May and June 2019 Happenings, and informative and interesting things to know about such as Superstition Mountains Cougar Shadow and harmful chemicals in food

It’s been a while since I wrote a story on my website. Time seems to pass quickly and I guess I procrastinate about doing things. This is something I am currently working on to improve. To work on my procrastination, every day I am doing at least one thing I have been putting off. Some days it’s something simple like dusting the furniture, cooking something to eat, or planting a seed from a food I ate. Other days it’s something more important like updating my website, transferring pictures from my phone and camera to my computer so I can add them to a story on my website. Working on a story on my website is a big thing I need to not procrastinate about. It usually takes me about 6 or more hours to write a story, add pictures, find links of places or products I want to include in my story, and hopefully… make time to reread and correct typos in my story. Since I write and change the post I sometimes do not always catch my spelling and punctuation goofs.

I have been feeling better for the most part and I have been working on weaning off my medicines, with the doctors consent. My body is adjusting and some days I feel out of sync. I guess after years on the medicines for pain my body has to adjust to taking less of them. I am finding that other parts of me now hurt that I didn’t feel before, I’m guessing the medicines maybe helped other parts of me that I wasn’t aware of. So now, I am adjusting and doing my best to keep an attitude of gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for even though my health and body complain a bit. I can walk, talk, see, hear, taste, and often all at the same time. I have a safe place to live, food to eat, creative talents that help me to cook good healthy foods, crochet blankets and hats for the NICU at the hospital, and so much more. I am still going to the gym five days a week to keep my body limber and my muscles flexible.

It’s time to start my story about what I have seen and been doing since my last story which was in April. I really had good intentions to write a story in May while it was happening, but as you can read, I didn’t get around to it.

As part of my attempt to not procrastinate, this post may take a few days to write since there is so much I want to write about.

In March one of my friends told me about a place in Arizona that she and her husband visited called Superstition Mountain and the cougar shadow which appears on the mountain when the conditions are right. This only happens about twice a year during the third week of March and September. You can read more about it here. It was an amazing picture they sent me and I am so happy they got to experience seeing it in person.

It seems every year that I have lived in my apartment that some doves come at least once a year and build a nest and have one or two babies. This year it happened again, only instead of the babies staying in their nest until they were ready to fly, this year the two babies somehow either tried to fly out of the nest or fell out of the nest and I and one of my neighbors got to try to be their protectors until they could fly. Mom and dad dove were around almost all of the time and I think they knew we were trying to help.

The mom sat on a nest for several weeks not leaving the nest at all. One day I saw a half of an egg shell on the catwalk near my door not far from the nest. I didn’t see any sign of baby birds so I thought maybe they didn’t survive. Several weeks later, I think it was about three weeks later,the mama bird moved and I could see one baby, then when the mom left the nest I got to see that there were two baby birds in the nest on the top of the pillar near my front door. Mom and dad dove were not around so I was able to take pictures. The babies were fully feathered so they were a few weeks old I am guessing.

About 2 days after I first saw the babies, one day when I was leaving my apartment I saw the baby birds on the catwalk. They couldn’t fly but they could walk or scurry. One was in the corner near the wall and the other in the middle of the catwalk. It moved and went under the railing and fell down into the flower bed. My neighbor came out and I told her about the babies and we went down and found it and carefully brought it back upstairs near my door. Since we thought this would happen again, I suggested that we block off the corner where the babies were with some cardboard I had, and I built a small next in a box so they would have a safe place to rest. What looks like spots under the chair are really the baby birds.

Over the next few days mom and dad dove would come and go checking on their babies. I could sometimes see them perched on the railing, roof, nearby tree, or close to the babies. Then the babies got more adventurous and flew or sailed under the railing to the grass below. We worried that a dog, cat, crow, or something might hurt the baby but we knew it’s all about Nature taking it’s course. Nikki and I kept tabs on the babies for about two weeks while they were around. It’s now mid-June and I still see some doves, not sure if it’s the same ones but it could be. They perch on the birdbath, or in a nearby tree, or walk in our flowerbeds. Some days I think both parents are watching and teaching their babies. Watching the family of doves interact and grow has been a wonderful experience.

