Friday, April 24, 2009

Weather Forecast from Hutchinson Kansas


We decided today wasn't going to be a very good day to's VERY windy!!! Typical spring winds in Kansas (to be followed by summer winds, fall winds, and winter winds!) We have virtually no hills in this part of Kansas to slow the wind down, so it BLOWS!

Schiz and her buddy Wally had a playdate here this morning, and after Wally's "parents" picked him up, I went out and mowed AGAIN. The mower is definitely working better since it's overhaul.

After getting cleaned up, I ran a few errands and then early this evening went garage saling. Eleven sales...I spent a quarter: a small bottle of lotion (a brand I really like). Just not my night for garage sales, I guess.

I came home and made some pico de gallo. YUM!!! Here's my recipe if you'd like to try it:

2 jalapaenos, seeded and diced

5 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 medium red onion, diced

the zest and juice of one lime

a little cilantro

a little salt

diced garlic or garlic salt (NOT in mine!)

Mix it all together and marinate overnight.

It hasn't been "overnight", but I've already sampled some of it with some Scoops.'s good!!! 'Course now I could probably peel paint off the wall with my breath..but it was sure good!! This is what us single folks call VEGGIES!!!! (Just double click on that picture and see if your mouth doesn't water..or your eyes!!) :)

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Thursday, April 23, 2009


Yesterday, Wednesday, Mary and I rode to Haven. Got there, decided we didn't need a break and headed back. About a mile east of Yoder I decided maybe I did need a break. My feet were falling asleep and my toes were burning. So we stopped at the Kansas Station in Yoder and split a Diet Coke. After a brief, but well-appreciated rest, we took off again and came back to Hutch. 26.62 miles by my computer. Mary's was 26.8?. Her's always gains about a tenth of a mile every 10 miles on mine. We don't know who's right!

Then last night I went and subbed for my old Bunco group. It's a fun group! Enjoyed it!

This a.m. I called Mary and said I'd heard the wind was going to get stiffer this afternoon and suggested we should ride this morning. So we did. We said, "Short ride." At Yoder I said, "Wanna go one more mile - Obee Road?" Yep. At Obee we decided one more mile - Mayfield Road. At Mayfield Road we turned around and headed back. Got back with 21.5 (Mary 21.7) miles.

The weather has been outstanding for riding. There's a little wind, but IT IS KANSAS!!! As someone I know used to say, "In Kansas we don't have many hills, so we have to have wind to train against!" How true!

I think this afternoon I'll go out and plant my tomatoes and cucumbers. I had planned to wait until May 1...but I think it's just too nice not to plant something! Also, I have zinnias, and Shasta daisies, and marigolds to plant.

Get out..enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful temperatures. It's a beeeee-yooooo-ti-ful day in Kansas!!!!!! Count your blessings!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wha's Happening....

Just a quick update: Yes, Sunday afternoon I did mow the yard. The mower works fine. Monday a.m. had a few quick errands before my sister arrived about 11:00 a.m. Then we went rock shopping in Wichita for a few hours. That evening we walked..about 2 to 2 1/2 miles.

This morning we went out to Dutch Kitchen and had breakfast (biscuits and there's some diet food for ya!!) After a couple of other stops, Jude had to leave to head back to Joplin.

So at 1 p.m. Mary and I rode to Partridge (a little over 19 miles round trip). Our original destination was Haven..but the wind was very definitely out of the southwest. Our motto is to always ride INTO the wind, then enjoy the push all the way back. It was WONDERFUL!!!! On the way back we were working just trying to keep up with our feet spinning around and flew along at 21 and 22 mph. (Told Wes, Mary's husband, that when we got back and he, of course, said, "Why weren't you doing 27 or 28?" Sometimes ya just can't win!!!) Anyway, we had a really nice ride, a lot of fun. It's always more fun with someone because you get involved in the conversation and the time (and miles) just fly by. We plan to try to get out again tomorrow and go again.

Haven't planted the cucumbers and tomatoes outside yet, but I did go get some Miracle Grow potting soil and planted my elephant ear bulbs in a big planter today. It took what seemed like forever before they came up last year and I'd planted them fairly close to the surface. I planted them fairly deep today and afterwards wondered if they be up by the fall frost.

Well, that's my "update" for now. More later!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring...Spring...Please be Spring!!!

Thursday Mary and I decided it was a little too gusty for us to ride...but thinking we SHOULD do something, we met at 20th and Hendricks and walked a little over three miles on the bike path. Along the way we spotted these tulips blooming. They're kind of in a back yard, but more so just off the trail (that's the bike trail in the background of the second picture). My comment to Mary was, "You think they'd like some cannas????"

