Random 5 for May 21, 2023 – Gardening, trees, change, traffic circles, cooking

Last year’s deck flowerboxes with a tomato plant in front (last year’s photo)

Figuring it out – When I hurt my back last weekend, I was in the middle of moving plants around. Most gardeners can relate to that. You plant something. It doesn’t work in the spot, so you move it again. I was able to get my local grass mower to take out the large plants and cut down another. There was a time when I did that all myself. Now, even if my back is great, I don’t have the strength (or is it the desire or energy) to do it. Fortunately, we have a few local grass mowing guys who pick up small gardening gigs for old ladies! 😊

Tree docs – I have two new trees in the back. One of them was looking a little sad. There were grayish patches on the bark so I called the tree doc. It’s lichen which doesn’t hurt the trees. There is a doc for just about anything these days.

Change – When I was younger I embraced change. It usually meant something would be easier or better in the long run (after a painful learning curve). Think computers, cell phones and all that electronic stuff we whine about. If I had to do research the old way (encyclopedias or trips to the library) I wouldn’t get as much done. Unfortunately, when it comes to cats, they are not about change. Don’t change my food dish or water dish or good grief! Not may favorite bed! We had our annual ant invasion. This year Gracie’s food dishes were the target of choice. Not good. Gracie is the cat who dislikes change the most. It has taken about 48 hours for her to understand that the new dining spot has the same wonderful food but she is still not completely sure. She sits at her old spot waiting to be served.

The other change – Our state’s department of transportation has installed a series of “circles” on a major road. I hate circles. Other places have done away with them. No one is quite sure who has right-of-way. Others fumble with rosary beads and the St. Christopher medal (yes, I know he was demoted) in hopes of getting through alive and unscathed. I’m going to practice that route at a slow time. It’s between me and a new-found flower seller.

Source: Adobe

Simple cooking – A lot of recipes are similar except for the spices. This week I made a “cajun style” steak. The steak was not a tender cut so it’s cooked low and slow in a crockpot or oven. When I finished up, I realized that it’s the same technique I use for another crockpot dish. The only changes were the cajun spices. You can switch it out and make it Italian style or Greek style without any more work or change the cut of meat to another one of similar texture and tenderness. I know this but I still cut out recipes, buy oddball spices and try out new (but not really new) dishes. I’ll never learn.

So how was your week?

41 thoughts on “Random 5 for May 21, 2023 – Gardening, trees, change, traffic circles, cooking

  1. Well Gracie – I “get it” – I’m not big on change either. And I dealt with the annual ant invasion, thought it was done and an ant went zooming across the kitchen table earlier today. It was not as bad as some years and a lot more pleasant than when I turn on the bathroom light early in the morning and a centipede scurries inside the bathtub. I’m not on Facebook all that much, but why do they insist on tweaking things? Have they never heard of the expression: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

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      • Yes, they don’t get our mindset! Speaking of old folks, I am feeling like one of those after two long sessions of yard work … I remember the days when I did yard work dawn to dusk for three solid days at Memorial weekend. After yesterday, I felt like a Mack truck went over me and I was asleep before the sun went down. 🙂

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          • Ha ha – I can remember one year, I put marble rocks up one side of the house (and took them away the following year as they looked dirty) and holding the bags of white marble by the corners to lug them around and pour them out left my hands in a claw-like position for a few days. i said to my mom “I pulled muscles in my hands?” The best thing I ever bought myself back in the day was a little “four-wheeler” garden cart.

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  2. Circles must be the new thing, or is it bringing back the old. I find them a little unnerving, too. I am trying to remain flexible and as open as possible to change. Even the idea of change can at times stress me. Our bank has merged with another larger institution and in a few days everything is switching over to the new. There was a time this wouldn’t have felt like a big deal, but with account numbers changing I have to go through all my on-line banking and make updates and it’s not that I cannot do it, I simply don’t want to! LOL! Change! I think I can understand the cats, quite frankly. 😉

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    • Circles were popular earlier. Then they were eliminated. Now they are back. Probably the young engineer who recommended them never drove them in the 50s. My old bank changed so many times that I finally went with a more local bank that won’t be acquired (hopefully). No matter how hard you try, you always forget to change one account!

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  3. Our little town is also obsessed with those annoying and confusing roundabouts. My husband is convinced that some little guy who’s never EVER left his desk but continues to design roads (my husband calls him “Nerlman”) thinks roundabouts are interesting features. Those of us who deal with them simply find them a pain. Speaking of pain – I really can’t do much of anything in the garden anymore due to pain – – knees, back, etc. I do more container gardening these days but it still involves heavy stuff. Oh well…..there’s worse things – like Nerlman’s next invention for roads I’m sure! LOL

    Hugs, Pam

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  4. Hi, Kate – I’m totally with you on roundabouts. My husband loves them. Me? Not so much.
    I love Gracie’s resistance to change. Does the food really taste the same if served elsewhere? And does the new eating area include ant-entertainment? 😀

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  5. I can’t stand those round-a-bouts. When we get off the highway to my dad’s in Wisconsin, there are several of those to get through before we can get on the main road toward his street. They are a pain.

    Recipes – I rarely follow them. I get an idea from reading something and then rearrange it to my taste.