One day the new baby was in the yard, it was only a few weeks old and I saw what I’m guessing is mama bird near it, and it started to rain and they were getting wet and mama bird stayed close to the baby and at one point got next to it. I felt so bad for them being wet and maybe getting cold. I took so many pictures during about a three week period I could probably post an entire album, instead, I will put a few pictures in this story. There is one picture in the second set of bird photos, to the left on one with the baby in a pink washcloth, that looks like a tree trunk and dirt, if you look closely you will see the baby bird when it first fell under the railing into the dirt two stories down.

I am still cooking and baking almost everything I eat. I am also finding new foods and recipes which are almost always good. I am using many of the attachments for my KitchenAid and Vitamix which makes food more interesting and healthy. I ground my meat for meatballs the other day and used a tip I saw on TV recently. After grinding the meat they said to put a piece of bread through to push the remainder of the meat out and to know when there is no more meat when the bread starts coming out.

I went to a green market yesterday and there was a fruit I never saw or heard of called Mamey which is only available for a short time this time of year and only grows in a few places, and takes one to two years to have a fruit that can be eaten. After reading about this fruit and it’s origins I now understand why it was so expensive. It was $10.00 for this one fruit which is supposed to taste similar to a cross between a sweet potato and pumpkin but looks like a papaya, but has a brown skin a bit rougher than a kiwi and is about the size of a coconut but more of a football shape. It won’t be ripe enough to eat for a few more days, but since the green market won’t be back for another month I bought a Mamey to try. I am going to try and grow the pit from the fruit. I looked online and found out how to do it. I wish I had a large yard to plant things in. Right now I use flower pots to grow things. I have several Aloe plants, two little mango trees, and some ginger and tumeric growing in pots on my window sills. I still have some herbs in my flowerbed and I use them to cook or make tea.

I made some potato chips, sweet potato chips, and a root vegetable chip that I can’t remember the name of. I tried beet chips, but they burnt before they were crispy. Using the sheet cutter attachment of my KitchenAid makes it easy to make chips and they taste better than store bought ones and I can control the salt or seasonings and oil. It cuts fruits and vegetables into long strips. I think my potato strips came out about 5 feet long. I also made some almond milk and cashew milk, and Naan bread. The nut milk came out surprisingly good, considering I don’t like milk and will only use it in baking or cooking, and it didn’t have any added sugar or preservatives.

I am still dehydrating fruits and vegetables so I can snack on them when I want and by making sure they are fresh and ripe it makes a nice snack when I eat them because the sugar is natural and not something added at a factory. I can fit a five pound bag of dehydrated potatoes in a sandwich baggie. I have used some of my dried vegetables and potatoes in my crockpot with chicken and they come out just like they were fresh vegetables. I am trying to be creative when I cook and bake and use up ingredients I have on hand. I make cupcakes with a yellow cake and add a spoon of jelly, I make individual cheesecakes in muffin tins using my silicone liners to make it easy to unmold. Then I can freeze them so I don’t have to finish an entire cheesecake in a week. I can take a few out to eat when I want them. I have dried portabella mushrooms, sweet peppers, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and many other foods. I love my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and make them often. The other day I made four loaves of bread and shared them with friends. The little squares are pretzel puffs which are a great snack and heat up nicely in my air fryer.

As I am typing this story and adding pictures of food I have made recently, I am thinking I need to make something now. It’s still raining really hard, and my dehydrator is drying some fresh peaches, and some blueberries I had in the freezer. I have so many packages of blueberries that I needed to dry some to free up freezer space. When I first started drying fruit I thought it was dry enough, but I have since realized maybe it wasn’t. I had several packages of fruit show signs of mold with white fuzzy stuff in the baggie so I threw it out. If I had a large freezer, I would vacuum seal my dried fruit and freeze it, but I have no freezer space now.

One day a couple of weeks ago I was getting in my car at a shopping center and I heard a bird singing. I looked up to see where the bird was to thank it for the lovely song. I saw the bird sitting perched on the top of a palm tree branch that had not opened yet. When it heard a noise it turned it’s head looking for the noise which was a car starting. I just looked at the bird for a while enjoying seeing it happy, singing, and enjoying the breeze.

When I was at a local arts and craft show there was a booth called Haileys Hair Elastics, selling ponytail elastics and they said these will not leave marks in hair nor tear the hair, so I bought a few, and they work really well. I still use my Kudu Klips to keep my hair up, but thesebands are nice if I want a quick ponytail, and they hold my hair firmly, even during my workouts at the gym.

