Wednesday, September 18, 2013


"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," ~ Dorthy from The Wizard of Oz

It has been a whirl wind of a week.  I accomplished a great number of the projects that had been building on my to do list.  My daughter and I cleaned out the Chicken Coop and using the straw and manure that came out of the Chicken Coop were able to form two raised gardening beds for use in the Spring.  I used some old wooden fence posts that were laying around from when we rebuilt part of the fence.  I made simple squares using four fence posts.  I started with a kill layer of cardboard on the bottom as the weeds here are horrendous, and am using the straw with manure mixed in from the Chicken Coop, along with compost such as egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, and pieces of produce that the Rabbits and Chicken won't eat.  You'd be shocked at how picky our Chickens are, and the Rabbits are simply snobs; the rabbits turn their nose up at celery.  I plan to add another set of fence posts on top of the first layer of fence posts to make them deeper raised beds.  Over the Winter the mixture in the raised beds should break down nicely into nutrient rich soil.  I would have loved to add newspapers to the beds, but all of the newspapers we receive from family and friends go to starting fires in our wood stove during the winter.

    Since the War on Bees has stagnated for the time being I'm more than pleased at the number and variety of wildlife that have come back to the property.  We now see Dragonflies on a daily basis, our Frog population has increased, Birds are starting to use the bird feeders again (both Doves and Woodpeckers), there is a mischievous Squirrel that comes to visit from the neighbors and my daughter was able to meet a Preying Mantis for the first time while cleaning our Rabbit cages one morning.  She was delighted to say the least.  It's always quite a sight when my daughter and I clean the rabbit cages every morning.  Given that we're not morning people, in the Summer I'm usually in running shorts, a camisole top and flip flops.  My daughter is usually in her pajamas and a pair of Sandals or High Heels depending upon her mood and our two little dogs are barking frantically as they dance around us trying to see the sacred Rabbits.  I'm sure our neighbors our usually on the floor laughing at this point.  This week I've started catching up on some projects that have been simmering on the back burner; such as buying a three hole punch to start on the massive mountain of paperwork I have to sort through and organize. 
    My Moonflowers are still outdoing themselves and next week will determine whether I need to add an additional Tomato Cage on top of the first one.  We'll see.
     I was also able to organize the upstairs guest room so that my husband can resume using music as a stress reliever such as playing a Guitar.  I also organized it so that the movies, CD's, and cassette tapes can be used by the family.  My husband has made great progress in repainting the house while the weather is good; I'm anxious to see the final result, it will be lovely.  All in all a delightful week, I'm hoping to continue to make hay while the sun shines (all pun intended). 
Wishing you and yours a lovely week,


