Seedlings – Day 1

Tonight Perry and I planted a few things. We did the green peppers, chilli peppers, Basil, Hollyhocks, Four o’clock and poppies. Next weekend we’ll probably do the tomatoes.

We set up a little “green house” in the basement with a grow-light hanging above it. This area also happens to be the area where we feed the cats. Bella in particular seems to be very interested in the plantings. We used double sided tape to attach the containers to the tabletop so neither Bella nor Milo will push them off. Hopefully. That would irritate me a bit.

I think I’m also going to have to make double sure the cats don’t rub on the light and knock it off the make-shift chain hanger its on!

The next step will be to get another grow light to hang for the other two starter boxes. And now I wonder if I have enough starter boxes!

In addition to the cats being potential irritants in the growing process I’m a little worried it might not be warm enough yet for the seedlings to grow downstairs. One of two options I’m thinking…I know I read one could use a heating pad on low with the starter boxes on top (possibly a towel in between) or we could use a space heater. If we used the heating pad the ability to stick the containers to the tabletop is no longer an option. Heating the entire basement for just a few little seeds seems kind of ridiculous as well so I need to contemplate this a bit and monitor the temp for a day or so. Or, I suppose we could move the grow boxes to the office!

Day One – the seeds are all nestled in their beds.

Time to Garden!

Yes, it is only March 29th but it is Spring! I’m anxious to start gardening…of course the snow on the ground hampers things a bit.

This photo shows the back right side of the yard that will be used as the garden. Last year I did manage to grow some tomatoes and squash…except Snickers ate them before I could harvest them.   This year we will plot out a 24′ x 24′ area to begin with. Perry is going to fence it in to keep the hounds out. The hounds will keep the rabbits out. We’ve got the starter seeds and all the needed equipment.

Perry stakes out the garden

I am not known for my green thumb but I am so excited to learn! We use to have raspberry bushes but someone (ahem, Perry) dug them out thinking they were thorn bushes. I am hoping to plant some rhubarb. Doesn’t Rhubarb pie sound wonderful? Chuck next door plants a row of corn along the fence line and I think I may do the same thing (of course risking Perry running it all down with the mower). 

The next step is to plan out the garden and start the seeds. The U of M Extension has a great web site called Planting the Vegetable Garden with information specific to Minnesota gardening. In reality I think if there were a book called “Gardening for Dorks” it would be right up my alley but I’ll go with this one for now!

So, wish me luck on my endeavor!

Big Decision In The Making

Over the last few weeks I have had this very aggravating head ache. It is centered in the back of my head….almost as if you could draw a line from ear to ear. Went to the doctor who diagnosed a sinus infection. The antibiotics did indeed help! At least it cleared up the sinus infection.

But that pain in the back of my head was still lurking. So he suggested an MRI considering “my history.” Yeah, but no thanks. I’m relatively sure it is NOT a brain tumor… a  subdural hematoma or anything else creepy like that.

I became my own medical detective. Was it my new glasses? No comments from the peanut gallery but they ARE bifocals. I wore my old glasses for a week and the head ache didn’t change. NOT the glasses.

Next thought…is it my prosthetic breasts? Did a few days without them (and let me tell you, it was NOT a fun experience for me at work) and I realized the head ache slowly went away. Interesting. Turns out the darned things are putting pressure in all the wrong places triggering shoulder and neck issues. It has been related to a woman who has breasts that are too large. Great. And they are even two sizes smaller than the original equipment.

Long story shortened….on April 5th I will be seeing a plastic surgeon to talk about reconstruction. I’m not going to get into all the psych reasons this will be a good thing. Let me just say this….as a women – how would you feel realizing you have no breasts or anything else that physically makes you a woman? Reminder….hysterectomy.

Back to the story. It’s time. I need to really heal in some way and this is indeed a piece of the puzzle. Gaining back some of my identity – as a woman. Riding myself from the constant pain. OK, so it isn’t that bad compared to what some go through but in MY reality it just plain sucks. 

More to come. The saga continues…..I just want, no NEED to feel a little more whole again.

Bad to the Bones

Meet Bones – the newest addition to the Ritchie pack. Bones is almost 5 1/2 months old. He was born on October 11, 2010.

Ok! Ok! Before anyone says it…I do recall screaming “I DON’T DO PUPPIES” more than once in the last, oh, 10 years. And I meant it! Seriously! I was content loving the senior bassets who needed a quiet, comfortable and loving place to spend their twilight years.

We lost Snickers at the very end of December. After a bit of time we really started feeling lonely for a basset. I also need to “do” something in life and have put my mind to training – going as far as I can with him. Bones just might be a basset agility star!

If you want to keep up with the tails of Bones you can check out his blog:  Bad To The Bones.

Italian Style Hotdish

The photo really doesn’t due this meal justice! It is so easy and I really do not measure ingredients….but you’ll get the idea:

1 pound Italian Sausage – browned thoroughly with garlic and onion.

1 16 ounce box pasta (I used penne style this time but the family loves the bow ties as well) – cooked and drained.

2 jars of your favorite alfredo sauce. I used Classico Roasted Garlic.

6 ounce can of sliced black olives.

1 large can of diced tomatoes, drained. I used diced tomatoes with garlic, lime juice and cilantro added.

2 cups cheese – My favorite for this is Italian 6 cheese but whatever you like will work.

Simply combine all ingredients in a large pan or dutch over. Salt and pepper to taste. What I enjoy most about this dish is that I add anything else that might sound good like pepperoni pieces. You could throw it into the oven for a bit at 350 to heat it but I prefer to just heat on the stove. Top with grated Parmesan cheese at time of serving. Really goes great with garlic bread!

Counting our blessings

You may notice the trailer hitch isn’t facing the right way. Of course, neither is the bumper for that matter. Mary was at a stop light … the middle of 3 cars who were at a complete stop. Car number 4 smacked into car number three who smacked into Mary who smacked into car number one. Cars three and four are totaled. Car number one has a small dent in the back bumper. The truck has a crumpled frame in the rear and the damage you can see in the picture. Mary and Cailin (who was securely in her car seat) are AOK. They did get checked out medically as requested by our insurance. With Mary being pregnant everyone wanted to make sure all was well with everyone. Thankfully she was in the Suburban. I have a feeling things might have been a little messier had she been in the Cavalier!

Quick Polish-Style 1 pot meal

I made a quick and easy cold weather comfort food for dinner on Saturday. It was a hit (well, with Perry at least):

Cut 1 – 2 pounds kielbasa into medallion sized pieces and brown in a large dutch oven or kettle. I throw in a bit of butter while it browns.

Remove the browned kielbasa but do not discard the drippings. Add 1 cup chicken broth to the drippings and heat to boiling. Add 1 head of cabbage (cut up) and fresh garlic (to taste) to the broth*. Mix well. 

Layer on top of the cabbage frozen potato and cheese pierogies (available frozen at most stores), and the browned kielbasa. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer stirring occasionally until cabbage is softened and pierogies are headed through.

* I usually just eyeball the amounts of the various ingredients. Other ingredients that can be added:  onion, carrots, etc.