I wanted to color some icing to use some new cake decorating tips I found called Russian Piping Tips which are really unusual and create beautiful designs, mostly different types of flowers. You can search YouTube or the Internet to see the beautiful things these tips and how they are different than regular decorating tips. I didn’t want to use regular food coloring with the harmful dyes, so I did a search and found some that are colored using foods without artificial dyes. Also, during Passover someone sent me this cute cartoon, and while watching a late show one night this young man was a guest and he had blue hair. I see people of all ages almost daily with colored hair. I am not sure I would do that, even though the thought passes my mind every now and then. Some colors are really bright, or unusual. When going through my things a while ago, I realized I have so many stamps. Some are books of Forever stamps I bought years ago, others are stamps when prices were lower, or when the price changed and I needed stamps for the price difference. I sent a friend in Texas some items for a new baby and decided instead of buying postage that I would use stamps I already have, here is a picture of what about $16.00 worth of stamps looks like. I did another package another time for $8.00 and I still have a few books of stamps. Some of the stamps are from the 1990s. I even have stamps from earlier than that from when postage was 6 cents, which was a long time ago.

There is a show I recently found on television channel Quest TV called Factory Made. It’s really interesting and I am learning a lot about how different things are made. I have watched fishing rods, bowling balls, highlighters, campers, off road vehichles, stamps, coins, cookware, sliding windows for fast food restaurants, circuit boards, and so many more things being made. It’s fascinating to see how things are made. Sometimes they show how foods are made from the raw product to the finished product. I also saw a different show on how cigarettes and cigars are made.

If anyone that smokes saw this show they would have second thoughts hopefully about what harmful things they are putting into their bodies. And cigars they said are handled by at least 50 people in the process of making one cigar. These people were not wearing gloves, and it started by picking the leaves in the field, until packaging. Watching the process of how cigarettes are made turned my stomach. They put all kinds of really nasty things in there, including extremely harmful chemicals and additives so that within 15 seconds of a puff the brain feels the effects of these addictive and harmful substances. I bet there is a YouTube video that shows the process. This was a half hour show that I saw and the makers of them admitted during a Congressional hearing they knew it was harmful but hid it for many years. Besides seeing people I love or know die or get cancer, many were smokers, and the fact that I prefer to breathe fresh air not someones smoke, I don’t like to see so many young people smoking or vaping which is just as bad if not worse than smoking. I didn’t mean to be on my soapbox about this, it just came out as I am writing this story.

Back to happier things… There is a wonderful privately owned restaurant nearby that I love eating at on the rare occasions that I eat out. It’s called the Sticky Bun and I have written about it a time or two before. I went there a few times in the past month and I usually get their Cuban sandwich which is my favorite thing to eat there. I took some more pictures the last time I went. They have a new stained glass piece of artwork hanging in the window. Mike one of the owners and the chef told me that a restaurant in the same shopping center was remodeling and didn’t want this stained glass piece and asked if Mike and Pauline would like it for their restaurant. They said they would and didn’t realize at the time that it would fit perfectly in their front window. I could tell it must be really heavy by the way they had to support and hand it, but it is amazing to look at. I tried to get some good pictures of it.

There are lots of hand painted murals and custom designed coconuts all over the restaurant, even the bathrooms are brightly painted and decorated. They now have picnic tables outside that can fit an entire family. Inside there is even a small picnic table with chalk for children. I love looking at the artwork and handmade items decorating the interior. It’s also pet friendly and a fun and cheery place to be, and the food is always fresh and extremely delicious, and the portions are large. I usually can only eat half of my sandwich. The potato salad is even better than mine!!! Chef Mike smokes his own meat, pork, turkey, and bacon. Everything is cooked fresh to order and their breads are delicious. If you are near Deerfield Beach, Florida, stop at the Sticky Bun in the Cove Shopping Center on Hillsboro Blvd, just west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Check their website to see when they are open.

It’s hurricane season again, it’s raining pretty hard today while I am writing this story. We have had quite a bit of rain for the past week or so. I hope we don’t have a bad storm or hurricane this year. Last year there was one but the damage was minimal here and there was only a few days without electric, which happened while I was volunteering at the farm north of Tallahassee. About two weeks after I was home a hurricane hit Tallahassee and Havana areas and they were without power for almost three weeks. I was glad I was back home by then.

