Sunday, April 29, 2012


Beast of a Bush In Full Bloom
In a previous post Beast of a Bush, I featured an unidentified bush which started as a seedling and over a few years has mushroomed in to a structure enveloping monster. This past week the strange buds have opened into beautiful star-like flowers. I still do not know its origins, but it is a native bush/tree. I am spotting them everywhere--undeveloped lots, fence rows, in forests, etc. It has a lovely faint, sweet odor, not at all overwhelming, which turns me and my allergies into tyrants in the nasal passages.

Adding to our angst this week, was a balky freezer which was defrosting water. We never decided if it was a faulty seal, faulty frost free mechanism or I had it packed so full there was not a good seal. Since I was disgusted with fooling with it, and Husband was tired of hearing me gripe, we decided to buy another.

It was a learning experience. First of all the first was a lower end 17" which I thought was all two people needed. Howevever smaller ones seem to be "low end" in features such as adjustable shelves (NONE), baskets (NONE) and adjustable door shelving (NONE). Everything was fixed at predetermined intervals.

Further there was no external drip pan! This is where the education began. I knew it did not have a drip pan when I bought it and thought to myself this is strange as a SIDE BY SIDE I bought in the same time frame I think does have. Well, according to two big box stores, any frost free (auto defrost) refrigerator, freezer or combo, does not have external drain pans now.
REASON: Because there is little moisture with frost-free units, so the moisture drains into a shallow well inside the unit which is on top of the compressor underneath. The heat that is under the well evaporates the small amount of moisture into the air inside the unit, at least in theory. Lots of theories when I was in the university doing research, did not "pan out."

Well the aggravating one didNOT evaporate and we were chipping ice out very frequently. Besides what did melt was finding a way outside and damaged the floor.
Three Mini-Rose Bushes
[I pruned these bushss to below the handicap ramp which is the
higher of the two ramps and platform that form the entire ramp.]
So we now have a newer, larger unit with some baskets, adjustable shelves, andelectronic controls on the OUTSIDE of the unit. NO MORE DIGGING around with frozen fingers hunting the temperature control dial.

Fortunately, we watch and minimally keep up a home next to us; we have privileges to use the appliances and even use it as a guest house, all of which we have done on rare occasions. The owners are in New Jersey and visit 2 weeks in Spring and Fall.

This week we have to haul everything back to the neighbor's freezer to the new freezer. JOY! JOY! Just what I love to do--freeze my fingers all over again. I may get out some old mittens.

In February I severely pruned all the roses I have had for years and mainly ignored. It is amazing how they have burgeoned almost as much as the Beast of a Bush. My handicap ramp us being invaded by Mini-Roses, Beast of a Bush and a Forsythia bush. Pretty soon I will need a pogo stick to hop over my invasive plants. I cannot emphasize how severely these plants have been pruned at the right times.

Mini-Rose in a full sun bed near an outbuilding
The Mini-Rose [right] is overtaking the climbing Red Blazer Clinbing rose. I have also transplanted a Knockout rose into this bed which is located by an outbuilding and gets full sun.

Then  my Red Blazer Climbing Rose seem to have developed some different colors, or maybe cross pollinated with something else, or even have some kind of disease. I don;t remember the purplish colors in these closeups. However, it is also mushrooming after a very severe pruning of stems from 6-8 ft. to about 1.5-2 ft.

Climbing Red Blaze Rose
I still have not gotten a night photo of all our solar lights. I need a night I feel like lugging equipment like tripods. May have to use my rollator so I can sit abit while I make time exposures. I am expeiencing a lot of SOB (shortness of breath), despite having reasonably stable control of my atrial fibrillation.

PHOTOS: NitWit1, unless otherwise attributed.

Climbing Red Blaze Rose

Below, Petals in the Straw, is one of those photos that could be portrait or landscape in orientation.
Of course I choose my favorite, PORTRAIT.

Peetals in the Straw

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Today's post is a shortie as I have been extremely busy with some obligations I  put off far too long. The list has shortened this and the past week, but a few items remain on the list.

My title is a thought that came to me from reading a post by Arkansas Patti, entitled Arrogance of Youth and one or two of her comments. Actually, her title would be sufficient as the illustration(s) I have used were made when I was younger than I am now, so there are many, many more than I will have time to use, in the time I have to write.

