Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Goodbye to Harper

We know that
our senior citizen dogs will not be with us forever but we can't imagine how our lives will be without them. Libby and her DH are living through the sadness of the death of their dear Harper.

These are pictures of my dear old guy Kipper. He will be 12 years old in a couple months. Whenever Libby wrote about Harper, I related to Kipper doing the same things whether it was keeping the squirrels out of her yard, snoozing under a bush, riding in the car, going for walks or playing in the snow. Both dogs were saves from shelters when they were puppies.

Harper will be missed by her family and by many blog friends.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010


These are some pictures I recently took at the aquarium in Tampa, Florida. It is a wonderful place.

Obviously the first picture is a sea horse. Is the second one a water plant? Nope. It too is a sea horse. The third picture makes that a little clearer. Click on the pictures.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Elsie the Cow

Does anyone else remember Elsie the Cow?

She was the famous mascot for the Borden Company. During my childhood she was the most recognizable product logo in the United States and Canada.

When I was a kid, my family lived in the small town of Elsie, Michigan. There were many diary herds in the area and I believed, erroneously, my town was the home of Elsie the Cow.

Elsie's husband was Elmer and he later went to Borden's chemical division to be the mascot for Elmer's glue.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Makes A Good Day?
Eat fruit from my cereal bowl.
See sun shining in my window.
Watch a doggie's wagging tail.
Listen to Golden Oldies music.
Receive a call from a loved one.
Laugh and laugh with my friend.
Find a magazine in my mailbox.
Feel the good soil of my garden.
Create with my sewing machine.
Smell the air after a rain shower.
Expand my horizon with words.
Smile from a memory once lost.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

How Cold Is It?

I know it is very cold is most of our country and I know what that means in my home state of Michigan. But it is interesting what very cold weather means in Florida. What am I talking about? Last night it was 27 degrees for five hours in mid Florida - between Tampa and Orlando. That broke the local records. Abnormal cold weather has been here for over ten days, which makes everything worse.

I know the cold weather with ice and snow is hard on the cattle and other animals in the north. The cattle here in Florida are doing fine but other animals are having trouble. (Did you know that cattle is the second largest business in Florida? It is second behind tourism and larger than the citrus business.) Florida has fisheries. Some are private businesses to produce fish for aquariums. One place has some indoor tanks and moved at least some of their fish to them. Another place did not have indoor tanks and ninety percent of the business was lost. I know zoos in the north make plans every year for their cold sensitive animals. Florida does too. Some of the animals are taken inside and some have heating put into their outdoor homes.

The wild animals are having problems.

The manatee begin to suffer health problems when the water gets under 60 degrees. They are coming in mass from the gulf into rivers and outlets what are warmed by springs or waste water warmed by manufacturing. The areal pictures show the manatee are massed together in these places. People are being asked to stay away from the masses of manatees so they won't be frightened and swim into cold water. One manatee missed the route to warmer water and ended up in a ditch. They have rescue people who picked her up and took her to warmer water.

Cold blooded animals such as the alligators, turtles, and snakes are having trouble. (Did you know that alligators don't feed until they are at a certain temperature?) One of the latest warnings is that the rats are trying to move into buildings to get warm too.

While up north the crops are now gone or dormant, many of them are in peak here in Florida. Florida provides most of the vegetables and fruits in the U.S. during the winter. Where I live in Florida, there are many fields of strawberries. They picked all they could and then ran sprinklers to cover the plants with ice. This actually causes them to stay warm. They have had to use the sprinklers for so many days that the green berries have been damaged. So far they have saved the plants. They have also sprayed the lower branches of the citrus trees and so far that crop is doing good. The vegetables have all been very damaged. The strawberry and citrus producers have water spraying systems but the lettuce, tomatoes and all the other vegetables don't generally have any protection and will have to be replanted.

I just learned about another effect of all the watering to protect crops. The ground is being so saturated that sink holes are causing both road and home damage. Sink holes are always a problem in many areas of Florida and home owners buy riders to their insurance for them, but the watering is increasing the problem.

Airplanes are being delayed in major airports such as Tampa because they are covered with ice in the morning. The Tampa airport has no de-iceing equipment. The planes must wait until mother nature melts the ice on the planes.