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War
As you can see from the picture above I have been busy this week.  I discovered approximately 6 years ago that I was allergic to Yellow Jackets, Hornets, and Bees.  I generally have a live and let live policy; but apparently I pissed off the Bee God and every year manage to get stung in the most unusual ways.  The first sting, my husband and I had been driving back to home on the Freeway in his pickup going approximately 75 mph.  I was snuggling down for a nap on the long ride back and decided to put my hoodie on.  In the sleeves my arms went, followed by a bbzzz, and pain.  I took the hoodie off in time to see a Yellow Jacket fly out the window, leaving behind a sting imprint on my arm that was itching, red and swelling.  The next day at work when the swelling continued, and my coworkers were referring to me as Popeye, given the now size of my arm, I sought treatment at the Emergency Room.  I was given Benadryl, Steroids, Antibiotics, and a diagnosis of Bee Allergies and a prescription for an Epinephrine pen for future stings.  The next year my husband and I were camping out at Promise and at 0430 in the morning a Yellow Jacket stung me, see previous statement for treatment.   I was able to skip a year by not getting stung and then they came back with a vengeance. It was 0500 in the morning, and I was sleeping on my covers, in my bed.  I was cold so I slid myself under the covers and received a sting on my big toe. My foot swelled so much that it looked like 6 water balloons that were stuck together.  The swelling pushed the limits of the skin so much that the tissue couldn't hold anymore and actually drained.  Even after treatment I still have a small scar from the incident.  It was personal now; I  was going to bring it!  The following year my mother-in-law and I were yard saling on city wide yard sale day and a Yellow Jacket climbed it's way up my Capris while I was walking and stung me twice on my thigh.  By this time I had the procedure down and was able to seek treatment.  Last week I was stung on the hand by a Yellow Jacket while picking grass for our rabbits.  My husband was here to drive me so I was able to take Benadryl within minutes of the sting.  I then sought treatment for the residual swelling, and it was minimal so the Doctor wasn't quite sure what happened.  Was I developing a tolerance for Bees given the numerous stings over time, or was it due to my taking the Benadryl ASAP since I didn't have to drive myself for treatment?  The Clinic and the Hospital are 25 minutes away.  I suppose I'll find out next year.
    Which brings me to Monday.  My dear husband has been battling with numerous nests of buzzing insects this year.  Early on in the Summer my husband had knocked down several nests above the Kitchen Porch, and had an on going battle with a nest of several hundred in the ground by the Lilac Tree.  He had tried pouring gasoline down the hole and lighting it on fire, he tried most chemicals known to mankind and he even tried drowning the nest, and they still wouldn't die.  I told a friend of mine that I was pretty sure they were mutant Yellow Jackets straight from the bowels of Hell; all that got me was commiseration and a laugh.  Monday morning I noticed that there were at least a hundred Yellow Jackets flitting in and around the tree in front of the house and called my husband for any suggestion to get rid of them.  His suggestion, I stay indoors until Winter; so not helpful.  Monday afternoon I had to break and take the girls shopping for more clothes as my daughter had almost outgrown everything.  I got the girls safely in the car, was climbing in the drivers seat and my daughter started screaming.  My daughter had been stung by a Yellow Jacket in the car.  I assessed the sting (we weren't sure if she was allergic or not yet) and after giving hugs and kisses went into the house for some rubbing alcohol to take the sting out of the bite.  As I went into the house I was filled with such a dark, black rage and all I could think was "those BASTARDS stung my baby"!!!  Shit just got real.  No one or anything messes with my baby.  Then inspiration struck.  I needed something that would draw the Yellow Jackets to it, and then would kill them.  Then I remembered researching the harmful affects of some of the chemicals we use such as bleach.  I remember reading that bleach had been used during one of the World Wars in an aerolized form as an early chemical weapon.  I had Bleach, but liquid and then I remembered the Hummingbird Feeders and how they attract bees.  So with a smile I mixed LOTS of sugar, water, orange food dye and copious amounts of bleach.  I placed my mixture in a sauce pan elevated on a block of wood under the tree outside and waited for the carnage to begin.  The mixture was elevated so that no stray animals or my animals would be able to access my mixture.  The next morning there were numerous dead Yellow Jackets and a peaceful quiet that surrounded the property, meaning the swarm located itself elsewhere. 
    This morning I was delighted to see a squirrel back in residence on our property and a pair of doves eating out on the lawn.  I was perplexed a few weeks ago when I put the bird feeders back out and had very little visitors.  I had become sick last year and so the bird feeders were one of the first casualties of my waning strength.  I do believe the birds simply didn't want to compete with a swarm of Yellow Jackets, but now they're back.
    My Moonflowers are doing wonderful.  As they continue to grow I might need to add a second Tomato Cage on top of the first to help their upward ascent.  The rest of the household is status quo.  My little girl started school again, in fact today was her first School Pictures.  My mother-in-law still asks in the mornings if my daughter is laying down for her nap.  I started my first run/walk this morning outside.  I used a small purse with a long strap run over one arm and around my neck, and under my shirt to hold Benadryl, Epinephrine pen and my phone.  I tracked the run on my phone and I ran 1.2 miles in 17 minutes, at 4 mph, not bad for someone out of shape.  I also remembered how much I love running, but I need to ease into it as by tomorrow I'm sure Ibuprofen and I will be close friends.  Perhaps several times a week an outdoor run, weather permitting.
Hope that everyone has a lovely week.  I'm hoping for a calmer week this week, we'll find out how it goes though. 
Simply Yoko.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


