October 27, 2011 - Internet Woes, (continued)

You are all trying to be so helpful! Let me explain what is going on down here...

The RV park across the street and the library are the only internet sources for me. In the past I've always had a so-so connection from the park. I do pay for it, at their going rate of $10 a month. When it was working better than it is now, it was $30 a month. In the past couple of years their equipment just hasn't been working well (translate: cheap router that has to be reset every few hours), so rather than upgrade the equipment, they just lowered the price. There is no password. I pay my money, and they enter my computer's MAC number into their data, which gives me access. Last week I was getting a strong signal, so I took my money over to the park owner to pay for this month's WIFI. She said they had been having problems with it, and might have to limit it to park residents only and allot time periods for different people to use it, and wouldn't take my $10. I am still in the system, and sometimes (like right now) it does work, but I have to sit outside to get the signal. There have only been a couple of times in the past week that I could get anything at all.

This is a tiny town, there is no cable TV/internet, and the only dial up provider stopped their services this summer. The only way to get internet is via satellite or through the cell phone company. Considering the length of time we are down here, so far both methods are way too costly. My cell phone provider is ATT, and I would have to sign a two year contract with them to get an affordable (and limited) connection. I'm just not going to do that when I have a reliable and unlimited cable connection at home, 7-8 months of the year. Amy (daughter) is looking into other prepaid plans, but only ATT and Verizon service this area, all others would entail roaming charges or have no coverage here at all.

So that's my dilemma. It's by guess or by golly for a connection here at the house, or drive down to the library on Tuesday/Thursday.

Really, I'm not doing anything exciting enough to blog about right now anyway! Today I pruned some of the oleanders (only three of the 16 or so I have to do), made a big pot of navy bean soup, picked two jalapeno peppers from the traveling plant (they weren't a bit hot) and made a dozen jalapeno cornbread muffins. Luckily I brought some jalapeno jelly I can put on them for heat.

Now, I'd better get this published before I lose the connection again....if it's not already too late!

October 25, 2011 - From the Library

Here I am, at the local library. It's not as handy as having access from the house, but it will have to do. My daughter has looked into getting 3G or 4G for this area, but we're out of range for the Sprint network, which is the only one that would be affordable. That one (Virgin Mobile) would have cost over $80 for the devise and $50 per month. Unless I did a 2 year contract with my carrier, ATT, that cost would be prohibitive. I definitely do not want to be paying $60+ a month for the next two years, plus over $200 for the devise! I might mention, we are in such a remote area of Arizona that we don't even have a land line internet carrier here!

This first trip to the library will be a short one, just to read your comments and get my email. There is no way I'll ever catch up on my blog reading, but I'll be setting aside a few hours each week to at least skim over them and see what all of you have been up to. And I promise to find time to blog by next week!

Thank you to my daughter Amy for publishing your comments and taking the time to call and read them to me. I appreciate it very much.

October 20, 2011 - Easy Come, Easy Go

This is Amy, Granny's daughter. After being able to access WIFI for the first two days, Granny is again without internet. At this time it looks like the park across the street is only going to allow access to park residents. She'll be going to town today to see if she can access through the local library's network. If not, you'll have a long winter with boring updates from me. In the meantime, I will also be publishing comments and reading them to her via telephone.

October 17, 2011 - We Made It!

The trip down was uneventful, but the weather was great. We arrived yesterday, a full three hours ahead of schedule, even after stopping in Parker for a few groceries. We had five picnic coolers full of frozen or perishable foods, and all of it arrived in good condition. We had some of this year's Fortex pole beans with our dinner tonight, with garden fresh tomatoes (they're ripening faster than we can eat them!)

I am utterly exhausted. Mr. Granny wasn't feeling well, so I had to drive most of the way. I think I got in around 900 miles to Mr. Granny's 300. Of course, unpacking the truck in 97 degree weather and putting things away in a 97 degree house took a bit of a toll on me. I still have two or three containers out on the porch to unload. There's a lot of work ahead of me, weeding, watering and pruning. It looks like the summer was pretty brutal on the yard and plants.

I was happy to see the WIFI from the RV park across the street is still functional. The signal is weak, but at least I can post and get email.

When I get caught up around here, I'll be sure to find something about which to blog. In the meantime, thank you to each and every one for the well wishes for a safe trip.

Oh, there was one slight casualty. The lemon tree looks fine, but the poor pepper plant has an uphill battle. One of the picnic coolers slid off and landed right on top of it. I had some bamboo stakes all around it, so they did give it some protection, but it doesn't look very pretty now. I do think it will survive.