    I have a theory on why my husband’s back went out, and I’m wondering if it applies to you as well. He bent over to tie his shoe and was mad because something so simple threw it out. I think it was because before he bent to tie his shoe, he’d been doing heavy lifting without a brace. He said the lifting went fine and it didn’t bother his back. I think it DID bother his back by manifesting when he bent to tie his laces. Sooo, I’m wondering if you were working outdoors on those plants at any time during that day or the day before, and then it went out when you were doing the sheets. 🤷‍♀️

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  6. You have my sympathies about the changes that pets do not understand. Elsa with all her weird quirks sounds a lot like Gracie. They could be almost related!

    Don’t get me started about driving circles being installed throughout Denver. One was installed at my intersection, no problem here if it actually helped, except it’s the smallest intersection of all the ones installed. The elevation is somewhat domed in the center which means cars tend to slide off into the storm sewer at the low point in the winter. Three SUVs had to be towed because the front end suspension was so jacked up and undrivable (no doubt because sanding trucks can’t get in because they’re too doggone large). Not to mention the fact that the city, for whatever reason, doesn’t bother to sand those intersections to make it easier not to slide into the storm sewer in bad weather. And then there are the crews of workers that have to come out with 3 actually making the repairs to the chipped cement curbing as cars try to navigate around without having to slow down and the other 10 guys standing around watching. 🙄 It still doesn’t seem to reduce speeding one bit. People with high clearance vehicles (or Fed Ex & UPS) just drive over or cut through. It’s been a real cluster and at some point, someone is going to get seriously hurt or worse. Grrrr.

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    • When I was a kid there were a lot of circles in New Jersey on the way to the beach. Slowly, NJ got rid of them installing lighted intersections with turning lanes. Worked great. I’m not sure what genius decided that these would be a good idea again. History repeats itself. Your circle sounds like the engineers didn’t do the calcs correctly. There has to be room for them. Locally they had to take land to create the large roundabouts.

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  7. My oldest daughter used to live in Carmel, Indiana, a place with many traffic circles. So I got used to them driving there. Here in WA, we have very few traffic circles, but people seem to have figured them out. They’re worse at the four-way stops–some people afraid to take their turn when it’s obviously theirs, others rushing through out of turn. When you think of it, most people follow the traffic rules amazingly well.

    There are so many things I used to do for myself that I don’t anymore. I still do my own cooking, though, which is hard for one person since I try to eat three healthy meals a day. Also, I hate to throw food away, so that takes a lot of planning.

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  8. I didn’t know St. Christopher was demoted. I have a clip of him on my visor. I also have a palm in my car which my mom insists every one in my family has to have. 🙂

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  9. Good to hear your back is better and there is help with the gardening.
    I don’t cook much anymore. I occasionally get ambitious and make a casserole, but I mostly eat frozen dinners or pick up something at a deli or restaurant.

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  10. I hate traffic circles, too. They are dangerous and inconvenient and make me snarl. I’m to a point where I now intentionally avoid driving where I know they are just to avoid the frustration, and danger, they cause.

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    • Totally agree. It’s not only me that’s tenuous but many other drivers who don’t know what to do. Makes for a disaster waiting to happen but “they” say that the statistics say they are safer than a traffic light.

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  11. I’m glad you got your gardening figured out. My lawn guy, a neighbor, buried the ashes of my last four cats. And a pinch of Fred. I’ve been carrying them around until I bought a house, where they could become one with the earth and no one would dig them up, and found someone to do the job. Hard as it is to find people to work around here, there is always someone to do the job.

    Zoe apparently decided to give up on her insistence of being served in her favorite chair while I was in the hospital. This is a good thing, I think. She’s no longer sitting in her favorite chair at all, even with the fresh blankie. Once again, I sometimes with I could read her mind.

    Recipes are just a jumping off point. You know how to work your crock pot to your advantage. You can do anything now. I watched a “chef” recently muck up a recipe for pot roast because he didn’t know how to use the instant pot. Learn to use your tools and you can play with the recipes to your heart’s content.

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  12. I don’t generally mind traffic circles…unless I’m in England. Trying to manage those while driving on the wrong side of the road is terrifying. I was sure I was going to wind up going the wrong way. So I just followed the car in front of me and hoped to hell they were turning off in the same place. Gardening can be brutal on the back. Luckily, Baby D is now big enough that he can do the digging!

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  13. Swapping around a herbs and spices = an expanded repertoire!

    Even in something as simple as mashed potatoes, you can add chives or parsley or garlic & herbs or turmeric or cheese for a completely different taste.

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  14. I used to hate traffic circles but have gotten to really like them. They put several in Hershey in places that were so clogged in the past, and now you can mostly breeze through them. They can be tough when you’re behind someone who doesn’t get the concept and sits there forever, but mostly they work.

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  15. As much as my kitchen is my happy place and I’m always looking for and trying new recipes, I usually draw the line when it comes to buying a (usually expensive) spice I may never use again, or for that matter, any ingredient (like buttermilk) that I may never use again!

    Try putting a circle of baking soda around each of Gracie’s dishes. Ants don’t like having to cross anything that is a white powdery substance!

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    • Never heard of the baking soda thing. Typically I don’t buy $$ spices. I got the cajun spice at our farmers market for $2 so I thought I’d try. I could have made it with spices I keep on hand and I should have done that. Not sure if I’ll use again but I may try on chicken. I use buttermilk for a lot of things but you can also make it by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk.

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