a pot of water on top of the stove. There is something very satisfying 'bout the "tink, tink" of the cooling canned things, after working hard to prepare them.


When Life Hands You Lemons

Our Meyers lemon tree was so full of ripe juicy lemons that it was starving itself trying to keep them all fed. I grabbed my trusty garden shears, picked the lemons that were dragging the ground and tried to lighten the load on the tree, which by the way, is already putting out it gloriously aromatic spring flowers. We parked the wheel-barrow full of lemons on the road with a "Free Lemons" sign on it, but the few people that stopped by didn't make a noticable dent in the load. I went to surfin' da net for lemon suggestions and Googled lemon jelly. I was thrilled to find a recipe on a blog that sounded good, so Peg and I went to making jelly. The jelly came out wonderful. Thanks to a nice lady named Diane ( http://famcorner.blogspot.com/ ) for the recipe. We will be heading out shortly for more canning supplies and can't wait to try this wonderful jelly in some recipes which we are already cooking up in our heads, like sweet and sour lemon chicken or .....