And Friday I got my mower back from Ace Hardware. I haven't tried it out yet but if the wind keeps blowing and the sun comes out I may do that this afternoon. We had another half inch of rain yesterday and last night so it needs some "drying time" first. Larry, from Ace, gave me my old front wheels and showed me how they were worn..but not evenly which is kind of puzzling. Anyway...$80.09 later and I'm ready to go mow again.

I saw in this morning's newspaper that Home Depot have their vegetable plants "buy one, get one free". Wound up buying two Roma tomato plants and one pot of cucumbers (but there are 7 plants in the one pot). They were ringing up half-price so it wasn't necessary for me to buy a second potful. It's 54 degrees here, still a little cool to put them out permanently, so for the next week or so I'll keep them in my sunroom and maybe set them out during the day. I always think it's so foolish for me to buy veggie plants. When mine are bearing fruit, so are everybody's elses. I can stop at any roadside stand and get all the tomatoes or cucumbers I want. But there's just something about growing my own that I like. Or so I think in early Spring...ask me in August I may have a different answer.

The sun's trying to peek through the clouds. Hopefully it'll turn out to be another gorgeous day. Enjoy it!!!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just a short rant

Ok..took mower to Ace Hardware. About an hour later Larry called and said the two front wheels have molded plastic gears in them to "self-propel" the mower...and they were chewed good. I asked "why?"...and his response was that either I am not picking up the front of the mower when I turn OR things are made poorly in today's "disposable society". The wheels are $20 I'd asked him to "go over" it...another $40. I chose to have him hold off ordering the wheels for a couple of hours until I could call Sears.

I called Sears...lawn and garden department. Explained that I'd bought the mower 7/1/08 and wondered what my warranty would be. I'd have to call their 1-800-4myhome I did. After some discussion, it was determined that I have two years parts and labor..."and after that you'll want to buy the extended warranty." Yeah, right!! I was told I'd need to call the store to schedule the repairs. So...second time...I called the store. Guess what? I have to call the 1-800 number to schedule the repairs...probably someone local, perhaps Wichita, the guy wasn't sure.

Here's where I shot myself in the foot and liked it! I explained to the guy that I wouldn't darken their door again to even so much as buy a pair of pantyhose! I don't like Sears! I don't like to be known as Crapsman!!!

I called Larry at Ace Hardware and told him to order the parts! I'll pay for them before I'll go around and around with Sears! However...I'll also "drive it like it's stolen" this whole summer because I WILL take it to Sears if it goes bad again...only I'll do it in February or sometime when I don't need a mower ever four or five days!

What has happened to our society? Why are things...not just lawnmowers...made so shoddy and poorly that one learns to EXPECT to buy new in a short time. I've recently returned a vacuum sweeper that I'd had only about a month because it was louder than loud and couldn't pick up a piece of lint. I've returned irons because the shot of steam button sticks down after just a couple of weeks...(given, I DO iron a lot).

Ok..I said SHORT rant...I've deleted about two paragraphs..count your blessings! And I'll count mine... Life IS good... Thank God I'm able to use a lawnmower...and afford a lawnmower...and afford the replacement parts for it. And I have green grass! Life IS good! Count your blessings!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

After the Ride

Just a short note here. After our Yoder bicycle ride, I came home, mowed the yard, and planted another 16 canna bulbs! Then I loaded my piece of uhhhhh Craftsman lawnmower in the back of my car (the hardest of everything I've done today) and am taking it to Ace Hardware in the morning to have it "adjusted". Bought it July 1, 2008...less than one year ago...from day one it hasn't been great. It's supposed to be self-propelled. If you raise the front end off the ground, the wheels will spin around. Put it down and it won't pull itself. I'm not going to waste my time or effort to take it to Sears...they'd probably have to send it to Chicago or something to get it fixed! I was against buying a Craftsman when I bought it...but I bought it. First and last time!! How's that for an endorsement?

A Ride To Yoder

Mary and I decided today was a good day for a ride to Yoder. Wind was out of the east-south-east. Going out of South Hutchinson we saw a tractor going south, but there was a car coming north that prevented us from getting across to the tractor's southbound lane. We took chase...but, alas, by the time we got to the new truckstop, we were both exhausted and the tractor had picked up speed.

About Crupper's Corner I realized I'd left my water bottle in my car. Hmmmm...well, on we go. Another tractor with a trailer passed us but he was going pretty fast...probably about 30 and we didn't even take chase.