While in Michigan we use natural or propane gas to heat many of out homes, electricity is the major source here. They have used record amounts during the last two weeks. All the stores are sold out of space heaters. Some schools are having problems. There is a backup to get service on heating units that are not working. They have put a hold on turning off any one's electricity for unpaid bills until the cold lets up. It is expected to last another week and there is a possibility of snow during the weekend. The last time that happened here was 1967 but they think sleet and freezing rain will be more likely.

They have opened their emergency shelters for the homeless. At least three persons living in tents or other make-shift structures have died. They have also already used up their budgets for the emergency shelters.

Including mine, many mobile homes here are very poorly insulated. I don't have a roof over or additional insulation or new siding. Double pane windows are about unknown in Florida. I have a good heating/cooling unit and it has been running a lot. I sure don't look forward to seeing my next electric bill. I prefer to have my home cool and keep the thermostat at 60. Lots of soups, tea, clothes and quilts. Kipper is grown out medium long and has a nice coat for this weather. Many of the little dogs that live near us have sweaters to wear.

I suppose I find all this so interesting because it is such a contrast to winter in Michigan. What are the biggest problems from the cold weather in your area?

Monday, January 04, 2010


I've been reading books lately. Although I read many types of books, I love historical novels. While spending time sitting with my friend Shirley while she slept, I began reading the John Jakes trilogy North and South. I had read them many years ago but I also like to reread books I especially like. Mr. Jakes is really good with a story but is also so careful with the accuracy of time and place in his books. I do appreciate that.

My DD1 gave me a book for Christmas that has become my favorite ever book. It is titled The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It is now in paperback. The dog Enzo tells about his life with his human family. It is so well written. Mr. Stein sure knows dogs. And he knows about car racing, although I have to take the word of others for this. It is the weaving of these two together that makes a most thoughtful, heartfelt story. This is the only book that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again, so I did and I know I'll read it many more times. I'm not sure if someone who hasn't lived with a canine friend or doesn't have my philosophy of life would love it as I do, but if you get a chance, give it a try. I'd love to hear if you like it as much as I do.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Hot Chocolate

Well, I hard copied all the files I have. Some are very complete, even with pictures. Some are just notes with ideas to write about. Some were written 10 years ago and some have been scanned into a document. Some have already been printed in one of my Life Story Books.

I can do some writing directly on the computer but to organize, I need to use actual pieces of paper. Now I'm trying to decide if I should put them in a box for now or punch holes and put them into a notebook. I also have zip bags full of recipes so maybe I should put both a notebook and the loose stuff in a box.

It is cold here in Florida. Well not snow, ice and all that cold. But cold enough to water the strawberries and other ground crops and open shelters for the homeless. Even though I know how it works, it still looks funny to see the sprinklers putting water on the crops so it will freeze and protect them.

For breakfast this morning, I had hot chocolate and toast. This was a favorite of mine as a child. I would butter the toast and add strawberry jam. Then I would dunk it into the hot chocolate.

Now I make hot chocolate from dark cocoa. My favorite is a Saco product which is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoa. I have always preferred the dark kind. How great that now they say this dark chocolate is good for our health. Now I use Splenda rather than sugar. I mix the two with a small amount of water. Then I add milk and heat in the microwave. I like to use a large Pyrex cup. The final touch is to add a dash of vanilla. I have discovered that WalMart here in Florida is selling Watkins vanilla. It is very good and reasonable in price. If I have it, which I did today, I add whipped cream.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year

Has it really been four months since I posted? Life just got in the way.

I spent much time with my dear friend Shirley. She fought brain cancer for 18 months and died on November 29, 2009. Kipper and I are now in FL. I've been giving myself much leeway as I grieve my friend.

I finally feel like thinking about a project. I made a mental list and that may have been a mistake because now I don't know where to start. I still have not finished my genealogy stories I have been writing but most of that material is in MI. I have started stories about my DH, who died 11 years ago, and would like to get back to writing those memories. And I have started stories about food. Yes, there are recipes but also stories about them. I also have stories about pets that I'd like to put together. I already have about 40 miscellaneous stories and would like to get them organized and added to. Then there are sewing projects. I've really been in a dry spell. I did some red work as it was easy to carry with me. My sewing machine here in FL is not working properly and if I'm going to quilt, I need to replace it. And I have books I want to read.

Should I do a little of each or .....? Prioritization and procrastination have always been my roadblocks.

This blog was primarily to be about quilting. Maybe I need a different one now.

Lots of questions and no answers just now.