"Experience:  That most brutal of teachers.  But you learn, my God do you learn."~ Unknown
I had a very productive week this past week.  With some help from our dear friend Georgie we were able to finish painting my daughter's upstairs room.  Now we can add some splashes of color to the white walls, the pink window and door trim through posters, paintings, etc.  My daughter was too small prior to this point to safely navigate the stairs.  Since my husband and I welcomed my little girl into our household she has grown 3 sizes from a 3T to a 5T transitioning into a 6T.  It's amazing to realize that we have had my daughter for 9 months now and the effect that she has had on our family.  My dear sweet mother-in-law, who has no short term memory courtesy of the dementia; even notices when my daughter is absent, for instance when my daughter's visiting her sister's household.  It's sweet, but sad as my little mother-in-law will come out on average about 2 times an hour during the day and remarking upon the quiet will ask where my little girl is.  Ever so patiently I rattle off the same answer that I've said so many times that sometimes I have to shake my head so I don't hear the echo of the same response time again.  I love my girls, but they are a handful sometimes.
    In other news my husband finished Thumbelina's Cage and while perusing the Internet I came across an idea of painting the Rabbit Tractors.  I'm giving that some thought; I find the idea intriguing.  We still take her out and pet and handler her.  Approximately 10 years ago there was an early morning jogger that spotted a cougar on our road.  We also have Wolves in the county, Bears and that doesn't excuse the more domestic predators such as Raccoons, Stray Dogs (or mine), Hawks and Eagles.  Cadbury's Cage sits directly next to Thumbelina's that way they can interact with each other and the dogs, safely. 
  My Moonflowers continue to explode at an exponential rate, it's quite miraculous their recovery.  A friend suggested a Tomato Cage as a trellis for it to grow in so I thought I'd give it a shot.  And yes, they have gone a little wild.  ;)  I repotted them today as they were root bound again, and since I transplanted them I gave them a good drenching leaving them to drain outside in the Sun.  By this evening they'll be houseplants again. 
    As far as miracles I have uncluttered my entire house.  There are still a few hot spots to tweak, a book shelf in my bedroom and the bottom of my closet, and some boxes of miscellaneous stuff to sort through in the basement, but the majority of stuff is gone. The one last hold out that I will undertake during The Long Winter (all pun intended) is the Wood Shed outside that houses the remnants of stuff that we moved in with.  I admit I did have an addiction to the written word.  It didn't matter the subject either, I read everything.  Text books on Nutrition, Gardening, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Foreign Language (I so want to finish learning Spanish), Poetry, Fiction, Biology, Chemistry, History.  I'm pretty sure that on my death bed my one regret will be the book that I haven't finished, lol.  Before I began giving away many of my books a year ago I could easily have opened a Library, and not a tiny one either.  Now I'm beginning to enter the realm of the reality where a Library card will obtain any book that I absolutely NEED to read, for no cost and no clutter as the rotating book supply will only take up a limited amount of space EVERY SINGLE time.  The freedom that comes with having just a small amount of belongings to have to clean and organize is liberating. 
I have many friends that are artists in various fields, some of them talented in multiple fields.  My dear friend Georgie is one of those most dearest to me.  She's a 70 year-young-woman that puts most of us youngsters to shame as far as energy, health, and love of life.  She rides in Hot Air Balloons and small planes.  Georgie can do almost any craft that she takes a liking to, and some that not many people can do.  She is my inspiration for who I want to be as I age.  She paints, crochets, quilts, does photography, creates various types of baskets and jewelry and as of late makes Dream Catchers.  Dream Catchers are a type of Native American ornamental charm that are hung over a person's bed and are believed to catch the bad dreams in the net, and the good dreams are believed to filter down through the feathers to the person sleeping below.  Below are several of Georgie's handmade Dream Catchers.  If anyone would like to have any Dream Catchers made please contact her @ 1-541-403-0605.  And no, I receive nothing as payment for advertising her Dream Catchers.

The following is a poem that I wrote.  Hope everyone has a lovely week, Autumn has arrived.  Take care, Simply Yoko.

A Rainy Morning
The rain pattered softly against the window.  The warmth of the bed cocooned me as I struggled to emerge from the Land of Sleep I was ensconced in.  The humid atmosphere of the room was permeated by the vase of Honeysuckle blossoms sitting on my desk.  The chimes from the antique clock began to sound pulling me up from the depths of my sleep.  Blindly I reached out slapping where I believed the alarm clock to be, and felt a warmer, larger hand guide my hand gently to the alarm clock to turn it off.  Cracking my eyes open blearily I saw you, happiness filled me and I smiled.