I am preparing for hurricane season by buying extra batteries, flashlights, tarps, duct tape, etc. Hopefully, I won’t need these items. The roof on my building is about five years old so if there is a storm I am praying it holds strong and that the windows do too. Since I live on the 2nd floor of a two story building, and in a corner unit, it’s not possible for me to put the shutters on the side windows. The front and back have shutters however, if the roof is damaged things inside will be too. I am hoping this doesn’t happen, but just in case it’s ever needed I took pictures of everything in my apartment and saved the pictures to my computer and two external harddrives which I will keep with me, and maybe give one to a friend to keep for me. I learned that while working at the city. Several of us living in different areas of the county took a backup drive home with us as a precaution.

One of my projects that I completed recently was taking my recipes that were in a wire box and putting them into plastic sleeves and organizing them in a 3 ring binder by category. I finally accomplished that project. I wish I realized to save all of the plastic sleeves my mother had in her apartment when she died two years ago. Maybe she was hoping to get organized, as she often told me. I think perhaps my procrastination is inherited??? Anyway, I had to buy about 250 plastic sleeves and I still have a box of recipes that is in my closet I saved and haven’t used in many years, so I will add it to my list to go through and see if there is anything I want to make. I have learned over the years that watching television is a good time to go through papers, pocketbooks I haven’t used in a while that have things in them, recipes, etc.

Now that I have used up all of the yarn I bought to make baby blankets and hats for the NICU I need to find other projects to do while watching TV or just relaxing. I don’t sit and do nothing comfortably very often, unless I am taking a nap. I don’t know why I feel I always need to be doing something. Sometimes I read, other times I look out the window and enjoy nature and seeing the leaves on the trees blow. I am doing a bit more reading again. It seems that mostly I read a lot while on my trips in the camper because I had a lot of free time and it gave me something to do. In approximately 27 months I crocheted and donated about 450 baby blankets and 150 baby hats to the NICU at a local hospital. I have had to take a few breaks during that time to rest my hands, arms, and shoulders since I have a tendency to overdue projects, I did too much at a time which aggravated my carpel tunnel and tendonitis. So now, I have to be more careful and give my body time to heal again. Crocheting is done for a while. All of my yarn is used up, except for a few skeins I have for a project for myself one day in the distant future.

I have not decided if I am taking trip again this year or staying home, or maybe taking a short trip and not being away for months like I have been for the past eight years. Some years I wait until about two weeks before and decide it’s time for a trip. I have a strange gut feeling that we are going to have a hurricane this year that will impact us, if so, I should be home to handle the preparation. As the crow flies I am about a mile from both the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean and when we have a heavy rain my street and the surrounding streets flood. I would probably stay home unless it’s a Cat 5 hurricane. I lived through one of those when I lived about 8 miles west of where I am now and it was not fun. Lots of damage. Even though the roof on the building I lived in and all of the buildings around me lost their roofs and windows were blown in, my apartment on the first floor was okay. But, I was inside of a cement block structure and there were apartments on both sides of me, and the building is more sturdy than what I live in now. Also, I didn’t have side windows like I do now living in an end apartment. All I can do is pray and hope we all stay safe and that any storms blow out to sea and don’t do any damage to anyone anywhere.

Well, that’s about it for this story. This story only took about four hours which is good. It’s only about 1:30 p.m. on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Time to eat lunch and decide what to make for snacks. About a week and a half ago I made two batches of pretzel puffs and four batches of wheat thins and they are all gone. Need to make something crunchy and/or salty for snacks besides the potato chips.

I don’t promise, but if there is anything to write about in a while I will try not to go so long without adding a post. Just know that I am doing pretty good healthwise, better than I have beenĀ  in a few years. FYI… I did not go back and proofread this story after typing it, so forgive any errors, or you can let me know if there is something I need to correct. Have a sensational life…. Always remember there is so much to be grateful for no matter what.

Here are a few poems that I have on my wall that I read often and that always help me be grateful… and change my attitude. You can also do a search on my website for Inspirational poems and stories, or Lois, Dr. Seuss, or the Three Little Pigs to see other things that I enjoy. Some of the poems below I have had for a long time, I am There was given to me in 1988 by Lois who had one of the most positive influences in my life and my spirituality and I know her spirit is still is with me to this day.

 

 

 

 

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One Response to May and June 2019 Happenings, and informative and interesting things to know about such as Superstition Mountains Cougar Shadow and harmful chemicals in food

  1. Michele Anzalone says:

    Hi Carol,

    I enjoyed reading your latest story. I am happy to hear that your health is doing better now than in recent years.

    Warm Regards

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