Friday, August 19, 2011

August Bounty

The backyard
Can you see the tomato plant below? It's just starting to have some tomatoes on it with a little pinkish tint to them. When they start ripening, we are going to have a LOT of tomatoes! There are about 18 plants. Salsa, juice, bottled whole and stewed. And lots and lots of fresh, sliced, stuffed, etc. for the rest of the summer.

I bottled another batch of green beans this afternoon. This makes 23 pints of green beans out of our little backyard garden. That doesn't even count the ones I've given away, or the ones we've eaten. I do believe they are finally starting to slow down. [whew!!]

At least, we THOUGHT they were slowing!! Here's some more... they just keep coming!!

This was a new one for us this year--cabbage. We don't often grow this, but they are looking nice. Cole slaw, anyone?

Here's a wee little (volunteer) watermelon. It MAY grow big enough to actually ripen. Maybe. Our growing season really isn't long enough here unless you take special measures, and we didn't. It came up kind of late, too, for a volunteer. But it IS kind of cute. It's about the size of a softball.

And the apple tree is doing well.

These pumpkins are some that we planted on purpose, not knowing just exactly WHAT kind of squash was volunteering all over the garden. As it turns out, they are ALL pumpkins. Pumpkin pie, anyone?

I have the makings for some pickles, too. Kosher dills. Sounds good to me!

This (above) is what I saw one morning when I looked out my bedroom window. Our neighbor's cats. Cat 1 and Cat 2. I really don't think they have names! Collectively, they are "The Grays". One is the brother, one is the sister of a litter and they are Russian Grays. Nice kitties. We enjoy them as neighbors. We have all the benefits of enjoying a cat to pet and for grandkids to play with (and the kitties DO come over to play!), but we don't have to take care of them. It's a good deal all around in my opinion
Pumpkins! They are getting bigger and more orange. I think Mike said he counted about 20. Yikes. That's a LOT of pumpkin pie. ha. There are three in this picture.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Healthy Habits Pay Off

Noteworthy headline, eh? BORING!!! But, as I found out in the past week or so, it's really true. All those things they tell you about exercising, and eating fruits and veggies, and drinking water, etc. really ARE true! This is how I know.

A year ago in June I had my annual check up. Nothing out of the ordinary. Things were Okay. Could be better, but no alarming things were mentioned that I needed to take care of.

A year ago, right AFTER my physical, the Staff Association at work started their T-FIT program. That stands for T-Bird Fitness Initiative. We were hoping to get more FIT and help with the insurance and just general well-being. We had monthly challenges, we had teams and competition and prizes and it was FUN! That's not to say it wasn't hard, but the committee worked really hard to make it do-able and to make it fun. I liked it. I liked the team competition aspect and specific challenges (drinking water, number of steps per day, counting your veggie servings daily, etc.)

I'd kind of gotten a little lax with Water Aerobics. I like it, but going to the pool is such a hassle with all the stuff you gotta do to get in and out. So I tried Yoga. Liked that... but I'm not really very consistent with that, either (seeing a theme here?).

Well, anyway, some of those things are more of a habit now. I did not win the grand prize or participate 100%, but I gave T-FIT a go. And now I am convinced that it was WORTH IT.

Do I feel any better? Did I lose weight? Nope, on both counts. I still feel the same. I still weigh the same. But look at these numbers:

Cholesterol 2010, 191
Cholesterol 2011, 171

LDL 2010, 131
LDL 2011, 119 (!)

HDL 2010, 27
HDL 2011, 34

Triglyceride 2010, 163
Triglyceride 2011, 90 (!)

Yeah, a table would be much easier to read, but I don't know how to blog that. Sorry.
I was also told I don't have diabetes, do have good liver and kidney function, good blood pressure, etc. It was a good trip to the Dr. that day. (The mammogram was also good.)

So, go out there and drink lots of water, walk more, try some yoga, and eat more fruits and veggies. See if YOUR counts don't improve!! Thanks, T-FIT.

I gotta go eat some more fruit now. :-)


One of the things I've had on my "Summertime List of things to Do" was to re-line the kitchen cabinets. Not ALL of them! Heaven's no, I'm not THAT ambitious!! However, there was one that was in particularly bad shape that really needed some attention.

I accidentally went to work early today. (That happens way more often than it should. I shudder to think what I'll be like when I'm 60. Yikes.) I showed up at 8 am --WITH brownies for my student workers who have persevered all summer long, working hard and long. They were "Healthy" -er brownies, made with zucchini and applesauce. ;-) Yeah, like brownies can be healthy. BUT, I wasn't supposed to be there until 11 a.m. because I'm closing tonight at 7 pm. Susan was nice enough to say, "Well you can come back at 12 if you want. Just as long as I get out of here by 1." So I went home. I re-lined the kitchen cabinet with all my baking and seasoning stuff in it. I consolidated a lot of containers. It looks lovely.

And I even had time to finish Sunday's Crossword puzzle AND read today's paper before I headed out to work. Oh, AND I folded and put away all our laundry from last week, too.

I like bonus mornings like that! It makes me feel like I actually accomplished something for a change. Yes, I know, MOST people do these sorts of things on a regular basis (accomplish stuff), but I feel like it's a rarity with me. So just bear with me while I gloat ;-)

Monday, August 1, 2011

First Harvest

I always get excited at the first little harvest from our backyard garden. This was tonight. We have actually eaten a LOT of lettuce in the past month, and I have given away bags of it, too.
But this is what I picked this evening:


We ate our one zuchinni on Sunday, so this one is really from another garden. But we did have one. It was good. It may be our only one. The pumpkins are kind of taking over.

We have about 4 or 5 ORANGE pumpkins that are not too shabby in size. I'm not quite sure what to do with orange pumpkins so early in the season. I only like them for fall decorating. Oh, I guess we could eat them, but where's the fun in that?! Pumpkins are FUN food. ;-)

I have lots more beans and peas coming, and tomatoes and onions and cucumbers. The carrots and beets are sparse, and the radishes and lettuce are on their way out. The apple tree is looking great.

Ah, summer time. Sometimes it's really nice. . . especially when someone else does the weeding. Thanks, Mike!!