A mile or so past the Crupper's turnoff, I heard something, checked my mirror, said to Mary, "Here's our ride...let's go!" And off we go...picking up our pace so that when the tractor and trailer come around us we're going fast enough to fall in behind him and be protected from the wind (drafting, in other words). Sure worked! We snuggled up to those three plastic barrels and just cranked along at a steady 15 mph. We didn't think the driver of the tractor could see us, but about a mile west of Yoder when he turned south towards the airbase, he turned in the seat and gave a big did we!!! Thank you!!!

I dropped back once to take a couple of pictures of Mary.

We've done this a couple of times before. One thing to consider here...when you're drafting behind an Amish man's tractor you need to be prepared to stop, swerve, whatever...there are no tail lights. But when we did it before it was a little more precarious: it was a horse and buggy...with the most adorable little boy that kept peeking around at us! But when you're riding behind a horse and buggy, you have to keep your eyes open for more than just some occassional rocks or truck tire tread...the horse is up there, ya know!?!

We stopped in Yoder for me to get a bottle of water and I took this picture of Mary and her bicycle.

And this one of my bicycle.

And Mary took this one of some fat chick. (Ok...fat old hen!)

We both agreed these are our "early in the season" fat pictures! We'll lose a few (hopefully I'll lose quite a few) pounds before the summer's over.

All in all, it was a great ride. 17.32 miles. Always lots of fun..lots of conversation...and lots of laughs.

When we got back to South Hutch and I pulled my helmet off and was loading up my bike, Mary said, "You've got something on your face..." She didn't think I'd want to drive across Hutchinson that way. I looked in the mirror and had a huge "goober" of either spit, snot, or salt-sweat all over my right cheek. I said, "Was that there when I went into the Kansas Station?" Mary didn't know. Maybe that's why people looked at me strangely.....ya think?
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Everybody Knows, But Me???

Probably everybody but me knows this...but if you want to see a photo up-closer...just click on it and it will increase several times. Then use the "back" arrow at the upper left to go back to original size.

Just call this "Barbara's Computer Tips"... ha ha ha !!!! Anybody that knows me knows that's a terrific JOKE!!! (Also there are some new English terms here too, I think...up-closer???)

Cannas & Rain

Saturday - April 11 - I planted canna bulbs. Lots of canna bulbs!

Last year - sometime in mid-June - I acquired a bagful of canna bulbs (garage sale, folks!) and planted 18 bulbs. Within a week, I had at least 20-22 sprouts...and shortly after that, I had more like 30! One bulb definitely makes more than one sprout.

In the first picture, notice the height of the plants that I planted back by the know, back where even grass won't grow... The second and fourth shots are of the same ones a few weeks later...higher than the 6' privacy fence!

Strangely enough...I don't think the flower is all that spectacular. It's pretty. It's ok. But the huge green leaves are what I find so attractive. I also like (and have) elephant ear bulbs (to plant yet...later.)

Now these in the third shot didn't get as much sunlight...and maybe they're a different type, I'm not sure. They didn't do quite as well. Last year I also had more planted on the north side of the garage, on the south side in front of the fence, and everywhere else I could put them.

So when fall came last year, I dug up bulbs and put them in bags and hid them away in a cupboard in what I call my "ante-room".

Got them out Saturday and started planting. I had four bagfuls: one pretty big bag, one medium sized, and two kind of small bags. I planted one of the small bags and part of the medium bag. In total I planted 55 canna bulbs! That should probably give me about 40,000 bulbs by fall! Anybody need cannas?

I've promised my sister the rest of this year's "crop" (after I plant a few more in front of the fence), but I'm sure by fall I'll have plenty to supply most of Hutch. I've said that I may not dig them up this fall...maybe I'll just mulch them well and see what happens.

Sure felt good to get out and dig in the dirt...and then Easter Sunday it rained all day, giving us over an inch of moisture. Perfect for newly planted bulbs!

I still have zinnia seeds to plant...and I want a couple of Roma tomato plants...and maybe a cucumber (going to try and get it to vine up the trellis on the side of my shed).

I'm SOOOOOOOO ready for spring and summer!!!!
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter - New Beginnings

Just wanted to wish each of you a very happy and blessed Easter.

The pictures aren't, of course, of actual Easter lilies, but of some Asian lilies I had in my yard in year's past.

May your day be filled with pleasant and happy memories...and events to make more pleasant and happy memories.