October 14, 2011 - Shut 'er Down!

The pickup is packed, and the only thing left to do is clean out the refrigerator and pack the frozen foods and perishables into coolers and keep our fingers crossed the frozen foods remain frozen through the trip south. We've rounded up four large picnic coolers, and three will be used for frozen meat and garden produce. I'll take as many garden fruits and veggies as I can for use through the winter. All of the butternut squash and green tomatoes are already in the truck, ready to go.

We had a big dinner for the family on Wednesday night. There were 16 of us with kids, grandkids and one great-grandson. Amy (daughter) took pictures with her cell phone. It doesn't have a flash, so the photos are grainy, but here we are, getting ready to eat way too much Chinese food.................

The family

Mr. Granny and me.

It's time for my yearly fight with my local Charter Cable. They'll tell me I can't snowbird my internet, and want to charge me $75 to cancel the service or keep charging me $40+ per month when I'm not using it. Then I get a call from the company telling me I can snowbird it. Then they charge the $75 anyway, so I have to call and go around and around with them over the bill. Happens every year. So....I'm going to pack up my modem and take it to Charter with me. I have a copy of every monthly charge for the past 2-plus years. I'm going to lay it on the line. Do they want $75 and the modem now and lose me as a customer forever, or do they want to snowbird it and continue to get my forty bucks a months when I'm actually using their service? I hate to switch to another carrier, but if I have to I will.

We'll be leaving very early tomorrow morning, so I'll say my goodbyes to all of you now, and hope I have an internet connection again soon.

Love you all,

PS: We found room to take both the lemon tree and the pepper plant!

UPDATE! I didn't have to fight with Charter Cable this time! I actually got a very nice lady, who had no problem snowbirding my internet for the winter.

October 11, 2011 - Thank You

I want to thank all of you who sent such heartfelt condolences over the death of Cookie. Having so many wonderful friends, even though we've never even met, means a lot to me and helps lessen the pain of the loss of a loved fur baby.

October 10, 2011 - A Sad Day

Our little Cookie Buns is gone. Something got in his cage last night, out on our patio, and killed him. Annie and Otto won't stop barking, and have been running around through the flower bed near Cookie's cage, but I can't find any evidence that would shed a light on what did the deed. There has been a strange cat in the neighborhood lately, and I saw it on our patio once. Would a cat kill a rabbit? He was a tiny thing, barely two pounds. Whatever it was, there was quite a struggle and a lot of bloodshed.

Cookie Buns
2001 - 2011


October 10, 2011 - Final Harvest Monday

This will be the final harvest post for 2011. Everything has been harvested from the garden, with the exception of some strawberries and a few tomatoes, which may or may not be added to the final totals. I will try to do an overview of individual crop totals soon, as well as what worked and what didn't turn out so great this year.

Harvest Totals October 3 - October 9

Beets - 2.94 pounds
Carrots - 6 pounds
Lettuce - 1.69 pounds
Peppers, sweet - 10.69 pounds
Strawberries - 1 pound
Tomatoes - 10.69 pounds

Total harvest for the week: 33.94 pounds
Total harvest for the year to date: 543.31 pounds

Please join in the Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

October 9, 2011 - The End of the Season

The end of the gardening season has arrived. In six days, we'll be leaving to spend the winter in Arizona, so the Washington garden has been harvested, with the exception of a few tomatoes and strawberries, and is being cleaned up and "put to bed" for 2011.

The east garden has been cleared of everything but the flowers, parsley, and the cantaloupe plant that has no chance of ripening. It's still trying though, so I'll give it a reprieve and have my son come over to check on it in a couple of weeks....IF we don't get a freeze before then. Garlic was planted in the small fenced area, then covered with grass hay mulch. I was tearing out my hair, trying to find a suitable place to plant it. I wanted it behind the shed, next to the lettuce bed, but the cosmos and sunflowers have completely obliterated that spot. My second choice was against the chain link kennel, at the back of this plot. I tried to dig there, but the neighbor's walnut tree has put out so many roots in that area it was impossible to work up a decent bed. I want to till this east bed next spring, so I really didn't want anything planted in it. I finally gave in, and used this year's onion bed. This end of the garden will have to be left untilled and dug by Granny power.

Yesterday I pruned the raspberries for the second time. They had grown so tall and lush, they were nearly as large as they were before the first pruning. Now the canes are all about 2 1/2-3 feet high, so won't suffer from being whipped around by strong winter winds. Mr. Granny began sawing down the sunflowers today. I'll remove the heads and put them in, or next to, the kennel garden, so the birds can eat the seeds this winter.