'I will never be like my mother!' Well broadly, I never was, as I never was a Mother in the true sense of the word. However, she, as well as my father, were very strict disciplinarians from a very conservative religious background with strong ideas of right vs. wrong, and many other seemingly, to me in my youth, unimportant edicts.

This is not to say, I did not love, and generally respect them. I obeyed as best a strong-willed child could as long as I lived under their roof, which was another rule, too.  And I always have attributed all that is good in myself, my behavior, and my life, to their upbringing.

I walk about two blocks to school. My instructions were NEVER, EVER to walk on anyone's property, except if there was a sidewalk--no shortcuts through a front or back yard-that was trespassing, blah! blah! blah!. 

Many many years after her death, and we lived where we are now, we had some rambunctious neighbors' children, kept using our gravel driveway for their joy biking.

I complained to my husband who simply asked, "What are they hurting?" He, a country boy, criss-crossed many a pasture and acreage in his youth, along with brother and sister.

I began a strangely familiar litany. They are trespassing and may fall and hurt themselves, BLAH BLAH BLAH.... and my Mother said..... YIKES! I stopped in mid-stream. I SOUNDED JUST LIKE MY MOTHER!

May be continued.... This new blogger format and my keyboard do not seem very agreeable. It just stops typing and the cursor disappears!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Bush at corner of Handicap Ramp Platform - View 1

Since most of the blogs I read, mine included are currently enjoying the emergence of spring and signs of summer, today I am posting a mystery of a shrub that has literally taken over a corner of the ADA required platform of the handicap ramp, my husband built when my knees were so bad, and which I still use as my main access to and from the front door.

It appeared as a small sprout a few years back, and I assumed a weed cut it down, but it persistently returned. For a time I would ignore it, but a few springs ago I temporarily had a Feathered Leaf Japanese Maple in a whiskey barrel close to the house where there was some shade. I allowed this little bush to thrive so the Japanese Maple would have some shade as when young these trees will literally curl up and die iin extreme summer heat.

View 2 - Bush Encroachment into Ramp
We transplanted the Maple last year to a bed with some shade after it grew to a respectable size, along with another variety of Japanese Maple. We cut back the mystery bush several times last year, but continued to thrive. No water, no fertilizer and interestingly, no signs of disease.

This year it has become as tall as the house with a very round shape and completely enwraps a corner of the handicap turning platform.

Although we did not every plant any privit, I have assumed this is what the bush is, but friends say it does not have the darker gloss of privit. Whatever it is, it has now blocked the window nearest where I sit inside, and is fast consuming the handicap ramp and surrounding area.

View 3 -  Beast of a Bush
You gardeners, botanists, etc. please identify this beast before it ensnares the entire house!

Below are some macros of leaves, and some kind of buds which I suspect are contributing to our pollen

Photos taken in very windy conditions so some are not sharp, but all are taken by NitWit1 unless otherwise attributed.

View 4 - Leaves
View 5 - Macro of Buds

Friday, April 13, 2012


ADDENDUM:  BEST FRIEND IDENTIFIES THIS ROSE AS A CLIMBING BLAZER ROSE; a very old variety that seems to survive my inattention, except this year I severely pruned it in February and it has bushed out a lot, but will still want to climb. I have no trellises.

Trio of an Old Reliable Roses
certainly not due to my attention which is nil! See further
information  at end of post.
Our attention to renovation has succumbed to personal reactions to the excessive pollen/allergy season. I've had a right earache since December and finally went to my ANP who serves as my primary care doctor, Monday. Yep! I had water behind the eardrum and postnasal drip. Fortunately the symptoms had not advanced further as I usually go straight to chronic bronchitis. I attribute this to a plus as I use pure oxygen at night.