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Friday, April 10, 2009

Dave McKane - Irish Photographer/Genius

This morning Mary Lou and I attended the photography presentation by Dave McKane at the Hutchinson Public Library. Dave is with the Institute of Photography, Dublin, Ireland, and was here in Hutchinson a few months ago when he did a similar presentation.
If my memory's right, Dave was an exchange student here in the 1970's and came to love Hutchinson, so chooses to come back from time to time. He also has a sister that lives near St. John, Kansas.
He puts on a tremendous program...extremely enlightening and educational...and humorous!!! He knows all the ins and outs about cameras and photography and what one needs to know to get the best shots. (Clearly...I'm kindergarten material...ok, maybe pre-school!!!) He speaks on how to use the camera buttons to get better shots; how the aperture, shutter speeds, iso, and white balance settings can affect your pictures. And he does it all in terms that everyone can understand. When he suggested that we all need to read our manuals, groans were heard! The consensus of opinion seemed to be that manuals aren't really made to be understood. Sometimes it seems the manufacturer wants to be able to say "we told you that"....but doesn't really want you to know! Dave's not that way...he'll tell you...then explain it again even slower and more clearly if you need it!
He's a staunch advocate of Picasa3, a software application for organizing and editing digital photos. For organizing photos, Picasa has file importing and tracking features, as well as tags and collections for further sorting. It also offers several basic photo editing functions, including color enhancement, red eye reduction and cropping. Other features include slide shows, printing and image timelines. Images can also be prepared for external use, such as for e-mailing or printing, by reducing file size and setting up page layouts. There is also integration with online photo printing services. And it's FREE!!!!
I'm always kind of embarrassed to show up at these events with my little rinky-dink Kodak. I really think I need a better camera...but this one is so handy and easy to use...and I can stuff it in a handlebar bag and reach in with one hand, get it, take a picture and don't panic thinking about "what if I drop it!?!?" With a $400-plus job I'm sure I'd have i$$ue$ in my mind all the time! (None the less, I feel certain the day will come.....probably before too long, in fact.)
Anyway...back to the subject...if/when you see Dave McKane's workshop or presentation advertized, it's well worth looking into. He's charming, intelligent, witty, and really knows his stuff about photography!
Thanks, Dave!!!! We all enjoyed it VERY much!
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time Out for a Ride!

Here's Mary...pedaling up a hill...obviously leaving me behind. Today was a very pretty day so we decided to go ride the Highlands. Only did 16.3 miles, but it was a lovely day and a great ride. We did see one deer in the camera wasn't fast enough...all I would've gotten would have been a little white tail blur! And later Mary found a quarter on the road. was a good ride! Just look at that bright blue sky.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 3 - A Big Day!!

As many of you probably already know, Jude (my sister) is making jewelry. We decided recently to have a "Come and Go Open House" and show her jewelry, and my jewelry, and my friend Pat's handmade greeting cards. Last Friday was the day!

Here with the blue cloth is one of Jude's two tables.

And here is one of Pat's tables of cards. She used this library-type table, plus the coffee table...then extended it to the sofa.

And here's one of two tables that I had with my stuff set up on it.

The day was great. I'd extended invitations to a LOT of people (Jude and Pat couldn't believe I KNEW that many people), and as I predicted, about a fourth dropped by to see what we had.

All in all it was a very successful day for all of I got to "catch up" with a lot of old friends I hadn't seen in a while! That was probably the high point for me!

We've had such a good response we're now thinking of doing it again. Another friend is thinking about setting up a table with her Pampered Chef wares as well. This is really fun! Just a chance to visit and show others what we have available.

The following morning Jude and I took a quick trip to Wichita to pick up more supplies before she headed back to Joplin. She was having trouble believing we'd had 18" of snow just the week before, as most all of it had disappeared. This morning I called her to tell her we'd had snow again. This morning's snow was more of an icy snow...covering the blades of green grass but rapidly melting when it hit the concrete drive and street. And by mid-afternoon it was completely gone. Feels funny knowing I need to mow again...and have to wait until there's no snow drifts.

Hopefully soon we can actually feel SURE that it's spring. I have cannas and elephant ears and zinnias to plant. And I want to plant a tomato plant or two as well...and maybe a cucumber plant. I know that when whatever I plant bears fruit so will everyone else's...and they'll sell them at little roadside!!! But there's something about growing your own tomatoes and cucumbers that I like. For one thing, I like my tomatoes barely red..somewhere between greenish pink and light red. Most people like them dead ripe. And I like small cucumbers...not big, seedy, pithy ones. And if I grow my own, I can pick them as I want them! I'm really anxious for some nice - consistently nice - weather to get here.
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