The "shed tomatoes" have all been removed, with the exception of an unknown variety volunteer. I'll leave it and hope the fruit gets some blush before it freezes. I'll try to get my son to come over and keep an eye on it. The zinnias will be pulled this week.

The volunteer tomato.

I'm not sure what to do with the cosmos jungle. I've been bringing bouquets into the house, and they are so pretty! Only the ones that flopped over have blossomed, so maybe I can at least get the upright giants cut down.

These "semi-dwarf" zinnias grew nearly 6' high.

I wonder if I can sneak this jalapeno pepper plant into the back of the pickup without Mr. Granny seeing it. It's loaded with baby peppers and blossoms, and looks better than it has all year! It would make a nice plant for the porch in Arizona.

My tomato alley is beginning to look rather sad. They are still giving me ripe tomatoes, so will probably not be removed. I'll just have to deal with the dead plants next spring.

I've started cutting back the Cherokee Purple tomatoes, but they still have a lot of green fruits. I picked everything that had even the faintest blush of color today. I'd like to take some to ripen through the next month or two.

It doesn't look like winter, does it? It's hard to pull up plants and then leave the garden while everything is so green. I'm still hoping for a big display of Heavenly Blue morning glories on the kennel fence before I leave, but so far I only see about a half dozen each day.

The back flower bed doesn't know it's winter, either.

October 5, 2011 - Slow Down, People!

Slow down, guys! I'm exactly 43 blogs behind in my reading. Well, actually only 42 since Robin scolded me for no recent comments! Not only have I been terribly busy, readying everything for our impending migration to Arizona, I've also been stuck on one particular blog for the past two evenings. I'm enjoying Two Men and a Little Farm so much, I've begun from their beginning, and I'm working my way up to the present. 1st Man has officially joined the rest of you in my love...love...love!

I did manage to get my closet cleaned out today. I packed everything that's going south, even my overnight bag for the hotel, and took two large garbage bags of clothing and purses to Goodwill. I now have one neat closet, and another that we won't talk about (Mr. Granny's, of course).

Ten days from right now, we'll be enjoying an evening in Jackpot, Nevada. Eleven days from right now, we should be walking in the door of home #2. Time is flying, and there's still so much to do!

October 4, 2011 - Harvest Monday on Tuesday

I know, I know, I'm late to the party! Honestly, this past week has just been a whirlwind of busyness. Along with the end-of-garden cleanup, I decided to clean out closets, haul the discards to the thrift store, and begin packing for our Arizona trip. Yesterday and today found me taking a grandson to the dentist for a checkup and fillings. I hate sitting for 2 1/2 hours, listening to my stomach growl because I missed lunch, freezing half to death in the frigid waiting room, and bored after having read every magazine in the place. I did find a sunbeam coming through a window, so I sat there and basked in its warmth until clouds covered the sun, then I had to go out and sit in my car to warm up.

That's why I missed Harvest Monday.

Harvest Totals September 26 - October 2

Beans, bush - 1.94 pounds (final harvest)
Beans, pole - 8 ounces (final harvest)
Beets - 1.06 pounds
Carrots - 2.69 pounds
Cucumbers - 4 ounces (final harvest)
Lettuce - 14 ounces
Peppers, sweet - 6.19 pounds
Spinach - 2 ounces
Squash, summer - 6 ounces
Strawberries - 1.06 pounds
Tomatoes - 11.44 pounds

Total harvest for the week: 26.50 pounds
Total harvest for the year to date: 510.32 pounds

This week the harvests for the year broke the 500 pound mark, which is just slightly over half of what was harvested last year, but satisfactory nonetheless.

Please join in the Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

October 1, 2011 - I Did It!

I didn't think I was going to hit 500 pounds of harvest this year, but I did it! That's only about half of what I get in a normal year, but this has not been a normal year for gardening, that's for sure. Here is what put me over the top today, a bit early for Harvest Monday............

Today I pulled out all the bush and pole beans. I had wanted to wait on the bush beans, hoping I could beat last year's yield, and today they did just that. Just barely. So garden cleanup has really begun in earnest. The non-yielding zucchini was uprooted (what a disappointment that was this year), three more tomato plants are gone, and one bed of marigolds is no more. The old tomato fortress bed has been cleaned out and readied for next year's planting. I'll leave the alyssum to reseed, and probably do the same with the nasturtiums. Marigolds will probably pop up like weeds next year, as they have already dropped a lot of seeds.

I am hoping to have the entire garden cleaned up and put to bed for the winter by a week from tomorrow, as I'll be extra busy the following week, packing for the trip to Arizona.