Then I noticed my husband's chronic smoking cough had materially changed but I have nearly quit nagging. learning after 45 years of marriage it mostly falls on deaf, (I mean truly nearly deaf) ears, unless he has at least one hearing aid in. Oh well, my Dad was stone deaf and claimed the TV heard by us in the driveway,  some 300 feet from the TV, he could hear just fine! I wondered what the neighbors thought!
Three Trios-Begonias, Hens & Chicks, Solar Lights
 [I hope to capture the solar butterfly, flower and hum-
mingbird change colors--maybe a video, if  I have time
to read up on how to do it with my new Nikon!]
Wednesday, I had a full day of shopping in a nearby town, so I left home at 8:30 a.m. before he arose. When I returned near 3:30 p.m. he was still in bed with nurse Luckie in attendance. She did not even come to see who entered the house!. He just said he was sick with a "cold or something." I fixed him us some chicken and rice soup and listened to a night of his hacking, gurgling cough.

Next morning (Thursday) I encouraged him to see a doctor somewhere. He has VA clinic privileges as well as Medicare privilege, but he would have to drive to a nearby town; same-day, or even next day appointments are nearly unheard of at those clinics. I even offered to skip my volunteer hours and drive him. And he has used my ANP, in the past, like 4 years ago. No response to that entreaty.

Before my volunteer hours I had errands: stopping at local grocery store for orange juice and chicken noodle soup for him, a stop by my ANP's office to leave the annual fecal occult blood test samples. I inquired at clinic if they had any time in the day to see him, a favor as it is a busy office as the only source of medical attention in our small town. Since he had a file, albeit somewhat inactive, and I was a long-time patient, they could work him in, if he came in before noon.

When I quickly stopped by with the groceries I told him, and if he chose to go, he needed to call--it was his choice.

Before I left the church office for another trip to a nearby town the return a second special order of the same item at a big box store which got a small piece of my mind, I called home. He had gone to see the ANP and had two prescriptions. At least he sounded a wee bit better, and later, ate a wee bit more supper.
Two Trios
Three Begonias and 3 Hens/Chicks. One hen/chick is almost
 hidden by a  green begonia leaf on the right.  May be more
visible in photo above
Since he has emphysema/COPD, I worry about the emphysema, since he doesn't use his inhaler regularly. My COPD /chronic bronchitis is more advanced but I am more regular in my medical regimen.

This is the worst pollen season we've had in years, probably due to the relatively warm winter, but not as bad as the one in Aberdeen NC a few years ago when even the atmosphere was green. Tuesday my housekeeper found green 'dust' every where, despite we do not open windows and I have allergy filters in our HVAC unit.

Needless to say, I've little time to blog! However, I did step out into the pollen polluted air to snap a few shots, which I had noticed a few days ago. Not nearly the quality of some of my work, but I hope to get a second chance later, maybe a couple of night shots.

The red rose is a climber, but I pruned it down to nothing so it might be bushy for awhile. This rose was on our property when we moved here. My best friend keeps telling me its name, which I promptly forget, but it is an old variety which requires virtually NO care, as does my 4 Knock-out roses and 3 miniature roses I cut back this February. You should see their spring bushy growth.

The begonias and hens/chicks have just been planted along with my hanging basket annuals.

Trio of Rose od Old Reliable Rose

This photo was taken at same time as photo at top of blog. Both
photos were taken in the portrait (vertical) mode, a personal
favorite format of mine. It is a rare occurrence two photos are
effective in the landscape and portrait modes in my opinion.

Some photos may be cropped to be in one position or the other.
However, these two photos are not cropped at all, but light was
minimally modified in Adobe Photoshop Elements, as the rose
were entirely in darkest shade at the time of day, I chose to
venture out in the green pollen coated atmosphere.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Guest Bathroom - Straight View
in from Hallway Door
Before I commence with the subject of the Blog TITLE, the Cowards and Luckie wish and hope this day, called EASTER, has blessed you with HOPE and PEACE, and RENEWAL of all FAMILY and FRIENDSHIP ties that bind us together, regardless of your personal beliefs.

We attended a very special Easter Service planned by our leaders and one Life Group, followed by a finger food luncheon with dear friends, a church family, who seemed to have adopted us, in some capacity which we value deeply.

Our remodeling project is winding down, with some details left. NOW THE CLEANUP and putting everything, including tools, screws, nails and all the thingamajigs (I don't know what they are), in their proper place.

Guest Bathroom - View
Straight In from Hallway Door
I finally picked up the camera and took some shots of the Guest Bath, which serves as my personal dressing room, and the nearest toilet to most of my daily and nightly activities.

All  that is lacking here are drawer and cabinet liners, plus Plexiglass above the back splash and left side of the lavatory to catch the splatter of my electric toothbrush which seems to think the walls and my entire face need its special cleaning efforts.  It is not enough I have to wash my face after daily use of this marvel of dentistry tool, I have to wipe down the walls, lavatory, and fixtures.

Guest Bathroom - View Left Side
From Hall Doorway

I repeat I am not into architecture photography, nor have the proper lens/camera for the job. I haven't the funds for this type camera, anyway.
Then I forgot I had turned the on-camera flash on for some reason and use before this project. However, some light burn is from bathroom fixture.
Flash burn is a bane to me, as I prefer available light photo-graphy.

So some lines will look distorted from the use of wide-angle portion of my zoom lens.

All photos have been subjected to Photoshop Elements, some surprisingly little, and are my work.

Guest Bathroom - View
Left Side from Bathtub
toward Hallway Door

Guest Bathroom - View Right
Side from Bathtub toward
Hallway Door
Guest Bathroom - View Left Side from Bathtub
 toward Hallway Door
Guest Bathroom - View Right
Side from Bathtub toward
Hallway Door

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Time really flies; I am aware I have not posted since March 27.

We have had a multitude of disruptions in our ordinarily mundane lifestyle which is disoriented with a major improvement project. However, it is not like we are building a house! I keep thinking 'this should not be so time consuming and confusing.' It is nearly completed when some orders are finally received. I guess I'll blame it on old age but I resist that lament.

Everyday I make a list of 4-6 chores to accomplish which should not tax my somewhat low energy level. What is not completed is rolled froward to next day.

Yesterday (Monday) was no exception with 5 items: (1) clean utility room; (2) call Luckie's vet to order some meds; (3) clean ice out of so-called frost-free freezer; (4) collect household trash for Tuesday a.m. pickup; (5) continue outside annual planting hanging baskets and pots.

Summary #1, #2 forward to Tuesday. #3 husband completed. #4 I completed. #5 I watered all that were planted and those awaiting transplanting, and removed price stickers from some pots--no planting.

My excuse is one we always used when I was working-- "It's Monday." There was one disruption after another.

Our carpenter discovered one of our insulated windows was "clouded." This statement provoked my searching the unorganized home improvement box for the lifetime warranty and a phone call which resulted in a "wait until Friday for a return call." Scratch one hour. We had just completed a Saturday of ourselves and 2 helpers washing windows, inside and out, plus cleaning screens, trays, etc. [I don't remember cleaning them, inside & outside,since installation in 1999. Guess I can safely say, "I don't do windows!"]

Meanwhile I remembered my SUV was still stuffed with a Sunday afternoon  WM visit. I was tired from a day of church, Life Group and then shopping, so I only unloaded perishable items Sunday. So scratch  another two hours  dedicated storing of accomplishing tasks like addressing a card to a brother/wife for 50th anniversary. Later in the evening I mounted purchased two wall clocks. My husband mounted a 3rd on our covered deck which also has a barometer and thermometer built-in, kinda neat.

There were  in-coming phone calls, mostly short. I am the designated phone answerer as most calls are for me, but when they are not, I have to search the property for my husband. I am thankful Luckie receives no calls. She just is the "voice" on the recorder. HA HA.

Husband's days have mirrored mine, besides helping the carpenter, he is busy mowing three yards (ours, an absentee neighbor whose property we try to keep minimally neat, and church property). Yesterday he had a neighbor's son, helping him with our property. We used him last year, too.

Late in the afternoon I cleaned the price tags off 10 small flower pots, with charcoal lighter fluid, my favorite gummy, sticky stuff remover. And I lightly watered plants, as I knew rain was likely for the next several days.

In the evening hours I taught myself to use HP's LightScribe to burn a label on a music DVD I had made--not impressed with the results. I want the playlist on the label so I don't have to do an insert, etc.  There was an add-on plug in do that chore, but somehow it did not PLUG IN and I did have latest revision.

Sure 'nuf, I awakened to the soft patter of rain today. I cleaned the utility room before writing this blog. And the Vet office is now open so I am off the finish yesterday's list. Maybe I can take photos of another room today.... I may have forgotten how to use the camera.